作者史华兹（Delmore Schwartz，1913 - 1966），为美国犹太裔诗人、小说家，曾任《宗派评论》（Partisan Review）副编辑。这篇小说原来是在《宗派评论》上发表的。该刊搜集历年所发表的短篇小说佳作十余篇，出版选集一本，书名《新体小说选》（Stories in the Modern Manner）。此处所录即从该书中摘出。史氏第一部小说、诗歌集即名In?Dreams Begin Responsibilities（1938）。
I think it is the year 1909. I feel as if I were in a motion picture theatre, the long arm of light crossing the darkness and spinning, my eyes fixed on the screen. This is a silent picture, in which the actors are dressed in ridiculously old-fashioned clothes, and one flash succeeds another with sudden jumps. The actors too seem to jump about and walk too fast. The shots themselves are full of dots and rays, as if it were raining when the picture was photographed. The light is bad.
- 小说中的主人公自称似乎置身于1909年，又像是在看电影。long arm of light：放映机射至银幕上的一道白光。spinning：旋转。fixed是过去分词：眼睛全神贯注地看着银幕。
- silent picture：无声电影。ridiculously：可笑地。one flash succeeds another：银幕上的光线，一闪一闪的很不稳定；一亮之后，突然一跳，接着又是一亮。
- jump about：东跳西跳，旧时电影的摄制和放映技术均恶劣，演员的一举一动似乎都在跳跃。
It is Sunday afternoon, June 12, 1909, and my father is walking down the quiet streets of Brooklyn on his way to visit my mother. His clothes are newly pressed and his tie is too tight in his high collar. He jingles the coins in his pockets, thinking of the witty things he will say. He walks from street to street of trees, lawns and houses, once in a while coming to an avenue on which a streetcar skates and gnaws, slowly progressing. It is obviously Sunday, for everyone is wearing Sunday clothes, and the streetcar's noises emphasize the quiet of the holiday.
- Brooklyn：纽约市之一区，在Long Island上。
- jingles：玩弄而使叮当发响。witty things：俏皮话；父亲去看母亲，路上先准备好一套巧妙的言语。
- once in a while=occasionally：偶尔。avenue：大马路，通衢大道。本来是在小街上走，有时也会碰上一条大马路。streetcar：电车。skates：滑冰（电车在铁轨上像是滑冰似的滑着过去的）。gnaws：用劲地慢慢地咬（电车有时候走得不很滑溜，像是在咬什么东西）。skates和gnaws两字用以叙述电车的运动，恐怕是作者创用，并非现成字眼。
My father has chosen to take this long walk because he likes to walk and think. He thinks about himself in the future. He thinks of my mother, of how nice it will be to introduce her to his family. But he is not yet sure that he wants to marry her, and once in a while he becomes panicky about the bond already established. He reassures himself by thinking of the big men he admires who are married: William Randolph Hearst, and William Howard Taft, who has just become President of the United States.
- panicky：大恐慌。the bond already established：两人间已经建立好的关系。那时其人的父亲还在追求期间,他想不想同他的女朋友结婚呢？他自己也不大清楚。可是偶尔想起他们俩已经相爱得难舍难分了（bond：束缚），其势非结婚不可，不由得慌张起来。
My father arrives at my mother's house. He has come too early and so is suddenly embarrassed. My aunt, my mother's sister, answers the loud bell with her napkin in her hand, for the family is still at dinner. As my father enters, my grandfather rises from the table and shakes hands with him. My mother has run upstairs to tidy herself. My grandmother asks my father if he has had dinner, and tells him that Rose will be downstairs soon. My grandfather opens the conversation by remarking on the mild June weather. My father sits uncomfortably near the table, holding his hat in his hand. My grandmother tells my aunt to take my father's hat. My uncle, twelve years old, runs into the house, his hair tousled. He shouts a greeting to my father, who has often given him a nickel, and then runs upstairs.
