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Dark Angle(翻译连载十五)

(2010-05-31 10:07:06)





分类: UNCLE赵&他国际事务部的同事们

That was how the lie bagan; it was a lie that would have the most terrible consequences.

When I mentioned Constance’s name that afternoon at the card table, all I really knew was that it was a name likely to impress. I knew my godmother was famous, though for what I had no idea. I knew that my uncle Steenie adored her and pronounced her incomparable; I knew that, when he came to Winterscombe, he would sometimes produce magazines that charted my godmother’s social activites in breathless detail. I also knew that when he mentioned her name he was met with silence and the subject was quickly changed. The magazines, which Uncle Steenie would leave open upon tables, would be removed the instant he left the room. I know, in short, that there was a mystery.

When I was born(Jenna had told me this)Constance had attended my christening and, like a godmother in a fairy story, had bent over my cradle to bestow a kiss. She had held me in her arms outside the Winterscombe church and had given as a christening present a most extraordinary bracelet, in the shape of a coiling snake. This bracelet, described by Jenna as unsuitable, I had never seen; it lay lodged with my mother’s diamonds in the bank.








After the christening Constance must have fallen from favor, for she disappeared. More precisely, she was erased. There were numerous photographs of my christening, and Constance appeared in none of them. She was never invited to stay at the house, although I know she came to England, for Uncle Steenie would say no. the only reason I knew she was my godmother was that she told me so herself; each year at Christmas, and each year on my birthday, she would send a card, and inside them she would write: from your godmother, Constance. The handwriting was small, the strokes of the letters bold, and the ink black.


These cards of hers were arranged, with the others I received, on the nursery mantelpiece. When the birthday was over I was allowed to keep my cards, cutting them out and pasting them in scrapbooks –all the cards, that is, except those from my godmother. Her cards were always removed.


This tactic was designed, I expect, to make me forget my godmother. Since I was a child, it had the opposite effect. The less I was told, the more I wanted to know, but to discover more was extremely difficult. My parents were obdurate: Nothing could persuade either of them to mention Constance by name, and a direct question was met with visible displeasure. They confirmed that she was my godmother – that was all.


Jenna had been provoked, once or twice, into discussion of my christening and exotic bracelet, but after that I think she was warned off, for she too refused to discuss Constance again, Aunt Maud clearly hated her; on the one occasion, when I risked an inquiry there, Aunt Maud drew herself up, gazed down her imperious nose, and sniffed.


“Your godmother is quite beyond the pale, Victoria. I prefer you do not mention her to me. I cannot imagine that she would interest you.


在我的洗礼仪式之后,Constance开始不被大家喜欢,因为她消失了。更确切的说,他是被大家刻意抹去的。我的洗礼仪式上照了很多照片,可没有一张有Constance出现。我们从来没有邀请她来过家里,尽管我知道她来了英格兰,但是Steenie叔叔却说她没有来。能让我感觉到她是我教母的唯一一点,就是每年圣诞和我的生日, 她都会寄卡片给我,里面用黑色、又小有醒目的字体写道:你的教母,Constance。














“I just wondered… if she had…tempestuous eyes,” I persevered.


“Her eyes are like two small pieces of coal,” Aunt Maud replied, and that was the end of the subject.


William the butler claimed not to remember her. Uncle Freddie shifted his eyes about whenever I mentioned her name; trapped, alone on a walk in the woods, he once went so far as to admit that he and his brothers had known Constance as a child. She had, he said, frowning at the trees, been jolly good fun – in her way.


“Did Daddy like her then, Uncle Freddie? I don’t think he likes her now.”


“Maybe, maybe.” Uncle Freddie whistled. “I don’t remember. Now, where are those wretched dogs? You shout, Victoria. Oh, well done. Here they come. That’s the ticket.”


That left Uncle Steenie. I had high hopes of Uncle Steenie, particularly if I could waylay him after luncheon, or when he was in his own room, where he kept a silver hip flask for restorative nips on cold afternoons. Uncle Steenie might not come to Winterscombe very often but when he did, he became expansive after a few nips. “Sit down, Vitoria,” he would say. “Sit down and let’s have a huge gossip.”


And so, on one of his visits, I evaded Jenna and the regulation afternoon walk and crept along to Uncle Steenie’s room.


Uncle Steenie gave me a chocolate truffle from his secret bedroom supply, sat me by the fire, and told me all about Capri. When he paused for breath I asked my question. Uncle Steenie gave me one of his roguish looks.


“Constance? Your godmother?” He clicked his tongue. “Vicky darling, she is an absolute demon.”


“A demon? You mean she’s bad? Is that why no one will talk about her?”


“Bad?” Uncle Steenie seemed to find that idea interesting. He had another nip and considered it. “Well,” he said at last, in his most drawling voice, “I can never quite make up my mind. You know the little girl in the nursery rhyme, the one with the curl down the middle of her forehead? ‘When she was good she was very very good, and when she was bad she was horrid.’ Constance is like that, perhaps. Except, personally, I like her best when she was bad. The great thing about your godmother, Vicky, is that she is never dull.”


“我只是想知道…她是否…有很热烈的眼睛,” I persevered.


“她的双眼就像小两块煤炭,” Maud阿姨回答道,这个话题就此结束。














“Constance?你的教母?” 他弹了一个响舌。“Vicky我亲爱的,她可是不折不扣的恶魔。”








“Is she … pretty?”


“Darling, no. Nothing so bland. She’s….startling.” He took another nip. “She bowls people over. Men especially. Down they go, like skittles”


“Did she bowl you over, Uncle Steenie?”


“Well, not exactly, Vicky.” He paused. “She was probably too busy to try. I expect she had other fish to fry. She and I are almost the same age, you know, so we were always friends. We met for the fist time when we were – let me see- about six years old. Younger than you are now, anyway. We’re both the same age as the century, more or less, so that must have been 1906. Lord, I’m ancient! 1906! It feels like eons ago.”


“So she’s thirty-seven now?” I was disappointed, I think, for thirty-seven seemed very old. Uncle Steenie waved his hands in the air.


“Thirty-severn? Vicky darling, in Constance’s case, the years are immaterial. Age cannot wither her-though it does the rest of us, unfortunately. Do you know what I saw in the mirror this morning? A most terrible thing. A crow’s footprint, Vicky. In the corner of my eyes. ”


“It’s not very big footprint.”


“Darling, you reassure me.” Uncle Steenie sighed. “And the reason it’s small is my new cream. Have I shown you my new cream? It smells of violets, and it’s too heavenly--”


“Would it get rid of freckles, do you think, uncle steenie?”


“Darling, in a flash. There’s nothing it cannot do. It’s a perfect miracle, this cream, which is just as well because it costs a queen’s ransom.” He smiled mischievously. “Look, I’ll give you some if you like. Pat it in, Vicky, every evening.”




“不,亲爱的。她长得很普通,但是她总能给人出乎意料的感觉。” 他喝了一小口酒,“她令人神魂颠倒,特别是男人,她可以令他们撞到树桩上。”




















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