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朱自清《背影》及四种英译本 4 Translations of The Sight of Father’s Back  

2017-03-25 22:16:33|  分类: 双语 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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背影
My Father’s Back

 

朱自清
Zhu Ziqing

 

我与父亲不相见已二年余了,我最不能忘记的是他的背影。那年冬天,祖母死了,父亲的差使也交卸了,正是祸不单行的日子。我从北京到徐州,打算跟着父亲奔丧回家。到徐州见着父亲,看见满院狼藉的东西,又想起祖母,不禁簌簌地流下眼泪。父亲说:“事已如此,不必难过,好在天无绝人之路!”

 

Though it is over two years since I saw my father, I can never forget my last view of his back. That winter my grandmother died, and my father’s official appointment was terminated, for troubles never come singly. I went from Beijing to Xuzhou, to go back with him for the funeral. When I joined him in Xuzhou I found the courtyard strewn with things and could not help shedding tears at the thought of granny.

 

“What’s past is gone,” said my father.“It’s no use grieving. Heaven always leaves us some way out.”

 

回家变卖典质,父亲还了亏空;又借钱办了丧事。这些日子,家中光景很是惨淡,一半为了丧事,一半为了父亲赋闲。丧事完毕,父亲要到南京谋事,我也要回北京念书,我们便同行。

 

Once home he sold property and mortgaged the house to clear our debts, besides borrowing money for the funeral. Those were dismal days for our family, thanks to the funeral and father’s unemployment. After the burial he decided to go to Nanjing to look fora position, while I was going back to Beijing to study, so we travelled together.

 

到南京时,有朋友约去游逛,勾留了一日;第二日上午便须渡江到浦口,下午上车北去。父亲因为事忙,本已说定不送我,叫旅馆里一个熟识的茶房陪我同去。他再三嘱咐茶房,甚是仔细。但他终于不放心,怕茶房不妥帖;颇踌躇了一会。其实我那年已二十岁,北京已来往过两三次,是没有什么要紧的了。他踌躇了一会,终于决定还是自己送我去。我两三回劝他不必去;他只说,“不要紧,他们去不好!”

 

A friend kept me in Nanjing for a day to see the sights, and the next morning I was to cross the Yangtze to Pukou  in order to board the afternoon train to the north. As father was busy he had decided not to see me off, and he asked a waiter we knew at our hotel to take me to the station, giving him repeated and most detailed instructions. Even so, afraid the fellow might let me down, he worried for quite a time. As a matter of fact I was already twenty and had travelled to and from Beijing on several occasions, so there was no need for all this fuss. But after much hesitation he finally decided to see me off himself, though I told him again and again there was no need.

 

“Never mind,” he said. “I don’t want them to go.”

 

我们过了江,进了车站。我买票,他忙着照看行李。行李太多了,得向脚夫行些小费,才可过去。他便又忙着和他们讲价钱。我那时真是聪明过分,总觉他说话不大漂亮,非自己插嘴不可,但他终于讲定了价钱;就送我上车。他给我拣定了靠车门的一张椅子;我将他给我做的紫毛大衣铺好座位。他嘱我路上小心,夜里要警醒些,不要受凉。又嘱托茶房好好照应我。我心里暗笑他的迂;他们只认得钱,托他们只是白托!而且我这样大年纪的人,难道还不能料理自己么?唉,我现在想想,那时真是太聪明了!

 

We crossed the Yangtze and arrived at the station, where I bought a ticket while he saw to my luggage. This was so bulky that we had to hire a porter, and father started bargaining over the price. I was such a bright young man that I thought some of his remarks undignified, and butted in myself. But eventually he got them to agree to a price, and saw me on to the train, choosing me a seat by the door, on which I spread the black sheepskin coat he had made for me. He warned me to be on my guard during the journey, and to take care at night not to catch cold. Then he urged the attendant to keep an eye on me, while I laughed up my sleeve at him –all such men understood was money! And wasn’t I old enough to look after myself? Ah, thinking back, what a bright young man I was!

