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The Last Class 最后一课

2006-05-17 14:05

  都德的《最后一课》相信大家都在课本上读过,故事借亚尔萨斯省一个小孩小弗朗士的自述,具体地描写一所小学所上的最后一堂法文课。作家回避了普法战争的正面战场,而把笔墨转向一幅极为平常的生活画面:小学生迟到,老师讲课、提问,习字,拼音练习,下课……描写极为冷静、客观、朴素,却极具感染力。我们就用这部名篇的英文译本来体会一下:

  I was very late for school that morning, and I was terribly afraid of being scolded[责骂], especially as Monsieur[法语:先生] Hamel had told us that he should examine us on participles[分词], and I did not know the first thing about them. For a moment I thought of staying away from school and wandering about the fields. It was such a warm, lovely day. I could hear the blackbirds whistling on the edge of the wood, and in the Rippert field, behind the sawmill[锯木厂], the Prussians going through their drill. All that was much more tempting to me than the rules concerning participles; but I had the strength to resist, and I ran as fast as I could to school.

  那天早晨,我去上学,去得非常晚,我好害怕被责骂,特别是,阿麦尔先生跟我们说过,他要考一考分词规则,而我连头一个字都不会。这时,在我的头脑里冒出了逃学、去田野跑一跑的念头。天气是那么暖和,那么晴朗!我听见乌鸦在小树林边鸣叫,普鲁士人正在锯木厂后面的里贝尔草地上操练。所有这一切都比分词规则更吸引我,但我还是顶住了诱惑,加快脚步向学校方向跑去。

  As I passed the mayor's office, I saw that there were people gathered about the little board on which notices were posted. For two years all our bad news had come from that board—battles lost, conscriptions[征兵], orders from headquarters; and I thought without stopping:

  "What can it be now?"

  从村政府门前经过的时候,我看见许多人站在小布告栏前。这两年来,所有的坏消息,诸如吃败仗啦,征兵征物啦,还有普鲁士占领军司令部发布的命令啦,都是从那里来的。我边跑边想:“又有什么事吗?”

  Then, as I ran across the square, Wachter the blacksmith, who stood there with his apprentice[学徒], reading the placard[布告], called out to me:

  "Don't hurry so, my boy; you'll get to your school soon enough!"

  I thought that he was making fun of me, and I ran into Monsieur Hamel's little yard all out of breath.

  当我跑着穿过广场的时候,正在布告栏前和徒弟一起看布告的瓦克特尔铁匠朝我高喊:“小家伙,不用赶得那么急;你去得再晚也不会迟到的!”我以为他在跟我开玩笑,便上气不接下气地跑进阿麦尔先生的小教室。

  Usually, at the beginning of school, there was a great uproar[喧嚣] which could be heard in the street, desks opening and closing, lessons repeated aloud in unison[一致], with our ears stuffed in order to learn quicker, and the teacher's stout ruler beating on the desk:

  "A little more quiet!"

  往常,开始上课的时候,总是一片乱哄哄的嘈杂声,斜面课桌的开关声,同学们一起捂住耳朵高声背诵课文的声音,街上都听得见。先生的大戒尺敲打着课桌:“安静一点!”

  I counted on all this noise to reach my bench unnoticed; but as it happened, that day everything was quiet, like a Sunday morning. Through the open window I saw my comrades already in their places, and Monsieur Hamel walking back and forth[向前] with the terrible iron ruler under his arm. I had no open the door and enter, in the midst of that perfect silence. You can imagine whether I blushed[羞愧] and whether I was afraid!

  我打算趁这片嘈杂声,偷偷地溜到我的座位上去。可是,这一天不同于往常,一切都很安静,就像是星期天的早晨。透过敞开的窗户,我看见同学们已经整整齐齐地坐在他们的座上,阿麦尔先生腋下夹着那把可怕的铁戒尺,来回地踱着步子。必须推开教室门,在这一片静谧中走进教室。你们想一想,当时我是多么尴尬,多么害怕!

  But no! Monsieur Hamel looked at me with no sign of anger and said very gently:

  "Go at once to your seat, my little Frantz; we were going to begin without you."

