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翻译:霍乱时期的爱情 4  

2008-06-13 23:24:19|  分类: 我的翻译 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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4

 

第一次从欧洲回来后,他开始使用家里那辆双排座的四轮马车,由两匹上好的栗色马拉着,后来不太实用了,就换成单匹马拉的维多利亚式马车。怀着某种对时髦风尚的不屑,他一直坐马车,到后来马车开始被淘汰,只有少量被保留下来,要么用来招徕游客,要么用来为葬礼装载花圈,他依然如故。他不愿意退休,可也知道人们来找他的时候多半只为死马当活马医,不过医生把这看作他的特长。只需看一眼,他就知道病人有什么问题,他越来越不信任成药,同时对外科手术的普及也保持着警惕。他说:“手术刀正是药物无效的最好证明。”他认为,严格说来,所有的药物都是毒药,百分之七十的普通食物都会加速人的死亡。“总的来说,只有少数几个医生对医药略有所知。”他在课上说道。他从年轻时代的狂热转变成自己所谓的宿命人道主义:“每个人做主自己的死亡,时辰到了,我们能做的就是帮助他死的时候不怕痛。”尽管这些偏激的想法已经部分成为本地医学界的传说,他的一些在行业内已经有所建树的弟子还总是来找他咨询,大家公认他具有一种冷静客观的眼光。无论如何,他是专属富人的昂贵医生,他的病人都来自总督府一带的世家。

他每天的日程安排极其有条不紊,万一下午有什么急事,他妻子总是知道往哪儿送信给他。还是年轻人时,他回家前先去教区的咖啡馆,和岳父的一些亲信或者加勒比流亡者下象棋,棋艺日渐高超。新世纪来临之后他就再也没回过那儿了,他试图在社交俱乐部的资助下组织国内联赛。耶利米.德.圣特阿莫尔就在那时候来的,那时他的腿已经坏了,还没做儿童摄影师。不到三个月,凡是略知象棋走法的就都知道他了,因为没人下得过他。对朱维诺.乌尔比诺医生来说,这可是奇迹般的相遇,那正是他对象棋迷恋得无以复加却又感到难逢对手的时刻。

多亏了医生,耶利米.德.圣特阿莫尔才在这里安顿下来。乌尔比诺医生成了他绝对的保护者,为他担保一切。对他的来历、他究竟是参加了哪一场不体面的战争才致残废的,连问都不问。也是医生借钱给他开了儿童摄影工作室,从摄下第一张被镁光灯吓了一跳的小孩相片开始,耶利米.德.圣特阿莫尔就把挣来的每一分钱极其准时地还给医生。

一切都为下棋。起初他们是在晚餐后7点开始,因为明显的优势,耶利米.德.圣特阿莫尔要让几步棋,后来逐渐减少,直到他们平等对弈。等到堂加莱里奥.达肯特开了第一家露天电影院,耶利米.德.圣特阿莫尔便成了他最可靠的顾客,下棋就只限于没有新片上映的晚上了。那会儿医生和他已经是好朋友了,他们会一起去看电影,不过医生妻子从来没加入过,一部分原因是她对复杂的电影情节不耐烦,另一个原因是,她一贯觉得----纯粹是直觉----耶利米.德.圣特阿莫尔对任何人来说都不会是好伙伴。

医生的星期日和平时有所不同。他参加教堂的大弥撒,然后回家休息,在院子里的露台上读书。除非十分紧急,他很少在瞻礼日探访病人,多年以来他也只接受义不容辞的社交约会。这个圣灵降临节有两件不同寻常的事情,真是难得的巧合:一个朋友死去,一个杰出的弟子举行二十五周年庆。做完死亡证明,他没有按先前打算的那样直接回家,而是由着好奇心驱使自己。

一坐到马车里,他再一次参看遗书,让车夫带他去旧奴隶市场那儿的一个偏僻地方。这个决定太反常了,车夫追问有没有弄错。没有,没错:地址写得很清楚,写地址的人也有足够的理由熟悉那个地区。然后,乌尔比诺医生回到第一页,又一次陷入那令人不快的洪流。在他这个年龄,这洪流所揭示出的东西还是可能改变了他的生命,如果,他能让自己相信,这些不是一个临死之人的胡言乱语。

