勇敢的新世界
Brave New Worlds
4009字
2019-12-19 23:38
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火星译客

Today, among other junk mail, there was a questionnaire from some researchoutfit, addressed apparently to a sampling of senior citizens and wishing to knowintimate things about my self-esteem. It is their hypothesis that a decline inself-esteem is responsible for many of the overt symptoms of aging. God knowswhere they got my name, Ben Alexander, maybe; his forger is in all those pies, andalways stirring.

今天,我在众多垃圾邮件中,发现了一家研究小组寄来的调查问卷。很明显这是针对老年市民的取样调查,希望获得一些关于我自尊心情况的详细信息。研究小组假设:自尊心的下降导致了很多老龄化的外在症状。不知道他们怎么知道我的名字的,可能是本·亚历山大告诉他们的,本对这种事情一向很热心。 

I looked at some of the questions and threw the thing in the fireplace. Another ofthose  socio-psycho-physiologicalstudies suitablefor computerizing conclusionsalready known toanyone over fifty. Who was ever in any doubt that the self-esteem ofthe elderly declines in this society which indicates in every possible way that it doesnot value the old in the slightest, fords them an expense and an embarrassment, laughsat their experience, evades their problems, isolates them in hospitals ans SunshineCities, and generally ignores them except when soliciting their votes or ripping offtheir handbags and their Social Security checks? And which has a chilling capacity tolook straight at them and never see them. The poor old senior citizen has two choices, assuming he is well enough off to have any choices at all. He can retire from thathostile culture to the shore of some shuffleboard court in a balmy climate, or he canshrink in his self-esteem and gradually become the cipher he is constantly remindedhe is.

我瞅了几眼上面的问题,就把这份问卷扔进了壁炉。五十岁出头的人都知道这种类型的研究也就那么回事儿,这些类似的 “ 社会一心理一生理学”的研究一般都会得出程式化结论、大家都认为社会中老年人的自尊心下降了,有很多方面可以例证此点:整个社会一点儿也不尊重老年人,觉得老年人是一种负担,是一种尴尬,社会还嘲笑他们的经验,逃避他们的问题,把他们孤单地留在医院和阳光城市中,基本上不管不问;只有社会中有人索求他们的票、盗窃他们的钱包和社会福利金时才猛然想起他们。社会明明可以看见他们,但从来装作看不见。可怜的老年人其实只有两种选择,但看起来却富有得可以做任何选择。他可以从那种敌意的文化氛围中隐退到气候怡人的沙弧球场岸边,或者逐步降低他的自尊心,默默接受社会给予的角色,成为一个无关紧要的人物。 

What bothered rne about Cesare Rulli's visit if not the lacerations it left on myself-esteem?

要不是切萨雷·鲁利的来访给我的自尊心留下了伤疤,他的拜访怎会让我如此困扰呢? 

The responses that I feel more and more when we step out into the unsafesurrounding world are doubled and tripled every time we go down to the Stanfordcampus, as we did yesterday afternoon to hear the Guarneri Quartet. Inside the hall,all's well. Music is a great democratizes. There are as many white and gray heads inthe audience as dark or blonde ones. Attitudes are suspended in favor of appreciation,you see a few people you know, you are smiled and waved at, you feel the solidarityof common tastes and interests you have spent your life acquiring, and you participate, even though an outsider, in the community of the university.

只要我们到不安全的周边走动,例如去斯坦福校园时,我的这种感觉就会很强烈。昨天下午我们去听瓜奈里四重奏乐团的演出,在大厅里面,一切都很美好。音乐是很到位的民主人士,观众中的老年人和青年人一样多。在艺术鉴赏的世界里,每个人都是平等的。你看到了几个你认识的朋友,他们冲你微笑,冲你招手,你感觉到在生活中拥有共同的品味和兴趣带来的默契感。即便你是一个局外人,你也算加入了大学这个群体。

But go outside after the concert and you step out of security into hazard, out ofthe culture into the counterculture. All around the terrace the young roam, or sprawl,or lounge. White Plaza has a sort of bazaar, a stretch of blankets and quilts and plasticgoundcloths on which are displayed belts, handbags, macrame flowerpot hangers, andother kinds of the junk that Gertrude Stein called "ugly things all made by hand." Thewives, children and dogs of the artists tend them and sleep among them. Students pourback and forth, or sit arguing at the union's tables, or read propped against trees. Theyare not hostile and contemptuous as they were a few years ago; they just don't see you.They will move their feet off a table if you sit down at讯or pull in their legs if youfall over them. They don't seem offended that you exist, only surprised. It is unsafe toapproach a swinging door too close behind one of them. If you get there first, andpause to hold it open for them, they bolt on through with an alert, sidelong, surprisedlook, both puzzled and offended, as if your act of courtesy had been a trap they hadjust managed to evade.In the plaza and along the walks, their ten-speed bicycles come up behind yousilently and swiftly, and without bell or warning whiz by you within two feet attwenty miles an hour, leaving you with a cold shock of adrenalin in your guts and aweakness in your knees, and in your head a vision of your humiliated old carcasslying on the pavement, pants torn, knees bloody, arm broken, glasses smashed.

