A Double Barrelled Detective Story  案中案

It is now almost midnight, and in five minutes the new morning will begin. The scene is in the tavern billiard-room. Rough men in rough clothing, slouch hats, breeches stuffed into boot-tops, some with vests, none with coats, are grouped about the boiler-iron stove, which has ruddy cheeks and is distributing a grateful warmth; the billiard balls are clacking; there is no other sound;that is, within; the wind is fitfully moaning without. The men look bored; also expectant. A hulking broad-shouldered miner, of middle age, with grizzled whiskers, and an unfriendly eye set in an unsociable face, rises, slips a coil of fuse upon his arm, gathers up some other personal properties, and departs without word or greeting to anybody. It is Flint Buckner. As the door closes behind him a buzz of talk breaks out.

将近午夜时分,再过五分钟就是新的一天了。酒店的台球室里,一群粗人穿著随便,帽子邋邋遢遢,马裤裤腿塞进靴子里。这群人有的穿著马甲,但都没有穿外衣,他们凑在铁皮炉子旁边,炉子外皮烧得通红,暖气袭人。除了台球打得喀啦啦响,听不见其他声音——这说的是室内;室外的风声正紧。这些人都有点百无聊赖的样子,像在等著什么。人群中有一个高个子、宽肩膀、胡子已经花白的中年矿工,冷冷的眼神里透出拒人于千里之外的表情。他站起身来,把一盘导火索挎在胳膊上,收拾起别的零碎儿,没说一句话,也不跟人打声招呼,径直走了。这人就是弗林特·布克纳。他刚一出门,屋里就响起戚戚嚓嚓的声音。

The regularest man that ever was, said Jake Parker, the blacksmith: you can tell when its twelve just by him leaving, without looking at your Waterbury.

“从来没人像他这么一板一眼的,”铁匠杰克·派克说,“用不著看表,只要他一走,你就知道淮是十二点了。”

And its the only virtue hes got, as fur as I know, said Peter Hawes, miner.

“他身上就剩这点好处了。”矿工彼得·豪斯说。

Hes just a blight on this society, said Wells-Fargos man, Ferguson. If I was running this shop Id make him say something, some time or other, or vamos the ranch. This with a suggestive glance at the barkeeper, who did not choose to see it, since the man under discussion was a good customer, and went home pretty well set up, every night, with refreshments furnished from the bar.

“他可是这一方的祸害,”弗格森说,“这酒店要是我开的,什么时候我非得让他开开尊口,要不就派得远远的。”说著,他怂恿似的朝酒店老板扫了一眼。老板没搭理他,因为大家谈论的那个人是个好主顾,每天在酒店里喝得痛痛快快,夜里回家的时候总是高高兴兴的。

Say, said Ham Sandwich, miner, does any of you boys ever recollect of him asking you to take a drink?

“听著,”矿工汉姆·桑德韦奇说。“小子们,谁能想得起来他请你们喝过酒吗?”

Him? Flint Buckner? Oh, Laura!

“他?弗林特·布克纳?啊,那得西边出了太阳!”

This sarcastic rejoinder came in a spontaneous general outburst in one form of words or another from the crowd. After a brief silence, Pat Riley, miner, said:

这阴损的回答一石激起千层浪,大家七嘴八舌闹哄了一阵。稍静了一会儿,帕特·利雷说:

Hes the 15-puzzle, that cuss. And his boys another one. I cant make them out.

“这家伙是一百个猜不透。他雇的那个男孩也是一样。我从他们嘴里掏不出话来。”

Nor anybody else, said Ham Sandwich; and if they are 15-puzzles, how are you going to rank up that other one? When it comes to A 1 rightdown solid mysteriousness, he lays over both of them. Easy;dont he?

“别人也掏不出来,”汉姆·桑德韦奇说,“他们俩是一百个猜不透,另外那个人呢?他们两个人再怪,那个人还是能压他们一头。轻轻松松地压过他们,对不对?”

You bet!

“打赌!”

Everybody said it. Every man but one. He was the new-comer;Peterson. He ordered the drinks all round, and asked who No. 3 might be. All answered at once, Archy Stillman!

大家都嚷嚷要打赌。只有一个人例外。他就是新来的彼得森。他给在场的人一人要了一杯酒,然后问“那一个:’是谁。大家齐声回答:“是阿其·斯蒂尔曼呀!”

