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  外语解密学习法 逆读法(Reverse Reading Method)   解读法(Decode-Reading Method)训练范文 ——                 

解密目标语言:俄语                                解密辅助语言:英语
              Language to be decoded:  Russian             Auxiliary Language :  English  

  
解密文本:     《醋栗》   [俄] 契诃夫 原著          
 
Крыжовник
автор Антон Павлович Чехов

 

            Gooseberries            
                                                                     by   Anton Chekhov    
                                                                

           俄汉对照(Russian & Chinese)                                  俄英对照(Russian & English)                               英汉对照(English & Chinese)


  


      FROM early morning the sky had been overcast with clouds ; the day was still, cool, and wearisome, as usual on grey, dull days when the clouds hang low over the fields and it looks like rain, which never comes. Ivan Ivanich, the veterinary surgeon, and Bourkin, the schoolmaster, were tired of walking and the fields seemed endless to them. Far ahead they could just see the windmills of the village of Mirousky, to the right stretched away to disappear behind the village a line of hills, and they knew that it was the bank of the river ; meadows, green willows, farmhouses; and from one of the hills there could be seen a field as endless, telegraph posts, and the train, looking from a distance like a crawling caterpillar, and in clear weather even the town. In the calm weather when all Nature seemed gentle and melancholy, Ivan Ivanich and Bourkin were filled with love for the fields and thought how grand and beautiful the country was.

"Last time, when we stopped in Prokufyi's shed," said Bourkin, "you were going to fell me a story."

"Yes. I wanted to tell you about my brother."

Ivan Ivanich took a deep breath and lighted his pipe before beginning his story, but just then the rain began to fall. And in about five minutes it came pelting down and showed no signs of stopping. Ivan Ivanich stopped and hesitated ; the dogs, wet through, stood with their tails between their legs and looked at them mournfully.

"We ought to take shelter," said Bourkin. "Let us go to Aliokhin. It is close by."

"Very well."

They took a short cut over a stubble-field and then bore to the right, until they came to the road. Soon there appeared poplars, a garden, the red roofs of granaries; the river began to glimmer and they came to a wide road with a mill and a white bathing-shed. It was Sophino, where Aliokhin lived.

The mill was working, drowning the sound of the rain, and the dam shook. Round the carts stood wet horses, hanging their heads, and men were walking about with their heads covered with sacks. It was wet, muddy, and unpleasant, and the river looked cold and sullen. Ivan Ivanich and Bourkin felt wet and uncomfortable through and through ; their feet were tired with walking in the mud, and they walked past the dam to the barn in silence as though they were angry with each other.

In one of the barns a winnowing-machine was working, sending out clouds of dust. On the threshold stood Aliokhin himself, a man of about forty, tall and stout, with long hair, more like a professor or a painter than a farmer. He was wearing a grimy white shirt and rope belt, and pants instead of trousers ; and his boots were covered with mud and straw. His nose and eyes were black with dust. He recognised Ivan Ivanich and was apparently very pleased.

"Please, gentlemen," he said, "go to the house. I'll be with you in a minute."

The house was large and two-storied. Aliokhin lived down-stairs in two vaulted rooms with little windows designed for the farm-hands ; the farmhouse was plain, and the place smelled of rye bread and vodka, and leather. He rarely used the reception rooms, only when guests arrived. Ivan Ivanich and Bourkin were received by a chambermaid; such a pretty young woman that both of them stopped and exchanged glances.

"You cannot imagine how glad I am to see you, gentlemen," said Aliokhin, coming after them into the hall. "I never expected you. Pelagueya," he said to the maid, "give my friends a change of clothes. And I will change, too. But I must have a bath. I haven't had one since the spring. Wouldn't you like to come to the bathing-shed? And meanwhile our things will be got ready."

Pretty Pelagueya, dainty and sweet, brought towels and soap, and Aliokhin led his guests to the bathing-shed.

"Yes," he said, "it is a long time since I had a bath. My bathing-shed is all right, as you see. My father and I put it up, but somehow I have no time to bathe."

He sat down on the step and lathered his long hair and neck, and the water round him became brown.

"Yes. I see," said Ivan Ivanich heavily, looking at his head.

"It is a long time since I bathed," said Aliokhin shyly, as he soaped himself again, and the water round him became dark blue, like ink.

Ivan Ivanich came out of the shed, plunged into the water with a splash, and swam about in the rain, flapping his arms, and sending waves back, and on the waves tossed white lilies ; he swam out to the middle of the pool and dived, and in a minute came up again in another place and kept on swimming and diving, trying to reach the bottom. " Ah! how delicious!" he shouted in his glee. "How delicious!" He swam to the mill, spoke to the peasants, and came back, and in the middle of the pool he lay on his back to let the rain fall on his face. Bourkin and Aliokhin were already dressed and ready to go, but he kept on swimming and diving.

"Delicious," he said. " Too delicious !"

"You've had enough," shouted Bourkin.

