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Tropic of Cancer[北回归线][En/Cn]

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第十一章

第1节

巴黎像个婊子,在远处看她非常迷人,叫你迫不及待地想把她搂到怀里。可是过了五分钟后你便觉得空虚,你厌恶自己,觉得自己受骗了。

Paris is like a whore. From a distance she seems ravishing, you can't wait until you have her in your arms. And five minutes later you feel empty, disgusted with yourself. You feel tricked.


  我衣袋里装着钱回到巴黎,好几百法郎,是临上火车时柯林斯塞在我衣袋里的。这笔钱足够租一个房间,至少还可以吃一个星期好饭。我已有好几年没有一次拿到过这么多钱了,我兴高采烈,也许一种新生活就要在我面前展开了。我又想把钱存起来,于是找了城堡街上一家面包店顶上的一个便宜旅馆,离旺夫街不远,尤金有一回曾给我指过这个地方。走几步便是连接蒙帕纳斯铁道的桥,这块地方我很熟。

I returned to Paris with money in my pocket – a few hundred francs, which Collins had shoved in my pocket just as I was boarding the train. It was enough to pay for a room and at least a week's good rations. It was more than I had had in my hands at one time for several years. I felt elated, as though perhaps a new life was opening before me. I wanted to conserve it too, so I looked up a cheap hotel over a bakery on the Rue du Château, just off the Rue de Vanves, a place that Eugene had pointed out to me once. A few yards away was the bridge that spans the Montparnasse tracks. A familiar quarter.


  我本可以租一间一个月房租才一百法郎的屋子,这种房子当然是什么设备也没有的,甚至连窗子也没有。也许本来我仍会租下来的—只是为了有个牢靠的地方睡一会儿—若不是进这个房间前不得不先穿过一个瞎子的房间。想到每天夜里要从他床前经过我极不痛快,因而决定到别处找找看。我来到塞尔街,就在公墓后面,我看到一幢东倒西歪的破房子,围着院子有一圈阳台,阳台上还吊着鸟笼子,下面一层都吊满了。也许这是振奋人心的景象,可我却觉得它像医院里的集体病房,旅馆老板也显得不很像一个智力健全的人。我决意等到晚上好好四下看看再说,然后再到一条僻静小巷里挑一家有点儿吸引力的小酒店。

I could have had a room for a hundred francs a month, a room without any conveniences to be sure – without even a window – and perhaps I would have taken it, just to be sure of a place to flop for a while, had it not been for the fact that in order to reach this room I would have been obliged to first pass through the room of a blind man. The thought of passing his bed every night had a most depressing effect on me. I decided to look elsewhere. I went over to the Rue Cels, just behind the cemetery, and I looked at a sort of rat trap there with balconies running around the courtyard. There were birdcages suspended from the balcony too, all along the lower tier. A cheerful sight perhaps, but to me it seemed like the public ward in a hospital. The proprietor didn't seem to have all his wits either. I decided to wait for the night, to have a good look around, and then choose some attractive little joint in a quiet side street.


  吃饭时花了十五法郎,这是我给自己规定的饭钱的大约一倍。这使我很不安,甚至不许自己坐下来再喝杯咖啡了。尽管这时已下开了毛毛雨。我情愿走一走,然后在一个不太晚的时辰静静地上床。这样节衣缩食地花钱本来已经使我很不愉快了。 这种事我一辈子没干过,我天生就干不了这种事。

At dinnertime I spent fifteen francs for a meal, just about twice the amount I had planned to allot myself. That made me so wretched that I wouldn't allow myself to sit down for a Coffee, even despite the fact that it had began to drizzle. No, I would walk about a bit and then go quietly to bed, at a reasonable hour. I was already miserable, trying to husband my resources this way. I had never in my life done it; it wasn't in my nature.


  后来小雨变成了倾盆大雨,对此我很高兴,这提供了一个我正需要的可以躲到某个地方伸伸腿的借口。这会儿去睡觉仍太早,我加快脚步折回拉斯帕伊林荫大道去。突然一个女人过来拦住我,就在暴雨中。她问我几点钟了。我告诉她我没有表,这时她喊叫起来,“啊,好先生,你讲英语吗?”我点点头,她便滔滔不绝地说开了,“我的好人,或许你能发发善心带我去一家咖啡馆。雨下得这么大,我没有钱找个地方坐坐。请你原谅我,亲爱的先生,可你的面容那么慈祥……我马上就知道你是英国人了。”说着她朝我笑了,这是古怪的、半疯半傻的笑。

Finally it began to come down in bucketsful. I was glad. That would give me the excuse I needed to duck somewhere and stretch my legs out. It was still too early to go to bed. I began to quicken my pace, heading back toward the Boulevard Raspail. Suddenly a woman comes up to me and stops me, right in the pouring rain. She wants to know what time it is. I told her I didn't have a watch. And then she bursts out, just like this: "Oh, my good sir, do you speak English by chance?" I nod my head. It's coming down in torrents now. "Perhaps, my dear good man, you would be so kind as to take me to a café. It is raining so and I haven't the money to sit down anywhere. You will excuse me, my dear sir, but you have such a kind face… I knew you were English right away." And with this she smiles at me, a strange, half-demented smile. "Perhaps you could give me a little advice, dear sir. I am all alone in the world… my God, it is terrible to have no money…"


