约翰·汉普森《长长的阴影》 -经典文学英译-中英双语赏析

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THE LONG SHADOW

By John Hampson

THE LONG SHADOW, by John Hampson, in Michael Roberts’ New Country, pp. 97-100.

John Hampson, whose real name is John Hampson Simpson, is another of the new generation of writers. He has written several books, of which Saturday Night at the Greyhound(1931)is his first.

What can I do? she wondered. Slow tears kept welling in her eyes, then rolling gently down her cheeks, gathering into large drops at her chin before they fell unheeded to her lap as the child’s voice went on:

“. . . didn’t know! It was dreadful. We never were real friends, but because she lived near us, we often walked home together. It seemed such a silly thing to quarrel over. I didn’t break the point of her pencil on purpose, but she said that I did. We said horrid things, both of us. At last I told her, ‘I shan’t walk with you any more.’ ‘Who wants you to, anyway? ‘ she said, ‘besides, my brother isn’t a thief.’ I was furious and shouted at her, ‘You liar, ‘ then she laughed, shrugging her shoulders, saying, ‘Ask anybody! They’ll tell you. Anybody! Ask your mother! ‘ Sylvia is horrid, I couldn’t ever speak to her again. I started to cry and ran away from her as fast as I could. She called after me, ‘Prison! Prison; they put him in prison! ‘

“When I got home I crept upstairs to bathe my eyes, they were so red. I could not believe that what she said was true. Mother, how dreadful! Don’t cry, dear. Don’t cry! Don’t! That’s why I couldn’t eat. I did try but when the food was in my mouth, it choked me. I kept looking at Tom. I did not want to, but I kept looking at him. Things came back to me then; I remembered the time he went away, and how you were sad, and wouldn’t talk about him. Then Florrie left and you did not have a maid for ever such a long time.

“I was only a little girl, wasn’t I, mother? And then Tom came back home again. He didn’t go to business for a long time, did he? When people came to see us, he used to jump up and go to his bedroom.

“I kept remembering things like that. Even then I could not believe what Sylvia had told me was true. It was too horrible to believe, so I got up from the table and rushed out of the room so that you would not see I was crying. When you followed me upstairs, I couldn’t tell you. I wanted to.

“I knew Sylvia would tell everyone. So I had to go to school this afternoon, it was no good trying to put it off, it would have been horrible waiting for to-morrow. It’s over now. That’s why I told Daddy, when he wanted me to stay away from school, that I mustn’t miss any marks for being absent. You see why I had to go, don’t you, Mother, dear? It’s not fair. I never did anything. Why should they look down at me? Or be sorry for me? I don’t want their pity. Oh, Mother! Mother! She was standing by the school porch, Sylvia was, I mean. She stared at me, but I hurried by; my head up. I did not speak to her, but I hoped she would not tell. Hope and hoped. In the lobby I said ‘Our Father which art in Heaven’ as I took my hat and coat off, but all the time . . . I knew . . . she’d tell. . . . I walked into the classroom with my head in the air, speaking to no one. Inside I felt cold and sick though I kept hoping. . . . Sylvia sat the other side of the room; I watched her, though. For a long time she worked at the essay. It was about Irish Peasant Customs; between the words I wrote I looked up to see what she was doing. Soon she had finished; and catching my eye when next I looked she nodded. Her eyes were queer. I felt cold again as I saw her write something on a scrap of paper, which she rolled into a ball slowly, then she passed it to Dora Green. Holding the paper ball under her desk, Dora unscrewed it, reading it with her head bent forward, then she looked across at me. My face was hot, I turned my head away. It was no use watching any more, I knew that soon they would all be staring at me.

