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那个人

(2007-09-23 15:31:10)
标签:

文学/原创

英国当代小说

原创译文

儿童视角

哀情故事

(上集)

 

 

                             The man

                             

                         (   

      

                              作者:Fane Stone (England)

                              翻译:Ironox (China)

No one knew when he came to the village. All that the adults, those proud possessors of worldly knowledge, could tell us was “ he came.” One night, it was late September, and the house stood empty, as it always had, and we went up scrumping (a term used, usually by children, to describe the taking of apples or other fruit from trees in other people’s gardens or orchards) apples as we always had---well, on one claimed them now. The leaves were wet and soggy underfoot, and we frightened ourselves with tales of ghosts evolving out of the thin spirals of mist which wrapped around the trees.

没有人知道他什么时候住到村里来的。所有的人,包括那些大人们,那些值得骄傲,拥有世界级知识的人;他们只有一句话:“反正他住进来了。”一天晚上,大约是九月底,那所房子没有人住,就像以往一样,我们也像以往一样去“摘”苹果(这种“摘”是专用词,通常孩子们用,专用来表示从别人的花园或果园的树上“偷”苹果或其他水果)——得,现在再没人“摘”它们了。树叶是湿的,脚下也是湿的。我们讲着包裹那些树的薄薄的水汽变化成鬼怪的故事来自己吓唬自己。

That was the last time we ever climbed the apple tree, or watched the squirrels scurrying through the leaves to bed. The last time, that is , in play. The next night, the gate was locked, fences repaired, and lighted windows fended off even Johnny McCrae, who lost much status in consequence.

那可是我们最后一次爬那棵苹果树,也是最后一次看着松鼠从树叶中窜过,逃回自己的窝。那是最后一次,是的,最后一次,铁定的。第二天晚上,大门便上了锁;栅栏也修好了。那亮着灯的窗子甚至把善于推理判断的那个Jonny McCrae也拒之门外了。

But by far the most important thing was the old man who stood peering out of the curtainless windows downstairs. He wasn’t very tall----he was stocky----he had a bushy moustache, thinning hair and he wore “sort of baggy pants”, said Andy.

可是讲到这儿,最重要的还是那个站在楼下没有窗帘的窗后向外张望的老头;他不很高——矮壮矮壮的——长着毛扎扎的胡子,稀疏的头发,穿着“和装面的口袋一样宽大的裤子”,Andy这样评价说。

“Like a clown,” described Mary-Lou, but “plus fours,” corrected the grown-ups. “Country gentleman’s wear,” they added reverently----but we thought it a stupid name, for “plus means add,” said Andy. “And four what?” he said.

“就像个小丑,”Mary-Lou形容道。可是大人们纠正为“灯笼裤,”(孩子们不懂这个词,他们认为是“添上个四”。)“整个儿一个乡巴佬打扮。”他们认真地补充道。可我们认为那是个愚蠢的形容;因为“添上就是加上,”Andy这么说,然后再问上一句:“加上四干什么?”

For days after that we asked ourselves, “Who is he?” bitterly resenting the interloper who had taken over our playground at such short notice. Until, one day, “We gotta find out,” stated Andy. And when Andy stated anything, we did it.

一连好几天我们都在问自己:“他究竟是个什么人?”问的同时,心里强烈地憎恨那个在我们几乎还没察觉就占领了我们“领地”的那个家伙。直到,有一天,“我们一定要搞清楚。”Andy扬言道。不管Andy说什么,我们都会照他说的去做。

That night the seven of us met, scared stiff, at the gates of the house. It was late now, and a solitary light flicked above the door. It came from the only room with curtains----at least at the front of the house. It was dark, and silent, and “ Let’s go back, then,” whimpered Angie McClean, who always was a coward and never improved. “Let’s go on!” we said in chorus.

