《泄密的心》选自埃德加·爱伦·坡所著《奇谈怪论集》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

朗读这篇文章

THE TELL-TALE HEART A MURDERER’S CONFESSION

By Edgar Allan Poe

THE TELL-TALE HEART, by Edgar Allen Poe, in his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque,1840, and reprinted in Robert I. Fulton’s Standard Selections, pp. 426-431.

Edgar Allen Poe (1808-1849), American author. He is one of the world’s greatest writers of short stories; his stories have always had special appreciation in France.

True! —nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain;but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object, there was none. Passion, there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees—very gradually—I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid my life of him forever.

Now, this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded—with what caution—with what foresight—with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it—oh, so gently! and then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly—very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon the bed. Ha! —would a madman have been so wise as this? And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously—oh, so cautiously—cautiously (for the hinges creaked) I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights—every night just at midnight—but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his evil eye.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back—but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers), and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in the bed crying out—“Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief—oh, no! —it was the low, stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little—a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it—you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily—until at length a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell upon the vulture eye.

It was open—wide, wide open—and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness—all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person; for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the spot.

Now, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed; I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! Do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous; so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst.

And now a new anxiety seized me—the sound could be heard by a neighbour! The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once—once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily to find the deed so far done. But for many minutes the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If you still think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye—not even his—could have detected anything wrong.

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o’clock—still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart—for what had I now to fear? Then entered three men who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbor during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and the officers had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled—for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search—search well. I led them at length to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. But ere long I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct; it continued and gained definitiveness—until at length I found that the noise was not within my ears.

No doubt I grew very pale; but I talked more fluently and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased—and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound—much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath—and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly—more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men—but the noise steadily increased. O God! what could I do? I foamed—I raved—I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder—louder—louder. And still the men chatted pleasantly and smiled. Was it possible they heard not?

They heard! —they suspected! —they knew! —they were making a mockery of my horror! this I thought and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! —and now—again! —hark I louder! louder! louder! louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed—tear up the planks! here! here! it is the beating of his hideous heart!”

Notes

healthily, sanely, not madly; like a sane, healthy person.

haunted, remained with me to bother me.

object, ulterior motive for killing the old man; something that he had hoped to get from the killing of the old man.

passion, strong emotion, like an outburst of anger, or hatred.

gold, money or riches.

vulture, large bird allied to hawks, eagles, falcons, but having weaker claws, and the head usually naked. Vultures live largely on carrion, the dead or putrefying body or flesh of animals.

film, dull, transparent layer or cover.

my blood ran cold, within me was the feeling of fear.

take the llfe, killed.

caution, care; watchfulness.

foresight, prudent care for the future, looking ahead.

dissimulation, hiding of his true feelings under a false front; feigning.

latch, the catch which holds the door closed; the moveable piece which holds the door in place, though it be not bolted.

cautiously, guardedly, carefully so as to avoid danger.

hinges, the joint on which the door turns or swings.

creaked, make a sharp, prolonged squeaking sound.

chuckled, laughed in a suppressed manner, as from inward satisfaction.

startled, moved suddenly as in surprise, fear, or alarm.

black as pitch. Pitch, which occurs naturally as asphalt, is a black, thick, sticky substance.

shutters, the moveable covers or screens of windows.

stifled, suppressed; smothered; choked.

overcharged, filled too full.

causeless, as not caused by anything.

crevice, a narrow opening resulting from a crack or split.

chilled the very marrow in my bones, put me in the greatest fear. Marrow is the soft tissue which fills the cavities of most bones.

enveloped, wrapped; covered completely.

stimulates, excites; spurs on.

refrained, held back; curbed myself.

tattoo, beating sound.

muffled, deadened, as if something had been wrapped around it.

vex, annoy; disturb.

corpse, dead body.

pulsation, beat; throb.

stone dead, very much dead; as lifeless as a stone.

waned, grew diminished; decreased; drew to a close.

dismembered, tore apart, limb from limb; cut limb from limb.

planks, heavy thick boards.

scantlings, the small beams that support the planks.

detected, discovered; found out.

light heart, a happy heart, a heart not burdened by care or worry ; the opposite of a heavy heart.

perfect suavity, faultless, complete agreeableness; very pleasing politeness; great courtesy of manners.

foul play, dishonorable conduct, especially implying murder.

lodged, given to; placed.

deputed, sent; ordered.

premises, the building.

heightened voice, louder, more excited voice.

grated, moved the chair across the boards so as to make a harsh and rasping sound.

mockery, derision or sport or jest of his horror.

agony, extreme pain.

derision, ridicule, insult, scorn.

hypocritical, false, deceiving, dissembling.

villains, scoundrels; rascals.

dissemble, pretend; disguise ; feign; conceal.

Questions

  1. What causes the murderer to kill the old man?
  2. How does he plan the murder?
  3. What sound finally incites him to the deed?
  4. How does he hide the corpse?
  5. How does he meet the police?
  6. Why does he betray himself? Was he mad?

