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收容站记事

所属:成长励志 作者:webmaster 阅读:3025 次 评论:2 条 [我要评论]  [+我要收藏]

将近黄昏时分,我们这伙人——四十八个男人外加一位妇女——躺在草地上,等待收容站开门。谁都懒得动弹一下,甚至连说话的心思都没有,我们就那么四仰八叉地躺着,胡子拉扎的脸上就剩下嘴里咬着的自制烟卷还有点动静。栗子树在我们头顶撑开缀满繁花的树冠。再往上看就是一片清澈的天空,大朵大朵羊毛般的云团一动不动地吊在上面。我们呢,却好像是一堆肮脏的城市勒瑟,被胡乱丢在草地上,如同海滩上的沙丁鱼罐头盒和纸袋一样败坏风景
IT WAS late-afternoon. Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We were too tired to talk much. We just sprawled about exhaustedly, with home-made cigarettes sticking out of our scrubby faces. Overhead the chestnut branches were covered with blossom. and beyond that great woolly clouds floated almost motionless in a clear sky. Littered on the grass, we seemed dingy, urban riff-raff. We defiled the scene, like sardine-tins and paper bags on the seashore.
大伙有一句没一句地说着话,谈论的都是这所收容站的站长。那家伙是个魔鬼,这是大家公认的,也有人叫他鞑子、暴君、叫驴、遭天谴的、翻脸不认人的狗等等。他只要往你跟前一站,准保你连大气儿都不敢出一口,好几次他大半夜的把流浪汉踢出收容站,就因为那几位跟他回了句嘴。清查随身物品的时候他恨不得把你拎起来大头朝下筛糠似地过上一道。要是被他发现你身上带着烟卷,那你就惨了;要是被他发现你身上带着钱(这是违法的),那你就只能乞求上帝的保佑了。
What talk there was ran on the Tramp Major of this spike. He was a devil, everyone agreed, a tartar, a tyrant, a bawling. blasphemous, uncharitable dog. You couldn’t call your soul your own when he was about, and many a tramp had he kicked out in the middle of the night for giving a back answer. When you came to be searched he fair held you upside down and shook you. If you were caught with tobacco there was hell to pay, and if you went in with money (which is against the law) God help you.
我身上有八个便士。“看在耶稣份儿上,哥们儿,”老油子们奉劝我,“别带钱进去。带八便士进这所收容站,他会拘你七天!”
I had eightpence on me. ‘For the love of Christ, mate,’ the old hands advised me, ‘don’t you take it in. You’d get seven days for going into the spike with eightpence!’
好吧——我把钱藏进树篱下的一个洞里面,并在洞口放了块燧石作标记。接下来大伙便各自施展神通,想方设法要把火柴和烟丝夹带进去——有明令禁止携带这些东西进入任何一所收容站,你要是有,那就得在进收容站的时候交出来。我们把这些违禁品塞进袜腰里,有十来个没有袜子穿的,就只好把它们藏进靴子里,甚至夹在脚趾缝里。我们直塞得脚脖子鼓鼓囊囊的,旁人见了我们这群人的样子,或许要疑心正在爆发象皮病[译注1]呢。好在即使是最刻薄的收容站站长也不会搜查膝盖以下的部位,这算是一条不成文的规矩吧。到头来只有一个人的违禁品被发现了。这是位个子小小的苏格兰佬,长得毛茸茸的,操了一口蹩脚的伦敦腔,大概是哪位伦敦爷们留在格拉斯哥的私生子。他把装了烟头的锡铁盒子塞在袜子里,结果却在错误的时间掉出来落在错误的人眼前,被理所当然地扣押了。(译注1:象皮病又称血丝虫病,是因血丝虫感染所造成的一种症状,患者腿部严重肿大。一般传染的途径是蚊虫叮咬)
So I buried my money in a hole under the hedge, marking the spot with a lump of flint. Then we set about smuggling our matches and tobacco, for it is forbidden to take these into nearly all spikes. and one is supposed to surrender them at the gate. We hid them in our socks, except for the twenty or so per cent who had no socks, and had to carry the tobacco in their boots, even under their very toes. We stuffed our ankles with contraband until anyone seeing us might have imagined an outbreak of elephantiasis. But is an unwritten law that even the sternest Tramp Majors do not search below the knee, and in the end only one man was caught. This was Scotty, a little hairy tramp with a bastard accent sired by cockney out of Glasgow. His tin of cigarette ends fell out of his sock at the wrong moment, and was impounded.
