Of Human Bondage  人性的枷锁

‘Of course, poor old Cronshaw will never do any good,’ they said. ‘He’s quite hopeless.’

  "不用说,可怜的老克朗肖再也成不了气候啦,"他们说,"这老头已无可救药。"

They prided themselves on being alone in appreciating his genius; and though, with the contempt of youth for the follies of middle-age, they patronised him among themselves, they did not fail to look upon it as a feather in their caps if he had chosen a time when only one was there to be particularly wonderful. Cronshaw never came to Gravier’s. For the last four years he had lived in squalid conditions with a woman whom only Lawson had once seen, in a tiny apartment on the sixth floor of one of the most dilapidated houses on the Quai des Grands Augustins: Lawson described with gusto the filth, the untidiness, the litter.

  事实上,也只有他们这个圈子里的几个人欣赏他的天才,而他们自己颇以此为骄傲。出于青年人对干傻事的中年人所特有的那种轻蔑之情,他们在背后议论到他的时候,免不了要摆出一副纤尊降贵的架势。不过他们认为,此公郁郁不得志,实在是生不逢时,如今这个时代只允许一雄浊步群芳嘛,而他们能结识这样一位人杰,毕竟脸上很有几分光彩。克朗肖从不到格雷维亚餐馆来。近四年来,他一直和一个女人同居,只有劳森曾见过那女人一面。他们住在大奥古斯丁街的一幢破旧不堪的公寓里,靠六楼上的一个小套间栖身,境遇甚为糟糕。有一回,劳森津津有味地描绘了那屋里污秽凌乱、垃圾满地的情形:

‘And the stink nearly blew your head off.’

  "那股扑鼻的臭气,熏得你五脏六腑都要翻倒出来。"

‘Not at dinner, Lawson,’ expostulated one of the others.

  "吃饭的时候别谈这些,劳森,"有人劝阻说。

But he would not deny himself the pleasure of giving picturesque details of the odours which met his nostril. With a fierce delight in his own realism he described the woman who had opened the door for him. She was dark, small, and fat, quite young, with black hair that seemed always on the point of coming down. She wore a slatternly blouse and no corsets. With her red cheeks, large sensual mouth, and shining, lewd eyes, she reminded you of the Bohemienne in the Louvre by Franz Hals. She had a flaunting vulgarity which amused and yet horrified. A scrubby, unwashed baby was playing on the floor. It was known that the slut deceived Cronshaw with the most worthless ragamuffins of the Quarter, and it was a mystery to the ingenuous youths who absorbed his wisdom over a cafe table that Cronshaw with his keen intellect and his passion for beauty could ally himself to such a creature. But he seemed to revel in the coarseness of her language and would often report some phrase which reeked of the gutter. He referred to her ironically as la fille de mon concierge. Cronshaw was very poor. He earned a bare subsistence by writing on the exhibitions of pictures for one or two English papers, and he did a certain amount of translating. He had been on the staff of an English paper in Paris, but had been dismissed for drunkenness; he still however did odd jobs for it, describing sales at the Hotel Drouot or the revues at music-halls. The life of Paris had got into his bones, and he would not change it, notwithstanding its squalor, drudgery, and hardship, for any other in the world. He remained there all through the year, even in summer when everyone he knew was away, and felt himself only at ease within a mile of the Boulevard St. Michel. But the curious thing was that he had never learnt to speak French passably, and he kept in his shabby clothes bought at La Belle Jardiniere an ineradicably English appearance.

