沈从文《凤凰》中英双语 -《湘西散记:汉英对照》

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凤凰

这是从一个作品里摘录出关于凤凰的轮廓。

一个好事的人,若从百年前某种较旧一点儿的地图上寻找,一定可在黔北、川东、湘西一处极偏僻的角隅上,发现一个名为“镇筸”的小点。那里同别的小点一样,事实上应有一个小小城市,在那城市中,安顿了数千户人口的。不过一切城市的存在,大部分皆在交通、物产、经济的情形下面,成为那个城市荣枯的因缘。这一个地方,却以另外一种意义无所依附而独立存在。试将那个用粗糙而坚实的巨大石头砌成的圆城作为中心,向四方展开,围绕了这边疆僻地的孤城,约有五百余苗寨,各有千总守备镇守其间。有数十屯仓,每年屯数万石粮食为公家所有。五百左右的碉堡,二百左右的营汛。碉堡各用大石堆成。位置在山顶头,随了山岭脉络蜿蜒各处;营汛各位置在驿路上,布置得极有秩序。这些东西是在一百八十年前,按照一种精密的计划,各保持到相当距离,在周围附近三县数百里内,平均分配下来,解决了退守一隅常作暴动的边地苗族叛变的。两世纪来满清的暴政,以及因这暴政而引起的反抗,血染赤了每一条官道同每一个碉堡。到如今,一切不同了。碉堡多数业已残毁了,营汛多数成为民房了,人民已大半同化了。落日黄昏时节,站到那个巍然独在万山环绕的孤城高处,眺望那些远近残毁碉堡,还可依稀想见当时角鼓火炬传警告急的光景。这地方到今日此时,因为另一军事重心,一切均以一种迅速的情形在改变,在进步,同时这种进步,也就正消灭到过去一切。

地方统治者分数种,最上为天神,其次为官,又其次才为村长同执行巫术的神的侍奉者。人人洁身信神,守法怕官。城中居民每家俱有兵役,可按月各到营上领取一点儿银子,一份米粮,且可从官家领取二百年前被政府所没收的公田播种。

这地方本名镇筸城,后改凤凰厅,入民国后,才升级改名凤凰县。满清时辰沅永靖兵备道,镇筸城总兵均驻节此地。辛亥革命后,湘西镇守使,辰沅道仍在此办公。除屯谷外,国家每月约用银六万到八万两经营此小小山城。地方居民不过五六千,驻防各处的正规兵士却有七千。由于环境不同,直到现在其地绿营兵役制度尚保存不废,为中国绿营军制唯一残留之物。(引自《凤子》)

苗人放蛊的传说,由这个地方出发。辰州符的实验者,以这个地方为集中地。三楚子弟的游侠气概,这个地方因屯丁子弟兵制度,所以保留得特别多。在宗教仪式上,这个地方有很多特别处,宗教情绪(好鬼信巫的情绪)因社会环境特殊,热烈专诚到不可想象。小小县城里外大型建筑,不是庙宇就是祠堂,江西人经营的绸布业,会馆建筑特别壮丽华美。湘西之所以成为问题,这个地方人应当负较多责任。湘西的将来,不拘好或坏,这个地方人的关系都特别大。湘西的神秘,只有这一个区域不易了解,值得了解。

它的地域已深入苗区,文化比沅水流域任何一县都差得多,然而民国以来湖南的政治家熊希龄先生,却出生在那个小小县城里。地方可说充满了迷信,然而那点儿迷信,却被历史很巧妙的糅合在军人的情感里,因此反而增加了军人的勇敢性与团结性。去年在嘉善守兴登堡国防线抗敌时,作战之沉着,牺牲之壮烈,就见出迷信实无碍于它的军人职务。县城一个完全小学也办不好,可是许多青年却在部队中当过一阵兵后,辗转努力,得入正式大学,或陆军大学,成绩都很好。一些由行伍出身的军人,常识且异常丰富;个人的浪漫情绪与历史的宗教情绪结合为一,便成游侠者精神,领导得人,就可成为卫国守土的模范军人。这种游侠精神若用不得其当,自然也可以见出种种短处。或一与领导者离开,即不免在许多事上精力浪费。甚焉者即糜烂地方,尚不自知。总之,这个地方的人格与道德,应当归入另一型范。由于历史环境不同,它的发展也就不同。

凤凰军校阶级不独支配了凤凰,且支配了湘西沅水流域二十县。它的弱点与二十年来中国一般军人的弱点相似,即知道管理群众,不大知道教育群众。知道管理群众,因此在统治下社会秩序尚无问题。不大知道教育群众,因此一切进步的理想都难实现。地方边僻,且易受人控制,如数年前领导者陈渠珍被何键压迫离职,外来贪官与本地土劣即打成一片,地方受剥削宰割,毫无办法。民性既刚直,团结性又强,领导者如能让这种优点成为一个教育原则,使湘西群众人人各有一种自尊和自信心,认为湘西人可以把湘西弄好,这工作人人有份,是每人责任也是每人权利,能够这样,湘西之明日,就大不相同了。

典籍上关于云贵放蛊的记载,放蛊必与仇怨有关,仇怨又与男女事有关。换言之,就是新欢旧爱得失之际,蛊可以应用作争夺工具或报复工具。中蛊者非狂即死,唯系铃人可以解铃。这倒是蛊字古典的说明,与本意相去不远。看看贵州小乡镇上任何小摊子上都可以公开的买红砒,就可知道蛊并无如何神秘可言了。但蛊在湘西却有另外一种意义,与巫,与此外少女的落洞致死,三者同源而异流,都源于人神错综,一种情绪被压抑后变态的发展。因年龄、社会地位和其他分别,穷而年老的,易成为蛊婆,三十岁左右的,易成为巫,十六岁到二十二三岁,美丽爱好性情内向而婚姻不遂的,易落洞致死。三者都以神为对象,产生一种变质女性神经病。年老而穷,怨愤郁结,取报复形式方能排泄感情,故蛊婆所作所为,即近于报复。三十岁左右,对神力极端敬信,民间传说如“七仙姐下凡”之类故事又多,结合宗教情绪与浪漫情绪而为一,因此总觉得神对她特别关心,发狂,呓语,天上地下,无往不至,必需作巫,执行人神传递愿望与意见工作,经众人承认其为神之子后,中和其情绪,狂病方不再发。年青貌美的女子,一面为戏文才子佳人故事所启发,一面由于美貌而有才情,婚姻不谐,当地武人出身中产者规矩又严,由压抑转而成为人神错综,以为被神所爱,因此死去。

