The Deer And The Cauldron 10

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The Deer And The Cauldron 10
第十回 尽有狂言容数子 每从高会厕诸公
Chapter 10
In which Trinket leaves his Victim and attends an Eventful Gathering
  韦小宝从上书房侍候了康熙下来,又到御膳房去。Returning to the Imperial kitchens from his duties with Kang Xi in the Upper Library, Trinket did not have long to wait for Butcher Qian’s arrival.过不多时,钱老板带着四名伙计,抬了两口洗剥得干干净净的大肥猪到来,每一口净肉便有三百来斤,This time the butcher had four assistants with him, carrying between them the neatly butchered, immaculately clean carcasses of two large, fat pigs, each, at a rough estimate, representing not less than three hundred catties of pork.向韦小宝道:“桂公公,你老人家一早起身,吃这茯苓花雕猪最有补益,’Laurie Goong-goong, ‘ he told Trinket, ‘to get the most value out of this China-root pork, you want to eat some each day, as soon as you get up in the morning.最好是现割现烤。小人将一口猪送到你老人家房中,It’s best if you cut only as much as you need at one time and roast it straight away. I’ll have one of these pigs carried to your quarters now.明儿一早,你老人家就可割来烤了吃,吃不完的,再命厨房里做成咸肉。”You’ll be able to cut some off yourself and roast it first thing tomorrow. What you can’t eat yourself you can get the folk in the kitchen here to make salt pork of.’

  韦小宝知他必有深意,便道:“你倒想得周到。那就跟我来。”钱老板将一口光猪留在厨房,另一口抬到韦小宝屋中。Realizing that there must be some hidden purpose behind all this, Trinket thanked him for the advice and offered to show him the way, whereupon Butcher Qian, leaving one of the carcasses and its two bearers in the kitchen, accompanied him to his room, followed by the other two assistants carrying the second pig.

  尚膳监管事太监的住处和御厨相近,那肥猪抬入房中之后,韦小宝命小太监带领抬猪的伙计到厨房中等候,待三人走后,便掩上了门。The Manager’s quarters in the Imperial Catering Department were not very far from the Imperial kitchens. As soon as they were inside, Trinket ordered a young eunuch to take the two assistants back to the kitchens, with instructions that they were to wait for their master there with the other two, and closed the door after them.

  钱老板低声问道:“韦香主,屋中没旁人吗?”’Master,’ said Butcher Qian, speaking in a low voice, ‘is there anyone else in this apartment?’韦小宝摇了摇头。钱老板俯身轻轻将光猪翻了过来,只见猪肚上开膛之处,横贴着几条猪皮,封住了割缝。Seeing Trinket shake his head, he crouched down over the pig’s carcass and gently turned it on its back again so that its legs were pointing upwards. It was now possible to see that the slit-open underbelly of the animal had been drawn together and was being held in place by strips of pig-skin sewn across the slit.韦小宝心想:“这肥猪肚中定是藏着什么古怪物事,莫非是兵器之类,天地会想在皇宫中杀人大闹?”不由得心中怦怦而跳。It was obvious that something very out of the ordinary must be concealed inside. Trinket could feel his heart thumping as he reflected that this might well be weapons which the Triads were smuggling in to be used in a killing spree inside the Palace.果见钱老板撕下猪皮,双手拉开猪肚,轻轻抱了一团物事出来。韦小宝“咦”的一声惊呼,见他抱出来的竟是一个人。He watched as Butcher Qian tore off the strips, opened out the carcass, and very gently lifted a large object out in his cradled arms. ‘Coo!’ he gasped. It was a human body.钱老板将那人横放在地下。只见这人身体瘦小,一头长发,却是个十四五岁的少女,身上穿了薄薄的单衫,双目紧闭,一动也不动,只是胸口微微起伏。Butcher Qian laid the body on the floor. It was small and slight with an abundance of hair. To his astonishment Trinket found himself looking down at a thirteen- or fourteen-year-old girl. She was dressed in the flimsiest of summer garments, her eyes were tightly closed, and her body was completely motionless except for the gentle rise and fall of her breathing.

  韦小宝大奇,低声问道:“这小姑娘是谁?你带她来干什么?”’Who is this girl?’ he asked softly. ‘Why have you brought her here?’钱老板道:“这是沐王府的郡主。”韦小宝更是惊奇,睁大了眼睛,’She’s the Little Countess,’ said Butcher Qian. The Mu Family’s Little Countess.’ Trinket’s eyes grew round with astonishment.道:“沐王府的郡主?”钱老板道:“正是。沐王府小公爷的嫡亲妹子。他们掳了徐三哥去,我们就捉了这位郡主娘娘来抵押,教他们不敢动徐三哥一根寒毛。”The Mu Family’s Little Countess?’ ‘Young Lord Mu’s little sister,’ said Butcher Qian. The Mus have kidnapped our Brother Xu, so we’ve grabbed her as a hostage, just to make sure they don’t do Brother Xu any harm.’韦小宝又惊又喜,说道:“妙计,妙计!怎地捉她来的?”’Brilliant!’ said Trinket, his surprise now mixed with pleasure. ‘But how did you get hold of her?’

  钱老板道:“昨天徐天川徐三哥给人绑了去,韦香主带同众位哥哥,二次去杨柳胡同评理,属下便出去打探消息,’Yesterday, after we found that Brother Xu had disappeared,’ said Butcher Qian, ‘while you and the others went back to Willow Lane, I went off on my own to make a few enquiries.想知道沐王府那些人,除了杨柳胡同之外,是不是还有别的落脚所在,徐三哥是不是给他们囚禁在那里,First of all I wanted to find out whether the Mu Family had any other places in the city besides the Willow Lane one where they might be holding him;想知道他们在京城里还有哪些人,当真要动手,咱们心里可也得先有个底子。and secondly I wanted to know how many more of them there are, so that we have some idea what we are up against if it comes to a fight-out.

  这一打探,嘿,沐王府来得人可还当真不少,沐家小公爷带头,率领了王府的大批好手。”Well–huh!–I can tell you the answer to the second question straight away. A lot. The young Lord Mu himself has come to the Capital and he’s brought some of their best fighting-men with him.’韦小宝皱起了眉头,说道:“他妈的!咱们青木堂在京里有多少兄弟?能不能十个打他们一个?”Trinket frowned. Tamardy! How many Triads have we got altogether in the Green Wood Lodge? Enough to fight them ten to one?’钱老板道:“韦香主不用担心。沐王府这次来到北京,不是为跟咱们天地会打架。原来大汉奸吴三桂的大儿子吴应熊,来到了京城。”’No need for you to worry, Master,’ said Butcher Qian. The reason the Mu Family is here now is not because they want to fight us Triads. It’s because the traitor Wu Sangui’s son, Wu Yingxiong, is in town.’

  韦小宝点头道:“沐王府要行刺这姓吴的小汉奸?”Trinket nodded. They’ve come to assassinate the Little Traitor, you mean?’钱老板道:“是啊。韦香主料事如神。大汉奸、小汉奸在云南,动不了他们的手,一离云南,便有机可乘了。’Right first time, Master, ‘ said the butcher. ‘I always said you were a smart one. As long as the Old Traitor and the Little Traitor are in Yunnan, they can’t touch them;但这小汉奸自然防备周密,身边有不少武功高手保护,要杀他可也不是易事。but as soon as-one of them leaves Yunnan, it gives them an opportunity. The only thing is, the Little Traitor is taking no chances with his security: he’s brought a whole lot of first-rate fighting-men to protect him, so they won’t find it an easy job to kill him.

  沐王府那些人果然另有住处,属下过去查看,那些人都不在家,屋里却也没徐三哥的踪迹,I found out that those Mu folk do have another place in the city, but when I went to have a look there, the menfolk all seemed to have gone out, and there wasn’t any sign of Brother Xu there either.只有这小丫头和两个服侍她的女人留在屋里,那可是难得的良机……”The only people I found there were this girl and a couple of maids looking after her. It seemed too good a chance to miss, so–‘

  韦小宝道:“于是你就顺手牵羊,反手牵猪,将她捉了来?” ‘So you went to catch a sheep, but while you were about it you thought you might as well take a pig,’ said Trinket, slightly reconstructing the proverb.

  钱老板微笑道:“正是。这小姑娘年纪虽小,沐王府却当她是凤凰一般,只要这小郡主在咱们手里,徐三哥便稳如泰山,不怕他们不好好服侍。”Butcher Qian laughed. That’s about it. Although she’s only a young girl, she means all the world to the Mu folk. As long as their Little Countess is in our hands, Brother Xu will be safe as houses.韦小宝道:“钱大哥这件功劳倒大得紧呢。”钱老板道:“多谢韦香主夸奖。”There’s absolutely no fear of their not looking after him properly.’ ‘Brother Qian,’ said Trinket admiringly, ‘this is a major achievement.’ ‘Oh, I don’t know about that,’ said Butcher Qian coyly. ‘Anyway, thank you, Master.’韦小宝道:“咱们拿到了小郡主,却又怎样?”说着向躺在地下的那少女瞧了几眼,’So now we’ve got this Little Countes,; said Trinket, ‘what are we going to do with her?’ While they were talking, he had been stealing glances at the recumbent figure on the floor.心道:“这小娘皮长得可挺美啊。”钱老板道:“这件事说大不大,说小不小,要听韦香主的意思办理。”She was very beautiful–though he phrased it to himself mentally in the debased language of the brothel. ‘It’s a tricky business, this,’ said Butcher Qian.

  韦小宝沉吟道:“你说怎么办?”他跟天地会的人相处的时候虽暂,却已摸到了他们的脾气。’I was thinking it was one for the Master himself to decide.’ ‘What do you think we ought to do?’ Trinket asked presently, as if he had been mulling the matter over in his mind. He hadn’t been with the Triads very long, but long enough by now to know the drill.这些人嘴里尊称自己是香主,满口什么静候香主吩咐云云,其实各人肚里早就有了主意,只盼得到自己赞同,于是一切便推在韦香主头上,It was all ‘Master this’ and ‘Master that’ and respectfully waiting to be told by the Master what they should do; but invariably they had already decided what they wanted to do and only wanted the Master’s approval for doing it,日后他们就不会担当重大干系。他对付的法子是反问一句:“你说怎么办?” so that if there was any question about it later, the Master would have sole responsibility for what they had done. And so his invariable response to the invariable question was to turn it back on them: ‘What do you think we ought to do?’

  钱老板道:“眼下只有将这个郡主藏在一个稳妥所在,让沐王府的人找不到。Well, for the present,’ said Butcher Qian, ‘we’ve got to hide her somewhere safe and somewhere where the Mu people can’t find her.这次沐家来到京城的着实不少,虽说是为了杀小汉奸吴应熊,但咱们杀了他们的人。徐大哥又给他们拿了去,这会儿咱们天地会每一处落脚之地,一定能给他们钉得紧紧的。’There are a lot of them around in the Capital right now, and though it’s to assassinate the Little Traitor that they’re here, now that we’ve killed one of their people and they’ve kidnapped Brother Xu, you can be sure they’re keeping a close watch on anywhere in the city where there are Triads.我们便拉一泡尿,放一个屁,只怕沐王府的人也都知道了。”From now on we shan’t be able to take a piss or a shit without their knowing about it.’

  韦小宝嗤的一笑,觉得这钱老板谈吐可喜,很合自己脾胃,笑道:“钱大哥,咱们坐下来慢慢商量。”钱老板道:“是,是,多谢香主。”在一张椅上坐了,续道:Trinket laughed. Here at last was someone who spoke his language. ‘Sit down, Brother Qian,’ he said. ‘Let’s take our time over this.’ Thank you, Master,’ said Butcher Qian, seating himself in one of the chairs and continuing. “属下将小郡主藏在猪肚里带进宫来,一来是为瞒过宫门侍卫的重重搜检,There were really two reasons why I hid the Little Countessinside this pig’s carcass. One was to get her past the Palace Guard: they always search everyone at the gate.二来是要瞒过沐王府众人的耳目。But it was also to get her past any of the Mu Family spies who might be out watching for us.他奶奶的,沐公爷手下,只怕真有几个厉害人物,不可不防。小郡主若不是藏在宫里,难保不给他们抢了回去。”There are some really dangerous people among Mu’s, you can’t afford to take any chances. If she’s hidden anywhere other than in the Palace, there’s no guaranteeing they wouldn’t try to get her back.’

  韦小宝道:“你说要将小郡主藏在宫里?”

  钱老板道:“属下可不敢这么说,一切全凭韦香主作主。’So you’re proposing to hide her in the Palace?’ said Trinket. ‘Well, that’s not really for me to say,’ said the butcher. ‘It’s entirely up to you, Master.

  藏在宫里,当然是普天下最稳妥的所在。沐王府的高手再多,总敌不过大内侍卫。Mind you, look anywhere you like, you’ll never find a safer place than this. However many of their ace fighters the Mu Family may have got in the city, they’re not going to take on the Palace Guard.小郡主竟会在皇宫之中,别说他们决计想不到,查不出,就算知道了,又怎有能耐冲进皇宫来救人?Not that they’d ever guess she was in the Palace, anyway. But even suppose–it’s very unlikely, but just suppose–they did find out she was here, they’d never try getting in here to rescue her. I

  他们如能进宫来将小郡主救出去,那么连鞑子皇帝也能绑架去了。天下决没这个道理。f they could get in to do that, they could just as well get in to carry off the Tartar Emperor, and they’ve never tried to do that yet because they know it’s out of the question.不过属下胆大妄为,事先没向韦香主请示,擅自将小郡主带进宫来,给韦香主增添不少危险,不少麻烦,实在该死之极。”Of course, it was rather a nerve, taking it on myself to bring the Little Countess in here without consulting you. It means a lot of danger for you, Master. And trouble. I deserve to be hung.’

  韦小宝心道:“你将人带都带进来了,自己说该死,却也没死。把小郡主藏在宫里,果然是好计,’You say yourself that you deserve to be hung,’ thought Trinket, ‘but you know damn well that you won’t be. Still, it does seem the best plan to hide her in here.沐王府的人一来想不到,二来救不出。你胆大妄为,难道我胆子就小了?”笑道:“你这计策很好,我将小郡主藏在这里好了。”As he says, it’s the one place they will never think of looking; and they’d never be able to get her out of here, even if they did. Well, Mister Butcher Qian, if you had the nerve to kidnap her and smuggle her into the Palace, I suppose I ought to have the nerve to keep her here.’ He gave the man a smile. ‘It’s a very good idea,’ he said. ‘We’ll hide her here then.’

  钱老板道:“是,是,韦香主说这件事行得,那定然行得。属下又想,将来事情了结之后,小郡主总是要放还给他们的。’If you think it’s all right, I’m sure it will be,’ said Butcher Qian. There’s this to be said too, for hiding her here. When this business is over and the Little Countess is back with her own people again,

  他们得知郡主娘娘这些日子是住在宫里,也不辱没了她身份,倘若老是关在小号屠宰房的地窖之中,闻那牛血猪血的腥气,未免太对不起人。”it won’t be any disgrace to her if they know that she’s been kept all the time in the Palace; whereas if I were to keep her in the basement of my slaughterhouse–well, what with the stink of blood and offal round her all the time, it wouldn’t be very nice for a person of her quality.’

  韦小宝笑道:“每天喂她吃些茯苓、党参、花雕、鸡蛋,也就是了。”’Unless you fed her on China-root and gave her Shaoxing wine to drink,’ said Trinket mischievously.

  钱老板嘿嘿一笑,说道:“再说,小郡主年纪虽然幼小,总是女子,跟我们这些臭男人住在一起,于名声未免有碍,跟韦香主在一起,就不要紧了。”韦小宝一怔,问道:“为什么?”Butcher Qian laughed at the interruption before continuing: ‘Besides, although the Little Countess is only a girl, being a member of the fair sex it wouldn’t do much for her good name if she was kept with a lot of rough men; whereas being kept with you, Master, it won’t matter.’

  钱老板道:“韦香主年纪也轻,何况又是……又是在宫里办事的,自然……自然没什么。”言语吞吞吐吐,有些不便出口。

韦小宝见他神色忸怩,想了一想,这才明白:’Why’s that?’ said Trinket in some surprise. ‘Well,’ said Butcher Qian, ‘you’re young too, and besides . . . besides . . . you work in the Palace, so of course … I mean . . . it’s all right.’ The butcher was clearly embarrassed, and Trinket had to think for some moments before he saw why. “原来你说我是太监,因此小郡主交我看管,于她声名无碍。你可不知我这太监是冒牌货。”只因他并不是真的太监,这才要想了一想之后方能明白,否则钱老板第一句话他就懂了。’Oh, I see. You mean because I’m a eunuch. If I’m the one guarding her, it won’t do any harm to her reputation. But I’m only a pretend eunuch, you know.’ It was because he wasn’t a real eunuch that he hadn’t grasped sooner what the embarrassed butcher was getting at.钱老板问道:“韦香主的卧室在里进罢?”韦小宝点点头。钱老板俯身抱起小郡主,走到后进,放在床上。’Is your bedroom in there, Master?’ asked the butcher. Trinket nodded. Butcher Qian took up the Little Countess in his arms, carried her into the bedroom, and laid her down on the bed.房中本来有大床、小床各一,海大富死后,韦小宝已叫人将小床抬了出去。There was just the one large bed there. Previously there had been a smaller one as well in which Trinket used to sleep, but after the death of Old Hai, he had had it moved out.他隐秘之事甚多,没要小太监住在屋里服侍。He had too many secrets to want a young eunuch attendant living with him in his apartment.钱老板道:“属下带小郡主进宫来时,已点了她背心上的神堂穴、阳纲穴,还点了她后颈的天柱穴,让她不能动弹,说不出话。韦香主要放她吃饭,就可解开她穴道,’Before I brought her in, I closed the Holy Hall and Yang Cord points on her back and the Pillar of Heaven one on her neck so that she couldn’t move or speak,’ said the butcher. ‘ If you want her to eat anything, you’ll have to open them up again;不过最好先点她腿上环跳穴,免得她逃跑。but before you do that, I’d advise you to first close the Ring Jump points on her legs so that she can’t run away.沐王府的人武功甚高,这小姑娘倒不会多少武功,却也不可不防。”The Mu people are all very skilled in the Martial Arts, and though a young girl like this isn’t likely to know much about that sort of thing, it isn’t worth taking any chances.’韦小宝想问他什么叫神堂穴、环跳穴,如何点穴、解穴,Trinket wanted to ask him where the Holy Hall and Ring Jump vital points were and how you closed and opened them;但转念一想,自己是青木堂香主,又是总舵主的弟子,连点穴、解穴也不会,岂不是让下属们太也瞧不起?but then he remembered that, as Master of the Green Wood Lodge and a disciple of the great Helmsman, he was probably expected to know about these things and felt sure his subordinates would despise him if they found out that he was totally ignorant of these matters;反正对付一个小姑娘总不是什么难事,点头道:“知道了。”钱老板道:“请韦香主借一把刀使。”so he just nodded and said that he would. ‘Anyway, ‘ he thought, ‘I shouldn’t have any difficulty in handling her. She’s only a girl.’ ‘Could you lend me a knife, Master?’ said Butcher Qian.

韦小宝心想:“你要刀干什么?”从靴桶中取出匕首,递了给他。Trinket wondered nervously what he wanted it for, but stooped down nevertheless and extracted the dagger from inside his boot.钱老板接了过来,在猪背上一划,没料到这匕首锋利无匹,割猪肉如切豆腐,一剑下去,直没至柄。钱老板吃了一惊,赞道:“好剑!”Butcher Qian took it from him and made an incision in the back of the pig’s carcass. Unaware of the blade’s incomparable sharpness, he was somewhat surprised at the ease with which it sank in, at once burying itself up to the hilt and slicing through fat and flesh as if it were bean curd. This is a good weapon you’ve got here, ‘ he said admiringly. ‘割下两片脊肉,两只前腿,道:“韦香主留着烧烤来吃,余下的吩咐小公公们抬回厨房去罢。属下这就告辞,会里的事情,属下随时来向韦香主禀告。”
In no time at all he had cut off the two forelegs and two large collops from the back. ”You can keep these to roast and eat yourself, Master, ‘ he said. The rest you can give to the little Goong-goongs to carry back to the kitchens. I’ll take my leave now. If there’s any business in the Society to report, I’ll let you know straight away, ‘

韦小宝接过匕首,说道:“好!”向卧在床上的小郡主瞧了一眼,道:“这小娘皮睡得倒挺安稳。”’Right, ‘ said Trinket. He glanced towards the Little Countess lying on the bed: ‘This girl—she’s sleeping very soundly.’他本来想说:“这小姑娘在宫里耽得久了,太过危险,倘若给人发觉,那可糟糕之极。”He’d wanted to say, ‘This girl better not stay here long. It’s terribly dangerous having her here. If anyone were to find out, I’d really be in the shit, ‘但想天地会的英雄好汉岂有怕危险的?这等话说出口来,不免给人小觑了。
But then he reflected that all members of the Triad Society were heroes who laughed at danger and would despise him if they heard him uttering such craven words.

Trinket the Tormentor

待钱老板回去厨房,韦小宝忙闩上了门,又查看窗户,一无缝隙,As soon as Butcher Qian had gone back to the kitchens, Trinket barred the door and checked the window to make sure there were no chinks or slits in the paper through which anyone could peep into the room,这才坐到床边,去看那小郡主,只见她正睁着圆圆的眼睛,望着床顶,见韦小宝过来,忙闭上眼睛。then, sitting on the edge of the bed, he inspected the Little Countess. She was staring fixedly at the top of the bedstead, and when she saw Trinket approach, she closed her eyes fast.韦小宝笑道:“你不会说话,不会动弹,安安静静的躺在这里,最乖不过。”见她身上衣衫也不污秽,想是钱老板将那口肥猪的肚里洗得十分干净,不留丝毫血渍,He laughed. ‘You can’t talk and you can’t move! All you can do is just lie there like a good little girl!’ Her dress was still clean, and Trinket reflected that Butcher Qian must have done a good job of cleaning out the inside of the carcass.于是拉过被来,盖在她身上。只见她脸颊雪白,没半分血色,长长的睫毛不住颤动,想是心中十分害怕,He threw a coverlet over her. From the snowy pallor of her cheeks, drained of all their colour, and the fluttering of her long eyelashes, he could tell that she was very frightened.笑道:“你不用怕,我不会杀了你的,过得几天,就放你出去。”
‘Don’t be afraid, ‘ he said. ‘I’m not going to kill you. Just wait a few days and I’ll be setting you free again, ‘

小郡主睁开眼来,瞧了他一眼,忙又闭上眼睛。The Little Countess opened her eyes wide, looked at him for a moment, and then quickly closed them again.韦小宝寻思:“你沐王府在江湖上好大威风,那日苏北道上,你家那白寒松好大架子,丝毫没将老子瞧在眼里,这当儿还不是让我手下的人打死了。他奶奶的……”Trinket thought of the great awe in which the Mu Family were held by all the Brotherhood of River and Lake; of their stuck-up henchman the elder Bo—now dead, fortunately, struck down by one of his Triads想到此处,伸起手来,见手腕上黑黑一圈乌青兀自未退,隐隐还感疼痛,心道:“那白寒枫死了哥哥,没处出气,捏得老子骨头也险些断了。想不到沐王府的郡主娘娘却落在我手里,老子要打便打,要骂便骂,你半分动弹不得,哈哈,哈哈!”—and his younger brother who had raged at him and nearly broken his wrist. (The bruise was still there, he saw on inspecting it, and only slightly fainter.) ‘And now their Little Countess is in my hands,’ he thought. ‘I can beat her and curse her as much as I want to, and she won’t be able to move a muscle.’想到得意处,不禁笑出声来。小郡主听到笑声,睁开眼来,要看他为什么发笑。The thought was so gratifying that it made him laugh out loud, causing the Little Countess to open her eyes to see what he was laughing at.

韦小宝笑道:“你是郡主娘娘,很了不起,是不是?你奶奶的,老子才不将你放在眼里呢!”’Call yourself a countess, do you?’ said Trinket. ‘I suppose you think you’re very superior. Well, to me you’re nobody.’走上前去,抓住她右耳,提了三下,又捏住她鼻子,扭了两下,哈哈大笑。He grasped her right ear and gave it a few pulls, then he pinched her nose between finger and thumb and twisted it a couple of times, laughing as he did so.小郡主闭着的双眼中流出眼泪,两行珠泪从腮边滚了下来。The Little Countess had shut her eyes again, but two fat tears escaped from under their lids and coursed down her cheeks.韦小宝喝道:“不许哭!老子叫你不许哭,就不许哭!”小郡主的眼泪却流得更加多了。’Don’t cry!’ Trinket shouted at her. ‘I forbid you to cry.’ But the Little Countess’s tears ran even faster.韦小宝骂道:“辣块妈妈,臭小娘皮,你还倔强!睁开眼睛来,瞧着我!”
‘Hot-piece momma!’ said Trinket exasperatedly ‘Being stubborn, are we? Open your eyes and look at me, you smelly little tart!’

小郡主双眼闭得更紧。韦小宝道:“哈,你还道这里是你沐王府,But the Little Countess closed her eyes even tighter. ‘Huh! Think you’re on your Mu Family estate still, do you?’ said Trinket.你奶奶的,你家里刘白方苏四大家将,有他妈的什么了不起,终有一日撞在老子手里,一个个都斩成了肉酱。”
Think you’ve got your tamardy Paladins to look after you? Grandmother’s! What’s so tamardy wonderful about them? I tell you this: if they ever come my way, I’ll chop them into little bits, each one of them.’

大声吆喝:“你睁不睁眼?”小郡主又用力闭了闭眼睛。韦小宝道:“好,你不肯睁眼,要这一对臭眼珠子有什么用?不如挖了出来,让老子下酒。”No response. ‘Open your eyes!’ he hollered at the top of his voice. But all the Little Countess’s strength seemed to go into closing them tighter. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘If you won’t open your lousy eyes, you won’t be needing them any more. I might as well cut them out. They’ll make a nice little snack for me next time I’m having a drink.’提起匕首,平放刃锋,在她眼皮上拖了几拖。小郡主全身打个冷战,仍不睁开眼睛。He took out his dagger and slid the flat of the blade a couple of times over her eyelids. A shudder ran through her whole body, but she still would not open her eyes.韦小宝倒拿她没有法子,说道:“你不睁眼,我偏偏要你睁眼,咱哥儿俩耗上了,倒要瞧瞧是你郡主娘娘厉害,还是我这小流氓、小叫化子厉害。Trinket was at his wit’s end to know what to do with her. ‘You don’t want to open your eyes but I want you to open them,’ he said. ‘All right, we’ll play a little game and see who comes out best, the high and mighty Little Countess or the nasty little beggar-boy.我暂且不来挖你的眼珠,挖了眼珠,倒算是你赢了,永远不能瞧我。我要在你脸蛋上用尖刀子雕些花样,左边脸上刻只小乌龟,右边脸上刻一堆牛粪。For the time being I’m not going to cut your eyes out. I’ll cut a little turtle on your left cheek and a cow-pat on the right one.等到将来结了疤,你到街上去之时,成千成万的人围拢来瞧西洋镜,Then, when the cuts have scarred over and you go out into the street, people will come crowding round in thousands to gaze at the sight.大家都说:‘美啊,美啊,来看沐王府的小美人儿,左边脸上一只王八,右边脸上一堆牛粪。’你到底睁不睁眼?”
“Oh, look!” they’ll say. “How beautiful! The beautiful Mu Countess with a turtle on one cheek and a cow-pat on the other!” Now will you open your eyes?’

