用户名: 密码: 验证码:    注册 | 忘记密码?
主页 |英文小说 |双语传记 |双语戏剧 |双语文史哲 |双语儿童文学 |双语科技 |经典英译 |其他双语名著
当前位置:重庆时时彩五星定胆 > 法国小说 > 基督山伯爵 > 第3章 第三部分
第28节 法官 【
   已开启划词功能

本文地址:http://www.yeidj.com.cn/book/story.php?id=662
文章摘要:法官 ,百得妙手丹青防晒品,烧伤贪得无厌牡丹园。

我们记得,布沙尼长老和诺瓦蒂埃曾留在瓦朗蒂姆的房间里,为那年轻女郎守过灵。也许是长老的劝戒,也许是由于他那种温文慈爱的态度,也许是由于他那种富于说服力的劝戒,总之,诺瓦蒂埃勇气恢复了,因为自从他与神父谈过话以后,他那绝望心情已变为一种宁静的听天由命态度,了解他的人,无不感到惊奇。

自从瓦朗蒂娜去世的那天,维尔福先生没有去看过他的父亲。整幢房子都变了样。他用了一个新仆人班,诺瓦蒂埃也换了一个新的仆人。侍候维尔福夫人的两个女佣也是新来的。事实上,从门房到车夫,全都是新来的仆人,而自从那座受天诅咒的房子里的主人添了这几个新人以后,他们本来冷淡的关系就冷淡得近乎疏远了。

法庭再过两三天就要开庭,维尔福把自己关在房间里,以一种狂热的心情准备控告谋害卡德罗斯的凶手材料。这件案子,象其他一切有关基督山伯爵的案子,已轰动了巴黎。证据当然并不确凿,主要证据是监

里的逃犯所留下的几个字,他有可能因旧恨宿怨,借此来诬告他的同伴。但检察官已下定决心。他确信贝尼代托是有罪的,他想从那种克服困难的胜利中获得一种自私的喜悦来温暖他那冰冷的心。

维尔福希望把这件谋杀案排为大审中的第一件案子,他不断地工作,一切都已准备就绪。他不得不更严密地隐藏自己,以躲避那无数向他来讨听证的人,可怜的瓦朗蒂娜去世只有几天,笼罩这座屋子的阴郁还这样浓重,这位父亲是严肃地尽自己的责任,这也是他在悲痛中找到的唯一消遣,任何人看到这种情景也会感动的。

维尔福和他的父亲只见过一次,那是在贝尔图乔第二次访问贝尼代托,贝尼代托知道他父亲的名字的第二天。那位法官疲惫不堪地走进花园,由于他心中已经由于怨恨而下了决定,他象塔根王[罗马的第五朝国王。——译注]截断最高的罂粟花一样,用他的手杖敲断走道两边玫瑰树上垂死的长枝,这些丫枝在以前虽然开出灿烂的花朵,但现在则似乎已象幽灵一样。他以同样的步伐和同样的态度来回地在一条走道上踱步了。他偶尔回头向屋子里望去,因为他听到了儿子喧闹的嘻笑声,他的儿子每逢星期天便从学校里回来,到星期二再离开他的母亲回学校。当维尔福向屋子里望去的时候,正巧看见诺瓦蒂埃先生坐在一扇打开着的窗子后面,在享受落日的余辉。傍晚的太阳还能产生一些暖意,照射在那盘绕在阳台四周的爬墙类植物的枯萎的花上和红色的叶子上。

老人在看什么,维尔福看不清楚。但他的目光充满着仇恨、残酷和暴躁,维尔福急忙转出他所走的那条小路去看他父亲。他看见:在一大丛几乎落光了叶子的菩提树下,维尔福夫人坐在那儿,手里拿着一本书,她不时停止阅读,向她的儿子微笑一下,或是把他顽皮地从客厅里抛出来的皮球投回去。维尔福的脸色苍白,他明白老人的意思。诺瓦蒂埃继续望维尔福夫人,突然间,老人的眼光从那妻子转移到丈夫的身上用他那一对气势汹汹的眼睛来攻击维尔福。那种眼光虽然已改变了目标和含义,却毫未减少那种威胁的表情。维尔福夫人没想到诺瓦蒂埃会如此恨她,这时她正拿住她儿子的球,向他表示要吻他。爱德华恳求了好一会儿,因为他认为母亲的一吻或许还抵偿不了他取得这一吻的麻烦,但是,他终于答应母亲了,他翻过窗口,穿过一丛金盏草和延命菊,汗流满面地向母亲奔过来。维尔福夫人抹掉他脸上的汗,在他的前额上吻了一下,让他一手拿着球,一手拿着糖果跑回去。

