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    翻译中国

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    《异秉》Special Gift 汉英双语对照阅读 作者:汪曾祺

    汪曾祺

    Those who lived in the same street as Wang Er well knew how he had made his fortune.

    From no one knows when he had operated a cooked meat stall in the corridor of the Baoquantang Apothecary.His meat was stewed and soaked with gravy.He stayed at home in the morning and did business in the afternoon.

    His house was on a slope by the river in the back street,cut off from the other houses.It was a rather shabby place with broken brick walls,a thatched roof and a mud floor.However,it was quite spacious,clean and neat,and rather cool in the summer.There were three rooms in the house.The central one served as the sitting room.Overhcad on the wall above a stone mill was his five-character motto:"Heaven,Earth,Emperor,Parent,Teacher."This alludes to the unbreakable feudal order of old China. Of the two side rooms,one was the kitchen as well as the workshop,and the other the bedroom for the whole family:his wife,his son,his daughter and himself only,as his parents had both passed away.The house was always so quiet.Hardly any noise could be heard from within.From the other houses in the back street,there was a ceaseless uproar:a man beating his wife while clutching at her hair,a woman thrashing her child with a pair of coal tongs,an old woman muttering curses against whoever had stolen her egg-laying hen as she chopped away on the wooden block with a kitchen knife.Such noises were never heard from Wang Er's household.The Wangs were early risers.Before daybreak,Wang Er was up getting the foodstuff ready,making a fire and cooking food.His wife ground beans soon after she had done her hair.Every day a good deal of homemade,gravy-soaked dried beancurd was sold from Wang Er's stall.After grinding the beans,the woman helped stoke the fire,her round face aglow in the firelight.The air around was permeated with a spiced fragrance that came from the Wang family.Later,when Wang Er raised a small donkey,his wife no longer needed to go round and round,pushing the mill; the beast did the job instead.All she had to do was to pour bowlfuls of beans into the hole of the millstone and add a little water soon afterwards.This gave her plenty of time to do her mending and sewing,a busy job in a family of four.Wang Er's son resembled his mother,with his round face,his eyes often in slits when he smiled.His young sister took after her father,having big eyes and a narrow face.The brother had studied in an old-fashioned private school.When he was able to keep accounts,he quitted school and attended to the donkey,taking it to the river to drink and letting it roll on the grass.When he got older,he helped his father with the business and his sister took over his job of grazing the donkey.

    王二是这条街的人看着他发达起来的。

    不知从什么时候起,他就在保全堂药店廊檐下摆一个熏烧摊子。“熏烧”就是卤味。他下午来,上午在家里。

    他家在后街濒河的高城上,四面不挨人家。房子很旧了,碎砖墙,草顶泥地,倒是不仄逼,也很干净,夏天很凉快。一共三间。正中是堂屋,在“天地君亲师”的下面便是一具石磨。一边是厨房,也就是作坊。一边是卧房,住着王二的一家。他上无父母,嫡亲的只有四口人,一个媳妇,一儿一女。这家总是那么安静,从外面听不到什么声音。后街的人家总是吵吵闹闹的。男人揪着头发打老婆,女人拿火叉打孩子,老太婆用菜刀剁着砧板诅咒偷了她的下蛋鸡的贼。王家从来没有这些声音。他们家起得很早。天不亮王二就起来备料,然后就烧煮。他媳妇梳好头就推磨磨豆腐——王二的熏烧摊每天要卖出很多回卤豆腐干,这豆腐干是自家做的——磨得了豆腐,就帮王二烧火。火光照得她的圆盘脸红红的。(附近的空气里弥漫着王二家飘出的五香味。)后来王二喂了一头小毛驴,她就不用围着磨盘转了,只要把小驴牵上磨,不时往磨眼里倒半碗豆子,注一点水就行了。省出时间,好做针线。一家四口,大裁小剪,很费工夫。两个孩子,大儿子长得像妈,圆乎乎的脸,两个眼睛笑起来一道缝。小女儿像父亲,瘦长脸,眼睛挺大。儿子念了几年私塾,能记账了,就不念了。他一天就是牵了小驴去饮,放它到草地上去打滚。到大了一点,就帮父亲洗料备料做生意,放驴的差事就归了妹妹了。

    Every afternoon,when classes were over and every household washed rice for supper,Wang Er began to prepare his stall.Why did he select such a location as the Baoquantang Apothecary?Perhaps because it was well situated,not far from either East Street or West Street,or the other lanes in the vicinity.Perhaps he chose it because that traditional Chinese medicine store had a spacious corridor,with quite some distance from the counter to the entrance,or perhaps because there were few customers who came to the store to have their prescriptions filled in the evening and the food stall would not interfere with their business.He had someone put in a few good words to the proprietor of the store,and he himself called on the proprietor to express his gratitude.This had occurred many years before.The equipment of his stall,called shengcai Equipment for doing business,meaning“amassing fortunes.” by the local people,was kept against the wall in the back passage of the store,right under the poster of Marshal Zhao God of Wealth in Chinese folklore. which hung from the second beam of the house.Wang Er's shengcai was comprised of two long planks,two three-legged high stools (with two legs at one end and one leg in the middle of the other) and several boxes with a glass-paned front.Before he was ready to do business,Wang Er set down his stools,put a couple of planks steadily on them,and placed the glass boxes in a row.In the boxes were melon seeds,pumpkin seeds,fried salty peas,deep-fried peas,brittle deep-fried broad beans and spiced peanuts.At the other side of the planks were the hot foods such as dried beancurd with gravy,beef,cattail-bag meat and pig's head meat.As a rule,people in this region did not eat beef.Those who did seldom had it steamed or braised in soya-bean sauce.They just bought some at the stalls where the beef was cooked in salt and spice and covered with red leaven.It was piled high in a box.When purchased,the slab of beef was cut into slices on the spot and placed on the customer's plate.On top was a sprinkle of garlic leaf bits followed by a spoonful of hot pepper paste.

    Cattail-bag meat seemed to be the specialty of the county.Each cattail bag was about three by one and a half inches.It was lined with thin sheets of beancurd and filled quite full with small bits of meat mixed with water chestnut powder.Afterwards,the bag was tied in the middle with a hemp string,forming the shape of a gourd.When the bag was opened after being cooked,the meat was still in the shape of a gourd with a trace of the cattail bag on the surface.Cut into slices,it really whetted one's appetite.

