The Wind in the Willows  柳林风声

When all was quite ready, the Badger took a dark lantern in one paw, grasped his great stick with the other, and said, ‘Now then, follow me! Mole first, ‘cos I’m very pleased with him; Rat next; Toad last. And look here, Toady! Don’t you chatter so much as usual, or you’ll be sent back, as sure as fate!’

诸事准备就绪,獾一手提着一盏暗灯,一手握着他那根大棒,说:“现在跟我来!鼹鼠打头阵,因为我对他很满意。河鼠其次;蟾蜍殿后。听着,小蟾儿!你可不许像平时那样唠叨,要不,一准把你打发回去!”

The Toad was so anxious not to be left out that he took up the inferior position assigned to him without a murmur, and the animals set off. The Badger led them along by the river for a little way, and then suddenly swung himself over the edge into a hole in the river-bank, a little above the water. The Mole and the Rat followed silently, swinging themselves successfully into the hole as they had seen the Badger do; but when it came to Toad’s turn, of course he managed to slip and fall into the water with a loud splash and a squeal of alarm. He was hauled out by his friends, rubbed down and wrung out hastily, comforted, and set on his legs; but the Badger was seriously angry, and told him that the very next time he made a fool of himself he would most certainly be left behind.

蟾蜍生怕给留下,只好一声不吭地接受指派给他的次等位置,四只动物便出发了。獾领着大伙儿沿河走了一小段路,然后,他突然攀住河岸,身子摆动几下,荡进了一个略高出水面的洞。看到獾进了洞,鼹鼠和河鼠也一声不响地荡进了洞。轮到蟾蜍时,他偏要滑倒。扑通一声跌进水里,还惊恐地尖叫一声。朋友们拽他上来,把他从头到脚匆匆揉搓一过,拧了拧湿衣服,安慰几句,扶他站起来。獾可真火了。他警告蟾蜍说。要是下次再出洋相,准定把他丢下。

So at last they were in the secret passage, and the cutting-out expedition had really begun!

他们终于进了那条秘密通道,真正踏上了突袭的捷径。

It was cold, and dark, and damp, and low, and narrow, and poor Toad began to shiver, partly from dread of what might be before him, partly because he was wet through. The lantern was far ahead, and he could not help lagging behind a little in the darkness. Then he heard the Rat call out warningly, ‘COME on, Toad!’ and a terror seized him of being left behind, alone in the darkness, and he ‘came on’ with such a rush that he upset the Rat into the Mole and the Mole into the Badger, and for a moment all was confusion. The Badger thought they were being attacked from behind, and, as there was no room to use a stick or a cutlass, drew a pistol, and was on the point of putting a bullet into Toad. When he found out what had really happened he was very angry indeed, and said, ‘Now this time that tiresome Toad SHALL be left behind!’

地道里很冷,低矮狭窄,阴暗渐湿,可怜的蟾蜍禁不住哆嗦起来,一半由于害怕前面可能遇到的不测,一半由于他浑身湿透。灯笼在前面,离他很远,在黑暗中。他落到了后面。这时,他听到河鼠警告说:“快跟上,蟾蜍!”便猛地往前一冲,竟撞倒了河鼠,河鼠又撞倒了鼹鼠,鼹鼠又撞倒了獾,引起一阵大乱。獾以为背后遭到了袭击,由于洞内狭窄,使不开棍棒,便拔出手枪,正要朝蟾蜍射击。等真相大白后,他不禁大怒,说:“这回,可恶的蟾蜍必须留下!”

But Toad whimpered, and the other two promised that they would be answerable for his good conduct, and at last the Badger was pacified, and the procession moved on; only this time the Rat brought up the rear, with a firm grip on the shoulder of Toad.

蟾蜍呜呜咽咽哭了起来,另两只动物答应,他们将负责照看好蟾蜍,让他好好表现,獾才消了气,队伍又继续前进。不过这回换了河鼠断后,他牢牢地抓住蟾蜍的双肩。

So they groped and shuffled along, with their ears pricked up and their paws on their pistols, till at last the Badger said, ‘We ought by now to be pretty nearly under the Hall.’

就这样,他们摸索着蹒跚前行,耳朵竖起,爪子按在手枪上。最后獾说:“咱们现在差不离到了蟾宫底下。”

Then suddenly they heard, far away as it might be, and yet apparently nearly over their heads, a confused murmur of sound, as if people were shouting and cheering and stamping on the floor and hammering on tables. The Toad’s nervous terrors all returned, but the Badger only remarked placidly, ‘They ARE going it, the Weasels!’

忽然,他们听到低沉的嘈杂声,似乎很远,但显然就在头顶上,像有许多人在喊叫,欢呼,在地板上跺脚,用拳头捶桌子。蟾蜍的神经质的恐惧又袭上心来,可獾只是平静地说:“他们正闹腾哩,这群黄鼠狼!”

The passage now began to slope upwards; they groped onward a little further, and then the noise broke out again, quite distinct this time, and very close above them. ‘Ooo-ray-ooray-oo-ray-ooray!’ they heard, and the stamping of little feet on the floor, and the clinking of glasses as little fists pounded on the table. ‘WHAT a time they’re having!’ said the Badger. ‘Come on!’ They hurried along the passage till it came to a full stop, and they found themselves standing under the trap-door that led up into the butler’s pantry.