维尔福被一种不可抗拒的力吸引着,象蛇慑服的小鸟一样,不由自主向屋子走过去。当他向屋子走过去的时候,诺瓦蒂埃的目光始终跟随着他,他眼睛里的怒火象要喷射出来,维尔福觉得那一对眼睛中的怒火已穿透到他心灵的深处。这种急切的目光中所表示的是一种深刻的遣责和一种可怕的威胁。然后,诺瓦蒂埃抬起头望着天,象是在提醒他的儿子,不要忘记了自己的誓言。“好,阁下,”维尔福在下面答道,——

“好吧,请再忍耐一天,我说话是算数的。”诺瓦蒂埃听了这几句话似乎平静了,他的眼睛漠然地转到另一个方向。维尔福用力解开那件似乎要窒息他的大衣纽扣,用他那只毫无血色的手按在额上,走进他的书房。夜冷而静;全家人都休息了,只有维尔福一直工作到早晨五点钟,他又重新审阅检察官昨天晚上所录的最后的预审口供,编纂证人的阵述词,终于结束了那份他生平最雄辩有力和最周到的起诉书。

第二天是星期一,是法庭开庭审判日子。早晨的天气阴沉得很,维尔福看见昏暗的灰白色的光线照到他用红墨水写成起诉书上。。他只在蜡烛垂熄的时候睡了一会儿。烛火毕剥声唤醒了他,他发觉他的手指象浸在血里一样潮湿和青紫。他打开窗户,天边上横贯着一条桔红的晨露,把那在黑暗里显出轮廓的白杨横截为二。在栗子树后面的苜宿园里,一只百灵鸟冲向天空,传来清脆的晨歌。润湿的空气向维尔福迎面扑来,他的记忆又清晰起来。“今天,”他有力地说,——

“今天,只要是有罪的地方,那个握着法律之刀的人就必需打击一切罪犯了。”他的眼睛不由自主地转向他昨天傍晚看见诺瓦蒂埃的那个窗口。窗帘垂下,可是,他父亲的样子在他的脑子里是这样的清晰,以致他对那关着的窗户说道,好象它依旧开着,而且依旧还可以看见那愤怒的老人似的。“是的,”

他低声说,——“是的,放心吧。”

他的头垂到胸前,就这么垂着头在书房里踱来踱去,然后他倒在一张沙发上,他整夜未睡,现在他想休息一下。他的四肢,因为工作的疲劳,破晓的寒意,使他四肢僵硬。渐渐地,大家都醒来了,维尔福从他的书斋里相继听到了那组成一个家庭生活的声音,——门的开关声,维尔福夫人召唤侍女的铃声,夹杂着孩子起床时和往常一样的欢呼声。维尔福也拉铃,他的仆人给他拿来了报纸和一杯巧克力。

“你拿给我的是什么?”他说。

“一杯巧克力。”

“我并没有要。是谁这样关心我的?”

“是夫人,先生。她说您在今天审理那件谋杀案上要说许多话,您应该吃些东西来保证您的精力。”于是那跟班就把杯子放在离沙发最近的那张桌子上,桌子上堆满了文件——,然后离开房间。

维尔福带着的神情阴郁地向那杯子望了一会儿,然后,突然神经质地端起杯子,一口喝干。他的样子让人感到他希望那种饮料会致他于死地,他是在用死推脱他应该履行一种比死更难过的责任。然后他站起来,带着一个令人发怵的微笑在房间里踱来踱去。那杯巧克力并不是毒药,维尔福先生喝了以后并没有不良反应。该进午餐了,但在餐桌前维尔福先生没有让仆人走进他的书房。

“维尔福夫人想提醒您一声,先生,”他说,“十一点钟已经敲过了,法院是在十二点钟开庭。”

“嗯!”维尔福说,“还有呢?”

“维尔福夫人换好衣服,作好了准备,问一下是否要她陪您去,先生?”

“到哪儿去?”

“到法院去。”

“去干什么?”

“夫人说,她很希望能去旁听。”

“哼!”维尔福用一种让仆人感到吃惊的口气说,“她想去旁听?”

