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Tropic of Cancer  北回归线-第六章第二节

Going down the Rue des Dames I bump into Peckover, another poor devil who works on the paper. He complains of getting only three or four hours' sleep a night – has to get up at eight in the morning to work at a dentist's office. It isn't for the money he's doing it, so he explains – it's for to buy himself a set of false teeth. "It's hard to read proof when you're dropping with sleep," he says. "The wife, she thinks I've got a cinch of it. What would we do if you lost your job? she says." But Peckover doesn't give a damn about the job; it doesn't even allow him spending money. He has to save his cigarette butts and use them for pipe tobacco. His coat is held together with pins. He has halitosis and his hands sweat. And only three hours' sleep a night. "It's no way to treat a man," he says. "And that boss of mine, he bawls the piss out of me if I miss a semicolon." Speaking of his wife he adds: "That woman of mine, she's got no fucking gratitude, I tell you!"

爱默生说,”生活也包括人一整天内的所思所想。”如果是这样,那么我的生活就只是一截大肠,我不仅整天想着吃的,晚上做梦也梦到吃的。

In parting I manage to worm a franc fifty out of him. I try to squeeze another fifty centimes out of him but it's impossible. Anyway I've got enough for a coffee and croissants. Near the Gare St. Lazare there's a bar with reduced prices.

可是我并不希望回美国去,去受双份罪,去做单调无味的事情。不,我情愿在欧洲做一个穷人。大家都知道,我真够穷的,只剩下做人所必需的东西了。上个星期我还以为生活问题就要解决了,以为我就要能自己养活自己了。我凑巧碰到了另一个俄国人,他名叫谢尔盖,住在叙雷讷,那儿住着一小群流亡者和潦倒的艺术家。俄国革命前谢尔盖是沙皇禁卫军中的一名上尉,他穿着袜子量身高足有六英尺三,喝起伏特加像牛饮水一样。他父亲是战舰”波将金号”上的海军将领之类的要人。

As luck would have it I find a ticket in the lavabo for a concert. Light as a feather now I go there to the Salle Gaveau. The usher looks ravaged because I overlook giving him his little tip. Every time he passes me he looks at me inquiringly, as if perhaps I will suddenly remember.

我同谢尔盖相遇的情形有些古怪。那天快到中午了我还在”疯狂的牧羊女”歌舞场一带嗅来嗅去想找点儿东西吃,也就是在那条一头装着铁门的窄小胡同后面。我正在舞台入口处闲荡,希冀同某个女演员不期而遇,这时一部敞开的卡车在人行道上停住了。那个司机正是谢尔盖,看到我两手插在兜里站着,他便问我愿不愿意帮他卸下车上的铁桶。听说我是美国人而且生活无着,他差一点高兴得哭起来,看来他一直在到处寻找一个英语教师。我帮他把装杀虫剂的桶子滚进去,我尽情看着在舞台两侧到处奔跑的女演员。这件事在我心中留下怪诞的印象—空旷的房子、女演员像填装着锯未的洋娃娃似的在舞台两厢横冲直撞、一桶桶杀菌剂、战舰”波将金号”—而最难忘的是谢尔盖的温文尔雅。他是一个大块头,十分温柔,是一个十分地道的男子汉,却又生了一副女人的柔肠。

It's so long since I've sat in the company of well dressed people that I feel a bit panic-stricken. I can still smell the formaldehyde. Perhaps Serge makes deliveries here too. But nobody is scratching himself, thank God. A faint odor of perfume … very faint. Even before the music begins there is that bored look on people's faces. A polite form of self-imposed torture, the concert. For a moment, when the conductor raps with his little wand, there is a tense spasm of concentration followed almost immediately by a general slump, a quiet vegetable sort of repose induced by the steady, uninterrupted drizzle from the orchestra. My mind is curiously alert; it's as though my skull had a thousand mirrors inside it. My nerves are taut, vibrant! the notes are like glass balls dancing on a million jets of water. I've never been to a concert before on such an empty belly. Nothing escapes me, not even the tiniest pin falling. It's as though I had no clothes on and every pore of my body was a window and all the windows open and the light flooding my gizzards. I can feel the light curving under the vault of my ribs and my ribs hang there over a hollow nave trembling with reverberations. How long this lasts I have no idea; I have lost all sense of time and place. After what seems like an eternity there follows an interval of semiconsciousness balanced by such a calm that I feel a great lake inside me, a lake of iridescent sheen, cool as jelly; and over this lake, rising in great swooping spirals, there emerge flocks of birds of passage with long slim legs and brilliant plumage. Flock after flock surge up from the cool, still surface of the lake and, passing under my clavicles, lose themselves in the white sea of space. And then slowly, very slowly, as if an old woman in a white cap were going the rounds of my body, slowly the windows are closed and my organs drop back into place. Suddenly the lights flare up and the man in the white box whom I had taken for a Turkish officer turns out to be a woman with a flowerpot on her head.