参考译文

【作品简介】

《泄密的心》一文选自埃德加·爱伦·坡所著《奇谈怪论集》,后收入1840年由罗伯特·I.富尔顿主编的《标准选集》,426—431页。

【作者简介】

埃德加·爱伦·坡(1808—1849),美国作家。他是世界上最伟大的短篇小说作家之一,他的故事在法国一直大受欢迎。

泄密的心

没错儿!——我以前一直神经过敏,神经过敏得非常非常厉害,现在也是这样;可你为什么要说我疯了呢?听着!看我给你讲整个过程的时候,有多健康——有多淡定。

这念头最初是怎么钻进我的脑袋里的,我可说不来;可是一旦有了这个念头,就昼思夜想,魂牵梦绕。动机?根本没有。盛怒?根本没有,我爱那老头,他从来没有冤枉过我,他从来没有侮辱过我,我也不贪图他的金银财宝。我想是他的那只眼睛惹的祸吧!对,就是那只眼睛!他长了一只鹰眼——淡蓝色的,蒙着层薄膜。那只眼只要看我一眼,我就感到毛骨悚然;因此我心里就渐渐地——一点一点地——打定了主意,要这个老头的命,好永远地摆脱那只眼睛。

看,问题来了。你以为我疯了。疯子可是什么也不懂。只可惜你当时没看见我。只可惜你没看见我干得是多么智慧——行事多么谨慎——多么有远见——我干活的时候多么会掩饰!在我杀死老头前一个星期里,对他空前的体贴。每天晚上半夜的时候,我把他门锁一扭开门——哦,多么轻手轻脚啊!接下来,我把房门拉开一条缝,宽窄正好可以探进脑袋,就用一盏昏暗的灯塞进门缝,灯上罩得严严实实,严实得连一丝灯光都透不出来,然后我把头再伸进去。哦,你若是看见我多么巧妙地探进头去的话,一定会哈哈大笑的!我慢慢探着头——特别,特别慢,以免惊醒熟睡的老头。我花了一个小时,才把整个脑袋探进门缝里,正好看见他躺在床上。哈!——难道疯子会有这样的智慧?我头一伸进房里,就小心翼翼地——哦,那么小心——小心地打开了灯罩,因为铰链会发出声音——我将灯罩掀开一条缝,这样一道细细的灯光就可以正好射在鹰眼上。我这样一连干了整整七夜——天天夜里都在午夜时分——可是我发现那只眼总是闭着;这样一来,我就下不了手,因为惹我生气的不是老头本人,是他那只带薄膜的眼睛。

到了第八天晚上,我比往日还要小心翼翼地打开了房门。想想看,我就在房外,一点一点地打开门,可是他对于我的这种秘密行动和阴谋诡计,连做梦都没想到。想到这里,我禁不住咯咯地笑出了声;他可能是听到了;因为他仿佛大吃一惊,在床上突然翻了个身。这下你以为我会退缩了吧——可是我没有退缩。他生怕强盗抢劫,把百叶窗关得紧紧的,所以房里一片漆黑,我知道他看不见门缝,于是继续一点一点地从容不迫地推着门。

我刚探进头,正要动手掀开灯上罩子的时候,大拇指在锡皮扣上一滑,老头一下子从床上坐起身来,大喊一声道:“谁在那里?”

我一动不动,一声不吭。整整一个小时,我连肌肉都没动一下,与此同时,我也没听到他躺下的声音。

不久,我听到一声轻轻的呻吟,我知道只有恐惧至极才会这么呻吟。既不是痛苦的呻吟,也不是悲叹——哦,不是!——那是在吓得魂飞魄散时,不由自主地从心灵深处发出的这么一声低低的呻吟。我倒是对这种声音心领神会。我知道他刚刚听到轻微的那声响动,在床上翻身以后,就一直大睁着双眼躺着。他心里的恐惧在逐渐升级。他一直在安慰自己这是一场虚惊,却一直没能奏效。

我非常耐心地等了好长时间,既然没有听到他躺下的声音,于是决定将灯罩掀开一条小缝,极小,极小的一道缝。我动手掀开灯罩——你可能想象不出,有多么,多么鬼鬼祟祟,——最后终于射出一道微弱的光,仿佛蛛丝,从那道缝里射出,照在鹰眼上。

那只眼睁着呢——睁得好大,好大;我一看,不禁怒火中烧。我看得一清二楚——整个眼睛只是一团暗淡的蓝,蒙着一层可怕的薄膜,让我毛骨悚然,不寒而栗;可是,我却看不见老头的脸庞和身体;因为我凭着直觉,让灯光正好射在那只鬼眼睛上了。

此时,我耳边传来低沉的、单调的、短促的声音,就好像把一块表包裹在布里发出的声音。我对这种声音也很熟悉。这是老头的心跳声。我的火气更大了,如同士兵听到了战鼓咚咚,士气大增一样。