仆人往后退了一步说:“先生,如果您希望一个人去,我就去告诉夫人。”

维尔福沉默片刻,用手指按着他那苍白的脸颊。“告诉夫人,”他终于答道,“我有话要跟她说,请她在她房间里等我。”

“是,先生。”

“然后就回来给我穿衣服、刮脸。”

“马上就来,先生。”

仆人出去以后,很快赶了回来,给他的主人刮了脸,服侍他穿上庄严的黑色的衣服。当他做完这一切的时候,他就说:“夫人说,希望先生穿好衣服以后就过去。”

“我这就去。”于是,维尔福带着文件,手里拿着帽子,向他妻子的房间走去。到房门口,他停了一会儿,用手按了按他那潮湿的苍白的额头。然后他走进房间,维尔福夫人正坐在一张长榻上,正在那儿不耐烦地翻阅几张报纸和一些被小爱德华他母亲还未读完以前就撕破了的小册子。她穿着出门的衣服,她的帽子放在身边的一张椅子上,手上戴着手套。

“啊!你来了,阁下,”她用她那种很自然很平静的声音说,“你的脸色不太好!你又整夜没睡?你为什么不下来用午餐呢?嗯,你带我去呢,还是让我在家里看着爱德华?”

维尔福夫人问了许多问题,想得到一个答复,但对于她所提出的问题,维尔福先生冷淡得象一尊石像一样。

“爱德华!”维尔福用一种威严的语气对孩子说,“到客厅里去玩,我的宝贝。我要和你妈妈谈话。”

维尔福夫人看到那张冷酷的面孔、那种坚决的口气以及那种奇怪的开场白,不禁打了个寒颤。爱德华抬起头来,看看他的母亲,发觉她并没有认可父亲的命令,便开始割他那些小铅笔头。

“爱德华!”维尔福喊道,他的口气严厉异常,把孩子吓了一跳,“你听到我的话了吗?去!”那孩子不习惯被这样的对待,站起身来,面无血色,——但很难说是因为愤怒或是由于害怕。他的父亲走到他身边,抓住他的胳膀,在他的前额上吻了一下。“去,”他说,“去吧,我的孩子。”

爱德华跑了出去。等那孩子一出去维尔福关上门,上了门闩。

“噢,天哪!”那青年女人说,竭力想猜出她丈夫心里想些什么,她的脸上露出一个微笑,但那个微笑却不能软化维尔福冷冰冰的面孔。“出什么事啊?”

“夫人,你平时用的毒药放在哪儿?”那法官站在他妻子与房中间,单刀直入地说。

维尔福夫人这时的感觉,重庆时时彩五星定胆:想必就是百灵鸟看到鹞鹰在它的头顶上盘旋时的感觉。她发出一声嘶哑的叫声。她的脸色由白变成死灰色。“阁下,”她说,“我——我不明白你的意思。”

在第一阵恐怖的激发中,她从沙发上站起来,而在第二阵更强烈的恐怖中,她又倒回到沙发上。

“我问你,”维尔福继续用一种十分平静的口气说,“你用来害死我的岳父圣·梅朗先生、我的岳母圣·梅朗夫人、巴罗斯以及我的女儿瓦朗蒂娜的那种毒药,藏在什么地方?”

“啊,阁下,”维尔福夫人双手合在胸前喊道,“你在说什么呀?”

“我不是要你问话,而是要你回答。”

“回答丈夫呢还是回答法官?”维尔福夫人结结巴巴地问。

“是回答法官,是回答法官,夫人!”

那个女人惨白的脸色,痛苦的表情,以及她那种全身颤抖的情形,实在令人可怕。“啊,阁下!”她结结巴巴地说,——

“啊,阁下。”她只能说出这几个字。

“你没有回答,夫人!”那可怕的审问者喊道。然后他露出一个比发怒时更恐怖的微笑说,“那么好,你并不否认!”她不由得全身一震。”而且你无法否认!”维尔福又说,向她伸出一只手,象是要凭法院的名义去捉她似的。“你以卑鄙的手段完成了那几次罪恶的行动,但你只能骗过那些为爱情而盲目了的人。自从圣·梅朗夫人去世的那天起,我就知道我的家里住着一个杀人犯。阿夫里尼先生提醒了我。巴罗斯死后(上帝宽恕我)我疑心过一个天使一样的人!——即使家里没有杀人犯,我的心里也总是存着疑心的。但自从瓦朗蒂娜死后,我脑子里一切不确定的疑念都排除了,不但是我,夫人,而且旁人也是如此。所以,你的罪,有两个人知道,有许多人怀疑,不久便要公开了,正如我刚才告诉你的,你已经不再是对丈夫说话而是在对法官说话了。”

那年轻女人把她的脸埋在手里。“噢,阁下!”她结结巴巴地说,“我求求你不要被表面现象迷惑。”

“那末,你是一个懦夫吗?”维尔福用一种鄙视的口气大声说。“我注意到:杀人犯都是懦夫。不过,你也是一个懦夫吗?——,你杀死了两个老人和一个年轻姑娘的而且还有勇气面对他们的死。”

“阁下!阁下!”