 

我说道,“爸爸,你走吧。”他往车外看了看,说,“我买几个橘子去。你就在此地,不要走动。”我看那边月台的栅栏外有几个卖东西的等着顾客。走到那边月台,须穿过铁道,须跳下去又爬上去。父亲是一个胖子,走过去自然要费事些。我本来要去的,他不肯,只好让他去。我看见他戴着黑布小帽,穿着黑布大马褂,深青布棉袍,蹒跚地走到铁道边,慢慢探身下去,尚不大难。可是他穿过铁道,要爬上那边月台,就不容易了。他用两手攀着上面,两脚再向上缩;他肥胖的身子向左微倾,显出努力的样子。这时我看见他的背影,我的泪很快地流下来了。我赶紧拭干了泪,怕他看见,也怕别人看见。我再向外看时,他已抱了朱红的桔子往回走了。过铁道时,他先将桔子散放在地上,自己慢慢爬下,再抱起桔子走。到这边时,我赶紧去搀他。他和我走到车上,将桔子一股脑儿放在我的皮大衣上。于是扑扑衣上的泥土,心里很轻松似的。过一会儿说,“我走了,到那边来信!”我望着他走出去。他走了几步,回过头看见我,说,“进去吧,里边没人。”等他的背影混入来来往往的人里,再找不着了,我便进来坐下,我的眼泪又来了。

 

“Don’t wait, father,” I said.

 

He looked out of the window.

 

“I’ll just buy you a few tangerines,”he said. “Wait here, and don’t wander off.”

 

Just outside the station were some vendors. To reach them he had to cross the lines, which involved jumping down from the platform and clambering up again. As my father is a stout man this was naturally not easy for him. But when I volunteered to go instead he would not hear of it. So I watched him in his black cloth cap and jacket and dark blue cotton-padded gown, as he waddled to the tracks and climbed slowly down – not so difficult after all. But when he had crossed the lines he had trouble clambering up the other side. He clutched the platform with both hands and tried to heave his legs up, straining to the left. At the sight of his burly back tears started to my eyes, but I wiped them hastily so that neither he nor anyone else might see them. When next I looked out he was on his way back with some ruddy tangerines. He put these on the platform before climbing slowly down to cross the lines, which he did after picking the fruit up. When he reached my side I was there to help him up. We boarded the train together and he plumped the tangerines down on my coat. Then he brushed the dust from his clothes, as if that was a weight off his mind.

 

“I’ll be going now, son,” he said presently. “Write to me once you get there.”

 

I watched him walk away. After a few steps he turned back to look at me.

 

“Go on in!” he called. “There’s no one in the compartment.”

 

When his back disappeared among the bustling crowd I went in and sat down, and my eyes were wet again.
     
近几年来,父亲和我都是东奔西走,家中光景是一日不如一日。他少年出外谋生,独立支持,做了许多大事。哪知老境却如此颓唐!他触目伤怀,自然情不能自已。情郁于中,自然要发之于外;家庭琐屑便往往触他之怒。他待我渐渐不同往日。但最近两年的不见,他终于忘却我的不好,只是惦记着我,惦记着我的儿子。我北来后,他写了一信给我,信中说道,“我身体平安,惟膀子疼痛利害,举箸提笔,诸多不便,大约大去之期不远矣。”我读到此处,在晶莹的泪光中,又看见那肥胖的,青布棉袍,黑布马褂的背影。唉!我不知何时再能与他相见!

 

The last few years father and I have been moving from place to place, while things have been going from bad to worse at home. When he left his family as a young man to look for a living, he succeeded in supporting himself and did extremely well. No one could have foreseen such a come-down in his old age! The thought of this naturally depressed him, and as he had to vent his irritation somehow, he often lost his temper over trifles. That was why his manner towards me had gradually changed.But during these last two years of separation he has forgotten my faults and simply wants to see me and my son. After I came north he wrote to me:

 

“My health is all right, only my arm aches so badly I find it hard to hold the pen. Probably the end is not faraway. “

 

When I read this, through a mist of tears I saw his blue cotton-padded gown and black jacket once more as his burly figure walked away from me. Shall we ever meet again?

 

(杨宪益、戴乃迭译)

 

 

 

 

 

汉英对照之二

 

 

背影
The Silhouette of His Back

 

朱自清
Zhu Ziqing

 

我与父亲不相见已二年余了,我最不能忘记的是他的背影。那年冬天,祖母死了,父亲的差使也交卸了,正是祸不单行的日子。我从北京到徐州,打算跟着父亲奔丧回家。到徐州见着父亲,看见满院狼藉的东西,又想起祖母,不禁簌簌地流下眼泪。父亲说:“事已如此,不必难过,好在天无绝人之路!”