Is he a mystery? asked Peterson.

“他是个怪人吗?”彼得森问。

Is he a mystery? Is Archy Stillman a mystery? said Wells-Fargos man, Ferguson. Why, the fourth dimensions foolishness to him.

“他是个怪人吗?阿其·斯蒂尔曼是个怪人吗?”弗格森反问。“哼,都说他简直是个出了圈的傻瓜呢。”

For Ferguson was learned.

对此,弗格森是领教过的。

Peterson wanted to hear all about him; everybody wanted to tell him; everybody began. But Billy Stevens, the barkeeper, called the house to order, and said one at a time was best. He distributed the drinks, and appointed Ferguson to lead. Ferguson said:

彼得森想听阿其·斯蒂尔曼的底细,问谁能告诉他。大家一起开口说了起来。酒店老板喊著让大家静一静,说最好是一个讲完了,另一个再讲。他给每个人的酒杯都满上,指著弗格森,让他先说。弗格森说:

Well, hes a boy. And that is just about all we know about him. You can pump him till you are tired; it aint any use; you wont get anything. At least about his intentions, or line of business, or where hes from, and such things as that. And as for getting at the nature and get-up of his main big chief mystery, why, hell just change the subject, thats all. You can guess till youre black in the face;its your privilege;but suppose you do, where do you arrive at? Nowhere, as near as I can make out.

“好吧,他是个年轻男人。除了这个,咱们也就不知道别的了。你问他问到精疲力尽,什么用处都没有,你别想从他嘴里掏出东西来。起码,他为什么到这儿来,他是干什么的,他从哪儿来,这一类的事,你都别想知道。只要你一说到他的脾性,说到他怪不怪这种事情,好了,他话头一转,就完了。猜归猜,最后还是两眼一抹黑——你去问也许好一点——不过就算你去问:您从哪儿来呀?我猜你也照样问不出来。”

What is his big chief one?

“他怪在什么地方?”

Sight, maybe. Hearing, maybe. Instinct, maybe. Magic, maybe. Take your choice;grown-ups, twenty-five; children and servants, half price. Now Ill tell you what he can do. You can start here, and just disappear; you can go and hide wherever you want to, I dont care where it is, nor how far;and hell go straight and put his finger on you.

“也许是眼神,也许是耳朵,也许是本能,也许是魔法。你怎么看他都行——二十五岁的年纪倒挺老成;说他处处要人照顾,又照顾别人;都有点对,也都有点不对。我现在就告诉你他有什么本事。你从这儿走开,然后躲到别的地方去,你愿藏在哪儿就藏在哪儿,不管藏在哪儿,也不管藏多远——他能径直到你藏的地方点你出来。”

You dont mean it!

“你不是闹著玩吧?”

I just do, though. Weathers nothing to him;elemental conditions is nothing to him;he dont even take notice of them.

“一句玩笑都没有。不论是什么天气,对他来说都是一个样——自然条件影响不了他——这些他根本不在意。”

Oh, come! Dark? Rain? Snow? Hey?

“海,慢著!那天黑的时候呢?下雨呢?下雪呢?啊?”

Its all the same to him. He dont give a damn.

“对他来说全都一个样。他不在乎。”

Oh, say;including fog, peraps?

“啊,比如说——也许连下雾都一样?”

Fog! hes got an eye t can plunk through it like a bullet.

“雾!他那双眼睛能像子弹一样直穿过去。”

Now, boys, honor bright, whats he giving me?

“嘿,伙计们,瞧瞧,他都给我说什么啦?”

Its a fact! they all shouted. Go on, Wells-Fargo.

“全是真的!”他们一齐嚷嚷著,“接著说,威尔斯·法戈。”

Well, sir, you can leave him here, chatting with the boys, and you can slip out and go to any cabin in this camp and open a book;yes, sir, a dozen of them;and take the page in your memory, and hell start out and go straight to that cabin and open every one of them books at the right page, and call it off, and never make a mistake.

“哎,先生,你可以离开他,让他在这儿和大家聊天;你呢,偷偷溜出去,随便到这屯子里哪一家打开一本书——这样吧,先生,十本八本也行——把翻开的页数记住。他呢,能径直走到那家去,把那些书一本一本都翻开,正好就是那一页,永远出不了错。”

He must be the devil!

“他莫非是个妖怪!”

