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Tropic of Cancer  北回归线-第八章第四节

A young cunt doesn't have to have any brains. They're better without brains. But an old cunt, even if she's brilliant, even if she's the most charming woman in the world, nothing makes any difference. A young cunt is an investment; an old cunt is a dead loss. All they can do for you is buy you things. But that doesn't put meat on their arms or juice between the legs. She isn't bad, Irene. In fact, I think you'd like her. With you its different. You don't have to fuck her. You can afford to like her. Maybe you wouldn't like all those dresses and the bottles and what not, but you could be tolerant. She wouldn't bore you, that I can tell you. She's even interesting, I might say. But she's withered. Her breasts are all right yet – but her arms! I told her I'd bring you around some day. I talked a lot about you… I didn't know what to say to her. Maybe you'd like her, especially when she's dressed. I don't know…"

一个年轻女人的任何毛病都是可以谅解的,一个年轻女人也不需要有脑子,她没有脑子倒更好。可是一个老娘儿们即使聪明,即使是普天下最最可爱的女人,也没有多大价值。一个小娘儿们是一项投资,而一个老娘儿们却是注定要蚀本的。老娘儿们唯一能做的事就是为你买东西,可那也不会叫她们胳膊上长出肉来,让她们大腿间流出水来。伊雷娜不错,说实话,我认为你会喜欢她的。这事儿到你那儿就不一样了,你不一定非跟她睡不可,你尽可以喜欢她。也许你不会喜欢她那些衣服、瓶子之类的玩艺儿,可你会宽容她的。她不会使你厌烦,这一点我可以告诉你。我要说她还是挺有意思的,不过她干瘪了,她的乳房还行- 可她的胳膊!我告诉她某一天我要把你带去,我谈了你的许多情况……我不知道该对她说什么。也许你会喜欢上她的,尤其是当她穿上衣服时。我不知道……”

"Listen, she's rich, you say? I'll like her! I don't care how old she is, so long as she's not a hag…"

“喂,你说她有钱?我会喜欢她的!我不在乎她多大岁数了,只要不是个丑八怪……”

"She's not a hag! What are you talking about? She's charming, I tell you. She talks well. She looks well too… only her arms…"

“她不是丑八怪!你在说些什么呀?告诉你,她很有魅力,谈吐文雅,长得也好看……只是胳膊……”

"All right, if that's how it is, I'll fuck her – if you don't want to. Tell her that. Be subtle about it, though. With a woman like that you've got to do things slowly. You bring me around and let things work out for themselves. Praise the shit out of me. Act jealous like… Shit, maybe we'll fuck her together… and we'll go places and we'll eat together… and we'll drive and hunt and wear nice things. If she wants to go to Borneo let her take us along. I don't know how to shoot either, but that doesn't matter. She doesn't care about that either. She just wants to be fucked that's all. You're talking about her arms all the time. You don't have to look at her arms all the time, do you? Look at this bedspread! Look at the mirror! Do you call this living? Do you want to go on being delicate and live like a louse all your life? You can't even pay your hotel bill… and you've got a job too. This is no way to live. I don't care if she's seventy years old – it's better than this…"

“好吧。如果是这样,我去跟她睡 -若是你不愿意的话。把这个告诉她,不过讲得缓和些,跟这样一个女人打交道一定得慢慢来。你把我带去,听任事态自己发展。狠狠地夸奖我,装出吃醋的样子……哼,也许咱俩会一道跟她睡的……我们到处走,一起吃饭……我们开车、打猎、穿好衣服。如果她想去婆罗州让她带上我们,我也不会开枪,不过这没关系,反正她也不在乎,她只是希望被人睡,仅此而已。你一直在谈论她的胳膊,可你不必一直盯着她的胳膊看。对吗?瞧瞧这床罩!瞧瞧这镜子!这能叫生活吗?你愿意再充高雅充下去、一辈子像只虱子一样过日子吗?你连旅馆住宿费都掏不起……还是有工作的人呢。生活不该是这样,哪怕她七十岁了我也不在乎,那也比这样强……”

"Listen, Joe, you fuck her for me… then everything'll be fine. Maybe I'll fuck her once in a while too… on my night off. It's four days now since I've had a good shit. There's something sticking to me, like grapes…"

“我说,乔,你替我去跟她睡……这样一切问题都解决了。也许我偶尔也跟她睡上一回……晚上不上班的时候。我已有四天没有拉过屎了,身上好像粘着一种东西,像葡萄一样……”

"You've got the piles, that's what."

