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Dark Angle(翻译连载六)

(2009-09-24 09:05:17)
标签:

翻译

连载

小说

文化

分类: UNCLE赵&他国际事务部的同事们

This was achieved, in the end. Steenie went as he would have liked, propped up against silk pillows, amusing one moment, dead the next.

 

But that sudden departure came at the end of a long three months, months during which even Steenie’s capacity to perform sometimes failed him. He was not in pain—we saw to that—but, as the doctors had warned, those morphine cocktails did have strange effects. They took Steenie back into the past, and what he saw there made him weep.

 

He would try to convey to me what he saw, talking and talking, often late into the night. His compulsion to make me see what he saw was very great. I sat with him; I held his hand; I listened. He was the last but one of my family left. I knew he wanted to give me the gift of the past, before it was too late.

 

It was often difficult, though, to understand what he said. The words were clear enough. But the events he described were scrambled. Morphine made Steenie a traveler through time; it gave him the facility to move forward and back, to pass from a recent conversation to another some twenty years before as if they happened the same day, in the same place.

 

He spoke of my parents and my grandparents, but only the names were familiar, for as Steenie spoke of them they were unrecognizable to me. This was not the father I remembered, nor the mother. The Constance he spoke of was a stranger.

 

One point: Some of Steenie’s memories were benign; some, quite clearly, were not. Steenie saw, in these shadows, things that made him shake. He would grasp my hand, start up in the bed, peer about the room, address specters he saw and I did not.

 

This made me afraid. I was unsure if it was the morphine speaking. As you will see in due course, I had grown up with certain puzzles that had never been resolved, puzzles that dated from the time of my own birth and my christening. I had outgrown those puzzles, I thought. I had put them behind me. My uncle Steenie brought them rushing back.

 

Such a whirl of words and images: Uncle Steenie might speak of croquet one minute, comets the next. He spoke often of the Winterscombe woods—a subject to which he would return with increasing and incomprehensible emphasis. He also spoke—and then I was almost sure it was the morphine—of violent death.

 

I think Wexton, who witnessed some of this, understood it better than I did, but he explained nothing. He remained quiet, resilient, restrict—waiting for death.

 

这些终将发生。Steenie像他自己期望的一样离开,头枕着丝质的枕头,前一刻还饶有生趣,下一刻便已死去。

 

但是那突如其来的离开发生在那长长的三个月的最后,那几个月Steenie的行为能力时常受到影响。我们看得出来,他并不痛苦,但是如医生警告过的,吗啡的效力确实很厉害,它让Steenie想起过去并且潸然泪下。

 

他不停地说,尝试要把他看到的一切都呈现给我看。经常就这么直到深夜,他强迫自己让我能看到他所见的那些伟大,我坐在他身,握着他的手,聆听着。他是我最后一个亲人,我知道他想在他还在世的时候把关于过去的那些故事都作为礼物留给我。

 

但是,听懂他所讲的话却十分困难。尽管每个字都很清晰,但是他描述的事情却极为混乱。吗啡让Steenie像个穿梭于时间隧道的人,他既能让时间前进又能倒退,从一个最近的对话一下跳转到二十年前的另外一个对话,仿佛两个对话就发生在同一天同一地点。

 

他跟我的父母还有曾祖父母聊天,只是他们说的事情我都不清楚,只有那些人名是熟悉的。他口中的我的父母并不是我记忆中的那样,Constance也像个陌生人似的。

 

但是有一点Steenie的一部分记忆还是很清晰的,有一些则不太好。Steenie看到阴暗角落里的东西就会全身发抖。他抓住我的手,从床边开始怯怯地看着整个房间,不断地说着自己看到的恐怖景象,而那些是我所看不到的。

 

这让我很害怕,我不确定是不是吗啡的原因。我是个在困惑下长大的人,而那些困惑也从未解开过,最早可以追溯到我的身世,我的洗礼式。我觉得我已经逃脱了那些困惑,可是Steenie叔叔又一下把他们都带了回来。

 

Steenie叔叔会说一直说croquet大概一分钟,然后说comets。他经常说着说着就说到Winterscombe woods,带着一种无法理解却又不断增加的强调。他还常说到猝死,所以我几乎可以确定那是吗啡的作用。

 

我想Wexton应该比我更了解,他曾经目睹过类似的情景。可是他只是一动不动地保持沉默,没有解释任何东西,静待着死亡的降临。

 

------ 

 

There are two days of serenity and lucidity before it came, days in which Steenie gathered himself, I thought, for the final assault. Then he died, as I say, with a merciful speed. Wexton said Steenie willed himself away, and I thought my uncle was indomitable, I loved him, and Wexton was right.

So—would you describe that as easy? I looked at Vickers, then avoided his eyes. I felt that Steenie, trying to stage-manage his farewell performance, would have wanted me to emphasize its bravura aspects.

Avoid those episodes in the wings. Be careful.