  可是,没有。阿麦尔先生看着我,没有生气,而是非常温和地对我说:“快点回到座位上,我的小弗朗茨;我们就要开始上课了。”

  I stepped over the bench and sat down at once at my desk. Not until then, when I had partly recovered from my fright, did I notice that our teacher had on his handsome blue coat, his plaited ruff, and the black silk embroidered breeches, which he wore only on days of inspection or of distribution of prizes. Moreover, there was something extraordinary, something solemn about the whole class. But what surprised me most was to see at the back of the room, on the benches which were usually empty, some people from the village sitting, as silent as we were: old Hauser with his three-cornered hat, the ex-mayor, the ex-postman, and others besides. They all seemed depressed; and Hauser had brought an old spelling-book with gnawed edges, which he held wide-open on his knee, with his great spectacles askew.

  我跨过凳子,马上坐到座位上。我从惊慌中稍稍定下神来,这才注意到,我们的老师穿着他那件漂亮的绿色常礼服,领口系着折迭得很精致的领结,头上戴着那顶刺绣的黑绸小圆帽,这套装束,只有在上头派人来学校视察或学校发奖时他才穿戴的。此外,整个教室也有一种不同寻常的庄严的气氛。但是,最使我吃惊的是,看到教室面,那些平常空着的凳子上,坐着一些跟我们一样默不作声的村里的人,有头戴三角帽的奥泽尔老人,有前任镇长,有以前的邮递员,另外还有其他人。所有这些人都显得很忧伤;奥泽尔老人还带了一本边角都已破损的旧识字课本,摊放在膝头上,课本上横放着他那副大眼镜。

  While I was wondering at all this, Monsieur Hamel had mounted his platform, and in the same gentle and serious voice with which he had welcomed me, he said to us:

  "My children, this is the last time that I shall teach you. Orders have come from Berlin to teach nothing but German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The new teacher arrives to-morrow. This is the last class in French, so I beg you to be very attentive."

  正当我对这一切感到惊诧莫名时,阿麦尔先生在椅子上坐下,用刚才对我说话的那种既温和又庄重的声音,对我们说道:“孩子们,我这是最后一次给你们上课了。柏林来了命令,阿尔萨斯和洛林两省的学校只准教德语……新的老师明天就到。今天是你们最后一堂法语课,所以我请你们一定专心听讲。”

  Those few words overwhelmed me. Ah! the villains! that was what they had posted at the mayor's office.

  这几句话使我惊呆了。啊!这些坏蛋,他们贴在村政府布告栏上的就是这个消息。

  My last class in French!

  And I barely knew how to write! So I should never learn! I must stop short where I was! How angry I was with myself because of the time I had wasted, the lessons I had missed, running about after nests, or sliding on the Saar! My books, which only a moment before I thought so tiresome, so heavy to carry—my grammar, my sacred history—seemed to me now like old friends, from whom I should be terribly grieved to part. And it was the same about Monsieur Hamel. The thought that he was going away, that I should never see him again, made me forget the punishments, the blows with the ruler.

  我的最后一堂法语课!……我只是刚刚学会写字!今后永远也学不到法语!法语就到此为止了!我现在是多么悔恨自己蹉跎光阴啊!悔恨自己从前逃课去掏鸟窝,去萨尔河溜冰!我的那些书,我的语法课本,我的神圣的历史书,刚才背在身上还觉得那么讨厌,那么沉重,现在却像老朋友一样,让我难舍难分。还有阿麦尔先生。一想到他就要走了,再也见不到了,我就忘记了以前的处惩和挨打。

  Poor man! It was in honour of that last lesson that he had put on his fine Sunday clothes; and I understood now why those old fellows from the village were sitting at the end of the room. It seemed to mean that they regretted not having come oftener to the school. It was also a way of thanking our teacher for his forty years of faithful service, and of paying their respects to the fatherland which was vanishing.