善蛊的通称“草蛊婆”,蛊人称“放蛊”。放蛊的方法是用虫类放果物中,毒虫不外蚂蚁、蜈蚣、长蛇,就本地所有且常见的。中蛊的多小孩子,现象和通常害疳疾腹中生蛔虫差不多,腹胀人瘦,或梦见虫蛇,终于死去。病中若家人疑心是同街某妇人放的,就往去见见她,只作为随便闲话,客客气气的说:“伯娘,我孩子害了点儿小病,总治不好,你知道什么小丹方,告我一个吧。小孩子怪可怜!”那妇人知道人疑心到她了,必说:“那不要紧,吃点儿猪肝(或别的)就好了。”回家照方子一吃,果然就好了。病好的原因是“收蛊”。蛊婆的家中必异常干净,个人眼睛发红。蛊婆放蛊出于被蛊所逼迫,到相当时日必来一次。通常放一小孩子可以经过一年,放一树木(本地凡树木起瘪有蚁穴因而枯死的,多认为被放蛊死去)只抵两月,放自己孩子却可抵三年。蛊婆所住的街上,街邻照例对她都敬而远之的客气,她也就从不会对本街孩子过不去(甚至于不会对全城孩子过不去)。但某一时若迫不得已使同街孩子或城中孩子因受蛊致死,好事者激起公愤,必把这个妇人捉去,放在大六月天酷日下晒太阳,名为“晒草蛊”。或用别的更残忍方法惩治。这事官方从不过问。即或这妇人在私刑中死去,也不过问。受处分的妇人,有些极口呼冤,有些又似乎以为罪有应得,默然无语。然情绪相同,即这种妇人必相信自己真有致人于死的魔力。有些居然还招供出有多少魔力,施行过多少次,某时在某处蛊死谁,某地方某大树枯树自焚也是她做的。在招供中且俨然得到一种满足的快乐。这样一来,照习惯必在毒日下晒三天,有些妇人被晒过后,病就好了,以为蛊被太阳晒过就离开了,成为一个常态的妇人。有些因此就死掉了,死后众人还以为替地方除了一害。其实呢,这种妇人与其说是罪人,不如说是疯婆子。她根本上就并无如此特别能力蛊人致命。这种妇人是一个悲剧的主角,因为她有点儿隐性的疯狂,致疯的原因又是穷苦而寂寞。

行巫者之所以行巫,加以分析,也有相似情形。中国其他地方巫术的执行者,同僧道相差不多,已成为一种游民懒妇谋生的职业。视个人的诈伪聪明程度,见出职业成功的多少。他的作为重在引人迷信,自己却清清楚楚。这种行巫,已完全失去了他本来的性质,不会当真发疯发狂了。但凤凰情形不同。行巫术多非自愿的职业,近于“迫不得已”的差使。大多数本人平时为人必极老实忠厚,沉默寡言。常忽然发病,卧床不起,如有神附体,语音神气完全变过。或胡唱胡闹,天上地下,无所不谈。且哭笑无常,殴打自己,长日不吃,不喝,不睡觉。过三两天后,仿佛生命中有种东西,把它稳住了,因极度疲乏,要休息了,长长的睡上一天,人就清醒了。醒后对病中事竟毫无所知,别的人谈起她病中情形时,反觉十分羞愧。

可是这种狂病是有周期性的(也许还同经期有关系),约两三个月一次。每次总弄得本人十分疲乏,欲罢不能。按照习惯,只有一个方法可以治疗,就是行巫。行巫不必学习,无从传授,只设一神坛,放一平斗,斗内装满谷子,插上一把剪刀。有的什么也不用,就可正式营业。执行巫术的方式,是在神前设一座位,行巫者坐定,用青丝绸巾覆盖脸上。重在关亡,托亡魂说话,用半哼半唱方式,谈别人家事长短,儿女疾病,远行人情形。谈到伤心处,谈者涕泗横溢,听者自然更嘘泣不止。执行巫术后,已成为众人承认的神之子,女人的潜意识,因中和作用,得到解除,因此就不会再发狂病。初执行巫术时,且照例很灵,至少有些想不到的古怪情形,说来十分巧合。因为有事前狂态作宣传,本城人知道的多,行巫近于不得已,光顾的老妇人必甚多,生意甚好。行巫虽可发财,本人通常倒不以所得多少关心,受神指定为代理人,不作巫即受惩罚,设坛近于不得已。行巫既久,自然就渐渐变成职业,使术时多做作处。世人的好奇心,这时又转移到新近设坛的别一妇人方面去。这巫婆若为人老实,便因此撤了坛,依然恢复她原有的职业,或作奶妈,或做小生意,或带孩子。为人世故,就成为三姑六婆之一,利用身份,串当地有身份人家的门子,陪老太太念经,或如《红楼梦》中与赵姨娘合作同谋马道婆之流妇女,行使点儿小法术,埋在地下,放在枕边,使“仇人”吃亏。或更作媒作中,弄一点儿酬劳脚步钱。小孩子多病,命大,就拜寄她作干儿子。小孩子夜惊,就为“收黑”,用个鸡蛋,咒过一番后,黄昏时拿到街上去,一路喊小孩名字。“八宝回来了吗?”另一个就答,“八宝回来了”,一直喊到家。到家后抱着孩子手蘸唾沫抹抹孩子头部,事情就算办好了。行巫的本地人称为“仙娘”。她的职务是“人鬼之间的媒介”,她的群众是妇人和孩子。她工作的真正意义是她得到社会承认是神的代理人后,狂病即不再发。当地妇女实为生活所困苦,感情无所归宿,将希望与梦想寄在她的法术上,靠她得到安慰。这种人自然间或也会点儿小丹方,可以治小儿夜惊,膈食。用通常眼光看来,殊不可解,用现代心理学来分析,它的产生同它在社会上的意义,都有它必然的原因。一知半解的读书人,想破除迷信,要打倒它,否认这种“先知”,正说明另一种人的“无知”。

至于落洞,实在是一种人神错综的悲剧,比上述两种妇女病更多悲剧性。地方习惯是女子在性行为方面的极端压制,成为最高的道德。这种道德观念的形成,由于军人成为地方整个的统治者。军人因职务关系,必时常离开家庭外出,在外面取得对于妇女的经验,必使这种道德观增强,方能维持他的性的独占情绪与事实。因此本地认为最丑的事无过于女子不贞,男子听妇女有外遇。妇女若无家庭任何拘束,自愿解放,毫无关系的旁人亦可把女子捉来光身游街,表示与众共弃。下面故事是另外一个最好的例。

旅长刘俊卿,夫人是一个女子学校毕业生,平时感情极好。有同学某女士,因同学时要好,在通信中不免常有些女孩子的感情话。信被这位军官见到后,便引起疑心。后因信中有句话语近于男子说的:“嫁了人你就把我忘了”,这位军官疑心转增。独自驻防某地,有一天,忽然要马弁去接太太,并告马弁:“你把太太接来,到离这里十里,一枪给我把她打死,我要死的不要活的。我要看看她还有一点儿热气,不同她说话。你事办得好,一切有我;事办不好,不必回来见我。”马弁当然一切照办。当真把旅长太太接来防地,到要下手时,太太一看情形不对,问马弁是什么意思。马弁就告她这是旅长的意思。太太说:“我不能这样冤枉死去,你让我见他去说个明白!”马弁说:“旅长命令要这么办,不然我就得死。”末了两人都哭了。太太让马弁把枪口按在心子上一枪打死了(打心子好让血往腔子里流!)。轿夫快快的把这位太太抬到旅部去见旅长,旅长看看后,摸摸脸和手,看看气已绝了,不由自主淌了两滴英雄泪,要马弁看一副五百块钱的棺木,把死者装殓埋了。人一埋,事情也就完结了。

这悲剧多数人就只觉得死者可悯,因误会得到这样结果,可不觉得军官行为成为问题。倘若女的当真过去一时还有一个情人,那这种处置,在当地人看来,简直是英雄行为了。

女子在性行为所受的压制既如此严酷,一个结过婚的妇人,因家事儿女勤劳,终日织布、绩麻、作腌菜,家境好的还玩骨牌,尚可转移她的情绪,不至于成为精神病。一个未出嫁的女子,尤其是一个爱美好洁、知书识字、富于情感的聪明女子,或因早熟,或因晚婚,这方面情绪上所受的压抑自然更大,容易转成病态。地方既在边区苗乡,苗族半原人的神怪观影响到一切人,形成一种绝大力量。大树、洞穴、岩石,无处无神。狐、虎、蛇、龟,无物不怪。神或怪在传说中美丑善恶不一,无不赋以人性。因人与人相互爱悦,和当前道德观念极端冲突,便产生人和神怪爱悦的传说,女性在性方面的压抑情绪,方借此得到一条出路。落洞即人神错综之一种形式。背面所隐藏的悲惨,正与表面所见出的美丽成分相等。

