Tropic of Cancer  北回归线

"What'll you do if you lose your job?" That was the phrase that rang in my ears continually. Ça y est maintenant! Ausgespielt! Nothing to do but to get down into the street again, walk, hang around, sit on benches, kill time. By now, of course, my face was familiar in Montparnasse; for a while I could pretend that I was still working on the paper. That would make it a little easier to bum a breakfast or a dinner. It was summertime and the tourists were pouring in. I had schemes up my sleeve for mulcting them. "What'll you do…?" Well, I wouldn't starve, that's one thing. If I should do nothing else but concentrate on food that would prevent me from falling to pieces. For a week or two I could still go to Monsieur Paul's and have a square meal every evening; he wouldn't know whether I was working or not. The main thing is to eat. Trust to Providence for the rest!

如果丢掉了工作你怎么办?”这话始终在我耳边回荡,现在好了!完蛋了!除了再上街去没有什么事可做,步行、四处转悠、坐在长椅上消磨时间。现在蒙帕纳斯的人当然都认识我了,我还可以装一阵,假装我仍在报社工作,这样讨一顿早饭或晚饭吃也容易些。正值夏季,旅游者在大量涌来,我已想好了骗他们钱的法子。“你要干什么……”嗯,我要告诉你的是,我不愿意饿死。如果我什么都不干,一门心思只想着吃的,自己便会免于崩溃。一两周之内我还可以照常去保罗先生的餐馆,每天晚上饱餐一顿,他不会知道我是否还在工作。要紧的是吃饭,其余的托付给上帝好了。

Naturally, I kept my ears open for anything that sounded like a little dough. And I cultivated a whole new set of acquaintances – bores whom I had sedulously avoided heretofore, drunks whom I loathed, artists who had a little money, Guggenheim prize men, etc. It's not hard to make friends when you squat on a terrasse twelve hours a day. You get to know every sot in Montparnasse. They cling to you like lice, even if you have nothing to offer them but your ears.

我自然会竖起耳朵打探有什么办法能混一点儿饭吃,我结交了一批新人—以前百般设法躲开的讨厌的人,我厌恶的酒鬼、有几个钱的艺术家、古根海姆基金得主等。你若一天十二个时蹲在露天咖啡座上,交朋友便不是什么难事。你渐渐认得了蒙帕纳斯的每一个酒鬼,他们像虱子一样凑在你身边,哪怕你除了自己的耳朵外再也没有什么东西可给他们。

Now that I had lost my job Carl and Van Norden had a new phrase for me: "What if your wife should arrive now?" Well, what of it? Two mouths to feed, instead of one. I'd have a companion in misery. And, if she hadn't lost her good looks, I'd probably do better in double harness than alone: the world never permits a good looking woman to starve. Tania I couldn't depend on to do much for me; she was sending money to Sylvester. I had thought at first that she might let me share her room, but she was afraid of compromising herself; besides, she had to be nice to her boss.

现在我失去了工作,卡尔和范诺登又有话说了,“你妻子现在来了怎么办?”唉,那又怎样?要喂的不是一张嘴,而是两张嘴了,我在逆境中将有人陪伴了。假如她的美貌未衰,也许我会过得比一个人时好些—这个世界绝不会允许一个美貌女人饿死。我不能指望塔尼亚为我故什么,她在给西尔维斯特寄钱。起初我还幻想她也许会让我跟她一起住,可她怕连累自己,再说她必须对她的老板好一些。

The first people to turn to when you're down and out are the Jews. I had three of them on my hands almost at once. Sympathetic souls. One of them was a retired fur merchant who had an itch to see his name in the papers; he proposed that I write a series of articles under his name for a Jewish daily in New York. I had to scout around the Dôme and the Coupole searching for prominent Jews. The first man I picked on was a celebrated mathematician; he couldn't speak a word of English. I had to write about the theory of shock from the diagrams he left on the paper napkins; I had to describe the movements of the astral bodies and demolish the Einsteinian conception at the same time. All for twenty five francs. When I saw my articles in the newspaper I couldn't read them; but they looked impressive, just the same, especially with the pseudonym of the fur merchant attached.

当你穷困潦倒时首先要求助的便是犹太人,我手头几乎一下子就有了三个,全是充满同情心的好人。一个是退休的皮货商人,他极渴望自己的名字出现在报纸上,因此他提议我写一组文章,用他的名字投到纽约一家犹太人的日报上。我还得在多姆饭店和库波勒饭店附近一带搜寻有名气的犹太人,我找到的第一个是一位著名的数学家,一个英文词也不会说。我得根据他留在纸餐巾上的图表写出激波理论,同时还得描述爱因斯坦的观点,这一切只得到二十五法郎。在报上看到我的文章后,连我自己也读不懂,不过这些文章都很像回事儿,这也就行了,尤其是添上那个皮货商的笔名后。

I did a lot of pseudonymous writing during this period. When the big new whorehouse opened up on the Boulevard Edgar Quinet, I got a little rake off, for writing the pamphlets. That is to say, a bottle of champagne and a free fuck in one of the Egyptian rooms. If I succeeded in bringing a client I was to get my commission, just like Kepi got his in the old days. One night I brought Van Norden; he was going to let me earn a little money by enjoying himself upstairs. But when the madame learned that he was a newspaperman she wouldn't hear of taking money from him; it was a bottle of champagne again and a free fuck. I got nothing out of it. As a matter of fact, I had to write the story for him because he couldn't think how to get round the subject without mentioning the kind of place it was. One thing after another like that. I was getting fucked good and proper.