    Pig's head meat was sold after being sorted into three parts:snout,ear and face.The face was also referred to as the "big fat".The customer could select whichever part he wished.At dusk,Wang Er's business came to a climax.He was busy cutting meat with a kitchen knife,receiving money from the customers and wrapping different varieties of deep-fried,fried and salted peas and melon seeds.Hardly did he have a breather.After nine o'clock,when the kerosene in his two high-screened lamps was nearly consumed,and when the bottoms of the meat trays and pea boxes became visible,his wife turned up and brought him his supper.Then he washed his face with a hot towel and had his meal.After supper,there was still a little business to attend to.Therefore he was in no hurry to put away his shengcai.He would then pour himself a cup of hot tea,seat himself in a chair inside the shop and listen to people gossip while throwing glances at the stall.Whenever he saw someone coming,he rose to get ready a few plates of meat or wrap up peas and seeds for a short while.All his customers were familiar acquaintances.What time they came and what they wanted was as clear to him as daylight.

    The shops and stalls in this street knew well enough how business was going on in other shops and stalls.Business had been bad in the past few years.With some shops things fared better,but all they could do was just keep business going.In the grips of a recession,the shelves of other stores grew bare.Deliveries were halted and finally,the owners were compelled to sell their shengcai and close up shop.Wang Er's business,to the contrary,grew more and more prosperous.He expanded his stall and increased the number of boxes of peas,seeds and enamel trays of hot food.During the busy hours every evening,a crowd of people would stand in front of his stall.On rainy or snowy days an even greater number of people would come to buy his food.Seeing his customers standing outside under their umbrellas made him uneasy.Then,after he had someone throw in nice words to the shop owner and paid the rent,he moved his stall next door to the Yuanchang Tobacco Shop.

    每天下午,在上学的孩子放学,人家淘晚饭米的时候,他就来摆他的摊子。他为什么选中保全堂来摆他的摊子呢?是因为这地点好,东街西街和附近几条巷子到这里都不远;因为保全堂的廊檐宽,柜台到铺门有相当的余地;还是因为这是一家药店,药店到晚上生意就比较清淡——很少人晚上上药铺抓药的,他摆个摊子碍不着人家的买卖,都说不清。当初还一定是请人向药店的东家说了好话,亲自登门叩谢过的。反正,有年头了。他的摊子的全副“生财”——这地方把做买卖的用具叫做“生财”,就寄放在药店店堂的后面过道里,挨墙放着,上面就是悬在二梁上的赵公元帅的神龛。这些“生财”包括两块长板,两条三条腿的高板凳(这种高凳一边两条腿,在两头;一边一条腿在当中),以及好几个一面装了玻璃的匣子。他把板凳支好,长板放平,玻璃匣子排开。这些玻璃匣子里装的是黑瓜子、白瓜子、盐炒豌豆、油炸豌豆、兰花豆、五香花生米。长板的一头摆开“熏烧”。“熏烧”除回卤豆腐干之外,主要是牛肉、蒲包肉和猪头肉。这地方一般人家是不大吃牛肉的。吃,也极少红烧、清炖,只是到熏烧摊子去买。这种牛肉是五香加盐煮好,外面染了通红的红曲,一大块一大块地堆在那里。买多少,现切,放在送过来的盘子里,抓一把青蒜,浇一勺辣椒糊。蒲包肉似乎是这个县里特有的。用一个三寸来长直径寸半的蒲包,里面衬上豆腐皮,塞满了加了粉子的碎肉,封了口,拦腰用一道麻绳系紧,成一个葫芦形。煮熟以后,倒出来,也是一个带有蒲包印迹的葫芦。切成片,很香。猪头肉则分门别类地卖,拱嘴、耳朵、脸子——脸子有个专门名词,叫“大肥”。要什么,切什么。到了上灯以后,王二的生意就到了高潮。只见他拿了刀不停地切,一面还忙着收钱,包油炸的、盐炒的豌豆、瓜子,很少有歇一歇的时候。一直忙到九点多钟,在他的两盏高罩的煤油灯里煤油已经点去了一多半,装熏烧的盘子和装豌豆的匣子都已经见了底的时候,他媳妇给他送饭来了,他才用热水擦一把脸,吃晚饭。吃完晚饭,总还有一些零零星星的生意,他不忙收摊子,就端了一杯热茶,坐到保全堂店堂里的椅子上,听人聊天,一面拿眼睛瞟着他的摊子,见有人走来,就起身切一盘,包两包。他的主顾都是熟人,谁什么时候来,买什么,他心里都是有数的。

    这一条街上的店铺、摆摊的,生意如何,彼此都很清楚。近几年,景况都不大好。有几家好一些,但也只是能维持。有的是逐渐地败落下来了。先是货架上的东西越来越空,只出不进,最后就出让“生财”,关门歇业。只有王二的生意却越做越兴旺。他的摊子越摆越大,装炒货的匣子,装熏烧的洋瓷盘子,越来越多。每天晚上到了买卖高潮的时候,摊子外面有时会拥着好些人。好天气还好,遇上下雨下雪(下雨下雪买他的东西的比平常更多),叫主顾在当街打伞站着,实在很不过意。于是经人说合,出了租钱,他就把他的摊子搬到隔壁源昌烟店的店堂里去了。

    The Yuanchang was an old retail and wholesale shop selling tobacco smoked exclusively in long-stemmed pipes.The tobacco from this area was all peeled in thin slices.The operator placed the tobacco leaves on a specially made wooden table clamped tight with ropes and wooden wedges.Then he stood with the table between his two legs and peeled the tobacco using a big knife whose edge was about five inches.The workers all wore white cloth trousers.During their work,the trousers would be stained yellow.Even after work.when they had shed the work clothes,the yellow colour could be seen all over their bodies.Even their hair was yellow.The handicraft workers usually had on them the colour characteristic of their occupations.Dye-house workers all had blue fingertips and grain-mill workers had white eyebrows.Before,the Yuanchang had employed four workers.Every day adults and children would come to see the four tobacco peelers working.By and by the number of workers was reduced to three,two,and then one.Even the last one was later dismissed.The shop owner made a living by selling cigarettes,matches and small packs of tea.He also bought at wholesale prices two kinds of tobacco to be smoked in water pipes and long-stemmed pipes,and resold them at retail prices.The previously bright shop somehow looked sombre,and the gold characters on the lintel appeared languid.Even the counter seemed bigger and emptier.

