倒霉孩子
Hapless Children
3990字
2019-12-29 23:31
50阅读
火星译客

Bells are bonging the hour of four from a dozen steeples. Below me, people buysausages from a street wagon. I pour another two fingers of cold akvavit and pick upanother piece of slimy herring. I never much like herring, but this is suddenlydelicious. It goes with the akvavit in one of those subtle food-and-drink marriages likeoctopus, feta cheese, and ouzo in Greece. It is a form of instant naturalization. I amvery glad to be here.

阵阵钟声从十二个教堂尖塔里传来,四点了。楼下,人们在沿街卖东西的小车那里买香肠,我又倒了一杯两指宽的烧酒,凉凉的,还吃了一块易乳的鲜鱼。我不是特别喜欢鲜鱼,但这次我突然觉得味道还不错。跟烧酒配起来,就像是那种美妙的食物与饮品的结合,就像希腊的章鱼、羊奶酪和茵香烈酒搭配在一起。这是一种入乡随俗吧。在这里待着真好。 

Just now the door opened and a maid, evidently expecting an empty room, started in. Isaid something in English. A wave of red washed upward from her neck, a blush sodark it looked painful, and she scrambled out, falling over her own feet. New,probably, a country girl just learning to make beds and scrub bathtubs and bring inmorning coffee. I can't avoid the feeling that she is just such a girl as my mother waswhen she first got up the courage- and what an act of courage it had to be---to spendher savings on a third-class ticket to America, all by herself I have been half jokingabout going back to the village she came from  Bregninge, I don't even know whatisland it's on-but I'm sure now I will. Tomorrow we will start negotiations for a car,and call on the rental agent whose name we got from the cherry grower on theStockholm. We will get get maps, guidebooks, phrase books. Ruth swears she will nottry to learn Danish, but that doesn't have to hinder me. Already I can say Ja tak andvaer saa god and an smuk pige, and I am getting pretty good at the glottal stop.

刚才门开了,一位女仆肯定以为里边没有人,就直接进来了。我说了几句英语。一阵红晕从脖子上窜到了她脸上,脸那么红,看上去有些痛苦。她跑了出去,但被自己的脚又绊倒了。也许是个新来的乡下姑娘刚学会铺床、刷洗浴盆和在早上送咖啡。她不禁让我想起我母亲第一次鼓起勇气用存下的钱买了一张三等票,只身前往美国。(母亲是多么勇敢)当时她也是这样的一个姑娘。我曾经有些开玩笑的说要去母亲的家乡布赖宁厄,但是我连那个村庄在哪个岛上都不知道。不过我现在确定我会去的。在斯德哥尔摩号上,一个种植樱桃的果农给了我们一个租车代理商的名字,我们明天要跟代理商商量一下租辆车,还要买地图、旅游指南和丹麦语常用语手册。露丝发誓不学丹麦语,但那不会阻止我学丹麦语的决心。我现在己经会说“Ja tak" ", "vaer saa god"和“en smuk pige",而且声门塞音也发的越来越好了。 

On the corner, carpenters are working on the second floor of a building. I watch a boy,an apprentice he has to be, come from the street with bottles of beer spread fanwisebetween the fingers of both hands. Eight bottles, he carries. He disappears under thescaffolding, reappears after a while on the second floor. The carpenters lay down theirtools and each takes a beer. They pass the opener around, they hoist their bottlestoward one another and tilt them to their mouths. They look like a bulge corps playing"To the Colors," and I accept their salute.

角落里,木工们正在一座大楼的二层施工。我看到一个男孩,从楼下那条街上走来,他肯定是个学徒。抱着啤酒瓶,两手手指上洒的都是。是8瓶。经过脚手架的时候,看不到他了,但一会儿又在那个二层出现了,木匠们放下手中的家伙,一人拿了一瓶啤酒。啤酒起子一个人用完再传给下一个人,他们举瓶互相致敬,再倾倒酒瓶大口喝起来。他们看上去就像吹号小队正在演奏“致颜色”一样,我接受了他们的致敬:

Velkommen, Onkel Yoe.

" Velkommen,Onkel Yoe "。 

I slapped the notebook shut."That's all for the night.I'm getting singer's nodules."

我合上了笔记本。“ 今晚就到这里吧,再讲下去,我就要像歌手那样长结节了。” 

She didn't object."All right. That was nice, Wecanread some more tomorrow night,and every night till we finish it. Unless it bothersyou too much."