那天夜里,我们七个人聚集到那房子的大门口,个个心惊胆战。天已经完全黑下来了,一盏孤灯发出的飘忽不定的光从门上的缝隙中飘出来;这光来自唯一挂有窗帘的那个房间——然而,它在整个房子的前部。天很黑,也很静。Angie McClean嗓音颤抖地低声嘟囔:“那,那,那我们回家吧。”这家伙从来都是个懦夫相,永远克服不了胆小怕事。“我们继续前进!”大家异口同声地说。

Up the silent path, my heart jerking the strings of my cotton pinafore; up the path and across the strip of lawn we went. No one spoke because no one wanted to. That is a way with children. The stillness pressed upon us from behind, driving us up, up, into the relative sanctity of the long dark windows.

走上那寂静的小路,我的心蹦跳得就像有只小手牵动着我围身裙的每一根棉线。过了小路,我们要穿过一大片空无一物的草坪。没有人说话,因为没有人想说话。这是条孩子们才走的路。身后的那种寂静迫使着我们往前走,驱使我们不停地走呀,走,一直走到在我们眼里是不可侵犯的黑色长窗前。

Andy, longing to show off his knowledge of house-breaking, was as eager as a young blood-hound. It was common knowledge that Andy’s brother had been the best clickie in the West Riding and it was also common knowledge that Andy showed promise far beyond his years. But as it happened that promise wasn’t to be displayed. The door was open.

Andy早就盼着露一手他那溜门撬锁的本事,甚至急切得就像一只执行任务的大警犬。其实这一手是Andy的哥哥在West Riding最露脸的拿手好戏,他一直是那儿最出色的窃贼,那也是Andy早几年就许诺要给我们表演的能耐。可是,事与愿违,他的许诺没法实现了——门是开着的。

Andy’s brother had not outrun his uses, however. From his pocket Andy produced a huge torch, with a beam so powerful that it illuminated the whole of the room we entered. It was a lovely room, long and high and spacious but, “Heck!” said a disappointed Andy, “It’s empty!” And so it was.

Andy哥哥用的东西可不是无用武之地,不管怎么说,Andy从他的口袋里掏出一只硕大的手电筒,那手电光是如此强烈以致于照亮了我们进到的整个儿房间。这是个相当好的房子,又长又高,就是太空旷了。“见鬼!”Andy失望地说:“房子是空的!”的确如此,房间是空的。

No carpets, no chairs, no heavy ugly dressers, concave mirrors, plaster dogs and plastic flowers such as made up the comfortable familiarity of our own homes. More sad than all these, the room was clean. Gleamingly; spotlessly clean. Our spirits fell, but, “We might as well go on,” said Jo-----so we crossed the room.

没有毯子,没有椅子,没有笨重丑陋的碗橱,碗柜,没有凹面镜,也没有瓷狗和塑料花以及在我们自己家里那些看起来既舒适又熟悉的必不可少的东西。再没有什么比这更令人沮丧的了,房间里很干净,出奇地一尘不染。我们的心情已经降到了极点,然而,“我们应该继续搜索。”Jo说——因此我们穿过了这个房间。

The door didn’t creak as we opened it, like doors in mystery stories or the Ghostly Tales books I’d just been reading. No, this door was smooth, varnished, well-oiled. The hall into which it led was, surprisingly, circular, with a floor patterned in tiles of ivory and gold. In the center stood a type of plinth----“for a statue!” whispered Jo----but the statue must have gone visiting, and the hall was clean and bare.

当我们打开门时,那门没有发出像神秘故事以及我一直在阅读的鬼故事中的那些门一样的“吱纽”声。真的没有任何动静,门轴光滑锃亮,油润得相当好。我们的路把我们引到客厅里。让我们惊讶的是:它是环形的,地板上铺着象牙色镶嵌金边儿的瓷砖。大厅中央有一个底座——“上面应该有个雕像,”Jo小声说——可是雕像一定是不可能再看到了,厅里也同样整洁干净,并且也同样空旷。

We crossed the hall, forgetting for an instant to be silent, pulling up short, poised, ready to fly, as our serviceable steel-tipped shoes made contact with the tiles. “Hope this’n’s locked,” said Andy, darting towards the door. “Wunna be,” stated Johnny. “There inna nothin’ worth takin.”

