Unit Four
第四单元
As a black boy growing up in America in the early 1900s.
作为一个生在20世纪初的美国人
Richard Wright knew well the meaning of racial prejudice.
理查德.赖特很了解人类的偏见。
He was not allowed to play in a park or borrow books from a library.
他被拒绝在公园里玩和从图书馆借书。
While working as an office boy in a bank, though, he found a way into the library and discovered the power of the written word.
当在一家银行做勤杂工时,他发现了一个进图书馆,并且在那里吸收书中能量的方法。
In the the following story,
在下面的故事里,
Richard Wright tells us how his thirst for books grew with each passing day and what changes took place in him as he did more and more reading.
理查德.赖特告诉我们在过去的日子,他对书是的渴望一天比天增加,和随着他读的书越来越多,在他身上起了很大的变化。
THE LIBRARY CARD
借书证
Richard Wright
理查德?赖特
One morning I arrived early at work and went into the bank lobby where the Negro Porter was mopping.
一天早上,我上班到得早,便走进银行的门廊,里面有一个黑人清洁工在拖地。
I stood at a counter and picked up the Memphis Commercial Appeal and began my free reading of the press.
我站在柜台边,拿了一份孟菲斯《商业呼声报》,读起了免费报纸。
I came finally to the editorial page and saw an article dealing with one H.L. Mencken.
我最后翻到社论版,上面登了一篇写关于一名叫H.L.门肯的人的文章。
I knew by hearsay that he was the editor of the American Mercury,
我听说门肯是《美国信使》报的编辑。
but aside from that I knew nothing about him.
不过除此之外,对他毫无别的了解。
The article was a furious denunciation of Mencken,
该文言辞激烈地遣责门肯,
concluding with one, hot, short sentence: Mencken is a fool.
文章结尾时用了一句辛辣的短句:门肯是个傻子。
I wondered what on earth this Mencken had done to call down upon him the scorn of the South.
我在想这位门肯先生到底做了什么事以至于引得南方对他嘲弄。
The only people I had ever heard denounced in the South were Negroes,
我所听说过在南方唯一受到谴责的人就是黑人。
and this man was not a Negro.
而此人不是黑人。
Then what ideas did Mencken hold that made a newspaper like the Commercial Appeal castigate him publicly?
那么门肯持有什么样的观点使得象《商业呼声》这样的报纸公开攻击他?
Undoubtedly he must be advocating ideas that the South did not like.
不用说,他一定是在宣扬南方所不喜欢的思想。
Now, how could I find out about this Mencken?
那么我怎样能够弄清楚门肯其人?
There was a huge library near the riverfront,
江边有一大型图书馆,
but I knew that Negroes were not allowed to patronize its shelves any more than they were the parks and playgrounds of the city.
但我知道,正如不许黑人进入城里的公园和运动场一样,他们也同样不被允许进入图书馆。
I had gone into the library several times to get books for the white men on the job.
我曾经几次去过那儿,帮正在干活的白人借书。
Which of them would now help me to get books?
他们中有哪个人能帮我借书呢?
I weighed the personalities of the men on the job.
我反复琢磨着这些白人的人品。
There was Don, a Jew;
有一个犹太人叫唐,
but I distrusted him.
但我信不过他。
His position was not much better than mine and I knew that he was uneasy and insecure;
他的情况并不比我好多少,而且我知道他这个人总是不安分没有安全感。
he had always treated me in an offhand,
他待我总是满不在乎、
bantering way that barely concealed his contempt.
傲气十足,对我的轻视几乎也不加掩饰。
I was afraid to ask him to help me to get books;
我不敢要他去帮我借书。
his fratic desire to demonstrate a racial solidarity with the whites against Negroes might make him betray me.
他特别渴望表示自己在与白人团结一致反对黑人,这使他有可能会出卖我。
Then how about the boss?
那么老板如何样呢?
No, he was a Baptist and I had the suspicion that he would not be quite able to comprehend why a black boy would want to read Mencken.
