四大名著文学网
会员注册 会员登录

Chapter 4

(快捷键←)[上一章]  [回目录]  [下一章](快捷键→)
    At home the Richardses had to endure congratulations and compliments until midnight. Then they were left to themselves. They looked a little sad, and they sat silent and thinking. Finally Mary sighed and said:

    "Do you think we are to blame, Edward--MUCH to blame?" and her eyes wandered to the accusing triplet of big bank-notes lying on the table, where the congratulators had been gloating over them and reverently fingering them. Edward did not answer at once; then he brought out a sigh and said, hesitatingly:

    "We--we couldn't help it, Mary. It--well it was ordered. ALL things are."

    Mary glanced up and looked at him steadily, but he didn't return the look. Presently she said:

    "I thought congratulations and praises always tasted good. But--it seems to me, now-- Edward?"

    "Well?"

    "Are you going to stay in the bank?"

    "N--no."

    "Resign?"

    "In the morning--by note."

    "It does seem best."

    Richards bowed his head in his hands and muttered:

    "Before I was not afraid to let oceans of people's money pour through my hands, but-- Mary, I am so tired, so tired--"

    "We will go to bed."

    At nine in the morning the stranger called for the sack and took it to the hotel in a cab. At ten Harkness had a talk with him privately. The stranger asked for and got five cheques on a metropolitan bank--drawn to "Bearer,"--four for $1,500 each, and one for $34,000. He put one of the former in his pocket-book, and the remainder, representing $38,500, he put in an envelope, and with these he added a note which he wrote after Harkness was gone. At eleven he called at the Richards' house and knocked. Mrs. Richards peeped through the shutters, then went and received the envelope, and the stranger disappeared without a word. She came back flushed and a little unsteady on her legs, and gasped out:

    "I am sure I recognised him! Last night it seemed to me that maybe I had seen him somewhere before."

    "He is the man that brought the sack here?"

    "I am almost sure of it."

    "Then he is the ostensible Stephenson too, and sold every important citizen in this town with his bogus secret. Now if he has sent cheques instead of money, we are sold too, after we thought we had escaped. I was beginning to feel fairly comfortable once more, after my night's rest, but the look of that envelope makes me sick. It isn't fat enough; $8,500 in even the largest bank-notes makes more bulk than that."

    "Edward, why do you object to cheques?"

    "Cheques signed by Stephenson! I am resigned to take the $8,500 if it could come in bank-notes--for it does seem that it was so ordered, Mary--but I have never had much courage, and I have not the pluck to try to market a cheque signed with that disastrous name. It would be a trap. That man tried to catch me; we escaped somehow or other; and now he is trying a new way. If it is cheques--"

    "Oh, Edward, it is TOO bad!" And she held up the cheques and began to cry.

    "Put them in the fire! quick! we mustn't be tempted. It is a trick to make the world laugh at US, along with the rest, and-- Give them to ME, since you can't do it!" He snatched them and tried to hold his grip till he could get to the stove; but he was human, he was a cashier, and he stopped a moment to make sure of the signature. Then he came near to fainting.

    "Fan me, Mary, fan me! They are the same as gold!"

    "Oh, how lovely, Edward! Why?"

    "Signed by Harkness. What can the mystery of that be, Mary?"

    "Edward, do you think--"

    "Look here--look at this! Fifteen--fifteen--fifteen--thirty-four. Thirty-eight thousand five hundred! Mary, the sack isn't worth twelve dollars, and Harkness--apparently--has paid about par for it."

    "And does it all come to us, do you think--instead of the ten thousand?"

    "Why, it looks like it. And the cheques are made to 'Bearer,' too."

    "Is that good, Edward? What is it for?"

    "A hint to collect them at some distant bank, I reckon. Perhaps Harkness doesn't want the matter known. What is that--a note?"

    "Yes. It was with the cheques."

    It was in the "Stephenson" handwriting, but there was no signature. It said:

    "I am a disappointed man. Your honesty is beyond the reach of temptation. I had a different idea about it, but I wronged you in that, and I beg pardon, and do it sincerely. I honour you--and that is sincere too. This town is not worthy to kiss the hem of your garment. Dear sir, I made a square bet with myself that there were nineteen debauchable men in your self-righteous community. I have lost. Take the whole pot, you are entitled to it."

    Richards drew a deep sigh, and said:

    "It seems written with fire--it burns so. Mary--I am miserable again."

    "I, too. Ah, dear, I wish--"

    "To think, Mary--he BELIEVES in me."