小郡主全身难动,只有睁眼闭眼能自拿主意,听得韦小宝这么说,眼睛越闭越紧。The poor Little Countess, mistress of herself only in the ability to open or close her eyes, now closed them even tighter.韦小宝自言自语:“原来这臭花娘嫌自己脸蛋儿不美,想要我在她脸上装扮装扮,好,我先刻一只乌龟!”’I see,’ said Trinket, pretending to be talking to himself. The little tart knows she’s not good-looking. She’s decided she wants a bit of decoration on her face to improve her looks. All right, then. I’ll carve the turtle first.’打开桌上砚台,磨了墨,用笔蘸了墨。这些笔墨砚台都是海老公之物,He took the lid off an inkstone that was on the table, ground some ink in it, and dabbled the tip of a writing-brush in it until it was well soaked. The brush, the inkstone, and the ink-stick had all been the property of Old Hai.韦小宝一生从未抓过笔杆,这时拿笔便如拿筷子,提笔在小郡主左脸画了一只乌龟。小郡主的泪水直流下来,在乌龟的笔划上流出了一道墨痕。
Trinket had never had a writing-brush in his hand before and held it like a chopstick. Carrying it over to the bed, he proceeded to draw a small turtle with it on the Little Countess’s left cheek. Her tears continued to flow, turning the drawing into an inky streak.

韦小宝道:“我先用笔打个样子,然后用刀子来刻,就好像人家刻图章。’I’m doing the pattern with the brush first,’ he said. ‘I’ll be going over it with a knife afterwards. That’s what they do when they make seals, isn’t it?对,对,郡主娘娘,咱们刻好之后,我牵了你去长安门大街,大叫:‘哪一位客官要印乌龟?三文钱印一张!’Ah, yes, Little Countess, I know what. When the carving’s ready, I’ll be able to take you out into Changan Street and set up there as a print-seller. “Roll up, roll up!” I’ll say. “Buy a nice turtle print, three cash a sheet!”我用黑墨涂了你脸,有人给三文钱,就用张白纸在你脸上一印,便是一只乌龟,快得很!一天准能印上一百张。三百文铜钱,够花的了。”
I’ll have your face ready painted over with black ink, then as soon as a customer gives me his three cash: sheet of white paper, rub it over, peel it off, and there’s a little turtle! Won’t take a moment. I ought to be able to do a hundred in a day. That’s three hundred cash. Quite a tidy little sum!’

他一面胡扯,一面偷看小郡主的脸色,见她睫毛不住颤动,显然又是愤怒,又是害怕。All the time he was gabbling this nonsense, her eyelids never ceased to flutter. He could tell that she was both very angry and very frightened.他甚是得意,说道:“嗯,右脸刻一堆牛粪,可没人出钱来买牛粪的,不如刻只猪,又肥又蠢,生意一定好。”This gave him great satisfaction and inspired him to further idiocy. ‘Hm, a cow-pat on the right cheek—no, I don’t think anyone’s going to pay good money for that. A fat pig would be better—a great big, fat, stupid-looking pig. That would sell.’提起笔来,在她右边脸颊上干划一通,画的东西有四只脚,一条尾巴就是了,也不知像猫还是像狗。He moved round to the other side with his brush and executed a crude drawing on her right cheek: a creature with four legs and a tail which could perhaps have been a pig but might equally well have been a cat or a dog.他放下毛笔,取过一把剪银子的剪刀,将剪刀轻轻放在小郡主左颊,喝道:“你再不睁眼,我要刻花了!我先刻乌龟,肥猪可不忙刻。”
Then he laid the brush down and took up a pair of silver-shears, the point of which he applied lightly to her left cheek. ‘Now, if you don’t open your eyes, I’ll start cutting. I’ll carve the turtle first. The pig can wait till later.’

小郡主泪如泉涌,偏偏就是不肯睁眼。The Little Countess’s tears were now welling through the closed lids in streams, but still she wouldn’t open her eyes.韦小宝无可奈何,不肯认输,便将剪尖在她脸上轻轻划来划去。And since Trinket was unwilling to admit defeat, there was nothing for it but to begin moving the point around on her cheek.这剪尖其实甚钝,小郡主肌肤虽嫩,却也没伤到她丝毫,可是她惊惶之下,只道这小恶人真的用刀子在自己脸上雕花,一阵气急,便晕了过去。
Although she had the most delicate complexion imaginable, the point was so blunt that it made not the slightest mark on her skin; but so great was her fear, that she imagined this horrible boy really was cutting patterns on her face and, from excess of emotion, she fainted clean away.

韦小宝见她神色有异,生怕是给自己吓死了,倒吃了一惊,忙伸手去探她鼻息,幸好尚有呼吸,Trinket got a shock when he saw the change that had come over her and wondered for a moment if she really had died of fright; but when he held his hand against her nostrils, he was relieved to find that she was still breathing.便道:“臭小娘装死!”’Little tart!’ he said. ‘You’re only shamming dead.’寻思:“你死也不肯睁眼,难道我便输了给你?It was by now obvious that she would die sooner than open her eyes for him, but he was damned if he was going to admit defeat.咱们骑驴看唱本,走着瞧,韦小宝总不会折在你臭小娘手里。”
‘As the man reading the songbook while he rode his mule said, “We’ll work something out as we go along,”‘ he thought: ‘Old Trink’s not going to be beaten by a smelly little girl like you.’

拿了块湿布来,抹去她两颊上黑墨,直抹了三把,才抹得干净。He took a wet cloth and wiped the ink-marks from her cheeks. They came off fairly easily, revealing once more the beauty of her delicate, rather aristocratic features.但见她眉淡睫长,嘴小鼻挺,容颜着实秀丽,She had fine eyebrows, long lashes, a small mouth and a slightly aquiline nose. But Trinket was unimpressed.自言自语:“你是郡主娘娘,心中一定瞧不起我这小太监,我也瞧不起你,大家还不是扯直?”’Little Countess Lah-di-dah,’ he said. ‘I expect you look down on a little eunuch like me. Well, I don’t think much of you either, so that makes us quits.’过了一会,小郡主慢慢醒转,一睁开眼,只见韦小宝一双眼睛和她双目相距不过一尺,正狠狠的瞪着她,不由得吃了一惊,急忙闭眼。
After a while the Little Countess began to regain consciousness and presently opened her eyes. Startled to see Trinket bending over her, staring, with far from friendly eyes, from barely a foot away, she quickly closed them again.

韦小宝哈哈大笑,道:“你终于睁开眼来,瞧见我了,是老子赢了,是不是?”他自觉得胜,心下高兴,只是小郡主不会说话,未免有些扫兴,Trinket laughed gleefully. ‘Ha ha! You’ve opened your eyes now and looked at me. I’ve won, admit it!’ It was agreeable to have won, but it rather took the gloss off his victory that she couldn’t speak.要想去解她穴道,却又不知其法,说道:“你给人点了穴道,倘若解不开,不能吃饭,岂不饿死了?He would have liked to open the vital points that would enable her to do so, but he didn’t know how. ‘Now that your vital points are closed, you can’t eat,’ he said. ‘If they’re not opened, you’ll just starve to death.我本想给你解开,不过解穴的法门,从前学过,现下可忘了。你会不会?你如不会,那就躺着做僵尸,一动也别动,要是会的,眼睛眨三下。”
I was thinking of opening them for you, but though I did once learn the method, it’s such a long while ago that I can’t remember it. Do you know how it’s done? If you don’t know, just lie there perfectly still. If you do know, blink your eyes three times.’

他目不转睛的望着小郡主,只见她眼睛一动不动,过了好一会,突然双眼缓缓的连眨三下。He watched her intently as she lay there, inert and unblinking. After a long pause, very slowly and deliberately, she blinked her eyes three times.韦小宝大喜,道:“我只道沐王府中的人既然姓沐,一定个个是木头,呆头呆脑,什么都不会,原来你这小木头还会解穴。”’Thank heavens for that!’ said Trinket delightedly. ‘I was beginning to think all of you Mu people were dead from the neck up.’将她抱起,坐在椅上,说道:“你瞧着,我在你身上各个部位指点,倘若指得对的,你就眨三下眼睛,He lifted her up in his arms and sat her down in a chair. ‘Now look,’ he said, ‘I’m going to start pointing to places on your body. If I point to the right place, blink three times;指得不对,眼睛睁得大大的,一动也不能动。我找到解穴的部位,就给你解开穴道,懂不懂?懂的就眨眼。”小郡主眨了三下眼睛。
if it isn’t right, just keep your eyes open and don’t move. When I’ve found the right vital point, I’ll open it up for you. Understand?’ The Little Countess blinked three times.

韦小宝点头道:“很好!我来指点。”韦小宝一伸手,便指住她右边胸部,道:“是不是这里?”’Good, ‘ said Trinket. ‘Now here comes the first go.’ He pointed a finger at the right side of her still childish bosom. ‘Is it here?’小郡主登时满脸通红,一双眼睛睁得大大的,哪敢眨上一眨?韦小宝又指着她左边胸部,道:“是不是这里?”The Little Countess blushed to the roots of her hair but held her eyes wide open, not daring to make the tiniest quiver with her eyelids. ‘Is it here?’ he asked, pointing this time to her left breast.小郡主脸上更加红了,眼睛睁得久了,忍不住霎了霎眼。韦小宝大声道:“啊,是这里了!”The Little Countess turned even redder. She tried her hardest to prevent her eyelids from moving, but after a while she was unable to avoid a tiny blink. ‘Ha!’ cried Trinket loudly. ‘It’s here.’小郡主急忙大睁眼睛,又羞又急,窘不可言。
The Little Countess opened her eyes even wider and made a desperate effort to hold them unblinkingly. Apart from her indignation at being trifled with, she was in an agony of embarrassment.

这二人都是十四五岁年纪,于男女之事似懂非懂,Trinket and the Little Countess were both of an age at which young people have a sort of half-knowledge about sexual matters.但女孩子早识人事,韦小宝又是在妓院中长大的,平时多见嫖客和妓女的猥亵举止,虽然不明其意,总之知道这类行动极不妥当。
There are some things that all girls get to know at an early age, while in Trinket’s case, throughout his childhood in the brothel, he had been accustomed to seeing men and women behaving together in ways he didn’t understand the significance of but knew to be somehow dangerous.

韦小宝见她发窘,得意洋洋,只觉昨日杨柳胡同中的一番窘辱此刻都出了气,报了仇。Seeing the Little Countess in such a state filled Trinket with a sense of triumph. It somehow made up for his own humiliation at the house in Willow Lane. He was now revenged.他在小郡主身上东指西指。小郡主拚命撑住眼睛,不敢稍瞬,唯恐不小心眨了眨眼睛,那就大事去矣,过了不多时,鼻尖上已有一滴滴细微汗珠渗了出来。As he proceeded, not very systematically, to point at one place after another on her body, the Little Countess struggled to keep her eyes wide open, fearfully aware that the search could be undermined by her slightest blink. The effort was beginning to tell, for after a while little beads of perspiration had started to appear on her nose.幸好韦小宝这时手指指向她左腋之下,那正是解开穴道的所在,急忙连眨了三下眼睛,心中一宽,舒了口长气。
It was fortunate that just as she was reaching the end of her tether, Trinket chanced to point at the correct vital point, a little below her left armpit. At once she blinked three times and breathed a silent sigh of relief.

韦小宝道:“哈哈,果然在这里,老子也不是不知道,只是记性不好,一时之间忽然忘了。”’Ha ha!’ said Trinket. ‘So it is here. I knew all along, of course, but my memory is not very good and I’d temporarily forgotten.’心想:“解开她穴道之后,不知她武功如何,这小丫头倘若出手打人,倒也麻烦。”’I’ve no idea how much she knows about Martial Arts,’ he thought. ‘It’s going to be a bit awkward if she lashes out as soon as I open her points.’转过身来,拿过两根腰带,先将她双脚牢牢绑住,又将她双手反缚到椅子背后绑好。Reaching round and taking a couple of belts from his extensive wardrobe, he used one of them to tie her feet together, while with the other one he tied her wrists together behind the back of the chair.小郡主不知他要如何大加折磨,脸上不禁流露出惊恐之极的神色。
The Little Countess evidently saw this as a prelude to fresh torments, for, though she tried to be brave, her eyes showed clearly that she was terrified. Trinket laughed at her terror.

韦小宝笑道:“你怕了我,是不是?你既然怕了,老子就解开你的穴道。”伸手到了左腋下轻轻搔了几搔。’You’re afraid of me, aren’t you?’ he said. ‘Good. Since you’re afraid of me, I’ll open it up for you.’ He applied his fingers to the place below her left armpit and made a sort of scratching motion with them.小郡主奇痒难当,偏生无法动弹,一张小脸胀得通红。It so happened that the Little Countess was extremely ticklish, but as she was unable to move or speak, the only observable effect was that she became extremely red in the face.韦小宝道:“点穴解穴,我原是拿手好戏,只不过老子近来事情太忙,这种小事,也没放在心上,倒有些儿忘了。是不是这样解的?”’I used to be a dab hand at this,’ he said, ‘it’s just that I’ve been too busy lately for little things like this, so I’ve got a bit rusty. Is this the way you do it?’说着在她腋下揉了几下。小郡主又是一阵奇痒,脸上微有怒色。
He gave the place under her arm a few rubs, which proved equally ticklish. This time she looked angry.

韦小宝道:“这是我最上乘高深的解穴手法。上乘手法,用在上等人身上,这才管用。你这小丫头不是上等之人,第一流的手法用在你身上,竟半点动静也没有。好,我用第二流的手法试试。”’That’s the best method I’ve just been using,’ said Trinket, ‘but it only works on the best class of people. Since it doesn’t seem to have any effect on you, I’ll have to try the second best.’伸手指在她腋下戳了几下。小郡主又痛又痒,泪水又在眼眶中滚来滚去。This time he poked her a few times, which not only tickled but also hurt. Tears welled up in the Little Countess’s eyes and trickled down her cheeks.韦小宝道:“咦,第二流的手法也不行,难道你是第三等的小丫头?没有法子,只是用第三流的手法出来了。”伸掌在她腋下拍打了一阵,仍然不见功效。
‘Hm,’ said Trinket, ‘the second best doesn’t seem to work either. Can you be a third-rater? Well, it can’t be helped. We’ll just have to try the third-class method.’ This time it was slaps, which proved equally ineffective.

点穴是武学中的上乘功夫。武功极有根柢之人,经明师指点,尚须数年勤学苦练,方始有成。Control of the vital points is perhaps the most highly specialized branch of the Martial Arts. Even people with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of those arts require several years of rigorous training under the direction of a good teacher in order to obtain proficiency in it.解穴和点穴是一事之两面,会点穴方会解穴,认穴既须准确,手指上又须有刚柔并济的内劲,方能封人穴道,解人穴道。Opening and closing the vital points are simply two aspects of the same technique: if you can do one, you can do the other. But you have to know exactly where each vital point is sited, and you have to have exactly the right touch in your fingers, which only comes with the development of the Inner Force by means of meditation, breath control, and other exercises.韦小宝既无内功,点穴解穴之法又从未练过,这么乱搞一通,又怎解得开小郡主的穴道?
It was hardly surprising that Trinket’s hit-or-miss methods should fail to work when he had never done exercises to strengthen his Inner Force or had any instruction whatsoever in this most difficult of arts.

拍打不成,便改而为抓,抓亦不行,只得改而为扭。When slapping didn’t work, he tried pinching. When pinching didn’t work, he tried twisting.小郡主又气又急,忍不住泪水又流了下来。韦小宝这时倒不是有意要折磨她,但忙了半天,解不开她穴道,The Little Countess, both angry and desperate, could not restrain her tears, and Trinket, who had long since ceased playing with her and was trying in earnest, was himself being made desperate by his repeated failures.自己额头出汗,不免有些老羞成怒, The perspiration was standing out on his forehead and, as people often will do when they feel ashamed, he was beginning to lose his temper.说道:“我连第八流的手法也用出来了,却像是耗子拉王八,半点也不管用,难道你是第九流的小丫头?’That’s the eighth method I’ve tried now,’ he said. ‘It’s about as much use as a mouse trying to move a tortoise. Does that mean you’re ninth-rate?老子是大有身份、大有来历之人,第九流武功是决计不肯使的。看来你沐王府的人,都是他妈的烂木头,木头木脑,木知木觉。我跟你说,我现在不顾自己身份,用第九流的武功,再在你这第九流的小娘皮身上试试。”
I’m someone with a position to keep up, you know. I don’t normally use ninth-rate methods. I’m not sure I should lower myself to do this for a measly ninth-rate girl from the measly Mu Family. Oh well, I suppose I shall have to. Here comes the ninth method.’

当下弯起中指,用拇指扳住,用力弹出,弹在小郡主腋下,说道:“这是弹棉花。”唱起儿歌:
He pressed the middle finger of his right hand against the thumb and began flicking the much-abused armpit, chanting as he did so (with some additions of his own) a set of nonsense-rhymes current among the street-urchins of Yangzhou:

“拍拍拍,弹棉花。棉花臭,炒黑豆。黑豆焦,拌胡椒。胡椒辣,起宝塔。宝塔尖,冲破天。天落雨,地滑塌,滑倒你沐家木头木脑、狗头狗脑,十八代祖宗的老阿太!”
Flick, flick, flick
Flick your father’s stick
Father’s stick broke
Give it to the goat
The goat broke a leg
Mend it with a peg
When the peg’s rotten
Tie it up with cotton
Take, it to the rooftop
And hit it on the head
Down falls the goat
On the silly, rotten, stupid, lousy, smelly, snooty Mu lot
And strikes them all dead!

他说一句,弹一下,连弹了十几下,说到一个“太”字时,小郡主突然“噢”的一声,哭了出来。He gave a flick as he reached the end of each line of this gibberish. At the thirteenth and final flick, just as he was intoning the word ‘dead’, the Little Countess gave a tiny shriek and burst into tears: not silent tears this time, but a loud lament.韦小宝大喜,纵身跃起,跳上跳下,笑道:“我说呢,原来沐王府的小丫头果然是第九流的小东西,非用第九流武功对付不可。”
‘I knew it!’ crowed Trinket, jumping up and down in joyful triumph. ‘I said you were a measly little ninth-rate girl. That’s why only the ninth-rate treatment would work on you.’

小郡主哭道:“你……你才是第第第……第九流。”声音清脆娇嫩,带着柔软的云南口音,当真说不出的好听。’Y-y-you’re the one who’s ni-ni-ninth-rate,’ retorted the Little Countess between sobs. Despite the sobs, it was a charming, bell-like little voice, made all the more pleasing by the soft Yunnanese accent.韦小宝逼紧了喉咙,学她说话:“你……你才是第第第……第九流。”说着哈哈大笑。
Trinket, somewhat straining his throat in the process, tried to imitate it. ‘Y-y-you’re the one who’s ni-ni-ninth-rate.’ He burst out laughing.

原来他伸指乱弹,都弹在小郡主腋下“腋渊穴”上。腋渊穴属足少阳胆经,在腋下三寸之处。The vital point on which he had been directing his indiscriminate flicking was the so-called Gulf of the Armpit, three inches below the armpit itself. It lies on the meridian connecting the Lesser Yang of the foot with the gall bladder.人身头部诸穴,如丝空竹、阳白、临泣等穴道均属此经脉。Several of the vital points on the head, for example the Strung Bamboo, the Yang White, and the Weeper’s Edge, are also on this meridian.他在腋渊穴上又抓又扭,又打又弹,手劲虽然不足,但搞得久了,小郡主头部诸穴齐活,说话便无窒滞。
Although his untrained touch was by itself insufficient to open a vital point, all the pinching, twisting, slapping, and tweaking he had inflicted on the Little Countess’s Gulf of the Armpit had eventually had the effect of activating those points in the head which control the organs of speech, restoring her ability to speak and move her head.

韦小宝见居然能解开小郡主的穴道,不胜喜欢,对沐王府的仇恨之心登时消去了大半,Trinket was so delighted by his success that his initial hostility towards her as a member of the Mu Family had by now largely evaporated.说道:“我肚子饿了,想来你也不饱,我先给你些东西吃。”’I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry,’ he said. ‘Let me get you something to eat. You must be starving.’他原是馋嘴之人,既为尚膳监的头儿,属下众监拍他马屁,每日吩咐厨房送来各种各样的新鲜细点。He had always been a greedy boy, and since he became head of the Imperial Catering Department his subordinates had sought to curry favour with him by getting the Imperial kitchens to send over all sorts of little delicacies for him to try.他每天在街上闲游,街市中诸般饼饵糖食,也是见到就买,In addition to this, he was constantly buying things to eat—sweets, cakes, pastries, and the like—in his leisure-time rambles through the streets and markets of the city.因此上屋里瓶儿、罐儿、盒儿、小竹篓儿不计其数,装的都是零星食物。As a consequence his room was a storehouse of little receptacles—bottles, jars, boxes, and miniature baskets— containing all manner of toothsome little snacks.一个十几岁的少年,手头有几十万两银子,生来又是个胡乱花钱之人,岂有不大买零食之理?
What young lad with hundreds of thousands of taels at his disposal and the disposition to spend them could resist stocking up on sweets?

他将糕点拿了出来,说过:“这玫瑰绿豆糕,你吃一块试试。”小郡主摇了摇头。韦小宝拿起另一只盒子,打开盒盖, Trinket selected something from his collection he thought she might like. ‘Try some of this rose and bean-paste fudge.’ The Little Countess shook her head. He selected another little box and took the lid off. 说道:“这是北京城里出名的点心豌豆黄,你们云南一定没有的,吃一块罢!”小郡主又摇了摇头。’This is pea-flour cake. It’s a Peking speciality. I bet you can’t get this in Yunnan. Try a bit.’ Again the Little Countess shook her head.韦小宝要卖弄家当,将诸般糕饼糖果堆满在桌上,道:“你瞧,我好吃的东西多不多?就算你是王府的郡主,多半也从来没吃过这么多点心。你如不爱吃甜食,就试试我们厨房的葱油薄脆,又香又脆,世上少有。连皇上都爱吃,你试了一块,包你爱吃。”Full of proprietorial pride in his collection, he began piling up a variety of confectionery on the table. ‘Look, see what a lot of good things to eat I’ve got! Though you’re a countess, I bet you’ve never eaten some of these. If you don’t like sweet things, what about these onion crisps from the Imperial kitchens? They’re lovely. Even the Emperor likes them. Try one: I’m sure you’ll love it!’小郡主又摇了摇头。韦小宝接连拿了最好的七八种糕饵出来,小郡主总是摇头。
Again the Little Countess shook her head, and continued to do so in response to seven or eight further offers.

这一来韦小宝可气往上冲,骂道:“臭花娘,你嘴巴这样刁,这个不吃,那个不吃,到底要吃什么?”小郡主道:“我……我什么都不吃……”只说了这句话,抽抽噎噎的又哭了起来。By now Trinket was losing his temper. ‘Smelly little tart! You won’t eat this, you won’t eat that: what’s the matter with you? What will you eat?’ ‘I won’t. . .won’t eat anything,’ she said. She was crying again now.韦小宝给她一哭,心肠倒有些软了,道:“你不吃东西,岂不饿死了?”小郡主道:“我……我宁可饿死。”Her body shaking with sobs. Seeing her crying so bitterly, he was somewhat softened. ‘Surely you ought to eat something, otherwise you’ll starve to death.’ ‘I don’t. . . care if I … do!’ the Little Countess sobbed.韦小宝道:“我才不信你宁可饿死。”
‘Come on, now,’ said Trinket, ‘I can’t believe you really want to starve to death.’

正在这时,外面有人轻轻敲门。韦小宝知道是小太监送饭来,生怕小郡主叫喊起来,惊动了旁人,取出一块毛巾,绑住了她嘴,这才去开门,Just at that moment there was a light knock on the door. Trinket knew this must be one of the junior eunuchs with his midday meal. Before going to open the door, he hastily gagged the Little Countess with a hand-towel for fear she might cry out and alarm somebody.吩咐小太监道:“我今日想吃些云南菜,你吩咐厨房即刻做了送来。”小太监应了自去。
‘I think I’d fancy some Yunnanese food today, ‘ he told the young eunuch. Tell them in the kitchen to do some now and send it here as soon as it’s ready.’ The young eunuch murmured assent, set down the tray, and went off to do his bidding.

韦小宝将饭菜端到房中,将小郡主嘴上的毛巾解开了,坐在她对面,Trinket carried the tray into the bedroom, removed the gag from the Little Countess’s mouth, and sat down facing her to inspect the dishes.笑道:“你不吃,我可要吃了。嗯,这是酱爆牛肉,这是糟溜鱼片,这是蒜泥白切肉,还有镇江肴肉,清炒虾仁,这一碗口磨鸡脚汤,当真鲜美无比。鲜啊,鲜啊!”’Well, if you won’t eat, I will,’ he said cheerfully. ‘Mm, what have we here? Braised beef in brown sauce, fish pieces in wine, sliced pork in cream of garlic. And what’s this? Fresh salt pork from Jinjiang. These are fried prawns. Ah, now this soup—I know this— it’s made from chicken-feet and koumo mushrooms. It’s delicious, really delicious.’他舀汤来喝,故意嗒嗒有声,偷眼去看小郡主时,只见她泪水一滴滴的流下来,没半分馋意。
He ladled some of the soup into a bowl and began sipping it with deliberate slurping noises to show how much he enjoyed it, simultaneously stealing a look at the Little Countess to see if she was interested. But the Little Countess, her cheeks awash with a steady drip of tears, showed little inclination to eat.

这一来韦小宝可有些兴意索然,悻悻然的道:“原来第九流的小丫头只爱吃第九流的臭鱼、臭肉、臭鸭蛋,我这些好菜好点心,原是第一流上等人吃的。His enthusiasm quickly evaporated. ‘Oh, I see,’ he said resentfully. ‘Being a ninth-rate girl, you only like ninth-rate food. All these things I’ve got here are first-class things for first-class people, so you wouldn’t like them.待会我叫人去拿些臭鱼、臭肉、臭鸭蛋、臭豆腐来给你吃。”Just wait a bit and I’ll get them to bring something you’d like: smelly old fish and bad meat and rotten eggs and stinking bean curd. That’s the sort of stuff you’d like, isn’t it?’小郡主道:“我不吃臭鸭蛋、臭豆腐。”韦小宝点头道:“嗯,原来你只吃臭鱼、臭肉。”
‘Of course I don’t like rotten eggs and stinking bean curd, ‘ said the Little Countess. Trinket nodded understandingly. ‘Uh huh. Only smelly old fish and bad meat.’

