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譯文 LITTLE WOMEN           ★★★★
譯文 LITTLE WOMEN
作者:未知 文章來源:互聯網 更新時間:2008-08-29 18:36:34
    資料提示:Louisa M. Alcott LOUISA MAY ALCOTT was born in 1832 and died in 1888. She was the daughter of A. Bronson Alcott, the “Sage o...

Louisa M. Alcott
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT was born in 1832 and died in 1888. She was the daughter of A. Bronson Alcott, the “Sage of Concord.” Her early surroundings were of a highly intellectual and literary character, and she naturally took to writing while still very young.
In her sketch “Transcendental Oats” she describes in an amusing way the experience of a year at Fruitlands, where an attempt was made to establish an ideal community.
Miss Alcott was obliged to be a wage-earner to help out the family income, and so taught school, served as a governess and at times worked as a seamstress. Wearying of this, she wrote for the papers stories of a sensational nature, which were remunerative financially, but unsatisfactory to her as a literary pursuit, and she abandoned this style of writing.
In a Washington hospital she served as a nurse for a time, but the work was so hard that she failed in health, and when she recovered she had to find new fields of work; then she traveled as attendant to an invalid, and with her visited Europe.
After several attempts at literature, Miss Alcott wrote “Little Women,” which was an immediate success, reaching a sale of 87,000 copies in three years. She wrote from the heart, and wove into the story incidents from the lives of herself and her three sisters at Concord. She afterward wrote “An Old-Fashioned Girl,” “Little Men,” “Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag,” “The Eight Cousins,” and “Rose in Bloom,” besides other stories and sketches.
In their old-fashioned New England home the little women lived with Mrs. March, their brisk and cheery mother, who always had a “can-I-help-you” look about her, and whom her four girls lovingly called “Marmee.”
Pretty Meg, the oldest, was sixteen, and already showed domestic tastes and talents, though she detested the drudgery of household work; and, a little vain of her white hands, longed at heart to be a fine lady. Jo, fifteen, was tall, thin, and coltish, and gloried in an unconcealed scorn of polite conventions. Beth, thirteen, was a loveable little thing, shy, fond of her dolls and devoted to music, which she tried hopefully to produce from the old, jingling tin pan of a piano. Amy, twelve, considered herself the flower of the family. An adorable blonde, she admitted that the trial of her life was her nose. For, when she was a baby Jo had accidentally dropped her into the coal-hod and permanently flattened that feature, and though poor Amy slept with a patent clothespin pinching it, she couldn't attain the Grecian effect she so much desired.
Father March was an army chaplain in the Civil War, and in his absence Jo declared herself to be the man of the family. To add to their slender income, she went every day to read to Aunt March, a peppery old lady; and Meg, too, earned a small salary as daily nursery governess to a neighbor's children.
In the big house next door to the Marches lived a rich old gentleman, Mr. Laurence, and his grandson, a jolly, chummy boy called Laurie.
The night Laurie took the two older girls to the theater, Amy, though not invited, insisted on going too. Jo crossly declared she wouldn't go if Amy did, and, furiously scolding her little sister, she slammed the door and went off, as Amy called out: “You'll be sorry for this, Jo March! See if you ain't!” The child made good her threat by burning up the manuscript of a precious book which Jo had written and on which she had spent three years of hard work. There was a terrible fracas, and, though at her mother's bidding Amy made contrite apology, Jo refused to be pacified. It was only when poor little Amy was nearly drowned by falling through the ice that consicence-stricken Jo forgave her sister and learned a much-needed lesson of self-control.
Meg, too, learned a salutary lesson when she went to visit some fashionable friends and had her first taste of “Vanity Fair.” Her sisters gladly lent her all their best things. Yet she soon saw that her wardrobe was sadly inadequate to the environment in which she found herself. Whereupon the rich friends lent her some of their own finery; and, after laughingly applying paint and powder, they laced her into a sky-blue silk dress, so low that modest Meg blushed at herself in the mirror, and Laurie, who was at the party, openly expressed his surprised disapproval. Chagrin and remorse followed, and it was not until after full confession to Marmee that Meg realized the trumpery value of fashionable rivalry and the real worth of simplicity and contentment.
Now John Brooke, the tutor of Laurie, was a secret admirer of pretty Meg. Discovering this, the mischievous boy wrote Meg a passionate love-letter, purporting to be from Brooke. This prank caused a terrible upset in both houses, but later on Brooke put the momentous question, and Meg meekly whispered, “Yes, John,” and hid her face on his waistcoat. Jo, blundering in, was transfixed with astonishment and dismay, and exclaimed, “Oh, do somebody come quick! John Brooke is acting dreadfully, and Meg likes it!”
At Christmas, Father March came home from the war. Later came the first ;break in their restored home circle. The Dovecote was the name of the little brown house that John Brooke had prepared for his bride. The wedding, beneath the June roses, was a simple, homey one, and the bridal journey was only the walk from the March home to the dear little new house. “I'm too happy to care what any one says --- I'm going to have my wedding just as I want it!” Meg had declared; and so, leaning on her husband's arm, her hands full of flowers, she went away, saying: “Thank you all for my happy wedding-day. Good-by, good-by!”