 

It has been more than two years since the last time I saw my father, and the memory that has stayed with me the longest is the silhouette of his back.

 

It was during the winter of that year;Grandmother had just died, and Father’s temporary appointment with the government had been terminated. Truly those were days when “calamities never come singly.” I traveled from Beijing to Xuzhou, planning to return home with my father for the funeral. When I reached Xuzhou, I met my father, and I noticed that his garden was in complete disarray. I thought again of Grandmother and was unable to hold back the flow of tears. Father said, “Things are as they are; you shouldn’t be sad, for happily there is nothing under Heaven that is hopeless.”

 

回家变卖典质,父亲还了亏空;又借钱办了丧事。这些日子,家中光景很是惨淡,一半为了丧事,一半为了父亲赋闲。丧事完毕,父亲要到南京谋事,我也要回北京念书,我们便同行。

 

On our return home, by selling and pawning our things. Father was able to clear up his debts; then he borrowed money to pay for the funeral. During those days the situation in our home was apathetic one, partly because of the funeral and partly because of Father’s unemployment. After the funeral ceremonies were completed, Father set out for Nanjing to look for work, and since I intended to return to Beijing to study,we took to the road together.

 

到南京时,有朋友约去游逛,勾留了一日;第二日上午便须渡江到浦口,下午上车北去。父亲因为事忙,本已说定不送我,叫旅馆里一个熟识的茶房陪我同去。他再三嘱咐茶房,甚是仔细。但他终于不放心,怕茶房不妥帖;颇踌躇了一会。其实我那年已二十岁,北京已来往过两三次,是没有什么要紧的了。他踌躇了一会,终于决定还是自己送我去。我两三回劝他不必去;他只说,“不要紧,他们去不好!”

 

When we reached Nanjing a friend invited us to go on an excursion, so we stopped over for a day. At noon on the next day we had to cross the river to Pukou in order to board the afternoon train headed north. Owing to his busy schedule, Father had originally decided not to see me off and had asked a hotel attendant whom he knew well to accompany me. He enjoined the attendant time and again to be extremely attentive. But in the end he could not dispel his anxieties, fearing that the attendant would prove to be unreliable; he was unable to make up his mind for some time. Actually, at the time I was already twenty years old and had journeyed to and from Beijing two or three times, so it wasn’t such a major affair. He vacillated for a while, then finally decided that he would see me off after all. I tried to persuade him, two or three times, that he need not go, but he simply said, “No matter, having them go isn’t a good idea.”

 

我们过了江,进了车站。我买票,他忙着照看行李。行李太多了,得向脚夫行些小费,才可过去。他便又忙着和他们讲价钱。我那时真是聪明过分,总觉他说话不大漂亮,非自己插嘴不可,但他终于讲定了价钱;就送我上车。他给我拣定了靠车门的一张椅子;我将他给我做的紫毛大衣铺好座位。他嘱我路上小心,夜里要警醒些,不要受凉。又嘱托茶房好好照应我。我心里暗笑他的迂;他们只认得钱,托他们只是白托!而且我这样大年纪的人,难道还不能料理自己么?唉,我现在想想,那时真是太聪明了!

 

We crossed the river and entered the train station. I bought my ticket while he busied himself with the luggage, of which there was so much that he found it necessary to offer a tip to a porter before we could pass on. He then busied himself with bartering over the charges. In those days I thought I was as smart as one could be, and, feeling that his speech wasn’t all that elegant, it was necessary for me to interject some words of my own. Finally, however, he arrived at an agreed price and escorted me to the train. He located a seat next to the car door for me, over which I draped the purple fur-lined overcoat that he had made for me. He instructed me to be careful during the trip, to be on my guard at night, and to avoid drafts. And he also charged the attendant with taking good care of me. I was laughing to myself over his absurdness; all they’re concerned with is money, so asking them for favors is absolutely useless! What’s more, was it possible that a fellow as old and mature as I was would be unable to take of himself? Ai! As I think back on it now, I was really too smart for my own good then!

