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名著精读《傲慢与偏见》第13章 第4节

Mr. Collins was punctual to his time, and was received with great politeness by the whole family. Mr. Bennet, indeed, said little; but the ladies were ready enough to talk, and Mr. Collins seemed neither in need of encouragement, nor inclined to be silent himself. He was a tall, heavy looking young man of five and twenty. His air was grave and stately, and his manners were very formal. He had not been long seated before he complimented Mrs. Bennet on having so fine a family of daughters, said he had heard much of their beauty, but that, in this instance, fame had fallen short of the truth; and added, that he did not doubt her seeing them all in due time well disposed of in marriage. This gallantry was not much to the taste of some of his hearers, but Mrs. Bennet who quarrelled with no compliments, answered most readily,

柯林斯先生准时来了,全家都非常客气地接待他,班纳特先生简直没有说什么话;可是太太和几位小姐都十分愿意畅谈一下,而柯林斯先生本人好象既不需要人家鼓励他多说话,也不打算不说话。他是个二十五岁的青年,高高的个儿,望上去很肥胖,他的气派端庄而堂皇,又很拘泥礼节。他刚一坐下来就恭维班纳特太太福气好,养了这么多好女儿,他说,早就听到人们对她们美貌赞扬备至,今天一见面,才知道她们的美貌远远超过了她们的名声;他又说,他相信小姐们到时候都会结下美满良缘。他这些奉承话,人家真不大爱听,只有班纳特太太,没有哪句恭维话听不下去,于是极其干脆地回答道:

"You are very kind, sir, I am sure; and I wish with all my heart it may prove so; for else they will be destitute enough. Things are settled so oddly."

“我相信你是个好心肠的人,先生;我一心希望能如你的金口,否则她们就不堪设想了。事情实在摆布得太古怪啦。”

"You allude, perhaps, to the entail of this estate."

“你大概是说产业的继承权问题吧。”

"Ah! sir, I do indeed. It is a grievous affair to my poor girls, you must confess. Not that I mean to find fault with you, for such things, I know, are all chance in this world. There is no knowing how estates will go when once they come to be entailed."

“唉,先生,我的确是说到这方面。你得承认,这对于我可怜的女儿们真是件不幸的事。我并不想怪你,因为我也知道,世界上这一类的事完全靠命运。一个人的产业一旦要限定继承人,那你就无从知道它会落到谁的手里去。”

"I am very sensible, madam, of the hardship to my fair cousins, -- and could say much on the subject, but that I am cautious of appearing forward and precipitate. But I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared to admire them. At present I will not say more, but perhaps when we are better acquainted --"

“太太,我深深知道,这件事苦了表妹们,我在这个问题上有很多意见,一时却不敢莽撞冒失。可是我可以向年轻的小姐们保证,我上这儿来,就是为了要向她们表示我的敬慕。目前我也不打算多说,或许等到将来我们相处得更熟一些的时候──”

He was interrupted by a summons to dinner; and the girls smiled on each other. They were not the only objects of Mr. Collins's admiration. The hall, the dining-room, and all its furniture were examined and praised; and his commendation of every thing would have touched Mrs. Bennet's heart, but for the mortifying supposition of his viewing it all as his own future property. The dinner too, in its turn, was highly admired; and he begged to know to which of his fair cousins, the excellence of its cookery was owing. But here he was set right by Mrs. Bennet, who assured him with some asperity that they were very well able to keep a good cook, and that her daughters had nothing to do in the kitchen. He begged pardon for having displeased her. In a softened tone she declared herself not at all offended; but he continued to apologise for about a quarter of an hour.

主人家请他吃午饭了,于是他的话不得不被打断。小姐们彼此相视而笑。柯林斯先生所爱慕的才不光光是她们呢。他把客厅、饭厅、以及屋子里所有的家具,都仔细看了一遍,赞美了一番。班纳特太太本当听到他赞美一句,心里就得意一阵,怎奈她也想到,他原来是把这些东西都看作他自己未来的财产,因此她又非常难受。连一顿午饭也蒙他称赏不置,他请求主人告诉他,究竟是哪位表妹烧得这一手好菜。班纳特太太听到他这句话,不禁把他指责了一番。她相当不客气地跟他说,她们家里现在还雇得起一个象样的厨子,根本用不到女儿们过问厨房里的事。他请求她原谅,不要见怪。于是她用柔和的声调说,她根本没有怪他,可是他却接接连连地道歉了一刻钟之久。

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