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[小说坊]大奖来自白马城White Horse Winner

LEARNING.SOHU.COM    2004年12月8日10:57    来源:[ 双语时代 ] 
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  He arrived in New York City at John F. Kennedy airport. He was a very old man, but fit, and having come a long way--from eighty miles outside of White Horse, Canada. He made his home in as desolate a place as exists anywhere in the world, but he had left it for good reason: to collect his prize. A few days earlier he had received in the mail a colorful document, which stated:

  他乘机抵达了纽约肯尼迪机场。虽然他岁数很大,但很健康,而且刚从一个遥远的地方赶来——加拿大白马城外80公里外的某个地方。他住在一个荒芜的地方,这种地方在全世界都少有,不过,一个绝佳的理由使他走出了自己的家:去领奖。就在几天前,他收到了一封邮件,里面有一张彩色文件,上面写着:

  Mr. Peter Finch 彼得·芬奇先生

  Rural Delivery, 33Y 乡村邮政处,33Y

  White Horse, Canada 白马城,加拿大

  You, Mr. Finch, have won 您,芬奇先生,获得了

  $1,000,000 US dollars 100万美元的

  from The American Magazine Company. 美国杂志公司大奖。

  A more skeptical recipient would have read the fine print, but Finch was not a skeptic, and besides his eyesight was fading. Junk mail was, for Mr. Finch, not junk at all, but something to be savored. No marketing guru concerned with upscale demographics ever wanted to single out White Horse, let alone a ten-person "suburb" of that metropolis of desolation. And since he had no relatives, and all the friends that he knew had either died or left the suburb of White Horse without any burning desire to write once they had escaped, junk mail was as close to a warm personal greeting that he ever received.

  一个人只要生性再多疑一点,就不会不读信上的小字,可芬奇不是怀疑论者,而且他的视力一直都在下降。垃圾邮件对芬奇先生来讲根本就不是垃圾,而是某种具有欣赏价值的东西。没有哪个关注高消费群体的营销巨子曾想过要选中白马城这个地方,更别说是这个荒凉小城中只有10人居住的 “郊区”了。他没有亲戚,而他认识的所有朋友不是死了,就是已经离开了这个白马城的郊区,而且这些人一旦离开就根本不愿再往这里写信,所以,垃圾邮件就像他收到过的私人信函一样,使其倍感亲切。

  Before undertaking his journey, Mr. Finch had shown his prize document to his associates, and those that could read were as impressed as those who couldn't.

  在动身之前,芬奇先生让他的伙伴们看了他的中奖文件,无论是识字的还是不识字的都对此惊叹不已。

  He took a cab from the airport to The American Magazine Company headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

  他在机场叫了一辆出租车,随后前往美国杂志公司位于曼哈顿中心区的总部。

  "I won the big prize," Finch said as he approached the guard in the front of the building. The guard pointed to the lobby where a polite, well-dressed young receptionist greeted him, ①relieved him of the great burden of carrying his award junk mail (Finch held as if it were a sacramental document), and offered him a cup of tea.

  “我中了大奖。” 芬奇走到大楼门前的警卫面前对他说道。警卫告诉他去大厅,在那里,一个礼貌、衣着端庄的年轻接待员接待了他,并接过了他的获奖垃圾邮件,这时芬奇才如释重负(芬奇就好像拿着圣典文件一样握着这封邮件),随后接待员给他递上了一杯茶。

  "We have another one," the polite receptionist said into the telephone ②out of earshot of Mr. Finch.

  “又来了一个。”这个礼貌的接待员冲着电话说道,由于声音很小,芬奇先生没有听到。

  Minutes later the Director of Sweepstakes stepped into the lobby, greeting Mr. Finch more warmly than he had been greeted in years. Her name was Betsy Anderson and she treated Finch as if he were the grandfather she never knew.

  几分钟后,中奖事务主任走进大厅,向芬奇先生问好,这一问候比芬奇先生许多年来受到过的问候还要热情。她叫贝特西·安德森,在接待芬奇时,她仿佛就把芬奇当作了她未曾谋面的祖父。

  Since they had already identified all of the genuine winners there was no doubt at all that Mr. Finch was a loser. But one had to go through the act and pretend to carefully inspect the document, and Betsy Anderson could never be faulted for not creating the right impression. After dutifully inspecting the sweepstakes form, she turned to him.

  由于他们已经确认了所有真正中奖的人,所以毫无疑问的是,芬奇先生是个输家。但是,还是必须要走个过场,假装仔细检验一下文件,这一点上贝特西·安德森就做得很好,让人无可挑剔。在认真检查完中奖表格后,她转向了他。

  "I'm afraid you didn't win, Mr. Finch. I've checked the numbers," Betsy Anderson said, Director of the Sweepstakes. "I'm very sorry. Very sorry."

