The Deer And The Cauldron 11

A Summons from the King of Hell

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第十一回 春辞小院离离影 夜受轻衫漠漠香

Chapter 10-In which Trinket acquires a Second and most Delectable Companionl and learns what it means to be ]ealousi an Attempt is made on his Lifei the Emperor plays at Detective and offers Trinket another Opportunity to enrich Himself

A Summons from the King of Hell–Ghost or Whore?A Password–The Girl beneath the Window–Ointment and a Splint–Medical Supplies–Trinket the PhysicianColonel Rui, the Invincible Iron Palm-Two Sutras, a Sword, and a Soaking Waistcoat–Eunuchs and Guards–Trinket and the Old Whore–More Decomposing Powder–Kang Xi, Imperial Detective–Pangs of Jealousy–Negotiating with the Little Traitor–Multiple Largesse–Butcher Gian, Again

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A Summons from the King of Hell

小郡主格的一笑,掀被下床,笑道:“我穴道早解开了,等了你好久,你怎么到这时候才回来?”The Little Countess giggled, threw back the bedspread and climbed out of bed. She laughed. ‘My Vital Points opened a long time ago. Why are you back so late? I’ve been sitting here waiting for you for ages.’韦小宝奇道:“谁给你解开穴道的?”小郡主道:“给点了穴道,过得六七个时辰,不用解也自然通了。我扶你上床,我可得走了。”
‘Who opened them?’ asked Trinket in some surprise. ‘You just have to leave them for six or seven hours, and they open themselves,’ she explained. ‘Come on, let me help you into bed. I have to go now.’

韦小宝大急,叫道:“不行,不行。你脸上伤痕没好。须得再给你搽药,才好得全。”’Oh no you don’t!’ cried Trinket agitatedly. ‘You can’t! The cuts on your face haven’t healed properly yet! They need some more of my ointment.’小郡主嘻嘻一笑,说道:“你这人真坏,说话老骗人。你几时在我脸上刻花了?倒害得我担心了半天。”The Little Countess laughed. ‘You’re so naughty, always fibbing, and trying to scare me to death. You never carved anything on my face, did you?’韦小宝问道:“你怎么知道?”小郡主道:“我早下床来照过镜子,脸上什么也没有。”
‘How do you know?’ asked Trinket. ‘Because I got out of bed and looked at my face in the mirror, that’s how! And there was nothing the matter with it!’

韦小宝见她脸上光洁白腻,涂着的豆泥、莲蓉等物早洗了个干净,好生后悔:“我这么莽撞,也没先瞧她的脸,倘若见到她洗过了脸,说什么也不会着了她道儿。”Trinket looked at her face. It was clean, and positively glowing and smooth. Every last bit of his bean-fudge and lotus-seed mash ‘New-Skin Ointment’ was gone. ‘What an idiot I am not to have noticed!’ he thought to himself.说道:“你搽了我的灵丹妙药,自然好了。否则我为什么巴巴的又去给你买珍珠?’Of course there’s nothing the matter with your face now,’ he said promptly. ‘It’s thanks to my special ointment. That’s why I went to so much trouble to get you these extra pearls.我走遍了北京城的珠宝店,才给你买到这两串好珍珠。我还买了一对挺好看的玩意儿给你。”
I had to hunt everywhere! And I’ve bought you a pair of lovely little knick-knacks.’

小郡主忙问:“是什么玩意儿?”韦小宝道:“你解开我穴道,我就拿给你。”’Show me!’ cried the Little Countess. ‘Open my points first,’ said Trinket.小郡主道:“好!”正要伸手去给他解开穴道,忽见他眼珠转个不停,心念一动,笑道:“险些儿又上了你的当。解开你穴道,你又不许我走啦。”’That’s easy!’ As the Little Countess reached out her hand, she glanced at Trinket. He was rolling his eyes histrionically. She stopped and smiled. ‘I almost fell for it again! If I open your points, you’ll never let me go.’韦小宝忙道:“不会的,不会的。大丈夫一言既出,那个马难追。”’I promise I will!’ said Trinket. ‘By my plight and troth!’小郡主道:“驷马难追!什么叫那个马难追?”韦小宝道:“那个马比驷马跑得还要快,那个马都追不上,驷马自然更加追不上了。”小郡主不知“那个马”是什么马,将信将疑,道:“那个马难追,倒是第一次听见。”韦小宝道:“那你就学了这个乖。这玩意儿有趣得紧呢,一只公的,一只母的。”
The Little Countess hesitated. ‘Well, don’t you want to know about the knick-knacks?’ asked Trinket. ‘They’re very cute. One’s a boy, one’s a girl.’ The Little Countess could not help being curious.

小郡主问道:“是小白兔吗?”韦小宝摇头道:“不是,比小白兔可好玩十倍。”小郡主道:“是金鱼吗?”韦小宝大摇其头,道:“金鱼有什么好玩?这比金鱼要好玩一百倍。”’Are they rabbits?’ Trinket shook his head. ‘No, ten times cuter than rabbits.’ ‘Goldfish?’ Trinket shook his head even more vigorously. ‘Much cuter than goldfish!’小郡主又猜了几样玩物,都没猜中,道:“快拿出来!到底是什么东西?”
The Little Countess made several more guesses, none of which was correct. ‘Well, what are they?’ she cried impatiently. ‘Show me!’

韦小宝要诱她解开穴道,说道:“你一解开我穴道,我即刻便拿给你看。”小郡主摇头道:“不行,我即刻得走,哥哥不见了我,一定心焦得很呢。”
‘Open my points first,’ insisted Trinket. ‘No,’ said the Little Countess. ‘I’ve got to leave straight away. My brother must be terribly worried about me by now.’

韦小宝道:“你穴道早解开了,为什么不走,却要等我回来?”小郡主道:“你好心给我买珍珠,我总得谢谢你,向你告别一声。不声不响的走了,不是太对不起人吗?”韦小宝肚里暗笑:“原来这小娘是个小傻瓜,沐王府的人木头木脑,果然没姓错了这个姓。”说道:“是啊,我担心你一个人在这里害怕,在街上拚命的跑,只想早些买了珍珠,可是一家一家珠宝店瞧过去,就是没合意的,心中一急,连摔了几个筋斗。”

按:此段略译

小郡主轻呼一声:“啊哟!可摔痛了没有?”韦小宝愁眉苦脸的道:“这一摔下去,刚好胸口撞在一块大石头上,痛得我死去活来。”Trinket frowned, and gave a sudden grimace of pain. ‘What’s the matter?’ cried the Little Countess. ‘Are you hurt?’小郡主道:“现下好些没有?”韦小宝哼哼唧唧的道:“这一撞伤势不轻,越来越痛了。你……你……你点了我穴道,不肯解开,我这……这……这一口气……提……提……不上来……我……我……”越说声音越低,’I was rushing around so much trying to find your stupid pearls, I tripped and hit my chest on a rock. It suddenly got worse again. All because you . . . you . . . you closed my points, and now you won’t open them. I… I… can’t… t… brea . . . the . . .’ moaned Trinket, his voice trailing very touchingly into silence.突然双眼上翻,眼中露出来的全是眼白,便如晕去了一般,跟着凝住呼吸。
Suddenly he rolled his eyes like a fainting man, and held his breath.

小郡主伸手一探他鼻息,果然没了气,大吃一惊,“啊”的一声,全身发抖,颤声问道:“你怎么会死了?”The Little Countess put her hand to his nostrils. There was no trace of breath. She gave a scream and started trembling with terror. ‘What’s the matter with you?’韦小宝断断续续的道:“你……点错……点错了我的穴道……点了我……我的……死……死穴。”
‘You . . . closed . . . closed the wrong points,’ stammered Trinket. ‘You . . . you closed … a fatal. . . one!’

小郡主急道:“不会的,不会的。师父教的点穴法子,决不会错。’No! No, that’s impossible,’ said the Little Countess in some agitation. ‘I couldn’t have done. My Shifu taught me how to do it, and I couldn’t have got it wrong.我明明点了你的‘灵墟’与‘步廊’两穴,还有‘天池穴’。” I closed the Wasteland and the Walkway, and then the Pool of Heaven. I’m sure that’s right.’韦小宝道:“你……你慌慌张张的,点……点错了,啊哟,我全身气血翻涌,经脉倒转,天下大乱,走……走火入……入……”’You . . . you were probably so frightened, you went and clos . . . closed the wrong ones,’ said Trinket. ‘Oh! Oh! I can feel the blood pounding in my veins! It’s like a raging torrent! I can feel my whole Inner Force flowing backwards! My whole body’s gone topsy-turvy! I think I must be possessed . . .’小郡主道:“是走火入魔罢?”韦小宝道:“正是,走火入魔。啊哟,你怎么这样胡涂?点穴功夫没练得到家,就在我身上乱七八糟的瞎点?你点的不是什么‘天池’,什么‘步廊’,都点了死穴,死得十拿九稳的死穴!”’By what? A devil?’
‘Yes, yes, that’s it, a devil! You’ve killed me! Closing points is very advanced kungfu, much too advanced for you! You’ve been fooling around with me, and now look what you’ve done! It wasn’t the Wasteland or the Walkway—you’ve gone and opened the Gate of Death! Deeeeeeeaaaaaath!’ wailed Trinket.他不懂穴道名称,否则早就举了几个死穴出来。
He would have come up with the names of one or two genuinely fatal points, but unfortunately didn’t know any.

小郡主年纪幼小,功夫自然没练得到家。点穴功夫原本艰难繁复,人身大穴数百,相去只是数分,慌慌忙忙之中点错了也属寻常,There was one thing he was right about, however. Opening and closing Vital Points is a highly advanced branch of kungfu. There are hundreds of such points dotted all over the body, some of them situated just a few centimetres from one another. The Little Countess was young and far from expert in this art, so it was quite plausible that in the heat of the moment she might have closed the wrong points.但她曾得明师指点,这三下认穴极准,劲力虽然不足,穴位却丝毫无错,(In actual fact, she had done nothing of the kind. She had closed the three correct points with great accuracy, though with a certain lack of force in her fingers.)可是新学乍用,究竟没多大自信,韦小宝又愁眉苦脸,装得极像,她以为真的点错了死穴,急道:“莫非……莫非我点了你的‘膻中穴’么?”
Trinket’s display of agony was so convincing that she now began to doubt herself. ‘Maybe I opened your Middle Chest point by mistake?’ she said anxiously.

韦小宝道:“正是,正是‘膻中穴’,你也不用难过,你……你……不是故意的,我死之后,决不怪你。’Yes, yes, that’s it!’ replied Trinket. ‘But don’t worry, I… I know you didn’t do it on purpose. I won’t blame you when I’m dead.阎……阎罗王问起,我决不说是你点死我的……我说我自己不小心,手指头在自己身上一点,就点死了。”When the King of Hell asks me how I died, I swear I won’t tell. I’ll say I did it myself. I’ll say it was all my own fault!’小郡主听他答允在阎罗王面前为自己隐瞒,又是感激,又是过意不去,忙道:“快……快把穴道解了再说,或许还有救。”
The Little Countess felt her heart welling with gratitude and remorse. ‘Don’t say any more, let’s…let’s open your points first. Maybe there’s still a chance!’

忙伸手在他胸口、腋下推拿。她点穴的劲力不强,只推拿得几下,韦小宝已能行动。She quickly began massaging him on his chest and beneath his armpits, and because she had not closed the points very forcefully in the first place, a little rubbing and squeezing soon did the trick. Trinket was able to move again.他呻吟了几下,说道:“唉,已点了死穴,救不活了!”小郡主急道:“或许救得活的。我不小心点错了,真……真对不起。”
‘It’s no good!’ he groaned. ‘It’s the Gate of Death! I’m done for!’ ‘Maybe there’s something else I can do,’ cried the Little Countess, now quite distraught. ‘I… I’m really so sorry, it’s all my fault!’

韦小宝道:“我知道你是好人。我死之后,在阴世里保佑你,从早到晚,鬼魂总是跟在你身旁。”’I know how good you are really,’ said Trinket. That’s why when I die, I promise my ghost will stay with you day and night.’小郡主尖叫一声,问道:“你鬼魂老是跟在我身旁?”韦小宝道:“你别害怕,我的鬼魂不会害你的。不过有个规矩,谁杀死了我,我的鬼魂就总是跟着谁。”The Little Countess let out an ear-piercing scream. ‘Your ghost?’ ‘Yes, my ghost has to stay with whoever killed me. But don’t be afraid. It won’t hurt you.’小郡主越想越惊,说道:“我不是故意要杀死你的。”
‘But… but I didn’t mean to kill you,’ said the Little Countess, more terrified than ever.

韦小宝叹了口气,问道:“小姑娘,你叫什么名字啊?”小郡主退了一步,道:“你问来干什么?”脸上满是惊异之色,又道:“你要到阴世里告我,是不是?我不跟你说。”韦小宝摇头道:“我不会告你的。”小郡主道:“那你问我名字干什么?”韦小宝道:“我知道了你名字,好在阴世保佑你啊。阴间鬼朋鬼友很多,我叫大家齐心合力的来保佑你,你不论走到哪里,几千几百个鬼魂都跟着你。”小郡主吓得大叫一声,忙道:“不,不要!别跟着我。”韦小宝道:“那么就单是我一个人的鬼魂跟着你行不行?”小郡主迟疑片刻,道:“你……你如不吓我,那么……那么还不要紧。”

按:此段略译

韦小宝道:“我当然不吓你。你白天坐着,我的鬼魂给你赶苍蝇,晚上睡着,我的鬼魂给你赶蚊子。你闷得慌,我的鬼魂托梦给你,讲很好听很好听的故事给你听。”
Trinket sighed. ‘I promise I’ll never scare you. I’ll just look after you. During the daytime, when you’re sitting down, my ghost will shoo off the flies; when you’re asleep at night, it’ll keep away the mosquitoes. And it’ll come to you in your dreams and tell you lots of wonderful stories.’

