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第九章 人世间最古怪的宅子(上)  

2016-03-16 11:46:03|  分类: 译著 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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第九章  人世间最古怪的宅子(上)

【美】弗朗西丝·霍奇森·伯内特 

熊良銋 译

 

这是一个人们所能想象到的环境最幽美、气氛最神秘的地方。四周使它与外界隔绝的高墙上爬满了攀缘玫瑰无叶的藤条,那些藤条密集纠缠到了一起,简直象是铺贴在墙上了。玛丽·楞诺克斯知道它们是玫瑰,因为她在印度见到过许多玫瑰。地面上到处都铺满了冬令黄褐色的枯草,上面长出了一簇簇的灌木,它们要是还活着,就必定是玫瑰丛了。还有好些嫁接到枝干上的玫瑰,枝条蔓延得很开,简直就象是小树了。花园里还有其它的树木,而使这里显得最奇特最可爱的原因之一,就在于那些攀缘玫瑰爬上了所有的树木,还把长长的藤蔓悬垂下来,结成了轻轻飘荡的帘幕,处处相互缠绕交错,或是与一根伸向远处的枝条相连接,于是枝蔓就从这棵树攀爬到那棵树上,使自己成了一座座可爱的桥。现在玫瑰枝条上既无叶子也无花,玛丽不知道它们是死了是活着的,但是它们那些浅灰色或黄褐色的粗细枝条,犹如一雾蒙蒙的纱幕笼罩着一切,包括墙篱树木,甚至那棕褐色的枯草,枝条一直垂到草丛上,有些还铺展到了地上。正是这在树木之间互相纠缠的雾霭,使这里的一切显得神秘莫测。玛丽早就设想过,于那些未被长期荒废的花园相比,这里肯定很不一样,现在看来,它的确与她生来所见过的任何地方都很不一样。

这儿好寂静啊!她悄声说道。好寂静!

然后,她伫立着待了片刻,倾听着周围的一片寂静。那只知更鸟早已飞上树梢,此刻也与其余的一切一样,寂静无声。它甚至没有拍打翅膀,而是一动不动停栖在树上,看着玛丽。

也怪不得会这么寂静,她又悄声道道。十年来,我是第一个在这里开口说话的人。

她离开园门往里走,步子很轻,仿佛她担心会吵醒什么人似的。她很庆幸脚底下有草,这样她的脚踩在地上就不会弄出声响。她走到林木间一个童话世界般的灰色拱门下,仰起头来看着那搭成拱门的枝条和藤蔓。

我不知道它们是不是都真的死了,她说道。这真是个没有一点儿生气的花园吗?但愿不是。

假如她是本·维德斯达夫,她便能一眼就辨别出树木是不是还活着。可是她只能看到,那些藤蔓枝条全是褐灰色的,而没有任何地方显示出哪怕是一个小小叶芽的迹象。

不过,她毕竟已经进到这个奇妙的花园了,而且,她今后可以随时从常春藤底下的那扇门进来,她觉得好象是发现了一个专属于她自己的天地。

在这四面围墙之内,阳光明媚,高耸在米瑟尔斯威特庄园的这一特殊区域的的蓝天,也似乎比荒野上的空更加灿烂,更加妩媚。那知更鸟从树梢飞下来,时而围着她蹦跳,时而跟着她从一个灌木丛飞到另一丛。它叽叽喳喳叫个不停地,显得很忙碌的样子,仿佛是在向她展示自己家里的珍宝。一切都显得陌生而寂静,她似乎已经与人们远隔千里,可不知怎的她丝毫不觉得孤独。唯一困扰她的是,她弄不明白这儿的玫瑰是全都死了呢,还是有些也许还活着,在天气转暖后还有可能会长出新叶和花蕾来的。她不希望这是个完全死寂的花园。假如它是个生机勃勃的花园,那该有多么美妙呀。那四面八方就会有千万朵玫瑰竞相开放!