不成。他是个浸礼会教徒,我有这样的怀疑,就是他可能不大会明白为什么一个黑人孩子想去读门肯的书。
There were other white men on the job whose attitudes showed clearly that they were Kluxers or sympathizers, and they were out of the question.
上班的还有一些别的白人,但他们的态度明确地表明他们要么是三K党徒,要么是其支持者,要他们帮忙是不可能的。
There remained only one man whose attitude did not fit into an antiNegro category,
仅剩一人了,他的态度不属于反黑人的范畴,
for I had heard the white men refer to him as a "Pope lover".
因为我曾经听白人们叫他为“拍教皇马屁的人”。
He was an Irish Catholic and was hated by the white Southerners.
他是爱尔兰的天主教徒,南方白人不喜欢他。
I knew that he read books,
我知道他常读书。
because I had got him volumes from the library several times.
因为我曾经有几次帮他去图书馆借过书。
Since he, too, was an object of hatred,
因为他也是白人仇视的对象,
I felt that he might refuse me but would hardly betray me.
我感到他也许会拒绝我但不大可能出卖我。
I hesitated, weighing and balancing the imponderable realities.
我拿不准,只在心里反复琢磨,反复权衡着这无法估计的事情。
One morning I paused before the Catholic fellow's desk.
一天早上,我来到这位天主教徒的桌子边停下。
"I want to ask you a favor," I whispered to him.
“我想请你帮个忙。”我低声对他说。
"What is it?"
“什么忙?”
"I want to read. I can't get books from the library.
“我想借书。我从图书馆中借不到书。
I wonder if you'd let me use your card?"
我不知道你可否让我用一用你的借书证?”
He looked at me suspiciously.
他满心怀疑地看着我。
"My card is full most of the time," he said.
“我的证大部分时间都借满了,”他说。
"I see," I said and waited, posing my questin silently.
“我知道。”我边说边等待着,用沉默来提出我的问题。
"You're not trying to get me into trouble, are you, boy?" he asked, staring at me.
“你不是想给我惹麻烦,对吗,小伙子?”他两眼瞪着我。
"Oh, no, sir."
“噢,不,先生。”
"What book do you want?"
“你想借什么书?”
"A book by H.L.Mencken."
“H.L.门肯写的。“
"Which one?"
“哪一本?”
"I don't know. Has he written more than one?"
“我不知道。他写过不止一本书吗?”
"He has written several."
“他写了好几本。”
"I didn't know that."
“我以前不知道。”
"What makes you want to read Mencken?"
“你为什么想读门肯的书?”
"Oh, I just saw his name in the newspaper," I said.
“噢,我刚刚在报纸上看到他的名字。”我说。
"It's good of you to want to read." he said.
“你想读书是不错的,”他说,
"But you ought to read the right things."
“不过,你应该读一些好的书。”
I said nothing. Would he want to supervise my reading?
我什么也没说。他会不会要监督我的阅读呢?
"Let me think," he said. "I'll figure out something."
“让我想一下,我会想出办法的。”他说。
I turned from him and he called me back.
我转过身走开,他把我叫了回来。
He stared at me quizzically.
有些不解地盯着我说:
"Richard, don't mention this to the other white men," he said.
“理查德,不要对其他的白人讲此事。”
"I understand," I said. "I won't say a word."
“我知道,我是一个字也不会说的。”
A few days later he called me to him.
几天后,他把我叫了过去。
"I've got a card in my wife's name,"he said. "Here's mine."
“我用我妻子的名义搞了张借书证,”他说。“我的这张就给你了。”
"Thank you, sir."
“谢谢你,先生。”
"Do you think you can manage it?"
“你认为自己能成功吗?”
"I'll manage fine," I said.
“我会搞妥的。”我说。
"If they suspect you, you'll get in trouble," he said.
“如果他们怀疑上你,你就麻烦了。”他说。
"I'll write the same kind of notes to the library that you wrote when you sent me for books," I told him.
“我会象你以前让我去借书时一样写张条子给图书馆。”我告诉他说,
"I'll sign your name."
“我会签上你的名子的。”
He laughed.
他听后笑了起来。
"Go ahead. Let me see what you get," he said.
