现代英文选评注 | Two Mutes 两哑巴 Carson McCullers


本文节录自长篇小说《心是个寂寞的猎者》(The Heart Is a Lonely?Hunter,1940)的第一章。全书以聋哑人John Singer为主角,充满怜悯与同情心。作者卡森·麦克乐斯女士(Carson McCullers,1917—1967)出生于美国乔治亚州,其文章作风之朴素率直与同情心之深厚,论者比之于英国的D. H. Lawrence与十九世纪俄国作家Dostoyevsky。本文句法均甚简单平稳,值得学者效法。

In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together. Early every morning they would come out from the house where they lived and walk arm in arm down the street to work. The two friends were very different. The one who always steered the way was an obese and dreamy Greek. In the summer he would come out wearing a yellow or green polo shirt stuffed sloppily into his trousers in front and hanging loose behind. When it was colder he wore over this a shapeless gray sweater. His face was round and oily, with half-closed eyelids and lips that curved in a gentle, stupid smile. The other was tall. His eyes had a quick, intelligent expression. He was always immaculate and very soberly dressed.

  • 第二句的动词would come… and walk…中的would表示过去的习惯。
  • steered the way:领路。两哑巴之中,一个个性较强,已于此句点明。obese:肥硕的。Greek:美国各国移民都有,此人乃希腊人。
  • polo:马球。polo shirt:一种运动衬衫,类似“香港衫”。
  • sloppily=carelessly。stuffed:塞。衬衫前摆潦潦草草地塞在裤腰里,后摆松松地挂在外面。
  • sweater:(羊)毛衫。此字是wore的宾语。over this之this代表 polo shirt。
  • immaculate:洁净无垢。soberly:朴素地。

Every morning the two friends walked silently together until they reached the main street of the town. Then when they came to a certain fruit and candy store they paused for a moment on the sidewalk outside. The Greek, Spiros Antonapoulos, worked for his cousin, who owned the fruit store. His job was to make candies and sweets, uncrate the fruits, and to keep the place clean. The thin mute, John Singer, nearly always put his hand on his friend's arm and looked for a second into his face before leaving him. Then after this good-bye Singer crossed the street and walked on alone to the jewelry store where he worked as a silverware engraver.

  • paused:稍停。每天早晨,两人一同上班。到了肥哑巴所服务的糖果鲜果店门前,他们必定停一下。停住了,瘦哑巴要同他告别。第五句叙Singer如何的依依不舍:拉着朋友的臂膊,眼睛细细地对他看。天天见面的尚且如此难分难舍,哑巴心里如何寂寞,不言自明。
  • crate(名词):篓子。uncrate(动词):从篓中取出。同样的,打开包裹是unpack,解开绳子是unstring。


In the late afternoon the friends would meet again. Singer came back to the fruit store and waited until Antonapoulos was ready to go home. In the dusk the two mutes walked slowly home together. At home Singer was always talking to Antonapoulos. His hands shaped the words in a swift series of designs. His face was eager and his gray-green eyes sparkled brightly. With his thin, strong hands he told Antonapoulos all that had happened during the day.

  • 第四句was always talking表示“停了又说”,“总是在那里说”。
  • 哑巴怎么能说话呢?他是用手势代替语言的。series of designs:一连串的手势图样。
  • eager:形容迫不及待的神气。眼睛里还发着光。心中有话,即使是很不重要的话,也非吐不可。

Antonapoulos sat back lazily and looked at Singer. It was seldom that he ever moved his hands to speak at all—and then it was to say that he wanted to eat or sleep or to drink. These three things he always said with the same vague, fumbling signs. At night, if he were not too drunk, he would kneel down before his bed and pray awhile. Then his plump hands shaped the words "Holy Jesus," or "God," or "Darling Mary." These were the only words Antonapoulos ever said. Singer never knew just how much his friend understood of all the things he told him. But it did not matter.

  • 那希腊人只是懒洋洋地坐着,对他的朋友看着。他除了本能的要求之外,似乎没有什么理智活动,也没有什么话要说的。
  • at all=in any way:用任何方式,总是用在否定或疑问的句子里。
  • vague:模糊的。fumbling:笨拙的(动词fumble:乱摸)。plump:肥厚的。
  • it did not matter:也没有什么关系。Singer只管自己把话“说”出来,不管对方“听”不“听”。

They shared the upstairs of a small house near the business section of the town. There were two rooms. On the oil stove in the kitchen Antonapoulos cooked all of their meals. There were straight, plain kitchen chairs for Singer and an over-stuffed sofa for Antonapoulos. The bedroom was furnished mainly with a large double bed covered with an eiderdown comfort for the big Greek and a narrow iron cot for Singer.