More than one has thought it. Now Ill tell you a perfectly wonderful thing that he done. The other night he;

“比咱们想的妖怪还有本事。我告诉你他于过的一件事,简直是绝了。那天夜里,他——”

There was a sudden great murmur of sounds outside, the door flew open, and an excited crowd burst in, with the camps one white woman in the lead and crying:

忽然,外面一阵喧哗,门彭的一声开了,一帮人情绪激动地闯了进来,领头的是屯子里的一个白人妇女,她哭叫著:

My child! my child! shes lost and gone! For the love of God help me to find Archy Stillman; weve hunted everywhere!

“我的孩子!我的孩子!她丢了!看在上帝的份儿上,帮我去找找阿其·斯蒂尔曼,我们到处都找遍了!”

Said the barkeeper:

酒店老板说:

Sit down, sit down, Mrs. Hogan, and dont worry. He asked for a bed three hours ago, tuckered out tramping the trails the way hes always doing, and went upstairs. Ham Sandwich, run up and roust him out; hes in No. 14.

“坐下,坐下,霍根太太,别著急。三个钟头以前,他订了一个床位;像平常一样,他到外面逛荡了一阵,累了,就上楼去了。汉姆·桑德韦奇,上楼去把他叫出来。他在十四号房间。”

The youth was soon downstairs and ready. He asked Mrs. Hogan for particulars.

那年轻人很快收拾完毕,下楼来了。他向霍根太太询问详情。

Bless you, dear, there aint any; I wish there was. I put her to sleep at seven in the evening, and when I went in there an hour ago to go to bed myself, she was gone. I rushed for your cabin, dear, and you wasnt there, and Ive hunted for you ever since, at every cabin down the gulch, and now Ive come up again, and Im that distracted and scared and heart-broke; but, thanks to God, Ive found you at last, dear heart, and youll find my child. Come on! come quick!

“求求你,亲爱的,什么线索都没有,要是有就好了。我是晚上七点钟安顿她睡觉的,可是,一个钟头以前,我到她床前一看,她不见了。亲爱的,我赶快跑到你的屋子去,可是你不在,我就到处找你,一家家都找遍了,然后又找到这儿来。我不知道怎么办好,心里害怕,乱得很;不过,感谢上帝,总算是找到你了,亲爱的,你要找到孩子啊。走吧,快走吧!”

Move right along; Im with you, madam. Go to your cabin first.

“现在就走,我跟著你,太太。先去你家里。”

The whole company streamed out to join the hunt. All the southern half of the village was up, a hundred men strong, and waiting outside, a vague dark mass sprinkled with twinkling lanterns. The mass fell into columns by threes and fours to accommodate itself to the narrow road, and strode briskly along southward in the wake of the leaders. In a few minutes the Hogan cabin was reached.

所有的人一拥而出,加入了寻找孩子的行列。屯子的南半部人声鼎沸,一百多个男人在外面等著,灯光闪闪,人影晃动。这群人三人一组或者四人一组,沿著小路跟著领头的快步往南走。没有几分钟就到了霍根家的木屋。

Theres the bunk, said Mrs. Hogan; theres where she was; its where I laid her at seven oclock; but where she is now, God only knows.

“这就是那张床,”霍根太太说,“她刚才就睡在这儿。我是七点钟安顿她上床的,可是,天知道现在她上哪儿去了?”

Hand me a lantern, said Archy. He set it on the hard earth floor and knelt by it, pretending to examine the ground closely. Heres her track, he said, touching the ground here and there and yonder with his finger. Do you see?

“递给我一盏灯,”阿其说。他把灯放在硬土地上,跪下来凑近地面,好像在查看什么。“这儿有她的痕迹,”他说著,用指头摸摸这儿,又摸摸那儿。“你们看见了吗?”

Several of the company dropped upon their knees and did their best to see. One or two thought they discerned something like a track; the others shook their heads and confessed that the smooth hard surface had no marks upon it which their eyes were sharp enough to discover. One said, Maybe a childs foot could make a mark on it, but I dont see how.

几个人也跪在地上仔仔细细地瞧。有一两个觉得辨认出什么东西,有点像人的痕迹;另外的人却直摇头,说是在这么光滑的硬土地上,他们的眼睛再尖也看不出蛛丝马迹来。其中一个说,“也许地上能留下孩子的脚印,不过我可看不出来。”

Young Stillman stepped outside, held the light to the ground, turned leftward, and moved three steps, closely examining; then said, Ive got the direction;come along; take the lantern, somebody.

