黄秋耘《丁香花下》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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丁香花下

◎ 黄秋耘

今年的暮春和初夏,我是在北京度过的[1]。除了刮风天和阴雨天,我吃过晚饭后就溜达到中山公园去,去紫丁香花丛中消磨掉整个黄昏。一个人安静地坐在公园的长椅子上,让那浓郁的花香弥漫在包围着我的气氛里,沉思着四十多年来像云烟一般的前尘往事[2]。对于一个性情孤僻[3]而心境寂寞的老年人来说,这恐怕是最难得的享受了。

一个熟悉而亲切的面孔突然出现在我的面前,他的年纪和我差不多,是一家有名的出版社的老编辑:“怎么,老王,又是在这儿碰到你[4],你好像对紫丁香花有点特殊的感情似的。”

“唔,也许,紫丁香花这种淡雅而又有点忧郁的情调适合我的气质。”

“这恐怕不见得是惟一的原因吧!”他狡黠地眨着眼睛:“在你的一生中,说不定有一件不寻常的事情和紫丁香花有点什么关系。比方说,在年轻时候,你是不是认识过一个像紫丁香花一般忧郁的姑娘?”

像我这么一大把年纪,距离“灰飞烟灭”的日子已经不很远[5],似乎再也没有什么事情需要“保密”了[6]。而且,像这样美好而纯洁的回忆,多让一个朋友知道也未尝不是好事[7]。我们并肩坐在长椅子上。我稍微沉默了一会儿,就开了腔,那位老先生居然全神贯注地在倾听着。

“说起来,这是四十四年前的事了。和我同时代的人也许还会记得,1936年3月31日,北平的大、中学生在沙滩北大三院开过一个追悼在狱中受刑病死的战友郭清的大会,会后举行抬棺游行。我和六七百个同学参加了这次游行。我们的队伍从北池子走到南池子,就跟上千名反动军警碰上了,他们挥舞着警棍、皮鞭和大刀片向游行队伍冲击;而我们却赤手空拳,只能用几根竹竿招架着。经过一场剧烈的搏斗,我们终于被冲散了。当场逮捕了五十多个同学之后,反动军警还穷追着我们,几乎是两三个撵一个。我在前面跑,两个警察在后面追,我后脑勺挨了一下警棍,鲜血渗出了便帽,滴在天蓝色的大褂儿上,前后都有斑斑点点的血迹。幸亏我在大学里是个运动员,终归跑得比他们快些,一眨眼就把他们落下了一百多米。我蹿过几条七枝八叉的胡同,跑进北池子南口的一条小巷里,眼看着有一户人家虚掩着门,我推开门一闪身躲了进去,反手就关上了门[8]。当时我浑身都是污泥和血迹,脸上也是红一块花一块的,不像个人样。院子里收拾得挺干净,静悄悄的,没有一个人影。过了半晌,门帘子一掀开,走出来一个很文静的姑娘,小个子,大眼睛,年纪看来还比我小一两岁,大概是个高中学生吧。她看到我这个模样,吓了一跳,但还是很镇定地问我:‘您怎么啦?哪儿受的伤?’

“‘我是个学生,刚才去参加游行,被警察打伤了。他们要抓我。借您这儿躲一躲,行不行?假如您不同意。我马上就出去。’

“‘您不能出去。这个样子出去,岂不是自投罗网!来!让我先给您包扎一下。’接着,她把我领进屋里,拿出绷带和药棉,上了药,迅速地用熟练而轻快的手指给我包扎好伤口,用酒精擦干净我的脸孔。关切地问道:‘弄痛了您没有?不难受吗?’

“我整理整理衣服,站起来;‘不怎么痛啦!我可以走了。’

“她拦住我:‘不行,您身上有血迹,警察会认出来的,得换上衣服,戴上呢帽!’她从衣柜里拿出一件蓝布大褂儿和一顶旧呢帽:‘是我大哥的,您穿戴上大概还合适,他个子和您差不多。’

“我一再推辞,她有点生气了[9]:‘唉,您这个人呀,真是个书呆子!生死关头,逃命要紧嘛,还顾得上那么多礼数?’