在这段时间里我写了很多用笔名发表的文章。埃德加一基内林荫大道上那家新的大妓院开张时我捞了一点儿,那是给我写宣传小册子的酬劳,也就是一瓶香摈和在一间埃及式房间里免费嫖一次。如果我带来一个顾客还能得到佣金,正像以前凯皮干的一样。有一夜我把范诺登带来了,他要通过自己在楼上享乐的方式让我挣几个钱。可是老鸨听说他是记者后怎么也不收他的钱,又让他免费喝了一瓶香摈,免费嫖了一回,我却从中什么也没得到。事实上,我还得替他写这篇报道,因为他想不出如何传开这件事而又只字不提这是怎样一个地方。这样的事情一件接一件,我被人捉弄得够劲儿。

The worst job of all was a thesis I undertook to write for a deaf and dumb psychologist. A treatise on the care of crippled children. My head was full of diseases and braces and workbenches and fresh air theories; it took about six weeks off and on, and then, to rub it in, I had to proofread the goddamned thing. It was in French, such a French as I've never in my life seen or heard. But it brought me in a good breakfast every day, an American breakfast, with orange juice, oatmeal, cream, coffee, now and then ham and eggs for a change. It was the only period of my Paris days that I ever indulged in a decent breakfast, thanks to the crippled children of Rockaway Beach, the East Side, and all the coves and inlets bordering on these sore points.

最糟的差事是我应承为一个聋哑心理学家写一篇论文,是讲如何照顾跛孩子的。我的脑子里塞满了各种有关疾并夹板、工作台和新鲜空气的理论。这篇论文断断续续写了六个星期,更倒霉的是,我还得校对这鬼东西。这是用法语写的,一种我平生不曾见过听过的法语。不过它每天给我带来一顿丰盛的早饭,一顿美式早餐,有桔汁、燕麦片粥、奶油、咖啡,有时还变花样,有火腿鸡蛋。我在巴黎期间只有这一段能吃到像样的早餐!这多亏了纽约曼哈顿东区罗克威海滩上的跛孩子以及毗邻小湾、小叉里令人伤心的景象。

Then one day I fell in with a photographer; he was making a collection of the slimy joints of Paris for some degenerate in Munich. He wanted to know if I would pose for him with my pants down, and in other ways. I thought of those skinny little runts, who look like bell hops and messenger boys, that one sees on pornographic post cards in little bookshop windows occasionally, the mysterious phantoms who inhabit the Rue de la Lune and other malodorous quarters of the city. I didn't like very much the idea of advertising my physiog in the company of these élite. But, since I was assured that the photographs were for a strictly private collection, and since it was destined for Munich, I gave my consent. When you're not in your home town you can permit yourself little liberties, particularly for such a worthy motive as earning your daily bread. After all, I hadn't been so squeamish, come to think of it, even in New York. There were nights when I was so damned desperate, back there, that I had to go out right in my own neighbourhood and panhandle.

有一天我碰巧遇到一个摄影师,他在为慕尼黑某个性欲倒错的人拍一套巴黎下流场所的照片。他问我愿不愿脱下裤子摆好姿式让他照,还有其他一些动作。我想到那些瘦得皮包骨的小矮个儿,他们看上去像旅馆侍者和送信的。人们有时会在书店橱窗里摆的色情明信片上看到这些人物,他们是今天鲁纳街和巴黎其他臭名昭著的地方的神秘幽灵。我不大喜欢在这些社会精英面前展示自己身体的这个主意,可是这个摄影师向我保证这些照片将会严格地由私人收藏,而且最终要拿到慕尼黑去,我便应允了。当你远离家乡时你会允许自己稍稍放荡一场,尤其是出于一个值得的、替自己挣口饭吃的动机。回想起来我毕竟不是一个过于拘谨的人,甚至在纽约时也不是这样。在那儿有时夜里我那么狼狈,不得不出去在邻里间乞讨。

We didn't go to the show places familiar to the tourists, but to the little joints where the atmosphere was more congenial, where we could play a game of cards in the afternoon before getting down to work. He was a good companion, the photographer. He knew the city inside out, the walls particularly; he talked to me about Goethe often, and the days of the Hohenstaufen, and the massacre of the Jews during the reign of the Black Death. Interesting subjects, and always related in some obscure way to the things he was doing. He had ideas for scenarios too, astounding ideas, but nobody had the courage to execute them. The sight of a horse, split open like a saloon door, would inspire him to talk of Dante or Leonardo da Vinci or Rembrandt; from the slaughterhouse at Villette he would jump into a cab and rush me to the Trocadero Museum, in order to point out a skull or a mummy that had fascinated him. We explored the 5th, the 13th, the 19th and the 20th arrondissements thoroughly. Our favorite resting places were lugubrious little spots such as the Place Nationale, Place des Peupliers, Place de la Contrescarpe, Place Paul-Verlaine. Many of these places were already familiar to me, but all of them I now saw in a different light owing to the rare flavor of his conversation. If today I should happen to stroll down the Rue du Château-des-Rentiers, for example, inhaling the fetid stench of the hospital beds with which the 13th arrondissement reeks, my nostrils would undoubtedly expand with pleasure, because, compounded with that odor of stale piss and formaldehyde, there would be the odors of our imaginative voyages through the charnel house of Europe which the Black Death had created.