小郡主道:“你就爱瞎说。我也不吃臭鱼、臭肉。”韦小宝吃了几筷虾仁,吃了一块肴肉,大赞:“味道真好!”见小郡主始终无动于中,便放下筷子,心下盘算,如何才能使她向自己讨吃。
‘Why do you keep saying such silly things?’ said the Little Countess. Trinket ate a few prawns and a piece of salt pork. ‘Really tasty!’ he said. But as the Little Countess appeared to be still unmoved, he laid down his chopsticks and sat in silent contemplation, trying to think of a way of making her ask him for some food.

过了好一会,小太监又送饭菜过来,After a while the young eunuch came back with the food that Trinket had ordered.道:“桂公公,厨子叫小人禀告公公,这过桥米线的汤极烫,看来没一丝热气,其实是挺热的。’Laurie Goong-goong, ‘ said the young eunuch, ‘Chef said I was to tell you that this passe-pom vermicelli soup, though there isn’t any steam coming off it, is very, very hot; so please be careful.这宣威火脚是用蜜饯莲子煮的,煮得急了,或许不很软,请公公包涵。He says the Xuanwei ham is boiled with candied lotus seed. Because of the short time, he’s had to boil it very quickly; so if it’s a little bit on the hard side, he says please excuse him.这是云南的黑色大头菜。这一碟是大理洱海的工鱼干,虽然不是鲜鱼,仍是十分名贵,用云南红花油炒的。This here is Yunnan black rutabaga. The stuff in this dish is kong-fish from the Erhai Lake in Dali. Although it’s not fresh, it’s considered a very special delicacy. And he’s fried it in Yunnanese safflower oil.壶里泡的是云南普洱茶。厨子说,云南的名菜汽锅鸡要两个多时辰才煮得好,只好晚上再给桂公公你老人家送来。”
The tea in the teapot is Yunnan Puer tea. Chef says Yunnan steamed chicken is the most famous Yunnanese dish, but it takes several hours to prepare. He says if you don’t mind waiting, he’ll send some this evening with your dinner.’

韦小宝点点头,待小太监去后,将菜肴搬入房中。Trinket nodded and, when the young eunuch had gone, carried the food into the bedroom.御厨房在顷刻之间,便办了四样道地的云南菜,也算得功力十分到家了。The Imperial kitchens’ ability to produce four typical Yunnanese dishes at such short notice might seem a remarkable achievement, but can easily be explained.原来吴三桂在云南做平西王,虽然跋扈,但逢年过节,对皇室的进贡、对诸王公大臣的节敬,却是丰厚无比,远胜他省十倍,Although Wu Sangui, the Satrap of the West, showed, in his headquarters in Yunnan, a growing tendency to arrogate to himself powers that were properly the Emperor’s, he was punctilious in the discharge of his annual and seasonal obligations as a tributary. The tribute he sent the Emperor and the presents he sent the Imperial Princes and other high dignitaries on these occasions were of unparalleled profusion and magnificence.因此朝廷里替他说好话的人也着实不少。By this means he ensured that there was never any lack of voices to speak up for him at Court.吴三桂进贡给皇帝的,除了金银珠宝、象牙犀角等等珍贵物品外,云南的诸般土产也是应有尽有。As well as precious things like gold, silver, pearls, ivory, and rhinoceros horn, the tribute he sent the Emperor always included a fully representative selection of the produce of Yunnan’s rivers, lakes, and fields.正因如此,御厨房要在顷刻之间煮几味云南菜,并不为难。
It was therefore easy for the Palace chefs to prepare Yunnanese dishes at short notice, since the requisite materials for making them were always to hand.

小郡主本就饿了,见到这几味道地的家乡菜,忍不住心动,The Little Countess was in fact quite hungry, and the sight of all these familiar Yunnanese dishes caused her something of a pang;只是她给韦小宝实在欺侮得狠了,不愿就此屈服,拿定了主意:but she had been so abused and humiliated that she was determined not to give in without a struggle. “不管这小恶人如何诱我,我总是不吃。”
‘I don’t care what this horrible boy does to tempt me, ‘ she told herself, ‘I’m definitely not going to eat.’

韦小宝用筷子挟了一片鲜红喷香的宣威火腿,凑到小郡主口边,Trinket took up a slice of succulent-looking, savoury-smelling Xuanwei ham with a pair of chopsticks and held it up to her mouth.笑道:“张开嘴来!”’Come on, open up!’ he said. There was a big smile on his face,小郡主牙齿咬实,紧紧闭嘴。but the Little Countess clenched her teeth and kept her mouth firmly shut.韦小宝将火腿在她嘴唇上擦来擦去,擦得满嘴都是油,Trinket rubbed the ham to and fro on her lips so that her mouth was all covered with grease.笑道:“你乖乖吃了这片火腿,我就解开你手上穴道。”’Eat this piece of ham up like a good girl, ‘ he said, ‘and I’ll open up the vital points for your hands.’小郡主闭着嘴摇了摇头。But the Little Countess kept her mouth firmly shut and shook her head.

韦小宝放下火腿,端起那碗热汤,恶狠狠的道:“这碗汤烫得要命,Trinket, no longer smiling, put down the ham and chopsticks and picked up the bowl of hot soup. ‘This soup is very, very hot,’ he said menacingly.你如肯喝,我就等汤冷了些,一匙一匙的慢慢喂你。你不喝呢?哼,哼!”’If you’ll agree to drink some, I’ll wait till it’s cooler and feed it to you a spoonful at a time. If you won’t—huh!’左手伸出,捏住她鼻子。小郡主气为之窒,只得张开口来。韦小宝右手拿起一只匙羹,塞在她口里,Laying down the bowl, he pinched her nose between the thumb and fingers of his left hand, and when she opened her mouth to gasp for breath, he rammed a china soup-spoon into it.说道:“这碗热汤我就这样倒将下来,把你的肚肠也烫得熟了!”让小郡主喘了几口气,才将匙羹从她嘴里取出,放开左手。
‘I’ll pour the hot soup down like this,’he said. ‘It’ll blister your insides.’ He let her gasp a few more times before removing the spoon from her mouth and releasing her nose.

小郡主知道过桥米线的汤一半倒是油,比寻常的羹汤热过数倍,如此倒入咽喉,只怕真的给他烫死了,The Little Countess knew that passe-pont vermicelli soup is one half oil and several times hotter than any other kind of soup, and that having it poured, still hot, down her throat might well endanger her life.哭道:“你划花了我的脸,我……我不要活了,这样丑怪……”She began to cry. ‘You’ve cut lines all over my face,’ she sobbed. ‘I don’t want to go on living. So … so … so … ugly.’韦小宝心道:“原来你以为我真的在你脸上刻了一只乌龟。”微笑道:“你的脸虽然划花了,但这只小乌龟画得挺美,你走到街上,担保人人喝彩叫好!”
Trinket hadn’t realized that she believed he really had cut her. ‘What if I did carve your face?’ he said. ‘It’s a very pretty little turtle. Next time you go out in the street, everyone is going to admire it.’

小郡主哭道:“难看死了,我……我宁可死了。”The Little Countess sobbed even louder. ‘It’s horrible! I wish … I wish … I were dead.’韦小宝道:“唉,这样漂亮的小乌龟,你居然不要,早知如此,我也不必花那么多心思,在你脸上雕花了。”小郡主道:“雕什么花?我……我又不是木头。”韦小宝道:“你明明姓沐,怎么不是木头?”小郡主道:“我家这沐字,是三点水的木,又不是木头的木。”韦小宝也分不出沐木二字有何不同,说道:“木头浸在水里,不过是一块烂木头罢了。”小郡主又哭了起来。韦小宝道:“哪又用得着哭个不休的?你叫我三声‘好哥哥’,我就把你脸蛋儿补好,把小乌龟刮去,一点痕迹不留。”’What a shame!’ said Trinket. ‘It’s such a pretty little turtle. Still, if you really don’t want it, I don’t see why you have to go on crying like this. Just say “my darling” three times, and I’ll scrape it off for you. Your face will be as good as new.’小郡主脸上一红,道:“怎么刮得去?再这么一刮,我的脸还成什么模样?”The Little Countess blushed. ‘Scrape it off?’ she said. ‘After what you’ve already done to it? I shan’t have any face left.’韦小宝道:“我有灵丹妙药,第一流的英雄好汉,那是难修补些。’All right, then,’ said Trinket. ‘I know how to make an ointment that would do the trick. It might not work too well on a first-class man of action,你是第九流的小丫头,修补你的脸蛋儿,可真容易不过了。”
but as you’re only a ninth-rate girl, it should clear your face like magic.’

按:此段有略译

小郡主道:“我不信。你就是爱说话损人。”’I don’t believe you, ‘ said the Little Countess. ‘All you seem to care about is saying things that are hurtful.’韦小宝道:“你叫不叫?”小郡主红着脸摇摇头。韦小宝见她娇羞的模样,不禁有些心动,’Are you going to say it?’ said Trinket. The Little Countess blushed again and shook her head. She blushed so prettily that Trinket was just a tiny bit affected.说道:“小乌龟新刻不久,修补是很容易的。’It would be easy to clear the marks off your face now, only a short time after it was carved, ‘ he said,时间挨得久了,再要修补,如果留下一条乌龟尾巴修不去,只怕你将来懊悔。”
‘but the longer it’s left, the harder it will be to cure. Suppose you were to end up with a little turtle’s tail on your face that I couldn’t get rid of? You’d be sorry then that you hadn’t let me do it sooner.’

小郡主虽然对他的话将信将疑,总是企盼一试,倘若真如他所说,将来脸上留下一条乌龟尾巴,The Little Countess wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not, but putting ointment on her face couldn’t do any harm, even if it didn’t do any good; and she certainly didn’t want to risk the awful disfigurement of a turtle’s tail on her cheek; so she was now quite eager to try. 那可仍是难看之极,当下胀红了脸,嗫嚅道:“你……你可不是骗我?” ‘Are you . . . are you sure you aren’t just fooling me?’ she asked him falteringly. Her face was scarlet.韦小宝道:“我骗你干什么?你越叫得早,我越早动手,你的脸蛋儿越修补得好,乖乖的快叫罢!”
‘Why should I want to fool you?’ said Trinket. The sooner I put the ointment on, the sooner the marks will vanish. So just hurry up and say it.’

小郡主道:“倘若我……我叫了之后,你补得不好呢?”’But suppose after I’ve . . . after I’ve said it, your ointment doesn’t work?’ said the Little Countess.韦小宝道:“那我加倍赔还,连叫你六声‘好妹妹’!” ‘Well then I’ll have to say six “my darlings” as compensation, ‘ said Trinket.小郡主又是红晕满脸,说道:“你这人很坏,我不来!”韦小宝道:“好啦!你既然不放心,咱们分开来叫。’You’re horrible, ‘ said the Little Countess. ‘I won’t do it.’ ‘All right, ‘ said Trinket. ‘If you don’t trust me, we’ll do it by stages.你先叫我一声‘好哥哥’,待我补好之后,你叫第二声。我用镜子给你照过,’You say the first “my darling”, then I put the ointment on; then you say the second “my darling” and I show you your face in the mirror.果然是一点疤痕也没有,你十分满意了,再叫第三声。If there aren’t any marks on it and you’re completely satisfied, then you say the third “my darling”.说不定你开心得很,一连叫上十声。”小郡主急道:“不,不,你说叫三声,怎么又加?”Who knows, you may feel so happy that you’ll say ten of them!’ ‘No, no, ‘ said the Little Countess hurriedly, ‘you said three. Why are you putting the number up?’韦小宝微笑道:“好,三声就是三声,那你快叫罢!”小郡主嘴唇动了几下,总是叫不出口。
‘All right, ‘ said Trinket, ‘three times it is then. Only get on with it!’ The Little Countess opened and closed her mouth several times, but no sound came out. 韦小宝道:“叫一句‘好哥哥’,有什么了不起?又不是要你叫‘好老公’、叫‘亲亲老公’。 ‘Come on!’ said Trinket. ‘”My darling” isn’t very hard to say. I haven’t asked you to say “my beloved” or “my sweetheart”.你再不问,我的价钱也可越开越高啦。”If you don’t hurry up and say it, I’ll start putting my price up.’小郡主倒真怕他逼自己叫什么老公、老公的,结结巴巴的道:“我先叫一个字,等你真的治好了,我再叫下面……下面两个字。”Terrified that she might be forced to say ‘beloved’ or ‘sweetheart’, the Little Countess proposed a compromise. ‘Let me just say the first word now. I’ll say that. . . that other word after you’ve cured me.’韦小宝叹了一口气,道:“唉,你真会讨价还价,先给钱后给钱都是一样。那你叫罢!”
Trinket sighed. ‘You certainly drive a hard bargain. Personally I can’t see that it makes any difference whether you pay for something before or afterwards. All right. Say it then.’

小郡主闭上眼睛,轻轻叫道:“好……”这个“好”字,当真细若蚊鸣,耳音稍稍差着半点,可再也听不出来,The Little Countess shut her eyes and uttered a little ‘my’, faint as the hum of a tiny gnat, which to anyone the slightest bit deaf would have been quite inaudible.饶是如此,她脸上已羞得通红。
Yet even this effort made her face hot with shame.

韦小宝咕哝道:“这样叫法,可真差劲得很,七折八扣下来,还有得剩的么?也不知你心中在这个‘好’字下面接上些什么,’That’s a bit half-hearted, isn’t it?’ Trinket grumbled. ‘You’ve given yourself so much discount, there’s hardly anything left for me. Anyway, how do I know what you’re thinking of when you say “my”?好王八蛋是好,好小贼也是好。”It could be “my little bastard” or “my dearest monster”.’小郡主急道:“不是的,我心中想的,就……就是那两个字,我不骗你,真的不骗你。”’No, no,’ said the Little Countess hurriedly. ‘I’m thinking of that. . . that other word. I’m not trying to cheat you, honestly I’m not.’韦小宝道:“那两个什么字?是乌龟么?是小贼吗?”’Which other word?’ said Trinket, ‘”bastard” or “monster”?’小郡主道:“不,不!是哥……”说了一个“哥”字,急忙住口。
‘Neither of them,’ said the Little Countess. ‘”Darling.”‘ Her lips at once closed tight; but it was too late: already the word was out.

韦小宝笑道:“很好,算你有良心,那我给你修补脸蛋之时,便得用出最好手段。Trinket laughed. ‘Good girl!’ he said. ‘You’ve kept your side of the bargain, so now I’ll keep mine. I’ll give your face the very best treatment I can.请泥水匠去修狗洞,出上第一流的价钱,泥水匠便用第一流的手段,When you call in a builder to mend a hole in the wall, you only get a good job done if you pay him properly.倘若价钱太低,泥水匠用几块烂砖头塞满了事,石灰也不粉刷一下,岂不是难看之极?”If you pay him too little, he’ll make do with old broken bricks and forget about the whitewash, so what you end up with looks really terrible.’小郡主道:“人家叫也叫过了,你还是在笑我是狗洞、烂砖头。”
‘I said what you wanted me to say,’ the Little Countess protested. ‘Why do you have to make fun of me now with all this talk about holes in the wall and broken bricks?’

韦小宝哈哈一笑,道:“我这是比方。”打开海老公的箱子,取出药箱,’I was only giving you an example of what I meant,’ said Trinket, laughing, as he went to get the medicine chest from old Hai-goong’s trunk.将箱中的几十个药瓶都放在桌上,每一瓶药都倒了些粉末,像煞有其事的凝神思索,调配药粉。There were several dozen little phials in the medicine chest containing powdered medicaments. Trinket took out the lot of them and placed them on the table; then he began removing the stoppers from them one by one and pouring a little of the contents into a crucible. While he was doing this he gave a wonderful imitation of the concentration and hesitant pauses of a genuine expert making up a formula.小郡主本来只信得三分,眼见药瓶如此之多,不免又多信了两分。
The Little Countess, who to begin with was only three parts in ten persuaded that he knew what he was doing, was now, especially when she saw the array of little bottles, half inclined to think he really did.

韦小宝将药粉放进药钵,拿到外房,却倒在纸中包了起来,藏在怀里,Trinket took the crucible and its contents into the outer room, emptied the mixed powder on to a large sheet of paper, made it into a little packet, and stuffed it in the inner pocket of his gown;另外拿了一块绿豆糕,一块豌豆黄,再从一个广东月饼中挖了一块莲蓉,将药钵洗干净了,不留半点药粉,才将莲蓉,绿豆糕,豌豆黄在药钵中舂烂,又加上两匙羹蜜糖,心念一动,再吐上两大口唾沫,then he got a piece of rose and bean-paste fudge, a piece of pea-flour cake, and the scooped-out lotus seed filling of a Canton moon-cake, washed the crucible so that no trace of powder was left in it, put these sweetmeats in the crucible, added a little honey, and, just for good measure (this was a last-minute inspiration), spat in it a couple of times.调得匀了,拿进房中,说道:“这是生肌灵膏,其中有无数灵丹妙药。”
When he had mixed all these ingredients to a smooth consistency, he carried his mixture into the bedroom. ‘This is called “New-Skin Ointment”,’ he said. ‘It has all kinds of very powerful drugs mixed up in it.’

想了一想,又道:“你的脸是我刻花了的,就算回复原状,也不过和从前一般,你也不见我的好。”He thought a bit before adding: ‘If I only take away the marks that I carved on your face so that it looks the same as before, I shan’t have shown you what I am really capable of.’拿起昨日在珠宝铺中所镶的帽子,将帽上四颗明珠都拉了下来,放在左手手掌之中,问小郡主道:“这珠子怎样?”He fetched out the black satin cap that he had bought at the jeweller’s for his disguise a few days previously, tore out the four inlaid pearls from the cap-band and, placing them in the palm of his left hand, held them out so that the Litde Countess could see them. ‘What do you think of these?’小郡主祖上世代封王袭爵,虽然出世时沐家已破,但世家贵女,见识毕竟大非寻常,The Little Countess came of a long line of ducal ancestors, and even though she was born in a time when the family was in decline, her aristocratic upbringing had familiarized her widi many objects beyond the ordinary mortal’s ken.见这四颗珠子都有指头大小,的溜溜地在他掌中滚动,发出柔和珠光,浑圆无瑕,赞道:“这珠子好得很,四颗一样大小,很是难得!”
She studied these flawless, lustrous pearls, each of a finger’s circumference, perfecdy rounded, rolling and glistening in Trinket’s palm, widi the eye of a connoisseur. ‘They are very good pearls,’ she said. ‘It’s very unusual to get four like that all of exactly the same size.’

韦小宝大是得意,说道:“这是我昨天花了二千九百两银子买来的,很贵,是不是?”This was a great boost to Trinket’s self-esteem. ‘I bought these yesterday for two thousand nine hundred taels,’ he said. That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?’这四颗珠子虽然珍贵,却也不值得二千九百两,其实是九百两,他加上了二千两的虚头。The four pearls were indeed precious, but worth nothing like two thousand nine hundred taels. The price he had actually paid for them was nine hundred. The ‘two thousand’ was an afterthought.当下又取过一只药钵,将珠子放入钵中,转了几转,珠子和药钵相碰,互相撞击,发出清脆的声音。He found a mortar and put the pearls in it. When he shook it a few times to make them roll, they made a clear, sharp clicking sound as they struck against each other and the sides of the mortar.韦小宝拿起石杵,一杵锤将下去。小郡主“啊”的一声,叫了出来,问道:“你干什么?”
Then he picked up the pestle and smashed it down on them. The Little Countess gasped. ‘What are you doing?’ she cried.

韦小宝见她神情严重,一张小脸上满是诧异之色,更是意气风发。他卖弄豪阔,原是要换来这副惊诧,The concern in her voice and the startled look on her face made his spirits soar. It was to purchase such a look that he was making this parade of extravagant generosity.当下连舂得几舂,将四颗珠子舂得粉碎,然后不住转动石杵,将珠子磨成了细粉,Having, after a brief pounding, reduced the pearls to fragments, he worked the pestle round and round in the mortar until he had ground them into a fine powder.说道:“我倘若只将你脸蛋回复原状,不显我韦……显不出我小桂子公公的本事,定要将你脸蛋儿变得比原来美上十倍,你这十声‘好哥哥’才叫得心甘情愿,没半点勉强。”’If I only make your face like it was before,’ he said, ‘you won’t know what old Trink—what Laurie Goong-goong can do. I guarantee you’re going to end up looking ten times prettier than you were to start with. When you see what I can do for you, you’ll be saying “my darling” ten times over without even needing to be asked.’小郡主道:“三声!怎么又变成十声了?”
‘Three times,’ said the Little Countess. ‘Why has it suddenly turned into ten times again?’

韦小宝微微一笑,将珍珠粉调在绿豆糕、豌豆黄、莲蓉、蜜糖加唾沫的浆糊之中,用药杵拌得均匀。Trinket gave a little smile, poured the powdered pearl on to the ‘ointment’ of bean fudge, pea-flour cake, lotus seed, honey, and spittle in the crucible, and mixed it well in with the pestle.小郡主眼睛睁得大大的,不知他搞些什么,眼见他将四颗明珠研细,这药膏之珍贵可想而知。
The Little Countess watched him wide-eyed, unable to fathom what he was at. Whatever its other properties, it was now evident that this ointment was a very costly one.

韦小宝道:“四颗珠子虽贵,比起其他无价之宝的药粉来,却又算不得什么了。’Pearls are expensive,’ said Trinket, ‘but compared with the value of some of the powders I’ve used in this ointment, they’re nothing.你的相貌本来不错,但不能说是天下第一流的,等搽了我这药膏之后,多半会变成一位天下无双,羞月闭花……”Your face didn’t look too bad to start with, but you weren’t what I’d call a world beauty. After I’ve treated you with my ointment, you’re going to have the most beautiful complexion in the world. Like what they say about girls in stories: “Her flowery face”—’小郡主道:“羞花闭月。”她听韦小宝说错了,随口改正,但话一出口,不由得很不好意思。’Flowerlike,’ said the Little Countess. She corrected him unthinkingly, but as soon as she had done so, she felt embarrassed, for she had been taught that correcting people was rude.韦小宝用错成语,乃是家常便饭,丝毫不以为意,道:“不错,变成一个闭花羞月的小美人儿,那才好呢。”说着便抓起豆泥莲蓉珍珠糊,往她脸上涂去。
As a matter of fact, Trinket was quite unconcerned. Errors like this were part of his stock-in-trade. ‘That’s right,’ he said, ‘a flowerlike face. That’s what you’re going to have.’ And he began applying the pearly, gluey mess to her inky cheeks.

小郡主一声不响,由得他乱涂,片刻之间,一张脸上除了眼耳口鼻之外,都给她涂得满满地,She made no murmur while he plastered it on, and soon her face except for her eyes, ears, mouth, and nose was entirely covered with it.只觉这药膏甜香甚浓,并无刺鼻药味,浑不觉得难受。She had been expecting the acrid smell of medicine; instead she found it slightly fragrant and even rather agreeable.韦小宝见她上当,拚命地忍住了笑,When he saw that she was completely taken in, he could scarcely prevent himself from laughing.心道:“这药膏中我不拉上一泡尿,算是我客气,那是瞧在你祖宗沐英沐王爷的份上。他是开国功臣,韦小宝让了他三分。”’Yes, my little missy,’ he thought, ‘I think it’s very decent of me not to have pissed in that ointment as well. Let’s say I didn’t out of respect for your ancestor the Old Duke, because he was one of the Heroes of the Early Ming.’韦小宝涂完药膏,洗干净了手,说道:“等药膏干了,我再用奇妙药粉给你洗去。三涂三洗,那你非羞月……非羞花闭月不可。”
‘We’ll let this dry first,’ he said, ‘then I’ll use a special lotion to clean it off. After that I’ll do the same again two more times: put it on, let it dry, and then clean it off again. By the time we’ve finished, you’ll have the floweriest, I mean flowerlikiest complexion in the world.’

小郡主心想:“什么‘非羞花闭月不可’,这句话好不别扭。”’Flowerlikiest’ sounded so clumsy that the Little Countess felt sure there could be no such word, but she let it pass.问道:“为什么要涂三次?”韦小宝道:“三次还算是少的了,人家做酱油要九蒸九晒呢。’Why do you have to do it three times?’ she asked. ‘Three times is nothing,’ said Trinket. ‘When you make soy sauce, you have to soak the beans and then dry them nine times.就算是煮狗肉,也要连滚三滚。And dog’s meat has to be boiled three times before it’s fit to eat.’小郡主抱怨道:“你又骂我是酱油狗肉。”’Now you’re being horrible again,’ said the Little Countess complainingly, ‘comparing me to soy sauce and dog’s meat.’韦小宝笑道:“没有‘酱油狗肉’这句话,酱油煮狗肉,那就是红烧狗肉。不用酱油,是清炖狗肉。”’Soy sauce and dog’s meat make a very nice dish,’ said Trinket. ‘Braised Dog in Brown Sauce, they call it.’拿筷子挟起一片火腿,送到她嘴边,道:“吃罢!”He picked a small slice of ham up with a pair of chopsticks and held it to her mouth. ‘Come on,’ he said, ‘eat some.’小郡主一来也真饿了,二来不敢得罪了他,怕他手脚不清,在自己脸上留下一条乌龟尾巴,Partly because the Little Countess was really hungry, partly because she was afraid that if she offended him he might play some trick that would leave her with a permanent turtle’s tail on her cheek,三来见他研碎珍珠,毫不可惜,不免承他的情,微一迟疑,便张口将火腿吃了。
and partly because she could not help feeling grateful for his readiness to sacrifice the pearls on her behalf, she did, after a little hesitation, open her mouth and eat the ham.

韦小宝大喜,赞道:“好妹子,这才乖。”小郡主道:“我不……不是你好妹子。”韦小宝道:“那么是好姐姐。”小郡主道:“也不是。”韦小宝道:“那么是我好妈妈。”
‘Good for you, sister!’ said Trinket delightedly. ‘Sister? I’m not your sister,’ said the Little Countess. ‘All right, mother, then,’ said Trinket.