我们穿过大厅,一时竟忘了保持肃静。在我们穿的铁头鞋敲打着瓷砖的同时,我们走走停停,东张西望,好象可以为所欲为了。我们镇静地停了一下,准备一拥而进。“没准儿这门是锁着的,”Andy说,他飞快地朝门跑过去。“不会的,肯定没锁,”Johnny说:“又没什么东西可拿。”

He was right. It wasn’t locked. And neither were any of the other doors, And not a single stick of furniture, thread of carpet or speck of dust did we see in any of them. The kitchen was of most interest, with a sink and a stove but, “No food,” I said, in disappointment. I always was the greedy one.

他说得对,没有锁。两边都没有其他门。没有一件家具,没有一根毯子线,也没有任何地方能看到灰尘。厨房是最能引起我们兴趣的地方,可里面除了一个洗槽和一个炉子,什么都没有。“没吃的。” 我用失望的口气说。我一直都是个谗嘴的孩子。

So there we stood, a depressed little group, bunched at the foot of the stairs, debating whether to go on or back. Andy had just set his foot upon the bottom stair and Jo had turned towards the door when Angie McClean was sick. We looked at her in horror and we turned and ran.

因此我们都站住了。一群闷闷不乐的孩子,扎成堆站在楼梯口上,七嘴八舌地争论究竟是上楼还是回家。Andy把他的一只脚放在楼梯最下边的台阶上,而当Andie McClean吓得要打退堂鼓时,Jo转身向门外走。我们厌恶地看看吓得直哆嗦的她,然后我们转身跑出来。

Yet the next day, our appetite for the mystery was keener than ever. We organized a watching day to observe the movements which could be seen so clearly through the uncovered windows. There were six of us, so we split into twos and took shifts; Johnny and Mary-Lou for the morning, Andy and Jo for the afternoon, and Jimmy and me for the evening. Angie McClean, since her lapse of the previous day, was banned from our company.

到了第二天,我们渴望揭开它秘密的愿望比以前更强烈了。我们组织了一个侦察日来观察通过那些没有遮拦的窗子能够被我们清晰看到的活动,我们总共六个人,因此我们分成两人一组来轮班;Johnny和Mary-Lou负责观察早晨的情况,Andy和Jo负责下午,我和Jimmy负责晚上。Angie McClean因为她前一天的表现,被我们开除了。

By the end of the day we knew most of the man’s movements. He rose late in the morning---by our standards at least, for we were mainly farmworkers’ children and used to being up with the milk. Johnny and Mary-Lou, crouching in the orchard, watched a front window flung wide open, and there he was, short, stocky, “in black pyjamas!” stated Johnny importantly, “Black pyjamas, an’ then he----” “What?” we shouted in exasperation. “He sorta jumped an’ waved his arms about an’ then”-----his voice dropped to a whisper----“he takes his clothes off, an’jumps about with onthin’on!” “He does not then,” broke in Mary-Lou sharply, “You can never tell anythin’ straight Johnny McCrae. He had his trouser on.”

到这一天天黑下来的时候,我们了解到很多关于那老头的活动。他早晨起床很晚——至少照我们的规矩是这样,因为我们都是农家孩子,我们那时常常到了挤牛奶的时间就起床。Johnny和Mary-Lou蜷缩在果园里,盯着开着的那扇窗子,窗子被风吹得摇来晃去。那人就在那儿,矮个儿;健壮。“穿着黑睡衣!”Johnny得意洋洋地说:“他挥着胳膊跳了一下,又跳了一下——。”他突然改成小声说:“他把睡衣脱了,跳了一下,然后什么也没干。”“他还是什么也没干。”Mary-Lou尖着嗓子打断他:“你们永远也别想听到Johnny McCrae能告诉你们点儿有用的事情,我告诉你们吧,他穿上裤子了。”

Then the man disappeared for a while, presumably for food, though where he had it we did not know. It occurred to us, though, that the upstairs rooms might possibly be more homely than those downstairs. Mary-Lou and Johnny had filled in the time by exploring the outhouses and found: “Wood,” said Johnny, “little tiny bits of wood, all done up in bundles.” “And cloth,” broke in Mary-Lou excitedly, “little packs of silk and stuff----all laid out on a table,” we wondered if he could be a carpenter, or a tailor, but “There wasn’t enough of anything,” said Johnny, “Not to make things.”

