Of Human Bondage  人性的枷锁

Dear Philip,

亲爱的菲利普:

Cronshaw is in London and would be glad to see you. He is living at 43 Hyde Street, Soho. I don’t know where it is, but I daresay you will be able to find out. Be a brick and look after him a bit. He is very down on his luck. He will tell you what he is doing. Things are going on here very much as usual. Nothing seems to have changed since you were here. Clutton is back, but he has become quite impossible. He has quarrelled with everybody. As far as I can make out he hasn’t got a cent, he lives in a little studio right away beyond the Jardin des Plantes, but he won’t let anybody see his work. He doesn’t show anywhere, so one doesn’t know what he is doing. He may be a genius, but on the other hand he may be off his head. By the way, I ran against Flanagan the other day. He was showing Mrs. Flanagan round the Quarter. He has chucked art and is now in popper’s business. He seems to be rolling. Mrs. Flanagan is very pretty and I’m trying to work a portrait. How much would you ask if you were me? I don’t want to frighten them, and then on the other hand I don’t want to be such an ass as to ask L150 if they’re quite willing to give L300.

  克朗肖眼下正在伦敦,很想同你见见面。他的地址是:索霍区海德街四十三号。这条街究竟在伦敦哪一角,我也说不清楚,不过你肯定能找到的。行行好吧,去照顾照顾他。他很不走运。至于他眼下在于些什么,到时他会告诉你的。这儿的情况同往日无异,你走之后似乎没什么变化。克拉顿已经回到巴黎,但是他变得叫人无法忍受。他跟每个人都闹翻了。据我所知,他连一个子儿也没有搞到,眼下就住在离植物园不远的一间小小的画室里,可他不让任何人看他的作品。他整天不露面,因此谁也闹不清他在干些什么。他也许是个天才,但是就另一方面来说,他也可能神经错乱了。顺便告诉你件事:有一天我突然遇上了弗拉纳根。那时,他正领着弗拉纳根太太在拉丁区转悠呢。他早撒手不干画画,而改做制造爆玉米花机器的生意了,看上去手里还很有几个钱哩。弗拉纳根太太颇有几分姿色,我正在想法子给她画张肖像画。要是你是我的话,你会开多少价?我无意吓唬他们。不过,要是他们俩心甘情愿地出我三百镑,我还不想去当那个笨伯,只收一百五十镑呢。

Yours ever, Frederick Lawson.

   永远属于你的

Philip wrote to Cronshaw and received in reply the following letter. It was written on a half-sheet of common note-paper, and the flimsy envelope was dirtier than was justified by its passage through the post.

   弗雷德里克·劳森

Dear Carey,

  菲利普随即写了封信给克朗肖,翌日即收到了回音。

Of course I remember you very well. I have an idea that I had some part in rescuing you from the Slough of Despond in which myself am hopelessly immersed. I shall be glad to see you. I am a stranger in a strange city and I am buffeted by the philistines. It will be pleasant to talk of Paris. I do not ask you to come and see me, since my lodging is not of a magnificence fit for the reception of an eminent member of Monsieur Purgon’s profession, but you will find me eating modestly any evening between seven and eight at a restaurant yclept Au Bon Plaisir in Dean Street.

亲爱的凯里:

Your sincere J. Cronshaw.

  我当然不会忘记你的。曾记否,当年我助过你一臂之力,将你从"绝望的深渊"中拯救出来,而眼下我自己却无可挽回地堕入了"绝望的深渊"。能见到您我很高兴。我是个流落在一个陌生城市里的异乡客,深受市侩们的蹂躏。同您在一起谈谈昔日在巴黎的往事,倒是件令人愉快的事儿。我无意劳您的驾跑来看我,只因为我那一方斗室实在不够体面,不宜接待一位操珀根先生的职业的杰出人士。不过,我每天下午七至八时之间,都在迪恩街一家雅号为奥本普莱塞的餐馆里消夜,您这时候来准能找到我。

Philip went the day he received this letter. The restaurant, consisting of one small room, was of the poorest class, and Cronshaw seemed to be its only customer. He was sitting in the corner, well away from draughts, wearing the same shabby great-coat which Philip had never seen him without, with his old bowler on his head.

   您的忠诚的J·克朗肖

‘I eat here because I can be alone,’ he said. ‘They are not doing well; the only people who come are a few trollops and one or two waiters out of a job; they are giving up business, and the food is execrable. But the ruin of their fortunes is my advantage.’

