The Wind in the Willows  柳林风声

‘O, Ratty!’ he cried. ‘I’ve been through such times since I saw you last, you can’t think! Such trials, such sufferings, and all so nobly borne! Then such escapes, such disguises such subterfuges, and all so cleverly planned and carried out! Been in prison—got out of it, of course! Been thrown into a canal—swam ashore! Stole a horse—sold him for a large sum of money! Humbugged everybody—made ‘em all do exactly what I wanted! Oh, I AM a smart Toad, and no mistake! What do you think my last exploit was? Just hold on till I tell you----‘

“鼠兄啊!”他喊道,“自打和你分手以后,我过的什么日子,你简直没法想象!那么多的考验,那么多的苦难,我全都英勇地承受住了!接着是绝处逢生,乔装打扮,计谋策略,全是我一手巧妙地设计出来又付诸实施的!因为我给他们关进了监狱,不过我自然逃了出来!又给扔进了水渠,可我游上岸了!又偷了一匹马,卖了一大笔钱!我骗过了所有的人,叫他们乖乖地听我的吩咐!你瞧,我是不是一只聪明能干的蟾蜍?没错!你知道我最后一场冒险是什么?别忙,听我给你讲——”

‘Toad,’ said the Water Rat, gravely and firmly, ‘you go off upstairs at once, and take off that old cotton rag that looks as if it might formerly have belonged to some washerwoman, and clean yourself thoroughly, and put on some of my clothes, and try and come down looking like a gentleman if you CAN; for a more shabby, bedraggled, disreputable-looking object than you are I never set eyes on in my whole life! Now, stop swaggering and arguing, and be off! I’ll have something to say to you later!’

“蟾蜍,”河鼠说,态度严肃又坚定,“你马上给我上楼去,脱掉身上这件破布衫,这衣裳像是一个洗衣妇穿过的_好好洗刷干净,换上我的衣服,再下楼来,看能不能像个绅士的样子。我这辈子还没见过一个比你更寒碜、邋遢、丢人现眼的家伙!好啦,别吹牛,别争辩,快去吧!呆会儿,我有话对你说!”

Toad was at first inclined to stop and do some talking back at him. He had had enough of being ordered about when he was in prison, and here was the thing being begun all over again, apparently; and by a Rat, too! However, he caught sight of himself in the looking-glass over the hat-stand, with the rusty black bonnet perched rakishly over one eye, and he changed his mind and went very quickly and humbly upstairs to the Rat’s dressing-room. There he had a thorough wash and brush-up, changed his clothes, and stood for a long time before the glass, contemplating himself with pride and pleasure, and thinking what utter idiots all the people must have been to have ever mistaken him for one moment for a washerwoman.

蟾蜍起初不愿就此住口,还想回敬他几句。坐牢的时候,他就老是被人支来使去,他受够了,现在又来了,而且支使他的是一只老鼠!不过。他偶然从帽架上的镜子里,瞥见了自己的尊容,一顶褪色的黑色女帽,俏皮地歪扣在一只眼上,他立刻改变了主意,二话没说,乖乖地上了楼,钻进了河鼠的穿衣室。他彻头彻尾洗刷了一遍,换了衣服,久久地站在镜子跟前,沾沾自喜地欣赏着自己,心想,那帮家伙竟会错把他当成一个洗衣妇,真是一群白痴!

By the time he came down again luncheon was on the table, and very glad Toad was to see it, for he had been through some trying experiences and had taken much hard exercise since the excellent breakfast provided for him by the gipsy. While they ate Toad told the Rat all his adventures, dwelling chiefly on his own cleverness, and presence of mind in emergencies, and cunning in tight places; and rather making out that he had been having a gay and highly-coloured experience. But the more he talked and boasted, the more grave and silent the Rat became.

他下楼时,午饭已经摆在桌上。蟾蜍看见午饭,心里好高兴,因为自吃过吉卜赛人那顿丰盛的早餐之后,他又经历了不少险情,消耗了大量的体力。吃午饭时,蟾蜍向河鼠叙述他的全部历险,着重谈他自己如何聪明机警,他在危急关头如何从容镇定,身处困境时如何机敏狡诘。他把这一切说得仿佛是一段轻松愉快丰富多采的奇遇。但他越是夸夸其谈,河鼠就越是神情严肃,沉默不语。

When at last Toad had talked himself to a standstill, there was silence for a while; and then the Rat said, ‘Now, Toady, I don’t want to give you pain, after all you’ve been through already; but, seriously, don’t you see what an awful ass you’ve been making of yourself? On your own admission you have been handcuffed, imprisoned, starved, chased, terrified out of your life, insulted, jeered at, and ignominiously flung into the water—by a woman, too! Where’s the amusement in that? Where does the fun come in? And all because you must needs go and steal a motor-car. You know that you’ve never had anything but trouble from motor-cars from the moment you first set eyes on one. But if you WILL be mixed up with them—as you generally are, five minutes after you’ve started—why STEAL them? Be a cripple, if you think it’s exciting; be a bankrupt, for a change, if you’ve set your mind on it: but why choose to be a convict? When are you going to be sensible, and think of your friends, and try and be a credit to them? Do you suppose it’s any pleasure to me, for instance, to hear animals saying, as I go about, that I’m the chap that keeps company with gaol-birds?’

蟾蜍讲呀讲呀,终于打住了。接着是片刻的沉默,然后河鼠开腔了。“好了,老蟾,我本不想使你难过,不管怎么说,你吃过不少苦头。不过,说老实话,难道你看不出,你把自己变成了一头蠢驴吗?你自己承认,你被捕入狱,挨饿受冻,受到追捕,吓得死去活来,蒙受屈辱,遭到嘲弄,被扔进河里——而且是被一个女人!这有什么好玩的?哪来的乐趣?归根到底,都因为你硬要去偷一辆汽车。你很清楚,打从你头一眼见到汽车,除了不断地惹祸,什么好处你也没捞到。要是你非玩汽车不可——你向来就是这样,只要玩开了头,就上瘾——那又何必去偷呢?要是你觉得残废了有趣,那就落个残废好啦。要是你想尝尝破产的滋味,那就去破一次产好啦。可为什么偏偏要去犯罪?你什么时候才变得明白些,替你的朋友们想想,为他们争口气?我出门在外。听到别的动物在背后议论,说我的哥们是个罪犯,你想我会好受吗?”

Now, it was a very comforting point in Toad’s character that he was a thoroughly good-hearted animal and never minded being jawed by those who were his real friends. And even when most set upon a thing, he was always able to see the other side of the question. So although, while the Rat was talking so seriously, he kept saying to himself mutinously, ‘But it WAS fun, though! Awful fun!’ and making strange suppressed noises inside him, k-i-ck-ck-ck, and poop-p-p, and other sounds resembling stifled snorts, or the opening of soda-water bottles, yet when the Rat had quite finished, he heaved a deep sigh and said, very nicely and humbly, ‘Quite right, Ratty! How SOUND you always are! Yes, I’ve been a conceited old ass, I can quite see that; but now I’m going to be a good Toad, and not do it any more. As for motor-cars, I’ve not been at all so keen about them since my last ducking in that river of yours. The fact is, while I was hanging on to the edge of your hole and getting my breath, I had a sudden idea—a really brilliant idea—connected with motor-boats—there, there! don’t take on so, old chap, and stamp, and upset things; it was only an idea, and we won’t talk any more about it now. We’ll have our coffee, AND a smoke, and a quiet chat, and then I’m going to stroll quietly down to Toad Hall, and get into clothes of my own, and set things going again on the old lines. I’ve had enough of adventures. I shall lead a quiet, steady, respectable life, pottering about my property, and improving it, and doing a little landscape gardening at times. There will always be a bit of dinner for my friends when they come to see me; and I shall keep a pony-chaise to jog about the country in, just as I used to in the good old days, before I got restless, and wanted to DO things.’