在附近的咖啡馆里—“艺术家咖啡馆”—他马上提议为我安排住宿,说他要在走廊地板上铺一张床垫。作为上课的酬劳,他说叫我每天免费吃一顿饭,一顿丰盛的俄国饭,如果由于什么原因没有吃上这顿饭他就给我五法郎。我觉得这主意很妙—妙极了。唯一的一个问题是,我每天如何从叙雷油赶到美国捷运公司去。

There is a buzz now and all those who want to cough, cough to their heart's content. There is the noise of feet shuffling and seats slamming, the steady, frittering noise of people moving about aimlessly, of people fluttering their programs and pretending to read and then dropping their programs and scuffling under their seats, thankful for even the slightest accident which will prevent them from asking themselves what they were thinking about because if they knew they were thinking about nothing they would go mad. In the harsh glare of the lights they look at each other vacuously and there is a strange tenseness with which they stare at one another. And the moment the conductor raps again they fall back into a cataleptic state – they scratch themselves unconsciously or they remember suddenly a show window in which there was displayed a scarf or a hat; they remember every detail of that window with amazing clarity, but where it was exactly, that they can't recall; and that bothers them, keeps them wide awake, restless, and they listen now with redoubled attention because they are wide awake and no matter how wonderful the music is they will not lose consciousness of that show window and that scarf that was hanging there, or the hat.

谢尔盖坚持马上就开始,他给我车费,叫我晚上到叙雷讷来。我带着背包在吃晚饭前赶到了,目的是给谢尔盖上一课。已经有些客人到场了,看来他们一贯是一起吃的,大伙儿凑钱。

And this fierce attentiveness communicates itself; even the orchestra seems galvanized into an extraordinary alertness. The second number goes off like a top – so fast indeed that when suddenly the music ceases and the lights go up some are stuck in their seats like carrots, their jaws working convulsively, and if you suddenly shouted in their ear Brahms, Beethoven, Mendeleev, Herzegovina, they would answer without thinking – 4, 967, 289.

饭桌旁一共是我们八个,还有三条狗。狗先吃,它们吃的是燕麦片,然后我们才开始。我们也吃燕麦片—作为一种提胃口的佐餐食品。谢尔盖眨眨眼说,”在我们国家这是喂狗的。在这里却是给绅士的,这样行吗?”吃完了燕麦片便上蘑菇汤和蔬菜,过后是咸肉蛋卷、水果、红葡萄酒、伏特加、咖啡和香烟。俄国饭还不错,每个人说话时嘴里都塞得满满的。饭快吃完时谢尔盖的老婆—一个很懒的亚美尼亚婆娘---屁股坐在沙发上啃起夹心糖来,她把肥胖的手指伸进盒子里去摸一块,啃下一点点看里面是否有果汁,然后就把它扔到地板上喂狗。

By the time we get to the Debussy number the atmosphere is completely poisoned. I find myself wondering what it feels like, during intercourse, to be a woman – whether the pleasure is keener, etc. Try to imagine something penetrating my groin, but have only a vague sensation of pain. I try to focus, but the music is too slippery. I can think of nothing but a vase slowly turning and the figures dropping off into space. Finally there is only light turning, and how does light turn, I ask myself. The man next to me is sleeping soundly. He looks like a broker, with his big paunch and his waxed mustache. I like him thus. I like especially that big paunch and all that went into the making of it. Why shouldn't he sleep soundly?

饭一吃完客人们便匆匆忙忙走了,他们仓皇逃走,仿佛怕瘟疫降临。最后只剩下谢尔盖、我和狗—他妻子已经在长沙发上睡着了。他满不在乎地走来走去,替狗收集残汤剩饭。他用英语说,”狗喜欢吃这些东西,喂狗好得很。那条小狗它有虫子……它还大校”他弯腰仔细察看在狗两只爪子之间的地毯上爬着的一些白虫子,他试图用英语解释这些虫子,但是他的词汇不够用。最后他查了查词典,欣喜地抬头望着我道,”哈,是绦虫!”我的反应显然不那么明显,谢尔盖有些迷惑不解,于是便跪在地上,双手撑着地更仔细地察看它们,还捉起一条放在桌上的水果旁。”畸,它不太大,”他用英语嘟哝道。”下一课你教我各种虫子,行吗?你是个好老师,我跟你学了不少……””大”、”教”、”好”都发错了音。

If he wants to listen he can always rustle up the price of a ticket. I notice that the better dressed they are the more soundly they sleep. They have an easy conscience, the rich. If a poor man dozes off, even for a few seconds, he feels mortified; he imagines that he has committed a crime against the composer.