即便在这时,我依然克制着自己,纹丝不动。我连大气都不喘一下。我提着灯,一动不动。我让灯光尽量稳稳地射在鹰眼上。与此同时,吓人的扑通扑通心跳声越来越大了。一秒比一秒快,一秒比一秒大。老头的恐惧一定已经到了极限!我说,心跳声越来越大,一秒钟比一秒钟大!你听明白了没有?我早就告诉过你,我神经过敏;我确实神经过敏。此刻正是鸦雀无声的午夜时分,古屋里一片死寂,耳听得这种古怪的声音,让我不由自主地毛骨悚然。可是几分钟以后,我依然克制着自己,纹丝不动地站着。然而心跳声竟然愈来愈大,愈来愈大!我看,那颗心一定是要爆炸了。

此时,我又产生了一个新的焦虑——邻居恐怕会听到这心跳声!老头的死期到啦!我大吼一声,扯开灯罩,跳进屋里。他尖叫了一声——只叫了那么一声。就在那一刹那,我一把把他拖到地板上,把沉重的大床压在他身上。接下来,看到已经万事大吉,我开心地笑了。可是,几分钟过去了,闷声闷气的心跳声还在响个不停。这倒也没惹我生气;墙外是听不见的。后来终于没动静了。老头死了。我把床挪开,审视着尸体。我把手放在他胸口,停留了好几分钟。心脏不再跳动了。他死透了。那只眼睛再也不会惹我烦了。

你还当我发疯的话,等我给你讲讲我藏匿尸体所采取的明智的预防措施,你就不会这么想了。夜色阑珊,我要抓紧时间干,却不能弄出动静来。我先将尸首肢解开来。

然后,我再撬起屋里的三块地板,将肢解后的尸体都藏在两根间柱当中。接下来,我把木板归位,干得那么巧妙,那么机智。人的眼睛都看不出有丝毫破绽——就连他的眼睛也看不出。

大功告成,一切就绪,已经四点钟——夜色沉沉,如同子夜。钟表报时,临街的大门外传来一阵敲门声。我心情愉快地下楼去开门,——我现在还有什么好怕的呢?门外进来三个人,他们做了自我介绍说是警官,绝对的和颜悦色。有个街坊在夜里听到一声尖叫,疑心出了不轨之事,报告了警察局,这三位警官就奉命前来搜查楼里的各个屋子。

我满脸堆笑,——有什么好怕的呢?我对这三位先生表示欢迎。我说,那声尖叫是我刚才做梦时发出的。我提到老头不在家,到乡下去了。我带着三位来客在家里上上下下走了个遍。我请他们搜查——仔细搜查。我最后还领着他们进了老头的卧房里,指给他们看他的家私都完好无损,原封没动。我心里有谱,还热情洋溢地端进几把椅子,请他们在这间房里歇脚,与此同时,我自鸣得意,还胆大包天地端了把椅子,专门在埋着冤鬼尸体的地方坐了下来。

警官们心满意足了。我的所作所为让他们心悦诚服。我也异常轻松自在。可是没过多久,我就觉得自己脸色越来越苍白,恨不得他们马上离开。我头痛欲裂,还觉到耳朵里嗡嗡的响;可是他们还坐着,还在东拉西扯。嗡嗡声更清楚了;嗡嗡声在继续,听起来愈发清楚了;我最后终于发现原来声音不是来自耳朵里。

不消说,我此时的脸色已经特别苍白了;可我的话说得更溜了,嗓门也提高了。可那嗡嗡声越来越大——我该如何是好呢?这是一种低沉的、模糊的、短促的声音——就像包裹在棉布里的一块表发出的声音。我开始气喘吁吁了;——可是这三位警官竟然没听到。我说话的语速更快了,——情绪更热烈了;可是响声却在持续增大。他们为什么还不走呢?我拖着沉重的脚步在房里踱来踱去,仿佛他们三人的看法给我火上浇油似的;可响声还在持续增大。哦,上帝啊!我该如何是好呢?我唾沫星子四溅——我胡言乱语——我破口大骂!我摇晃自己的座椅,在木板上摩擦,可是那个响声却盖过所有的声音,还在持续增大。那个响声越来越大——越来越大——越来越大。可是那三个人还在愉快地东拉西扯,嘻嘻哈哈。难道他们听不见吗?

他们听见了!——他们怀疑了!——他们知道真相了!——正在嘲笑我这样吓破了胆呢!——我刚才是这么想的,现在还是这么想。可怎么着都比这种痛苦好忍受!怎么着都比这种嘲笑好受!我再也受不了这种皮笑肉不笑啦!我觉得再不尖叫就要死了!——听啊——又来了!——我听到那响声越来越大!越来越大!越来越大!越来越大!

“坏蛋!”我大声尖叫,“别装啦!我认罪!——撬开地板!这里!这里!——是他那颗可恶的心的心跳声!”

 

(张白桦 译)

未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 《泄密的心》选自埃德加·爱伦·坡所著《奇谈怪论集》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

赞 (0)