They went to the house. And only when the lamp was lit in the large drawing-room up-stairs, and Bourkin and Ivan Ivanich, dressed in silk dressing-gowns and warm slippers, lounged in chairs, and Aliokhin himself, washed and brushed, in a new frock coat, paced up and down evidently delighting in the warmth and cleanliness and dry clothes and slippers, and pretty Pelagueya; noiselessly tripping over the carpet and smiling sweetly, brought in tea and jam on a tray, only then did Ivan Ivanich begin his story, and it was as though he was being listened to not only by Bourkin and Aliokhin, but also by the old and young ladies and the officer who looked down so staidly and tranquilly from the golden frames.

"We are two brothers," he began, "I, Ivan Ivanich, and Nicholai Ivanich, two years younger. I went in for study and became a veterinary surgeon, while Nicholai was at the Exchequer Court when he was nineteen. Our father, Tchimsha-Himalaysky, was a cantonist, but he died with an officer's rank and left us his title of nobility and a small estate. After his death the estate went to pay his debts. However, we spent our childhood there in the country. We were just like peasant's children, spent days and nights in the fields and the woods, minded the house, barked the lime-trees, fished, and so on. . . And you know once a man has fished, or watched the thrushes hovering in flocks over the village in the bright, cool, autumn days, he can never really be a townsman, and to the day of his death he will be drawn to the country. My brother pined away in the Exchequer. Years passed and he sat in the same place, wrote out the same documents, and thought of one thing, how to get back to the country. And little by little his distress became a definite disorder, a fixed idea—to buy a small farm somewhere by the bank of a river or a lake.

"He was a good fellow and I loved him, but I never sympathised with the desire to shut oneself up on one's own farm. It is a common saying that a man needs only six feet of land. But surely a corpse wants that, not a man. And I hear that our intellectuals have a longing for the land and want to acquire farms. But it all comes down to the six feet of land. To leave town, and the struggle and the swim of life, and go and hide yourself in a farmhouse is not life it is egoism, laziness ; it is a kind of monasticism, but monasticism without action. A man needs, not six feet of land, not a farm, but the whole earth, all Nature, where in full liberty he can display all the properties and qualities of the free spirit.

"My brother Nicholai, sitting in his office, would dream of eating his own schi, with its savoury smell floating across the farmyard ; and of eating out in the open air, and of sleeping in the sun, and of sitting for hours together on a seat by the gate and gazing at the fields and the forest. Books on agriculture and the hints in almanacs were his joy, his favourite spiritual food ; and he liked reading newspapers, but only the advertisements of land to be sold, so many acres of arable and grass land, with a farmhouse, river, garden, mill, and mill-pond. And he would dream of garden-walls, flowers, fruits, nests, carp in the pond, don't you know, and all the rest of it. These fantasies of his used to vary according to the advertisements he found, but somehow there was always a gooseberry bush in every one. Not a house, not a romantic spot could he imagine without its gooseberry-bush.

" 'Country life has its advantages,' he used to say. 'You sit on the veranda drinking tea and your ducklings swim on the pond, and everything smells good . . and there are gooseberries.'

"He used to draw out a plan of his estate and always the same things were shewn on it : (a) Farmhouse, (b) cottage, (c) vegetable garden, (d) gooseberry-bush. He used to live meagrely and never had enough to eat and drink, dressed God knows how, exactly like a beggar, and always saved and put his money into the bank. He was terribly stingy. It used to hurt me to see him, and I used to give him money to go away for a holiday, but he would put that away, too. Once a man gets a fixed idea, there's nothing to be done.

"Years passed; he was transferred to another province. He completed his fortieth year and was still reading advertisements in the papers and saving up his money. Then I heard he was married. Still with the same idea of buying a farmhouse with a gooseberry bush, he married an elderly, ugly widow, not out of any feeling for her, but because she had money. With her he still lived stingily, kept her half-starved, and put the money into the bank in his own name. She had been the wife of a postmaster and was used to good living, but with her second husband she did not even have enough black bread; she pined away in her new life, and in three years or so gave up her soul to God. And my brother never for a moment thought himself to blame for her death. Money, like vodka, can play queer tricks with a man. Once in our town a merchant lay dying. Before his death he asked for some honey, and he ate all his notes and scrip with the honey so that nobody should get it. Once I was examining a herd of cattle at a station and a horse-jobber fell under the engine, and his foot was cut off. We carried him into the waiting-room, with the blood pouring down—a terrible business—and all the while he kept on asking anxiously for his foot; he had twenty-five roubles in his boot and did not want to lose them."

"Keep to your story," said Bourkin.

"After the death of his wife," Ivan Ivanich continued, after a long pause, "my brother began to look out for an estate. Of course you may search for five years, and even then buy a pig in a poke. Through an agent my brother Nicholai raised a mortgage and bought three hundred acres with a farmhouse, a cottage, and a park, but there was no orchard, no gooseberry-bush, no duck-pond ; there was a river but the water in it was coffee-coloured because the estate lay between a brick-yard and a gelatine factory. But my brother Nicholai was not worried about that; he ordered twenty gooseberry-bushes and settled down to a country life.

