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散文经典:Once More to the Lake 林湖重游

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by E. B. White
E. B. White (1898 - 1985) began his career as a professional writer with the newly founded New Yorker magazine in the 1920s. Over the years he produced nineteen books, including collections of essays, the famous children's books Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, and the long popular writing textbook The Elements of Style.

One summer, along about 1904, my father rented a camp on a lake in Maine and took us all there for the month of August. We all got ringworm from some kittens and had to rub Pond's Extract on our arms and legs night and morning, and my father rolled over in a canoe with all his clothes on; but outside of that the vacation was a success and from then on none of us ever thought there was any place in the world like that lake in Maine. We returned summer after summer--always on August 1st for one month. I have since become a salt-water man, but sometimes in summer there are days when the restlessness of the tides and the fearful cold of the sea water and the incessant wind which blows across the afternoon and into the evening make me wish for the placidity of a lake in the woods. A few weeks ago this feeling got so strong I bought myself a couple of bass hooks and a spinner and returned to the lake where we used to go, for a week's fishing and to revisit old haunts.
那年夏天,大约是1904年吧,父亲在缅因州的一个湖边租了一间木屋。他带着我们到那儿去过八月。我们个个都患了小猫传染的金钱癣,【不得不在臂腿间日日夜夜涂上庞氏①浸膏;父亲则和衣睡在小划子里;但是除了这一些,假期过得很愉快。自此之后,我们中无人不认为世上再没有比缅因州这个湖更好的去处了。】我们在那儿度过了一个又一个夏天——总是八月一日去,接着待上一整月。【我这样一来,竟成了个水手了。夏季里有时候湖里也会兴风作浪,湖水冰凉,阵阵寒风从下午刮到黄昏,使我宁愿在林间能另有一处宁静的小湖。】几周前,这渴望搅得我不能自已。我于是买了两根锻木钓竿,一个旋转诱鱼器,打算故地重游,再访往日梦牵魂系的湖。

I took along my son, who had never had any fresh water up his nose and who had seen lily pads only from train windows. On the journey over to the lake I began to wonder what it would be like. I wondered how time would have marred this unique, this holy spot--the coves and streams, the hills that the sun set behind, the camps and the paths behind the camps. I was sure that the tarred road would have found it out and I wondered in what other ways it would be desolated. It is strange how much you can remember about places like that once you allow your mind to return into the grooves which lead back. You remember one thing, and that suddenly reminds you of another thing. I guess I remembered clearest of all the early mornings, when the lake was cool and motionless, remembered how the bedroom smelled of the lumber it was made of and of the wet woods whose scent entered through the screen. The partitions in the camp were thin and did not extend clear to the top of the rooms, and as I was always the first up I would dress softly so as not to wake the others, and sneak out into the sweet outdoors and start out in the canoe, keeping close along the shore in the long shadows of the pines. I remembered being very careful never to rub my paddle against the gunwale for fear of disturbing the stillness of the cathedral.
去时,我带着儿子。他不曾见过齐颌深的淡水;睡莲的大叶盖儿,他也只是隔着火车窗子望过。在去林湖的途中,我开始估摸着那湖如今的样儿,估摸着时间把这块无与伦比的地方糟蹋成了什么情形——那一个个小海湾,那一条条溪河,还有那一座座落日依偎的山峰,林中那一间间木屋以及屋后的一条条小道。【我缅想那条容易辨认的柏油路,我又缅想那些已显荒凉的其他景色。】也真怪,当你任思绪顺着一条条车迹回到往昔的那些地方,你对它们的记忆竟是如此真切。你想起了一桩事,那事儿马上又让你想起另一桩事。我想,最清晰地刻在我的记忆里的,是那一个个清晨;彼时,湖水清凉,凝滞不动。我记得【木屋的卧室可以嗅到圆木的香味,这味道和从纱门透进来的树木的潮味混为一气。】隔板很薄,没有伸到屋顶。我总是最早起床,悄悄穿好衣服,蹑手蹑脚地溜到芬芳馥郁的野外。我登上小木船,挨着岸边,轻轻地向前划着。松树长长的影子挤在湖岸上。我不曾让桨擦着船沿,【唯恐打搅了湖上大教堂似的宁静】——那小心翼翼的情状,至今历历在目。