    源昌烟店是个老字号,专卖旱烟,做门市,也做批发。一边是柜台,一边是刨烟的作坊。这一带抽的旱烟是刨成丝的。刨烟师傅把烟叶子一张一张立着叠在一个特制的木床子上,用皮绳木楔卡紧,两腿夹着床子,用一个刨刃有半尺宽的大刨子刨。烟是黄的。他们都穿了白布套裤。这套裤也都变黄了。下了工,脱了套裤,他们身上也到处是黄的。头发也是黄的。——手艺人都带着他那个行业特有的颜色。染坊师傅的指甲缝里都是蓝的,碾米师傅的眉毛总是白蒙蒙的。原来,源昌号每天有四个师傅、四副床子刨烟。每天总有一些大人孩子站在旁边看。后来减成三个,两个,一个。最后连这一个也辞了。这家的东家就靠卖一点纸烟、火柴、零包的茶叶维持生活,也还卖一点趸来的旱烟、皮丝烟。不知道为什么,原来挺敞亮的店堂变得黑暗了,牌匾上的金字也都无精打采了。那座柜台显得特别的大。大,而空。

    After Wang Er moved in,he occupied half of the shop,where the original tobacco-peeling tables once had been placed.He used to set up his stall from east to west at the Baoquantang.But now his stall at the Yuanchang was from north to south.What had once been a stall was now half a shop.With one wooden plank added to the two he already possessed,his present stall was now a terrific L-shaped counter There was more variety in the food he had for sale.In addition to the gravy-soaked dried beancurd,beef,pig's head meat and cattail bags,in spring he sold a wild bird called sandgrouse.This was a migratory bird with a long beak and long legs.As it arrived when the peach blossom bloomed,some scholar had named it"Peach Blossom Sand-grouse”.Wang sold quails,too.When winter set in.he put up a long glass frame with gilded characters on red written inside:"Delicious stewed mutton jelly and spiced rabbit's meat served today." In these residential quarters,mutton was not cooked in the home; it was all bought from stalls.The mutton was stewed with salt.Later it was frozen solid,sliced and mixed with bits of garlic leaves,hot pepper paste and the essential carrot shreds (said to be best for driving away the strong smell of mutton).Soya-bean sauce and vinegar were added at home.Rabbit's meat was cooked the same way as beef,with salt and spices,and later dyed with red leaven.

    王二来了,就占了半边店堂,就是原来刨烟师傅刨烟的地方。他的摊子原来在保全堂廊檐是东西向横放着的,迁到源昌,就改成南北向,直放了。所以,已经不能算是一个摊子,而是半个店铺了。他在原有的板子之外增加了一块,摆成一个曲尺形,俨然也就是一个柜台。他所卖的东西的品种也增加了。即以熏烧而论,除了原有的回卤豆腐干、牛肉、猪头肉、蒲包肉之外,春天,卖一种叫做“鵽”的野味——这是一种候鸟,长嘴长脚,因为是桃花开时来的,不知是哪位文人雅士给它起了一个名称叫“桃花鵽”;卖鹌鹑;入冬以后,他就挂起一个长条形的玻璃镜框,里面用大红腊笺写了泥金字:“即日起新添美味羊羔五香兔肉”。这地方人没有自己家里做羊肉的,都是从熏烧摊上买。只有一种吃法:带皮白煮,冻实,切片,加青蒜、辣椒糊,还有一把必不可少的胡萝卜丝(据说这是最能解膻气的)。酱油、醋,买回来自己加。兔肉,也像牛肉似的加盐和五香煮,染了通红的红曲。

    When the New Year came,various spring couplets appeared in the street.Some were specially designed with the shop's name.The Baoquantang had the couplet "Heaven bless common people; may all live long!'’ designed by the shop owner,a bagong.A person who passed the highest degree of imperial examination in the Qing Dynasty. Some big shops,like the draper's,posted rather ambitious couplets:“We follow Zigong One of Confucius'students,a wealthy merchant in the times of the Spring and Autumn Period. in career and imitate Taozhu A contemporary of Zigong who prospered in trade. in trade." The most popular was:"A thriving business miles and miles round; a large fortune all over the country." For shops which operated on a small margin of profit,the couplets would be modest.One of them read:"May our business thrive like grass in the blooming spring and our financial resources grow like mushrooms after the rain." The last one would be most appropriate for Wang Er's business,which was more than a stall and less than a shop.However,it had never occurred to Wang Er that he should put up a couplet like this.Besides where would he put it?The space where he had established his stall belonged to the Yuanchang.But his business was indeed like grass in the blooming spring and mushrooms after rain.The most conspicuous indicationof his prosperity was a puffing gas lamp which replaced his high-screened kerosene lamp.In those days gas lamps were used only in old-fashioned private banks and silk and satin shops.What a sight to see a gas lamp above Wang Er's delicatessen stall!By contrast,the kerosene lamp above the counter of Yuanchang Cigarette Shop looked all the dimmer.

    这条街上过年时的春联是各式各样的。有的是特制嵌了字号的。比如保全堂,就是由该店拔贡出身的东家拟制的“保我黎民,全登寿域”;有些大字号,比如布店,口气很大,贴的是“生涯宗子贡,贸易效陶朱”,最常见的是“生意兴隆通四海,财源茂盛达三江”;小本经营的买卖的则很谦虚地写出:“生意三春草,财源雨后花。”这末一副春联,用于王二的超摊子准铺子,真是再贴切不过了,虽然王二并没有想到贴这样一副春联—他也没处贴呀,这铺面的字号还是“源昌”。他的生意真是三春草、雨后花一样地起来了。“起来”最显眼的标志是他把长罩煤油灯撤掉,挂起一盏呼呼作响的汽灯。须知,汽灯这东西只有钱庄、绸缎庄才用,而王二,居然在一个熏烧摊子的上面,挂起来了。这白亮白亮的汽灯,越显得源昌柜台里的一盏煤油灯十分地暗淡了。

    Wang Er's rise to fortune could also be perceived from his other activities.He could now afford to listen to pingtan Story-telling and ballad-singing in Suzhou,Jiangsu Province,dialect. whenever he liked.Listening to pingtan was his favourite pastime.Of all the notices and posters in the street.what attracted him most were those announcing pingtan events.They were usually written in thick Chinese ink on sheets of yellow paper measuring three inches by four feet,which read:"Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Outlaws of the Marsh or Anecdotes of General Yue Fei by special invitation of so-and-so from Yangzhou at a certain Teahouse:performances given every day rain or shine as from a certain date."In those days going to a pingtan teahouse involved some consideration.Firstly it was an expensive pastime.Secondly it was also a time-consuming entertainment.Last but not least the pingtan audience generally enjoyed relatively high social status.People might talk if a deli vendor frequented the pingtan teahouse.But in recent years,Wang Er did not feel out of place sitting among the audience.He did not fear gossip anymore and went wherever it pleased him,either to the Little Fairyland or Five Willow Garden teahouses to listen to Romance of the Three Kingdoms,Outlaws of the Marsh,or Anecdotes of General Yue Fei.In the summer when the days were long he went more often,dressed in a long gown made of thin cotton or linen,with a string of cash around him.The matinee started at one o'clock.At nearly four o'clock the story-teller or ballad-singer would stop,usually at a point which was a critical juncture of the plot.A waiter of the teahouse would shout:"Please come early tomorrow!" Then the audience gradually rose to leave.At this time of the day,Wang Er still had time to do his business.Wang Er was busy all day long except for the few hours in the afternoon.The second indication of his prosperity was that during the Chinese New Year he never hesitated to stake money playing paijiu A game with domino-like tiles. .Wang Er never gambled except for the first five days of the New Year.Gambling was not prohibited during that time.It could be seen in any store.So from the first day on,the shop gate was closed.It was rather dark inside.Behind the counter of the Baoquantang,there was a narrow passage where people offered sacrifices to Shennong A person said to have been the inventor of agriculture and medicine. .As there was a skylight overhead,it was fairly bright there.After the table in front of the portrait of Shennong was pulled out,the tiles and dice were poured onto the table.Those who played mahjong were of similar social status,but the paijiu players might be from all walks of life.Except for Mr Tao and an apprentice named Chen,all clerks of the Baoquantang took part.So did the rent collector and the live-fish seller who had a scar on his left eye.Some pupils nicknamed him Bayan Har Bayan Har has the same sounds as“a scar on the eye.” Mountain.and the name stuck and spread.Everyone in the street called him Bayan Har Mountain,though some people,Wang Er for one,hardly knew the full story.

