A Tale of Two Cities  双城记

There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, onthe throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and aqueen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countriesit was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves ofloaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

英格兰宝座上有一个大下巴的国王和一个面貌平庸的王后;法兰西宝座上有一个大下巴的国王和一个面貌姣好的王后。对两国支配着国家全部财富的老爷来说,国家大局足以万岁千秋乃是比水晶还清楚的事。

It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred andseventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at thatfavoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attainedher five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic privatein the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcingthat arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London andWestminster. Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozenof years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of thisvery year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rappedout theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had latelycome to the English Crown and People, from a congress of Britishsubjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved moreimportant to the human race than any communications yet receivedthrough any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.

那是耶稣纪元一干七百七十五年。灵魂启示在那个受到欢迎的时期跟现在一样在英格兰风行一时。骚斯柯特太太刚满了她幸福的二十五岁,王室卫队一个先知的士兵已宣布这位太太早已作好安排,要使伦敦城和西敏寺陆沉,从而为她崇高形象的出现开辟道路。即使雄鸡巷的幽灵在咄咄逼人地发出它的预言之后销声匿迹整整十二年,去年的精灵们咄咄逼人发出的预言仍跟她差不多,只是少了几分超自然的独创性而已。前不久英国国王和英国百姓才得到一些人世间的消息。那是从远在美洲的英国臣民的国会传来的。说来奇怪,这些信息对于人类的影响竟然比雄鸡巷魔鬼的子孙们的预言还要巨大。

France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual thanher sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothnessdown hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance ofher Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with suchhumane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off,his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, becausehe had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty processionof monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fiftyor sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods ofFrance and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer wasput to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and besawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sackand a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that inthe rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent toParis, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rudecarts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, androosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already setapart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman andthat Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently and no oneheard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather,forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was tobe atheistical and traitorous.

法兰西的灵异事物大体不如她那以盾和三叉戟为标志的姐妹那么受宠。法兰西正在一个劲儿地往坡下滑,印制着钞票,使用着钞票。除此之外她也在教士们的指引下建立些仁慈的功勋,寻求点乐趣。比如判决一个青年斩去双手,用钳子拔掉舌头,然后活活烧死,因为他在一群和尚的肮脏仪仗队从五六十码之外他看得见的地方经过时,竟然没有跪倒在雨地里向它致敬。而在那人被处死时,生长在法兰西和挪威森林里的某些树木很可能已被“命运”这个樵夫看中,要砍倒它们,锯成木板,做成一种在历史上以恐怖著名的可以移动的架子,其中包含了一个口袋和一把铡刀。而在同一天,巴黎近郊板结的土地上某些农户的简陋的小披屋里也很可能有一些大车在那儿躲避风雨。那些车很粗糙,溅满了郊野的泥浆,猪群在它旁边嗅着,家禽在它上面栖息。这东西也极有可能已被“死亡”这个农民看中,要在革命时给它派上死囚囚车的用场。可是那“樵夫”和“农民”尽管忙个不停,却总是默不作声,蹑手蹑脚,不让人听见。因此若是有人猜想到他们已在行动,反倒会被看作是无神论和大逆不道。

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protectionto justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, andhighway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night;families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town withoutremoving their furniture to upholsterers' warehouses for security; thehighwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, beingrecognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped inhis character of "the Captain," gallantly shot him through the headand rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guardshot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, "inconsequence of the failure of his ammunition:" after which the mailwas robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor ofLondon, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by onehighwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all hisretinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with theirturkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them,loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamondcrosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms;musketeers went into St. Giles's, to search for contraband goods,and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fir on themob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of thecommon way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and everworse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing uplong rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker onSaturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in thehand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door ofWestminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer,and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boyof sixpence.

英格兰几乎没有秩序和保障,难以为民族自夸提供佐证。武装歹徒胆大包天的破门抢劫和拦路翦径在京畿重地每天晚上出现。有公开的警告发表:各家各户,凡要离城外出,务须把家具什物存入家具店的仓库,以保安全。黑暗中的强盗却是大白天的城市商人。他若是被他以“老大”的身份抢劫的同行认了出来,遭到挑战,便潇洒地射穿对方的脑袋,然后扬长而去。七个强盗抢劫邮车,被押车卫士击毙了三个,卫士自己也不免“因为弹尽援绝”被那四个强盗杀死,然后邮件便被从从容容地弄走。伦敦市的市长大人,一个神气十足的大员,在特恩安森林被一个翦径的强徒喝住,只好乖乖地站住不动。那强盗竟当着众随员的面把那个显赫人物掳了个精光。伦敦监狱的囚犯跟监狱看守大打出手;法律的最高权威对着囚犯开枪,大口径短枪枪膛里填进了一排又一排的子弹和铁砂。小偷在法庭的客厅里扯下了贵族大人脖子上的钻石十字架。火枪手闯进圣.嘉尔斯教堂去检查私货,暴民们却对火枪手开枪。火枪手也对暴民还击。此类事件大家早已习以为常,见惯不惊。在这样的情况之下刽子手不免手忙脚乱。这种人无用胜于有用,却总是应接不暇。他们有时把各色各样的罪犯一大排一大排地挂起来。有时星期二抓住的强盗,星期六就绞死;有时就在新门监狱把囚犯成打成打地用火刑烧死;有时又在西敏寺大厅门前焚烧小册子。今天处决一个穷凶极恶的杀人犯,明天杀死一个只抢了农家孩子六便士的可怜的小偷。

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in andclose upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred andseventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmerworked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two ofthe plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried theirdivine rights with a high hand. Thus did the year one thousand sevenhundred and seventy-five conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads ofsmall creatures- the creatures of this chronicle among the rest- alongthe roads that lay before them.

诸如此类的现象,还加上一千桩类似的事件,就像这样在可爱的古老的一千七百七十五年相继发生,层出不穷。在这些事件包围之中,“樵夫”和“农民”仍然悄悄地干着活,而那两位大下巴和另外两张平常的和姣好的面孔却都威风凛凛,专横地运用着他们神授的君权。一干七百七十五年就是像这样表现出了它的伟大,也把成干上万的小人物带上了他们前面的路--我们这部历史中的几位也在其中。