地道这时开始向上倾斜,他们又摸索着走了一小段,然后,嘈杂声忽又出现,这回很清晰,很近,就在头顶上。“乌啦乌啦乌啦乌啦!”他们听到欢呼声,小脚掌跺地板声,小拳头砸桌子时杯盘的丁当声。“瞧他们闹得多欢哟!”獾说。“来呀!”他们顺着地道疾走,来到地道的尽头,发现他们已站在通向配膳室的那道活门的下面。

Such a tremendous noise was going on in the banqueting-hall that there was little danger of their being overheard. The Badger said, ‘Now, boys, all together!’ and the four of them put their shoulders to the trap-door and heaved it back. Hoisting each other up, they found themselves standing in the pantry, with only a door between them and the banqueting-hall, where their unconscious enemies were carousing.

宴会厅里的喧嚣响声震天;他们没有被听到的危险。獾说:“好!弟兄们,一齐使劲!”他们四个同时用肩膀顶住活门,把它掀开,依次被举了上去。他们来到了配膳室,和宴会厅只隔着一道门,而敌人正在狂欢作乐,毫无觉察。他们从地道里爬出来时,喧闹声简直震耳欲聋。

The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could be made out saying, ‘Well, I do not propose to detain you much longer’—(great applause)--‘but before I resume my seat’--(renewed cheering)—‘I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We all know Toad!’--(great laughter)--‘GOOD Toad, MODEST Toad, HONEST Toad!’ (shrieks of merriment).

后来,欢呼声和敲击声渐渐弱了,可以听出一个声音在说:“好啦,我不打算多占你们的时间,”——(热烈鼓掌)——“不过,在我坐下之前,”(又是一阵欢呼)——“我想为我们好心的主人蟾蜍先生说一两句好话。我们都认识蟾蜍!”——(哄堂大笑)——“善良的蟾蜍,谦恭的蟾蜍,诚实的蟾蜍!”——(尖声哄笑)

‘Only just let me get at him!’ muttered Toad, grinding his teeth.

“我非过去揍他不可!”蟾蜍咬牙切齿地低声说。

‘Hold hard a minute!’ said the Badger, restraining him with difficulty. ‘Get ready, all of you!’

“再坚持一分钟!”獾说,好不容易才稳住蟾蜍。“大伙儿都做好准备!”

‘—Let me sing you a little song,’ went on the voice, ‘which I have composed on the subject of Toad’--(prolonged applause). Then the Chief Weasel—for it was he—began in a high, squeaky voice—

“我给你们唱一支小曲儿,”那声音又说,“这是我为蟾蜍编的。”(经久不息的掌声)接着,那个说话的黄鼠狼头子就吱吱喳喳尖着嗓子唱起来——

‘Toad he went a-pleasuring Gaily down the street—‘

“蟾蜍出门上大街,得意洋洋寻开心……”

The Badger drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stick with both paws, glanced round at his comrades, and cried—

獾挺直了身子,两手紧紧摸着大棒,向伙伴们扫了一眼,喊道——

‘The hour is come! Follow me!’

“到时候了,跟我来!”

And flung the door open wide.

他猛地把门推开。

My!

好家伙!

What a squealing and a squeaking and a screeching filled the air!

满屋子的尖叫、吱喳、嚎啕!

Well might the terrified weasels dive under the tables and spring madly up at the windows! Well might the ferrets rush wildly for the fireplace and get hopelessly jammed in the chimney! Well might tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully into the room! The mighty Badger, his whiskers bristling, his great cudgel whistling through the air; Mole, black and grim, brandishing his stick and shouting his awful war-cry, ‘A Mole! A Mole!’ Rat; desperate and determined, his belt bulging with weapons of every age and every variety; Toad, frenzied with excitement and injured pride, swollen to twice his ordinary size, leaping into the air and emitting Toad-whoops that chilled them to the marrow! ‘Toad he went a-pleasuring!’ he yelled. ‘I’LL pleasure ‘em!’ and he went straight for the Chief Weasel. They were but four in all, but to the panic-stricken weasels the hall seemed full of monstrous animals, grey, black, brown and yellow, whooping and flourishing enormous cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals of terror and dismay, this way and that, through the windows, up the chimney, anywhere to get out of reach of those terrible sticks.

四位好汉愤怒地冲进宴会厅,就在这可怕的一刹那,发生了一场大恐慌,吓得魂不附体的黄鼠狼们纷纷钻到桌子底下,没命地跳窗夺路而逃,白鼬们乱哄哄地直奔壁炉,全都挤在烟囱里动弹不得。桌子东倒西歪,杯盘摔得粉碎。力大无穷的獾,络腮胡子根根倒竖,手中的大棒在空中呼呼挥舞;脸色阴沉严峻的鼹鼠抡着木棒,高呼令人胆寒的战斗口号:“鼹鼠来了!鼹鼠来了!”河鼠腰间鼓鼓囊囊塞满了各式武器,坚决果敢;奋不顾身地投入战斗;蟾蜍呢,由于自尊心受伤而发狂,身躯涨得比平时大出一倍,他腾空而起,发出癞蛤蟆那哇哇的怪叫,吓得敌人毛骨悚然,手脚冰凉。“叫你唱‘蟾蜍寻开心’!”他大吼道。“我就要拿你们寻开心!”他向黄鼠狼头子直扑过去。其实他们才四个,可是那些惊慌失措的黄鼠狼觉得,整个大厅似乎满是可怖的动物,灰色的、黑色的、棕色的、黄色的,怒吼狂叫,挥舞着巨大无比的棍棒。他们吓得魂飞魄散,恐怖地尖叫着,跳出窗子,窜上烟囱,四面逃窜,不管什么地方,只要能躲开那些可怕的棍棒。

The affair was soon over. Up and down, the whole length of the hall, strode the four Friends, whacking with their sticks at every head that showed itself; and in five minutes the room was cleared. Through the broken windows the shrieks of terrified weasels escaping across the lawn were borne faintly to their ears; on the floor lay prostrate some dozen or so of the enemy, on whom the Mole was busily engaged in fitting handcuffs. The Badger, resting from his labours, leant on his stick and wiped his honest brow.

