Autobiography of Mark Twain (Excerpt)
马克•吐温自传(节选)

(节选自《英语世界》2015年第8期)

文/马克•吐温  译/孟洁冰
By Mark Twain[1]

2015-8终版封面.jpg

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[5] I remember the first time I ever had the privilege of seeing her. She was fourteen years old then. She was to be at Laurence Hutton’s house on a Sunday afternoon, and twelve or fifteen men and women had been invited to come and see her. Henry Rogers and I went together. The company had all assembled and had been waiting a while. The wonderful child arrived now, with her about equally wonderful teacher, Miss Sullivan. The girl began to deliver happy ejaculations, in her broken speech. Without touching anything, and without seeing anything, of course, and without hearing anything, she seemed to quite well recognize the character of her surroundings. She said “Oh the books, the books, so many, many books. How lovely!”
〔5〕我还记得第一次有幸见到她的情景。她当时只有14岁。那是一个星期天的下午,在劳伦斯•赫顿的家里,有12位或15位男女宾客受邀来这里见她。亨利•罗杰斯和我一起去的。大家都到齐了,等了一会儿。这个出色的孩子终于来了,陪在她身边的是那位同样出色的老师,沙利文小姐。小姑娘在断断续续的话语中吐出快乐的字眼。她什么都没碰,当然,她什么都看不见,也什么都听不见,却似乎对周围的事物非常熟悉。她说:“哦,这里有书,这么多,真好啊!”

[6] The guests were brought one after another and introduced to her. As she shook hands with each she took her hand away and laid her fingers lightly against Miss Sullivan’s lips, who spoke against them the person’s name. When a name was difficult, Miss Sullivan not only spoke it against Helen’s fingers but spelled it upon Helen’s hand with her own fingers—stenographically, apparently, for the swiftness of the operation was suggestive of that.
〔6〕客人们一个接一个地进来,介绍给她。她和每个人握手致意,然后松开手,把手指轻轻抵在沙利文小姐的嘴唇上,沙利文就这样告诉她这个人的名字。说到难念的名字时,沙利文小姐不仅对着海伦的手指说话,还要在海伦的手上拼写——显然用的是速记法,手指敏捷的动作表明了这一点。

[7] Mr. Howells seated himself by Helen on the sofa and she put her fingers against his lips and he told her a story of considerable length, and you could see each detail of it pass into her mind and strike fire there and throw the flash of it into her face. Then I told her a long story, which she interrupted all along and in the right places, with cackles, chuckles, and care-free bursts of laughter. Then Miss Sullivan put one of Helen’s hands against her lips and spoke against it the question “What is Mr. Clemens distinguished for?” Helen answered, in her crippled speech, “For his humor.” I spoke up modestly and said “And for his wisdom.” Helen said the same words instantly—“And for his wisdom.” I suppose it was a case of mental telegraphy, since there was no way for her to know what it was I had said.
〔7〕海伦坐在沙发上,豪威尔斯坐在她旁边,海伦把手指抵在豪威尔斯的嘴唇上,他讲了一个挺长的故事,你可以看得出来,每一个细节都在她的脑海中闪现,点燃了炽热的火焰,让她神采飞扬。我接着也给她讲了个很长的故事,她总是出声打断,打断得恰到好处,她会咯咯地笑,会轻声嬉笑,也会放声大笑。然后,沙利文小姐把海伦的手放在自己嘴唇上,问了她一个问题:“克莱门斯先生以什么而著称?”海伦磕磕绊绊地回答道:“他的幽默感。”我谦虚地开口说:“还有他的智慧。”海伦立刻说了同样的话——“还有他的智慧。”我知道,这就是心灵感应的作用,因为她根本听不到我说了什么话。

[8] After a couple of hours spent very pleasantly, some one asked if Helen would remember the feel of the hands of the company after this considerable interval of time, and be able to discriminate the hands and name the possessors of them. Miss Sullivan said “Oh she will have no difficulty about that.” So the company filed past, shook hands in turn, and with each handshake Helen greeted the owner of the hand pleasantly and spoke the name that belonged to it without hesitation, until she encountered Mr. Rogers, toward the end of the procession. She shook hands with him, then paused, and a reflecting expression came into her face. Then she said “I am glad to meet you now, I have not met you before.” Miss Sullivan told her she was mistaken, this gentleman was introduced to her when she first arrived in the room. But Helen was not affected by that. She said no, she never had met this gentleman before. Then Mr. Rogers said that perhaps the confusion might be explained by the fact that he had his glove on when he was introduced to Helen. Of course that explained the matter.
〔8〕我们度过了非常愉快的几个钟头,有人问,过了这么长时间,海伦是否还记得和这些人握手的感觉,能否分辨出每个人的手,叫出这个人的名字。沙利文小姐说:“哦,她做这件事毫不费力。”于是大家排成一队,轮流和她握手,海伦高兴地和每个人握手,毫不犹豫地说出这个人的名字,直到接近队伍末尾时,轮到罗杰斯先生。她和罗杰斯握了手,然后停下来,脸上流露出若有所思的表情。她接着说:“我很高兴和您见面,可我从来没有见过您。”沙利文小姐提醒她记错了,她刚走进屋子,就有人介绍这位先生与她认识。可是海伦不为所动。她说不是,她以前从来没有见过这位先生。然后罗杰斯先生说,也许有个情况可以解释这种困惑,他第一次介绍给海伦的时候是戴着手套与海伦握手的。当然,这样就说得通了。

[9] This was not in the afternoon, as I have mis-stated. It was in the forenoon, and by and by the assemblage proceeded to the dining room and sat down to the luncheon. I had to go away before it was over, and as I passed by Helen I patted her lightly on the head and passed on. Miss Sullivan called to me and said “Stop, Mr. Clemens, Helen is distressed because she did not recognize your hand. Won’t you come back and do that again?” I went back and patted her lightly on the head, and she said at once “Oh, it’s Mr. Clemens.”
〔9〕这件事不是发生在下午,我记错了。其实是发生在午前,大家很快来到餐厅,坐下用午餐。我有事须提前离开,从海伦身边走过的时候,我轻轻地拍了拍她的头,然后就走了。沙利文小姐叫住了我,说道:“等一等,克莱门斯先生,海伦很苦恼,因为她没有认出你的手来。你能回来再拍拍她吗?”我转身回去,轻轻地拍了拍她的头,她立刻说:“哦,这是克莱门斯先生的手。”

[10] Perhaps some one can explain this miracle, but I have never been able to do it. Could she feel the wrinkles in my hand through her hair? Some one else must answer this. I am not competent.
〔10〕也许有人可以解释这个奇迹,不过我可永远都办不到。她难道能通过头发感觉到我手上的纹路?有些人肯定能回答这个问题。我可没这本事。

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注释:
[1](1835—1910),美国著名的幽默讽刺作家和演说家,19世纪后期美国现实主义文学的杰出代表,主要作品有《竞选州长》(Running for Governor, 1870)、《汤姆•索亚历险记》(The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876)、《哈克贝里•芬恩历险记》(Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885)、《百万英镑》(The Million Pound Bank Note, 1893)等。原文选自 Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1,译文选自《马克 •吐温自传:第1卷》(法律出版社,2012)。选文出自马克 •吐温 1906年的日记,内容是对海伦•凯勒的回忆。海伦•凯勒(1880—1968),美国著名的视听残障作家和教育家,代表作包括自传《我的生活》( The Story of My Life, 1903)和散文《假如给我三天光明》(Three Days to See, 1933)。

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