蟾蜍的性格,有一点是足以令人宽慰的,那就是,他确实是一只善良的动物,从不计较真正朋友的唠叨数落。即使他执迷于什么,他也能看到问题的另一面。在河鼠严厉地开导他时,他私下里还在嘟哝:“可那确实好玩,好玩得要命!”并且压低了嗓门,发出一些古怪的噪音,克——克——克,噗——噗——噗,以及类似沉闷的鼾声或者开汽水瓶的声音。不过。当河鼠快要说完时。他却深深叹了口气,非常温和谦逊地说:“太对了。鼠兄!你的理由老是那么充足!是啊,我曾经是一头狂妄自大的蠢驴,这点我算明白了;不过现在我要做一只好蟾蜍,再也不干蠢事了。至于汽车嘛、自从我掉进你的河里以后,我对它已经不大感兴趣了。事实是,在我攀住你的洞口喘气时,我忽然有了一个新的想法——一个绝妙的想法——是和汽船有关的——好啦,好啦!别发火,老伙计,别跺脚,留神打翻东西;这不过是个想法罢了,咱们现在不去谈它。还是喝杯咖啡,抽支烟,安安静静聊会儿天,然后我就消消停停踱回我的蟾宫,换上我自己的衣服,让一切都恢复老样子。我冒险也冒够了。我要过一种平平稳稳、安安逸逸、正正经经的生活,经营经营我的产业,作些改进;闲时栽花种草,美化环境。朋友们来,总会有饭菜招待。我要备一辆轻便马车,乘上它去四乡转转,就像过去那些好时光那样,再不心浮意躁,总想胡作非为了。”

‘Stroll quietly down to Toad Hall?’ cried the Rat, greatly excited. ‘What are you talking about? Do you mean to say you haven’t HEARD?’

“消消停停踱回蟾宫?”河鼠激动地喊道。“瞧你说的!难道你没听说——”

‘Heard what?’ said Toad, turning rather pale. ‘Go on, Ratty! Quick! Don’t spare me! What haven’t I heard?’

“听说什么?”蟾蜍说,脸色一下变白了,“说下去,鼠兄!快说呀!别怕我受不了!我没听说什么呀?”

‘Do you mean to tell me,’ shouted the Rat, thumping with his little fist upon the table, ‘that you’ve heard nothing about the Stoats and Weasels?’

“难道,”河鼠大声喊道、小拳头重重地敲着桌子,“你根本没听说过白鼬和黄鼠狼的事吗?”

What, the Wild Wooders?’ cried Toad, trembling in every limb. ‘No, not a word! What have they been doing?’

“什么?是那些野林里的野兽?”蟾蜍喊道,浑身剧烈地发抖。“不,压根儿没听说过!他们都干了些什么?”

‘—And how they’ve been and taken Toad Hall?’ continued the Rat.

“你不知道,他们强占了蟾官?”河鼠又说。

Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the table, plop! plop!

蟾蜍把胳臂肘支在桌上,两爪托着腮。大滴的泪,泉水般涌 出眼眶,溅落在桌面上,噗!噗!

‘Go on, Ratty,’ he murmured presently; ‘tell me all. The worst is over. I am an animal again. I can bear it.’

“说下去,鼠兄,”过了一会,他说,“全都告诉我吧。最痛苦的时刻已经过去,我缓过劲来了。我能挺得住。”

‘When you—got—into that—that—trouble of yours,’ said the Rat, slowly and impressively; ‘I mean, when you—disappeared from society for a time, over that misunderstanding about a—a machine, you know—‘

“自打你——遇上——那——那桩麻烦事以后,”河鼠缓慢而意味深长地说,“我是说,在你为了那桩汽车纠纷,很久没在社交场合露面以后——”

Toad merely nodded.

蟾蜍只是点点头。

‘Well, it was a good deal talked about down here, naturally,’ continued the Rat, ‘not only along the river-side, but even in the Wild Wood. Animals took sides, as always happens. The River-bankers stuck up for you, and said you had been infamously treated, and there was no justice to be had in the land nowadays. But the Wild Wood animals said hard things, and served you right, and it was time this sort of thing was stopped. And they got very cocky, and went about saying you were done for this time! You would never come back again, never, never!’

“呃,这一带的人自然都议论纷纷,”河鼠接着说。“不光在沿河一带,而且在野林里也一样。动物们照例分成两派。河上的动物都向着你,说你受到不公正的对待,说现如今国内毫无正义可言。可是野林动物却说得很难听,他们说,你是自作自受,罪有应得,现在是制止这类胡作非为的时候了。他们趾高气扬,四下里散布说,这回你可完蛋了,再也回不来了!永远回不来了!”

Toad nodded once more, keeping silence.

蟾蜍又点了点头,仍旧一言不发。

‘That’s the sort of little beasts they are,’ the Rat went on. ‘But Mole and Badger, they stuck out, through thick and thin, that you would come back again soon, somehow. They didn’t know exactly how, but somehow!’

“那号小动物一贯是这样的,”河鼠接着说。“可鼹鼠和獾却不辞劳苦,到处宣传说,你早晚会回来的。其实他们并不知道你怎样回来,但是相信你总会有办法回来的!”

Toad began to sit up in his chair again, and to smirk a little.

蟾蜍在椅子上坐直了身子,脸上浮现出一丝傻笑。

‘They argued from history,’ continued the Rat. ‘They said that no criminal laws had ever been known to prevail against cheek and plausibility such as yours, combined with the power of a long purse. So they arranged to move their things in to Toad Hall, and sleep there, and keep it aired, and have it all ready for you when you turned up. They didn’t guess what was going to happen, of course; still, they had their suspicions of the Wild Wood animals. Now I come to the most painful and tragic part of my story. One dark night—it was a VERY dark night, and blowing hard, too, and raining simply cats and dogs—a band of weasels, armed to the teeth, crept silently up the carriage-drive to the front entrance. Simultaneously, a body of desperate ferrets, advancing through the kitchen-garden, possessed themselves of the backyard and offices; while a company of skirmishing stoats who stuck at nothing occupied the conservatory and the billiard-room, and held the French windows opening on to the lawn.

“他们根据历史事实来论证,”河鼠继续说。“他们说,像你这样一个没脸没皮、伶牙俐齿的动物,外加钱袋的力量,没有一条刑法能给你定罪。所以,他俩把自己的铺盖搬进蟾宫,就睡在那儿,经常打开门窗通通风,一切准备停当,只等你回来。当然,他们没有预计到后来发生的事,不过他们总是不放心那些野林动物。现在,我要讲到最痛苦最悲惨的一段了。在一个漆黑的夜里,刮着狂风,下着瓢泼大雨,一帮子黄鼠狼,全副武装。偷偷从大车道爬到大门口。同时,一群穷凶极恶的雪貂,打菜园子那头偷袭上来;占领了后院和下房,还有一伙吵吵闹闹肆无忌惮的白鼬,占领了暖房和弹子房,把守了面对草坪的法式长窗。

‘The Mole and the Badger were sitting by the fire in the smoking-room, telling stories and suspecting nothing, for it wasn’t a night for any animals to be out in, when those bloodthirsty villains broke down the doors and rushed in upon them from every side. They made the best fight they could, but what was the good? They were unarmed, and taken by surprise, and what can two animals do against hundreds? They took and beat them severely with sticks, those two poor faithful creatures, and turned them out into the cold and the wet, with many insulting and uncalled-for remarks!’

