叶紫《长江轮上》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

朗读这篇文章

长江轮上

叶紫

深夜,我睡得正浓的时候,母亲突然将我叫醒:

“汉生,你看(1)!什么东西在叫?……我刚刚从船后的女茅房里回来……”

我拖着鞋子(2)。茶房(3)们死猪似地(4)横七横八地倒在地上,打着沉浊的鼾声。连守夜的一个都靠着舱门睡着了。别的乘客们也都睡了,只有两个还在抽鸦片,交谈着一些令人听不分明的,琐细的话语。

江风呼啸着。天上的繁星穿钻着一片片的浓厚的乌云。浪涛疯狂地打到甲板上,拚命似地,随同泡沫的飞贱,发出一种沉锐的,创痛的呼号!母亲畏缩着身子,走到船后时,她指着女厕所的黑暗的角落说:

“那里!就在那里……那里角落里!有点什么声音的……”

“去叫一个茶房来?”我说。

“不!你去看看,不会有鬼的……是一个人也不一定……”

我靠着甲板的铁栏杆,将头伸过去,就有一阵断续的凄苦的呜咽声,从下方,从浪花的飞溅里,飘传过来:

“啊哟……啊啊哟……”

“过去呀!你再过去一点听听看!”母亲推着我的身子,关心地说。

“是一个人(5),一个女人!”我断然回答着。“她大概是用绳子吊在那里的,那根横着的铁棍子下面……”

一十五分钟之后,我遵着母亲的命令,单独地,秘密而且冒险地救起了那一个受难的女人。

她是一个大肚子,一个四十岁上下的乡下妇人。她的两腋和胸部都差不多给带子吊肿了。当母亲将她拉到女厕所门前的昏暗的灯光下,去盘问她的时候,她便着一双小眼,惶惧地,幽幽地哭了起来。

“不要哭呢!蠢人!给茶房听见了该死的……”母亲安慰地,告诫地说。

她开始了诉述她的身世,悲切而且简单:因为乡下闹灾荒,她拖着大肚子,想同丈夫和孩子们从汉口再逃到芜湖去,那里有她的什么亲戚。没有船票(6),丈夫孩子们在开船时都给茶房赶上岸了,她偷偷地吊在那里,因为是夜晚,才不曾被人发觉……

朝我,母亲悠长地叹了一口气说:

“两条性命啊!几乎……只要带子一断……”回头再对着她:“你暂时在这茅房里藏一藏吧,天就要亮了。我们可以替你给账房去说说好话,也许能把你带到芜湖的……”

我们仍旧回到舱中去睡了。母亲好久还在叹气呢!……但是,天刚刚一发白,茶房们就哇啦哇啦地闹了起来!

“汉生!你起来!他们要将她打死哩!……”母亲急急地跺着脚,扯着我的耳朵。她不知道在什么时候爬起来了。

“谁呀?”我睡意朦胧地,含糊地说。

“那个大肚子女人!昨晚救起来的那个!……茶房在打哩!……”

我们急急地赶到船后,那里已经给一大群早起的客人围住着。一个架着眼镜披睡衣的瘦削的账房先生站在中央,安闲地咬着烟卷,指挥着茶房们的拷问。大肚子女人弯着腰,战栗地缩成一团,从散披着的头发间晶晶地溢出血液。旁观者的搭客,大抵都像看着把戏似的,觉得颇为开心;只有很少数表示了“爱莫能助”似的同情,在摇头,吁气!

我们挤到人丛中了,母亲牢牢地跟在我的后面。一个拿着棍子的歪眼的茶房,向我们装出了不耐烦的脸相。别的一个,麻脸的,凶恶的家伙,睁着狗一般的黄眼睛,请示似地,向账房先生看了一眼,便冲到大肚子的战栗的身子旁边,狠狠地一脚——

那女人尖锐地叫了一声,打了一个滚,四肢立刻伸开来,挺直在地上!

“不买票敢坐我们外国人的船,你这烂污货(7)!……”他赶上前来加骂着,俨然自己原就是外国人似的。

母亲急了!她挤出去拉住着麻子,怕她踢第二脚;一面却抗议似地责问道:

“你为什么打她呢?这样凶!……你不曾看见她的怀着小孩的肚子吗?”