“我走出这户人家,回头望一眼门牌号码。靠着蓝布大褂和呢帽的掩护,谁也看不出我是个被打伤的‘逃犯’,拐了个弯,到了骑河楼清华同学会,坐上直开清华园的校车,我就这样安然无恙地脱险了。

“我养好伤以后,总想着要把蓝布大褂和呢帽还给人家。直接送到她家里去吗?万一出来应门的不是她而是别人,那我该怎么说才好呢?我只好写了一封短信,请她在下一个星期六的傍晚亲自到中山公园来今雨轩旁边的紫丁香花丛附近,取回我借去的大褂和呢帽。收信人的姓名只写着“大小姐”收,落款我没有写,因为那天在匆忙中我们谁都没有请教过彼此的尊姓大名。

“我们终于在紫丁香花下见面了。她很大方地走到我面前,稍微点点头示意。

“当时我还是一个十分腼腆的小伙子,我总觉得,随便询问一个不认识的姑娘的姓名或者介绍自己的姓名都是不太庄重的、太唐突的。我只是激动地对她说:‘非常感谢您的帮忙,那一天,要不是换了衣服,我一出门就会被捕的。胡同口有两只穿黑制服的狗在守着呢!’

“‘别客气!这些都是我应该做的[10]。其实这些旧东西您大可不必还给我。’

“‘我怕您不好向您的大哥交代!’

“‘不要紧。他不是经常穿戴的。再说,他和您一样,也是个大学生。他是爱国的,不过,没有您那么勇敢。’

“她将手上的纸包送给我:‘给,这是您那天换下来的布大褂和便帽,上面的血迹我给洗掉了。多可惜,这是志士的鲜血啊!’她半开玩笑半认真地说。当时有一支流行的爱国歌曲《五月的鲜花》,开头有一句歌词:‘五月的鲜花开遍了原野,鲜花掩盖着志士的鲜血。’

“‘其实,您也大可不必还给我。这件血衣,留下来作纪念不是很好吗?’

“她稚气地笑着说:‘您叫我搁在哪儿呢?假如家里的人问起来,我又该怎么说才好呢?这件事,除了咱俩,现在还没有第三个人知道!我爹是个好人,在中学里教书,他胆子小得要命!假如让他知道了……’

“她默默地望了我一眼,好像要记住我的容貌似的。但很快就说:‘假如没有什么事,我该走了!’临别时我们轻轻地握了握手,手指尖仅仅接触到对方的手指尖。她走到离开我约莫十多步的地方,迅速地回过头来望了我一眼,好像有点依依惜别的样子。她那轻盈而苗条的身影,很快就消失在苍茫的暮色和茂密的紫丁香花丛里面了。我猛地想跑上前去跟她多说几句话,至少问清楚她的姓名,但我终于痛苦地克制住自己,我不愿意株连她,因为我还随时有被捕的危险。

“这就是全部事情的经过,要说是‘爱情’吧,恐怕算不上;要说是友谊呢,又和普通的、寻常的友谊不太一样,好像多了一点什么东西——革命的情谊,一种患难与共、信守不渝的革命情谊,这是人世间最值得珍贵的东西。不知怎的,虽然事情已经过去四十多年了,每当我一看到紫丁香花,一闻到紫丁香花的香味,我就情不自禁地想起了这么一件事,这么一个人,仿佛又看到她那消逝在紫丁香花丛中的身影,仿佛又听到她离去时轻轻的脚步声。”

听完了我的故事,那位老先生无限感慨地说:“在我们一生中,生活有时会像河流一样,和另一条河流遇合了,又分开了,带来了某一种情绪的波流,永远萦绕着我们的心灵……淡淡的,却难忘!唉!怪不得你那样喜欢紫丁香花。不过,你真是个古怪的老头儿,在斑白的头发底下还保持着一个二十岁小伙子般强烈的感情,这样的人是不会幸福的。”

黄秋耘(1918—2001),原名黄超显,祖籍广东顺德,生于香港,著名散文家、文学评论家。1935—1937年在北平清华大学中文系学习期间,热情参加了一二·九抗日救国运动,并加入中国共产党。1943年毕业于广州中山大学。1949年后历任《文艺报》编辑部副主任、广东省出版局副局长、中国作家协会理事、中国作协广东分会副主席等职。主要作品有:散文集《浮沉》、《丁香花下》、《往事并不如烟》;文学评论集《苔花集》;回忆录《风雨年华》等。所著《丁香花下》一文以讲故事的形式叙述了作者青年时候的一段难忘的经历,是一篇脍炙人口的抒情叙事散文,选自作者的散文集《丁香花下》。

[1]“今年的暮春和初夏,我是在北京度过的”可译为This year I was in Beijing from late spring to early summer,或This year I spent late spring and early summer in Beijing,或I was in Beijing during the late spring and early summer of this year。

