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Rip Van Winkle

(2009-06-15 15:21:40)
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Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound. If left to himself, he would have whistled life away in perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family. Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had grown into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife; so that he was fain to draw off his forces, and take to the outside of the house—the only side which, in truth, belongs to a hen-pecked husband.

Rip’s sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as much hen-pecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle regarded them as companions in idleness, and even looked upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the cause of his master’s going so often astray. True it is, in all points of spirit befitting an honorable dog, he was as courageous an animal as ever scoured the woods—but what courage can withstand the ever-during and all-besetting terrors of a woman’s tongue? The moment Wolf entered the house his crest fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled between his legs, he sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a sidelong glance at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least flourish of a broom-stick or ladle, he would fly to the door with yelping precipitation.

 

然而,瑞普·凡温尔克只是一个快乐的普通人,傻乎乎的、爱喝醉的性格。他对任何事都无所谓,吃白面包也好,吃黑面包也行。什么事他都不会想太多,也不会很烦心。他宁愿挨饿,也不想去工作。如果只是独自一人,他便会心满意足地混日子。但是,他妻子则会喋喋不休地说他游手好闲、吊儿郎当,还说这个家将毁在他的手里。他妻子一天到晚不停地在他耳边唠叨。他所做的每件事、所说的每句话都会招来他妻子连珠炮般的数落。瑞普对诸如此类的斥责只有一招可以应付,他就经常用那一招,后来成为一种习惯。每当妻子说他时,他耸肩摇头,两眼朝天翻,却一语不发。然而,这种表情却总能激起妻子新一轮的谩骂。因此,他不得不放弃自己的绝招,于是一走了之——外边真是怕老婆的男人仅有的避护所。

瑞普家里唯一的支持者就是条狗——沃尔夫。这条狗像它的主人那么怕他老婆;凡温尔克看他们是一副德性,都那么懒散。她甚至用恶狠狠的目光盯着沃尔夫,认为它是主谋,就是它使主人一再堕落。事实上,从沃尔夫的精神品质看,它可谓是一条名副其实的好狗。它像勇猛的动物那样穿梭与丛林之中——但是,什么样的勇气才能让它耐得住女人长期又烦人的唠叨呢?沃尔夫一回家就垂头丧气,尾巴下垂着或夹在两腿间。在充满怨恨的环境中,它偷偷摸摸地走动,还不时地斜视着凡温尔克/向凡温尔克瞥一眼,在她挥动扫帚柄或长勺柄的瞬间,沃尔夫猛然痛苦地叫着往门外飞奔。

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