“鼹鼠和獾当时正在吸烟室,坐在炉旁谈天说地,对要发生的事没有丝毫预感,因为那夜天气恶劣,动物们一般是不会外出活动的。冷不防,那些残暴的家伙竟破门而入,从四面八方扑向他们。他们奋力抵抗,可那又管什么用?两只手无寸铁的动物,怎么对付得了几百只动物的突然袭击?那些家伙抓住这两个可怜的忠实的动物,用棍子狠打,嘴里还骂着不堪入耳的脏话,把他们赶到风雨交加的冰冷的屋外。”

Here the unfeeling Toad broke into a snigger, and then pulled himself together and tried to look particularly solemn.

听到这里,没心肝的蟾蜍居然偷偷地噗嗤笑了出来,跟着又敛容正色,做出特别庄重严肃的样子。

‘And the Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since,’ continued the Rat; ‘and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I’m told) it’s not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about—well, about prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no humour in them. And they’re telling the tradespeople and everybody that they’ve come to stay for good.’

“打那以后,那些野林动物就在蟾宫住了下来,”河鼠接着说,“他们为所欲为。白天赖床睡懒觉,一躺就是半天,整天随时随地吃早餐。听说,那地方给糟践得一塌糊涂,简直看不得了!吃你的,喝你的,给你编派难听的笑话,唱粗鄙下流的歌——呃,什么监狱啦,县官啦,警察啦,无聊透顶的骂人的歌,一点也不幽默。而且,他们还对买卖人和所有的人扬言,要在蟾宫永久住下去啦。”

‘O, have they!’ said Toad getting up and seizing a stick. ‘I’ll jolly soon see about that!’

“他们敢!”蟾蜍说,站起来,抓住一根棍子,“我马上就去教训他们!”

‘It’s no good, Toad!’ called the Rat after him. ‘You’d better come back and sit down; you’ll only get into trouble.’

“没有用。蟾蜍!”河鼠冲他后背喊道,“你给我回来,坐下;你只会惹祸的。”’

But the Toad was off, and there was no holding him. He marched rapidly down the road, his stick over his shoulder, fuming and muttering to himself in his anger, till he got near his front gate, when suddenly there popped up from behind the palings a long yellow ferret with a gun.

可是蟾蜍已经走啦,喊也喊不回来。他快步向大路走去,棍子扛在肩上,忿忿地喷着口沫,嘴里咕哝着,骂骂咧咧,径直来到蟾宫大门前。突然,从栅栏后面钻出一只腰身长长的黄色雪貂,手握一杆枪。

‘Who comes there?’ said the ferret sharply.

“来者是何人?”雪貂厉声问道。

‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Toad, very angrily. ‘What do you mean by talking like that to me? Come out of that at once, or I’ll----‘

“废话!”蟾蜍怒气冲冲地说。“你竟敢对我出言不逊?快滚开,要不,我——”

The ferret said never a word, but he brought his gun up to his shoulder. Toad prudently dropped flat in the road, and BANG! a bullet whistled over his head.

雪貂二话不说,把枪举到肩头。蟾蜍提防着卧倒在地上。砰!一颗子弹从他头上呼啸而过。

The startled Toad scrambled to his feet and scampered off down the road as hard as he could; and as he ran he heard the ferret laughing and other horrid thin little laughs taking it up and carrying on the sound.

蟾蜍吓了一跳,蹦了起来。拔腿就跑,顺着来路拼命奔逃。他听见那雪貂的狂笑,跟着还有另一些可怕的尖笑声。

He went back, very crestfallen, and told the Water Rat.

他垂头丧气地回来,把经过告诉了河鼠。

‘What did I tell you?’ said the Rat. ‘It’s no good. They’ve got sentries posted, and they are all armed. You must just wait.’

“我不是跟你说过吗?”河鼠说。“那没有用。他们设了岗哨,而且全都有武器。你必须等待。”

Still, Toad was not inclined to give in all at once. So he got out the boat, and set off rowing up the river to where the garden front of Toad Hall came down to the waterside.

不过,蟾蜍还是不甘心就此罢休。他把船驾了出来,向河上游划去。蟾宫的花园,就延伸到河边。

Arriving within sight of his old home, he rested on his oars and surveyed the land cautiously. All seemed very peaceful and deserted and quiet. He could see the whole front of Toad Hall, glowing in the evening sunshine, the pigeons settling by twos and threes along the straight line of the roof; the garden, a blaze of flowers; the creek that led up to the boat-house, the little wooden bridge that crossed it; all tranquil, uninhabited, apparently waiting for his return. He would try the boat-house first, he thought. Very warily he paddled up to the mouth of the creek, and was just passing under the bridge, when . . . CRASH!

他划到能够看见老宅的地方,伏在桨上仔细观察。一切都显得非常宁静,空无一人。他看到蟾宫的整个正面,在夕照下发亮;沿着笔直的屋檐栖息着三三两两的鸽子;花园里百花怒放;通向船坞的小河汊,横跨河汊的小木桥,全都静悄悄,不见人影,似乎在期待他的归来。他想先进船坞试试。他小小翼翼地划进小河汊,刚要从桥下钻过去,只听得——轰隆!

A great stone, dropped from above, smashed through the bottom of the boat. It filled and sank, and Toad found himself struggling in deep water. Looking up, he saw two stoats leaning over the parapet of the bridge and watching him with great glee. ‘It will be your head next time, Toady!’ they called out to him. The indignant Toad swam to shore, while the stoats laughed and laughed, supporting each other, and laughed again, till they nearly had two fits—that is, one fit each, of course.

一块大石头从桥上落下来,砸穿了船底。船里灌满了水,沉了下去。蟾蜍在深水里挣扎。他抬头看,只见两只白鼬从桥栏杆上探出身来,乐不可支地瞅着他,冲他嚷道:“下回该轮到你的脑袋了,癞蛤蟆!”气忿的蟾蜍向岸边游去,两只白鼬哈哈大笑,笑得抱成一团,跟着又放声大笑,笑得几乎晕过去两次——当然是一只白鼬一次。

The Toad retraced his weary way on foot, and related his disappointing experiences to the Water Rat once more.

蟾蜍没精打采地走着回去,又一次把这令人失望的经历告诉河鼠。

‘Well, WHAT did I tell you?’ said the Rat very crossly. ‘And, now, look here! See what you’ve been and done! Lost me my boat that I was so fond of, that’s what you’ve done! And simply ruined that nice suit of clothes that I lent you! Really, Toad, of all the trying animals—I wonder you manage to keep any friends at all!’

“哼,我怎么跟你说的?”河鼠十分气恼地说。“现在,你瞧你!你是个什么东西,干的什么好事!把我心爱的船给弄没了,这就是你干的!把我借给你的漂亮衣服给毁了!说实在的,蟾蜍你这个动物叫人伤透脑筋了——真不知道。谁还愿意跟你做朋友!”

The Toad saw at once how wrongly and foolishly he had acted. He admitted his errors and wrong-headedness and made a full apology to Rat for losing his boat and spoiling his clothes. And he wound up by saying, with that frank self-surrender which always disarmed his friend’s criticism and won them back to his side, ‘Ratty! I see that I have been a headstrong and a wilful Toad! Henceforth, believe me, I will be humble and submissive, and will take no action without your kind advice and full approval!’