The lake had never been what you would call a wild lake. There were cottages sprinkled around the shores, and it was in farming although the shores of the lake were quite heavily wooded. Some of the cottages were owned by nearby farmers, and you would live at the shore and eat your meals at the farmhouse. That's what our family did. But although it wasn't wild, it was a fairly large and undisturbed lake and there were places in it which, to a child at least, seemed infinitely remote and primeval.
那湖绝不是你想象的那种旷芜的湖。它坐落在一个耕种了的乡野上,虽然周围有蓊蓊郁郁的树林环抱着。一间间木屋点缀在它的四周。有的屋子是邻近庄户人家的。人们住在湖边,到上边的农庄就餐。我们家就是这样。然而,这湖虽不算旷芜,倒也相当大,无车马之喧,亦无人声之闹。【而且至少对一个孩子来说,有些去处看来是无穷遥远和原始的。】

I was right about the tar: it led to within half a mile of the shore But when I got back there, with my boy, and we settled into a camp near a farmhouse and into the kind of summertime I had known, I could tell that it was going to be pretty much the same as it had been before--I knew it, lying in bed the first morning, smelling the bedroom, and hearing the boy sneak quietly out and go off along the shore in a boat. I began to sustain the illusion that he was I, and therefore, by simple transposition, that I was my father. This sensation persisted, kept cropping up all the time we were there. It was not an entirely new feeling, but in this setting it grew much stronger. I seemed to be living a dual existence. I would be in the middle of some simple act, I would be picking up a bait box or laying down a table fork, or I would be saying something, and suddenly it would be not I but my father who was saying the words or making the gesture. It gave me a creepy sensation.
我记忆中的柏油路,如今已经伸到了岸边,足有半英里呢。但是,当我带儿子回到那儿,在农庄附近的一间木屋里住了下来,沐浴着我熟悉的温馨的夏潮时,【我还能说它与旧日了无差异】——第一个清晨,躺在床上,闻着卧室特有的木头味儿,听到儿子蹑手蹑脚溜出屋子,沿岸划着小舟渐渐远去后,我开始产生了一种幻觉:儿子就是我,而我,自然也就成了我的父亲。我们在那儿逗留的那些天里,这种感觉时时袭上心头,怎么也挥拂不去。当然,这种幻觉以往并非从来都不曾有过,但在【这种场景里,】它是那么强烈。【我好似生活在两个并存的世界里。】我也许正做着某种极平凡的活儿,正拾起一只鱼饵盒,【或是放下一只餐*,】或是正说着什么。倏然间,我感觉到是我的父亲,而不是我,在说着什么,在做着什么。那是一种令人悚然的感觉。

We went fishing the first morning. I felt the same damp moss covering the worms in the bait can, and saw the dragonfly alight on the tip of my rod as it hovered a few inches from the surface of the water. It was the arrival of this fly that convinced me beyond any doubt that everything was as it always had been, that the years were a mirage and there had been no years. The small waves were the same, chucking the rowboat under the chin as we fished at anchor, and the boat was the same boat, the same color green and the ribs broken in the same places, and under the floor-boards the same freshwater leavings and debris--the dead helgramite, the wisps of moss, the rusty discarded fishhook, the dried blood from yesterday's catch. We stared silently at the tips of our rods, at the dragonflies that came and wells. I lowered the tip of mine into the water, tentatively, pensively dislodging the fly, which darted two feet away, poised, darted two feet back, and came to rest again a little farther up the rod. There had been no years between the ducking of this dragonfly and the other one--the one that was part of memory. I looked at the boy, who was silently watching his fly, and it was my hands that held his rod, my eyes watching. I felt dizzy and didn't know which rod I was at the end of.
第二天上午,我们去钓鱼。我抚摸着鱼饵罐里的青苔,感觉依旧是一样的湿润。我注视着蜻蜓在水面上低低地盘旋,落到钓竿捎上,亮闪闪的。【蜻蜓的到来使我毫不犹豫的相信:】一切就像从前,岁月不过是一段虚幻的蜃景,根本就不曾有过。我们把船泊在湖上垂钓。拍打着船舷的还是那轻波细浪。船还是那条船,碧绿的颜色依旧,破裂的船肋依旧。舱底上残留着的依旧是那样一些淡水遗物:【死掉的翅虫蛹,】一丛丛的枯苔,锈蚀了的废鱼钩,头一天溅洒的鱼血。我们久久凝视着钓竿末梢,凝视着飞来飞去的蜻蜓。我把钓竿放低,让竿梢伸到水里,漫不经意但小心谨慎地把蜻蜓赶下竿梢。蜻蜓急忙飞开两英尺,然后重又回落到钓竿的梢端。【今日戏水的蜻蜓与昨日的并无年限的区别——只不过两者之一仅是回忆而已。我看着我的孩子,他正默默地注视着蜻蜓,而这就如我的手替他拿着钓竿,我的眼睛在注视一样。我不禁目眩起来,】分不清自己握着的是哪根钓竿的末端。