  菲利普接到回信后,当天便赶去看望克朗肖。那家餐馆只有一间店堂,属于最低级的一类餐馆。看来,克朗肖是这儿绝无仅有的一位顾客。克朗肖远离风口,坐在角落里,身上还是穿着那件寒酸的厚大衣,菲利普从来没见他脱过,头上戴了一顶破旧的圆顶硬礼帽。

Cronshaw had before him a glass of absinthe. It was nearly three years since they had met, and Philip was shocked by the change in his appearance. He had been rather corpulent, but now he had a dried-up, yellow look: the skin of his neck was loose and winkled; his clothes hung about him as though they had been bought for someone else; and his collar, three or four sizes too large, added to the slatternliness of his appearance. His hands trembled continually. Philip remembered the handwriting which scrawled over the page with shapeless, haphazard letters. Cronshaw was evidently very ill.

  "我上这儿吃饭,是因为我可以一人独处,无人打扰,"克朗肖开腔说道。"这家饭馆生意不那么景气,来吃饭的只是些妓女和一些失业的侍者。店家也准备关门了,所以这儿的饭菜糟糕透了。不过,他们破产却对找有利。"

‘I eat little these days,’ he said. ‘I’m very sick in the morning. I’m just having some soup for my dinner, and then I shall have a bit of cheese.’

  克朗肖面前摆着一杯艾酒。他们俩已将近三年没碰面了,克朗肖容貌大变,菲利普见了不由得大吃一惊。克朗肖原先身子胖胖的,而眼下却显得干瘪,肤色焦黄;颈皮松弛,皱纹叠出;衣服飘挂在身上,像是给别人买的衣服似的,衣领要大上三四个尺码。所有这些,使他的外貌更显得邋遢。他双手不住地颤抖着。这时,菲利普想起了他的信笺上爬满了歪歪扭扭、杂乱无章的字母。很明显,克朗肖病得还不轻哩。

Philip’s glance unconsciously went to the absinthe, and Cronshaw, seeing it, gave him the quizzical look with which he reproved the admonitions of common sense.

  "这几天我吃得很少,"克朗肖又说。"我早晨病得很厉害。中饭也只是喝些汤,然后就吃一点儿奶酪。"

‘You have diagnosed my case, and you think it’s very wrong of me to drink absinthe.’

  菲利普的目光下意识地落到了那杯艾酒上,却被克朗肖瞧见了,他对菲利普投以嘲弄的一瞥,借此阻止菲利普作常识上的劝告。

‘You’ve evidently got cirrhosis of the liver,’ said Philip.

  "你已经诊断了我的病症,你认为我喝艾酒是个极大的错误。"

‘Evidently.’

  "你显然得的是肝硬化,"菲利普说。

He looked at Philip in the way which had formerly had the power of making him feel incredibly narrow. It seemed to point out that what he was thinking was distressingly obvious; and when you have agreed with the obvious what more is there to say? Philip changed the topic.

  "显然是的。"

‘When are you going back to Paris?’

  克朗肖盯视着菲利普,要是在过去,那目光足以使得菲利普难以忍受。那目光仿佛指出,他脑子里所考虑的问题虽令人苦恼,却是显而易见的;既然你对这显而易见的问题不持异议,那还有什么好说的呢?于是,菲利普换了话题。

‘I’m not going back to Paris. I’m going to die.’

  "你打算什么时候回巴黎去?"

The very naturalness with which he said this startled Philip. He thought of half a dozen things to say, but they seemed futile. He knew that Cronshaw was a dying man.

  "我不打算回巴黎了,我快要死了。"

‘Are you going to settle in London then?’ he asked lamely.

  他竟以一种极其自然的口气谈论自己的死亡,菲利普听后不觉为之愕然。一霎间,千言万语涌上了菲利普的心头,但这些话似乎都是毫无意义的空话。菲利普肚里雪亮,克朗肖确是个垂死的人了。

‘What is London to me? I am a fish out of water. I walk through the crowded streets, men jostle me, and I seem to walk in a dead city. I felt that I couldn’t die in Paris. I wanted to die among my own people. I don’t know what hidden instinct drew me back at the last.’

  "那么你打算在伦敦定居罗?"菲利普笨拙地问了一声。

Philip knew of the woman Cronshaw had lived with and the two draggle-tailed children, but Cronshaw had never mentioned them to him, and he did not like to speak of them. He wondered what had happened to them.

  "伦敦对我有什么意义呢?我就好比是条离了水的鱼。我穿过挤满人群的街道时,人们把我推过来挤过去的,仿佛走在一座死城里一样。我只觉得我不能死在巴黎。我想死在我自己的人民中间。我自己也不知道最终是一种什么样的神秘的本能把我拉回来的。"

‘I don’t know why you talk of dying,’ he said.