蟾蜍立刻看到,他的所作所为是大错特错,愚蠢透顶了。他承认自己的过失和糊涂,为了弄丢河鼠的船,弄坏了他的衣服,他向河鼠深深道歉。他坦率的认错态度,往往会软化朋友们的批评。博得他们的谅解。他就用这种口气对河鼠说:“鼠兄!我知道,我是个鲁莽任性的家伙!请相信我,从今往后,我要变得谦卑顺从,不经你善意的劝告和充分的赞同,我绝不采取任何行动!”

‘If that is really so,’ said the good-natured Rat, already appeased, ‘then my advice to you is, considering the lateness of the hour, to sit down and have your supper, which will be on the table in a minute, and be very patient. For I am convinced that we can do nothing until we have seen the Mole and the Badger, and heard their latest news, and held conference and taken their advice in this difficult matter.’

性情温和的河鼠已经心平气和了,他说:“如果真能这样,那我就劝你,现在已经晚了,你坐下来吃晚饭——再过一会儿,晚饭就摆上桌了——耐着性子。因为我认为,咱俩现在是无能为力,要等见到鼹鼠和獾以后再说。听听他们讲最近的情况,商量一下,看他们对这件棘手事儿有什么高招。”

‘Oh, ah, yes, of course, the Mole and the Badger,’ said Toad, lightly. ‘What’s become of them, the dear fellows? I had forgotten all about them.’

“噢,哦,是呀,那当然。鼹鼠和獾,”蟾蜍轻轻地说。“这两位亲爱的朋友,他们现在怎么样?我把他们全忘啦。”

‘Well may you ask!’ said the Rat reproachfully. ‘While you were riding about the country in expensive motor-cars, and galloping proudly on blood-horses, and breakfasting on the fat of the land, those two poor devoted animals have been camping out in the open, in every sort of weather, living very rough by day and lying very hard by night; watching over your house, patrolling your boundaries, keeping a constant eye on the stoats and the weasels, scheming and planning and contriving how to get your property back for you. You don’t deserve to have such true and loyal friends, Toad, you don’t, really. Some day, when it’s too late, you’ll be sorry you didn’t value them more while you had them!’

“亏你还问一声!”河鼠责备他说。“在你开着豪华汽车满世界兜风,骑着骏马得意地奔驰,吃喝享用天下的美食时,那两个可怜的忠实朋友却不管天晴下雨,都露宿在野外,天天吃粗食,夜夜睡硬铺,替你守着房子.巡逻地界,随时随地监视那些白鼬和黄鼠狼。绞尽脑汁筹划怎样替你夺回财产。这样真诚忠实的朋友,你不配。真的,蟾蜍,你不配。总有一天,你会懊悔当初没有珍惜他们 的友情,到那时,悔之晚矣!”

‘I’m an ungrateful beast, I know,’ sobbed Toad, shedding bitter tears. ‘Let me go out and find them, out into the cold, dark night, and share their hardships, and try and prove by----Hold on a bit! Surely I heard the chink of dishes on a tray! Supper’s here at last, hooray! Come on, Ratty!’

“我是个忘恩负义的畜牲,我知道,”蟾蜍抽泣着说,流下了伤心的眼泪。“我这就找他们去,在冰冷漆黑的夜里出去找他们,分担他们的疾苦,我要证明——等一等,没错,我听到茶盘上碗碟的丁当声!晚饭到底来了,乌啦!来呀,鼠兄!”

The Rat remembered that poor Toad had been on prison fare for a considerable time, and that large allowances had therefore to be made. He followed him to the table accordingly, and hospitably encouraged him in his gallant efforts to make up for past privations.

河鼠记得,可怜的蟾蜍有好长时间吃监狱的饭食,所以需要多为他准备些饭菜。于是他跟着蟾蜍坐到餐桌旁,殷勤地劝他多吃,好补上前些时的亏损。

They had just finished their meal and resumed their arm-chairs, when there came a heavy knock at the door.

他们刚吃完,坐到圈椅上,就听见大门上重重的一声敲击。

Toad was nervous, but the Rat, nodding mysteriously at him, went straight up to the door and opened it, and in walked Mr. Badger.

蟾蜍立时紧张起来,可是河鼠诡秘地冲他点点头,径直走到门口,打开门。进来的是獾先生。

He had all the appearance of one who for some nights had been kept away from home and all its little comforts and conveniences. His shoes were covered with mud, and he was looking very rough and touzled; but then he had never been a very smart man, the Badger, at the best of times. He came solemnly up to Toad, shook him by the paw, and said, ‘Welcome home, Toad! Alas! what am I saying? Home, indeed! This is a poor home-coming. Unhappy Toad!’ Then he turned his back on him, sat down to the table, drew his chair up, and helped himself to a large slice of cold pie.

獾的那副模样,看上去足足有几夜没有回家,得不到家中的小小舒适和方便。他鞋上满是泥,衣着不整,毛发蓬乱。不过,即便在最体面的时候,獾也不是个十分讲究仪表的动物。他神态肃穆地走到蟾蜍跟前,伸出爪子和他握手,说道:“欢迎回家来,蟾蜍!瞧我都说些什么?还说什么家!这次回家可真够惨的。不幸的蟾蜍!”说罢,他转过身坐到餐桌旁,拉拢椅子,切了一大块冷馅饼,吃起来。

Toad was quite alarmed at this very serious and portentous style of greeting; but the Rat whispered to him, ‘Never mind; don’t take any notice; and don’t say anything to him just yet. He’s always rather low and despondent when he’s wanting his victuals. In half an hour’s time he’ll be quite a different animal.’

这样一种极其严肃又吉凶未卜的欢迎方式,使蟾蜍感到忐忑不安。可是河鼠悄悄对他说:“没关系、别在意;暂且什么也别跟他说。他在缺食的时候、总是情绪低落、没精打采的。过半个钟头,他就会换了一副模样。”

So they waited in silence, and presently there came another and a lighter knock. The Rat, with a nod to Toad, went to the door and ushered in the Mole, very shabby and unwashed, with bits of hay and straw sticking in his fur.

于是他们默不作声地等着,不一会。又响起了一下较轻的敲门声。河鼠冲蟾蜍点点头,走去开门,迎进来鼹鼠。鼹鼠也是衣衫破旧,没有洗刷,毛上还沾着些草屑。

‘Hooray! Here’s old Toad!’ cried the Mole, his face beaming. ‘Fancy having you back again!’ And he began to dance round him. ‘We never dreamt you would turn up so soon! Why, you must have managed to escape, you clever, ingenious, intelligent Toad!’

“啊哈!这不是小蟾儿吗!”鼹鼠喜不自胜地喊道。“没想到你居然回来了!”他围着蟾蜍跳起舞来。“我们压根儿想不到,你回来得这么快!一定是逃出来的吧,你这聪明、机灵的蟾蜍!”

The Rat, alarmed, pulled him by the elbow; but it was too late. Toad was puffing and swelling already.

河鼠忙拽了拽他的袖子,可是晚了。蟾蜍又挺胸鼓肚吹起牛来。

‘Clever? O, no!’ he said. ‘I’m not really clever, according to my friends. I’ve only broken out of the strongest prison in England, that’s all! And captured a railway train and escaped on it, that’s all! And disguised myself and gone about the country humbugging everybody, that’s all! O, no! I’m a stupid ass, I am! I’ll tell you one or two of my little adventures, Mole, and you shall judge for yourself!’