战斗很快就结束了。四个朋友在大厅里上下搜索,只要一个脑袋露出来,就上去给它一棒。不出五分钟,屋里就扫荡一空。惊恐万状的黄鼠狼在草地上逃窜时发出的尖叫声,透过破碎的窗子,隐隐传到他们耳中。地板上,横七竖八躺着几十个敌人,鼹鼠正忙着给他们戴上手铐。獾劳累了一场,靠在大棒上休息,擦着他那忠厚的额上的汗。

‘Mole,’ he said,’ ‘you’re the best of fellows! Just cut along outside and look after those stoat-sentries of yours, and see what they’re doing. I’ve an idea that, thanks to you, we shan’t have much trouble from them to-night!’

“鼹鼠,”他说,“你是好样的!劳你抄近道出去,瞧瞧那些白鼬守卫,看他们都在干什么;我估摸,由于你的功劳。咱们今晚不致受他们骚扰了。”

The Mole vanished promptly through a window; and the Badger bade the other two set a table on its legs again, pick up knives and forks and plates and glasses from the debris on the floor, and see if they could find materials for a supper. ‘I want some grub, I do,’ he said, in that rather common way he had of speaking. ‘Stir your stumps, Toad, and look lively! We’ve got your house back for you, and you don’t offer us so much as a sandwich.’ Toad felt rather hurt that the Badger didn’t say pleasant things to him, as he had to the Mole, and tell him what a fine fellow he was, and how splendidly he had fought; for he was rather particularly pleased with himself and the way he had gone for the Chief Weasel and sent him flying across the table with one blow of his stick. But he bustled about, and so did the Rat, and soon they found some guava jelly in a glass dish, and a cold chicken, a tongue that had hardly been touched, some trifle, and quite a lot of lobster salad; and in the pantry they came upon a basketful of French rolls and any quantity of cheese, butter, and celery. They were just about to sit down when the Mole clambered in through the window, chuckling, with an armful of rifles.

鼹鼠马上跳窗出去。獾指示另两个扶起一张桌子,从地上的残渣中捡出一些刀叉杯盘,又叫他们看看能不能找到一些食物,拼凑出一顿晚饭。“我需要吃点什么,真的,”他用惯常的平平常常的语气说,“动弹动弹,蟾蜍,活跃起来!我们替你夺回了宅子,可你连块三明治也没招待我们呀。”蟾蜍心里有些委屈,因为獾没有像对鼹鼠那样赞扬他,没有说他是好样的,战斗得很英勇。因为他对自己的表现颇为得意,特别是他冲那黄鼠狼头子直扑过去,一棍子将他打到桌子那边去了。不过,他还是和河鼠一道四下里搜寻,不一会,他们就找到一玻璃碟子的番石榴酱,一只冷鸡,一只还没怎么动过的口条,一些葡萄酒蛋糕,不少的龙虾沙拉。在配膳室里,他们发现了一篮子法式面包卷,一些乳酪、黄油和芹菜。他们刚要坐下来开吃,就见鼹鼠抱着一堆来复枪,格格笑着从窗口爬进来。

‘It’s all over,’ he reported. ‘From what I can make out, as soon as the stoats, who were very nervous and jumpy already, heard the shrieks and the yells and the uproar inside the hall, some of them threw down their rifles and fled. The others stood fast for a bit, but when the weasels came rushing out upon them they thought they were betrayed; and the stoats grappled with the weasels, and the weasels fought to get away, and they wrestled and wriggled and punched each other, and rolled over and over, till most of ‘em rolled into the river! They’ve all disappeared by now, one way or another; and I’ve got their rifles. So that’s all right!’

“据我看,全结束啦,”他报告说,“那些白鼬本来就惊惶不安,一听到大厅里的叫嚷骚动声,有的就扔下来复枪逃之夭夭。另一些坚守了一会儿,可当黄鼠狼朝他们奔来时,他们以为自己被出卖了。于是白鼬揪住黄鼠狼不放,黄鼠狼拼命想挣脱逃跑,互相扭打在一起,用拳头狠揍对方,在地上滚来滚去,多数都滚到了河里!现在他们不是跑了就是掉进河里,全都不见了。我把他们的来复枪都弄回来了。所以,那个方面,全妥啦!”

‘Excellent and deserving animal!’ said the Badger, his mouth full of chicken and trifle. ‘Now, there’s just one more thing I want you to do, Mole, before you sit down to your supper along of us; and I wouldn’t trouble you only I know I can trust you to see a thing done, and I wish I could say the same of every one I know. I’d send Rat, if he wasn’t a poet. I want you to take those fellows on the floor there upstairs with you, and have some bedrooms cleaned out and tidied up and made really comfortable. See that they sweep UNDER the beds, and put clean sheets and pillow-cases on, and turn down one corner of the bed-clothes, just as you know it ought to be done; and have a can of hot water, and clean towels, and fresh cakes of soap, put in each room. And then you can give them a licking a-piece, if it’s any satisfaction to you, and put them out by the back-door, and we shan’t see any more of THEM, I fancy. And then come along and have some of this cold tongue. It’s first rate. I’m very pleased with you, Mole!’

