孤独人群
The lonely crowd
4114字
2019-12-23 19:03
59阅读
火星译客

I found two cans of Sterno, another fruit of my preparedness campaign, but no sign ofthe little tin stove to use them in. Ingenuity suggested tipping up a burner on theelectric stove, setting a can of Sterno in the well under it, and tipping the burner backflat. Presto. I was congratulating myself and trying to cheer my determinedly gloomywife when the door blew open and Minnie stamped in, wet-coated, hoo-hoofing like asteamboat, with a wet cigarette pasted to her lower lip.

我找到两罐固体酒精,这也是我以前准备的一种东西。但是没找到放固体酒精的小锡炉。我创造性地提起电炉灶,把一罐固体酒精放在灶下面的凹槽里,然后又把电炉灶放回去放平。好了!正当我祝贺自己搞定了这件事,让我闷闷不乐的妻子开心的时候,门被刮开了,明妮走了进来。鞋是湿的,衣服也是湿的,像个汽艇一样呼呼地出着气,下嘴唇那儿叼着一根湿流流的香烟。

"Heyyyyy! Ain't this some'm!"

 “嘿!这不是……!” 

Every Tuesday morning she arrives at our door bursting with some dramatic tidings.Like any boiler or pressure tank, she must be eased of her burden gradually. She can'tbe hurried, she has to bubble and hiss herself quiet. Even on such a day as this weknow better than to interrupt her show. As when on some hot mountain road a travelerhears the rumbling under the hood and watches the temperature needle climb past thered and out of sight, and stops and opens the hood, with handkerchief around handmakes darting stabs at the radiator cap to pen it a little, but not too much, so theAllstons gave greetings to their cleaning lady, and waited for the jets of steam.

每周二早上,她都会带着些重磅新闻来我们家。她像锅炉和高压锅一样一点一点地排出压力。不能催她,她得冒会儿泡,慢慢地放气,直到最后没有声音。即使像今天这样的天气,我们也很清楚不能打断她的表演。奥尔斯顿夫妇跟清洁女工打完招呼,然后就等着她把这股气放完。就像是游客在炎热的山路上听到引擎罩下发出的隆隆声,看着温度计指针不断上升超过了红点消失不见,然后才停下车打开引擎盖,手用手巾裹着快速地动几下水箱盖,稍微打开一点,但不会打开太多。

She kicked off her muddy shoes, she stripped off her raincoat and revealed the whitenurse's nylon that gives her status as a professional and imparts a touch of class to theestablishments she is willing to assist. Rumbling with phlegmy laughter, squintingagainst imaginary smoke from the cigarette that had been quenched in her run fromcar to door, she slid in stocking feet to the kitchen wastebasket and with a wet thumband finger dropped the disintegrating cigarette in among the garbage.

明妮踢掉她泥糊糊的鞋子,脱掉淋湿的外套,里边穿了一件白色尼龙护士服,专业范儿十足,也充分展现了她的工作能力。她嗓子里有痰,笑的时候发出隆隆的声音。她眯着眼睛看,好像前面有香烟冒出的烟雾,但其实从她下车到家门前,烟就已经被雨淋灭了。她穿着袜子,拖着脚走到厨房垃圾筐跟前,用大拇指和另一根手指把被淋得不成样子的香烟扔进一大堆垃圾里。

"You know what I see on my way over? Ha-ha! Them creeps! Lessee if their zoninglaws' 11 take care of that one!"

“你知道我来的时候看见啥了吗?哈哈卫那些小人!分区法规是否会眷顾那一个,我们等着瞧好了!” 

That was about eleven. Three quarters of an hour later I was still digging, blind withrain, my slicker threatening to lift me up like a hang glider, at the moment of leavesand gravel the floodwater had piled over the entrance to the culvert. Water pouringdown against the pile was being deflected out into the road, to go sheeting down theasphalt toward the bottom, where a lake had covered the area between the eucalyptustrees. That culvert was obviously clogged too.

快11点了45分钟之后我还在铲土,雨大到模糊了视线。雨衣在风中都快把我提起来了,活像一个滑翔机。雨水在树叶和砂砾堆旁堆积,越过门口汇入阴沟。溢到叶子和砂堆外面的就斜着流到了马路上,冲刷着柏油路面一直流到最下面。最下面两旁的按树中间已经堆积成了一片湖。很显然,阴沟也被堵住了。 

My feet wet, ma pants were soaked to the thighs. As usual, my hands had gone intotheir Raynaud's syndrome spasm in the cold and were white to the second joints ofthe fingers. For all that, the adobe mixed with leaves was so impossible to shovel thatI finally had to get down and dig at the mass with my hands. Eventually I movedsomething that counted. The bottom fell out, the stream of water dove downward witha slurp, and across the road I heard the plug of mud and leaves shoot out into the gully.So. Emergency dealt with. I cope, therefor I am. I washed my numb hands in muddy ice water and stood up to shove them between the buttons of my slicker and into my armpits for warming. Then I heard a car at the foot of the hill.

