Agnes Grey / Anne Bronte

All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. 

첫문장부터 인상적인 책을 간만에 보았다.

but saving was not my father’s forte.  He would not run in debt (at least, my mother took good care he should not), but while he had money he must spend it: he liked to see his house comfortable, and his wife and daughters well clothed, and well attended; and besides, he was charitably disposed, and liked to give to the poor, according to his means: or, as some might think, beyond them.

Indeed, to say the truth, there was something exhilarating in the idea of being driven to straits, and thrown upon our own resources.  I only wished papa, mamma, and Mary were all of the same mind as myself; and then, instead of lamenting past calamities we might all cheerfully set to work to remedy them; and the greater the difficulties, the harder our present privations, the greater should be our cheerfulness to endure the latter, and our vigour to contend against the former.

And thus the mind preyed upon the body, and disordered the system of the nerves, and they in turn increased the troubles of the mind, till by action and reaction his health was seriously impaired; and not one of us could convince him that the aspect of our affairs was not half so gloomy, so utterly hopeless, as his morbid imagination represented it to be.

but while I drew, I thought of other things.  How delightful it would be to be a governess!  To go out into the world; to enter upon a new life; to act for myself; to exercise my unused faculties; to try my unknown powers; to earn my own maintenance, and something to comfort and help my father, mother, and sister, besides exonerating them from the provision of my food and clothing; to show papa what his little Agnes could do; to convince mamma and Mary that I was not quite the helpless, thoughtless being they supposed. 

‘Now, Mary Ann, just tell me that word before I kiss you good-night.  You are a good girl now, and, of course, you will say it.’ ‘No, I won’t.’ ‘Then I can’t kiss you.’ ‘Well, I don’t care.’ In vain I expressed my sorrow; in vain I lingered for some symptom of contrition; she really ‘didn’t care,’ and I left her alone, and in darkness, wondering most of all at this last proof of insensate stubbornness.  In my childhood I could not imagine a more afflictive punishment than for my mother to refuse to kiss me at night: the very idea was terrible.  More than the idea I never felt, for, happily, I never committed a fault that was deemed worthy of such penalty;

if ever I felt it degrading to submit so quietly, or intolerable to toil so constantly, I would turn towards my home, and say within myself— They may crush, but they shall not subdue me!

Kindness, which had been the food of my life through so many years, had lately been so entirely denied me, that I welcomed with grateful joy the slightest semblance of it.  No wonder, then, that my heart warmed to the old lady, and always gladdened at her approach and regretted her departure.

It was with a strange feeling of desolation, mingled with a strong sense of the novelty of my situation, and a joyless kind of curiosity concerning what was yet unknown, that I awoke the next morning; feeling like one whirled away by enchantment, and suddenly dropped from the clouds into a remote and unknown land, widely and completely isolated from all he had ever seen or known before;

‘But he says, “It’ll do your rheumatiz good to hobble to church: there’s nothing like exercise for the rheumatiz.  You can walk about the house well enough; why can’t you walk to church?  The fact is,” says he, “you’re getting too fond of your ease.  It’s always easy to find excuses for shirking one’s duty.”

등장하는 인물 대부분이 이와 같은 인성쓰레기다;; 등장하는 금수저들은 100% 쓰레기라고 보면 됨. 그래도 읽는 데 지장을 줄 만큼 짜증을 유발하는 캐릭터는 없다. 

In returning to the Lodge I felt very happy, and thanked God that I had now something to think about; something to dwell on as a relief from the weary monotony, the lonely drudgery, of my present life: for I was lonely.  Never, from month to month, from year to year, except during my brief intervals of rest at home, did I see one creature to whom I could open my heart, or freely speak my thoughts with any hope of sympathy, or even comprehension:

‘Allow me to gather them for you, Miss Grey,’ spoken in the grave, low tones of a well-known voice.  Immediately the flowers were gathered, and in my hand.  It was Mr. Weston, of course—who else would trouble himself to do so much for me?

‘It must be a great consolation to you to have a home, Miss Grey,’ observed my companion after a short pause: ‘however remote, or however seldom visited, still it is something to look to.’

You might be miserable without a home, but even you could live; and not so miserably as you suppose.  The human heart is like india-rubber; a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it.  If “little more than nothing will disturb it, little less than all things will suffice” to break it.  As in the outer members of our frame, there is a vital power inherent in itself that strengthens it against external violence.  Every blow that shakes it will serve to harden it against a future stroke; as constant labour thickens the skin of the hand, and strengthens its muscles instead of wasting them away:

If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.  So said the teachers of our childhood; and so say we to the children of the present day.  All very judicious and proper, no doubt; but are such assertions supported by actual experience?

If a woman is fair and amiable, she is praised for both qualities, but especially the former, by the bulk of mankind: if, on the other hand, she is disagreeable in person and character, her plainness is commonly inveighed against as her greatest crime, because, to common observers, it gives the greatest offence; while, if she is plain and good, provided she is a person of retired manners and secluded life, no one ever knows of her goodness, except her immediate connections.  Others, on the contrary, are disposed to form unfavourable opinions of her mind, and disposition, if it be but to excuse themselves for their instinctive dislike of one so unfavoured by nature; and visa versâ with her whose angel form conceals a vicious heart, or sheds a false, deceitful charm over defects and foibles that would not be tolerated in another.