六点钟的时候,收容站打开大门,放我们进去。大伙拖着无精打采的躯体,来到大门口一位职员处,登记下姓名和另外一些个人信息,交上自己的包裹行囊。那位女士给送进了贫民院,我们其他的人则进了收容站。这所收容站有一间浴室,有一间食堂,还有一百间狭仄的石砌格子间,一律刷了白灰,一律阴冷潮湿。那位威名远扬的站长在浴室门口“恭候”我们,像是对待牲口一般把我们赶进浴室,然后剥光检查。他的样貌像个武夫,嗓音粗哑,大约四十岁上下,把这群走投无路的人看成是来饮水的绵羊,连假惺惺的客套功夫都可以省略了。他把大伙推来搡去,对每个人他都恶语相向,口水喷别人一脸。但轮到我的时候,他对着我仔细打量了一番,开口问道:
At six the sates swung open and we shuffled in. An official at the gate entered our names and other particulars in the register and took our bundles away from us. The woman was sent off to the workhouse, and we others into the spike. It was a gloomy, chilly, limewashed place, consisting only of a bathroom and dining-room and about a hundred narrow stone cells. The terrible Tramp Major met us at the door and herded us into the bathroom to be stripped and searched. He was a gruff, soldierly man of forty who gave the tramps no more ceremony than sheep at the dipping-pond, shoving them this way and that and shouting oaths in their faces. But when he came to myself he looked hard at me, and said:
“您是位绅士?”
‘You are a gentleman?’
“好象是吧,”我说。
‘I suppose so,’ I said.
他又盯着我端详了好半天。“喔,老大,看来你点儿太背了,”他说,“背到家了,真的是。”从这分钟起他便记住了我,不仅对我格外关照,甚至还对我有些许的尊敬。
He gave me another long look. ‘Well, that’s bloody bad luck, guv’nor,’ he said, ‘that’s bloody bad luck, that is.’ And thereafter he took it into his head to treat me with compassion, even with a kind of respect.
那是间让人一望而生厌的浴室。各人贴身衣裤上那些不雅的秘密在此暴露无遗:肮脏的污渍、裂开的口子、小块的补丁、代替纽扣的小布条,那些层层叠叠的破衣烂衫,有些简直就是一片大大小小的破洞,仅靠污垢黏连在一起。流浪汉们赤身裸体,浑身热气腾腾,在室内挤作一团,扑鼻而来的汗臭和收容站固有的粪便味交织在一起,令人作呕。有几位不去洗刷自己的身体,却在忙着洗刷他们的裹脚布——那几片浸透油污的破布条,看着就让人心惊胆战。每个人只有三分钟的洗浴时间,并且这一屋子的人只能共用六条毛巾——六条卷在滚筒上的、粘兮兮又滑腻腻的毛巾。
It was a disgusting sight, that bathroom. All the indecent secrets of our underwear were exposed; the grime, the rents and patches, the bits of string doing duty for buttons, the layers upon layers of fragmentary garments, some of them mere collections of holes, held together by dirt. The room became a press of steaming nudity, the sweaty odours of the tramps competing with the sickly, sub-faecal stench native to the spike. Some of the men refused the bath, and washed only their ‘toe-rags’, the horrid, greasy little clouts which tramps bind round their feet. Each of us had three minutes in which to bathe himself. Six greasy, slippery roller towels had to serve for the lot of us.
洗完澡,大家穿进来的外套都给收走了,我们换上了贫民院的衬衫,这种灰色的棉布衣服和睡袍有几分相似,一直盖过半条大腿。接着大伙被打发到食堂,晚饭摆上餐桌已经多时了。收容站的伙食是一成不变的,不论是早饭、午饭还是晚饭,总之是千篇一律:半磅面包、一小块黄油,以及一品脱所谓的茶。这一餐当然也不例外。大家用了五分钟时间把这些廉价的、有损健康的食物填进肚子里。饭后站长发给每人三条棉毯,然后就把我们赶进格子间过夜。门从外面上了锁,时间是差几分七点,也就是说,我们得在这些格子间里被锁上十二个小时。
When we had bathed our own clothes were taken away from us, and we were dressed in the workhouse shirts, grey cotton things like nightshirts, reaching to the middle of the thigh. Then we were sent into the diningroom, where supper was set out on the deal tables. It was the invariable spike meal, always the same, whether breakfast, dinner or supper—half a pound of bread, a bit of margarine, and a pint of so-called tea. It took us five minutes to gulp down the cheap, noxious food. Then the Tramp Major served us with three cotton blankets each, and drove us off to our cells for the night. The doors were locked on the outside a little before seven in the evening, and would stay locked for the next twelve hours.