“He . . . kept up appearances,” I said.

This seemed to please Vickers, or to relieve his guilt. He sighed.

“Oh, good.”

“He was in bed, of course. In his room at Winterscombe. You remember that room…

“Dar-ling, who could forget it? Quite preposterous. His father would have had a fit.””

“He wore his silk pajamas. Lavender ones, on the days the doctors came-- you know how he liked to shock--”

Vickers smiled. “Makeup? Don’t tell me he kept up with that…”

“Just a little. Quite discreet, for Steenie. He said…he said if he was going to shake hands with death, he intended to look his best--”

“Don’t be upset. Steenie would have hated you to be upset.” Vickers sounded almost kind. “Tell me – it does help to talk, you know. I’ve learned that. One of the penalties of age: All one’s friends – at the party one minute, absent the next. Steenie and I were the same age, you know. Sixty-eight. Not that that’s old exactly, these days. Still. . .” He paused. “Did he talk about me at all, at the end?”

有两天是Steenie十分安静和清醒的,他振作起精神,我觉得他是为了等待生命中最后的一次将受到的袭击。之后他就去世了,我要说,他是慢慢地死去的。Wexton说Steenie生前立下了遗嘱,我觉得我叔叔是不屈不挠的,我爱他,Wexton是对的。那么——你会把这形容为是简单的事情吗?我看了看Vickers,然后就避开了他的眼光。我觉得Steenie是在尽力去做好他的告别演出,并想我重点突出他勇敢的一面。

避免那些在舞台两侧的情节。要注意。

“他……他的外表还保持得很好”,我说。

这似乎让Vickers心情轻松了一些,或是消除了他的内疚。他叹了一口气。

“哦,好的。”

“当然,他当时躺在床上,在Winterscombe他的房间里。你也记得那房间吧……”

“亲爱的,谁会忘记那里?那个房间是乱糟糟的。相信如果他父亲看到的话会很生气。”

“医生来看他那几天,他穿着他那件丝质睡衣,淡紫色那件——你知道他喜欢使别人感到惊讶——”

Vickers微笑着。“化妆?不要告诉我他还一直化妆……”

“一点点的淡妆。Steenie是很谨慎的。他说……他说如果他即将和死神握手,他希望他是最好的状态——”

“不要伤心。Steenie不喜欢你这么伤心的。”Vickers听起来很和蔼。“请告诉我——倾诉是可以帮助你的。这我是了解的。年龄对人们的一个惩罚是:所有的朋友——当这一分钟还在参加聚会,下一分钟就不在人世了。Steenie和我的年纪一样大,68岁。这在现在并不算是十分老的年龄。然而,”他停顿了一下,“他到最后有提起过我吗?”

 

                                                                  ——罗荻飞

 

“A bit,” I replied, deciding to forgive him the egotism. In fact Steenie had scarcely spoken of Vickers. I hesitated. “He liked to talk. He drank the Bollinger—I’d saved some. He smoked those terrible black Russian cigarettes. He read poems--”

“Wexton’s poem?” Vickers had regarded Wexton as a rival. He made a face.

“mostly Wexton’s. and his letters—old photograph albums…it was odd. The recent past didn’t interest him at all. He wanted to go further back. To his childhood, to Winterscombe the way it used to be. He talked a lot about my grandparents, and his brothers. My father, of course.” Paused. “And constance.”

“Ah, constance. I suppose he would. Steenie always adored her. The rest of your family”—Vickers gave a small, slightly malicious smile—“I should have said they weren’t too frightfully keen. Your aunt Maud loathed her, of course, and your mother—well, I always heard she’d more or less banished her from Winterscombe. I never found out why. Quite a little mystery there, I always thought. Did Steenie mention that?”

“No,” I replied, untruthfully, and if Vickers noticed the evasion he gave no sign. He poured more champagne. Something, the reference to Wexton perhaps, had ruffled him a little I thought. Quite suddenly he seemed to tire of the subject of my uncle. He stood up and began to sift through the pile of photographs that lay on the table at his side.

 

“说了一些”我回答道,其实只是为了满足一下他的自尊。事实上Steenie就没提及过Vickers。我犹豫了一下,“他喜欢不停地聊,他喝Bollinger,他抽那些可怕的俄罗斯黑烟草,他还读诗”

“Wexton的诗?”Vickers把Wexton当成竞争对手,他做了个鬼脸。

“多数是Wexton的,还有他的信——旧相集……很怪异,他对新近发生的事情一点都没兴趣。他就想回到过去,回到童年,回到Winerscombe以前的样子。他说了很多关于我的爷爷奶奶和他的兄弟,当然还有我的父亲”我停顿了一下。

“还有Constance。”

“啊,对还有Contance。我想他会的,Steenie一直很喜欢她。你的家里的其他人,”——Vickers浅浅地略带恶意的笑了一下——“我本该说他们不是十分的热心。你的Maud阿姨憎恨她,还有你的母亲也是。而我也听说她从Winterscombe被赶出来。可是我却不知道是为什么,总觉得挺神秘的,我常在想Steenie提起过这些吗?”