但是,音乐会之后,你从安全地带走向危险地带,从主流文化区域走向非主流文化区域。年轻人要么漫步,要么伸展四肢做运动,要么懒洋洋地坐着。露天广场有个义卖,一群人摊开毯子或被子或塑料布,在上面摆放着皮带、手包、装饰着流苏花边的花盘架,以及其他类型的垃圾—格特鲁德·斯坦称之为 “ 手工制作的丑陋物品 ” 。妻子们,孩子们,艺术家的宠物狗狗们照看着这些物品,并靠着这些物品小憩。学生们涌来涌去,或坐在协会桌子旁边辩论,或靠着树读书。他们不像几年前那样充满敌意,对老人们不屑一顾;他们只是装作没看见。如果你坐在桌子旁边,他们会不再碰那张桌子;如果你跌倒在桌子旁边,他们会收回双腿。你的存在并不会冒犯他们,但会使他们惊讶。紧跟在他们身后,走近一扇不停开合的门,是挺不安全的。如果你先到达那里,特意停下为他们开门,他们会带着警惕你的表情关上门,斜眼看着你,非常惊讶,充满狐疑又觉得自己受到了冒犯。仿佛你的善意举动成了他们本想逃脱的陷阱。 在广场上,还有散步的小路上,他们骑着具备十速换挡装置的自行车从你身后悄悄地快速冲过来,时速达到20英里,可在距离你2英尺的地方,却不给你响铃或发出警告声,让你体内的肾上腺素迅速分泌,心里猛地一惊,随之而来的是膝盖发软,头脑里略过这样的一幕:你毫无尊严的老尸体躺在人行道上,裤子破旧,膝盖上流着血,胳膊上受着伤,眼镜也碎了。

"What do you expect?" Ruth asks, getting quite exercised over my grumblings."They've got their own concerns, why should they notice you or me? Do you expectthem to whisper to each other, `Who's that distinguished-looking couple that just wentby?’Do you think they should stand aside and pull their forelocks at you?”

 “ 你还指望什么呢?” 露丝问道。对于我的嘟浓,露丝显得很焦虑。“ 他们有他们自己需要关注的事情,他们为什么应该注意咱俩呢?你希望他们小声说 ‘ 刚才走过去的年老夫妻是谁啊?’ 还是你觉得他们应该站到旁边,对你毕恭毕敬地鞠一躬? ”

"Ohfor Christ's sake," I said.

“ 噢,天啊,” 我说。 

Maybe good for me, but not comfortable. That spell of mucking out my culvertin the rain just about fixed me. I limped and hobbled-maybe exaggerating just a littlefor Ruth's benefit, to emphasize my legitimacy as an oldster. Her response was notsympathetic, though I thought I detected doubt in her glances now and then, andcaught her just about ready to ask if I felt well enough to go on.

或许对我的身体好一些,但对我的心灵起不到什么安慰作用。我一瘸一拐地走着—因为露丝在旁边,为了强化我作为老年人的合法性,动作可能有点夸张。虽然我时不时地从她的眼神中看到了疑惑,并发觉她总想问我—我是不是能继续走路了,但似乎她并不同情我。  

Actually I was enjoying it, in spite of the rheumatiz. We walked all around thehill where the older faculty houses are, and all the way, in the big opulent yards, themimosa made yellow globes among the other trees-pure forsythia-yellow, the truecolor of spring-and there were whiffs of daphne, and manure, and mushroomcompost; and the pleasant sight of gardeners working. The briskness of the air got usto walking faster than I really wanted to. I wanted to saunter and savor, because thiswas clearly not the country of the young, this was civilizations of a pleasant andreassuring kind, the kind I have been trying to earn citizenship in ever since I was oldenough to know what I wanted.

事实上,虽然我有风湿病,但我依然很享受这次散步。我们沿着山脉散步,看到了好多老年职工宿舍。一路上,在每个宿舍楼旁边的豪华庭院中,我们看到含羞草的黄色小球掩映在树林中间—纯色的连翘那般的小黄花儿一一这可是春天的颜色。我们闻到瑞香花的味道,看到粪肥和蘑菇堆肥,也看到园丁劳作的怡人景象。嗅着清新的空气,不知不觉中,我们加快了脚步。我想慢慢地走,细细地品味,因为很明显,这不是年轻人的国家,这是让人愉悦和信心倍增的文明世界。从我明白我想要什么之后,便努力成为其中一个子民。

We rounded the hill and came down along Frenchman's Creek running a steadylittle stream after the rains, and pooling above old weirs. There we overtook Bruceand Rosie Bllven, bundled up in overcoats and armed with canes and walking withbrittle briskness.