小郡主噗哧一笑,道:“我……我怎么会是……”韦小宝自见到她以来,直到此刻,才听到她的笑声。She gave a little peal of laughter. ‘How could I be that?’ Ever since Trinket first set eyes on her, this was the first time he had heard her laugh.只是她脸上涂满了莲蓉豆泥,难见如花笑靥,但单是听着她银铃般的笑声,亦足已畅怀怡神。韦小宝说她“是我好妈妈”,其实便是骂他“小婊子”,因为他自己母亲是个妓女,但听她笑得又欢畅又温柔,不禁微觉后悔,The enchanting dimples on her cheeks were concealed under a thick layer of his gluey mixture, but merely the sound of her little silvery laugh was so heart-warming and delightful that he half regretted having called her ‘mother’, since his real mother was a prostitute, and calling her ‘mother’, even jokingly, was tantamount to calling her ‘little tart’. Which of course he had already done, several times.又想:“做婊子也没什么不好,我妈妈在丽春院里赚钱,未必便贱过他妈的木头木脑沐王府中的郡主。”But then, on second thoughts, he decided that being a prostitute wasn’t such a bad thing after all, and that his own Mum, who made her living by working hard in a brothel, was no whit inferior to the Little Countess brought up in the lap of luxury on the Mu Family estate.又挟了几片火腿喂她吃了,说道:“你如答应不逃走,我就将你手上穴道也解了。”
He took up another piece of ham in his chopsticks and held it for her while she ate. ‘If you’ll promise not to run away,’ he said, ‘I’ll open the vital points for your hands.’

小郡主道:“我干么逃走?脸上刻了只小乌龟,逃出去丑也丑死了。”’What would I want to run away for?’ she said. ‘If anyone were to see me while my face was in this state, I should die of shame.’韦小宝心想:“待你得知脸上其实没有小乌龟,定然是要逃走了。Trinket reflected that she certainly would try to run away when she discovered that there wasn’t, after all, a little turtle carved on her cheek. Still, would it matter so much if she did?那钱老板也不说几时来接她出去。宫里关着这样一个小姑娘,给人发觉了可干系不小,那便如何是好?”
Butcher Qian hadn’t said when he was coming back to collect her, and keeping her here in his room was a terribly risky business. If anyone were to find her here, what on earth was he going to do?

正凝思间,忽听得屋外有人叫道:While he was pondering this seemingly insoluble problem, there was a sudden knock on his door. “桂公公,小人是康亲王府里的伴当,有事求见。”韦小宝道:“好!”’Laurie Goong-goong,’ a voice outside said, ‘this is a footman of Prince Kang’s here. Can I see you about something for a moment?’ ‘Right,’ he called;低声道:“有人来啦,你可别出声。这里是什么地方,你知不知道?”小郡主摇了摇头。then, lowering his voice, ‘Someone’s come,’ he said to the Little Countess. ‘Don’t make any noise. Do you know what this place is?’ The Little Countess shook her head.韦小宝道:“说出来可吓你一大跳。那些人个个都要害你。只有我瞧着你可怜,暂且收留了你。如果给人知道你在这里,哼哼,哼哼……”’If I told you, you’d die of fright,’ he said. ‘All the other people here are out to harm you. I’m keeping you here for a while because I felt sorry for you, but if any of the others knew you were here— huh!’心想:“说些什么重话吓她最好!她最怕什么?”He tried to think of something that would really scare her.一转念间,说道:“这些恶人定要剥光你的衣衫,打你屁股,打得痛得不得了。”
‘They’d take all your clothes off and beat you on the bum,’ he said, after a moment’s reflection. ‘It would be very painful.’

小郡主脸上一红,眼光中果然露出恐惧之色。The Little Countess went very red and there was a look of terror in her eyes.韦小宝见恐吓有效,便出去开门, Satisfied that she was sufficiendy terrified to keep quiet, he went to open the door.门外是个三十来岁的内监。He found a thirty-year-old eunuch waiting there. (Eunuchs were employed by the Imperial Princes as well as by the Emperor.)那人向韦小宝请安,恭恭敬敬的道:“小人是康亲王府里的。我们王爷说,好久不见公公,很是挂念,The eunuch bowed very low and addressed him with extreme deference. Prince Kang had not seen Laurie Goong-goong for a long time, he said, and was constantly thinking of him.今日叫了戏班,请公公去王府喝酒听戏。”
Today he had engaged a troupe of actors and would be most happy if Laurie Goong-goong would come over to his residence to have a few drinks and watch the actors perform.

韦小宝听说听戏,精神一振,但自己屋中藏着一个小郡主,既怕给人撞见,又怕她声张起来,诸多不便,一时颇为踌躇。The prospect of watching some plays was an exciting one, but the fear that if he went out someone might get into his room and discover the Little Countess or that the Little Countess might cry out and attract attention made him hesitate.那内监道:“王爷吩咐,务必要请公公光临。’His Highness says you really must favour us widi your presence, Laurie Goong-goong,’ said the eunuch encouragingly.今日王府中可热闹着呢,掷骰子、赌牌九,什么都有。”’It’s a very lively party he’s giving today. Lots of gambling: dice, dominoes, every kind you can think of.’韦小宝听到听戏,不过精神一振,听到赌钱,那可是精神大振了。The prospect of watching plays, though exciting, was resistible; but gambling—that was another matter.他自从发了大财之后,跟温氏兄弟、平威他们赌钱,早已无甚趣味,Since coming into the money, he had, for want of anything better to do, continued to play dice with the Wen brothers and Fat Ping, but there was little satisfaction in it for him.掷掷骰子,只是聊胜于无,康亲王府中既有赌局,自是豪赌,那还理会什么小郡主、大郡主?Gambling at Prince Kang’s on the other hand would mean gambling with first-class players for really high stakes. No Little Countess was going to keep him from that.

当即欣然道:“好,你等一会儿,我就跟你去。”他回入房中,’All right,’ he said. ‘Wait here a moment. I’ll be with you in a minute,’ and he shut the door on the waiting eunuch and went back into the bedroom.将小郡主松了绑,放在床上,又将她手脚绑住了,拉过被子盖在她身上, He undid the belts fastening the Little Countess’s hands and feet to the chair, carried her over to the bed, laid her down on it, tied up her hands and feet again, and covered her over with a bedspread.低声道:“我有事出去,过一会儿就回来。”’I’ve got some business to attend to,’ he told her, keeping his voice as low as possible. ‘I’ve got to go out now, but I’ll be back again shortly.’见她眼光中露出疑虑之意,说道:“珍珠还不够,我去珠宝铺买些,研碎了给你搽脸,那才十全十美。”He noticed the doubtful, apprehensive look in her eyes. ‘The pearls weren’t enough,’ he said. ‘I need to go to the jeweller’s to get some more. When I’ve powdered them and put the powder on your face, your complexion will be a hundred percent.’小郡主道:“你……你不要去。珍珠又贵。”韦小宝道:“不打紧的,你好哥哥有的是钱,要叫你羞花闭月,多花几千两银子算得什么。”’Don’t go!’ she said. ‘They’re too expensive. ‘ ‘No problem,’ said Trinket. ‘I’ve got stacks of money. What’s a few thousand taels more if they’ll buy you a flowerlike face?’小郡主道:“我……我在这里很怕。”
‘I’ll . . . I’ll be afraid here on my own,’ said the Little Countess.

韦小宝见她楚楚可怜,略有不忍之意,但要他不去赌钱,小郡主便再可怜十倍也没用,She looked so pitiful that he was almost tempted to stay; but if she had looked ten times more pitiful, she couldn’t have kept him from gambling.挟了一块工鱼干给她吃了,拿过四块八珍糕,叠起来放在她嘴上,He fed her a piece of dried kong-fish; then he arranged four tiny mincemeat cakes one on top of the other on her lips.道:“你一张嘴,便有一块糕落入口中。可得小心,糕儿一跌到枕头上,便吃不到了。”’You’ve only got to open your mouth and one of these will drop in,’ he said. ‘You’ll have to be careful though. If they fall off on to the pillow, you won’t be able to reach them.’小郡主道:“你……你别去。”嘴上有糕,说话声音细微几不可闻。
‘Don’t go!’ said the Little Countess; but her voice was so muffled by the four mince-cakes that it was scarcely audible.

韦小宝假装没听见,从箱中取出一叠银票,塞在袋里,Trinket pretended not to have heard. Taking a wad of banknotes from his trunk, he stuffed them into a pocket;开门出去,把门反锁了,兴匆匆的跟着内监到康亲王府去。then he went through the front room and opened the door again. After locking it carefully behind him, he hurried off to Prince Kang’s place with the eunuch.

A Party at Prince Kang’s

一到康亲王府门口,只见大门外站立着两排侍卫,When they got to Prince Kang’s place, Trinket could see, from the impressive appearance of the guards lined up on either side of the entrance,都是一身鲜明锦衣,腰佩刀剑,气概轩昂,比之韦小宝第一次来时戒备森严得多了,all in glittering new uniforms and with sabres at their sides, that security since his last visit to the residence had been tightened up.那自是惩于“鳌拜党徒”攻入王府之失,加强了守备。
Evidently the lesson of the raid by ‘Oboi supporters’, as they were thought to be, had been taken to heart.

韦小宝刚进大门,康亲王便抢着迎了出来,身子半蹲,抱住韦小宝的腰,No sooner was he inside the main gate than Prince Kang came hurrying forward to meet him and all but knelt down to embrace his waist.笑道:“桂兄弟,多日不见,你可长得越来越高、越来越俊了。”’Laurie, dear boy, what a long time it’s been!’ he said, smiling broadly at his guest. Taller and more good-looking each time I see you!’韦小宝笑道:“王爷你好。”’How are you, Prince?’ said Trinket, smiling back at him. ‘I hope you’re well.’康亲王笑道:“好什么?你也不多到我家里来玩儿。我多见你就好,少见你就不好。”’I should be,’ said the Prince, ‘if you came to see me oftener. I don’t feel at all well when you come to see me so seldom.’韦小宝笑道:“王爷吩咐我多来,那可求之不得。”’Just give the word if you want me to come and see you, ‘ said Trinket. There’s nothing I’d like better.’康亲王道:“你说过的话可得算数。’I’ll hold you to that,’ said the Prince.几时我向皇上讨个情,准你的假,咱们喝酒听戏,大闹他十天八天。就只怕皇上一天也少不得你。”
‘One of these days I’ll ask the Emperor to give you nine or ten days’ leave so that we can have a really good time together, drinking and watching plays. But I expect he’ll say he can’t spare you.’

携了韦小宝的手,并肩走进。众侍卫一齐躬身行礼。韦小宝大乐。He took Trinket by the hand and the two of them walked in together, side by side, past ranks of saluting guardsmen. Trinket glowed with pleasure.他在皇宫中虽然得人奉承,毕竟只是个太监,哪有此刻和王爷携手而行的风光?
He had grown used to preferential treatment inside the Palace, but as a eunuch he could never dream of walking hand in hand with a prince, as he was doing now.

到得中门,两个满洲大官迎了出来,一个是新任领内侍卫大臣多隆,通常称之为侍卫总管的,As they reached the inner gate, two high-ranking Manchus came out to meet them. One was the newly appointed Intendant of the Palace Guard, Dolong. (Those holding this position were generally referred to as the Chief.)另一个便是他的结拜哥哥索额图。索额图一跃而前,抱住了韦小宝,The other was Trinket’s old friend and adopted ‘brother’ Songgotu. Songgotu leaped forward when he saw Trinket and embraced him warmly.哈哈大笑,说道:“听说王爷今日请你,我便自告奋勇要来,咱哥儿俩热闹热闹。”
‘When I heard that the Prince was inviting you, I was determined to get myself invited too, so that we could see each other,’ he said.

侍卫总管多隆也上来着实巴结。四人一踏进大厅,Dolong added some flattering greeting of his own, and the four of them mounted the steps into the main hall.廊下的吹打手便奏起乐来。A band of musicians waiting under the eaves struck up as they entered.韦小宝从未受人如此隆重的接待,Ceremonious treatment like this was something Trinket had never in his life experienced before.自是眉飞色舞,差一点便手舞足蹈起来。He was almost dancing with elatioa as the four of them made their way through the main hall in the direction of the second, or inner, hall where the entertainment was to take place. More honours were to follow.到得二厅,厅中二十几名官员都已站在天井中迎接,As they entered the forecourt of the second hall, twenty or more high-ranking Manchu officials were waiting there to greet them:都是尚书、侍郎、将军、御营亲军统领等等大官。索额图一一给他引见。
presidents and vice-presidents of boards, colonels and generals, and a commandant of one of the brigades of guards. Songgotu introduced them one by one to Trinket before they went into the hall.

一名内监匆匆走进,打了个千,Just then a eunuch came running up to the Prince and saluted him in the Manchu style, dropping on one knee and touching the ground with his hand.禀道:“王爷,平西王世子驾到。”’Your Highness, His Grace the Heir Apparent of the Western Satrap is here.’康亲王笑道:“很好!桂兄弟,你且宽坐,我去迎客。”转身出去。’Excellent,’ said the Prince. ‘Make yourself comfortable here while I go to meet him,’ he told Trinket, before going to welcome his guest.韦小宝心想:“平西王世子?那不是吴三桂的儿子吗?他来这里干什么?”
‘The Satrap’s Heir Apparent? That’s Wu Sangui’s son, ‘ thought Trinket. ‘What’s he doing here?’

索额图挨到他耳边,低笑道:“好兄弟,恭喜你今天又要发财啦。”Songgotu leaned over and spoke softly in his ear. ‘Congratulations, brother! You’ll be able to make a pile today.’韦小宝笑道:“那得看手气怎样?”索额图笑道:“手气自然是好的。除了赌钱发财,还有一注逃不了的大财气。”’Depends on my luck with the dice, ‘ said Trinket. ‘I’m sure you’ll be lucky with the dice,’ said Songgotu, ‘but I wasn’t thinking of that. I was thinking of another sure-fire way of making a pile.’韦小宝道:“那是什么?”索额图在他耳边轻声道:“吴三桂差儿子来进贡,朝中大官,个个都不落空。”
‘What’s that?’ said Trinket. ‘The reason Wu Sangui has sent his son here is to deliver the annual tribute,’ Songgotu said softly. ‘Everyone at Court will have some pickings.’

韦小宝道:“哦,吴三桂是差儿子来进贡。我可不是朝中大官。”’Oh, I see,’ said Trinket. ‘But I’m not a Court official.’索额图道:“你是宫里的大官,那比朝中大官可威风得多了。吴三桂的儿子吴应熊精明能干,懂事得很。”低声道:’No, but you’re a Palace official,’ said Songgotu, ‘and you’ve got much more influence than any Court official. This Heir of Satrap Wu’s is a very bright, very able young man. He knows what’s what.’ He dropped his voice even lower. “待会吴应熊不论送你什么重礼,你都不可露出喜欢的模样,’When he offers you a present, never mind how costly it is, don’t, whatever you do, look pleased.只淡淡的说:‘世子来到北京,一路上可辛苦了。’他如见你喜欢,那便没了下文。Just say, in a very cool kind of way, something like, “Your Grace must have had a very tiring journey.” Nothing more. If you look pleased, that’ll be the end of it.你神色冷淡,他定然当你嫌礼物轻了,明天又会重重的补上一份。”
But if you behave rather coldly, he’s sure to think you’re dissatisfied with what he’s given you, and there’ll be another woppmg big present tomorrow to make up for it.’

韦小宝哈哈大笑,低声道:“原来这是敲竹杠的法子。”Trinket burst out laughing, but lowered his voice to reply. ‘So that’s how you fleece the customers!’索额图低声道:“云南竹杠,不砰砰嘭嘭的敲他一顿,那就笨了。’Anyone who doesn’t give the Yunnan sheep a good shearing is just plain stupid, ‘ said Songgotu.他老子坐了云贵两省,不知刮了多少民脂民膏。’Since his old man first had the running of Yunnan and Guizhou, I don’t know how much wealth he hasn’t screwed out of the people of those two provinces.咱哥儿们如不帮他花花,一来对不起他老子,二来可对不起云南、贵州的老百姓哪!”韦小宝笑道:“正是。”
It’s up to us now to help his son spend it. We owe it to the old man, not to mention the poor wretched people, ‘ ‘You’re right, ‘ said Trinket, laughing.

说话之间,康亲王已陪了吴应熊进来。While they were talking, Prince Kang arrived with his new guest.这平西王世子二十四五岁年纪,相貌甚是英俊,步履矫捷,确是将门之子的风范。The Satrap’s Heir was a young man of some twenty-four or so, handsome in a manly sort of way, with a springy, athletic step: a soldierly looking young fellow, as you would expect of someone who had grown up in the household of a great general.康亲王第一个便拉了韦小宝过来,Trinket was the first to be introduced to him, the Prince drawing him forwards by the hand in order to present him.说道:“小王爷,这位桂公公,是万岁爷跟前最得力的公公。上书房力擒鳌拜,便是这位桂公公的大功。”
‘This is my friend Laurie, Your Grace, ‘ said the Prince. ‘Laurie is H.I.M.’s most trusted Goong-goong. It’s Laurie Goong-goong who was responsible for Oboi’s arrest in the Upper Library. ‘

吴三桂派在北京城里的耳目众多,京城中有何大小动静,每天都有急足持信前往昆明禀报。Wu Sangui employed a large number of agents in Peking who kept him informed of current events in the Capital by means of reports sent out daily by express courier to Kunming.康熙擒拿鳌拜,是这几年来的头等大事,吴应熊自然早知详情。吴三桂曾和他商议,Kang Xi’s arrest of Oboi was the most sensational piece of news these agents had reported to him in years, so the Heir was familiar with the story in all its details and had discussed it with his father before setting out for Peking.觉得皇帝铲除权要于不动声色之间,年纪虽幼,英气已露,The Satrap foresaw trouble ahead for himself in the ease with which the young but already formidable Emperor had disposed of his too powerful subject.日后做臣子的日子,只怕不大好过。吴应熊这次奉父命来京朝觐天子,大携财物,贿赂大臣,最大的用意,是在察看康熙的性格为人,以及他手下重用的亲信大臣是何等样人物。
He told his son that, in addition to the customary tribute, he should take an ample supply of costly gifts to bribe the courtiers with, and that he should find out as much as he could about the character of the young Emperor and the sort of ministers he trusted and made most use of.

今日来康亲王府中赴宴,没料想竟会遇上康熙手下最得宠的太监,不由得大喜,To find himself, on his arrival as a guest at Prince Kang’s party, being introduced to the young eunuch who was Kang Xi’s most trusted favourite was therefore an unexpected bonus to which he responded delightedly.忙伸出双手,握住韦小宝的右手连连摇晃,说道:“桂公公,我……在下……(他先说了个“我”字,觉得不够恭敬:想自称“晚生”,对方年纪太小:如说“兄弟”,跟他可没这个交情,若说“卑职”,对方又不是朝中大官,自己的品位可比他高得多,急忙之中,用了句江湖口吻)在云南之时,便听到公公大名。He clasped Trinket’s right hand in both his own and shook it warmly. ‘Laurie Goong-goong, ‘ he said, ‘I heard all about you in Yunnan. My father is always telling everyone what a wonderfully intelligent, decisive Emperor we’ve got—a Sage Emperor he calls him.父王跟大家谈起来,都称颂皇上英明果断,确是圣明天子,还说圣天子在位,连公公这样小小年纪,也能立此大功,令人好生仰慕。He says it’s because we have a Sage Emperor on the throne that it’s possible for someone as young as yourself to carry out a deed of such amazing heroism.父王吩咐,命在下备了礼物,向公公表示敬意。He was particularly anxious that I should bring a suitable present to give you when I got to Peking to show you how much he admires you;只是大清规矩,外臣不便结交内官,在下空有此心,却不敢贸然求见。but then, unfortunately, I found that there is a Qing regulation forbidding external officials like me to have anything to do with members of the Inner Palace, so, much as I’d like to have done, I didn’t dare risk getting in touch with you.今日康王爷赐此良机,当真是不胜之喜。”
I can’t tell you how delighted I am that the Prince has given me this opportunity of meeting you informally, ‘

他口齿便捷,一番话说得十分动听。All this was spoken with such naturalness and charm that it was a pleasure to listen to him.韦小宝听得连吴三桂这样的大人物,在万里之外竟也知道自己名字,不由得骨头大松。It quite disarmed Trinket to learn that even the great Wu Sangui had heard of him all those hundreds of miles away in Yunnan.好在这些奉承的话也听得多了,早知如何应付,只淡淡的道:“咱们做奴才的,只是奉皇上的圣旨办事,就是一不怕苦,二不怕死而已,有什么功劳好说?小王爷的话可太夸奖了。”But then he remembered what Songgotu had told him and answered coolly. ‘I am the Emperor’s slave, Your Grace. My job is simply to carry out his commands, however difficult or dangerous they may be. I think you’re exaggerating when you talk about a deed of heroism.’心想:“索额图哥哥料事如神,这小汉奸果然一见面就提到‘礼物’二字。”
While he was saying this, he was thinking: ‘Good old Songgotu, you hit the nail on the head! The very first time the Little Traitor opens his mouth to me, he’s talking about costly presents.’

吴应熊是远客,又是平西王的世子,As the Satrap’s Heir Apparent, Wu Yingxiong was equal in rank to an Imperial Prince; he was moreover a visitor from afar.康亲王推他坐了首席,It was natural, therefore, that Prince Kang should now place him in the seat of honour.请韦小宝坐次席。席上大官甚多,尚书将军。个个爵高位尊,韦小宝虽然狂妄,这次席却也不敢坐,连声推辞。But when the Prince tried to make Trinket sit next to him, that usually arrogant young man felt bound, in the presence of so many high-ranking dignitaries, to decline.康亲王笑道:“桂兄弟,你是皇上身边之人,The Prince, however, was adamant. ‘Laurie, dear boy, it’s because you’re so close to the Emperor.大家敬重你,那也是爱戴皇上的一番忠心,你不用再客气了。”By honouring you, we are showing our loyalty to him; so you mustn’t be polite.’说着将他按入椅中。With that he pushed him down into the chair.索额图这时已升了国史馆大学士,官位在诸人之首,便坐在韦小宝身边,Songgotu had just been promoted Honorary President of the Board of History, so the next place after Trinket was his by virtue of his rank.其余文武大官按品级、官职高下,依次而坐。
The other guests, both civil and military, seated themselves in order of precedence.

韦小宝忽想:“他妈的!从前丽春院嫖客摆花酒,妈妈坐在嫖客背后,顺手拿几件糕饼给我,’Tamardy!’ thought Trinket. ‘When I was a kid in the Vernal Delights brothel and they were having a party, Mum used to sit behind the guests and sometimes she’d slip me cakes and things on the sly.王八们还常常把我赶开,那时只想,几时老子发了达,也到丽春院来摆一台花酒,叫老鸨、王八、小娘们都来陪酒。Chances were the pimps would see her and chase me out. I remember I used to tell myself that one day, when I was rich, I’d come back to the brothel and throw a big party myself and invite the bawd and the pimps and all the girls, just to show them how well I’d done.哪知道今日居然有亲王、王子、尚书、将军们相陪,And now here I am, hobnobbing with a real Prince and a Satrap’s son and all these presidents and generals:只可惜丽春院的老鸨、王八们见不到老子这般神气的模样。”
what a pity the bawd and the pimps aren’t here to see me!’

众人坐下喝酒。Once the company were all seated, the drinking began.吴应熊带来的十六名随从站在长窗之侧,Meanwhile the sixteen attendants who had come with the Satrap’s Heir stood in a line by the screen-doors at the other side of the hall, from which position they subjected both the guests and the servants who waited on them to their unrelenting gaze.对席上众人敬酒、挟菜,以及仆役传送酒菜的一举一动,均是目不转睛的注视。
No movement of wine-cup or chopsticks seemed to escape their scrutiny.

韦小宝略一思索,已明其理:Trinket, becoming aware of this scrutiny, had to think for a moment before the significance of it dawned on him. “是了,这是平西王府中的武功高手,跟随来保护吴应熊的,生怕有人行刺下毒。’Of course!’ he told himself. ‘These are kungfu specialists, sent by the Satrap as bodyguards to make sure that his son doesn’t get poisoned or assassinated.沐王府的人只怕早已守在外面。待会最好双方狠狠打上一架,且看是沐王府的人赢了,还是吴三桂的手下厉害。”They probably know that the Mu Family are out there somewhere waiting to get him. I expect there’ll be a good old dust-up before long, when the two sides get together. I wonder who’ll come out on top when they do.’他一肚子的幸灾乐祸,只盼双方打得热闹非凡,斗个两败俱伤。
He rather hoped they would prove to be equally matched. That would make for a more exciting fight, he thought gloatingly. Ideally both sides would get hurt and all of them be losers.

这情形康亲王自己瞧在眼里,他身为主人,也不好说什么。Prince Kang, too, had become aware of the men’s relentless gaze and had come to a similar conclusion; but as he was the host, he was not in a position to comment.那侍卫总管多隆武功了得,性子又直,喝得几杯酒,Dolong, the new Chief of the Palace Guard and himself a Martial Arts expert, being a straightforward, outspoken person and having, moreover, already imbibed several cups of wine, felt no such inhibition.便道:“小王爷,你带来的这十几个随从,一定都是千中挑、万中选的武功高手了。”
‘This is a first-class bodyguard you’ve brought with you, Your Grace,’ he said to the Heir. ‘I bet each of them is a tip-top professional. You must have interviewed thousands to pick a team like this.’

吴应熊笑道:“他们有什么武功?只不过是父王府里的亲兵,一向跟着兄弟,知道兄弟的脾气,出门之时,贪图个使唤方便而已。”
The Heir smiled deprecatingly. ‘There’s nothing tip-top about them. They’re just members of my father’s personal bodyguard who happen to have known me for a long time and are used to my little ways. That’s the only reason they were chosen: so that I could have people around who know how to serve me.’

多隆笑道:“小王爷这可说得太谦了。你瞧这两位太阳穴高高鼓起,内功已到了九成火候。’Your Grace is too modest,’ said Dolong with a laugh. ‘Look at the way the temples bulge out on those two big fellows. You can see that their Inner Force has been cultivated to the highest peak of perfection.那两位脸上、颈中肌肉纠结,一身上佳的横练功夫。And look at the knotted muscles on the necks and faces of those two there: that’s the product of inner training.还有那几位满脸油光,背上垂的大辫子,多半是假发打的,你如教他们摘下帽子来,定是秃顶无疑。”And those ones there who look as if their faces have been oiled: those great thick pigtails hanging down their backs are almost certainly false ones. Ten to one if you told them to take their hats off, you’d find that they were bald.’吴应熊微笑不答。索额图笑道:“我只知多总管武功高强,没想到你还有一项会看相的本事。”
The Heir smiled but made no reply. Songgotu seemed amused. ‘I knew you were a great expert in the Martial Arts, Chief,’ he said, ‘but I didn’t know you were a skilled physiognomist as well.’