We caught two bass, hauling them in briskly as though they were mackerel. pulling them over the side of the boat in a businesslike manner without any landing net, and stunning them with a blow on the back of the head. When we got back for a swim before lunch, the lake was exactly where we had left it, the same number of inches from the dock, and there was only the merest suggestion of a breeze. This seemed an utterly enchanted sea, this lake you could leave to its own devices for a few hours and come back to, and find that it had not stirred, this constant and trustworthy body of water. In the shallows, the dark, water-soaked sticks and twigs, smooth and old, were undulating in clusters on the bottom against the clean ribbed sand, and the track of the mussel was plain. A school of minnows swam by, each minnow with its small, individual shadow, doubling the attendance, so clear and sharp in the sunlight. Some of the other campers were in swimming, along the shore, one of them with a cake of soap, and the water felt thin and clear and insubstantial. Over the years there had been this person with the cake of soap, this cultist, and here he was. There had been no years.
我们钓到了两条欧洲鲈鱼,轻捷地拽着它们,像是拽鲭鱼似的,接着连抄网都没用就稳稳实实地把它们拖进了舱里。把它们敲昏以后,我们跟着就往回赶,想在午饭前游一会泳。这时,湖上的光景与我们上一次离开的时候一模一样。靠船的码头与这里隔着的还是那么些个小岛。水面上依旧只有微风徐徐轻拂。这湖水仿佛是一片全然被魔法镇住了的汪洋。你要是离开它,由着它去,若干小时以后你再回来,它依然是水波不兴,还是那一泓永恒的可靠的静水。浅水处,黑魆魆的树干和枝梢堆积在湖底透明的沙石上,浸在水里,纹丝不动。蛤贝爬过的轨迹清晰可见。成群的小鲦鱼悠悠游过,每一条都投下纤细的瘦影,形影相随,在阳光照映下,亮晃晃的,那么耀眼。一些度假者正沿着岸边游着,【其中一人拿着一块肥皂,水便显得模糊和非现实的了。多少年来,总有这样的人拿着一块肥皂,这个有洁癖的人,现在就在眼前。】今昔之间没有悠悠的岁月之隔。

Up to the farmhouse to dinner through the teeming, dusty field, the road under our sneakers was only a two-track road. The middle track was missing, the one with the marks of the hooves and the splotches of dried, flaky manure. There had always been three tracks to choose from in choosing which track to walk in; now the choice was narrowed down to two. For a moment I missed terribly the middle alternative. But the way led past the tennis court, and something about the way it lay there in the sun reassured me; the tape had loosened along the backline, the alleys were green with plantains and other weeds, and the net (installed in June and removed in September) sagged in the dry noon, and the whole place steamed with midday heat and hunger and emptiness. There was a choice of pie for dessert, and one was blueberry and one was apple, and the waitresses were the same country girls, there having been no passage of time, only the illusion of it as in a dropped curtain--the waitresses were still fifteen; their hair had been washed, that was the only difference--they had been to the movies and seen the pretty girls with the clean hair.
我们踏着一条双道公路,穿过灰蒙蒙、丰饶的田野,到农庄去就餐。公路原来有三道,你可以任意择一而行。如今只剩下两条道由你挑选。中间的那一道不见了,那是一条布满牛脚印和干粪块的土路。【有一刹那我深深怀念这可供选择的中间道。】我们正走着的这条路从网球场边经过。它静卧在阳光下,弥散着某种令人心安神定的氛围。网底边的绳子松了,球场两边的空地上长满了车前草和别的什么名儿的杂草,看上去一派葱绿。球网(六月份装上,九月份取下)在燥热的正午没精打彩地垂着。整个地方被正午蒸腾的热浪、饥饿和空荡占据着。不吃甜食的人,可以馅饼代之:乌饭村果馅饼和苹果馅饼。女招待仍旧是乡村姑娘,还是年方十五,仿佛时光不曾流逝,只有宛若落下的帷幕似的时光消逝的幻念。姑娘们的【秀发刚洗过,这是唯一的不同之处——她们一定看过电影,见过一头秀发的漂亮女郎。】