我们绕着小山走了一圈,沿着弗莱门小溪向下走,雨后,一条小溪顺势形成,冲刷着拦河坝。在那儿,我们遇到了布鲁斯和罗西·布利文,他们裹着大衣,拄着手杖,伴着清风向前走。 

They have lived on the campus ever since he retired as editor of the NewRepublic many years ago. Since retiring, he has had about three heart attacks andwritten about five books, and it is a cinch that at eighty-five or whatever he is he stillcontemplates five books more, and may be halfway through the next one. His lastChristmas letter contained a line that should be engraved above every geriatric door.He says that when asked if he feels like an old man he replies that he does not, hefeels like a young man with something the matter with him. He has a sweet humorousface and an innocent resilience that make me ashamed of myself. As an apologist forold age he is better than Ben Alexander, even. And Rosie can make you feel good at ahundred yards, just by the sight of her. Bruce says she is always trying to help oldladies of sixty down steps.

多年前他是《新共和》的一名编辑,退休后,他们一直住在大学校园。从退休到现在,他忍受了三次心脏病的发作,写了五本书。在85岁的高龄上,或者他不管年龄多大,他都在构思另外五本书的故事情节,可能,他的新书己经写完了一半。不过,这些对他而言都是小菜一碟。他去年的圣诞信里有一句话应该雕刻在每一位老年人的门上。他说,如果别人问他是不是感觉自己像一个老年人,他会说不像,他感觉自己越老越像个年轻人。他看起来和蔼可亲、颇具幽默感,还带着一股返璞归真的顽皮,这让我自愧不如。作为对老龄的辩护者,他比本·亚历山大都做得好‘对于罗西,即使和她距离一百码,你也会感到很舒服。她说她总是尽力帮助60岁左右的老人下楼梯。 

We chatted awhile under the pepper trees and parted, and they went back upalong the creek with their canes, talking as if they had just met after long separationand had a lot to catch up on.

我们在胡椒树下聊了一会儿天就道别了,他们拄着拐杖沿着小溪走回去了,边走边聊天, 就像久别重逢有很多话要说、很多事要做那样。 

As she usually is when I get around to communing with my Geist, Ruth is asleep,this time in a canopied four-poster, a real lit du ro, the duplicate of the one I am in.The room is enormous-two rooms, actually; two of about twenty in this wing-withcasement windows through-which come stray tree- and cloud-interrupted streaks ofmoonlight and a smell of lilacs and lindens. As the trees outside move in a night wind,the moonlight sneaks across the room and touches Ruth's bed, and then scoots back tothe windows as if afraid it might have awakened her. Fat chance. As for me, I hunchhere under a dinky forty-watt bulb (why are Europeans, even in castles, so scared ofadequate lighting?) with no more likelihood of sleeping than of understanding what's been going on.

像往常一样,我忙着与我的灵魂交谈,露丝在睡觉,这次睡在有四根帷柱支撑的床帐里面,真正的国王的床。我睡的床也和这个一样。房间很大,实际上,这个侧厅里有两个大约20平方英尺的房间。透过两扇窗户,可以看到从云朵和树枝中漏出来的零星月光,也可以嗅到丁香和欧锻树的香味。窗外,树在夜风中摇动,月光偷偷地溜进房间,照到露丝的床上,之后又很快地返回到窗户上,好像担心会自己会吵醒她。不过,露丝不大可能会被月光吵醒。我在微弱的40瓦灯泡下(为什么欧洲人,即便是在教堂里面,也特别吝音光线呢?)坐着,像是有了睡意,其实在想事情。 

What was going on at lunch for example? The countess promised to explain later, butwe haven't seen her since. And what aborted dinner-the old lady's illness; asadvertised, or something else? And who is Miss Weibull? Most of all, why did I,fifty years old, out of shape, out of practice; just recovering from a long spell of illness, accept the challenge of the werewolf who runs this place, and try to beat his brains outon the tennis court? He comes on me like Sir Kay the Seneschal coming on the Connecticut Yankee, and says to me, "Fair Sir, will ye just?" and instead of saying, "What are you giving me? Get along back to your circus or I' 11 report you," I take him on. My hand is blistered, the skin is peeled off the bottoms of my feet, and I am already so stiff that if I tried to get out of bed I would break in two. I deserve a coronary, as Ruth did not fail to point out while we were eating the dinner that Room Service brought up.