年轻的斯蒂尔曼走出门外,用灯照著地上,转向左边走了三步,仔细查看一番,说:“我查明方向了——走吧;来几个人,拿著灯。”

He strode off swiftly southward, the files following, swaying and bending in and out with the deep curves of the gorge. Thus a mile, and the mouth of the gorge was reached; before them stretched the sage-brush plain, dim, vast, and vague. Stillman called a halt, saying, We mustnt start wrong, now; we must take the direction again.

他大步流星地往南走去,人们跟著他,在峡谷中弯弯曲曲的小路上跌跌撞撞地走著。走了一英里,来到谷口,眼前是一片山艾树密布的平地,朦胧朦胧,似明似暗,一眼望不到边。斯蒂尔曼让众人停下,说:“咱们绝不能走错路,得再辨一辨方向。”

He took a lantern and examined the ground for a matter of twenty yards; then said, Come on; its all right, and gave up the lantern. In and out among the sage-bushes he marched, a quarter of a mile, bearing gradually to the right; then took a new direction and made another great semicircle; then changed again and moved due west nearly half a mile;and stopped.

他提著灯查看道路,约摸走了二十码后说:“走吧,没错。”然后把灯交给了别人。他在山艾树丛中穿行,走了四分之一英里,逐渐转向右面,朝著另一个方向转了一个很大的半圆;然后又转了方向往西走了将近半英里,停了下来。

She gave it up, here, poor little chap. Hold the lantern. You can see where she sat.

“她在这儿停过,可怜的小家伙。拿好了灯。你能看出她坐过的地方。”

But this was in a slick alkali flat which was surfaced like steel, and no person in the party was quite hardy enough to claim an eyesight that could detect the track of a cushion on a veneer like that. The bereaved mother fell upon her knees and kissed the spot, lamenting.

可是这里是平滑的盐硷地,地面像铁皮一样,没有一个人敢自称有眼力能在这样的地面上看出有人坐过的痕迹。丢了孩子的母亲双膝跪倒,吻著这块地面,失声痛哭。

But where is she, then? some one said. She didnt stay here. We can see that much, anyway.

“可是,后来她去哪儿啦?”有人问,“她没呆在这儿。这我们总能看得出来。”

Stillman moved about in a circle around the place, with the lantern, pretending to hunt for tracks.

斯蒂尔曼提著灯,绕著这块地方转了个圈,好像在寻找踪迹。

Well! he said presently, in an annoyed tone, I dont understand it. He examined again. No use. She was here;thats certain; she never walked away from here;and thats certain. Its a puzzle; I cant make it out.

“唔!”他急急地说,声音里透著烦躁,“我真搞不懂了。”他又查看了一番。“没办法。她来过这儿——这一点儿不错;她也没从这里走开——这也没错。这是个谜,我也猜不出来。”

The mother lost heart then.

孩子的母亲又肝肠寸断地哭了起来。

Oh, my God! oh, blessed Virgin! some flying beast has got her. Ill never see her again!

“噢,上帝啊!圣母保佑吧!是什么会飞的野兽把她给抓走了。我再也看不到她了!”

Ah, dont give up, said Archy. Well find her;dont give up.

“哎,别泄气,”阿其说,“咱们能找到她,别泄气。”

God bless you for the words, Archy Stillman! and she seized his hand and kissed it fervently.

“有你这句话,上帝一定会保佑的,阿其·斯蒂尔曼!”她抓住阿其·斯蒂尔曼的手,真心诚意地吻著。

Peterson, the new-comer, whispered satirically in Fergusons ear:

那个新来的彼得森用讥讽的口气在弗格森耳边悄悄说:

Wonderful performance to find this place, wasnt it? Hardly worth while to come so far, though; any other supposititious place would have answered just as well;hey?

“能找到这块地方,演技不错,啊?不过,用得著跑这么远吗?另外随便找块地方不也一样吗——啊?”

Ferguson was not pleased with the innuendo. He said, with some warmth:

弗格森对这种俏皮话不以为然。他急切地说:

Do you mean to insinuate that the child hasnt been here? I tell you the child has been here! Now if you want to get yourself into as tidy a little fuss as;

“你是不是想绕著圈子说,那孩子没来过这儿?我对你说,那孩子是来过!如果你想要个说法……”

All right! sang out Stillman. Come, everybody, and look at this! It was right under our noses all the time, and we didnt see it.