小郡主道:“你为什么待我这么好?”幽幽叹了一口气,道:“你不死就好了。”’Why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden?’ sighed the Little Countess sadly. ‘Oh dear! I just wish this tragedy had never happened. I wish you weren’t going to die.’韦小宝道:“有一件你答应过我的事,你没办到,唉,我死不瞑目。””
I’ll only have one regret when I die,’ said Trinket. That you promised me something during my lifetime, and never kept your word.’小郡主道:“什么事?我答应过你什么?”韦小宝道:“你答应过叫我三声好哥哥,我在临死之前听到你叫了,那就死得眼闭了。’What was it? What did I promise?’ ‘You promised to call me “my darling” three times. Remember? Oh, if I could just hear those precious words on your lips before I died, then I think I could go peacefully!’

小郡主出生于世袭黔国公的王府,父母兄长都对她十分宠爱,虽然她出世之时已然国破家亡,但世臣家将、奴婢仆役,还是对这位金枝玉叶的郡主爱护得无微不至,一生之中,从未有人骗过她、吓过她。The Little Countess had grown up far away in the deep South, on the Mu Family estates in Yunnan, protected and loved by her parents, by her brother, and by a host of officials, generals, maids, servants, and other family retainers. She had never been lied to or intimidated in her entire life.出世以来所听到的言语,可说没半句假话,因此对韦小宝的胡说八道,初时也都信以为真,待见他越说越精神,说到要叫他三声好哥哥时,眼中闪烁着狡狯的光芒。She was used to hearing the plain truth, and at first she had seen no reason to doubt Trinket. But then he had started hopelessly overdoing it: the more he spoke, the more carried away he became, and by the time he got to the three ‘my darlings’ even she could detect a sly twinkle in his eyes.她只不过天真善良,毕竟不是傻子,知道韦小宝在逗弄自己,退了一步,说道:“你骗人,你不会死的。”
She was naive, but she was not stupid. It finally dawned on her that he was teasing her. ‘Liar!’ she cried, drawing back from him. ‘You’re not dying at all, are you?’

韦小宝哈哈大笑,说道:“就算暂且不死,过几天总要死的。”小郡主道:“过几天也不会死。”韦小宝道:“就算过几天不死,将来总是要死的。你不叫我这三声好哥哥,我的鬼魂天天跟着你,He laughed. ‘If I don’t die now, I’ll die in a couple of days.’ ‘No, you won’t.’ ‘Well, sometime or other I’m bound to. And if you don’t call me “my darling” three times, when I do die my ghost is bound to follow you wherever you go.不住的叫:‘好——妹——妹,好——妹——妹!’”他紧逼了喉咙,声音拖得长长的,当真阴风惨惨,十分可怖,It will be forever crying “My. . . sweetheart. . . my . . . sweet. . .”‘ Trinket managed a long drawn-out growling sort of noise. It sounded extremely gruesome.又伸长舌头,装作吊死鬼模样。小郡主“啊”的一声,回身便冲出房去。
Then he stuck out his tongue, and looked just like the ghost of a hanged man. The Little Countess was absolutely terrified again and ran to the door.

韦小宝追将出去,见她伸手去拔门闩,忙拦腰一把抱住,说道:“走不得,外面恶鬼很多。”Seeing her pull out the wooden door-bar, Trinket dashed forward and quickly seized her by the waist. ‘You can’t go. There are too many fierce ghosts lurking outside.’小郡主急道:“放开手,我要回家去。”韦小宝道:“走不出去的。”小郡主右手切了下去,斩他右腕。
‘Hands off!’ protested the Little Countess. ‘I’m going home!’ ‘You can’t!’ insisted Trinket. The Little Countess raised her right hand, and brought it down with a sharp chopping motion on Trinket’s right wrist.

韦小宝手掌翻转,反拿她小臂。小郡主手肘后撤,左手握拳往韦小宝头顶击下。Trinket turned his own palms upward, intending to seize her forearm, but she drew her elbow back quickly, and at the same time clenched her left fist, striking at the top of his head.韦小宝身子后缩,避过了这一拳,却已抱住了她小腿。Trinket ducked backwards, neatly escaping her blow, and wrapped his arms around her legs.小郡主一招“虎尾剪”,左掌斜削下去。She replied to this with a move known as the Tiger’s Leap, bringing her left hand sweeping down at him.韦小宝没能避开,拍的一声,打中他肩头,This time Trinket was unable to dodge, and took a sharp crack on the shoulder.他用力拉扯,小郡主站立不定,摔倒在地。
He tugged at the Countess with all his might, and they both went tumbling to the ground, her on top of him.

韦小宝赶上去要将她揪住,小郡主“鸳鸯连环腿”飞出,直踢面门。Trinket immediately leapt up and grappled with her. She aimed a quick Ring Chain Double Kick at his face.韦小宝一个打滚,又已扭住了她左臂。He dodged out of the way, at the same time twisting back her left forearm.小郡主拳脚功夫曾得明师传授,远比韦小宝所学为精,The Little Countess had obviously been taught these moves by an excellent Shifu, and she was a far better fighter than Trinket.两人倘若当真比武,韦小宝决不是她对手。但二人此刻只是在地下扭打,一个想逃,一个扭住她不放。这等扭扑摔交的功夫,韦小宝却经过长期习练,和康熙比武较量,几达一年。海老公传他的武功虽然半真半假,他又练得马虎,这近身搏击的擒拿,他毕竟还有几下子。In serious combat, he would not have stood a chance. But he was not too bad at this kind of close scrapping.几个回合下来,韦小宝胸口虽吃了两拳,却已抓住了小郡主右臂,拗了转来,笑问:“投不投降?”
The Little Countess managed to give him two hard blows to the chest, but then he succeeded in seizing her right arm and twisting it back. He laughed. ‘Surrender?’

小郡主道:“不投降!”韦小宝抬起左膝,跪在她臂上,又问:“投不投降?”小郡主仍道:“不投降!”’No!’ she cried. Trinket knelt on her back, pinning her to the ground. ‘Now?’ ‘No! Never!’ she cried.韦小宝手上加劲,将她反在背后的手臂一抬。小郡主“啊”的一声,哭了出来。
Trinket applied extra force, and raising her twisted arm, yanked it towards him. The Little Countess screamed with pain.

韦小宝和康熙比武摔交,两人不论痛得如何厉害,从不示弱,更无哭泣之事,只不过一到给对方制住,无法反抗,In the past, when Trinket and Kang Xi were fighting, neither of them would ever give up, far less cry out, however much pain they were in. Not until one side had conclusively gained the upper hand, and victory was assured.便叫“投降”,算是输了一个回合,重新比过。Then the other side would call out ‘I surrender!’, and the next round would begin at once.不料小郡主的作风与康熙全然不同,一输便哭。韦小宝道:“呸!没用的小丫头!”放开了她。
Trinket was therefore shocked to see the Little Countess burst into tears at her first setback. ‘Useless girl!’ He gave a snort of contempt and let her go.

Ghost or Whore?

便在此时,忽听得窗格上喀的一声响,韦小宝低声道:“啊哟!有鬼!”At that very moment, there was a knocking on the window-frame. ‘Listen!’ said Trinket in a barely audible whisper. ‘It’s a ghost!’小郡主大吃一惊,反手过来,抱住了他。只听得窗格上又是一响,窗子轧轧轧的推开,The Little Countess turned around in abject terror, and hugged him tightly. There was another knock on the window-frame, followed by a series of creaks as the window was pushed open.这一来,连韦小宝也是大吃一惊,颤声道:“真的有鬼!”小郡主向前一扑,钻入了床上被窝中,全身发抖。
This time even Trinket was frightened. ‘It is a ghost!’ His voice was shaking. The Little Countess threw herself onto the bed and crept trembling under the covers.

窗子缓缓推开,有人阴森森的叫道:“小桂子,小桂子!”The window was pushed slowly open, and an eerie, high-pitched voice drifted into the room: ‘Laurel. . . Laurel. . .’韦小宝初时只道是海老公的鬼魂前来索命,但听这呼声是女子口音,At first Trinket thought it was the old eunuch Hai Dafu’s ghost come to get him. But then he realized it was a female voice.颤声道:“是个女鬼!”连退几步,双腿酸软,坐倒在床沿上。
‘It’s a woman ghost!’ he cried in terror, staggering backwards, until his legs gave way beneath him completely and he collapsed onto the bed.

突然一阵劲风吹了进来,房中烛火便熄,眼前一花,房中已多了一人。A sudden gust of wind blew out the candles. Now Trinket and the Little Countess could see nothing. But they could sense the presence of a third person in the room.那女鬼阴森森又叫:“小桂子,小桂子!阎王爷叫你去。阎王爷说你害死了海老公!”’Laurel. . . Laurel! The King of Hell has summoned you. He says you killed Old Hai Goong-goong!’ The woman’s voice sounded cold as ice.韦小宝只吓得魂飞魄散,想说:“海老公不是我害死的。”但张口结舌,哪里说得出话来?’I didn’t kill him!’ was what Trinket meant to say in reply. But he was so terrified, that all he could do was open his mouth and gawp.只听那女鬼又尖声叫道:“阎王爷要捉你去,上刀山,下油锅,小桂子,今天你逃不了啦!”
The King of Hell has ordered me to arrest you and take you for punishment. You are to climb the Mountain of Knives, and be dropped into the Wok of Boiling Oil! Laurel, this time there is no escape!’

韦小宝听了这几句话,猛地发觉:“是太后,不是女鬼!”但心中的害怕丝毫不减,Trinket suddenly realized who it was: this woman was no ghost, it was the Empress Dowager! But this did nothing to allay his fears.心道:“若是女鬼,或许还捉我不去,太后却非杀了我灭口不可。”’A real ghost would have been better than her!’ he thought in panic. ‘I might have been able to get away from a ghost. But I don’t stand a chance against the Old Whore. She wants me dead. I know too much. She wants to shut me up for good.’自从他得知太后的机密,起初常担心她会杀了自己灭口,Ever since he had overheard her talking that night with Old Hai, and had discovered a part of her secret, he had known that his life was in peril. One day she would certainly come for him and kill him.但一直没动静,时日一久,这番担心也就渐渐淡了,只道太后信了自己,以为自己果真没听到海大富那番话;But then the days went by, and still she made no move, and after some time the danger began to fade from his mind. He began to assume that she must have believed him when he said that he had heard nothing of her conversation with Old Hai.又或许以为自己即使听到了,也决计不敢泄露,再升了自己管御膳房,自己感激之下,一切太平无事。
Or else she was giving him a chance, reckoning that he would never dare to expose her, that he was too indebted to her for her earlier kindness in promoting him to eunuch-in-charge of the Imperial Catering Department. Such were the speculations that raced through Trinket’s mind.

他哪里知道,太后所以迟迟不下手,But the real reason for the Empress Dowager’s delay in coming to get Trinket (or ‘Laurel’, as she knew him) was a great deal simpler.只因那日与海老公动手,内伤受得极重,又见海老公重重一脚竟然踢不死韦小宝,只道这小孩内功修为也颇了得,She herself had been badly injured in the fight with Old Hai. Seeing ‘Laurel’ survive the older eunuch’s devastating kick, she had assumed he must be a young fighter of great Inner Force, and deemed it dangerous to take any further risks with him for the time being.自己若不痊愈,功力不复,便不敢贸然行事。这等杀人灭口之事,不能假手于旁人,必须亲自下手。She had decided to wait, until such time as her own injuries were healed and her Inner Force fully recovered. Then, when the moment was right, she would strike. She could trust no one but herself to do this dark deed.否则的话,这小孩临死之际说了几句话出来,岂非坏了大事?Some hired assassin might learn too much from ‘Laurel’, even in the last minutes before the little eunuch died.这件事牵涉太大,别说韦小宝只是个微不足道的小太监,纵然是后妃太子、将军大臣,只要可能与闻这件大秘密的,有一百个便杀一百,一千个便杀一千。
The Empress Dowager was a woman of unstoppable determination, prepared to snuff out anyone who stood in her way, whether that person was an Imperial consort, a prince, a general, or an important official. Disposing of a little eunuch was a mere bagatelle.

她已等待甚久,其时功力犹未复原,但想多耽搁一日,便多一分泄漏的危险,到这一晚实在不愿再等,决定下手,So she bided her time. Even tonight she was still not fully recovered, but she had decided she could wait no longer. She must act.来到韦小宝屋外,推开窗子时听得韦小宝说“有鬼”,便索性假装是鬼。她不知床上尚有一人,慢慢凝聚劲力,提起右手,一步步走向床前。She had hidden outside Trinket’s apartment, and then his mentioning of the word ‘ghost’ just as she was opening the window had been her inspiration. She climbed into the room, still unaware of the Little Countess’s presence, slowly concentrated her strength, and raising her right hand, began striding towards the bed.韦小宝知难抗拒,身子一缩,钻入了被窝。太后挥掌拍下,波的一声响,同时击中了韦小宝与小郡主,Trinket had no intention of putting up a fight, and wriggled under the bedspread. The Empress Dowager brought down the edge of her open palm. The blow struck both Trinket and the Little Countess at the same time.幸好隔着厚厚一层棉被,劲力已消去了大半。
Fortunately the quilting was thick enough to absorb a certain amount of the impact.