多隆笑道:“索大人有所不知。平西王当年驻兵辽东,麾下很多锦州金顶门的武官。’Ah well, there’s something else you didn’t know, Mr President,’ said Dolong, smiling. ‘I can remember, years ago, when the Satrap was stationed in Liaoning, he had a whole lot of officers on his staff who’d trained in Jinzhou under the Master of the Golden Gate.金顶门的弟子,头上功夫十分厉害。凡是功夫练到高深之时,满脸油光,头顶却是一根头发也没有的。”Golden Gate always placed very great stress on the head, and all disciples of his who’ve undergone a long course of training with him have this same characteristic: their faces take on a shiny look and they lose all the hair on their heads.’康亲王笑道:“可否请世子吩咐这几位尊价,将帽子摘下来,让大家瞧瞧多总管的推测到底准不准?”
‘Do you think we could persuade His Grace to ask these gentlemen to take their hats off so that we can see whether Colonel Dolong is right about this?’ said Prince Kang.

吴应熊道:“多总管目光如炬,岂有不准的?’Colonel Dolong is very perceptive,’ said the Heir. ‘He is, of course, right up to a point.这几名亲兵,的确练过金项门的功夫,These men have had some training under Golden Gate;但功夫没练到家,头上头发还是不少,摘下帽子,不免令他们当众出丑,望众位大人包涵。”but they didn’t complete the course with him, so they have, I assure you, quite a lot of hair left. I think it would be rather humiliating for them if I asked them to take their hats off, so I hope you will excuse me if I don’t.’众人哈哈一阵大笑,既见吴应熊不愿,也就不便勉强。
There was a good deal of laughter from the assembled company, but as it was obvious that the Heir was unwilling to comply, they did not press him.

韦小宝目不转睛的细看这几个人,心痒难搔:Trinket continued to gaze fascinatedly at the men and to speculate about what they had got underneath their hats. “不知那大个儿头儿有多少头发?那瘦子功夫差些,想来头发一定很多。”That big one over there—I wonder how much hair he’s got,’ he thought. ‘I shouldn’t think that thin one did much of the course: he’s probably got quite a lot of hair.’忽然想起一事,忍不住哈的一声,笑了出来。康亲王笑问:“桂兄弟,你有什么事好笑,说出来大家听听。”Then suddenly an idea struck him and made him laugh. ‘What’s so amusing, Laurie?’ asked the Prince. ‘Won’t you share it with us?’韦小宝笑道:“我想金顶门的师傅们大家一定很和气,既少和人家动手,自伙里更加不会打架。”’I was thinking: those Golden Gate guys must be a very peaceable lot,’ said Trinket. ‘I shouldn’t think they do much actual fighting, especially with one another.’康亲王道:“何以见得?”
‘Oh? How do you make that out?’ said Prince Kang.

韦小宝笑道:“大家要是气了,瞪一瞪眼睛,各人将帽儿摘了下来,你数数我头发,我数数你头发,’Well, you see, they wouldn’t need to fight,’ said Trinket. ‘If they ever got angry, they’d just glare at each other for a bit, then they’d take their hats off and look at each other’s hair.谁的头发少,谁就本事强,头发多的人只好认输。”The one who’d got least hair must be the strongest, so the one with more hair would have to admit defeat.’众人哈哈大笑,都说韦小宝的想法十分有趣。This produced a big laugh and Trinket was complimented on the ingenuity of his reasoning.韦小宝又道:“金顶门的师傅们,想必随身都要带一把算盘,否则算起头发来可不大方便。”众人又是一阵大笑。
‘Of course, they’d have to carry an abacus with them all the time,’ Trinket continued, ‘so that whenever necessary they could count each other’s hairs.’ This produced another big laugh.

一位尚书正喝了口酒,还没咽下喉去,一听此言,满口酒水喷了出来,生怕喷在桌上失礼,一低头,都喷在自己衣襟之上,不住的咳嗽。
In fact, a certain President who had not yet swallowed his mouthful of wine was so overcome with mirth that he had to spit it out for fear of choking. Not wishing to disgrace himself by spitting on the table, he spat it down the front of his gown and ended up with a prolonged fit of coughing.

多隆说道:“康王爷,上次鳌拜那厮的余党到你王府骚扰,听说你这几个月来着实招揽了不少高手。”’I hear that since that remnant of Oboi’s party gave you a bit of trouble here, Your Highness has obtained the services of quite a number of first-rate fighting men,’ said Dolong to Prince Kang.康亲王右手慢慢捋着胡子,脸有得色,缓缓的道:“当真是有身份、有本事的高手,那是极难招得到的,The Prince stroked his little beard and looked rather pleased with himself. ‘Really first-class ones are, I can assure you, very hard to get,’ he said with a complacent drawl.肯应官府聘请的,多半只是二三流的角色而已。”’If you recruit through the official channels, you very seldom get anything better than third or second class.’顿了一顿,又道:“总算小王求贤若渴,除了重金礼聘之外,还帮他们办了几件事,这才请到了几个真正顶尖儿的高手。He paused for a few moments before continuing. ‘In pursuit of the best, I can at least claim to have spared no effort. To obtain the services of really tip-top experts, I had, in addition to offering them very high engagement fees, to do various favours for them before they would consent to come.只不过每日须得好好侍候他们,可也费心得很,哈哈,哈哈!”
And now that they have come, they expect me to dance attendance on them every day. I tell you, it’s a full-time job looking after them.’ He laughed, whether proudly or ruefully it was hard to tell.

多隆道:“王爷聘请高人这个秘诀,可肯传授么?”’I think Your Highness must have some secret formula for attracting the stars of the profession to come and work for you,’ said Dolong. ‘I wish you’d tell me what it is.’康亲王微笑道:“多总管自己便是一等一的高手,还聘请武学高手来干甚么?”’My dear Chief, ‘ said the Prince, smiling, ‘you’re the starriest of stars yourself: what need do you have of recruiting star fighters?’多隆道:“多谢王爷称赞。想那年咱们满洲武将在大校场较技,摄政亲王亲自监临,王爷和小将都曾得到摄政王的赏赐。You’re very kind,’ said Dolong. ‘But I seem to remember, years ago, when we were competing with other young Manchu officers in the presence of the Regent, you and I both received prizes from the Regent for our skill in archery. ‘听说这次鳌拜的余孽前来滋扰,王爷箭不虚发,亲手射死了二十多名乱党。”
I hear you were still shooting pretty well when you had that spot of bother here with Oboi’s people. They tell me you shot more than twenty of them yourself.’

康亲王微微一笑,并不答话。那日他确是发箭射死了两名天地会会众,二十多名云云,未免多了十倍。Prince Kang smiled but said nothing. He had in fact shot two of the Triad raiders on the occasion Dolong was referring to. Dolong had enlarged the figure by a factor of ten.韦小宝道:“这件事我是亲眼瞧见的。那时我耳边只听得飕飕乱响,前面不住大叫‘哎唷,哎唷!’后面大叫‘好箭,好箭!’”
‘I was there,’ said Trinket. ‘I saw it all with my own eyes. I could hear the arrows whizzing past my ears and the cries of “Aiyo! Aiyo!” in front of me and “Well shot! Well shot!” behind.’

一个文官不明韦小宝话中意思,问道:“桂公公,怎地前面的人大叫‘哎唷’,后面的人大叫‘好箭’?” A civilian official who hadn’t quite grasped the significance of what Trinket was saying asked him to explain.韦小宝道:“康王爷射箭,百发百中,前面给射中之人大叫‘哎唷’,后面是咱们自己人,当然大赞‘好箭’了。’Prince Kang was shooting so accurately,’ said Trinket, ‘that every arrow he shot hit its target. The “aiyos” in front came from the rebels he was hitting; the “good shots” behind came from our own side.不过叫‘好箭’之人,又比叫‘哎唷’的多了几倍,大人可知道其中缘故?”
As a matter of fact, though, there were more “good shots” than “aiyos”. Now I wonder if you can tell me what the reason for that was.’

那官儿捻须道:“想必是咱们这一边的人,比之乱党要多了几倍。”The mandarin stroked his beard. ‘Well, I suppose because our forces were many times greater than theirs.’韦小宝道:“大人这一下猜错了。当时乱党大举来攻,康王爷以少胜多,人数是对方多。’Ah, there you are wrong,’ said Trinket. The rebels had turned up in force. The Prince’s men actually were outnumbered.不过有些乱党给康王爷一箭射中咽喉,这一声‘哎唷’只到了喉头,钻不出口来,The reason there were fewer “aiyos” is because some of the Prince’s arrows hit the rebels in the throat, so they couldn’t cry out;而康王爷箭法如神,乱党之中有不少人打从心坎里佩服出来,忍不住要大叫‘好箭’!明知不该,可便是熬不牢!”那官儿连连点头,道:“原来如此!”
and the reason there were so many “good shots” is because the Prince’s shooting was so incredibly accurate that even some of the rebels couldn’t help crying out in admiration, in spite of themselves.’ The official, impressed, nodded vigorously. ‘Ah yes. Yes, yes. I see.’

吴应熊举起酒杯,说道:“康王爷神箭,晚生佩服之至。敬王爷一杯。”The Heir raised his wine-cup and proposed a toast. ‘To His Highness Prince Kang’s incredibly accurate shooting!’众人都举起酒杯,饮尽为敬。康亲王大喜,心想:“小桂子这小家伙知情识趣,难怪皇上喜欢他。”The company all raised their wine-cups in response and drained them at a single draught. Prince Kang beamed delightedly. ‘That young Laurie is a real little charmer,’ he thought. ‘No wonder the Emperor is so pleased with him.’多隆道:“王爷,你府中聘到了这许多武林高手,请出来大家见见如何?”
‘Your Highness, what about inviting those Martial Arts experts you were telling us about to come and join us?’ said Dolong. ‘I’m sure we’d all like to have a look at them.’

康亲王原要炫耀,便吩咐侍从:“这边再开两席,请神照上人他们出来入席。”
The Prince had been longing to show off his new acquisition and instructed a servant to call them in. ‘Let’s have a couple of extra tables laid here. And tell Father Illuminatus and the others we’d like them to join the party.’

Kungfu, Hats, and Plays

过不多时,后堂转出二十余人,为首一人身穿大红袈裟,是个胖大和尚。After a short delay a group of some twenty men came trooping in from the back of the hall led by a large, fat monk in a plum-coloured habit.康亲王站起身来,笑道:“众位朋友,大家来喝一杯!”席上众宾见康亲王站起,也都站立相迎。
Prince Kang rose to greet them. ‘My good friends,’ he said affably, ‘I thought you might like to have a drink with us.’ Seeing the Prince rise to welcome them, the rest of the company felt obliged to do likewise.

那神照上人合十笑道:“不敢当,不敢当!列位大人请坐。”The fat monk smiled back at the Prince, pressing his palms together in monkish salutation. ‘You do us too much honour,’ he said. He turned to the company. ‘Please, gentlemen! Please be seated!’说话声若洪钟,单是这份中气,便知内功修为甚是了得。The great booming voice, sonorous as a bell, was itself sufficient evidence of its owner’s Inner Force, which years of training had developed.余人高高矮矮,或俊或丑,分别在新设的两席中入座。
The rest of the party were a somewhat mixed bunch and not quite so impressive: some tall, some short, some handsome, and some quite ugly. All of them now seated themselves at the two extra tables which by this time had been prepared.

多隆既好武,又性急,不待众武师的第一巡酒喝完,Apart from being a Martial Arts enthusiast, Dolong was also a very impatient man, and before the newcomers had even finished their first round of drinks, was pressing the Prince to let him see their skill.便道:“王爷,小将看王府这些武林高手,个个相貌堂堂,神情威武,功夫定是极高的了。’I can tell by just looking at them that these proteges of Your Highness have been trained to the very highest degree of proficiency in the arts of self-defence,’ he said.可否请这些朋友们施展一下身手?’Do you think we could ask them to give a demonstration?平西王世子和桂公公都是难得请到的贵客,料来也想瞧瞧康亲王门下的手段。”You have two very distinguished guests here today: His Grace the Heir from Yunnan and Laurie Goong-goong from the Palace. I’m sure they would both be most interested to see these gentlemen demonstrate their skills.’

韦小宝首先附和。吴应熊鼓掌叫好。其余众宾也都说:“是极,是极!”Trinket was the first to support this request; the Heir followed, clapping excitedly; and all the other guests echoed their agreement.康亲王笑道:“众位朋友,许多贵宾都想见见各位的功夫,却不知怎样个练法。”
Prince Kang beamed and turned to the men at the two tables. ‘My good friends,’ he said, ‘all these honoured guests are longing to see something of your skills. What would be the best way of showing them something?’

左首武师席上一个中年汉子霍地站起,朗声说道:A man of middle years who had been sitting at the left-hand of the two tables leapt to his feet and began speaking in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear. “我只道康王爷爱重人才,这才前来投靠,哪知却将我们当作江湖上卖把式的人看待。’I agreed to enter Prince Kang’s service because I thought he had a genuine appreciation of talent, ‘ he said. ‘I hadn’t expected to be treated as a travelling buffoon.列位大人要瞧耍猴儿、走绳索的,何不到天桥上去?告辞!”If what these honoured gentlemen want is acrobatics and tight-rope walking, I suggest they’ll find what they are looking for in the Bridge of Heaven area. Excuse me, I’m going.’说着左手一起,击在椅背之上,拍的一声,椅背登时粉碎。大踏步便向门外走去。众人愕然失色。
But before he did so, he lifted up his left hand and brought it crashing down on the back of his chair, which disintegrated with a bang. Then, while the assembled company looked on aghast, he began striding from the hall.

那汉子同席中一个瘦小老者身子一晃,已拦在他面前,He had not gone more than a few steps, however, when a little, skinny old man who had been sitting at the same table popped out and stood in front of him, barring his way.说道:“郎师傅,你这般说话,太也岂有此理。王爷对咱们礼敬有加,要咱们献献身手,’See here, friend Lang,’ he said, ‘what you’ve just been saying is most unreasonable. His Highness asked us very courteously if we would give a demonstration of our skills.郎师傅如果肯练,固然很好,倘若不愿,王爷也不会勉强。If you don’t want to, that’s up to you. I’m sure His Highness has no intention of forcing you.你在王府大厅之上拍台拍凳,打毁物件,王爷就算宽宏大量,不加罪责,别的兄弟们这张脸,却往哪里搁去?”
But to go smashing up the furniture in front of all these guests—even if His Highness, out of the kindness of his heart, lets you go unpunished, what sort of position does it put the rest of us in?’

那姓郎的冷笑道:“人各有志。陶师傅爱在王府里耍把式,尽管耍个够。兄弟可要少陪了。”’People seem to have rather different ideas about what is honourable,’ the man called Lang replied sneeringly. ‘If you fancy yourself as an entertainer, go ahead! Only leave me out of it.’说着走上了一步。那姓陶的老者道:He took a step forward, but the old man was not giving way. “你当真要走,也得向王爷磕头辞行,王爷点了头,你才得走。”’If you’re determined to go,’ he said, ‘at least do it properly. Make His Highness a kowtow and go with his permission.’那姓郎的冷笑道:“我又不是卖身给了王府的奴才,两只脚生在我自己身上,要走便走,你管得着吗?”说着向前便走。
The man called Lang gave a contemptuous laugh. ‘I’m not His Highness’s bought slave. My legs are still my own. I walk where I please. What business is it of yours to try and stop me?’ Once more he started to go, and might have walked straight into the old man, who showed no inclination to budge.

那姓陶老者竟不让开,眼见他便要撞到自己身上,伸手便往他左臂抓去,说道:“说不得,也只好管管。”But the old man put his hand out and seized him by the left arm, only just preventing a collision. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘but I think it is my business.’姓郎的左臂一沉,倏地翻上,往他腰里击去。姓陶的右脚飞出,踢他胸口。The man called Lang freed his arm by jerking it violently downwards; then, jerking it upwards, he aimed a blow at the old man’s waist.姓郎的右手疾伸,托在那姓陶老者踢高的右腿膝弯之中,乘势一送,向外推了出去。The old man countered by lashing out with his right foot in the direction of the other man’s solar plexus; but Lang seized his upraised leg behind the knee and, by pushing upwards and outwards, caused him to lose his balance, so that he fell down backwards.姓陶老者仰面便跌,总算他身手敏捷,右手在地下一撑,已然跃起,虽没跌了个仰八叉,却已出丑,一张老脸胀得通红。那姓郎汉子嘿嘿冷笑,飞步奔向厅口。
He managed to save himself by putting out his right arm and leaping once more to his feet. By doing this he avoided the humiliation of falling flat on his back; but it was obvious from the dusky red hue of his face that he felt he had made a fool of himself. The Lang fellow laughed derisively and hurried towards the nearest exit from the hall.

突然之间,本来空无一人的厅口多了个瘦削汉子,拱手道:“郎兄请回。”’Please don’t go, Lang!’ A tall, thin man, politely clasping his hands as he said this, had suddenly appeared in the exit.那姓郎的奔得正快,收势不住,便往他身上撞去。Lang was hurrying at such a speed that he couldn’t have stopped if he’d wanted to and walked straight into him with a quite audible bump.那瘦子却不闪避,波的一声响,两人已撞在一起。姓郎的一个踉跄,连退了三步。The thin man had made no effort to avoid the collision and appeared unperturbed by it, but the shock of it caused Lang to stagger three paces backwards.向左斜行两步,蓦地转右,向右首长窗奔出。Recovering his equilibrium, he took a couple of steps sideways to the left, but this was only a feint, for he suddenly changed his direction and rushed towards a screen-door on the right.将到门槛处,只见那瘦子又已拦在身前。As if by some magic, the thin man was waiting for him on the threshold when he arrived.姓郎的适才和他这一撞,知道厉害,不敢再向他撞去,急忙住足,This time, not relishing the idea of another collision, Lang stopped himself just in time to avoid one.胸膛和他胸膛相距不过两寸,鼻尖和他鼻尖已然碰了一碰。It was a near thing: there was barely an inch between his chest and the thin man’s, and their noses were actually touching.那瘦子纹丝不动,连眼睛也不瞬一下。姓郎的倏地向左闪去,可是只一站定,那瘦子便已挡在他身前。
The thin man didn’t move a muscle or blink an eyelid. Lang moved to the left. The other man moved with him so that they were face to face as before.

姓郎的大怒,呼的一拳向他面门击去,两人相距既近,这一拳劲力又大,眼见那瘦子不是侧身,便须低头。This so enraged Lang that he hit out with his fist at the thin man’s face. Though aimed from a very short distance, there was great force behind the blow and the thin man might have been expected either to dodge aside from it or duck his head down to avoid it.却见他左掌在自己脸前一竖,拍的一声响,这一拳打在他掌心。他只手掌微弯,姓郎的已被弹得连退数步。In fact he did neither. He simply held his left hand up in front of his face and received the blow in his cupped palm. He must have exerted a strong outward pressure as the fist made contact, for once again Lang was sent reeling backwards.厅上众人齐声喝彩,都道:“好功夫!”
The hall re-echoed with the ‘bravos’ of the watching guests.

姓郎的神色十分尴尬,走是走不脱,上前动手又和他武功相差太远,一时手足无措。那瘦子拱手道:Lang was now in a dilemma. He couldn’t shake off the thin man, nor could he fight a way past him, since he obviously wasn’t his match. “As he stood there, crestfallen and irresolute, the thin man clasped his own hands politely and addressed him:郎兄请坐。王爷吩咐咱们练几手,咱两个这可不是练过了吗?”说着便坐入右首一席的原位。众人又是喝彩。’Do please sit down again, friend Lang. His Highness asked us to give a demonstration of our skills. We’ve just given one.’ He walked back and resumed his own seat at the right-hand table, while everyone in the hall applauded.姓郎的满脸羞惭,低头入座。
The wretched Lang, covered in shame and confusion, slunk back to the other table, not daring to raise his head.

那姓郎的这么一闹,康亲王本来大感面目无光,幸好这瘦子给他挣回了脸面,逼得这姓郎的武师回席,Lang’s rude outburst had put the Prince very much out of countenance. By forcing Lang back to his seat the thin man had retrieved the Prince’s honour, so the Prince felt very grateful.吩咐侍从:“拿些五十两银子的元宝来。”韦小宝笑道:“这位师傅的武功了不起,这么一下恶……恶……恶虎拦路(他本来想说“恶狗拦路”),那家伙便说什么也走不了。不知他叫什么名字?”康亲王摸了摸腮帮,想不起这瘦子叫什么,这人几时来到王府,他心中也已全然没了影子,笑道:“小王记性不好,一时可想不起来了。”
He ordered his attendants to bring in a supply of fifty-tael silver ingots. But when Trinket leaned over and asked him what the man’s name was, the Prince found, after rubbing his cheek reflectively, that he could not for the life of him remember either the man’s name or when he had entered his service. He laughed apologetically. ‘My memory is so bad,’ he said. ‘I can’t for the moment recall it.’

少顷侍从托着一只大木盘,盘上垫以红绸,放了二十只五十两的大元宝,银光闪闪,甚是耀眼,站在康亲王身边。Presently the attendants returned, carrying between them a big wooden board covered with a red silk cloth on which twenty large, gleaming fifty-tael ingots were arranged. They took up their position beside the Prince.康亲王笑道:“众位武师露了功夫,该当有个彩头。这位朋友,请过来拿一只元宝去。”那瘦子走上前来,请了个安,从康亲王手中接过一只元宝。
‘Ah, good!’ said the Prince jovially. ‘Skill must have its reward.’ He turned to the tall, thin man. ‘Come, friend! Come and take one of these ingots!’ The thin man came forward, bowed, and received one of the ingots from the Prince’s own two hands.

韦小宝问道:“朋友,你贵姓?大号叫什么?”那瘦子道:“小人齐元凯,多蒙大人垂问。”’What is your name, friend?’ Trinket asked him. ‘Qi Yuankai, sir,’ said the thin man. Thank you for asking, sir.’韦小宝道:“你武功可高得很啊。”齐元凯道:“教大人见笑了。”
‘You’re terribly good, ‘ said Trinket. ‘Good for a laugh,’ said the man.

多隆道:“康王爷府中的武师,果然身负绝艺。咱们很想见识见识平西王手下武师们的功夫。’Now that we know how good these gentlemen of Prince Kang’s are, ‘ said Dolong, ‘I’m sure we’re all dying to see what the gentlemen from Yunnan can do.小王爷,你挑一人出来,跟这位齐师傅过招如何?”他见吴应熊沉吟未应,What about choosing one of them for a bout or two with our friend Qi here, Your Grace?—A touch on one of the points would count as a win, of course, ‘ he added, seeing the Heir hesitate.又道:“这当然是点到为止,不能伤了大家和气。谁胜谁败,都不相干。”’We don’t want any hard feelings, ‘ Prince Kang, who loved excitement of any kind, was enthusiastic.康亲王是个十分爱热闹的人,说道:“多总管这主意挺高。让双方武师们切磋切磋,胜的赏两只大元宝,不胜的也有一只,把元宝放在桌上罢。”
‘What an excellent idea, Chief! I’m sure each side would learn something from the other. We’ll give two of these ingots to anyone who wins a bout and one each to the losers. Put them down on a table somewhere!’

一盘十九只大元宝放在筵前,烛光照映,银气衬以红绸,更显灿烂。The board with its nineteen ingots was set down in a position where everyone could see it. The red of the silk offset the whiteness of the silver which gleamed even more brightly in the candlelight.康亲王笑道:“敝处仍由这位齐元凯师傅出手,平西王府中不知是哪一位师傅下场?”
‘I am going to have Qi Yuankai again as my champion, ‘ said the Prince jovially. ‘Which of your sixteen gentlemen will you choose, Your Grace?’

众人都是兴高采烈,瞧着吴应熊手下的十六名随从,Excited at the prospect of a contest, the guests all craned their necks for a better view of the sixteen.均知这虽是武师们一对一的比武,实则是康亲王和平西王两处王府的赌赛。Although this was nominally to be no more than a trial of strength between two Martial Arts professionals, everyone realized that it was really a competition between the two noblemen in which face and prestige would be at stake.这瘦子齐元凯适才露了这手功夫,武功确然了得,恐怕云南的武士未必有人敌得过他。They had seen something of Qi Yuankai’s skill already and were inclined to doubt whether any of the sixteen would be a match for him.吴应熊沉吟未答。他手下十六人中有一人越众而出,向康亲王躬身说道:While the Heir was still hesitating, one of the sixteen stepped forward and saluted Prince Kang with a bow. “启禀王爷:小人们武艺低微,决不是王爷府上这些师傅们的对手。我们随同世子来京,只是服侍世子的起居饮食。’Your Highness, ‘ he said, ‘we are none of us highly qualified in Martial Arts and definitely no match for the gentlemen of your household. We have accompanied His Grace to the Capital not so much as bodyguards but to wait on him and cater to his needs.平西王吩咐过的,决不可得罪了京里王爷大臣们的侍从。His Grace’s father was most insistent when we set out that we should under no circumstances give offence to those in the service of other households, particularly those of Imperial princes or ministers of state.这是平西王的将令,小人们决计不敢违犯。”
This was issued to us as a military order which it would be more than our lives are worth to disobey.’

康亲王笑道:“平西王可小心谨慎得很哪!今日只是演一演武,又不是打架生事。Prince Kang laughed dismissively. ‘His Highness the Satrap is a very cautious man: but this is only a demonstration we are talking about: no one is asking you to take part in a brawl.你们王爷问起,说是我定要你们出手的好了。”If His Highness should question you about this when you get back, you can tell him that I insisted that you should give an exhibition of your skill.’那人又躬身道:“王爷恕罪,小人不敢奉命。”The man bowed once more. ‘I humbly beg pardon, Your Highness, but I dare not.’康亲王暗暗恼怒:“你心中就只有平西王,不将我康亲王放在眼里。Prince Kang was secretly furious. ‘I am a Prince of the Blood, ‘ he thought, ‘yet this fellow thinks more of his wretched Satrap than he does of me.只怕便是皇上下旨,你也不听。”说道:“难道别人伸拳打在你们身上,你们也不还手么?”
I suppose if the Emperor gave him an order he would refuse that too, ‘ ‘Do you mean to tell me that if someone actually attacked you, you would not retaliate?’ he asked the man.

那人道:“小人在云南常听人说,天子脚下文武百官、军民人等,个个都讲道理。When I was in Yunnan, ‘ the man replied, ‘I was told that everyone living under the eye of the Emperor here in the Capital, from the highest officials down to the common people, is civilized and law-abiding.我们是远地边疆的乡下人,来到京城,万事退让,说什么也不敢得罪旁人,想来别人好端端的,也不会打到我们身上。”As a mere provincial coming from an out-of-the-way part of the Empire, I’m very careful, now that I’m in the Capital, to be on my best behaviour and not give offence to anybody; so, since the people here are so well-behaved, I can’t imagine why any of them should want to attack me.’这人身材魁梧,一脸精干之色,言辞锋利,He was a big, powerfully built, very able-looking man and spoke with considerable eloquence.这几句话一说,倘若康亲王定要叫手下武师挑衅,倒似是不讲道理了。
He had just told the Prince, in so many words, that to set his bravoes on the Yunnanese in order to provoke a fight, if that was what he was planning to do, would be ‘uncivilized’.