 

我说道,“爸爸,你走吧。”他往车外看了看,说,“我买几个橘子去。你就在此地,不要走动。”我看那边月台的栅栏外有几个卖东西的等着顾客。走到那边月台,须穿过铁道,须跳下去又爬上去。父亲是一个胖子,走过去自然要费事些。我本来要去的,他不肯,只好让他去。我看见他戴着黑布小帽,穿着黑布大马褂,深青布棉袍,蹒跚地走到铁道边,慢慢探身下去,尚不大难。可是他穿过铁道,要爬上那边月台,就不容易了。他用两手攀着上面,两脚再向上缩;他肥胖的身子向左微倾,显出努力的样子。这时我看见他的背影,我的泪很快地流下来了。我赶紧拭干了泪,怕他看见,也怕别人看见。我再向外看时,他已抱了朱红的桔子往回走了。过铁道时,他先将桔子散放在地上,自己慢慢爬下,再抱起桔子走。到这边时,我赶紧去搀他。他和我走到车上,将桔子一股脑儿放在我的皮大衣上。于是扑扑衣上的泥土,心里很轻松似的。过一会儿说,“我走了,到那边来信!”我望着他走出去。他走了几步,回过头看见我,说,“进去吧,里边没人。”等他的背影混入来来往往的人里,再找不着了,我便进来坐下,我的眼泪又来了。

 

I said, “Papa, you go on now.” He glanced out of the train car and said, “I’ll go buy you some oranges. You wait here; don’t go anywhere.” I could see there were several peddlers waiting for customers over beyond the railing of a distant platform. To get to that platform you had to cross the tracks by jumping down and then clambering backup the other side. Father was a stout man, so crossing over there would be no mean task. At first I wanted to go myself, but he wouldn’t allow it, so all I could do was let him go. I watched him hobble over to the tracks in his black cloth cap, black cloth gown, and dark blue outer jacket, and slowly ease himself down without too much trouble. But when he had crossed the tracks and was trying to climb up to the other platform, that was no easy matter. He grabbed hold of it with two hands, then hoisted up both of his legs, his stout body listing to the left and showing the great strain he was exerting. It was then that I noticed the silhouette of his back, and tears promptly coursed down my cheeks. I hurriedly wiped away the tears, afraid that he might notice, and afraid also that others might be watching. When I looked out from the train car again he was already on his way back, carrying a load of deep-colored oranges.To cross the railroad tracks he first tossed the oranges and started out again.When he made it over to this side, I quickly went over and gave him a hand.Then the two of us walked back onto the train, and he dropped the whole load of oranges on top of my leather overcoat. Then he brushed the mud off his clothes,his mind having taken on a relaxed mood. After a moment he said, “Well, I’m going now; write when you get there.” My gaze followed him as he walked away.He took several steps, then turned around to me and said, “Go on in, there’s no one inside.” When the silhouette of his back had merged with those of the people coming and going, when I could no longer spot him, I went back in and sat down. Once again tears welled up in my eyes.

 

近几年来,父亲和我都是东奔西走,家中光景是一日不如一日。他少年出外谋生,独立支持,做了许多大事。哪知老境却如此颓唐!他触目伤怀,自然情不能自已。情郁于中,自然要发之于外;家庭琐屑便往往触他之怒。他待我渐渐不同往日。但最近两年的不见,他终于忘却我的不好,只是惦记着我,惦记着我的儿子。我北来后,他写了一信给我,信中说道,“我身体平安,惟膀子疼痛利害,举箸提笔,诸多不便,大约大去之期不远矣。”我读到此处,在晶莹的泪光中,又看见那肥胖的,青布棉袍,黑布马褂的背影。唉!我不知何时再能与他相见!

 

These past few years my father’s and my paths have failed to cross, and our family situation has worsened each day.From his youth he had struck out on his own and had supported his family by himself, undertaking several important jobs. How could he have envisioned such ruinous times in his advanced years? He was a witness to unhappy times, so naturally could not help giving vent to his feelings, and trifling family matters often aroused his anger. His attitude toward me gradually came to differ from earlier days. But not having seen me in the past two years, he has come to lose sight of my shortcomings, and thinks only of seeing me and my son.

 

After I came to Beijing he wrote me a letter in which he said, “My general health is good, but I am bothered by a rather painful shoulder that makes it difficult to raise my chopsticks or lift a pen; probably the hour of my passing is not far away.” When I read to this point, through the shining translucence of my tears I saw once again the silhouette of that stout back covered with a dark blue outer jacket and black cloth gown. Ai! I do not know when I shall be able to meet him again.

