哲罗姆·K.哲罗姆《妄想的病人》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析



By Jerome K. Jerome

THE IMAGINARY INVALID, from Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men Is a Boat, Boston, Henry Holt and Company.Reproduced in Robert I.Fulton’s Standard Selections, pp. 354-357.

Jerome Klapka Jerome (1859-1927), English humorist and playwright. He has a reputation for genial humor, of which the selection given is not a bad example.

I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch—hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into—some fearful, devastating scourge I know—and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

I sat for a while, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever—read the symptoms—discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it—wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance—found, as I expected, that I had that too, —began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom and so started alphabetically—read up ague, and learned that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.

I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn’t I got housemaid’s knee? Why this invidious reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid’s knee. Gout, in its most malignant stage, it would appear, had seized me without my being aware of it; and zymosis I had evidently been suffering with from boyhood. There were no more diseases after zymosis, so I concluded there was nothing else the matter with me.

I sat and pondered. I thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view, what an acquisition I should be to a class! Students would have no need to “walk the hospitals,” if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. All they need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma.

Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I felt my pulse. I could not at first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I made a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel my heart. I could not feel my heart. It had stopped beating. I have since been induced to come to the opinion that it must have been there all the time, and must have been beating, but I cannot account for it. I patted myself all over my front, from what I call my waist up to my head, and I went a bit round each side, and a little way up the back. But I could not feel or hear anything. I tried to look at my tongue. I stuck it out as far as ever it would go, and I shut one eye, and tried to examine it with the other. I could only see the tip, and the only thing that I could gain from that was to feel more certain than before that I had scarlet fever.

I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So I went straight up and saw him, and he said:

“Well, what’s the matter with you?”

I said:

“I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is not the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I have got.”

And I told him how I came to discover it all.

Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn’t expecting it—a cowardly thing to do, I call it—and immediately afterward butted me with the side of his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out.

I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist’s and handed it in. The man read it and then handed it back. He said he didn’t keep it.

I said:

“You are a chemist?”

“I am a chemist. If I were a coöperative store and family hotel combined I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me.”

I read the prescription. It ran:

“I lb. beefsteak, every 6 hours.

I ten-mile walk every morning.

I bed at 11 sharp every night.

And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.”


British Museum, the national repository in London for treasures in literature, science, and art. The library is added to each year by the copyright law requiring the deposit of a copy of every book and other publication printed in the United Kingdom.

ailment, illness; sickness; indisposition.

touch, twinge or light attack of fever.

hay fever, an inflammatory affection of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or air passages, usually occurring in spring or late summer.

indolently, lazily;idly;in a habitually idle manner.Idle(opposed to busy)emphasizes the fact of inactivity or lack of occupation; lazy suggests disinclination to effort or work;indolent implies a habitual love of ease and a settled dislike of activity; slothful(now bookish) implies excessive and sluggish indolence.

distemper, ailment; sickness; malady.

devastating, destructive disease; a severe calamity or affliction.

premonitory symptoms, perceptible or noticeable change, in the body or its functions, indicating disease.

frozen with horror, in great fear or abhorrence.

listlessness, indifference; not caring nor desiring.

typhoid fever, an infectious feverish, often fatal, disease due to a bacillus or germ introduced usually with food or drink, and marked by intestinal inflammation or swelling, and ulceration.

St. Vitus’s Dance, or chorea, a disease attended with convulsive twitchings.

sift it to the bottom, examine it most critically and minutely, so as to know or eliminate one element from another.

ague, a malarial fever attended by fits of chills, fever, and sweating, which occur at regular intervals.

acute stage, critical point in the development of the disease.

Bright’s disease, any of several forms of kidney disease attended with albumin in the urine.

modified form, not so severe form; milder form.

cholera, a disease, rapidly developed and commonly fatal, due to a spirillum or spirally curved gem called the comma bacillus and characterized by vomiting, rice-water discharge, cramps, and collapse.

diphtheria, a feverish infectious disease in which the air passages, especially the throat, becomes coated with a false membrane. It is caused by a specific bacillus.

plodded, read; worked.

twenty-six letters of the alphabet, from A to Z.

housemaid’s knee, inflammation and swelling of the sac over the knee-cap.

a sort of slight, a kind of intentional contempt; a sort of neglect.

invidious reservation, unjust or offensive holding back.

pharmacology, the science of drugs.

gout, a constitutional disease marked by painful inflammation of the fibrous and ligamentous parts of the joints.

zymosis, an infectious disease caused by fermentation.

acquisition, gain; useful specimen for them to study.

diploma, a document certifying the completion of work required by an educational institution, and the granting of some honor, privilege, or power.

pulse, the throbbing in the arteries due to the contractions of the heart.

a hundred and forty-seven to the minute, that many heart beats to the minute make too fast a heart beat; abnormally fast heart beat.

scarlet fever, an acute contagious feverish disease marked by inflammation of the narrow passage from mouth to pharynx and a scarlet rash.

clutched hold of my wrist, to feel my pulse.

butted, struck with his head.

prescription, a written direction for the preparation and use of a medicine; also the medicine.

coöperative store, a store or shop where the owners make their purchases and share in the profits and losses.

beefsteak, a slice of beef meat, especially from the hind quarter, suitable for broiling and frying.

stuff up your mind, fill or cram your head; bother.


  1. What book was the “imaginary invalid” reading? What effect did it have upon him?
  2. What is the meaning of the doctor’s prescription?



《妄想的病人》一文,选自哲罗姆·K.哲罗姆所著《三人同舟》,由波士顿的亨利·霍尔特公司出版。后收入罗伯特·I.富尔顿主编的《标准选集》, 354—357页。


















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