  可怜的人!他身着漂亮的节日盛装,为的是庆贺这最后的一堂课。现在,我明白了为什么村里的老人都坐在教室后面。这好像在说,他们后悔从前不常来学校。这也像是对我们的老师四十年的优秀教学,对今后不属于他们的国土表示他们的敬意的一种方式……”

  I was at that point in my reflections, when I heard my name called. It was my turn to recite. What would I not have given to be able to say from beginning to end that famous rule about participles, in a loud, distinct voice, without a slip! But I got mixed up at the first words, and I stood there swaying against my bench, with a full heart, afraid to raise my head. I heard Monsieur Hamel speaking to me:

  我正限于沉思之中,突然我听见叫我的名字。轮到我背分词规则了。要是我能把这条重要的分词规则大声、清晰、准确无误地从头背到尾,有什么代价我不愿付出呢?但是,我连开始的那些词都搞不清楚。我站在凳子前面,左摇右晃,心里难受极了,不敢抬头。我听见阿麦尔先生说话:

  "I will not scold you, my little Frantz; you must be punished enough; that is the way it goes; every day we say to ourselves: 'Pshaw! I have time enough. I will learn to-morrow.' And then you see what happens. Ah! it has been the great misfortune of our Alsace always to postpone its lessons until to-morrow. Now those people are entitled to say to us: 'What! you claim to be French, and you can neither speak nor write your language!' In all this, my poor Frantz, you are not the guiltiest one. We all have our fair share of reproaches to address to ourselves.

  “我不责备你,我的小弗朗茨,你可能受够了惩罚……事情就是如此。每天,我们都对自己说:算了吧!我有的是时间。我明天再学。现在,你知道出了什么事……唉!我们阿尔萨斯人的最大不幸就是把教育拖延到明天。现在,那些人有权利对我们说:‘怎么!你们声称自己是法国人,可你们即不会说也不会写你们的语言!’……我可怜的弗朗茨,造成所有这一切,责任最大的并不是你。我们每个人都有许多应该责备自己的地方。

  "Your parents have not been careful enough to see that you were educated. They preferred to send you to work in the fields or in the factories, in order to have a few more sous. And have I nothing to reproach myself for? Have I not often made you water my garden instead of studying? And when I wanted to go fishing for trout, have I ever hesitated to dismiss you?"

  “你们的父母没有尽心让你们好好读书。他们宁愿把你们打发到田里或纱厂里去干活,为的是多挣几个钱。我自己呢,难道我一点也没有应该责备自己的地方吗?我不也是经常让你们到我的花园浇水以此代替学习吗?当我想钓鳟鱼的时候,我不是随随便便就给你们放假吗?”

  Then, passing from one thing to another, Monsieur Hamel began to talk to us about the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world, the most clear, the most substantial; that we must always retain it among ourselves, and never forget it, because when a people falls into servitude, "so long as it clings to its language, it is as if it held the key to its prison." Then he took the grammer and read us our lesson. I was amazed to see how readily I understood. Everything that he said seemed so easy to me, so easy. I believed, too, that I had never listened so closely, and that he, for his part, had never been so patient with his explanations. One would have said that, before going away, the poor man desired to give us all his knowledge, to force it all into our heads at a single blow.

  阿麦尔先生从一件事谈到另一件事,然后开始给我们讲法语,他说,法语是世界上最优美的语言,是最清晰的语言,最严谨的语言,我们应该掌握它,永远也不要忘记,因为,当一个民族沦为奴隶时,只要它好好地保存自己的语言,就好像掌握了打开监牢的钥匙……然后,他拿了一本语法书,我们开始朗诵课文。令我吃惊的是,我竟理解得这么透彻。他所讲的一切对我都显得很容易,很容易。我同样觉得,我还从来没有这么认真听讲过,他也从来没有这样耐心讲解过。这个可怜的人,仿佛想在离开这里以前,把他全部的知识都灌输给我们,让我们一下子掌握这些知识。

  When the lesson was at an end, we passed to writing. For that day Monsieur Hamel had prepared some entirely new examples, on which was written in a fine, round hand:"France, Alsace, France, Alsace." They were like little flags, waving all about the class, hanging from the rods of our desks. You should have seen how hard we all worked and how silent it was! Nothing could be heard save the grinding of the pens over the paper. At one time some cock-chafers flew in; but no one paid any attention to them, not even the little fellows who were struggling with their straight lines, with a will and conscientious application, as if even the lines were French. On the roof of the schoolhouse, pigeons cooed in low tones, and I said to myself as I listened to them:

  "I wonder if they are going to compel them to sing in German too!"