    "Oh, don't, Edward--I can't bear it."

    "If those beautiful words were deserved, Mary--and God knows I believed I deserved them once--I think I could give the forty thousand dollars for them. And I would put that paper away, as representing more than gold and jewels, and keep it always. But now-- We could not live in the shadow of its accusing presence, Mary."

    He put it in the fire.

    A messenger arrived and delivered an envelope. Richards took from it a note and read it; it was from Burgess:

    "You saved me, in a difficult time. I saved you last night. It was at cost of a lie, but I made the sacrifice freely, and out of a grateful heart. None in this village knows so well as I know how brave and good and noble you are. At bottom you cannot respect me, knowing as you do of that matter of which I am accused, and by the general voice condemned; but I beg that you will at least believe that I am a grateful man; it will help me to bear my burden. [Signed] 'BURGESS.'"

    "Saved, once more. And on such terms!" He put the note in the lire. "I--I wish I were dead, Mary, I wish I were out of it all!"

    "Oh, these are bitter, bitter days, Edward. The stabs, through their very generosity, are so deep--and they come so fast!"

    Three days before the election each of two thousand voters suddenly found himself in possession of a prized memento--one of the renowned bogus double-eagles. Around one of its faces was stamped these words: "THE REMARK I MADE TO THE POOR STRANGER WAS--" Around the other face was stamped these: "GO, AND REFORM. [SIGNED] PINKERTON." Thus the entire remaining refuse of the renowned joke was emptied upon a single head, and with calamitous effect. It revived the recent vast laugh and concentrated it upon Pinkerton; and Harkness's election was a walk-over.

    Within twenty-four hours after the Richardses had received their cheques their consciences were quieting down, discouraged; the old couple were learning to reconcile themselves to the sin which they had committed. But they were to learn, now, that a sin takes on new and real terrors when there seems a chance that it is going to be found out. This gives it a fresh and most substantial and important aspect. At church the morning sermon was of the usual pattern; it was the same old things said in the same old way; they had heard them a thousand times and found them innocuous, next to meaningless, and easy to sleep under; but now it was different: the sermon seemed to bristle with accusations; it seemed aimed straight and specially at people who were concealing deadly sins. After church they got away from the mob of congratulators as soon as they could, and hurried homeward, chilled to the bone at they did not know what- -vague, shadowy, indefinite fears. And by chance they caught a glimpse of Mr. Burgess as he turned a corner. He paid no attention to their nod of recognition! He hadn't seen it; but they did not know that. What could his conduct mean? It might mean--it might-- mean--oh, a dozen dreadful things. Was it possible that he knew that Richards could have cleared him of guilt in that bygone time, and had been silently waiting for a chance to even up accounts? At home, in their distress they got to imagining that their servant might have been in the next room listening when Richards revealed the secret to his wife that he knew of Burgess's innocence; next Richards began to imagine that he had heard the swish of a gown in there at that time; next, he was sure he HAD heard it. They would call Sarah in, on a pretext, and watch her face; if she had been betraying them to Mr. Burgess, it would show in her manner. They asked her some questions--questions which were so random and incoherent and seemingly purposeless that the girl felt sure that the old people's minds had been affected by their sudden good fortune; the sharp and watchful gaze which they bent upon her frightened her, and that completed the business. She blushed, she became nervous and confused, and to the old people these were plain signs of guilt--guilt of some fearful sort or other--without doubt she was a spy and a traitor. When they were alone again they began to piece many unrelated things together and get horrible results out of the combination. When things had got about to the worst Richards was delivered of a sudden gasp and his wife asked:

    "Oh, what is it?--what is it?"

    "The note--Burgess's note! Its language was sarcastic, I see it now." He quoted: "'At bottom you cannot respect me, KNOWING, as you do, of THAT MATTER OF which I am accused'--oh, it is perfectly plain, now, God help me! He knows that I know! You see the ingenuity of the phrasing. It was a trap--and like a fool, I walked into it. And Mary--!"

    "Oh, it is dreadful--I know what you are going to say --he didn't return your transcript of the pretended test-remark."

    "No--kept it to destroy us with. Mary, he has exposed us to some already. I know it--I know it well. I saw it in a dozen faces after church. Ah, he wouldn't answer our nod of recognition--he knew what he had been doing!"