“I wrote on and on; anything. I don’t think I shall get any marks for the essay. Then I heard Miss Neal ask crossly, ‘Doris Lowe, what has Betty Sharp just handed to you? ‘ Doris held up the little piece of paper, and said, her voice faltering, ‘This note, Miss Neal.’ She had to take it out to the desk. I watched Miss Neal’s face flush as she read the paper. She frowned at Doris and asked angrily: ‘Who wrote this? ‘ Doris did not know, she stood first on one foot and then on the other, while Miss Neal went from desk to desk, asking each girl: ‘Did you write this note that I have just taken from Doris? ’

“Suddenly, Sylvia stood up. It was nearly her turn to answer. She said, ‘I wrote it, Miss Neal. It’s true.’ Miss Neal said, ‘I do not wish to know anything about that. Please go to Miss Wade. Tell her that I sent you, and say that I shall come along to see her in a few moments.’ As Sylvia got slowly to her feet, Miss Neal came over to me. I put my head down on the desk and cried and cried. Miss Neal said, ‘Come along to the rest room, my dear, ‘ and I stood up. I couldn’t see very well, things were misty. Miss Neal put her arms round my shoulders, guiding me. I did not know she was so decent . . . so kind. She nursed me for a while, like you used to Mother, stroking my hair. I couldn’t stop crying though, not for a long while. At last she patted my head and left me. Then Miss Wade came. She knew about Tom. I mustn’t worry about it she said. Then she suggested I would be better at home for the rest of this afternoon, and so I came.

“Fancy Sylvia telling them like that, Mother. How could she? I shall be glad when I leave school, I shall be glad then! I did not know Tommy had been in prison! I did not know. . . .”

Tears trickled steadily down the woman’s cheeks. She kept wondering “What can I do? What can I do?” the child’s voice broke through to her consciousness again: “didn’t know! I only broke her pencil. . . .”

Notes

Sylvia, the girl with whom she had quarreled.

him in prison, her brother Tom.

lobby, a passageway, especially when used also as a waiting room.

“Our Father which art in Heaven,  the opening sentence of the Lord’s prayer (The Christian Bible, the New Testament, Matthew, Chapter VI, 9-13).

Miss Neal, the classroom teacher.

Miss Wade, the principal of the school.

things were misty, because tears were coming into her eyes.

fancy, imagine; think of.

the woman’s, the mother’s.

Questions

  1. What is the shadow? On whom did it fall?
  2. In similar cases, what is the usual attitude of society, Sylvia’s or the teachers’.

参考译文

【作品简介】

《长长的阴影》,作者约翰·汉普森,选自迈克尔·罗伯茨编辑的《新国家》,97—100页。

【作者简介】

约翰·汉普森,真名为约翰·汉普森·辛普森,二十世纪三四十年代的新生代作家。当时已经出版多部作品,其中《灰狗巴士上的周六夜》(1931年)是第一部。

长长的阴影

我能做什么呢?她问自己。眼泪不断地从她眼里慢慢涌出,然后顺着脸颊缓缓落下,在下巴处聚成一大滴一大滴,再在不经意间落到她膝盖上。女儿的声音还在继续:

“……不知道呀!太可怕了。我们从来就不是真正的朋友,只是因为她家离我们家近,我们经常一起走回家。为这件事争吵真愚蠢。我不是故意弄断了她的铅笔尖儿,但她说我是故意的。我们两个都说了一些可怕的话。最后,我对她说:‘我再也不想跟你一起走回家了。’‘谁稀罕你跟我一起走回家呀?’她说,‘另外,我哥哥又不是小偷。’我愤怒地大声对她喊道:‘你这个骗子!’她大笑起来,耸耸肩,只是说:‘去问随便谁吧!他们会告诉你。问随便谁!问你妈妈!’西尔维娅太恐怖了,我再也没法跟她说话了。我开始哭,并且跑得远远的。她在我背后大喊:‘监狱!监狱;他们把他关进了监狱!’

