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Tropic of Cancer[北回归线][En/Cn]

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第9节

我在范诺登身后跪下,更加留神地检验这部机器。姑娘把脑袋偏向一侧,绝望地瞧了我一眼说,“没有用,不行了。”听到这话,范诺登又鼓足劲儿干起来,活像一头老公羊。他就是这么一个固执的怪物,宁肯折断了犄角也不肯停祝现在我又在他屁股上搔痒,更使他恼羞成怒。

I get down on my knees behind Van Norden and I examine the machine more attentively. The girl throws her head on one side and gives me a despairing look. "It's no use," she says. "It's impossible." Upon which Van Norden sets to work with renewed energy, just like an old billy goat. He's such an obstinate cuss that he'll break his horns rather than give up. And he's getting sore now because I'm tickling him in the rump.

 

  “看在上帝份上,乔,住手吧!你会弄死这个可怜的姑娘的。”

"For God's sake, Joe, give it up! You'll kill the poor girl."

 

  “别打搅我,”他咕噜道。“刚才我差点儿……就插进去了。”

"Leave me alone," he grunts. "I almost got it in that time."

 

  他这会儿的姿势和说话时那种武断的态度又一次突然叫我回忆起了从前做过的那场梦,只是这一回他走路时大大咧咧夹在腋下的那根扫帚把永远不见了。如今发生的事情是那场梦的继续- 还是同一个范诺登,不过没有了那个原始动力。他像打完仗归来的英雄,一个可怜的残废人,在梦幻中的现实里生活。无论在哪儿他往下一坐椅子便散了;无论他走进哪一扇门那个房间都是空的;无论他吃什么嘴里都留下一股不好的味道。

The posture and the determined way in which he blurts this out suddenly bring to my mind, for the second time, the remembrance of my dream. Only now it seems as though that broomstick, which he had so nonchalantly slung under his arm, as he walked away, is lost forever. It is like the sequel to the dream – the same Van Norden, but minus the primal cause. He's like a hero come back from the war, a poor maimed bastard living out the reality of his dreams. Wherever he sits himself the chair collapses; whatever door he enters the room is empty: whatever he puts in his mouth leaves a bad taste.

 

  每一件事情都跟以前一样,环境未变,梦与现实并没有多大区别。只是,在睡觉和醒来这段时间之内他的躯体被人盗走了。他像一部抛出报纸的印刷机,每天抛出上百万、上亿张报纸,头一版上尽是灾难,尽是暴乱、凶杀、爆炸和撞车事故,但是他却全然无动于衷。如果没有人关上开关他绝不会明白死是怎么回事,假如自己的身体被人盗走了你就不会死了。你可以哄骗一个女人,可以像一头公山羊一样没命地干下去,永远干下去。你也可以投身于战壕中,让炮火炸个粉身碎骨,但是如果没有一只人手的参与什么也造不出这激情的火花。总得有人把手伸进机器里去,把机器把手扳下来 -若要叫齿轮重新啮合的话。这个人要在不指望得到酬劳的前提下去这样做,他不能总惦记着那十五法郎。这个人的胸脯不能厚,一枚勋章就会叫他变成驼背。这个人还得给快饿死的女人吃一顿,而不必害怕吃的东西又被吐出来。否则这场戏便会无休止地演下去,没有一条走出迷津的道路……

Everything is just the same as it was before; the elements are unchanged, the dream is no different than the reality. Only, between the time he went to sleep and the time he woke up, his body was stolen. He's like a machine throwing out newspapers, millions and billions of them every day, and the front page is loaded with catastrophes, with riots, murders, explosions, collisions, but he doesn't feel anything. If somebody doesn't turn the switch off he'll never know what it means to die; you can't die if your own proper body has been stolen. You can get over a cunt and work away like a billy goat until eternity; you can go to the trenches and be blown to bits; nothing will create that spark of passion if there isn't the intervention of a human hand. Somebody has to put his hand into the machine and let it be wrenched off if the cogs are to mesh again. Somebody has to do this without hope of reward, without concern over the fifteen francs; somebody whose chest is so thin that a medal would make him hunchbacked. And somebody has to throw a feed into a starving cunt without fear of pushing it out again. Otherwise this show'll go on forever. There's no way out of the mess…