    In the night the doctor was called. The news went around in the morning that the old couple were rather seriously ill--prostrated by the exhausting excitement growing out of their great windfall, the congratulations, and the late hours, the doctor said. The town was sincerely distressed; for these old people were about all it had left to be proud of, now.

    Two days later the news was worse. The old couple were delirious, and were doing strange things. By witness of the nurses, Richards had exhibited cheques--for $8,500? No--for an amazing sum--$38,500! What could be the explanation of this gigantic piece of luck?

    The following day the nurses had more news--and wonderful. They had concluded to hide the cheques, lest harm come to them; but when they searched they were gone from under the patient's pillow--vanished away. The patient said:

    "Let the pillow alone; what do you want?"

    "We thought it best that the cheques--"

    "You will never see them again--they are destroyed. They came from Satan. I saw the hell-brand on them, and I knew they were sent to betray me to sin." Then he fell to gabbling strange and dreadful things which were not clearly understandable, and which the doctor admonished them to keep to themselves.

    Richards was right; the cheques were never seen again.

    A nurse must have talked in her sleep, for within two days the forbidden gabblings were the property of the town; and they were of a surprising sort. They seemed to indicate that Richards had been a claimant for the sack himself, and that Burgess had concealed that fact and then maliciously betrayed it.

    Burgess was taxed with this and stoutly denied it. And he said it was not fair to attach weight to the chatter of a sick old man who was out of his mind. Still, suspicion was in the air, and there was much talk.

    After a day or two it was reported that Mrs. Richards's delirious deliveries were getting to be duplicates of her husband's. Suspicion flamed up into conviction, now, and the town's pride in the purity of its one undiscredited important citizen began to dim down and flicker toward extinction.

    Six days passed, then came more news. The old couple were dying. Richards's mind cleared in his latest hour, and he sent for Burgess. Burgess said:

    "Let the room be cleared. I think he wishes to say something in privacy."

    "No!" said Richards; "I want witnesses. I want you all to hear my confession, so that I may die a man, and not a dog. I was clean-- artificially--like the rest; and like the rest I fell when temptation came. I signed a lie, and claimed the miserable sack. Mr. Burgess remembered that I had done him a service, and in gratitude (and ignorance) he suppressed my claim and saved me. You know the thing that was charged against Burgess years ago. My testimony, and mine alone, could have cleared him, and I was a coward and left him to suffer disgrace--"

    "No--no--Mr. Richards, you--"

    "My servant betrayed my secret to him--"

    "No one has betrayed anything to me--"

    - "And then he did a natural and justifiable thing; he repented of the saving kindness which he had done me, and he EXPOSED me--as I deserved--"

    "Never!--I make oath--"

    "Out of my heart I forgive him."

    Burgess's impassioned protestations fell upon deaf ears; the dying man passed away without knowing that once more he had done poor Burgess a wrong. The old wife died that night.

    The last of the sacred Nineteen had fallen a prey to the fiendish sack; the town was stripped of the last rag of its ancient glory. Its mourning was not showy, but it was deep.

    By act of the Legislature--upon prayer and petition--Hadleyburg was allowed to change its name to (never mind what--I will not give it away), and leave one word out of the motto that for many generations had graced the town's official seal.

    It is an honest town once more, and the man will have to rise early that catches it napping again.

    回家以后,大家的祝贺和恭维把理查兹夫妇一直折磨到半夜。然后才剩下他们两个人了。他们脸上挂着一丝悲哀,一声不响地坐着想心事。后来玛丽叹了一口气说:

    “你说这能怪罪咱们吗,爱德华——真能怪罪咱们?”她转眼望着躺在桌子上前来声讨的三张大钞;刚才来道贺的人们还在这儿满怀羡慕地看、敬若神明地摸呢。爱德华没有马上回答;后来他叹了口气,犹犹豫豫地说:

    “咱们——咱们也是没有办法,玛丽。这——呃,这是命中注定。所有的事情都是命中注定。”

    玛丽抬起头来,愣愣地望着他,可是他没有看妻子。停了一会儿,她说:

    “从前我还以为被人恭喜被人夸的滋味挺好呢。可是——现在我觉得——爱德华?”

    “嗯?”

    “你还想在银行里呆着吗?”

    “不……不想了。

    “想辞职?”