  可劳森正在兴头上,哪肯住嘴,硬是把那些曾钻进他鼻孔的气味绘声绘色描述了一番。他还惟妙惟肖地讲了那个给他开门的女人的模样,讲的的时候,那股得意劲儿就别提了。她肤色黝黑,身材矮小而丰腴,年纪很轻。满头乌黑的云鬓像是随时都会蓬松开来。她贴身裹了件邋遢的短上衣,连紧身胸衣也没穿。那张红扑扑的脸庞,那张富有性感的阔口,还有那对流光泛彩、勾魂摄魄的双眸,使人不禁想起那帧陈列在卢佛尔宫内的弗兰兹·海尔斯的杰作《波希米亚女子》。她浑身上下透出一股招蜂引蝶的浪劲儿,既让人觉得有趣,又令人不胜骇然。一个蓬头垢面的婴儿正趴在地上玩。那个荡妇背着克朗肖,同拉丁区一些不三不四的野小子勾勾搭搭,已不成其为什么秘密。然而才智过人、爱美胜似性命的克朗肖竟然和这样一个宝贝货搅在一起,真叫那些常在咖啡馆餐桌旁汲取克朗肖的睿智敏慧的天真青年百思而不得其解。克朗肖自己呢,对她满口不登大雅之堂的粗俗言词倒似乎大加赞赏,还常常把一些不堪入耳的粗话转述给别人听。他调侃地称她La fille de mon concierge。克朗肖一贫如洗,就靠给一两家英文报纸撰写评论画展的文章勉强糊口,同时还搞点翻译。他过去当过巴黎某英文报纸的编辑,后来由于好酒贪杯而砸了饭碗,不过现在仍不时为这家报纸干点零活,报道特鲁沃饭店举行的大拍卖啊,或是介绍杂耍剧场上演的活报剧什么的。巴黎的生活已经渗入他的骨髓之中;尽管他在这儿尝尽了贫困、劳累和艰苦,但他宁肯舍弃世间的一切,也不愿抛开这儿的生活。他一年到头都厮守在巴黎,即使在酷暑盛夏,他的朋友熟人全都离开巴黎消夏去了,他也不走:只要离开圣米歇尔大街一英里,他就浑身感到不自在。可说来也是桩怪事,他至今连句把像样的法国话也不会说。他穿着从"漂亮的园丁"商场买来的破旧衣衫,始终是一副英国佬的气派,大概至死也改不了啦。

He was a man who would have made a success of life a century and a half ago when conversation was a passport to good company and inebriety no bar.

  这个人确实是生不逢辰,要是在一个半世纪之前,那他一定会混得很得志。因为那时候单凭能说会道这一条,就能出入于社交界,结交名流,觥筹交错地喝个大醉酩酊。

‘I ought to have lived in the eighteen hundreds,’ he said himself. ‘What I want is a patron. I should have published my poems by subscription and dedicated them to a nobleman. I long to compose rhymed couplets upon the poodle of a countess. My soul yearns for the love of chamber-maids and the conversation of bishops.’

  "我这个人啊,本该生在十九世纪的,"他对自己这么说道。"我缺少有钱有势的保护人。否则,我可以靠他的捐赠出版我的诗集,把它奉献给某个达官贵人。我多么希望能为某伯爵夫人的狮子狗写几行押韵的对句。我整个心灵都在渴望能和贵人的侍女谈情说爱,同主教大人们谈天说地。"

He quoted the romantic Rolla,

  说着,他随口援引了浪漫诗人罗拉的诗句:

‘Je suis venu trop tard dans un monde trop vieux.’

  "Je suis venu trop tard dans un monde trop vleux."

He liked new faces, and he took a fancy to Philip, who seemed to achieve the difficult feat of talking just enough to suggest conversation and not too much to prevent monologue. Philip was captivated. He did not realise that little that Cronshaw said was new. His personality in conversation had a curious power. He had a beautiful and a sonorous voice, and a manner of putting things which was irresistible to youth. All he said seemed to excite thought, and often on the way home Lawson and Philip would walk to and from one another’s hotels, discussing some point which a chance word of Cronshaw had suggested. It was disconcerting to Philip, who had a youthful eagerness for results, that Cronshaw’s poetry hardly came up to expectation. It had never been published in a volume, but most of it had appeared in periodicals; and after a good deal of persuasion Cronshaw brought down a bundle of pages torn out of The Yellow Book, The Saturday Review, and other journals, on each of which was a poem. Philip was taken aback to find that most of them reminded him either of Henley or of Swinburne. It needed the splendour of Cronshaw’s delivery to make them personal. He expressed his disappointment to Lawson, who carelessly repeated his words; and next time Philip went to the Closerie des Lilas the poet turned to him with his sleek smile:

