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双语小说连载:纯真年代 The Age of Innocence(6)

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Archer tried to console himself with the thought that he was not quite such an ass as Larry Lefferts, nor May such a simpleton as poor Gertrude; but the difference was after all one of intelligence and not of standards. In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs; as when Mrs. Welland, who knew exactly why Archer had pressed her to announce her daughter's engagement at the Beaufort ball (and had indeed expected him to do no less), yet felt obliged to simulate reluctance, and the air of having had her hand forced, quite as, in the books on Primitive Man that people of advanced culture were beginning to read, the savage bride is dragged with shrieks from her parents' tent.

阿切尔设法安慰自己,心想他跟拉里·莱弗茨那样的蠢驴决不可同日而语,梅也不是可悲的格特鲁德那样的傻爪;然而这差别毕竟只是属于才智方面的,而不是原则性的。他们实际上都生活在一种用符号表示的天地里,在那里真实的事情从来不说、不做,甚至也不想,而只是用一套随心所欲的符号来表示;就像韦兰太太那样,她十分清楚阿切尔为什么催她在博福特的舞会上宣布女儿的订婚消息(而且她确实也希望他那样做),却认为必须假装不情愿,装出勉为其难的样子,这颇似文化超前的人们开始阅读的关于原始人的书中描绘的情景:原始时代未开化的新娘是尖叫着被人从父母的帐篷里拖走的。

The result, of course, was that the young girl who was the centre of this elaborate system of mystification remained the more inscrutable for her very frankness and assurance. She was frank, poor darling, because she had nothing to conceal, assured because she knew of nothing to be on her guard against; and with no better preparation than this, she was to be plunged overnight into what people evasively called "the facts of life."

其结果必然是,处于精心策划的神秘体制中心的年轻姑娘因为坦诚与自信反而越发不可思议。她坦诚——可怜的宝贝——因为她没有什么需要隐瞒;她自信,因为她不知道有什么需要防范;仅仅有这点准备,一夜之间她便投身于人们含糊称谓的“生活常规”之中去了。

The young man was sincerely but placidly in love. He delighted in the radiant good looks of his betrothed, in her health, her horsemanship, her grace and quickness at games, and the shy interest in books and ideas that she was beginning to develop under his guidance. (She had advanced far enough to join him in ridiculing the Idyls of the King, but not to feel the beauty of Ulysses and the Lotus Eaters.) She was straightforward, loyal and brave; she had a sense of humour (chiefly proved by her laughing at HIS jokes); and he suspected, in the depths of her innocently-gazing soul, a glow of feeling that it would be a joy to waken. But when he had gone the brief round of her he returned discouraged by the thought that all this frankness and innocence were only an artificial product. Untrained human nature was not frank and innocent; it was full of the twists and defences of an instinctive guile. And he felt himself oppressed by this creation of factitious purity, so cunningly manufactured by a conspiracy of mothers and aunts and grandmothers and long-dead ancestresses, because it was supposed to be what he wanted, what he had a right to, in order that he might exercise his lordly pleasure in smashing it like an image made of snow.

阿切尔真诚却又冷静地坠人爱河,他喜爱未婚妻光华照人的容貌、她的身体、她的马术、她在游戏中的优雅与敏捷,以及在他指导下刚刚萌发的对书籍与思想的兴趣。(她已经进步到能与他一起嘲笑《国王牧歌》,但尚不能感受《尤利西斯》与《食忘忧果者》的美妙。)她直爽、忠诚、勇敢,并且有幽默感(主要证明是听了他的笑话后大笑)。他推测,在她天真、专注的心灵深处有一种热烈的感情,唤醒它是一种快乐。然而对她进行一番解剖之后,他重又变得气馁起来,因为他想到,所有这些坦率与天真只不过是人为的产物。未经驯化的人性是不坦率、不天真的,而是出自本能的狡猾,充满了怪僻与防范。他感到自己就受到这种人造的假纯洁的折磨。它非常巧妙地由母亲们、姑姨们、祖母们及早已过世的祖先们合谋制造出来——因为据认为他需要它并有权得到它——以便让他行使自己的高贵意志,把它像雪人般打得粉碎。

There was a certain triteness in these reflections: they were those habitual to young men on the approach of their wedding day. But they were generally accompanied by a sense of compunction and self-abasement of which Newland Archer felt no trace. He could not deplore (as Thackeray's heroes so often exasperated him by doing) that he had not a blank page to offer his bride in exchange for the unblemished one she was to give to him. He could not get away from the fact that if he had been brought up as she had they would have been no more fit to find their way about than the Babes in the Wood; nor could he, for all his anxious cogitations, see any honest reason (any, that is, unconnected with his own momentary pleasure, and the passion of masculine vanity) why his bride should not have been allowed the same freedom of experience as himself.

这些想法未免有些迂腐,它们属于临近婚礼的年轻人惯常的思考,不过伴随这些思考的往往是懊悔与自卑,但纽兰·阿切尔却丝毫没有这种感觉。他不想哀叹(这是萨克雷的主人公们经常令他恼怒的做法)他没有一身的清白奉献给他的新娘,以换取她的白壁无瑕。他不想回避这样的事实:假如他受的教养跟她一样,他们的适应能力就无异于那些容易上当的老好人。而且,绞尽脑汁也看不出有何(与他个人的一时寻欢与强烈的男性虚荣心不相干的)正当理由,不让他的新娘得到与他同样的自由与经验。

Such questions, at such an hour, were bound to drift through his mind; but he was conscious that their uncomfortable persistence and precision were due to the inopportune arrival of the Countess Olenska. Here he was, at the very moment of his betrothal--a moment for pure thoughts and cloudless hopes--pitchforked into a coil of scandal which raised all the special problems he would have preferred to let lie. "Hang Ellen Olenska!" he grumbled, as he covered his fire and began to undress. He could not really see why her fate should have the least bearing on his; yet he dimly felt that he had only just begun to measure the risks of the championship which his engagement had forced upon him.

这样一些问题,在这样一种时刻,是必然会浮上他心头的;然而他意识到,它们那样清晰、那样令人不快地压在他的心头,全是因为奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人来得不合时宜,使他刚好在订婚的时刻——思想纯净、前景光明的时刻——突然被推人丑闻的混浊漩涡,引出了所有那些他宁愿束之高阁的特殊问题。“去他的埃伦·奥兰斯卡!”他抱怨地咕哝道,一面盖好炉火,开始脱衣。他真的不明白她的命运为何会对他产生影响,然而他朦胧地感觉到,他只是刚刚开始体验订婚加给他的捍卫者这一角色的风险。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
overnight ['əuvə'nait]

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n. 前晚
adj. 通宵的,晚上的,前夜的<

 
reluctance [ri'lʌktəns]

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n. 不愿,勉强,厌恶

 
unblemished

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adj. 无缺点的;清白的

联想记忆
discrimination [di.skrimi'neiʃən]

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n. 歧视,辨别力,识别

 
vanity ['væniti]

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n. 虚荣心,浮华,自负,无价值的东西

联想记忆
presence ['prezns]

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n. 出席,到场,存在
n. 仪态,风度

 
related [ri'leitid]

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adj. 相关的,有亲属关系的

 
precision [pri'siʒən]

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n. 精确,精密度
adj. 以精准的执行而著

 
claim [kleim]

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n. 要求,要求权;主张,断言,声称;要求物

 
measure ['meʒə]

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n. 措施,办法,量度,尺寸
v. 测量,量

联想记忆


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