她进来时,是把跳绳搭在她胳膊上的,她四处走了一阵后,心想她可以一边跳绳一边逛花园,想细看什么的时候就停一下。似乎到处都是有草的小径,在一两处角落里还有常绿植物修剪成的凉亭,里面有石凳或长满苔藓的花瓮。

走近第二个这样的凉亭时,她停了下来。这里面曾经有一个花圃,她觉得自己似乎看到什么东西从黑土里冒了出来,是几个尖尖的淡绿色小点点。她记起本·维德斯达夫说过的话,于是跪下来仔细察看。

是的,这是些正在生长的幼芽,可能是番红花或雪花莲,要不就是水仙花。她喃喃地说道。

她弯下腰,凑近它们跟前,使劲闻着湿泥土里散发出来的清香气味。她非常喜欢这种气味。

也许别的地方还有类似的幼芽正在生长出来哩,她说道。我要到花园各处去找寻找寻。

她不再跳绳了,而是徒步往前走。她走得很慢,眼睛盯着地上。她在边远的旧花圃里和草丛中寻觅,尽量不漏掉一处,走完一圈之后,她果然找到了更多冒尖的嫩绿色幼芽,不禁又感到兴奋起来。

这不是一个完全死寂了的花园,她轻柔地对自己喊道。就算玫瑰都死了,也还有别的花木是活着的。

她对园艺一窍不通,可是她看到了,在一些冒出绿芽的地方,枯草似乎太稠密,她觉得绿芽似乎没有足够的生长空间。她到处搜寻,终于找到了一根尖木棍,然后跪下来挖土除草,直到她在绿芽的周围清理出一片片干净的空地。

现在,它们总算能自由呼吸了,在清理完第一批以后,她说道。我还要清理出更多的地方。我看到有绿苗的地方我都要清理一下。要是今天时间不够,那就明天再来。

她一处地方接着一处地方地挖土除草,干得那么投入那么兴致勃勃,她不由自己地从一个花圃忙到另一个花圃,一直忙到树林底下的草丛里。这番忙碌使她浑身发热,她脱了外套,又取下帽子,全然没有觉察到,她一直都是在对着地面的的草丛和尖嫩的幼芽微笑。

那只知更鸟也在忙个不停。它非常高兴地看到,园艺活动居然在它自己的领地上也开展起来了。它经常惊叹本·维德斯达夫的技艺。凡是经他打理过的地方,各种各样好吃的东西都会随着泥土翻上地面来。如今又新来了这个小丫头,个子没有老本头一半高,却知道来到它的花园,就马上开始干起来了。

玛丽小姐在她的花园里一直干到吃午饭的时间。实际上,她很晚才记起要吃饭了。她穿上外套,戴好帽子,拾起跳绳,自己也不敢相信已经干了两三个小时。她一直都觉得真的很快乐,在她清理过的地方,显露出了几十丛嫩绿色的幼芽,与原先被枯草和杂草挤压得透不过气来的时候相比,显得双倍的愉悦。

下午我还要回来的,她环顾着自己的新王国,对树木和玫瑰丛说道,仿佛它们在听她说话。

然后她轻盈地跑过草地,慢慢推开那扇旧园门,从常春藤底下钻了出去。她的脸颊如此绯红,眼睛如此明亮,午饭吃得如此的多,玛莎是看在眼里喜在心头。

两大块肉,外加两份大米布丁!她说道。哎!我要是告诉俺娘,说跳绳给您带来的好处,她会非常高兴的。

玛丽小姐在用尖木棍挖掘的过程中,惊奇地发现自己挖出了一种象是洋葱的白色块根。随后她把它放回了原处,又小心地盖上松土轻轻轻拍实。现在她突然记起,想问问玛莎是否知道那是什么。

玛莎,她问道。那些样子跟洋葱差不多的白色块根是什么东西呀?

