哲罗姆·K.哲罗姆《妄想的病人》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

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THE IMAGINARY INVALID

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.”

Notes

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.

Questions

  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?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《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。

【作者简介】

哲罗姆·K.哲罗姆(1859—1927),英国幽默作家和剧作家。他因亲切的幽默而闻名,本文就是一个不坏的例证。

妄想的病人

我还记得那天,到大英博物馆去查阅有关接触性花粉症治疗方面的资料,我猜我大概得了这种小病。我取下一本医书,一口气读完了所有要读的内容。然后,我慵懒地、漫不经心地随便翻着书,泛泛地研究起其他疾病来。我忘记了全神贯注地研究的第一种瘟病是什么病——我知道,是一种可怕的、毁灭性的灾难——没等把一连串的病症征兆看完一半的时候,我便意识到自己肯定得了这种病。

我惊恐万状,万分绝望,没精打采呆坐了好一会儿。然后又拿起那本书,翻了起来。翻到伤寒——看了看它的各种症状——我发现我又得了伤寒——一定已经染病在身好几个月了,竟然还蒙在鼓里——不知道我还患上其他什么疾病没有;翻到舞蹈病——我发现,正如我预料到的那样,我也患有这种疾病——就这样,我开始对自己的病情产生了兴趣,并决定一查到底,于是我开始按字母顺序逐个排查——翻到疟疾,了解到自己已经出现了疟疾的某些症状,大约在两个星期后就会进入急性发作期;翻到肾小球肾炎,我心中稍微感到一丝安慰,因为我发现我得的只是其中较轻的一种,就目前状况而言,我的生命还可以延续一些年。此外,我还染上了霍乱,并伴有严重的并发症;而我好像是先天性白喉患者。我认认真真地按照26个字母挨个检查了一遍,得出的结论是,我唯一没有得上的疾病就是髌前囊炎。

起初,我还挺受打击的,心里好像还有那么几分失落。为什么我没有得上髌前囊炎呢?这一缺憾岂不让人不快?不过,过了一会儿,我那贪婪的感觉渐渐平复下来。我回过味来了,从药理学讲,我已经把药理学上所罗列的其他各种常见疾病都得了,于是我变得没那么自私了,决定没有得上髌前囊炎也可以接受。反正痛风已经处于恶性晚期了,它好像是在我毫无知觉的情况下找上了我;而我显然是在孩提时期就染上了发酵病。鉴于发酵病是字母表中能查到的最后一种疾病名称,我得出一个结论,我没什么别的病了。

我坐在那里陷入了沉思。我想,从医学角度来看,我一定是一个非常有趣的病例;对于医学院的教学课堂来说,我更是一个极为难得的病例!医学院的学生们有了我的话,他们就没必要再“去医院”实习了。倘若他们有了我的话,我一个人就是他们的“实习医院”。他们只需围着我走一走,然后就可以领他们的毕业证了。

我不知道自己究竟还能活多久,我想自查一下。我摸了摸自己的脉搏。一开始,我一点脉象都没摸到。接下来,脉搏突然跳了起来。我掏出怀表,测算脉搏的次数,大概每分钟147次。我又摸了摸心脏,却感受不到心脏的跳动。心脏已经停止跳动了。我劝自己相信心脏想必还在那里,想必还在跳动,只是我这种现象无法解释罢了。我把自己上半身从腰部到头部拍了个遍,还稍微拍了拍身体的侧面和后背,可我却什么也没有摸到,什么也没听到。我想看看自己的舌头,我尽量把舌头伸得长长的,闭上一只眼睛,用另一只眼来检查。我只能看见自己的舌尖,而这么做唯一的收获就是:我比以前更加确信我得了猩红热。

于是,我去看病,我的私人医生是一位老朋友。平时,每当我觉得我生病的时候,他就会摸摸我的脉搏,看看我的舌头,再不咸不淡地谈谈天气;所以我觉得我现在去找他看病是对他的报答。我心中暗想:“医生需要的就是临床实践,他有了我这样的病人,比拥有一千七百个常见的普通病人得到的临床实践机会还要多,因为这些病人每个人也只能身患一到两种疾病。”于是我径直去找他。他问我:“你哪里不舒服?”

我答道:“亲爱的伙计,我不会告诉你我得了什么病,浪费你的时间。生命短暂,在我还没说完以前,你就可能离世了。不过,我可以告诉你我没有得什么病,我没有得髌前囊炎。至于我为什么没有得髌前囊炎呢?我说不清楚;然而事实就摆在这里,我没有得髌前囊炎。可是,除此之外,什么病我都有。”

我还把自己是如何发现这些疾病的过程一五一十地讲给他听了。

接下来,他解开我的衣服,俯视着我。他紧握着我的一只手腕,我没料到他会敲打我的胸部——我称之为胆小鬼的做法——又马上把侧着的脸贴到我的身上。最后,他坐下来,开了一个处方,然后把处方折起来递给我。我接了过来揣进衣兜里,走了出去。

我没有打开处方看,就径直来到一家最近的药店把处方递了过去。药剂师看了看处方,又将它退了回来。他说他不收这种处方。

“你是药剂师吧?”我问道。

“我是药剂师啊。如果我经营一个合作商店兼家庭旅馆的话,我倒是可以为你效劳。可我只是一个药剂师,我爱莫能助。”

我看了看那处方,只见上面写道:“一磅牛排,每隔六小时服用一次;每天早晨散步十英里;每天晚上十一点整准时上床睡觉。此外不要满脑子都装些你不明白的东西。”

 

(张白桦 译)

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