    “明天上午吧——书面的。”

    “这样办也许最保险了。”

    理查兹用两只手捧着脑袋,喃喃地说:

    “从前,别人的钱像水一样哗哗地流过我手上,我心里从来不打鼓,可是——玛丽,我太累了,太累了——”

    “咱们睡吧。”

    早上九点钟,陌生人来取那只口袋,装在一辆马车里运到旅馆去了。十点钟,哈克尼斯和他私下交谈了一会。陌生人索要到手五张由一家都市银行承兑的支票——都是开给“持票人”的——四张每张一干五百元的,一张三万四千元的。他把一张一千五百元的放进钱包,把剩下总共三万八千五百元全都装进一个信封;还在信封里夹了一张在哈克尼斯走后写的字条。十一点钟时,他来到理查兹家敲门。理查兹太太从百叶窗缝里偷偷地看了看,然后去把信封接了过来,那位陌生人一言不发地走了。她回来时满脸通红,两条腿磕磕绊绊,气喘吁吁地说:

    “我敢保证,我认出他来了!昨天晚上我就觉得从前可能在哪儿见过他。”

    “他就是送口袋来的那个人吗?”

    “十有八九。”

    “如此说来,他也就是那个化名史蒂文森的了,他用那个编造的秘密把镇上的所有头面人物都毁了。现在,只要他送来的是支票,不是现款,咱们也就毁了,原先咱们还以为已经躲过去了呢。睡了一夜,我刚刚觉得心里踏实了一点,可是一看见那个信封我又难受起来。这信封不够厚;装八千五百块钱,就算都是最大的票子,也要比这厚一点儿。”

    “爱德华,你为什么不愿要支票呢?”

    “史蒂文森签字的支票!假如这八千五百块钱是现钞,我也认了——因为那还像是命中注定的,玛丽——我的胆子向来就不大,我可没有勇气试试拿一张签了这个招灾惹事名字的支票去兑现。那准是一个陷阱。那人本想套住我;咱们好歹总算躲过去了;现在他又想了一个新花招。如果是支票的话——”

    “唉,爱德华,真是糟透了!”她举着支票,嚷了起来。

    “扔到火里去!快点儿!咱们千万别上当。这是把咱们和那些人绑在一起,让大家都来耻笑咱们的奸计,还有——快给我吧,你干不了这种事情!”他抓过支票,正想紧紧攥住,一口气送到炉火里去;可是他毕竟是凡夫俗子,而且是干出纳这一行的,于是他停顿了一下,核实支票上的签名。不看则已,一看,他差点儿昏了过去。

    “给我透透气,玛丽,给我透透气!这就像金子一样呀!”

    “噢,那太好了。爱德华!为什么?”

    “支票是哈克尼斯签的。这究竟是搞的什么鬼呀,玛丽?”

    “爱德华,你想是——”

    “你看——看看这个!一千五——一千五——一千五——三万四。三万八千五百!玛丽,那一口袋东西本来不值12块钱,可是哈克尼斯——显然是他——却当作货真价实的金币付了钱。”

    “你是说,这些钱全都是咱们的——不只是那一万块钱?”

    “嗯,好像是这么回事。而且支票还是开给‘持票人’的。”

    “这有什么好处吗,爱德华?到底是怎么回事啊?”

    “我看,这是暗示咱们到远处的银行去提款。也许哈克尼斯不愿意让别人知道这件事。那是什么——一张字条?”

    “是呀。是和支票夹在一起的。”

    字条上是“史蒂文森”的笔迹,可是没有签名。那上面说:

    “我失算了。你的诚实超越了诱惑力所能及的范围。对此我本来有截然不同的看法,但是在这一点上我错看了你,我请你原谅,诚心诚意地请你原谅。我向你表示敬意——同样是诚心诚意的。这个镇子上的其他人不如你的一个小手指头。亲爱的先生,我和自己正正经经地打过一个赌,赌的是能把你们这个自高自大的镇子上十九位先生拉下水。我输了。拿走全部赌注吧,这是你应得的。”

    理查兹深深地叹了一口气说:

    “这好像是用火写的——真烫人哪。玛丽——我又难受起来了。”

    “我也是。啊,亲爱的,但愿——”

    “你想想看,玛丽——他竟然信得过我。”

    “噢,别这样,爱德华——我受不了。”

    “要是咱们真能担当得起这些美言,玛丽——老天有眼,我从前的确担当得起呀——我想,我情愿不要这四万块钱。那样我就会把这封信收藏起来,看得比金银财宝还珍贵,永远保存。可是现在——有它像影子一样在身边声讨咱们,这日子就没法过了,玛丽。”