"Last year I paid him a visit. I thought I'd go and see how things were with him. In his letters my brother called his estate Tchimbarshov Corner, or Himalayskoe. I arrived at Himalayskoe in the afternoon. It was hot. There were ditches, fences, hedges, rows of young fir-trees, trees everywhere, and there was no telling how to cross the yard or where to put your horse. I went to the house and was met by a red-haired dog, as fat as a pig. He tried to bark but felt too lazy. Out of the kitchen came the cook, barefooted, and also as fat as a pig, and said that the master was having his afternoon rest. I went in to my brother and found him sitting on his bed with his knees covered with a blanket ; he looked old, stout, flabby; his cheeks, nose, and lips were pendulous. I half expected him to grunt like a pig.

"We embraced and shed a tear of joy and also of sadness to think that we had once been young, but were now both going grey and nearing death. He dressed and took me to see his estate.

" 'Well? How are you getting on?' I asked. " 'All right, thank God. I am doing very well.' "He was no longer the poor, tired official, but a real landowner and a person of consequence. He had got used to the place and liked it, ate a great deal, took Russian baths, was growing fat, had already gone to law with the parish and the two factories, and was much offended if the peasants did not call him 'Your Lordship.' And, like a good landowner, he looked after his soul and did good works pompously, never simply. What good works? He cured the peasants of all kinds of diseases with soda and castor-oil, and on his birthday he would have a thanksgiving service held in the middle of the village, and would treat the peasants to half a bucket of vodka, which he thought the right thing to do. Ah ! Those horrible buckets of vodka. One day a greasy landowner will drag the peasants before the Zemstvo Court for trespass, and the next, if it's a holiday, he will give them a bucket of vodka, and they drink and shout Hooray ! and lick his boots in their drunkenness. A change to good eating and idleness always fills a Russian with the most preposterous self-conceit. Nicholai Ivanich who, when he was in the Exchequer, was terrified to have an opinion of his own, now imagined that what he said was law. 'Education is necessary for the masses, but they are not fit for it.' ' Corporal punishment is generally harmful, but in certain cases it is useful and indispensable.'

" 'I know the people and I know how to treat them,' he would say. 'The people love me. I have only to raise my finger and they will do as I wish.'

" And all this, mark you, was said with a kindly smile of wisdom. He was constantly saying : ' We noblemen,' or ' I, as a nobleman.' Apparently he had forgotten that our grandfather was a peasant and our father a common soldier. Even our family name, Tchimacha-Himalaysky, which is really an absurd one, seemed to him full-sounding, distinguished, and very pleasing.

"But my point does not concern him so much as myself. I want to tell you what a change took place in me in those few hours while I was in his house. In the evening, while we were having tea, the cook laid a plateful of gooseberries on the table. They had not been bought, but were his own gooseberries, plucked for the first time since the bushes were planted. Nicholai Ivanich laughed with joy and for a minute or two he looked in silence at the gooseberries with tears in his eyes. He could not speak for excitement, then put one into his mouth, glanced at me in triumph, like a child at last being given its favourite toy, and said :

" 'How good they are !'

"He went on eating greedily, and saying all the while : " 'How good they are! Do try one!'

"It was hard and sour, but, as Poushkin said, the illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths. I saw a happy man, one whose dearest dream had come true, who had attained his goal in life, who had got what he wanted, and was pleased with his destiny and with himself. In my idea of human life there is always some alloy of sadness, but now at the sight of a happy man I was filled with something like despair. And at night it grew on me. A bed was made up for me in the room near my brother's and I could hear him, unable to sleep, going again and again to the plate of gooseberries. I thought : 'After all, what a lot of contented, happy people there must be ! What an overwhelming power that means ! I look at this life and see the arrogance and the idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, the horrible poverty everywhere, overcrowding, drunkenness, hypocrisy, falsehood . . . Meanwhile in all the houses, all the streets, there is peace ; out of fifty thousand people who live in our town there is not one to kick against it all. Think of the people who go to the market for food : during the day they eat ; at night they sleep, talk nonsense, marry, grow old, piously follow their dead to the cemetery; one never sees or hears those who suffer, and all the horror of life goes on somewhere behind the scenes. Every thing is quiet, peaceful, and against it all there is only the silent protest of statistics ; so many go mad, so many gallons are drunk, so many children die of starvation . . . And such a state of things is obviously what we want ; apparently a happy man only feels so because the unhappy bear their burden in silence, but for which happiness would be impossible. It is a general hypnosis. Every happy man should have some one with a little hammer at his door to knock and remind him that there are unhappy people, and that, however happy he may be, life will sooner or later show its claws, and some misfortune will be fall him—illness, poverty, loss, and then no one will see or hear him, just as he now neither see's nor hears others. But there is no man with a hammer, and the happy go on living, just a little fluttered with the petty cares of every day, like an aspen-tree in the wind—and everything is all right.'

"That night I was able to understand how I, too, had been content and happy," Ivan Ivanich went on, getting up. "I, too, at meals or out hunting, used to lay down the law about living, and religion, and govern ing the mases. I, too, used to say that teaching is light, that education is necessary, but that for simple folk reading and writing is enough for the present. Freedom is a boon, I used to say, as essential as the air we breathe, but we must wait. Yes I used to say so, but now I ask : 'Why do we wait ?'" Ivan Ivanich glanced angrily at Bourkin. 'Why do we wait, I ask you? What considerations keep us fast? I am told that we cannot have everything at once, and that every idea is realised in time. But who says so? Where is the proof that it is so? You refer me to the natural order of things, to the law of cause and effect, but is there order or natural law in that I, a living, thinking creature, should stand by a ditch until it fills up, or is narrowed, when I could jump it or throw a bridge over it? Tell me, I say, why should we wait? Wait, when we have no strength to live, and yet must live and are full of the desire to live !

