新东方网>英语>英语学习>英语阅读>英语美文>正文

精选英语散文欣赏:贫富之间

2011-09-16 14:30

来源:外语教育网

作者:

  Over the years Lottie had urged Bess to prepare for her old age. Over the years Bess had lived each day as if there were no other. Now they were both past sixty, the time for summing up. Lottie had a bank account that had never grown lean. Bess had the clothes on her back, and the rest of her worldly possessions in a battered suitcase.

  年年岁岁珞蒂总劝碧丝要为年老之后做点准备。岁岁年年碧丝天天过得尽兴,彷佛没有明天。如今她们都六十出头,到了人生算总帐的时候了。珞蒂有本银行存摺,只增不减的。碧丝则是一身穿着好衣裳,今生今世其它值钱的东西也尽在一只破皮箱中。

  Lottie had hated being a child, hearing her parents' skimping and scraping. Bess had never seemed to notice. All she ever wanted was to go outside and play. She learned to skate on borrowed skates. She rode a borrowed bicycle. Lottie couldn't wait to grow up and buy herself the best of everything.

  珞蒂自小恨透了爹娘唠唠叨叨要省吃俭用的话和青黄不接的日子。碧丝却好像从来没有注意到,只一味想到屋外头去要。她用借来的溜冰鞋学会溜冰。她骑着借来的脚踏车。珞蒂渴望快快长大,赚钱买所有最好的东西。

  As soon as anyone would hire her, Lottie put herself to work. She minded babies; she ran errands for the old.

  一有人肯雇用,珞蒂就上工了。她替人看娃娃,替老年人跑腿。

  She never touched a penny of her money though her child's mouth watered for ice cream and candy. But she could not bear to share with Bess, who never had anything to share with her. When the dimes began to add up to dollars, she lost her taste for sweets.

  虽然她还是小孩子免不了嘴馋,想吃冰淇淋、糖果的;但她赚的钱却一个也不碰它。她不甘心买了东西要和碧丝分享,因为碧丝不会有东西分给她。一毛钱一毛钱积成了一块钱一块钱,这时候可惜她对糖果也失去了胃口。

  By the time she was twelve, she was clerking after school in a small variety store. Saturdays she worked as long as she was wanted. She decided to keep her money for clothes. When she entered high school, she would wear a wardrobe that neither she nor anyone else would be able to match.

  她才十二岁,放了学后,就到一家杂货店当店员。每个礼拜六,店里要她工作多久她就工作多久。她决定她的钱要留着以后买衣服。一上高中她穿的那一柜子衣服一定是她或别人从来怎样也配不好的。

  But her freshman year found her unable to indulge so frivolous a whim, particularly when her admiring instructors advised her to think seriously of college. No one in her family had ever gone to college, and certainly Bess would never get there. She would show them all what she could do if she put her mind to it. She began to bank her money, and her bankbook became her most private and precious possession.

  但是上高一那年她便发现她不能真的去搞那浅薄的把戏,特别因为好些老师赏识她,劝她认真考虑大学的事。他们家从来没有人上过大学,碧丝当然更不会去上大学,她要让全家人看看她只要下定决心什么事都能做到。她开始把钱存到银行,银行簿变成了她拙撖密和珍贵的所有物。

  In her third year of high school she found a job in a small but expanding restaurant where she cashiered from the busy hour until closing. In her last year of high school the business increased so rapidly that Lottie was faced with the choice of staying in school or working full time.

  高中三年级时,她在一家规模虽小但生意蒸蒸日上的餐馆找到一份工作,从生意最忙的时间帮忙出纳工作一直到打烊。高中最后一年,餐馆生意直线上升,珞蒂如果要工作就不能上课,面临了学业与职业的抉择。

  She made her choice easily. A job in hand was worth two in the future.

  她不费力地做了选择。一职在身胜过两个职业在望。

  Bess had a beau in the school band who had no other ambition except to play a horn. Lottie expected to be settled with a home and family while Bess was still waiting for Harry to earn enough to buy a marriage license.

