Hardy: Tess of the D'Urberville《黛絲姑娘》

哈代(Thomas Hardy, 1840—1928)是英國文學由維多利亞時代進到現代階段的一個過渡橋樑。他的思想與作風往往介乎兩個時代之間;某些方面與維多利亞時代文人相同,某些方面卻和他們相反,而接近現代人的思維。維多利亞王朝末期,舊的信仰破壞,新的信仰尚未建立起來,在這青黃不接的時期,造成了 Hardy 的悲觀思想。

本文中討論的 Tess of the D'Urbervilles 近年來也拍成電影,以前拍成電影的尚有 Far From the Mading CrowdThe Return of the Native 等。

Hardy's novels are best known for two things: first, they are set in the Wessex country of southwest England,1 and second, in all his novels, there is a strong feeling that Fate controls man's destiny.2 In the novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, the characters, especially its title heroine, are caught in problems they cannot solve. Throughout the novel, the feeling of unavoidable tragedy occurs again and again. The mighty Fate brings one coincidence after another and shapes an end that we dread but must accept.3

The story begins with the revelation of the true identity of Tess' father.4 He discovers that he is descended from the famous D'Urberville family.5 Before he learns his identity, he has been lazy enough. Now he ceases working at all. Both he and his shallow-minded wife think that the descendants from such a high family should live better with less effort.6 They insist that their oldest daughter, Tess, visit the Stoked' Urbervilles, a wealthy family who has assumed the D'Urberville name because no one else claims it.7 It is her parents' hope that Tess may attract one of the sons and perhaps bring about a good marriage.8

However, when Tess meets her supposed relatives, she finds only a blind mother and a dapper son who treats Tess badly.9 The son, Alec, tricks the innocent girl into working as a poultry maid.10 After a period of time, Tess decides to look for work elsewhere to support her parents and her numerous brothers and sisters because she senses that Alec means her no good.11 But, alas, Alec, more clever and sophisticated than she, finally manages to possess her when she is alone.12

When Tess returns home to tell her mother of her terrible experience, her mother's only worry is that Alec is not going to marry her. The poor Tess wanders from farm to farm working very hard and meanwhile she lives in seclusion long enough to give birth to her baby.13 A few months later, the baby dies. Then, after several years, Tess leaves home again to work in a dairy farm in the distant south.14

At the dairy farm, Tess is treated well. Here she meets Angel Clare, a pastor's son who has rejected the ministry to study farming.15 He wishes to own a farm someday, and he is working on various farms to learn farming knowledge and skills. He is drawn to Tess by her innocent and beautiful appearance.16 Her mind grows in contact with his, and she even unconsciously adopts his cultured speech and accents.17 But Tess feels that she is wicked and rejects the attentions Angel pays to her. She urges him to turn to other maids for companionship. In spite of her pleas, he continues to pay court to her.18 He even asks, against the wishes of his parents, Tess to be his wife. Tess is, in fact, in love with Angel; nevertheless, the memory of her awful experience with Alec causes her to refuse Angel again and again. At last his gentle insistence, coupled with the appealing request of her parents, wins her over and she agrees to marry him.19

Within a week of the wedding day, Tess writes Angel a letter, telling everything about herself and Alec. She slips the letter under his door.20 The next morning Angel acts as tenderly as before and Tess assumes that Angel has forgiven her.21 Ironically, Angel has not found the letter: it lies concealed under the carpet.22 She then attempts to tell him about her dreadful past, but Angel only teases her, not giving her any chances to confess.23

On their wedding night, Angel tells Tess about an evening of debauchery in his past.24 Tess forgives him and then tells him about Alec, thinking that he would forgive her. But Angel is so stunned and disillusioned that he cannot even speak to her.25 Finally he tells her that he cannot live with a sinned woman and sends her back to her home.26 Later he leaves for Brazil, where he plans to buy a farm.

Angel has left Tess some money and jewels. Tess puts the jewels in a bank and spends the money on her parents.27 When the money is gone, Tess goes again from farm to farm doing hard labor. Then she meets Alec again, who has now become an itinerant preacher after having repented his evil ways to Angel's minister father.28 However, Alec's former passion is uncontrollably revived by her compelling beauty.29 He begins to pursue her again with lust. Frightened, Tess writes to Angel telling him that she loves him and needs him and that an old enemy is after her.30 The letter reaches Angel after several months. Having received no answer from Angel, Tess is desperate. Her father's death, after being evicted from his home, also makes her doom inevitable.31 She goes to live with Alec, who agrees to give her mother a reparation.32

It is thus that Angel finds her.33 He has come to tell her that he loves her in spite of her past. When he finds her with Alec, he turns away, more hurt than before. Tess is bitterly sad. She now hates Alec because once again he is the cause of her husband's contempt of her. She stabs Alec as he sleeps and runs after Angel who is aimlessly walking down a road leading out of the town. Angel forgives her everything, even the murder of Alec. They are happy with each other for five days, even though they know that the authorities will soon find her.34

On the sixth day, when the officers finally find them, Tess is asleep. Angel asks the officers to wait until she awakes. As soon as she opens her eyes, Tess knows that they have come for her and she will be hanged, but she stands up bravely. She is ready for her penalty since she has enjoyed a few peaceful days with the husband she truly loves and she is contented.35

Readers may find it to be outrageously unfair that the wanton action of a man of maturity is forgivable while the deceived innocence of an ignorant girl is not.36 There is also the question of fate. Suppose Tess' father had not learned that he was a D'Urberville, she would not have been thrown into the hands of the wicked Alec.37 Suppose Angel had found before their wedding day the letter that Tess slipped under the door, her life would have been much different. But Fate rules that these things thus happen and determines the course of Tess' life.38 Our question, finally, is: Is Tess responsible for her actions? The answer is "No!"