 

舔老板的屁股舔了整整一个星期后我设法弄到了佩克奥弗的工作,在这儿就得这样干。这可怜虫果然死了,是掉在电梯下过了几个小时后死的。正如我所预见的,他们替他举行了隆重的丧礼,庄严的弥撒,巨大的花圈,一切应有尽有,应有尽有。仪式结束后楼上的家伙们在一家酒吧里尽情吃喝了一顿,遗憾的是佩克奥弗无法再吃一点儿了—能同楼上的人坐在一起。又不断听到别人提起他的名字,他一定会感激不尽的。

After sucking the boss's ass for a whole week – it's the thing to do here – I managed to land Peckover's job. He died all right, the poor devil, a few hours after he hit the bottom of the shaft. And just as I predicted, they gave him a fine funeral, with solemn mass, huge wreaths, and everything. Tout compris. And after the ceremonies they regaled themselves, the upstairs guys, at a bistro. It was too bad Peckover couldn't have had just a little snack – he would have appreciated it so much to sit with the men upstairs and hear his own name mentioned so frequently.

 

  一开始就应该说明没有什么好抱怨的。这就像置身于一个疯人院里,得到允许可以从此手淫一辈子。全世界都摆在我的鼻子底下,要我做的只是安排好发生灾祸的时间。楼上那帮圆滑的家伙事事都要插手,没有一件欢乐的、悲痛的事能逃过他们的注意。他们活在生活的严酷事实之中,也就是人们称之为“现实”的东西之中。这是沼泽地里的现实,他们就是除了呱叭叫之外无事可做的青蛙,他们叫得越厉害,生活就越显得真实。

I must say, right at the start, that I haven't a thing to complain about. It's like being in a lunatic asylum, with permission to masturbate for the rest of your life. The world is brought right under my nose and all that is requested of me is to punctuate the calamities. There is nothing in which these slick guys upstairs do not put their fingers: no joy, no misery passes unnoticed. They live among the hard facts of life, reality, as it is called. It is the reality of a swamp and they are the frogs who have nothing better to do than to croak. The more they croak the more real life becomes.

 

  律师、牧师、医生、政客、新闻记者—这些人是把手放在世界的脉搏上的江湖郎中。持续的灾难气氛,太棒了,晴雨计仿佛永远不动,旗子仿佛永远只升起了一半。人们现在可以明白天堂的理想如何独占了人类的意识,如果在所有精神支柱都被从下面击倒后仍越来越为人们所接受。除了这片沼泽外一定还有一个世界,那儿的一切都弄得一团糟,很难设想这个人类朝思暮想的天堂是怎样的。无疑这是一个青蛙的天堂,瘴气、泡沫、睡莲和不流动的水,坐在一片没有人烦扰的睡莲叶子上呱呱叫上一整天—我设想天堂大概就是这样的。

Lawyer, priest, doctor, politician, newspaperman – these are the quacks who have their fingers on the pulse of the world. A constant atmosphere of calamity. It's marvelous. It's as if the barometer never changed, as if the flag were always at half mast. One can see now how the idea of heaven takes hold of men's consciousness, how it gains ground even when all the props have been knocked from under it. There must be another world beside this swamp in which everything is dumped pell mell. It's hard to imagine what it can be like, this heaven that men dream about. A frog's heaven, no doubt. Miasma, scum, pond lilies, stagnant water. Sit on a lily pad unmolested and croak all day. Something like that, I imagine.