凡属落洞的女子,必眼睛光亮,性情纯和,聪明而美丽。必未婚,必爱好,善修饰。平时贞静自处,情感热烈不外露,转多幻想。间或出门,即自以为某一时无意中从某处洞穴旁经过,为洞神一瞥见到,欢喜了她。因此更加爱独处,爱静坐,爱清洁,有时且会自言自语,常以为那个洞神已驾云乘虹前来看她,这个抽象的神或为传说中的相貌,或为记忆中庙宇里的偶像样子,或为常见的又为女子所畏惧的蛇虎形状。总之这个抽象对手到女人心中时,虽引起女子一点儿羞怯和恐惧,却必然也感到热烈而兴奋。事实上也就是一种变形的自渎。等到家中人注意到这件事情深为忧虑时,或正是病人在变态情绪中恋爱最满足时。

通常男巫的职务重在和天地,悦人神,对落洞事即付之于职权以外,不能过问。辰州符重在治大伤,对这件事也无可如何。女巫虽可请本家亡灵对于这件事表示意见,或阴魂入洞探询消息,然而结末总似乎凡属爱情,即无罪过。洞神所欲,一切人力都近于白费。虽天王佛菩萨权力广大,人鬼同尊,亦无从为力。(迷信与实际社会互相映照,可谓相反相成。)事到末了,即是听其慢慢死去。死的迟早,都认为一切由洞神作主。事实上有一半近于女子自己作主。死时女子必觉得洞神已派人前来迎接她,或觉得洞神亲自换了新衣骑了白马来接她,耳中有箫鼓竞奏,眼睛发光,脸色发红,间或在肉体上散放一种奇异香味,含笑死去。死时且显得神气清明,美艳照人。真如诗人所说:“她在恋爱之中,含笑死去。”家中人多泪眼莹然相向,无可奈何。只以为女儿被神所眷爱致死。料不到女儿因在人间无可爱悦,却爱上了神,在人神恋与自我恋情形中消耗其如花生命,终于衰弱死去。

女子落洞致死的年龄,迟早不等,大致在十六到二十四五左右。病的久暂也不一,大致由两年到五年。落洞女子最正当的治疗是结婚,一种正常美满的婚姻,必然可以把女子从这种可怜的生活中救出。可是照习惯这种为神眷顾的女子,是无人愿意接回家中作媳妇的。家中人更想不到结婚是一种最好的法术和药物。因此末了终是一死。

湘西女性在三种阶段的年龄中,产生蛊婆女巫和落洞女子。三种女性的歇斯底里,就形成湘西的神秘之一部分。这神秘背后隐藏了动人的悲剧,同时也隐藏了动人的诗。至如辰州符,在伤科方面用催眠术和当地效力强不知名的草药相辅为治,男巫用广大的戏剧场面,在一年将尽的十冬腊月,杀猪宰羊,击鼓鸣锣,来作人神和乐的工作,集收人民的宗教情绪和浪漫情绪,比较起来,就见得事很平常,不足为异了。

浪漫情绪和宗教情绪两者混而为一,在女子方面,它的排泄方式,有如上所述说的种种。在男子方面,则自然而然成为游侠者精神。这从游侠者的道德观所表现的宗教性和戏剧性也可看出。妇女道德的形成,与游侠者的道德观大有关系。游侠者对同性同道称哥唤弟,彼此不分。故对于同道眷属亦视为家中人,呼为嫂子。子弟儿郎们照规矩与嫂子一床同宿,亦无所忌。但条款必遵守,即“只许开弓,不许放箭”。条款意思就是同住无妨,然不能发生关系。若发生关系,即为犯条款,必受严重处分。这种处分仪式,实充满宗教性和戏剧性。下面一件记载,是一个好例。这故事是一个参加过这种仪式的朋友说的。

在野地排三十六张方桌(象征梁山三十六天罡),用八张方桌重叠为一个高台,桌前掘个一丈八尺见方的土坑,用三十六把尖刀竖立坑中,刀锋向上,疏密不一。预先用浮土掩着,刀尖不外露。所有弟兄哥子都全副戎装到场,当时流行的装束是:青绉绸巾裹头,视耳边下垂巾角长短表示身份。穿纸甲,用棉纸捶炼而成,中夹头发,作成背心式样,轻而柔韧,可以避刀刃。外穿密纽打衣,袖小而紧。佩平时所长武器,多单刀双刀,小牛皮刀鞘上绘有绿云红云,刀环上系彩绸,作为装饰。着青裤,裹腿,腿部必插两把黄鳝尾小尖刀。赤脚,穿麻练鞋。桌上排定酒盏,燃好香烛,发言的必先吃血酒盟誓(或咬一公鸡头,将鸡血滴入酒中,或咬破手指,将本人的血滴入酒中)。“管事”将事由说明,请众议处。事情是一个作大哥的嫂子有被某“老幺”调戏嫌疑,老幺犯了某条某款。女子年青而貌美,长眉弱肩,身材窈窕,眼光如星子流转。男的不过二十岁左右,黑脸长身,眉目英悍。管事把事由说完后,女子继即陈述经过,那青年男子在旁沉默不语。此后轮到青年开口时,就说一切都出于诬蔑。至于为什么诬蔑,他不便说,嫂子应当清清楚楚。那意思就是说嫂子对他有心,他无意。既经否认,各执一说,“执法”无从执行处分,因此照规矩决之于神。青年男子把麻鞋脱去,把衣甲脱去,光身赤脚爬上那八张方桌顶上去。毫无惧容,理直气壮,奋身向土坑跃下。出坑时,全身丝毫无伤。照规矩即已证实心地光明,一切出于受诬。其时女子头已低下,脸色惨白,知道自己命运不佳,业已失败,不能逃脱。那大哥揪着女子的发髻,跪到神桌边去,问她:“还有什么话说?”女的说:“没有什么说的。冤有头,债有主。凡事天知道。”引颈受戮,不求饶也不狡辩,一切沉默。这大哥看看四面八方,无一个人有所表示,于是拔出背上单刀,一刀结果了这个因爱那小兄弟不遂心,反诬他调戏的女子。头放在神桌前,眉目下垂如熟睡。一伙哥子弟兄见事已完,把尸身拖到原来那个土坑里去,用刀掘土,把尸身掩埋了。那个大哥和那个幺兄弟,在情绪上一定都需要流一点儿眼泪,但身份上的习惯,却不许一个男子为妇人显出弱点,都默默无言,各自走开。

类乎这种事情还很多。都是浪漫与严肃,美丽与残忍,爱与怨交缚不可分。

游侠者行径在当地也另成一种风格,与国内近代化的青红帮稍稍不同。重在为友报仇,扶弱锄强,挥金如土,有诺必践。尊重读书人,敬侍同乡长老。换言之,就是还能保存一点儿古风。有些人虽能在川黔湘鄂边境数省号召数千人集会,在本乡却谦虚纯良,犹如一乡巴佬。有兵役的且依然按时入衙署当值,听候差遣作小事情,凡事照常。赌博时用小铜钱三枚跌地,名为“板三”,看反覆、数目,决定胜负,一反手间即输黄牛一头,银元一百两百,输后不以为意,扬长而去,从无翻悔放赖情事。决斗时两人用分量相等武器,一人对付一人,虽亲兄弟只能袖手旁观,不许帮忙。仇敌受伤倒下后,即不继续填刀,否则就被人笑话,失去英雄本色,虽胜不武。犯条款时自己处罚自己,割手截脚,脸不变色,口不出声。总之,游侠观念纯是古典的,行为是与太史公所述相去不远的。

