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京华烟云 Moment in Peking 0002

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Moment in Peking  Chapter I  京华烟云 第一章 0002

第一章 后花园富翁埋珠宝 北京城百姓避兵灾


It was the morning of the twentieth of July, 1900. A party of mule carts were lined up at the western entrance of Matajen Hutung, a street in the East City of Peking, part of the mules and carts extending to the valley running north and south along the pink walls of the Big Buddha Temple. The cart drivers were early; they had come there at dawn, and there was quite a hubbub in that early morning, as was always the case with these noisy drivers.

光绪二十六年七月二十日早晨,北京东城马大人胡同西口儿,横停着好些骡子车,其中有几辆一直停到顺着大佛寺红墙南北向的那条胡同。赶骡子车的都起身早,天刚破晓就来了。大清早晨就在那儿喊喊叫叫的。其实这些赶大车的一向如此。

Lota, an old man of about fifty and head servant of the family that had engaged the carts for a long journey, was smoking a pipe and watching the drivers feeding the mules; and the drivers were joking and quarreling with each other. When they could not joke about each other's animals and the animals' ancestors, they joked about themselves. "In such times," said one, "who can tell whether one comes back dead or alive after this journey?"

罗大是五十来岁的老年人,是这一家的管家,雇了这些骡子车,是准备走远道儿的。他现在正抽着旱烟袋,看那些骡夫们喂牲口,一边吵吵闹闹的开玩笑,从牲口取笑到牲口的祖宗。再没话可说了,就取笑到他们自己头上来。一个骡夫说:"在这种年头儿,谁知道赶了这趟车回来是死是活呢?"

"You are well paid for it, aren't you?" said Lota. "You can buy a farm with a hundred taels of silver."

罗大说:"赶这一趟车,你们赚钱不少。拿一百两银子就可以买一块田地了。"

"What is the use of silver when you are dead?" replied the driver. "Those bullets from foreign rifles don't recognize persons. Peng-teng! It goes through your brain-cap and you are already a corpse with a crooked queue. Look at the belly of this mule! Can flesh stay bullets? But what can you do? One has to earn a living."

那个骡夫却回答说:"人死了,银子还有什么用?哼,那些洋枪子弹可不讲交情,一颗子弹穿进脑袋瓜子,就弯着辫子躺在地上,成了死尸一条了。瞧瞧这骡子的肚皮、肉能挡得住子弹吗?可是有什么法子,总得到外头挣碗饭吃啊。"

"It's difficult to say," rejoined another. "Once the foreign soldiers come into the city, Peking won't be such a good place to live in, either. For myself, I'm glad to get away."

另外一个骡夫插嘴说:"也难说呀。一旦外国兵进了城,北京也就住不舒服了。拿我来说,我倒愿意离开这儿呢。"

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