  他喜欢看到一些陌生的面孔。他对菲利普颇有好感,因为菲利普在同人交谈时似乎具有这样一种不可多得的本事:言语不多又不少,既能引出谈论的话题,又不会影响对方侃侃而谈。菲利普被克朗肖迷住了,殊不知克朗肖说的大多是老调重弹,很少有什么新奇之点。他的谈吐个性鲜明,自有一股奇异的力量。他嗓音洪亮悦耳,面阐明事理的方式,又足以使青年人拜倒折服。他的一字一句,似乎都显得那么发人深思,难怪劳森和菲利普在归途中,往往为了讨论克朗肖随口提出的某个观点,而在各自寄宿的旅馆之间流连往返。菲利普身为年轻人,凡事都要看其结果如何,而克朗肖的诗作却有负于众望,这不免使他有点惶惑不解。克朗肖的诗作从未出过集子,大多发表在杂志上。后来菲利普磨了不少嘴皮子,他总算带来了一圈纸页,是从《黄皮书》、《星期六评论》以及其他一些杂志上撕下来的,每页上都刊登着他的一首诗。菲利普发现其中大多数诗作都使他联想起亨莱或史文朋的作品,不由得吓了一跳。克朗肖能把他人之作窜改成自己的诗章,倒也需要有一支生花妙笔呢。菲利普在劳森面前谈到了自己对克朗肖的失望,谁知劳森却把这些话随随便便地捅了出去,待到菲利普下回来到丁香园时,诗人圆滑地冲他一笑:

‘I hear you don’t think much of my verses.’

  "听说你对我的诗作评价不高。"

Philip was embarrassed.

  菲利普窘困难当。

‘I don’t know about that,’ he answered. ‘I enjoyed reading them very much.’

  "没的事,"他回答说,"我非常爱读阁下的大作。"

‘Do not attempt to spare my feelings,’ returned Cronshaw, with a wave of his fat hand. ‘I do not attach any exaggerated importance to my poetical works. Life is there to be lived rather than to be written about. My aim is to search out the manifold experience that it offers, wringing from each moment what of emotion it presents. I look upon my writing as a graceful accomplishment which does not absorb but rather adds pleasure to existence. And as for posterity—damn posterity.’

  "何必要顾及我的面子呢,"他将自己的胖乎一挥,接口说,"其实我自己也不怎么过分看重自己的诗作。生活的价值在于它本身,而不在于如何描写它。我的目标是要探索生活所提供的多方面经验,从生活的瞬息中捕捉它所激发的感情涟漪。我把自己的写作看成是一种幽雅的才艺,是用它来增添而不是减少现实生活的乐趣。至于后世如何评说-一让他们见鬼去吧!"

Philip smiled, for it leaped to one’s eyes that the artist in life had produced no more than a wretched daub. Cronshaw looked at him meditatively and filled his glass. He sent the waiter for a packet of cigarettes.

  菲利普含笑不语,因为怎么也瞒不过明眼人:眼前的这位诗人,喜欢在纸上涂鸦,从未写出过什么像样的作品。克朗肖若有所思地打量了菲利普一眼,给自己的杯子里斟满酒。他打发侍者去买盒纸烟。

‘You are amused because I talk in this fashion and you know that I am poor and live in an attic with a vulgar trollop who deceives me with hair-dressers and garcons de cafe; I translate wretched books for the British public, and write articles upon contemptible pictures which deserve not even to be abused. But pray tell me what is the meaning of life?’