 

(Howard Goldblatt 译)

汉英对照之三

 

背影
The Sight of Father’s Back

 

朱自清
Zhu Ziqing

 

我与父亲不相见已二年余了,我最不能忘记的是他的背影。那年冬天,祖母死了,父亲的差使也交卸了,正是祸不单行的日子。我从北京到徐州,打算跟着父亲奔丧回家。到徐州见着父亲,看见满院狼藉的东西,又想起祖母,不禁簌簌地流下眼泪。父亲说:“事已如此,不必难过,好在天无绝人之路!”

 

It is more than two years since I last saw father, and what I can never forget is the sight of his back. Misfortunes never come singly. In the winter of more than two years ago, grandma died and father lost his job. I left Beijing for Xuzhou to joint father in hastening home to attend grandma’s funeral. When I met father in Xuzhou, the sight of the disorderly mess in his courtyard and the thought of grandma started tears trickling down my cheeks. Father said, “Now that things’have come to such a pass, it’s no use crying. Fortunately, Heaven always leaves one a way out.”

 

回家变卖典质,父亲还了亏空;又借钱办了丧事。这些日子,家中光景很是惨淡,一半为了丧事,一半为了父亲赋闲。丧事完毕,父亲要到南京谋事,我也要回北京念书,我们便同行。

 

After arriving home in Yangzhou, father paid off debts by selling or pawning things. He also borrowed money to meet the funeral expenses. Between grandma’s funeral and father’s unemployment, our family was then in reduced circumstances. After the funeral was over, father was to go to Nanjing to look for a job and I was to return to Beijing to study, so we started out together.

 

到南京时,有朋友约去游逛,勾留了一日;第二日上午便须渡江到浦口,下午上车北去。父亲因为事忙,本已说定不送我,叫旅馆里一个熟识的茶房陪我同去。他再三嘱咐茶房,甚是仔细。但他终于不放心,怕茶房不妥帖;颇踌躇了一会。其实我那年已二十岁,北京已来往过两三次,是没有什么要紧的了。他踌躇了一会,终于决定还是自己送我去。我两三回劝他不必去;他只说,“不要紧,他们去不好!”

 

I spent the first day in Nanjing strolling about with some friends at their invitation, and was ferrying across the Yangtze River to Pukou the next morning and then taking a train for Beijing on the afternoon of the same day. Father said he was too busy to go and see me off at the railway station, but would ask a hotel waiter that he knew to accompany me there instead. He urged the waiter again and again to take good care of me, but still did not quite trust him. He hesitated for quite a while about what to do. As a matter of fact, nothing would matter at all because I was then twenty and had already travelled on the Beijing-Pukou Railway a couple of times. After some wavering, he finally decided that he himself would accompany me to the station. I repeatedly tried to talk him out of it, but he only said, “Never mind! It won’t do to trust guys like those hotel boys!”

 

我们过了江,进了车站。我买票,他忙着照看行李。行李太多了,得向脚夫行些小费,才可过去。他便又忙着和他们讲价钱。我那时真是聪明过分,总觉他说话不大漂亮,非自己插嘴不可,但他终于讲定了价钱;就送我上车。他给我拣定了靠车门的一张椅子;我将他给我做的紫毛大衣铺好座位。他嘱我路上小心,夜里要警醒些,不要受凉。又嘱托茶房好好照应我。我心里暗笑他的迂;他们只认得钱,托他们只是白托!而且我这样大年纪的人,难道还不能料理自己么?唉,我现在想想,那时真是太聪明了!

 

We entered the railway station after crossing the River. While I was at the booking office buying a ticket, father saw to my luggage. There was quite a bit luggage and he had to bargain with the porter over the fee. I was then such a smart aleck that I frowned upon the way father was haggling and was on the verge of chipping in a few words when the bargain was finally clinched. Getting on the train with me, he picked me a seat close to the carriage door. I spread on the seat the brownish fur-lined overcoat he had got tailor made for me. He told me to be watchful on the way and be careful not to catch cold at night. He also asked the train attendants to take good care of me. I sniggered at father for being so impractical, for it was utterly useless to entrust me to those attendants,who cared for nothing but money. Besides, it was certainly no problem for a person of my age to look after himself. Oh, when I come to think of it, I can see how smarty I was in those days!