    The stakes they laid were neither high nor low,about ten strings of cash for one game.Ten strings of cash equalled three silver dollars.For higher stakes,one string of cash was divided into three parts ; 300 wenCash. ,300 wen,and 400 wen.If he got eight spots,he won double,or 600 wen; if he got nine spots,heaven spots,12 spots on one tile and 8 on the other. or earth spots,8 spots on one tile and 2 on the other. he won the whole string of 1,000 wen.Wang Er often played this game.When he staked five strings of cash on One throw,his heart did not race,and his hands did not tremble.But when the rent collector staked as much as 500 wen,his hands trembled uncontrollably.When Wang Er had won quite a lot of money,he offered to be the dealer.Strangely enough,with paijiu players,the more money one had,the more arrogant one became.More often than not.Wang Er was the winner.

    王二的发达,是从他的生活也看得出来的。第一,他可以自由地去听书。王二最爱听书。走到街上,在形形色色招贴告示中间,他最注意的是说书的报条。那是三寸宽,四尺来长的一条黄颜色的纸,浓墨写道:“特聘维扬×××先生在×××(茶馆)开讲××(三国、水浒、岳传……)是月×日起风雨无阻。”以前去听书都要经过考虑。一是花钱,二是费时间,更主要的是考虑这于他的身份不大相称:一个卖熏烧的,常常听书,怕人议论。近年来,他觉得可以了,想听就去。小蓬莱、五柳园(这都是说书的茶馆),都去,三国、水浒、岳传,都听。尤其是夏天,天长,穿了竹布的或夏布的长衫,拿了一吊钱,就去了。下午的书一点开书,不到四点钟就“明日请早”了(这里说书的规矩是在说书先生说到预定的地方,留下一个扣子,跑堂的茶房高喝一声“明日请早——!”听客们就纷纷起身散场),这耽误不了他的生意。他一天忙到晚,只有这一段时间得空。第二,过年推牌九,他在下注时不犹豫。王二平常绝不赌钱,只有过年赌五天。过年赌钱不犯禁,家家店铺里可赌钱。初一起,不做生意,铺门关起来,里面黑洞洞的。保全堂柜台里身,有一个小穿堂,是供神农祖师的地方,上面有个天窗,比较亮堂。拉开神农画像前的一张方桌,哗啦一声,骨牌和骰子就倒出来了。打麻将多是社会地位相近的,推牌九则不论。谁都可以来。保全堂的“同仁”(除了陶先生和陈相公),替人家收房钱的抡元,卖活鱼的疤眼——他曾得外症,治愈后左眼留一大疤,小学生给他起了个外号叫“巴颜喀拉山”,这外号竟传开了,一街人都叫他巴颜喀拉山,虽然有人不知道这是什么意思——王二输赢说大不大,说小可也不小。十吊钱推一庄。十吊钱相当于三块洋钱。下注稍大的是一吊钱三三四。一吊钱分三道:三百、三百、四百。七点赢一道,八点赢两道,若是抓到一副九点或是天地杠,庄家赔一吊钱。王二下“三三四”是常事。有时竟会下到五吊钱一注孤丁,把五吊钱稳稳地推出去,心不跳,手不抖。(收房钱的抡元下到五百钱一注时手就抖个不住。)赢得多了,他也能上去推两庄。推牌九这玩意,财越大,气越粗,王二输的时候竟不多。

    After Wang Er had moved his stall to the Yuanchang Tobacco Shop next door,at nine o'clock every evening he would still go to the Baoquantang with a cup of tea in his hands and sit for an hour or so.His son had grown up and could alone manage to serve the small number of customers who might turn up in the evening.

    The Baoquantang was an apothecary with a moderate shop front.For some reason,the shop owner never employed local people.All his employees from manager to water carrier came from Huaicheng.Every year they took a one-month vacation in turn during which time they were allowed to go home to be with their families.For the other eleven months they lived in the shop and their wives were "widowed" for the same period of time.All the clerks in the shop were addressed as"Mr.".Among them,the guanshi,manager,had the highest position,and also a lifelong position.The dismissal of a guanshi was rare.Only when the old guanshi had died could a new one be hired.A guanshi was entitled to"person shares",also known as "labour shares".Shares with which one does not have to contribute to the fund. He had the right to draw dividends at the end of the year like a shareholder.Consequently he was industrious and loyal to the business.He shouldered all the responsibilities in the shop as the shop owner hardly made an appearance.As was the usual practice,he lived alone in a room behind the portrait of Shennong.The general accounts book,money and precious medicines such as rhinoceros horn,antelope and musk were all locked in this room,and the key was kept in his pocket.Ginseng and pilose antler were not regarded as precious.At mealtimes the manager would sit in the last seat,the seat for the host,indicating that he played host to everyone present on behalf of the shop owner.Few people were able to rise to the post of manager.There were just a few apothecaries in the whole county.The manager of the Baoquantang was surnamed Lu.