  "你听我这么议论,一定觉得好笑。你知道我是个穷措大,同一个俗不可耐的骚婆娘住在公寓的顶楼上,那女人背着我偷野汉子,同理发师和garc ons de cafe勾勾搭搭。我为英国读者翻译不登大雅之堂的书籍,替一些不值一文的画儿写评论文章,而实际上对这些画儿,就连骂几句还嫌弄脏自己的嘴呢。不过,请你告诉我,生活的真谛究竟何在?"

‘I say, that’s rather a difficult question. Won’t you give the answer yourself?’

  "哦,这倒是个挺难回答的问题!还是请你自己来回答吧。"

‘No, because it’s worthless unless you yourself discover it. But what do you suppose you are in the world for?’

  "不,答案除非由你自己找出来,否则便一无价值。请问,你活在世上究竟为何来着?"

Philip had never asked himself, and he thought for a moment before replying.

  菲利普从来没问过自己这样的问题,他沉吟了半晌,然后答道:

‘Oh, I don’t know: I suppose to do one’s duty, and make the best possible use of one’s faculties, and avoid hurting other people.’

  "哎,我说不上来:我想是为了聊尽自己的责任,尽量发挥自己的才能,同时还要避免去伤害他人。"

‘In short, to do unto others as you would they should do unto you?’

  "简而言之,就是人以德待吾,吾亦以德待人,对吗?"

‘I suppose so.’

  "我想可以这么说吧。"

‘Christianity.’

  "基督徒的品性。"

‘No, it isn’t,’ said Philip indignantly. ‘It has nothing to do with Christianity. It’s just abstract morality.’

  "才不是呢,"菲利普愤愤然说,"这同基督徒的品性风马牛不相及,纯粹是抽象的道德准则。"

‘But there’s no such thing as abstract morality.’

  "但是,世界上根本不存在'抽象的道德准则'这种东西!"

‘In that case, supposing under the influence of liquor you left your purse behind when you leave here and I picked it up, why do you imagine that I should return it to you? It’s not the fear of the police.’

  "要真是这样,那么,假设你离开这儿时,因为喝醉了酒而把钱包丢下了,我顺手捡了起来,请问你凭什么认为我应该把钱全还给你呢?总不至于是害怕警察吧。""

‘It’s the dread of hell if you sin and the hope of Heaven if you are virtuous.’

  "那是因为你怕造了孽会下地狱,也因为你想积点阴德好升天堂。"

‘But I believe in neither.’

  "'可我既不信有地狱,也不信有天堂。'"

‘That may be. Neither did Kant when he devised the Categorical Imperative. You have thrown aside a creed, but you have preserved the ethic which was based upon it. To all intents you are a Christian still, and if there is a God in Heaven you will undoubtedly receive your reward. The Almighty can hardly be such a fool as the churches make out. If you keep His laws I don’t think He can care a packet of pins whether you believe in Him or not.’

  "那倒也可能。康德在构思'绝对命令'之说时,也是啥都不信的。你抛弃了信条,但仍保存了以信条为基础的伦理观。你骨于里还是个基督教徒;所以如果天堂里真有上帝,你肯定会得到报偿的。上帝不至于会像教会宣传的那般愚蠢。他只要求你遵守他的法规,至于你究竟信他还是不信,我想上帝才一点不在乎呢。"

‘But if I left my purse behind you would certainly return it to me,’ said Philip.

  "不过、要是我忘了拿钱包,你也一定会完壁奉还的吧,"菲利普说。

‘Not from motives of abstract morality, but only from fear of the police.’

  "这可不是出于抽象道德方面的动机,而仅仅是因为我害怕警察。"

‘It’s a thousand to one that the police would never find out.’

  "警察绝无可能查明此事。"

‘My ancestors have lived in a civilised state so long that the fear of the police has eaten into my bones. The daughter of my concierge would not hesitate for a moment. You answer that she belongs to the criminal classes; not at all, she is merely devoid of vulgar prejudice.’

  "我的祖先长期居住在文明之邦,所以对警察的畏惧已经深深地渗透进我的骨髓之中。而我的那位concierge就绝不会有片刻的犹豫。你也许要说,她是归在罪犯那一类里的。绝不是,她不过是已摆脱了世俗的偏见而已。"

‘But then that does away with honour and virtue and goodness and decency and everything,’ said Philip.