康亲王愈加恼怒,转头说道:“神照上人、齐师傅,他们云南来的朋友硬是不肯赏脸,咱们可没法子了。”Prince Kang was getting really angry now. He turned to his own followers. ‘Father Illuminatus, friend Qi, ‘ he said, ‘if these gentlemen from Yunnan are determined not to oblige us, I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do about it.’神照上人哈哈一笑,站起身来,说道:“王爷,这位云南朋友只不过怕输,生怕失了脸面。Father Illuminatus laughed his booming laugh and rose to his feet. What our friend from Yunnan is really afraid of, Your Highness, is being beaten and losing face, ‘ he said.难道旁人真的打到他们要害之上,他们也不还手招架?”说毕身形晃处,已站在那人身畔,笑道:“贫僧掌上力道,平平而已,但比那位要走又不走的姓郎朋友,说不定还强着这么一点儿。王爷,贫僧弄坏您厅上一块砖头,王爷不会见怪罢?”
‘I can’t believe these men wouldn’t retaliate if they were seriously threatened. I’ve only got an average punch, but I think I can claim to have a little more power in my hand than our friend Lang who wanted to leave and found he couldn’t. Would Your Highness be offended if I broke one of the tiles on this floor?’

康亲王知道众武师中以神照武功最高,内外功俱臻上乘,Father Illuminatus was the most formidable of Prince Kang’s retainers, a fighter whose Inner and Outer Forces were both superbly developed.听他这么说,自是要显功夫来着,喜道:“上人请便,就弄坏一百块砖头,也是小事一桩。”The Prince realized, with pleasant anticipation, that the monk was about to give an exhibition of his strength. ‘Go ahead, Father,’ he said. ‘Break a hundred, if you like!’神照一矮身,左掌轻轻在地下一拍,提起手来时,掌上已粘了一块大青砖。Father Illuminatus squatted down and struck the floor lightly with the palm of his left hand. As he rose slowly to his feet, a large, slate-coloured tile—it must have been all of eighteen inches square—was seen to be adhering to his palm as if by magnetism.这青砖一尺五寸见方,虽不甚重,却牢牢的嵌在地上,将青砖从地下吸起,平平粘在掌上,竟下落下,掌力甚是了得。Although not particularly heavy, the tile had been cemented firmly into the floor, yet the monk, by exercising some mysterious inner power, had been able not only to dislodge it from its setting, but to keep it adhering to his palm even after he had risen to his full height.韦小宝大叫一声:“好啊!”众人一齐鼓掌。
Trinket uttered a loud cry of admiration: ‘Excellent kungfu!’ The rest of the company applauded with their hands.

神照微微一笑,左掌一提,掌上吸力散去,那青砖便落将下来,Father Illuminatus, with a little smile of triumph, made a slight movement of his hand, releasing the tile from the power which held it captive to his palm, so that it began to fall;待落到胸口之时,他两臂自外向内一合,双掌合拍,正好拍在青砖的边缘,but as it reached the level of his chest, he clapped his hands together against its edges.波的一声,一块大青砖都碎成了细粒,纷纷落地。There was a sort of plopping noise and the tile crumbled and dropped in a shower of particles to the floor.众人又是大声喝彩。This time the shouts of applause came from every side.大家都看了出来,青砖边缘只不过四五寸处受到掌击,但掌力弥散,竟将整块青砖震碎,最大的碎块也不过一二寸见方,内力之劲,实是非同小可。Since only four or five inches on each side of the tile could have been in contact with the monk’s hands when they struck it, there must have been quite extraordinary power in them to have reduced the whole of it to little pieces, the largest of which could not have been more than an inch or two square.神照走到吴应熊那随从身畔,合十说道:Father Illuminatus walked over to the big retainer and pressed his palms together in monkish salutation. “尊驾高姓大名?”那人道:“大师掌力惊人,当真令小人大开眼界。’Now, sir, what’s your name?’ ‘You have amazingly strong hands, Your Reverence,’ said the man. ‘I’ve certainly never seen anything like that before.小人边鄙野人,乃是无名小卒。”神照笑道:“边鄙野人,就没姓名么?”
But I’m only a nobody from the outback, you know: not anyone you would ever have heard of.’ The monk laughed. ‘Don’t nobodies from the outback have names, then?’

那人双眉一轩,脸上闪过一层怒色,但随即若无其事的道:The big man raised his eyebrows and a look of anger passed over his face; but it was only momentary. “山野匹夫,就算有名字,也不过是阿猫、阿狗,大师知道了也是无用。”’Yes, we country folk have names, but so do cats and dogs. There’d be no point in Your Reverence knowing them.’神照笑道:“阁下好涵养功夫。康亲王今日大宴宾客,高朋满座,是北京城中罕有的盛会。’You’re very sparing of your skill, my good sir,’ said the monk. ‘Today Prince Kang is giving this big reception for his friends; all the guests here are highly distinguished men; this is probably the biggest occasion we’ve had in Peking this year.王爷有命,要咱们献丑,以博王爷、世子以及众位嘉宾一笑。尊驾定是不肯赐教,Yet when His Highness asks us to do our little bit to help him entertain these distinguished guests, you absolutely refuse to oblige.大扫王爷与众位大人的兴头,岂不是太也自重身价了吗?”
You’re quite prepared to spoil their pleasure. Aren’t you putting rather too high a value on your skill?’

那人道:“在下只学过几年乡下佬庄稼把式,如何是沧州铁佛寺神照上人的对手?’I don’t know about skill,’ said the big man. ‘I’ve done a few years’ training in the backwoods, but only up to the standard you’d find in country fairs. I’m certainly no match for the famous Father Illuminatus of the Iron Buddha Monastery in Cangzhou.大师定要比试,在下算是输了,大师去领两只大元宝便是。”If you insist on challenging me, I might as well concede victory straight away and let you take the two ingots without a fight.’说着转身便欲退回。神照喝道:“且慢!He began to walk back to his place; but Father Illuminatus wasn’t giving up so easily. ‘Not so fast!’ he shouted.贫僧定欲试试尊驾的功夫,双拳‘钟鼓齐鸣’,要打尊驾两边太阳穴,请还手罢!”
‘I’m not letting you go until I’ve found out what stuff you’re made of. I’m going to do a Double Drumbeat on those temples of yours and I want you to show me what you can do to prevent me.’

那人摇了摇头。神照大喝一声,大红袈裟内僧袍的衣袖突然胀了起来,已然鼓足了劲风,The man shook his head, but Illuminatus, ignoring this, gave a great roar and flexed the muscles of his arms, which swelled visibly in the sleeves of the cassock he wore under his sleeveless plum-coloured surplice. This was merely the intimidating preliminary.双臂外掠,疾向内弯,两个碗口大的拳头便向那人两边太阳穴撞去。Now, bending his arms, he held them out at shoulder level, embracing the air in front of him; then, moving them in two horizontal arcs as far back as they would go, he prepared to drive his great fists, each as large as a rice-bowl, against the sides of the big man’s skull.众人适才见他掌碎青砖的劲力,都忍不住“咦”的一声叫了出来,There was an audible gasp from the company in the hall. They had seen what those two great hands could do to a floor-tile.心想此人闪避已然不及,若不出手招架,这颗脑袋岂不便如那青砖一般,登时便给击得粉碎?
It was too late to dodge the blow. Surely, if the man didn’t want his skull to be crushed like the tile, he would be forced to parry it?

岂知那人竟然一动不动,手不抬、足不提、头不闪、目不瞬,便如是泥塑木雕一般。神照上人出手之际,原只想逼得他还手,Amazingly he made no movement, either of hand or foot or head or even of his eyes, but continued to stand there, still and Illuminatus had begun this little performance with the sole intention of forcing the other man to fight;并无伤他性命之意,双拳将到他太阳穴上,却见他呆呆的不动,心中一惊:“我这双拳击出,几有千斤之力。平西王世子是康亲王的贵宾,倘若鲁莽打死了他的随从,可大大不妥。”it was no part of his plan to kill him. The Yunnan Heir was Prince Kang’s honoured guest and to kill one of his retainers by a gratuitous act of violence would be no laughing matter.便在双拳将碰上他肌肤之际,急忙向上一提,呼的一声响,从他两边太阳穴畔擦过,僧袍拂在他面上。The man’s passive immobility, even as the great fists were about to crush his head, caused the monk something close to panic. With a supreme effort he managed, in the last split second, to jerk them upwards so that they merely touched the man’s head, while the plum-coloured surplice brushed against his face.那人微微一笑,说道:“大师好拳法!”
The man’s face wore an almost imperceptible smile. ‘Brilliant, Your Reverence! Superb kungfu!’厅上众人都瞧得呆了,心想此人定力之强,委实大非寻常,倘若神照上人这两拳不是中途转向,而是击在他太阳穴上,此刻哪里还有命在?The guests in the hall had watched this open-mouthed. The man’s impassivity was extraordinary; but if Illuminatus’s great fists hadn’t changed direction and had struck his temples, he would undoubtedly be dead.这人以自己性命当儿戏,简直疯了。
Surely someone who could play ducks and drakes with his own life like this must be insane?

神照拳劲急转,震得双臂一酸,不由得向他瞪视半晌,不知眼前此人到底是个狂人,还是白痴,The last-moment upward jerk which had saved the man’s life had made the monk’s arms hurt. For some moments he glared at him, trying to decide whether he was mad or just simple-minded.倘若就此归座,未免下不了台,He was wondering, too, how he could get out of this situation without looking foolish. Obviously he couldn’t just walk away and sit down.说道:“尊驾定是不给面子,贫僧无法可想,只好得罪。’All right, my good sir, ‘ he said. ‘If you’re determined not to oblige me, you mustn’t mind if I get a bit rough with you. You’d better make yourself ready:下一拳‘黑虎偷心’,要打向尊驾胸口。”“钟鼓齐鸣”、“黑虎偷心”这些招数,原是最粗浅的拳招,寻常学过几个月武功的人都曾练过,I’m going to give you a Black Tiger now, right in the middle of your chest.’ The Double Drumbeat and the Black Tiger are both very crude, elementary forms of attack which any beginner is taught to master in the first few months of his training.他又在发拳之前先叫了出来,本意只是要以劲力取胜,而使用最粗浅的功夫,也颇有瞧不起对手之意。那人微微一笑,并不答话。
Both, as if to emphasize the primitive nature of the attack, are preceded by an in-timidatory shout. Using such crude methods on his opponent was the monk’s way of showing his contempt. But the big man merely smiled his little smile and made no reply.

神照心下有气,寻思:“我这一拳将你打成内伤,并不立毙于当场,却叫你三四天之后才死,那就不算扫了平西王的脸面。”Illuminatus was getting angry. ‘I’ll give him a blow that will damage him internally,’ he thought. ‘It won’t kill him straight away: he’ll die in three or four days’ time. That way there won’t be any risk of upsetting the Heir while he is here.’坐个马步,大声吆喝,He struck up the first position, which is supposed to terrorize your opponent before you hit him, bending the legs as if astride a saddle while simultaneously uttering a blood-curdling cry;右拳呼的一声打了出去,拍的一声,正中他胸口。那人身子一晃,退了一步,笑道:“大师赢了,我已退了一步。”
then shooting out his right fist, he drove it smack into the centre of the man’s chest. The man stepped backwards with the blow, so swiftly that it looked as if he was being carried by it, then gave a little laugh. ‘Your Reverence has won. I stepped back.’

神照这一拳虽未用全力,却也是劲道甚厉,Father Illuminatus hadn’t put all his strength into the punch, but it was still, potentially, a very damaging one;不料这人浑如不觉,这两句话说来轻描淡写,显然全没受伤。yet here was this man looking as if he hadn’t felt anything and speaking in a quite ordinary tone of voice. It was obvious that he hadn’t been hurt.文官们不懂其中道理,但学武之人,个个都知他是有意容让。The civilians present didn’t understand the significance of what they had just witnessed, but anyone with any knowledge of the Martial Arts realized that the big man had deliberately given ground.韦小宝不文不武,也就在似懂非懂之间。
In Trinket’s case it was half and half: he thought he understood but wasn’t sure.

神照自负在武林中颇具声望,怎肯就此算赢?Father Illuminatus was proud of his reputation among members of the Martial Arts fraternity and wasn’t going to accept this as a victory.他脸面涌上一层隐隐黑气,说道:“那么再吃我一拳。”呼的一拳,仍向他胸口击去,A cloud of ill-suppressed anger darkened his face. ‘All right, here’s another one!’ Once more he shot out his great fist at the big man’s chest.这一次用上了七成劲力,He was still not using his maximum strength, but a good deal more than he had put into the previous attempt.纵然将他打得口喷鲜血,那是他自讨苦吃,那也是无可奈何了。This fellow’s asked for it,’ he thought. ‘If this one makes him spit blood, that’s just too bad!’神照这一拳将抵那人衣襟,那人胸部突然一缩,This time the big man stood his ground, but even as the fist touched his clothing, his chest seemed to cave in.身子向后飘出半丈,似乎给拳力震了出去,其实是乘势避开他的拳劲。While keeping his feet firmly on the floor, he contrived to move the upper half of his body two or three feet backwards, so quickly that, once more, it looked as if the blow had moved him, whereas in fact it had only hit the air.神照这一拳又打了个空,愈益恼怒,抢上两步,大喝一声,右腿飞起,向他小腹猛踢过去。With a cry of rage Father Illuminatus kicked out his right foot at the big man’s lower belly.那人叫道:“啊哟!”眼见这一腿已非踢中不可。
There was a cry of ‘Aiyo!’, and the watching guests jumped as one man to their feet, sure that this time he really had been hurt.

众人不约而同的都站了起来,只见那人身子向后,双足恰如钉在地上一般,身子齐着膝盖折屈,自大脚以至脑袋,大半个身子便如是一根大木头横空而架,离地尺许。But when they looked, they saw that he had thrown himself back still more, bending from the knees and arching his body backwards like an acrobat, so that the kick had passed harmlessly over him, inches above his horizontal body.神照这一腿踢了个空,在他双腿之上数寸处凌空踢过。神照一不做,二不休,鸳鸯连环,左腿“乌龙扫地”,掠地横扫,踢他双腿胫骨。The monk in his fury was resolved now to stop at nothing and followed up the abortive kick with another kick, this time using his left foot, which he aimed in a low sweep—the Dragon Sweep—at the man’s shins, hoping to sweep his legs from under him so that he lay helpless on his back;那人姿势不变,仍是摆着那“铁板桥”势,双足一蹬,全身向上搬了一尺。神照的左腿在他脚底扫过。那人稳稳落下,身子仍不站直。
but the man, by an amazing piece of timing, pressed the balls of his feet on the floor and, while still maintaining his horizontal position, jumped his bent legs momentarily up into the air so that the kick passed harmlessly beneath them.

厅上众人彩声如雷。神照到此地步,已知自己功夫和他差着老大一截,对方倘若还手,自己势必输得一塌胡涂,This time the applause was deafening. By now it was obvious to Father Illuminatus that the big man’s kungfu was superior to his own, and that even if he did succeed in provoking him to a fight, he would probably get a trouncing.只得合十说道:“好功夫,佩服,佩服!”He therefore pressed his palms together and bowed. ‘You are very skilled, sir. I am most impressed.’那人站直身子,躬身还礼,说道:“大师拳脚劲道厉害之极,在下不敢招架,只有闪避。”
The man righted himself before returning the bow. ‘I couldn’t fight anyone with a punch and a kick like yours, Your Reverence,’ he said. ‘I had no choice but to take avoiding action.’

康亲王道:“两人武功都是极高。世子殿下,尊价客气得很,一定不肯还手,比武是比不成了。来啊,两人都领两只大元宝去。”’Both men are extremely skilled, ‘ said Prince Kang. ‘I’m sure it was only out of politeness that your man wouldn’t fight back, Your Grace. Come, gentlemen: I think each of you deserves the two ingots.’那人躬身道:“无功不受禄。”神照见他不肯去拿元宝,自己也不便上前具领。The big man bowed. ‘I can’t take a prize that I haven’t earned, ‘ he said. Since the big man had refused a prize, Father Illuminatus couldn’t very well go forward and collect two ingots for himself.康亲王转头向侍从道:“给两位送过去。”那人这才谢了赏钱,神照也讪讪的收了。
The Prince turned to one of his attendants: ‘Give the two gentlemen their prizes.’ The big man bowed his thanks and accepted the two ingots from the attendant, after which Father Illuminatus somewhat shamefacedly took his.

康亲王明知刚才这一场虽非正式比武,其实是己方输了,Prince Kang knew very well that, although there hadn’t been a proper fight, his own man had got the worst of the encounter.也赏两锭大银给神照,不过既替他遮羞,也为自己掩饰,表示不分胜败。It was merely to cover up Father Illuminatus’s embarrassment that he had awarded two ingots to both of them, pretending that there was nothing to choose between them.他心有不甘,又看得太不过瘾,But he was not very happy with the outcome, and his craving for excitement was unappeased.心想:“这高个儿的功夫固然不错,但吴应熊带来的其余随从,定然及不上他。我手下众武师却各有惊人绝艺,’This big fellow is not at all bad, ‘ he thought, ‘but the rest of the Heir’s retainers probably aren’t nearly so good, whereas my lot are all of them exceptional.单是那齐元凯的功夫,比之神照和尚恐怕就只高不低。”
That Qi just now, for example: I wouldn’t be surprised if he was even better than the monk, not to mention all the others, ‘

他本来称神照为上人,适才一显武功之后,心中对他打了折扣,“上人”登时变成了“和尚”, In his imagination the champion whom he normally thought of as ‘Father Illuminatus’ had already been demoted to ‘the monk’.朗声道:“刚才比武没比成,不免有点……有点那个美中不足。’Well, that little exchange was very interesting, ‘ he said, ‘but it wasn’t—what shall we say?—quite what we had hoped for.齐师傅,请你邀十五位武师,大家拿了兵刃,十六个对十六个,跟平西王世子带来的十六位随从过过招。小王爷,你吩咐他们亮兵刃罢!”
Friend Qi, why don’t you pick fifteen of your colleagues and arm yourselves for a little bout with His Grace’s sixteen gentlemen?’ He turned to the Heir. Tell your men to let us see their weapons, Your Grace, so that we can match them with our own.’

吴应熊道:“来到王爷府上作客,怎敢携带兵刃?”’I’m here as your guest, ‘ said the Heir. ‘Surely you don’t think we’ve come armed?’ The Prince laughed.康亲王笑道:“世子可太客气了。令尊和小王都是武将,一生在刀枪剑戟之间讨生活,’My dear fellow, you’re too punctilious. Your father and I are old soldiers: we’ve had swords and lances about us all our lives.可不用这些婆婆妈妈的忌讳。We don’t bother about these old-womanish conventions.’来啊,把十八般兵器都拿几件来,让平西王府的高手们挑选。”He turned to one of his attendants. ‘Bring in a selection of all the stuff we’ve got. His Grace’s gentlemen can choose what weapons they want, ‘康亲王本是战将,从关外直打到中原,府中兵刃一应俱全。Prince Kang had begun active life as a military commander and had fought in campaigns all the way from Manchuria to the Central Plain, so it was not surprising that he had a very well-stocked armoury.一声呼唤,众侍从登时去搬了一大堆兵器出来,长长短短,都放在那十六名侍从面前。
A number of his attendants hurried off in answer to his summons and soon reappeared carrying between them a great variety of weapons of all shapes and sizes which they deposited on the floor in front of the Heir’s sixteen retainers.

齐元凯邀集了十四名武师,却要神照率领。Qi Yuankai had by now selected his team. He chose only fourteen men, counting himself as the fifteenth and asking Father Illuminatus to make up the number as their leader.神照要挣回面子,只客气了几句,便不再推辞,Father Illuminatus was looking for an opportunity to restore his damaged reputation. Though politeness required him to refuse, it was a very perfunctory refusal and he was easily prevailed upon to accept.心想:“好歹也要砍伤几个南蛮子,出一口胸中恶气。”’I’ll spoil the looks of a few of these Southern yokels yet, ‘ he thought. ‘I shan’t feel happy until I do.’什么平西王世子是客、须得顾全他的脸面等等,早已全然置之脑后。In his thirst for vengeance his earlier decision to do nothing that might upset the Heir was now forgotten.这时神照、齐元凯等人的兵刃,也已由手下拿到了厅上。Attendants now brought in the weapons belonging to the members of Prince Kang’s team.神照双掌之间倒挟两柄青钢戒刀,向康亲王一席合十行礼。Father Illuminatus’s were a pair of ‘monk’s knives’ as they are called. He put them under his arms so that he could press his palms together as he stepped forward and bowed to Prince Kang.康亲王等微微欠身,颔首还礼。The Prince inclined his body a fraction and nodded back.韦小宝心下得意:“他妈的,这些人个个武艺高强,是江湖上大有来头的人物,却要向老子行礼。老子大模大样的坐着,点一点头就算了事,可比他们威风十倍了。”神照转过身来,大声道:“云南来的朋友,挑兵刃罢!”
Having made his bow to the Prince, Father Illuminatus turned to address the Heir’s men in a loud, commanding voice: ‘Friends from Yunnan, choose your weapons!’

先前接过他五招的高身材汉子说道:“我们奉有平西王将令,在北京城里,决不和人动手。”He was answered by the same big man he had been trying to provoke into a fight a few minutes earlier. ‘We have the Satrap’s express orders never, under any circumstances, to do any fighting while we are in Peking.’神照道:“别人钢刀砍到头上,难道也不还手?别人要砍下你们的脑袋,你们只是伸长了脖子?还是将脑袋缩进了脖子去?”’Not even if someone with a big sword takes a swipe at your head?’ said Father Illuminatus. ‘What would you do then? Stick your neck out and let him cut it off? Or would you draw it in and hide your head between your shoulders?’此言一出,平西王府的众随从均有怒色。说他们将脑袋缩进脖子,自是骂他们为乌龟了。Fifteen of the Heir’s men looked angry. He was calling them turtles, and to call a man a turtle is tantamount to saying that he sweeps the floor in a brothel.那为首的长身汉子却仍淡淡的道:“平西王军令如山。我们犯了将令,回到云南一样也要砍头。”
Only the big man, who appeared to be their leader, remained unruffled. ‘The Satrap’s order was issued as a military command,’ he said. ‘If we disobey it, we’ll get our heads cut off anyway, when we get back to Yunnan.’

神照道:“好,咱们就试试。”他招了招手,将十五名武师召在大厅一角,低声商议。’All right,’ said Father Illuminatus. ‘We’ll see.’ He beckoned to the other members of his team and went into a huddle with them in a corner of the hall.神照悄声道:“咱们将兵刃尽往他们身上要害招呼,瞧他们还不还手?”’I propose that this time we go for them with weapons and make it look as if we’re aiming at vital points,’ he said in a low voice to the others. ‘See if that will make them fight.’齐元凯道:“当真伤了人,那可不妥。咱们只是逼他们还手。”另一人道:“大家手下留神些。”
‘That’s all right as long as we don’t really hurt any of them,’ said Qi Yuankai. We’re just threatening them, mind, to try to make them defend themselves.’ ‘It won’t be that easy,’ said another of the men. ‘We shall have to be very careful.’

神照喝道:“好,动手罢!”一声长啸,舞动戒刀,白光闪闪,抢先向平西王府十六名随从砍杀过去。’Right then, here we go!’ said Father Illuminatus, raising his voice into a shout; then, with a long, shrill whistle, he went charging forwards, his two blades flashing, against the Heir’s sixteen retainers.其余十五人或使长剑,或挺花枪,或挥钢鞭,或举铜锤,十六般兵刃纷纷使动。The other fifteen members of his team advanced in line beside him, brandishing swords, spears, metal stocks, maces, and a variety of other weapons.那十六名随从竟然挺立不动,双臂垂下,手掌平贴大腿外侧,目光向前平视,对康王府十六名武师的进袭恍若不见。In the face of this wild onslaught the Heir’s sixteen retainers continued to hold their line, stiffly at attention, eyes front, and seemingly insensible to everything in front of them.那十六名武师眼见对方不动,都要在康亲王和众宾之前卖弄手段,Seeing that their opponents did not move, the Prince’s men, anxious to show off their skills in front of their employer,各人施展兵刃上最精熟巧妙的招数,斜劈直刺,横砍倒打,兵刃反映烛光,十六般兵器舞了开来,呼呼风声中,组成一张光幕,将十六名随从围在垓心。
began, each one of them, to go through the motions and figures which best demonstrated the capabilities of his chosen weapon, so that the Heir’s sixteen retainers became the centre of a whirling, slashing, thrusting, lunging ballet in which blades and bludgeons moved with a speed mat dazzled the eye and made an audible swishing in the air.

众文官不住说:“小心!小心!”武学之士见这些兵刃每一招都是递向对方要害,往往只数寸之差,不要多用上半分力气,立时便送了对方性命,尽皆心惊。’Careful! Careful!’ cried the civilians in the audience; and the experts, aware that each thrust and cut was aimed at a vital point and capable, if applied with only a fraction less restraint, of causing the instant death of the person who sustained it, were almost equally alarmed.那十六名随从向前瞪视,将生死置之度外,对方倘若真要下手,也只好将性命送了。
The sixteen retainers continued to stare straight ahead. It was as if they set no store on their lives and had decided that if their opponents wanted to kill them, they would let them do it.

神照等人的兵刃越使越快,偶尔兵刃互相撞击,便火花四溅,叮当作声,这一来更增危险。As the Prince’s men got up speed, there was an occasional clang and a shower of sparks as two men’s weapons accidentally clashed.他们虽然无意杀伤平西王的手下,但刀剑鞭锤互相碰撞,劲力既大,相距又如此之近,反弹出去伤到了人,却不由自主。It was not their intention that any of the Heir’s men should be killed or wounded, but they were handling their weapons with so much force and so close to each other that there was a danger of one weapon glancing off another when one of these clashes occurred and wounding someone unintentionally.果然拍的一声,一柄铁锏和另一人的铜锤相撞,荡了出去,打中一名平西王府随从的肩头。This is what, in fact, very soon happened, when one man’s iron mace hit the copper hammer wielded by the man next to him, ricochetted off, and landed with a thump on the shoulder of one of the Heir’s retainers.跟着有人挥刀斜劈,在一名随从右脸旁数寸处掠过,旁边长剑削来,刀剑相交,钢刀回转,砍在那随从脸上,立时鲜血长流。Shortly after this another of the Prince’s men was slicing the air with a cutlass a few inches to the right of a retainer’s face, when his cutlass clashed with a long-sword. The force of the collision turned the blade of the cutlass inwards so that it cut the retainer’s face, which at once began bleeding profusely.两名随从受伤不轻,仍是一声不哼,直立不动。
Although both men were quite badly hurt, neither made a murmur or ceased to stand rigidly to attention.

