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夺魂蜡像

The Waxwork

Raymond Hewson wanted to stay the night in the famous Mariner’s Waxworks, and write a newspaper feature about the Murderers’ Room. A new waxwork, Dr Bourdette, had just been moved in, and later that day there had been some talk of a fire in the room.

The night watchman brought the armchair for Hewson. He tried to make him laugh.

“Where do I put it, sir?” he asked. “Just here? Then you can talk to Dr Crippen, when you get tired of doing nothing. Or there’s old Mrs. Dyer over there making eyes at you. She usually likes to have a man to talk to. Just tell me where, sir.”

Hewson smiled. The man’s words made him feel happier – tonight’s work didn’t seem quite so difficult.

“I can choose a place for it, thank you,” he said.

“Well, goodnight, sir. I’m on the floor above if you want me. Don’t let any of these figures come up behind you and put their cold hands round your throat. And look out for that old Mrs. Dyer. I think she finds you interesting.”

Hewson laughed and said goodnight to the man. After some thought, he put the armchair with its back to Dr Bourdette. He couldn’t say why but Bourdette was much worse to look at than the other figures. He felt quite happy as he put the chair in its place. But as the watchman’s feet died away, he thought of the long night in front of him. Weak light lit the lines of figures. They seemed near to being living people. The big dark room was very quiet. Hewson wanted to hear the usual sounds of people talking and moving about, but there was nothing. Not a movement. Not a sound.

He looked without much interest at the unmoving figures all around him. But before long, he felt those eyes again, the hard eyes of Bourdette, looking at him from behind. He wanted more and more to turn round and look at the figure.

“This is all wrong,” he thought. “If I turn around now, it only shows that I’m afraid.”

And then he heard another person speaking inside his head. “It’s just because you are afraid, that you can’t turn around and look.”

These different thoughts seemed to be fighting inside him.

Finally, Hewson turned his chair a little and looked behind him. Of the many figures standing there, the figure of the little doctor seemed the most important. Perhaps this was because a stronger light came down on the place where he stood. Hewson looked at the face so cleverly made in wax. His eyes met the figure’s eyes. He quickly turned away.

“He’s only a waxwork, the same as the others,” Hewson said quietly.

Hewson stopped looking. He took out a little book and wrote a line or two.

“Everything quiet. Feel I’m on the floor of the sea. Bourdette trying to send me to sleep with his eyes. Figures seem to move when you’re not watching.”

He closed the book and quickly looked to his right. He saw only the wax face of Lefroy, looking back at him with a sorry smile.

It was just his fears. Or was it? Didn’t Crippen move again as he looked away?

He just waited for you to take your eyes off him, and then made his move. “That’s what they all do. I know it!” he thought. “It’s too much!” He started to get up from his chair. He must leave immediately. He couldn’t stay all night with a lot of murderers, moving about when he wasn’t looking!

“I can leave now,” he thought. “I’ve got a lot to write about. A good story – ten good stories! The Morning Times isn’t going to know how long I stayed here. They aren’t interested. But the watchman is going to laugh if he sees me leaving so early.”

But this was too hard. It was bad that the waxworks moved behind your back. But it was worse that they could breathe. Or was it just his breathing? These figures seemed to be doing what children do in a lesson: talking, laughing and playing when the person giving the lesson turns his back.

“There I go again,” he thought. “I must think about other things. I’m Raymond

Hewson. I live and breathe. These figures round me aren’t living. They can’t move and speak as I can. They’re only made of wax. They just stand there for old ladies and little boys to look at.”

He had the feeling that Bourdette’s eyes were on him again. He must have a look. He half-turned and then pulled his chair right round. Now, they were face to face. As he spoke, his words seemed to fly back at him from the darkest corners of the room.

“You moved, you little animal!” he screamed. “Yes you did. I saw you!”

Then he sat, looking in front of him, not moving, cold with fear. Dr Bourdette moved his little body slowly and carefully. He got down from his stand and sat right in front of Hewson. Then he smiled and said in good English, “Good evening. I did not know that I was going to have a friend here tonight. You cannot move or speak now until I tell you. But you can hear me quite easily, I know. Something tells me that you are – let’s say, a little afraid of me. Make no mistake, sir. I am not one of these poor dead figures suddenly turned into a living thing. Oh no. I am Dr Bourdette in person.”

He stopped and moved his legs.

“I am sorry but my arms and legs are quite tired. I don’t want to take up your time with my uninteresting story. I can just say that some unusual happenings brought me to England. I was near this building this evening, when I saw a policeman looking at me too closely. I thought perhaps he wanted to ask me some difficult questions, so I quickly came in here with all the other visitors. Then I had a very good idea. I told somebody that I saw smoke. Everybody ran out into the street, thinking there was a fire. I stayed here. I undressed that figure of me, put on its coat and quickly put the figure at the back of the room, where nobody could see it. Then I took its place here on the stand.