  "但同时也就抛弃了名誉、德行、良知、体面--一抛弃了一切,"菲利普说。

‘Have you ever committed a sin?’

  "你过去作过孽没有?"

‘I don’t know, I suppose so,’ answered Philip.

  "我不知道,我想大概作过吧。"

‘You speak with the lips of a dissenting minister. I have never committed a sin.’

  "瞧你说话的腔调,就像个非国教派的牧师似的。我可从来未作过什么孽。"

Cronshaw in his shabby great-coat, with the collar turned up, and his hat well down on his head, with his red fat face and his little gleaming eyes, looked extraordinarily comic; but Philip was too much in earnest to laugh.

  克朗肖裹着件破大衣,衣领子朝上翻起,帽檐压得很低,红光满面的胖圆脸上,一对小眼睛在忽闪忽闪,这副模样儿着实滑稽,只是因为菲利普大当真了,竟至一点儿不觉着好笑。

‘Have you never done anything you regret?’

  "你从未干过使自己感到遗憾的事吗?"

‘How can I regret when what I did was inevitable?’ asked Cronshaw in return.

  "既然我所做的一切都是不可避免的,我哪会有遗憾之感呢?"克朗肖反诘道。

‘But that’s fatalism.’

  "这可是宿命论的调子。"

‘The illusion which man has that his will is free is so deeply rooted that I am ready to accept it. I act as though I were a free agent. But when an action is performed it is clear that all the forces of the universe from all eternity conspired to cause it, and nothing I could do could have prevented it. It was inevitable. If it was good I can claim no merit; if it was bad I can accept no censure.’

  "人们总抱有一种幻觉,以为自己的意志是自由的,而且这种幻觉如此根深蒂固,以至连我也乐意接受它了。当我采取这种或那种行动的时候,总以为自己是个有自由意志的作俑者。其实事成之后就很清楚:我所采取的行动,完全是各种各样的永恒不灭的宇宙力量共同作用的结果,我个人想防上也防止不了。它是不可避免的。所以,即使干了好事,我也不想去邀功请赏,而倘若干了环事,我也绝不引咎自责。"

‘My brain reels,’ said Philip.

  "我有点头晕了。"

‘Have some whiskey,’ returned Cronshaw, passing over the bottle. ‘There’s nothing like it for clearing the head. You must expect to be thick-witted if you insist upon drinking beer.’

  "来点威士忌吧,"克朗肖接口说,随手把酒瓶递给菲利普。"要想清醒清醒脑子,再没比喝这玩意儿更灵的了。要是净喝啤酒,脑子不生锈才怪呢。"

Philip shook his head, and Cronshaw proceeded:

  菲利普摇摇头,克朗肖又接着往下说:

‘You’re not a bad fellow, but you won’t drink. Sobriety disturbs conversation. But when I speak of good and bad...’ Philip saw he was taking up the thread of his discourse, ‘I speak conventionally. I attach no meaning to those words. I refuse to make a hierarchy of human actions and ascribe worthiness to some and ill-repute to others. The terms vice and virtue have no signification for me. I do not confer praise or blame: I accept. I am the measure of all things. I am the centre of the world.’

  "你是个挺不错的小伙子,可惜竞不会喝酒。要知道,神志清醒反倒有碍于你我之间的交谈。不过我所说的好事和环事,"菲利普明白他又接上了刚才的话头,"完全是套用传统的说法,并没有赋予什么特定的涵义。对我来说,'恶'与'善'这两个字毫无意义。对任何行为,我既不称许道好,也不非难指责,而是一古脑儿兜受下来。"

‘But there are one or two other people in the world,’ objected Philip.