Jo developed into a writer of sensational stories. This, however, was because she found a profitable market for such work and she wanted the money for herself and the other. For little Beth was ailing, and a summer stay at the seashore might, they all hoped, bring back the roses to her cheeks. But it didn't, and after a time the dark days came when gentle Beth, like a tired but trustful child, clung to the hands that had led her all through life, as her father and mother guided her tenderly through the Valley of the Shadow and gave her up to God.
Then came a day when Laurie was invited to the Dovecote to see Meg's new baby. Jo appeared, a proud aunt, bearing a bundle on a pillow. “Shut your eyes and hold out your arms,” she ordered, and Laurie, obeying, opened his eyes again, to see --- two babies! “Twins, by Jupiter!” he cried; “take 'em, quick, somebody! I'm going to laugh, and I shall drop 'em!”
Laurie had loved Jo for years, but Jo, though truly sorry, couldn't respond. As she said, “It's impossible for people to make themselves love other people if they don't!” And so, after a time, Laurie decided that Amy was the only woman in the world who could fill Jo's place and make him happy. And the two were very happy together, Amy taking great pride in her handsome husband. “Don't laugh,” she said to him, “but your nose is such a comfort to me!” and she caressed the well-cut feature with artistic satisfaction.
Jo found her fate in an elderly professor, wise and kind, but too poor to think of marriage. For a year the pair worked and waited and hoped and loved, and then Aunt March died and left Jo her fine old country place. Here Jo and her professor set up their home, and established a boy's school which became a great success. Jo lived a very happy life, and, as the years went on, two little lads of her own came to increase her happiness. Amy, too, had a dear child named Beth, but she was a frail little creature and the dread of losing her was the shadow over Amy's sunshine.
But the little women and all their dear ones formed a happy, united family, of whom Jo truly wrote:
Lives whose brave music long shall ring
小 婦 人
〔美〕露易莎•梅•奧爾科特 原著
作者生于1832年,卒于1888年。她是“康科德的圣人”A.布朗森•奧爾科特的女兒。早期生活在一個高級知識分子和文人的環境中,很自然地在她還很年輕的時候就從事了寫作。
她的隨筆《想入非非》有趣地描述了有一年在果樹園里的經歷。人們試圖在那里建立一個理想的社會。
奧爾科特小姐不得不去掙工資來增加家庭的收入,她去學校教書,做家庭教師,有時還替人縫補。由于她對此感到厭煩,于是就替報刊寫些聳人聽聞的故事,這些故事是有報酬的。但是作為一個從事文學的人來說,她對此是不滿足的,因而她就放棄了這種寫作風格。
