一九一一年秋，我们从山东烟台回到福州老家去。在还乡的路上，母亲和父亲一再地嘱咐我 〔31〕 ，“回到福州住在大家庭里，不能再像野孩子 〔32〕 似的了，一切都要小心。对长辈们不能没大没小的。祖父是一家之主，尤其要尊敬……”
到了福州，在大家庭里住了下来，我觉得我在归途中的担心是多余的。祖父、伯父母、叔父母 〔33〕 和堂姐妹兄弟 〔34〕 ，都没有把我当作野孩子，大家也都很亲昵平等，并没有什么“规矩”。我还觉得我们这个大家庭是几个小家庭的很松散的组合 〔35〕 。每个小家庭都是各住各的，各吃各的，各自有自己的亲戚和朋友，比如说，我们就各自有自己的“外婆家 〔36〕 ”！
但是总电门是安在祖父的屋里的。祖父起得很早也睡得很早 〔37〕 ，每晚九点钟就上床了。他上床之前，就把电闸关上，于是整个大家庭就是黑沉沉的一片！
我们刚回老家 〔38〕 。父母亲和他们的兄弟妯娌 〔39〕 都有许多别情要叙，我们一班弟兄姐妹，也在一起玩得正起劲 〔40〕 ，都很少在晚九点以前睡的。为了防备 〔41〕 这骤然的黑暗，于是每晚在九点以前，每个小家庭都在一两间屋里，点上一盏捻得很暗的煤油灯。一到九点，电灯一下子都灭了，这几盏煤油灯便都捻亮了，大家相视而笑，又都在灯下谈笑玩耍。
Grandpa and Nightly Blackout
◎ Bing Xin
In the autumn of 1911, we returned from Yantai of Shandong Province to our native place Fuzhou. While on the way, my parents warned me again and again, “Since we’ll be living in a big family in Fuzhou, remember always to behave properly and never act like a naughty child. Show respect for your elders, particularly your grandpa, who is head of the family…”
After settling down in the big family in Fuzhou, however, I found that my previous worries on the way turned out to be unfounded. My grandpa, uncles, aunties and cousins never thought me a naughty child. We treated each other lovingly and equally. There never existed anything like “family rules of good behaviour”. I also found that the big family was a loose community of several smaller ones, which lived and ate separately. They each had their own relatives and friends, for example, their own in-laws.
That year, or the year after, Fuzhou began to have its own power company and electric lights were to be installed in our big house too. That was something new in our home town. We kids, wild with excitement and joy, ran here and there in the house at the heels of the electricians. Each room, I remember, had an electric lamp hanging from the ceiling. The drawing room had a 50-watt bulb; the bedrooms each a lower-wattage one; the kitchens each an even-lower-wattage one. The whole big house at least had a total of some 60 electric lamps. The first evening when they were turned on, the whole house was suddenly ablaze with lights. We kids clapped with joy.
The master switch was fixed in grandpa’s room. Grandpa, who kept early hours, would switch off all the lights when he went to bed at 9 o’clock in the evening, thus plunging the whole big house into deep darkness.
Having just set foot in our old home, we seldom slept before 9 o’clock in the evening. For it was but natural that after the long separation, my parents enjoyed hearty chats about the old days with their brothers and in-laws, and we kids of the younger generation played about together to our heart’s content. Hence, in anticipation of the sudden blackout at 9 o’clock, each small family would get a dimly-lit kerosene lamp ready in a couple of their rooms. No sooner had the big house been blacked out on the hour than we turned up the wicks of all the kerosene lamps. And, looking and smiling at each other, we would continue to chat and play merrily by the light of the kerosene lamps.
It was then that I realized what a complete whole our big family was, with grandpa as its head.
〔29〕 “把故乡建设得更美好”译为do my bit to make a still better place of my ancestral home，其中to do one’s bit为成语，作“尽自己一份力量”、“作一份贡献”解，在译文中是添加成分，原文虽无其词，而有其意。
〔30〕 “灯火管制”本指战时防空停电，作者用它指每夜定时关灯，有些俏皮。译文结合文章内容增添nightly一词。在英语中，blackout一词既可指“战时灯火管制”，也可指一般的“停电”，译文所指是后者。又，blackout也可换用power cut或power failure等。
〔31〕 “一再地嘱咐我”意即“一再地告诫我”，译为warned me again and again，比enjoined（或exhorted）me again and again通俗。
〔32〕 “野孩子”不宜按字面直译为wild child。现译为naughty child，其中naughty常用来指孩子“不听话”。
〔35〕 “几个小家庭的很松散的组合”译为a loose community of several smaller ones，其中不妨以community代替combination; community为近代英语所常用。
〔37〕 “起得很早也睡得很早”在英语有现成的表达：kept early hours。如逐字直译为got up early and went to bed early似欠简洁。
〔38〕 “刚回老家”译为Having set foot in our old home，其中set foot in是成语，作“进入”、“踏上”解。
〔40〕 “正起劲”意同“尽情地”，故译to our heart’s content。
〔41〕 “防备”译为in anticipation of，意即“预计到……（而采取措施）”。