二十年闻名于川黔湘鄂各边区的凤凰人田三怒,可为这种游侠者一个典型。年纪不到十岁,看木傀儡戏时,就携一血梼木短棒,在戏场中向屯垦军子弟不端重的横蛮的挑衅,或把人痛殴一顿,或反而被人打得头破血流,不以为意。十二岁就身怀黄鳝尾小刀,称“小老幺”,三江四海口诀背诵如流。家中老父开米粉馆,凡小朋友照顾的,一律招待,从不接钱。十五岁就为友报仇,走七百里路到常德府去杀一木客镖手,因听人说这个镖手在沅州有意调戏一个妇人,曾用手触过妇人的乳部,这少年就把镖手的双手砍下,带到沅州去送给那朋友。年纪二十岁,已称“龙头大哥”,名闻边境各处。然在本地每日抱大公鸡往米场斗鸡时,一见长辈或教学先生,必侧身在墙边让路,见女人必低头而过,见作小生意的老妇人,必叫伯母,见人相争相吵,必心平气和劝解,且用笑话使大事化为小事。周济逢丧事的孤寡,从不出名露面。各庙宇和尚尼姑行为有不正当的,恐败坏当地风俗,必在短期中想方法把这种不守清规的法门弟子逐出境外。作龙头后身边子弟甚多,龙蛇不一,凡有调戏良家妇女,或赌博撒赖,或倚势强夺经人告诉的,必招来把事情问明白,照条款处办。执法老幺,被派往六百里外杀人,随时动员,如期带回证据。结怨甚多,积德亦多。身体瘦黑而小,秀弱如一小学教员,不相识的绝不会相信这是湘西一霸。

光棍服软不服硬,白羊岭有一张姓汉子,出门远走云贵二十年,回家时与人谈天,问:“本地近来谁有名?”或人说:“田三怒。”姓张的稍露出轻视神气:“田三怒不是正街卖粉的田家小儿子?”当夜就有人去叫张家的门,在门外招呼说:“姓张的,你明天天亮以前走路,不要在这个地方住,不走路后天我们送你回老家。”姓张的不以为意,可是到后天大清早,有人发现他在一个桥头上斜坐着。走近身看看,原来两把刀插在心窝上,人已经死了。另外有个姓王的,卖牛肉讨生活,过节喝了点儿酒,酒后忘形,当街大骂田三怒不是东西,若有勇气,可以当街和他比比。正闹着,田三怒却从街上过身,一切听得清清楚楚。事后有人赶去告给那醉汉的母亲,老妇人听说吓慌了,赶忙去找他,哭哭啼啼,求他不要见怪。并说只有这个儿子,儿子一死,自己老命也完了。田三怒只是笑,说:“伯母,这是小事情,他喝了酒,乱说玩的。我不会生他的气。谁也不敢挨他,你放心。”事后果然不再追究。还送了老妇人一笔钱,要那儿子开个面馆。

田三怒四十岁后,已豪气稍衰,厌倦了风云,把兄弟遣散,洗了手,在家里养马种花过日子。间或骑了马下乡去赶场,买几只斗鸡,或携细尾狗,带长网去草泽地打野鸡,逐鹌鹑,猎猎野猪,人料不到这就是十年前在川黔边境增加了凤凰人光荣的英雄田三怒。本人也似乎忘记自己作了些什么事。一天下午,牵了他那两匹骏健白马出城下河去洗马。城头上有两个懦夫居高临下,用两支匣子炮由他身背后打了约十三发子弹,有两粒子弹打在后颈上,五粒打在腰背上。两匹白马受惊,脱了缰沿城根狂奔而去。老英雄受暗算后,伏在水边石头上,勉强翻过身来,从怀中掏出小勃朗宁拿在手上,默默无声。他知道等等就会有人出城来的。不一会儿,懦夫之一果然提着匣子炮出城来了,到离身三丈左右时,老英雄手一扬起,枪声响处那懦夫倒下,子弹从左眼进去,即刻死了。城头上那个懦夫在隐蔽处重新打了五枪。田三怒教训他:“狗杂种,你做的事丢了镇筸人的丑。在暗中射冷箭,不像个男子。你怎不下来?”懦夫不作声。原来城上来了另外的人,这行刺的就跑了。田三怒知道自己不济事了,在自己太阳穴上打了一枪,便如此完结了自己,也完结了当地最后一个游侠者。

派人作这件事情的,到后来才知道是一个姓唐的。这个人也可称为苗乡一霸。辛亥革命时领率苗民万人攻城,牺牲苗民将近六千人,北伐时随军下长江,曾任徐海警备司令。卸职还乡后称“司令官”,在离城十里长宁哨新房子中居家纳福。事有凑巧,作了这件事后,过后数年,这人居然被一个驻军团长,不知天高地厚,把他捉来放在牢里,到知道这事不妥时,人已病死狱中了。

田三怒子弟极多,十年来或因年事渐长,血气已衰,改业为正经规矩商人。或带剑从军,参加各种内战,牺牲死去。或因犯案离乡,漂流无踪。在日月交替中,地方人物新陈代谢,风俗习惯日有不同。因此到近年来,游侠者精神虽未绝,所有方式已大大有了变化。在那万山环绕的小小石头城中,田三怒的姓名,已逐渐为人忘却,少年子弟中有从图书杂志上知道“飞将军”“小黑炭”“美人鱼”等人的,却不知道田三怒是谁。

当年田三怒得力助手之一,到如今还好好存在,为人依然豪侠好客,待友以义,在苗民中称领袖,这人就是去年使湘西发生问题,迫何键去职,使湖南政治得一转机的龙云飞。二十年前眼目精悍,手脚麻利,勇敢如豹子,轻捷如猿猴,身体由城墙头倒掷而下,落地时尚能作矮马桩姿势。在街头与人决斗,杀人后下河边去洗手时,从从容容如毫不在意。现在虽尚精神矍铄,面目光润,但已白发临头,谦和宽厚如一长者。回首昔日,不免有英雄老去之慨!

这种游侠者精神既浸透了三厅子弟的脑子,所以在本地读书人观念上也发生影响。军人政治家,当前负责收拾湘西的陈老先生,年过六十,体气精神,犹如三十许青年壮健,平时律己之严,驭下之宽,以及处世接物,带兵从政,就大有游侠者风度。少壮军官中,如师长顾家齐、戴季韬辈,虽受近代化训练,面目文弱和易如大学生,精神上多因游侠者的遗风,勇鸷慓悍,好客喜弄,如太史公传记中人。诗人田星六,诗中就充满游侠者霸气。山高水急,地苦雾多,为本地人性格形成之另一面。游侠者精神的浸润,产生过去,且将形成未来。

Fenghuang

Here is an outline of Fenghuang from one of my past writings.