太后提起手掌,第二掌又再击下,这次运力更强,She raised her hand for a second strike, and brought it down more powerfully than the first time.手掌刚与棉被相触,猛觉掌心中一阵剧痛,已为利器所伤,大叫一声,向后跃开。As her palm made contact with the bedspread, it was pierced by something extremely sharp. She was wounded! The pain was excruciating! She gave a great cry, and leapt clear of the bed.只听得窗外有三四人齐声大呼:“有刺客,有刺客!”At that very moment voices could be heard from outside the window. ‘Assassins! Assassins in the Palace!’太后大吃一惊:“怎地有人知道了?”她亲手来杀一个小太监,决不能让人见到,The Empress Dowager started, thinking for a moment that somehow her plan to kill the little eunuch had been discovered. But how? She had told no one.手掌又痛得厉害,不暇察看韦小宝是否已死,双足一点,从窗中倒纵跃出。
Meanwhile the pain in the palm of her hand was growing more intense with every second. She retreated, and clambered out through the window, without even bothering to find out if Trinket was dead or not.

尚未落地,背后已有人双双袭到,As she landed on the ground, two men attacked her from behind.太后双掌向后挥出,使一招“后顾无忧”,左掌右掌同时击中二人胸口。那二人直摔了出去。She whipped round and swept her fists through the air in the countermove known as the Double Rear Guard, delivering two well-aimed blows to the chest, which sent both men crashing to the ground.只听得锣声镗镗响起,片刻间四下里都响起锣声。远处有人叫道:“右卫第一队、第二队保护皇上,右卫第三队保护太后。”Even as they fell, the clanging of gongs could be heard echoing throughout the Palace, and a voice in the distance shouted: ‘Platoon One and Platoon Two to protect His Majesty! Platoon Three to protect Her Majesty!’跟着东首假山后有人叫道:“这边有刺客!”太后知道这些都是宫中侍卫,当下缩身躲在花丛之侧,They’re over here!’ yelled another voice behind a rockery, closer at hand. The Empress Dowager could tell it was one of the Palace Guards, and immediately hid herself behind the bushes.掌心的疼痛一阵阵更加厉害了,只见影影绰绰的有七八堆人在互相厮杀,兵刃不断碰撞,The throbbing wound on her palm was growing more and more difficult to endure. She could now make out the shapes of several clusters of men fighting fiercely, and the clashing of their weapons reached her ears across the darkened grounds of the Palace.心想:“原来宫中当真来了刺客,是海老公的朋友,还是鳌拜的旧部?”
‘So there arc intruders in the Palace! But who?’ she wondered. ‘Friends of Old Hai? Supporters of Oboi?’

但听得远处传令之声不绝,黑暗中火把和孔明灯上的灯光之火,四面八方聚将拢来。From far away drifted sounds of more orders, as yet more Palace Guards were dispatched, while closer at hand torches and lanterns began to gather from every direction, forming a circle of light.太后眼见如再不走,稍迟片刻,便难以脱身,矮着身子从花丛后跃出,急往慈宁宫奔去。Sensing that this might be her last opportunity to escape, the Empress Dowager crouched down, then jumped from behind the bushes out into the open, and ran in the direction of the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity.只奔得数丈,迎面一人扑到,手中一对钢锥向太后面门疾刺,喝道:“大胆反贼,竟敢到宫中捣乱。”She had only covered a short distance, when she encountered a man hurrying towards her. ‘Halt!’ he shouted, thrusting a pair of vicious-looking fighting clubs into her face. It was another guard.太后微微斜身,右掌虚引,左掌向他肩头拍出。那人沉肩避开,左手钢锥反挑。With her wounded right hand, she struck at the man’s shoulder with her left palm. The man lowered his shoulder to evade the blow, then spun round and brought the club in his left hand swinging upwards.太后向左一闪,右掌反拍,霎时之间,二人已拆了数招。
The Empress Dowager dodged again to the left and hit back, this time with her right palm. They exchanged quite a few such moves in quick succession.
那人口中吆喝:“好反贼,原来是个婆娘。”’It’s a woman!’ shouted the man.
太后见这侍卫武艺不低,自己虽可收拾得下,但总得再拆上十来招,只怕其余侍卫赶来,情急之下,叫道:“我是太后。”The Empress Dowager needed to finish him off quickly, before reinforcements arrived.’I am Her Majesty the Empress Dowager!’ she blurted out.那侍卫一惊,住手问道:“什么?”太后道:“大胆奴才,你胆敢冒犯太后?”那人微一迟疑,太后双掌齐出,砰的一声,击正在他胸口。那侍卫立时毙命。The guard was momentarily stunned. In that precious moment of hesitation, she struck him a double-handed blow on the chest, sending him to an instant death.太后提气跃出,闪入了花丛。
She herself gasped for breath, then leapt into the bushes.

A Password

韦小宝钻入被窝,给太后一掌击在腰间,登时几乎窒息,The Empress Dowager’s first blow had caught Trinket in the small of his back, and knocked the wind out of him.危急间拔出靴筒中匕首,在被窝中竖而向上,被窝便高了起来。太后第二掌向被窝隆起处击落,那匕首锋锐无比,太后这一掌劲道又是极大,匕首之尖立时穿过棉被,刺入掌心,直通手背。
In a desperate last attempt to save himself, he had pulled out his dagger, and held it point upwards beneath the quilt. With her second blow, she had impaled her hand on the dagger.

待得太后从窗子中跃出,韦小宝掀起棉被一角,只听得屋外人声杂乱,他当时第一个念头是:“太后派人来捉拿我了。”Trinket waited until she had jumped out of the window, then lifted one corner of the quilt. He could hear a confused hubbub of voices outside—no doubt the Empress Dowager’s men coming to get him.从床上一跃下地,掀开棉被,说道:“咱们快逃!”Quickly he threw back the quilt and leapt out of bed, saying to the Little Countess, ‘Come, let’s go!’小郡主哭道:“痛……痛死我啦!”原来太后第一掌的掌力既打中了韦小宝后腰,又打中小郡主的左腿,小郡主受力较多,左腿小腿骨竟被击断。
‘It hurts . . .’ sobbed the girl. The Empress Dowager’s first blow had caught the Little Countess with more force than Trinket, and fractured her left leg.

韦小宝道:“怎么啦!”一把抓住她颈口衣服,道:“快逃,快逃!”’What’s up with you?’ asked Trinket, grabbing her by her collar, and hauling her out of bed. ‘Just run for it! Hurry!’将她拉下床来。小郡主右足先落地,只觉左腿剧痛难当,身子一侧,滚倒在地,The Little Countess tried stepping on the ground with her right foot, but immediately felt an agonizing pain in her left leg, lost her balance, and went tumbling onto the floor.哭道:“我的……我的腿断啦。”韦小宝情急之下,骂了出来:“小娘皮,迟不断,早不断……”
‘My leg . . . It’s broken!’ she cried, bursting into tears. Trinket was in much too much of a panic to be sympathetic. ‘Great timing! You would have to choose now to go and break a leg . . .’

心想老子自己逃命要紧,别说你一条腿断了,就是四条腿、八条腿都断成十七八段,老子也不放在心上,His one thought was survival. She could break four legs, or eight. . . She could leave a dozen bits of leg lying around the room, for all he cared . . .转身抢到窗口,向外张望,只盼外面没人,就此跃出。He hurried to the window, and looked out, hoping that there would be no one outside, and he could spring out into the garden.一望之下,只见太后双掌向后挥出,跟着两人飞了起来,重重摔在地下,一人正好摔在他窗下,He got there just in time to see the shadowy outline of the Empress Dowager executing her Double Rear Guard. One of the two men flew through the air and crashed hard onto the ground right under the window.朦朦胧胧间见到这人穿着侍卫的服色,心下大奇:“太后为什么打宫中侍卫?”Even in the dark, Trinket was able to make out that he was wearing a Palace Guard’s uniform. He was curious why the Empress Dowager should want to kill a Palace Guard.见太后闪身躲向花丛,又见数丈之外有六七人正在厮杀,手中各有兵刃,斗得甚是激烈,听得远处有人叫道:“拿刺客,拿刺客!”
Then he saw her go skulking off into the bushes. Several yards away from her, six or seven men were engaged in fierce combat. ‘Catch the assassins! Get them!’ shouted a voice in the distance.

韦小宝又惊又喜:“原来真的来了刺客,却不是来拿我。”’So they haven’t come for me after all!’ thought Trinket, with mixed feelings of joy, fear, and confusion.凝目望去,见太后又在和一名侍卫相斗。那侍卫使一对钢锥,虽和他窗口相距已远,仍可见到钢锥上白光闪动。Peering into the distance, he saw the Empress Dowager fighting another guard. The guard’s metal clubs glimmered in the shadows.斗得一会,太后又将那侍卫打死,飞身在黑暗中隐没。
The struggle lasted for a while, and then she finished him off and disappeared into the dark once more.

韦小宝回头向小郡主瞧去,见她坐在地下,轻声呻吟。他既知自己并无危险,心情立时大佳,走到她身前,Trinket turned around. The Little Countess was sitting on the floor, groaning with pain. Now that he was in no immediate danger, he was a little more disposed to be nice to her.低声道:“痛得很厉害吗?外边有人要来捉你,快别作声。”’Does it hurt a lot?’ he whispered. ‘Sh! There’s someone out there who wants to catch you, so you’d better keep very quiet!’小郡主吓得不敢再响,忽听得外面有人叫道:“黑脚狗牙齿厉害,上点苍山罢!”小郡主“咦”的一声,道:“是我们的人。”The terrified Little Countess complied at once. A voice outside the window shouted: ‘The Black-Legs are too many for us! To the Mountains!’ That’s our men!’ exclaimed the Little Countess in utter astonishment.韦小宝奇道:“是你的朋友?你怎么知道?”小郡主道:“他们说的是我们沐王府的暗语,快……快……扶我去瞧瞧。”’Your men? How do you know?’ asked Trinket. ‘”To the Mountains!” is a Mu password. Just. . . just help me up. I want to have a look.’韦小宝道:“他们来皇宫救你,是不是?”’They’ve come to the Palace to rescue you, haven’t they?’ said Trinket.小郡主道:“我不知道,这里是皇宫吗?” ‘I don’t know,’ said the Little Countess. Then suddenly: ‘Is this the Palace?’ Trinket did not answer her question.

韦小宝不答,心想:“他们如知这小丫头在这里,冲进来救人,老子双拳难敌四手。”一伸手,牢牢按住她嘴巴,低声恐吓:“千万不可出声,给人一发觉,连你另一条腿也打断了,我可舍不得!”’They mustn’t find out that she’s in my room,’ he was thinking to himself. He clamped a hand over her mouth and whispered in his most frightening voice: ‘Don’t make a sound! If the guards find you, they’ll break your other leg. And then I’d really be upset!’只听外面有人“啊啊”大叫,又有人欢呼道:“杀了两个刺客!”有人叫道:“刺客向东逃了,大伙儿快追!”人声渐渐远去。韦小宝放开了手,There was a loud scream outside, followed by a cheer. ‘Two down!’ ‘They’re heading east! After them!’ Gradually the hullabaloo died away, and Trinket loosened his hand.道:“你的朋友逃走啦!”小郡主道:“不是逃走!他们说上‘点苍山’,是暂时退一退的意思。”韦小宝道:“黑腿狗是什么东西?”小郡主道:“黑腿狗就是鞑子武士。”
‘Your friends seem to have gone for good.’ ‘No, they haven’t,’ replied the Little Countess. ‘It’s just a temporary retreat. That’s what “To the Mountains” means.’ ‘And who are the Black-Legs?’ asked Trinket. ‘The Tartar guards.’

The Girl beneath the Window

远处人声隐隐,传令之声不绝,显然宫中正在围捕刺客。

忽听得窗下有人呻吟了两声,却是女子的声音。Suddenly they heard groans of pain coming from outside the window. It was a female voice, evidently not a Palace Guard.韦小宝道:“有个刺客还没死,我去戳她两刀!”宫中侍卫均是男子,这呻吟的自然是刺客了。小郡主道:“不……不要杀,或许是我们府里的。”扶着韦小宝的肩头,站了起来,右足单脚着地,几下跳跃,到了窗口,That must be one of the assassins!’ cried Trinket. ‘I’ll finish her off with my dagger!’ ‘No . . . Don’t kill her! She’s probably one of our people,’ said the Little Countess, supporting herself on Trinket’s shoulder, and hopping to the window on her right foot.只见窗下有两个人,问道:“是天南地北的……”韦小宝一伸手,又按住了她嘴。She could see two figures down below.
‘Southern Skies and Northern Lands . . .’ she began whispering through the window, when Trinket reached out his hand, and clamped it tightly over her mouth.窗下一个女子道:“孔雀明王座下,你……你是小郡主?”
‘Beneath the Throne of the Peacock King,’ returned the female voice from beneath the window. ‘Is that… the Little Countess?’

韦小宝心想这女子已发见了小郡主的踪迹,祸事不小,If this woman discovered the whereabouts of the Little Countess, thought Trinket, it could mean big trouble for him.提起匕首,便欲掷下,突然间右腕一紧,已被小郡主握住,跟着胁下一痛,按住她嘴巴的手也不由自主的松开了。
He quickly raised his dagger and was about to hurl it at her through the window, when the Little Countess seized his wrist, and he felt a sharp pain under his armpit, which obliged him to loosen the hand that had silenced her.