那人消失了一会儿,可能是吃饭去了,尽管我们不知道他在什么地方吃饭;然而,让我们想到的是,楼上的那些房间或许比楼下的更有些“家味儿”。Mary-Lou和Johnny尽职尽责地把整个儿时间都用在这所房子外的监视上了,并且他们发现了“木棍”,Johnny说:“小小的短木棍,全都捆成一把一把的,”Mary-Lou打断道:“还有衣服,”她兴奋地叫道:“小捆的丝绸和材料——全拿出来放桌子上了。”我们怀疑他是否曾经当过木匠,要么是裁缝,可是,“没有别的什么东西了。”Johnny说:“这些东西能用来做什么呢?”

After the exploration, they had picked up a few large apples, and sat in the shrubbery, munching and waiting. Some time later, the man came out through the front door and took a turn round the grounds. He walked carelessly over the damp garden, his heavy boots plodding aimlessly over rotting apples, brilliant michaelmas daisies and fallen rotten leaves.

他们向屋里监视了一阵儿后,捡了几个大个儿的苹果,坐到灌木丛里,解谗地大口咀嚼着,在那里耐心地等着新情况。过了些时候,那老头穿过前门出来,围着他家整个儿园子转了一圈。他漫不经心地在潮湿的园子里溜达,他那沉重的靴子毫不在意地踩在地上烂了的苹果上,漂亮的米迦勒雏菊上,以及落在地上的枯黄腐烂的叶子上,他不紧不慢地向前走。

He stood for a while peering up at the gnarled apple trees, loaded with fruit. Then he went inside and reappeared, armed with a curved stick, and attacked the branches with it. Hearing this hurt us most of all, for we had become so used to regarding the apples as our own particular property, it hurt us to think of their beautiful ripe redness as they tumbled higgledy---piggledy upon the grass. It hurt us to hear how the old man had gathered them up in a huge basket, taking them who knew where, perhaps to that high-up room of his. The damsons, too, were picked---“the pig,” Mary-Lou had said, her mouth open and watering, “he can’t possibly want them all.”

他站了一会儿,凝视着粗糙扭曲的苹果树,树上结着苹果。然后他便进到屋里,然后他又出来,手里多了一根弯弯曲曲的长棍子,然后他用棍子开始敲打树枝。所有这一切,敲打树枝的声音是最令我们心碎的,因为我们已经习惯于把这些苹果看作是我们自己的特殊财产;还有,当那些苹果从树上东一个西一个纷纷滚落到草地上,想到苹果那熟透了的令人垂涎的美丽红色,也令我们心碎;还有,看到那老家伙把它们都捡起来放进一个硕大的篮子里,要把它们拿到鬼知道是多么隐蔽的地方——可能要拿到他最上面的房子里去,我们的心第三次碎了。连那些不起眼的西洋李子,他也不放过——“这只猪,”Mary-Lou这样骂他,她的嘴大张着,涎水顺着嘴角滴下来:“他不会把所有的都拿走吧?!”

He had come out on to the terrace afterwards, with a pipe and a glass of beer, and sat, legs stretched out in front of him, alternately sipping and puffing, squinting at the tossing trees through the smoke. Then he disappeared again. Johnny and Mary-Lou watched and waited, as minute after minute went by, to try to get some inkling of what was going on. At length, they grew quite bold, leaving their hiding place in the shrubbery and going right round the house to see if they could see into the upstairs rooms. But there was no sign of movement; and when Andy and Jo came to relieve them, they shook their heads in disappointment.

他又出来,往前走到阳台上,手里拿着烟斗和一杯啤酒,然后坐下,两腿展展地在他身前伸开,咂一口小酒,喷一口烟地轮换享受,眯着眼透过烟雾看着在迷雾里飘忽的树木。然后他又不见了。Johnny和Mary-Lou瞧着,等着,随着时间一分一秒地过去,他们在揣摸着下面会发现些什么。最后,他们竟然胆子大起来,离开他们藏身的灌木丛向右绕到老头的房子跟前去看是否他们能看到楼上的房间。可是,没有任何动静。当Andy和 Jo来接他俩班的时候,他俩失望地摇摇他们的头。

Andy and Jo hid themselves in the orchard for the afternoon watch. “He has his food upstairs, out of tins,” said Andy, and this wasn’t all guesswork, for he was a good sleuth, and had spent some time educating himself with the contents of the dustbin, “Sardines, baked beans, and---Spagg Hetty,” said Andy. None of us had heard of spaghetti before.