“太好了,顶顶了不起!”獾说,嘴里塞满了鸡肉和葡萄酒蛋糕。“现在,鼹鼠,我只求你再办一件事,然后就坐下来和我们一道吃晚饭。我本不想再麻烦你,可托你办事,我能放心。我希望对我认识的每个人都能这样说就好了。河鼠若不是一位诗人,我会差他去的。我要你把地板上躺着的这些家伙带到楼上,命他们把几间卧室打扫干净,收拾妥帖。叫他们务必扫床底下,换上干净的床单枕套,掀开被子的一角,该怎么做,你知道的。每间卧室里备好一罐热水,干净毛巾,新开包的肥皂。然后,要是你想解解气,可以给他们每人一顿拳脚;再撵出后门。我估摸,今后没有一个家伙再敢露面了。完事之后,就过来吃点这种冷口条。这可是头等美味。我对你非常满意,鼹鼠!”

The goodnatured Mole picked up a stick, formed his prisoners up in a line on the floor, gave them the order ‘Quick march!’ and led his squad off to the upper floor. After a time, he appeared again, smiling, and said that every room was ready, and as clean as a new pin. ‘And I didn’t have to lick them, either,’ he added. ‘I thought, on the whole, they had had licking enough for one night, and the weasels, when I put the point to them, quite agreed with me, and said they wouldn’t think of troubling me. They were very penitent, and said they were extremely sorry for what they had done, but it was all the fault of the Chief Weasel and the stoats, and if ever they could do anything for us at any time to make up, we had only got to mention it. So I gave them a roll a-piece, and let them out at the back, and off they ran, as hard as they could!’

好性子的鼹鼠拾起一根棍子,把他的俘虏们排成一行,命令他们“快步走!”把他的一小队人马带上楼去了。过了一阵子,他又下来,微笑着说,每间房都准备好了,打扫得干干净净。他又说:“我用不着揍他们,总的来说,我想他们今晚挨揍挨够了。我把这话告诉他们,他们表示同意,说再也不骚扰我们了。他们很懊悔,对过去的所作所为深感歉疚,说那是黄鼠狼头子和白鼬的错,又说如果今后可以为我们出力,将功补过,我们只消言语一声。所以,我给了他们一人一个面包卷,放他们出后门,他们就一溜烟似的溜啦。”

Then the Mole pulled his chair up to the table, and pitched into the cold tongue; and Toad, like the gentleman he was, put all his jealousy from him, and said heartily, ‘Thank you kindly, dear Mole, for all your pains and trouble tonight, and especially for your cleverness this morning!’ The Badger was pleased at that, and said, ‘There spoke my brave Toad!’ So they finished their supper in great joy and contentment, and presently retired to rest between clean sheets, safe in Toad’s ancestral home, won back by matchless valour, consummate strategy, and a proper handling of sticks.

说罢,鼹鼠把椅子拉到餐桌旁,埋头大嚼起冷口条来。蟾蜍呢,到底不失绅士风度,把一肚子嫉妒抛在一边,诚心诚意地说:“亲爱的鼹鼠,实在谢谢你啦,感谢你今晚的辛苦劳累,特别要感谢你今早的聪明机智!”獾听了很高兴,说:“我勇敢的蟾蜍说得好呀!”于是,他们欢天喜地心满意足地吃完了晚饭,立刻上楼,钻进干净的被窝,睡觉去了。他们安安稳稳地睡在蟾蜍祖传的房子里,这是他们以无比的勇气、高超的韬略和娴熟地运用棍棒夺回的。

The following morning, Toad, who had overslept himself as usual, came down to breakfast disgracefully late, and found on the table a certain quantity of egg-shells, some fragments of cold and leathery toast, a coffee-pot three-fourths empty, and really very little else; which did not tend to improve his temper, considering that, after all, it was his own house. Through the French windows of the breakfast-room he could see the Mole and the Water Rat sitting in wicker-chairs out on the lawn, evidently telling each other stories; roaring with laughter and kicking their short legs up in the air. The Badger, who was in an arm-chair and deep in the morning paper, merely looked up and nodded when Toad entered the room. But Toad knew his man, so he sat down and made the best breakfast he could, merely observing to himself that he would get square with the others sooner or later. When he had nearly finished, the Badger looked up and remarked rather shortly: ‘I’m sorry, Toad, but I’m afraid there’s a heavy morning’s work in front of you. You see, we really ought to have a Banquet at once, to celebrate this affair. It’s expected of you—in fact, it’s the rule.’

第二天早上,蟾蜍照例睡过了头,下楼来吃早饭时,晚得不成体统。他发现,桌上只剩下一堆蛋壳,几片冰凉的发皮了的烤面包,咖啡壶里空了四分之三,别的就没什么了。这叫他挺来气,因为不管怎么说,这是他自己的家呀!透过餐厅的法式长窗,他看见鼹鼠和河鼠坐在草坪里的藤椅上,笑得前仰后合,两双小短腿在空中乱踢蹬,分明是在讲故事。獾呢,他坐在扶手椅上,聚精会神在读晨报。蟾蜍进屋时,他只抬眼冲他点了点头。蟾蜍深知他的为人,只好坐下来,凑合着吃一顿算了,只是暗自嘟囔着,早晚要跟他们算帐。他快吃完时,獾抬起头来,简短地说:“对不起,蟾蜍,不过今天上午你恐怕会有好些活要干。你瞧,咱们应该马上举行一次宴会,,来庆祝这件大事。这事必须你来办,这是规矩。”

‘O, all right!’ said the Toad, readily. ‘Anything to oblige. Though why on earth you should want to have a Banquet in the morning I cannot understand. But you know I do not live to please myself, but merely to find out what my friends want, and then try and arrange it for ‘em, you dear old Badger!’

“嗯,好吧!”蟾蜍欣然答道。“只要你高兴,一切遵命。只是我不明白,举行宴会为什么非得在上午不可。不过,我这个人活着,不是为自己过得快活,而只是为了知道朋友们需要什么,尽力去满足他们,你这亲爱的老獾头哟!”