双脚已经湿了,裤子也已经湿到了大腿。跟往常一样,我的手指又冻得出现了雷诺氏综合征,手指的第二关节以上都变白了。但尽管如此,夹杂着树叶的土坯还是太难除去了,最后我就干脆蹲下来用手挖。终于,我挪动了一个东西,起了作用。土坯底部被翻了起来,水 “ 咕嘟 ”一下就下去了,然后就听到路的那边泥块和树叶塞住的地方就冲开了,堵塞物流到了溪谷里。终于,危机解除了。我解决故我在。我在冰冷的泥水中冲洗冻似的手指,然后又站起来往我雨衣扣子中间塞,放在咯吱窝下面取暖。这时,我听到山脚下有汽车声音传来。

It had already eased through the lake down there. Now, shifted down, it started fast up the road on which water was still sheeting, not yet cleared by my clearing of the culvert. It threw a bow wave like a power boat  a BMW, I saw, two people in it, blonde hair on the right, black behind the wheel, two faces staring out through the sweeping wiper blades. Cesare and Company, a half hour early. Ruth would be so pleased.

车己经从路下面的那片湖过来了,现在速度减慢了,沿着路又加速前进。路上的水仍然一波一波地往下流,虽然我把阴沟打通了,但还是有水往路上溢。汽车驶过时就像汽艇一样溅起水波。我看到,是一辆宝马,里面坐着两个人,右边坐着金发碧眼的女人,一个黑人开着车。两个人都透过来回刷动的雨刷凝视着窗外。是切萨雷和他的伙伴,提前了半个小时。露丝一定会特别开心的。

Leaning on my shovel, I stood aside, my face fixed for humorous comment, intending to wave them on when they slowed, with shouted assurances that i would be with them in a few minutes. But at the last moment something in the set of Cesare's head and neck told me that he was not pausing in any downpour on any flooded hill for any workman in a muddy slicker leaning on a muddy shovel. I just had time to swing around as they passed.  The splash drenched the back of my slicker and the unprotected back of my neck.

靠在我的铲子上,我站在一旁。表情僵硬,等着他们的嬉笑,当他们路过慢下来的时候,我要跟他们打招呼,说一些 “ 一会而见 ” 之类的话。但是最后,从切萨雷的脑袋和脖子中,我意识到他不会在这大雨傍沱的山谷中,为任何身披泥糊糊雨衣靠在一个泥铁铲的工人停下车来。他们过来的时候我正好可以转过身去。溅起的水花淋湿了我身后的雨衣,还把我光着的后脖子也溅的满是水。

Almost contemplatively, assuring myself that I still had a half hour before my guests were due, I went on down to the bottom and cleared the culvert there to ease and drain the lake. Leaving the shovel in case further emergencies developed, I came back up the road littered with leaves, broken branches, and rocks loosened from above. To maintain feelings appropriate to a host, I did not allow myself to dwell on the State Department's exchange-of-persons program, nor yet on the volatile and romantic Italian temperament. Instead, I counted the steps it took me from the bottom culvert to the middle one--one hundred twelve- and from the middle one to the top-one hundred seventy-one. Two hundred eighty-three altogether.

我几乎陷入了自我沉思中,跟自己说还有半个小时切萨雷才来呢。我走到路的最下面,疏通了那里的阴沟,把湖里的水排了出去。把铲子留在了那里以备紧急之需,然后我又沿着这条路往上走。路上散落着树叶、断裂的树枝,还有从上面滚落下来的石头。我没有想美国国务院的人员交流项目,也没有想意大利人善变浪漫的性格,我要保持主人该有的情绪。我边走边数着步子,从最下面到中间是112步,中间到最上面是171步,总共183步。

Unseen, I got past the entrance and around to the bedroom door. But when I had peeled off my soaked and muddied clothes and stepped into the bathroom, my finger on the switch produced no light, and in the shower my turning of the knob gave rise to no more than a weak little old man's jet followed by a dribble. While I tried to get clean under that, I elaborated a fantasy in which I called Dr. Ben Alexander and had him come to examine the prostate of my plumbing system.

我悄悄地从门口进来绕到卧室门口。但是当我脱下又湿又泥的衣服走进浴室的时候,我手指按下开关,灯没有亮。打开出水开关,出来的也仅是一小股水,还没一个老男人尿的多,然后又滴了一滴。我就在这样的条件下洗了个澡,洗澡的时候我幻想叫本.亚历山大医生来,让他检查一下我们管道系统的 “ 前列腺 ”。

Finally I got half clean, though my hands continued numb, and at twelve-forty, only ten minutes after they had been invited for, but forty after their arrival, I went in to my guests. Things had obviously been a little strained in there. Ruth, who has a lot of doomed-queen,   avenge-queen   expressions,   sometimes   Medea,   sometimes Clytemnestra, sometimes Lady Macbeth, gave me one that was more like Cassandra o Mary Queen SCOtS.  She was just handing a drink, probably the second or third, to Cesare, who was peering out at the drowned hills and being reminded, not for the first time id my intuition was right, of Umbria.