她没有反对。“ 好吧。这样真好,明天晚上可以再读点儿,每天晚上都读点儿,最后读完它。但愿这本日记不会给你带来多大困扰。” 

"It doesn't bother me."

“当然没什么困扰。”

"I'm afraid it does," she said. "It bothers me, too. But don't you think…I mean, thisfits right in with the letters you're going through. Here's a whole piece of our life, asort of strange interlude."

“害怕对你有困扰,” 她说。“这也令我困扰。但是,别以为……我的意思是,你看的那些信很适合这样做。这是我们生活中完整的一部分,一个奇怪的插曲。”

"Strange interlude is right." I stood up, and I guess she saw me wince.

 “是挺奇怪的,” 说着我站了起来,皱了下眉。我想她看到了。 

It amuses Cesare to talk as if, every time we get together,we do nothingbut pinchbottoms, follow Lollabrigidas and Lorens down alleys,and live thedolce vita accommodating starlets, whereas in plain fact we have spent nearly every hour we ever had together sitting at a table at Downey's, where Cesare will be most visible, conducting monologues with him as monologuist and me as monologuee, and consuming drinks for which, naturally and gracefully, he lets me pay. He always understood what agents are for, even though he was never more than briefly my client.

切萨雷说的好像我们每次碰面都会干点下流的事儿,尾随洛洛布里吉达斯和劳伦斯至大街小巷,与刚出道很听话的小明星干一些dolce vita",他很乐意这样说。但事实上,我们在一起时,总是在唐尼市找张桌子坐下。切萨雷会十分显眼,像旁自者一样进行独自,我是他的听众。我们会点点儿喝的,然后我买单,他认为这是理所当然的。他总是知道经纪人的目的是什么,不过他也就仅仅是我的客户。 

I held the telephone four inches from my ear and let him shout for a while. When he lulled, I said, "Well, that's great, it's great to hear your voice. We're delighted you called, and tickled you're coming for lunch. I know you're at a party now, so I won't hold onto you. We'll spill it all tomorrow, shall we? But better let me tell Ms. McElvenny how to get you here."

我把电话放到我耳朵外四英寸远的地方,决定先让他先吼会儿。过了一会儿,他安静下来了,我说:“恩,又听到你的声音了,真好!你能打电话过来我们太开心了,你能过来吃午饭我们就更高兴了。你现在在聚会,我就不打扰你了。明天我们再好好聊一聊吧?不过还是让我再跟迈尔温妮女士说句话,我得跟她说说你们怎么找到这儿?” 

D'accordo. Va benissimo. A domai. Ciao, ciao, Giuseppe, arrivederla. He put her back on, and I gave her directions. She couldn't thank me enough. She knew it would make Mr. Rulli's trip, just to see us.

“D'accordo. Va benissimo. A domani. Ciao, ciao, Giuseppe, arrivederla !” 他把电话给了迈克尔温妮女士,我跟它说了路线,她感激不尽,因为即使只是来见我们,这也可以算是鲁利的一个旅程。 

I inspected Ms. McElvenny. She was just the kind of pussycat that Cesare collects. Infact, she too put me in mind of the last time we were in Rome, when an American girlcame to me wanting me to get her an advance on her manuscript and be a reference inher application for a Guggenheim. She said she worked so well in Rome that shesimply must stay another year. She intimated two or three times that she would doanything for the chance. I found myself unable to assist her as much as she wanted meto. Three days later I saw her at a table on the Via Veneto, smiling as any pussycatsmiles who has just swallowed a bumblebee, while Italy's Greatest Novelist pouredout 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 wouldseem taciturn. He has an interest in everything that moves; only quiet things eludehim. 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 aGerman bullet when he was with the partisans during the war. I make no judgementon 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场所。

"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 one 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,你还干什么?” 

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 subverteach other's wives and girl friends. Publishers and agents were all in New York. Thelocal 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。这里没有酒馆酒吧,也没有路边咖啡馆可供人们聚在一起,谈论购物,低毁别人/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 ofshoulder and eyebrow."Look at him. He was once a man of the world, he had juice inhim, he liked conversation, excitement, people, crowds; pretty women, literarydiscussion. Now he sits on a cow pad and consults the grass. He pretends to be on theshelf. Look, right over there is proof that on the shelf you can get all wet. You are notfair to your wife. She is an angel, I adore her, she should be out where things go on.She will look at you and grow dull, dull, dull! Listen. I wish you had been with us inSan Francisco. Come back with us tonight, I'll stay over, we'll see something besidesGolden Gate Park. You don't want to sit in this imitation Umbria and dig in the. Mudand struggle against uncivilized nature. That is the way to grow old."