Anyone curious enough to look up a map made a century ago will find a dot marked Zhenhuang in a remote spot between north Guizhou, east Sichuan and west Hunan. Like other dots on the map, in fact it denoted a small town of several thousand households. But the existence of all towns, and their prosperity or decline, are determined to a great extent by the communications,local products and economic situation. This place, however, is an exception to this rule. Its centre, this lonely border town with its round city wall of big, solid, rough-hewn stones, is encircled by over five hundred Miao villages with garrisons between them. Dozens of granaries store tens of thousands of bushels of government grain each year. There are also approximately five hundred forts and two hundred barracks. The forts, built of big stones, stand on the tops of the winding mountain ranges, while the barracks are excellently disposed by the post roads, spaced out evenly, a considerable distance apart, in three neighbouring counties covering a radius of hundreds of li. This was according to a masterly plan drawn up a hundred and eighty years ago to cope with the Miao tribesmen driven back to that territory who often revolted. Two centuries of the tyrannous rule of the Manchu government led to so many revolts that each public road, each fort, was stained with blood. Now all this has changed. Most of the forts are in ruins, most of the barracks are occupied by civilians; and half the minority people have adopted Chinese ways. But at sunset or dusk, if you climb a height in that town which stands impressively alone surrounded by mountains, gazing at the ruined forts near and far you can still conjure up a faint picture of the past when bugles, drums and torches raised an alarm. Because the military centre has moved elsewhere, and everything is fast changing and progressing, this progress is putting an end to all past misunderstandings and vendettas …

There are various different local authorities, the highest being deities, the next officials, with below them the village heads and the attendants of spirits who practise magic. The people here are honest and law-abiding, believing in spirits and afraid of officials. Every family in town is pressed into military service and can go each month to the barracks to draw a small silver stipend and rice ration; they can also ask the authorities for some of the public land confiscated two centuries ago and cultivate this themselves.

This place’s original name was Zhenhuang; this was later changed to Fenghuang Garrison, and after the establishment of the Republic it became Fenghuang County. During the Qing Dynasty,the commanders of the Yongjing Garrison and of Zhenhuang were stationed here. After the 1911 Revolution, the governor of west Hunan and the commandant of Chenyuan still had their offices here. In addition to the grain in the granaries, the state had to spend roughly eighty thousand taels of silver a month on this little hill town. The local residents numbered no more than five or six thousand, but seven thousand regular troops were stationed in various parts. Because of the unique surroundings, even today the system of military service of the Green Banner troops has been retained—the only vestige in China of this old military system.

The legends about Miao jinxes originated here. And this was the centre of Chenzhou magic. Here, too, the Cadet Training Corps has kept up much of the chivalrous tradition of the descendants of Chu. This locality also has many distinctive religious observances. Religious feeling (the belief in spirits and sorcery) is exceptionally—inconceivably—ardent, owing to the special social environment. The large buildings inside and outside this small county town are either temples or ancestral halls; and because of the textile industry run by migrants from Jiangxi,the guild halls are particularly fine. The local people are largely responsible for the fact that west Hunan is a problem district. And its future, whether good or bad, will depend largely on them. It is here that the mystery of west Hunan is hardest to fathom, yet most worth fathoming.

The county is deep inside Miao territory and culturally lags far behind any other county along the River Yuan; yet Xiong Xiling, the best statesman in Hunan since the Republic, was born in that little county town. Superstition can be said to be rife here,yet history has blended it so skilfully with the feelings of soldiers that in fact it increases their courage and unity. Last year, the way they manned the Hindenburg defence line at Jiashan, stubbornly resisting the enemy and fearlessly laying down their lives, showed that superstition is actually no deterrent to a military career.The town has never succeeded in running a full primary-school course, yet many boys who join the army and go through the mill as soldiers are able by working hard to join regular colleges or military academies, where they distinguish themselves. The officers who have risen from the ranks have extraordinarily rich general knowledge. Their romanticism blends with the traditional religious fervour, making them chivalrous, so that if well led they can become exemplary defenders of the country. Of course, if this chivalry is abused, all manner of failings appear. Or if they leave their leaders they are bound to waste energy in many ways. They may even, unconsciously, cause wanton destruction. In short,the character and virtues of the people here appear to have been cast in a special mould. Their distinctive historical environment accounts for their unique development.

Fenghuang’s army officers as an élite class control not only that county but all twenty counties along the Yuan in west Hunan.They share the common weakness of most of China’s officers during the last twenty years: they can control the people, but are poor at educating them. Since they can control the people,under their rule social order presents no problem. But because they are poor educators, all progressive ideals are hard to realize.The place being remote is easily controlled. Thus some years ago, when Chen Quzhen was in charge, He Jian forced him to quit his post. Corrupt officials from outside, in cahoots with local scoundrels, exploit the local people mercilessly, but they are completely helpless. The people are unyielding and closely united. If their leaders could use these qualities as educational principles for all the inhabitants of west Hunan, everyone would have self-respect and self-confidence and believe themselves able to run west Hunan well. For everyone should have a share in this; it is the duty and the right of all. If this could be done, west Hunan’s future would be very different.

According to old accounts of jinxes in Yunnan and Guizhou,their vengeance is bound up with sexual relations. In other words,in a case of rivalry between an old love and a new, a jinx can be used as a means to win one’s end or take revenge. The victim is fated to go mad or die, for “only the one who has tied on the bell can undo it”. This at least is the classical definition of this term, not far from its actual meaning. Look at any stall in a small county town in Guizhou—you can buy arsenic quite openly; so there is nothing mysterious about jinxes. But in west Hunan the word has another meaning. It has the same origin as witchcraft and the killing of girls by cave spirits, for all three varieties of magic stem from the belief in the intermingling of spirits and mortals, when repression has led to psychosis. Owing to age,social status or other discrepancies, poor old women become jinxes; those of thirty or thereabouts witches; those between sixteen and twenty-two or three, if they are pretty but unlucky in love, may well succumb to cave spirits. All three types have fixations to spirits. Those who resent being old and poor vent their anger by taking revenge, so all these jinxes do is akin to revenge.Those of thirty or thereabouts have infinite respect for and faith in spirits, as seen in many folk tales such as The Seventh Fairy maid Comes Down to Earth; and their combination of religious fervour and romanticism convinces them that the spirits show special concern for them. They go mad, raving about everything in heaven or under the earth, impelled to practise magic to carry out the wishes of humans and spirits. After they are acknowledged by all to be the handmaids of spirits, this neutralizes their pent up emotions and ends their madness. Pretty, intelligent young women, stimulated by operas about talented scholars and beauties,and not happily married themselves, are repressed because the rules of the middle class trained in the army there are so strict. They become possessed by spirits, convinced that they have spirit lovers, and so they die.

Skilled jinxes are called “gu women”. They put a jinx on someone by poisoning fruit with the ants, centipedes or snakes common in those parts. They usually put their jinxes on little children, whose bellies swell up as if they had worms while they waste away; or they may have nightmares about snakes, and finally die. If a child’s family suspect that he has been bewitched by a woman in the same street, his mother will call on her and say casually but politely, “Aunt, my boy’s poorly, and I haven’t been able to cure him. If you know of any good prescription, do tell me. Poor little fellow!” The gu woman, knowing that she is suspected, will answer, “It’s nothing serious. Let him eat some liver (or whatever), and that’ll put him right.” When the child eats the food prescribed, sure enough he recovers. The reason is that the jinx has been removed. The house of a jinx is spotlessly clean, and her eyes are red. The jinx forces her to put a jinx on other people after fixed intervals. If she puts a jinx on a child,the interval is generally a year; on a tree (when trees there wither or are bored into by ants, this is usually attributed to a jinx), the interval is only two months; on a child of her own the interval is three years. A jinx’s neighbours are always polite to her, keeping a respectful distance in the hope that she will not pick on children in that street. (She may not pick on any children in the whole town.) Sometimes, though, if a jinx causes the death of a child in the same street or in the town, some busybody will fan public indignation and this woman will be caught and exposed to the scorching midsummer sun. This is called “sunning the jinx”. Or some more cruel punishment may be inflicted. The authorities never interfere. If the woman dies when privately tortured like this, again no questions are asked. Some of the women punished swear that they are innocent; some seem to think this a just retribution for their crimes and suffer in silence. But their feelings are the same, as they all believe that they really have magic power to kill people. some indeed confess to a number of spells they have cast on different occasions, to having killed someone at a certain time and place, or to having made a certain big tree or withered tree burst into flame. They apparently derive satisfaction and pleasure from these confessions. Then the rule is to expose them to the scorching sun for three days, after which some women are cured and it is assumed that the jinx has left on account of the heat, so that she becomes normal again. Others die as a result of this exposure, and people believe that they have rid the town of a pest. In fact, these women are not criminals but lunatics. They have no special power to cause people’s death. They are the chief actresses in tragedies. Because of a latent tendency to madness,poverty or loneliness drives them out of their minds.