‘Don’t pretend to be stupider than you really are,’ replied the Badger, crossly; ‘and don’t chuckle and splutter in your coffee while you’re talking; it’s not manners. What I mean is, the Banquet will be at night, of course, but the invitations will have to be written and got off at once, and you’ve got to write ‘em. Now, sit down at that table—there’s stacks of letter-paper on it, with “Toad Hall” at the top in blue and gold—and write invitations to all our friends, and if you stick to it we shall get them out before luncheon. And I’LL bear a hand, too; and take my share of the burden. I’LL order the Banquet.’

“别装傻了,”獾不高兴地说。“而且,不要一边说话,一边把咖啡嘬得吱吱喳喳响,这不礼貌。我是说,宴会当然要在晚上举行,可是请柬得马上写好发出去,这就得由你来办。现在就坐到那张书桌前,桌上有一叠信笺,信笺上印有蓝色和金色的‘蟾宫’字样,给咱们所有的朋友写邀请信。要是你不停地写,那么在午饭前,咱们就能把信发出去。我也要帮忙,分担部分劳务,宴会由我来操办。”

‘What!’ cried Toad, dismayed. ‘Me stop indoors and write a lot of rotten letters on a jolly morning like this, when I want to go around my property, and set everything and everybody to rights, and swagger about and enjoy myself! Certainly not! I’ll be—I’ll see you----Stop a minute, though! Why, of course, dear Badger! What is my pleasure or convenience compared with that of others! You wish it done, and it shall be done. Go, Badger, order the Banquet, order what you like; then join our young friends outside in their innocent mirth, oblivious of me and my cares and toils. I sacrifice this fair morning on the altar of duty and friendship!’

“什么!”蟾蜍苦着脸说。“这么美好的早晨,要我关在屋里写一堆劳什子的信!我想在我的庄园里四处转转,整顿整顿所有的东西、所有的人,摆摆架子,痛快痛快!不干!我要,我要看……不过,等一等,当然我要干,亲爱的獾!我自己的快乐或方便,比起别人的快乐和方便,又算得了什么!既然你要我这么办,我照办就是。獾,你去筹备宴会吧,随你想预订什么菜都行。然后到外面去和我们的年轻朋友们一道说说笑笑,忘了我,忘了我的忧愁和劳苦吧!为了神圣的职责和友谊,我甘愿牺牲这美好的早晨!”

The Badger looked at him very suspiciously, but Toad’s frank, open countenance made it difficult to suggest any unworthy motive in this change of attitude. He quitted the room, accordingly, in the direction of the kitchen, and as soon as the door had closed behind him, Toad hurried to the writing-table. A fine idea had occurred to him while he was talking. He WOULD write the invitations; and he would take care to mention the leading part he had taken in the fight, and how he had laid the Chief Weasel flat; and he would hint at his adventures, and what a career of triumph he had to tell about; and on the fly-leaf he would set out a sort of a programme of entertainment for the evening—something like this, as he sketched it out in his head:--

獾疑惑地望着蟾蜍,可蟾蜍那直率坦诚的表情,很难使他想到这种突然转变的背后,会有什么不良的动机。于是他离开餐厅,向厨房走去。门刚关上,蟾蜍就急忙奔书桌去。他一定要写邀请信,一定不忘提到他在那场战斗中所起的主导作用,提到他怎样把黄鼠狼头子打翻在地;他还要略略提到他的历险,他那战无不胜的经历,有多少可说的呀。在请柬的空白页上,他还要开列晚宴的余兴节目。他在脑子里打着这样一个腹稿:

SPEECH . . . . BY TOAD.

《讲演》——蟾蜍作

(There will be other speeches by TOAD during the evening.)

(晚宴期间,蟾蜍还要作其他讲话)

ADDRESS . . . BY TOAD

《致词》 -----蟾蜍

SYNOPSIS—Our Prison System—the Waterways of Old England—Horse-dealing, and how to deal—Property, its rights and its duties—Back to the Land—A Typical English Squire.

《学术报告》——我们的监狱制度——古老英国的水道——马匹交易及其方法——财产、产权与义务——荣归故里典型的英国乡绅。

SONG . . . . BY TOAD. (Composed by himself.)

《歌曲》-----蟾蜍(本人自编)

OTHER COMPOSITIONS BY TOAD will be sung in the course of the evening by the . . . COMPOSER.

《其他歌曲》 在晚宴期间由词曲作者本人演唱。

The idea pleased him mightily, and he worked very hard and got all the letters finished by noon, at which hour it was reported to him that there was a small and rather bedraggled weasel at the door, inquiring timidly whether he could be of any service to the gentlemen. Toad swaggered out and found it was one of the prisoners of the previous evening, very respectful and anxious to please. He patted him on the head, shoved the bundle of invitations into his paw, and told him to cut along quick and deliver them as fast as he could, and if he liked to come back again in the evening, perhaps there might be a shilling for him, or, again, perhaps there mightn’t; and the poor weasel seemed really quite grateful, and hurried off eagerly to do his mission.

这个想法,使他大为得意,于是他努力写信,到中午时分,所有的信都写完了。这时,有人通报说,门口来了一只身材瘦小衣着槛褛的黄鼠狼,怯生生地问他能不能为先生们效劳。蟾蜍大摇大摆地走出去瞧,原来是头天晚上被俘的一只黄鼠狼,现在正必恭必敬地巴望讨他的欢心哩。蟾蜍拍了拍他的脑袋,把那一沓子邀请信塞在他爪子里,吩咐他抄近道,火速把信送出去。要是他愿意晚上再来,也许给他一先令酬劳,也许没有。可怜的黄鼠狼受宠若惊,匆匆赶去执行任务了。

When the other animals came back to luncheon, very boisterous and breezy after a morning on the river, the Mole, whose conscience had been pricking him, looked doubtfully at Toad, expecting to find him sulky or depressed. Instead, he was so uppish and inflated that the Mole began to suspect something; while the Rat and the Badger exchanged significant glances.