    他把字条扔进了火中。

    来了一个信差,送了一封信来。

    理查兹从信封里抽出一张纸念了起来;信是伯杰斯写来的。

    在困难日子里,你救过我。昨天晚上,我救了你。这样做是以撒谎为代价的,但是做出这个牺牲我无怨无悔,而且是出于内心的感激之情。这个镇子上没有谁能像我一样深知你何等勇敢、何等善良、何等高尚。你心底里不会看得起我,因为我做的那件事是千夫所指,这你也明白;不过请你相信,我起码是个知恩必报的人;这能帮助我承受精神负担。

    伯杰斯(签名)

    “又救了咱们一命。还要这种条件!”他把信扔进火里。“我——我想真还不如死了,玛丽,我真想无牵无挂。”

    “唉;这日子真难过,爱德华。一刀刀捅到咱们心窝子上,还要他们格外开恩——真是现世现报哇!”

    选举日前三天,两千名选民每人忽然获赠纪念品一件——一块大名鼎鼎的双头鹰假金币。它的一面印了一圈字,内容如下:“我对那位不幸的外乡人说的话是——”另一面印的是:“去吧,改了就好。平克顿(签名)。”于是那场著名闹剧的残羹剩饭就一古脑儿泼在了一个人头上,随之而来的则是灾难性后果。刚刚过去的那次哄堂大笑得以重演,矛头直指平克顿;于是哈克尼斯的竞选也就马到成功了。

    理查兹夫妇收到支票的一昼夜之后,他们的良心已经逐渐安稳下来,只是还打不起精神;这对老夫妻慢慢学会了在负罪的同时心安理得。不过有一件事他们还须学会适应,那就是:罪孽仍有可能被人觉察的时候,负罪感就会形成新的、实实在在的恐怖。这样一来,负罪感就以活生生的、极为具体而又引人注目的面貌呈现出来。教堂里的晨祷布道是司空见惯的程序,牧师说得是老一套,做的也是老一套。这些话他们早就听过一千遍了,觉得都是废话,和没说一样,越听越容易打瞌睡;可是现在却不同了:布道词好像成了带刺的檄文,好像是指着鼻子骂那些罪大恶极而又想蒙混过关的人。晨祷一散,他们尽快甩开那些说恭维话的人,撒腿就往家里跑,只觉得寒气一直钻到骨头缝里,这种感觉——一种影影绰绰、隐隐约约、模模糊糊的恐惧,连他们自己都说不清楚。碰巧他们又瞥见了在街角处的伯杰斯先生。他们点头和他打招呼,可他没有搭理!其实他是没有看见,可他们并不知道。他这样做是什么意思呢?可能是——可能是——哎呀,可能有好多层可怕的意思。也许他本来知道理查兹可以还他一个清白,却不动声色地等待时机秋后算账?回到家里,他们忧心忡忡,不由得猜想那天晚上理查兹对妻子透露伯杰斯无罪的秘密时,他们的佣人也许在隔壁房间里听见了;紧接着,理查兹开始想像当时他听到那个房间里有衣服窸窸窣窣的响声;接下来他就确信真的听到过。他们找个借口叫莎拉来,察言观色:假如她向伯杰斯先生出卖了他们,从她的行为举止就能看得出来。他们问了她几个问题——问得不着边际、前言不搭后语,听起来毫无目的,让那姑娘觉得这对老夫妻一定是让飞来横财冲昏了头脑。他们用犀利的目光紧紧盯住她,把她吓坏了,事情终于弄假成真。她满脸通红,神经紧张,惶恐不安。在两个老人眼里,这就是做贼心虚的明证——她犯的总归是一桩弥天大罪——毫无疑问,她是一个奸细,是一个叛徒。莎拉离开以后,他们开始把许多毫无关联的事情东拉西扯,凑在一起,得出了可怕的结论。等到形势糟到无以复加的地步,理查兹忽然倒抽了一口冷气;他的妻子问:

    “唉,怎么回事?——怎么回事?”

    “那封信——伯杰斯的信!话里话外都是挖苦,我刚刚明白过来。”他复述着信里的话,“‘你心底里不会看得起我,因为我做的那件事是千夫所指,这你也明白’——啊,现在再清楚不过了,老天保佑吧!他知道我明白!你看他字眼用得多有学问。这是个陷阱——我瞎了眼,偏要走进去!玛丽,你——?”

    “唉,这太可怕了——我知道你想说什么——他没把你的那份假对证词还给咱们。”

    “没有——他是要攥在手里整治咱们。玛丽,他已经跟别人揭了我的底。我明白——我全明白了。做完晨祷以后,我在好多人脸上都看出这层意思来了。啊,咱们和他点头打招呼,他不搭理——干过什么他自己心里有数!”