"I left my brother early the next morning, and from that time on I found it impossible to live in town. The peace and the quiet of it oppress me. I dare not look in at the windows, for nothing is more dreadful to see than the sight of a happy family, sitting round a table, having tea. I am an old man now and am no good for the struggle. I commenced late. I can only grieve within my soul, and fret and sulk. At night my head buzzes with the rush of my thoughts and I cannot sleep ... Ah! If I were young!"

Ivan Ivanich walked excitedly up and down the room and repeated:

"If I were young."

He suddenly walked up to Aliokhin and shook him first by one hand and then by the other.

"Pavel Konstantinich," he said in a voice of entreaty, "don't be satisfied, don't let yourself be lulled to sleep ! While you are young, strong, wealthy, do not cease to do good ! Happiness does not exist, nor should it, and if there is any meaning or purpose in life, they are not in our peddling little happiness, but in something reasonable and grand. Do good !"

Ivan Ivanich said, this with a piteous supplicating smile, as though he were asking a personal favour.

Then they all three sat in different corners of the drawing-room and were silent. Ivan Ivanich's story had satisfied neither Bourkin nor Aliokhin. With the generals and ladies looking down from their gilt frames, seeming alive in the firelight, it was tedious to hear the story of a miserable official who ate gooseberries . . . Somehow they had a longing to hear and to speak of charming people, and of women. And the mere fact of sitting in the drawing-room where everything—the lamp with its coloured shade, the chairs, and the carpet under their feet—told how the very people who now looked down at them from their frames once walked, and sat and had tea there, and the fact that pretty Pelagueya was near—was much better than any story.

Aliokhin wanted very much to go to bed ; he had to get up for his work very early, about two in the morning, and now his eyes were closing, but he was afraid of his guests saying something interesting without his hearing it, so he would not go. He did not trouble to think whether what Ivan Ivanich had been saying was clever or right ; his guests were talking of neither groats, nor hay, nor tar, but of something which had no bearing on his life, and he liked it and wanted them to go on. . . .

"However, it's time to go to bed," said Bourkin, getting up. " I will wish you good night."

Aliokhin said good night and went down-stairs, and left his guests. Each had a large room with an old wooden bed and carved ornaments ; in the corner was an ivory crucifix; and their wide, cool beds, made by pretty Pelagueya, smelled sweetly of clean linen.

Ivan Ivanich undressed in silence and lay down.

"God forgive me, a wicked sinner," he murmured, as he drew the clothes over his head.

A smell of burning tobacco came from his pipe which lay on the table, and Bourkin could not sleep for a long time and was worried because he could not make out where the unpleasant smell came from.

The rain beat against the windows all night long.


 