    Clerks of the second rank were called daoshang,whose job was to cut Chinese traditional medicine into slices or shreds and "drip" bolus.Drip bolus onto a liquid coolant to be rapidly solidified. There was a great amount of medicine to be cut at the drugstore every day.Whether the yinpian Processed medicine cut into slices or shreds to be drunk after it is stewed. looked neat and beautiful or not directly affected business.An adept eye could tell by merely glancing at the yinpian what level the daoshang was.A daoshang was a skilled clerk earning the highest salary and the best reputation in the store.As a rule he sat at the second of the "honoured" seats,the first being always vacant unless there was a guest present.During festivals and on the birthday of the Founder of Medicine (said to be Sun Simiao,rather than Shennong) wine was served at mealtimes.When the manager raised the cup,the daoshang would drink the first mouthful before the others followed suit.The daoshang of Baoquantang was the best medicine cutter in the county.Should he lose his temper and threaten to resign,he would soon receive letters of appointment from other apothecaries.Nevertheless,conceited and headstrong as he might be,he hardly ever got angry.His surname was Xu.The other employees were called tongshi Colleague. .The tone of the term was somewhat queer,the stress being laid on the first character.They made out prescriptions and kept accounts.They were but common clerks and might be dismissed any year.Before one was dismissed,the manager did not say anything.He only arranged a dinner party in the last month of the year to express gratitude to everyone for their hard work in the past year.Whoever was invited to sit at the head seat would then roll his bedding and go to work elsewhere.Of course,he had already had an inkling and did not really get fired without a moment's notice.Those dismissed had such a presentiment after the Mid-Autumn Festival.Some of them had already signed agreements with other apothecaries at an earlier date.They quitted rather smartly.Others,however,would ask some people to mediate and linger in the store for another year.Those who stayed would always make a sort of self-criticism and pledge to work to the best of their ability,but "twice-baked cakes are not good to eat." One who hung on to his place after being discharged could lose face and lower his position.Mr Tao of the Baoquantang was three times on the verge of sitting at the head seat.He had a persistent cough and asthma and was anything but shrewd.He was not fired after all because some of his colleagues had helped patch things up.To him dismissal meant unemployment.Who would accept a man coughing and spitting now and then?Another reason why he remained employed was that he too had his strong points.He never went home.Although in his forties,did not have to perform the duty of rearing offspring,for he was not married.What he had to do now was to be all the more diligent and all the more prudent.Whenever he was seized with fits of asthma,on being asked,"So you are not too well these days,Mr Tao,eh?" he would answer in the midst of his coughs,"As a matter of fact,I...I'm quite well...quite...well." Then he was wheezing again.

    As it was,apart from the cooks and water-carriers,the store had virtually four ranks of people:guanshi,daoshang,tongshi and xianggong.Guanshi,daoshang,tongshi and xianggong:manager,pharmacologist,junior clerk,and apprentice.

    After being trained for three years and one solar term,the few xianggongs at the Baoquantang had completed their apprenticeships and left.The one at work now was named Chen.He had a big head,large eyes and thick lips.His voice was harsh and slurring.

    王二把他的买卖乔迁到隔壁源昌去了,但是每天九点以后他一定还是端了一杯茶到保全堂店堂里来坐个点把钟。儿子大了,晚上再来的零星生意,他一个人就可以应付了。

    且说保全堂。

    这是一家门面不大的药店。不知为什么,这药店的东家用人,不用本地人,从上到下,从管事的到挑水的,一律是淮城人。他们每年有一个月的假期,轮流回家,去干传宗接代的事。其余十一个月,都住在店里。他们的老婆就守十一个月的寡。药店的“同仁”,一律称为“先生”。先生里分为几等。一等的是“管事”,即经理。当了管事就是终身职务,很少听说过有东家把管事辞了的。除非老管事病故,才会延聘一位新管事。当了管事,就有“身股”,或称“人股”,到了年底可以按股分红。因此,他对生意是兢兢业业,忠心耿耿的。东家从不到店,管事负责一切。他照例一个人单独睡在神农像后面的一间屋子里,名叫“后柜”。总账、银钱,贵重的药材如犀角、羚羊、麝香,都锁在这间屋子里,钥匙在他身上,——人参、鹿茸不算什么贵重东西。吃饭的时候,管事总是坐在横头末席,以示代表东家奉陪诸位先生。熬到“管事”能有几人?全城一共才有那么几家药店。保全堂的管事姓卢。二等的叫“刀上”,管切药和“跌”丸药。药店每天都有很多药要切。“饮片”切得整齐不整齐,漂亮不漂亮,直接影响生意好坏。内行人一看,就知道这药是什么人切出来的。“刀上”是个技术人员,薪金最高,在店中地位也最尊。吃饭时他照例坐在上首的二席——除了有客,头席总是虚着的。逢年过节,药王生日(药王不是神农氏,却是孙思邈),有酒,管事的举杯,必得“刀上”先喝一口,大家才喝。保全堂的“刀上”是全县头一把刀,他要是闹脾气辞职,马上就有别家抢着请他去。好在此人虽有点高傲,有点倔,却轻易不发脾气。他姓许。其余的都叫“同事”。那读法却有点特别,重音在“同”字上。他们的职务就是抓药,写账。“同事”是没有什么了不起的,每年都有被辞退的可能。辞退时“管事”并不说话,只是在腊月有一桌辞年酒,算是东家向“同仁”道一年的辛苦,只要是把哪位“同事”请到上席去,该“同事”就二话不说,客客气气地卷起铺盖另谋高就。当然,事前就从旁漏出一点风声的,并不当真是打一闷棍。该辞退“同事”在八月节后就有预感。有的早就和别家谈好,很潇洒地走了;有的则请人斡旋,留一年再看。后一种,总要作一点“检讨”,下一点“保证”。“回炉的烧饼不香”,辞而不去,面上无光,身价就低了。保全堂的陶先生,就已经有三次要被请到上席了。他咳嗽痰喘,人也不精明。终于没有坐上席,一则是同行店伙纷纷来说情:辞了他,他上谁家去呢?谁家会要这样一个痰篓子呢?这岂非绝了他的生计?二则,他还有一点好处,即不回家。他四十多岁了,却没有传宗接代的任务,因为他没有娶过亲。这样,陶先生就只有更加勤勉,更加谨慎了。每逢他的喘病发作时,有人问:“陶先生,你这两天又不大好吧?”他就一面喘嗽着一面说:“啊不,很好,很(呼噜呼噜)好!”