这里的格子间长8英尺,宽5英尺,没有任何照亮的装置,只有墙壁高处一个带木栅的小窗口和门上的窥视孔能透进来一些光线。不过这里没有臭虫,而且居然还有个床架和草垫,这可都是难得一遇的奢华。在大部分收容站里你都得在木板上睡觉,有些收容站甚至只能睡在地上,把衣服卷一卷就权当是枕头了。有了这样一间斗室和一张床铺,我指望着这一晚能睡个好觉。但事与愿违,在收容站里总会有些不对劲的地方,我很快便意识到这回我遇到的问题所在:寒冷。已经进入五月份了,为了庆祝季节的轮替,又或者为了迎接春姑娘的回归有必要做一点牺牲吧,主管部门已经停止了暖气的供给。虽然发了几条棉毯,那也仅仅聊胜于无。你在床上辗转反侧无法入睡,才迷迷糊糊睡个十来分钟,很快又被冻醒过来,只好瞪着眼睛等待天明。
The cells measured eight feet by five, and, had no lighting apparatus except a tiny barred window high up in the wall, and a spyhole in the door. There were no bugs, and we had bedsteads and straw palliasses, rare luxuries both. In many spikes one sleeps on a wooden shelf, and in some on the bare floor, with a rolled-up coat for pillow. With a cell to myself, and a bed, I was hoping for a sound night’s rest. But I did not get it, for there is always something wrong in the spike, and the peculiar shortcoming here, as I discovered immediately, was the cold. May had begun, and in honour of the season—a little sacrifice to the gods of spring, perhaps—the authorities had cut off the steam from the hot pipes. The cotton blankets were almost useless. One spent the night in turning from side to side, falling asleep for ten minutes and waking half frozen, and watching for dawn.
和我在任何收容站时的情况一样,当我终于感到舒适一些并沉沉睡去的时候,起床的时间也就到了。站长沉重的脚步声在走廊里一路响过来,他挨个房间打开门,吆五喝六让大家起床。走廊里迅速挤满肮脏的套着衬衣的身躯,争先恐后奔向浴室,因为早晨给所有人用的水只有一浴盆,谁先到谁先洗。我到的时候已经有二十个流浪汉在里面洗了脸。我瞥了一眼水面上漾着的那层发黑的泡沫,就打定主意这一天就脏着脸过了。
As always happens in the spike, I had at last managed to fall comfortably asleep when it was time to get up. The Tramp Major came marching down the passage with his heavy tread, unlocking the doors and yelling to us to show a leg. Promptly the passage was full of squalid shirt-clad figures rushing for the bathroom, for there was only one tub full of water between us all in the morning, and it was first come first served. When I arrived twenty tramps had already washed their faces. I gave one glance at the black scum on top of the water, and decided to go dirty for the day.
我们匆忙穿好衣服,然后赶到食堂去对付早饭。拜那位白痴站长的军阀作风所赐,面包干得不像样子,因为头天晚上它们就被切成了薄片,隔了一夜,已经和轮船上的点心一样坚硬难吃。然而大伙还是挺知足的,在经历了一个寒冷的不眠之夜之后,这时候好歹能喝到一口热茶。我不知道如果没有这杯茶——或者说这杯他们称之为茶的东西——流浪汉们会怎么样。这是他们的粮食,这是他们的良药,是他们抵御一切不幸的万金油。这样难以下咽的东西,他们却日日甘之如饴,能喝掉半加仑甚至更多,我深信要是离了它,他们恐怕连活在世间的勇气都不会有了。
We hurried into our clothes, and then went to the diningroom to bolt our breakfast. The bread was much worse than usual, because the military-minded idiot of a Tramp Major had cut it into slices overnight, so that it was as hard as ship’s bisciut. But we were glad of our tea after the cold, restless night. I do not know what tramps would do without tea, or rather the stuff they miscall tea. It is their food, their medicine, their panacea for all evils. Without the half goon or so of it that they suck down a day, I truly believe they could not face their existence.