 

我说道,“爸爸,你走吧。”他往车外看了看,说,“我买几个橘子去。你就在此地,不要走动。”我看那边月台的栅栏外有几个卖东西的等着顾客。走到那边月台,须穿过铁道,须跳下去又爬上去。父亲是一个胖子,走过去自然要费事些。我本来要去的,他不肯,只好让他去。我看见他戴着黑布小帽,穿着黑布大马褂,深青布棉袍,蹒跚地走到铁道边,慢慢探身下去,尚不大难。可是他穿过铁道,要爬上那边月台,就不容易了。他用两手攀着上面,两脚再向上缩;他肥胖的身子向左微倾,显出努力的样子。这时我看见他的背影,我的泪很快地流下来了。我赶紧拭干了泪,怕他看见,也怕别人看见。我再向外看时,他已抱了朱红的桔子往回走了。过铁道时,他先将桔子散放在地上,自己慢慢爬下,再抱起桔子走。到这边时,我赶紧去搀他。他和我走到车上,将桔子一股脑儿放在我的皮大衣上。于是扑扑衣上的泥土,心里很轻松似的。过一会儿说,“我走了,到那边来信!”我望着他走出去。他走了几步,回过头看见我,说,“进去吧,里边没人。”等他的背影混入来来往往的人里,再找不着了,我便进来坐下,我的眼泪又来了。

 

I said, “Dad,you might leave now.” But he looked out of the window and said, “I’m going to buy you some tangerines. You just stay here. Don’t move around.” I caught sight of several vendors waiting for customers outside the railings beyond a platform. But to reach that platform would require crossing the railway track and doing some climbing up and down. That would be a strenuous job for father,who was fat. I wanted to do all that myself, but he stopped me, so I could do nothing but let him go. I watched him hobble towards the railway track in his black skullcap, black cloth mandarin jacket and dark blue cotton-padded cloth long gown. He had little trouble climbing down the railway track, but it was a lot more difficult for him to climb up that platform after crossing the railway track. His hands held onto the upper part of the platform, his legs huddled up and his corpulent body tipped slightly towards the left, obviously making an enormous exertion. While I was watching him from behind, tears gushed from my eyes. I quickly wiped them away lest he or others should catch me crying. The next moment when I looked out of the window again, father was already on the way back, holding bright red tangerines in both hands. In crossing the railway track, he first put the tangerines on the ground, climbed down slowly and then picked them up again. When he came near the train, I hurried out to help him by the hand. After boarding the train with me, he laid all the tangerines on my overcoat, and patting the dirt off his clothes, he looked somewhat relieved and said after a while, “I must be going now. Don’t forget to write me from Beijing!” I gazed after his back retreating out of the carriage. After a few steps, he looked back at me and said, “Go back to your seat. Don’t leave your things alone.” I, however, did not go back to my seat until his figure was lost among crowds of people hurrying to and fro and no longer visible. My eyes were again wet with tears.

 

近几年来,父亲和我都是东奔西走,家中光景是一日不如一日。他少年出外谋生,独立支持,做了许多大事。哪知老境却如此颓唐!他触目伤怀,自然情不能自已。情郁于中,自然要发之于外;家庭琐屑便往往触他之怒。他待我渐渐不同往日。但最近两年的不见,他终于忘却我的不好,只是惦记着我,惦记着我的儿子。我北来后,他写了一信给我,信中说道,“我身体平安,惟膀子疼痛利害,举箸提笔,诸多不便,大约大去之期不远矣。”我读到此处,在晶莹的泪光中,又看见那肥胖的,青布棉袍,黑布马褂的背影。唉!我不知何时再能与他相见!

 

In recent years, both father and I have been living an unsettled life, and the circumstances of our family going from bad to worse. Father left home to seek a livelihood when young and did achieve quite a few things all on his own. To think that he should now be so downcast in old age! The discouraging state of affairs filled him with an uncontrollable feeling of deep sorrow, and his pent-up emotion had to find a vent. That is why even mere domestic trivialities would often make him angry, and meanwhile he became less and less nice with me.However, the separation of the last two years has made him more forgiving towards me. He keeps thinking about me and my son. After I arrived in Beijing, he wrote me a letter, in which he says, “I’m all right except for a severe pain in my arm. I even have trouble using chopsticks or writing brushes. Perhaps it won’t be long now before I depart this life.” Through the glistening tears which these had brought to my eyes I again saw the back of father’s corpulent form inthe dark blue cotton-padded cloth long gown and the black cloth mandarin jacket. Oh, how I long to see him again!

