您当前位置:网站首页 >> 名著导读 >> 短篇小说 >> 马克吐温 百万英镑 11  

马克吐温 百万英镑 11

来源:作者:

 

The 1,000,000 Bank-Note          Mark Twain


     "Oh, just an accident. It's a long story - a romance, a body may say. I'll tell you all about it, but not now."
     "When?"
     "The end of this month."
     "That's more than a fortnight yet. It's too much of a strain on a person's curiosity. Make it a week."
     "I can't. You'll know why, by and by. But how's the trade getting along?"

“啊,纯系偶然。说来可就话长了——怎么说来着?简直是一篇传奇。我会原原本本告诉你,不过现在不行。”“什么时候?”
“这个月底。”
“那还得半个月呢。对一个好奇的人来说,这胃口吊得可太过分了。就一个星期吧。”
“不行。慢慢你就知道到底是为什么了。接着说,你的生意怎么样了?”

     His cheerfulness vanished like a breath, and he said with a sigh:
     "You were a true prophet, Hal, a true prophet. I wish I hadn't come. I don't want to talk about it. But you must. You must come and stop with me tonight, when we leave here, and tell me all about it."
     "Oh, may I? Are you in earnest?" 
     "Yes; I want to hear the whole story, every word."
     "I'm so grateful! Just to find a human interest once more, in some voice and in some eye, in me and affairs of mine, after what I've been through here - lord! I could go down on my knees for it!"

他的精神头马上烟消云散,叹了一口气说:

“你说得可真准,亨利,说得真准。我要不来才好呢。我不想提这件事。”“你不讲可不行。今天咱们走的时候,你一定要跟我走,到我那儿去呆一夜,把事情都讲给我听。”

“啊,让我说?你这话当真?”

“不错,我要从头到尾地听,一个字也别落下。”

“太谢谢你啦!我在这儿混到这个地步,不成想又碰到有人用言辞、用眼神关心我、关心我的事了——上帝!就为这个,你该受我一拜!”

     He gripped my hand hard, and braced up, and was all right and lively after that for the dinner - which didn't come off. No; the usual thing happened, the thing that is always happening under that vicious and aggravating English system - the matter of precedence couldn't be settled, and so there was no dinner. Englishmen always eat dinner before they go out to dinner, because they know the risks they are running; but nobody ever warns the stranger, and so he walks placidly into trap. Of course, nobody was hurt this time, because we had all been to dinner, none of us being novices excepting Hastings, and he having been informed by the minister at the time that he invited him that in deference to the English custom he had not provided any dinner. Everybody took a lady and processioned down to the dining-room, because it is usual to go through the motions; but there the dispute began. The Duke of Shoreditch wanted to take precedence, and sit at the head of the table, holding that he outranked a minister who represented merely a nation and not a monarch; but I stood for my rights, and refused to yield. In the gossip column I ranked all dukes not royal, and said so, and claimed precedence of this one. It couldn't be settled, of course, struggle as we might and did, he finally (and injudiciously) trying to play birth and antiquity, and I "seeing" his Conqueror and "raising" him with Adam, whose direct posterity I was, as shown by my name, while he was of a collateral branch, as shown by his, and by his recent Norman origin; so we all processioned back to the drawing-room again and had a perpendicular lunch - plate of sardines and a strawberry, and you group yourself and stand up and eat it. Here the religion of precedence is not so strenuous; the two persons of highest rank chuck up a shilling, the one that wins has first go at his strawberry, and the loser gets the shilling. The next two chuck up, then the next two, and so on. After refreshment, tables were brought, and we all played cribbage, sixpence a game. The English never play any game for amusement. If they can't make something or lose something - they don't care which - they won't play.

他用力握住我的手,精神振作起来,此后就心境坦然。高高兴兴地准备参加那场还没开始的宴会了。不成,又出老毛病了——在荒唐、可恨的英国体制下,这种问题总要发生——座次问题解决不了,饭就开不成。英国人出外赴宴的时候,总是先吃了饭再去,因为他们知道风险何在;可是并没有人告诫外来的客人,这些外来客就只有自讨苦吃了。当然,这一次没人吃苦,因为大家都赴过宴,除了赫斯廷斯以外都是老手,而赫斯廷斯自己在接到邀请时也听公使说过:为了尊重英国人的习惯,他根本就没有备正餐。每个人都挽着一位女士,鱼贯进入餐厅,因为通常都是这么干的;然而,争议就此开始了。绍勒迪希公爵想出人头地,要坐首席,他说他的地位高过公使,因为公使只是一个国家、而不是一个王朝的代表;可是我坚持自己的权利,不肯让步。在杂谈栏里,我的位置高过皇室成员以外的所有公爵,据此我要求坐那个位子。我们各显神通争执了一番,解决不了问题;最后他不明智地想炫耀自己的出身和先人,我算清他的王牌是征服者威廉,就拿亚当来对付他,说我是亚当的直系后代,有姓为证;而他只不过是旁支,不光有姓为证,还能从他并非悠久的诺曼人血统看得出来;于是我们大家又鱼贯回到客厅,在那儿站着吃——端着沙丁鱼碟子和草莓,自己凑对,就这样站着吃。在这里座次问题没有那么严重;两位地位最高的客人掷硬币猜先,赢的先吃草莓,输的得那枚硬币。地位次之的两个接着猜,然后又是以下两位,依此类推。用完小吃以后,搬过桌子来打牌,我们打克利比,一把六便士的彩。英国人从来不为玩而玩。假如不赢点什么、输点什么——至于输赢什么倒无所谓——他们决不玩。

打印】 【关闭
  栏目推荐文章
职场英语网
联系我们 | 设为首页 | 加入收藏
版权所有 © 2006 职场英语网 京ICP备06061387号