[2]“四十多年来像云烟一般的前尘往事”意即“四十多年来如过眼云烟的往事”或“四十多年来转瞬即逝的往事”,故译为transient (fleeting) events of the past 40 years or so。

[3]“性情孤僻”可译为introvert或unsociable。

[4]“又是在这儿碰到你”意即“真想不到又在这儿碰到你”,故译为Fancy meeting you here again!,其中Fancy作“想不到”解。

[5]“像我这么一大把年纪,距离‘灰飞烟灭’的日子已经不很远”不宜逐字直译,可按“我年老,行将就木”之意译为Being an old man already with one foot in the grave,其中with one foot in the grave或to have one foot in the grave是习语,作“离死不远”解。

[6]“似乎再也没有什么事情需要‘保密’了”译为I felt I no longer had anything to hold back at all,其中to hold back是习语,作“隐瞒”解。此句也可译为I felt I no longer had anything to keep secret at all。

[7]“而且,像这样美好而纯洁的回忆,多让一个朋友知道也未尝不是好事”译为Besides, it might be a good idea to let in one more friend on my sweet and pure memories,其中短语动词to let in … on …作“让某人成为某事的知情人”解。

[8]“我推开门一闪身躲了进去,反手就关上了门”译为so, pushing it open, I slipped in sideways and pulled it to behind me,其中slipped in sideways作“侧身溜进”解,又,pulled it to中的to是副词,作“关上”解。

[9]“我一再推辞,她有点生气了”译为As I declined the offer repeatedly, she became a little put out,其中to be put out是习语,作“生气”解。

[10]“这些都是我应该做的”译为I’ve only done my bit,其中to do one’s bit是习语,作“尽本分”或“做自己应当做的一份工作”解。此句也可译为I’ve only done what I can to help。

Under a Lilac Bush

◎ Huang Qiuyun

This year I was in Beijing from late spring to early summer. Except on windy or rainy days, I would daily walk to Zhongshan Park after supper to idle away the evening hours amidst the purple lilacs. Sitting quietly by myself on a park bench, with the sweet fragrance of lilacs permeating the air around me, I was absorbed in reviewing the transient events of the past 40 years or so. To a lonely and introvert old man like me, the moment of contemplation seemed a rare treat indeed.

Suddenly, a familiar and amiable face appeared before me. He was about my age, and a senior editor with a well-known publishing house.“Hey, Lao Wang,”he addressed me.“Fancy meeting you here again! You seem to have a special liking for purple lilacs.”

“Well, maybe. Their quiet elegance plus a slight touch of melancholy suits my disposition.”

“That perhaps isn’t the only reason!”he added, giving a sly wink.“Something unusual in your past life may have to do with lilacs. For example, when you were young, didn’t you meet a girl as melancholy as a purple lilac?”

Being an old man already with one foot in the grave, I felt I no longer had anything to hold back at all. Besides, it might be a good idea to let in one more friend on my sweet and pure memories. So, as we sat side by side on the park bench, I started talking after a moment of silence. The old man listened attentively.

“It was 44 years ago. As people of about my age may still remember, on March 31, 1936, university and high school students in Peiping held a memorial meeting to mourn their comrade-in-arms Guo Qing, who had died of torture in prison. They then staged a protest march holding aloft the coffined martyr. I too joined about 700 fellow students in the march. On our way from Bei-chi-zi to Nan-chi-zi, we ran into thousands of reactionary soldiers and cops. They fell on us brandishing truncheons, leather-thonged whips and swords. We fought barehanded, trying to ward off attacks with only a few bamboo poles. We were scattered after a violent struggle and more than 50 students were arrested on the spot. In the hot chase that followed, there were two or three cops for each fleeing student. As I ran like crazy with two cops chasing after me, my head was hit by a cop’s baton in the back, causing blood to ooze from my cap and drip all over my sky-blue gown. Fortunately, as a university athlete, I was able to outrun the pursuers and leave them behind in a twinkling by more than 100 meters. After passing through a number of zigzagging lanes, I came to the southern end of Bei-chi-zi where I found a house with its gate left ajar, so, pushing it open, I slipped in sideways and pulled it to behind me. I was then smeared all over with dirt and bloodstains and my face looked ghastly with lots of smudges. The courtyard was clean and quiet without a single soul. It was quite a while before the door curtain was lifted and a gentle girl came out. She was of small stature and had big eyes. She looked my junior by one or two years and was most probably a senior middle school student. She was taken aback by my wretched condition and asked me calmly, ‘What’s the matter? Why, is there anything wrong?’