“那就是你生痔疮了。”

"My hair's falling out too… and I ought to see the dentist. I feel as though I were falling apart. I told her what a good guy you are… You'll do things for me, eh? You're not too delicate, eh? If we go to Borneo I won't have hemorrhoids any more. Maybe I'll develop something else… something worse… fever perhaps… or cholera. Shit, it's better to die of a good disease like that than to piss your life away on a newspaper with grapes up your ass and buttons falling off your pants. I'd like to be rich, even if it were only for a week, and then go to a hospital with a good disease, a fatal one, and have flowers in the room and nurses dancing around and telegrams coming. They take good care of you if you're rich. They wash you with cotton batting and they comb your hair for you. Shit, I know all that. Maybe I'd be lucky and not die at all. Maybe I'd be crippled all my life… maybe I'd be paralyzed and have to sit in a wheelchair. Bu then I'd be taken care of just the same… even if I had no more money. If you're an invalid – a real one – they don't let you starve. And you get a clean bed to lie in… and they change the towels every day.

“我的头发也在脱落……还得去看看牙医。我觉得自己正在散架。我对她说了你是怎样一个好人……你会给我帮忙的,对吗?你不那么扭捏,是吗?我们若去婆罗州我就不会再生痔疮了。也许我会生别的箔…更糟的箔…也许是发热……或是霍乱。哼,这样生一场大病死掉也比在一张报纸上浪费生命、屁眼上长疮、裤子上的扣子全脱落更好一些。我盼望发财,哪怕只是一星期也好,然后带着一种要命的病住进一家医院,病房里摆满鲜花,护士们跑来跑去,还有人打电报来。你若有钱他们便会好好照顾你,用棉球给你擦身,替你梳头。哼,这些我全懂。也许我运气好没死掉,也许我会破一辈子……也许我会瘫痪,只好坐在轮椅里,可是这样一来我也会得到照料……即使我再没有钱了。你若是个病人—真正的病人—他们就不会让你饿死,你会有一张干净的床睡……他们每天给你换毛巾。

This way nobody gives a fuck about you, especially if you have a job. They think a man should be happy if he's got a job. What would you rather do – be a cripple all your life, or have a job… or marry a rich cunt? You'd rather marry a rich cunt, I can see that. You only think about food. But supposing you married her and then you couldn't get a hard on any more – that happens sometimes – what would you do then? You'd be at her mercy. You'd have to eat out of her hand, like a little poodle dog. You'd like that, would you? Or maybe you don't think of those things? I think of everything. I think of the suits I'd pick out and the places I'd like to go to, but I also think of the other thing. That's the important thing. What good are the fancy ties and the fine suits if you can't get a hard on any more? You couldn't even betray her – because she'd be on your heels all the time. No, the best thing would be to marry her and then get a disease right away. Only not syphilis. Cholera, let's say, or yellow fever. So that if a miracle did happen and your life was spared you'd be a cripple for the rest of your days. Then you wouldn't have to worry about fucking her any more, and you wouldn't have to worry about the rent either.