Andy和Jo为了下午的刺探把自己隐藏在果园里。“他在楼上吃的东西,全是罐头。”Andy说。这可不全是他的猜测,因为他是个相当有经验的探子,他花了些时间用垃圾堆里的东西来证明他是正确的:“沙丁鱼,烧豌豆,还有——Spagg Hetty。”Andy又说。我们从来没有人以前听说过这种意大利式细面条。

“And after his food?” we asked---if it was after his food---“but I think it must be,” said Jo, “because he sleeps.” “Outside,” put in Andy; “Even though it clouded over he still sat out side.”

“那——吃完以后呢?”我们问——假设那时是吃完以后的事——“可我觉得那肯定是吃完以后,”Jo说:“因为他开始睡觉了。”“在外边。”Andy插嘴道:“就是天再阴,他也愿意呆在外边。”

Then came the operation that we knew must happen sometime----the time we’d been waiting for, “A man, dusting and polishing,” scowled Andy, in disgust. “An’why not?” said Jo. “He’s not got a woman.” “But me dad---wouldna do it,” said Andy, as if that set the seal on things.

然后,我们便开始分析起来,我们知道这是早晚的事——我们都在等待着这一时刻的到来。“一个糟老头,灰头土脸的又极爱干净,”Andy皱起眉厌恶地说。“那有什么奇怪的?”Jo说:“他又没有老婆。”“可是我爸就什么家务活都不做。”Andy说,那语气是不容争辨的。

Jimmy and I came on duty just after tea. Ours was the dullest time of the day. We watched the light come on in the mysterious up stairs room, the only room with curtains. And all we could see were shadows. Shadows flickering here and there over the blinds, now a hand, now an arm, now some strange(stump-like) object waved about like a witch’s wand. Crouching there in the damp leaves, with the mist just beginning to rise, we felt ourselves hard done by.

我和Jimmy是午后茶以后去刺探情况的。我们要度过的是这一天最黑暗的时刻。我们紧盯着楼上那间唯一挂有窗帘的神秘房间透出来的光,而我们所能见到的只能是影子,而这些影子却毫无目的的到处乱晃;一会儿一只手,一会儿一条胳膊,一会儿是些奇怪的,像残肢般的东西,像女王的魔杖。蜷缩在潮湿的树叶里,雾气正在升腾,我们觉得我们自己真是难受之极。

“Nothing happenin,” grumbled Jimmy. “We gotta explore them rooms.” “But not alone,” I said, I did not want him to think me a coward so, “it wouldn’t be fair to the others.” I said. Jimmy gave in, and we spent the rest of the evening munching sweets and windfalls, huddling together for warmth in the clammy mist, speculating about the strange ritual in the upstairs room. “He probably murders rich women,” fancied Jimmy, “cuts their clothes up and makes them into new cloth and then dries their bones to make wood.” I imagined my own bones joining that little piles of sticks and felt sick, “I must know,” I said. “Right,” said Jimmy, “tomorrow night.”

“什么都没发生,”Jimmy抱怨道:“我们干脆进到房子里冒个险。” “可我们不能光自己去呀,”我说,为了让他别以为我是个胆小鬼,我又补充道:“那样,对其他人也不公平。”Jimmy不说话了。这个夜晚的其他时间我们都用来不停地吃糖果和被风吹落的苹果;在湿粘的雾中挤在一起取暖,同时猜测楼上房间里那奇怪的黑影。“他可能谋杀了不少阔太太,”Jimmy猜测道:“然后把太太们的衣裳绞成碎条,然后用这些碎条再作成新衣裳,然后晒干她们的骨头,绑成一捆捆的小棒棒。”我想象着自己的骨头也成了一捆捆小棒棒,于是心里感到恶心:“我们必须把这一切都搞清楚。”我说。Jimmy说:“对!明天晚上!”

 

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