  • shared:合住。business section:商业区。stove:炉子。
  • 胖子好吃,菜是他煮的。但是在别的事情上,他总是占便宜。Singer坐的是硬板厨房椅子(straight:直挺挺的。plain:没有垫子椅套等装饰的),胖子坐的是软厚沙发(over-stuffed:垫得满满的),胖子睡大双人床,Singer睡小铁床。
  • comfort:床上的被子,普通拼作comforter。eiderdown:鸭绒(eider是一种野鸭,down是鸟的软毛)。cot:小床,如帆布行军床、可折叠的铁床之类。

Dinner always took a long time, because Antonapoulos loved food and he was very slow. After they had eaten, the big Greek would lie back on his sofa and slowly lick over each one of his teeth with his tongue—while Singer washed the dishes.

  • lick:舔。牙齿一只一只舔过,足见吃得津津有味。胖子非但好吃贪舒服,而且行动迟缓。本段内两见slow。

Sometimes in the evening the mutes would play chess. Singer had always greatly enjoyed this game, and years before he had tried to teach it to Antonapoulos. At first his friend could not be interested in the reasons for moving the various pieces about on the board. Then Singer began to keep a bottle of something good under the table to be taken out after each lesson. The Greek never got on to the erratic movements of the knights and sweeping mobility of the queens, but he learned to make a few set, opening moves. He preferred the white pieces and would not play if the black men were given him. After the first moves Singer worked out the game by himself while his friend looked on drowsily. If Singer made brilliant attacks on his own men so that in the end the black king was killed, Antonapoulos was always very proud and pleased.

  • 哑巴以下棋为消遣,chess大致与中国象棋相类。
  • 棋子叫pieces或men,棋盘叫board。moving the various pieces about:把不同的棋子(车、马、卒等)各处搬动。about(副词)=here and there。那希腊人对于各种棋子走法(如车可走好多格,而卒只可走有限的格子)的理由不感兴趣。
  • a bottle of something good:一瓶好东西,指好酒。棋教完以后,Singer拿酒出来给希腊人喝。要把希腊人训练成他的棋友,Singer不惜用酒来引诱。
  • got on to:学会。erratic:不规则的。knights:chess中的一种棋子,相当于象棋里的“马”,走法也是一步一拐,并非不规则,但是在一个没有弄懂的人看来,好像是不规则的。queen:地位相当于象棋里的“士”,但是威力强大得多,可以像“车”那样横走直走,又可以像“象”那样斜飞(不限格数)。mobility:机动性。sweeping:一扫而过的,横冲直撞的。set, opening moves:固定的开局法,如“当头炮,马来跳”之类(按:chess中没有“炮”)。set是过去分词。
  • preferred:挑选,喜欢使用。
  • Singer worked out the game by himself:他一个人来下完这盘棋。他的对手只会开头几下,以后便应付不了,Singer就代他走,把黑子白子一手包办下来。drowsily:打瞌睡似地。
  • 胖子本来爱打瞌睡,对下棋又没有兴趣,只是迷迷糊糊地看着而已。可是胖子的好胜心还是很强。Singer代他下白子,把自己的黑子“将”死了,胖子还很得意呢。brilliant:精彩的。

The two mutes had no other friends, and except when they worked they were alone together. Each day was very much like any other day, because they were alone so much that nothing ever disturbed them. Once a week they would go to the library for Singer to withdraw a mystery book and on Friday night they attended a movie. Then on payday they always went to the ten-cent photograph shop above the Army and Navy Store so that Antonapoulos could have his picture taken. These were the only places where they made customary visits. There were many parts in the town that they had never even seen.

  • alone together:只有两个人在一起。disturbed:扰乱。
  • withdraw:抽出,即借出。mystery book:侦探小说,没有别的“神秘”的意义。
  • payday:发薪水的那一天。ten-cent photograph shop:一角钱照一次的照相馆。above:在楼上。customary:经常的。

But the two mutes were not lonely at all. At home they were content to eat and drink, and Singer would talk with his hands eagerly to his friend about all that was in his mind. So the years passed in the quiet way until Singer reached the age of thirty-two and had been in the town with Antonapoulos for ten years.