      从清晨起,整个天空雨云密布。没有凤,不算热,但空气沉闷。每逢大地上空乌云低垂、等着下雨却不见雨的阴晦天气,总是这样的。兽医伊凡伊凡内奇和中学教员布尔金已经走得很累,觉得眼前的这片田野像是没有尽头。前方很远的地方,隐约可见米罗诺西茨村的风车。右边,起伏的山丘绵延开去,远远地消失在村子后头。他们都知道那是河岸,那边有草场、绿色的柳树和不少庄园。如果登上小山头,放眼望去,那么可以看到同样开阔的一片田野,电线杆,以及远方像条毛毛虫一样爬着的火车。遇上晴朗的天气,从那里甚至可以看到城市的远景。如今,在这无风的天气,整个大自然显得温馨而沉静。伊凡伊凡内奇和布尔金内心里充溢着对这片土地的爱,两人都在想,这方水土是多么辽阔、多么美丽啊!
  “上一次,我们同在村长普罗科菲的堆房里过夜,”布尔金说,“当时您想讲一个什么故事来着。”
  “是的,我当时想讲讲我弟弟的事。”
  伊凡伊凡内奇深深地叹一口气,点上烟斗,刚要讲起来,可是不巧这时下起雨来。四五分钟后,雨下大了,铺天盖地,很难预料什么时候雨才能停。伊凡伊凡内奇和布尔金犹豫不决地站住了。他们的狗已经淋湿,夹着尾巴站在那里,讨好地望着他们。
  “我们得找个地方避避雨,”布尔金说,“去找阿列兴吧。他家住得近。”
  “那我们走吧,”
  他们立即拐弯,一直在收割完的庄稼地里穿行,时而照直走,时而折向右边,最后走上一条大道。不久就出现杨树林,果园,然后是谷仓的红屋顶。有条河波光粼粼,眼前展现出一段深水湾、风车和一座白色浴棚的景色。这就是阿列兴居住的索菲诺村。
  风磨正在转动,发出的隆隆声淹没了雨声,水坝在颤动。几匹淋湿的马低着头站在那边的大车旁,人们披着麻袋走来走去。这里潮湿,泥泞,憋闷。看上去这片深水湾阴冷而凶险。伊凡伊凡内奇和布尔金已经感到浑身湿透,不干净,不舒服,他们的脚由于沾上烂泥而发沉。当他们越过堤坝,爬坡登上地主的谷仓时,一直默不作声,好像都在生对方的气。
  在一座谷仓里,簸谷的风车轰隆作响。门是开着的,从里面扬出一团团烟尘。阿列兴刚好站在门口,这是一个四十岁上下的男子,又高又胖,头发很长,那模样与其说像地主,不如说像教授或者画家。他穿一件很久没洗过的白衬衫,腰间系着绳子,一条长衬裤权当外裤,靴子上也沾着烂泥和千草。粉尘把他的鼻子和眼睛都抹黑了。他认出了伊凡伊凡内奇和布尔金,显然非常高兴。
  “快请屋里坐,两位先生,”他含笑说,“我一会儿就来。”
  这是一座两层楼的大房子。阿列兴住在楼下,两间屋子都带拱顶、窗子很小,这里原先是管家们的住处。屋里的陈设简单,混杂着黑麦面包、廉价的伏特加和马具的气味。楼上的正房里他很少去,只有来了客人他才上去。在房子里,伊凡伊凡内奇和布尔金受到一名女仆的接待,这女人又年轻又漂亮,两人不由得同时收住了脚,互相看了一眼。
  “你们想象不出我见到你们是多么高兴,两位先生,”阿列兴跟着他们进了门厅,说,“真没有料到!佩拉吉娅,”他转身对女仆说,“快去给客人们找两身衣服换换。顺便我也要换一下衣服。只是先得去洗个澡,我好像开春后就没洗过澡。两位先生,你们想不想去浴棚里?趁这工夫好让他们把这里收拾一下。”
  漂亮的佩拉吉娅那么殷勤,模样儿那么温柔,给他们送来了浴巾和肥皂。阿列兴就领着客人们到浴棚里去了。
  “是啊,我已经很久没有洗澡了,”他脱衣服时说,“我这浴棚,你们也看到了,很不错,还是我父亲盖的呢,可是不知怎么总也没有时间洗澡。”
  他坐在台阶上,往他的长头发和脖子上抹了许多肥皂,他周围的水变成了褐色。
  “是啊,我看也是……”伊凡伊凡内奇意味深长地看着他的头,说道。
  “我已经很久没有洗澡了……”阿列兴不好意思地重复道,他又擦洗身子,他周围的水变成墨水一样的深蓝色。
  伊凡伊凡内奇跑到外面,扑通一声跳进水里,使劲挥动胳臂,冒雨游起泳来。他把水搅起了波浪,白色的睡莲便随波漂荡。他游到深水湾中央,一个猛子扎下去,不一会儿又在另一个地方露出头来,他继续游过去,不断潜入水中,想摸到河底。“哎呀,我的老天爷……”他快活地重复着,“哎呀,我的老天爷……”他一直游到磨坊那儿,跟几个农民交谈一阵,又游回来,到了深水湾中央,便仰面躺在水上,让雨淋着他的脸。布尔金和阿列兴这时已经穿好衣服,准备回去,他却一直在游泳,扎着猛子。
  “您也游够了!”布尔金对他喊道。
  他们回到房子里。在楼上的大客厅里点上了灯,布尔金和伊凡伊凡内奇都穿上了绸长袍和暖和的便鞋,坐在圈椅里。阿列兴本人洗完澡、梳了头,显得干干净净,换了新上衣,在客厅里踱来踱去,显然因为换上干衣服和轻便鞋而心满意足地享受着这份温暖和洁净。漂亮的佩拉吉娅悄没声地在地毯上走着,一脸温柔的笑容,端着托盘送来了茶和果酱。正在这个时候,伊凡伊凡内奇开始讲起他的故事。看来听故事的不只是布尔金和阿列兴,那些老老少少的太太和将军们从墙上的金边画框里平静而严厉地望着他们,似乎也在听着哩。