最后,虽然我手指还是僵的,但我差不多洗干净了。十二点四十,比约定的时间晚了10分钟,但按他们实际到的时间已经过去40分钟了,我才进去见他们。很显然,这里似乎有点不对劲。露丝很多时候会表现出一副天生的复仇女王模样,有时候就像残酷的美狄亚,有时候又像恶毒的克吕泰涅斯特拉或残忍的麦克白夫人,然而,她现在却一副预言家卡桑德拉或苏格兰女王玛丽的模样。她刚递给切萨雷一杯喝的,这可能是她递的第二杯或第三杯了。切萨雷正看着外面被雨水浸透的山。没错的话,他应该是想起了翁布里亚,而且他这也不是第一次见了。

Cesare rushed to embrace me, crying to his gods that he had not recognized me on the hill."How could I know? I saw you there, I thought, `Poor devil, what some people must do to live. But I could not stop, you understand, the road was a torrente. Or should I pretend that Ms. McElvenny was driving?"

切萨雷冲过来抱住我,高喊着说在山上的时候没认出来我。“ 我怎么会知道你在那里?不过我想我看见你在那儿了。我当时想:‘ 可怜的人,人为了活真是什么都能干得出来。’ 但是我也没办法停下来,你知道的,那条路就是一条torrente。或者我能假装是迈克尔温妮在开车吗?” 

I shook Ms. McElvenny's hand: she was a pussycat with half inch eyelashes."I knew who was dying," I said. "Remember the last time I saw you? You drove me down the corkscrew road from the American Academy to Trastevere. I didn't draw a breath all the way down. Once I looked back, just as we passed that little temple, the one with the fountains, and the gravel was still hanging in the air above the Villa Aurelia's gate.

我跟迈克尔温妮女士握了握手。她是只性感小野猫,睫毛有半英寸长。“ 我知道当时是谁在开车,” 我说。“ 还记得上次我见你的时候吗?你带着我从美国科学院沿着螺旋形道路一路开到特拉斯泰韦雷,我一口气都没敢喘。有次路过有喷泉的那座小寺庙的时候我回了一下头,路上飞起的石子仍然悬在奥蕾莉亚别墅大门的上空。

Then I looked down, and here came a Volkswagen bus that was going to meet us just at a curve where a fellow was washing his car in the road. And from farther down the roofs of the Regina Coeli were floating up toward us the way Fifth Avenue would flap up at you if you did a half gainer off the Empire State. Nobody's going to be in any doubt who's driving, if you're at the wheel."

然后我就低下头看了一眼,对面来了一辆大众巴士,会在拐弯处正好碰上,而那个拐弯的地方有个人正在路上洗车。远处看下去,会看到天皇母后(喜乐经)旋律正向我们飘过来,就好像在纽约上空反身翻腾半周。如果你在把着方向盘,大家当然知道是你在开车了。” 

Cesare was delighted. Said Ms. McElvenny the pussycat, "Can you picture what it's like to have him drive you down Jones Street?"

切萨雷很高兴。性感小野猫迈克尔温妮女士说:“ 你能把他开车带你沿着琼斯街一路向下的情景画出来吗?”

"Yes," I said. `Yes, I can. Exactly."

“可以,”我说,“当然可以了。” 

Ruth's eyes were asking accusingly, where were you? Cesare was simultaneously exclaiming about the brutto tempo and asking how I was and demanding to know how I found myself out here on the West Coast. I got myself a drink and offered to refill Ms. McElvenny."I'm gonna drive," she said with a grin. The lights came on. Ruth breathed an excuse and darted for the kitchen. to the door she hung a moment."Give me fifteen minutes?" she said, and vanished. There we were.

露丝露出责备的眼神,“ 你们刚才在哪儿?” 萨塞雷紧接着又说起了糟糕的天气,问我身体怎么样,为什么在西海岸这里定居。我倒了点喝的,然后准备给迈克尔温妮女士再斟满的时候,她咧嘴笑着说:“ 我还要开车。” 灯亮了。露丝告辞了一下就奔去了厨房。在出门的时候,她停顿了下说:“ 给我一刻钟就好。” 说完她就消失了。然后我们就还在那里。

I inspected Ms. McElvenny. She was just the kind of pussycat that Cesare collects. In fact, she too put me in mind of the last time we were in Rome, when an American girl came to me wanting me to get her an advance on her manuscript and be a reference in her application for a Guggenheim. She said she worked so well in Rome that she simply must stay another year. She intimated two or three times that she would do anything for the chance. I found myself unable to assist her as much as she wanted me to. Three days later I saw her at a table on the Via Veneto, smiling as any pussycat smiles who has just swallowed a bumblebee, while Italy's Greatest Novelist poured out to her, leaning head to head across the cloth, his best D'Annunzio monologue.

我观察了一下迈克尔温妮女士。他就是萨塞雷平常招惹的那种性感小野猫。事实上,她也让我想起上次我们在罗马的时候,有个美国女孩走过来让我买她还没出版的书,并且作为她的推荐人帮她申请古根海姆奖学金。她说她在罗马干的很出色,她得再待一年。她还暗示了两三次她愿意为得到这个机会做任何事情。三天后我在Via Veneto的桌边看到了她,就好像刚吞下了一只黄蜂一样露出性感小野猫的微笑,旁边意大利最伟大的小说家正在向她倾诉。他们在桌布上方头顶着头,他在说他最拿手的邓南遮独白。

A version of which he was now giving me. Beside Cesare Rulli, Ben Alexander would seem taciturn. He has an interest in everything that moves; only quiet things elude him. He cannot sit still. Sitting, he hitches a chair around like a milking stool. Standing, he hops and strides around with his impetuous limp, gained, he says, from a German bullet when he was with the partisans during the war. I make no judgement on where he spent the war or how he got his limp. Maybe he borrowed it from Lord Byron and liked it so well he forgot to return it. He is a fly in a bottle, a June bug against a screen. Where anyone else would simmer, he boils; where others boil, he erupts.