小郡主问道:“是师姊吗?”窗下那女子道:“是我。你……你在这里干什么?”韦小宝接口道:“你奶奶的,你在这里干什么?”’Sister, is that you?’ asked the Little Countess. ‘Yes! What are you doing here?’ replied the voice. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ cried Trinket.小郡主道:“你……你别骂她,她是我师姊。师姊,你受了伤吗?你……你快想法子救救我师姊。师姊待我最好的。”她这几句话分别对二人而说。’Please . . . please don’t be hard on her! She’s my sister-inarms.’ The Little Countess turned from one of them to the other as she spoke. ‘Sister, are you hurt?’ To Trinket: ‘Please save her! Please! She’s always been so good to me!’窗下那女子呻吟了一声,道:“我不要这小子救。谅他也没救我的本事。”’I don’t need any help from him\’ said the voice with a groan. ‘And anyway, he couldn’t save anyone’s life even if he wanted to.’韦小宝用力一挣,小郡主便松了手。韦小宝骂道:“臭小娘!你说我没救你的本事?你这种第九流武功的小丫头,Trinket struggled hard to free himself, and the Little Countess finally let go. ‘Smelly little tart!’ he cried to the owner of the voice. ‘Who the hell does she think she is? I’m not taking that from a third-rate Little kungfu slut like her!哼,老子只要伸一根小指头儿,随手便救<脏话>二三十个、七八十个。”
Tamardy! I can save lives! I could save twenty or dirty girls like her without batting an eyelid! Seventy, eighty…a hundred!’

这时远处又响起了“捉刺客、捉刺客”的声音。小郡主大急,忙道:At that moment, more shouts could be heard in the distance. ‘Get them all! Don’t let a single one of them escape!’ The Little Countess was desperate. She begged Trinket to help. “你快救我师姊,我……我叫你三声好……好……哥哥,好哥哥,好哥哥。”这三个字,本来她说什么也不肯叫,这时为了求他救人,竟尔连叫三声。
‘Please save my sister! I… I’ll call you it. . . three times. My darling, my darling, my darling. There!’ Finally she had done it!

韦小宝大乐,Trinket was ecstatic.说道:“好妹子,你要好哥哥做什么?”小郡主满脸羞得通红,低声道:“求你救救我师姊。”’Sweetheart! What would you like me to do for you?’ The Little Countess blushed. ‘Save my sister!’ she whispered.窗下那女子的语气却十分倔强,道:“别求他,这小子自身难保,连自己也救不了自己。”’Don’t!’ protested the voice outside fiercely. ‘He can’t even save himself.’韦小宝道:“哼,瞧在我好妹子份上,我偏要救你。好妹子,咱们说过了话,不许抵赖,你要我救你师姊,以后可不得改口,永远得叫我好哥哥。”Trinket snorted contemptuously. ‘For the sake of my dear sweetheart the Countess, I will save your life! My dear, the two of us must never break our word. I’ll save your sister, and then you’ll call me “my darling” for ever and ever.’小郡主道:“叫你什么都成。好叔叔、好伯伯、好公公!”韦小宝道:“我只做好哥哥。叫我‘公公’的人,还怕少了。”小郡主道:“是了,我永远……永远叫你好……好……”韦小宝道:“好什么?”小郡主道:“好……哥哥!”说着在他背上轻轻一推。’Yes!’ replied the Little Countess. ‘Whatever you want! My darling, my darling brother, my darling uncle, my darling grandpa if you like!’ As she said this she gave Trinket a gentle push, and he vaulted through the window.韦小宝跳出窗去,只见一个身穿黑衣的女子蜷着身子斜倚于地,说道:“宫里侍卫就来捉你去了,将你斩成肉酱,做肉包子吃。”
He found himself in front of a female form in black, lying huddled up on the ground just below. ‘Come on. Up you get. Or the guars will mince you into little pieces and use you to stuff dumplings . . .’

那女子道:“希罕吗?自有人给我报仇。”韦小宝道:“你这小丫头倒嘴硬。侍卫们先不杀你,把你衣服脱光了,大家……大家拿你来做老婆。”’I don’t mind! One day someone will avenge me.’ ‘Stubborn little tart, aren’t you!’ said Trinket. ‘Anyway, they won’t kill you straight away. First they’ll strip all your clothes off and . . . rape you.’那女子怒道:“你快一刀将姑娘杀了。”韦小宝笑道:“我为什么杀你?我也要将你衣服脱光了,拿你做老婆。”Then finish me off now!’ spat the voice furiously. Trinket smiled. ‘I’ve got a much better idea. Why don’t I strip your clothes off, and rape you myself.’说着俯身去抱。那女子大急,挥掌打了他个耳光,但她重伤之余,手上毫无劲力,打在脸上,便如轻轻一拂。As he said this, he bent down and made as if to put his arms around the girl. She tried to slap him angrily on the face, but was too badly wounded to manage more than a feeble sort of tap.韦小宝笑道:“你还没做我老婆,先给老公搔痒。”抱起她身子,从窗口送进去。小郡主大喜,上前将那女子接住,慢慢将她放到床上。
Trinket laughed. He lifted her up in his arms and helped her through the window and into the room. The Little Countess limped forward, and staggered with her to the bed.

韦小宝正要跟着跃进房去,忽听得脚边有人低声说道:“桂……桂公公,这女子……这女子是反贼……刺客,救……救她不得。”Trinket was about to climb back into the room himself, when suddenly he heard another barely audible voice coming from near his feet. ‘Lau . . . Laurel Goong-goong, that girl. . . that girl. . . you . . . you mustn’t. . .’韦小宝大吃一惊,问道:“你……你是谁?”那人道:“我……我是宫中……侍……卫……”韦小宝登时明白,他是适才给太后一掌打中的侍卫,竟然未死,他躺在地下,动弹不得,说话又断断续续,受伤定然极重,心想:“我若将这黑衣女子交了出去,自是一件功劳,但小郡主又怎么办?It was the guard who had been sent flying by the Empress Dowager. He was still alive, though badly wounded and incapable of movement. ‘I suppose he’s right really,’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘I ought to hand the girl in. But then what about the Little Countess?这件事败露出来,那可是大祸一桩。”提起匕首,嗤的一刀,插入他胸口。那侍卫哼也没哼,立时毙命。韦小宝道:“这可对不住了,倘若你刚才不开口,就不会送了性命,只不过我桂公公的脑袋,在这脖子就坐得不这么安稳了。”又想:“左近只怕还有受伤的,说不得,只好一个个都杀了灭口。”
They might find out about her!’ The decision was quickly taken. He pulled out his dagger, and stabbed the guard in the chest. ‘Sorry about that,’ said Trinket, to the unfortunate corpse. ‘Forgive me. If only you’d kept your mouth shut, I wouldn’t have had to kill you.’

他在周遭花丛假山寻了一遍,地下共有五具尸首,三个是宫中侍卫,两个是外来刺客,都已气绝身死。He searched every inch of the nearby garden for any further survivors, but only found five more corpses, three of them Palace Guards, two intruders.韦小宝抱起一具刺客的尸首,放在窗格上,头里脚外,跟着在尸首背后用匕首戳了几下。He heaved the body of one of the intruders up onto the window-sill, its head protruding into the room, its feet hanging outside into the garden. Then he stabbed it a few times in the back with his dagger for good measure.小郡主惊道:“他……他是我们王府的人,死都死了,你怎么又杀他?”’He . . . he’s one of our people,’ said the Little Countess in a frightened voice. ‘He was dead already. What did you need to do that for?’韦小宝哼了一声,道:“他死都死了,我就不能再杀他了。你倒杀死个死人给我瞧瞧!要救你的臭小娘师姊,只好这样了。”那女子躺在床上,说道:“你才臭!”Trinket humphed. ‘I had to. If you want me to save that smelly tart of a sister of yours.’ ‘You’re the smelly one, not me!’ protested the girl, from where she lay on the bed.韦小宝道:“你又没闻过,怎知我臭?”那女子道:“这屋子里就有一股臭气。”韦小宝道:“本来很香,你进来之后才臭。”
‘How would you know?’ asked Trinket. ‘Your whole room stinks!’ ‘It smelled nice enough, till you arrived.’

小郡主急道:“你两个又不相识,一见面就吵嘴,快别吵了。师姊,你怎么到这里来?是……是来救我么?”The Little Countess interrupted them. ‘Would the two of you please stop? You don’t even know each other! Sister, what are you doing here? Did you come … to rescue me?’那女子道:“我们不知道你在这里。大伙儿不见了你,到处找寻,找不到……”’No, we didn’t even know you were here. When we found out that you’d disappeared, we searched everywhere, but it was hopeless . . .’说到这里,已是上气不接下气。韦小宝道:“没力气说话,就少说几句。”那女子道:“我偏要说。你怎么样?”She was already out of breath. ‘Why don’t you just shut up!’ said Trinket. ‘And if I don’t shut up? What are you going to do to me then?’韦小宝道:“你有本事就说下去。人家小郡主多么温柔斯文,哪似你这般泼辣。”
‘Nothing,’ replied Trinket. ‘You’ll wear yourself out sooner or later. Oh dear! The Little Countess is such a nice, gentle girl; but you’re—’

小郡主忙道:“不,不,你不知道。我师姊是最好不过了。你别骂她,她就不会生你气了。师姊,你什么地方受了伤?伤得重不重?”’No, no, you don’t understand,’ the Little Countess hurriedly interposed. ‘She’s really very nice.’ She went on: ‘Sister, are you badly hurt?’韦小宝道:“她武功不行,不自量力,到宫里来现世,自然伤得极重,我看活不了三个时辰,等不到天亮就会归天。”’Of course she is,’ said Trinket. ‘I told you, she’s a third-rate little kungfu slut, and she obviously can’t fight for peanuts. I shouldn’t think she’ll live more than three hours. She’ll probably die before dawn.’小郡主道:“不会的。好……好哥……你快想法子,救救我师姊。”那女子怒道:“我宁可死了,也不要他救。小郡主,这小子油腔滑调,你为什么叫他……叫他这个?”’No! She mustn’t! My . . . my darling. . . You must save her, please! ‘I would rather die!’ growled the girl. ‘I don’t need any favours from him! Little Countess, why do you keep calling him . . . calling him that?韦小宝道:“叫我什么?”那女子却不上当,道:“叫你小猴儿。”韦小宝道:“我是公猴儿,你就是母猴儿。”’Calling me what?’ asked Trinket. The girl didn’t fall for it. ‘Little ape. ‘ That’s what I’ll call you!’ ‘Well, in that case, we can be Mr and Mrs Ape!’跟女人拌嘴吵架,他在丽春院中久经习练,什么大阵大仗都经历过来的,哪里会输给人了?那女子听他出言粗俗无赖,便不再睬他,只是喘气。
Trinket was an old hand at this kind of whore-house repartee. He had heard no end of it at Vernal Delights as a small boy. The girl tried to ignore him, and lay there panting in pain.

韦小宝提起桌上烛台,说道:“咱们先瞧瞧她伤在哪里。”那女子叫道:“别瞧我,别瞧我!”Trinket took a candlestick from the table, and proposed that he should examine her wounds. ‘Don’t you dare look at me! Don’t!’ she cried.韦小宝喝道:“别大声嚷嚷,你想人家捉了你去做老婆吗?”拿近烛台一照,’Stop screaming like that! Do you want the guards to come running in here and rape you?’ Trinket approached her with the candlestick in his hand.只见这女子半爿脸染满了鲜血,约莫十七八岁年纪,一张瓜子脸,容貌甚美,忍不住赞道:Through the blood smeared all over her face he could make out that she was a young woman of extraordinary beauty, about seventeen or eighteen years old. “原来臭小娘是个美人儿。”小郡主道:“你别骂我师姊,她……她本来是个美人儿。”
‘So, the smelly little tart turns out to be quite a babe!’ ‘Don’t be so rude about my sister!’ protested the Little Countess. ‘She … she is beautiful.’

韦小宝道:“好!我更加非拿她做老婆不可。”那女子一惊,想挣扎起来打人,’All the more reason for me to marry her!’ said Trinket. The girl protested vehemently, and struggled to sit up and hit him.但身子微微一抬,便“啊”的一声,摔在床上。
But the pain was so great that she could only gasp, and collapse onto the bed again.

韦小宝于男女之事,在妓院中自然听得多了,浑不当作一回事,As far as matters sexual and matrimonial were concerned, theoretically Trinket knew it all. As a child he had heard such things endlessly discussed in the whore-house—by other people. But he had never taken them seriously himself.但说“拿她做老婆”云云,他年纪幼小,倒也从来没起过心,动过念,只是他生来恶作剧,见那女子听得自己一说到要拿她做老婆,便大大着急,不禁甚是得意,Even now he didn’t actually mean to marry the girl, or have sex with her, not in any real sense; he was just having a bit of fun at her expense, baiting her, enjoying her reaction.笑道:“你不用性急,还没拜堂,怎能做得夫妻?你当这里是丽春院吗?说做夫妻就做。啊哟!你伤口流血,可弄脏了我床。”’Be patient!’ he said mischievously. ‘You’ll have to wait until we’re properly wed! This isn’t a whore-house, you know! Aiyo! You’re bleeding all over the bed.’只见她衣衫上鲜血不住渗出,伤势着实不轻。
The girl was indeed seriously injured, and the blood was still seeping from under her clothes.