“不出钱好坐我们外国人的船吗?”麻子满面红星地反问母亲;一面瞅着他的账房先生的脸相。

“那么,不过是——钱喽……”

“嗯!钱!……”另外一个茶房加重地说。

母亲沉思了一下,没有来得及想出来对付的办法,那个女人便在地上大声地呻吟了起来!一部分的看客,也立时开始了惊疑的,紧急的议论。但那个拿棍子的茶房却高高地举起了棍子,企图继续地扑打下来。

母亲横冲去将茶房拦着,并且走近那个女人的身边,用了绝大的怜悯的眼光,看定她的大肚子。突然地,她停住了呻吟,浑身痉挛地缩成一团,眼睛突出,牙齿紧咬着下唇,喊起肚子痛来了!母亲慌张地弯着腰,蹲了下去,用手替她在肚子上慢慢地,一阵阵地,抚摸起来。并且,因了过度的愤怒的缘故,大声地骂詈着残暴的茶房,替她喊出了危险的、临盆的征候!

看客们都纷纷地退后了。账房先生嫌恶地,狠狠地唾了一口,也赶紧走开了。茶房们因为不得要领,狗一般地跟着(8),回骂着一些污秽的恶语,一直退进到自己的舱房。

我也转身要走了,但母亲将我叫住,吩咐着立即到自己的铺位子上去,扯下那床黄色的毯子来;并且借一把剪刀和一根细麻绳子。

我去了,匆忙地穿过那些探奇的,纷纷议论的人群,拿着东西回来的时候,母亲已经解下那个女人的下身了。地上横流着一大滩秽水。她的嘴唇被牙齿咬得出血,额角上冒出着豆大的汗珠,全身痛苦地,艰难地挣扎着!她一看见我,就羞惭地将脸转过去,两手乱摇!但是,立时间,一个细小的红色的婴儿,秽血淋漓地钻出来了!在地上跌了一个翻身,哇哇地哭诉着她那不可知的命运!

我连忙转过身去。母亲费力地喘着气,约有五六分钟久,才将一个血淋淋的胎衣接了出来,从我的左侧方抛到江心底深处。

“完全打下来的(9)!”母亲气愤地举着一双血污的手对我说,“他们都是一些凶恶的强盗!……那个胎儿简直小得带不活(10),而他们还在等着向她要船钱!”

“那么怎么办呢?”

“救人要救彻!……”母亲用了毅然地,慈善家似地口吻说。“你去替我要一盆水来,让我先将小孩洗好了再想办法……”

太阳已经从江左的山岸中爬上来一丈多高了。江风缓和地吹着,完全失掉了它那夜间的狂暴的力量。从遥远的,江流的右岸的尖端,缓缓地爬过来了一条大城市的尾巴的轮廓(11)。

母亲慈悲相地将孩子包好,送到产妇的身边,一边用毯子盖着,一边对她说:

“快到九江了,你好好地看着这孩子……恭喜你啊!是一个好看的小姑娘哩!……我们就去替你想办法的。……”

产妇似乎清醒了一些,睁开着眼睛,感激地流出了两行眼泪。

在统舱和房舱里,母亲用了真正的慈善家似的脸相,叫我端着一个盘子,同着她向搭客们普遍地募起捐来。然而,结果是大失所望。除了一两个人肯丢下一张当一角或两角的钞票以外,剩下来的仅仅是一些铜元;一数,不少不多,刚刚合得上大洋一元三角。

母亲深沉地叹着气说:“做好事的人怎么这样少啊!”从几层的纸包里,找出自己仅仅多余的一元钱来,凑了上去。

“快到九江了!”母亲再次走到船后,将铜板、角票和洋钱捏在手中,对产妇说:“这里是二元多钱,你可以收藏一点,等等账房先生来时你自己再对他说,给他少一点,求他将你带到芜湖!……当然,”母亲又补上去一句:“我也可以替你帮忙说一说的……”

产妇勉强地挣起半边身子,流着眼泪,伸手战栗地接着钱钞,放在毯子下。但是,母亲却突然地望着那掀起的毯子角落,大声地呼叫了起来:

“怎么!你的孩子?……”

那女人慌张而且惶惧地一言不发,让眼泪一滴赶一滴地顺着腮边跑将下来,沉重地打落在毯子上。

“你不是将她抛了吗?你这狠心的女人!”