Then one day the Greek became ill. He sat up in bed with his hands on his fat stomach and big, oily tears rolled down his cheeks. Singer went to see his friend's cousin who owned the fruit store, and also he arranged for leave from his own work. The doctor made out a diet for Antonapoulos and said that he could drink no more wine. Singer rapidly enforced the doctor's orders. All day he sat by his friend's bed and did what he could to make the time pass quickly, but Antonapoulos only looked at him angrily from the corners of his eyes and would not be amused.

  • 他们在那城里一共住了十年。忽然有一天那希腊人生病了。
  • big, oily tears:那胖子本来脸上有油汗(见第一段),眼泪滚下来也像油了。
  • arranged for leave:办请假手续。他要整天地陪伴病人。
  • diet:规定的食品和食量。enforced the doctor's orders:强制执行医生的命令(他们同医生可以笔谈的)。
  • to make the time pass quickly:消磨光阴,解除病人的寂寞。

The Greek was very fretful, and kept finding fault with the fruit drinks and food that Singer prepared for him. Constantly he made his friend help him out of bed so that he could pray. He fumbled with his hands to say 'Darling Mary' and then held to the small brass cross tied to his neck with a dirty string. His big eyes would wall up to the ceiling with a look of fear in them, and afterwards he was very sulky and would not let his friend speak to him.

  • fretful:容易发脾气的。finding fault with:找错,挑眼。kept是不及物动词,表示“继续地做”。finding是现在分词做subjective complement。
  • fruit drinks:果汁,用以代酒。
  • held to:紧握。
  • wall当不及物动词用,字典上恐怕没有这样一条。此字是从形容词walleyed(目光炯炯的或眼白露得很多的)转来,wall在这里的意思当是“炯炯而视或是把眼白翻上来看”。sulky:闹别扭的样子。

Singer was patient and did all that he could. He drew little pictures, and once he made a sketch of his friend to amuse him. The picture hurt the big Greek's feelings, and he refused to be reconciled until Singer had made his face very young and handsome and colored his hair bright yellow and his eyes china blue. And then he tried not to show his pleasure.

  • patient:有耐心的。sketch:速写。Singer可能把他画得很胖,因此他不高兴了。
  • reconciled:言归于好。“until”clause中有两动词:had made和(had) colored。china blue:青瓷色。young、handsome、bright yellow、china blue都是objective complements。
  • Singer把他的脸画漂亮了,那胖子该高兴了。可是他心里高兴,脸上还不肯表示出来。Singer想尽办法,无非要使朋友高兴,朋友偏不让他称心如愿。

Singer nursed his friend so carefully that after a week Antonapoulos was able to return to his work. But from that time on there was a difference in their way of life. Trouble came to the two friends.

  • nurse作名词是“护士”,作动词便是“看护”。
  • 病是好了,却有别的麻烦来了。

Antonapoulos was not ill any more, but a change had come in him. He was irritable and no longer content to spend the evenings quietly in their home. When he would wish to go out Singer followed along close behind him. Antonapoulos would go into a restaurant, and while they sat at the table he slyly put lumps of sugar, or a peppershaker, or pieces of silverware in his pocket. Singer always paid for what he took and there was no disturbance. At home he scolded Antonapoulos, but the Greek only looked at him with a bland smile.

  • irritable:容易发脾气的。close(副词):贴近地。slyly:偷偷摸摸地,鬼鬼祟祟地。peppershaker:内盛胡椒,盖上有细孔的小瓶。
  • disturbance:纷扰。偷走的东西有人给付帐,不会有什么吵闹了。
  • bland:温文的(按:此字带一点“油腔滑调”的意思)。

The months went on and these habits of Antonapoulos grew worse. One day at noon he walked calmly out of the fruit store of his cousin and urinated in public against the wall of the First National Bank Building across the street. At times he would meet people on the sidewalk whose faces did not please him, and he would bump into these persons and push at them with his elbows and stomach. He walked into a store one day and hauled out a floor lamp without paying for it, and another time he tried to take an electric train he had seen in a showcase.