 

(张培基译)

 

 

 

 

 

汉英对照之四

 

背影
The Image of My Father’s Back

 

朱自清
Zhu Ziqing

 

我与父亲不相见已二年余了,我最不能忘记的是他的背影。那年冬天,祖母死了,父亲的差使也交卸了,正是祸不单行的日子。我从北京到徐州,打算跟着父亲奔丧回家。到徐州见着父亲,看见满院狼藉的东西,又想起祖母,不禁簌簌地流下眼泪。父亲说:“事已如此,不必难过,好在天无绝人之路!”

 

Over two years have passed since I last saw my father, but I can hardly forget the image of his back. As misfortunes never come singly, that winter, my grandma died and Father lost his job. I left Beijing for Xuzhou, where I could join Father and hurry home for the funeral. I saw him in Xuzhou. At the sight of the mess allover the yard, I began to miss Grandma again, and tears kept rolling down my cheeks. Father said, “It’s no use crying over what’s already happened, but there should always be a way out!”

 

回家变卖典质,父亲还了亏空;又借钱办了丧事。这些日子,家中光景很是惨淡,一半为了丧事,一半为了父亲赋闲。丧事完毕,父亲要到南京谋事,我也要回北京念书,我们便同行。

 

Once we went back home, Father sold the house, paid off the debt, and then borrowed some more money to hold the funeral. The funeral and the unemployment made things very tough for the family in those days. After the funeral, Father wanted to go to Nanjing to look for a job, and I needed to go back to Beijing for school. So we traveled together for part of our trips.

 

到南京时,有朋友约去游逛,勾留了一日;第二日上午便须渡江到浦口,下午上车北去。父亲因为事忙,本已说定不送我,叫旅馆里一个熟识的茶房陪我同去。他再三嘱咐茶房,甚是仔细。但他终于不放心,怕茶房不妥帖;颇踌躇了一会。其实我那年已二十岁,北京已来往过两三次,是没有什么要紧的了。他踌躇了一会,终于决定还是自己送我去。我两三回劝他不必去;他只说,“不要紧,他们去不好!”

 

On our first day in Nanjing, some friends of mine took me out on a tour, but I had to cross the Yangtze River to get to Pukou the following morning in order to catch the northbound afternoon train. Father told me he would not go and see me off at the train station as he was busy, but he would get an acquaintance of his, a hotel attendant, to take care of the matter. Father was so preoccupied with this matter that he repeatedly spelled out the details of his instructions to the attendant. Even so, he was still worried, afraid that the attendant might make a mistake. That really bothered him for a while. I was, in fact, twenty years old that year and had already been back and forth between Beijing and my hometown for two or three times. I would have been fine on my own, but after debating with himself for some time, he still decided to go and see me off himself. I told him several times not to, but he only said, “I’m fine. He may spoil things!”

 

我们过了江,进了车站。我买票,他忙着照看行李。行李太多了,得向脚夫行些小费,才可过去。他便又忙着和他们讲价钱。我那时真是聪明过分,总觉他说话不大漂亮,非自己插嘴不可,但他终于讲定了价钱;就送我上车。他给我拣定了靠车门的一张椅子;我将他给我做的紫毛大衣铺好座位。他嘱我路上小心,夜里要警醒些,不要受凉。又嘱托茶房好好照应我。我心里暗笑他的迂;他们只认得钱,托他们只是白托!而且我这样大年纪的人,难道还不能料理自己么?唉,我现在想想,那时真是太聪明了!

 

After crossing the river, we entered the train station, where I went to book the ticket while Father attended to the luggage. Because I had too much luggage to carry, we had to hire porters. Father began to bargain with them. I often cut in on their conversation, thinking he was too dumb a bargainer – I was too arrogant back then, but eventually, he worked out a price with them. He helped me board the train and found me a seat next to the door, on which I spread out the purple fur overcoat he had made for me. He urged me to be careful, to be alert at night,and to try not to catch cold during the trip. And he also told one of the train officials to take care of me. I sniggered to myself at his pedantry for, to my knowledge, those were people who only worked for money and, to them, no request counted without a tip. Besides, I was old enough to take care of myself – but I now recognize that I was too smug back then.