  “我们兄弟两人,”他开口说,“我叫伊凡伊凡内奇,他叫尼古拉伊凡内奇,比我小两岁。我完成学业,当了兽医,尼古拉从十九岁起就坐了省税务局的办公室。我们的父亲奇木沙-喜马拉雅斯基是世袭兵①,但后来因功获得军官官衔,给我们留下了世袭贵族身分和一份小小的田产。他死后,那份小田产被迫拿去抵了债,但不管怎么样,我们的童年是在乡间自由自在地度过的。我们完全跟农家孩子一样,白天晚上都待在田野上,树林里,看守马匹,剥树的内皮,捕鱼,以及诸如此类的事情……你们也知道,谁哪怕一生中只钓到过一条鲈鱼,或者在秋天只见过一次鸫鸟南飞,看它们在晴朗凉爽的日子怎样成群飞过村子,那他已经不算是城里人,他至死都会向往这种自由的生活。我的弟弟身在省税务局,心里却老惦记着乡下。一年年过去了,他却还坐在老地方,写着老一套的公文,想着同一件事情:最好回乡间去。他的这种思念渐渐地成为一种明确的愿望、一种理想--要在什么地方的河边或湖畔买下一座小小的田庄。
  “我弟弟是个善良温和的人,我喜欢他,可是对他的这种把自己一辈子关在自家庄园的愿望,我向来不表同情,人们常说:一个人只需要三俄尺②地就够了。可是要知道,需要三俄尺地的,是死尸,而不是活人。人们又说,如果我们的知识分子都向往土地,向往庄园,那是一件好
  ①十九世纪上半期的俄国,士兵的儿子出生后便记入服兵役的名册。
  ②合二二米,指墓穴长度。事。可是要知道,这些庄园无异于三俄尺土地。离开城市,离开斗争,离开沸腾的生活,跑得远远的,躲进自家的庄园--这不是生活,这是自私,懒散,这也是一种修道生活,然而是一种毫无功绩的修道生活。人所需要的不是三俄尺土地,不是庄园,而是整个地球,整个大自然,在这个广阔天地里人才能展现出他自由精神的全部性能和特征。
  “我弟弟尼古拉坐在他的办公室里,梦想着将来有一天喝上自家的、香得满院子都闻得见的菜汤,在绿油油的草地上吃饭,在阳光下睡觉,一连几个小时坐在大门外的长凳上望着田野和树林。有关农艺方面的小册子和日历上的这类建议,是他的一大乐趣,成了他心爱的精神食粮。他喜欢看报,但只读其中的广告栏,如某地出售若干俄亩的耕地和草场,连同庄园、果园、磨坊和若干活水池塘。于是他就在脑子里描画出果园里的小径、花丛、水果、棕鸟笼、池塘里的鲫鱼,你们知道,尽是这类玩意儿。当然这些想象中的画面是各不相同的,这要根据他所看到的广告内容而定。可是不知为什么所有的画面上必定有醋栗。他不能想象一座庄园,一处富有诗情画意的地方,居然会没有醋栗。
  “‘乡问生活自有它的乐趣,’他常常这样说,‘你可以坐在阳台上喝茶,水塘里有自家的小鸭子在戏水,鸟语花香,而且……而且醋栗成熟了。’
  “他绘制了自己田庄的草图,每一次图上都是同样的东西:一,主人的正房;二,仆人的下房;三,菜园;四,醋栗。他省吃俭用:经常半饥半饱,不多饮茶水,天知道他穿什么破烂,倒像叫花子,可是不断攒钱,存到银行里。他成了吝啬鬼!我看见他心里就难过,常常给他点钱,过节前也给他寄点,可是他连这个也存起来。一个人要是打定了主意,那就拿他没有办法了。
  “几年过去,他被调到另一个省工作,当时已年过四十,但还在读报上的广告,还在攒钱。后来我听说他结婚了。出于同样的目的,即买一座有醋栗的庄园,他娶了一个年老而难看的寡妇,他对她毫无感情,只因为她手里有几个臭钱。他俩一起生活他照样很吝啬,经常让她吃个半饱,把她的钱存进银行却写在自己名下。她原先的丈夫是邮政支局局长,她过惯了吃馅饼、喝果子露酒的生活,现在在第二个丈夫家里连黑面包也不多见。这种生活把她弄得樵怀不堪,三年不到干脆把灵魂交给了上帝。当然,我的弟弟从来没有想到过,她的死是由他的过错造成的。金钱如同伏特加,能把人变成怪物。以前我们城里有个商人病得快死了。临终前他叫人端来一碟蜂蜜,他把自己所有的钱和彩票就着蜂蜜都吃进肚里,叫谁也得不着。还有一次我在火车站检查畜群,当时有一个牲口贩子不慎掉到机车底下,一条腿被轧断了。我们把他抬到急诊室里,血流如注--真吓人。他却不住地求我们把他的断腿找回来,老是不放心,因为那条腿的靴子里有二十五卢布,千万别弄丢了。”
  “哎,您这话已经离题了,”布尔金说。
  “妻子死后,”伊凡伊凡内奇想了半分钟接着说,“我弟弟开始物色田庄。当然啦,你哪怕物色五年,到头来还会出错,买下的和想要的完全不是一码事。弟弟尼古拉通过代售人,用分期付款的方式购得占地一百十二俄亩的田庄,有主人的正房,有仆人的下房,有花园,但没有果园,没有醋栗,没有活水池塘和小鸭子。倒有一条河,但河水呈咖啡色,因为田庄一侧是砖瓦厂,另一侧是烧骨场,可是我的尼古拉伊凡内奇毫不气馁,他立即订购了二十丛醋栗,动手栽下,过起地主的生活来了。