-------------------------------------------------------

After he returned from Europe the first time, he used the family landau drawn by two golden chestnuts, but when this was no longer practical he changed it for a Victoria and a single horse, and he continued to use it, with a certain disdain for fashion, when cariages had already begun to disappear from the world and the only ones left in the city were for giving rides to tourists and carrying wreaths at funerals. Although he refused to retire,he was aware that he was called in only for hopeless cases, but he considered this a form of specialization too. He could tell what was wrong with a patient just by looking at him, he grew more and more distrustful of patent medicines, and he viewed with alarm the vulgarization of surgery. He would say:"The scalpel is the greatest proof of the failure of medicine."He thought that, in a strict sense, all medication was poison and that seventy percent of common foods hastened death."In any case," he would say in class, "the little medicine we know is known only by a few doctors." From youthful enthusiasm he had moved to a position that he himself defined as fatalistic humanism:"Each man is master of his own death, and all that we can do when the time comes is to help him die without fear of pain." But despite these extreme ideas, which were already part of local medical folklore, his former pupils continued to consult him even after they were established in the profession, for they recognized in him what was called in those days a clinical eye. In any event, he was always an expensive and exclusive doctor, and his patients were concentrated in the ancestral homes in the District of the Viceroys.

His daily schedule was so methodical that his wife knew where to send him a message if an emergency arose in the course of the afternoon. When he was a young man he would stop in the Parish Cafe before coming home, and this was where he perfected his chess game with his father-in-law's cronies and some Caribbean refugees. But he had not returned to the Parish Cafe since the dawn of the new century,and he had attempted to organize national tournaments under the sponsorship of the Social Club.It was at this time that Jeremiah de Saint-Amour arrived, his knees already dead, not yet a photographor of children, yet in less than three months everyone who knew how to move a bisshop across a chessboard knew who he was, because no one had been able to defeat him in a game. For Dr. Juvenal Urbino it was a miraculous meeting, at the very moment when chess had become an unconquerable passion for him and he no longer had many opponents eho could satisfy it.

Thanks to him, Jeremiah de Saint-Amour could become what he was among us. Dr.Urbino made himself his unconditional protector, his guarantor in everything, without even taking the troule to learn who he was or what he did or what inglorious wars he had come from in his crippled,broken state. He eventually lent him the money to set up his photography studio, and from the time he took his first picture of a child startled by the magnesium flash, Jeremiah de Saint-Amour paid back every last penny with religious regularity.

It was all for chess. At first they played after supper at seven o'clock, with a reasonable handicap for Jeremiah de Saint-Amour because of his notable superiority, but the handicap was reduced until at last they played as equals. Later, when Don Galileo Daconte opened the first outdoor cinema, Jeremiah de Saint-Amour was one of his most dependable customers, and the games of chess were limited to the nights when a new film was not being shown. By then he and the Doctor had become such good friends that they would to  see the films together, but never with the Doctor's wife, in part because she did not have the patience to follow the complicated plot lines, and in part because it always seemed to her, through sheer intuition, that Jeremiah de Saint-Amour was not a good companion for anyone.

His Sundays were different. He would attend High Mass at the Cathedral and then return home to rest and read on the terrace in the patio. He seldom visited a patient on a holy day of obligation unless it was of extreme urgency, and for many years he had not accepted a social engagement that was not obligatory. On this Pentecost, in a rare coincidence, two extraordinary events had occurred: the death of a friend and the silver anniversary of an eminent pupil. Yet instead of going straight home as he had intended after certifying the death of Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, he allowed himself to be carried along by curiosity.

As soon as he was in his carriage, he again consulted the posthumous letter and told the coachman to take him to an obscure location in the old slave quarter. That decision was so foreign to his usual habits that the coachman wanted to make certain there was no mistake. No, no mistake: the address was clear and the man who had written it had more than enough reason to know it very well. Then Dr. Urbino returned to the first page of the letter and plunged once again into the flood of unsavory revelations that might have changed his life, even at his age, if he could have convinced himself that they were not the ravings of a dying man.

 

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