我现在看到的也是这一幕。与其相比,不只是萨塞雷·鲁利,就是本·亚历山大可能也会看起来寡言少语。他对任何活动的东西都感兴趣,只有静止的事物才不被注意。他坐也坐不住,虽然坐着,但他却像坐着挤奶凳子一样拉着凳子转。站着的时候,他也会用他充满冲劲的假肢单腿跳跃和来回大跨步地走路。他说,这是他在与游击队员作战的时候中了德国的一枚子弹,才辛苦努力获得的。也许他是从拜伦勺阵里借来的,然后很喜欢就忘了还了。他就像只瓶子里的苍蝇,荧幕上的一只六月臭虫。其他人处于慢炖状态的时候,他己经沸腾了;而其他人沸腾的时候,他就爆发了。 

He didn't dwell long on the brutto tempo or the view that is like Umbria. He was instantly off on San Francisco, which he had of course fallen in love with: a world city, a city more of Europe than America, a place full of life, excitement, color, motion, a city that knows how to play. Apparently he and his pussycat had seen it all, including two or three topless-bottomless joints in North Beach that they took in after the consul's party.

他没有继续谈论糟糕的天气或是眼前这幅像翁布里亚的景色。他又开始谈论旧金山,很显然他特别喜欢这个国际化的城市。旧金山虽在美国但却更有一种欧洲的风格,活泼生气,趣意盎然,多姿多彩,是一个“会玩的城市”。很显然,他和他的小野猫已经都玩遍了。其中还有他们从领事聚会出来去的北海滩,那里有两三家中等廉价的娱乐所。

"This that you live in is beautiful," he says with a sweeping gesture that makes Ms. McElvenny protect her sherry glass with both hands." Bella, bella. Really, it is like Umbria. With cypresses it might be Tuscany. But I am curious, Giuseppe. Why do you live in the country? Why not in San Francisco?"

“你住的这个地方真美,” 切萨雷把手一挥说道。迈克尔温妮女士赶忙双手护住乘有雪莉酒的酒杯。“ 贝拉贝拉,这里真的很像翁布里亚。要是有柏树的话,就像托斯卡纳了。但是乔塞普,我还是很好奇,你为什么住在村子里,而不住在旧金山?”

I said we were close enough. When we needed the City, which was no oftener than once a month, we could be there in less than an hour. Mostly we went for nothing more spectacular than to see an exhibition at oxie of the galleries or museums, or to walk in Golden Gate Park.

我说我们离旧金山其实很近。我们一个月最多也就去一趟市里,要去的话,不到一个小时就到了。去的话通常也是在某个画廊或博物馆里看看展览,或者在金门公园散散步,没什么特别的。

"Golden Gate Park?" says Cesare to Ms. McElvenny." Did we see that?"

“ 金门公园?” 切萨雷对迈克尔温妮女士说,“ 我们去过么?” 

"I didn't think it would be very high on your must list," says Ms. McElvenny.

“我觉得那里不是最值得您一去的地方。” 迈克尔温妮女士回答。

The glance he gave her was of such melting warmth and promise and adoration that I expected I might out of pure discretion have to leave the room for a few minutes." Avevi ragione," Cesare said. "You were right."

切萨雷看了她一眼,眼神充满浓浓的暖意与宠溺,让人心醉。经过慎重思考,我觉得我还是出去几分钟比较好。"Avevi ragione” 切萨雷说。“ 你是对的。” 

He tipped his glass to drink, and I saw his eye fix on something across the room. There were the breadpans I had set out on top of the bookcase wall. Below, overlooked in the rush, were the collected works of Oates, O'Connor, O'Neill, and Katherine Anne. He limped across to inspect them,  and  after a moment of contemptuous scrutiny limped back.

他拿起酒杯喝酒,我看见它的眼睛盯着房间另一边的什么东西。那边有我在书架墙上面放的面包盘子,下面是那些收藏的欧茨、欧康纳、奥尼尔和凯瑟琳·安妮的作品。猛一看是注意不到这些东西的。他一瘸一拐地走到那里凑近看,很嫌弃地端详了一会儿,他又一瘸一拐地回来了。 

"I didn't set them out to impress you with the competition," I said. "I set them out because the rain had leaked in and got them wet. Your own are farther along the shelf, nice and dry."

“ 我把它们放出来不是有意要跟你的比,” 我说,“ 而是因为那里漏雨把这些东西淋湿了。你的藏品在书架的前面,完好无损。” 

He grunted, regarding me across his raised glass." So you like it better in the country. What do you do besides put pans under leaks and dig in the mud?"

