Unit 19 Knights Honor(I)……………………………315
Shortly before daylight, Robert began to stir. He stretched his shoulders, feeling his bones grind against one another as they found their normal junction With a great deal of effort, first his right eye, then his left, opened against the cloak of tears and dirt that had sealed them shut while he slept.“I can’t see,“he thought.“Have I gone blind? Are my eyes even open? Are there bandages on them? I can’t be sure.”He touched his cheek with a forefinger(食指),tracing gently toward the outer edge of his left eye.“Yes, they’re wide open. They sore!”He rubbed his eyes, loosening the clogged(堵塞的)coarse veil, then blinking(眨眼)them and effusing(流出)tears to refresh them.
A faint light penetrated the glum. “Where am I?”he wondered.
His faculty made him aware that, wherever he was, he was not alone. Something warm and soft like sponge was beside him. And it was snoring(打鼾)!He thought for a moment and then it started to come back to him. No, he most certainly wasn’t alone! The body next to him was that so-called colonel that untidy, blundering lump man who had so very nearly gotten them both killed the previous evening.
Robert rolled away from his companion, shrewdly lest he would disturb the man’s sleep. The Curtain of darkness was lifting without restraint and he could perceive and acquaint himself a little more with his surroundings. The refuge in which they were staying he found was really quite spacious. He felt the smooth surface of the granite(大理石)against his back.
Now that he had more room, he uncoiled his raw body, feeling his blood saturate his limbs, his trunk and his brain. He yearned to leave this place and the swell of flesh that continued to rumble and chew in its sleep. “I can’t do that. I have to get us out of this dilemma.1 guess I’ll just wait until this bull rouses. By then 1 should have a plan. Whether he likes it or not, I am taking charge. He must concede his authority to me. I’m not going to let his humiliating behavior be my downfall.’ He narrated (讲) to himself.
Before the colonel awakened, Robert allowed himself the venture of reflecting on the events of the previous day. It was beyond his understanding how they could have found themselves victimized(使受害)so easily. There was nothing in the dawning of yesterday to warrant the hostile change that was to happen. But there had been warning signs that something bad was pending(悬而未决).
“If only she had agreed to run away with me!”he said to himself.
The Earl(伯爵)of Morley was a man with ambitions. He had a strong desire to conquer and obtain. Once he decided he wanted something, be it property or county maiden, through conspiracy or erroneous plot, he would rejoice his selfishness by whatever means necessary. He was never shameful(可耻的)for his greed(贪欲)and being of no virtue at a11.The origin of yesterday’s conflagration(大火灾)was the Earl’s lusty(贪欲的)craving(渴望)for the daughter of Lord Stafford.
Lady Janine, the Lord’s only child, was spending a vocation with her tutor in a village on the edge of the Earl’s extensive land when the Earl first saw her. Her beauty did not escape him, and he immediately began to pursue her, shrewdly immersing himself into her company. He also flattered her every chance he got. Lady Janine, a haughty(高傲的)young woman, was indifferent to his unwelcome courtship(求爱).
Not a man to take rejection lightly(轻易地),the Earl’s initial response normally would have been simply to kidnap the object of his passion. This time, however, he made a resolution that he coveted(非分地妄想)more than just a casual companionship with the young lady. He wanted her to be obedient, to accept him as her husband. With this in mind, and following the rules of social custom of the day, he sent an agent, a monk(修道士)from the monastery(修道院)near the village, to her father to relay his message and act on his behalf. As a sign of good faith, the monk was to present the lady with a ring in which was set a ruby of huge proportions.
The monk arrived at the castle in simplicity only to be met by Lady Janine’s father. Lord Stafford, being a straightforward man, did not disguise his feelings. “To prompt matters, and to assure you there is no doubt in my daughter’s mind that the Earl’s propositions are to no success, please tell him that 1 will never consent to a union between them. He is unfit(不适宜的)for my daughter. She despises him! Tell him to forget this ridiculous show. He has sent you on a fool’s mission.”