例如,午饭时候,到底发生了什么?女伯爵答应我们要给我们解释,但我们从那之后再没见过她。是什么中断了晚饭呢—是所谓的这个老女人的病还是别的什么事儿?韦布尔小姐到底是谁呢?最重要的是,我这个50岁的老人,身材走样,疏于练习,又刚从很长时间的病痛中恢复过来,竟接受了此地之主的挑战,在网球场上较量一番,并把他打的满地找牙?他与我不期而遇,就像凯主管与误闯亚瑟王宫的美国佬不期而遇。他对我说:“ 尊敬的先生,你还好么?”,而不说 “ 你打算把我怎么样?滚回你的地盘去,不然我就报警。”我和他较量了一番。我的手上磨出了水泡。脚跟上磨破了一层皮儿,我浑身酸痛,不敢下床,唯恐摔成两半。酒店客房免费提供晚餐,我们吃饭时,露丝说我应该得心脏病,才能消停点儿。 

But I have made my pilgrimage to my mother's cottage. It was as meaningless as I knew it would be. That cultural vitamin deficiency is not appeased by nibbling the clay and plaster of the old home. The cultural amputee is still trying to scratch the itch in the missing limb.

但是,我参观了我妈妈曾经住过的小屋,就像一次朝圣。我知道拜访本身没有什么意义,事实也的确如此。仅靠对老房子粘土和灰泥表现出的丁点兴趣是不能弥补文化养分的缺失的,这无异于隔靴搔痒。 

Well, set it down.

好吧,暂且不谈这个话题了。 

We got here about eleven. The castle, to Ruth's mild disappointment, is not Gothic, with turrets, but Dutch Renaissance, with stepped gables. Wicked brother, as promised, not at home. Greeted by his wife, Marion--tall, skinny, strained, all angles, with a sweet puckered face that looks as if she is always trying to remind herself not to forget something, and little black dots of eyes like a Laurencin drawing.

大约11:00,我们到这儿了。让露丝失望的是,城堡不是带着塔楼的哥特式建筑,而是带着阶梯山形墙的荷兰文艺复兴时期建筑。哥哥很不好客,果真不在家。他的妻子玛农接待了我们。她个子高高的,身材苗条,脸色显得憔悴疲惫,脸上遍布皱纹,似乎在提醒自己不要忘记什么事儿,眼睛小且黑,就像劳伦斯的画。   

In the vast front hall, tinkling with the sound of a fountain around which Thorwaldsen-type nymphs clustered, in the presence of a brawny maid and a couple of Chinese jars that probably concealed elves, dwarves, or the forty thieves, she and the countess fell into each other's arms. The maid picked up our bags and led Ruth and me up the stairs, while the countess called after us, "Oh, come straight down, as soon as you have finished your washings! Gerda will unpack you. I must show you this castle where I grew up!"

在宽敞的前厅,喷泉随着音乐舞动,相传托瓦尔德淤式的仙女会围着喷泉聚会。我看到一位身体健壮的女仆和几个可能装着小精灵、小矮人,或40个小偷的瓷坛。玛农和女伯爵胳膊挽着胳膊向我们走来,女仆拿着我们的包裹,引着我和露丝向楼上走去,女伯爵从身后对我们说:“噢,你们一洗漱完,就赶快下来吧。杰尔达会帮你们打点行李的。我想带你们逛逛这个城堡,这儿可是我长大的地方。”

All pleasure for her, apparently. No bad associations, only delight at being back home in the grandeur to which she has grown unaccustomed to being accustomed. We did come straight down, after Ruth had made a quick inspection of our ducal suite, and were shown the castle, thus:

很明显,她很开心。这里没有很让人不安的社会关系,单凭回到这个她曾经十分熟悉的豪华家族就足够让她快乐了。露丝很快检查了一下我们在公爵领地将要居住的房间之后,我俩就直接下楼了,开始逛城堡: 

Drawing rooms, three, each grander than the last, all ornate and gilded, French as to furniture and Beauvais as to tapestries, these last bearing the usual representations of stag hunts, successful, and Arcadian picnics, topless.

画室:总共3间,一间比一间大,十分富丽堂皇,金光闪闪,法兰西家具,博韦壁毯,壁毯上一般都绣着成功逐鹿的场景,以及裸露上身的阿卡迪亚人的野餐图。

“You see!” Since our first meeting she has taken the position that I am a linguistic prodigy and learn Danish with miraculous speed. (Danes in general are resigned to the fact that nobody can learn it except Danes.) She forgets that I heard it some in childhood, and she doesn’t know that in college I was made to study Anglo-Saxon, which is curiously close in some ways. Also, when I learn a word I don’t hide it under any bushel. “Et eneste!” she said in admiration. “Already you are saying a thing like that which some would never learn.”

“ 你看!”从我们第一次见面,她就觉得我是一个语言天才,学习丹麦语的速度飞快。(大部分丹麦人认为除了丹麦人别人学不会丹麦语。)她忘记了我小时候就学过一些,而且大学时我也被迫学了古英语。很奇怪,古英语与丹麦语在某些地方还是十分类似的。同时,学词的时候,我也不会东藏/西/藏。“ 一句话!” 她十分羡慕地说道。“ 你讲的东西是有些人永远也学不会的 ”。 

Our eyes splintered against each other, or against some common unspoken embarrassment, and she edged by me, brilliantly smiling, with her tray. Almost persuasive, the smile glowed back down the hall at me through the closing crack of her door. I saw it as a shield turned to cover a retreat.