“Most people, you know, collect something or other. Some collect books, some collect money, others collect pictures or train tickets. And me? I collect throats.”

He stopped talking for a minute and looked at Hewson’s throat carefully. He did not seem to think it was a very good one.

“I’m happy you came tonight,” he went on. “It was difficult for me to do any interesting ‘collecting’ over the last few months. So now I’m happy to go back to my usual work. I’m sorry to see that your throat is a little thin, sir. Perhaps that is not a nice thing to say. But I like men with big, thick, red throats…”

He took something from his coat, looked at it closely and ran it across his wet finger. Then he moved it slowly up and down over his open hand.

“This is a little French razor,” he said quietly. “They do not cut very far into the throat but they cut very cleanly. In just a minute, I am going to show you how well they cut. But first, I must ask the question that I always ask: is the razor to your liking, sir?”

He walked over to Hewson as slowly and quietly as a cat going after a bird.

“Please be so good as to put your head back a little. Thank you. And now a little more. Just a little more. Ah, thank you! That’s right, Monsieur… Thank you… Thank you…”

The dawn comes. Slowly the light creeps into the room where the waxwork figures stand in their places. Soon the visitors are going to arrive. They are going to walk round, looking at this figure or that. But today in the center of the room, Hewson sits with his head far back in his armchair. His face is up, ready for the razor. There is no cut on his throat or anywhere on his body. But he is cold. Dead.

And Dr Bourdette watches the dead man from his stand, without any show of feeling. He does not move. He cannot move. But then, he is only a waxwork.

  夺魂蜡像

  雷蒙德?休森打算在著名的马里纳蜡像馆过一晚,为某报纸的专栏写一篇关于“杀人犯蜡像展厅”的文章。新展品布尔多特博士的蜡像刚被搬了进来,可是不久就传闻说这个展厅曾发生过火灾。

  守夜人给休森搬来了一张椅子,顺便逗一下他。

  守夜人问道:“先生,你要我放在哪儿?就放这里?那样,你闲得发慌时就可以和克里平博士聊聊。或者可以跟那边的戴尔老太太说说话,她正向你送秋波呢。她平时最喜欢和男人聊天。先生,你就告诉我放哪儿吧。”

  休森笑了。守夜人的话让他愉快很多――今晚的工作似乎没什么难度。

  他说:“我自己挑个地方放吧,谢谢。”

  “哦,晚安了,先生。我就在楼上,如果你有什么需要尽管叫我好了。可别让这些家伙溜到你背后,用冷冰冰的手掐住你的脖子哟。还要小心戴尔老太太啊,我猜她看上你了。”

  休森哈哈大笑,然后跟守夜人说了晚安。他想了一会儿,把椅子背对着布尔多特博士放,虽然他说不出个究竟,但与其他蜡像相比,他觉得布尔多特博士是最难以入目的。放好椅子时,他还觉得挺高兴的,但是随着守夜人脚步声的渐渐消逝,他想到了将要面对的漫漫长夜。在昏暗灯光的照射下,蜡像的轮廓若隐若现,他们看上去真像是活生生的人。宽敞昏暗的展厅死寂无声。休森渴望听到平时人们谈话走动的声音,但是什么也听不到。毫无动静。

  他没趣地打量着自己周围的一动不动的蜡像。可是过了不久,他又觉得有人在盯着他――布尔多特博士那双冷酷的眼睛在背后盯着他。他越来越想转身看看这座蜡像。

  他想:“如果我现在转身,那只会显示出我的恐惧。这可大错特错啊。”

  然后他听到另一个人在他脑子里说:“都是因为你怕得要死,所以不敢转身瞧瞧。”

  这两种截然不同的想法在他的内心不断搏斗。

  最后,休森稍稍转动椅子,往后望着蜡像。那边众多的蜡像之中,矮小的布尔多特博士似乎是最显眼的。可能是因为那座蜡像头顶上的灯光比较强烈吧。休森看着那张制作细致逼真的蜡脸,当他的目光不经意地落在蜡像的眼睛时,便立即转移视线。

  休森静静地说:“他只是一座蜡像罢了,和其他蜡像没什么不同。”

  休森不再端详蜡像,而是拿出一个小本子,写下了一两行字。

  “万物俱静。觉得自己像是在海底。布尔多特博士正试图用双眼对我催眠。蜡像似乎趁着不在你视线范围内时动来动去。”

  他合上本子,迅速地向右面望去,只看到勒弗罗伊的蜡脸,勒弗罗伊也正挂着一脸遗憾的微笑看着他。

  是恐惧使他产生这样的幻觉,不是吗?克里平博士真的没有趁他移开视线的时候动了一下吗?他就是等你把视线从他身上挪开时移动。“他们全都这样做。我就知道!”休森想,“我受够了!”他从椅子上站起来,要立即离开。这么多的谋杀犯总是在他不留意时趁机移动呢,他可不能和他们待上一整晚!