像现在这样谁也不管你,尤其是你还有一份工作,他们认为一个人只要有份工作就该是幸福的。你情愿怎样—一辈子当个跛子,或是有一份工作……或是娶一个阔娘儿们?你情愿娶一个阔女人,我看出来了。你只想着吃的。可是想一想,你娶了她,结果那玩艺儿再也挺不起来了—有时会出现这种情况的—那你怎么办?你只好听任她摆布,只好像一只小卷毛狗那样从她手上吃食。你喜欢那样,是吗?也许你不想这些事情?我什么都想,我想要选购的西装和想去的地方,可我还想着另一件事,这是一件重要的事情。如果你再也不能勃起了,那些花里胡哨的领带和漂亮的西装又有什么用呢?你甚至不能背叛她,她会一直跟着你。不,最好的办法是先娶她再马上生一场病,只是梅毒还不行,比如说,霍乱,或是黄热玻这样,若是真的出现奇迹,你保住了一条命,你便会终生成为一个跛子,你也就不必再为要跟她睡觉而烦恼不安了,也不必再为房租发愁了。

She'd probably buy you a fine wheelchair with rubber tires and all sorts of levers and what not. You might even be able to use your hands – I mean enough to be able to write. Or you could have a secretary, for that matter. That's it – that's the best solution for a writer. What does a guy want with his arms and legs? He doesn't need arms and legs to write with. He needs security… peace… protection. All those heroes who parade in wheelchairs – it's too bad they're not writers. If you could only be sure, when you go to war, that you'd have only your legs blown off… if you could be sure of that I'd say let's have a war tomorrow. I wouldn't give a fuck about the medals – they could keep the medals. All I'd want is a good wheelchair and three meals a day. Then I'd give them something to read, those pricks."

她或许会给你买一只带橡胶车胎的好轮椅,上面还有各种操纵,杆之类的玩艺儿。你也许还能用手—我是指还能用手写作,要不就雇一个人来写。对了—这是一个作家的最佳选择。一个人能指望他的手脚干什么呢?他不需要用手用脚来写作,他需要安全……安宁……庇护。遗憾的是,所有坐在轮椅里转来转去的英雄都不是作家。假如你能保证上战场去只会叫人炸掉你的双腿……假如你能敲定这一点,我就会说,明天就叫我们打仗吧。我对勋章根本不感兴趣 -让他们留着好了,我想要的只是一部好轮椅和一天三顿饭,然后我就给这些滑头们写本书看。”

The following day, at one thirty, I call on Van Norden. It's his day off, or rather his night off. He has left word with Carl that I am to help him move today.

第二天一点半钟我去找了范诺登,这天他不上班,确切地说,今夜他休假。他给卡尔留下话说要我今天来帮他搬家。

I find him in a state of unusual depression. He hasn't slept a wink all night, he tells me. There's something on his mind, something that's eating him up. It isn't long before I discover what it is; he's been waiting impatiently for me to arrive in order to spill it.

我发现他情绪异常低落,他告诉我他一夜未曾合眼。他在想事儿,有一件事情困惑着他。没多久我就搞清了,他一直在迫不及待地等我来,向我打听卡尔的秘密。

"That guy," he begins, meaning Carl, "that guy's an artist. He described every detail minutely. He told it to me with such accuracy that I know it's all a goddamned lie… but I can't dismiss it from my mind. You know how my mind works!"

“那个家伙,”他开口了,指的是卡尔。“那个家伙简直是个艺术家,他详细描述了每一个细节。他对我讲得那么细,我便知道这全是他胡编的……可我就是摆脱不了这个萦绕在心头的故事。你知道我心里在怎样折腾。”

He interrupts himself to inquire if Carl has told me the whole story. There isn't the least suspicion in his mind that Carl may have told me one thing and him another. He seems to think that the story was invented expressly to torture him. He doesn't seem to mind so much that it's a fabrication. It's the "images" as he says, which Carl left in his mind, that get him. The images are real, even if the whole story is false. And besides, the fact that there actually is a rich cunt on the scene and that Carl actually paid her a visit, that's undeniable. What actually happened is secondary; he takes it for granted that Carl put the boots to her. But what drives him desperate is the thought that what Carl has described to him might have been possible.