- embarrassed：窘迫。answers the bell：听见铃响，出去开门。napkin：餐巾。女方家里还在进午餐，小姐的妹妹匆匆忙忙提了餐巾出来开门。情郎到得太早了，突然觉得很窘。
- grandfather=father of one's father or mother，此处乃外祖父。
- tidy herself：打扮。注意此句时态用的是现在完成式has run：小姐一听见门外的人声，就躲到楼上去化妆了，故此人进屋时，小姐已经在楼上了。
- mild June weather：六月天气正是不冷不热，外祖父无话可说，乃从天气讲起。
- holding his hat in his hand：怪不舒服的靠着餐桌旁坐下，帽子还捧在手里，亏得外祖母会体贴，叫姨母把帽子拿走（给挂好）。
Finally my mother comes downstairs, all dressed up, and my father being engaged in conversation with my grandfather becomes uneasy, not knowing whether to greet my mother or continue the conversation. He gets up from the chair clumsily and says "hello" gruffly. My grandfather watches, examining their congruence, such as it is, with a critical eye, and meanwhile rubbing his bearded cheek roughly, as he always does when he reflects. He is worried; he is afraid that my father will not make a good husband for his oldest daughter.
- congruence：合适；相称，和谐。外祖父也不聊天了，索性冷眼（critical eye）旁观，看看这对情侣究竟能够琴瑟协调到什么程度，未来的事情他看不到，就拿目前他们俩在一起的情形来说吧：究竟是“一对璧人”呢？还是“彩凤随鸦”呢？such as it is=such congruence as now exists。
- bearded cheek：长有胡子的脸庞。he always does when he reflects：他思索的时候，手就在自己毛茸茸的脸颊上使劲地摸。
At this point something happens to the film, just as my father is saying something funny to my mother. The audience begins to clap impatiently. Then the trouble is cared for but the film has been returned to a portion just shown, and once more I see my grandfather rubbing his bearded cheek and pondering my father's character.
My father and mother depart from the house. They walk down the same quiet streets once more. My mother is holding my father's arm and telling him of the novel which she has been reading, and my father utters judgments of the characters as the plot is made clear to him. My mother feels very satisfied by the interest which she has awakened; she is showing my father how intelligent she is and how interesting.
- the same quiet streets：就是他父亲的来路。
- the novel which she has been reading：这几天她正在看的那本小说（注意动词的时态）。（telling a person of something：跟他讲这件事。）
- characters：小说中的人物。plot：布局。他母亲把故事情节说明（made clear）后，他父亲就开口评论书中的人物。
- satisfied：满意。他母亲的谈话，果然引起他父亲的兴趣，心里很是得意。她同他讨论那本小说，正是要让他看看：她是多么的聪明，为人又是多么的有趣。how interesting=how interesting she is。
They reach the avenue, and the streetcar leisurely arrives. They are going to Coney Island this afternoon, although my mother considers that such pleasures are inferior. My father tells my mother how much money he has made in the past week, exaggerating an amount which need not have been exaggerated. But my father has always felt that actualities somehow fall short.
- Coney Island：Brooklyn之南的一个海滨游乐中心，但品格不高，故他的母亲认为那边的玩意儿都是低级趣味（inferior）的。可是他们还是坐电车上那边去了，这大约是屈从男方的旨意了。
- an amount which need not have been exaggerated：这笔数目本来就相当大，用不着再夸大的了。need在这里是助动词，故虽然主语是第三人称单数，也不加s。
- actualities：现实情形。fall short=are insufficient。父亲总觉得实际数目不大够似的，非得要夸张一下不可。
Suddenly I begin to weep. The old lady who sits next to me in the theatre is annoyed and looks at me with an angry face, and being intimidated, I stop. I drag out my handkerchief and dry my face, licking the drop which has fallen near my lips. Meanwhile I have missed something, for here are my mother and father alighting at the last stop, Coney Island.
- 前面几段描写其父去岳家求爱情形，轻松有趣，好像是在调侃上一代的求偶风俗，这篇文字似乎该属于comedy of manners一类。又如把那一对情侣送到花前月下去走走，把爱情多描写一番，那么本文应该是一篇带牧歌情调（idyllic）的抒情文学了。若就其痴人说梦一点来说，本文又是一篇幻想曲（fantasy）。可是本文平稳中隐伏紧张，主流底下还有逆流，实应该属于正路戏剧（drama）一类。读者看完全文后自会明白，这里不必多说。其人看电影忽然流泪，似乎来得突兀，但是就整篇主题看来，这一笔亦不可省。
- 最煞风景的是电影院里坐在他隔壁的一个老太婆，她看他哭得讨厌，对他怒目相向，其人被她一吓（intimidated），赶快忍气吞声把眼泪擦干，一颗已经掉到他嘴边的泪珠，也用舌头舔去，可是电车上的爱情镜头他大多没有看见，等到他眼泪擦干，电车已经到了最后一站（stop），他的父母二人也在Coney Island下车（alighting）了。
They walk toward the boardwalk, and my father tells my mother to inhale the pungent air from the sea. They both breathe in deeply, both of them laughing as they do so. On the boardwalk's flagpole, the American flag is pulsing in an intermittent wind from the sea.
