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英語美文:生活的一課

2019-05-24 來源:國外網站推薦 - 由[國外網站大全]整理 76

For nearly a year, I sopped around the house, the store, the school and the church. Then, I met, or rather—got to know, the lady who threw me my first lifeline.

差不多有一年,我都泡在家、店鋪、學校和教堂里。然后我遇到了,或者更確切地說,認識了扔給我第一根救生索的那位夫人。

Mrs. Bertha Flowers was the aristocrat of Black Stamps. She had the grace of control to appear warm in the coldest weather, and on the Arkansas summer day it seemed as if she had her own private breeze, swirling around her, cooling her. Her skin was a rich black, creating the impression that it would peel off like a plum if snagged.

貝莎·弗勞爾斯太太是斯坦普斯黑人居住區里的佼佼者。她舉止優雅,在最冷的天氣里也給人一種溫暖的感覺;而在阿肯色州的夏日,她的舉止讓人覺得仿佛有陣陣微風圍繞著她,使她涼爽。她的皮膚黝黑發亮,讓人覺得,要是她的皮膚被什么東西刮破了,就會像李子皮一樣剝落下來。

英語美文:生活的一課

She was one of the few gentlewomen I have ever known, and has remained throughout my life the measure of what a human being can be. She appealed to me because she was like people I had never met personally. Like the women in English novels who walked the moor with their loyal dogs racing at a respectful distance; like the women who sat in front of roaring fireplace incessantly drinking tea from silver trays full of scones and crumpets. It would be safe to say that, just by being herself, she made me feel proud to be Negro.

她是我認識的少數幾位有教養的婦女之一。在我的一生中,她一直是我衡量一個人的標準。她對我很有吸引力,因為她像是我從來沒有親自遇到過的人。她像英國小說里的女子——她們在荒野上散步,她們忠實的小狗跟在身后奔跑,并恭敬地與主人保持著一定的距離。她像坐在爐火熊熊的壁爐前的女人,從放滿司康餅和松脆餅的銀托盤里不停地端茶來喝。可以很肯定地說,正是她本色的舉止使我為自己是個黑人而驕傲。

One summer afternoon, she stopped at the store to buy provisions. Any other Negro woman of her health and age would have been expected to carry the paper sacks home in one hand, but Momma said, “Sister Flower I’ll send Bailey up to your house with these things.”

一個夏日的午后,她到我們店里來買食品。換作是其他身體狀況和年齡與她一樣的黑人婦女,一般都要她們自己提著紙袋回家。可是媽媽對她說:“弗勞爾斯大姐,我讓貝利把這些東西送到你家里去吧。”

“Thank you, Mrs. Henderson. I’d prefer Marguerite, though.” My name sounded so beautiful when she said it. “I’ve been meaning to talk to her, anyway.” They gave each other age group looks.

“謝謝你,亨德森太太,不過我想讓瑪格麗特送去。”她把我的名字念得很好聽。“反正我一直想和她聊聊。”她們互相交換了一下只有她們那個年齡的人才懂的眼色。

There was a little path beside the rocky road, and Mrs. Flowers walked ahead of me, swinging her arms and picking her way over the stones.

石頭路旁有一條小路,弗勞爾斯太太擺動著手臂走在前面,小心地躲過石頭。

Without turning her head, she spoke to me, “I hear you’re working very well in school, Marguerite, but only in written assignments. The teachers report that they have trouble getting you to talk in class.” We passed the triangular farm on our left and the path widened to allow us to walk together.

她沒有回頭,只對我說道:“瑪格麗特,我聽說你在學校功課很好,可是那只是筆頭作業。老師說他們很難讓你在課堂上發言。”我們走過了左手邊那個三角形的農場,小路寬了起來,開始容得下我們并排走。

“Come and walk along with me, Marguerite.” I couldn’t have refused even if I wanted to. She pronounced my name so nicely.

“過來和我并排走,瑪格麗特。”即使我想拒絕也不可能,她把我的名字念得那么好聽。

“Now, no one is going to make you talk—possibly no one can. But bear in mind, language is mankind’s way of communicating with our fellow men, and it is language alone, which separates us from the lower animals.” That was a totally new idea to me, and I would need time to think about it.

“現在,沒有人要*你說話——可能也沒有人做得到。可是你得記住,語言是人與人進行交流的方式,而且唯有語言,把人和低等動物區分開來。”這對我來說是個全新的概念,我需要時間來思考一下。

“Your grandmother says you read a lot—every chance you get. That’s good, but not good enough. Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”

“你奶奶說你看了很多書。一有機會就看,這很好,但還不夠。文字的意義不僅是寫在紙上的那些,還需要人的聲音賦予它們更深層意義的細微差別。”

I memorized the part about the human voice infusing words. It seemed so valid and poetic.

我記住了有關人的聲音賦予文字更深層意義的細微差別的那句話。我覺得它是那么正確,那么富有詩意。

She said she was going to give me some books and that I must not only read them, but I must read them aloud. She suggested that I should make a sentence sound in as many different ways as possible.