    以上,是“先生”一级。“先生”以下,是学生意的。药店管学生意的却有一个奇怪称呼,叫做“相公”。

    因此,这药店除煮饭挑水的之外,实有四等人:“管事”、“刀上”、“同事”、“相公”。

    保全堂的几位“相公”都已经过了三年零一节,满师走了。现有的“相公”姓陈。

    陈相公脑袋大大的,眼睛圆圆的,嘴唇厚厚的,说话声气粗粗的——呜噜呜噜地说不清楚。

    He rose earlier than anyone else in the shop.The first thing in the morning,he emptied and brushed all the chamberpots of his fellow clerks,and then left them in the toilet.After that,he swept the floor,cleaned tables,chairs and the counter,dusted the furniture and opened the doors.Doors in this area were all made of planks about one foot wide,fitted in the slots of frames and thresholds.Chen pulled down the planks one after another and set them upright against the wall in the order of E1,E2,E3,E4,Wl,W2,W3,W4.E,w:referring to east and west respectively. Another task he did was expose medicine to the sun.At sunrise he placed the medicine cut and dripped by Mr Xu onto a round shallow basket,placed it on his head,climbed up a ladder and laid it down on the flat roof.Towards evening he went there again to take it back.This was his happiest moment of the day.He had a chance to look around from this high spot.He saw the roofs of many shops and houses which were pitch black.He saw green trees in the distance and slow-moving sails behind the trees.He saw pigeons.He saw drifting and fluttering kites.He saw,too,miraculous clouds on July evenings,mysterious,flexible and varying in colour.They were grey,white,yellow,tangerine,or with gold lining.They kept changing,taking the shape of a lion,tiger,horse,or dog.Chen at that time was really happy and relaxed.Apart from that moment,the days appeared to him routine and monotonous.Still another task was to pound medicine.He walked back and forth on a wooden board placed in a boat-shaped iron trough.If it was pepper,he sneezed continually.He also had to cut paper.He used a large curved knife to cut stacks of white paper into squares of different sizes to wrap the medicine.Still another task was to print wrapping paper.He had two more routine tasks during the day.In the morning,he rolled many paper spills for smoking waterpipes.He turned the coin rack upside down and rolled paper spills on it one after another.Although no one in the Baoquantang smoked a water pipe,it had somehow become a practice to get them ready every day in case some outsiders needed them.In the afternoon Chen cleaned the lamp-chimneys.More than ten oil lamps were used in the shop,and all the lamp-chimneys had to be rubbed once a day.In the evening Chen spread poultices on pieces of cloth.He was doing that from the time when people began to light oil lamps to the time that Wang Er came over to sit and chat.After ten he placed the chamberpots under the clerks' beds and blew out the lamps.After latching the door,he could make his bed and sleep.The clerks slept in the back side rooms,but Chen slept alone in the sitting room.After he laid down the bed board and unrolled his bedding,the small world was entirely his now.Before he slept,he would always recite a few passages from Medical Recipes in Jingles.Those working at the apothecary had to know something about medicine.Families of limited means could not go to the doctor when someone was sick.Thus,if someone came to the apothecary to state the symptoms of an illness,the staff had to be able to say at once,"Drink a dose of bupleurum," "Take three doses of Huoxiangzhengqiwan”,Huoxiangzhengqiwan:pills with agastache rugosa as the main ingredient. or "Apply some Qilisan".Qilisan:a common Chinese medicine used to care for injuries and kill pain. Sometimes he sat in his quilt and thought about his family,about his mother who had been widowed for many years,and about a Spring Festival picture of a unicorn and a boy,which had hung behind the door for many years.He thought and thought until he got tired.He began to snore heavily as soon as his head touched the pillow.

    Xianggong Chen had been learning the trade for over a year now.He had burnt joss-sticks thirty times before Marshal Zhao and Shennong.It was his routine work on the first and the fifteenth of every month.Marshal Zhao rode on a black tiger with a golden whip in his hand.On his right and left side was a eight-inch-long couplet in gilded characters against a black background:"Golden whip in hand,he is coming with treasures; black tiger under his legs,he is bringing us riches." Shennong wore long hair and curly whiskers.He was stark-naked apart from a wreath of large leaves round his waist.He had long fingernails and toenails.He was seated on a rock with one hand clutching a head of glossy ganoderma.Chen was familiar with these two idols and was most pious when burning joss-sticks.

    他一天的生活如下:起得比谁都早。起来就把“先生”们的尿壶都倒了涮干净控在厕所里。扫地。擦桌椅、擦柜台。到处掸土。开门。这地方的店铺大都是“铺闼子门”——一列宽可一尺的厚厚的门板嵌在门框和门槛的槽子里。陈相公就一块一块卸出来,按“东一”、“东二”、“东三”、“东四”、“西一”、“西二”、“西三”、“西四”次序,靠墙竖好。晒药,收药。太阳出来时,把许先生切好的“饮片”、“跌”好的丸药——都放在匾筛里,用头顶着,爬上梯子,到屋顶的晒台上放好;傍晚时再收下来。这是他一天最快乐的时候。他可以登高四望。看得见许多店铺和人家的房顶,都是黑黑的。看得见远处的绿树,绿树后面缓缓移动的帆。看得见鸽子,看得见飘动摇摆的风筝。到了七月,傍晚,还可以看巧云。七月的云多变幻,当地叫做“巧云”。那是真好看呀:灰的、白的、黄的、橘红的,镶着金边,一会一个样,像狮子的,像老虎的,像马、像狗的。此时的陈相公,真是古人所说的“心旷神怡”。其余的时候,就很刻板枯燥的。碾药。两脚踏着木板,在一个船形的铁碾糟子里碾。倘若碾的是胡椒,就要不停地打喷嚏。裁纸。用一个大弯刀,把一沓一沓的白粉连纸裁成大小不等的方块,包药用。刷印包装纸。他每天还有两项例行的公事。上午,要搓很多抽水烟用的纸枚子。把装铜钱的钱板翻过来,用“表心纸”一根一根地搓。保全堂没有人抽水烟,但不知什么道理每天都要搓许多纸枚子,谁来都可取几根,这已经成了一种“传统”。下午,擦灯罩。药店里里外外,要用十来盏煤油灯。所有灯罩,每天都要擦一遍。晚上,摊膏药。从上灯起,直到王二过店堂里来闲坐,他一直都在摊膏药。到十点多钟,把先生们的尿壶都放到他们的床下,该吹灭的灯都吹灭了,上了门,他就可以准备睡觉了。先生们都睡在后面的厢屋里,陈相公睡在店堂里。把铺板一放,铺盖摊开,这就是他一个人的天地了。临睡前他总要背两篇《汤头歌诀》——药店的先生总要懂一点医道。小户人家有病不求医,到药店来说明病状,先生们随口就要说出:“吃一剂小柴胡汤吧”,“服三付霍香正气丸”,“上一点七厘散”。有时,坐在被窝里想一会家,想想他的多年守寡的母亲,想想他家房门背后的一张贴了多年的麒麟送子的年画。想不一会,困了,把脑袋放倒,立刻就响起了很大的鼾声。

    陈相公已经学了一年多生意了。他已经给赵公元帅和神农爷烧了三十次香。初一、十五,都要给这二位烧香,这照例是陈相公的事。赵公元帅手执金鞭,身骑黑虎,两旁有一副八寸长的黑地金字的小对联:“手执金鞭驱宝至,身骑黑虎送财来。”神农爷虬髯披发,赤身露体,腰里围着一圈很大的树叶,手指甲、脚趾甲都很长,一只手捏着一棵灵芝草,坐在一块石头上。陈相公对这二位看得很熟,烧香的时候很虔敬。

