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女王的仆役(四)  

2016-08-23 10:41:01|  分类: 译著 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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女王的仆役(四)

【英】鲁迪亚德·吉卜林 著

熊良銋 译

 

 谁也没有答话,为了转换个话头,战马开口说道:“那只小狗去哪儿啦?有狗在就说明附近有人。”

“我在这儿呢,”雌狐汪汪叫道。“在大炮后座的下面,跟我的主人在一起。你这头莽撞的牲口大骆驼,是你,你掀翻了我们的帐篷。我的主人非常生气。”

“唷!”犍牛兄弟说道。“他肯定是个白人!”

“他当然是啦,”雌狐说道。“你以为照管我的是个赶牛的黑?”

“哗嗬!嗷嗤!呜呋!”犍牛兄弟说道。“咱们赶快开路吧。”

他们在泥地上向前冲去,不知怎的,把他们的轭具撞到一辆弹药车的辕杆上,卡住了。

“瞧你们干的好事,”比利平心静气地说道。“别硬拼。你们会悬在这里直到天亮的。这到底是怎么回事呀?”

那犍牛兄弟喷发出了一阵长长的咝咝的鼻息声,这种本事是印度牛所特有的,他们推推搡搡,争先恐后地往前拉,滑向了一边,使劲儿往下踩,又滑了一下,差点儿倒在泥地里,还在拼命地咕噜着。

“你们很快就会把脖子挣断的,”战马说道。“那些白人也不知道是怎么了?我还跟他们生活在一起呢。”

“他们呀,一直在,吃我们!拽!”近前的那头犍牛说道:轭具嗵的一声挣断,他们俩就一起踉跄着走开了。

我先前根本就不知道是什么使印度牛如此害怕英国人。我们吃牛肉,可那东西是牛伕们从来不碰的,当然,牛是不喜欢那么做的。

“但愿他们把我用我自己的脚链狠狠揍一顿!谁会想到这么两个大块头会掉脑袋呢?”比利说道。

“没关系。我这就去看看这个人。我知道,大多数白人在口袋里都装有东西的,”战马说道。

“那么,我就离你们而去啦。我自己也说不上多喜欢他们。况且没地方睡觉的白人更可能是贼娃子。我背上还驮着大量的政府财物呢。跟我来吧,小家伙,我们要归队啦。晚安,澳大利亚!我想,明儿我们检阅式上见。晚安,老草包!你要设法控制一下你的情绪,好不好?晚安,双尾!如果明天你在检阅场上从我们身边经过,别吹喇叭吼叫了。那会乱了我们的阵势的。”

骡子比利摆出一副久经沙场的老兵的臭架子,一瘸一拐地走开了,这时,战马把脑袋探进了我的胸口,我给了他几块饼干,而雌狐,那只最自以为是的小狗,去跟他吹牛说,她和我喂养了几十匹马。

“明天我要坐我的轻便犬车去参加检阅,”她说道。“你会在哪儿呢?”

“在第二骑兵中队左侧。我要为全体参检部队设定步速,小姐,”他彬彬有礼地说道。“现在我必须回到迪克身边去了。我的尾巴满是泥土,他要苦干两个钟头给我梳妆打扮,好去参加检阅。”

那天下午,全体三万官兵的大检阅举行了,雌狐和我占了个好位置,靠近总督和阿富汗的埃米尔,埃米尔戴着他那顶又高又大的俄国羔羊毛的黑礼帽,中间镶着一颗钻石星章。检阅的第一部分一派阳光,步兵团迈着整齐的步伐走过,抬腿波浪式的一起一落,枪支全都排成一条直线,让人看得眼花缭乱。接着出场的是骑兵部队,踏着优美的骑兵乐章《帅气的邓迪》的节奏,一路小跑通过,这时坐在双轮小犬车里的雌狐竖起了耳朵。甲枪骑兵第二中队疾驰而过,其中就有那匹战马,尾巴象旋转的丝绸,脑袋贴到胸口上,耳朵一只向前,一只向后,为全中队设定步速,四条腿象华尔兹乐曲那样平稳。然后炮队过来了,我看见双尾和另外两头大象并排着拖拽一门四十磅炮弹攻城炮,后面还跟着二十对拖炮牛。第七对架着一副新轭,看样子神态僵硬疲倦。最后是螺旋跑,骡子比利那架势,就象是他统帅着全军一样,他的挽具全都涂了油,刨过光,亮晃晃的。我情不自禁地为骡子比利喝彩,但是他决不左顾右盼。