My father and mother go to the rail of the boardwalk and look down on the beach where a good many bathers are casually walking about. A few are in the surf. The boardwalk is full of people dressed in their Sunday clothes and idly strolling. My father and mother lean on the rail of the boardwalk and absently stare at the ocean.
- Sunday clothes：平日舍不得穿，专在星期日或重要场合穿着的衣服。strolling：漫步。
The ocean is becoming rough. The waves come in slowly, and then crack, dashing fiercely upon the sand, bouncing upward and forward, and at last petering out into a small stream which races up the beach and then is recalled. My parents gaze absentmindedly at the ocean, scarcely interested in its harshness. The sun overhead does not disturb them. But as I stared at the terrible sun and the fatal, merciless ocean, I forget my parents. I stare fascinated and finally, shocked by the indifference of my father and mother, I burst out weeping once more. The old lady next to me pats me on the shoulder and says, "There, there, all of this is only a movie, young man, only a movie," but I look up once more at the terrifying sun and the terrifying ocean, and being unable to control my tears, I get up and go to the men's room, stumbling over the feet of the other people seated in my row.
- rough：波涛起伏。crack：碎裂，浪花迸发。bouncing：跳跃。petering out：势力转弱，归于消沉。海水往岸上打来，其势初颇迟缓，继而浪花四溅，声势汹涌，直上沙滩，平地凌空，一跃而前，但终于力竭消沉，化为细流一条，余势未歇，仍向沙滩上方奔去（races up the beach），迅即急流勇退，召归大海（recalled）。
- disturb them：扰乱他们的心神。
- fatal, merciless ocean：操生杀之权的无情的海洋。
- 说到这里，还是回到原文：那人看见父母对于日光海洋漠不关心，心中大为惊奇，又哭起来了。（他已哭过一次，见前文。）隔壁的那位老太太拍拍（pats）他的肩说道：“喂，喂（There, there表示安慰鼓励之意），小伙子，这不过是电影而已，何必因此伤心呢？”可是他看看可怕的太阳和可怕的海洋，眼泪兀是忍不住地往下流，他因此就起身到厕所（men's room）里去哭个痛快了，出去的时候太挤，还是从同排看客的脚上跌出去的。
When I return, several hours have apparently passed and my parents are looking for a place to have dinner. My father suggests the best one on the boardwalk and my mother demurs, in accordance with her principles.
However they do go to the best place, asking for a table near the window, so that they can look out on the boardwalk and the mobile ocean. The place is crowded and there is music from a kind of string trio. My father orders dinner with a fine confidence.
- string trio：弦乐三重奏；普通由第一第二小提琴和大提琴各一组织而成，这里是a kind of string trio（某一种的弦乐三重奏），可能似是而非，并不照此规定。
- orders：点菜。with a fine confidence：态度很有自信；不慌不忙，指挥若定。
As the dinner is eaten, my father tells of his plans for the future, and my mother shows with expressive face how interested she is, and how impressed. My father becomes exultant. He is lifted up by the waltz that is being played, and his own future begins to intoxicate him. My father tells my mother that he is going to expand his business, for there is a great deal of money to be made. He wants to settle down. After all, he is twenty-nine, he is making more and more money, and he is envious of his married friends, and then as the waltz reaches the moment when all the dancers swing madly, then, then with awful daring, then he asks my mother to marry him, although awkwardly enough and puzzled even in his excitement, at how he had arrived at the proposal, and she, to make the whole business worse, begins to cry, and my father looks nervously about, not knowing at all what to do now, and my mother says: "It's all I've wanted from the moment I saw you."