  “去年我去看望他。我想,我得去看看他那里到底怎么样。他在来信里管自己的田庄叫‘丘姆巴罗克洛夫荒园’,又叫‘喜马拉雅村’。我是下午到达‘喜马拉雅村’的。天气很热。到处都是沟渠、篱笆和围墙,到处栽着成排的云杉--弄得你不知道怎样才能走到他家,把马拴在哪儿。我朝一幢房子走去,迎面来了一条毛色红褐的狗,肥得像一头猪。它想叫几声,可是又懒得张嘴。厨房里走出来一个厨娘,光着脚,胖得也像一头猪。她告诉我,老爷吃过饭正在休息。我走进屋里找弟弟,他坐在床上,膝头盖着被子。他苍老了,发胖了,皮肉松弛。他的脸颊、鼻子和嘴唇都向前突出,眼看就要发出像猪那样的哼嘘声,钻进被窝里去了。
  “我们互相拥抱,流下了又高兴又伤心的眼泪:想当年我们都很年轻,现在却白发苍苍,不久于人世了。他穿上衣服,领我去参观他的田庄。
  “‘哦,你在这儿过得怎么样?’我问他。
  “‘还不错,感谢上帝,我过得挺好。’
  “他已经不是从前那个胆小怕事的可怜的小职员了,而是真正的地主老爷。他已经习惯这里的生活,过得很有滋味。他吃得很多,在澡堂里洗澡,已经跟村社和两个工厂都打过官司,遇到农民不叫他‘老爷’时他就大为恼火。他相当关心自己灵魂的得救,一副老爷气派,他做好事不是实心实意,而是装模作样。那么他做了哪些好事呢?他用苏打和蓖麻油给农民包治百病,每到他的命名日必定在村子里做感恩祈祷,之后摆出半桶白酒,他认为他应当这样做。哎呀,多可怕的半桶白酒!今天这个胖地主还拖着农民向地方行政长官控告他们的牲口祸害了他的庄稼,可是到了明天,遇上他隆重的命名日,他就给他们摆出半桶白酒。他们喝了酒就高呼‘乌拉’,喝醉的人还给他叩头。生活变富裕了,酒足饭饱,游手好闲,养成了俄罗斯人的自命不凡和厚颜无耻。尼古拉伊凡内奇当初在税务局里甚至害怕持有个人的见解,现在呢,说的都是至理名言,而且用的是大臣的口气:‘教育是必不可少的,但对平民百姓来说还为时尚早。’又如‘体罚一般来说是有害的,但在某种场合下又是有益的、不可替代的。’
  “‘我了解老百姓,善于对付他们,’他说,‘老百姓也喜欢我。我只消动一动手指头,他们就会替我办好我想要办的所有事情。’
  “这一切,请你们注意,他都是面带精明而善良的微笑说出来的。他不下二十遍反反复复地说:‘我们这些贵族’,‘我,作为一名贵族……’显然已经不记得我们的祖父是个庄稼汉,父亲当过兵。我们的姓奇木沙-马拉雅斯基本来有点古怪,现在依他看来却响亮,显贵,十分悦耳动听。
  “但是问题不在于他,而在我自己这方面。我想对你们讲讲,我在他庄园里逗留的不多几个小时里我内心发生的变化。傍晚,我们喝茶的时候,厨娘端来满满一盘醋粟,放在桌子上。这不是买来的,而是自家种的,自从栽下这种灌木以后,这还是头一回收摘果子。尼古拉伊凡内奇眉开眼笑,足有一分钟默默地、泪汪汪地看着醋栗,他激动得说不出话来。随后他把一枚果子放进嘴里,得意地瞧着我,那副神态就像一个小孩子终于得到了自己心爱的玩具。
  “‘真好吃!’他说。
  “他津津有味地吃着,不断地重复道:
  “‘嘿,真好吃!你也尝一尝!”果子又硬又酸,不过正如普希金所说,‘对我们来说,使我们变得高尚的谎言较之无数真理更为珍贵。’我看到了一个幸福的人,他梦寐以求的理想无疑已经实现,他已经达到生活中的目标,得到了他想要的一切,他对自己的命运和他本人都感到满意。每当我想起人的幸福,不知为什么思想里常常夹杂着伤感的成分,现在,面对着这个幸福的人,我的内心充满了近乎绝望的沉重感觉。夜里我的心情更加沉重。他们在我弟弟卧室的隔壁房间里为我铺了床,夜里我听到,他没有睡着,常常起身走到那盘醋栗跟前拿果子吃。我心里琢磨:实际上,心满意足的幸福的人是很多的!这是一种多么令人压抑的力量!你们看看这种生活吧:强者蛮横无礼,游手好闲,弱者愚昧无知,过着牛马不如的生活,到处是难以想象的贫穷,拥挤,堕落,酗酒,伪善,谎言……与此同时,每一个家庭和每一条街道却安安静静,人们心平气和。在城里五万居民中,没有一个人会大声疾呼,公开表示自己的愤慨。我们所看到的,是人们上市场采购食品,白天吃饭,夜里睡觉,他们说着自己的生活琐事,结婚,衰老,平静地把死去的亲人送到墓地。可是我们看不见那些受苦受难的人,听不见他们的声音,看不见在幕后发生的生活中的种种惨事。一切都安静而平和,提出抗议的只是不出声的统计数字:多少人发疯,多少桶白酒被喝光,多少儿童死于营养不良……这样的秩序显然是必需的;显然,幸福的人之所以感到幸福只是因为不幸的人们在默默地背负着自己的重担,一旦没有了这种沉默,一些人的幸福便不可想象。这是普遍的麻木不仁。真应当在每一个心满意足的幸福的人的门背后,站上一个人,拿着小锤子,经常敲门提醒他:世上还有不幸的人;不管他现在多么幸福,生活迟早会对他伸出利爪,灾难会降临--疾病,贫穷,种种损失。到那时谁也看不见他,听不见他,正如现在他看不见别人,听不见别人一样。可是,拿锤子的人是没有的,幸福的人照样过他的幸福生活,只有日常生活的小小烦恼才使他感到有点激动,就像微风吹拂杨树一样。一切都幸福圆满。
  --------
  