  "在这世界上,总还有一两个其他人吧,"菲利普顶了他一句。

‘I speak only for myself. I know them only as they limit my activities. Round each of them too the world turns, and each one for himself is the centre of the universe. My right over them extends only as far as my power. What I can do is the only limit of what I may do. Because we are gregarious we live in society, and society holds together by means of force, force of arms (that is the policeman) and force of public opinion (that is Mrs. Grundy). You have society on one hand and the individual on the other: each is an organism striving for self-preservation. It is might against might. I stand alone, bound to accept society and not unwilling, since in return for the taxes I pay it protects me, a weakling, against the tyranny of another stronger than I am; but I submit to its laws because I must; I do not acknowledge their justice: I do not know justice, I only know power. And when I have paid for the policeman who protects me and, if I live in a country where conscription is in force, served in the army which guards my house and land from the invader, I am quits with society: for the rest I counter its might with my wiliness. It makes laws for its self-preservation, and if I break them it imprisons or kills me: it has the might to do so and therefore the right. If I break the laws I will accept the vengeance of the state, but I will not regard it as punishment nor shall I feel myself convicted of wrong-doing. Society tempts me to its service by honours and riches and the good opinion of my fellows; but I am indifferent to their good opinion, I despise honours and I can do very well without riches.’

  "我只替自己说话。只有当我的活动受到别人限制时,我才感觉到他们的存在。就他们来说,每个人的周围,也各有一个世界在不停转动着。各人就其自身来说,也都是宇宙的中心。我个人的能力大小,划定了我对世人的权限范围。只要是在力所能及的范围内,我尽可以为所欲为。我们爱群居交际,所以才生活在社会之中,而社会是靠力,也就是靠武力(即警察)和舆论力量(即格朗迪太太)来维系的。于是你面前就出现了以社会为一方,而以个人为另一方的阵势:双方都是致力于自我保存的有机体。彼此进行着力的较量。我孑然一身,只得接受社会现实。不过也谈不上过分勉强,因为我作为一个弱者,纳了税,就可换得社会的保护,免受强者的欺凌。不过我是迫于无奈才屈服于它的法律的。我不承认法律的正义性:我不懂得何谓正义,只知什么是权力。譬如说,我生活在一个实施征兵制的国家里,我为取得警察的保护而纳了税,还在军队里服过兵役(这个军队使我的房屋田产免受侵犯),这样我就不再欠社会什么了。S接下来,我就凭借自己的老谋深算来同社会的力量巧妙周旋。社会为了B保全自身而制定了法律,如果我犯了法,社会就会把我投入监狱,甚至将我处死。它有力量这么做,所以也就拥有了这份权利。假如我犯了法,我甘愿接受国家的报复,但是我决不会把这看作是对我的惩罚,也不会觉得自己真的犯了什么罪。社会用名誉、财富以及同胞们的褒奖作钓饵,想诱使我为它效劳,可同胞们的褒奖,我不希罕,名誉,我也不放在眼里。我虽无万贯家财,日子还不照样混得挺好。",

‘But if everyone thought like you things would go to pieces at once.’

  "如果人人都像你这么想,社会岂不立即分崩离析了!"

‘I have nothing to do with others, I am only concerned with myself. I take advantage of the fact that the majority of mankind are led by certain rewards to do things which directly or indirectly tend to my convenience.’

  "别人和我有何相干?我只关心我自己。反正人类中的大多数都是为了捞名获利才干事的,而他们干的事总会直接或间接地给我带来方便,我乐得坐享其成呢。"

‘It seems to me an awfully selfish way of looking at things,’ said Philip.

  "我觉得你这么看问题,未免太自私了吧。"

‘But are you under the impression that men ever do anything except for selfish reasons?’

  "难道你以为世人做事竟有不出于利己动机的?"

‘Yes.’

  "是的。"

‘It is impossible that they should. You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognise the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand unselfishness from others, which is a preposterous claim that they should sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life—their pleasure.’

  "我看不可能有。等你年事稍长,就会发现,要使世界成为一个尚可容忍的生活场所,首先得承认人类的自私是不可避免的。"

‘No, no, no!’ cried Philip.

