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XIV. NIGHT VISIONS

The sun had gone down, and the clouds lay low on the valley of the Rhone. The wind blew from the south across the mountains; it was an African wind, a wind which scattered the clouds for a moment, and then suddenly fell. The broken clouds hung in fantastic forms upon the wood-covered hills by the rapid Rhone. They assumed the shapes of antediluvian animals, of eagles hovering in the air, of frogs leaping over a marsh, and then sunk down upon the rushing stream and appeared to sail upon it, although floating in the air. An uprooted fir-tree was being carried away by the current, and marking out its path by eddying circles on the water. Vertigo and his sisters were dancing upon it, and raising these circles on the foaming river. The moon lighted up the snow on the mountain-tops, shone on the dark woods, and on the drifting clouds those fantastic forms which at night might be taken for spirits of the powers of nature. The mountain-dweller saw them through the panes of his little window. They sailed in hosts before the Ice Maiden as she came out of her palace of ice. Then she seated herself on the trunk of the fir-tree as on a broken skiff, and the water from the glaciers carried her down the river to the open lake.

"The wedding guests are coming," sounded from air and sea. These were the sights and sounds without; within there were visions, for Babette had a wonderful dream. She dreamt that she had been married to Rudy for many years, and that, one day when he was out chamois hunting, and she alone in their dwelling at home, the young Englishman with the golden whiskers sat with her. His eyes were quite eloquent, and his words possessed a magic power; he offered her his hand, and she was obliged to follow him. They went out of the house and stepped downwards, always downwards, and it seemed to Babette as if she had a weight on her heart which continually grew heavier. She felt she was committing a sin against Rudy, a sin against God. Suddenly she found herself forsaken, her clothes torn by the thorns, and her hair gray; she looked upwards in her agony, and there, on the edge of the rock, she espied Rudy. She stretched out her arms to him, but she did not venture to call him or to pray; and had she called him, it would have been useless, for it was not Rudy, only his hunting coat and hat hanging on an alpenstock, as the hunters sometimes arrange them to deceive the chamois. "Oh!" she exclaimed in her agony; "oh, that I had died on the happiest day of my life, my wedding-day. O my God, it would have been a mercy and a blessing had Rudy travelled far away from me, and I had never known him. None know what will happen in the future." And then, in ungodly despair, she cast herself down into the deep rocky gulf. The spell was broken; a cry of terror escaped her, and she awoke.

The dream was over; it had vanished. But she knew she had dreamt something frightful about the young Englishman, yet months had passed since she had seen him or even thought of him. Was he still at Montreux, and should she meet him there on her wedding day? A slight shadow passed over her pretty mouth as she thought of this, and she knit her brows; but the smile soon returned to her lip, and joy sparkled in her eyes, for this was the morning of the day on which she and Rudy were to be married, and the sun was shining brightly. Rudy was already in the parlor when she entered it, and they very soon started for Villeneuve. Both of them were overflowing with happiness, and the miller was in the best of tempers, laughing and merry; he was a good, honest soul, and a kind father.

"Now we are masters of the house," said the parlor-cat.

 

14.夜里的梦幻

太阳下落了;云块低垂在高山之间,垂在伦河的盆地上。

风从南方吹来——从非洲吹来。它像“浮恩”似的拂过阿尔卑斯山,把这些云块撕成碎片。当它扫过去的时候,空中就有片刻的沉寂。疏疏落落的云块在多树的山中,在奔流的伦河上,现出各种奇怪的形状。它们像原始世界的海怪,像空中的飞鹰,像沼地里跳跃着的青蛙。它们落到奔流的河上,像在河上行驶,但同时又像浮在空中。河水卷着一棵连根拔起的松树在向下流;树的周围,一串一串的漩涡在转动。这是昏迷之神和她的姊妹们在泡沫上跳着旋舞。月亮把山峰上的积雪、黑森林和奇形的白云照得透明。这是夜间的幻景,大自然的精灵,山上的居民都可以在窗里望见。这些幻象在冰姑娘面前成队地浮现过去。冰姑娘是刚从冰宫里走出来的;她正坐在一条摇摆的船上——那棵连根拔起的松树。冰河的水载着她向下流,向广阔的湖流。

“参加婚礼的客人都到来了!”这是空中和水里同时发出的一个吟唱声。

外面是幻景,里面也是幻景。巴贝德做了一个奇怪的梦。

她跟洛狄似乎已经结婚了好几年。他正在外面猎取羚羊,把她留在家里。那个年轻的、长了一脸黄络腮胡子的英国人坐在她身边。他的眼睛充满了热情;他的话语富有魔力。所以当他向她伸出手来的时候,她就情不自禁地跟着他走。他们离开家,一直往下走!巴贝德觉得心中压着一件东西——越压越重。她在做一桩对不起洛狄的事情——一桩对不起上帝的事情。这时她忽然发现她身边什么人也没有;她的衣服被荆棘撕破了,她的头发已经变得灰白。她悲哀地抬起头来,看见洛狄坐在一个崖石的边缘上。她把手伸向他,但她既不敢求他,也不敢喊他。事实上,这样做也没有什么好处。因为她马上发现这并不是洛狄。这不过是挂在一根爬山杖上的猎衣和帽子——一般猎人拿来欺骗羚羊的伪装。在极度的痛苦中,巴贝德呼号着说:

“啊,我希望在我最快乐的那一天——我结婚的那一天——死去!上帝,我的上帝!这才是幸福!我和洛狄所能希望的最好的东西也莫过于此!各人的将来,谁知道呢!”

于是她怀着一种怀疑上帝的失望心情投到一个深渊里去。一根线似乎断了。山中发出一个悲哀的回音!

巴贝德醒来了;梦也完了,消逝了。不过她知道,她做了一个可怕的梦:她梦见了几个月不曾见过或想过的那个英国年轻人。她不知道他是不是仍住在蒙特鲁,会不会来参加她的婚礼。她的小嘴上有了暗影;她的眉毛起了皱纹。但是不一会儿她露出一个微笑;她的眼睛射出光辉。太阳在明朗地照着。明天是她和洛狄举行婚礼的日子。

当她走下楼的时候,洛狄已经来到客厅里了。他们立刻就动身到维也奴乌去。他们两人非常快乐;磨坊主也一样。他在愉快地笑。他是一个好父亲,一个正直的人。

“我们现在是家里的主人了!”客厅的猫说。