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Dark Angle(翻译连载三)

(2009-08-11 09:10:40)





分类: UNCLE赵&他国际事务部的同事们


“I am seeing a date. It is 1910,” he said, and shook his head. He prodded one particular area of that chart, an area that was beginning to resemble a freeway intersection.


As he prodded, Mr. Chatterjee paled. He seemed unwilling to proceed.


“What else do you see?” I prompted.


Mr. Chatterjee did not answer.


“Bad things?”


“Not too nice. Oh dear, no. Most definitely not.” He resharpened his pencil. The sitar music stopped, then, after a pause, continued. Mr. Chatterjee seemed to have dozed off __ his eyes were closed __ or possibly he was transfixed by his 1910 intersection.


“Mr. Chatterjee,” I said gently, “that’s twenty years before I was born.”


“A blink,” Mr. Chatterjee opened his eye. “Twenty years is a blink. A century is a second. However … I think we will be moving on. Try a new tack.”


He bundled up the charts with an air of relief. He replaced them in the metal filing cabinet and locked it. Once the chart was out of sight he seemed cheered. For the second stage of his routine, gold dust would be employed __ at least he said it was gold dust.


“If you would be so good. Please to close your eyes and consider most seriously those who are dear to you. ”


I closed my eyes and I tried. The sitar music scratched. A powdery substance was sprinkled against my eyelids and my cheeks. A lilting incantation began, in Hindi.


I felt hot. The dizziness increased. My mind began to track off in directions I would never have predicted. When the incantation came to an end and I opened my eyes, the gold dust was being carefully brushed back into its container, an ancient tin for Navy Cut tobacco. Mr. Chatterjee gave me a sad look.


“I am seeing two women,” he said. “One is close, the other very far away. I am telling myself that you will have to choose between them. ”


He then told my fortune in some detail. His account of my past was unnervingly accurate. His account of my future was too roseate to be likely. He ended by telling me I was about to make a journey.


I was disappointed by that, I had begun to like Mr. Chatterjee. I had almost begun to believe in him. I became afraid he would move on to speak of tall dark strangers, voyages across water. I would have hated that; I did not want him to be tawdry.


“我看见一个发生在1910年的约会,” 他边说边摇头。 他戳着表格里一块特殊的区域,这个区域类似于高速公路上的交叉点那块。




“你还看到了什么?” 我有点紧张了。






“不算特别好。哦天哪,不。千万不要。” 他又开始摩擦铅笔。 西塔尔琴声停止了,过了一会儿,又继续响起。Chatterjee先生好像快睡着了——双眼紧闭——或者他正游离在他那1910年的命运转角点上。




“转瞬即逝,”Chatterjee先生张开眼睛。“二十年可是转瞬即逝,一个世纪的光阴也只是弹指一挥间。 然而…我想我们应该继续。 换一个方式试试看。”










“我看到了两个女人,” 他说。 “一个近在眼前,另外一个确远在天边。我认为你要在其中作出抉择。”










A journey? I made journeys all the time. My work as an interior decorator meant I was always on the move, to the next house, the next commission, next country. One week from now I would return to England. The next job was in France, the one after it in Italy. Was that the journey Mr. Ghatterjee meant? Then I hesitated. There were other kinds of journeys.


Mr. Ghatterjee sensed that momentary skepticism, I think. He give me an apologetic and gentle smile, as if my disbelief were his fault and mot mine. He took my hands between his. He lifted them to my face.


“Sniff,” he said, as if this would explain everything. “Smell.”


I sniffed. The pungent substance rubbed on my palms was volatile. It contained oils, but also alcohol. The warmth of the room and of my skin released scents even more pungent than before. I sniffed, and I smelled India. I smelled crescent moons, honey and sandalwood, henna and sweat, affluence and poverty.


“Concentrate. To see, you must first close the eyes.”


I inhaled again, eyes tight shut. I smelled… Winterscombe. Damp and woodsmoke, leather chairs and long corridors, linen and lavender, happiness and cordite. I smelled child-hood; my father and my mother.

 “Concentrate. Again.”


Mr. Ghatterjee’s grip on my palms tightened; a tremor passed through them. The scent in my nostrils was now unmistakable. I smelled the fresh greenness of ferns, then a ranker, more assertive undertone, musk and civet. Only one person I had ever known used that particular scent, and to me it was as individual as a fingerprint. I dropped my hands. I smelled Constance.