 

我说道,“爸爸,你走吧。”他往车外看了看,说,“我买几个橘子去。你就在此地,不要走动。”我看那边月台的栅栏外有几个卖东西的等着顾客。走到那边月台,须穿过铁道,须跳下去又爬上去。父亲是一个胖子,走过去自然要费事些。我本来要去的,他不肯,只好让他去。我看见他戴着黑布小帽,穿着黑布大马褂,深青布棉袍,蹒跚地走到铁道边,慢慢探身下去,尚不大难。可是他穿过铁道,要爬上那边月台,就不容易了。他用两手攀着上面,两脚再向上缩;他肥胖的身子向左微倾,显出努力的样子。这时我看见他的背影,我的泪很快地流下来了。我赶紧拭干了泪,怕他看见,也怕别人看见。我再向外看时,他已抱了朱红的桔子往回走了。过铁道时,他先将桔子散放在地上,自己慢慢爬下,再抱起桔子走。到这边时,我赶紧去搀他。他和我走到车上,将桔子一股脑儿放在我的皮大衣上。于是扑扑衣上的泥土,心里很轻松似的。过一会儿说,“我走了,到那边来信!”我望着他走出去。他走了几步,回过头看见我,说,“进去吧,里边没人。”等他的背影混入来来往往的人里,再找不着了,我便进来坐下,我的眼泪又来了。

 

So I said to him, “Dad, you can go now.” He looked out of the window and said, “I’m going to get a few oranges for you. You stay here, and don’t move.” I looked out and saw that beyond the guardrails of the platform across from ours, there were a few street vendors. One had to get off our platform, cross the railroads, and then climb onto the platform across from ours to reach them. Father was stout, so it would be quite something for him to get there. I told him I could go myself,but he insisted, and therefore, I had to let him do it. So I watched him, in his small black cloth hat and a black Chinese cloth jacket over a dark blue,cotton-wadded robe, tottering to the side of our platform and slowly climbing down. This was not that difficult for him, but it was quite something for him to climb onto the other platform after crossing the railroads. He clung to the top of the platform with both hands and then dragged his feet up. He tilted  his stout body to the left – apparently he was making quite an effort. As I was watching his back, tears quickly ran down my cheeks. I rushed to wipe them away, for fear that he and others might see them. When I looked out again, he was on his way back to me, holding the tangerine-red oranges in his arms. To cross the railroads, he placed the oranges on the edge of the platform, slowly climbed down, and then picked them up again. I rushed to help him when he reached our side. After we boarded again, he poured all the oranges onto the overcoat. With a sense of relief, he patted his jacket to get rid of the dust.After a while, he said, “I’m leaving now. Write me when you get there.” I saw him off the train. He took a few steps forward and then turned to me, saying,“Go in, and watch your luggage.” I didn’t walk in and sit down until the image of his back disappeared in the crowds and could no longer be seen. I couldn’t help crying again.

 

近几年来,父亲和我都是东奔西走,家中光景是一日不如一日。他少年出外谋生,独立支持,做了许多大事。哪知老境却如此颓唐!他触目伤怀,自然情不能自已。情郁于中,自然要发之于外;家庭琐屑便往往触他之怒。他待我渐渐不同往日。但最近两年的不见,他终于忘却我的不好,只是惦记着我,惦记着我的儿子。我北来后,他写了一信给我,信中说道,“我身体平安,惟膀子疼痛利害,举箸提笔,诸多不便,大约大去之期不远矣。”我读到此处,在晶莹的泪光中,又看见那肥胖的,青布棉袍,黑布马褂的背影。唉!我不知何时再能与他相见!

 

In recent years, as both Father and I were busy rushing here and there, conditions at home were getting worse and worse. He had left home when he was young to seek a living, and he had always supported himself; he had done a great number of important things, but he had never expected that his later life would be so dispiriting. Seeing his situation, it was natural for him to be sad and unable to control his emotions; when one was unhappy inside, it was natural that the feeling would find a way out. So family trifles often provoked him, and the way he treated me started to get worse than before. However, not having seen each other for the last two years made him forget my annoyances, but intensified his concerns about me and my kids. He wrote me a letter after I returned to Beijing, saying, “I’m OK with my health, except for the sharp pain in my arm,which makes it hard for me to handle chopsticks or pens. Maybe I am not far from leaving this world.” As I read this, tears welled up in my eyes, and through the glittering tears, I again saw the image of his stout back, clad in a green cloth robe and covered by a black cloth jacket. Alas, I wondered when I would see him again!

 

(徐英才译)

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