“‘I’m a student. I was with a student demonstration just now, and got beaten up by cops. They’re hunting about for me. May I hide myself here? If you don’t agree, I go out right away.’

“‘No, you can’t. That would mean throwing yourself into a trap. Now, let me dress your wound first.’ Then she led me into the room. She took out sterilized cotton and ointment, and quickly bandaged my wound with her nimble fingers. Then she cleaned my face with alcohol and said with concern, ‘Does it hurt? Are you all right?’

“I rose and tidied up my clothes, and said, ‘It doesn’t hurt any more. I should be going now.’

“She stopped me, saying, ‘No, you can’t. The police will recognize you. You have to change clothes and put on a felt hat’! She then took out from the wardrobe a blue long gown and an old felt hat and said, ‘They belong to my eldest brother and will fit you nicely because he’s about the same height as you.’

“As I declined the offer repeatedly, she became a little put out and said, ‘Oh, what a bookworm you are! The important thing at this critical moment is to flee for your life, not to stand on ceremony like that.’

“On stepping out of the house, I turned my head to take a look at the house number. Now, under cover of the blue long gown and the felt hat, nobody could recognize me as the injured ‘criminal’ at large. After turning a corner, I arrived at Tsinghua University Alumni Association on Qihelou Street where a school bus took me straight back to the University campus. So I was at last safe and sound.

“Then, after I recovered from my wound, I pondered over returning the blue long gown and the felt hat to the young girl. Should I call on her again? What if it was somebody else than herself that answered the door? So I decided to write her a letter telling her to meet me next Saturday evening under a lilac bush next to Jin-yu-zhai Teahouse in Zhongshan Park so that she could take back the things that I had borrowed from her. I addressed her as ‘Dear Lady’ in the letter without adding my signature because we had failed to ask each other’s name on the previous day owing to the hurry of the moment.

“We at last met under the lilac bush. She came up to me with ease and greeted me with a slight nod.

“I was then a very bashful young chap. I thought it improper to conduct self-introduction between myself and a young girl that was a stranger to me. I said in an agitated tone, ‘Thank you very much for your help. I would have been arrested right outside your gate had it not been for the long gown and hat. I discovered two dark-uniformed bastards keeping watch at your gate.’

“‘Don’t mention it! I’ve only done my bit. You really need not return the junk to me.’

“‘But they belong to your eldest brother.’

“‘Never mind. He seldom wears them. Besides, he, like you, is a patriot, but not as courageous as you.’

“She then handed me a paper-wrapped parcel and said half jokingly,‘Take this — your cotton gown and cap. I’ve washed off all the bloodstains. What a pity I’ve destroyed the evidence of a hero’s blood’!

“‘In fact you don’t have to return them to me. Isn’t it a good idea for you to have my bloodstained garment as a keepsake?’

“She went on with a naïve smile, ‘Where could I keep them? What could I say in case my folks should ask? Now, this is something between you and me! My dad is an honest guy. He teaches at a middle school. He’s timid and overcautious. Suppose he should know of it …’

“She gave me a silent stare like she wanted to bear in mind my facial features. Then she said, ‘If that’s all, I must say goodbye now.’ We parted by touching each other’s fingertips casually instead of with a handshake. When she was a few steps away, she abruptly turned round to give me a look like she was reluctant to leave me. Soon her slender and graceful figure was lost in the deepening dusk and among the flourishing lilacs. I suddenly felt like rushing ahead to have a few more words with her, at least to find out her name. But I restrained myself painfully because I didn’t want to get her involved. I was still in danger of being arrested at any moment.

“That’s all there’s to it. Strictly, it wasn’t love, nor was it ordinary friendship. There was a bit more to it. It was revolutionary friendship, or a bond of comradeship forged by common suffering and unswerving faith. In short, it was something of the greatest value in the world. Now, after more than 40 years, the sight of sweet-smelling lilacs still always reminds me of the said event and person. And I will feel as if I saw her figure disappearing among the lilac bushes and hear the light footsteps she made at the moment when she was leaving me.”

After hearing out my story, the old gentleman said with strong feeling,“Our life, like a river, sometimes joins another river only to separate again, thus leaving certain emotional ripples lingering in our mind … faint and unforgettable! Oh, no wonder you’ve a special liking for purplish lilacs. But you’re really an eccentric old man. You still keep under your graying hair an emotion as intense as that of a 20-year-old young chap. Such a man as you can never be happy.”

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