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张培基英译中国现代散文选--8 背影

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背 影
朱自清

我与父亲不相见已二年余了,我最不能忘记的是他的背影。那年冬天,祖母死了,父亲的差使也交卸了,正是祸不单行的日子,我从北京到徐州,打算跟着父亲奔丧回家。到了徐州见着父亲,看见满院狼藉的东西,又想起祖母,不禁簌簌地流下眼泪。父亲说:“事已如此,不必难过,好在天无绝人之路!”

回家1变卖典质,父亲还了亏空;又借了钱办了丧事。这些日子,家中光景很是惨淡,一半为了丧事,一半为了父亲的赋闲2。丧事完毕,父亲要到南京谋事,我也要回到北京念书,我们便同行。

到南京时,有朋友约去游逛,勾留了一日;第二日上午便须渡江到浦口,下午上车北去。父亲因为事忙,本已说定不送我,叫旅馆里一个熟识的茶房3陪我同去。他再三嘱咐茶房,甚是仔细。但他终于不放心,怕茶房不妥贴,颇踌躇了一会。其实那年我已二十岁,北京来往过两三次,是没有甚么要紧的了。他踌躇了一会,终于决定还是自己送我去。我两三回劝他不必去4;他只说,“不要紧,他们去不好5!” 我们过了江,进了车站。我买票,他忙着照看行李。行李太多了,得向脚夫行些小费6,才可过去。他便又忙着和他们讲价钱。我那时真是太聪明过分7,总觉得他说话不大漂亮8,非得自己插嘴不可。但他终于讲定了价钱;就送我上车。他给我拣定了靠车门的一张椅子;我将他给我做的紫毛大衣铺好坐位。他嘱我路上小心,夜里要警醒些,不要受凉。又嘱托茶房好好照应我。我心里暗笑他的迂9;他们只认得钱,托他们直是白托!而且我这样大年纪的人,难道还不能料理自己吗?唉,我现在想想,那时真是太聪明了10!

我说道,“爸爸,你走吧。”他望车外看了看,说,“我买几个橘子去。你就在此地,不要走动。”我看那边月台的栅栏外有几个卖东西的的等着顾客。走到那边月台,须穿过铁道,须跳下去又爬上去。父亲是一个胖子,走过去自然要费些事。我本来要去的,他不肯,只好让他去。我看见他戴着黑布小帽。穿着黑布大马褂11,深青布棉袍,蹒跚在走到铁道边,慢慢探身下去,尚不大难。可是他穿过铁道,要爬上那边月台,就不容易了。他用两手攀着上面,两脚再向上缩;他肥胖的身子向左微倾,显出努力的样子。这时我看见他的的背影,我眼泪很快地流下来了。我赶紧拭干了泪,怕他看见,也怕别人看见。我再向外看时,他已抱了朱红的橘子往回走了。过铁道时,他先将橘子散放在地上,自己慢慢爬下,再抱起橘子走。到这边时,我赶紧去搀他。他和我走到车上,将橘子一股脑儿放在我的皮大衣上。于是扑扑衣上泥土,心里很轻松似的,过了一会说,“我走了;到那边来信!”我望着他走出去。他走了几步,回过头看见我,说,“进去吧,里边没人12。”等他的背影混入来来往往的人里,再找不着了,我便进来坐下,我的眼泪又来了。

近几年来,父亲和我都是东奔西走13,家中的光景是一日不如一日。他少年出外谋生,独力支持,做了许多大事。那知老境却如此颓唐!他触目伤怀,自然不能自己14。情郁于中,自然要发之于外;家庭琐屑便往往触他之怒。他待我渐渐不同往日15。但最近两年的不见,他终于忘却我的不好,只是惦记着我,惦记着我的儿子。我北来后,他写了一信给我,信中说道,“我身体平安,惟膀子疼痛利害,举箸提笔,诸多不便,大约大去16之期不远矣。”我读到此处,在晶莹的泪光中,又看见那肥胖的,青布马褂的背影。唉!我不知何时再能与他相见!


The Sight of Father’s Back
Zhu Ziqing

It is more than two years since I last saw father, and what I can never forget is the sight of his back. Misfortunes never come singly. In the winter of more than two years ago, grandma died and father lost his job. I left Beijing for Xuzhou to join father in hastening home to attend grandma’s funeral. When I met father in Xuzhou, the sight of the disorderly mess in his courtyard and the thought of grandma started tears trickling down my cheeks. Father said, “Now that things’ve come to such a pass, it’s no use crying. Fortunately, Heaven always leaves one a way out.”