那是球茎,玛莎答道。许多春季开的花都是从这球茎里长出来的。那种很小的是雪花莲和番红花,大点的是白水仙,长寿花和黄水仙。最大的那种是百合花和紫菖蒲。哎呀!它们都很漂亮的咯。迪康在俺们家的花园里种了一大块全是这类花儿。

迪康认得出所有这些花吗?玛丽问道,脑子里产生了一个新主意。

俺们家迪康能让砖铺的步行道长出花来。俺娘说,只要他轻声一唤,那些东西就会从地里长出来的咯。

球茎能活很长时间吗?要是没有人照看,它们也能一年又一年地活下去吗?玛丽急切地问道。

它们都是自己照看自己的,玛莎说道。所以呀穷棒子也能养得起的咯。要是不去打扰它们,大多数都会一辈子在地下生长着,而且还会发新芽。在这儿的庭院里有一片林子,长着成千上万的雪花莲。春天来到时,那就是约克郡最美丽的风景了。没人知道它们最初是在什么时候种下的。

 

附录:原文

 

Chapter 9  The Strangest House Any One Ever Lived in  (I)

  Written byFrances Hodgson Burnett

Translated by Liangren Xiong

 

It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of climbing roses which were so thick that they were matted together. Mary Lennox knew they were roses because she had seen a great many roses in India. All the ground was covered with grass of a wintry brown and out of it grew clumps of bushes which were surely rose-bushes if they were alive. There were numbers of standard roses which had so spread their branches that they were like little trees. There were other trees in the garden, and one of the things which made the place look strangest and loveliest was that climbing roses had run all over them and swung down long tendrils which made light swaying curtains, and here and there they had caught at each other or at a far-reaching branch and had crept from one tree to another and made lovely bridges of themselves. There were neither leaves nor roses on them now and Mary did not know whether they were dead or alive, but their thin gray or brown branches and sprays looked like a sort of hazy mantle spreading over everything, walls, and trees, and even brown grass, where they had fallen from their fastenings and run along the ground. It was this hazy tangle from tree to tree which made it all look so mysterious. Mary had thought it must be different from other gardens which had not been left all by themselves so long; and indeed it was different from any other place she had ever seen in her life.

"How still it is!" she whispered. "How still!"

Then she waited a moment and listened at the stillness. The robin, who had flown to his tree-top, was still as all the rest. He did not even flutter his wings; he sat without stirring, and looked at Mary.

"No wonder it is still," she whispered again. "I am the first person who has spoken in here for ten years."

She moved away from the door, stepping as softly as if she were afraid of awakening some one. She was glad that there was grass under her feet and that her steps made no sounds. She walked under one of the fairy-like gray arches between the trees and looked up at the sprays and tendrils which formed them.

"I wonder if they are all quite dead," she said. "Is it all a quite dead garden? I wish it wasn't."

If she had been Ben Weatherstaff she could have told whether the wood was alive by looking at it, but she could only see that there were only gray or brown sprays and branches and none showed any signs of even a tiny leaf-bud anywhere.

But she was inside the wonderful garden and she could come through the door under the ivy any time and she felt as if she had found a world all her own.

The sun was shining inside the four walls and the high arch of blue sky over this particular piece of Misselthwaite seemed even more brilliant and soft than it was over the moor. The robin flew down from his tree-top and hopped about or flew after her from one bush to another. He chirped a good deal and had a very busy air, as if he were showing her things. Everything was strange and silent and she seemed to be hundreds of miles away from any one, but somehow she did not feel lonely at all. All that troubled her was her wish that she knew whether all the roses were dead, or if perhaps some of them had lived and might put out leaves and buds as the weather got warmer. She did not want it to be a quite dead garden. If it were a quite alive garden, how wonderful it would be, and what thousands of roses would grow on every side!

Her skipping-rope had hung over her arm when she came in and after she had walked about for a while she thought she would skip round the whole garden, stopping when she wanted to look at things. There seemed to have been grass paths here and there, and in one or two corners there were alcoves of evergreen with stone seats or tall moss-covered flower urns in them.