Summertime, oh summertime, pattern of life indelible, the fade proof lake, the woods unshatterable, the pasture with the sweet fern and the juniper forever and ever, summer without end; this was the background, and the life along the shore was the design, the cottages with their innocent and tranquil design, their tiny docks with the flagpole and the American flag floating against the white clouds in the blue sky, the little paths over the roots of the trees leading from camp to camp and the paths leading back to the outhouses and the can of lime for sprinkling, and at the souvenir counters at the store the miniature birch-bark canoes and the post cards that showed things looking a little better than they looked. This was the American family at play, escaping the city heat, wondering whether the newcomers at the camp at the head of the cove were "common" or "nice," wondering whether it was true that the people who drove up for Sunday dinner at the farmhouse were turned away because there wasn't enough chicken.
【夏天啊夏天,生命的印痕难以磨灭。】那永不衰颓的湖,那坚不可摧的树林,那生长着香蕨木和松柏的牧场,永远永远,岁岁依旧。夏天无边无际,没有穷尽。湖四周的生活正是在这样的底色上织出的锦缎。也正是衬托着这样的背景,度假人编织着他们圣洁而闲适的生活;小小的码头的旗杆上,美国国旗在蔚蓝的天幕下迎风飘荡,映衬着朵朵白云。千回百转的小径绕过盘根错节的树根,从一栋小屋伸向又一栋小屋,最后折回到户外厕所和放置喷洒用的石灰水罐子的地方。百货店的纪念品柜台上,摆放着白桦树雕成的微形小船;明信片上的景物看上去比它们本来的样子显得稍许好看些。闲暇中的这个美国家庭,逃避了闹市的暑热,到了这儿,弄不清小【湖湾那头的新来者是“一般人”呢还是“有教养的人”,】也拿不准星期天驱车来农庄吃饭的那些人因鸡不够分享而被拒之门外的传说是否真切。

It seemed to me, as I kept remembering all this, that those times and those summers had been infinitely precious and worth saving. There had been jollity and peace and goodness. The arriving (at the beginning of August) had been so big a business in itself, at the railway station the farm wagon drawn up, the first smell of the pine-laden air, the first glimpse of the smiling farmer, and the great importance of the trunks and your father's enormous authority in such matters, and the feel of the wagon under you for the long ten-mile haul, and at the top of the last long hill catching the first view of the lake after eleven months of not seeing this cherished body of water. The shouts and cries of the other campers when they saw you, and the trunks to be unpacked, to give up their rich burden. (Arriving was less exciting nowadays, when you sneaked up in your car and parked it under a tree near the camp and took out the bags and in five minutes it was all over, no fuss, no loud wonderful fuss about trunks.)
我一个劲儿地回忆着这往昔的一切。那些岁月,那些夏日,对于我是无限的珍贵,值得永远珍藏心底。那是充满欢乐、宁静和美好的时光。八月初的到达本身就是桩了不得的事儿。农场的马车在火车站刚停下,你就闻到了空气中厚重的松树味儿;你第一次瞥见了笑容满面的庄稼人。车上的行李箱是那么重要,是少不得的。父亲在所有这些事儿上有着绝对的权威。马车在你身底下颠颠晃晃十几英里的感受,是多么令人激动!在最后一座长长的山脊上,你一眼望见了离别十一个月的湖,望见了你梦牵魂绕的那泓湖水。别的度假人见到你时,在欢呼,在雀跃;行李箱等着卸下——车子要释去丰厚的重负。(如今,到达不再那么激动人心,你开着车来到屋前,把车子停在附近的一棵树下,拿出几个行李袋,不到五分钟,一切就完事了。不再有喧嚣笑闹,不再有对行李箱发出的赞叹之声。)