早饭后我们又一次脱掉衣服,准备接受医学检查,这是一项防范天花的举措。医生还有三刻钟才到,这就给了你充裕的时间来审视一下自己,考察一下你混迹其间的这一群都是些什么样的人,这,可是很有启发意义的一幕。我们光着上身在走廊里站成两列,冷得瑟瑟发抖。滤光灯放出蓝色的寒光,无情地把我们照了个一清二楚。如非亲眼所见,你永远无法想象这是一群什么样人:一群草包肚、体格退化的怪物。一脑袋蓬乱的头发、满脸的褶皱和胡茬、凹陷的胸口、平足、松弛的肌肉,任何一种畸形和体质衰败都可以在这里看到。每个人都有气无力,肤色暗沉,仿佛所有流浪汉都是被晒坏的。有两三个形象印在我脑海中,从此挥之不去。七十四岁的“老呆”,戴着疝气带[译注2],双目通红且流泪不止,脸颊深陷,稀稀拉拉剩了几根胡须,因长期挨饿而神色委顿,就像是某些旧时绘画中的拉撒路[译注3];还有一个弱智儿,他不停地四处走动,不停地吃吃窃笑,他的裤子动不动就滑落,导致他彻底裸了体,他对此似乎有点害臊,却又因而很有些满足。然而我们中间没有几个人能比别人好到哪里去;体格健壮或正常的人不超过十个,而且我认为,这里有一半的人早就该进医院了。(译注2:疝气带是一种由衬垫和带子构成的支撑装置,用于防止疝的肿大。译注3:拉撒路是圣经人物,因患重病而死,又被耶稣从坟墓中唤醒复活。见《约翰福音》第14章44节。)
After breakfast we had to undress again for the medical inspection, which is a precaution against smallpox. It was three quarters of an hour before the doctor arrived, and one had time now to look about him and see what manner of men we were, it, was an instructive sight. We stood shivering naked to the waist in two long ranks in the passage. The filtered light, bluish and cold, lighted us up with unmerciful clarity. No one can imagine, unless he has seen such a thing, what pot-bellied, degenerate curs we looked. Shock heads, hairy, crumpled faces, hollow chests, flat feet, sagging muscles—every kind of malformation and physical rottenness were there. All were flabby and discoloured, as all tramps are under their deceptive sunburn. Two or three figures were there stay ineradicably in my mind. Old ‘Daddy’, aged seventy-four, with his truss, and his red, watering eyes, a herring-gutted starveling with sparse beard and sunken cheeks, looking like the corpse of Lazarus in some primitive picture: an imbecile, wandering hither and thither with vague giggles, coyly pleased because his trousers constantly slipped down and left him nude. But few of us were greatly better than these; there were not ten decently built men among us, and half, I believe, should have been in hospital.
这天是星期日,而整个周末流浪汉们都是要被留在收容站里的。医生刚刚离开,我们就被赶回食堂关起来。这是一间白灰刷墙石头铺地的房子,摆满了饭桌和条凳,说不出的沉闷和乏味,颇有一些监狱的气息。窗户高高在上,没有人能看到外面的情况,要说有什么装饰物,那就是墙上挂着的一整套条例或制度之类,内容无非是些骇人的、针对行为不当的无业游民的惩治措施。我们在房子里挤得严严实实,动动胳膊都会撞到别人。才到早晨八点钟,我们就已经闷得发慌了。这里没什么话题可聊,要聊也都是些琐碎的闲话,比如去哪儿的路怎么走、哪儿的收容站好哪儿的不好、哪个县待遇好哪个县刻薄、哪儿的警察和救世军办事不公道等等。流浪汉们唠起嗑来说的就全是这些事情;除此之外他们实在也没什么事情好讲。他们没有可以称为谈资的东西,因为他们的胃里总是空空如也,他们的灵魂没有余力去思考。世上的流浪汉太多了。他们永远吃了上顿没下顿,所以他们一心想的也就只能是去哪儿才能吃到下一顿饭了。
This being Sunday, we were to be kept in the spike over the week-end. As soon as the doctor had gone we were herded back to the dining-room, and its door shut upon us. It was a lime-washed, stone-floored room, unspeakably dreary with its furniture of deal boards and benches, and its prison smell. The windows were so high up that one could not look outside, and the sole ornament was a set of rules threatening dire penalties to any casual who misconducted himself. We packed the room so tight that one could not move an elbow without jostling somebody. Already, at eight o’clock in the morning, we were bored with our captivity. There was nothing to talk about except the petty gossip of the road, the good and bad spikes, the charitable and uncharitable counties, the iniquities of the police and the Salvation Army. Tramps hardly ever get away from these subjects; they talk, as it were, nothing but shop. They have nothing worthy to be called conversation, because emptiness of belly leaves no speculation in their souls. The world is too much with them. Their next meal is never quite secure, and so they cannot think of anything except the next meal.