“你能是一个懦夫吗?”维尔福愈来愈激动地继续说,——“你,你能一分钟一分钟地计算四个人临死时痛苦的时间,你,你曾经熟练而成功地策划你那恶毒的计划调配你的毒药。你把一切事情计算得这样清楚,那么,难道你忘了考虑一件事情,——当你的罪行被揭发的时候,你将落到什么样的下场吗?噢,这是不可能的!你一定藏起了一些最有效、最可靠、最致命的毒药,好使你逃脱那等待着你的惩罚。你这样做了是吧,我至少希望如此。”

维尔福夫人紧握着双手,跪了下来。

“我明白,”他说,——“你认罪了,但对法官认罪,在不得不认罪的时候认罪,是不能减轻惩罚的!”

“惩罚!”维尔福夫人喊道,——“惩罚,阁下!那句话你说了两遍啦!”

“当然罗。你以为因为你犯了四次罪就可以逃脱吗?你以为因为你的丈夫是检察官,法律就会对你例外吗?不,夫人,不!断头台等待着罪犯,不论她是谁,除非,正如我刚才所说的,那下毒犯事先早有准备,为她自己也留下了最致命的毒药。”

维尔福夫人发出一声疯狂喊叫,一种可怕的无法控制的恐怖的脸都变了形。

“噢!不用担心断头台,夫人,”那法官说,“我不会让你名声扫地的,因为那也会使我自己名声扫地。不!假如你懂得我的意思,你就知道你不会死在断头台上。”

“不!我不懂,你是什么意思?”那不幸的女人结结巴巴地说,她完全被弄糊涂了。

“我的意思是:首都首席检察官的妻子不会以她的耻辱去玷污一个清白无瑕的姓氏,她不会同时让她的丈夫和她的孩子落到声名狼藉的地步。

“不会的,噢,不会的!”

“嗯,夫人,这将对你一个值得赞美的行动,我向你表示感谢。”

“你感谢我,为了什么?”

“为了你刚才所说的那句话。”

“我说了什么话?噢,我吓昏了头了!我什么都不懂了!我的上帝!我的上帝呀!”她头发散乱,口带白沫地站起来。

“夫人,我进房来的时候问你:‘夫人,你常用的那种毒药放在什么地方?’你已经答复那个问题。”

维尔福夫人双臂举向天空,然后痉挛地把两手握在一起。

“不,不!”她呼叫着,——“不,你不能希望看到那个!”

“我所希望的,夫人,是你不应该在断头台上送命。你懂吗?”维尔福问。

“噢,发发慈悲吧,发发慈悲吧,阁下!”

“我所要求的,是伸张正义。我到这个世界上是为了惩恶扬善,夫人,”他眼中冒火。“任何其他女人,即使她是皇后,我也要把她交给刽子手,但对你,我已经心存慈悲了。对你,夫人,你没有保留几滴那种最可靠、最致命、最见效的毒药吗?”

“噢,饶了我吧,阁下!留我一条命吧!”

“你是一个杀人犯!”

“看上帝的面上!”

“不!”

“看你我相爱的份上!”

“不,不行!”

“看我们孩子的面上!啊,为了我们的孩子,留我一条命吧!”

“不!不!不!我告诉你,假如我允许你活下去的话,有一天,你或许会象杀死那几个人一样杀死我的孩子。!”

“我!——我杀死我的孩子!”那迷惑的母亲向维尔福冲过去说,“我杀死我的!哈!哈!哈!”在一阵可怕的魔鬼般的狂笑中结束了她那句话,那种笑声最后变成了嘶哑的啜泣声。

维尔福夫人双膝跪下。维尔福走到她身边。“记住,夫人,”

他说,“如果在我回来的时候,正义还没有伸张,我就要亲自来宣布你的罪行,亲自来逮捕你!”