我们躲躲闪闪地看着彼此,或者是看着某种常会出现但却说不出的尴尬。她拿着盘子,露出灿烂的笑容,慢慢向我走来。那种笑容几乎带有说服性,笑容沿着大厅向下透过即将关住的门缝反射给我。我认为这是掩盖回避的一种防御措施。   

A few days ago I was worried that we’d have her in our hair more than we wanted to. Now I wonder if we’re to see her only in these strained, disappearing moments, like Emily Dickinson fleeing the sound of the door knocker.

几天前我还担心她会过多地卷入我们的生活,但现在我想我们是否只能见到她这样不自然而又闪躲的时刻,就像艾米莉·狄金森躲避敲门声一样。

What has the woman done? Why, in this city where she has been known and conspicuous all her life, did not one soul speak to Astrid Wredel-Krarup in the theater the other night? She expected it, we expected it. I had some idiotic notion of a brilliant procession of old friends and acquaintances. I was braced for introductions. I suppose it was some such consideration that led us to dress up beyond the seats I’d been able to get—the ladies in long dresses, me in black tie. Moreover, the seats in the front row ahead of us were unoccupied. We were as conspicuous as if we had been in a box.

女伯爵究竟干了什么?这座城市的人都知道她,而且她一生在这座城市都那么耀眼,为什么前两天在剧院的那个晚土没有人跟阿斯特丽兹·弗雷德一克拉鲁普说话呢?她希望有人跟她说话,我们也希望有人跟她说话。我还愚蠢的以为会有一长串的老朋友和熟人。我都准备好介绍词了。我想正是出于此种考虑我们才会穿成这样一一女士们穿着连衣裙,我打着黑色领带,与我们所坐的位置不搭调。甚至前排座位上的人也没有这样穿。前面还有位置是空的。我们就像在盒子里一样耀眼。

Nothing. Not a visitor, not a flutter of fingers, not a smile. Eyes, yes. Heads leaning to whisper, yes. We were watched in the ten minutes we sat there before the lights went down. We were watched at intermission; and none of us wanted to get up and circulate. We were watched as we edged our way out with the crowd at the end, and I distinctly saw one couple note us and put people between us so that we wouldn’t meet at the doors.

但是,没发生任何事,没有来拜访的人,没有人碰我们,甚至都没有笑脸。只有眼睛,就是这样。距离灯光关闭的十分钟前我们坐下了。但这十分钟里,别人一直在看我们。中间休息的时候,别人也在看。我们几个都不想起身,也不想来回走动。最后我们跟人们一起缓慢走出去的时候,人们仍在看我们。而且我很明显地看到有对夫妇注意到了我们,于是让别人挤进我们中间,以免在门口碰到我们。

The opera was that Honegger thing, Joan of Arc at the Stake, in which the female lead neither says nor sings a word, just stands tied to a post in the middle of the stage, waiting for the dawn and the fire. It opened with an ominous line: En hund hyler i natten—a dog howls in the night— and because I was uneasy about the chill we seemed to have created, and wanted to kid things back to normal, I leaned toward the countess and whispered, “Hey, I understood that!”

 歌剧就像是奥涅格创作的《火邢台上的贞德》,其中的女主角既不唱也不说,就只是靠着台中央的一个柱子,等待黎明与火焰。一开始就是一条不祥线索:有条狗在深夜嚎叫。我似乎对我们制造的紧张感到有些不安,我就斜过身子跟女伯爵说:“ 嗨,那个我懂!”

In the dusk her eyes were large and brilliant. It was almost like skaal’ing the lady on your left. But she was not smiling. She gave the back of my hand a little pat. “You understand everything,” she said.

黄昏中,她的眼睛又大又亮。几乎就像是与左边的女士skaal一样。但是她并没有笑,而是轻轻地拍了一下我手背,说 “ 你什么都知道 ” 。 

But the fact was, I never understood another mumbling word. I didn’t understand the woman beside me, or the people I caught trying not to be seen looking our way when the lights came up, any more than I understood what was going on stage, where strange monsters out of some bestiary crept out of the woods and frolicked or mourned around Joan at her stake.

但是事实上,我从未明白过另一个听不清的词语。理解不了我旁边的这个女人,也不理解那些当灯光亮起,那些假装没有朝着我们看的人们。我还不懂舞台上在演什么,只看到中世纪寓言集里长相奇异的怪物从树林里爬出来,在贞德靠的柱子周围嬉戏,小声地咕浓。 

Neither of the ladies wanted to go to the D’Angleterre for a bite and a drink after the show. We walked home, talking more animatedly than we felt about the opera, and when we were back at the apartment the countess very soon said her thanks and good night and shut her door. For quite a while Ruth and I lay awake wondering what we had witnessed. Ruth had the impression that we had been stared at with hostility, simply because of the woman we were with. Mystery. The Danes are notably uncensorious, yet here is a woman whom all of Copenhagen cuts dead. We recollect that since we moved in with her nobody has rung her doorbell.