    那天夜里请来了大夫。第二天早上消息传开,说这对老夫妻病得很厉害——大夫说,他们是因为得了那笔外财过于激动,再加上恭喜的人太多,贪了点夜,积劳成疾了。镇上的人都真心实意地为他们难过;因为现在差不多只剩下这对老夫妻能让大家引以为荣了。

    两天以后,消息更糟了。这对老夫妻脑子有了毛病,做起了怪事。据护士亲眼所见,理查兹摆弄过几张支票——是那八千五百块钱吗?不对——是个惊人的数目——三万八千块钱!这么大的数目总要有个说法吧?

    第二天,护士们又传出了消息——古怪的消息。为了避免对病人不利,她们已经决定要把支票藏起来,可是等她们去找的时候,支票已经不在病人的枕头下面——失踪了。病人说:

    “别动枕头啊;你想找什么?”

    “我们想最好把支票——”

    “你们别想再看见支票了——已经毁掉了。支票是从魔鬼那儿来的。我看见上面都盖着地狱的大印,我知道,送这些支票来是引我作孽呀。”然后,他又絮絮叨叨地说了一些又古怪又吓人的话,别人也不大明白,医生告诫他们,这些话不要外传。

    理查兹说的是真话;那些支票再也没有人看到过。

    必定是哪个护士梦中说走了嘴,因为不出两天,那些不宜外传的絮语已经满镇皆知,让人大吃一惊。那些话好像是说理查兹自己也申领过那一袋钱,但是被伯杰斯瞒了下来,然后又不怀好意地泄露出去。

    伯杰斯为此受到了责难,但是他自己坚决否认有这回事。他说,拿一个重病老汉神志不清的胡言乱语当真,这可不公平。可是,说归说,猜疑还是满天飞,流言还是越来越多。

    一两天以后,有消息说理查兹太太说的胡话逐渐成了她丈夫胡话的翻版。于是猜疑越来越重,以至变成了确定无疑的事情,全镇为惟一保持晚节的要人清正廉洁感到自豪的烈焰开始降温,苟延残喘了一阵儿之后,渐趋熄灭。

    六天过去,又传来了新的消息。这对老夫妻要咽气了。到了弥留之际,理查兹神志忽然清醒起来,他叫人去请了伯杰斯。伯杰斯说:

    “请大家都出去一下。我想,他是要私下说点儿事情。”

    “不!”理查兹说,“我要有人在场。我要你们都来听一听我的忏悔,好让我死得像个人样儿,别死得像一条狗。我诚实——和其他人一样,是假装诚实;我也和其他人一样,一碰上诱惑就站不住脚了。我签署过一纸谎言,申领过那个倒霉的钱袋。伯杰斯先生记得我帮过他一次忙,因为想回报(也因为他糊涂),他把我的申领信藏起来,救了我。你们都知道好多年以前大家怪罪伯杰斯的那件事。我的证词,也只有我自己,本来能够给他洗刷污点,可我是个胆小鬼,听任他蒙受不白之冤——”

    “不——不——理查兹先生,你——”

    “我的佣人把我的秘密出卖给他——”

    “没人向我出卖过——”

    “他就做了一件又自然又合理的事情,他后悔不该好心救我,就揭了我的底——我是自作自受——”

    “从来没有的事!——我发誓——”

    “我真心原谅他了。”

    伯杰斯热情的辩解白费口舌;这个临死的人直到断气也不明白自己又坑了可怜的伯杰斯一次。他的老伴那天晚上也咽了气。

    十九家圣人中硕果仅存的一位也被那只惨无人道的钱袋吞吃了;哈德莱堡昔日辉煌的最后一块遮羞布落了地。为此,它的哀伤虽然不算显眼,却相当深重。

    由于人们的恳求和请愿,州议会通过了法令——允许哈德莱堡更名为——(不要管它是什么名字了——恕不透露),而且还从世世代代刻在该镇官印上的那句箴言中删去了一个字。

    原官印:引导吾等免受诱惑 现官印:引导吾等受诱惑

    它又是一个诚实的小镇了,假如您想再钻一次老虎打盹的空子,一定要起早才行。
先看到这(加入书签) | 推荐本书 | 打开书架 | 返回首页 | 返回书页 | 错误举报 | 返回顶部