If we analyze the witches, similar circumstances make them practise witchcraft. In other parts of China witches are not very different from Buddhists or Taoists, and witchcraft is a way for vagrants or lazy women to make a living. The degree of a charlatan’s cleverness determines his or her success. His actions are aimed at inducing superstition, though he himself sees through this. This type of witchcraft has completely lost its original character, and the practitioner will not really go mad. But in Fenghuang it is different. Few witches choose this profession willingly; most of them are forced into it. The majority are normally most honest women, quiet and sparing of speech. They suddenly fall ill and become bed-ridden, as if a spirit has taken possession of them, changing their whole way of talking and their appearance. Then they chant and rave about everything under the sun. They weep and laugh by fits and starts and beat themselves.For days they neither eat nor drink nor sleep. A few days later,though, it seems as if something has pacified them, and because they are worn out and need rest they sleep for a whole day,waking up clear-headed with no idea of what happened during their illness. When others describe it to them, they feel thoroughly ashamed.

However, these fits of madness are seasonal (they may have some connection with menstruation), recurring every two or three months. Each time the woman is exhausted and would like to break off but cannot. According to custom the only cure is witchcraft. This witchcraft does not have to be learned or taught;it is enough to set up an altar, put on it a peck measure filled with grain, and in this stick a pair of scissors. Some manage the whole business without any props, sitting down in front of the spirit, their faces covered with a black silk veil. The main thing is to summon back the sick woman’s soul by chanting a rigmarole about the good and bad points of other people, the illnesses of their children and the adventures of travellers far away. When harrowing things are described, the narrator’s tears stream down and the listeners naturally sob uncontrollably. After this sorcery,the witch is acknowledged by all to be the daughter of spirits;and after the woman’s subconscious has been tranquillized in this way and the load lifted from her mind, she is cured of her madness. In the early days witchcraft proved very efficacious, or at least it had some incredibly strange results, which sound most curious coincidences. Owing to advance propaganda about her madness, which is known to most of the town, the witch is bound willy-nilly to be consulted by so many old women that she has a good business. Although a witch may grow rich, she seldom cares how much she makes. She has been designated as a spirit’s representative and will be punished unless she works spells, so she is virtually constrained to set up an altar. As time passes,naturally, witchcraft may gradually become her profession, and much of her magic is contrived. Then the townsfolk’s curiosity is transferred to some other woman who has just begun dabbling in magic, and if the first witch is honest she will give up sorcery and revert to her original profession as wet-nurse, small trader or nursemaid. One more sophisticated becomes a professional go-between and takes advantage of her status to call on other families with status, keeping old ladies company when they chant sutras, or practising a little black magic like the priestess Ma in A Dream of Red Mansions who abetted Concubine Zhao, burying paper figures in the ground or hiding them under a pillow to get the better of an enemy. Or she may act as a go-between to make a little money. Because of her good fortune, she will be asked to stand godmother to children who are sickly. If a child is afraid of the dark, to help him pass the night safely she will take an egg and utter invocations as she leads him along the street at dusk calling his name. “Is Eighth Treasure back?” The answer will be,“Yes, Eighth Treasure’s back.” They call out like this all the way home, where she takes the child in her arms and rubs spittle on his head. Then the problem counts as settled. The local people call a witch “Fairy Mother”. Her task is to mediate between mortals and spirits. She deals with women and children. The real significance of her work is that after being acknowledged as the representative of spirits, though her madness does not recur, the local women look to her for comfort in life’s troubles and, when they have no outlet for their emotions, pin their hopes on her magic to make their dreams come true. Such women naturally may know prescriptions to cure a child of fear of the dark or of indigestion.From the normal point of view, this is incomprehensible, but analysed in the light of modern psychology there is an inevitable reason for the emergence of witches and their social significance. Half-baked scholars eager to root out superstition want to overthrow them and deny that they have “second sight”. This only shows the ignorance of such people.

As for the cave deaths, these are real tragedies for girls entangled with spirits, much more tragic than the two kinds of derangement described above. The strict sexual repression of women, the custom here, is regarded as the highest morality. This concept of morality evolved under the military’s overall control of the district. As soldiers must constantly leave home in the course of duty, their experience of women outside is bound to strengthen this moral concept in order to maintain their male supremacy. So if a man of these parts hears that his wife has a lover, her lack of chastity strikes him as most shameful. If a woman shakes off family restraints in her longing for freedom, complete outsiders can seize her and parade her naked through the streets as a social outcast. An excellent illustration of this is the following story.

The wife of Brigadier Liu Junqing had graduated from a girls’ school, and husband and wife were very fond of each other.A young woman who had been her friend at school used to write her letters expressing girlish affection. These letters aroused the brigadier’s suspicion. Then one letter contained a sentence a man might have used,“Since your marriage you’ve forgotten me.” This further increased the brigadier’s suspicion. When he was away at his post he suddenly ordered his bodyguard to fetch his wife.“Bring her and shoot her ten li from here,” he ordered. “I’d rather have her dead than alive. I want to see her when she is still warm,but I won’t speak to her. If you handle this well, I’ll be fully responsible; if you bungle it, don’t come back.” The bodyguard naturally carried out his orders. He took the brigadier’s wife to the garrison. When she saw that he meant to kill her, she asked the reason. He told her this was the brigadier’s idea. “I can’t bear to be so unjustly killed,” she said. “Let me see him to hear his reason.” “Those were my orders,” said the bodyguard. “If I don’t obey him, the brigadier will kill me.” In the end they both wept.She let the groom hold his gun to her heart and shoot her (so that the blood would flow inside!). The chair-bearers promptly carried her corpse to headquarters, and when the brigadier saw her he rubbed her face and hands. Seeing that she had breathed her last,he could not hold back two heroic tears. He ordered his bodyguard to buy a five-hundred-dollar coffin for her. Once she was buried,that was the end of it.

Most people simply pitied the woman killed so tragically because of a misunderstanding; but they did not question the brigadier’s behaviour. Had this happened to a woman who had really had a lover, in the local people’s eyes this action would have been simply heroic.

Such is the cruel sexual repression of women. A married woman busy running the house and minding her children spends all her time weaving, twisting thread or salting vegetables. If better off, she plays dominos too, and with these outlets for her feelings she is not likely to become deranged. An unmarried girl,especially one who loves beauty and purity, has some education and is intelligent and warm-hearted, if she matures early or marries late will naturally feel much more repressed and may easily fall ill. This is Miao territory in the border land, and these semiprimitive people’s belief in spirits exerts a tremendous influence on everyone. There are spirits everywhere, in trees,caves and cliffs. Foxes, tigers, snakes and tortoises, all are monsters. In legends these spirits and monsters may be beautiful or ugly, good or evil, but all are endued with human attributes.Because people love each other and moral concepts are extremely strong, legends arise about love between mortals and spirits or monsters, and women find an outlet here for their sexual repression. Cave deaths are one form of entanglement between women and spirits. Their outward beauty is matched by the tragedies behind them.