歌剧演完后没有一位女士想去英格兰酒店吃东西喝东西。我们走回家去,聊得十分热烈,歌剧都没有这么活跃,当我们回到公寓,女伯爵就致了谢,道了声晚安就关门回房了。我和露丝在那里躺在那里躺了一会儿,醒着,脑袋里想着我们看到了什么。露丝觉得就仅仅是因为我们跟女伯爵在一起,人们就对我们起了敌意,我们都被这种敌意吓到了。太神奇了。丹麦人是出了名的随和,然而所有哥本哈根的人都不理睬这个女人。我们发现自从我们搬到这里以后,还没有人拜访过她。 

Our Rover is on the free port dock. I spent the day persuading six thousand three hundred and eighteen pretty bureaucrats that I don’t intend to sell it in the black market but will guarantee to export it to the United States when we leave Denmark. And what is your business in Denmark, Mr. Allston? Tourist? Yes. And how long will you stay? Three or four months? Mmmm. The question stuck out of them in embossed letters: why? I told one particularly nosy gentleman that I was writing a book about Danish democracy, and that corked him.

 我们的车停在免费船港,一天下来,我都在跟16318名官员们说,让他们相信,我不会把车买到黑市,我们离开丹麦的时候就会把车开到美国。那奥尔斯顿先生,你来丹麦干什么?来旅游么?是的。你打算待多久?三个月还是四个月?恩……他们问的问题都带着凸出的文字:为什么?我跟一个特别烦人的官员说我在写本关于丹麦民主方面的书,他一下不说话了。

Two days lost to a raging migraine. I find myself thinking about the office. Homesick, the forsaken fire horse. This suspended life, this waiting for decent weather or for me to feel better, gets more tedious than I would have believed. A visit to one of the local specialized medics (a pleasant man, I must say, and a cultivated one, not just a mechanic who has studied medical Latin) assures me that my ekg is indeed back to normal. Can’t lay any blame on the ticker. So I develop a migraine. Cunning of me.

我这两天偏头痛的厉害。想家了,居然会想到办公室,还有那被遗弃的消防车库。这居无定所的生活,等待晴天或等待我身体好起来的日子比我想的还要枯燥无趣。我拜访了一位当地的专业的医学工作者。我不得不说他是一个友善的人,也很有教养,并不仅仅是一个钻研过医学拉丁语的医学工作者。他让我相信我的心电图确实恢复正常了,这回怪不了心脏起搏器,所以就怪偏头痛。我真聪明。 

The countess is our only drama. For a couple of days, we didn’t catch more than glimpses of her, because she had got a job doing some interior decorating and supervising the purchase of furniture and pictures for a French Embassy couple named La Derrieré. She came out of her sober mood enough to giggle over that, and kept referring to them as Mrs. and Mrs. Behind. But mostly, when she hasn’t been out, she has been shut up in her studio, presumably sketching and working. It seems unnatural and unfriendly to keep so separate. We wonder if she is being scrupulous about intruding on us, or if she is avoiding us because of that night at the theater.

女伯爵是我们遇到的唯一戏剧性的事情。几天下来,我们看到她的次数寥寥无几。她找了份工作,在一对名叫La Derriere的来自法国大使馆的夫妇做室内装修,并监督家具以及照片的购买。她情绪不再那么阴郁,一直称他们为女士和女士的跟屁虫,说起工作有说有笑的。但是不外出时,她差不多都会把自己关在工作室里,可能是在画素描工作。活得这么与世隔绝似乎不太正常,也似乎不友好。我们想她是不是太过于谨慎而害怕打扰到我们,要不就是她还在因为剧院的那晚而故意躲避我们。 

This morning as we were having breakfast by the windows we heard her go down the hall to the kitchen and looked at each other. Shouldn’t we ask her to join us? But I had barely pushed back my chair when her steps returned, positive and fast, and her door clicked shut. Such is our human complexity, we felt snubbed, at least I did. In her room the radio came on with its gobbledegook Danish news, most of which these days is about Senator McCarthy, a constant rebuke to our innocent assumption of American prestige in the world.

今天早上我们在床边吃早餐的时候,我们听到她从走廊下来到厨房,我们看着彼此。是不是应该叫她和我们一起吃?但是还没等我把椅子往后拉开,就听到她回房的脚步,坚定而快速,然后就听到门咔嗒一声关上了。这就是人性的复杂。我们感到受到了冷落,至少我是这样觉得的。收音机的声音从她房间里传来,广播公文体式的丹麦新闻。这些天广播大都是关于麦卡锡议员的新闻。我们想要在世界范围内建立美国的声望,这种想法无可厚非,但他却总是对此大加指责。   

After lunch Ruth drove us (I was over the migraine, but feeling pale) up to Dyrehaven to try out the Rover. Though the sun was out, it was chilly. No leaves yet, and no flowers except some tulips. I begin to understand the disbelief of Danish bureaucrats when I tell them we came out of our own free will to live in this country for several months.