“聪明?哪里哪里!”他说,“我其实并不聪明,我的朋友们都不认为我聪明。我只不过是越狱,逃出了英国最坚固的监牢,如此而已!只不过搭上一列火车,乘车逃之夭夭。如此而已!只不过乔装了一下。在乡间转游,瞒过了所有的人。如此而已!不不!我不聪明。我是一头蠢驴,是的!我给你讲讲我的一两段小小历险记,你自己来判断好了!”

‘Well, well,’ said the Mole, moving towards the supper-table; ‘supposing you talk while I eat. Not a bite since breakfast! O my! O my!’ And he sat down and helped himself liberally to cold beef and pickles.

“好吧,好吧,”鼹鼠说着,向餐桌走去,“我一边吃,一边听你讲好吗?打早饭以后,一口东西都没进肚啦!真够呛!真够呛!”他坐下来,随意吃着冷牛肉和酸泡菜。

Toad straddled on the hearth-rug, thrust his paw into his trouser-pocket and pulled out a handful of silver. ‘Look at that!’ he cried, displaying it. ‘That’s not so bad, is it, for a few minutes’ work? And how do you think I done it, Mole? Horse-dealing! That’s how I done it!’

蟾蜍两腿叉开站在炉毯上,爪子伸进裤兜,掏出一把银币。“瞧这个!”他大声说。卖弄着手里的银币。“几分钟就搞到这么多,不赖吧?鼹鼠,你猜我是怎么搞到的?卖马,就是这样!”

‘Go on, Toad,’ said the Mole, immensely interested.

“讲下去,蟾蜍,”鼹鼠说,他很感兴趣。

‘Toad, do be quiet, please!’ said the Rat. ‘And don’t you egg him on, Mole, when you know what he is; but please tell us as soon as possible what the position is, and what’s best to be done, now that Toad is back at last.’

“蟾蜍,安静些吧,求你!”河鼠说。“鼹鼠。别怂恿他讲下去,他的毛病,你不是不知道。既然现在蟾蜍回来了,请赶快告诉我们,目前情况如何。咱们该怎么办。”

‘The position’s about as bad as it can be,’ replied the Mole grumpily; ‘and as for what’s to be done, why, blest if I know! The Badger and I have been round and round the place, by night and by day; always the same thing. Sentries posted everywhere, guns poked out at us, stones thrown at us; always an animal on the look-out, and when they see us, my! how they do laugh! That’s what annoys me most!’

“情况嘛。简直糟透了。”鼹鼠气呼呼地说。“至于该怎么办,鬼晓得!獾和我没日没夜围着那地方转,情况始终一样_到处都布了岗哨,枪口对准了我们,朝我们扔石头;随时随地都有一只动物在盯望。一看到我们,好家伙,你听听他们那个笑!那是最叫我恼火的了!”

‘It’s a very difficult situation,’ said the Rat, reflecting deeply. ‘But I think I see now, in the depths of my mind, what Toad really ought to do. I will tell you. He ought to----‘

“情况的确很不妙,”河鼠深深地沉思着,“不过我认为,我现在已经明白,蟾蜍该干什么。我说,他应该——”

‘No, he oughtn’t!’ shouted the Mole, with his mouth full. ‘Nothing of the sort! You don’t understand. What he ought to do is, he ought to----‘

“不,他不应该!”鼹鼠嘴里塞得满满的,大声喊道。“那绝对不行!你不明白。他该干的是——”

‘Well, I shan’t do it, anyway!’ cried Toad, getting excited. ‘I’m not going to be ordered about by you fellows! It’s my house we’re talking about, and I know exactly what to do, and I’ll tell you. I’m going to----‘

“哼,不管怎么说,那个我不干!”蟾蜍激动地喊道。“我才不听你们这些人调遣呐!现在谈论的是我的房子,该干什么,我自己清楚。我告诉你们,我要——”

By this time they were all three talking at once, at the top of their voices, and the noise was simply deafening, when a thin, dry voice made itself heard, saying, ‘Be quiet at once, all of you!’ and instantly every one was silent.

他们三个一齐扯开嗓门儿说话,吵闹声震耳欲聋。这当儿,只听得一个尖细的、干巴巴的声音说:“你们全都肃静!”霎时间,房里鸦雀无声。

It was the Badger, who, having finished his pie, had turned round in his chair and was looking at them severely. When he saw that he had secured their attention, and that they were evidently waiting for him to address them, he turned back to the table again and reached out for the cheese. And so great was the respect commanded by the solid qualities of that admirable animal, that not another word was uttered until he had quite finished his repast and brushed the crumbs from his knees. The Toad fidgeted a good deal, but the Rat held him firmly down.

说话的是獾。他刚吃完馅饼,在椅子上转过身来,严厉地望着他们三个。看到他们都在注意听,在等他发话时,他却掉转身去伸手取酪干。这位稳重可靠的动物在伙伴们当中享有很高的威望。他们再也不吭声,一直等他吃完酪干。掸掉膝上的碎屑。蟾蜍一个劲扭来扭去,躁动不宁,河鼠牢牢地把他按住。

When the Badger had quite done, he got up from his seat and stood before the fireplace, reflecting deeply. At last he spoke.

獾吃完后,站起来,走到壁炉前,凝神思索。然后,他开腔了。

‘Toad!’ he said severely. ‘You bad, troublesome little animal! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? What do you think your father, my old friend, would have said if he had been here to-night, and had known of all your goings on?’

“蟾蜍!”他声色俱厉地说。“你这个调皮的小坏蛋!难道你不觉得害臊吗?你想想,要是你的父亲、我的那位老朋友今晚在这里,知道你都干了些什么,他会怎么说?”

Toad, who was on the sofa by this time, with his legs up, rolled over on his face, shaken by sobs of contrition.

蟾蜍正翘腿倚在沙发上,听到这话,侧身掩面,全身抖动,痛悔地抽泣起来。

‘There, there!’ went on the Badger, more kindly. ‘Never mind. Stop crying. We’re going to let bygones be bygones, and try and turn over a new leaf. But what the Mole says is quite true. The stoats are on guard, at every point, and they make the best sentinels in the world. It’s quite useless to think of attacking the place. They’re too strong for us.’

“算啦,算啦!”獾接着说,语气稍为温和些。“没关系,别哭啦。既往不咎,从新开始吧,不过鼹鼠说的全是实情。白鼬们步步为营,而且他们是世上最精良的卫兵。正面进攻是绝对办不到的。咱们寡不敌众。”

‘Then it’s all over,’ sobbed the Toad, crying into the sofa cushions. ‘I shall go and enlist for a soldier, and never see my dear Toad Hall any more!’

“这么说,一切都完啦,”蟾蜍哽咽着说,把头埋在沙发靠垫里,痛哭起来。“我要报名当兵去,永不再见我亲爱的蟾宫了。”

‘Come, cheer up, Toady!’ said the Badger. ‘There are more ways of getting back a place than taking it by storm. I haven’t said my last word yet. Now I’m going to tell you a great secret.’

“好啦好啦,小蟾儿,打起精神来!”獾说。“要收复一个地方,除了大举进攻,还有别的一些办法。我活还没说完呐。现在,我要告诉你们一个大秘密。”

Toad sat up slowly and dried his eyes. Secrets had an immense attraction for him, because he never could keep one, and he enjoyed the sort of unhallowed thrill he experienced when he went and told another animal, after having faithfully promised not to.