大雨又开始下了起来,一时间烟雨蒙蒙,都看不清队伍在做什么了。他们在平原上变换队形,先是组成一个半圆,然后又展开排成一字长蛇阵。长蛇阵越来越长,最后,两翼间足有四分之三英哩长,看上去象是一堵由人、马和大炮构成的坚固城墙。接着整个城墙径直向前朝着总督和埃米尔走过来,当它再往前走时,地面可是颤动,恰似一艘蒸汽轮船的发动机在加速前进时的甲板。

如果不亲临其境,你就很难想象,千军万马这样稳步坚定地压过来会给观众一种多么惊心动魄的效果,尽管他们知道这不过是一次阅兵而已。我注视着埃米尔。在此之前,他还没有表露出丝毫的惊讶或别的神情;可这时他的眼睛越睁越大,并抓起自己的马脖子上的缰绳,朝身后望去。刹那间,他似乎要拔出剑来,从背后马车里的英国男女中间夺路而去。随后,队列突然停止了前进,检阅场上顿时鸦雀无声,全部人马立正敬礼,三十支乐队一齐开始奏乐。阅兵式到此结束,各军团冒雨返回到各自的营地;一支步兵乐队奏起了如下的乐章——

 

牲口们就位,双双对对,

万岁!

牲口们出场,对对双双,

拖炮骡子和大象,

他们全都登上了方舟,

以免淋雨之忧!

 

这时,有一位满头花白长发的中亚老酋长陪同埃米尔下了马,我听到他在向一名地方军官询问情况。

“那么,”他说道。“这么神奇的场面是这样实现的?”

那军官答道:“靠发命令,大家服从。”

“可是那些牲口和人一样聪明吗?”酋长又问道。

“他们跟人一样服从命令。骡、马、象、牛,他们各服从自己的驭者的命令,驭者服从下士,下士服从中尉,中尉服从上尉,上尉服从少校,少校服从上校,上校服从指挥三个团的准将,准将服从将军,将军服从总督,而总督是女王的仆役。事情就这样完成了。”

“但愿在阿富汗也能这样做!”酋长说道。“因为在那里我们只服从自己的意志。”

“正是这个原因,”那地方军官捻着小胡子说道。“你们的那位你们不服从的埃米尔必须到这里来,接受我们总督的命令。”

 

附录:原文

 

Her Majesty’s ServantsIV

Written by Rudyard Kipling

Translated by William Xiong

 

Nobody answered, and the troop-horse said, to change the conversation, “Where’s that little dog? A dog means a man somewhere about.”

“Here I am,” yapped Vixen, “under the gun tail with my man. You big, blundering beast of a camel you, you upset our tent. My man’s very angry.”

“Phew!” said the bullocks. “He must be white!”

“Of course he is,” said Vixen. “Do you suppose I’m looked after by a black bullock-driver?”

“Huah! Ouach! Ugh!” said the bullocks. “Let us get away quickly.”

They plunged forward in the mud, and managed somehow to run their yoke on the pole of an ammunition wagon, where it jammed.

“Now you have done it,” said Billy calmly. “Don’t struggle. You’re hung up till daylight. What on earth’s the matter?”

The bullocks went off into the long hissing snorts that Indian cattle give, and pushed and crowded and slued and stamped and slipped and nearly fell down in the mud, grunting savagely.

“You’ll break your necks in a minute,” said the troop-horse. “What’s the matter with white men? I live with’em.”

“They — eat — us! Pull!” said the near bullock. The yoke snapped with a twang, and they lumbered off together.

I never knew before what made Indian cattle so scared of Englishmen. We eat beef — a thing that no cattle-driver touches — and of course the cattle do not like it.

“May I be flogged with my own pad-chains! Who’d have thought of two big lumps like those losing their heads?” said Billy.