他举起酒杯,透过玻璃杯盯着我嘟咏着说:“ 所以你还是喜欢乡下。平常你除了挖泥和把盆放在漏雨的地方,你还千什么?”

"Lavoriamo in giardino," I said. "Leggiamo. Meditiamo. Di quando in quando facciamo una passeggata."

“ Lavoriamo in giardino,” 我说,“ Leggiamo.Meditiamo.Diquando in quando faceiamo una Passeggiata。”

"Sei filosofo," Cesare said. He studied me, tasting his drink with pursed lips, with the wincing, pleased, thoughtful expression of a horse drinking ice water. I half expected him to bob his nose in it."Who are the literary people here? Who is there to talk to?"

“ Sei filosofo。” 萨塞雷说。他一边仔细打量着我,一边呱着嘴品尝它的美酒。皱着眉,脸上露出一副满意地沉思的表情,就像马在喝冰水时的样子。我隐约觉得他会用鼻子在水里吹泡泡。“ 这里的文学家们都是谁啊?有谁在这里可以聊聊吗?” 

I said there were writers up and down the Peninsula, but no literary life as he knew it, no taverns or pubs or sidewalk cafes where they gathered to talk shop and subvert each other's wives and girl friends. Publishers and agents were all in New York. The local writers operated by mail, a fine economical system.

我说宾夕法尼亚州从南到北都有文学人物,但是过的不是他认为的那种文学生活。这别人/妻子或女朋友的形象。出版商和经纪人都在纽约。本地的作家通过发邮件来相互联系,这是一种很经济的方式。

Squinting in amusement, he called the pussycat's attention to me with a jerk of shoulder and eyebrow."Look at him. He was once a man of the world, he had juice in him, he liked conversation, excitement, people, crowds; pretty women, literary discussion. Now he sits on a cow pad and consults the grass. He pretends to be on the shelf. Look, right over there is proof that on the shelf you can get all wet. You are not fair to your wife. She is an angel, I adore her, she should be out where things go on.

他饶有兴趣地眯着眼看我。他耸了下肩,挑了下眉,他让迈克尔温妮看我。“ 看看这个人。他曾是世界王者,他很幽默,喜欢交流,追求刺激、热闹、漂亮女人,也喜欢讨论文学。现在他却坐在这里与奶牛为伍,与小草交谈。他假装远离世事,但你看,远离世事了还免不了受雨淋。你这个样子对你妻子是不公平的。她就像一个天使,我很喜欢她。她应该去繁华世界里快乐生活。

She will look at you and grow dull, dull, dull! Listen. I wish you had been with us in San Francisco. Come back with us tonight, I'll stay over, we'll see something besides Golden Gate Park. You don't want to sit in this imitation Umbria and dig in the. Mud and struggle against uncivilized nature. That is the way to grow old."

你的妻子就这样看着你,然后消沉,消沉,消沉!听着。我希望你之前能跟我们一起在旧金山待着。今晚就跟我们走吧,我会再待一段时间,逛逛金门公园,再看看其他什么的。待在这个假的布里亚挖泥,与糟糕的环境作斗争不会是你想要的。这是老年生活。” 

It was "Up at a Villa-Down in the City" all over again. Bang-whang-whang went his drum, and tootle-de-tootle his fife. After I came in, he didn't once look outside again, though what was going on out there was spectacular and even frightening. Until Ruth announced lunch-she had lighted candles on the table, anticipating further trouble from Pacific Gas and Electric-he proselytized me on life in the city square. As if I were a high school student, an not a bright one at that, he literally construed me the word "civilization," and how it came from civic, and the word "urbanity," and how it came from urbs, and he suggested that, being the man I was, I could not rusticate myself without doing harm to the civilized world.

他又开始了 “上达庙堂之上,下通江湖之远 ” 的长篇阔论,一会儿哇啦哇啦,一会儿又吧啦吧啦地说个不停。窗外的瓢泼大雨尤为壮观,甚至还让人害怕,但自打我进来,他就再没往外看过。切萨雷试图改变我对城市广场生活的看法。他从字面上给我讲解“文明”是如何从这个词的词根 “ 公民 ” 演变过来的,还跟我讲 “ 城市性 ” 是如何从词根 “ 城市 ” 演变过来的,好像我是个高中生似的,而且还是个头脑不怎么灵光的高中生。他还说我这种人住在乡下对这个文明世界是没有什么好处的。他就这样一直说到露丝宣布开饭。露丝觉得太平洋燃气与电力公司短时间内不会把电送来,于是就提前点亮了桌子上的蜡烛。

Since we were on that subject, one on which I have pondered, I remind him of some other words: "arcadian," which had its own pleasant connotations, and "civility" which might once have characterized the civis but which seemed now to be forgotten there. I said if I had my choice I preferred to be suburbane. I said there were enough people around without my going hunting them. I preferred books. And as for pretty girls and amore, I quoted him Aidous Huxley to the effect that sooner or later everybody arrived at the point where he could not take yes for an answer. Miss Pussycat, sipping her barely touched sherry and keeping track of things behind her camel eyelashes, just about broke up over that one.