Touching the brim of his hat in farewell, the depressed monk turned around and returned to give Lord Stafford’s response to the Earl. How was he going to tell him that this unsuccessful attempt was unlikely to be reversed? How was he going to elude(躲避)punishment(惩罚)?The Earl was sure to show his scorn and hatred by dismissing him from the estate.
“Sire(阁下),”the monk stammered(结结巴巴地说),“I fear Lord Stafford has refused your suit.’’
“What, exactly, were his words?”demanded the Earl in torrent.“Has he merely deferred(推迟)his decision or has he taken a resolute declaration?”
“Sire, I am certain he will not change his mind. It seems his daughter would prefer to take another as her husband.”
The Earl scorned at this suggestion. “She is but a girl, and has had no experience。nor。I am told, has she any suitors(追求者).I like young and beautiful women.1 will have her!”
The monk was sent back to the monastery to resume his preaching, an act that greatly surprised him as he had expected to be doomed or suffer ejection from the estate. He wondered what the Earl’s next approach would be and sincerely hoped his cooperation was at an end.
For a time, a state of desolation descended the Earl’s very being. He spent hours on end despising himself for being such a fool, neither eating nor sleeping. Then, he became very angry. “How dare she refuse me?1 will have her!”
With this thought in mind, he commenced to win her by evil means, since his previously extraordinary behavior had been rejected. And so began the complex plan to spoil the lovely Lady Janine by violence and then ransom(向…勒索赎金)her to her father for a large amount of money.
His subordinates were sent to spy on the fair maiden. When he learned that Lady Janine’s father was to travel to another province to oversee(视察)his estates there, leaving Lady Janine in the care of his staff, the Earl decided to seize both the girl and the Lord’s treasures.
A small village surrounded the castle. In the dead of night, the Earl and his recruits raided and occupied it like lightning with little resistance from the tenants. The following morning, he approached the gates of the mansion(宅邸)of the Lord, on]Y to be opposed by the presence of armed guards, fifty knights(骑士)in armor(盔甲).As the Earl had not expected to find that the castle had been keeping prepared for the assault, he had to discard his preliminary plan in which he would simply attack and steal. Now he had to fight to abolish the guards. His capturing the village gave him a good position and his cunning gave him the advantage.
Robert gazed thoughtfully at the misty exterior of frost icing the red and gold leaves of the maple(枫树)and walnut(胡桃树)trees situated on the hillside(山坡)across from the ridge where the mouth of the cave is located. His thoughts took him back to his first sight of Janine.
The son of a servant, Robert was employed by Lord Stafford as a stable boy. His duties included clearing the animal dirt out of the canals behind the horses, putting fresh straw in the stalls, and preparing and watering the horses. One day, as he was cleaning the horse stable, a girl about his own age appeared in the doorway. “My father said I am to tell you to prepare my mount(供骑乘用的马)for me.”
Robert was so surprised by her request; he blushed and didn’t respond immediately. “Are you deaf?”she asked.
“No, Milady(夫人,小姐),99 he replied.“You startled me. Which of these ponies(小马)is the one you prefer?”
“I don’t ride a pony! I usually ride that black mare(母马),”she answered irritably.
“I’11 have her ready in a moment, Milady.”
As soon as the mare was saddled and bridled(系上马笼头),Janine mounted her with Robert’s assistance. She walked the mare out of the barn, and thrust her into a gallop as soon as they were in the barnyard. It was obvious she was a skilled rider.
Robert appraised her ability, reassured himself that she could carry herself quite nicely on horseback, and returned to his work.
And so their relationship began. He soon learned that Janine was passionately impulsive, witty, snobbish(势利的)and lacks modesty(谦虚),whereas he, Robert, was calm and thrifty(节俭的),as well as totally enchanted(使迷恋)by her. When she discovered he was illiterate, she taught him to read and write, although most of his writing was difficult to read. In return, he taught her to do mathematical operations, something he had always done in his head before she taught him the symbols for the numbers. He worshipped her. Over the next few years, their decent friendship grew, eventually turning to love.
on one’s behalf→★half/quarter