  "要果真是这样,"菲利普嚷道,"那么,生活还有什么意思呢?去掉了天职,去掉了善与美,我们又何必到这世界上来呢?"

Cronshaw chuckled.

  "灿烂的东方给我们提供答案来了,"克朗肖微笑着说。

‘You rear like a frightened colt, because I use a word to which your Christianity ascribes a deprecatory meaning. You have a hierarchy of values; pleasure is at the bottom of the ladder, and you speak with a little thrill of self-satisfaction, of duty, charity, and truthfulness. You think pleasure is only of the senses; the wretched slaves who manufactured your morality despised a satisfaction which they had small means of enjoying. You would not be so frightened if I had spoken of happiness instead of pleasure: it sounds less shocking, and your mind wanders from the sty of Epicurus to his garden. But I will speak of pleasure, for I see that men aim at that, and I do not know that they aim at happiness. It is pleasure that lurks in the practice of every one of your virtues. Man performs actions because they are good for him, and when they are good for other people as well they are thought virtuous: if he finds pleasure in giving alms he is charitable; if he finds pleasure in helping others he is benevolent; if he finds pleasure in working for society he is public-spirited; but it is for your private pleasure that you give twopence to a beggar as much as it is for my private pleasure that I drink another whiskey and soda. I, less of a humbug than you, neither applaud myself for my pleasure nor demand your admiration.’

  克朗肖抬手朝店堂口一指:店门开了,随着一股飕飕冷风,进来了两个流动小贩。他们是地中海东岸一带的阿拉伯人,各人膀子上都挽着一卷毛毯,是来兜售廉价地毯的。时值星期六晚上,咖啡馆里座无虚席,只见这两个小贩在一张张餐桌间穿行而过。店堂里烟雾腾腾,空气很浑浊,还夹着酒客身上散发出的臭气。他们的来到,似乎给店堂里平添了一股神秘气氛。他俩身上倒是欧洲人的打扮,又旧又薄的大衣,绒毛全磨光了,可各人头上却戴着顶土耳其无檐毡帽。面孔冻得发青。一个是中年人,蓄着黑胡子;另一个是年约十八岁的小伙子,满脸大麻子,还瞎了一只眼。他们打克朗肖和菲利普身边走过。

‘But have you never known people do things they didn’t want to instead of things they did?’

  "伟哉,真主!先知穆罕默德是真主的代言人,"克朗肖声情并茂地说。

‘No. You put your question foolishly. What you mean is that people accept an immediate pain rather than an immediate pleasure. The objection is as foolish as your manner of putting it. It is clear that men accept an immediate pain rather than an immediate pleasure, but only because they expect a greater pleasure in the future. Often the pleasure is illusory, but their error in calculation is no refutation of the rule. You are puzzled because you cannot get over the idea that pleasures are only of the senses; but, child, a man who dies for his country dies because he likes it as surely as a man eats pickled cabbage because he likes it. It is a law of creation. If it were possible for men to prefer pain to pleasure the human race would have long since become extinct.’

  中年人走在前面,脸上挂着谄媚的微笑,那模样就像只习惯于挨揍的杂种狗。只见他朝门口匕斜了一眼,鬼鬼祟祟而又手脚麻利地亮出一张春宫画。

‘But if all that is true,’ cried Philip, ‘what is the use of anything? If you take away duty and goodness and beauty why are we brought into the world?’

  "你是亚历山大的商人马萨埃德·迪恩?要不,你是从遥远的巴格达捎来这些货色的?哟,我的大叔,瞧那边的独眼龙,我看那小伙子真有点像谢赫拉查德给她主了讲的三国王故事里的一个国王呢,是吗?"

‘Here comes the gorgeous East to suggest an answer,’ smiled Cronshaw.