Peace and goodness and jollity. The only thing that was wrong now, really, was the sound of the place, an unfamiliar nervous sound of the outboard motors. This was the note that jarred, the one thing that would sometimes break the illusion and set the years moving. In those other summertimes, all motors were inboard; and when they were at a little distance, the noise they made was a sedative, an ingredient of summer sleep. They were one-cylinder and two-cylinder engines, and some were make-and-break and some were jump-spark, but they all made a sleepy sound across the lake. The one-lungers throbbed and fluttered, and the twin-cylinder ones purred and purred, and that was a quiet sound too. But now the campers all had outboards. In the daytime, in the hot mornings, these motors made a petulant, irritable sound; at night, in the still evening when the afterglow lit the water, they whined about one's ears like mosquitoes. My boy loved our rented outboard, and his great desire was to achieve single-handed mastery over it, and authority, and he soon learned the trick of choking it a little (but not too much), and the adjustment of the needle valve. Watching him I would remember the things you could do with the old one-cylinder engine with the heavy flywheel, how you could have it eating out of your hand if you got really close to it spiritually. Motor boats in those days didn't have clutches, and you would make a landing by shutting off the motor at the proper time and coasting in with a dead rudder. But there was a way of reversing them, if you learned the trick, by cutting the switch and putting it on again exactly on the final dying revolution of the flywheel, so that it would kick back against compression and begin reversing. Approaching a dock in a strong following breeze, it was difficult to slow up sufficiently by the ordinary coasting method, and if a boy felt he had complete mastery over his motor, he was tempted to keep it running beyond its time and then reverse it a few feet from the dock. It took a cool nerve, because if you threw the switch a twentieth of a second too soon you would catch the flywheel when it still had speed enough to go up past center, and the boat would leap ahead, charging bull-fashion at the dock.
宁静,美好,欢乐。如今,唯一不对劲儿的就是这地方的声响:艇外推进器那陌生的、令人紧张的声音。这声音是那么刺耳,每每砸碎你的幻念,让你感觉到岁月的流逝。往昔的那些夏天,所有游艇的推进器都装在艇内。它们在离你不远的地方行驶着。那声响不啻是一支催眠曲,融进夏日的睡梦之中。游艇发动机不论是单缸,还是双缸;不论是通断开关启动,还是跳搭接触点火,从湖上传来的声音总是那么催人入梦。单缸机啪啪地响着,双缸咕噜咕噜地哼着,那声响都是深沉的。可如今,所有度假人用的都是推进器装在艇外的游艇。白天,炎热的上午,这些游艇的声音急促而令人恼怒;晚上,静谧的晚上,游艇的尾灯点亮了湖水,那声音蚊虫似地在耳际嗡来嗡去。我儿子倒偏爱我们租来的那种新式游艇。他最大的心愿,是要掌握单手操纵的本领,很想精通此道。很快,他便学会了把油门堵起来一忽儿的鬼窍门,学会了针阀调节油门的方法。看着他,我就想起了自己捣弄那台有着笨重飞轮的老式单缸机的情形……那年月,汽艇上没有离合器,靠岸时,你得瞅准时机关闭发动机油门,光凭着舵荡向岸边。要是你学到了那个窍门,还有一种倒船靠岸的法儿。你先关掉油门,就在飞轮转完最后一圈,就要停下来的当儿,再松开油门,飞轮就会被气压顶回来,开始反转。顺风靠码头,用通常的法子,很难把船速减低得恰到好处。要是哪个小伙子觉得自己能娴熟地操纵汽艇,他就会让它朝码头多进几步,然后后退几英尺。这需要果断和胆识,你要是提早二十分之一秒放开了油门,那时飞轮还有足够的力量转过中线,你就迫使飞轮继续顺转,汽艇就会像疯牛一般撞向码头。