“Never mind. I’m going to look at this man. Most of the white men, I know, have things in their pockets,” said the troop-horse.

“I’ll leave you, then. I can’t say I’m over-fond of ’em myself. Besides, white men who haven’t a place to sleep in are more than likely to be thieves, and I’ve a good deal of Government property on my back. Come along, young un, and we’ll go back to our lines. Good-night, Australia! See you on parade tomorrow, I suppose. Good-night, old Hay-bale! —try to control your feelings, won’t you? Good-night, Two Tails! If you pass us on the ground tomorrow, don’t trumpet. It spoils our formation.”

Billy the Mule stumped off with the swaggering limp of an old campaigner, as the troop-horse’s head came nuzzling into my breast, and I gave him biscuits, while Vixen, who is a most conceited little dog, told him fibs about the scores of horses that she and I kept.

“I’m coming to the parade tomorrow in my dog-cart,” she said. “Where will you be?”

“On the left hand of the second squadron. I set the time for all my troop, little lady,” he said politely. “Now I must go back to Dick. My tail’s all muddy, and he’ll have two hours’ hard work dressing me for parade.”

The big parade of all the thirty thousand men was held that afternoon, and Vixen and I had a good place close to the Viceroy and the Amir of Afghanistan, with high, big black hat of astrakhan wool and the great diamond star in the center. The first part of the review was all sunshine, and the regiments went by in wave upon wave of legs all moving together, and guns all in a line, till our eyes grew dizzy. Then the cavalry came up, to the beautiful cavalry canter of “Bonnie Dundee,” and Vixen cocked her ear where she sat on the dog-cart. The second squadron of the Lancers shot by, and there was the troop-horse, with his tail like spun silk, his head pulled into his breast, one ear forward and one back, setting the time for all his squadron, his legs going as smoothly as waltz music. Then the big guns came by, and I saw Two Tails and two other elephants harnessed in line to a forty-pounder siege gun, while twenty yoke of oxen walked behind. The seventh pair had a new yoke, and they looked rather stiff and tired. Last came the screw guns, and Billy the mule carried himself as though he commanded all the troops, and his harness was oiled and polished till it winked. I gave a cheer all by myself for Billy the mule, but he never looked right or left.

The rain began to fall again, and for a while it was too misty to see what the troops were doing. They had made a big half circle across the plain, and were spreading out into a line. That line grew and grew and grew till it was three-quarters of a mile long from wing to wing — one solid wall of men, horses, and guns. Then it came on straight toward the Viceroy and the Amir, and as it got nearer the ground began to shake, like the deck of a steamer when the engines are going fast.

Unless you have been there you cannot imagine what a frightening effect this steady come-down of troops has on the spectators, even when they know it is only a review. I looked at the Amir. Up till then he had not shown the shadow of a sign of astonishment or anything else. But now his eyes began to get bigger and bigger, and he picked up the reins on his horse’s neck and looked behind him. For a minute it seemed as though he were going to draw his sword and slash his way out through the English men and women in the carriages at the back. Then the advance stopped dead, the ground stood still, the whole line saluted, and thirty bands began to play all together. That was the end of the review, and the regiments went off to their camps in the rain, and an infantry band struck up with —

 

The animals went in two by two,

Hurrah!

The animals went in two by two,

The elephant and the battery mul’,

and they all got into the Ark

For to get out of the rain!

 

Then I heard an old grizzled, long-haired Central Asian chief, who had come down with the Amir, asking questions of a native officer.

“Now,” said he, “in what manner was this wonderful thing done?”

And the officer answered, “An order was given, and they obeyed.”

“But are the beasts as wise as the men?” said the chief.

“They obey, as the men do. Mule, horse, elephant, or bullock, he obeys his driver, and the driver his sergeant, and the sergeant his lieutenant, and the lieutenant his captain, and the captain his major, and the major his colonel, and the colonel his brigadier commanding three regiments, and the brigadier the general, who obeys the Viceroy, who is the servant of the Empress. Thus it is done.”

“Would it were so in Afghanistan!” said the chief, “for there we obey only our own wills.”

“And for that reason,” said the native officer, twirling his mustache, “your Amir whom you do not obey must come here and take orders from our Viceroy.”

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