既然提起了这个我一直在思考的话题,我就跟他又提了几个词:田园和礼貌。前者自带一种偷悦的内涵,而后者曾有“文明”的含义,但现在己经被人们遗忘了。我说如果我能选择的话,我宁愿做个郊区的居民。郊区人群熙熙攘攘,不用再四处探寻。我更喜欢书。说到漂亮女郎和amore,我跟他提到了阿道司·赫胃黎。人们迟早会明自, “ 是的 ” 不能用于所有的回答。迈克尔温妮女士的雪莉酒几乎没怎么动过,她正一小口一小口地喝着。在她骆驼似的睫毛下面搜寻着什么,眨的都快破了。 

But Cesare could not be diverted form his basic subject, women. He brought them to the  table with  him  and  developed  them  role  by  role:  civilizers,  comforters, handmaidens, houris, goddesses, objects of worship, homemakers, matriarchs. He made a speech worthy of an oil sheikh. Miss Pussycat watched and was fascinated, and likewise Minnie, stumbling around the table in her wiped-off but still wet shoes, bulging her white nylon as she thrust platters and bowls before people, her eyes on Cesare's animated face and her thumb comfortably in the sauce.

但是切萨雷不离口的仍然是:女人。他公开谈论这些女性,并把它们分门别类:女教化者、慰安妇、女仆、万人迷、女神、崇拜女主、主妇,还有女负责人。他像石油王国的族长一样长篇大论。小野猫听着入迷,专注地看着他。明妮也是,穿着刚擦完但仍旧湿流媲的鞋在桌子旁跌跌绊绊,露出鼓鼓的白色尼龙袜子。她在推唱片和推保龄球的时候也会这样。

But after he had run through his set pieces, Cesare rather tapered off. The plate that Minnie carried away from his place was only half cleaned. He drank his Green Hungarian without comment, almost impatiently. I had the distinct impression that he was more and more astonished that we had asked him down en famille. Why were there no other people, why had on one been invited in to meet him? Why, when we obviously were well enough off to choose, did we choose to eat like peasants in a kitchen, without the stimulation of guests? We had we not understood that a famous novelist appreciated a larger audience? His eye once or twice wandered to Ms. McElvenny's. He yearned to be gone.

她一边盯着切萨雷丰富的面部表情,一边把大拇指很自然地插到酱里。但是,切萨雷表演完他的固定曲目后,他就会逐渐安静下来。明妮清理他那里的盘子,但都只清理了一半。他一句话没说,拿起绿匈牙利葡萄酒,几乎是迫不及待地,一饮而尽。我很明显地感觉到,他对我们让他随随便便来家里做客越来越吃惊。为什么这里没有别人?为什么没有邀请别人来见他?为什么我们怎么就不明白一个伟大的小说家会享受有更多的观众?他的眼睛有一两次游离着望向迈克尔温妮女士的眼睛。他想走了。

At two-thirty she took her cue, stood up from the coffee tray in the living room, and said they ought to leave. It was such a terrible day, bad for driving, and they had appointments. How lovely of us to let her come down and kibitz on our reunion. On departure, Cesare embraced Ruth and then me, clapping my shoulder as if he were Anthony and I Enobarbas. When were we next coming to Rome? We must absolutely let him know. We must be pulled out of our retirement and restored to civilization. And for today, and the chance to see us even so briefly, mille grazie. And arrivederci. And evnga, venga a Roma.

两点半的时候她意识到了这一点,从卧室的咖啡盘旁站起,说他们该走了。天气太糟糕了,不适合开车,而他们今天又恰好有约。她很开心我们让她也过来参加我和切萨雷的相聚。走的时候,切萨雷拥抱了露丝,又抱了我,然后拍了拍我的肩膀,好像他是安东尼,而我是爱诺巴勃斯。我们必须要让他知道我们下次到罗马的时间,必须要从退休生活中出来,回归文明社会。至于今天,相见时间如此短暂,mille grazie, Arrivederci。Venga,venga a Roma。

I held an umbrella over the two of them as we all ran for their car, and got myself wet all over again. As they grimaced and waved from behind their streaming windows and swashing wipers, I stood there like Little Boy Blue's tin soldier, waving them off: When I came in, I was depressed and irritable, and I have been that way ever since.

我们一起向车跑去,我给他俩撑得伞,所以自己又湿了一身。车窗上水流不止,雨刮器也弄的雨水飞溅。他们坐在车里笑笑挥手告别。我像个小男孩布鲁的锡制士兵,站在那里,挥手看着他们离去。回来的时候,心情沮丧,烦躁不安,从那之后,就一直这个样子。

By working our heads off, we managed to give Cesare the dullest two and a half hours he has had since arriving in America. Any lunch in the City, anything from fog cutters and Indonesian sate at Trader Vic's to a beer and a Polish sausage down at the Eagle, among the longshoremen by Pier 37, would have pleased him more. It did not occur to him, so busy was he talking up women and civilization, to comment on Ruth's food, which was better than anything he would have got in the City. He was not moved by the Green Hungarian, though it is so much better than the sulphurous Frascati he is used to that he should never know peace in Rome again. Nothing we provided him, including the company, was anything but a bore. His monologues were wasted on an empty house. He pities me, I saw it in his face.