我在这里呆了漫长而难捱的两个小时。老呆岁数大了,有些迟钝,他坐着一声不响,背弓得像只虾米,红肿的双眼不住地有眼泪滴在地上。乔治名声不太好,这个脏兮兮的老东西有个睡觉戴帽子的怪癖,他絮絮叨叨地埋怨自己太大意,在路上丢了一小袋面包。二癞子比尔是这里面身体最壮的,模样像个巨灵神,在收容站呆了十二个小时之后,这家伙还是满嘴啤酒气,他吹嘘自己的光辉事迹,说某某某在酒馆请他喝了几品脱的啤酒,又说某某某把他告了官,警察押了他七天。威廉和弗雷德从前是在诺福克郡打渔的,这俩小伙子哼唱着一首哀伤的小调,歌中讲述了不幸的贝拉被情人背弃、死在雪地里的悲惨故事。那个弱智儿流着哈喇子胡诌,有个假想中的公子爷送了他257个金币。时间就这样在无聊的、令人厌烦的谈话中一点点流逝。除了小个子苏格兰佬,每个人都在抽烟,他的烟被没收了,我看他没烟抽的样子实在可怜,就给他了够卷一根烟的烟丝。我们偷偷摸摸地抽着烟,一听见站长的脚步声就马上把烟卷藏起来,就像男生在学校那样,因为收容站虽然默许流浪汉抽烟,但这是明文禁止的。
Two hours dragged by, Old Daddy, witless with age, sat silent, his back bent like a bow and his inflamed eyes dripping slowly on to the floor. George, a dirty old tramp notorious for the queer habit of sleeping in his hat, grumbled about a parcel of tommy that he had lost on the road. Bill the moocher, the best built man of us all, a Herculean sturdy beggar who smelt of beer even after twelve hours in the spike, told tales of mooching, of pints stood him in the boozers, and of a parson who had peached to the police and got him seven days. William and Fred, two young ex-fishermen from Norfolk, sang a sad song about Unhappy Bella, who was betrayed and died in the snow. The imbecile drivelled, about an imaginary toff, who had once given him two hundred and fifty-seven golden sovereigns. So the time passed, with dull talk and dull obscenities. Everyone was smoking, except Scotty, whose tobacco had been seized, and he was so miserable in his smokeless state that I stood him the makings of a cigarette. We smoked furtively, hiding our cigarettes like schoolboys when we heard the Tramp Major’s step, for smoking though connived at, was officially forbidden.
大多数流浪汉得在这间烦闷的房子里连续呆上十个小时。难以想象他们如何能够撑得下来。我认识到,在一个流浪汉所遭遇的种种不幸之中,这种厌倦感是最最坏的一种,它坏过食不果腹,坏过起居无着,甚至坏过无时不在的社会带来的屈辱感。把一个无知的人成天禁锢起来,什么也不让他干,这是一种愚蠢而残忍的行为;这就好比将一只狗拴在桶里。只有受过教育的人才可能承受这样的禁锢,因为他有足以告慰内心的事情可做。流浪汉们则大多一字不识,面对自身的穷困潦倒,他们脑子里是同样的一片空白,无计可施。他们知道自己没有什么出路,只能在这磨人的条凳上坐上十个小时而动弹不得,如果说他们会想到什么,那也无非是哀叹命运的不幸或者渴望能有份工可作。他们没有什么心思享受这种可怕的无所事事的时光。正是由于终日无事可做而产生的厌倦感,让他们承受着极大的痛苦。
Most of the tramps spent ten consecutive hours in this dreary room. It is hard to imagine how they put up with it. I have come to think that boredom is the worst of all a tramp’s evils, worse than hunger and discomfort, worse even than the constant feeling of being socially disgraced. It is a silly piece of cruelty to confine an ignorant man all day with nothing to do; it is like chaining a dog in a barrel, only an educated man, who has consolations within himself, can endure confinement. Tramps, unlettered types as nearly all of them are, face their poverty with blank, resourceless minds. Fixed for ten hours on a comfortless bench, they know no way of occupying themselves, and if they think at all it is to whimper about hard luck and pine for work. They have not the stuff in them to endure the horrors of idleness. And so, since so much of their lives is spent in doing nothing, they suffer agonies from boredom.