  “恐怕您没有中奖,芬奇先生。我已经查看了这些数字。” 中奖事务主任贝特西·安德森说道,“我感到非常抱歉。非常抱歉。”

  "But it says that I have won," Mr. Finch replied. "It says so. We can read up in White Horse you know."

  “但是上面说我中奖了啊。”芬奇先生回复到。“上面是这么说的。你知道,我们白马城的人可都是识字的。”

  It was obvious to Ms. Anderson that this would be a difficult case.

  很明显,对安德森女士来说,这件事有点棘手。

  "It's in the fine print. It says that you may have been a winner," Ms. Anderson said. "Some people get confused by it though."

  “是小字上说的。小字上说您可能是一名中奖者。”安德森女士说,“有些人是会被这些小字搞混了的。”

  Idiots mostly. Idiots got confused. But Finch did not seem so much like an idiot as merely gullible. Perhaps he was just lonely and ③starved for affection.

  而所谓的有些人大多是白痴。白痴才会被搞混呢。但芬奇不太像一个白痴,倒更像是一个轻易受骗的人。这可能是因为他倍感孤独、渴望得到他人理睬的缘故吧。

  Peter Finch renewed his plea. He explained that he had come all the way from White Horse. He explained again, and again. And he refused to leave.

  彼得·芬奇重复说明着他的理由。他解释说,他从白马城一路赶来。他解释了一遍又一遍。而且他拒绝离开。

  Mr. Finch described how he had read The American Magazine for over 50 years, and how he had grown to depend upon it during the almost everlasting winters in White Horse. It helped keep him alive during the long Januarys and Februarys when the sun did not even shine at all. He told about how he had used the magazine to start fires sometimes when the kindling had been exhausted. He told of how he had used its paper for making crude bandages for his dogs when there was nothing else. He told of a thousand uses of The American Magazine that Ms. Betsy Anderson had never contemplated.

  芬奇先生描述了他是如何在50多年的时间里坚持订阅《美国杂志》,以及他是如何在白马城那些几乎漫无边际的冬季里以这个杂志来打发时间的。这个杂志还帮助他在那些不见天日、漫长的一二月里生存下去。他讲述了在生火的引子用完之后他是如何用这个杂志来引火的。他讲述了在没有其它可用的东西时他是如何用杂志内页来为他的那些狗制作简易绷带的。关于《美国杂志》的用途,他讲了一千条之多,而这些用途贝特西·安德森绝对想都没想过。

  And then Betsy Anderson took up the phone and called Alfred Williams, Chairman of the Board, and asked him to come down. A few moments later Mr. Williams was introduced and took a chair and listened to an impassioned speech from Mr. Finch about how he knew he must have won, and how he had depended upon The American Magazine through so many very bad times over more than fifty years. The American Magazine just couldn't cheat him, he knew that.

  过了一会儿,贝特西·安德森拿起电话,叫来了董事会主席阿尔弗雷德·威廉姆斯,请他来解决此事。片刻之后,威廉姆斯来了,他坐在一张椅子上,倾听芬奇先生情绪激昂地辩解他怎么知道自己肯定是中了奖,以及他是如何在50多年的时间里依靠《美国杂志》来熬过那些艰难岁月的。《美国杂志》就是不会欺骗他,他清楚这一点。

  After more than two hours of tea and discussion, Mr. Williams took the airline ticket from Mr. Finch and said that The American Magazine would be happy to reimburse him. Indeed, The Chairman of the Board thought it would be a good idea to do a story on Mr. Finch's dependence on The American Magazine and would even pay him royalties for the privilege.

  一边喝着茶、一边争论着,就这样两个小时过去了,威廉姆斯从芬奇先生那里拿过机票,对他说美国杂志公司愿意给他报销。这位董事会主席确实在想,如果把芬奇先生对《美国杂志》的信赖写成故事,会是一个不错的主意,他甚至会为此支付版税。

  When Mr. Finch left he could say with truthfulness that he had been a winner.

  当芬奇先生离开的时候,他坚定地说他就是中奖者。

  When he returned to the suburb of White Horse with a photographer and a writer he became famous--perhaps a redundant term in an enclave of only ten people, but famous was the only way to describe it. The nine other people in his group treated him like a celebrity, and speculated who would acquire his legacy after his death.

  当他与一名摄影师和一个作家返回白马城郊区时,他出名了——这个词可能在这个只有10人居住的僻壤里有些多余,但“出名”是唯一可以用来形容这个局面的词汇。他所在圈子里的其余9人像对待名人一样招待他,并推测着谁会在其死后继承他的遗产。

  When the story was published they acquired one hundred magazine copies even though they did not know nearly that many people to share it with. Of course he never exhibited any signs of great wealth. Still, following his trip he seemed much happier for having visited New York after living his life in such an abject wilderness. He also often liked to describe to his friends the huge granite headquarters of the famous magazine, and the friendly manners of its executives.