我们使出浑身的力气成功地让切萨雷度过了自来到美国后最无聊的两个半小时的时光。与37号码头的码头工人一起,在这座城市的任何一顿午餐,在垂得维克酒店的享用的任何东西,例如雾中小艇鸡尾酒和印度尼西亚沙茶酱,甚至是在易格酒店的一杯啤酒和一根波兰香肠都会让他更开心一些。他一直忙着谈论女人和文明,都没空评论露丝做的饭,这会比他在城市里吃到的更美味。他过去常常喝弗拉斯卡蒂白葡萄甜酒,绿匈牙利葡萄酒比那个好多了,但他并没有倒戈。罗马不能再带给他平静,只有这里才有。我们没有给切萨雷和他的伙伴提供任何乐趣,只是让他们无聊。在这座空荡荡的房子里做长篇大论是一种浪费。从他的脸上可以看出,他同情我。

One thing he did do-he impressed Minnie."Ain't he a skyrocket, though?" she said as we gathered to clean up."What is he, Eyetalian?"

不过,他确实做了一件事,那就是让明妮印象深刻。“ 他就像一个火箭,不是吗?” 我们一起收拾的时候她说,“ 他是谁,是意大利人吗?”

"He's a famous Italian novelist," Ruth said tightly. She was squeezing a headache between her brows."Some people, including himself, have mentioned him for the Nobel Prize."

“ 他是个有名的意大利小说家,” 露丝咬着牙说。她双眉紧锁,头痛地厉害。“ 一些人曾为他提名诺贝尔奖,他也自荐过。”

"Is that so?" Minnie said. "He talks like a writer, don't he? And don't he like the ladies! He never took his eyes off his girl friend the whole time. Who's she? She don't sound Eyetalian."

“ 是这样吗?” 明妮说,“ 他说的跟写的似的,不是吗?而且他还很喜欢女人!从进门到出去,他眼睛一直盯着他女朋友。她是谁?听说话不像意大利人。” 

"Ms. McElvenny is a San Francisco girl who will go far, and undoubtedly has," I said.

“ 迈克尔温妮女士是旧金山的,以后大有前途,现在己经有了。” 我说。

`Joe," said my weary wife, "you don't know a thing about it."

“ 乔,” 我妻子不耐烦地说,“ 你知道啥呀。” 

The hell I don't. I know Cesare.

我当然知道了,我了解切萨雷。

Now here I sit looking out into the dripping live oak, with somber afternoon fading to gloomy dusk outside, the study chilly because I haven't had the ambition to build a fire in my little Norwegian stove, and my spirits as gloomy as the evening and as chilly as the room. God damn that Roman cricket with his nonstop monologue and his pussycat and his civis and his urbs. He has managed to make me feel ten years older than I was yesterday-out of it, self-exiled, and without the courage of my convictions, without the grace to be content with what I chose.

现在我正坐在这里,望着外面滴着雨的橡树。昏暗的下午渐渐变成了阴沉的黄昏。我不想在家里的小挪威炉子里生火,书桌冻得瑟瑟发抖。我的精神像傍晚一样阴沉,像房间一样发冷。去他的 “ 罗马火箭 ”,自己一直说个不停,去他的讨人厌的小野猫、“ 公民 ” 和 “ 城市 ” 理论。他让我觉得自己又老了10岁---走出城市,背井离乡,不勇于坚定自己的信仰,不能心安理得地过自己选择的生活。

Tonight, unless Ruth's headache alter the plan, I suppose I will have to read another installment of the journals of Joseph Allston, 1954. I am not sure I like Ruth's prescription any better than I like Cesare's, and I find that I resent the assumption both of them make, that I have stopped, and am in need of repair. It irritates me to have people blowing out my gas line and testing my sparkplugs and feeling all over me for loose wires. I suppose Ruth thinks of me as that melancholy Half-Dane in need of comforting and mothering; maybe she also thinks of my life, which is also hers, as a sort of in-house soap opera. Butt mainly she yearns over me and knows things that I should do to become her old nice funny Joe again.

晚上本来打算再看一本乔瑟夫·奥尔斯顿(1954)写的日记,但露丝头痛犯了,就没去看。我既不喜欢露丝让我做的事情,也不喜欢切萨雷让我做的事情。而且他们都认为我停滞不前了,需要休整。我很讨厌他们这种想法。如果有人吹裂我的气管,检测我的火花塞,感受我浑身上下的松动线路,我就会发火。我想露丝是把我当成了那个闷闷不乐的半个丹麦人了,需要安慰照料;也许她认为我的生活(同样也是她的)是一出室内肥皂剧。但是大多时候,她改变我的的欲望超过我,她知道我该做什么才能再次变成让她开心的老乔。 

I can't see that Danish episode as an adventure, or a crisis survived, or a serious quest for anything definable. It was just another happening like today's luncheon, something I got into and got out of. And it reminds me too much of how little life changes: how, without dramatic events or high resolves, without tragedy, without even pathos, a reasonably endowed, reasonably well-intentioned man can walk through the world's great kitchen from end to end and arrive at the back door hungry.