“回到家,我冲上楼梯用水冲洗我哭红的眼睛。我不敢相信她说的是真的。妈妈,这多么可怕!别哭,宝贝。别哭!别!这就是我为什么吃不下饭的原因。食物在我嘴里,我想吃,但噎住了。我一直看着汤姆。我不想看他,但却一直看着他。这时我想起来了;我想起他离开的时候,您多么难过,以后也不愿谈起他。然后,家里的女佣弗洛丽也走了,之后您很久都没有女佣。

“我那时只是个小姑娘,对吧,妈妈?后来汤姆又回家了,他很久都没有工作,对吧?当家里有客人来时,他就站起来回卧室了。

“我不断回想起这些事情。即使这时,我仍然不敢相信西尔维娅说的是真的。这事太可怕了,所以我从桌旁站起来,冲出房间,这样您就看不见我在哭。当您跟着我上了楼,我想对您说,可说不出口。

“我知道西尔维娅会到处宣扬这件事。所以今天下午我必须去学校处理这件事,拖延时间没什么好处,等到明天后果将非常可怕。现在一切都结束了。这就是为什么,当爸爸叫我别去学校时,我告诉他我绝不能因为旷课丢分。您理解我必须去学校,对吧,妈妈?这不公平,我什么也没做。为什么他们要瞧不起我?或者为我感到难过?我不需要他们的同情。哦,妈妈!妈妈!她站在学校大楼的门廊旁,我说的是西尔维娅。她盯着我,我匆忙从她身旁走过去,高昂着头。我没有跟她说话,但我希望她没有说出去。一直这么希望着。在大厅里,当我摘下帽子、脱下大衣时我念着主祷文‘我们在天上的父’,但心里一直想着这件事……我就知道……她会说出去。我走进教室,高昂着头,跟谁也不说话。但内心却感到冷飕飕、病怏怏的,尽管心里一直希望……西尔维娅坐在教室的另一边;但我观察着她。好长时间她都在写那篇作文,关于爱尔兰农民习俗的;我在写作文的间歇,就看一眼她在做什么。不久她写完了,我再次看她时,她捕捉到了我的眼神,并点点头。她的眼神很古怪。当我看到她在一张纸片上写东西时,我又感到心里冷飕飕的。她把这张纸片慢慢地卷成一团,然后递给了多拉·格林。多拉把纸团拿在课桌下面,打开了,低着头看了一眼,然后望着我。我的脸热得发烫,我转过头去。再观察她们已经没什么用了,我知道,过一会儿大家都会盯着我看。

“我写呀写呀,不停地写,瞎写一通。我知道这篇作文我得不了什么分了。然后,我听见尼尔小姐(我们的老师)生气地问:‘多丽丝·洛尔,贝蒂·夏普刚才把什么递给了你?’多丽丝拿出一张小纸片,支支吾吾地说:‘是这张纸条,尼尔小姐。’她把纸条递给尼尔小姐。我看到尼尔小姐看了纸条后脸红了。她皱着眉头看着多丽丝,生气地问:‘这是谁写的?’多丽丝也不知道是谁写的,她踮起脚看看这个,又看看那个。尼尔小姐从一张课桌走到另一张课桌,挨个问每一个女孩:‘多丽丝手里的那张纸条,是你写的吗?’

“突然,西尔维娅站了起来。马上就轮到她回答尼尔小姐的问题了。她说:‘是我写的,尼尔小姐。这是真的。’尼尔小姐说:‘我不想知道这种事情。你去找一下韦德小姐。告诉她是我让你去的,并说我一会儿就过去。’当西尔维娅慢慢站起身时,尼尔小姐走到我身边。我趴在桌上不停地哭。尼尔小姐说:‘到休息室来,亲爱的。’我站了起来。我眼里都是泪水,看什么都模模糊糊的。尼尔小姐搂着我的肩膀,领着我走。我从前不知道她如此正派……如此善良。她安慰了我一会儿,像您常做的那样,轻抚我的头发。但我还是止不住地又哭了一会儿。最后,她拍拍我的头,离开了。然后韦德小姐来了,她知道汤姆的事。她告诉我不必担心这件事。然后,她建议我回家,说今天下午剩下的时间我待在家里会好受一些。所以我回来了。

“想想西尔维娅到处宣扬这事,妈妈。她怎么能这样?离开学校时我会很高兴,那时我会很高兴!我不知道汤米进过监狱!我不知道呀……”

眼泪在妇人的脸上缓缓流淌。她不断地问自己:“我能做什么?我能做什么?”女儿的声音再次传来,进入她的意识:“不知道呀!我只是弄断了她的铅笔尖儿……”

 

(余苏凌 译)

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