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散文佳作108篇 第76期:Integrity正直

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Integrity

正直

-From A Mother in Mannville

——节选自《妈妈住在曼菲尔》

M.K.Rawlings

M.K.罗林兹
正直

The Orphanage is high in the Carolina mountains. Sometimes in winter the snowdrifts are sodeep that the institution is cut off from the village below,from all the world. Fog hides themountain peaks, the snow swirls down the valleys, and a wind blows so bitterly that theorphanage boys who take the milk twice daily to the baby cottage reach the door with fingersstiff in anagony of numbness.

在卡罗来纳的山地里,有一座孤儿院坐落在高处。隆冬时节,风雪交加,有时候积雪堆得老高,将孤儿院与山下的村庄乃至整个外界完全隔断。云雾遮蔽了重重峰峦,雪花飞旋着冲人山谷。在呼啸的寒风中,孤儿院的男孩们将一份份牛奶端到育婴房去,一天得跑两趟呢。当他们走到育婴房门口的时候,手指冻得僵硬,一点儿都不听使唤了。

I was there in the autumn. I wanted quiet, isolation, to do some troublesome writing. I wantedmountain air to blow out the malaria from too long a time in the subtropics. I was homesick,too, for the flaming of maples in October,and for corn shocks and pumpkins and black-walnuttrees and the lift of hills. I found them all, living in a cabin that belonged to the orphanage, halfa mile beyond the orphanage farm. When I took the cabin, I asked for a boyor man to comeand chop wood for the fireplace. The first few days were warm, I found what wood I neededabout the cabin, no one came, and Iforgot the order.

我秋天就到了那里。我需要安静,与世隔绝,好从事艰辛的创作。我需要山里的清风,把久居亚热带地区染上的疟疾吹散。我还想起家来,老惦着那十月间的枫叶似火,那一垛垛玉米秫秸,南瓜成堆,黑胡桃林子,还有隆起的山丘。我住在孤儿院的一间小屋里,距院农场有半英里,这一切尽收眼底。我住进去的时候,要求派个男孩或者男人帮我劈柴烧壁炉。头几天还算暖和,我在小屋的四周捡了点木柴,没见人来,也就把这话给忘了。

I looked up from my typewriter one late afternoon, a little startled. A boystood at the door,and my pointer dog, my companion, was at his side and had not barked to warn me. The boywas probably twelve years old, but undersized. He wore overalls and a torn shirt, and wasbarefooted.

一天傍晚,我正在打字,猛抬头不禁吃了一惊:有个男孩站在房门口,而跟我做伴的猎狗竟在他身边默默呆着,连个招呼也没跟我打一声。这孩子大概有12岁,不过个子没那么大,他穿着一条工装裤,一件破旧的衬衣,光着两脚。

He said, "I can chop some wood today."

他说:“我今天可以劈点儿木柴。”

I said, "But I have a boy coming from the orphanage."

我说:“可我请了孤儿院的孩子来劈。”

"I'm the boy."

“我就是。”

"You? But you're small."

“是你?可你还小呢。”

"Size don't matter, chopping wood," he said. "Some of the big boys don't chop good. I've beenchopping wood at the orphanage a long time."

“劈柴火可不论个头儿,”他说,“有的大孩子还劈不好呢。我在孤儿院劈了好长一阵了。”

I visualized mangled and inadequate branches for my fires. I was well into my work and notinclined to conversation. I was a little blunt."Very well. There's the ax. Go ahead and see whatyou can do."

我想象中出现了砍得乱七八糟的树枝子,供不上壁炉烧的。我一心在写作,没有心思搭理他,话也说得有点生硬:“好了好了,去拿斧子吧。先劈劈再看吧。”

I went back to work,closing the door. At first the sound of the boy dragging brush annoyedme. Then he began to chop. The blows were rhythmic and steady, and shortly I had forgottenhim, the sound no more of an interruption than a consistent rain. I suppose an hour and ahalf passed, for when I stopped and stretched, and heard the boy's steps on the cabin stoop,the sun was dropping behind the farthest mountain, and the valleys were purplewith somethingdeeper than the asters.

我关上门,继续写作。起先听他拽木头,闹得我心烦。后来他动手劈柴了。他劈得错落有致,不紧不慢,我很快就把他忘了,那斧声就跟一场绵绵细雨似的对我全无干扰。我估计他劈了有一个半小时吧,因为这时我歇下来舒展一下身子,听见他正走上门口的台阶,夕阳已渐渐沉没在远山的背后,壑谷间一片紫霭,颜色比翠菊还浓。

The boy said, "I have to go to supper now. I can come again tomorrow evening."