相比其他人,我要幸运得多,十点钟的时候站长安排我去贫民院帮厨,这在收容站可是一份让人垂涎三尺的差事。实际上并没有多少事情需要我帮忙,我也乐得讨个自在,从厨房溜出来躲进一个存放土豆的棚子里,和几个贫民院的本地叫花子混在一起,这几位藏在这里逃避周日早晨的礼拜。棚子里生着火炉,我伸展了坐在木箱上,翻阅《家庭先驱》杂志过刊,甚至看了一会儿贫民院图书馆流出的莱福士的著作。和收容站比起来,这里简直就象天堂一样。
I was much luckier than the others, because at ten o’clock the Tramp Major picked me out for the most coveted of all jobs in the spike, the job of helping in the workhouse kitchen. There was not really any work to be done there, and I was able to make off and hide in a shed used for storing potatoes, together with some workhouse paupers who were skulking to avoid the Sunday-morning service. There was a stove burning there, and comfortable packing cases to sit on, and back numbers of the Family Herald, and even a copy of Raffles from the workhouse library. It was paradise after the spike.
我还在贫民院的午餐桌上有了一席之地,享用了一顿前所未有的饕餮大餐。对于一个流浪汉而言,不论是在收容站还是在外面,如此丰盛的饭食他是见不到第二次的。本地的叫花子们告诉我,他们总是在礼拜天大吃一顿,一直把吃的填到嗓子眼那儿才算完,然后饿肚皮饿到下个礼拜天。吃完饭厨子指使我洗洗涮涮,并打发我把吃剩的东西倒掉。这真是惊人的浪费:大盘大盘的牛肉、成桶成桶的面包和蔬菜,全部当垃圾扔掉,再浇上喝剩的茶和茶叶,好端端的东西就这么糟蹋了。我把上好的食物装了满满五个垃圾箱,与此同时我那些同伴坐在两百码以外的收容站里,那里的午饭永远是面包和茶,或者还有两个托礼拜日的福才能吃到的煮土豆,还是凉的,即便是这样的午饭,他们也只能混个半饱。显然这一做法是刻意为之的:宁可倒掉,也不能把这些食物留给流浪汉们食用。
Also, I had my dinner from the workhouse table, and it was one of the biggest meals I have ever eaten. A tramp does not see such a meal twice in the year, in the spike or out of it. The paupers told me that they always gorged to the bursting point on Sundays, and went hungry six days of the week. When the meal was over the cook set me to do the washing-up, and told me to throw away the food that remained. The wastage was astonishing; great dishes of beef, and bucketfuls of broad and vegetables, were pitched away like rubbish, and then defiled with tea-leaves. I filled five dustbins to overflowing with good food. And while I did so my follow tramps were sitting two hundred yards away in the spike, their bellies half filled with the spike dinner of the everlasting bread and tea, and perhaps two cold boiled potatoes each in honour of Sunday. It appeared that the food was thrown away from deliberate policy, rather than that it should be given to the tramps.
下午三点钟,我离开贫民院的厨房,回到收容站,越发感觉食堂里拥挤不堪,乏味和烦闷得让人崩溃。这会儿甚至连烟都没得抽了,流浪汉们那点可怜的烟草来自地上捡来的烟头,这就像是逐猎物而居的野兽,离开人行道那片草场时间长了他就得挨饿。为了打发时间,我和一个穿着稍为体面一些的流浪汉聊起了天,他穿着衬衣,打着领带,这是位木匠,据他本人所说,他是因为缺少一套工具而不得不四处流浪的。他有意和其他流浪汉保持距离,他本人也的确更像是个衣食无忧的人而不是无业游民。这个人还颇有点文学品味,走到哪里都带着一本斯哥特的小说。他告诉我要不是饿得受不了,他是决计不会踏入收容站半步的——他宁肯在树篱下过夜或者去睡草垛。他在南方海岸乞讨的时候,晚上就睡在海边的游泳更衣车里,睡了好几个礼拜。
At three I left the workhouse kitchen and went back to the spike. The, boredom in that crowded, comfortless room was now unbearable. Even smoking had ceased, for a tramp’s only tobacco is picked-up cigarette ends, and, like a browsing beast, he starves if he is long away from the pavement-pasture. To occupy the time I talked with a rather superior tramp, a young carpenter who wore a collar and tie, and was on the road, he said. for lack of a set of tools. He kept a little aloof from the other tramps, and held himself more like a free man than a casual. He had literary tastes, too, and carried one of Scott’s novels on all his wanderings. He told me he never entered a spike unless driven there by hunger, sleeping under hedges and behind ricks in preference. Along the south coast he had begged by day and slept in bathing-machines for weeks at a time.
我们谈到流浪生活。他谴责这套济贫制度,说它只管每天把无家可归的人在收容站里关上十四个小时,剩下的十个小时就随他们去流浪,而他们则还得时时处处留神不要撞见警察。他讲到他自己的情况——就因为缺少一套价值三英镑的工具吃了六个月的救济。这太不可理喻了,他说。
We talked of life on the road. He criticized the system which makes a tramp spend fourteen hours a day in the spike, and the other ten in walking and dodging the police. He spoke of his own case—six months at the public charge for want of three pounds’ worth of tools. It was idiotic, he said.