All girls who meet their death in this way are bright-eyed,honest, intelligent and lovely. They are unmarried, idealistic,devout. Normally such girls stay chastely at home, giving no outward sign of their passionate feelings, but their fancies wander and going out one day they may happen to pass the mouth of a cave, so that the spirit of the cave sees them and falls in love with them—or so they think. That increases their love of solitude,meditation and cleanliness. Sometimes they talk to themselves,often they think the spirit of the cave has come riding a rainbow to see them. This disembodied spirit may be a figure from a legend, or may resemble a statue they recall having seen in a temple, or something they fear, a serpent or a tiger. But when this disembodied lover takes possession of a girl’s heart, although a little shy and scared she is bound to feel aroused and excited too.In fact this is a form of masochism. By the time her family wake up to this and start worrying, the girl’s love is satisfied by her abnormal psychology.

Male sorcerers usually concentrate on reconciling heaven and earth or pleasing mortals and spirits. They steer clear of cave cases, which are beyond their scope. Chenzhou magic, mainly used to cure serious wounds, is unavailing here too. Although a witch can consult departed spirits of her family or send a ghost into a cave to ask for news, the upshot always seems to be that the girl committed no crime but died for love. People are powerless to thwart a cave spirit’s wishes. Although the Heavenly King and Buddha have great power and are respected by men and ghosts alike, they too are helpless here. (Superstitions and real life,reflecting each other, may be called a unity of opposites.) In the end, the girl has to be allowed to waste away. All believe that the time of her death, whether early or late, is determined by the cave spirit. In fact it is determined in nearly half these cases by the girl herself. When dying she is bound to believe that the cave spirit has sent for her, or has put on new clothes and come, riding a white horse, to fetch her. She hears fluting and drumming, her eyes flash, her face flushes, and a strange perfume may emanate from her as, smiling, she dies. In death she appears fully lucid,bewitchingly lovely. It is truly like the verse “In love, she died smiling.” Her family watch helplessly, their eyes brimming with tears. They believe their daughter has died because a spirit loved her. Little do they know that their daughter loved a spirit because she was deprived of human love. So she wasted her flower-like youth on a ghostly lover and narcissism until, worn out, she died.

The age of these victims of cave spirits varies, but ranges roughly from sixteen to twenty-five. The duration of their illness also varies, generally from two to five years. The best cure for these infatuated girls is marriage, a normal, happy marriage which could surely save them from this pitiful fate. But habitually no family is willing to take a girl loved by a spirit to be their daughter-in-law. And it never occurs to her family that marriage is the best magic and medicine. So finally she dies.

Among the women of west Hunan, three different ages produce jinxes, witches and girls who are carried off by cave spirits. The hysteria of these women constitutes part of the mystery of west Hunan. Behind this mystery lurk moving tragedies as well as moving poetry. As for Chenzhou magic,it cures wounds by a combination of hypnotism and the use of powerful but nameless local herb medicine. The witch doctor puts on a big show. At the end of the year pigs and sheep are slaughtered, drums and gongs are beaten, to delight men and spirits and rally men’s religious feelings and romanticism, so that his wizardry appears relatively normal, nothing to marvel at.

A woman vents this religious romanticism in one of the ways described above. A man naturally transforms it into the chivalry of roaming swordsmen, whose moral code reveals its religious,dramatic nature. The form taken by feminine virtue is closely bound up with the code of these gallant men, who address each other as “Brother” and share everything together. Hence their wives are also regarded as part of one big family and addressed as “Sister-in-law”. It is their tradition that a young man can sleep on the same bed with another man’s wife, for this is not taboo.But certain rules must be observed. “The bow may be drawn, but no arrow may be loosed.” In other words, they may share one bed but not have sexual relations. If they do, that is against the rules and will be severely punished in a thoroughly religious, dramatic ceremony. The account which follows, a good example of this,was told me by a friend who took part in one such ceremony.

Thirty-six tables are set up in the open country (to symbolize the thirty-six deities of Liangshan. Eight square tables are stacked up one on top of another, and in front of this stand a pit is dug about eighteen feet square. Thirty-six sharp knives are stuck at random, blade uppermost, in this pit, then covered with soil so that the blades are hidden. All the brothers assemble here fully accoutred. In those days their costume usually included a black silk turban, the length of the end dangling past one ear denoting its wearer’s status. Each wore armour made of rice paper padded with hair in the form of a vest, light and pliable yet able to ward off a stab. Outside this they wore a closely buttoned jacket with small, tight-fitting sleeves. They carried the weapons they normally used, mostly swords or double-edged swords. The oxskin sheaths were painted with red and green clouds, and red silk was bound round the sword hilt by way of decoration. Their trousers were black, and in their puttees they always stuck two daggers shaped like the tail of an eel. On their bare feet they wore shoes sewn with hemp thread. When the feast had been spread and candles lit, the plaintiff would drink blood and wine to make a pledge. (He might bite off a cock’s head and sprinkle its blood in the wine, or might bite his finger and let his blood drip into it.) The master of ceremonies then announced what had happened and urged the others to discuss and settle the business. In this particular case, the wife of an elder brother was suspected of having been seduced by a younger brother, who had thus broken the rules. The woman, young, pretty and slender,had fine eyebrows and eyes like stars. The man, not much more than twenty, was tall and swarthy with an intrepid appearance.After the master of ceremonies had spoken, the woman gave her account of what had happened while the young man stood silently by. When it came to his turn to speak, he claimed that this was sheer slander. Why she should slander him he would not say, his sister-in-law should understand perfectly well. The implication was: it was she who had wanted him, he had not wanted her. Since he denied his guilt and each stuck to a different story, there was no way of deciding how justice should be done, so it was left as usual to the spirits. The young man took off his shoes, stripped off his clothes and armour and climbed naked to the top of the eight tables. With no sign of fear, confident that justice was on his side,he leapt down into the pit. He emerged from it unscathed—time honoured proof that he was innocent and had been slandered. The woman was hanging her head now, her face white, knowing that she was ill-fated, had lost and could not escape. Seizing her by the hair, her husband knelt down by the shrine to ask her, “Have you anything else to say?” “Nothing,” she answered. “Who’s right, who’s wrong—only Heaven knows.” Not begging for mercy or trying to clear herself, she craned her neck to be decapitated.All was utterly silent. Her husband looked around. Seeing no sign of dissent, he drew his sword from his back and with one stroke killed his wife who had disgraced him by her thwarted love affair.Her head was laid on the altar, her eyes closed as if sound asleep.His brothers, seeing this done, dragged the corpse to the pit, dug up the soil with their swords and buried her there. Her husband and the young man she loved must have felt an urge to weep, but custom forbade a man to show weakness because of a woman.Without a word they went their different ways.

There are many cases like this. In their romance and gravity, their beauty and cruelty, love and hate are inextricably intermingled.

The conduct of swordsmen there has made for another style of behaviour not quite the same as that of the more modern Green and Red Gangs in China. Stress is laid on avenging wrongs for friends, on supporting the weak and rooting out bullies; gold is treated like dirt, all promises are kept; scholars are respected just like village elders. In a word, they have managed to retain a little of the old ways. Although some of these men can rally several thousand followers from the borders of Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan and Hubei, at home they are as modest and unaffected as ordinary villagers. When conscripted they go punctually to headquarters for their assignment and carry out every duty, no matter how small. When gambling they throw down three coppers. The way the coins fall and the amounts turned up determine who wins and who loses. With one toss a man may lose an ox or a hundred or two hundred silver dollars, but he takes this casually as he strides away, never backing out or refusing to pay up. Two men fighting a duel use evenly matched weapons and fight it out between the two of them; even their own brothers are forced to look on with folded arms, unable to intervene. If a hated enemy has fallen, wounded,his opponent refrains from striking him again, for otherwise he would be laughed at and cease to be a hero, although victorious.If they break one of the rules, they punish themselves by cutting off a hand or foot, without uttering cry of pain or changing colour.In short, these swordsmen’s concepts are purely ancient, and their conduct recalls the accounts of the ancient historian Sima Qian.