她曾經在華盛頓一家醫院里做過護士,由于工作十分艱苦,身體垮了下來,待到健康恢復之后,不得不另找新的領域的工作;于是她作為一個病人的護理員開始到處游歷,跟這位病人一起訪問過歐洲。
在文學方面幾經嘗試,奧爾科特小姐寫下了《小婦人》一書,立即獲得極大的成功,三年之內銷售了八萬七千冊。這是她從心坎里寫出來的書,她把自己生活中的瑣事和在康科德她的三個姐妹都寫進故事里去。后來她又寫了《一個舊式的姑娘》、《小男人》、《喬姨的廢料袋》、《八個堂表》和《盛開的玫瑰花》以及其他一些故事和隨筆等。
在他們老式的新英格蘭家里住著這些小婦人和她們的母親馬奇太太,這是一位做事麻利、身心愉快的太太,她的臉上老掛著“我能幫你忙嗎?”這種神情,四個姑娘親切地叫她“媽咪”。
美國的梅格是大姐,十六歲的年紀已經表現出是位善理家務的能手,盡管她并不喜歡單調的家務事。她對自己雪白的手頗為自負,從心底里想做一個體面的貴婦。喬,十五歲,是個瘦高個活潑的姑娘,她毫不掩飾對斯文習俗的蔑視,并以此自豪。貝思,十三歲,這個可愛怕羞的小東西喜歡娃娃,酷愛音樂,總想從那個舊的叮叮的鋼琴上奏出點什么來。艾米,十二歲,自認為是這個家庭的花朵。她是一個可愛的金發女郎,卻也承認她生命中磨難的根源就是她自己那只鼻子。因為,在她還是嬰兒時,喬不小心把她掉進煤筐里,把鼻子摔扁了,造成了永久的破相。盡管可憐的艾米在睡覺時用一只特制的衣服夾子夾住它,也無法達到她所要求的高鼻子的目的。
父親馬奇是南北戰爭時期的軍隊牧師,他不在家期間,喬自命為一家之主。為了要增加她們微薄的收入,她每天去給馬奇姑姑,一個暴躁的老太太朗讀;梅格也每天去做鄰居孩子們的保姆以掙得些微薄的工資。
馬奇家隔壁的一所大房子里住著一個有錢的老人勞倫斯先生和他的孫子勞里,一個快活、友好的少年。
有一天晚上,勞里帶著兩個大姑娘去看戲,雖然沒有請艾米,她卻堅持要去。喬發脾氣說如果艾米去那她就不去了,并且把她的小妹妹大罵了一頓,然后把門砰地一聲關上走了。艾米朝外喊道:“你會后悔的,喬•馬奇! 瞧你會不會后悔!” 這孩子把威脅付諸行動,她把喬所寫的一本珍貴的書的手稿全部燒掉了,這本書足足花了喬三年艱苦勞動才寫下的。接著是一場大吵大鬧,盡管在母親的嚴命下,艾米作了懺悔性的道歉,喬卻不肯罷休。只是一直等到有一天,可憐的小艾米掉進冰窟窿幾乎淹死,喬才良心發現原諒了她的妹妹,并且由此得到了一個非常需要的自我克制的教訓。
梅格,在她去訪問了一些時髦的朋友并第一次嘗到了“名利場”的味道以后,也從中學得了一個有益的教訓。她的妹妹們心甘情愿地把她們所有最好的東西都借給了她。但是她很快就發現她的衣服少得可憐,這和她所處的環境是何等的不相稱。因此,那些有錢的朋友把她們自己的華麗服飾借一些給她;在嘻嘻哈哈涂脂抹粉之后,她們把她套進一件天藍色的綢衣服里,開胸低得使端莊的梅格一照鏡子就臉紅。勞里也參加了這個晚會,并公開表示他那出人意外的責難。梅格感到既委屈又懊惱,一直到她把此事向媽咪和盤托出之后,她才認識到這種時髦競賽的淺薄無聊和樸素知足的真正價值。
約翰•布魯克,勞里的一位家庭教師,暗中愛上了美麗的梅格。勞里這個淘氣的孩子,發現了這個秘密,就以布魯克的名義給梅格寫了一封熱情洋溢的情書。這個惡作劇在兩家人之中引起了軒然大波,但后來布魯克自己把這個重要問題提出來,梅格才溫順地喃喃道,“是,約翰,”說完就把臉撲到他的背心上藏了起來。正好這時喬魯莽地闖了進來,驚訝得目瞪口呆,然后喊了起來,“喂,快來人啦! 約翰•布魯克表演得可怕極了,梅格居然喜歡這種表演!”
圣誕節時,父親馬奇從戰場上回來了。不久,他們重新團聚起來的家就發生了第一次突破。鴿棚是約翰•布魯克為他的新娘所準備的一幢棕色小房子的名字。六月玫瑰下的婚禮是簡樸而又親切溫暖的,新娘所要走的路程只是從馬奇家到親愛的新的小屋的一點路。“我快活極了,我才不在乎人家會說什么呢——我只要舉行我所想要的婚禮!”梅格說;于是,依著她丈夫的臂膀,雙手捧著鮮花,就這樣走了,她邊走邊說:“謝謝你們大家來參加我這快樂的婚禮。再見,再見了!”
喬發展成為專寫聳人聽聞的故事的作家。因為她發現這種作品有利可圖,而她本人和家庭中其他成員又都需要錢。因為小貝思生病了,大家都希望在海濱呆上一個夏天可能會使她的雙頰恢復血色。可惜沒有用,過了一些時候,黑暗的日子終于來臨了,小貝思的父母親切地把她帶進幽谷奉給上帝時,她象一個疲倦的乖孩子緊緊握著領她走完人生道路的父母的手。
接著有一天,勞里被邀請到鴿棚來看看梅格的新生嬰兒。喬出現了,一個自豪的姨媽,抱著躺在枕頭上的一個包包。“閉上眼睛把胳臂伸出來”,她命令道,勞里遵命照辦,再睜開眼睛時,他看見了——兩個嬰兒! “天哪,雙胞胎!” 他喊了起來;“快,誰來抱一抱他們! 我要大笑了,我會把他們摔壞的!”
勞里已愛上喬多年了,喬雖然真誠地感到抱歉,卻無法答應,就象她所說的:“如果一個人不愛另一個人,那就沒法逼著自己去愛!”就這樣過了一些日子,勞里確定艾米是世界上唯一能填補喬的空白并能使他快活的女人。這兩個人在一起確是非常快活,艾米對她的漂亮丈夫感到很自豪。“別笑,”她對他說,“你的鼻子對我是個很大的安慰!”說完她以一種欣嘗藝術感到滿足的心情撫摸著這只雕塑得這樣完美的藝術品。
喬命中注定要跟一個年紀大的教授過,這位教授博學而又慈祥,但是窮得從沒想到結婚。一年來這一對工作著、等待著、期望著、相愛著,直到馬奇姑姑死了,把她古老優雅的鄉村住處留給了喬,喬和她的教授才在這里安了家,并且還在這里建立了一個男童學校,這個學校辦得極為成功。喬過得非常快活,隨著歲月的流逝,她自己的兩個小兒子更給她增添了幸福。艾米也有一個可愛的孩子取名貝思,但她是個纖弱的小東西,擔心失掉她變成艾米幸福中的一個陰影。
但這些小婦人和她們親愛的成員組成一個幸福、團結的家庭,對于他們,喬真實地這樣寫道:
生命的勇敢的音樂
象震憾人心的曲調
將長奏不已。
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