  • in public:当众。urinated(动词):小便;urine(名词):尿。
  • bump:撞(上去)。stomach:肚皮。肥人腹大,亦可用以撞人。
  • hauled out:拖出来。不是偷偷摸摸地拿,而是明目张胆地拖了。electric train:电动火车(玩具)。he had seen in a showcase是定语从句。showcase:商店陈列货物之玻璃柜。

For Singer this was a time of great distress. He was in a constant state of agitation. The money he had saved in the bank was spent for bail and fines. All of his efforts and money were used to keep his friend out of jail because of such charges as theft, committing public indecencies, and assault and battery.

  • distress:痛苦。agitation:激动。bail:保释。fines:罚款。charges:罪名。committing public indecencies:在公共场所做不体面的事,指上段的当众便溺。assault and battery(法律名词):殴打罪,指街头撞人。

The Greek cousin for whom Antonapoulos worked did not enter into these troubles at all. Charles Parker (for that was the name this cousin had taken) let Antonapoulos stay on at the store, but he watched him always with his pale, tight face and he made no effort to help him. Singer had a strange feeling about Charles Parker. He began to dislike him.

  • 上文讲Antonapoulos是在他的一个亲戚所开的糖果铺里做事的,亲戚也是希腊人,名字拼起来大约也很长,Charles Parker是他到美国后新起的名字。
  • 那亲戚坐视Antonapoulos屡蹈法网,而不加援手。Singer渐表不满。

Singer lived in continual turmoil and worry. But Antonapoulos was always bland, and no matter what happened the gentle, flaccid smile was still on his face.

  • turmoil:(心里的)动乱,意义同前面的agitation差不多。worry:担忧。
  • no matter what happened:不论出了什么事。flaccid:(肌肉)松松的。

And then the final trouble came to Singer.

One afternoon he had come to meet Antonapoulos at the fruit store when Charles Parker handed him a letter. The letter explained that Charles Parker had made arrangements for his cousin to be taken to the state insane asylum two hundred miles away. Charles Parker had used his influence in the town and the details were already settled. Antonapoulos was to leave and to be admitted into the asylum the next week.

  • made arrangements:办手续。state:州立的。insane asylum:疯人院(第一个字的解释是“疯人的”,第二个字的解释是“收容所”)。
  • influence:势力(面子、朋友交情等)。随随便便送一个人进疯人院,恐怕不容易。Charles Parker利用了他在镇上的一点势力,才办妥的。details were already settled:各项手续都已办妥。

Singer read the letter several times, and for a while he could not think. Charles Parker was talking to him across the counter, but he did not even try to read his lips and understand. At last Singer wrote on the little pad he always carried in his pocket:

You cannot do this. Antonapoulos must stay with me.

  • counter:(糖果铺里的)柜台。
  • read:仔细地看,端详。普通人如用英语说话,Singer看嘴唇动作,亦能会意。pad:拍纸簿。

Charles Parker shook his head excitedly. He did not know much American. "None of your business," he kept saying over and over.

Singer knew that everything was finished. The Greek was afraid that some day he might be responsible for his cousin. Charles Parker did not know much about the American language—but he understood the American dollar very well, and he had used his money and influence to admit his cousin to the asylum without delay.

  • None of your business:不用你管。Parker不大会说美国话(American),就拿这四个字重复地说。
  • responsible for his cousin:替他负责;受他的累。怕受累,因此赶快把Antonapoulos送走。

There was nothing Singer could do.

Then came the day when Antonapoulos must leave. Singer brought out his own suitcase and very carefully packed the best of their joint possessions. Antonapoulos made himself a lunch to eat during the journey. In the late afternoon they walked arm in arm down the street for the last time together. It was a chilly afternoon in late November, and little huffs of breath showed in the air before them.

  • suitcase:轻便衣箱。joint possessions:(两人)共有的物品。
  • huff=puff:一口一口的气。空气寒冷,吐气成雾。

Charles Parker was to travel with his cousin, but he stood apart from them at the station. Antonapoulos crowded into the bus and settled himself with elaborate preparations on one of the front seats. Singer watched him from the window and his hands began desperately to talk for the last time with his friend. But Antonapoulos was so busy checking over the various items in his lunch box that for a while he paid no attention. Just before the bus pulled away from the curb he turned to Singer and his smile was very bland and remote—as though they were many miles apart.