  “那天夜里我才明白,原来我也是心满意足,也是幸福的,”伊凡伊凡内奇站起来,接着说,“我在饭桌上、在打猎时也一样教导别人怎样生活,怎样信仰,怎样管理平民百姓。我也常常说:学问是光明,教育必不可少,但对普通人来说目前只要能读会写就足够了。自由是好东西,我也这样说,没有自由就像没有空气一样是不行的,但目前还得等待。是的,我就是这样说的,不过我现在要问:为什么要等待?”伊凡伊凡内奇生气地望着布尔金,问道,“我请问你们,为什么要等待?出于什么考虑?别人对我说,凡事不能一航而就,任何理想总是在生活中逐步地、在适当的时候实现的。不过,这是谁说的?有什么证据说明这是对的?你们会引证事物的自然规律和社会现象的合法性。但是我请问:我,一个有思想的活人,站在一道沟前,本来我也许可以跳过去,或者在上面架一座桥走过去,我却偏要等着它自己合拢,或者等着淤泥把它填满,这样做有什么规律和合法性可言?再说一遍,为什么要等待,等到活不下去的时候吗?可是人需要生活,渴望生活啊!
  “我一清早就离开弟弟的庄园。从此以后,我就感到城市的生活难以忍受。那份平静和安宁令我压抑,我害怕看别人家的窗子,因为现在对我来说,没有比围桌而坐一道喝茶的幸福家庭更令人难受的场景了。我已经老了,已经不适宜当一名斗士,我甚至不会憎恨了。我只是心里悲哀,气愤,懊丧,每到夜里我的脑子里种种思想如潮水般涌来,弄得我十分激动,不能安睡……唉,要是我还年轻该多好啊!”
  伊凡伊凡内奇激动得在两个屋角问不停地走来走去,反复说:
  “要是我还年轻该多好啊!”
  他突然走到阿列兴身边,握住他的一只手,之后又握他的另一只手。
  “巴维尔康斯坦丁内奇!”他用恳求的语气说,“您永远不要感到满足,不要让自己麻木不仁!趁您年轻、强壮、朝气蓬勃,您要不知疲倦地做好事!幸福是没有的,也不可能有;如果生活中有意义有目标,那也绝不是我们的幸福,我们的幸福在于更明智、更伟大的事业。做好事吧!”
  这番话伊凡伊凡内奇是带着可怜的、央求的笑容说的,仿佛他是为自己央求他的。
  后来这三人坐在客厅里不同角落的圈椅里,都默不做声了。伊凡伊凡内奇的故事既没有让布尔金也没有让阿列兴感到满足。在昏黄的光照中,金边画框里的将军和太太像活人似的瞧着他们,在这种时候听一个爱吃醋栗的可怜的小职员的故事不免乏味。不知为什么他们很想听听文人雅士或女人的故事。他们坐着的这个客厅里的一切,从蒙着套子的枝形吊灯架、圈椅,到脚下的地毯,都说明,这些此刻在画框里看着他们的人从前也在这里走过,坐过,喝过茶。现在漂亮的佩拉吉娅在地毯上不出声地走着--这比任何故事更美妙动人。
  阿列兴困得不行;他早上三点就起床操持家务,现在他的眼睛都睁不开了。但他担心客人们在他不在时会讲什么有趣的故事,所以不肯离开。伊凡伊凡内奇刚才讲的是否机智是否正确,他不去琢磨。客人们不谈麦种,不谈千草,不谈焦油,他们谈的事跟他的生活没有直接关系,这就让他很高兴,他希望他们继续谈下去……
  “不过该睡觉了,”布尔金站起身来说,“祝各位晚安。”
  阿列兴道了晚安,回到楼下的住室去了,两位客人留在楼上。他们被领到一个大房间过夜,那里有两张老式的雕花木床,屋角挂着耶稣受难的象牙十字架。床上的被褥又宽大又干净,由漂亮的佩拉吉娅刚刚铺好,散发出一股好闻的清爽味。
  伊凡伊凡内奇默默地脱去衣服,躺下了。
  “主啊,饶恕我们这些罪人吧!”他说完就蒙头睡了。
  他放在桌上的烟斗散发出一股浓重的烟油子味。布尔金一直睡不着,怎么也弄不明白,哪儿来的这股难闻的气味。
  雨通宵敲打着窗子。
                    

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       分类:             国芳多语对照文库 >> 俄语-英语 >> 契科夫 >> 短篇小说      
    Categories:  Xie's Multilingual Corpus >> Russian-English >> Chekov >> Short Novel                                                  
    

 

 



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