他话题一转,问我卡尔是否将经过原原本本都告诉我了。他丝毫没有怀疑到卡尔对我是一个说法,对他是另一个说法。他似乎认为编造这个故事是专门要折磨他的。他并不理会这全是捏造的,却说这是卡尔留在他脑子里的“意像”,这意像使他烦恼。即使整个故事是假的,这些意像也是真的。再说这件事情中的确有一个阔娘儿们,卡尔也的确去拜访过她,这是无可辩驳的事实,至于到底真的发生了什么事情倒是次要的。他想当然地认为卡尔干脆利落地对付了这个女人,使他几乎要发疯的却是他想卡尔描述的情节或许是真的。

"It's just like that guy," he says, "to tell me he put it to her six or seven times. I know that's a lot of shit and I don't mind that so much, but when he tells me that she hired a carriage and drove him out to the Bois and that they used the husband's fur coat for a blanket, that's too much. I suppose he told you about the chauffeur waiting respectfully… and listen, did he tell you how the engine purred all the time? Jesus, he built that up wonderfully. It's just like him to think of a detail like that… it's one of those little details which makes a thing psychologically real… you can't get it out of your head afterward. And he tells it to me so smoothly, so naturally… I wonder, did he think it up in advance or did it just pop out of his head like that, spontaneously? He's such a cute little liar you can't walk away from him… it's like he's writing you a letter, one of those flowerpots that he makes overnight. I don't understand how a guy can write such letters… I don't get the mentality behind it… it's a form of masturbation… what do you think?"

他说,“这个家伙告诉我他跟那个女人睡了六七次。他就是这么一个爱吹牛的家伙。我知道这里面有不少假话,所以也不大在乎,可他又告诉我那女人雇了一辆车带他去了波伊思公园,他拿那女人的丈夫的皮大衣当毯子用,这就太过分了。我估计他给你讲了司机恭恭敬敬等他们的事……对了,他有没有告诉你发动机一直在突突响?老天,他编得真像啊,只有他才想得出这样一个细节……这是使一件事情显得在心理上真实的小细节之一……听过之后你就永远忘不了。他的谎编得那么圆,那么自然……我真奇怪,他是事先想好的还是临时灵机一动现编出来的?他是一个高明的小骗子,你简直无法从他身边走开……就像他正在给你写信,像一夜间就粗制滥造出一只花盆来。我弄不明白一个人怎么能写出这样的信来……我不明白他写信时的心理状态……这也是一种手淫……你说呢?”

But before I have an opportunity to venture an opinion, or even to laugh in his face, Van Norden goes on with his monologue.

不等我开口发表意见,或是嘲笑他,范诺登又继续独白开了。

"Listen, I suppose he told you everything… did he tell you how he stood on the balcony in the moonlight and kissed her? That sound banal when you repeat it, but the way that guy describes it… I can just see the little prick standing there with the woman in his arms and already he's writing another letter to her, another flowerpot about the roof tops and all that crap he steals from his French authors. That guy never says a thing that's original, I found that out. You have to get a clue like… find out whom he's been reading lately… and it's hard to do that because he's so damned secretive.

“你瞧,我估计他把一切都告诉你了……有没有告诉你他怎样站在洒满月光的阳台上亲吻她?这话重复一遍显得很无聊,可这家伙一描述起来……我简直可以看见这个小滑头抱着那个女人站在那里,他已经在给她写另一封信了,是从另一个法国作家那儿偷来的有关屋顶之类废话的马屁。这家伙的话没有一句不是学别人的,我早就发现了。你得找到一点线索,比如,看看他最近在读谁的作品……这不容易,因为他总是鬼鬼崇崇的。”

Listen, if I didn't know that you went there with him, I wouldn't believe that the woman existed. A guy like that could write letters to himself. And yet he's lucky… he's so damned tiny, so frail, so romantic looking, that women fall for him now and then… they sort of adopt him… they feel sorry for him, I guess. And some cunts like to receive flowerpots… it makes them feel important… But this woman's an intelligent woman, so he says. You ought to know… you've seen her letters. What do you suppose a woman like that saw in him? I can understand her falling for the letters… but how do you suppose she felt when she saw him?