“没有,”我并没有如实地回答,如果Vickers发现他的借口没有得到回应,他倒了更多的香槟。我觉得他被什么困扰着,大概像是关于Wexton的事情吧。突然他好像厌倦了关于我叔叔的话题,他站起来开始端详起累在他旁边的桌子上的那叠照片。

 

——许越

 

“Speaking of Constance, look at this! I came across it just the other day. I’d quite forgotten I ever took it. My earliest work. The first photograph I ever did of her—terribly posed, too artificial, dated, I suppose, but all the same, I might use it in the retrospective. It has something, don’t you think?” He held up a large black-and-white print. “Nineteen sixteen – which means I was sixteen, and so was Constance, though she subtracts the years now, of course. Look at this. Did you ever see this before? Doesn’t she look extraordinary?”

I looked at the photograph. It was new to me, and Constance did indeed look extraordinary. It was, as Vickers said, highly artificial, very much in the fashion of its time and quite unlike his later work. The young Constance lay posed on what appeared to be a bier, draped in heavy white material, perhaps satin. Only her hands, which clasped a flower, and her head were visible; the rest of her body was wrapped and draped as if in a shroud. Her black hair, long then – I had never seen Constance with long hair – had been combed out from her face. Shocking in its luxuriance, as Vickers had no doubt intended, it brushed the floor. Constance lay in profile; a band of contrived light sharpened the strong planes of her face, so that her features, undeniably arresting even then, became a painterly composition, a pattern of light and dark. Black lashes made a crescent against a wide, high, almost Slavic cheekbone. Oddly, since her eyes (which were almost black) were Constance’s most famous feature, Vickers had chosen to photograph her with them shut.

“La Belle Dame sans merci.” Vickers, who was recovering, gave a high, whinnying laugh. “That was what I called it. Well, one did things like that then. Constance on a bier, the Sitwells on biers – nothing but biers for a whole year, which went down terribly badly, of course, because it was the middle of the first war, and people said it was decadent. Useful, though, all that outrage.” He gave me a small glance. “It made me into an enfant terrible, always the best way to start. People forget I was ever that, now I’m a grand old man. So I thought I’d use this, in the exhibition, just to remind them. Oh, and her wedding photographs of course. They’re too divine.”

 

“说道Constance,你看看这个!我前几天偶然发现了它。我已经忘了我曾经拍过这张照片。这是我最早期的作品,我为她照的第一张照片——我觉得她的姿势摆得很难看,太矫揉造作了,也已经不合时宜了,但我还是必须在回顾展里使用这张照片。难道你不认为这张照片是有内容的吗?”他举起一张黑白的大照片。“1916年,那时我才16岁,Constance也是一样,尽管她现在少报了几岁。你看看这张照片,以前有见过吗?她看起来是不是很奇怪?”

我看着那张照片。我以前从没见过它,照片里的Constance看起来的确很奇怪。正如Vickers说的,十分矫揉造作,正是那个时代所流行的,而且和他之后的作品风格十分不相符。年轻的Constance躺在一个似乎是棺材的东西上,盖着厚重的白色的布,那似乎是锦缎。只有她那握着花的双手和她的头是露出来的。她身体的其他部分被一件似乎是裹尸布的东西裹着和盖着。她那时留着的很长的头发——我从来没见过Constance留过这么长的头发——被梳理好并且巧妙地整理好,使它像蛇一样弯弯曲曲地从脸上落下来。毫无疑问,Vickers故意让她那出奇茂密的头发能扫过地板。Constance侧着脸躺着;一道人为的光线增亮了她的面部,不可否认使她比以往更迷人,她像一幅油画般的,由光和影组成的作品。弯弯的黑睫毛与像斯拉夫人的高且宽大的颧骨形成对比。奇怪的是,虽然Constance的眼睛(她的眼睛几乎是全黑的)是她最大的特点,但Vickers还是选择让她闭着眼睛拍照。

“真是蛇蝎美人。”Vickers回过神来,高声嘶嘶地大笑。“我过去也是这样称呼她的。那时有人也像我这样拍照。Constance躺在棺材是,Sitwells也躺在棺材上——一整年都没有其他的道具,只有这具棺材,当然,结果是受到大众的恶评,因为当时正是第一次战争期间,人们都认为这样拍照是十分颓废的,因此引起了众愤。”他稍稍看了我一眼。“我那时像一个;令大人难堪的儿童,这总是我们这一行最好的入行方式。现在人们都忘记我的以往,我成为一位受人尊敬的老人。所以我觉得我应该把这张照片在展览上展出,提醒人们我的过去。噢,当然还有Constance的结婚照,那些也是很出色的作品。”

 

                                                              ——罗荻飞

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