她喘息着,听他说着,完全糊涂了,只有她的眼睛还显示她是个活物,那一对眼睛里还蕴蓄着一团可怕的火焰。

“你明白我的意思了?”维尔福说,“我要去法庭要求判一个杀人犯的死刑。如果我回来的时候发现你还活着,那你今天晚上就要去睡在拘留所里了。”

维尔福夫人呻吟了一声,全身瘫痪了似的倒在了地毯上。

检察官似乎动了恻隐之心,缓慢地说:“永别了,夫人!”

“那一声“永别了”象刽子手的刀刺到维尔福夫人身上一样。她昏了过去。检察官锁住房门走出去。

WE REMEMBER that the Abb¨¦ Busoni remained alone with Noirtier in the chamber of death, and that the old man and the priest were the sole guardians of the young girl's body. Perhaps it was the Christian exhortations of the abb¨¦, perhaps his kind charity, perhaps his persuasive words, which had restored the courage of Noirtier, for ever since he had conversed with the priest his violent despair had yielded to a calm resignation which surprised all who knew his excessive affection for Valentine. M. de Villefort had not seen his father since the morning of the death. The whole establishment had been changed; another valet was engaged for himself, a new servant for Noirtier, two women had entered Madame de Villefort's service,--in fact, everywhere, to the conci¨¨rge and coachmen, new faces were presented to the different masters of the house, thus widening the division which had always existed between the members of the same family.

The assizes, also, were about to begin, and Villefort, shut up in his room, exerted himself with feverish anxiety in drawing up the case against the murderer of Caderousse. This affair, like all those in which the Count of Monte Cristo had interfered, caused a great sensation in Paris. The proofs were certainly not convincing, since they rested upon a few words written by an escaped galley-slave on his death-bed, and who might have been actuated by hatred or revenge in accusing his companion. But the mind of the procureur was made up; he felt assured that Benedetto was guilty, and he hoped by his skill in conducting this aggravated case to flatter his self-love, which was about the only vulnerable point left in his frozen heart.

The case was therefore prepared owing to the incessant labor of Villefort, who wished it to be the first on the list in the coming assizes. He had been obliged to seclude himself more than ever, to evade the enormous number of applications presented to him for the purpose of obtaining tickets of admission to the court on the day of trial. And then so short a time had elapsed since the death of poor Valentine, and the gloom which overshadowed the house was so recent, that no one wondered to see the father so absorbed in his professional duties, which were the only means he had of dissipating his grief.

Once only had Villefort seen his father; it was the day after that upon which Bertuccio had paid his second visit to Benedetto, when the latter was to learn his father's name. The magistrate, harassed and fatigued, had descended to the garden of his house, and in a gloomy mood, similar to that in which Tarquin lopped off the tallest poppies, he began knocking off with his cane the long and dying branches of the rose-trees, which, placed along the avenue, seemed like the spectres of the brilliant flowers which had bloomed in the past season. More than once he had reached that part of the garden where the famous boarded gate stood overlooking the deserted enclosure, always returning by the same path, to begin his walk again, at the same pace and with the same gesture, when he accidentally turned his eyes towards the house, whence he heard the noisy play of his son, who had returned from school to spend the Sunday and Monday with his mother. While doing so, he observed M. Noirtier at one of the open windows, where the old man had been placed that he might enjoy the last rays of the sun which yet yielded some heat, and was now shining upon the dying flowers and red leaves of the creeper which twined around the balcony.

The eye of the old man was riveted upon a spot which Villefort could scarcely distinguish. His glance was so full of hate, of ferocity, and savage impatience, that Villefort turned out of the path he had been pursuing, to see upon what person this dark look was directed. Then he saw beneath a thick clump of linden-trees, which were nearly divested of foliage, Madame de Villefort sitting with a book in her hand, the perusal of which she frequently interrupted to smile upon her son, or to throw back his elastic ball, which he obstinately threw from the drawing-room into the garden. Villefort became pale; he understood the old man's meaning. Noirtier continued to look at the same object, but suddenly his glance was transferred from the wife to the husband, and Villefort himself had to submit to the searching investigation of eyes, which, while changing their direction and even their language, had lost none of their menacing expression. Madame de Villefort, unconscious of the passions that exhausted their fire over her head, at that moment held her son's ball, and was making signs to him to reclaim it with a kiss. Edward begged for a long while, the maternal kiss probably not offering sufficient recompense for the trouble he must take to obtain it; however at length he decided, leaped out of the window into a cluster of heliotropes and daisies, and ran to his mother, his forehead streaming with perspiration. Madame de Villefort wiped his forehead, pressed her lips upon it, and sent him back with the ball in one hand and some bonbons in the other.