我们不去旅游者熟悉的参观游览场所,而是到一些小地方去,那儿的气氛更合适一些。我们可以下午去那儿,先玩一会儿纸牌再干活。这位摄影师是个好游伴,他十分熟悉这个城市,尤其是这儿的墙。他常跟我谈起歌德、霍亨斯陶芬王朝时代及黑死病流行期间对犹太人的屠杀。这都是有趣的话题,而且总与他正在做的事情有某些含混的联系。他对电影剧本也颇有研究,有一些惊人的见解,不过谁也没有胆量去实施他的意见,看到一匹像沙龙门那样被劈开的马会激发他大谈但丁或达•芬奇或雷姆卜兰特,他会从维莱特的屠宰场跳上一辆出租车带我赶到特卡德奥博物馆,为的是指给我看使他着迷的一块头骨或一具木乃伊。我们仔细游览了第五、第十三、第十九和第二十区,我们最喜欢的休息地点都是阴郁的小地方,比如国家广场白杨树广尝护墙广场保罗一魏尔伦广场许多地方是我本来就熟悉的,可是听了他的独到见解后我对所有这些地方有了全然不同的看法。比如说,如果今天我碰巧沿着霍尔城堡街散步,吸进了医院床上发出的恶臭味—这股臭味在第十三区弥漫—那么我的鼻孔一定会快活地张大,因为这股气味同放置很久的死尸和甲醛气味混合后便会产生另一种气味,这是我们在想象中穿过黑死病酿成的欧洲尸骨陈列所的旅途中会闻到的种种气味。

Through him I got to know a spiritual minded individual named Kruger, who was a sculptor and painter. Kruger took a shine to me for some reason or other; it was impossible to get away from him once he discovered that I was willing to listen to his "esoteric" ideas. There are people in this world for whom the word "esoteric" seems to act as a divine ichor. Like "settled" for Herr Peeperkorn of the Magic Mountain. Kruger was one of those saints who have gone wrong, a masochist, an anal type whose law is scrupulousness, rectitude and conscientiousness, who on an off day would knock a man's teeth down his throat without a qualm. He seemed to think I was ripe to move on to another plane, "a higher plane," as he put it. I was ready to move on to any plane he designated, provided that one didn't eat less or drink less. He chewed my head off about the "threadsoul", the "causal body," "ablation," the Upanishads, Plotinus, Krishnamurti, "the Karmic vestiture of the soul," "the nirvanic consciousness," all that flapdoodle which blows out of the East like a breath from the plague. Sometimes he would go into a trance and talk about his previous incarnations, how he imagined them to be, at least. Or he would relate his dreams which, so far as I could see, were thoroughly insipid, prosaic, hardly worth even the attention of a Freudian, but, for him, there were vast esoteric marvels hidden in their depths which I had to aid him to decipher. He had turned himself inside out, like a coat whose nap is worn off.

通过这个摄影师我认识了一个唯灵论者,他叫克鲁格,是一位雕刻家兼画家。出于某种原因克鲁格很喜欢我,当他发现我乐意倾听他的“深奥”见解后我简直无法从他身边逃开。对于这个世界上的某些人,“深奥”这个词似乎具有一种灵丹妙药的功效,正像《魔山》中裴波尔克伦先生对“安居”的反应。克鲁格是一个出了毛病的圣人、一个色情受虐狂、一个肛门类型的人,他遵循的法则是拘泥细节、正直和诚心实意,在休息日里他会毫无愧色地打掉一个人的牙齿,叫它落到此人的肚子里去。他似乎认为我已成熟了,可以进入下一个阶段了。据他说是一个“更高阶段”。我已作好准备进入他指定的任何阶段,只要不少吃的不少喝的就行。他唠唠叨叨地对我谈“线魂”、“成因体”、“切除”、奥义书、普洛提诺、讫里什那穆提、“灵魂的业力受职仪式”、“涅磐的知觉”,全是从东方吹来的胡话,像瘟疫后散出的气息。有时他恍恍惚惚说起自己上一辈子的模样,至少是他想象中的模样,或者讲述他做过的梦。照我看这些梦十分平淡无奇,甚至不值得一位弗洛伊德主义者去费神,可是他自己却认为这都是深藏不露、奥秘难测的奇观,因而我一定要帮他解析这些梦。他把自己整个翻过来,像翻一件己磨光的外套一样。