◎ Xie Bingying
Dusk is deadly dull, but also most poetic.
Every day after supper Te and I would go for a walk in the Miao Gao Mountains or along the railway track.
After walking up a sloping street, we could get to a small pavilion behind No. 1 Middle School. But we never stopped to take a rest in the pavilion. Instead, we would stroll about enjoying the hazy twilight scene before the waning sun disappeared.
Usually, we would first go to the Lao Long Lake to take a look at its water rippling in the evening breeze. Sometimes we competed with each other in playing ducks and drakes while our reflections were mirrored in the water, fat ducks swimming in flocks, wisps of cooking smoke curling up from chimneys … Then we would walk back home leisurely.
The scenery all the way from the Miao Gao Mountains to the small pavilion was particularly fine, with locust trees on both sides dancing in the wind like fairy maidens and their pretty snow-white flowers set off by emerald-green leaves appearing all the more dainty and pure. The sweet aroma of the flowers wafted to us by the soft breezes was indescribably refreshing and pleasant.
What’s more, in passing through the locust trees, we often felt as if we had entered a fairyland with lush greenery — a real Shangri-la. Sometimes, I would purposely lag behind Te so as to watch his shadowy silhouette moving about in the shade of the trees like in a film.
“Te, it’s great!” I would say to him. “How I love these trees! Let’s walk slowly.”
Every time when I was there, I used to linger about for quite a long while, reluctant to leave.
When we came back to the pavilion, it was already empty of visitors. Sometimes a couple of workerlike men would be found sitting there dozing. Quietly we feasted our eyes on the hazy evening scene.
The sky was grey. The dark smoke from chimneys was also turning grey. The Xiang River, the Lu Mountains and the city of Changsha all looked grey from afar. Oh, the whole universe was turning grey. Only electric lamps glittering against the universal grey were providing some light to the gathering dusk, suggestive of the brightness of the future world.
One warm spring evening, we walked along the railway track towards Hou Zi Shi.
The place was farther than it seemed. We had to walk past numerous straw sheds and cottages before we got there.
In the deepening dusk, the whole earth was shrouded in grey. Nevertheless we kept walking ahead with rapid strides.
A ghastly stillness reigned. Not a soul in sight except Te and me.
“No need to hurry, Te. One way or another we’ll have to get to Hou Zi Shi. It’s OK even if we come back as late as midnight. Let’s go slowly. Don’t miss this opportunity of enjoying the beautiful scene before us.”
Holding me by the hand, Te was gazing up at a star over the horizon.
“Look, the star has come out. Why not move faster? It’s getting late, no good for making our way in the dark.”
“Don’t worry!” said I laughingly. “There’s nothing to be afraid of with me keeping you company.”
“It’s a pity that you’re not a boy!” he continued. “Otherwise, when we got tired, we could lie down sleeping beside the railway, or go up the opposite hill to lie on top sleeping with the green grass as our bed, the white clouds as our quilts, and with inextinguishable lights over us in the sky and nightingales singing sweet songs. Oh, how happy we would be! Now that, of all people, you are a girl, I’ll be full of inhibitions wherever we two go.”
“It’s a pity that you’re not a boy.” I chewed over his words again and again. Yes, if I were not a girl, I would be even more daring!
Arriving at our destination, we could not help uttering a cry of wild joy. Looking back, I saw Changsha lying still in the darkness like an ancient castle. The frogs croaking in the fields made the countryside seem all the more dismal and forlorn.
Now, against the music of Mother Nature, two figures set out on their homeward journey, nestling against each other.
①“最难过的是黄昏”的意思是“黄昏最单调乏味”故译为Dusk is deadly dull，其中deadly与very意同，现用deadly，不用very，是为了在句中用d押头韵，读起来悦耳顺口。
②“迎着将要消逝的残阳”可按“在残阳消逝前”译为before the waning sun disappeared，比直译in the face of the waning sun自然顺口。
③“比赛投几颗石子，看谁比谁投的远”可按“比赛打水漂游戏”之意译为we competed with each other in playing ducks and drakes.
④“桃花源”意即“世外桃源”，指“与世隔绝的美好地方”，现借用Shangri-la把“真正的桃花源”译为a real Shangri-la。英语Shangri-la一词源出英国作家James Hilton小说Lost Horizon（1933）中假想的喜马拉雅山山谷名，常用来表示hidden paradise的意思。
⑤“闪灼在灰色中间的电灯”意即“电灯闪灼时以一片灰色为背景”，故译为electric lamps glittering against the universal grey。
⑥“路是这般遥远，望过去似乎就在半里以内”译为The place was farther than it seemed，摆脱原文“在半里以内”等字面意思，以意译法处理，简明扼要。
⑦“无论如何我们要走到猴子石的”译为One way or another we’ll have to get to Hou Zi Shi，其中one way or another（或one way or the other）和anyway（或anyhow）意同。
⑧“不要辜负了眼前的美景”意即“不要错过欣赏眼前的美景”，现按此意译为Don’t miss (或let slip) this opportunity of enjoying the beautiful scene before us。
⑨“偏偏你是女人，到什么地方去都有顾虑”译为Now that, of all people, you are a girl, I’ll be full of inhibitions wherever we two go，其中Now that意即Since；of all …是习语，作“在所有的……中偏偏……”解，例如：He went to live in India of all places（他偏偏到印度去住）；They were talking about women of all things（他们偏偏要谈女人）；Why should they, of all people, believe the rumour（为什么偏偏他们相信这谣言？）。又，inhibitions一词作“拘谨”、“不自在”等解，常见于口语，在此表达原文中的“顾虑”，最为确切。