  碧丝的男朋友在学校的乐队,他惟一的雄心就是吹法国号。珞蒂想的是将来要好好成家立业,碧丝则等哈里赚够钱买一张结婚证书。

  That Bess married Harry straight out of high school was not surprising. That Lottie never married at all was not really surprising either. Two or three times she was halfway persuaded, but to give up a job that paid well for a home making job that paid nothing was a risk she was incapable of taking.

  因此碧丝高中一毕业就嫁了哈里不足为奇;珞蒂终身未嫁也一样的没什么可怪。其实有两、三次她都给说动了一半了,但一想到放下赚钱的工作不干,去搞那赔钱的结婚成家什么的,她总觉得这种险她冒不起。

  Bess's married life was nothing for Lottie to envy . She and Harry lived like gypsies. Harry playing in second-rate bands all over the country, even getting himself and Bess stranded in Europe. They were of ten in rags and never in riches.

  碧丝的结婚生活没什么值得珞蒂羡幕的:她和哈里过的日子简直和吉普赛人没两样。哈里在各地的二流乐队里兼差,甚至和碧丝两人流落在欧洲过。他们挨饿受冻的日子多,丰衣足食的日子从不曾有。

  Bess grieved because she had no child, not having sense enough to know she was better off without one. Lottie was certainly better off without nieces and nephews to feel sorry for. Very likely Bass would have dumped them on her doorstep.

  碧丝自怨自艾说自己没有孩子……竟然不懂得庆幸没有孩子才是她前世修来的,日子可以过得比较好。珞蒂好多了,不必看着苦兮兮的外甥们,替他们可怜。碧丝很可能会把孩子们往她门口一丢的扔给她的。

  That Lottie had a doorstep they might have been left on was only because her boss, having bought a second house, offered Lottie his first house at a price so low and terms so reasonable that it would have been like losing money to refuse.

  珞蒂今天有这么个门口好让碧丝丢下孩子,说来也是因为她老板买了第二幢房子,第一幢房子就以很便宜的价格和合理的条件要珞蒂租下,珞蒂认为如果拒绝,和损失金钱一样。

  She shut off the rooms she didn't use, letting them go to rack and ruin. Since she ate her meals out, she had no food at home, and did not encourage callers, who always expected a cup of tea.

  她把不用的房间关闭起来,随它们斑剥腐朽。她在外面吃饭,所以家里没有食物。她不鼓励别人到她家,因为访客总认为该给他一杯茶喝。

  Her way of life was mean and miserly, but she did not know it. She thought she lived frugally in her middle years so that she could live in comfort and ease when she most needed peace of mind.

  她的生活寒怆吝啬,而她不自知。她以为她中年过的日子节俭,到她最需要安安逸逸不多操心的时候,她就能过得舒舒服服的。

  The years, after forty, began to race. Suddenly Lottie was sixty, and retired from her job by her boss's son, who had no sentimental feeling about keeping her on until she was ready to quit.

  岁月在她过了四十以后就开始飞逝。一眨眼,珞蒂已经六十岁,老板的儿子不讲什么情份,没等她提出,就请她退休。

  She made several attempts to find other employment, but her dowdy appearance made her look old and inefficient. For the first time in her life Lottie would gladly have worked for nothing to have some place to go, something to do with her day.

  她找了几次工作,但是她邋遢的外表使她看起来又老又没用。珞蒂生平第一次愿意不计报酬只要有个工作,有一个地方可去,有事情可以打发她的日子。

  Harry died abroad, in a third-rate hotel, with Bess weeping as hard as if he had left her a fortune. He had left her nothing but his horn. There wasn't even money for her passage home.

  哈里死在外国,在一家三流的旅馆里,碧丝哭得像他留给她多大一笔遗产似的。他什么也没留给她,除了那只法国号。她甚至连回国的路费都没有。

  Lottie, trapped by the blood tie, knew she would not only have to send for her sister but take her in when she returned. It didn't seem fair that Bess should reap the harvest of Lottie's life-time of self-denial.

  珞蒂知道既是同胞手足,她逃不掉得把妹妹给接回国,等她回国后还得收容她。想起她一生克勤克俭,碧丝却来坐享其成,觉得很不公平。

  It took Lottie a week to get a bedroom ready, a week of hard work and hard cash. There was everything to do, everything to replace or paint. When she was through the room looked so fresh and new that Lottie felt she deserved it more than Bess.