午饭过后,偏头痛症状消失了,但仍感觉虚弱。露丝试开路虎,带我们沿路向上到皇家鹿园。虽然有太阳但还是感觉冷。叶子还没长出来,花也只有郁金香开了。当我跟他们说我们是自愿到丹麦住几个月的时候,他们对丹麦的官僚表示怀疑,现在我开始理解这种怀疑了。 

We had come back sand were having a cup of tea to warm up when the doorbell rang. Surprised looks, raised eyebrows. Thinking the countess must be out I answered. There stood an elegant gentleman with his gray Homburg in one hand and his gloves in another. His head was baldish, but well brushed: the hat had creased the smooth fair hair above his ears. He had striking blue eyes, and the handsome regular features I will always associate with the Arrow Collar men of my youth. And he had a well- repaired but unmistakable harelip.

我们回来了,喝了杯茶暖暖身子,这时门铃响了。我们面露惊讶,眉毛扬起。我说应该是女伯爵出去了。开门是一位高雅的绅士,一手拿着灰色的霍姆堡毡帽,一手拿着手套。头发稀疏,但梳得很整齐。戴的帽子把耳朵以上的稀少而顺滑的头发压得一弯一弯的。让人不得不注意到的是他蓝色的眼睛,他还具备很多帅气的特征。看到这种帅气特征,我总会想到我年轻时代的那些男模。他还长着兔唇,虽然己经经过了精心的治疗,但还是很明显。

For a second I thought he must be some close relative of the countess’, her brother maybe, and then I knew who he was. But he didn’t know who I was. He was not prepared to see me. His eyes got hard, and popped a little, and he said something abrupt in Danish.

我一下反应过来,他可能是女伯爵的近亲,是她哥哥也说不定,后来我知道他是谁了。但是他并不知道我是谁,他也没想到会看到我。他眼神冷酷,眼睛还有点外凸,口里蹦出来几句丹麦语。

What I felt while reading that diary, and what I somehow can’t tell her or talk about with her, is how much has been lost, how much is changed, since 1954. I really am getting old. It comes as a shock to realize that I am just killing time till times gets around to killing me. It is not arthritis and the other ailments. Ben exaggerates those. It is just the general comprehension that nothing is building, everything is running down, there are no more chances for improvement. One of these days the pump will quilt, or the sugar in the gas tank will kill the engine in a puff of smelly smoke, or the pipes will burst, or the long-undernourished brain will begin to show signs of its starvation.

读这本日记的时候有种感觉,但我不知为什么没办法跟她说,也没办法跟她讨论这个问题。这种感觉就是从1954年以来,我们失去了太多,也改变了太多。我真的是越来越老了。我惊讶地意识到我仅仅是在消磨时间,然后时间又来消磨我。这跟关节炎、跟其它的小病没有关系,本夸大了这些疾病的影响。有关的是这种一般的道理—没有任何新的东西,一切都在流逝,没有任何可以改进的机会。总有一天抽水机不能工作,油箱里的糖会让引擎不能运转,发出难闻的烟气,或者管道会迸裂,或者长期营养不良的脑袋会开始显现出脑营养不够的现象。

I don’t suppose Ruth would bear my senility any more happily than my death, and I certainly don’t wish for her the job I have seen some wives saddled with, the care of a shuffling invalid, a vegetable whose time has come, whose tie is always smeared and whose zipper is always unzipped and who is always mistaking the PG&E man, come to read the meter, for a son who died years ago, or a brother who has been in his grave for forty years. What the countess has come to, actually. The trouble is that the feelings do not die. I remember Ruth when we brought her and her baby home from the hospital, her fine bones, her small wracked healing body, the tightness of her arms around my neck in the bed made suddenly roomier by the eviction of that intruder between us. And I remember my gurgling son, fat and broad-faced, happy despite a full diaper, and how he laughed and reached out his hands when I played at knocking him over with a pillow. I remember too much. I remember a futile life. Yet if I turn away from it and die, Ruth lose her lifework all at once. If I only lose my buttons, she can go on managing me, sadly but with the satisfaction of love, duty, and selflessness. It is something women get for being durable. I don’t envy them.