Villefort, drawn by an irresistible attraction, like that of the bird to the serpent, walked towards the house. As he approached it, Noirtier's gaze followed him, and his eyes appeared of such a fiery brightness that Villefort felt them pierce to the depths of his heart. In that earnest look might be read a deep reproach, as well as a terrible menace. Then Noirtier raised his eyes to heaven, as though to remind his son of a forgotten oath. "It is well, sir," replied Villefort from below,--"it is well; have patience but one day longer; what I have said I will do." Noirtier seemed to be calmed by these words, and turned his eyes with indifference to the other side. Villefort violently unbuttoned his great-coat, which seemed to strangle him, and passing his livid hand across his forehead, entered his study.

The night was cold and still; the family had all retired to rest but Villefort, who alone remained up, and worked till five o'clock in the morning, reviewing the last interrogatories made the night before by the examining magistrates, compiling the depositions of the witnesses, and putting the finishing stroke to the deed of accusation, which was one of the most energetic and best conceived of any he had yet delivered.

The next day, Monday, was the first sitting of the assizes. The morning dawned dull and gloomy, and Villefort saw the dim gray light shine upon the lines he had traced in red ink. The magistrate had slept for a short time while the lamp sent forth its final struggles; its flickerings awoke him, and he found his fingers as damp and purple as though they had been dipped in blood. He opened the window; a bright yellow streak crossed the sky, and seemed to divide in half the poplars, which stood out in black relief on the horizon. In the clover-fields beyond the chestnut-trees, a lark was mounting up to heaven, while pouring out her clear morning song. The damps of the dew bathed the head of Villefort, and refreshed his memory. "To-day," he said with an effort,--"to-day the man who holds the blade of justice must strike wherever there is guilt." Involuntarily his eyes wandered towards the window of Noirtier's room, where he had seen him the preceding night. The curtain was drawn, and yet the image of his father was so vivid to his mind that he addressed the closed window as though it had been open, and as if through the opening he had beheld the menacing old man. "Yes," he murmured,--"yes, be satisfied."

His head dropped upon his chest, and in this position he paced his study; then he threw himself, dressed as he was, upon a sofa, less to sleep than to rest his limbs, cramped with cold and study. By degrees every one awoke. Villefort, from his study, heard the successive noises which accompany the life of a house,--the opening and shutting of doors, the ringing of Madame de Villefort's bell, to summon the waiting-maid, mingled with the first shouts of the child, who rose full of the enjoyment of his age. Villefort also rang; his new valet brought him the papers, and with them a cup of chocolate.

"What are you bringing me?" said he.

"A cup of chocolate."

"I did not ask for it. Who has paid me this attention?"

"My mistress, sir. She said you would have to speak a great deal in the murder case, and that you should take something to keep up your strength;" and the valet placed the cup on the table nearest to the sofa, which was, like all the rest, covered with papers. The valet then left the room. Villefort looked for an instant with a gloomy expression, then, suddenly, taking it up with a nervous motion, he swallowed its contents at one draught. It might have been thought that he hoped the beverage would be mortal, and that he sought for death to deliver him from a duty which he would rather die than fulfil. He then rose, and paced his room with a smile it would have been terrible to witness. The chocolate was inoffensive, for M. de Villefort felt no effects. The breakfast-hour arrived, but M. de Villefort was not at table. The valet re-entered.

"Madame de Villefort wishes to remind you, sir," he said, "that eleven o'clock has just struck, and that the trial commences at twelve."

"Well," said Villefort, "what then?"

"Madame de Villefort is dressed; she is quite ready, and wishes to know if she is to accompany you, sir?"

"Where to?"

"To the Palais."

"What to do?"

"My mistress wishes much to be present at the trial."

"Ah," said Villefort, with a startling accent; "does she wish that?"--The man drew back and said, "If you wish to go alone, sir, I will go and tell my mistress." Villefort remained silent for a moment, and dented his pale cheeks with his nails. "Tell your mistress," he at length answered, "that I wish to speak to her, and I beg she will wait for me in her own room."

"Yes, sir."

"Then come to dress and shave me."