 

  我校对的这些大灾难对我产生了一种神奇的治疗效果。想一想一种完全免疫的身体状态!一种令人陶醉的人生!一种处在毒菌中间而又绝对安全的生活!任何东西都奈何我不得,地震、爆炸、动乱、饥馑、撞车、战争和革命都触动不了我。我注射的预防针可以预防每一种疾病每一种灾难、每一种悲哀和不幸,这是坚毅的一生的顶点,坐在我的小小壁龛里,全世界每天散发出的各种毒药从我手中流过,却连我的一个指甲盖也玷污不了。我是绝对免疫的,我甚至比一个实验室工作人员的境况还好些,因为这儿没有不好的气味,只有铅燃烧的味儿。

They have a wonderful therapeutic effect upon me, these catastrophes which I proofread. Imagine a state of perfect immunity, a charmed existence, a life of absolute security in the midst of poison bacilli. Nothing touches me, neither earthquakes nor explosions nor riots nor famine nor collisions nor wars nor revolutions. I am inoculated against every disease, every calamity, every sorrow and misery. It's the culmination of a life of fortitude. Seated at my little niche all the poisons which the world gives off each day pass through my hands. Not even a fingernail gets stained. I am absolutely immune. I am even better off than a laboratory attendant, because there are no bad odors here, just the smell of lead burning.

 

  地球可以爆炸掉,我仍要呆在这儿添上一个逗点或分号。我甚至可以多十一会儿,因为遇到这样一个大事变非得在最后多干一点儿。当世界爆炸了,最后一份报纸也送去付印了,校对们将轻轻收拾起所有逗点、分号、连字符、星号、方括虎圆括虎句点、感叹号等,把它们装进编辑椅子上方的一个小匣子里。一切安排就序。

The world can blow up – I'll be here just the same to put in a comma or a semicolon. I may even touch a little overtime, for with an event like that there's bound to be a final extra. When the world blows up and the final edition has gone to press the proofreaders will quietly gather up all commas, semicolons, hyphens, asterisks, brackets, parentheses, periods, exclamation marks, etc. and put them in a little box over the editorial chair. Comme ça tout est réglé…

 

  我的伙伴们似乎没有一个理解我为什么会如此踌躇满志,他们一天到晚发牢骚,他们有野心,想显示自己了不起,要发泄怒气。一个好校对却没有野心、不骄傲、不发脾气。好的校对有点像上帝,他也在世界上,可又不属于它。他只在星期日露面,星期日便是他的休息日,到了星期日他从宝座上走下来叫忠于他的人看看他的屁股。他每星期聆听一次世上每个人的悲哀和不幸,这就足够让自己在其余几天内咀嚼了。这几天里他仍呆在冬天被冰封住的沼泽里,成为一个完善的人,一个完全纯洁的人,只有一个种过牛痘的疤痕将他与广袤的无限空间区分开。

None of my companions seem to understand why I appear so contented. They grumble all the time, they have ambitions, they want to show their pride and spleen. A good proofreader has no ambitions, no pride, no spleen. A good proofreader is a little like God Almighty, he's in the world but not of it. He's for Sundays only. Sunday is his night off. On Sundays he steps down from his pedestal and shows his ass to the faithful. Once a week he listens in on all the private grief and misery of the world; it's enough to last him for the rest of the week. The rest of the week he remains in the frozen winter marshes, an absolute, an impeccable absolute, with only a vaccination mark to distinguish him from the immense void.

 

  对于一个校对,最大的灾难莫过于丢掉工作的威胁。休息时我们聚在一起,叫我们从头凉到脚的问题便是:如果失掉工作你怎么办?围场里的人的职责是清扫马粪,他最大的恐惧莫过于世界上可能会没有了马。告诉他把一生花在铲热马粪上是令人恶心的则是在干蠢事,如果一个人的生计要指望马粪,如果马粪涉及到他的幸福,他是会爱上马粪的。

The greatest calamity for a proofreader is the threat of losing his job. When we get together in the break the question that sends a shiver down our spines is: what'll you do if you lose your job? For the man in the paddock, whose duty is is to sweep up manure, the supreme terror is the possibility of a world without horses. To tell him that it is disgusting to spend one's life shoveling up hot turds is a piece of imbecility. A man can get to love shit if his livelihood depends on it, if his Happiness is involved.

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