1 the Wessex country 包括今日的 Dorset 郡,但 Hardy 在小說中所描繪的 Wessex 是經過想象力潤飾的。

2 Hardy 是個悲觀的宿命論者,並且他還認為個人的命運(destiny)受命運之神(Fate)擺布。案:destiny 指個人能夠處理的命運,而 fate 指造成非理性結果而人又往往無能為力者而言。Hardy 稱他自己的小說為「人物與環境的小說」。

3 coincidence:在 Hardy 的小說中,經常出現巧合的場合,當然這都是力大無比的命運之神所安排的。許多批評家認為太多的巧合是 Hardy 小說中的敗筆。Shape an end:塑造一個結局,而這個結局固然是我們所不願見到的(dread:畏懼),卻不得不接納。

4 revelation:揭靈,揭示。動詞作 reveal。True identity:真正的身份(指出身)。

5 Tess 的父親原來叫 John Durbeyfield。如今發現自己來自(descend:出身)D'Urberville 家族,一夕之間變得不可一世。

6 shallow-minded:膚淺的。descendant:子孫,是 descend 的名詞。Live better with less effort:少做事而能享福。

7 insist 後面的子句動詞用原形(visit),因為動詞之前省略 should。assume:擅用,僭取。claim:聲言(權利);要求獲得。

8 bring about:導致,發生。

9 dapper:指外表漂亮、行動矯健活潑的男性。

10 poultry:家禽。Poultry maid:照顧或飼養家禽的女僕。

11 Tess 的弟妹眾多(numerous)。她察覺到 Alec 對她不懷好意(mean her no good),所以決定到別處找工作。

12 Alec 比 Tess 聰明老辣(sophisticated:成熟,世故),所以還是佔有(possess)了她。clever 的比較級cleverer 與 more clever 均可,此處因兩個形容詞在一起,必須用 more。

13 Tess 在收成季節到各農場工作賺錢,她盡量離開人群索居(live in seclusion),因為她未婚懷孕,名譽不清白。此外 Alec 也四處追蹤,想再佔有她。她生下孩子,Alec 並不知道。

14 the distant south:遠處的南方。Tess 遠走主要是要避開 Alec。

15 Angel 的父親是牧師(pastor),但 Angel 不願從事牧師工作(ministry)而改學農事。

16 is drawn to:被吸引。

17 她的心智因為和 Angel 接觸而開窺成長(grow)。她還在不知不覺中學了他那文雅的(cultured)言語與腔調。

18 Tess 自認不配,所以鼓勵 Angel 找別的姑娘作朋友。但是 Angel 不顧她的請求(plea)繼續追求她(pay court to her)。

19 Angel 鍥而不捨(insistance:堅持)的追求,再加上 Tess 雙親的懇求(appealing request),使 Tess 答應嫁給 Angel。

20 她把信悄悄從門縫下塞進去。

21 Angel 對她和往日一樣溫柔,她假設(assume)Angel 原諒了她。

22 Ironically:出乎意料地;反諷地。信被地氈遮住了。concealed:隱藏(有時也作隱瞞)。

23 Angel 認為像 Tess 那麼純潔的女孩絕對沒有什麼大罪過,因此故意揶揄(tease:逗)她,沒給她機會表白(confess)。

24 an evening of debauchery:一夜風流。debauchery:淫亂荒唐的行為。

25 Angel 大驚失色,絕望到說不出話來。disillusion:理想幻滅。

26 a sinned woman:墮落,名節不保的婦人(也可作a fallen woman)。送 Tess 回娘家等於是休妻。

27 這些珠寶是 Angel 的教母給他的傳家寶,所以 Tess 放在銀行保存。

28 an itinerant preacher:到處巡迴的傳道人。Alec 向 Angel 的父親告解懺悔—這也是 coincidence.

29 Alec 一見到 Tess,又情不自禁。revive:復甦。Compelling beauty:令人心蕩神怡的美色。

30 an old enemy is after her:指 Alec 窮追不捨。

31 她父親好吃懶做,被驅出家園後去世了。為了母親和弟妹的生活,Tess 只好求助於 Alec,於是她的惡運躲不掉了。doom:惡運,毀滅。inevitable:不可避免的。

32 她和 Alec 同居,為的是讓母親獲得金錢賠償(reparation)。

33 thus=(in) this way.

34 the authorities:(治安)當局。

35 penalty:懲罰。She is contented:她心滿意足了。

36 outrageously unfair:憤憤覺得不公平。outrageous:無法無天的,教人受不了的。男人的荒唐行為(wanton action)可原諒,而單純姑娘被騙失貞(deceived innocence)卻不被原諒,這實在令人憤憤不平。

37 suppose:假設。因為是假設,所以用假設語氣。

38 命運主宰這些事情如此這般地發生了,也決定了 Tess 的命運(the course of life)。

by Dr. Yuan-huang Tsai