我说,若是我不知道你跟他一同去过那儿,我根本就不相信有这么一个女人,他这样的家伙完全可以自己给自己写信。不过他挺走运……他那么小巧玲瑰,那么娇嫩,仪表又是那么浪漫,不断有女人上他的当……她们有点儿崇拜他……我猜她们是可怜他。有些女人喜欢叫人奉承……这会使她们觉得自己身价不凡……可是据卡尔说这是一个聪明女人。你应该知道这一点……你看过她的信嘛。你认为这样一个女人会看上他哪一点?我明白她上了那些信的当了……可是你认为她看到他后又会怎么想?

"But listen, all that's beside the point. What I'm getting at is the way he tells it to me. You know how he embroiders things… well, after that scene on the balcony – he gives me that like an hors d'œuvre, you know – after that, so he says, they went inside and he unbuttoned her pajamas. What are you smiling for? Was he shitting me about that?"

“不过,我告诉你,这些都算不了什么。我要讲讲他是怎么对我说的,你知道他多么擅长添油加醋……嗯,在阳台上的那一幕之后—他是把这个当作吊胃口的小菜告诉我的—在此之后,据他讲,他俩进屋去,他解开了她的睡衣。你笑什么?他骗我了?”

"No, no! You're giving it to me exactly as he told me. Go ahead…"

“没有,没有!你说的同他讲的一模一样。说下去……”

"After that" – here Van Norden has to smile himself, – "after that, mind you, he tells me how she sat in the chair with her legs up… not a stitch on… and he's sitting on the floor looking up at her, telling her how beautiful she looks… did he tell you that she looked like a Matisse?… Wait a minute… I'd like to remember exactly what he said. He had some cute little phrase there about an odalisque… what the hell's an odalisque anyway? He said it in French, that's why it's hard to remember the fucking thing… but it sounded good. It sounded just like the sort of thing he might say. And she probably thought it was original with him… I suppose she thinks he's a poet or something. But listen, all this is nothing… I make allowances for his imagination. It's what happened after that that drives me crazy. All night long I've been tossing about, playing with these images he left in my mind. I can't get it out of my head. It sounds so real to me that if it didn't happen I could strangle the bastard. A guy has no right to invent things like that. Or else he's diseased…

“接着- ”说到这儿范诺登自己也笑起来,“ 接着,听仔细了,他告诉我她如何抬起腿坐在椅子上……一丝不挂……他坐在地板上抬头望着她,对她说她是多么漂亮……他对你说过她长得像马蒂斯的一个人物吗?等一等……我要回忆一下他确切说了些什么。他说了一句关于‘欧德里斯克’的俏皮话……‘欧德里斯克’到底是什么东西?他是用法语说的,所以不容易记住这鬼东西……不过这话倒很好听,正像他说的那种话,也许她还以为这话是他发明的……我估计她准以为他是个诗人一类的人物呢。不过,这都没有什么……我容许他发挥想象力,是后来发生的那件事情使我听了要发疯。我一夜翻来覆去睡不着,脑子里不断闪出他描绘的那些情况,简直摆脱不掉。

"What I'm getting at is that moment when, he says, he got down on his knees and with those two skinny fingers of his he spread her cunt open. You remember that? He says she was sitting there with her legs dangling over the arms of the chair and suddenly, he says, he got an inspiration. This was after he had given her a couple of lays already… after he had made that little spiel about Matisse. He gets down on his knees – get this! – and with his two fingers… just the tips of them, mind you… he opens the little petals… squish squish… just like that. A sticky little sound… almost inaudible. Squish squish!

我觉得那是如此真实,若是没有这回事我就要勒死这个狗杂种。一个人没有权利编造这种事情,除非他是神经有毛箔…“我要讲到的是那一瞬间,他说他跪在地上用他那两根细瘦的手指扒开她的下体。你还记得这个?他说她坐着,双腿搭在椅子扶手上晃来晃去,忽然他来了灵感,这时他已经睡了她几回了……也发表完了关于马蒂斯的小演讲。他跪在地上—你听清了—用两个手指……听着,只有指尖……噗哧—噗哧!

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