忽听得一群人快步走近,有人叫道:“桂公公,桂公公,你没事吗?”Just at that moment a group of people came hurrying up outside. ‘Laurel Goong-goong, Laurel Goong-goong!’ shouted one of them loudly from the garden. ‘Are you all right?’宫中侍卫击退刺客,派人保护了皇上、太后,和位份较高的嫔妃,便来保护有职司、有权力的太监。韦小宝是皇帝跟前的红人,便有十几名侍卫抢着来讨好。
Now that the intruders had been driven off, a number of Palace Guards had been dispatched to ensure the safety of the Emperor, the Empress Dowager, and a couple of high-ranking consorts, while others had received orders to protect senior officials and some of the more important eunuchs.

韦小宝低声向郡主道:“上床去。”拉过被来将二人都盖住了,放下了帐子,’Get onto the bed,’ he whispered to the Little Countess. He covered both the girls with the bedspread, and closed the bed-curtains.叫道:“你们快来,这里有刺客!”那女子大惊,但重伤之下,哪里挣扎得起?’Come on in, I’ve got one of them here in my room!’ shouted Trinket. A shudder passed through the body of the girl, but she was too weak even to sit up.小郡主急道:“你别嚷,别叫人来捉我师姊。”韦小宝道:“她不肯做我老婆,那有什么客气?”
‘Don’t do it!’ the Little Countess pleaded with Trinket, sotto voce. ‘Don’t hand her over to the guards!’ ‘She wouldn’t be my wife,’ Trinket whispered back. ‘Why should I do anything for her?’

说话之间,十几名侍卫已奔到了窗前。一人叫道:“啊哟,这里有刺客。”As they were talking, a dozen guards came up to the window. ‘Here he is!’ one of them shouted. ‘Here’s the man!’韦小宝笑道:“这家伙想爬进我房来,给老子几刀料理了。”’Yes, that’s him!’ said Trinket casually. ‘He tried to climb into my apartment, so I went for him with my dagger.’众侍卫举起火把,果见那人背上有几个伤口,衣上、窗上、地下都是血迹。
The guard held up his lamp, and examined the corpse. It had several wounds in the back, and blood was running down the clothes, over the window-sill, and onto the floor.

一人道:“桂公公受惊了。”另一人道:“桂公公受什么惊?桂公公武功了得,一举手便将刺客杀死,便再多来几个,一样的杀了。”众侍卫跟着讨好,大赞韦小宝了得,今晚又立了大功。韦小宝笑道:“功劳也没什么,料理一两个刺客,也不费多大劲儿。要擒住‘满洲第一勇士’鳌拜,就比较难些了。”众侍卫自然谀词如潮。一名侍卫道:“施老六和熊老二殉职身亡,这批刺客当真凶恶之至。若不是桂公公,又怎对付得了?”韦小宝道:“大家还是去保护皇上要紧,我这里没事。”一人道:“多总管率领了二百多名兄弟,亲自守在皇上寝宫之前。刺客逃的逃,杀的杀,宫里已清静了。”韦小宝道:“殉职的侍卫,我明儿求皇上多赏赐些抚恤,大伙儿都辛苦了,皇上必有重赏。”众人大喜,一齐请安道谢。韦小宝心道:“又不用我花银子赏人,干么不多做做好人?”说道:“众位的姓名,我记不大清楚了,请各位自报一遍。皇上倘若问起今晚奋勇出力、立了大功之人,兄弟也好提上一提。”众侍卫更是喜欢,忙报上姓名。韦小宝记性极好,将十余人的姓名复述了一遍,丝毫没错,说道:

按:此段略译

“大伙儿再到各处巡巡,说不定黑暗隐僻的所在,还有刺客躲着,要是捉到了活口,男的重重拷打,女的便剥光了衣衫做老婆。”’I think you should run along,’ said Trinket to the guards. ‘You never know, you may find another one hiding in some dark corner. If you do, give him a good beating; if it’s a woman, take off her clothes and . . . you know, have a bit of fun with her!’众侍卫哈哈大笑,连称:“是,是!”韦小宝道:“把尸首抬了去罢?”众侍卫答应了,抢着搬抬尸首,请安而去。
The guards burst out laughing. Trinket asked them to remove the corpse from the window, and they left. 韦小宝关上窗子,转过身来,揭开棉被。小郡主笑道:“你这人真坏,可吓了我们一大跳……啊哟……”Trinket closed the window, turned around, and lifted the quilt. ‘You’re so naughty!’ said the Little Countess with a smile. ‘You had us really scared . . . Aiyo!’只见被褥上都是鲜血,她师姊脸色惨白,呼吸微弱。Her hand had touched a large patch of blood on the mattress. The other girl’s face had now turned an ashen white, and she was breathing very faintly.韦小宝道:“她伤在哪里?快给她止血。”那女子道:“你……你走开,小郡主,我……我伤在胸口。”’You must find out where she’s been hurt,’ said Trinket, ‘and try to stop the blood.’ ‘Go…go away!’ said the girl. ‘Little Countess, the wound’s here, on my chest.’韦小宝见她血流得极多,怕她伤重而死,不敢再逗,转过了头,说道:“伤口流血,有什么好看?你道是西洋镜、万花筒么?小郡主,你有没有伤药?”小郡主道:“我没有啊。”韦小宝道:“臭小娘身边有没有?”那女子道:“没有!你……你才是臭小娘。”
She had lost a great deal of blood, and Trinket was now genuinely afraid that she might die at any moment. ‘Little Countess, have you got any ointment you could use?’ ‘No,’

只听得衣衫簌簌之声,小郡主解开那女子衣衫,Trinket heard a ripping sound as the Little Countess tore off the girl’s blouse.忽然惊叫:“啊哟!怎……怎么办?”韦小宝回过头来,见那女子右乳之下有个两寸来长的伤口,鲜血兀自流个不住。小郡主手足无措,哭道:“你……你……快救我师姊……””’Aiyo!’ she screamed. ‘What’s this?’ Trinket could see a two-inch-long wound right below her right breast. Blood was pouring from it. ‘She mustn’t die!’ moaned the Little Countess helplessly. 那女子又惊又羞,颤声道:“别……别让他看。The girl was overwhelmed with a mixture of fear and shame. Her voice was trembling. ‘Don’t. . . don’t let him see!’韦小宝道:“呸,我才不希罕看呢。”眼见她血流不止,也不禁惊慌,四顾室中,要找些棉花布片给她塞住伤口,一瞥眼,见到药钵中大半钵“莲蓉豆泥蜜糖珍珠糊”, ‘Come on,’ said Trinket. ‘It’s no big deal.’ But even he began to panic when he saw how much blood was still flowing from her wound. He looked around the room for some strips of cloth to bandage her with, and spotted the little mortar containing his bean-fudge and lotus-seed mash.喜道:“我这灵丹妙药,很能止血。”捞起一大把,抹在她伤口上。这蜜糊粘性甚重,粘住了伤口,血便止了。
This magical mixture of mine is very effective,’ he announced proudly. He scooped some out and smeared it on her wound. The texture of the ointment was very gluey, and it did in fact succeed quite well in clogging up the wound and staunching the flow of blood.

韦小宝将钵中的蜜糊都敷上了她伤口,自己手指上也都是蜜糊,见她椒乳颤动,这小顽童恶作剧之念难以克制,Trinket’s fingers were now very sticky, and the sight of the girl’s trembling little breast inspired him with an irresistibly mischievous notion.顺手反手,便都抹在她乳房上。Very casually, as if it was the most natural and thoughtless thing in the world, he began rubbing the leftover mixture into the breast itself.那女子又羞又怒,叫道:“小……小郡主,快……快给我杀了他。”小郡主解释:“师姊,他给你治伤呢!”This time it was not fear that mingled with the girl’s shame, it was fury! ‘Little Countess!’ she screamed. ‘Kill him!’ ‘Sister, he’s only trying to help!’ said the Little Countess, rather feebly.那女子气得险些晕去,苦于动弹不得。韦小宝道:“你快点了她的穴道,不许她乱说乱动,否则流血不止,性命交关。”The girl almost fainted with rage. She was much too weak to do anything. ‘You must close her points at once,’ ordered Trinket. ‘If she talks or moves around too much, she’ll only lose more blood. She might die.’小郡主应道:“是!”点了那女子小腹、胁下、腿上几处穴道,’All right!’ replied the Little Countess, and proceeded to close the points on the girl’s stomach, armpits, and legs.说道:“师姊,你别乱动!”这时她自己断腿处也是痛得不可开交,眼眶中泪水不住滚来滚去。韦小宝道:“你也躺着别动。”
As the Little Countess begged her friend not to move, she suddenly became aware again of the pain in her own broken leg, and tears welled up in her eyes. ‘I think you’d better lie down,’ said Trinket.

记得幼时在扬州与小流氓打架,有人跌断手臂,跌打医生用夹板将断臂夹住,敷以草药,He remembered as a child in Yangzhou watching the bone-setters mend the broken arms of his street-urchin friends, how they used to set the break with a splint made of two pieces of wood, then apply a herbal liniment of some kind.当下拔出匕首,割下两条凳脚,夹在她断腿之侧,牢牢用绳子缚紧,He pulled out his dagger, sliced two legs from a chair, and fashioned from them a rough splint, which he bound tightly to the Little Countess’s broken leg.心想:“这伤药却到哪里找去?”But he still needed the ingredients for the liniment.一凝思间,已有了主意,向小郡主道:“你们躺在床上,千万不可出声。”放下帐子,吹熄了烛火,拔闩出门。An idea occurred to him at once. He turned to the Little Countess: ‘You two stay in bed, and keep quiet.’ He closed the bed-curtains, blew out the candle, and unbarred the door.小郡主惊问:“你……你到哪里去?”韦小宝道:“去拿药治你的腿。”小郡主道:“你快些回来。”’Where . . . where are you going?’ asked the Little Countess. To find some medicine for your broken leg,’ said Trinket. ‘You will come back as quickly as you can, won’t you?’ she said.韦小宝道:“是了。”听小郡主说话的语气,竟将自己当作了大靠山,不禁大是得意。
‘I will.’ Something about her pathetic tone of voice gave Trinket a little thrill. He rejoiced at the prospect of being her saviour.

他反手带上了门,一想不妥,又推门进去,上了门闩,从窗中跃出,关上了窗子。He barred the door from the inside, and jumped out through the window, closing it behind him.这样一来,宫中除了太后、皇上,谁也不敢擅自进他屋子。
Now no one in the Palace would dare to try entering his apartment, with the possible exception of the Empress Dowager, or the Emperor himself.

Medical Supplies

他走得十几步,只觉后腰际隐隐作痛,心想:“皇太后这老婊子下毒手打我,在宫中再耽下去,老子迟早老命难保,还是尽早溜之大吉的为妙。”
He had only taken a few steps, when he felt an ache in the small of his back, where the Empress Dowager had hit him. ‘If the Old Whore wants me dead, I must get out of here as soon as possible!’

他向有火光处走去,却是几名侍卫正在巡逻,一见到他,抢着迎了上来。He walked towards some lights. A couple of guards on patrol dashed forward to greet him as soon as they saw him.韦小宝问道:“宫里侍卫兄弟们有多少人受伤?”一人道:“回公公:有七八人重伤,十四五人轻伤。”韦小宝道:“在哪里治伤,带我去瞧瞧。”’How many of your men have been injured?’ asked Trinket. ‘Goong-goong, seven or eight guards are badly hurt, fourteen or fifteen lightly.’ ‘Where are they?’ said Trinket. ‘Show me.’众侍卫齐道:“公公关心侍卫兄弟,大伙儿没一个不感激。”便有两名侍卫领路,带着韦小宝到众侍卫驻守的宿卫值班房。二十来名受伤的侍卫躺在厅上,四名太医正忙着给众人治伤。’Certainly, Goong-goong! We really appreciate your concern,’ said the guards, and led the way. There were some twenty wounded men lying in the Palace Guards’ mess-room, and four Imperial Physicians were in attendance, working hard to treat their injuries.韦小宝上前慰问,不住夸奖众人,为了保护皇上,奋不顾身,英勇杀敌,一一询问伤者姓名。Trinket went up to the men and made a great show of expressing his concern, commending them for their loyalty and bravery, and asking their names one by one.众侍卫登时精神大振,似乎伤口也不怎么痛了。韦小宝问道:“这些反贼到底是哪一路的?是鳌拜那厮的手下吗?”一名侍卫道:“似乎是汉人。却不知捉到了活口没有?”韦小宝询问众侍卫和刺客格斗的情形,眼中留神观看太医用药。
But all the while he was paying the most careful attention to the way the Imperial.

众侍卫有的受了刀枪外伤,有的受了拳掌内伤,又或是断骨挫伤。Physicians were treating the various knife wounds, internal bruises, broken bones, and other injuries.韦小宝道:“这些伤药,我身边都得备上一些,倘若宫中侍卫兄弟们受了伤,来不及召请太医,我好先给大伙儿治治。’I think I’d better have a supply of different types of medicine myself,’ said Trinket casually. ‘Just in case. Then if one of the guards gets hurt, I’ll be able to give him first aid myself before the doctor arrives.哼,这些刺客穷凶极恶,天大的胆子,今天没一网打尽,难保以后不会再来。”几名侍卫都道:“桂公公体恤侍卫兄弟,真想得周到。”You never know when those intruders might be back.’ ‘A very wise precaution, Laurel Goong-goong,’ said the guards.韦小宝说道:“刚才我受三名刺客围攻,我杀了一名,另外两个家伙逃走了,可是我后腰也给刺客重重打了一掌,这时兀自疼痛。”’In fact, just a moment ago, three of them tried to kill me,’ Trinket went on. ‘I dealt with one, but the other two got away. One of them hit me hard in the small of the back. It still hurts.’心道:“老婊子来行刺老子,难道不是刺客?老子这一次可没说谎。”
‘After all,’ he was thinking to himself, ‘it’s true, the Old Whore did try to kill me!’