  当这个故事出版以后,他们要了一百份杂志,虽然他们几乎不认识那么多可以分享这些杂志的人。当然,他从来没显露出他获得巨额财富的迹象。尽管如此,在他远行归来后,他似乎显得要乐观得多,因为在这个穷乡僻壤生活了大半辈子之后他曾造访了纽约。他还经常向他的朋友们描述这个著名杂志总部所在的高大花岗岩建筑,以及这个公司里态度友善的工作人员。

  When he died, he would always be remembered as the lucky man who had won millions from an American publishing company. None of his friends would ever ④figure out to whom he left his money, but speculation on the matter filled many dark winters for the remaining inhabitants of a suburb of White Horse.

  在他死的时候,人们总要提起他是一名幸运儿,曾获得一家美国出版公司的数百万美元大奖。他的朋友中没有人知道他把钱留给了谁,但是住在这个白马城郊区的其余居民不断猜测着这个事情,借此来打发一个个暗无天日的冬季时光。

Comment

  White Horse Winner is a humorous and heart-warming story that contrasts the naivety of a rural old man with the sophistication of an urban corporation. The author is careful to portray Mr. Finch as being gullible and unworldly, stressing that a "more sceptical" person would not be taken in by this document. In stark contrast to this, the executives of the magazine are cynical and experienced. Despite not having any intention of giving Mr. Finch a prize they maintain a friendly facade. They see him as just another case.

  From the outset, the reader expects that Mr. Finch is heading towards a catastrophic disappointment. However, the same character trait that allowed him to get in to this situation also helped him to come out on top. His refusal to believe that The American Magazine could possibly cheat him finally overpowers and humanizes the magazine executives. Mr. Finch is rewarded with money, relative fame, and some excitement in an otherwise dull life.

  《大奖来自白马城》是一个幽默、感人的故事,一个乡村老人的朴实和一家城市公司的狡诈在这个故事中形成了对比。作者在描绘芬奇先生容易受骗、不暗世故时小心谨慎,强调一个“生性再多疑一点”的人也不会上这个文件的当。与这形成鲜明对比的是,这个杂志工作人员的玩世不恭和经验丰富。尽管根本就没打算给芬奇先生发奖,可他们还是保持着一副友善的面孔。他们只是把他当作又一件需要处理的事情。

  从一开始,读者就预测芬奇先生正走向一个极其失望的结局。然而,使其陷入这个局面的同一性格特点却帮助他走向成功。他不相信《美国杂志》可能会骗他,而这最终征服和感化了这个杂志的工作人员。作为回报,芬奇先生得到了金钱和一定的名气,并使其原本沉闷的生活增添了一些令人兴奋的事情。

单词表:

  desolate /`des9lit/ adj.荒凉的;无人烟的

  skeptical /`skeptik9l/ adj.怀疑性的;好怀疑的

  fine print 极小的字体

  savor /`seiv9/ v.品味

  guru /`Gur6/ n. (受下属崇敬的)领袖;头头

  upscale /`7pskeil/ adj.高消费阶层的

  demographics /dem9`Gr2fiks/ n.人口统计

  metropolis /mi`tr4p9lis/ n.主要都市;都会

  desolation /,des9`leiH9n/ n.荒芜;荒废

  cab /k2b/ n.出租车

  sacramental /s2kr9`mentl/ adj.圣礼的;圣典的

  sweepstakes /`sw1psteiks/ n.赌金

  lobby /`l4bi/ v.游说

  dutifully /`dj6tifuli/ adv.忠实地;尽职地

  plea /pl1/ n.辩解;托词

  everlasting /,ev9`l3stiM/ adj.永恒的;持久的

  kindling /`kindliM/ n.引火柴;引火物

  exhaust /iG`z5st/ vt.用尽;耗尽

  bandage /`b2ndidE/ n.绷带

  impassioned /im`p2H(9)nd/ adj.充满热情的;慷慨激昂的

  reimburse /,r1im`b8s/ v.偿还;报销

  royalty /`r4i9lti/ n.版税;特许权使用费

  redundant /ri`d7nd9nt/ adj.多余的

  enclave /`enkleiv/ n.被包围的领土

  legacy /`leG9si/ n.遗产

  abject /`2bdEekt/ adj.卑鄙的;可怜的

  granite /`Gr2nit/ n.花岗岩

  inhabitant /in`h2bit9nt/ n.居民;居住者

  ① relieve of 减轻……的……

  ② out of earshot of 在(某人)的听力范围之外

  ③ starve for 渴望

  ④ figure out领会到

  

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