I think Mr. Ghatterjee knew my distress, for he was then very kind to me. He talked me down. Then, with the air of a priest in the confessional-or, indeed, a railway official untangling a complex timetable-he gave me one final piece of advice. He told me to go back.




Mr. Ghatterjee感觉到了我瞬间的怀疑。他向我抱歉的、温柔的笑了笑。好像我的怀疑不是我的错而是他的错。他把我的手放在他的手中间,并抬到我的脸前。















                                          ------ 张乐萌



“Go back where? Go back when?” Wexon said mournfully over dinner that night.


“I am not sure yet,” I said. “But I know the route, and so do you.”


The next day I wrote to her. When I received no reply that did not surprise me; she had not replied when Steenie asked her and I cabled- I changed my flight plan.


A week later Wexton flew back to England alone. I flew halfway around the globe to New York, and to that other godparent of mine, Constance.


Constance made me. I could say she brought me up, for that was true, since I went to her as a child and remained in her care for more than twenty years, but Constance’s influence upon me was deeper than that. I regarded her as a mother, a mentor, an inspiration, a colleague, and a friend. A dangerous combination, perhaps- but then, Constance herself radiated danger, as the many men who suffered at her hands could have told you. Danger was the essence of her charm.


My uncle Steenie, who admired her and I think occasionally feared her, used to say she was like a matador. You watched her swirl the bright cape of her charm, he would say; the performance was so dazzling, so accomplished, you did not notice until too late how expertly she inserted the blade. But Steenie like to exaggerate; the Constance I knew was forceful, but she was also vulnerable.


“Think of her dogs,” I would say to Steenie, and Steenie would raise his blue eyes to the heavens.


“Her dogs. Ideed,” Steenie once replied, in a dry way. “I’m never quite sure what to make of that one”


A puzzle. But then, Constance was full of puzzles. I grew up with her but I never felt I understood her. I admired her, loved her, was perplexed and sometimes shocked by her-but I never felt I knew her. Perhaps that, too, was part of her charm.




“我现在还不确定,” 我说,“但你和我心里都清楚那条路线。”




















    When I say “charm” I do not mean that slick and superficial ease of manner which passes for charm in society; I mean something more elusive than that. I mean the capacity to weave spells, to entrance. In this respect Constance was accomplished long before I met her. By the time I went to live with her in New York she was already secure in her reputation as a latter-day Circe. Because of the men, I suppose—although I, being innocent, did not understand about them, or even know of them.


    “A trail of them, Vicky, my dear!” Uncle Steenie would later declaim, not without malice. “A trail of broken hearts. A trail of broken men. The debris, Vicky, of Constance’s hectic career.”


    It was Steenie’s view that if Constance damaged people, the damage was confined to the male sex. If women were damaged, he claimed, it was incidental and accidental; they were simply harmed in the fallout of Constance’s main attack.


    Steenie, I think, saw Constance not just as a sorceress but also as a warrior. She came at men, he claimed, her sexuality punching the air, using her beauty, her wit, her charm, and her willpower as weapons, hell-bent on some private war of attrition. Given his own proclivities, Steenie himself was exempt; this, he would explain, was how he could survive as her friend.


    I believed none of that then. I thought my uncle liked to dramatize, and I loved Constance; after all, she had been unfailingly kind to me. When Steenie made his claims, I would say: “But she is brave; she is resilient; she is gifted; she is generous.” And so she was, all of those things, but in one respect my uncle was also right. Constance was dangerous. Chaos stuck to Constance the way iron filings cling to a magnet. Sooner or later (I suppose it was inevitable) Constance’s zest for making trouble would affect my own life.



    我所说的这种“魅力”,并不是社会上被很多人误认为是魅力的那种圆滑而且肤浅的闲散行为方式;而是一些更有深度而且难以捉摸的东西。也就是那种可以显示魅力并让人着迷的能力。从这方面来说,在我遇到Constance之前,她早就已经做到了。我到纽约和她一块生活的时候,她已经成为一位有名的现代女巫了。 我猜这都是男人的缘故——虽然我当时还很天真,对男人的事情一无所知。






    我想,Steenie不仅仅将Constance看作是一个女巫,而且还是一个战士。他说, 她的性感让空气凝滞,她用她的美丽、智慧、魅力和意志为武器攻击男人,在长期的私斗中不顾一切。由于他个人的癖性,Steenie他自己并没有受到伤害;他解释说这就是他成为她朋友的原因。








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