After arriving home in Yangzhou, father paid off debts by selling or pawning things. He also borrowed money to meet the funeral expenses. Between grandma’s funeral and father’s unemployment, our family was then in reduced circumstances. After the funeral was over, father was to go to Nanjing to look for a job and I was to return to Beijing to study, so we started out together.

I spent the first day in Nanjing strolling about with some friends at their invitation, and was ferrying across the Yangtse River to Pukou the next morning and thence taking a train for Beijing on the afternoon of the same day. Father said he was too busy to go and see me off at the railway station, but would ask a hotel waiter that he knew to accompany me there instead. He urged the waiter again and again to take good care of me, but still did not quite trust him. He hesitated for quite a while about what to do. As a matter of fact, nothing would matter at all because I was then twenty and had already travelled on Beijing-Pukou Railway a couple of times. After some wavering, he finally decided that he himself would accompany me to the station. I repeatedly tried to talk him out of it, but he only said, “Never mind! It won’t do to trust guys like those hotel boys!” We entered the railway station after crossing the River. While I was at the booking office buying a ticket, father saw to my luggage. There was quite a bit of luggage and he had to bargain with the porter over the fee. I was then such a smart aleck that I frowned upon the way father was haggling and was on the verge of chipping in a few words when the bargain was finally clinched. Getting on the train with me, he picked me a seat close to the carriage door. I spread on the seat the brownish fur-lined overcoat he had got tailor made for me. He told me to be watchful on the way and be careful not to catch cold at night. he also asked the train attendants to take good care of me. I sniggered at father for being so impractical, for it was utterly useless to entrust me to those attendants, who cared for nothing but money. Besides, it was certainly no problem for a person of my age to look after himself. Oh, when I come to think of it, I can see how smarty I was in those days!

I said, “Dad, you might leave now.” But he looked out of window and said, “I’m going to buy you some tangerines. You just stay here. Don’t move around.” I caught sight of several vendors waiting for customers outside the railings beyond a platform. But to reach that platform would require crossing the railway track and doing some climbing up and down. That would be a strenuous job for father, who was fat. I wanted to do all that myself, but he stopped me, so I could do nothing but let him go. I watched him hobble towards the railway track in his black skullcap, black cloth mandarin jacket and dark blue cotton-padded cloth long gown. He had little trouble climbing down the railway track, but it was a lot more difficult for him to climb up that platform after crossing the railway track. His hands held onto the upper part of the platform, his legs huddled up and his corpulent body tipped slightly towards the left, obviously making an enormous exertion. While I was watching him from behind, tears gushed from my eyes. I quickly wiped them away lest he or others should catch me crying. The next moment when I looked out of the window again, father was already on the way back, holding bright red tangerines in both hands. In crossing the railway track, he first put the tangerines on the ground, climbed down slowlyand then picked them up again. When he came near the train, I hurried out to help him by the hand. After boarding the train with me, he laid all the tangerines on my overcoat, and patting the dirt off his clothes, he looked somewhat relieved and said after a while, “I must be going now. Don’t forget to write me from Beijing!” I gazed after his back retreating out of the carriage. After a few steps, he looked back at me and said, “go back to your seat. Don’t leave your things alone.” I, however, did not go back to my seat until his figure was lost among crowds of people hurrying to and fro and no longer visible. My eyes were again wet with tears.

In recent years, both father and I have been living an unsettled life, and the circumstances of our family going from bad to worse. Father left home to seek a livelihood when young and did achieve quite a few things all on his own. To think that he should now be so downcast in old age! The discouraging state of affairs filled him with an uncontrollable feeling of deep sorrow, and his pent-up emotion had to find a vent. That is why even mere domestic trivialities would often make him angry, and meanwhile he became less and less nice with me. However, the separation of the last two years has made him more forgiving towards me. He keeps thinking about me and my son. After I arrived in Beijing, he wrote me a letter, in which he says. “I’m all right except for a severe pain in my arm. I even have trouble using chopsticks or writing brushes. Perhaps it won’t be long now before I depart this life.” Through the glistening tears which these words had brought to my eyes I again saw the back of father’s corpulent form in the dark blue cotton-padded cloth long gown and the black cloth mandarin jacket. Oh, how I long to see him again.

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2011-10-18 20:27 编辑:Day_Day_Up1990
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