康亲王知道再搞下去,受伤的更多,又见比武不成,有些扫兴,Prince Kang could see that if he allowed this to go on, even more men would get hurt; and as the Heir’s men were obviously not going to fight, his enthusiasm for the whole business had considerably abated.叫道:“好武功,好武功!大家收手罢!”He decided to call things to a halt. ‘Excellent kungfu!’ he said. ‘Very good! I think you can put up your weapons now.’神照一声大叫,两柄戒刀横掠过去。将一名随从的帽子劈了下来。Father Illuminatus gave a shout and, with a sweep and a flick of both his monk’s knives, he lifted the hat off the man opposite him and sent it flying into the air.余人跟着学样,刀枪剑戟,纷纷将众随从的帽子击落。十六人哈哈大笑,收起兵刃,向后跃开。
Seeing him do this, the rest of the Prince’s team, with shouts of laughter, followed his example, knocking the hats off their opposite numbers before putting their weapons up and leaping clear.

韦小宝见那些随从之中果然有七个是秃顶,头上亮得发光,不禁拍手大笑,Seven of the Heir’s men proved, in fact, to be completely hairless. Trinket, when he saw the bald, shiny pates, laughed and clapped his hands.说道:“多总管,你眼光真准,果然是一大批秃……”一句话没说完,一瞥眼间,’You were absolutely right,’ he said to Dolong. They really are a bunch of—’ But he never finished what he was saying. He had just glanced a second time in the men’s direction.只见平西王府的十六名随从仍是挺立不动,但脸上恼怒之极,眼中如欲喷出火来。
They were still standing stiffly to attention, but their faces were contorted with anger and their eyes were blazing.

韦小宝自幼在市井中厮混,自然而然的深通光棍之道,Trinket had grown up on the streets where, even among the lowest of the low, there are certain unwritten laws which, in the course of his wild childhood, he had learned to obey.觉得神照这批人做事太不漂亮,没给人留半分面子。They told him now that what Father Illuminatus and the rest had just done was ugly; and it was ugly because it had stripped the men of their self-respect.市井间流氓无赖尽管偷抢拐骗,什么不要脸的事都干,但与人争竞,总是留下三分余地,The people of the streets, even the most hardened criminals capable of robbing and cheating and doing all sorts of shameless and disgusting things, will, in any quarrel, always leave the loser a little ground.大江南北,到处皆然。North of the River, South of the River, this is the universal law.妓院中遇上痴迷的嫖客,将携来的成万两银子在窑姐儿身上散光,老鸨还是给他几十两银子的盘缠,In a brothel, when some poor, besotted young man has thrown away his fortune on a whore and ended up utterly broke, the bawd will always give him thirty or forty taels to help him on his way.以免他流落异乡,若非铤而走险,便是上吊投河。This is so that he doesn’t do something desperate, like hanging himself or throwing himself in the river:那也不是这些流氓无赖良心真好,而是免得事情闹大,后患可虑。
for the fact that members of the criminal classes behave in this seemingly magnanimous manner is not due to kindness on their part but a sensible precaution against creating trouble for themselves in the future.

韦小宝与人赌钱,使手法骗干了对方的银钱,倘若赢他一两,最后便让他赢回一二钱:Thus when Trinket was cheating someone at dice and had cleaned him out of money, if the sum he had relieved him of was a tael of silver, he would always allow him to win back a couple of pennyweights;倘若赢了一百文,最后总给他翻本赢回一二十文。if it was a hundred cash, he would see to it that he won back ten or twenty coppers.一来以便下回还有生意,二来教对方不起凝心,For one thing it was a way of ensuring that you could go on doing business; for another it helped to allay suspicion;又免得他老羞成怒,拔出老拳来打架。
and for another it meant that there was less danger of the loser turning nasty and your ending up with an unwelcome taste of his knuckles.

他见到平西王府众随从的神情,心下老大过意不去,便即离座走到众人身前,俯身拾起那长身汉子的帽子,When he saw the look on the men’s faces, he felt very sorry for them. At once he rose from his seat and went over to them; then, bending down in front of the tall man who seemed to be their leader, he picked his hat up off the floor.说道:“老兄当真了不起。”双手捧了,给他戴在头上。’Brother,’ he said, ‘you were terrific.’ And with both hands he put the hat on his head.那人躬身道:“多谢!”韦小宝跟着将十五顶帽子一顶顶拣起,The man bowed: Thank you, sir.’ He went on then to pick all the fifteen other caps up, one after the other.笑道:“他们这样干,岂不是得罪了朋友吗?”’They shouldn’t have done this,’ he said, smiling apologetically. ‘Not kungfu. No way to treat friends.’他分不清楚哪一顶帽子是谁的,捧在手里,让各人取来戴上。
He didn’t know which hat was whose, so he let them take them from him and put them on themselves.

这些随从眼见韦小宝坐于本府世子身侧,是康亲王这次宴请的大贵客,虽然年纪幼小,但席上人人对他十分恭敬,The men had seen Trinket sitting beside their own master and knew that he was one of Prince Kang’s most important guests. Although he was only a boy, they had noticed how deferentially he was treated by all the other guests.先前已听人说起,是擒杀鳌拜的桂公公,见他替自己拾帽子,忙请安行礼,连说:“不敢当,折杀小人了!”
And someone had told them that this was the Laurie Goong-goong who had arrested Oboi. They were quite overcome by the honour he did them in picking up their hats and murmured confusedly, over and over again, as they bowed their thanks: ‘No sir, no sir, you really shouldn’t. Thank you, sir. No, no, too much honour, sir. Thank you, sir.’ And so on, in various combinations.

韦小宝对平西王府之人本来毫无好感,原盼吴三桂的手下倒个大霉,Trinket had started off with a highly unfavourable impression of these men. They were servants of the treacherous Satrap and his Heir and, as such, he would happily have seen them come to a sticky end.但神照等人一再进逼,这些人始终容忍,激发了他锄强扶弱之意,见他们感激之情十分真诚,心下更喜,But the patient way in which they had stood up to repeated harassment by Father Illuminatus and his team had awakened his sympathy for the underdog; and he was even more favourably disposed towards them by the obvious sincerity of their thanks.转头向康亲王道:“王爷,向你借几两银子使使。”康亲王笑道:“桂兄弟尽管拿去使,五万两够了吗?”韦小宝笑道:“哪用得着这许多?”’Highness,’ he said, turning to Prince Kang, ‘I need to spend some money. Could you lend me a few taels?’ ‘As much as you like, dear boy,’ said the Prince. ‘Would fifty thousand be enough?’ ‘I don’t think I shall need quite as much as that,’ said Trinket, laughing.向王府的一名侍从道:“快去买十六顶最好的帽子来,越快越好!”He turned to one of the Prince’s attendants: ‘I want you to buy sixteen hats for me, the best you can get. Only be as quick as you can.’那侍从答应着去了。吴应熊拱手道:“桂公公爱屋及乌,在下感激不尽。”’Very good, Goong-goong,’ said the man, and hurried off on his errand. The Heir clasped his hands and made Trinket a deep bow. ‘”Love me, love my dog”, as the saying goes. It’s I who should be grateful to you, Laurie-goong, not these men.’韦小宝拱手还礼,心道:“什么爱屋及乌?及什么乌,及你这只小乌龟吗?”
Trinket clasped his hands and returned the bow; but while he did, he was thinking: ‘If there are any dogs around here, Little Traitor, it’s not these men, it’s you!’

康亲王见神照等人削落平西王府众随从的帽子,心中也早觉未免过分,生怕得罪了吴应熊,但如出口道歉,又觉不妥。When Prince Kang saw Father Illuminatus and the rest of his team knocking the hats off the Satrap’s men from Yunnan, he knew they had gone too far and was on tenterhooks lest the Heir should be offended; yet it would have been unbecoming for him, as a Prince of the Blood, to apologize.韦小宝这么一来,深得其心,He therefore found Trinket’s intervention providential and resolved to take advantage of the goodwill it had generated.说道:“来人哪!吴世子的手下,每人赏五十两银子。”’Some service here!’ he cried, looking round for an attendant. ‘I want you to give each of His Grace’s men fifty taels.’又想:“单赏对方,岂不教我手下的众武师失了面子?”又道:“咱们府里的十六位武师,每人也是五十两银子!”大厅之上,欢声大作。
Then, because it occurred to him that if he only rewarded the other team his own people would lose face, he added: ‘And fifty taels for each of our own men as well.’ From the buzz of approval that rose in the hall, it seemed that everyone was pleased.

索额图站起身来,给席上众人都斟了酒,Songgotu rose to his feet now and began filling the wine-cups of his fellow-guests; then, raising his own wine-cup and turning to face the Heir, he made the following little speech:说道:“小王爷,令尊用兵如神,今日一见,果然名不虚传。令尊军令森严,部属人人效死,无怪战无不胜,攻无不克。’Your Grace, I think what we have just seen here today is a good demonstration of your father’s genius as a commander. We have been given some idea of the iron discipline of his soldiers and of their readiness to lay down their lives when called upon to do so.来来来,大伙儿遥敬平西王一杯!”
Your Highness, gentlemen, may I propose that we drink a toast to our absent guest, His Highness Field Marshal Wu Sangui, the Satrap of the West!’

吴应熊急忙站起,举杯道:“晚生谨代家严饮酒,多谢各位厚意。”The Heir hurriedly rose to his feet and held up his own cup: ‘I drink the toast on my father’s behalf. Thank you, everybody, thank you!’众人都举杯饮干。吴应熊又道:The company followed his example by draining their wine-cups. Then the Heir made a little speech of his own. “家严镇守南疆,边陲平靖,那是赖圣上洪福,再加朝中王公大臣措置得宜,指导有方。家严只是尽忠为皇上效力,秉承朝中各位王公大臣的训示,不敢偷懒而已。实不敢说有什么功劳。”’Your Highness, gentlemen. My father’s ability to maintain the Southern frontier of our great Empire in a state of peace depends first and foremost, of course, on the gracious patronage of His Imperial Majesty; but it also depends on the wise management and expert guidance of your good selves, the Princes, the nobles, and the great ministers at Court. For his own part, my father does no more than perform the duties that are laid upon him as conscientiously and diligently as he is able. He can claim no credit himself. Thank you.’酒过数巡,王府侍从已将十六顶帽子买来,双手捧上,送到韦小宝面前。
After a few more rounds had been drunk, the Prince’s attendant arrived back from his shopping expedition with the sixteen new hats, which he deposited on the table in front of Trinket.

韦小宝向康亲王笑道:“王爷,你府中的师傅们失手打落了人家的帽子,你该赔还一顶新帽子罢。”’Your Highness,’ said Trinket to Prince Kang, ‘I think you owe His Grace’s gentlemen a new hat each to make up for the ones that were accidentally knocked off by your people.’康亲王笑道:“当得,当得,还是桂兄弟想得周到。”吩咐侍从,将帽子给吴应熊的随从送去。’I entirely agree,’ said the Prince. ‘I’m so glad you thought of it, Laurie.’ And he ordered the attendant to present one to each of the men.众随从接过了,躬身道:“谢王爷,谢桂公公!”将帽子折好放在怀内,头上仍是戴着旧帽。康亲王和索额图对望了一眼,知道这些人不换新帽,乃是尊重吴应熊的意思。
Each man bowed as he received his new hat, expressing his thanks in the same words: Thank you, Your Highness. Thank you, Laurie Goong-goong.’ Then he folded the hat in two and put it inside his jacket. Prince Kang and Songgotu exchanged glances. They realized that it was out of respect for their master that they continued to wear their old hats and would not put on the new ones. 又饮了一会,王府戏班子出来献技。After the drinking had gone on a little longer, the Prince’s players came in and asked what they should perform.康亲王要吴应熊点戏。吴应熊点了出《满床笏》,那是郭子仪做寿,七子八婿上寿的热闹戏。郭子仪大富贵亦寿考,以功名令终,君臣十分相得。Prince Kang invited the Heir to choose first. The play he chose was A Heap of Honours, a dramatic representation of the sixtieth birthday party of the great Tang military commander General Guo Ziyi, attended by his seven sons and eight sons-in-law, all of whom held high office, the ‘heap of honours’ of the title being a reference to the table in his reception hall piled high with their insignia.吴应熊点这出戏,既可说祝贺康亲王,也是为他爹爹吴三桂自况,颇为得体。
The choice was a flattering one since Prince Kang, like Guo Ziyi, was an ex-general and trusted servant of the Emperor who, like Guo Ziyi, was giving a big party. It is not impossible that in choosing this play the Heir had his father in mind as well.

康亲王待他点罢,将戏牌子递给韦小宝,道:“桂兄弟,你也点一出。”As soon as the Heir had finished choosing, Prince Kang handed the list of plays to Trinket. ‘Come on, Laurie, now you choose one!’韦小宝不识得戏牌上的字,笑道:“我可不会点了,王爷,你代我点一出,要打得结棍的武戏。”Trinket couldn’t read the characters and handed it back with a laugh. ‘I’m no good at choosing. You choose for me, Prince. Pick something with a bit of fighting in it.’康亲王笑道:“小兄弟爱看武戏,嗯,咱们来一出少年英雄打败大人的戏,就像小兄弟擒住鳌拜一样。’So you like military plays, Laurie,’ said the Prince with a smile. ‘Hm. What we want is something in which a young hero vanquishes someone much older than himself, like your arresting Oboi.是了,咱们演《白水滩》,小英雄十一郎,只打得青面虎落花流水。”
Ah yes, here we are. Let’s have Whitewater Pool. That’s got a young hero a little like you who beats the living daylights out of a villain called Black-Faced Tiger.’

《满床笏》和《白水滩》演罢,第三出是《游园惊梦》。两个旦角啊啊啊的唱个不休,When the players had finished performing A Heap of Honours and Whitewater Pool, the next play was The Walk in the Garden, in which two female impersonators warbled on interminably ‘Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah’,韦小宝听得不知所云,不耐烦起来,便走下席去,见边厅中有几张桌子旁已有人在赌钱,有的是牌九,有的是骰子。so that Trinket, who couldn’t understand a word, was soon growing bored. Getting up from the table he wandered off to one of the galleries at the sides of the hall where tables had been set out for gaming, with both cards and dice.骰子桌上做庄的是一名军官,是康亲王的部属,面前已赢了一大堆银子,Trinket recognized the banker at the dice table as an officer in Prince Kang’s guards. He must have been doing very well, for there was a big pile of money in front of him.见韦小宝走近,笑道:“桂公公,您也来玩几手?”
As Trinket drew near, he greeted him with a smile: ‘Laurie Goong-goong. Want to try your hand?’

韦小宝笑道:“好!”瞥眼间见吴应熊手下那高个子站在一旁,’All right,’ said Trinket. Just at that moment he caught sight of the big man who had acted as spokesman for the Heir’s bodyguard, standing apart on his own.心中对此人颇有好感,便向他招了招手。那人抢上一步,道:“桂公公有什么吩咐?”Trinket had rather taken to the man and beckoned to him to come over. The man stepped smartly towards him. ‘Laurie Goong-goong. What can I do for you?’韦小宝笑道:“赌台上没父子,你不用客气。老哥贵姓,大号怎么称呼?”’Forget the formality,’ said Trinket. ‘Everyone’s equal at the tables. What’s your name, friend?’刚才神照问他,他不肯答复,但韦小宝在众宾客之前很给了他们面子,问得又客气,便道:“小人姓杨,叫杨溢之。”The man had refused to tell Father Illuminatus what he was called, but Trinket had asked him in a friendly, courteous manner and he told him willingly. ‘My surname is Yang. I’m Yang Yizhi.’韦小宝不知“溢之”两字是什么意思,随口道:“好名字,好名字!杨家英雄最多,杨老令公、杨六郎、杨宗保、杨文广、杨家将个个是英雄好汉。杨大哥,咱哥儿来合伙赌一赌!”
That’s a good name,’ said Trinket, who hadn’t the faintest idea what the characters were or what they meant. But he remembered the stories about the famous Yang family in the days of the Song dynasty in which not only the menfolk but several of the women were famous soldiers. He prattled away for a bit on the assumption that these were Yang’s ancestors; and indeed perhaps they were, for Yang looked pleased and seemed to accept what he was saying as a compliment. ‘Want to come in with me as a partner?’ Trinket asked him, with a nod at the table.

杨溢之听他称赞杨家祖宗,心中甚喜,微笑道:“小人不大会赌。”韦小宝道:“怕什么?我来教你!你那两只大元宝拿出来。”’I don’t know much about gambling,’ said Yang. That’s all right, ‘ said Trinket. Til show you. Give us those two big ingots.’杨溢之便将康亲王所赏的那两只元宝拿了出来。韦小宝从怀里摸出一张银票,往桌上一放,笑道:“我和这位杨兄合伙,押一百两!”Yang Yizhi handed him the ingots he had been awarded by Prince Kang. Trinket took a banknote from his inner pocket and laid it with the ingots on the table. ‘Friend Yang and I are going in as partners,’ he said. We’ll lay a hundred on the first throw.’庄家笑道:“好,越多越好!”他们赌的是两粒骰子,一掷定输赢。庄家骰子掷下来,凑成张和牌,韦小宝掷了个七点,给吃了一百两银子。’Right,’ said the banker. The more the merrier.’ The betting was on a single throw of two dice. The banker threw first and got two Fours. Trinket’s throw scored only seven, so they lost the hundred taels.韦小宝道:“再押一百两!”这一次却赢了。
‘Another hundred,’ said Trinket. This time he won.

掷得十六七手后,来来去去,老没输赢。韦小宝焦躁起来:After sixteen or seventeen throws in which the luck seemed about equally divided, they remained more or less where they were when they started and Trinket was getting rattled. “我输几百两银子不打紧,累得这姓杨的输了那两只元宝,可对不住人。”’It doesn’t matter if I lose several hundred,’ he thought, ‘but it would be too bad if Yang were to lose his two ingots because of me.’一手掷出一个六点,已输了九成,不料庄家掷了个五点。His next throw scored only six: an almost certain loser. Surprisingly, the banker scored only five.韦小宝哈哈大笑,此后连赢几铺,一百两变二百两,二百两变四百两,三把骰子,已赢了四百两银子。Trinket laughed happily. After that it was a series of wins. One hundred taels became two hundred, two hundred became three hundred: in only three throws he won four hundred taels.做庄的那军官笑道:“桂公公好手气。”韦小宝笑道:“你说我好手气吗?咱们再试两把!”’You’re in luck today, Laurie Goong-goong,’ said the banker with a smile. ‘Do you think so?’ said Trinket. Til try another couple of throws then.’将四百两银子往前一推,一把骰子掷下去,出来一只四六。庄家掷成个长三,又是输了。韦小宝转头道:“杨大哥,我们再押不押?”
He pushed back the four hundred taels he had just won and threw. A Four and a Six. Once more the banker lost with a double Three. ‘What about it?’ said Trinket to his partner. ‘Shall we go on?’

杨溢之道:“但凭桂公公的主意。”韦小宝原来的四百两银子再加赔来的四百两,一共八百两银子,向前一推,’You know best, Goong-goong,’ said Yang. ‘Whatever you say.’ Trinket added the four hundred taels they had already got to the four hundred they had just won.笑道:“索性赌得爽快些。”喝一声:“赔来!”’Why not?’ he said to Yang. ‘Let’s have a bit of fun! Eight hundred!’ he called, and made his throw.骰子掷下去,骨溜溜的乱转,过得片刻,一粒骰子已转成了六点,另一粒却兀自不住滚动。
One of the dice, after rolling violently, rested at Six; the other one continued to roll.

韦小宝手上使了暗劲,要这粒骰子也成六点,成为一张天牌,Trinket had given a secret little twist to his throw which he felt sure would yield a double Six—the gambler’s ‘heaven’;但骰子不是自己带来的,他掷骰的本事毕竟没练到炉火纯青,那粒骰子定将下来,却是两点,but whether because it wasn’t his own special dice he was playing with or because he hadn’t quite perfected the trick, the wilful dice, after rolling interminably, finally rested at Two.八点是输多赢少的了。韦小宝大骂:“直你娘的臭骰子,这么不帮忙。”
A score of eight was almost bound to lose. Trinket cursed the dice. ‘Sod you, stinking little dice! Is that the best you can do for me?’

庄家哈哈一笑,说道:“桂公公,这次只怕要吃你的了。”一把掷下去,一粒骰子是五点,另一粒转个不休。The banker laughed. ‘Ha ha, Laurie-goong! This time I think you really have lost.’
He threw. One of the dice rested at Five: the other, like Trinket’s, continued to roll and roll.韦小宝叫道:“二,二,二!”这一粒骰子掷出来倘若是一点,那是幺五,三点则凑成八点,八吃八,庄家赢,四点则成九点,五点凑成梅花,六点凑成牛头,都比他的八点大,只有掷出个两点,庄家才输了。’Come on, deuce, deuce, deuce!’ Trinket shouted at it. Two was the highest that would make him the winner. Three would make a score of eight, and with the dice, if the scores are equal, the second player wins.韦小宝不住吆喝,说也凑巧,骰子连翻几个身,在碗中定下来,果然是两点。
Incredibly, while Trinket was still shouting encouragement at it, it came to rest at Two.

韦小宝大喜,笑道:“将军,你今天手气不大好。”那军官笑道:“霉庄,霉庄。桂公公正当时得令,什么事都得心应手,自然赌你不过。”’Officer, ‘ said Trinket, smiling happily, ‘you’re not in luck today.’ ‘Oh, it’s a lousy bank,’ the man said, grinning back at him. ‘Anyway, the sun seems to shine for you, Laurie Goong-goong: whatever you put your hand to seems to turn out right. With a player like you I haven’t got a chance!’赔了三张二百两银票,再加上两只一百两的元宝。He handed Trinket his winnings: three two-hundred-tael banknotes and two hundred-tael ingots.韦小宝手中捏了把汗,笑道:“叨光,叨光!”向杨溢之道:“杨大哥,咱们没出息,摘青果子,可不赌啦。”将八百两银子往他手中一塞。
‘Well, much obliged,’ said Trinket, sweating somewhat now that the excitement was over. ‘Thank you very much.’ He turned to Yang Yizhi and thrust the lot into his hands. ‘Here you are, friend, ‘ he said. ‘I think we’d better not push our luck any further. We’d only be picking green apples if we were to go on now.’

杨溢之平白无端的发了一注财,心下甚喜,道:“桂公公,这位将军是什么官名?”Having just made a small fortune without lifting a finger, Yang looked like a happy man. ‘Laurie Goong-goong,’ he asked his benefactor, ‘what was that officer’s name?’韦小宝一怔,低声道:“倒没问起。”转头问那军官道:“大将军,你尊姓大名啊?”Trinket suddenly realized that, although he had recognized the man, he did not know his name. ‘I forgot to ask, ‘ he said softly, and turned back to enquire.那军官笑逐颜开,站起身来,恭恭敬敬的道:“小将江百胜,记名总兵,一直在康亲王爷麾下办事的。”韦小宝笑道:“江将军,你打仗是百战百胜,赌钱可不大成。”江百胜笑道:“小将和旁人赌,差不多也说得上是百战百胜。只不过强中还有强中手,今天遇上公公,江百胜变成江百败了。”
The man seemed rather flattered that he should want to know, for he beamed happily, stood up, and answered him very deferentially. ‘Jia Baisheng, Goong-goong. Brigadier-Major Jia Baisheng. Under Prince Kang’s command. I’ve been with the Prince quite some time now.’

韦小宝哈哈大笑,走了开去,忽然心想:“那姓杨的为什么要我问庄家名字?”After exchanging a few pleasantries with him, Trinket walked off on his own. As he was doing so, a thought suddenly struck him: ‘Why did Yang want to know the banker’s name?’一沉吟间,远远侧眼瞧那江百胜掷骰子的手法,While he was pondering this question, he turned back for another look at Jia Baisheng, who was already busy with another gambler.只见他提骰,转腕、弯指、发骰,手法极是熟练,正是江湖上赌钱的一等一好手,From the way he handled the dice—his way of picking them up, the peculiar way in which he turned his wrist, the way he crooked his fingers, the way he released the dice—he could tell that this was a past master he was watching, with years of experience behind him.适才赌得兴起,没加留神,登时恍然大悟:In the excitement of gambling he hadn’t noticed these things; but now it suddenly dawned on him. “原来这家伙是故意输给我的。怪不得我连赢五记,哪有当真这么运气好的?’Of course! The so-and-so was losing deliberately! No wonder I won five times running! No one’s ever really as lucky as that.他妈的,老子钱多,不在乎输赢,否则的话,一下场就知道了。这云南姓杨的懂得窍门,他也不是羊牯,是杀羊的。”
Tamardy! I suppose it’s because I’ve got so much money and don’t much care whether I win or lose, otherwise I’d have spotted straight away. I bet that Yang fellow knows a few tricks too. I’m sure he’s not a beginner; he’s probably an old hand at the game.’

又想:“为什么连一个素不相识的记名总兵,也要故意输钱给我?’But why should a Brigadier-Major I don’t even know the name of want to let me win money off him?’自然因为我在皇上跟前有面子,大家盼我为他们说好话。就算不说好话,至少也不捣他们的蛋。he wondered. ‘I suppose, like everyone else, he thinks that because I’m in favour with the Emperor, I might put in a good word for him, or if I don’t do that, at least I won’t do anything to harm his prospects.操你奶奶的,他花一千四百两银子,讨得老子的欢心,可便宜得紧哪!”
Well, up your granny’s! One thousand four hundred taels just to make me feel pleased! Easy money!’

他既知人家在故意输钱,胜之不武,也就不再去赌,又回到席上,吃菜听戏。Now that he knew the banker had been losing deliberately, he felt no inclination to go on gambling. There was no excitement for him in bloodless victory. He went back to join the others at his table, to eat a bit more and listen to the players.这时唱的是一出《思凡》,一个尼姑又做又唱,旁边的人又不住叫好,They were doing The Escape from the Convent. A young nun was singing and miming as she sang, cheered on by repeated ‘bravos’ from the audience.韦小宝不知她在捣什么鬼,大感气闷,又站起身来。
Trinket couldn’t conceive what she was supposed to be up to and soon rose from his seat again, feeling desperately bored.

康亲王笑道:“小兄弟想玩些什么?不用客气,尽管吩咐好了。”’What would you like to do, Laurie?’ Prince Kang asked amusedly. ‘Just say the word. Don’t be polite!’韦小宝道:“我自己找乐子,你不用客气。”眼见廊下众人呼幺喝六,赌得甚是热闹,心下又有些痒痒地,’Don’t worry about me, ‘ said Trinket. Til find my own amusement.’ He was half tempted to go back to the gallery where the gaming tables were and where, to judge from the loud cries of the gamblers, things had considerably livened up, but quickly thought better of it.心想:“眼不见为净,今日是不赌的了。”他上次来过康亲王府,依稀识得就中房舍大概,顺步向后堂走去。
‘I’m definitely not gambling any more today, ‘ he told himself. From previous visits to the residence he had a vague idea of its layout and could find his way around. With nothing particular in mind he drifted into the regions behind the hall.