As she came near the second of these alcoves she stopped skipping. There had once been a flower-bed in it, and she thought she saw something sticking out of the black earth—some sharp little pale green points. She remembered what Ben Weatherstaff had said and she knelt down to look at them.

"Yes, they are tiny growing things and they might be crocuses or snowdrops or daffodils," she whispered.

She bent very close to them and sniffed the fresh scent of the damp earth. She liked it very much.

"Perhaps there are some other ones coming up in other places," she said. "I will go all over the garden and look."

She did not skip, but walked. She went slowly and kept her eyes on the ground. She looked in the old border beds and among the grass, and after she had gone round, trying to miss nothing, she had found ever so many more sharp, pale green points, and she had become quite excited again.

"It isn't a quite dead garden," she cried out softly to herself. "Even if the roses are dead, there are other things alive."

She did not know anything about gardening, but the grass seemed so thick in some of the places where the green points were pushing their way through that she thought they did not seem to have room enough to grow. She searched about until she found a rather sharp piece of wood and knelt down and dug and weeded out the weeds and grass until she made nice little clear places around them.

"Now they look as if they could breathe," she said, after she had finished with the first ones. "I am going to do ever so many more. I'll do all I can see. If I haven't time to-day I can come to-morrow."

She went from place to place, and dug and weeded, and enjoyed herself so immensely that she was led on from bed to bed and into the grass under the trees. The exercise made her so warm that she first threw her coat off, and then her hat, and without knowing it she was smiling down on to the grass and the pale green points all the time.

The robin was tremendously busy. He was very much pleased to see gardening begun on his own estate. He had often wondered at Ben Weatherstaff. Where gardening is done all sorts of delightful things to eat are turned up with the soil. Now here was this new kind of creature who was not half Ben's size and yet had had the sense to come into his garden and begin at once.

Mistress Mary worked in her garden until it was time to go to her midday dinner. In fact, she was rather late in remembering, and when she put on her coat and hat, and picked up her skipping-rope, she could not believe that she had been working two or three hours. She had been actually happy all the time; and dozens and dozens of the tiny, pale green points were to be seen in cleared places, looking twice as cheerful as they had looked before when the grass and weeds had been smothering them.

"I shall come back this afternoon," she said, looking all round at her new kingdom, and speaking to the trees and the rose-bushes as if they heard her.

Then she ran lightly across the grass, pushed open the slow old door and slipped through it under the ivy. She had such red cheeks and such bright eyes and ate such a dinner that Martha was delighted.

"Two pieces o' meat an' two helps o' rice puddin'!" she said. "Eh! mother will be pleased when I tell her what th' skippin'-rope's done for thee."

In the course of her digging with her pointed stick Mistress Mary had found herself digging up a sort of white root rather like an onion. She had put it back in its place and patted the earth carefully down on it and just now she wondered if Martha could tell her what it was.

"Martha," she said, "what are those white roots that look like onions?"

"They're bulbs," answered Martha. "Lots o' spring flowers grow from 'em. Th' very little ones are snowdrops an' crocuses an' th' big ones are narcissusis an' jonquils an' daffydowndillys. Th' biggest of all is lilies an' purple flags. Eh! they are nice. Dickon's got a whole lot of 'em planted in our bit o' garden."

Does Dickon know all about them?" asked Mary, a new idea taking possession of her.

"Our Dickon can make a flower grow out of a brick walk. Mother says he just whispers things out o' th' ground."

"Do bulbs live a long time? Would they live years and years if no one helped them?" inquired Mary anxiously.

"They're things as helps themselves," said Martha. "That's why poor folk can afford to have 'em. If you don't trouble 'em, most of 'em'll work away underground for a lifetime an' spread out an' have little 'uns. There's a place in th' park woods here where there's snowdrops by thousands. They're the prettiest sight in Yorkshire when th' spring comes. No one knows when they was first planted."

 

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