  珞蒂费了一个礼拜的时间才整理好一间卧室,一个礼拜的辛苦日和辛苦钱。每样都得做,每样东西都得换新或油漆。等她把一切都弄好之后,那间卧房看起来又新又舒适,珞蒂觉得自己比妹妹更配住这样的一间房。

  She would let Bess have her room, but the mattress was so lumpy, the carpet so worn, the curtains so threadbare that Lottie's conscience pricked her. She supposed she would have to redo that room, too, and went about doing it with an eagerness that she mistook for haste.

  把她自己的卧室给碧丝住好了。但是床垫垮得太厉害,地毯太破旧,窗帘太褴褛,珞蒂有些于心不安。她想她的卧房也该翻修一下,于是便动手去做,其实是干劲十足,她却自以为是仓促行事。

  When she was through upstairs, she was shocked to see how dismal downstairs looked by comparison. She tried to ignore it, but with nowhere to go to escape it, the contrast grew more intolerable.

  忙完了楼上,一比,楼下的那般破烂使她愣住了。她假装没看到,但是没有地方可以躲避,楼上楼下的对照越来越不能忍受。

  She worked her way from kitchen to parlor, persuading herself she was only putting the rooms to right to give herself something to do. At night she slept like a child after a long and happy day of playing house. She was having more fun than she had ever had in her life. She was living each hour for itself.

  她从厨房收拾到客厅,心里说服自己,这样忙里忙外整理房子只是给自己找点事情做做而已。晚上她睡得像小孩一样熟,因为白天她扮家家酒似,快乐的忙了一整天,她一生从来不曾这样快乐过。她每一小时都生活得很充实。

  There was only a day now before Bess would arrive. Passing her gleaming mirrors, at first with vague awareness, then with painful clarity, Lottie saw herself as others saw her, and could not stand the sight. She went on a spending spree from the specialty shops to the beauty salon, emerging transformed into a woman who believed in miracles.

  还有一天碧丝就要到家了。珞蒂走过一面擦亮的镜子,起先隐隐约约的,后来清清楚楚痛苦无比地,她看见别人眼中的自己,实在无法忍受自己的模样。她突然花钱如流水地从一间一间专卖店到美容院,摇身一变,成了一名相信奇蹟的女人。

  She was in the kitchen basting a turkey when Bess rang the bell. Her heart raced, and she wondered if the heat from the oven was responsible.

  她在厨房给正在烤炙中的火鸡上奶油时,碧丝按了门铃。她的心狂跳起来,她怀疑是烤箱的热度影响了心跳。

  She went to the door, and Bess stood before her. Stiffly she suffered Bess's embrace, her heart racing harder, her eyes suddenly smarting from the onrush of cold air.

  她走到门口,碧丝站在她前面。她僵硬地接受了碧丝的拥抱,她的心跳得更快了,她的眼睛因为冷气的冲突忽然刺痛起来。

  "Oh, Lottie, it's good to see you," Bess said, but saying nothing about Lottie's splendid appearance. Upstairs Bess, putting down her shabby suit case, said, "I'll sleep like a rock tonight," without a word of praise for her lovely room. At the lavish table, top heavy with turkey, Bess said, "I'll take light and dark both," with no marveling at the size of the bird, or that there was turkey for two elderly women, one of them too poor to buy her own bread.

  「啊,珞蒂,见到你真好。」碧丝说,却一句也没提珞蒂漂亮的打扮。到楼上,碧丝放下了她寒酸的皮箱说:「今天晚上我会睡得像一块石头。」却一句也没有赞美她可爱的房间。餐桌上,丰盛地摆着火鸡,碧丝说:「鸡胸肉、鸡腿肉我都要嚐嚐。」却没有啧啧赞叹那火鸡有多大,没有说她自己穷得连面包都买不起,而年迈的两个老妇人还有火鸡吃。

  With the glow of good food in her stomach, Bess began to spin stories. They were rich with places and people, most of them lowly, all of them magnificent. Her face reflected her telling, the joys and sorrows of her remembering, and above all, the love she lived by that enhanced the poorest place, the humblest person.