躺在走廊里的床垫上,杀菌剂的气味叫我喘不过气来,这种刺鼻的辣味儿似乎钻进了我身上的每一个毛孔。刚才吃过的东西又在口中散发出气味—廉价燕麦片、蘑菇、咸肉和煎苹果。我又看到躺在水果旁的那条小小的绦虫和谢尔盖向我解释狗出了什么毛病时摆在桌布上的各式各样的虫子。我看到”疯狂的牧羊女”歌舞场的空乐他,每一条裂缝里都藏着蟑螂、虱子和臭虫。我看到人们疯了似的搔自己身上,搔呀搔,直到搔出血来。我看到这些虫子像一支红色蚂蚁大军一样在布景上到处爬,吞下它们看见的一切。我看到合唱队的姑娘抛开薄纱外衣,光着身子跑过走道。我还看到正厅里的观众也脱掉衣服互相搔痒,活像一群猴子。

In the Spanish number the house was electrified. Everybody sat on the edge of his seat – the drums woke them up. I thought when the drums started it would keep up forever. I expected to see people fall out of the boxes or throw their hats away.

我试图叫自己平静下来。不管怎么说,这毕竟是我找到的一个家,每天有一顿现成饭吃,而且谢尔盖无疑是个热心人。可是我无法入睡,这简直如同在陈尸所里睡觉一样。床垫已被散发出香气的液体浸透,已成了虱子,臭虫、蟑螂和绦虫的陈尸所。我忍受不了。我不愿忍受!毕竟我还是一个人,不是一个虱子。

There was something heroic about it and he could have driven us stark mad, Ravel, if he had wanted to. But that's not Ravel. Suddenly it all died down. It was as if he remembered, in the midst of his antics, that he had on a cutaway suit. He arrested himself. A great mistake, in my humble opinion. Art consists in going the full length. If you start with the drums you have to end with dynamite, or TNT. Ravel sacrificed something for form, for a vegetable that people must digest before going to bed.

到了早晨我等着谢尔盖装车,我叫他把我带到巴黎去,却不忍心告诉他我就要走了。我把背包留下了,还有他给我的几件东西。我们到佩里埃广场时我跳下来了,在这儿溜掉并没有什么特殊原因。我是自由的—这才是最要紧的……

My thoughts are spreading. The music is slipping away from me, now that the drums have ceased. People everywhere are composed to order. Under the exit light is a Werther sunk in despair; he is leaning on his two elbows, his eyes are glazed. Near the door, huddled in a big cape, stands a Spaniard with a sombrero in his hand. He looks as if he were posing for the "Balzac" of Rodin. From the neck up he suggests Buffalo Bill. In the gallery opposite me, in the front row, sits a woman with her legs spread wide apart; she looks as though she had lockjaw, with her neck thrown back and dislocated. The woman with the red hat who is dozing over the rail – marvelous if she were to have a hemorrhage! if suddenly she spilled a bucketful on those stiff shirts below. Imagine these bloody no accounts going home from the concert with blood on their dickies!

我像小鸟一样轻松地由一条街飞奔到另一条街,仿佛刚从牢房里放出来。我用全新的目光看世界,万物都引起我极大的兴趣,甚至包括鸡毛蒜皮的小事。我在布尔索尼尔街站下看一家体育用品商店的橱窗,里面有一些照片展示”史前及史后”人类的标本。全是法国佬,有些人光着身于,只戴一副夹鼻眼镜,留一缕胡子。真不明白这些姑娘怎么爱上了双杠和哑铃。一个法国佬应该有个微微腆起的大肚子,像查露斯男爵那样。他也该蓄胡须,戴夹鼻眼镜,不过不该光着身子让人拍照。他该穿双闪闪发光的漆皮靴,短便衣口袋上应该别一条白手帕,露出来四分之三英寸。如果有条件,他还应该在上衣翻领上系一条红缓带,穿过纽眼,上床睡觉时还要换睡衣。

Sleep is the keynote. No one is listening any more. Impossible to think and listen. Impossible to dream even when the music itself is nothing but a dream. A woman with white gloves holds a swan in her lap. The legend is that when Leda was fecundated she gave birth to twins.

傍晚我走近克利希广场时从那个装着一条假腿的小婊子面前经过,她日复一日地站在戈蒙宫对面。看起来她还不到十八岁,可我想她已有固定的客人了。午夜过后她用黑假腿一动不动地站在那儿,身后是一条小胡同,里面像一座地狱一样灯火通明。如今我心情轻松地从她身边经过,不知怎么搞的她使我联想起一只拴在桩上的鹅,一只肝上患了病的鹅,这样世人才得以享用它的鹅肝馅饼。带着那条木腿去睡觉一定很古怪,人们会联想到各种各样的事儿—木刺啦等等。行啦,各人对自己的口味就行!

Everybody is giving birth to something – everybody but the Lesbian in the upper tier. Her head is uptilted, her throat wide open; she is all alert and tingling with the shower of sparks that burst from the radium symphony. Jupiter is piercing her ears. Little phrases from California, whales with big fins, Zanzibar, the Alcazar. When along the Guadalquivir there were a thousand mosques ashimmer. Deep in the icebergs and the days all lilac. The Money Street with two white hitching posts. The gargoyles … the man with the Jaworski nonsense … the river lights … the…

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