    Chen frequently got beatings,as was common with apprentices.But Chen seemed to be beaten more than was his due.In most cases he was thrashed because he had committed errors such as cutting paper aslant,or breaking a lamp-chimney while rubbing it.The boy did not seem clever.His memory was poor and his movements slow.He was most frequently thrashed by Mr Lu.Not that Mr Lu had an exceptionally quick temper,but that thrashing was for the good of the boy,for making him somebody in the world.One day he got a thorough beating.When descending the stairs after getting the medicine back from exposure to the sun,he missed a step and upset a whole round basket of alismatis into the sewer.It was Mr Xu who beat him this time.Mr Xu gave him a sound beating by means of a wooden door latch.The boy screamed with pain,"Oh,my!My!I won't do it again.Oh,my!It's all my fault,my!"And no-body could persuade Mr Xu to stop the beating.Everyone knew how he was.The more you tried to stop him,the more fiercely he would beat the boy.What's more,it was a big blunder the boy had committed.(Alismatis was not really precious,but cutting it was time-consuming for it had to be cut into copper-shaped round pieces of equal thickness.) After some time,it was Lao Zhu,the cook,who managed to stop the beating.As everybody knew,Lao Zhu was honest and upright by nature and in the employment of the store the longest.He went to work the earliest of all but hardly ever had a good meal.What he had was just the remaining soup and juice mixed with some rice crust after everyone else had eaten.His fellow clerks all looked at him in awe.He seized the door latch from Mr Xu's hand and remarked,"He is as much flesh and blood as everyone else."

    陈相公老是挨打。学生意没有不挨打的,陈相公挨打的次数也似稍多了一点。挨打的原因大都是因为做错了事:纸裁歪了,灯罩擦破了。这孩子也好像不大聪明,记性不好,做事迟钝。打他的多是卢先生。卢先生不是暴脾气,打他是为他好,要他成人。有一次可挨了大打。他收药,下梯一脚踩空了,把一匾筛泽泻翻到了阴沟里。这回打他的是许先生。他用一根闩门的木棍没头没脸地把他痛打了一顿,打得这孩子哇哇地乱叫:“哎呀!哎呀!我下回不了!下回不了!哎呀!哎呀!我错了!哎呀!哎呀!”谁也不能去劝,因为知道许先生的脾气,越劝越打得凶,何况他这回的错是不小。(泽泻不是贵药,但切起来很费工,要切成厚薄一样状如铜钱的圆片。)后来还是煮饭的老朱来劝住了。这老朱来得比谁都早,人又出名的忠诚耿直。他从来没有正经吃过一顿饭,都是把大家吃剩的残汤剩水泡一点锅巴吃。因此,一店人都对他很敬畏。他一把夺过许先生手里的门闩,说了一句话:“他也是人生父母养的!”

    Chen did not even dare to cry when he was being flogged.In the evening,after the door was shut,he sobbed for quite a long while.He said to his mother who was in the distant hometown:"Mum,I've had another beating.Don't worry,Mum.Just two more years' of beating,and I will be able to make you a living."

    Wang Er came to the Baoquantang every day because the place was full of bustle and excitement.Other stores were deserted after nine o'clock with just an accountant balancing the books and an apprentice taking catnaps.But at the Baoquantang there was a large assembly of people,all homeless bachelors.Among those present were also a few frequent visitors such as qiangyuan,the rent collector,Bayan Har Mountain,the live-fish seller,Lao Bing who lit and prepared opium for others,and a man named Zhang Han,who was a relative and hanger-on of the Lian family,who owned the Wanshun Sauce and Pickle Shop opposite the Baoquantang.Zhang Han's full name was Zhang Hanxuan.He was frequently referred to as Zhang Han perhaps because since he had been reduced to sponging on others,the character xuan Xuan:imposing or impressive appearance. did not befit him.Zhang Han was seventy now.He was a spitting image of Voltaire,with a tapering face and a pointed nose.He had worked as assistant to a ranking official in his younger days,having been to many places and having really seen the world.He was a know-all.Take tobacco-smoking for example.He would tell you that there were five kinds:waterpipe,long-stem pipe,snuff,"refined"tobacco (vs.opium) and Chao tobacco.Chao tobacco:a kind of tobacco produced in Chaoan in Guangdong Province. The last variety was never found in these regions.For alcohol-drinking,he could give a list of names like Shandong yellow,number one red,lotus white ...For tea-drinking,he would mention the Longjing of Shifeng Longjing of Shifeng:a famous green tea of Hangzhou. and the Biluochun of Suzhou how tea YunnanBiluochun:helically curved green tea of Suzhou. was roasted in a jar and how the tea cup for the Gongfu Tea Gongfu:time-taking. of Fujian was even smaller than the tiny handleless wine cup,and that the tea was so strong that three small cups of it were sufficient to go with an entire leg of stewed pork.He was most familiar with Zibuyu,Zibuyu:a collection of ghost stories in twenty-four volumes written by Yuan Mei of the Qing Dynasty. and Stories of Autumn Rainy Nights.Stories of Autumn Rainy Nights:Similar stories about ghosts and spirits. He could tell many ghost stories.He knew how people released venomous insects in Yunnan and how people in the western part of Hunan drove standing corpses home.He had seen.with his own eyes drought ghosts,walking corpses and fox spirits.He could not only give a detailed description of them but tell exactly when and where he had seen them.He knew people of all ranks.He had knowledge,too,of witchcraft,fortune-telling,astrology and physiognomy.For he had read Physiognomy by the Hemp-clothed Daoist Priest and Physiognomy of Willow Village and could tell people's fortunes from Qimendunjia,Liurenke and Lingqijing.Qimendunjia,Liurenke,Lingqijing:superstitious books used to foretell luck,evil,woe and felicity. He never made his appearance until about nine o'clock.(What he did in the daytime was anybody's guess.) People were elated from the moment he came,and he did almost all the talking the whole evening.He was a great story-teller.His stories all followed a logical sequence,with an introduction,development,transition and summing-up.He spoke in a rhythmical tone,rising and falling,with modulation and cadence.His descriptions were vivid and lifelike.Just like a pingtan actor,he would stop at a most critical juncture and leisurely puff at his pipe.The anxious listeners would ask over and over again,"What happened then?" "What happened later?" This was also a happy time for Xianggong Chen.He listened while spreading ointment.When he was too much absorbed in listening,the bamboo stick would stay too long on the oil paper and would waste a sheet of ointment.The moment he realized this,he would hurriedly tuck the sheet of ointment stealthily into his pocket.Nobody would discover it,and nobody would beat him for it.

    陈相公挨了打,当时没敢哭。到了晚上,上了门,一个人呜呜地哭了半天。他向他远在故乡的母亲说:“妈妈,我又挨打了!妈妈,不要紧的,再挨两年打,我就能养活你老人家了!”