  胃里佳肴一散热,碧丝的话匣子就打开了。谈了许多地方许多人,大多是低微的,但没有一个不引人入胜。她的脸反应着她的话,一忽儿喜一忽儿悲,回忆着她的爱美化了的贫穷的地方和卑微的人。

  Then it was that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery, or the shining room, or the twelve pound turkey. She had not even seen them. Tomorrow she would see the room as it really looked, and Lottie as she really looked, and the warmed-over turkey in its second-day glory. Tonight she saw only what she had come seeking, a place in her sister's home and heart.

  那时珞蒂才明白何以碧丝都不提她美的服饰、漂亮的房间或者那只十二磅重的火鸡。因为她根本没有看见。明天她就会看清楚房间是怎么样的;珞蒂是什么样的;再热过的火鸡,隔夜了还有不赖的荣耀的。今天晚上她只看到她来寻求的-她姊姊家里和心中一席之地。

  She said, "That's enough about me. How have the years used you?"

  碧丝说:「我的遭遇谈够了。岁月对待你怎么样呢?」

  "It was me who didn't use them," said Lottie wistfully. "I saved for them. I forgot the best of them would go without my ever spending a day or a dollar enjoying them. That's my life story in those few words, a life never lived. "Now it's too near the end to try."

  「是我没有用它们,」珞蒂渴渴地说:「我为岁月节省,但我忘记虽我不花费一天或一块钱去享受,美好的岁月还是会流逝的。这就是我一生的写照,没有真正生活过的一生。而时到现在太接近结尾,要试也来不及了。」

  Bess said, "To know how much there is to know is the beginning of learning to live. Don't count the years that are left us. At our time of life it's the days that count. You've too much catching up to do to waste a minute of a waking hour feeling sorry for yourself."

  碧丝说:「明白活到老学到老就是一个开始,学习生活的开始。不要去数已经过去的岁月,我们这个年纪要紧的是每一天每一日。你要迎头赶上,那还有时间浪费一分一秒去为你自己懊恼遗憾的。」

  Lottie grinned, a real wide open grin, "Well, to tell the truth I felt sorry for you. Maybe if I had any sense I'd feel sorry for myself after all. I know I'm too old to kick up my heels, but I'm going to let you show me how. If I land on my head, I guess it won't matter. I feel giddy already, and I like it."

  珞蒂露齿而笑,真正毫不保留的会心一笑:「唉!告诉你实话吧,我本来是为你而感到难过遗憾的。或许我如果还有一点点头脑的话,应该为自己感到遗憾才对。我知道我这把年纪要又跳又舞的也不简单了,可是我要你来示范给我看看,就是跌了个头栽地我想也没什么关系。我已经觉得乐陶陶眼花潦乱了,可是我很喜欢呢!

(编辑:薛琳)

官方微信:新东方英语 (微信号:xdfyyw

听说读写译学习方法、英美剧最新资讯,请扫二维码,关注我们! 

猜你喜欢

  • 听力
  • 口语
  • 阅读
  • 娱乐
  • 词汇
  • 写作

            新东方英语辅导专区

            班级名称 上课地点 上课时间 费用 详细

            焦点推荐

            精品直播

            版权及免责声明

            凡本网注明"稿件来源:新东方"的所有文字、图片和音视频稿件,版权均属新东方教育科技集团(含本网和新东方网) 所有,任何媒体、网站或个人未经本网协议授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他任何方式复制、发表。已经本网协议授权的媒体、网站,在下载使用时必须注明"稿件来源:新东方",违者本网将依法追究法律责任。

            本网未注明"稿件来源:新东方"的文/图等稿件均为转载稿,本网转载仅基于传递更多信息之目的,并不意味着赞同转载稿的观点或证实其内容的真实性。如其他媒体、网站或个人从本网下载使用,必须保留本网注明的"稿件来源",并自负版权等法律责任。如擅自篡改为"稿件来源:新东方",本网将依法追究法律责任。

            如本网转载稿涉及版权等问题,请作者见稿后在两周内速来电与新东方网联系,电话:010-60908555。

            热搜关键词