她說她要借給我一些書,我不僅要閱讀它們,還必須大聲朗讀。她建議我盡可能地用多種不同的方式來朗讀同一句話。

“I’ll accept no excuse if you return a book to me that has been badly handled.” My imagination boggled at the punishment I would deserve if in fact I did abuse a book of Mrs. Flower’s.

“如果你草草讀完一本書就還給我的話,我是不會原諒你的。”我很難想象如果我真的沒有認真讀弗勞爾斯太太的書,我該受到什么樣的懲罰。

The doors of her house surprised me, as the sweet scent of vanilla met us when she opened the door.

當她打開門時,一陣香草的芳香撲面而來,她家里的這種氣味使我感到很驚訝。

“You see, I had planned to invite you for cookies and lemonade, so we could have this little chat. Have a seat, Marguerite.” She carried a platter covered with a tea towel.

“你看,我已安排好了請你來吃點心,喝檸檬水,這樣我們倆可以聊聊。坐吧,瑪格麗特。”她端來一個大淺盤,上面蓋著茶盤蓋布。

As I ate, she began the first of what we later called “my lessons in living.” She said that I must always be intolerant of ignorance, but understanding of illiteracy; that some people, though unable to go to school, were more educated and even more intelligent than some college professors. She encouraged me to listen carefully to what country people called “Mother Wit”, because in those homely sayings was couched the collective wisdom of generations.

我吃點心的時候,她開始講授我們后來稱之為“我生活的一課”的第一部分。她對我說永遠不要容忍無知,但應理解文盲。有些人沒機會上學,卻比一些大學教授更有學識,甚至比他們更聰明。她鼓勵我要仔細傾聽鄉下人稱為“天生智慧”的話語,她說那些樸實的話語表達了世代相傳的集體智慧。

When I finished the cookie she brushed off the table and brought a thick, small book from the bookcase—A Tale of Two Cities. She opened the first page and, for the first time in my life, I heard poetry.

我吃完點心后,她把桌子擦干凈。從書柜里拿出來一本厚厚的小書,是《雙城記》。她打開書的第一頁,于是我平生第一次聽到了詩的韻律。

“It was the best of times and the worst of times…” Her voice slid in and curved down, through and over the words. She was nearly singing. Then her sounds began cascading gently. I knew that she was nearing the end of her reading.

“這是的時代,也是最糟的時代……”她的聲音滑行著,隨著詞句抑揚頓挫。她幾乎是在吟唱。接著,她的聲音開始逐漸降低。我知道她快要讀完了。

“How do you like that?”

“你喜歡嗎?”

It occurred to me that she expected a response. The sweet vanilla flavor was still on my tongue, the sound of her reading voice was magic to my ears. But now I had to say something.

我這才想到她希望我能有所反應。我的舌頭上還留有香草的甜味,耳中回響著她朗誦時具有魔力的聲音。但此刻,我不能不說點什么。

I said, “Ye ma’am.” It was the least I could do.

我說:“喜歡,夫人。”我最起碼可以這樣回答。

“There’s one more thing. Take this book of poems and memorize one for me. Next time you pay me a visit, I would like you to recite it to me.”

“還有一件事。你把這本詩集拿去,要背下來一首,下次你來我這兒的時候,我想要你背給我聽。”

I have often tried to search behind the sophistication of years for the enchantment I so easily found in those gifts. The essence may escape but its aura remains. To be allowed (No—invited!) into the private lives of strangers to share their joys and fears was a chance to exchange the southern bitter wormwood for a cup of mead with Beowulf, or a hot cup of tea and milk with Oliver Twist. When I said aloud, “It is a far, far better thing, than anything I have ever done…” tears of love filled my eyes at my selflessness.

在經歷了那些復雜的成年生活后,我常常試圖尋找那種陶醉感——當年我很容易地就從那些禮物中體會到一種陶醉感。陶醉感本身也許已從記憶中消失了,但那種氣氛依然存在。得到允許——不,是得到邀請——進入陌生人的私人生活,去分享他們的歡樂與憂慮,這意味著得到機會用南方很苦的苦艾去換得和貝奧武甫共飲蜂蜜酒或者和奧利弗·特威斯特一起喝上一杯加奶的熱茶。當我大聲說“我現在做的,是比我做過的一切要好很多、很多的事情……”時,我眼里充滿愛的淚水,心中涌起忘我的感覺。

I was liked, and what a difference it made. I was respected—not as Mrs. Henderson’s grandchild, or Bailey’s sister, but for just being Marguerite Johnson.

有人喜歡我,這是多么重要啊!我受到尊重,不是作為亨德森太太的孫女或貝利的姐姐,而僅僅因為我是瑪格麗特·約翰遜。

The logic of childhood never asks to be proved—all conclusions are absolute. I didn’t ask why Mrs. Flowers had singled me out for attention; nor did it occur to me that Momma might have asked her to give me a little talking to. All I cared about was that she had made tea cookies for me, and read to me from her favorite book. It was enough to prove that she liked me…

童年時的邏輯永遠不求得到證實——一切結論再明顯不過了。我并沒有詢問弗勞爾斯太太為什么單單選中了我來關心,也沒有想到媽媽也許曾請她開導我一下。我所關心的只是她為我做了茶點,給我朗誦她最喜愛的書中段落。這就足以證明她喜歡我……


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