“我,我,我……”她嚅嚅地,悲伤地低着头,终于什么都说不出。

母亲好久好久地站立着,眼睛盯着江岸,盯着那缓缓地爬过来的、九江的繁华的街市而不作声。浪花在船底哭泣着,翻腾着!——不知道从哪一个泡沫里,卷去了那一个无辜的,纤弱的灵魂!……

茶房们又跑来了,这一回是奉了账房先生的命令,要将她赶上岸去的。他们两个人不说情由地将她拖着,一个人替她卷着我们给她的那条弄满血污的毯子。

船停了。

母亲的全部慈善事业完全落了空。当她望着茶房们一面拖着那产妇抛上岸去,一面拾着地上流落的铜板和洋钱的时候,她几乎哭了起来。

On a Yangtse River Steamer

Ye Zi

Late at night,mother suddenly woke me up from my sound sleep,

“Han Sheng,listen!…What’s that noise?…I’ve just been to the women’s lavatory…”

I shuffled out of the cabin.The stewards were lying higgledy-piggledy on the floor like butchered pigs,snoring loudly.Even the one on duty,leaning himself against the cabin door,had dozed off to sleep.The passengers were all asleep too except two chatting unintelligibly over their opium pipes.

The wind was howling.The stars were sparkling from behind patches of dark clouds.The waves kept lashing violently across the deck,splashing foam into the air and giving out a piercing cry of pain.Mother went crouching to the back part of the ship and,pointing at the women’s lavatory in the dingy corner,said,

“There!Over there…in that corner!A kind of noise…”

“Shall I go get a steward?”

“No!You go and take a look first.It can’t be a ghost…Perhaps somebody…”

Leaning over the railing,I heard from down below intermittent moaning amidst the spray of breaking waves,

“Aiyo…Aiyo…”

“Go ahead!Go nearer so you can hear better!”mother nudged me and urged with concern.

“There is somebody.A woman!”I affirmed.“She’s probably hanging down there by fastening herself to a rope,under a horizontal iron bar…”

About fifteen minutes later,I,by order of mother,managed to secretly rescue the distressed woman from danger.I did it single-handed and despite the risk.

She,a country woman of about forty,was big with child.Her arm pits and chest looked swollen from having been fastened to the rope.Mother began to question her under a dim light in front of the women’s lavatory.The woman blinked her small eyes nervously and sobbed.

“Stop crying,you silly!”said mother consolingly,trying to dissuade her from sobbing.“The stewards will give you hell if they hear you…”

The woman gave a brief account of her miserable life:There had been a famine in the countryside.She,despite her pregnancy,had to flee from the disaster with her husband and child.They intended to go from Hankou to Wuhu[1] to seek shelter with some relatives.They attempted to steal a ride on the steamer,but were discovered by the stewards at sailing time.Her husband and child were expelled from the ship right away while she succeeded in hiding herself outside the ship under cover of night…

Mother turned to me and said with a long sigh,

“Two lives!How dangerous!What if the rope had snapped…”Then she turned to address the woman,“It’s getting light!You’d better hide yourself in the lavatory for a while.We’ll see the accountant and put in a good word for you.Maybe he’ll let you stay on the ship until it reaches Wuhu…”

We returned to our cabin to sleep.Mother kept sighing for a long while…Then,when it was dawning,the stewards kicked up a row.

“Han Sheng!Get up!They’re beating her to death…”Mother stamped her feet with anxiety and pulled me by the ear.Nobody knew when she had got out of bed.

“Who is it?”I mumbled,eyes heavy with sleep.

“That pregnant woman!The one we rescued last night!…The stewards are beating her!…”

We went hastily to the back part of the ship where there was already a big crowd of early risers from among the passengers.The accountant,a bespectacled thin man in pyjamas,was standing in the middle of the crowd directing the torture,a cigarette dangling leisurely from his lips.The woman huddled herself up and shivered,blood oozing out glisteningly from among her dishevelled hair.The onlookers,for the most part,enjoyed themselves as if they were watching an acrobatic show.Only a handful of them shook their heads and sighed out of sympathy.