另三只动物在河上消磨了一上午,欢欢喜喜谈笑风生地回来吃午饭:鼹鼠觉得有些对不住蟾蜍,不放心地望着他,生怕他会是一脸愠色、郁郁不乐。谁知,蟾蜍竟是一副盛气凌人、趾高气扬的样子。鼹鼠不禁纳闷,感到其中必有缘由。河鼠和獾,则会心地互换了一下眼色。

As soon as the meal was over, Toad thrust his paws deep into his trouser-pockets, remarked casually, ‘Well, look after yourselves, you fellows! Ask for anything you want!’ and was swaggering off in the direction of the garden, where he wanted to think out an idea or two for his coming speeches, when the Rat caught him by the arm.

上午饭刚吃完,蟾蜍就把双爪深深插进裤兜,漫不经心地说:“好吧,伙计们,你们自己照顾自己吧,需要什么,只管吩咐!”说罢,就大摇大摆朝花园走去。他要在那里好好构思一下今晚的演说内容。这时,河鼠抓住了他的胳臂。

Toad rather suspected what he was after, and did his best to get away; but when the Badger took him firmly by the other arm he began to see that the game was up. The two animals conducted him between them into the small smoking-room that opened out of the entrance-hall, shut the door, and put him into a chair. Then they both stood in front of him, while Toad sat silent and regarded them with much suspicion and ill-humour.

蟾蜍立刻猜到河鼠的来意,想要挣脱;可是当獾紧紧抓住他的另一只胳臂时,他明白,事情败露了。两只动物架着他,带到那间通向门厅的小吸烟室,关上门,把他按在椅子上。然后,他俩都站在他前面,蟾蜍则一言不发地坐着,心怀鬼胎、没好气地望着他们。

‘Now, look here, Toad,’ said the Rat. ‘It’s about this Banquet, and very sorry I am to have to speak to you like this. But we want you to understand clearly, once and for all, that there are going to be no speeches and no songs. Try and grasp the fact that on this occasion we’re not arguing with you; we’re just telling you.’

“听着,蟾蜍,”河鼠说,“是有关宴会的事。很抱歉,我不得不这样跟你说话。不过,我们希望你明白,宴会上不搞讲演,不搞唱歌。你要放清醒些,我们不是和你讨论,而是通知你这个决定。”

Toad saw that he was trapped. They understood him, they saw through him, they had got ahead of him. His pleasant dream was shattered.

蟾蜍知道,自己落进了圈套。他们了解他,把他看得透透的。他们抢在了他头里。他的美梦破灭了。

‘Mayn’t I sing them just one LITTLE song?’ he pleaded piteously.

“我能不能就唱一支小歌?”他可怜巴巴地央求道。

‘No, not ONE little song,’ replied the Rat firmly, though his heart bled as he noticed the trembling lip of the poor disappointed Toad.

“不行,一支小歌也不能唱,”河鼠坚定地说,尽管他看到可怜的蟾蜍那颤抖的嘴唇,也怪心疼的。

‘It’s no good, Toady; you know well that your songs are all conceit and boasting and vanity; and your speeches are all self-praise and— and—well, and gross exaggeration and—and----‘

“那没好处,小蟾儿;你很清楚,你的歌全是自吹自擂,你的讲话全是自我炫耀,全是全是全是粗鄙的夸张,全是全是——”

‘And gas,’ put in the Badger, in his common way.

“胡吹,”獾干脆地说。

‘It’s for your own good, Toady,’ went on the Rat. ‘You know you MUST turn over a new leaf sooner or later, and now seems a splendid time to begin; a sort of turning-point in your career. Please don’t think that saying all this doesn’t hurt me more than it hurts you.’

“小蟾儿,这是为你好呀,”河鼠继续说。“你知道,你早晚得洗心革面,而现在正是重敲锣鼓另开张的大好时机,是你一生的转折点。请相信,说这话,我心里也不好受,一点不比你好受。”

Toad remained a long while plunged in thought. At last he raised his head, and the traces of strong emotion were visible on his features. ‘You have conquered, my friends,’ he said in broken accents. ‘It was, to be sure, but a small thing that I asked—merely leave to blossom and expand for yet one more evening, to let myself go and hear the tumultuous applause that always seems to me—somehow—to bring out my best qualities. However, you are right, I know, and I am wrong. Hence forth I will be a very different Toad. My friends, you shall never have occasion to blush for me again. But, O dear, O dear, this is a hard world!’

蟾蜍沉思了良久。最后,他抬起头,脸上显出深深动情的神色。“我的朋友们,你们赢了,”他断断续续地说。“其实,我的要求很小很小,只不过是让我再尽情表现和发挥一个晚上,让我放手表演一番,听听那雷鸣般的掌声,因为我觉得,那掌声似乎体现了我最好的品德。不过,你们是对的,而我错了。从今以后,我一定要重新做人。朋友们,你们再也不会为我脸红了。唉,老天爷,做人真难哪!”

And, pressing his handkerchief to his face, he left the room, with faltering footsteps.

说完,他用手帕捂住脸,踉踉跄跄地走出房间。

‘Badger,’ said the Rat, ‘_I_ feel like a brute; I wonder what YOU feel like?’

“獾,”河鼠说,“我觉得自己简直是个狠心狼;不知道你感觉怎样?”

‘O, I know, I know,’ said the Badger gloomily. ‘But the thing had to be done. This good fellow has got to live here, and hold his own, and be respected. Would you have him a common laughing-stock, mocked and jeered at by stoats and weasels?’