我和他提起贫民院厨房浪费的那些食物,谈了我对此的看法。于是他忽然之间转变了腔调。我发现我唤醒了沉睡在每一个英国工人体内的等级观念。虽然他也和其他人一样忍饥挨饿,但他还是马上就明白了为什么那些食物应该倒掉而不是拿给流浪汉享用。他一本正经地向我指出:
Then I told him about the wastage of food in the workhouse kitchen, and what I thought of it. And at that he changed his tune immediately. I saw that I had awakened the pew-renter who sleeps in every English workman. Though he had been famished along with the rest, he at once saw reasons why the food should have been thrown away rather than given to the tramps. He admonished me quite severely.
“他们必须这样做,”他说。“如果他们把这种地方弄得太舒适了,那岂不是要把全国的人渣都给招来吗?只有恶劣的饮食才能把那些家伙挡在外边。流浪汉都是懒骨头,不想自食其力,这就是他们的问题所在。你不能鼓励他们好吃懒做,这可是些瘪三。”
‘They have to do it,’ he said. ‘If they made these places too pleasant you’d have all the scum of the country flocking into them. It’s only the bad food as keeps all that scum away. These tramps are too lazy to work, that’s all that’s wrong with them. You don’t want to go encouraging of them. They’re scum.’
我和他争论了一番,试图证明他的话不对,但他分明听不进去。他只是一味地重复说:
I produced arguments to prove him wrong, but he would not listen. He kept repeating:
“你犯不着可怜这些流浪汉,这都是些瘪三。你不必用你我这种人的标准来衡量他们。瘪三就是瘪三。”
‘You don’t want to have any pity on these tramps—scum, they are. You don’t want to judge them by the same standards as men like you and me. They’re scum, just scum.’
他如此小心翼翼地把自己和周围的同伴剥离开来,这倒是件值得观瞻的事情。别看他四处流浪已有六个月之久,他似乎在暗示,他其实不是个流浪汉,上帝可以作证!他的肉身虽然坐在收容站里,他的灵魂却一直高高在上,翱翔在中产阶级的云霄之间。
It was interesting to see how subtly he disassociated himself from his fellow tramps. He has been on the road six months but in the sight of God, he seemed to imply, he was not a tramp. His body might be in the spike, but his spirit soared far away, in the pure aether of the middle classes.
看着钟表的指针缓慢的爬动,真是叫人痛不欲生。到后来大家连唠嗑的兴致也没有了,屋里只能听到此起彼伏的呵欠声,还有咬牙切齿的诅咒声。你好不容易忍住不去盯着那几个指针,过了很久再去看时,却发现它才刚刚爬过三分钟而已。倦怠象是猪油般蒙了我们的心,让你生出痛彻心扉之感。表针才走到四点钟,而晚饭要等到六点钟,除了去会周公,真的找不出更有意义的事情可做了。
The clock’s hands crept round with excruciating slowness. We were too bored even to talk now, the only sound was of oaths and reverberating yawns. One would force his eyes away from the clock for what seemed an age, and then look back again to see that the hands had advanced three minutes. Ennui clogged our souls like cold mutton fat. Our bones ached because of it. The clock’s hands stood at four, and supper was not till six, and there was nothing left remarkable beneath the visiting moon.
总算熬到六点钟,站长和他的助手带来了晚饭。呵欠连天的流浪汉们来了精神,就像狮子看见了饲养员。然而饲养员带来的晚饭却让人一看就倒了胃口。早上的面包已经够糟糕了,谁知晚饭的面包却变本加厉的坏,根本没法吃,它是如此之坚硬,叫牙口最好的人见了也一筹莫展。年纪大一些的人一口都吃不下,吃得下的人也没本事吃得完自己那一份,尽管此时大家都已饥肠辘辘。晚饭时间刚一结束,马上就有人把毯子塞给我们,接着便再次把我们赶进冰凉而凄清的格子间里。
At last six o’clock did come, and the Tramp Major and his assistant arrived with supper. The yawning tramps brisked up like lions at feeding-time. But the meal was a dismal disappointment. The bread, bad enough in the morning, was now positively uneatable; it was so hard that even the strongest jaws could make little impression on it. The older men went almost supperless, and not a man could finish. his portion, hungry though most of us were. When we had finished, the blankets were served out immediately, and we were hustled off once more to the bare, chilly cells.