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。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 hisdrum, 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 Ruthannounced lunch-she had lighted candles on the table, anticipating further troublefrom Pacific Gas and Electric-he proselytized me on life in the city square. As if Iwere a high school student, an not a bright one at that, he literally construed me theword "civilization," and how it came from civis, and the word "urbanity," and how itcame from urbs, and he suggested that, being the man I was, I could not rusticatemyself 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 someother words: "arcadian," which had its own pleasant connotations, and "civility"which might once have characterized the civis but which seemed now to be forgottenthere. I said if I had my choice I preferred to be suburbane. I said there were enoughpeople around without my going hunting them. I preferred books. And as for prettygirls and amore, I quoted him Aidous Huxley to the effect that sooner or latereverybody arrived at the point where he could not take yes for an answer. MissPussycat, sipping her barely touched sherry and keeping track of things behind hercamel 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 tothe 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。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。 

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? Why 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.

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,vengaa 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。 

There will be more than backaches, I tell Ruth, but she thinks it will work. She andthe countess liked each other on sight."Isn't she lovely!" the countess said to me whenRuth was looking out the window with the agent."I love people to look like that!" Shesays we will get along fine because we will be nice against one another. She will benice against us, ans she knows we will be nice against her. Well, Barkis is willin'.Ihave been harder people to be nice against. The agent told us she was one of the greatbeauties of Denmark, and so far as I can see, she still is, at forty or so. A husband whowould run away from that should have his head carefully examined. But I don't needa share of her troubles, which seem considerable and a little mysterious, and neitherdo I want every move we make to be complicated by the feeling that she must askedalong. Nor do I want her around the apartment all the time. I feel too lousy, and shedoesn't have a very good silencer.

我跟露丝说:“ 现在是背痛,以后一定还会有其他的病痛。” 但是她却觉得这不是问题,会好的。她和女伯爵“一见钟情”。露丝正跟房子代理商看着窗外,女伯爵对我说:“ 她太可爱了!”“我喜欢可爱的人旦”她说。她觉得我们会友好相待,相处融洽。她会对我们友好,而且她知道我们也会对她友好。总之,“ 巴基斯愿意 ”。我没有见过比她更难相处的人了。代理商跟我们谈起,女伯爵曾是丹麦的大美女。我估计她现在差不多40岁了,不过仍然很离开这样一位美女的丈夫是该好好检查下脑子有没有问题了。但是我不需要分担她的麻她的麻烦看上去有很多,而且还有点神秘。我们也不想干什么事情都叫上她,那太麻烦我也不希望她总在公寓周围转悠,这会让我感觉不舒服,她也没有安装一个好使的消音器。

Right now she and Ruth are out getting acquainted with the neighborhoodgreengrocers and bakers and butchers. I ducked, partly because I'm not feeling toochummy. Like this morning, when I went out to get tickets for Friday night's opera.What do I do? I buy three. What does the countess do? After a moment of surprise,almost of consternation, she accepts with pleasure. I have to learn to keep impulseslike that under control.

现在,她正带着露丝在外面熟悉周围的蔬菜水果店、烘焙店和肉店。我没去,一方面是我身体不太舒服,但也是因为我不想显得太亲密。要不然的话,就比方说我今天早晨出去买周五晚上的歌剧票,那么我就得买三张。女伯爵会怎么做呢?她会惊讶一阵,其实几乎是惊恐,然后满心欢喜的接受。我得学会控制自己,不能那样冲动。 

Now here they come down the quay under their umbrellas, each with a bulging stringshopping bag. Jabber jabber jabber. A woman's tongue, said the first American writerof any consequence, is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use. Theirwet umbrellas lean together, their bags bump, they are so blinded by talk that theystumble on the paving stones. For Ruth's sake I'm glad. I made no preparations forDenmark; I intend to look up no writers or publishers, even for social reasons. Shecan't have any great expectation of fun. A friend will help.