  商贩尽管一句也没听懂克朗肖的话,却笑得越发巴结,他像变魔术似地拿出一只檀香木盒。

He pointed to two persons who at that moment opened the door of the cafe, and, with a blast of cold air, entered. They were Levantines, itinerant vendors of cheap rugs, and each bore on his arm a bundle. It was Sunday evening, and the cafe was very full. They passed among the tables, and in that atmosphere heavy and discoloured with tobacco smoke, rank with humanity, they seemed to bring an air of mystery. They were clad in European, shabby clothes, their thin great-coats were threadbare, but each wore a tarbouch. Their faces were gray with cold. One was of middle age, with a black beard, but the other was a youth of eighteen, with a face deeply scarred by smallpox and with one eye only. They passed by Cronshaw and Philip.

  "不,还是给我们看看东方织机的名贵织品吧,"克朗肖说。我想借此说明个道理,给我的故事添加几分趣味。"

‘Allah is great, and Mahomet is his prophet,’ said Cronshaw impressively.

  "东方人展开一幅红黄相间的台布,上面的图案粗俗丑陋,滑稽可笑。

The elder advanced with a cringing smile, like a mongrel used to blows. With a sidelong glance at the door and a quick surreptitious movement he showed a pornographic picture.

  "三十五个法郎,"他说。

‘Are you Masr-ed-Deen, the merchant of Alexandria, or is it from far Bagdad that you bring your goods, O, my uncle; and yonder one-eyed youth, do I see in him one of the three kings of whom Scheherazade told stories to her lord?’

  "哟,大叔,这块料子既不是出自撒马尔罕的织匠之手,也不是布哈拉染坊上的色。"

The pedlar’s smile grew more ingratiating, though he understood no word of what Cronshaw said, and like a conjurer he produced a sandalwood box.

  "二十五个法郎,"商贩堆着一脸谄媚的微笑。

‘Nay, show us the priceless web of Eastern looms,’ quoth Cronshaw. ‘For I would point a moral and adorn a tale.’

  "谁知道是哪个鬼地方的货色,说不定还是我老家怕明翰的产品呢。"

The Levantine unfolded a table-cloth, red and yellow, vulgar, hideous, and grotesque.

  "十五个法郎,"蓄着黑胡子的贩子摇尾乞怜道。

‘Thirty-five francs,’ he said.

  "快给我走吧,我的老弟,"克朗肖说,"但愿野驴子到你姥姥的坟上撒泡尿才好呢!"

‘O, my uncle, this cloth knew not the weavers of Samarkand, and those colours were never made in the vats of Bokhara.’

  东方人敛起脸上的笑容,夹着他的货物不动声色地朝另一张餐桌走去。

‘Twenty-five francs,’ smiled the pedlar obsequiously.

  "你去过克鲁尼博物馆吗?在那儿你可以看到色调典雅的波斯地毯,其图案之绚丽多彩,真令人惊羡不止,从中你可以窥见到讳莫如深的东方秘密,感受到东方的声色之美,看到哈菲兹的玫瑰和莪默的酒杯。其实,到时候你看到的还远不止这些。刚才你不是问人生的真谛何在?去瞧瞧那些波斯地毯吧,说不定哪天你自己会找到答案的。

‘Ultima Thule was the place of its manufacture, even Birmingham the place of my birth.’

  "你是在故弄玄虚呢,"菲利普说。

‘Fifteen francs,’ cringed the bearded man.

  "我是喝醉了,"克朗肖回答说。

‘Get thee gone, fellow,’ said Cronshaw. ‘May wild asses defile the grave of thy maternal grandmother.’

 

Imperturbably, but smiling no more, the Levantine passed with his wares to another table. Cronshaw turned to Philip.

‘Have you ever been to the Cluny, the museum? There you will see Persian carpets of the most exquisite hue and of a pattern the beautiful intricacy of which delights and amazes the eye. In them you will see the mystery and the sensual beauty of the East, the roses of Hafiz and the wine-cup of Omar; but presently you will see more. You were asking just now what was the meaning of life. Go and look at those Persian carpets, and one of these days the answer will come to you.’

‘You are cryptic,’ said Philip.

‘I am drunk,’ answered Cronshaw.