- expressive face：善于表情的脸。impressed：听后印象很深。how interested she is, and how impressed这一种句法上文已用过一次：how intelligent she is, and how interesting。
- waltz：一种舞曲，普通译作“华尔兹”。lifted up：音乐把人“举”起来了？应该是听得飘飘然而已。intoxicate him：使他陶醉。
- settle down：成家立业，不再飘荡。
- 描写求婚的这一句很长，句法略嫌噜苏，但非如此不足尽这位情郎的兴奋与尴尬之妙。请注意连用四个then（then as the waltz…, then, then…, then he asks my mother…），读者读到这里，当可想象这位情郎吞吞吐吐，欲说又止的神情。
- envious of：羡慕。swing madly：疯狂地旋转。with awful daring：提起了可怕的勇气。
- awkwardly enough：情形够窘了。puzzled连后面的at：迷惑不解；即使说他那时很兴奋吧，但是他自己也不明白怎么会走到（arrived at）求婚这条路上来的。
- to make the whole business worse：他本来已经窘不堪言，她这么一哭，事情更糟了。looks nervously about：慌慌张张地东张西望。
It was then that I stood up in the theatre and shouted, "Don't do it. It's not too late to change your minds, both of you. Nothing good will come of it." The whole audience turned to look at me, annoyed, the usher came hurrying down the aisle flashing his searchlight, and the old lady next to me tugged me down into my seat, saying: "Be quiet. You'll be put out, and you paid thirty-five cents to come in." And so I shut my eyes because I could not bear to see what was happening. I sat there quietly.
- Nothing good will come of it：不会有好结果的。
- annoyed：觉得很讨厌（过去分词，形容The whole audience）。usher：电影院里领人入坐的职员；“带座的”。aisle：座位之间的大通道（此字s不读音，ai读i长音/ai/）。searchlight：电筒（探照灯亦是此字）。tugged：用力地拉。put out：驱逐出去。thirty-five cent：戏票之价（注意paid用过去式，因为买票已经是过去的事）。
But after a while I begin to take brief glimpses, and at length I watch again with thirsty interest. My parents have passed a fortune-teller's booth, and my mother wishes to go in, but my father does not. They begin to argue about it. My mother becomes stubborn, and then they begin to quarrel. My mother refuses to budge. She is near to tears, but she feels an uncontrollable desire to hear what the palm-reader will say. My father consents angrily, and they both go into a booth which is draped in black cloth and its light is shadowed. The fortune-teller, a fat, short woman, comes into the room from the back and greets them.
- take brief glimpses：偶然偷瞧几眼。at length：终于。with thirsty interest：兴趣极大。
- fortune-teller's booth：算命术士的木棚。
- near to tears：要哭出来了。palm-reader：看手相的。
- greets：打招呼（如说“good evening”）。
But suddenly my father feels that the whole thing is intolerable; he tugs at my mother's arm, but my mother refuses to budge. And then, in terrible anger, my father lets go of my mother's arm and strides out, leaving my mother stunned. She moves to go after my father, but the fortune-teller holds her arm tightly and begs her not to do so, and I in my seat am shocked more than ever, and I get up from my seat and begin to shout and once more the usher comes hurrying down the aisle flashing his searchlight, and the old lady pleads with me, and the shocked audience has turned to stare at me, and I keep shouting: "What are they doing? Don't they know what they are doing? Why doesn't my mother go after my father? If she does not do that, what will she do? Doesn't my father know what he is doing now?"
- lets go of my mother's arm：把她手臂放走（注意中间的of）。strides out：大踏步跨将出去。stunned：怔住了。
- pleads with me：恳求我。
- 父亲求婚成功不久，就同母亲吵架了，此人看得大为着急，大嚷起来。“What are they doing?”“他们二人在干些什么呢？他们不知道他们在干什么吗？母亲为什么不追出去呢？她不追出去，她还想打算什么呢？父亲做事如此狠心，他自己知道不知道呢？”
But the usher has seized my arm and is dragging me away and as he does so, he says: "What are you doing? Don't you know that you can't do whatever you want to do? Why should a young man like you, with your whole life before you, get hysterical like this? Why don't you think of what you're doing?" and he said that dragging me through the lobby of the theatre into the cold light, and I woke up into the bleak winter morning of my 21st birthday, the windowsill shining with its lip of snow, and the morning already begun.
- 带座的已经抓住了他的臂膀，把他拖出去，一面拖，一面说道：“你在干什么？你知道不知道一个人做事不能爱闹就闹，爱嚷就嚷的？像你这样一个小伙子，前途正是远大得很，为什么偏这样疯疯癫癫（hysterical）的呢？为什么你不想你在干些什么呢？”他说着，把他拖过电影院穿堂（lobby），一直把他送到门外，门外既冷且亮（cold light：冷的光明？）和电影院的温暖黑暗大不相同。
- 到了外面，人就惊醒了。醒来正是此人的二十一岁生辰，冬天的早晨，景物萧索（bleak），窗槛上面堆了一层雪（lip of snow），闪闪发光，黑夜已尽，时间已经早晨了。（begun：过去分词，形容morning。又请注意said和woke改用过去式，表示梦醒以后已进入另一境界。梦醒以前用的都是historical present。）