十三个小时之后。早上七点钟,我们奉命起床,然后冲进浴室争先洗脸,然后胡乱吞下自己的那份面包和茶。收容时间告一段落,但遣散之前还得再接受一次医生的检查,因为主管部门视天花为大敌,深怕流浪汉四处传播这种疾病。这一次医生让我们等了两个小时,一直到十点钟,我们才算是得到解脱。
Thirteen hours went by. At seven we were awakened, and rushed forth to squabble over the water in the bathroom, and bolt our ration of bread and tea. Our time in the spike was up, but we could not go until the doctor had examined us again, for the authorities have a terror of smallpox and its distribution by tramps. The doctor kept us waiting two hours this time, and it was ten o’clock before we finally escaped.
终于到了遣散的时间,我们被带到院子里。走出阴森的、臭气弥漫的收容站,一切是多么的明媚,春风又是多么的和煦。站长依次把暂扣的包裹返还给我们,还给每个人发放了一大块面包和奶酪,这是给我们的午饭,然后大家就匆匆上路,巴不得早点把这所收容站和里面的清规戒律抛在脑后。这段过渡时间里,我们是自由的。浪费了一天两夜的时间之后,我们有了八个小时左右的时间,可以消遣一下、或者捡光路上的烟头、讨点钱,再或者试着去找份工作。这里离下一个收容站可能有十英里、十五英里或者二十英里,等走到了那里,这出戏就会再度上演一次。
At last it was time to go, and we were let out into the yard. How bright everything looked, and how sweet the winds did blow, after the gloomy, reeking spike! The Tramp Major handed each man his bundle of confiscated possessions, and a hunk of bread and cheese for midday dinner, and then we took the road, hastening to get out of sight of the spike and its discipline. This was our interim of freedom. After a day and two nights of wasted time we had eight hours or so to take our recreation, to scour the roads for cigarette ends, to beg, and to look for work. Also, we had to make our ten, fifteen, or it might be twenty miles to the next spike, where the game would begin anew.
我挖出我那八个便士,然后和诺比一起上路了,这是位可敬的同伴,就是意志有些消沉,他背着一双靴子,足迹踏遍了路过的每一家职业介绍所。我们的新朋友们就像床垫底下的臭虫见到了光,很快便消失在四面八方。只剩下那个弱智儿还在收容站大门口流连不去,惹得站长大人不得不亲自出面把他赶跑。
I disinterred my eightpence and took the road with Nobby, a respectable, downhearted tramp who carried a spare pair of boots and visited all the Labour Exchanges. Our late companions were scattering north, south, east and west, like bugs into a mattress. Only the imbecile loitered at the spike gates, until the Tramp Major had to chase him away.
诺比和我向克罗伊登方向出发。这是一条安静的大路,没有车辆往来,栗子树结满大朵的繁花,好象是一根根巨大的蜡烛。我们沉浸在这一片寂静、清新的空气之中,难以置信几分钟之前我们还和一班散发着阴沟和肥皂味道的流浪汉混在一起。他们已经全部不见了,看来我们两个是这条路上仅有的流浪者了。
Nobby and I set out for Croydon. It was a quiet road, there were no cars passing, the blossom covered the chestnut trees like great wax candles. Everything was so quiet and smelt so clean, it was hard to realize that only a few minutes ago we had been packed with that band of prisoners in a stench of drains and soft soap. The others had all disappeared; we two seemed to be the only tramps on the road.
忽然我身后响起一阵急促的脚步声,有人拍了拍我的胳膊。是小个子苏格兰佬赶上我们俩,跑得上气不接下气。他费力从口袋里掏出一个锈迹斑斑的锡铁盒子,脸上挂着诚挚的微笑,神情像是来了结一桩心愿。
Then I heard a hurried step behind me, and felt a tap on my arm. It was little Scotty, who had run panting after us. He pulled a rusty tin box from his pocket. He wore a friendly smile, like a man who is repaying an obligation.
“嘿,哥们儿,”他对我认真地说道。“我还欠你几个烟屁呢。你昨儿请我抽烟了。咱得知恩图报不是?今儿早晨出来的时候站长把我那盒烟屁还我了——给你!”
‘Here y’are, mate,’ he said cordially. ‘I owe you some fag ends. You stood me a smoke yesterday. The Tramp Major give me back my box of fag ends when we come out this morning. One good turn deserves another—here y’are.’
说完他把四个烟头塞在我手里,湿乎乎的,也不知道是什么人吞云吐雾剩下的。
And he put four sodden, debauched loathly cigarette ends into my hand.
标签:收容 记事
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2010-05-16 21:34 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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