  他想:“我现在可以走了。我已经得到很多写作的素材了。可以写出一个精彩的故事,甚至十个精彩的故事!《早晨时报》不会知道我在这里逗留了多长时间。他们也没兴趣知道。但是守夜人看到我这么早就走,会取笑我的。”

  但是留在这里真是令人痛苦难熬啊。那些蜡像在你背后做小动作已经够糟糕的了,更糟糕的是他们会呼吸。或许那只是他自己的呼吸声?这些蜡像就像是在耍学生上课时经常做的把戏:当授课人员转身背对他们时,他们就说话啊,嬉笑啊,玩耍啊。

  “我怎么又胡思乱想了!”他想,“我要想想其它的事情才行。我是雷蒙德?休森。我是有血有肉的,会呼吸的。我周围的这些蜡像只是死物。他们不能像我一样会动会说话。他们只是由蜡做成的。他们只是站在那里给老妇人和小孩子欣赏。”

  他突然觉得布尔多特博士的目光又落到了他身上。他必须看一看是不是真的。他先转动上身,然后把椅子转过来。现在,他们面对面了。当他说话时,他自己的话音似乎从展厅最阴森的角落反弹回来。

  “你动了!你这小畜生!”他尖叫起来,“你确实动了,我看到你动了!”

  然后,他跌坐下来,直勾勾地望着前方,动弹不得,恐惧战栗。布尔多特博士的矮小身体慢慢地、小心地动了起来。他从展台上走了下来,在休森的面前坐下。然后他笑了笑,用流利的英语说:“晚上好。我想不到今晚会有个朋友在这里陪我。现在,没有我的命令,你不能动或说话。但是我知道,你能毫不吃力地听到我说的话。出于某些原因,我觉得你……比如说,有些怕我。先生,别弄错了,我不是这其中一座可怜的死物蜡像突然变成的真人。不,不是的。我可是布尔多特博士本人啊。”

  他停了一下,挪动双腿。

  “对不起,我的手臂和双腿都累坏了。我不想你浪费时间来听我的无聊故事。我只想说,一些不同寻常的事发生了,所以我就来到英格兰。今晚,我路过蜡像馆时看到一个警察正在密切地监视我。我想他可能要问我一些难以回答的问题,于是我混进参观的游客中,匆匆地走进这里。后来,我想到了一个好主意。我告诉某个人说,我看到展厅冒烟了。人们以为发生火灾,就都跑到大街上。我独自留下。我脱下我的蜡像的大衣,再自己穿上,然后迅速把蜡像放到展厅最里面、没有人看到的地方。之后,我站到这座蜡像原来摆放的位置上。

  “你知道,大多数人都有收集小玩意儿的习惯。有些人收藏书籍,有些人收罗各种货币,其他人收集图画或者火车票。而我呢?我收集喉咙。”

  他又合上嘴,好一阵子都一言不发,仔细观察休森的喉咙。他似乎觉得休森的喉咙不怎么好。

  “我很高兴你今晚的到来。”他继续说,“在过去的几个月里,我都很难进行有趣的‘收集’。所以,我很高兴现在能又回到我的老本行。先生,我很遗憾地看到你的喉咙有点单薄。可能我这样说很不客气。但是我喜欢男人的喉咙又大、又厚、又红……”

  他从大衣里掏出一样东西,靠近眼前细看,再把那东西在湿润的手指上抹了一下。然后,他张开手,把那样东西在手掌上慢慢地抹上抹下。

  “这是一把法国小剃刀,”他幽幽地说,“这种剃刀不会把喉咙割得很深,但是割得很干净利落。过一会儿,我就让你知道它能割得多干净。但是,我要先提一个例行问题:你喜欢这把剃刀吗,先生?”

  他像一只紧跟着小鸟的猫一样,慢慢地、悄悄地溜到休森的跟前。

  “把头稍微往后仰,好吗?谢谢。再往后仰一点,再后一点。啊,谢谢!先生,那就对了……谢谢……谢谢……”

  黎明来临,阳光缓缓地洒进展厅,里面的蜡像依然立在原位。不久,游客就会进来了。他们会四处参观,欣赏蜡像,但是今天,他们会看到在展厅正中坐着休森。他的头大幅度向后仰,脸朝上,似乎准备好让别人下剃刀。但是他的喉咙或者身体的其它地方都没有伤口,然而,他已经没知觉了。他死了。

  布尔多特博士在展台上面无表情地看着这个死人。他一动不动,或者说他动不了,毕竟他只是一座蜡像。

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