蟾蜍慢慢地坐起来,擦干了眼泪。秘密对他总是有极大的吸引力,这是因为他从来保守不住任何秘密。每当他忠实地保证绝不泄密以后,他就把秘密告诉另一个动物。这种有罪的兴奋感,是他最喜欢的。

‘There—is—an—underground—passage,’ said the Badger, impressively, ‘that leads from the river-bank, quite near here, right up into the middle of Toad Hall.’

“有——一条——地下——通道,”獾一字一顿意味深长地说,“从离我们这里不远的河边,一直通到蟾宫的中心。”

‘O, nonsense! Badger,’ said Toad, rather airily. ‘You’ve been listening to some of the yarns they spin in the public-houses about here. I know every inch of Toad Hall, inside and out. Nothing of the sort, I do assure you!’

“谁说的,獾,没有的事!”蟾蜍颇为得意地说。“你是听信了酒店里那些人胡编乱诌的话。蟾宫的里里外外,每一寸地方,我都了如指掌。我敢向你保证,根本没有什么地下通道。”

‘My young friend,’ said the Badger, with great severity, ‘your father, who was a worthy animal—a lot worthier than some others I know—was a particular friend of mine, and told me a great deal he wouldn’t have dreamt of telling you. He discovered that passage—he didn’t make it, of course; that was done hundreds of years before he ever came to live there—and he repaired it and cleaned it out, because he thought it might come in useful some day, in case of trouble or danger; and he showed it to me. “Don’t let my son know about it,” he said. “He’s a good boy, but very light and volatile in character, and simply cannot hold his tongue. If he’s ever in a real fix, and it would be of use to him, you may tell him about the secret passage; but not before.”’

“我的年轻朋友,”獾非常严肃认真地说,“你的父亲,他是一位德高望重的动物——比我所认识的其他动物都要高尚。他和我是至交,曾经把他不愿让你知道的许多事告诉过我。他发现了那条通道——当然,不是他挖的;那是早在他来这里几百年以前就存在的——他把它修整了,清扫了。因为他想,也许有朝一日,遇到危难时,能派上用场。他领我去看过。他对我说:“别让我儿子知道,他倒是个好孩子,只是太轻浮,不稳重,嘴巴把不住关。要是日后他真的遇到麻烦,而用得上通道时,再告诉他,但事先不要告诉他。”

The other animals looked hard at Toad to see how he would take it. Toad was inclined to be sulky at first; but he brightened up immediately, like the good fellow he was.

河鼠和鼹鼠盯着蟾蜍瞧,看他如何反应。蟾蜍起初有点恼意,可是很快就面露喜色。他就是这么一只脾气随和的动物。

‘Well, well,’ he said; ‘perhaps I am a bit of a talker. A popular fellow such as I am—my friends get round me—we chaff, we sparkle, we tell witty stories—and somehow my tongue gets wagging. I have the gift of conversation. I’ve been told I ought to have a salon, whatever that may be. Never mind. Go on, Badger. How’s this passage of yours going to help us?’

“是啊,是啊,”他说。“也许我是有点多嘴多舌。我交游这么广,朋友们老是围着我转.一块儿开玩笑,说俏皮话,讲幽默故事,我就免不了有时多说两句。谁叫我天生有口才呢。人家说,我应该主持一个沙龙。先不说那个。讲下去,獾。你的这条通道,对我们有什么用?”

‘I’ve found out a thing or two lately,’ continued the Badger. ‘I got Otter to disguise himself as a sweep and call at the back-door with brushes over his shoulder, asking for a job. There’s going to be a big banquet to-morrow night. It’s somebody’s birthday—the Chief Weasel’s, I believe—and all the weasels will be gathered together in the dining-hall, eating and drinking and laughing and carrying on, suspecting nothing. No guns, no swords, no sticks, no arms of any sort whatever!’

“最近我查访到一两个情况。”獾接着说。“我叫水獭冒充扫烟囱的,扛着笤帚,到后门口去讨活干。他了解到。明天晚上。蟾宫里要举行一个盛大的宴会,给什么人——大概是给那个黄鼠狼头头——做寿,所有的黄鼠狼都要聚集在宴会厅里,吃喝玩乐穷开心。要闹很长时间。刀剑、棍棒,任何一件武器都不会带!”

‘But the sentinels will be posted as usual,’ remarked the Rat.

“可岗哨还会照样布置呀?”河鼠提醒说。

‘Exactly,’ said the Badger; ‘that is my point. The weasels will trust entirely to their excellent sentinels. And that is where the passage comes in. That very useful tunnel leads right up under the butler’s pantry, next to the dining-hall!’

“对,”獾说,“这正是我想到的。黄鼠狼们完全信赖他们的那些精良的哨兵。所以,那条通道就派上用场了。那条极有用的地道,正好直通宴会厅隔壁的配膳室的地板底下!”

‘Aha! that squeaky board in the butler’s pantry!’ said Toad. ‘Now I understand it!’

“啊哈!配膳室地上有块嘎吱吱响的地板!”蟾蜍说。“现在我全明白了!”

‘We shall creep out quietly into the butler’s pantry—‘ cried the Mole.

“咱们可以偷偷爬进配膳室——”鼹鼠喊道。

‘—with our pistols and swords and sticks—‘ shouted the Rat.

“带上手枪、刀剑和棍棒——”河鼠嚷道。

‘—and rush in upon them,’ said the Badger.

“——冲进去,直扑他们,”獾说。

‘—and whack ‘em, and whack ‘em, and whack ‘em!’ cried the Toad in ecstasy, running round and round the room, and jumping over the chairs.

“——把他们痛打一通,痛打一通,痛打一通!”蟾蜍喜不自胜地大喊,在房间里兜着圈儿跑。从一张椅子跳到另一张椅子。

‘Very well, then,’ said the Badger, resuming his usual dry manner, ‘our plan is settled, and there’s nothing more for you to argue and squabble about. So, as it’s getting very late, all of you go right off to bed at once. We will make all the necessary arrangements in the course of the morning to-morrow.’

“那好,”獾说,又回到他一贯的干巴巴的态度,“咱们的方案就这么定了,你们再也无需争吵了。现在夜已深,你们都睡觉去。明天上午咱们再作必要的安排。”

Toad, of course, went off to bed dutifully with the rest—he knew better than to refuse—though he was feeling much too excited to sleep. But he had had a long day, with many events crowded into it; and sheets and blankets were very friendly and comforting things, after plain straw, and not too much of it, spread on the stone floor of a draughty cell; and his head had not been many seconds on his pillow before he was snoring happily. Naturally, he dreamt a good deal; about roads that ran away from him just when he wanted them, and canals that chased him and caught him, and a barge that sailed into the banqueting-hall with his week’s washing, just as he was giving a dinner-party; and he was alone in the secret passage, pushing onwards, but it twisted and turned round and shook itself, and sat up on its end; yet somehow, at the last, he found himself back in Toad Hall, safe and triumphant, with all his friends gathered round about him, earnestly assuring him that he really was a clever Toad.