We had a good week at the camp. The bass were biting well and the sun shone endlessly, day after day. We would be tired at night and lie down in the accumulated heat of the little bedrooms after the long hot day and the breeze would stir almost imperceptibly outside and the smell of the swamp drift in through the rusty screens. Sleep would come easily and in the morning the red squirrel would be on the roof, tapping out his gay routine. I kept remembering everything, lying in bed in the mornings--the small steamboat that had a long rounded stern like the lip of a Ubangi, and how quietly she ran on the moonlight sails, when the older boys played their mandolins and the girls sang and we ate doughnuts dipped in sugar, and how sweet the music was on the water in the shining night, and what it had felt like to think about girls then. After breakfast we would go up to the store and the things were in the same place--the minnows in a bottle, the plugs and spinners disarranged and pawed over by the youngsters from the boys' camp, the fig newtons and the Beeman'sgum. Outside, the road was tarred and cars stood in front of the store. Inside, all was just as it had always been, except there was more Coca Cola and not so much Moxie and root beer and birch beer and sarsaparilla. We would walk out with a bottle of pop apiece and sometimes the pop would backfire up our noses and hurt. We explored the streams, quietly, where the turtles slid off the sunny logs and dug their way into the soft bottom; and we lay on the town wharf and fed worms to the tame bass. Everywhere we went I had trouble making out which was I, the one walking at my side, the one walking in my pants.
我们在湖边度过了愉快的一周。鲈鱼很爱咬钩。太阳日复一日地照耀着。晚上,疲惫的我们躺在小小的卧室里,沐浴着漫长而炎热的白昼积聚起的暑热。屋外,轻风徐拂,几乎见不着枝叶晃动。湿地的气味通过朽蚀的墙板袅袅飘来,催人入梦。红色的松鼠一大早就跳上了屋顶,奏响了自己一天生活的序曲。这样的清晨,我总爱躺在床上,回想一桩桩一件件往事——那艘尾部又长又圆宛若乌班吉的嘴唇②的小汽艇,在水上默默地行驶着,月光洒满了船帆。小伙子弹起了曼陀铃,姑娘们唱着歌儿,歌声与琴声在夜色皎皎的湖上飘荡,那么甜美。我们一边吃着蘸了糖的坚果,一边想着姑娘们。那是什么样的感受!早饭后,我们去逛商店,所有的东西还摆在原来的位置上——小鲦鱼仍在瓶子里,瓶盖和塞子被少年营地的小家伙们不知搬弄到什么地方去了;无花果做成的糖条儿和比曼口香糖不曾有人动过。店外,公路上铺满了柏油,汽车就停在店前。店内,一切依旧,只是摆了更多的可口可乐,而莫克西和菝葜汽水这样一些软饮料,不如先前那么丰裕了。我们每人喝了一瓶汽水,走出商店,汽水味时而呛回鼻腔,火辣辣的,令人难受。我们静静地沿着小溪河搜寻着,甲鱼从溪边被太阳晒得滚烫的木头上滑下去,钻进了松软的河底。我们仰卧在小镇的码头边,把蠕虫喂给娴静的鲈鱼。【随便在什么地方,都分辨不清当家作主的我,和与我形影不离的那个人。】

One afternoon while we were there at that lake a thunderstorm came up. It was like the revival of an old melodrama that I had seen long ago with childish awe. The second-act climax of the drama of the electrical disturbance over a lake in America had not changed in any important respect. This was the big scene, still the big scene. The whole thing was so familiar, the first feeling of oppression and heat and a general air around camp of not wanting to go very far away. In mid-afternoon (it was all the same) a curious darkening of the sky, and a lull in everything that had made life tick; and then the way the boats suddenly swung the other way at their moorings with the coming of a breeze out of the new quarter, and the premonitory rumble. Then the kettle drum, then the snare, then the bass drum and cymbals, then crackling light against the dark, and the gods grinning and licking their chops in the hills. Afterward the calm, the rain steadily rustling in the calm lake, the return of light and hope and spirits, and the campers running out in joy and relief to go swimming in the rain, their bright cries perpetuating the deathless joke about how they were getting simply drenched, and the children screaming with delight at the new sensation of bathing in the rain, and the joke about getting drenched linking the generations in a strong indestructible chain. And the comedian who waded in carrying an umbrella.
我们在湖畔逗留的某个下午,突然风暴大作。这仿佛是我在很久以前怀着幼稚的敬畏之情观看过的一场古老情节剧的重演,高潮还是在第二幕,与以前没多大的变化,依旧是雷电在一个美国的湖面上狂撕乱劈。这曾经是最壮观的场面,如今依然是最壮观的。风暴的前前后后与从前是那么相似。从最初感受到的酷热、躁闷与压抑,到营地周围弥漫着的令谁都不想走远的气氛,一切都是那么熟悉。下午将近一半(总是在这个时候),奇怪的阴暗渐渐涂满了天空,【一切都凝住不动,生命好象夹在一卷布里,接着从另一处来了一阵风,】系泊的船只掉转了头,接着,报警似的雷声从天际隆隆滚来,跟着是铜鼓,跟着是响弦,跟着是低音鼓,是沙钹。未了,电光撕扯着黑黝黝的天幕,【诸神们在山间咧嘴而笑,舔着他们的腮帮子。之后是一片安静,过后,雨丝打在平静的湖面上沙沙作声。】啊,回来了,光明,希望,兴致。度假人纷纷跑出屋子,到雨里去畅游……雨中沐浴的全新感受令孩子们痛快得欢叫起来,有关被雨水浸透的谈笑,仿佛一条坚不可摧的铁链,连系着几代人。那位手持雨伞镗进浅水的不正是本剧的喜剧主角么?