  “或许你能给我出点儿主意,亲爱的先生。我孤苦伶仃的,一个人……我的上帝,没有钱真是太可怕了……”这一串“亲爱的先生”、“好心的先生”和“我的好人”差一点儿叫我发歇斯底里。我怜悯她可又非笑不可,我真的笑了,我当着她的面哈哈大笑。于是她也大笑起来,这是一种怪诞的尖声大笑,笑声走了调,是一种叫人万万料想不到的狂笑。我抓住她的胳膊,我们一起朝最近的一家咖啡馆奔去,进了那家小店后她仍不住地格格笑。她说,“亲爱的好先生,也许你认为我没有说实话。我是一个好姑娘……是好人家女儿。只是”—说到这儿她又病态地、时断时续地笑了一阵—“只是我太不幸,连一个可以坐坐的地方也找不到。”这时我又大笑起来,我忍不住要笑—她用的词儿、古怪的口音、她头上那顶奇怪的帽子、那种半疯半傻的微笑……

This "dear sir" and "kind sir" and "my good man," etc., had me on the verge of hysteria. I felt sorry for her and yet I had to laugh. I did laugh. I laughed right in her face. And then she laughed too, a weird, high‑pitched laugh, off key, an altogether unexpected piece of cachinnation. I caught her by the arm and we made a bolt for it to the nearest café. She was still giggling when we entered the bistro. "My dear good sir," she began again, "perhaps you think I am not telling you the truth. I am a good girl… I come of a good family. Only" – and here she gave me that wan, broken smile again – "only I am so misfortunate as not to have a place to sit down." At this I began to laugh again. I couldn't help it – the phrases she used, the strange accent, the crazy hat she had on, that demented smile…"

 

我打断了她,“喂,你是哪国人?”

Listen," I interrupted, "what nationality are you?"


  “英国人,”她说。“是这样,我出生在波兰,不过父亲是爱尔兰人。”

"I'm English," she replied. "That is, I was born in Poland, but my father is Irish."


  “这样你就成了英国人?”

"So that makes you English?"


  “是埃”说着她又傻笑开了,很忸怩,作出一副害羞的样子。

"Yes," she said, and she began to giggle again, sheepishly, and with a pretense of being coy.


  “我想你知道一家可以带我去的小旅馆?”我这样说并不是有意要同她一道去,只是为了替她免去那一套她们惯用的开场白。

"I suppose you know a nice little hotel where you could take me?" I said this, not because I had any intention of going with her, but just to spare her the usual preliminaries.


  “啊,我的好先生,”她说,好像我犯了一个最最令人痛心的错误。“我知道你说的不是心里话!我不是那种姑娘。你在跟我开玩笑,我看得出来。你这么好……你的面容这么慈祥。我不敢对一个法国人讲对你讲过的话,他们一定会立刻叫我难堪的……”

"Oh, my dear sir," she said, as though I had made the most grievous error, "I'm sure you don't mean that! I'm not that kind of a girl. You were joking with me, I can see that. You're so good… you have such a kind face. I would not dare to speak to a Frenchman as I did to you. They insult you right away…"

 

她用这种口气又讲了一阵,我想甩掉她一走了之,可她不愿一个人呆着。她怕,因为她的证件不符合要求。我能不能行行好送她回旅馆?或许我能“借”给她十五或二十法郎叫旅馆老板闭嘴?我送她回到她说她住的旅馆,给她手里塞了一张五十法郎的票子。她不是非常精明就是非常天真,有时这很难判断,总之她叫我等她跑回酒馆去换钱。我告诉她不必了,她便冲动地抓起我的手举到唇边吻了吻,我受宠若惊,马上乐意把自己所有的一切都给了她。这个疯狂的动作感动了我,我自忖有时当个阔佬还是不错的。可以感受到这种很新鲜的刺激。不过我并没有昏了头。五十法郎!一个下雨的夜里浪费五十法郎未免太过分。我走开时她挥舞那顶稀奇古怪、她根本不会戴的小软帽向我告别,好像我们是老朋友了。我感到自己很蠢、很轻率。想起她说的话,“我亲爱的好先生……你的面容这么慈祥……你真好。”等等,我又觉得自己是个圣人。

She went on in this vein for some time. I wanted to break away from her. But she didn't want to be left alone. She was afraid – her papers were not in order. Wouldn't I be good enough to walk her to her hotel? Perhaps I could "lend" her fifteen or twenty francs, to quiet the patron? I walked her to the hotel where she said she was stopping and I put a fifty franc bill in her hand. Either she was very clever, or very innocent – it's hard to tell sometimes – but, at any rate, she wanted me to wait until she ran to the bistro for change. I told her not to bother. And with that she seized my hand impulsively and raised it to her lips. I was flabbergasted. I felt like giving her every damned thing I had. That touched me, that crazy little gesture. I thought to myself, it's good to be rich once in a while, just to get a new thrill like that. Just the same, I didn't lose my head. Fifty francs! That was quite enough to squander on a rainy night. As I walked off she waved to me with that crazy little bonnet which she didn't know how to wear. It was as though we were old playmates. I felt foolish and giddy. "My dear kind sir… you have such a gentle face… you are so good, etc." I felt like a saint.