I elbowed my way through the crowd,followed closely by mother.A squint-eyed steward,stick in hand,eyed us with an assumed air of impatience.Another steward,with a ferocious pock-marked face and wide-open dog-like yellow eyes,after giving a wink to the accountant as if requesting his instructions,dashed to the shivering pregnant woman and gave her a hard kick.

Letting out a shriek,she rolled over and lay flat on her back,with her limbs stretched out.

“How dare you take this foreigner-owned ship without buying a ticket,shameless bitch!…”He came up nearer to heap more insults on her as if he himself were a foreigner.

Mother anxiously squeezed forward to stop him from kicking the woman again,protesting,

“Why did you kick her?Why!…Don’t you see that she’s pregnant?”

“How can she travel by our foreigner-owned ship without paying for it?”the pock-marked steward retorted and gave the accountant a stare.

“After all,it’s—money only,eh?…”

“Yes,money!”said the other steward by way of stressing.

Mother pondered for a while without finding a way out.The woman then started groaning loudly on the deck,which alerted some of the onlookers and sent them speaking in urgent whispers.The steward with the stick,however,was about to thwack the woman by holding it aloft.

Mother dashed forward to stop him and approached the woman to examine her belly with great compassion.The woman suddenly stopped groaning and huddled up convulsively,rolling her eyes and biting her lower lip.She complained loudly of a pain in the belly.Mother hurriedly bent over and crouched down to stroke the woman’s belly gently over and over again.And,excited by great anger,she loudly cursed the stewards for being so brutal.Meanwhile,she warned that the woman had shown symptoms of an imminent delivery.

The crowd backed away.The accountant,spitting in disgust,also walked away quickly.The stewards listlessly followed at his heels like dogs until they disappeared into their cabins,hurling back filthy abuse as they walked along.

I was turning to leave when mother stopped me and told me to fetch the yellow blanket from my berth plus a flaxen string and a pair of scissors to be borrowed from somebody.

I left,passing through a crowd of nosy onlookers whispering to each other.When I returned bringing with me everything as mother had told me,she had already taken off the woman’s trousers and the floor was wet with a pool of dirty water.The woman’s lips were bloodstained through biting.Her forehead was dripping with beads of sweat.Her whole body was writhing in great pain.As soon as she saw me,she shyly turned her face away and shook her hand vigorously.Just then,a tiny,ruddy baby came out instantly dripping with blood.It turned over on the floor and burst out crying—probably to complain of its unknown destiny.

I quickly turned away.Mother was panting with exertion.It took her five or six minutes to remove the bloody afterbirth from the woman before tossing it from my left side into the depth of the river.

“The beating is to blame for the premature birth,”said mother furiously,raising her two blood-smeared hands.“Damn ruthless gangsters!…The baby is just too undersized to survive.And yet they insist on charging the steamer fare.”

“What shall we do then?”

“We shouldn’t give up halfway,”said she firmly in the tone of a philanthropist.“You go and bring me a basin of water.I’ve got to wash the baby first before…”

The sun had just risen above the mountains on the left bank of the river.The wind,devoid of its previous night’s vehemence,was blowing softly.Beyond the distant right bank,the contour of the small end of a sprawling town gradually came into sight.

After fondly swathing the newborn baby and covering it with the blanket,mother showed it to the woman,saying,

“We’re nearing Jiujiang[2] now.Take good care of the baby…Congratulations!What a pretty baby girl!…We’ll see what we can do to help you…”

The woman seemed to have regained consciousness and opened her eyes,tears of gratitude trickling down her cheeks.

Taking on the look of a real philanthropist,mother had me accompany her with a tray in my hand visiting both steerage and cabin passengers to solicit donations from them.But the outcome was very disappointing.Except one or two who gave a 10 or 20-cent banknote each,all gave but a few copper coins each.Altogether,the contributions added up to only exactly one dollar and thirty cents.