现在他们打着伞从码头上走回来了,每个人都鼓鼓的背了一袋子。叽里呱啦地聊着天。美国第一位作家 (无论怎么排都是他) 曾说:“ 唯一越用越锋利的利器就是女人的舌头。” 她们湿流流的雨伞靠在一起,背包鼓鼓的。他们聊得太投入了,在铺好的路上也能跌倒。来丹麦前我毫无准备,也没想拜访哪位作家或出版商,甚至也没想进行社交。也没什么让露丝开心的了,交个朋友也许会iL她开心。所以考虑到露丝,我很乐意在这里。来丹麦前没有做任何准备,即使是处于社交目的,没想要摆放哪位作家或出版商。交到朋友真好,她特别开心。

Ruth is small, the countess five nine or ten, with a vivid face and fine clear skin. Shewould be statuesque except that she is so animated. An almost feverish eagernesspossesses her in conversation, she lights up even before you say anything. Everythingis so funny, or so wonderful, or so nice. Maybe the strain of speaking English, inwhich she is fluent but not always correct, keeps her hyped up. Whatever it is, shecouldn't be more cordial if we had just come ashore on the desert island from whichshe had been sending up hopeless smoke signals for ten years.

露丝娇小,而女伯爵有5英尺9英寸或10英寸那么高,一张明快的面庞,皮肤白暂。她很活泼,要不就会把她当作雕像了。与她谈话热情四射,几乎你还没说什么呢她就喃起来了。一切都那么有趣,那么精彩或者说是那么美好。她说着一口流利的英语,但是时不时地会有语法错误,也许是这样给她造成了一些压力:让她情绪高涨。在过去的十年中,她一直在沙漠荒岛发送绝望的烟雾信号,只要我们刚踏上荒岛的岸边,她就会不管三七二十一地特别热情。

I have a good look at her from up here. She wears a kerchief on her head, but herheavy, smooth, dull gold hair is uncovered in front and gathered behind in a bun thatlooks as if it might weigh a killo. Something in the way she moves. Is it breeding, ordo they train them? American women who have what is called "bearing" look as ifthey'd learned it in model school and need a mirror for its constant reassurance. This one, in her tweed suit and sensible walking shoes and utilitarian raincoat, throws it away and still has it.

站在高处,我看她看得很清楚。她头上包着一个头巾,但是她干枯的金发又厚又顺,前面没包住露了出来,后面绑了一个发髻,那发髻好像可以承担一公斤的重量。她把路上的一个东西搬到了旁边。这一举动是他们天生的吗还是是训练的结果?拥有所谓 “气质” 的美国女士看上去就好像在模特学校学习过,需要一面镜子来时刻检查自己保持着 “气质” 。而面前这位,身穿粗花呢套装,脚踩一双舒适的散步鞋,身上还披着实用的雨衣,这样的打扮谈不上有什么气质,但是气质却依然从她身上散发出来。 

But sometimes as earthy as the stableman's daughter, and sometimes she mocks herself. When the agent mentioned the 7}avnefart, the harbor tour that periodically comes up the canal, the English implications of the word struck her and she giggled. And when we were sitting talking, later, she noticed Ruth's shoes and cried out, "Oh, those tiny American feet!" and in frank envy stuck out her own number Bights for contrast. She has a smile that would melt glass.

但是有时候她也会像马夫的女儿那样接地气,有时她也会自嘲。当房产中介人提到 "havnefart",就是那种隔一段时间就会出现在运河上的海港游时,她想到了这个英语词汇的含义,怔了一下,然后咯咯笑了起来。后来,我们坐下来聊天,她注意到了露丝的鞋,她大声说:“啊,美国小脚!” 相比自己的8号大脚,她羡慕不己。她的微笑可以融化玻璃。 

I watch them lean from the quay to inspect the plucked chickens held up by the man in the produce boat from Skagen moored at the dead end of the canal. They take one, then a slab of cheese, then six eggs that the Skagen man wraps individually in newspaper. The countess opens her purse. Ruth will not let her pay. Good.

运河的一端停泊着来自斯卡恩的生产船只,船里有个人举起一只毛被拔光的鸡,我看着她们从码头探出身子看了看那只鸡,买了一只。然后又买了一块奶酪和六个鸡蛋,那个斯卡恩人把这些东西分别用报纸包裹起来。女伯爵打开钱包,但露丝不让她付。这就对了。

Rain dimples the still canal. The cobbles shine, the deck of the Skagen boat is dark wet. Up and down it from bow to stern and back again runs a splendid black poodle, intensely interested in the life four feet form him on the quay. A sign hung from the rail amidships says Hur}deh Bider-the dog bites. Ruth, of course, animal lover and non-reader of Danish, reaches a hand across to pat him and is confronted by a raging mouthful of fangs. Hurt, she falls back; the countess volubly explaining. Really she is a handsome woman, and a true Dane: her cheeks glow in the rain like shined apples. They pass out of sight below rne. In three minutes they will be at the door.