Tian Sannu of Fenghuang, famed throughout the Sichuan Guizhou-Hubei-Hunan border region, was representative of these roving swordsmen. Before he was ten, while watching a puppet show he would take a wooden club and lam into the cadets in the audience who were carrying on in a wild, provocative way, not caring even if his own head was bloodied. At twelve he carried an eel-tail dagger, was known as “Little Brother” and could recite jingles from all over the country. His father kept a shop selling rice noodles, and he treated all his young friends there,never accepting payment. At fifteen, to avenge a friend, he went seven hundred li to Changde to kill a certain guardsman said to have insulted the wife of a Yuanzhou man by pawing her breast.Young Tian cut off his hands and took them to that friend of his in Yuanzhou. By twenty he was known as the “Champion” and his reputation had spread throughout the border, yet in Fenghuang he carried a big cock to the cockpit in the rice market, making way in the street for any older man or teacher he met, lowering his head to pass women and greeting the elderly stall-keepers as“Aunt”. If he saw people quarrelling, he would quietly intervene and jokingly make light of the dispute. He helped lone widows by paying for a funeral, but always remained anonymously in the background. If a monk or nun in some temple was carrying on in a way detrimental to the local morality, he would soon hit on a means to drive away these reprobate Buddhists. Many young men in those parts headed gangs of different kinds, some of them good,some bad. If he heard that any of them were molesting the wives of good families, refusing to pay their gambling debts or bullying people, he would call them in to make an investigation, then deal with them according to the rules. The young man charged with this, if told to kill someone six hundred li away, would always go at once, returning in good time with evidence that justice had been done. Tian made many enemies, did many good deeds.Small, lean and dark, he looked as delicate as a primary school teacher. No one not knowing him could believe that he was one of the chiefs of west Hunan.

Such men, responsive to entreaties, refuse to be hectored.A fellow named Zhang of White Sheep Ridge left home and spent twenty years in Yunnan and Guizhou. On his return, while chatting with someone he asked, “Who’s famous hereabout recently?” He was told, “Tian Sannu.” Zhang answered rather contemptuously, “You mean the son of that Tian who sells rice noodles on the High Street?” That night a man went to Zhang’s house and called outside the gate, “You fellow Zhang! Clear out before dawn tomorrow; you can’t live here. If you don’t go, the day after tomorrow we’ll see you home.” Zhang paid no attention,but early in the morning two days later someone saw him slumped on a bridgehead. When he went closer he found two daggers thrust in his heart—he was dead. Another fellow, Wang, a beef butcher, forgot himself while drinking during a festival and cursed Tian Sannu in the street, challenging him to a trial of strength.Just then Tian came by and heard clearly what he was swearing.Someone hurried to warn the drunkard’s mother of this, and in a panic she went straight to find Tian. Weeping and sobbing she begged him not to take offence. She said she had only this son,and if he died that would be the end of her too. Tian simply told her with a smile, “This is a trifle, aunt. He talked wildly after drinking to let off steam. I’m not angry with him. No one will dare touch him, don’t worry.” Sure enough, no one settled scores with Wang. And his mother received enough money to enable him to open a noodle shop.

After Tian Sannu passed forty he lost some of his panache and tired of his eminence. He disbanded his men, turned over a new leaf and spent his time keeping horses and growing flowers.Sometimes he rode to a fair in the countryside to buy a few game cocks, or took a hound and a long net to catch pheasants,quails or wild boars in the marshland. No one could have guessed that this was the hero Tian Sannu who ten years ago had spread Fenghuang’s fame through the Sichuan-Guizhou border region.He himself seemed to have forgotten his past exploits. One afternoon Tian led two fine white horses out of town to wash them in the river. Two cowards stationed high on the city gate with Mausers fired some thirteen rounds of bullets at him from behind.Two entered the back of his neck, five pierced the small of his back. His horses stampeded, reins trailing, around the city wall. This treacherous act of revenge felled the old hero on a rock by the river, but heaving himself over he soundlessly drew a revolver from his pocket. He knew that someone would soon emerge from the city gate. Presently, sure enough, one of the dastards came out with his Mauser. When he was about thirty feet away, the old hero raised his hand and fired. At once the coward fell dead, shot through the left eye. His accomplice on the city gate kept under cover but fired five more shots. Tian Sannu swore at him, “You bastard. you’re a disgrace to the people of Zhenhuang. What decent man shoots anyone in the back? Why don’t you come down?” There was no answer. Other people had climbed up the city gate, and the assassin had fled. Tian Sannu, knowing that he was done for, shot himself through the temple. So that was the end of him, and the end of the last of Fenghuang’s roaming swordsmen.

Later it was learned that the assassins had been sent by a certain Tang. A despot in the Miao district, during the 1911 Revolution he had led ten thousand Miao to attack the town, and nearly six thousand of them had lost their lives. In the Northern Expedition of 1926 he had followed the army to the Yangzi Valley and served as garrison commander at Xuzhou. On his return he was addressed as “Commander” and he stayed at home taking life easy in the new Changning outpost ten li from Fenghuang. It so happened that some years after this a regiment commander, not knowing his status, had him arrested and thrown into gaol. By the time he discovered his mistake, Tang had died of illness in prison.

In the last ten years of Tian Sannu’s life, many of his followers because they were growing old and losing their vigour changed their profession and became respectable merchants.Others joined the army, taking their swords with them, and were killed in the civil wars. Yet others left home as outlaws and drifted off leaving no trace. As time went by, new people took the place of the old in Fenghuang, and the local customs changed. Although the spirit of the roaming swordsmen has not yet died out, their behaviour has changed completely. In that small stone town encircled by countless hills the name of Tian Sannu is gradually being forgotten. Some boys have read in books or magazines about the doings of the “Flying General”, “Young Black Coal”, the “Mermaid”, and so on, but they have no idea who Tian Sannu was.

One of Tian Sannu’s able lieutenants is still alive and well.Still gallant and hospitable, he considers it his duty to help his friends and is one of the leaders of the Miao. This man is Long Yunfei, who made some trouble in west Hunan last year and forced He Jian to leave his post, giving the people a chance to reform the local government. Twenty years ago, eagle-eyed,nimble, brave as a panther and agile as a monkey, he could somersault backwards off the city wall and, landing, still squat firmly on the ground. After killing a man in a duel in the street,he would go nonchalantly to wash his hands in the river. Now, although still vigorous and glowing with health, his hair is turning white and he is an affable, generous old man. Looking back on the past, one cannot help regretting that heroes have to grow old!

Because this chivalrous spirit has permeated the minds of the young men in the cadet school, it has also influenced the outlook of local scholars. Old Mr. Chen, the military statesman now in charge of establishing order in west Hunan, treats others,leads troops and administers the district much in this chivalrous style. Nearing sixty, he has drive and is as healthy as a man in his thirties. He exercises strict self-discipline but is generous to his subordinates. And younger army officers, such as Division Commander Gu Jiaqi and Dai Jitao, although they have received modern training and appear as refined and gentle as university students, have inherited so much of the chivalrous tradition that they are as intrepid, hospitable and sporting as the characters described by Sima Qian. The poems of Tian Xingliu are filled with the overbearing spirit of roaming swordsmen. High hills,swift rivers, barren soil often shrouded in mist are other factors shaping the local people’s character. The all-pervading spirit of chivalry which produced the past will also shape the future.

未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 沈从文《凤凰》中英双语 -《湘西散记:汉英对照》

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