Mother sighed deeply,“Good-hearted people are hard to come by.”She decided to contribute the only dollar coin she had on her.She produced it meticulously after removing several paper wrappings.

Mother again went to the back part of the ship to see the woman,with coppers,banknotes and silver coins in hand,saying,“We’re pretty close to Jiujiang now!Here is more than two dollars.Talk to the accountant when he comes and ask him to let you travel to Wuhu at a reduced fare,so that you can keep some of the money for yourself…Of course I’ll try to put in a word for you too…”

The woman barely managed to prop herself up with tears in her eyes and reached out her tremulous hand for the money.As she was putting away the money under the blanket,mother exclaimed as her eyes fell on the lifted corner of the blanket,

“Hey,where is your baby?”

Flurried and uneasy,the woman didn’t say a word,tears rolling down her cheeks to plop on the blanket.

“So you’ve thrown her away?You heartless woman!”

“I,I,I…”she faltered and then hung her head in grief and utter silence.

Mother stood for a long while staring at the river bank and the busy streets of Jiujiang approaching slowly and quietly from afar.The spray of the breaking water under the ship was weeping—weeping over the innocent feeble life carried away by the whirling current.

The two stewards showed up again,this time to drive the woman ashore by order of the accountant.They dragged her roughly.One of the two rolled up the blood-stained blanket we had given her.

The ship anchored.

Mother’s act of benevolence had come to nothing.Watching the stewards dragging the woman ashore and picking up the coppers and silver coins from the ground,she could hardly keep back her tears.

[1] Wuhu—A river port and rice market on the southern bank of the lower reaches of the Yangtse River in southeastern Anhui Province.

[2] Jiujiang—A river port on the southern bank of the middle reaches of the Yangtse River in northern Jiangxi Province.

叶紫(1910—1939)是二十世纪三十年代在中国文坛脱颖而出的一位年青作家。原名余鹤林,湖南益阳人。他少年时代被迫流亡,当过兵、小学教员、报馆编辑。1932年加入中国共产党,并开始文学创作。1939年10月5日因肺病去世,年仅二十九岁。他的散文,就内容而言,和他的小说一样,大多记述他的经历和使他感到愤慨的不合理社会现象。《长江轮上》于1935年8月发表在《申报》副刊《自由谈》上,取材于真人真事,写一个买不起船票的乡下孕妇,遭到茶房的毒打,当场早产,被迫将婴儿扔入江中,文章蕴含丰富,发人深思。

注释

(1)“你看”意即“你听”,故译listen,未译look。

(2)“我拖着鞋子”可按“我拖着鞋子走出船舱”译为I shuffled out of the cabin,其中out of the cabin是译文中的增添成分。

(3)“茶房”是旧时用语,指过去在旅馆、茶馆、轮船、火车、剧场等处从事供应茶水等杂务的人,与当今的“服务员”、“乘务员”有所不同,在找不到确切对应词的情况下,不妨把它译为steward、waiter、attendant等。

(4)“死猪似地”译为like butchered pigs,比like dead pigs富于感情色彩,憎恶情绪,溢于言表。

(5)“是一个人”译为There is somebody,其中is为斜体字,须重读,以加强语气。

(6)“没有船票”可按“打算不买票乘船”或“打算逃票搭乘轮船”译为They attempted to steal a ride on the steamer或They attempted to get a free-ride on the steamer。

(7)“你这烂污货”可译为shameless bitch或you slut等。

(8)“茶房们因为不得要领,狗一般地跟着”译为The stewards listlessly followed at his heels like dogs,其中“不得要领”可按“没精打采”译为listlessly或in low spirits等。

(9)“完全打下来的”可按“早产完全是被打造成的”译为The beating is to blame for the premature birth。

(10)“那个胎儿简直小得带不活”译为The bady is just too undersized to survive,其中undersized显然比small确切。

(11)“缓缓地爬过来了一条大城市的尾巴的轮廓”意即“大城市的邻近地区慢慢隐约可见”,译为the contour of the small end of a sprawling town gradually came into sight,其中the small end的意思是“城市的外围或周边地区”。又,“大城市”译为a sprawling town,其中sprawling本作“向外延伸”解。

未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 叶紫《长江轮上》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

赞 (0)