"Directly, sir." The valet re-appeared almost instantly, and, having shaved his master, assisted him to dress entirely in black. When he had finished, he said,--

"My mistress said she should expect you, sir, as soon as you had finished dressing."

"I am going to her." And Villefort, with his papers under his arm and hat in hand, directed his steps toward the apartment of his wife. At the door he paused for a moment to wipe his damp, pale brow. He then entered the room. Madame de Villefort was sitting on an ottoman and impatiently turning over the leaves of some newspapers and pamphlets which young Edward, by way of amusing himself, was tearing to pieces before his mother could finish reading them. She was dressed to go out, her bonnet was placed beside her on a chair, and her gloves were on her hands.

"Ah, here you are, monsieur," she said in her naturally calm voice; "but how pale you are! Have you been working all night? Why did you not come down to breakfast? Well, will you take me, or shall I take Edward?" Madame de Villefort had multiplied her questions in order to gain one answer, but to all her inquiries M. de Villefort remained mute and cold as a statue. "Edward," said Villefort, fixing an imperious glance on the child, "go and play in the drawing-room, my dear; I wish to speak to your mamma." Madame de Villefort shuddered at the sight of that cold countenance, that resolute tone, and the awfully strange preliminaries. Edward raised his head, looked at his mother, and then, finding that she did not confirm the order, began cutting off the heads of his leaden soldiers.

"Edward," cried M. de Villefort, so harshly that the child started up from the floor, "do you hear me?--Go!" The child, unaccustomed to such treatment, arose, pale and trembling; it would be difficult to say whether his emotion were caused by fear or passion. His father went up to him, took him in his arms, and kissed his forehead. "Go," he said: "go, my child." Edward ran out. M. de Villefort went to the door, which he closed behind the child, and bolted. "Dear me!" said the young woman, endeavoring to read her husband's inmost thoughts, while a smile passed over her countenance which froze the impassibility of Villefort; "what is the matter?"

"Madame, where do you keep the poison you generally use?" said the magistrate, without any introduction, placing himself between his wife and the door.

Madame de Villefort must have experienced something of the sensation of a bird which, looking up, sees the murderous trap closing over its head. A hoarse, broken tone, which was neither a cry nor a sigh, escaped from her, while she became deadly pale. "Monsieur," she said, "I--I do not understand you." And, in her first paroxysm of terror, she had raised herself from the sofa, in the next, stronger very likely than the other, she fell down again on the cushions. "I asked you," continued Villefort, in a perfectly calm tone, "where you conceal the poison by the aid of which you have killed my father-in-law, M. de Saint-M¨¦ran, my mother-in-law, Madame de Saint-M¨¦ran, Barrois, and my daughter Valentine."

"Ah, sir," exclaimed Madame de Villefort, clasping her hands, "what do you say?"

"It is not for you to interrogate, but to answer."

"Is it to the judge or to the husband?" stammered Madame de Villefort. "To the judge--to the judge, madame!" It was terrible to behold the frightful pallor of that woman, the anguish of her look, the trembling of her whole frame. "Ah, sir," she muttered, "ah, sir," and this was all.

"You do not answer, madame!" exclaimed the terrible interrogator. Then he added, with a smile yet more terrible than his anger, "It is true, then; you do not deny it!" She moved forward. "And you cannot deny it!" added Villefort, extending his hand toward her, as though to seize her in the name of justice. "You have accomplished these different crimes with impudent address, but which could only deceive those whose affections for you blinded them. Since the death of Madame de Saint-M¨¦ran, I have known that a poisoner lived in my house. M. d'Avrigny warned me of it. After the death of Barrois my suspicions were directed towards an angel,--those suspicions which, even when there is no crime, are always alive in my heart; but after the death of Valentine, there has been no doubt in my mind, madame, and not only in mine, but in those of others; thus your crime, known by two persons, suspected by many, will soon become public, and, as I told you just now, you no longer speak to the husband, but to the judge."

The young woman hid her face in her hands. "Oh, sir," she stammered, "I beseech you, do not believe appearances."

"Are you, then, a coward?" cried Villefort, in a contemptuous voice. "But I have always observed that poisoners were cowards. Can you be a coward,--you who have had the courage to witness the death of two old men and a young girl murdered by you?"

"Sir! sir!"