When the others went swimming my son said he was going in too. He pulled his dripping trunks from the line where they had hung all through the shower, and wrung them out. Languidly, and with no thought of going in, I watched him, his hard little body, skinny and bare, saw him wince slightly as he pulled up around his vitals the small, soggy, icy garment. As he buckled the swollen belt suddenly my groin felt the chill of death.
别人去游泳的时候,我儿子也要去。他从晾衣绳上拽下被刚才的一场雨浇得湿淋淋的裤权。我心里没有一丝想去的念头,只是无精打彩地看着他,注视着他结实、瘦小、赤裸着的身躯。他在穿那湿漉漉、凉冰冰的短裤时,身子微微缩了一下。当他扣上松紧带的扣子,我的腹股沟猛然感到了死亡的寒冷。


      ① 庞氏:原是一种面霜的商标名。
  ② 乌班吉的嘴唇:中非共和国乌班吉河流域沙拉族(非洲黑人部落)的女性成员,爱在突出的嘴唇上挂着木碟之类的饰物。


【作者简介】

E.B.怀特(Elwyn·Brooks·White,1899-1985),美国当代著名散文家、评论家,以散文名世,"其文风冷峻清丽,辛辣幽默,自成一格。"他的散文中,最为世人称道的一篇是(Once more to the lake)(林湖重游)。

他于1899年生于纽约。1918年,从美军退役,入康奈尔大学就读,1921年毕业。这期间他曾担任过《西雅图时报》等多家出版机构的记者。1924 年,他回到纽约,当了一位广告撰稿人。1926或1927年,他来到《纽约客》杂志社作编辑工作。在《纽约客》工作的这11年来,他为这本杂志写下了大量的散文和诗歌,还有些别的体裁的文章。1929 年他和凯瑟琳(Katherine)结婚。(1941,他们一起撰写了《美国幽默文库》一书。)不久,怀特开始为《新纽约周刊》工作。但是,直到他和他的同事兼朋友James Thurber合写的《性是必需的吗?》一书在同年出版后,怀特才真正引起了文坛的注意。

从 1938~1943年,他作为《哈珀斯》杂志的专栏作家,为该杂志的"个人观点"专栏撰写了大量的散文。这些"怀特式"的散文在1942年被结集出版后,被评论家认为是怀特最优秀的一本散文集。

1939年,他搬到缅因州的北Brooklin 的一个农场,作为一名自由作家继续从事写作。1959年,怀特出版了一本文体学专著《文体的要素》,这本书后来被广泛地用作美国中学与大学的教材。

除了大量的散文、杂文等,怀特还写了三部童话,分别是《小老鼠斯图尔特》(1945),《夏洛的网》(1952),《天鹅的喇叭》(1970)。其中最受欢迎的就是《夏洛的网》,至今已经发行500万册以上,拥有20多种文字的译本。在美国1976年《出版周刊》搞的一次读者调查中,这本童话位居"美国十佳儿童文学名著"中的首位,可见它受欢迎的程度。曾有一个小读者写信问他,你的童话故事是真的吗?怀特去信回答:"不,他们是想象出来的故事--但是真的生活也不过是生活的一种罢了--想象里的生活也算一种生活。"

1985年10月1日,怀特 因 Alzheimer(一种神经系统的疾病,多发于60岁以上的老人,发作时使人丧失记忆力,行动能力等)病在缅因州的北Brooklin去世,由他的儿子和三个孙子埋葬。

由于怀特在散文创作等方面取得的突出成绩,他在生前曾获得多项殊荣:1971年,他获得美国"国家文学奖章";1973年,他被选为美国文学艺术学院50名永久院士之一;1978年,他获得普利策特别文艺奖;他还获得了美国七家大学及学院的名誉学位。

他的主要作品有:《女士是冷酷的》(1928),《性是必需的吗?》(1929),《美国幽默文库》(1941),《个人观点》(1942),《小老鼠斯图尔特》(1945),《野菖蒲》(1946),《这里是纽约》(1949),《夏洛的网》(1952),《角落里的第二棵树》(1954),《文体的要素》(1959),《我罗盘的方位》(1962),《天鹅的喇叭》(1970),《怀特散文》(1977),《诗与小品》(1981),《纽约客文选1925-1976》(1990)。

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