    王二每天到保全堂店堂里来,是因为这里热闹。别的店铺到九点多钟,就没有什么人,往往只有一个管事在算账,一个学徒在打盹。保全堂正是高朋满座的时候。这些先生都是无家可归的光棍,这时都聚集到店堂里来。还有几个常客,收房钱的抡元,卖活鱼的巴颜喀拉山,给人家熬鸦片烟的老炳,还有一个张汉。这张汉是对门万顺酱园连家的一个亲戚兼食客,全名是张汉轩,大家却都叫他张汉。大概是觉得已经沦为食客,就不必“轩”了。此人有七十岁了,长得活脱像一个伏尔泰,一张尖脸,一个尖尖的鼻子。他年轻时在外地做过幕僚,走过很多地方,见多识广,什么都知道,是个百事通。比如说抽烟,他就告诉你烟有五种:水、旱、鼻、雅、潮,“雅”是鸦片。“潮”是潮烟,这地方谁也没见过。说喝酒,他就能说出山东黄、状元红、莲花白……说喝茶,他就告诉你狮峰龙井、苏州的碧螺春,云南的“烤茶”是在怎样一个罐里烤的,福建的功夫茶的茶杯比酒盅还小,就是吃了一只炖肘子,也只能喝三杯,这茶太酽了。他熟读《子不语》、《夜雨秋灯录》,能讲许多鬼狐故事。他还知道云南怎样放蛊,湘西怎样赶尸。他还亲眼见到过旱魃、僵尸、狐狸精,有时间,有地点,有鼻子有眼。三教九流,医卜星相,他全知道。他读过《麻衣神相》、《柳庄神相》,会算“奇门遁甲”、“六壬课”、“灵棋经”。他总要到快九点钟时才出现(白天不知道他干什么),他一来,大家精神为之一振,这一晚上就全听他一个人白话。他很会讲,起承转合,抑扬顿挫,有声有色。他也像说书先生一样,说到筋节处就停住了,慢慢地抽烟,急得大家一个劲地催他:“后来呢?后来呢?”这也是陈相公一天比较快乐的时候。他一边摊着膏药,一边听着。有时,听得太入神了,摊膏药的扦子停留在油纸上,会废掉一张膏药。他一发现,赶紧偷偷塞进口袋里。这时也不会被发现,不会挨打。

    One day Zhang Han talked of predestination.He said that Zhu Hongwu,Shen Wanshan and Fan Dan were all born at the first cock-crow of the second earthly branch of the same day of the same month of the same year."But following the cock-crow," he went on to say,"their destinies fell into three different classes.High and lofty was Zhu Hongwu,who became an emperor; beneath was Shen Wanshan,who turned out one of the wealthiest businessmen; doomed to death was Fan Dan the pauper,who died of cold and starvation." He added that those who were able to develop their abilities to the fullest and were thoroughly accomplished in their careers all had unusual appearances or special talents.Liu Bang,founder and first emperor of the Han Dynasty,had seventy-two black moles on his buttocks—who else had that?Zhu Yuanzhang,founder and first emperor of the Ming Dynasty,had a most striking appearance from birth—his temples,cheekbones and chin all protruding like five mountains on earth rising upward.Was there another who resembled him?Fan Kuai could eat the whole of a pig's leg raw.Zhang Yide of Yan Yan:present-day Hebei Province. slept with his eyes open.Even common traders with capital luck all possessed special qualities.It is the extraordinary person who accomplishes extraordinary things.To this,everybody nodded in agreement.

    有一天,张汉谈起人生有命。说朱洪武、沈万山、范丹是同年同月同日同时,都是丑时建生,鸡鸣头遍。但是一声鸡叫,可就命分三等了:抬头朱洪武,低头沈万山,勾一勾就是穷范丹。朱洪武贵为天子,沈万山富甲天下,穷范丹冻饿而死。他又说凡是成大事业,有大作为,兴旺发达的,都有异相,或有特殊的秉赋。汉高祖刘邦,股有七十二黑子——就是屁股上有七十二颗黑痣,谁有过?明太祖朱元璋,生就是五岳朝天——两额、两颧、下巴,都突出,状如五岳,谁有过?樊哙能把一个整猪腿生吃下去,燕人张翼德,睡着了也睁着眼睛。就是市井之人,凡有走了一步好运的,也莫不有与众不同之处。必有非常之人,乃成非常之事。大家听了,不禁暗暗点头。

    Zhang Han took a few strong puffs at his long-stemmed pipe.Then he turned to Wang Er,the thread of his discourse suddenly altered:"Take Wang Er,he must also possess some special gift that accounts for his prosperity and fortune."

    "...?"

    Wang Er was quite at a loss at the term"special gift".

    "It means unusual quality that is different from everybody else's.Do tell us about yours."

    "Speak up!" "Out with it!" Everyone encouraged him.

    Despite the small fortune he had amassed,Wang Er was conscious of his own status and had never dared to appear arrogant or self-important.At the others' repeated pleadings,he said sincerely,"Perhaps just this.I separate passing my water from moving my bowels." Fearing he had not made himself understood,he explained,"In the lavatory,I always pass water first,and then have a bowel movement."

    At this Zhang Han clapped and shouted:"So!Feces and urine don't come out together.That is something uncommon."

    张汉猛吸了几口旱烟,忽然话锋一转,向王二道:“即以王二而论,他这些年飞黄腾达,财源茂盛,也必有其异秉。”

    “……?"

    王二不解何为“异秉”。

    “就是与众不同,和别人不一样的地方。你说说,你说说!”

    大家也都怂恿王二:“说说!说说!”

    王二虽然发了一点财,却随时不忘自己的身份,从不僭越自大,在大家敦促之下,只有很诚恳地欠一欠身说:

    “我呀,有那么一点:大小解分清。”他怕大家不懂,又解释道:“我解手时,总是先解小手,后解大手。”

    张汉一听,拍了一下手,说:“就是说,不是屎尿一起来,难得!”

    This said,it was past ten thirty.Everyone rose to their feet and bade good night to one another.It was time to latch the doors.Mr Lu glanced towards the counter,only to find Xianggong Chen missing."Xianggong Chen!Xianggong Chen!" he cried a few times.There was no response.

    By this time Xianggong Chen was in the lavatory.Mr Tao found him crouching there when he went himself.However it wasn't the usual time for either of them to move his bowels.

    说着,已经过了十点半了,大家起身道别。该上门了。卢先生向柜台里一看,陈相公不见了,就大声喊:“陈相公!”

    喊了几声,没人应声。

    原来陈相公在厕所里。这是陶先生发现的。他一头走进厕所,发现陈相公已经蹲在那里。本来,这时候都不是他们俩解大手的时候。

    Drafted 1948Revised May 20,1980

    Translated by Gong Huanmin

    一九四八年旧稿一九八〇年五月二十日重写 (责任编辑:admin)
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