这孩子说道:“我得去吃晚饭了。我明晚再来。”

I said, "I'll pay you now for what you've done," thinking I should probably have to insist on anolder boy. "Ten cents an hour'?"

我说:“我这就把你的工钱结了吧,”心想恐怕还得换个大孩子来,“一小时算一毛?”

"Anything is all right."

“怎么都行。”

We went together back of the cabin. An astonishing amount of solid wood had been cut. Therewere cherry logs and heavy roots of rhododendron, and blocks from the waste pine and oakleft from the building of the cabin.

我们一起来到屋后。只见满地都是劈好了的结结实实的木柴,简直令人咂舌。其中有樱桃树的圆木干和杜鹃灌木的粗根,就连盖小屋剩下的废松木和废栎木,也都劈成了大块的木柴。

"But you've done as much as a man," I said. "This is a splendid pile."

“你可是跟大人劈得一样多了,”我说,“瞧这么大一堆,太好了。”

I looked at him, actually, for the first time. His hair was the color of the corn shocks, and hiseyes, very direct, were like the mountain sky when rain is pending-gray, with a shadowing ofthat miraculous blue. As I spoke a light came over him, as though the setting sun hadtouched him with the same suffused glory with which it touched the mountains. I gave him aquarter.

我端详着他,说真的,这还是头一回。他的头发呈玉米秫秸的颜色,两眼里一片率真,像是山雨欲来的天空——灰暗中透出那奇异的天蓝。我正说着,忽见他周身一片光亮,仿佛落日那洒满群山的余辉也洒到了他身上。我给了他一枚两角五分的硬币。

"You may come tomorrow," I said, "and thank you very much."He looked at me, and at the coin,and seemed to want to speak, but could not, and turned away.

“你明天来吧,”我说,“多谢你了。”他看看我,又看看硬币,好像要说什么,可又说不出来,就转身离去。

"I'll split kindling tomorrow," he said over his thin ragged shoulder. "You'llneed kindling andmedium wood and logs and backlogs."

“明天我劈引火柴,”他回过头来又说,衬衣的肩部都磨薄磨破了,“点火柴,引火柴,原木,垫底的,你都用得着。”

At daylight I was half wakened by the sound of chopping. Again it was so even in texture that Iwent back to sleep. When I left my bed in the cool morning, the boy had come and gone, and astack of kindling was neat against the cabin wall. He came again after school in the afternoonand worked until time to return to the orphanage. His name was Jerry; he was twelve years old,and he had been at the orphanage since he was four. I could picture him at four, with the samegrave gray-blue eyes and the same-independence? No, the word that comes to me is"integrity."

第二天黎明时分,一阵劈柴声搅得我似醒非醒。那拍子依然不紧不慢,又把我带回梦乡。我早上起床,天很凉,这孩子来过又走了,只见一堆引火柴整整齐齐码在墙边。他下午放学后又来了,一口气干到该回孤儿院了才歇手。他叫杰里,12岁了,从四岁起就呆在孤儿院。我可以想象他四岁的样子,也是这双郑重其事的灰蓝色眼睛,也是这份自立?不,我想到的词儿是“正直”。

The word means something very special to me, and the quality for which I use it is a rare one.My father had it-there is another of whom I am almost sure-but almost no man of myacquaintance possesses it with the clarity,the purity, the simplicity of a mountain stream.But the boy Jerry had it. It is bedded-on courage, but it is more than brave. It is honest, but itis more than honesty. The ax handle broke one day. Jerry said the woodshop at theorphanage would repair it. I brought money to pay for the job and he refused it.

这个词对我有特殊的含义,我用它来说明一种难得的品格。我父亲就有这种品格——我相信还有别人,但是在我的相识中几乎没有一个人像一泓山泉那般清澈、纯洁和朴素地具备这种品格。然而杰里这孩子就有。他的正直植根于勇气,但又超出勇敢。它是诚实,但又超出诚实。有一天,斧把断了。杰里说孤儿院的木工房给修。我掏出修理费,他不肯收。

"I'll pay for it," he said. "I broke it. I brought the ax down careless."

“这钱该我出,”他说,“我弄断的。我砍得不小心。”

"But no one hits accurately every time," I told him. "The fault was in the wood of the handle.I'll see the man from whom I bought it.

“可谁都有个闪失的时候,”我对他说,“都怪木把不结实。我找卖斧子的去。”

"It was only then that he would take the money. He was standing back of his own carelessness. He was a free-will agent and he chose to do careful work, and if he failed, he took theresponsibility without subterfuge.

他这才肯把钱收下。他对自己的疏忽毫不遮掩。他是个自有主意的人,干活就要认真干好,没干好,他就承担责任,决不借故推诿。


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