蟾蜍自然也乖乖地跟着那两个上床去了——他知道拒绝是没用的——尽管他太兴奋了,毫无睡意。不过,他度过了一个漫长的白天,经历了成堆的事儿,床单被褥毕竟是非常亲切舒适的东西。何况不久前,他还在阴冷潮湿的地牢石板地上的稻草堆里睡过。所以,脑袋一沾枕头。他就幸福地打起鼾来。自然,他做了许多许多梦;梦见他正需要道路时,道路都从身边溜走了;梦见水渠在后面追他,并且抓住了他;梦见他正在大摆宴席,一只拖船驶进了宴会厅,船上满载着他一周要洗的脏衣服;梦见他孤零零一人在秘密通道里跋涉,那通道忽然扭曲了,转过身来,摇晃着坐直了。不过,末末了,他到底还是平安胜利地回到了蟾宫,所有的朋友都围在身边。热情洋溢地赞扬说,他的确是一只聪明的蟾蜍。

He slept till a late hour next morning, and by the time he got down he found that the other animals had finished their breakfast some time before. The Mole had slipped off somewhere by himself, without telling any one where he was going to. The Badger sat in the arm-chair, reading the paper, and not concerning himself in the slightest about what was going to happen that very evening. The Rat, on the other hand, was running round the room busily, with his arms full of weapons of every kind, distributing them in four little heaps on the floor, and saying excitedly under his breath, as he ran, ‘Here’s-a-sword-for-the-Rat, here’s-a-sword-for-the Mole, here’s-a-sword-for-the-Toad, here’s-a-sword-for-the-Badger!Here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Rat, here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Mole, here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Toad, here’s-a-pistol-for-the-Badger!’ And so on, in a regular, rhythmical way, while the four little heaps gradually grew and grew.

第二天早上,他起床很迟,下楼时,发现别人都吃过早饭了。鼹鼠自个儿溜了出去,没说要上哪儿。獾坐在圈椅上看报,对晚上要发生的事,半点也不关心。河鼠呢,却在屋里来回奔忙,怀里抱着各种各样的武器、在地上把它们分成四小堆,一边跑,一边上气不接下气兴奋地说:“这把剑给河鼠,这把给鼹鼠,这把给蟾蜍,这把给獾!这支手枪给河鼠,这支给鼹鼠,这支给蟾蜍,这支给獾!”等等,等等,说得有板有眼,那四小堆就越长越高了。

‘That’s all very well, Rat,’ said the Badger presently, looking at the busy little animal over the edge of his newspaper; ‘I’m not blaming you. But just let us once get past the stoats, with those detestable guns of theirs, and I assure you we shan’t want any swords or pistols. We four, with our sticks, once we’re inside the dining-hall, why, we shall clear the floor of all the lot of them in five minutes. I’d have done the whole thing by myself, only I didn’t want to deprive you fellows of the fun!’

“你干得好倒是好,河鼠,”獾从报纸上抬眼望着那只忙碌的小动物;“我并不想责怪你。不过咱们这回是要绕开白鼬和他们的那些可恶的枪械。我断定,咱们用不着什么刀枪之类。咱们四个,一人一根棍子,只要进了宴会厅,不消五分钟,就能把他们全部清除干净。其实我一个人就能包下来,不过我不愿剥夺你们几个的乐子!”

‘It’s as well to be on the safe side,’ said the Rat reflectively, polishing a pistol-barrel on his sleeve and looking along it.

“保险点总没坏处吧,”河鼠沉吟着说,他把一支枪筒在袖子上擦得锃亮,顺着枪管察看。

The Toad, having finished his breakfast, picked up a stout stick and swung it vigorously, belabouring imaginary animals. ‘I’ll learn ‘em to steal my house!’ he cried. ‘I’ll learn ‘em, I’ll learn ‘em!’

蟾蜍吃完早饭,拾起一根粗棍,使劲抡着,痛打想象中的敌人。“叫他们抢我的房子!”他喊道,“我要学习他们,我要学习他们!”

‘Don’t say “learn ‘em,” Toad,’ said the Rat, greatly shocked. ‘It’s not good English.’

“别说‘学习他们’,蟾蜍,”河鼠大为震惊地说。“这不是地道的英语。”

‘What are you always nagging at Toad for?’ inquired the Badger, rather peevishly. ‘What’s the matter with his English? It’s the same what I use myself, and if it’s good enough for me, it ought to be good enough for you!’

“你干吗老是挑蟾蜍的刺儿?”獾老大不高兴地说。“他的英语又怎么啦?我自己就那么说。要是我认为没问题,你也应该认为没问题!”。

‘I’m very sorry,’ said the Rat humbly. ‘Only I THINK it ought to be “teach ‘em,” not “learn ‘em.”’

“对不起,”河鼠谦恭地说。“我只是觉得,应该说‘教训’他们,而不是‘学习’他们”①

‘But we don’t WANT to teach ‘em,’ replied the Badger. ‘We want to LEARN ‘em—learn ‘em, learn ‘em! And what’s more, we’re going to DO it, too!’

“可我们并不要‘教训’他们,”獾回答说。“我们就是要‘学习’他们——学习他们,学习他们!再说,我们正是要这样去做呀!”①蟾蜍和獾的英语用词不当,把teach(教训)说成了learn(学习)。——译注

‘Oh, very well, have it your own way,’ said the Rat. He was getting rather muddled about it himself, and presently he retired into a corner, where he could be heard muttering, ‘Learn ‘em, teach ‘em, teach ‘em, learn ‘em!’ till the Badger told him rather sharply to leave off.

“那好吧,就依你的,”河鼠说。他自己也给闹糊涂了。他缩到一个角落里,嘴里反复嘟哝着“学习他们,教训他们。教训他们,学习他们!”直到獾喝令他住口才罢。

Presently the Mole came tumbling into the room, evidently very pleased with himself. ‘I’ve been having such fun!’ he began at once; ‘I’ve been getting a rise out of the stoats!’

不一会,鼹鼠翻着筋斗冲进屋来。他显然很是得意。“我干得真痛快!”他说,“我把那些白鼬全惹恼了!”

‘I hope you’ve been very careful, Mole?’ said the Rat anxiously.

“鼹鼠,但愿你刚才没有鲁莽行事!”河鼠担心地问。

‘I should hope so, too,’ said the Mole confidently. ‘I got the idea when I went into the kitchen, to see about Toad’s breakfast being kept hot for him. I found that old washerwoman-dress that he came home in yesterday, hanging on a towel-horse before the fire. So I put it on, and the bonnet as well, and the shawl, and off I went to Toad Hall, as bold as you please. The sentries were on the look-out, of course, with their guns and their “Who comes there?” and all the rest of their nonsense. “Good morning, gentlemen!” says I, very respectful. “Want any washing done to-day?”

“我也希望没有,”鼹鼠充满自信地说。“早上我去厨房。看看早点是不是热着,等蟾蜍起来好吃。忽然看见炉灶前的毛巾架上,挂着蟾蜍昨天回来时穿的那件洗衣妇的衣裳,我动了个念头。我把它穿上,又戴上帽子,披上大围巾,大摇大摆一直走到蟾宫大门口。那些哨兵自然拿着枪在把守大门,吆喝‘来者何人?’还有那一套胡言乱语。‘先生们,早上好!’我恭恭敬敬地说,‘今儿个有衣服要洗吗?’

‘They looked at me very proud and stiff and haughty, and said, “Go away, washerwoman! We don’t do any washing on duty.” “Or any other time?” says I. Ho, ho, ho! Wasn’t I FUNNY, Toad?’

“他们瞪眼瞧我,又傲气又拘板,说‘滚开,洗衣婆!我们在执勤,没衣服要洗!’我说,‘那我改天再来吧?’哈,哈,哈!蟾蜍,你看,我多逗!”

