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Dark Angle(翻译连载十)

(2009-11-30 12:15:03)





分类: UNCLE赵&他国际事务部的同事们

There was the telephone, still ringing; there was its little lace doily, which Constance would have shuddered to see. It had been made for Miss Marpruder by her mother, whenever she used the telephone she would smooth it into place.

“I love nice things,” she said to me once, and I must have been in my teens, because her tone had made my heart ache. “Cushions, mats, doilies – it’s the little touches that count, Victoria. Your godmother taught me that.”

The memory made me angry. I went to sleep disliking Constance, rehearsing to myself the damage she did. But when I slept, I dreamed, and in my dreams my godmother came to me in a different guise. I woke to a sense of my own disloyalty. There had been reasons to love Constance, once.

A new direction to this search. I rose, showered, dressed. It was still very early. I telephoned Miss Marpruder one more time, and when there was no reply, impatient with the confinement of the room, I went outside to the heat of the streets. Brilliant light and clammy air. I hailed a cab. I think I decided where to go only when I climbed into it. I gave the driver the address.

“Queens?” Signs of reluctance, possibly resentment.

“Yes, Queens. Take the Triborough. Then I’ll direct you.”

“Green Lawns?”

“That’s the place.”

“Some kinda house?”

“No,” I said. “It’s a pet cemetery.”













It was years since I had been there, and it took some time to find Bertie’s grave. I walked past neat white tombstones, memorials to dogs, cats, and, in one case, a mouse.


Absent thee form felicity a while, it read. I turned, and almost fell over Bertie’s iceberg.


There it was, just as I remembered; a grieving caprice on Constance’s part, an attempt to re-create, at Bertie’s final resting place, the landscape Constance saw as his ancestry. Bertie was a Newfoundland dog; Constance’s knowledge of Newfoundland itself was poetic, also vague. Bertie dreamed of icebergs, she used to say; let an iceberg mark the place.


A stone had been designed. A stone had been carved. There had been arguments with the Green Lawns administrators, who liked neat tombstones and found icebergs unseemly. Constance, as usual, had triumphed, and there the iceberg was. From most angles the resemblance to ice of any kind was marginal; it helped if you knew what it was.


I had loved Bertie. I had grown up with Bertie. He was huge, black, as majestical as a bear. I read the inscription: To Bertie, the last and the best of my dogs. I looked at the dates of his birth and his death, faithfully recorded. Then I looked at something else.











Beneath the peaks of the iceberg, which was white, were runnels of green marble intended to represent a northern sea. These runnels extended from the base of the iceberg by at least one foot. Resting upon them, wrapped in a sheet of white paper, was a small bunch of flowers. Someone had chosen these flowers with care; this was no ordinary bouquet. It was as beautiful and as carefully arranged as the flowers I had seen the day before in Conrad Vickers’s drawing room.


There were freesias, white roses, tiny side-sprigs of blue delphinium, pinks, pansies, lilies of the valley: flowers in season and flowers out of season, the kind of flowers it would be easy enough to pick in a garden like Winterscombe’s, the kind of flowers that could be obtained, in New York, from very few florists.


I bent to smell the sweetness of their scent. I stepped back and considered them. It was, by then, midmorning. Bertie’s grave was unshaded; the temperature in the sun was at least eighty degrees. The flowers were unwilted. They must have been placed there, at the very most, an hour before.


There was only one person in New York who would mourn Bertie, only one person who would bring flowers to the grave of a dog twenty-four years dead.


I scanned the lawns, the tombstones: no one in sight. I turned away, began to run.


Constance was in the city; compassion brought her close. All my love for my godmother came back, gripping my heart with an astonishing strength. Just like the old days, when Constance raced ahead and I panted to keep up. In pursuit, but – and I felt a moment’s triumph – this time I was catching up.


在白色的冰山峰顶下, 有绿色大理石拼成的小河流, 代表着北海。这些小河流从冰山脚下延伸出来,至少有一英尺长。搁在上方的有一小束由白纸包裹的鲜花。看得出来,这些花是被细心挑选出来的;都不是普通的花束。这些花和我此前在Conrad Vicker的画室看到的花朵一样美丽、一样妆点细致。














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