让露丝忍受我这种衰老的样子就跟接受我的死一样,不会轻松。我当然也不希望她像我见过的其他妻子一样身负重担,照顾一个走路慢吞吞的病人,一个该离开世界的植物人,领带总是脏兮兮的,拉链也不拉,总是把太平洋燃电公司来抄电表的人误以为是几年前逝去的儿子,或者误以为是己经在棺材里躺了40年的兄弟。事实上,这就是女伯爵所面对的。扰人的是感觉不会消逝。记得当我们把露丝和孩子从医院带回来的时候,她纤细的骨头,她那弱小散了架的身体正在慢慢复原。没有那个小家伙在中间隔着我们,她在床上紧紧搂着我的脖子的空间突然就变大了。我还记得咯咯笑的儿子,胖嘟嘟,大脸盘,即使裹着一圈尿不湿,也还是很开心。我还记得我拿着枕头敲他跟他玩时,他伸出他的小手。我记的太多了。我记忆中的一生是一场空。但是如果我不活了而去寻死,那露丝就立即失去了她毕生的事业。如果我仅仅是丢了扣子,那她还能管我,虽然心情糟糕,但也会因为有爱、责任和无私奉献而感到满足。这是女人持久生存所获得的。我不嫉妒她们。 

I have put away a bottle of pills, as who hasn’t, but nobody can guarantee that when the time comes he will have the wit to take them, or even remember where he hid them. Ben Alexander, with his pacemaker, has an advantage that he brags of. He has only to disconnect wire, or so he says. He can’t be betrayed by senility and forgetfulness, as I can, for when his life is on a jack like a telephone there is a good chance that accident will sooner or later disconnect it even if forethought fails to. The end is the same: not even a dial tone.

我把一瓶药放在一旁,虽然有些人不会这样做,但是没人能保证人在临死前会知道要吃药,也许根本连放在哪里都忘记了。虽说带着起搏器的本·亚历山大总是吹嘘他的优势,但他确实有。他只需切断一根线,这差不多是他的原话。衰老与遗忘会背叛我,但不会背叛他。当生命像电话线一样连着电的时候,即使事前的深思熟虑也没能让生命雨点断开,但意外却很有可能,并且迟早会让生命与电断开。结果是一样的:都没有拨通。

I suppose I had no real chance, once I had let her know that the journal existed, of not reading it to Ruth, or at least letting her read it. She is an exorcist at heart. She believes in cleansings and purifications, and she has a dangerous theory of complete honesty in marriage. When we had been married no more than twelve hours, she told me she had made a vow never to go to sleep on a quarrel. It must be settled before we closed our eyes. Since my impulse is to close my eyes on the quarrel and sleep it off, our systems have not always meshed. What often happens is that I back down in order to avoid all that soul searching that she likes, thereby committing some dishonesties she is unaware of. I doubt that she could ever believe that a man who resists her management and does not tell her all he knows can really love her as she wants to be loved and as I am sure she loves me. Yet I do. She is the woman I share the world with, and I can imagine wanting to share it with no one else.

我想只要让露丝知道这本日记的存在,我就非读给露丝听不可了,或者至少得让她看。她本性是个降妖除魔的人。她相信净化,相信涤罪。她认为婚姻就该百分之百的忠诚,有这种想法是很危险的。我们刚结婚不到12个小时的时候,她就跟我说她发誓今后睡觉前绝不吵架。闭眼睡觉前必须要解决了。但是我的神经状态是在吵着架的时候闭上了眼,然后睡一觉起来就没事了,所以我们总是走不到一块去。大多数情况下,我会退一步以免她疑神疑鬼,所以有时候就会不诚实,但她不知道。她不会一直相信一个抵抗她的管束还不完全坦诚的男人真的能以她想要被爱的方式爱她,也不可能像我现在这样确信她爱我。不过我相信。她是与我一起看这个世界的女人,而且我也不想与把她换作其他人。 

I could hand her these notebooks and tell her to read them herself, but then I refuse the martial communion her soul craves. If I burn the things and declare that I will not be henpecked into spilling guts I no longer acknowledge, then I burn into her a conviction that certain aspects of the Danish episodes were more important than in fact they were—that they left great scars on my soul. They didn’t. Denmark was only one of those queer little adventures that the life-tourist runs into—a circus where you saw a man crawl through a ten-inch pipe, a side show where the fact lady’s stuffing came out, a trapeze act where the acrobat flinched and refused a jump he knew would kill him.

我本可以把这些日记给她让她自己读,但是过后我就拒绝了她内心渴望的这种夫妻之间的情感交流。如果我做了错事,还宣布不再是个妻管严,实打实地说出不会再承认的一切,那么我就会让她由衷地认为,丹一麦那段旅程的某些方而比看上去更有重要,并且那些事情在我的灵魂上留下了一道深深的疤痕。但事实上不是这样的。丹麦之旅只是旅行者在一生中碰到的许许多多奇怪历险中的一个。旅途中碰到的也许是马戏表演,其中有人在一个10英寸的管子里爬,也许是穿插表演,表演的胖女人把填充物掉了出来,也许是杂技演员在荡秋千 表演中退缩了,他知道那一跳会要了他的命,所以他拒绝了。 

No, Denmark did no more than thicken the callus. It was something I survived. Left to myself, I would deal with it (I tell myself) as Catarrh deals with his leavings in the flower bed.

是的,丹麦之旅只是让老茧变得更厚。我从中幸存下来的一段历程。我对自己说,你可以像卡塔处理留在花床里的粪便那样,处理好需要自己处理的事情。 

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