在丹麦的那段不能看作是一场冒险或看作是险中求生,无论怎么想,也不能看作是任何可以定义的事情。它其实就像今天中午的午餐一样,我们卷进去又出来了。这也使我想到原来生活并没变多少:没有戏剧性的事件,也没有任何应用英勇的决定、没有悲剧发生、甚至没有悲伤,这样的情况下,一个天赋异凛好心肠的人可以穿过世界上最伟大的厨房,从一头走到另一头,最后仍然饥肠辘辘走到后门。

We parted, mutually complimentary. He went away somewhere, and I rang the bell and was admitted by the brawny maid, who was obviously agitated. I couldn't understand a word of her Danish, but she kept looking up the stairs, so I started up, to be met halfway by Ruth, crying, Oh, where have you been, I've been going out of my mind! You shouldn't have stayed out so long, what have you been doing? Etc. Turns out the old countess was no sooner steered back to her rooms than she had a seizure of some kind, stroke, heart attack, nobody seemed to know. She might be dead or alive at this moment. Manon and the countess were with her, dinner was canceled, they would send something up.

我们相互恭维了几句,才告了辞。我不知他回了哪里,我按了城堡的门铃,一位体格健壮的女仆给我开了门。很明显,她显得很烦躁。我听不懂她的丹麦话,但她一直向上瞅着楼梯,所以我上了楼。半路,碰上嘎咽的露丝,叫嚷着 “ 啊,你去哪儿了?我找你找得快发疯了。你怎么出去这么久?你干什么去啦?”等等之类的话。听说,老女伯爵一回到她房间,就中了风,又或者是心脏病就发作了,没人知道究竟是什么病。这会儿,她不知是死是活。玛农和女伯爵陪着她,晚餐取消了,稍后,仆人会送一些晚饭到楼上。

In the circumstances I didn't want to ring for ice. We had a couple of warm scotches and water while I told her what I had been doing, and with whom. She looked at my hand and my skinned feet and lamented. She wondered that I hadn't had a heart attack, what on earth was I thinking of, how could I dream of playing tennis, the way I had been feeling? Shortly the maid knocked and wheeled in a tea cart with dinner on it, and a good dinner, too, with a good cold bottle of Mosel, and over it we speculated a long while about this feud between the countess and her brother, and about Miss We ibull, and discussed my adventures down the lane and among the fields and woods and on the courts of honor.

看这情况,我不想按铃寻求服务。我们来了几杯威士忌,几杯开水,期间,我向露丝讲述了我下午经历的事情,都碰到了谁。她关切地看了看我的手,还有我破了一层皮的脚,不住地责备我。她说,我的心脏病有没有发作,我那时到底怎么想得,竟然同意去和那青年打网球。 过了一会儿,仆人敲门进来,推着茶车送来了晚饭。这是顿好饭,还有一瓶甚好的摩泽尔葡萄淤。吃饭期间,我俩对女伯爵和她哥哥的恩怨、韦布尔小姐的尴尬境地做了种种猜测,还说起了我沿着车道、在田野和林间、和在那光荣的球场所经历的事儿。

We kept expecting the countess to come and let us know what was going on, but it got to be ten-thirty, and then eleven, without a sign of her. Ruth kissed me a trembling, helpless kiss and went off to her canopied four-poster and after a while I heard that she was asleep.

我们一直盼着女伯爵过来,给我们解释今日发生的事儿,但到了10:30,又到了11:00,都没看到她的影儿。露丝给了我一个颤抖的、无助的吻,走向了她有华盖的四柱卧床。过了一会儿,我听到她酣睡的呼吸声。

And here I sit; with thirty great wounds, of the least of which an emir world have died, scratching in a God damn notebook. Why? Do I think I'll forget this? I can smell the lilacs that breathe up through the open casements, and watch the moonlight chase timidly back and forth across the Aubusson rug, advancing to Ruth's bed, scurrying back, creeping out again. Outside it is not really dark; we are getting close to the time of the white.nights, when there is no true darkness, but only some hours of dusk. The sky now is either filled with moonlight or is the same predawn gray that it was when I looked out before going to bed.

我坐在这儿,感到浑身都疼,估计得有酋长因这疼痛而离开世间了。我不情愿地拿出笔记本,写下这一切。为什么呢?难道我会忘了今天发生的事儿?通过敞开的窗户,我可以闻到丁香花的香味,看到月光羞怯地追逐着欧巴松挂毯,还来到了露丝的床边,随后脚步轻快地撤退,又悄悄溜出房间了。外面,并不是特别黑,这个地方已经快到白昼时段了,所以并没有真正的黑暗,只是持续几小时的黄昏而己。这会儿,我打算休息之前望了望外面,天既充满了月光,也能说在经历黎明前的黑暗。 

The moonlight ventures out, reaches, stretches, dimly trembles on the bedclothes, on the darkness of Ruth's hair; the paleness of her face. I hope she is dreaming something gorgeous, her first night in an authentic castle.

月光还在探险,她又来到屋内,伸了一下懒腰,趁着昏暗在铺盖上懒洋洋地磨蹭,顺便还挑逗了露丝的头发,照亮了露丝的脸。我希望她在做一个甜甜的梦,毕竟这是她第一次睡在真正的城堡里啊。

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