四名太医一听,忙放下众侍卫,一齐过来,解开他袍子察看,果见后腰有老大一块乌青,忙调药给他外敷内服。The four physicians, hearing that Laurel Goong-goong was hurt, left their patients at once, and came over to examine him together. They removed his gown, applied some medicine to the large bruise on his back, and gave him a herbal decoction to take internally.韦小宝叫太医将各种伤药都包上一大包,揣在怀里,问明了外敷内服的用法,再取了两块敷伤用的夹板,Trinket asked them to wrap up quantities of different types of drugs for him, which he put carefully away in his inside pocket, having first ascertained exactly how to use each one. Then he asked for two splints.又夸奖一阵,慰问一阵,这才离去。Before he left, he showered the guards with more compliments and expressions of his undying concern.他见识幼稚,说的话乱七八糟,殊不得体,夸奖慰问之中,夹着不少市井粗口。众侍卫虽然出身宗室贵族,但大都是粗鲁武人,对于“奶奶,十八代祖宗”原就不如何看重,His attempts at courtly language were still far from perfect, and were interlarded with many a tamardy-this and a tamardy-that, but what did the guards care?本来给刺客打伤,自觉艺不如人,待见皇上最宠幸的桂公公也因与刺客格斗而受伤,沮丧之余,忽蒙桂公公夸奖,那等于是皇上传旨嘉勉,就算给他大骂一顿,心中也着实受用,何况是赞得天花乱坠?这一番当真心花怒放,恨不得身上伤口再加长加阔几寸。
They were so overwhelmed to have received all this attention from the Emperor’s favourite (and from one who had himself also received wounds in defending His Majesty’s person), that they themselves would gladly have gone out and been wounded again twice over.

Trinket the Physician

韦小宝回到自己屋子,先在窗外侧耳倾听,房中并无声息,低声道:“小郡主,是我回来了。”When Trinket reached his apartment, he pressed his ear to the window, and listened. There was absolute silence within. ‘Little Countess, it’s me,’ he whispered.他生怕贸然爬进窗去,给那女子砍上一刀,刺上一剑,怀中那几大包伤药可得自己先用了。He was afraid that if he climbed in unannounced, the girl might mistake him for an intruder, and welcome him with a well-aimed sword-point—in which case he would be needing all of his medical supplies for himself.小郡主喜道:“嗯,我等了你好久啦。”韦小宝爬入房中,关上窗,点亮蜡烛,揭开帐子,’We’ve been waiting for you for ages,’ said the Little Countess, glad to see him return. Trinket clambered in, closed the window, lit a candle, and drew apart the bed-curtains.见两个少女并头而卧。那女子与他目光一触,立即闭上了眼。The injured girl and the Little Countess were lying side by side. When the girl caught sight of Trinket, she closed her eyes immediately.小郡主却睁着一双明亮澄彻的眼睛,目光中露出欣慰之意。韦小宝道:“小郡主,我给你敷伤药。”The Little Countess beamed at him with gratitude. ‘Little Countess, let me put some medicine on your wound for you,’ said Trinket.

小郡主道:“不,先治我师姊。请你将伤药给我,我替她敷。”’No, I’d like to treat my sister first,’ she replied. ‘Would you please hand me the medicine. I’ll put it on for her.’韦小宝道:“什么你啊我的,叫也不叫一声。”小郡主涩然一笑,问道:“你到底叫什么名字?我听他们叫你桂公公。”Why do you keep saying “you” and “I”?’ asked Trinket. ‘Have you forgotten our deal?’ What’s your real name?’ said the Little Countess, smiling evasively. The others seem to call you Laurel Goong-goong all the time.’韦小宝道:“桂公公,是他们叫的,你叫我什么?”小郡主微微闭眼,低声道:“我心里……心里可以叫你好……好哥哥,嘴上老是叫着,这可不……不……好。”’They can call me that, but you can’t. Come on now: what are you supposed to call me?’ She lowered her eyelids slowly, and said in a hardly audible voice. ‘In my heart… in my heart I can call you . . . my darling, but I don’t think … I should say it out loud all the time.’韦小宝道:“好,咱们通融一下,有人在旁的时候,我叫你小郡主,你叫我桂大哥。没有人时,我叫你好妹子,你叫我好哥哥。”’All right, I’ll make things easier for you. If there’s someone else in the room, you can call me “brother Laurel”; but if we’re alone, you’re to call me “my darling”.’小郡主还没答应,那女子睁眼道:“小郡主,肉麻死啦,他讨你便宜,别听他的。”
The girl did not wait for the Little Countess to reply: That’s disgusting!’ she cried, casting an angry glance at Trinket. ‘Don’t listen to him, he’s harassing you.’ Trinket gave a little snort.

韦小宝道:“哼,又不是要你叫,你多管什么闲事?你就叫我好哥哥,我还不要呢。”’I wasn’t talking to you, so mind your own business! Even if you wanted to call me that, I wouldn’t want to hear it!’小郡主问道:“那你要她叫你什么?”韦小宝道:“除非要她叫我好老公,亲亲老公。”Then what do you want her to call you?’ asked the Little Countess. ‘Simply “dearest husband”, or “darling husband”!’那女子脸上一红,随即现出鄙夷之色,说道:“你想做人家老公,来世投胎啦。”小郡主道:“好啦,好啦,你两个又不是前世冤家,怎地见面就吵?桂大哥,请你给我伤药。”The girl blushed, and gave him a scornful glance. ‘You, my husband? Huh! Don’t even think about it! Ever!’ ‘All right, all right,’ said the Little Countess. The two of you can’t seem to stop quarrelling! Obviously you were deadly enemies in a previous life. Brother Laurel, please give me the medicine.’韦小宝道:“我先给你敷药。”揭开被子,卷起小郡主裤管,拆开用作夹板的凳脚,将跌打伤药敷在小腿折骨之处,然后将取来的夹板夹住伤腿,紧紧缚住。’No, I’ll put it on for you,’ insisted Trinket, lifting the quilt. He rolled up her trouser leg, removed the home-made chair-leg splint, then applied some ointment to her broken leg, and bound it tight in a new double splint.小郡主连声道谢,甚是诚恳。韦小宝道:“我老婆叫什么名字?”小郡主一怔,道:“你老婆?”
The Little Countess thanked him profusely. Tell me,’ he asked her. ‘What’s my wife’s name?’ She looked at him in amazement. ‘Your wife?’

见韦小宝向那女子一努嘴,微笑道:“你就爱说笑,我师姊姓方,名叫……”那女子急道:“别跟他说。”Trinket shot his lips out in the direction of the girl. The Little Countess smiled. There you go again! My sister’s surname is Fang, and her name is. . .’ ‘Don’t tell him!’ the girl cried.韦小宝听到她姓方,登时想起沐王府中“刘白方苏”四大家将来,便道:“她姓方,我当然知道。什么圣手居士苏冈,白氏双木白寒松、白寒枫,都是我的亲戚。”小郡主和那女子听得他说到苏冈与白氏兄弟的名字,都大为惊奇。小郡主道:“怎……怎么他们都是你的亲戚?”韦小宝道:“刘白方苏,四大家将,咱们自然是亲戚。”小郡主更加诧异,道:“真想不到。”那女子道:“小郡主,别信他胡说。这小孩儿坏得很。他不是我亲戚,有了这种亲戚才倒霉呢。”

韦小宝哈哈大笑,将伤药交给小郡主,俯嘴在她耳边低声道:“好妹子,你悄悄的跟我说,她叫什么名字。”Trinket laughed. He passed the medicine to the Little Countess, and bent down to breathe into her ear: ‘Go on, my dear, tell me her name! Whisper it to me!’但两个少女并枕而卧,韦小宝说得虽轻,还是给那女子听见了,她急道:“别说。”Trinket had lowered his voice until it was scarcely audible, but the girl was lying right next to the Little Countess, and could hear his every word. ‘Don’t tell him!’ she protested agitatedly.

按:此段有略译

韦小宝笑道:“不说也可以,那我就要亲你一个嘴。先在这边脸上香一香,再在那边香一香,然后亲一个嘴。你到底爱亲嘴呢,还是爱说名字?我猜你一定爱亲嘴。”Trinket chuckled to himself. ‘It’s entirely up to you. Either you tell me your name, or else you let me kiss you: first on the left cheek, then on the right, and then on the lips. Which do you prefer? I can only presume you prefer to be kissed.’烛光下见那女子容色艳丽,衣衫单薄,鼻中闻到淡淡的一阵阵女儿体香,By the flickering light of the candle, Trinket gazed at the deli-cately sculpted beauty of the girl’s face. He detected a faint feminine fragrance emanating from beneath her flimsy clothes.心中大乐,说道:“原来你果然是香的,这可要好好的香上一香了。”He was enraptured. ‘Delicious!’ he murmured, breathing in her perfume.那女子无法动弹,给这惫懒小子气得鼻孔生烟,幸好他年纪幼小,适才听了众侍卫的言语,又知他是个太监,只不过口头上顽皮胡闹,不会有什么真正非礼之行,倒也并不如何惊惶,The immobilized girl was seething with rage. She reminded herself that this loathsome urchin was only a child, and (more importantly) a eunuch.见他将嘴巴凑过来真要亲嘴,忙道:“好,好,说给这小鬼听罢!”
When he moved closer and threatened to kiss her, however, she decided to compromise. ‘Oh all right then, tell him.’

小郡主笑了笑,说道:“我师姊姓方,单名一个‘怡’字,‘心’字旁一个‘台’字的‘怡’。”韦小宝根本不知道“怡”字怎生写法,点了点头,道:“嗯,这名字马马虎虎,也不算很好。小郡主,你又叫什么名字?”小郡主道:“我叫沐剑屏,是屏风的屏,不是浮萍的萍。”The Little Countess gave a peal of laughter. ‘My sister’s name is Fang Yi.’ ‘That sounds like a pretty average sort of name to me,’ said Trinket. ‘And what’s your name, Little Countess?’韦小宝自不知这两个字有什么区别,说道:“这名字比较好些,不过也不是第一流的。”方怡道:“你的名字一定是第一流的了,尊姓大名,却又不知如何好法?”
‘I’m Mu Jianping.’ ‘Better. But still not the best.’ ‘Well, I suppose yours is bound to be the best name,’ said Fang Yi. ‘May we have the honour of knowing what it is?’

韦小宝一怔,心想:“我的真姓名不能说,小桂子这名字似乎也没什么精采。”便道:“我姓吾,在宫里做太监,大家叫我‘吾老公’。”方怡冷笑道:“吾老公,吾老公,这名字倒挺……”说到这里,登时醒觉,原来上了他的大当,呸的一声,道:“瞎说!”小郡主沐剑屏道:“你又骗人,我听得他们叫你桂公公,不是姓吾。”韦小宝道:“男人就叫我桂公公,女人都叫我吾老公。”方怡道:“我知道你叫什么名字。”韦小宝微微一惊,问道:“你怎么知道?”方怡道:“我知道你姓胡,名说,字八道!”

按:此段略译

韦小宝哈哈一笑,见方怡说了这一会子话,呼吸又急促起来,便道:“好妹子,你给她敷药罢,别痛死了她。我吾老公就这只这么一个老婆,这个老婆一死,第二个可娶不起了。”Trinket ignored her question, and spoke to the Little Countess instead. ‘You’d better put the ointment on straight away, my dear, or the pain will kill her. She’s the only wife I’ve got. If she dies, I’ll never be able to afford another one.’沐剑屏道:“师姊说你胡说八道,果然不错。”放下帐子,揭开被给方怡敷药,问道:“桂大哥,你先前敷的止血药怎么办?”The Little Countess closed the bed-curtains, lifted the quilt, and began applying the ointment to Fang Yi’s wound. ‘Brother, what should I do with the ointment you’ve already put on her wound?’ she asked.韦小宝道:“血止住了没有?”沐剑屏道:“止住了。”原来蜜糖一物颇具止血之效,粘性又强,’Does it seem to be doing any good?’ ‘Yes, it does.’ One of the main ingredients in Trinket’s bogus ointment had been honey, and because of its sticky texture honey is in fact rather an effective substance for staunching the flow of blood.粘住了伤口,竟然不再流血,至于莲蓉、豆泥等物虽无药效,但堆在伤口之上,也有阻血外流之功。It had clogged up the bleeding in her wound entirely. The other fudge-like ingredients, although they had no healing properties, had also helped.

韦小宝大喜,道:“我这灵丹妙药,灵得胜过菩萨的仙丹,你这可相信了罢。其中许多珍珠粉末,涂在她的胸口,将来伤愈之后,她胸脯好看得不得了,Trinket was delighted. ‘You see, my special medicine is far better than any magic potion! All those crushed pearls are working wonders. By the time she’s fully recovered, she’ll have the most beautiful breasts!有羞花闭月之貌,只可惜只有我儿子才瞧得见。”What a pity that my son will be the only person lucky enough to get a good look at them—apart from me, of course!’沐剑屏嗤的一笑,道:“你真说得有趣。怎么只有你儿子才……”韦小宝道:“她喂我儿子吃奶,我儿子自然瞧见了。”The Little Countess giggled. ‘You are peculiar. I don’t understand what you mean at all. . .’ ‘When she’s breast-feeding the little boy, obviously.’方怡呸的一声。沐剑屏睁着圆圆的双眼,却不明白,方师姊为什么会喂他的儿子吃奶。The Fang girl gave a snort of disgust. The Little Countess stared at Trinket in wide-eyed bewilderment. She still didn’t understand.韦小宝道:“把这些止血灵药轻轻抹下,再敷上伤药。”沐剑屏答应道:“嗷!” ‘You’d better gently wipe off my special ointment first,’ said Trinket, ‘and then apply some of the new stuff.’