They that have beauty, let them be thankful for it, and make a good use of it, like any other talent; they that have it not, let them console themselves, and do the best they can without it: certainly, though liable to be over-estimated, it is a gift of God, and not to be despised.  Many will feel this who have felt that they could love, and whose hearts tell them that they are worthy to be loved again;

‘Why don’t you tell him, at once, that you are engaged?’ I asked. ‘Oh, I don’t want him to know that,’ replied she.  ‘If he knew it, his sisters and everybody would know it, and then there would be an end of my—ahem!  And, besides, if I told him that, he would think my engagement was the only obstacle, and that I would have him if I were free; which I could not bear that any man should think, and he, of all others, at least.  Besides, I don’t care for his letters,’

로잘리도 못된 금수저 중 하나인데 말하는 거 보면 진짜 답없지만 은근히 일리는 있다. ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ 아그네스한테 갑질만 안 했으면 아주 밉상은 아닌 캐릭터였을 듯. 그리고 후반부에 가면 불쌍해지는 인물이다.

I still preserve those relics of past sufferings and experience, like pillars of witness set up in travelling through the vale of life, to mark particular occurrences.  The footsteps are obliterated now; the face of the country may be changed; but the pillar is still there, to remind me how all things were when it was reared. 

Being too much unhinged for any steady occupation, I wandered about with a book in my hand for several hours, more thinking than reading, for I had many things to think about. 

Mr. Weston was now gone, and we too went on our way; but as we returned, after having deposited the hare in a farm-house, and demolished some spice-cake and currant-wine in exchange, we met him returning also from the execution of his mission, whatever it might be.  He carried in his hand a cluster of beautiful bluebells, which he offered to me; observing, with a smile, that though he had seen so little of me for the last two months, he had not forgotten that bluebells were numbered among my favourite flowers.

But our wishes are like tinder: the flint and steel of circumstances are continually striking out sparks, which vanish immediately, unless they chance to fall upon the tinder of our wishes; then, they instantly ignite, and the flame of hope is kindled in a moment.

Is it not possible that God may hear my prayers, disperse these gloomy shadows, and grant me some beams of heaven’s sunshine yet?  Will He entirely deny to me those blessings which are so freely given to others, who neither ask them nor acknowledge them when received?  May I not still hope and trust?  I did hope and trust for a while: but, alas, alas! the time ebbed away:

if I was forbidden to minister to his happiness—forbidden, for ever, to taste the joys of love, to bless, and to be blessed—then, life must be a burden, and if my heavenly Father would call me away, I should be glad to rest.  But it would not do to die and leave my mother.  Selfish, unworthy daughter, to forget her for a moment!  Was not her happiness committed in a great measure to my charge?

She never showed such disrespect to her husband: and as for affection, wives never think of that now-a-days, she supposes: but things were different in her time—as if there was any good to be done by staying in the room, when he does nothing but grumble and scold when he’s in a bad humour, talk disgusting nonsense when he’s in a good one, and go to sleep on the sofa when he’s too stupid for either; which is most frequently the case now, when he has nothing to do but to sot over his wine.’

And then I thought he adored me, and would let me have my own way: he did pretend to do so at first, but now he does not care a bit about me.  Yet I should not care for that: he might do as he pleased, if I might only be free to amuse myself and to stay in London, or have a few friends down here: but he will do as he pleases, and I must be a prisoner and a slave.

But supposing I could be so generous as to take delight in this, still it is only a child; and I can’t centre all my hopes in a child: that is only one degree better than devoting oneself to a dog.

‘The best way to enjoy yourself is to do what is right and hate nobody.  The end of Religion is not to teach us how to die, but how to live; and the earlier you become wise and good, the more of happiness you secure. 

He even called me ‘Agnes:’ the name had been timidly spoken at first, but, finding it gave no offence in any quarter, he seemed greatly to prefer that appellation to ‘Miss Grey;’ and so did I.

브론테 자매 중 상대적으로 인지도가 낮은 앤 브론테의 소설을 찾아보다가 킨들에서 무료 버전으로 내놓은 이 책을 읽게 되었다.

이 무렵 Wicked랑 이 책을 두고 뭘 먼저 읽을지 고민을 많이 했는데, 최근들어 고전에 질렸음에도 내가 이 소설을 고른 결정적인 이유는 이 만화 때문이었다:

샬럿이랑 에밀리 남자취향 괴악한건 공감가는데 앤은 정말로 다른 두 자매보다 정상적인 남자 취향을 가졌는지가 너무 궁금했다. ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

순전히 이 호기심에 고른 소설이었는데 뜻밖에도 브론테 자매의 소설 중 가장 좋아하는 책이 되었다. 제인 에어나 폭풍의 언덕과 달리 잔잔한 이야기라 주인공에게 공감하면서 읽기에도 좋았고 앞서 언급한 두 소설에 비하면 남자주인공도 훨씬 상냥하고 좋은 사람이다. 주인공들 러브라인이 너무 급전개되는 느낌이 없잖았지만 막 중간에 결혼식 파토났다가 재결합하고 이러는거... 제인 에어만으로도 충분하다. 

+) 이 소설 읽으면서 'husband'가 알뜰하게 생활한다는 뉘앙스의 동사로도 쓰였다는 걸 처음 알게 되었다. 신기해...! 

'' 카테고리의 다른 글

아무튼, 비건 / 김한민  (0) 2019.03.09
2월의 책들  (0) 2019.03.02
Agnes Grey / Anne Bronte  (0) 2019.02.18
달리는 기차 위에 중립은 없다 / 진 하워드  (0) 2019.02.16
The End of the Fucking World / Charles Forsman  (0) 2019.01.27
Anna and the French Kiss / Stephanie Perkins  (0) 2019.01.27