"Can you be a coward?" continued Villefort, with increasing excitement, "you, who could count, one by one, the minutes of four death agonies? You, who have arranged your infernal plans, and removed the beverages with a talent and precision almost miraculous? Have you, then, who have calculated everything with such nicety, have you forgotten to calculate one thing--I mean where the revelation of your crimes will lead you to? Oh, it is impossible--you must have saved some surer, more subtle and deadly poison than any other, that you might escape the punishment that you deserve. You have done this--I hope so, at least." Madame de Villefort stretched out her hands, and fell on her knees.

"I understand," he said, "you confess; but a confession made to the judges, a confession made at the last moment, extorted when the crime cannot be denied, diminishes not the punishment inflicted on the guilty!"

"The punishment?" exclaimed Madame de Villefort, "the punishment, monsieur? Twice you have pronounced that word!"

"Certainly. Did you hope to escape it because you were four times guilty? Did you think the punishment would be withheld because you are the wife of him who pronounces it?--No, madame, no; the scaffold awaits the poisoner, whoever she may be, unless, as I just said, the poisoner has taken the precaution of keeping for herself a few drops of her deadliest potion." Madame de Villefort uttered a wild cry, and a hideous and uncontrollable terror spread over her distorted features. "Oh, do not fear the scaffold, madame," said the magistrate; "I will not dishonor you, since that would be dishonor to myself; no, if you have heard me distinctly, you will understand that you are not to die on the scaffold."

"No, I do not understand; what do you mean?" stammered the unhappy woman, completely overwhelmed. "I mean that the wife of the first magistrate in the capital shall not, by her infamy, soil an unblemished name; that she shall not, with one blow, dishonor her husband and her child."

"No, no--oh, no!"

"Well, madame, it will be a laudable action on your part, and I will thank you for it!"

"You will thank me--for what?"

"For what you have just said."

"What did I say? Oh, my brain whirls; I no longer understand anything. Oh, my God, my God!" And she rose, with her hair dishevelled, and her lips foaming.

"Have you answered the question I put to you on entering the room?--where do you keep the poison you generally use, madame?" Madame de Villefort raised her arms to heaven, and convulsively struck one hand against the other. "No, no," she vociferated, "no, you cannot wish that!"

"What I do not wish, madame, is that you should perish on the scaffold. Do you understand?" asked Villefort.

"Oh, mercy, mercy, monsieur!"

"What I require is, that justice be done. I am on the earth to punish, madame," he added, with a flaming glance; "any other woman, were it the queen herself, I would send to the executioner; but to you I shall be merciful. To you I will say, 'Have you not, madame, put aside some of the surest, deadliest, most speedy poison?'"

"Oh, pardon me, sir; let me live!"

"She is cowardly," said Villefort.

"Reflect that I am your wife!"

"You are a poisoner."

"In the name of heaven!"

"No!"

"In the name of the love you once bore me!"

"No, no!"

"In the name of our child! Ah, for the sake of our child, let me live!"

"No, no, no, I tell you; one day, if I allow you to live, you will perhaps kill him, as you have the others!"

"I?--I kill my boy?" cried the distracted mother, rushing toward Villefort; "I kill my son? Ha, ha, ha!" and a frightful, demoniac laugh finished the sentence, which was lost in a hoarse rattle. Madame de Villefort fell at her husband's feet. He approached her. "Think of it, madame," he said; "if, on my return, justice his not been satisfied, I will denounce you with my own mouth, and arrest you with my own hands!" She listened, panting, overwhelmed, crushed; her eye alone lived, and glared horribly. "Do you understand me?" he said. "I am going down there to pronounce the sentence of death against a murderer. If I find you alive on my return, you shall sleep to-night in the conci¨¨rgerie."

Madame de Villefort sighed; her nerves gave way, and she sunk on the carpet. The king's attorney seemed to experience a sensation of pity; he looked upon her less severely, and, bowing to her, said slowly,

"Farewell, madame, farewell!"

That farewell struck Madame de Villefort like the executioner's knife. She fainted. The procureur went out, after having double-locked the door.
 



09香港六合彩开奖记录 老K娱乐 江苏11选5遗漏 内蒙古十一选五开奖走势图 贵州快3直播
极速飞艇代理 重庆幸运农场几点开奖 山西11选5历史记录 山东十一选5开奖结果 加拿大28开奖结果参考
濠江精选 乐趣彩票的平台 连码钞票换酒 云南11选5最新开奖号 澳客网
金星娱乐 欢乐彩浙江 安徽时时彩软件 北京赛车pk10倍投输死 北京快乐8和值走势图