  课文讲解完了,我们开始练习写字。这一天,阿麦尔先生为我们准备了许多崭新的字卡样,上面用美丽的圆体字写着:法兰西,阿尔萨斯,法兰西,阿尔萨斯。这些字帖卡片悬挂在我们课桌的金属杆上,就像许多小旗在教室里飘扬。该知道每个人都是那样聚精会神,教室里是那样寂静无声!只听得见笔尖在纸上的沙沙声。有一回,几只金龟子跑进了教室,但是谁也不去注意它们,连年龄最小的也不例外,他们正专心致志地练直杠笔划,仿佛这些笔划也是法语……学校的屋顶上,鸽子低声地咕咕地叫着,我一边听,一边寻思:“他们该不会强迫这些鸽子用德语唱歌吧?”

  From time to time, when I raised my eyes from my paper. I saw Monsieur Hamel sitting motionless in his chair and staring at the objects about him as if he wished to carry away in his glance the whole of his little schoolhouse. Think of it! For forty years he had been there in the same place, with his yard in front of him and his class just as it was! But the benches and desks were polished and rubbed by use; the walnuts in the yard had grown, and the hop-vine which he himself had planted now festooned the windows even to the roof. What a heart-rending thing it must have been for that poor man to leave all those things, and to hear his sister walking back and forth in the room overhead, packing their trunks! For they were to go away the next day—to leave the province forever.

  我时不时地从书本上抬起眼睛,看见阿麦尔先生一动不动地坐在椅子上,注视着周围的一切东西,仿佛要把这个小小教室里的一切都装进目光里带走……可想而知!四十年来,他一直呆在这个地方,守着对面的院子和一直没有变样的教室。唯独教室里的凳子、课桌被学生磨光滑了;院子里的胡桃树长高了,他自己亲手种下的那棵啤酒花如今爬满了窗户,爬上了屋顶。这个可怜的人听到他妹妹在楼上的卧室里来来回回地收拾行李,想到自己就要告别眼前的一切,这对他来说是多么伤心难过的事啊!因为,他们明天就要动身了,永远离开自己的家乡。

  However, he had the courage to keep the class to the end. After the writing, we had the lesson in history; then the little ones sang all together the ba, be, bi, bo, bu. Yonder, at the back of the room, old Hauser had put on his spectacles, and, holding his spelling-book in both hands, he spelled out the letters with them. I could see that he too was applying himself. His voice shook with emotion, and it was so funny to hear him, that we all longed to laugh and to cry. Ah! I shall remember that last class.

  他竟然还有勇气把我们的课上完。习字过后,我们上了历史课;接着小家伙们一起唱起了Ba Be Bi Bo Bu。教室后头,奥泽尔老人戴上了眼镜,两手捧着识字课本,跟我们一起拼读。我发现他也一样专心,他的声音由于激动而颤抖,听起来很滑稽,叫我们又想笑又想哭。噢!我将永远也不会忘记这最后的一课……

  Suddenly the church clock struck twelve, then the Angelus rang. At the same moment, the bugles of the Prussians returning from drill blared under our windows. Monsieur Hamel rose, pale as death, from his chair. Never had he seemed to me so tall.

  突然,教堂的钟声敲了十二下,而后是祈祷的钟声。与此同时,普鲁士士兵的操练完回营的号声在我们的窗户下回响……阿麦尔先生从椅子上站了起来,面色十分苍白。他在我的心目中,从来也没有显得这么高大。

  "My friends," he said, "my friends, I—I—"

  “我的朋友们,”他说道,“我的朋友们,我……我……”

  But something suffocated him. He could not finish the sentence.

  Thereupon he turned to the blackboard, took a piece of chalk, and, bearing on with all his might, he wrote in the largest letters he could:

  但是,有什么东西堵住了他的喉咙。他没能说完这句话。这时,他转过身子,拿起一截粉笔,使尽了全身力气,在黑板上尽可能大地写下几个字:

  “VIVE LA FRANCE!”

  Then he stood there, with his head resting against the wall, and without speaking, he motioned to us with his hand:

  "That is all; go."

  “法兰西万岁!”

  然后,他呆在那里,头靠着墙壁,一句话也不说,只是用手向我们示意:

  “课完了……你们走吧”

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