雨滴滴落在了平静的运河河面上,打湿了那只斯卡恩船只的甲板,鹅卵石路光影绰绰。那只小船上有只华丽的贵宾犬不停地在船头与船尾之间来回跑,对于码头上离它英尺之外的生物产生了浓厚的兴趣。众多的船只中间有个围栏上面挂着一个牌子:Hunden Bider。但是动物爱好者露丝看不懂丹麦语,她就伸出一只手要去拍它,一嘴尖牙猛地朝她咬过来,她疼得赶紧缩回手去,女伯爵赶忙解释了一番。她真是美,是一个典型的丹麦人:脸颊在雨中泛着光,就像是有光泽的苹果一样。她们走到下面,我看不到他们了。三分钟之后她们就到门口了。

But I will be bet that shortly we will have tea and then a drink together. Even money they will take that chicken into the kitchen and make a shared dinner of it. It's too wet and raw to go out, and can you see us letting her take her tray into her room, while we revel in the dining room over a poulet rcYti and a bottle of Nersteiner natur? And tomorrow, in spite of my feeble efforts not to fraternize too much, this woman who spent her youth adorning royal balls and being ogled in theater boxes will share the second-row balcony with her new American friends, while thousands cheer. I am just enough of an American democrat to get a kick out of the idea.

我敢肯定我们一会儿就会在一起喝茶,然后再一起喝酒。而且也打赌她们肯定会把鸡带到厨房做晚餐,然后我们再共享晚宴。外面又湿又冷,出不去。她拿着盘子到她那个房间去了,而我们则在餐厅里陶醉于 poulet roti 和一瓶natur 尼阿斯坦纳葡萄酒。虽然我努力跟她保持距离,减少接触,明天也会跟我们这两个美国朋友一起坐在剧院的第二排,听其他上千人的欢呼声。她的青春献给了装饰皇家舞会,剧院里的人色迷迷地看着她。我还是一个合格的思想开放的美国民主党人,这只是为了逗乐而已。 

As a prophet, I bet a thousand. We've had a gay dinner. The countess is good company, a giggler, full of stories, and when she dresses up in something besides her tweed suit she could be a princess in a fairy tale by the brothers Grimm. She is related to every castle in Denmark and most of those in Sweden and North Germany. Her family's estate is on Lolland, but she has spent a lot of time at Waldermarslot on the little island of Taasinge and at a relative's herregaard on Fyn, near Odense. She used to see a lot of the royal family because her father was Hofjaegermester, mater of the hunt, and an important business of his Lolland castle was growing bares, pheasants, grouse, chukars, and deer for.the Ding's fall hunting parties. Another relative is Kaxen Blixen, who writes under the name of Isak Dinesen and who is the one person in Denmark I would like, out of sheer admiration, to meet. The countess says she will arrange it. Fraternizing like mad, we plan a lot of expeditions together as soon as our Rover arrives from England. See a lot of castles.

我这个预言家要下一千的赌注。晚饭我们吃的很开心。女伯爵是一个挺好的伴侣。她爱格格地笑,是一个很有故事的人。除了她那件花呢套装,她穿别的衣服的时候就活脱脱地是格林童话中的公主。她不仅与丹麦的每一座城堡都有关系,还与瑞典和德国北部的大部分城堡也都有关系。她的家族在洛兰岛上,但她大部分时间却待在塔辛格的瓦尔德玛这个地方,或者待在菲英岛上离欧登塞不远的亲戚家的 herregaard 那里。她父亲是 Hofjaegermester,洛兰岛城堡很重要的业务就是为国王秋季狩猎会养兔子、野鸡、松鸡、石鸡和鹿等等,所以她曾见识过皇家的种种。她的另一个亲戚是凯丽·布利克森。她的笔名是伊萨克·迪内森,她应该是我唯一在丹麦纯粹出于仰慕而想见到的人了。女伯爵说会安排见面的。我们的关系发展到了十分亲密的地步,我们准备等我们的路虎从英格兰一到这里,我们就一起开始众多远途旅行,探寻大量的城堡。

I gather that this leftover aristocracy has about lots its function and has been losing its lands for decades. They all marry their cousins for lack of anybody else suitable. Man mainly drunks, the countess suggests; and the woman all witches. She herself has powers. Several times she has had second sight. She has a gift for quieting unruly or maddened horses, and once, while visiting relatives near Kassel, in Germany, she cured a boy of warts.