“好了!”斯蒂尔曼叫了起来。“来,大家来看!一直在咱们的鼻子底下,可咱们就是没有看出来!”

There was a general plunge for the ground at the place where the child was alleged to have rested, and many eyes tried hard and hopefully to see the thing that Archys finger was resting upon. There was a pause, then a several-barreled sigh of disappointment. Pat Riley and Ham Sandwich said, in the one breath:

大家一窝蜂拥到据说是孩子坐过的地方,一双双满怀希望的眼睛使劲盯住阿其的手指,想看清楚他到底指的是什么东西。稍停,众人发出了备感失望的歎息声。帕特·利雷和汉姆桑德韦奇异口同声说:

What is it, Archy? Theres nothing here.

“是什么呀,阿其?这儿什么都没有。”

Nothing? Do you call that nothing? and he swiftly traced upon the ground a form with his finger. There;dont you recognize it now? Its Injun Billys track. Hes got the child.

“没有?你们把这叫做什么也没有?”他的手指在地上慢慢地移动,勾勒出一个形状。“这儿——你们还没看出来吗?这是英云·比利的痕迹。是他带走了孩子!”

God be praised! from the mother.

“感谢上帝!”那母亲喊道。

Take away the lantern. Ive got the direction. Follow!

“拿走灯笼。我已经辨出方向来了。跟我来!”

He started on a run, racing in and out among the sage-bushes a matter of three hundred yards, and disappeared over a sand-wave; the others struggled after him, caught him up, and found him waiting. Ten steps away was a little wickieup, a dim and formless shelter of rags and old horse-blankets, a dull light showing through its chinks.

他跑了起来,在山支树丛中穿行了三百码,消失在一片沙丘后面了。众人奋力赶上时,看到他正在等著。十步以外是一个用破布和旧马垫子搭成的小棚子,歪歪斜斜,黑黝黝的。棚子的缝隙中泻出一丝昏黄的光线。

You lead, Mrs. Hogan, said the lad. Its your privilege to be first.

“您先走,霍根太太。”那年轻人说,“您应该第一个进去。”

All followed the sprint she made for the wickieup, and saw, with her, the picture its interior afforded. Injun Billy was sitting on the ground; the child was asleep beside him. The mother hugged it with a wild embrace, which included Archy Stillman, the grateful tears running down her face, and in a choked and broken voice she poured out a golden stream of that wealth of worshiping endearments which has its home in full richness nowhere but in the Irish heart.

大家跟著霍根太太跑到棚子跟前,他们都看到了棚子里头的景象。英云·比利坐在地下,孩子就睡在他身边。母亲发疯似地把孩子搂在怀里,又拥抱了阿其·斯蒂尔曼,两行热泪流下了她的面颊。她泣不成声,断断续续的话语像金色的溪流奔涌而出,倾诉著她的感激,这一腔热情让那个爱尔兰人感到心中暖洋洋的。

I find her bymeby it is ten oclock, Billy explained. She sleep out yonder, vey tired;face wet, been cryin, spose; fetch her home, feed her, she heap much hungry;go sleep gin.

“十点钟的时候,我在那儿发现了她。她在露天地里睡著了,累坏了——小脸儿湿渌渌的,我猜她一直在哭。我把她抱到屋里来,给她吃的,她饿极了——后来又睡著了。”

In her limitless gratitude the happy mother waived rank and hugged him too, calling him the angel of God in disguise. And he probably was in disguise if he was that kind of an official. He was dressed for the character.

孩子的母亲千恩万谢,她高兴地放下平日的架子,也拥抱了比利,称他是“微服私访的天使”。假如他是天使的话,也许真要化装。他的穿著打扮都是为了扮演那个角色。

At half-past one in the morning the procession burst into the village singing, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, waving its lanterns, and swallowing the drinks that were brought out all along its course. It concentrated at the tavern, and made a night of what was left of the morning.

凌晨一点半钟,寻找孩子的大队人马唱著《约翰尼回家开步走》拥进了屯子,他们甩著灯笼,一边喝酒一边往前走。这帮人聚集在酒店,在那里一直闹到天亮。