‘Poor, frivolous animal!’ said Toad, very loftily. The fact is, he felt exceedingly jealous of Mole for what he had just done. It was exactly what he would have liked to have done himself, if only he had thought of it first, and hadn’t gone and overslept himself.

“你这个可怜的、轻浮的动物!”蟾蜍不屑地说。其实,他对鼹鼠刚才做的事嫉妒得要命。那正是他自己想干的,可惜他事先没想到,睡懒觉睡过头了。

‘Some of the stoats turned quite pink,’ continued the Mole, ‘and the Sergeant in charge, he said to me, very short, he said, “Now run away, my good woman, run away! Don’t keep my men idling and talking on their posts.” “Run away?” says I; “it won’t be me that’ll be running away, in a very short time from now!”’

“有几个白鼬有点恼怒了,”鼹鼠接着说,“那个当班的警官冲我嚷道:‘马上滚开,婆子,滚!我手下的人在值勤的时候不许聊天!’‘叫我滚?’我说,‘只怕要不了多久,该滚的就不是我啦!’”

‘O MOLY, how could you?’ said the Rat, dismayed.

“哎呀,鼹鼠,你怎么可以这样说?”河鼠惊慌地说。

The Badger laid down his paper.

獾放下手里的报纸。

‘I could see them pricking up their ears and looking at each other,’ went on the Mole; ‘and the Sergeant said to them, “Never mind HER; she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”’

“我看到他们竖起耳朵,互相对看一眼,”鼹鼠接着说;“警官对他们说:‘甭搭理她,她自己也不知道在胡说些什么。’

‘”O! don’t I?”’ said I. ‘”Well, let me tell you this. My daughter, she washes for Mr. Badger, and that’ll show you whether I know what I’m talking about; and YOU’LL know pretty soon, too! A hundred bloodthirsty badgers, armed with rifles, are going to attack Toad Hall this very night, by way of the paddock. Six boatloads of Rats, with pistols and cutlasses, will come up the river and effect a landing in the garden; while a picked body of Toads, known at the Die-hards, or the Death-or-Glory Toads, will storm the orchard and carry everything before them, yelling for vengeance. There won’t be much left of you to wash, by the time they’ve done with you, unless you clear out while you have the chance!” Then I ran away, and when I was out of sight I hid; and presently I came creeping back along the ditch and took a peep at them through the hedge. They were all as nervous and flustered as could be, running all ways at once, and falling over each other, and every one giving orders to everybody else and not listening; and the Sergeant kept sending off parties of stoats to distant parts of the grounds, and then sending other fellows to fetch ‘em back again; and I heard them saying to each other, “That’s just like the weasels; they’re to stop comfortably in the banqueting-hall, and have feasting and toasts and songs and all sorts of fun, while we must stay on guard in the cold and the dark, and in the end be cut to pieces by bloodthirsty Badgers!’”

“‘什么!我不知道?’我说。‘好吧,我告诉你,我女儿是给獾先生洗衣服的,你说我知道不知道。而且你们很快也会知道的!就在今天晚上,一百个杀气腾腾的獾,提着来复枪,要从马场那边进攻蟾宫。满满六船的河鼠,带着手枪和棍棒,要从河上过来,在花园登陆;还有一队精心挑选的蟾蜍,号称敢死队,自命‘不成功便成仁’,要袭击果园,扬言要报仇雪恨,见什么拿什么。等他们把你们扫荡一空,那时你们就没什么可洗的了,除非你们趁早撤出去!’说完我就跑开了。等到他们看不见我时,我就躲起来,然后沿着沟渠爬回来,隔着树篱偷瞄了他们一眼。他们全都慌作一团,四散奔逃,互相碰撞摔倒,人人都发号施令,可没一个人听;那个警官,不停地把一批批的白鼬派到远处,跟着又另派一批白鼬去把他们叫回来、我听见他们乱吵吵说,‘都怪那些黄鼠狼,他们要在宴会厅里快活,大吃大喝。又唱又跳,寻欢作乐,却派我们在又冷又黑的屋外站岗放哨,临了还得被那些杀人不眨眼的獾剁成肉酱!’”

‘Oh, you silly ass, Mole!’ cried Toad, ‘You’ve been and spoilt everything!’

“哎呀,鼹鼠,你这个蠢驴!”蟾蜍嚷道。“你把一切全搞糟了!”

‘Mole,’ said the Badger, in his dry, quiet way, ‘I perceive you have more sense in your little finger than some other animals have in the whole of their fat bodies. You have managed excellently, and I begin to have great hopes of you. Good Mole! Clever Mole!’

“鼹鼠,”獾用他那干巴巴的平静的声调说,“我看,你一个小指里的才智,比别的动物整个肥胖身子里的才智还要多。你干得太好了,我对你寄予很大希望。好鼹鼠!聪明的鼹鼠!”

The Toad was simply wild with jealousy, more especially as he couldn’t make out for the life of him what the Mole had done that was so particularly clever; but, fortunately for him, before he could show temper or expose himself to the Badger’s sarcasm, the bell rang for luncheon.

蟾蜍嫉妒得简直要疯了,他尤其弄不通,鼹鼠这样干,怎么反倒聪明;不过幸好,对獾的讥讽,他还来不及发作和暴露自已,午饭的铃声就响了。

It was a simple but sustaining meal—bacon and broad beans, and a macaroni pudding; and when they had quite done, the Badger settled himself into an arm-chair, and said, ‘Well, we’ve got our work cut out for us to-night, and it will probably be pretty late before we’re quite through with it; so I’m just going to take forty winks, while I can.’ And he drew a handkerchief over his face and was soon snoring.

午饭简单但实惠——咸肉,大扁豆,外加通心粉布丁。吃完饭,獾安坐在一张圈椅上,说:“好啦,咱们今晚的工作步骤已经确定了,恐怕要很晚才能办完;所以,趁现在还有时间,我要打个盹儿。”说罢,他用一块手帕盖住脸.不一会就鼾声大作了。

The anxious and laborious Rat at once resumed his preparations, and started running between his four little heaps, muttering, ‘Here’s-a-belt-for-the-Rat, here’s-a-belt-for-the Mole, here’s-a-belt-for-the-Toad, here’s-a-belt-for-the-Badger!’ and so on, with every fresh accoutrement he produced, to which there seemed really no end; so the Mole drew his arm through Toad’s, led him out into the open air, shoved him into a wicker chair, and made him tell him all his adventures from beginning to end, which Toad was only too willing to do. The Mole was a good listener, and Toad, with no one to check his statements or to criticise in an unfriendly spirit, rather let himself go. Indeed, much that he related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and the raciest adventures; and why should they not be truly ours, as much as the somewhat inadequate things that really come off?

性急而勤快的河鼠,立即又干起他的备战工作,在他那四小堆武器之间来回跑动,一面嘴里咕哝着“这根皮带给河鼠,这根给獾!”等等,等等。新的装备不断增加,像是没有个完。鼹鼠呢,他挽着蟾蜍的臂,把他带到屋外,推进一张藤椅,要他原原本本讲自己的历险过程。这正是蟾蜍求之不得的。鼹鼠很善于倾听别人讲话,他不打岔,也不作不友好的评论,于是蟾蜍就海阔天空地神聊起来。其实,他所讲的,大部分属于那种“要是我早想到而不是十分钟以后才想到事情就会那样发生”的性质。既然那都是最精彩最刺激的历险故事,何不把它们和那些实际发生但不太够味儿的经历一样,也看成是我们的真实经历呢?