“是啊,我明白,我明白,”獾忧郁地说。“可我们非这样做不可。这位好好先生必须在这儿住下去,站稳脚跟,受人尊敬。难道你愿意看着他成为大伙儿的笑柄,被白鼬和黄鼠狼奚落吗?”

‘Of course not,’ said the Rat. ‘And, talking of weasels, it’s lucky we came upon that little weasel, just as he was setting out with Toad’s invitations. I suspected something from what you told me, and had a look at one or two; they were simply disgraceful. I confiscated the lot, and the good Mole is now sitting in the blue boudoir, filling up plain, simple invitation cards.’

“当然不,”河鼠说。“说到黄鼠狼;那只给蟾蜍送信的小黄鼠狼,碰巧被咱们遇上了,真够运气的。我从你的话里,猜到这里准有文章,就抽查了一两封信。果然,那些信简直写得活现眼。我把它们全没收了,好鼹鼠这会儿正坐在梳妆室里,填写简单明了的请帖哩。”

At last the hour for the banquet began to draw near, and Toad, who on leaving the others had retired to his bedroom, was still sitting there, melancholy and thoughtful. His brow resting on his paw, he pondered long and deeply. Gradually his countenance cleared, and he began to smile long, slow smiles. Then he took to giggling in a shy, self-conscious manner. At last he got up, locked the door, drew the curtains across the windows, collected all the chairs in the room and arranged them in a semicircle, and took up his position in front of them, swelling visibly. Then he bowed, coughed twice, and, letting himself go, with uplifted voice he sang, to the enraptured audience that his imagination so clearly saw.

举行宴会的时间快到了。蟾蜍一直离开朋友们,独自躲到他的卧室里,这时还坐在那儿,闷闷不乐,苦苦思索。他用爪子撑住额头,久久地凝想。渐渐地,他面色开朗起来,脸上缓缓露出笑意。然后,他有点害羞地、难为情地格格笑了起来。末了,他站起来,锁上房门,拉上窗帘,把房里所有的椅子摆成一个半圆形,自己立在正前方,身子涨得鼓鼓的。然后,他鞠了一躬,咳了两声,对着想象中的兴高采烈的观众,放开嗓子唱起来。

TOAD’S LAST LITTLE SONG!

《蟾蜍的最后一支小歌》

The Toad—came—home! There was panic in the parlours and bowling in the halls, There was crying in the cow-sheds and shrieking in the stalls, When the Toad—came—home!

蟾蜍回来啦!客厅里,惊慌万状,门厅里,哀号成片,牛棚里;哭声不绝,马厩里,尖叫震天。蟾蜍回来啦。

When the Toad—came—home! There was smashing in of window and crashing in of door, There was chivvying of weasels that fainted on the floor, When the Toad—came—home!

蟾蜍归来的时候,碎窗破门而入,黄鼠狼遭追击,纷纷晕倒在地。当蟾蜍回来的时候!

Bang! go the drums! The trumpeters are tooting and the soldiers are saluting, And the cannon they are shooting and the motor-cars are hooting, As the—Hero—comes!

鼓声响咚咚!号角齐鸣,士兵欢呼,炮弹横飞,汽车嘟嘟,当——英雄——归来!

Shout—Hoo-ray! And let each one of the crowd try and shout it very loud, In honour of an animal of whom you’re justly proud, For it’s Toad’s—great—day!

欢呼呀——乌啦!让人人高声欢呼,向备受尊崇的动物致敬,因为这是蟾蜍——盛大的——节日!”

He sang this very loud, with great unction and expression; and when he had done, he sang it all over again.

蟾蜍歌声嘹亮,唱得热情洋溢,感情充沛。一遍唱完,又从头唱了一遍。

Then he heaved a deep sigh; a long, long, long sigh.

然后,他深深叹了口气,很长很长很长的一口气。

Then he dipped his hairbrush in the water-jug, parted his hair in the middle, and plastered it down very straight and sleek on each side of his face; and, unlocking the door, went quietly down the stairs to greet his guests, who he knew must be assembling in the drawing-room.

然后,他把发刷浸在水里打湿,把头发从中分开,垂在面颊两边,用刷子刷得平塌塌、光溜溜的。他开了门锁,静静地走下楼,去迎接宾客们。他知道,他们一定都聚集在客厅里了。

All the animals cheered when he entered, and crowded round to congratulate him and say nice things about his courage, and his cleverness, and his fighting qualities; but Toad only smiled faintly, and murmured, ‘Not at all!’ Or, sometimes, for a change, ‘On the contrary!’ Otter, who was standing on the hearthrug, describing to an admiring circle of friends exactly how he would have managed things had he been there, came forward with a shout, threw his arm round Toad’s neck, and tried to take him round the room in triumphal progress; but Toad, in a mild way, was rather snubby to him, remarking gently, as he disengaged himself, ‘Badger’s was the mastermind; the Mole and the Water Rat bore the brunt of the fighting; I merely served in the ranks and did little or nothing.’ The animals were evidently puzzled and taken aback by this unexpected attitude of his; and Toad felt, as he moved from one guest to the other, making his modest responses, that he was an object of absorbing interest to every one.