Colonel Rui, the Invincible Iron Palm

便在此时,忽听得门外有人走近,一人朗声说道:Suddenly, in the midst of these medical ministrations, they heard the tramp of boots outside the door. Then a booming voice called out:“桂公公,你睡了没有?”韦小宝道:“睡了,是哪一位?有事明天再说罢!”门外那人道:“下官瑞栋。”韦小宝吃了一惊,道:“啊!是瑞副总管驾到,不知有……有什么事?”
‘Laurel Goong-goong, are you asleep?’ ‘Yes, I was as a matter of fact,’ replied Trinket. ‘Who are you, and what do you want? Can’t it wait till the morning?’ ‘Lieutenant-Colonel Rui Dong,’ replied the man. ‘Oh! Colonel Rui! What’s the matter?’

瑞栋是御前侍卫的副总管,韦小宝平时和众侍卫闲谈,各人都赞这位瑞副总管武功甚是了得,From his daily conversations with the guards, Trinket knew something about this Lieutenant-Colonel Rui Dong. He was a highly praised and widely respected officer, and something of a Martial Arts pundit.仅次于御前侍卫总管多隆,是侍卫队中一位极了不起的人物。他近年来常在外公干,韦小宝却没见过。
Among the guards, he was second only in popularity to Dolong, the Chief Intendant. In recent years, he had been posted outside the Palace, and this was Trinket’s first encounter with him.

瑞栋道:“下官有件急事,想跟公公商议。惊吵了桂公公安睡。”’I’m here on an extremely urgent matter, Goong-goong. I do apologize for waking you from your dreams.’韦小宝沉思:“他半夜三更的,来干什么?定是知道我屋里藏了刺客,前来搜查,那可如何是好?我如不开门,看来他会硬闯。这两个小娘又都受了伤,逃也来不及了。只好随机应变,骗了他出去。”Trinket was indeed deeply engrossed, not in dreams, but in urgent thought: ‘What’s he doing here in the middle of the night? I expect he knows I’ve got two of the intruders hidden here and has come to search for them. What next? If I don’t open the door, he’ll probably break it down. I’d better play it by ear . . .’瑞栋又道:“这件事干系重大,否则也不敢来打扰公公的清梦了。”Colonel Rui spoke again. ‘Goong-goong, this really is very important, otherwise I would never have presumed to wake you.’韦小宝道:“好,我来开门。”钻头入帐,低声道:“千万别作声。”
That’s fine. Just coming,’ said Trinket, as he did so popping his head through the bed-curtains, and whispering to the girls to be silent.

走到外房,带上了门,硬起头皮打开大门。He walked out into the ante-chamber, closing the bedroom door behind him, then somewhat hesitantly opened the main door.只见门外站着一条大汉,身材魁梧,自己头顶还不及到他项颈。瑞栋拱手道:“打扰了,公公勿怪。”Outside stood a strongly built man, a good head taller than himself. ‘Goong-goong, I’m sorry to disturb you,’ said the Colonel yet again, pumping his hands apologetically.韦小宝道:“好说,好说。”仰头看他的脸色。只见他脸上既无笑容,亦无怒色,不知他心意如何,’Not at all, not at all.’ Trinket was still totally in the dark. He scanned the Colonel’s face, but could detect no expression of any kind on it, neither the faintest smile nor the slightest sign of anger.问道:“瑞副总管有什么要紧事?”却不请他进屋。’What’s so urgent?’ he asked. He pointedly did not invite the Colonel inside his apartment.瑞栋道:“适才奉太后懿旨,说今晚有刺客闯宫犯驾,大逆不道,命我向桂公公查问明白。”’Her Majesty is most concerned about this unpleasant disturbance in the Palace tonight. She has ordered me to carry out a full investigation, and to begin by asking you a few questions.’韦小宝一听到“太后懿旨”四字,便知大事不妙,说道:“是啊!我也正要向你查问个明白呢。刚才我去向皇上请安,The two words ‘Her Majesty’ were enough to put the wind up Trinket. ‘Yes … As a matter of fact, I’ve got a few questions to ask you about that,’ he improvised. ‘I’ve just come back from seeing His Majesty, who didn’t seem at all pleased.皇上说道:‘瑞栋这奴才可大胆得很了,他一回到宫中,哼哼……’”
“What a nerve that fellow Rui has!” he said when I saw him. “Causing trouble the minute he gets posted back to the Palace . . . “‘ Trinket was just bluffing, playing for time while he figured out how to make his getaway. But Colonel Rui clearly believed his every word.

瑞栋大吃一惊,忙问:“皇上还说什么?”韦小宝和他胡言乱语,原是拖延时刻,想法脱身逃走,见一句话便诱得他上钩,便道:“皇上吩咐我天明之后,立刻向众侍卫打听,到底瑞栋这奴才勾引刺客入宫,是受了谁的指使,有什么阴谋,同党还有哪些人?”’What else did His Majesty say?’ he asked in great alarm. ‘He said that I should get started immediately after dawn and question all of the guards. We’ve got to find out who’s behind this plot of yours, what you were aiming to do, and how many accomplices you had. That’s what he said.’瑞栋更是吃惊,颤声说道:“皇……皇上怎么说……说是我勾引刺客入宫?是哪个奸徒向皇上瞎说?这……这不是天大的冤枉么?”This sent Colonel Rui reeling. ‘His . . . His Majesty said that!’ he stammered. ‘I’ve been set up! I’m innocent! This . . . this is the most terrible injustice!’韦小宝道:“皇上吩咐我悄悄查明,又说:‘瑞栋这奴才听到了风声,必定会来杀你,你可得小心了。’我说:‘皇上万安,谅瑞栋这奴才便有天大的胆子,也决不敢在宫中行凶杀人。’’His Majesty asked me to keep my investigation top secret,’ Trinket babbled on. ‘Otherwise he was afraid you might try to kill me. I said that you would never dare to raise your hand against me inside the Palace. But His Majesty was not so sure about that. 皇上道:‘哼,那可未必。这奴才竟敢勾引刺客入宫,要不利于我,还有什么事做不出来?’””If the villain’s prepared to kill his own Emperor,” he said, “he’s clearly a man who’ll stop at nothing!”‘瑞栋急道:“你……你胡说!我没勾引刺客入宫,皇上……皇上不会胡乱冤枉好人。’That’s … all lies! I was never part of any plot!’ cried Colonel Rui. ‘His Majesty . . . His Majesty would never put the blame on a good man without solid evidence.今晚我亲手打死了三名刺客,许多侍卫兄弟都亲眼见到的。皇上尽可叫他们去查问。”
Why, this very night I killed three of the intruders myself. Several of the guards witnessed it. His Majesty can question them.’

说着额头突起了青筋,双手紧紧握住了拳头。韦小宝心想:“先吓他一个魂不附体,手足无措,His veins were bulging blue on his forehead, and both his fists were tightly clenched. Trinket thought quickly: ‘I’ve got to seriously scare him. I’ve got to make him panic.挨到天明,老子便逃了出宫。那小郡主和方怡又怎么办?哼,老子泥菩萨过江,自身难保,逃得性命再说,管她什么小郡主、老郡主,方怡、圆怡?老子假太监不扮了,Otherwise I’ll never survive till morning. I’ll never make my getaway. The girls will just have to take pot luck. I’ve got to get out of this place. Once I’m out, I’ll give it all up. Imagine! I’ll never have to dress up as a eunuch again!青木堂香主也不干了,拿着四五十万两银子,到扬州开丽夏院、丽秋院、丽冬院去。”I’ll give up being a Triad Lodge Master too! I’ll just spend my half million, and have some fun! I’ll go back to Yangzhou and set up a whole chain of whore-houses!’说道:“这么说来,那些刺客不是你勾引入宫的了?”He brought his day-dream to an abrupt close and turned to Colonel Rui. ‘So you mean to say, those intruders had nothing to do with you?’瑞栋道:“自然不是。太后亲口说道,是你勾引入宫的。太后吩咐我别听你的花言巧语,一掌毙了便是。”’Of course not,’ insisted the Colonel. ‘In fact Her Majesty herself told me that you were the one who let them in. She gave me orders to kill you, and not to waste time listening to your stories.’韦小宝道:“这恐怕你我二人都受了奸人的诬告。瑞副总管,你不用担心,我去向皇上跟你分辩分辩。Well, it looks as if we’ve both been framed, doesn’t it? But don’t you worry, Colonel. I’ll go to His Majesty myself, and speak up for you.只要真的不是你勾引刺客,皇上年纪虽小,却十分英明,对我又十分信任,这件事自能水落石出。”His Majesty is young, but he’s very smart, and trusts me absolutely. I’m sure he’ll get to the bottom of this.’瑞栋道:“好,多谢你啦!你这就跟我见太后去。”
‘I should be most obliged to you,’ said Colonel Rui. ‘But right now, I must still insist that you come with me to see Her Majesty.’

韦小宝道:“深更半夜,见太后去干什么?我还是趁早去见皇上的好,只怕这会儿已有人奉旨来捉拿你了。’In the middle of the night? Whatever for? No, I really think I’d better go and see His Majesty straight away. I’m afraid he may have already sent someone to arrest you.瑞副总管,我跟你说,侍卫们来拿你,你千万不可抵抗,倘若拒捕,罪名就不易洗脱了。”Let me give you a word of advice, Colonel. If they come, whatever you do, don’t put up a fight. It will only make it look worse.’瑞栋脸上肌肉不住颤动,怒道:“太后说你最爱胡说八道,果然不错。我没犯罪,为甚么要拒捕?你跟我见太后罢!”Colonel Rui’s-face twitched. ‘Her Majesty was quite right to warn me about you!’ he declared angrily. ‘She said you were fond of telling lies, and she was right! I’ve done nothing wrong, why should I want to put up a fight? Now you come along with me!’韦小宝身子一侧,低声道:“你瞧,捉你的人来啦!” Trinket leant to one side, and whispered in Colonel Rui’s ear: ‘Look, they’re coming to get you now!’

瑞栋脸色大变,转头去看。韦小宝一转身,便抢进了房中。The colour drained from Rui’s face, and he swivelled round to look behind him. As he did so, Trinket dashed back into his room.瑞栋转头见身后无人,知道上当,急追入房,Rui immediately realized that he had been fooled and ran after him in hot pursuit.纵身伸手,往韦小宝背上抓去。其实韦小宝一番恐吓,瑞栋心下十分惊惶,倘若韦小宝坚持要去见皇帝,瑞栋多半不敢强行阻拦。但韦小宝房中藏着两个女子,其中一人确是进宫来犯驾的刺客,只道事已败露,适才太后又曾亲自来取他性命,哪里敢去见皇帝分辩?

骗得瑞栋一回头,立即便奔入房中,只盼能穿窗逃走。他想御花园中到处是假山花丛,黑夜里躲将起来,却也不易捉到。Trinket had planned to make a desperate leap through the window and then to hide somewhere in the dense bushes and rockeries of the garden. The Colonel would never find him in the dark.不料瑞栋身手敏捷,韦小宝刚踏进房门,便追了进来。韦小宝窜入房后,纵身跃起,踏上了窗槛,正欲跃出,瑞栋右掌拍出,一股劲风,扑向他背心。He took a flying leap up onto the window-sill, and was about to jump out into the garden when Colonel Rui came racing up behind him and struck him a fearsome blow on the back with the palm of his right hand.韦小宝腿弯一软,摔了下来。瑞栋左手探出,抓向他后腰。韦小宝施展擒拿手法,双掌奋力格开,Trinket’s legs gave way, and he fell from the window into the room. Rui Dong now lunged with his left hand, and tried to grip him by the small of his back, but Trinket whirled round and counter-attacked with a Catch-Can technique he knew, blocking him with both palms.但人小力弱,身子一晃,扑通一声,摔入了大水缸中。这水缸原是海老公治伤之用,海老公死后,韦小宝也没叫人取出。
The move upset his balance, and he toppled with a great splash into the vat of water that stood by the window—the vat in which Old Hai had been accustomed to cool himself during his bouts of fever, and which Trinket had not removed since the old eunuch’s death.

瑞栋哈哈大笑,伸手入缸,Colonel Rui gave a triumphant laugh. He plunged his hands into the water and made a grab for Trinket.一把却抓了个空,原来韦小宝已缩成一团。但这水缸能有多大,再抓一次,终于抓住他后领,湿淋淋的提将上来。But the boy had curled up into a ball at the very bottom of the vat. Rui made a second attempt, and was able to get hold of the back of Trinket’s collar, and drag him dripping out.韦小宝一张嘴,一口水喷向瑞栋眼中,跟着身子前纵,扑入他怀中,左手搂住他头颈。Trinket spat a mouthful of water in Rui’s face and threw himself forward, butting the Colonel in the chest and wrapping his left arm around his neck.