  菲利普认识那位和克朗肖同居的女人以及他们的两个拖着又脏又湿的裙子的女儿,但是克朗肖在他面前从来不提起她们,他也不愿谈论她们的事儿。菲利普暗自纳闷,不知她们景况如何。

‘I had pneumonia a couple of winters ago, and they told me then it was a miracle that I came through. It appears I’m extremely liable to it, and another bout will kill me.’

  "我不懂你为何要讲到死呢?"菲利普说。

‘Oh, what nonsense! You’re not so bad as all that. You’ve only got to take precautions. Why don’t you give up drinking?’

  "三两年以前的一个冬天,我患过肺炎,当时人们都说我竟能活了下来,真是个奇迹。看来我危如累卵,稍微有点什么就会死的,再生一场病就会要了我的命。"。

‘Because I don’t choose. It doesn’t matter what a man does if he’s ready to take the consequences. Well, I’m ready to take the consequences. You talk glibly of giving up drinking, but it’s the only thing I’ve got left now. What do you think life would be to me without it? Can you understand the happiness I get out of my absinthe? I yearn for it; and when I drink it I savour every drop, and afterwards I feel my soul swimming in ineffable happiness. It disgusts you. You are a puritan and in your heart you despise sensual pleasures. Sensual pleasures are the most violent and the most exquisite. I am a man blessed with vivid senses, and I have indulged them with all my soul. I have to pay the penalty now, and I am ready to pay.’

  "哦,瞎说!你的身体还不至于坏到这种程度。只要当心就行了。你为什么不把酒戒了呢?"

Philip looked at him for a while steadily.

  "因为我不想戒。一个人要是准备承担一切后果,那他干什么都没有。顾忌。唔,我就准备承担一切后果。你倒会说叫我戒酒,可我现在就只有这么个嗜好了。想想看,要是戒了酒,那生活对我来说还有什么意义呢?我从艾酒里求得的幸福,你能理解吗?我就是想喝酒,而且每次喝酒,我都喝得一滴不剩,过后,只觉得我那颗心沉浸在莫可名状的幸福之中。酒。这玩意儿使你讨厌,因为你是个清教徒,你心里对肉体的快乐很反感。河肉体的快乐最强烈,且最细腻。我是个具有活泼的七情六欲的男人,而且我一向是全身心地沉湎于此。现在我得为之付出代价,而且我也准备付这笔代价。"

‘Aren’t you afraid?’

  有好一会儿,菲利普两眼直直地盯视着克朗肖。

For a moment Cronshaw did not answer. He seemed to consider his reply.

  "你就不害怕吗?"

‘Sometimes, when I’m alone.’ He looked at Philip. ‘You think that’s a condemnation? You’re wrong. I’m not afraid of my fear. It’s folly, the Christian argument that you should live always in view of your death. The only way to live is to forget that you’re going to die. Death is unimportant. The fear of it should never influence a single action of the wise man. I know that I shall die struggling for breath, and I know that I shall be horribly afraid. I know that I shall not be able to keep myself from regretting bitterly the life that has brought me to such a pass; but I disown that regret. I now, weak, old, diseased, poor, dying, hold still my soul in my hands, and I regret nothing.’

  克朗肖沉思了半晌,没有作答。他似乎是在考虑他的回答。

‘D’you remember that Persian carpet you gave me?’ asked Philip.

  "有时候,当我一人独坐的时候,我也害怕过,"他说话时眼睛瞅着菲利普。"你以为那是在谴责吗?你错了。我并不为我的害怕心理所吓倒。那是愚蠢的。基督教说,你活着就应该念念不忘死。死是微不足道的。付死亡的恐惧决不应该影响一个聪明人的一举一动。我知道我临死时会挣扎着想呼吸空气,我也知道到那时我会惊恐万状,我还知道我将无力抑制住自己不对人生把我逼人这样的绝境而悔恨不已,但是我不承认我会悔恨人生。眼下,虽说我身体虚弱,上了年纪,身患沉疴,一贫如洗,而且已行将就木,但我的命运依然掌握在我的手心。因此,我没什么好遗憾的。"

Cronshaw smiled his old, slow smile of past days.

  "你还记得你送给我的那条波斯地毯吗?"菲利普问道。

‘I told you that it would give you an answer to your question when you asked me what was the meaning of life. Well, have you discovered the answer?’

  克朗肖同以往一样,脸上渐渐泛起一丝微笑。

‘No,’ smiled Philip. ‘Won’t you tell it me?’

  "你问我人生的意义是什么的时候,我告诉你那条地毯会给你作出回答。嗯,你找到答案了吗?"

‘No, no, I can’t do that. The answer is meaningless unless you discover it for yourself.’

  "还没呢,"菲利普莞尔一笑,"你不好告诉我吗?"

  "不,不能,我不能做这种事。答案要你自己去找,否则就毫无意义。"