图书图片
PDF
ePub

Paris

BY EMILE ZOLA

(French novelist, 1840-1902, founder of the school of "Naturalism." The present is one of his later works, in which he indicates his hope of the regeneration of French society. The hero is a Catholic priest who first attempts to reform the Church, and then leaves it)

PIERRE remembered that frightful house in the Rue

des Saules, where so much want and suffering were heaped up. He saw again the yard filthy like a quagmire, the evil-smelling staircases, the sordid, bare, icy rooms, the families fighting for messes which even stray dogs would not have eaten; the mothers, with exhausted breasts, carrying screaming children to and fro; the old men who fell in corners like brute beasts, and died of hunger amidst filth. And then came his other hours with the magnificence or the quietude or the gaiety of the salons through which he had passed, the whole insolent display of financial Paris, and political Paris, and society Paris. And at last he came to the dusk, and to that Paris-Sodom and Paris-Gomorrah before him, which was lighting itself up for the night, for the abominations of that accomplice night which, like fine dust, was little by little submerging the expanse of roofs. And the hateful monstrosity of it all howled aloud under the pale sky where the first pure, twinkling stars were gleaming.

A great shudder came upon Pierre as he thought of all that mass of iniquity and suffering, of all that went on below amid wealth and vice. The bourgeoisie, wielding power, would relinquish naught of the sovereignty which it had conquered, wholly stolen; while the people, the eternal dupe, silent so long, clenched its fists and growled, claiming its legitimate share. And it was that frightful injus

tice which filled the growing gloom with anger. From what dark-breasted cloud would the thunderbolt fall? For years he had been waiting for that thunderbolt, which low rumbles announced on all points of the horizon. And if he had written a book full of candour and hope, if he had gone in all innocence to Rome, it was to avert that thunderbolt and its frightful consequences. But all hope of the kind was dead within him; he felt that the thunderbolt was inevitable, that nothing henceforth could stay the catastrophe. And never before had he felt it to be so near, amidst the happy impudence of some, and the exasperated distress of others. It was gathering, and it would surely fall over that Paris, all lust and bravado, which, when evening came, thus stirred up its furnace.

King Hunger

BY LEONID ANDREYEV

(Russian novelist and dramatist of social protest; born 1871. In this grim symbolical drama is voiced the despair of Russia's intellectuals after the tragic failure of the Revolution. In the first scene King Hunger is shown inciting the starving factoryslaves to revolt; in the second, he presides over a gathering of the outcasts of society, who meet in a cellar to discuss projects of ferocious vengeance upon the idlers in the ball-room over their heads, but break up in a drunken brawl instead. In the present scene, King Hunger turns traitor to his victims, and presides as a judge passing sentence upon them. The leisure class attend as spectators in the court-room, the women in evening gowns and jewels, "the men in dress coats and surtouts, carefully shaven and dressed at the wig-makers")

ING HUNGER:-Show in the first starveling.

KING

(The first starveling, a ragged old man with lacerated feet, is conducted into the court-room. A wire muzzle encases his face.)

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small]

KING HUNGER:-Take the muzzle off the starveling. What's your offense, Starveling?

OLD MAN (Speaking in a broken voice):-Theft.

KING HUNGER: How much did you steal?

OLD MAN:-I stole a five-pound loaf, but it was wrested from me. I had only time to bite a small piece of it. Forgive me, I will never again—

KING HUNGER:-How? Have you acquired an inheritance? Or won't you eat hereafter?

OLD MAN:-No. It was wrested from me. I only chewed off a small piece-

KING HUNGER:-But how won't you steal? Why haven't you been working?

OLD MAN:-There's no work.

KING HUNGER:-But where's your brood, Starveling? Why don't they support you?

OLD MAN:-My children died of hunger.

KING HUNGER:-Why did you not starve to death, as they?

OLD MAN:-I don't know. I had a mind to live. KING HUNGER: Of what use is life to you, Starveling?

(Voices of Spectators.)

-Indeed, how do they live? I don't comprehend it. -To work.

-To glorify God and be confirmed in the consciousness that life

-Well, I don't suppose they exalt Him.

-It were better if he were dead.

-A rather wearisome old fellow. And what style of trousers!

-Listen! Listen!

KING HUNGER (rising, speaks aloud):-Now, ladies and gentlemen, we will feign to meditate. Honorable judges, I beg you to simulate a meditative air.

« 上一页继续 »