  心里洋洋得意时很难马上上床睡觉,你觉得自己应该报答这没有料到的好心夸赞之辞。经过“丛林”饭店时我瞧了一眼一楼的舞场,光背、戴着快把她们勒死的一串串珍珠的女人—看起来会把她们勒死—正在朝我扭动她们美丽的屁股。我径直到柜台前要了一杯香摈酒,音乐一停便有一位漂亮的金发女郎坐到我身边,她长得像挪威人。这地方其实并不像从门外看起来那么挤、那么欢快,只有六七对男女,刚才他们准是一起跳舞来着。我又要了一杯香槟酒,以免丧失勇气。

When you feel all puffed up inside it isn't so easy to go to bed right away. You feel as though you ought to atone for such unexpected bursts of goodness. Passing the "Jungle" I caught a glimpse of the dance floor; women with bare backs and ropes of pearls choking them – or so it looked – were wiggling their beautiful bottoms at me. Walked right up to the bar and ordered a coupe of champagne. When the music stopped, a beautiful blonde – she looked like a Norwegian – took a seat right beside me. The place wasn't as crowded or as gay as it had appeared from outside. There were only a half dozen couples in the place – they must have all been dancing at once. I ordered another coupe of champagne in order not to let my courage dribble away.


  站起来同这位金发女郎跳舞时舞场上没有别人,若在平时我一定会有些不自然,如今香槟起了作用,还有她贴在我身上的姿势、昏暗的光线及那几百法郎给我的踏踏实实的安全感,不过……我们又跳了一场,像是在举行个人表演,然后我们便交谈起来。她一开始便哭,引出了这场谈话。我认为很可能她是喝得太多了,于是便装出不介意的样子,同时看看周围还有没有别的女人,可是店里已经全空了。

When I got up to dance with the blonde there was no one on the floor but us. Any other time I would have been selfconscious, but the champagne and the way she clung to me, the dimmed lights and the solid feeling of security which the few hundred francs gave me, well… We had another dance together, a sort of private exhibition, and then we fell into conversation. She had begun to weep – that was how it started. I thought possibly she had had too much to drink, so I pretended not to be concerned. And meanwhile I was looking around to see if there was any other timber available. But the place was thoroughly deserted.


  中了圈套后要逃,而且要马上逃,否则你就完蛋了。我所以没有逃,是因为不知道为什么想到我为买帽子的支票付了两次款。因为某件琐事,人常常卷入麻烦中去。

The thing to do when you're trapped is to breeze – at once. If you don't, you're lost. What retained me, oddly enough, was the thought of paying for a hat check a second time. One always lets himself in for it because of a trifle.


  我很快便弄清了,她哭泣的原因是刚刚埋葬了自己的孩子。 她也不是挪威人,是法国人,而且还是一个助产士。我得承认她是一个俊俏的助产士,即使是在这脸上热泪涔涔之时,我征询她的意见:喝点儿酒会不会好受一些,她便立即叫了一杯威士忌,一眨眼工夫便喝完了。我柔声问,“还要吗?”她说要,她觉得十分难过,非常沮丧,因而还想要一包“骆驼”牌香烟。又说,“不,等等,我想还是要一包‘帕尔麦尔’牌子的好。”我想,要什么随你的便,只是看在基督份上别再哭了,你一哭我就心里直发怵。我又把她拉起来跳舞,一站起来她就好像换了一个人,或许悲伤会叫一个人变得更淫荡,我说不上。我低声咕哝说要离开这儿,她急切地问,“去哪儿?好,随便。找个能说话的安静地方。”

The reason she was weeping, I discovered soon enough, was because she had just buried her child. She wasn't Norwegian either, but French, and a midwife to boot. A chic midwife, I must say, even with the tears running down her face. I asked her if a little drink would help to console her, whereupon she very promptly ordered a whisky and tossed it off in the wink of an eye. "Would you like another?" I suggested gently. She thought she would, she felt so rotten, so terribly dejected. She thought she would like a package of Camels too. "No, wait a minute," she said, "I think I'd rather have les Pall Mall." Have what you like, I thought, but stop weeping, for Christ's sake, it gives me the willies. I jerked her to her feet for another dance. On her feet she seemed to be another person. Maybe grief makes one more lecherous, I don't know. I murmured something about breaking away. "Where to?" she said eagerly. "Oh, anywhere. Some quiet place where we can talk."


  我钻进厕所又数了一遍钱,我把一百法郎的钞票藏在裤子上的表袋里,把一张五十法郎的票子和零钱放在裤子口袋里。我回到酒吧里,决定要言归正传了。

I went to the toilet and counted the money over again. I hid the hundred franc notes in my fob pocket and kept a fifty franc note and the loose change in my trousers pocket. I went back to the bar determined to talk turkey.

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