  • Singer送他们表兄弟二人到长途汽车站。Charles Parker冷酷如旧,Antonapoulos还是只顾他个人的舒服,只有Singer真感到痛苦。
  • crowded into:挤进去(不一定表示车子里人多,可能只表示门小人肥,走进去很费力)。settled himself:坐下。with elaborate preparations:做些细心的准备工作(如掸掸灰尘、提提裤子、检点一下手里的包裹等)。
  • lunch box:午餐盒,日本人所谓“便当”。items:项目(面包、肉、蔬菜等)。那希腊人坐下来,先检点盒子里的食物,哪管得Singer在窗外对他“说话”?
  • pulled away:开走。curb:人行道的边,汽车常停在它的旁边。
  • remote:遥远的。

The weeks that followed did not seem real at all. All day Singer worked over his bench in the back of the jewelry store, and then at night he returned to the house alone. More than anything he wanted to sleep. As soon as he came home from work he would lie on his cot and try to doze awhile. Dreams came to him when he lay there half asleep. And in all of them Antonapoulos was there. His hands would jerk nervously, for in his dreams he was talking to his friend and Antonapoulos was watching him.

  • did not seem real:不像是真的,不知道怎么过去的。
  • bench:这里不作“长凳”解,而是“工作台”。Singer是个银器刻花匠,已见前文。
  • More than anything:比什么都要紧。照一般语法书规定,anything后应跟else。
  • jerk:抽动。nervously:神经失常地。在梦中“说话”,手不知不觉动起来了。

Singer tried to think of the time before he had ever known his friend. He tried to recount to himself certain things that had happened when he was young. But none of these things he tried to remember seemed real.

Singer recalled that, although he had been deaf since he was an infant, he had not always been a real mute. At the school he was thought very intelligent. He learned the lessons before the rest of the pupils. But he could never become used to speaking with his lips. When he was twenty-two he had come South to this town from Chicago and he met Antonapoulos immediately. Since that time he had never spoken with his mouth again, because with his friend there was no need for this.

  • recount:详细地说一遍。这里有“回忆”的意思。
  • intelligent:聪明,尤其指“读书、学习”方面的聪明。
  • before:指学得比别人快。used在这里是过去分词,不是finite verb。to后接动名词speaking。他不惯用嘴唇说话,还是做手势方便。有了这位哑巴朋友之后,他就用不着再开口了。

Nothing seemed real except the ten years with Antonapoulos. In his half-dreams he saw his friend very vividly, and when he awakened a great aching loneliness would be in him. Occasionally he would pack up a box for Antonapoulos, but he never received any reply. And so the months passed in this empty, dreaming way.

  • vividly:生动地,活生生地。
  • aching 是动词ache的现在分词,作“疼痛”解。loneliness(寂寞)本来只是一种空泛的感觉,今以aching来形容,则心头烦恼,化为身上疼痛,虽仍未着形象,然而隐者显,虚者实,触之宛然如在矣。
  • pack up a box:包好一盒(礼物送去)。
  • empty:空虚的。dreaming:梦幻似的。此两字应本段开首Nothing seemed real一句。未认识Antonapoulos之前,所经所历,似无一实在之事;今Antonapoulos已走,触目空虚,如梦似幻,生命又复虚度而已。
  • 前文有句曰:The weeks that followed did not seem real at all,本段又曰:the months passed in this empty, dreaming way,生活空虚如旧,而weeks已延长为months矣。

Each evening the mute walked alone for hours in the street. Sometimes the nights were cold with the sharp, wet winds of March and it would be raining heavily. But to him this did not matter. His gait was agitated and he always kept his hands stuffed tight into the pockets of his trousers. Then as the weeks passed the days grew warm and languorous. His agitation gave way gradually to exhaustion and there was a look about him of deep calm. In his face there came to be a brooding peace that is seen most often in the faces of the very sorrowful or the very wise. But still he wandered through the streets of the town, always silent and alone.

  • gait:走路的姿态。stuffed:塞。手塞在裤袋里面,哑巴的手,本来就是他的嘴。听他说话的人既然已经不在了,手是可以塞起来了。
  • languorous:闷人的(天气)。gave way…to:原意是“让开路,让别人走”,或是“撤退了,让别人前进”。His agitation gave way gradually to exhaustion:他的激动渐渐地消失而疲竭之感继起。
  • there was a look about him of deep calm=there was a look of deep calm about him。
  • brooding:沉思的。peace:平和的气象。the very sorrowful和the very wise中的两个形容词,都当名词用——有大悲哀的人和有大智慧的人。望之穆然深思者,大抵其人非为哀伤已极,即已参透人生。今Singer脸上之表情即此类也。