A Conversation, a Crossbow, and a Sutra

府中到处灯烛辉煌,王府中众人一见别他,便恭恭敬敬的垂手而立。Everywhere the residence was ablaze with lights. Several of the Prince’s people he encountered in his wandering immediately stood still when they saw him coming and waited, with arms held respectfully at their sides, until he had gone by.韦小宝信步而行,忽然便急,想要小解,他也懒得问人厕所的所在,Suddenly, as he ambled onwards, he became conscious of a strong desire to piss. He couldn’t be bothered to look for someone who could tell him where there was a privy,见左首是个小花园,推开长窗,到了黑暗角落里,so, as there was a little garden to the left of the gallery through which he was walking, he pushed through a screen-door and made his way to a dark corner of it in which he could empty his bladder.拉开裤子,正要小便,忽听得隔着花丛有人低声说话。
He had undone his trousers and was about to piss when he heard the sound of two men talking in low voices on the other side of the flowering shrubs behind which he was standing.

一人说道:“银子先拿来,我才带你去。”另一人道:“你带我去,找到了那东西,银子自然不会少你的。”’Give me the money and then I’ll take you,’ said the first voice. ‘No, you take me there and show me where it is first,’ said the second voice. ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get your money all right.’先一人道:“先银后货。你拿到东西后,要是不给银子,我又到哪里找你去?”另一人道:“好,这里是一千两银子,先付一成。”’Money first,’ said the first voice. ‘Suppose you get this thing and then don’t pay me? Where would I go to look for you?’ ‘All right,’ said the second voice. ‘I’ll give you a tenth of it now. Here’s a thousand taels.’韦小宝心中一动:“一千两银子只是一成,那是什么要紧物事?”当即忍住小便,侧耳倾听。
Trinket’s heart missed a beat. ‘If one thousand taels is only a tenth,’ he thought, ‘whatever it is they’re talking about must be mighty precious.’ He overcame the urgent need to piss so that he could listen to what they were saying.

只听那人道:“先付一半,否则这件事作罢。这是搬脑袋的大事,你当好玩吗?”’I want half now,’ said the first voice. ‘Otherwise the deal is off. This is no laughing matter, you know. I could lose my head because of this.’另一人微一沉吟,道:“好,五千两银票,你先收下了。”There was a pause in which the owner of the second voice appeared to be thinking. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘Five thousand taels. Here, you’d better check.’那人道:“多谢。”跟着发出悉索之声,当是在数银票,接着道:“跟我来!”
‘Thank you,’ said the first voice, and Trinket could hear the rustle of banknotes being counted. Then, ‘Follow me!’

韦小宝好奇心起,寻思:“什么搬脑袋的大事,倒不可不跟去瞧瞧。”Trinket’s curiosity was now thoroughly roused. ‘Lose his head!’ he thought. ‘I wonder what it could be that’s so important. I’d better follow them and see what they’re up to.’听得二人脚步声向西走去,便从花丛中溜了出来,远远跟在后面。眼见两人背影在花丛树木间躲躲闪闪,He could hear the men’s footsteps walking towards the west side of the garden. Slipping out from behind the flowering shrubs, he could just make out the backs of the two men as they moved through the trees and bushes. He began following them, keeping at a discreet distance behind.走得数丈,便停步左右察看,生怕给人发见。When they had gone about twenty yards, they stopped and looked around them, as though fearful that someone might have seen them.韦小宝心想:“鬼鬼祟祟,干的定然不是好事。’Whatever it is they’re up to,’ thought Trinket, who had stopped when they did, ‘it must be something pretty bad or they wouldn’t be acting so suspiciously.康亲王待我极好,今晚给他拿两个贼骨头,也显得我桂公公的手段。”Prince Kang has been very good to me: it would be rather a nice gesture if I could round off the evening by catching a couple of villains for him.’第一摸,摸一摸靴桶子中那柄削铁如泥的匕首;第二摸,摸一摸身上那件刀枪不入的宝贝背心,胆子又大了些。
To fortify his courage he felt in the side of his boot to make sure that his dagger was still there, then under his gown to make sure that he was wearing his impermeable, weapon-resistant waistcoat.

只见两人穿过花园,走进了一间精致的小屋。韦小宝蹑着脚步走近,见雕花的窗格中透出灯光,绕到窗后,伸手指蘸了唾液,湿了窗纸,就一只眼向内张去。
At the western end of the garden the two men disappeared inside a small, ornate building through whose elegantly latticed, paper-covered windows a faint light was shining. Trinket tiptoed up to one of the windows, wet the paper with the tip of a saliva-moistened finger, and applied an eye to the hole.

里面是座佛堂,供着一尊如来佛像,神座前点着油灯。Looking inside, he could see that the building was a Buddhist chapel. There was an altar with a Buddha-image behind it and an oil-lamp burning in front of the image.一个仆役打扮的人低声道:“我花了一年多时光,才查到这件物事的所在,你这一万两银子,可不是好赚的。”A man dressed like a servant was speaking. ‘It took me more than a year to find out where it was hidden,’ he said. ‘I reckon I’ve earned that ten thousand taels.’另一人背向韦小宝,问道:“在哪里?”那仆役道:“拿来!”The second man had his back to Trinket. ‘Well, where is it?’ he said. ‘First things first, ‘said the manservant.那人转过身来,问道:“拿什么?”这人脸孔瘦削,正是适才在大厅上阻止那姓郎武师出去的齐元凯。’What do you mean?’ said the other man. The thin, sharp-featured face was turned now so that Trinket could see. It was Qi Yuankai, who earlier on had prevented the man called Lang from leaving the hall.那仆役笑道:“齐师傅明知故问了,自然是那五千两啦。”
‘You know very well what I’m talking about,’ said the manservant. ‘The other five thousand.’

齐元凯道:“你倒厉害得很。”从怀中取了一叠银票出来。那仆役在灯光下一张张的查看。’You’re a hard man to do business with,’ said Qi, taking a wad of notes from an inside breast pocket and handing them to the man, who proceeded to count them in the light of the oil-lamp on the altar.韦小宝心中害怕,知道这齐元凯武功甚高,而他们所干的定是一件干系重大的勾当,Trinket was afraid. He had seen something of Qi’s martial prowess and it was obvious that what he and the manservant were involved in was a matter of very serious consequence.倘若给知觉了,立刻便会杀了自己灭口,If Qi found out that he had been spying on them, he would kill him without a moment’s hesitation in order to stop his mouth.心中一急,一泡尿就撒了出来,索性顺其自然,让尿水顺着大腿流下,倒没半点声息。In his panic he wet himself. Once the piss had started, he made no effort to hold it back, but let it course freely down his leg. That way at least it made no noise.那仆役数完了银票,笑道:“不错。”压低了声音,在齐元凯耳边说了几句话,齐元凯连连点头,韦小宝却一句也没听见。
The manservant had now finished counting. ‘That seems to be correct, ‘ he said, very pleased. Then he began talking in Qi’s ear, but in so low a voice that Trinket was unable to hear what he was saying. Qi nodded several times while he was talking.

只见齐元凯突然纵起,跃上供桌,回头看了看,便伸手到佛像的左耳中去摸索。他掏了一会,取了一件小小物事出来,When the man had finished, Qi braced himself for a spring, leaped up on to the altar and, having first glanced back to make sure he was unobserved, reached a hand out towards the image’s left ear, felt around for a bit, and extracted a small object from it.跃下地来,举起在烛光下一看,却是一枚钥匙,金光闪闪,似是黄金所铸。When, after jumping down again, he examined it in the light of the altar lamp, Trinket could see that it was a little key—a gold key, he guessed, for it gleamed goldenly in the lamplight.但这钥匙不过小指头长短,还不足一两黄金。
It was no longer than the little finger of a child’s hand, and could easily have been made from a single ounce of gold.

齐元凯笑容满面,低下头来数砖头,Qi’s thin face wore a grin of triumph as he bent down and began counting the floor-tiles in line with the front of the altar.横数了十几块,又直数了十几块,Starting from the right-hand corner of the altar, he counted ten or a dozen tiles along, then the same number forwards along a line at right angles to them.俯下身来,从靴桶中取出一柄短刀,将一块方砖撬起,Then he squatted down, extracted a short dagger from inside his boot, and began levering with it at the tile he had reached in his counting.低低的欢呼了一声。那仆役道:“货真价实,没骗你罢!”
A little, low cry of satisfaction escaped from him as the tile began to rise. ‘You see!’ said the manservant. ‘I told you, didn’t I? I haven’t cheated you.’

齐元凯不答,将金钥匙轻轻往下插去,想是方砖之下有个锁孔。Qi did not reply. Having removed the tile, he appeared to be inserting the gold key very gently into a keyhole in something underneath.喀的一声,锁已打开。Though Trinket couldn’t see what he was doing, he heard the faint click of a key turning in a lock.齐元凯一呆,说道:“怎么拉不开,恐怕不对。”But Qi was looking puzzled. ‘There’s something wrong here,’ he said. ‘I can’t get it open.’那仆人道:“怎么会拉不开?王爷亲自开锁,我在窗外看得清清楚楚的。”’Can’t get it open?’ said the manservant. ‘I can’t understand that. I’ve stood at the window and watched with my own eyes while the Prince opened it.’说着俯下身去,拉住了什么东西,向上一提。
He made Qi move over, squatted down in his place, took hold of whatever it was that was giving trouble, and effortlessly pulled it out.

蓦听得飕的一声,一枝机弩从下面射了出来,正中那仆人胸口,那仆人“啊”的一声惨叫,向后便倒,手中提着的那块铁盖也脱手飞出。Even as he did so, there was a whirr, and a crossbow bolt flew up from below the ground and hit him in the chest. The man fell back with a cry of pain, releasing, as he did so, the square metal cover-plate he had been holding in his hand, so that it went flying into the air.齐元凯斜身探手,接住铁盖,免得掉在地下,发出巨声。Qi reached out and caught it before it landed on the paved floor, where it would undoubtedly have made a very loud clang.他蹲在那仆人身后,右手按住了他嘴,防他呻吟呼叫,惊动旁人,左手握着仆人的左腕,又伸到地洞中掏摸。Then, squatting down behind the man’s back, he put his right hand over his mouth to prevent him crying out, while with his left hand he grasped the man’s left wrist and pushed the hand down into the hole to feel around with it.韦小宝看得目瞪口呆,心想:“原来地洞中另有机关,这姓齐的可厉害得很。”
All this Trinket watched round-eyed and open-mouthed with horror. That Qi is a cold-blooded devil,’ he thought. ‘He must have guessed there would be some mechanism to guard the treasure or whatever it is, so he used the man as a shield.’

这一次不再有机弩射出。齐元凯自己伸手进去,摸出了一包物事,却是个包袱。As no more crossbow bolts seemed to be forthcoming, Qi released the servant’s arm, plunged his own inside the hole, and pulled out a rectangular object wrapped in cloth.他右手一甩,将那仆人推在地下,长身站起,右足一抬,已踏在那仆人口上,不让他出声,Keeping his right hand over the man’s mouth, he stood up and dragged him over to the altar, where he threw him on his back on the floor, stamped his right foot down on his mouth so that he couldn’t cry out,侧身将包袱放上神座的供桌,打了开来。
and placed the object on the altar, where he could undo the cloth and examine its contents in the light.

韦小宝深深吸了口气,只见包袱中是一部经书。Trinket drew a deep breath when he saw what the cloth had concealed. It was a book.世上书本何止万千,他识得书名的,却只有《四十二章经》一部,Now there are millions of books in the world, but there was only one whose title Trinket was able to read: the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections.而这一部却正便是《四十二章经》。经书形状,和鳌拜府中抄出来的一模一样,只是书函用红绸子制成。
And this was it. It was exactly the same as the ones he had found among Oboi’s things except that this one was bound in red silk.

齐元凯迅速将经书仍用包袱包好,提起左足,在那弩箭尾上用力一踹,扑的一声轻响,弩箭没入了那仆役胸中。Qi Yuankai hastily wrapped the book up again, then raised his left foot and stamped it down on the crossbow bolt projecting from the man’s chest. There was a sound like ‘puff!’ as the bolt sank into his body.那仆役本已重伤,这一来自然立时毙命,嘴巴又被他右脚踏着,只一声闷哼,身上扭了几下,便不动了。The man was already mortally wounded and died almost instantly: a sound like a muffled groan from under Qi’s foot, a few convulsions, and his body lay still.韦小宝只吓得心中怦怦乱跳,小便本已撒完,这时禁不住又撒了许多在裤裆之中。
Watching this, Trinket felt his heart pounding fiercely in his chest and his bladder, which he had thought empty, discharging more wetness into his trousers.

只见齐元凯俯身到仆役怀中取回银票,放入自己怀里,冷笑道:“你这可发财哪!”As he continued to watch, he saw Qi stoop down to remove the banknotes from the dead man’s inner pocket, straighten up, and stuff them into his own with a little laugh: ‘So you wanted to be rich!’微一沉吟,将金钥匙放入那仆役尸首的右掌心,卷起死尸的手指拿住钥匙,这才快步纵出。After thinking for a moment, he stooped down again, put the gold key in the dead man’s palm and closed his fingers over it. Then, picking up the cloth-wrapped Sutra, he made his way swiftly out through the rear of the chapel.韦小宝心想:“他这就要逃,我要不要声张?”
‘He’ll get away now, ‘ thought Trinket. ‘I wonder if I ought to raise the alarm.’

突然间人影一晃,齐元凯已上了屋顶。But before he could make up his mind, he became aware of a shadow moving somewhere above. It was Qi on the roof of the chapel.韦小宝缩成一团,不敢有丝毫动弹,却听得屋顶有搬动瓦片之声,He ducked down and made himself small, scarcely daring to breathe. The only sound he could hear was the noise of tiles being moved about overhead.过得片刻,齐元凯又跃了下来,大模大样的走了。After a while Qi jumped down from the eaves and went swaggering off, as cool as if nothing had happened.韦小宝心想:“是了,他将经书藏在瓦下,回头再来拿,哼,可没这么便宜。”
‘I see,’ thought Trinket. ‘He’s hidden the book under the tiles so that he can come back and get it later. Hm. I don’t think this time he’s going to be quite so lucky.’

候了一会,等齐元凯去远,他可没能耐一下子便跃上屋顶,沿着廊下柱子爬上,攀住屋檐,这才翻身上了屋顶,He waited a while until he thought Qi must be a fair distance away and could bear to wait no longer, then, by climbing one of the pillars of the verandah, he managed to scramble up on to the eaves, where he could stand and walk slowly up the roof.回想适才瓦片响动的所在,翻得十几张瓦片,夜色朦胧中已见到包袱的一角。
Having made his way to the part which was roughly where he thought the noise had been coming from, he started removing the tiles. He must have lifted fourteen or fifteen of them before he saw, faint in the darkness, the cloth-wrapped corner of the book.

他将包袱取出,仍将瓦片盖好,寻思:“这部《四十二章经》到底为什么这样值钱?When he had got it safely out, he put all the tiles back in place, wondering as he did so what it was that made the book so precious.老乌龟,皇太后,这姓齐的,还有鳌拜、康亲王,个个都当它是无价之宝。The Old Devil, the Empress Dowager, this fellow Qi, Oboi, Prince Kang—they all seem to think this book is a priceless treasure.我韦小宝若不顺手牵羊,发这注横财,这韦字可是白姓了。”Well, all I can say is that any copy that comes my way I’m hanging on to—or my name’s not Trinket!’解开包袱,将经书平平塞在腰间,收紧腰带。He took the cloth wrapping off and laid the book flat on his stomach under his gown, tying it tightly in place with his belt.他袍子本来宽大,竟一点也看不出来,将包袱掷入花丛,又回去大厅。
Fortunately he was wearing a loose, thickly-lined gown with a jacket over it. No one would guess that he was concealing a book underneath his clothes. He threw the cloth wrapper into the bushes and made his way back to the hall.

大厅上仍和他离去时一模一样,赌钱的赌钱,听曲的听曲,饰尼姑的旦角兀自在扭扭捏捏的唱个不休。Everything in the hall seemed exactly as it had been when he left it: the gamblers in the gallery were still gambling; the diners were still watching the same play; the little nun was still mincing seductively about the stage, warbling as if she would never stop.韦小宝问索额图:“这女子装模作样,搞什么鬼?”索额图笑道:“这小尼姑在庵里想男人,要逃下山嫁人,’Why is she going on like that?’ Trinket asked Songgotu. ‘She’s thinking of men,’ said Songgotu, grinning. ‘She’d like to run away from the convent and get married.你瞧她脸上春意荡漾,媚眼一个一个的甩过来……”
Look at her face now! She’s full of the joys of spring. Now look—see? She’s giving the glad eye—’

突然想起韦小宝是太监,不能跟他多讲男女之事,以免惹他烦恼,He stopped suddenly, remembering that he was speaking to a eunuch, with whom it was tactless to talk about such things, because it only reminded them of their lost opportunities.说道:“这出戏没什么好玩。桂公公(他二人虽是结拜兄弟,但在外人之前,决不以兄弟相称),我给你另点一出,This play isn’t very interesting,’ he said, in an attempt to change the subject. ‘Let me choose something else for you.嗯,咱们来一出《雅观楼》,李存孝打虎,少年英雄,非同小可。I know, let’s have a scene from Fair View Inn after this. It’s about a young hero called Li Cunxiao who has a fight with a tiger. Great stuff.然后再来一出‘钟馗嫁妹’,钟馗手下那五个小鬼,武打功夫热闹之极。”And after that we can have a scene from The Marriage of ZhongKui’s Sister. There’s some very good tumbling in that by Zhong Kui’s five little devils.’韦小宝拍手叫好,说道:“只是我赶着回宫,怕来不及瞧。”
Trinket was enthusiastic about the choice of plays, but remembered that he ought to be getting back to the Palace and wouldn’t have time to watch them.

一斜眼间,见齐元凯正在和一名武师豁拳,“五经魁首”,“八仙过海”,叫得甚是起劲。He could see Qi Yuankai out of the corner of his eye playing a very rowdy game of guess-fingers with another member of the Prince’s Martial Arts team.他豁了一会拳,大声问道:“神照上人,那姓郎的家伙呢?”Presently, when the game was over, he heard him shout across the table at Father Illuminatus: What’s happened to that Lang fellow, Father?’席上众武师都道:“好久没见他了,只怕溜了。”Several of the other men at the table remarked that they had not seen him for some time and expressed the view that he had probably slipped away.神照冷笑道:“这人不识抬举,谅他也没脸在王府里再耽下去。”Father Illuminatus snorted contemptuously: ‘There’s no helping people like that. He’s probably gone for good. Didn’t have the face to stay here.’齐元凯道:“多半是溜了,这人鬼鬼祟祟,别偷了什么东西走才好。”’I expect he has sneaked off, ‘ said Qi. ‘He’s a shifty-looking character. Let’s hope he didn’t steal anything before he went.’一名武师道:“那可难说得很。”
‘It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he had, ‘ said one of the men.

韦小宝心道:“这姓齐的做事周到之极,先让那姓郎的丢个大脸,逼得他非悄悄溜走不可。This Qi fellow had it all worked out, ‘ thought Trinket. ‘He deliberately made Lang lose face so that he’d want to slink away while no one was looking.待得王府中发见死了人,丢了东西,自然谁都会疑心到姓郎的身上。So then, when later on they find out that someone has been killed and something is missing, suspicion will naturally fall on him.很好,这一个乖须得学学,干事之前,先得找好替死鬼。”Clever. This is a trick I must remember. Before you do any dirty work, always make sure in advance that there is someone else who will take the blame. Excellent kungfu . . .’眼见天色已晚,侍卫总管多隆起身告辞,说要入宫值班。韦小宝跟着告辞。
It was getting late now, so when Dolong, the new Intendant of the Palace Guard, rose to take his leave, saying that he was on duty in the Palace, Trinket followed his example.

康亲王不敢多留,笑嘻嘻的送两人出去。吴应熊、索额图等人都直送到大门口。Under the circumstances Prince Kang could not very well urge them to stay longer, so, with much laughing and jollity, he conducted them all the way to the main gate, assisted in this civility by the Yunnan Heir, Songgotu, and a number of other guests.韦小宝刚入轿坐定,杨溢之走上前来,双手托住一个包袱,No sooner had Trinket settled back in his sedan than Yang Yizhi, his late sleeping partner at dice, came running up with something in his hands.说道:“我们世子送给公公一点微礼,还望公公不嫌菲薄。”
‘A little gift from His Grace,’ he said, handing it to Trinket. ‘He hopes you won’t find it too unworthy.’

韦小宝笑道:“多谢了。”双手接过,’Thank you,’ said Trinket, receiving it politely with both hands; then, mindful that the bearer of a present is normally tipped, he thought he had better add something.笑道:“杨大哥,咱们一见如故,我当你是好朋友,倘若给你赏钱什么,那是瞧你不起了。’Old Yang,’ he said, ‘I felt from the moment I first saw you that we should be friends; and if we are friends, I think it would be a bit insulting if I were to offer you money.改天有空,我请你喝酒。”One of these days when I’m free I’ll ask you to come and have a drink with me.’杨溢之大喜,笑道:“公公已赏了七百两银子,难道还不够么?”Yang was greatly touched. ‘Goong-goong,’ he said, ‘you’ve already given me seven hundred taels today. Isn’t that enough?’韦小宝大笑,说道:“这是人家代掏腰包,作不得数。”
Trinket laughed as he bade farewell: ‘That was money paid out of someone else’s pocket. It hardly counts.’

轿子行出巷子不远,韦小宝性急,命轿夫停轿,提起灯笼在轿外照着,Impatient to see what the Heir’s present was, Trinket ordered the bearers to stop as soon as they reached the end of the lane. He got one of them to hold up the carriage lamp and shine it inside the sedan.便打开包袱来看礼物,见是三只锦盒,一只盒中装的是一对翡翠鸡,一公一母,雕工极是精细;On unwrapping the carrying-cloth, he found three brocade-covered boxes. The first contained a miniature cock and hen, exquisitely carved out of green jadeite.另一盒装着两串明珠,每一串都是一百粒,虽没他研碎了给小郡主涂脸的珍珠那么大,难得是两百颗一般大小,浑圆无瑕,他心中一喜:“我骗小郡主说去买珍珠,吴应熊刚好给我圆谎。”The second contained two pearl necklaces, each made up of at least a hundred pearls, not as big as the ones he had ground up for the Little Countess’s ointment, but all perfectly round and flawless and of exactly the same size. (This part of the present he found particularly pleasing, because he had pretended to the Little Countess that he was going out to buy more pearls and now, thanks to the Little Traitor, he would seem to be as good as his word.)第三只锦盒中装的却是金票,每张黄金十两,一共四十张,乃是四百两黄金。
The third box was full of banknotes, forty in all, each with a face value of ten taels of gold, making a total value of four hundred taels which, at an exchange rate of eighty to one, was the equivalent of thirty-two thousand taels of silver.

韦小宝心道:“下次见到吴应熊这小汉奸,我只冷冷淡淡的随口谢他一声,显得嫌他的礼物也太差劲,他非再大大补一笔不可。’Next time I see the Little Traitor,’ thought Trinket, ‘I shall thank him very coldly, so that he can see I found his present disappointing and knows that he’ll have to come up with a whole lot more if he wants to make me happy.这是索大哥所教的妙法。这小汉奸要是假装不懂,老子就挑他的眼:That’s what Songgotu said I should do. If the Little Traitor pretends not to understand what I’m getting at, I’ll start finding fault with what he’s given me. ‘喂,小王爷,你送了我一对小小绿鸡儿,倒也挺有趣的,就只不怎么像鸡。’”Oh, Your Grace,” I’ll say, “that little pair of chickens you sent me: they’re very nice, but they’re not much like chickens, are they?”小汉奸一定要问:‘桂公公,怎地不像鸡哪?’Then the Little Traitor will say, “What do you mean, not like chickens, Laurie Goong-goong?”老子就说:‘世上的公鸡母鸡,哪有这么小的?麻雀儿也还大得多。And I’ll say, “Whoever saw a cock and hen as small as that? They’re not even as big as sparrows.再说,绿色的鹦鹉、孔雀倒见得多了,绿鸡就是没见过,不知你们云南有没有?’And for another thing, I’ve seen green parrots and green peacocks, but I’ve never seen a green chicken. Or do you have them in Yunnan perhaps?”小汉奸只有苦笑。老子又说:‘就算有绿鸡,公鸡的鸡冠总该是红的罢?The Little Traitor won’t know what to say to that; he’ll just try to put on a smile. “And even if you do,” I’ll say, “I’m sure the combs must be red.话又说回来啦,这母鸡老是不下蛋,那算是什么宝贝了?’哈哈,哈哈!”
And then again,” I’ll say, “that hen you gave me doesn’t lay eggs. I don’t think much of a hen that doesn’t lay eggs.” Hee, hee, hee!’

韦小宝回到皇宫,匆匆来到自己屋里,闩上了门,点亮蜡烛,揭开帐子,As soon as Trinket got back to the Palace, he rushed straight to his own room, barred the door behind him, lit the candles, and threw open the curtains of the bed.笑道:“等得好气闷吗?”只见小郡主一动不动的躺着,双眼睁得大大地,嘴上仍是叠着那几块糕饼,竟一块也没吃。
‘Bet you’re tired of waiting, ‘ he said. The Little Countess lay motionless on her back with wide-open, staring eyes. The little cakes were still piled up on her mouth. She hadn’t eaten a single one.

他取出那两串珍珠,笑道:“你瞧我给你买了这两串珍珠,研成了末给你一搽上,你若不是天下第一的小美人儿,我不姓……不姓桂!He got out the pearl necklaces and held them up to show her. ‘Look what I’ve bought for you!’ he said. ‘When I’ve ground these up and put the ointment on your face, you’ll be the most beautiful girl in the world, or my name’s not—not Laurie.你饿不饿?怎么不吃糕?我扶你起来吃罢!”Aren’t you hungry? Why didn’t you eat the cakes? Let me help you up so that you can eat something.’伸手去扶她坐起,突然间胁下一麻,跟着胸口又是一阵疼痛。
As he put his arms out to sit her up, he experienced a sudden numbing sensation below his ribs followed by a sharp pain in his chest.

韦小宝“啊”的一声惊呼,双膝一软,坐倒在地,’Ow!’ he cried, as much from surprise as because of the pain in his chest. His knees buckled under him and he found himself sitting on his haunches on the floor.全身酸麻,动弹不得。
His body was all pins and needles. He was quite unable to move.

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