瑞栋大叫一声,身子抖了几下,抓住韦小宝后领的右手慢慢松了,Colonel Rui let out a loud shout, shook himself several times, and gradually loosened his grip on Trinket’s collar.他满脸满眼是水,眼睛却睁得大大的,脸上尽是迷惘惊惶,His entire face was drenched with water. Then his eyes opened wide, and a terrible expression of fear and bewilderment came over him.喉头咯咯数声,想要说话,却说不出话来,只听得嗤的一声轻响,一把短剑从他胸口直划而下,直至小腹,剖了一道长长的口子。A few nasty groans issued from deep inside his throat, vain efforts to say something. Then suddenly there was a ghastly ripping sound, and the Colonel saw a dagger slicing its way neatly down from his upper chest to his lower belly.瑞栋睁眼瞧着这把短剑,可不知此剑从何而来。他自胸至腹,鲜血狂迸,突然之间,身子向后倒下,He stared at the blade. He failed to understand where it could have come from. His blood just kept spurting from the wound, and then all of a sudden he fell heavily to the floor.直至身亡,仍不知韦小宝用什么法子杀了自己。Even as he breathed his last he was still trying to puzzle out how Trinket had managed to kill him.

韦小宝嘿的一声,左手接过匕首,右手从自己长袍中伸了出来。It was now Trinket’s turn to give a triumphant cry. With his left hand he drew the dagger out of the Colonel’s belly, and brought his right hand out from beneath his long robe.原来他摔入水缸,一缩身间,已抽出匕首,藏入长袍,刀口向外。When he had fallen into the water, he had curled himself up tightly into a ball, meanwhile drawing out his dagger, and hiding it under his long robe, its tip pointing outward.他一口水喷得瑞栋双目难睁,跟着纵身向前,抱住了他,这把削铁如泥的匕首已刺入他心口。Spitting the water in Rui’s face had served to blind him momentarily, and then, in that precious instant, Trinket had thrown himself forward, grappling his opponent by the neck, and simultaneously plunging his trusty dagger, with the blade that could slice its way through metal, into the Colonel’s heart and then down.倘若当真相斗,十个韦小宝也未必是他对手,但仓促之间奇变横生,赫赫有名的瑞副总管竟尔中了暗算。This was the desperate Trinketian ruse that had saved his own life, and taken that of his great burly opponent. If they had engaged in real combat, ten Trinkets would have been no match for one Colonel Rui.韦小宝和瑞栋二人如何抢入房中,韦小宝如何摔入水缸,方怡和沐剑屏隔着帐子都看得清清楚楚,但瑞栋将韦小宝从水缸中抓了出来,随即被杀,韦小宝使的是什么手法,方沐二女却都莫名其妙。Peeping through the bed-curtains, the Fang girl and the Little Countess had watched all of this with their own eyes. But they too were still trying to puzzle out how Trinket had done the killing.韦小宝想吹几句牛,说道:“我……我……这……这……”只听得自己声音嘶哑,竟说不出话来,适才死里逃生,可也已吓得六神无主。
‘I… I… This . . . this …” stammered Trinket huskily. He had wanted to boast in front of the girls, but he found himself frightened out of his wits by his narrow encounter with death, and incapable of putting two sensible words together.

沐剑屏道:“谢天谢地,你……居然杀了这鞑子。”’Thanks be to Heaven that you . . . you’ve killed the Tartar!’ cried the Little Countess.方怡道:“这瑞栋外号‘铁掌无敌’,今晚打死了我沐王府的三个兄弟。你为我们报了仇,很好!很好!”’I know that man,’ said the Fang girl. ‘He was called the Invincible Iron Palm. He killed three of our people tonight. You’ve taken revenge for us!’

Two Sutras, a Sword, and a Soaking Waistcoat

韦小宝心神略定,说道:“他是‘铁掌无故’,就是敌不过我韦……桂公公、吾老公。我是第一流的武学高手,毕竟不同。”伸手到瑞栋怀中去掏摸,摸出一本写满了小字的小册子,又有几件公文。Trinket searched through Rui Dong’s clothes and found a little notebook the pages of which were densely covered with small writing, along with a bundle of official documents.韦小宝也不识得,顺手放在一旁,忽然触到他后腰硬硬的藏着什么物件,He couldn’t decipher a single word of either, so he put them casually aside. As his hands continued to rummage around, they encountered a package concealed in the back of Rui’s gown.用匕首割开袍子,见是一个油布包袱,Trinket cut open the gown with his dagger, to reveal an oilskin packet, tied with a silken strip.说道:“这是什么宝贝了,藏得这么好?”割断包上丝绦,打开包袱,原来包着一部书,书函上赫然写着《四十二章经》五字,He cut the silk and unwrapped the packet. To his amazement it contained yet another copy of the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections.这经书的大小厚薄,与以前所见的全然一样,只不过封皮是红绸子镶以白边。
It looked exactly the same as the others he had already seen, except that this one was bound in a different colour.

韦小宝叫道:“啊哟!”急忙伸手入怀,取出从康亲王府盗来的那部《四十二章经》,Trinket let out a loud cry, and immediately produced the copy from inside his own gown, the one that had been hidden under the tiles by the thief at Prince Kang’s.幸好他跃入水缸之后,立即为瑞栋抓起,只湿了书函外皮,并未湿到书页。Luckily, Colonel Rui had lost no time in pulling him out of the vat, and Trinket’s Sutra had sustained no severe damage. The water had penetrated no further than the silken binding.两部经书放在桌上,除了封皮一是红绸、一是红绸镶白边之外,全然一模一样。Putting the two copies on the table, Trinket could see that they were indeed identical, apart from the colour of the silk: the one from Prince Kang’s was bound in plain red, the one in the Colonel’s package was bound in red with a white border.到此为止,他已看到四部《四十二章经》,眼下两部在太后手中,自己则有两部,He had now seen four Sutras altogether: two were in the Empress Dowager’s hands, and two in his own.心想:“这经书之中,定有不少古怪,可惜我不识字,如请小郡主和方姑娘瞧瞧,定会明白。但这样一来,他们就瞧不起我了。”拉开抽屉,将两部经书放入。There must be something very special written in these books, he thought to himself, if only he were capable of reading them! He could hardly ask the girls to read them for him; he would lose too much face. He opened a drawer, and put them both away.

寻思:“刚才太后自己来杀我,她是怕我得知了她的秘密,泄漏出去,He continued to muse on his predicament: ‘First the Empress Dowager comes and tries to kill me herself, so she can keep my mouth shut, and stop me giving away her secret.后来又派这瑞栋来杀我,却胡乱安了我一个罪名,说我勾引刺客入宫。她等了一回,不见瑞栋回报,又会再派人来。这可得先下手为强,Then, when that fails, she sends this Colonel Rui to finish the job off. Now, when Rui doesn’t show up, she’ll send someone else after me. I’ve got to keep one step ahead of her!立即去向皇上告状,挨到天明,老子逃出了宫去,再也不回来啦。”I’d better go and see His Majesty. I have to survive till tomorrow morning! Then I’ll run away from this Palace, and never come back!’向方怡道:“我须得出去瞎造谣,说这瑞栋跟你们沐王府勾结,好老……好老……方姑娘(他本来想叫一声“好老婆”,但局势紧急,不能多开玩笑,以致误了大事,便改口叫她“方姑娘”),你们今晚到皇宫来,到底要干什么?He turned to the Fang girl. ‘I’ve got to start a rumour in the Palace. I’ve got to pretend that Colonel Rui was in the plot with you and the Mu Family. Dearest. . . I mean, Miss Fang, tell me, what were you doing here tonight? (Originally Trinket had meant to call Fang Yi his’ dearest wife’, but in the heat of the moment he had been too overwhelmed by the seriousness of his situation, and had ended up letting a golden opportunity pass him by.)想行刺皇帝吗?我劝你们别行刺小皇帝,太后这老婊子不是好东西,你们专门去刺她好了。”
Did you come here to kill the Emperor? Why didn’t you bump off that Old Whore the Empress Dowager instead? She really is a monster.’

方怡道:“你既是自己人,跟你说了也不打紧。咱们假冒是吴三桂儿子吴应熊的手下,到皇宫来行刺鞑子皇帝。’I suppose you have the right to know what’s going on,’ replied the Fang girl. ‘We disguised ourselves as guards working for Wu Yingxiong, the Satrap’s son, and pretended to be on a mission to assassinate the Emperor.能够得手固然甚好,否则的话,也可让皇帝一怒之下,将吴三桂杀了。”Of course, we would have been more than happy to kill the Emperor ourselves. But the main point was to give the Emperor a good reason for killing Satrap Wu.’韦小宝吁了口气,说道:“妙计!妙计!你们用什么法子去攀吴三桂?”
Trinket gave an astonished sigh. ‘Wow! What a brilliant plan! But how were you going to make it look like a plot by the Satrap?’

方怡道:“我们内衣上故意留下记号,是平西王府中的部属,有些兵器暗器,也刻上平西王府的字样。She explained how they had marked their weapons and their clothes with the Satrap’s insignia.有几件旧兵器,就刻上‘大明山海关总兵府’的字样。”韦小宝问道:“那干什么?”方怡道:“吴三桂这厮投降鞑子之前,在我大明做山海关总兵。”韦小宝点头道:“这计策十分厉害。”

方怡道:“我们此番入宫,想必有人战死殉国,那么衣服上的记号,便会给鞑子发觉。倘若被擒,起初不供,等到给鞑子拷打得死去活来之后,才供出是受了平西王的指使,前来行刺皇帝。我们一进宫,便在各处丢下刻字的兵器,就算大伙儿侥幸得能全军退回,也已留下了证据。”
They were all sworn to say nothing if they were caught. They were to allow the Palace Guards to torture them, and only then were they to confess that they had been sent by the Satrap. It would be more convincing that way.

按:此段有略译

她说得兴奋,喘气渐急,脸颊上出现了红潮。As she spoke of their plans, her breathing quickened and a flush of excitement stole across her cheeks.韦小宝道:“那么你们进宫来,并不是为了来救小郡主?”方怡道:“自然不是。我们又不是神仙,怎知小郡主竟会在皇宫之中?”(略译)

韦小宝点点头,问道:“你身边可有刻字的兵刃?”方怡道:“有!”从被窝中摸出一把长剑,但手臂无力,无法将剑举高。’Have you got a weapon with one of the Satrap’s marks with you?’ asked Trinket. She produced a sword from beneath the quilt, but barely had the strength to lift it.韦小宝笑道:“幸亏我没睡到你身边,否则便给你一剑杀了。”’It’s a good thing I wasn’t lying next to you,’ said Trinket, with a big grin. ‘You’d probably have murdered me!’方怡脸上一红,瞪了他一眼。韦小宝接过剑来,藏在瑞栋的尸体腰间,道:“我去告状,说这瑞栋是刺客一伙,这不是证据么?”She glared at him. Trinket took the sword and laid it next to the Colonel’s corpse. ‘See, perfect evidence! I’ll tell the Emperor that Colonel Rui was in league with the intruders.’

方怡摇了摇头,道:“你瞧瞧剑上刻的是什么字?”韦小宝问道:“刻的什么字?”反正看了也是不识,不如不看。方怡道:“那是‘大明山海关总兵府’八字,这瑞栋是满洲人,不会在大明山海关总兵部下当过差的。”韦小宝“嗯”了一声,取回长剑,放在床上,道:“得在他身上安些什么赃物才好?”
Fang Yi explained to him why this was not a good idea: the mark on the sword was the one used by Satrap Wu’s Chinese soldiers years earlier when they had fought against the Manchus, before the conquest. It would have been quite impossible for a Manchu guard such as Colonel Rui to be in possession of such a sword. ‘Oh well, what can I use?’

一转念间,说道:“好极了!”将吴应熊所赠的那两串明珠,一对翡翠鸡,还有那叠金票,都去塞在瑞栋怀里。After a moment’s thought, Trinket decided to stuff the Colonel’s gown with some of the presents given him at the party by the Little Traitor, Wu’s son: these included pearl necklaces, a jade cock and hen (the ‘cute little knick-knacks’ he had been about to show the Little Countess), and wads of banknotes.他知道金票是北京城中的金铺所发,吴应熊派人去买来,只须一查金铺店号,便知来源,这一番栽赃,当真天衣无缝,心道:“吴世子啊吴世子,老子逃命要紧,只好对你不住了。”Such things could quite easily be traced back to Wu, and would thus be very Incriminating.他抱起瑞栋的尸体,要移到花园之中,只走一步,忽听得屋外有几人走近。他轻轻将尸身放下,He heaved up the Colonel’s corpse, thinking he would move it out into the garden. But just then he heard someone outside the door of his apartment, and gently lowered the body again.只听得一人说道:“皇上有命,吩咐小桂子前往侍候。”
‘His Majesty demands Laurel Goong-goong’s presence!’ cried a voice outside.

韦小宝大喜,心想:“我正担心今晚见不到皇上,又出乱子。现下皇上来叫我去,那再好没有了。这瑞栋的尸身,可搬不出去啦。”’Just coming!’ Trinket called out, delighted to have received this timely summons.应道:“是,待奴才穿衣,即刻出来。”将瑞栋的尸身轻轻推入床底,向小郡主和方怡打几个手势,叫她们安卧别动,’I have to change, but I’ll be ready right away.’ He slid the Colonel under his bed, and gestured to the Little Countess and Fang Yi to stay lying quietly on the bed.匆匆除下湿衣,换上一套衣衫,那件黑丝棉背心虽然也湿了,却不除下。
Then he took off his wet clothes, and changed into something dry. But, even though it was soaked through, he decided to keep on his black waistcoat.

正要出门,心念一动:“这姓方的小娘不大靠得住,可别偷我的东西。”Just as he was preparing to leave, it occurred to him that he could not entirely trust the Fang girl.将两部《四十二章经》和大叠银票都揣在怀里,这才熄烛出房,却忘了携带师父所给的武功图本。
Quickly grabbing the two copies of the Sutra in Forty- Two Sections and a handful of banknotes, he stuffed them into his inside pocket, then blew out the candle and set off.

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