“去吧。看看你能借到什么书。”
That afternoon I addressed myself to forging a note.
那天下午,我竭尽全力造了一张假便条。
Now, what were the names of books written by H.L.Mencken?
但是,H.L.门肯写的书的书名都是什么呢?
I did not know any of them.
我一点也不知道。
I finally wrote what I thought would be a foolproof note:
最后,我写了一张自认为万无一失的条子:
Dear Madam:Will you please let this nigger boy--
亲爱的夫人,请让这个小黑鬼??
I used the word "nigger" to make the librarian feel that I could not possibly be the author of the note have some books by H.L.Mencken?
??我使用了“黑鬼”这个词是为了让图书管理员不认为我写这张便条??借几本H.L.门肯的书好吗?
I forged the white man's name.
在便条上我假冒了这个白人的签名。
I entered the library as I had always done when on errands for whites,
我象以往为白人跑腿借书时一样走进了图书馆,
but I felt that I would somehow slip up and betray myself.
但不知怎么搞的,我总觉得自己不知会在什么地方出点岔子,最终暴露自己。
I doffed my hat, stood a respectful distance from the desk, looked as unbookish as possible,
我摘下帽子,毕恭毕敬地站在离借书桌有一段距离的地方,
and waited for the white patrons to be taken care of.
显出一副不会读书的样子,等着白人读者先借。
When the desk was clear of people, I still waited.
桌边已经空无一人了,我仍在等着。
The white librarian looked at me.
白人管理员看着我问道:
"What do you want, boy?"
“你想干什么,伙计?”
As though I did not possess the power of speech,
像不会说话一样
I steped forward and simply handed her the forged note, not parting my lips.
我迈向前,一声也没作的把那张伪造的条子递了过去。
"What books by Mencken does he want?" she asked.
“他想借门肯的书?”她问。
"I don't know, ma'am," I said, avoiding her eyes.
“我不知道,夫人。”我躲开了她的双眼。
"Who gave you this card?"
“这张卡是谁给你的?”
"Mr. Falk," I said.
“福尔克先生。”
"Where is he?"
“他在哪儿?”
"He's at work, at M Optical Company," I said.
“他在工作。在M??光学仪器公司,”我说,
"I've been in here for him before."
“我以前在这儿给他借过书。”
"I remember," the woman said.
“我记得,”她说。
"But he never wrote notes like this."
“但他从未写过象这样的条子。”
Oh, God, she's suspicious.
噢,天啊!她有点怀疑了。
Perhaps she would not let me have the books?
也许她不会让我借这些书了。
If she had turned her back at that moment,
如果当时她转过身去的话,
I would have ducked out the door and never gone back.
我一定会低头冲出门外,再也不回去了。
Then I thought of a bold idea.
这时,我想出了一个大胆的主意。
"You can call him up, ma'am," I said, my heart pounding.
“你可以打电话问问他,夫人,”我说道,心里却紧张得砰砰狂跳。
"You'r not using these books,are you?" she asked pointedly.
“不是你自己用这些书吧?”她直率地问。
"Oh, no, ma'am. I can't read."
“噢,不会,夫人。我不会认字。”
"I don't know what he wants by Mencken," she said under her breath.
“我不知道他要门肯的什么书?”她低声说道。
I knew now that I had won;
此时,我知道成功了。
she was thinking of other things and the race question had gone out of her mind.
她已经忘了种族问题,在考虑其它的问题了。
She went to the shelves.
她走到书架前,
Once or twice she looked over her shoulder at me, as though she was still doubtful.
又转过头来看过我一、两次,似乎仍对我有些怀疑。
Finally she came forward with two books in her hand.
最后她拿了两本书走了过来。
"I'm sending him two books," she said.
“我借给他两本书。”她说。
"But tell Mr. Falk to come in next time, or send me the names of the books he wants.
“但你要告诉福尔克先生,下次让他来,要不就告诉他要借的书的名字。
I don't know what he wants to read."
我不清楚他借什么书。”
I said nothing. She stamped the card and ha
 

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