他进来的时候,所有的动物都高声欢呼,围拢来祝贺他,说许多好话赞美他的勇敢、聪明和战斗精神。蟾蜍只是谈淡地笑笑,低声道:“没什么!”或者换个说法:“哪里,正相反!”水獭正站在炉毯上,对一群贵客描述,假如他当时在场,会怎样做。看到蟾蜍,他大叫一声跑过来,甩开两臂,一把搂住他的脖子,要拉他在屋里英雄式地绕场一周。可是蟾蜍温和地表示不屑。挣脱了他的双臂,婉转地说:“獾才是出谋划策的主帅,鼹鼠和河鼠是战斗的主力军,而我,只不过是行伍里的一名小卒子,干得很少,可以说没干什么。”蟾蜍这种出人意外的表现,使动物们大惑不解,不知所措。当蟾蜍一一走到客人面前;做出谦虚的表示时,他觉得,自己成了每位客人深感兴趣的目标。

The Badger had ordered everything of the best, and the banquet was a great success. There was much talking and laughter and chaff among the animals, but through it all Toad, who of course was in the chair, looked down his nose and murmured pleasant nothings to the animals on either side of him.

獾把一切安排得尽善尽美,晚宴获得了巨大成功。动物们欢声笑语不绝。可是整个晚上,端坐主位的蟾蜍,却始终双眼低垂,目不斜视,对左右两侧的动物,低声说些无关痛痒的客套话。

At intervals he stole a glance at the Badger and the Rat, and always when he looked they were staring at each other with their mouths open; and this gave him the greatest satisfaction. Some of the younger and livelier animals, as the evening wore on, got whispering to each other that things were not so amusing as they used to be in the good old days; and there were some knockings on the table and cries of ‘Toad! Speech! Speech from Toad! Song! Mr. Toad’s song!’ But Toad only shook his head gently, raised one paw in mild protest, and, by pressing delicacies on his guests, by topical small-talk, and by earnest inquiries after members of their families not yet old enough to appear at social functions, managed to convey to them that this dinner was being run on strictly conventional lines.

他偶尔偷瞄獾和河鼠一眼。这时,他俩总是张大嘴巴,互相对视一下,这使蟾蜍深感快意。晚宴进行到一定时候;一些年轻活泼的动物就交头接耳,说这回晚会不像往年开得那么热闹有趣。有人敲桌子,喊道:“蟾蜍,讲话呀!蟾蜍来段演说呀!唱支歌呀!蟾蜍先生来支歌呀!”可蟾蜍只是轻轻地摇摇头,举起只爪子,温和地表示反对,只一个劲劝客人们多进美食,和他们聊家常,关切地问候他们家中尚未成年不能参加社交活动的成员,设法让他们知道,这次晚宴是严格遵照传统方式进行的。

He was indeed an altered Toad!

蟾蜍真的变了!

After this climax, the four animals continued to lead their lives, so rudely broken in upon by civil war, in great joy and contentment, undisturbed by further risings or invasions. Toad, after due consultation with his friends, selected a handsome gold chain and locket set with pearls, which he dispatched to the gaoler’s daughter with a letter that even the Badger admitted to be modest, grateful, and appreciative; and the engine-driver, in his turn, was properly thanked and compensated for all his pains and trouble. Under severe compulsion from the Badger, even the barge-woman was, with some trouble, sought out and the value of her horse discreetly made good to her; though Toad kicked terribly at this, holding himself to be an instrument of Fate, sent to punish fat women with mottled arms who couldn’t tell a real gentleman when they saw one. The amount involved, it was true, was not very burdensome, the gipsy’s valuation being admitted by local assessors to be approximately correct.

这次盛会之后,四只动物继续过着欢快惬意的生活,这种生活曾一度被内战打断,但以后再也没有受到动乱或入侵的干扰。蟾蜍和朋友们商量后,选购了一条漂亮的金项链,配有一只镶珍珠的小匣子,外加一封连獾也承认是谦虚知恩的感谢倍,差人送给狱卒的女儿。火车司机也因他付出的辛劳和遭到的风险,得到了适当的酬谢和补偿。在獾的严厉敦促下,就连那位船娘,也费了颇大周折找到,适当地赔偿了她的马钱。尽管蟾蜍对此暴跳如雷,极力申辩说,他是命运之神派来惩罚那个臂上长色斑的胖女人的,因为她明白面对一位绅士,却有眼不识泰山。酬谢和赔偿的总额,说实在的,倒也不算太高。那吉卜赛人对马的估价,据当地评估员说,大体上符合实际。

Sometimes, in the course of long summer evenings, the friends would take a stroll together in the Wild Wood, now successfully tamed so far as they were concerned; and it was pleasing to see how respectfully they were greeted by the inhabitants, and how the mother-weasels would bring their young ones to the mouths of their holes, and say, pointing, ‘Look, baby! There goes the great Mr. Toad! And that’s the gallant Water Rat, a terrible fighter, walking along o’ him! And yonder comes the famous Mr. Mole, of whom you so often have heard your father tell!’ But when their infants were fractious and quite beyond control, they would quiet them by telling how, if they didn’t hush them and not fret them, the terrible grey Badger would up and get them. This was a base libel on Badger, who, though he cared little about Society, was rather fond of children; but it never failed to have its full effect.

在长长的夏日黄昏,四位朋友有时一起去野林散步。野林现在已被他们整治得服服帖帖了。他们高兴地看到,野林居民们怎样恭恭敬敬向他们问好,黄鼠狼妈妈们怎样教导她们的小崽子,把小家伙们带到洞口,指着四只动物说:“瞧,娃娃!那位是伟大的蟾蜍先生!他旁边是英勇的河鼠,一位无畏的战士。那一位,是著名的鼹鼠先生,你们的父亲常说起的!”要是娃娃们使性子,不听话,妈妈们就吓唬说,要是他们再闹,再烦人,可怕的大灰獾就会把他们抓走。其实,这是对獾的莫大诬蔑,因为獾虽不大喜欢同人交往,却挺喜欢孩子的。不过,黄鼠狼妈妈这样说,总是很奏效的。