我想女伯爵这一遗留的贵族已经基本上没什么用了,几十年前就失去了土地。由于没有合适的人选,他们兄弟姐妹之间就互相联姻了。女伯爵认为,男人们大部分都是醉汉,而女人们都是女巫。她自己也拥有魔力。有时候她有预测能力,她能够使桀骜不驯的马安静下来。还有一次,在德国卡塞尔市附近拜访亲戚的时候治好了男孩的疵子。 

I learn from her how to skaal the lady on my left; until she has been skaafed she is not supposed to touch her wine. Look the lady deep in the eyes, hold the glass at the third vest button, raise it and drink it, still holding her eyes and then, still holding them, lower to the third vest button. It is an astonishingly intimate ritual. It taught me that I practically never look anybody that steadily  in the eyes, especially a good-looking, amused, and amusing woman.

我还从她那里学到了如何与我左边的女士 skall。skaal 后,她才能喝酒。方法是这样的:注视女人的眼睛深处,把杯子举到第三颗纽扣的地方,举杯喝酒,接着继续看着她的眼睛,保持注视,然后线下看到第三颗纽扣的地方。这是一个十分亲密的仪式。这让我意识到我基本从来没有那样一直注视过别人的眼睛,更不用说注视一个既好玩又有趣的漂亮女人了。 

Coincidence department: Ruth mentioned that my mother came from Denmark. Oh, from where? Asked the countess. I said some village named Bregninge. Bregninge? She said. Bregninge on Lolland? Oh, how funny! If it is that Bregninge, it is on our estate, where I grew up. Great, I said. That's another expedition for us when the car comes. Want to go back to Lolland?

巧的是,露丝提到我母亲也来自丹麦。“是么,丹麦哪里呢?” 女伯爵问道。我回答说是个叫布赖宁厄的地方。“布赖宁厄吗?那是我们的土地,我就在那里长大的。” “太棒了。” 我说。“等车来了,我们就又多了一个地方可去。想回洛兰岛么?” 

But a cloud has come over our dinner party. The countess does not get along with her brother, hasn't seen him or written to him in years. It agitates her, obviously, even to talk about him. On the other hand his wife, who is Swedish and sad, is very nice. And the countess' grandmother is still alive, nearly a hundred years old. What if she wrote to Manon, her brother Eigil's wife, to see if she will invite us for luncheon or tea, so that the countess can see her grandmother and show us the castle, without running into her brother? We could stay at the little inn in Bregninge, on the shore.

但是这顿晚饭并不总是那么愉快。女伯爵跟他哥哥的关系不怎么好,己经有很多年没见过他,也没写过信了。这让她感到不安。很显然,甚至是提到他都会不安。不过哥哥的妻子是一个瑞典人,情绪低落但人却很好。女伯爵的祖母依然在世,也称得上百岁老人了。不过要是她能给哥哥艾伊尔的妻子玛农写信,看看能不能让她邀请我们过去吃午饭或喝茶的话,女伯爵就可以见到祖母,也可以带我们参观城堡了,同时也可以避免碰到她哥哥。我们可以待在岸上布赖宁厄的小酒馆里。 

Fine, sure. But notice one thing. The countess has a hundred stories, but none about herself, ans she mentions every relative including some like her brother Eigil whom she won't speak to, but never her husband. And why haven't any of these rich castle dwellers rescued her? Why does she o take in lodgers?

当然可以了,但是还要注意一件事。女伯爵有上百个故事,但却都是关于别人的。虽然不跟哥哥说话,但她也会提到他以及其它的亲戚,但是她却从未提到她的丈夫。她们家大业大,为什么没人来拯救她呢,她为什么还得出来租房子? 

People's private live strike me as none of my business, and I have never developed the habit of fishing for them. I wait for the countess to volunteer something about her personal problems, but so far she has not. Doesn't she trust us, after we have gone out of our way to be nice against her?

别人的私生活跟我没有任何关系,我也没有探索别人私生活的习惯。我等着女伯爵自己说说她个人的问题,但是到现在她也没有透露半点。我们对她的态度己经有所转变,不再对她冷漠不理,难道她不信任我们么?   

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