The Deer And The Cauldron 15

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The Deer And The Cauldron 15
第十五回 关心风雨经联榻 轻命江山博壮游

Chapter 12 In which Trinket confides in Kang Xi and is sent on a Mission to the Wutai Mountains; a Lady Warrior tells him her Story expounding the Significance of the Sutras and warning him of Dangers Ahead and his Party is waylaid in a Strange Place by Ten Riders of the Mystic Dragon

Trinket comes Clean-Night Mission-A Secret Assignment- The Getaway-Departure from Peking-Trinket acquires an Aunt-The Eight Sutras, the Dragon Line, and the Mystic Dragons-Close Blade-Something Wrong with the Biscuits-The Storm-Shelter-A Haunted House-The Inquisition-A Ghost?

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Trinket comes Clean

康熙听到锣声,披衣起身,一名侍卫来报慈宁宫中出了事,什么事却说不清楚。Hearing the hue and cry, Kang Xi had thrown on some clothes and risen from his bed, to receive a somewhat garbled report of the night’s events from one of the guards.他正自着急,见韦小宝进来,忙问:“太后安好?出了什么事?”韦小宝道:“太后叫奴才今晚先回自己屋去睡,明天再搬进慈宁宫去,没……没想到宫里出了事。不知什么,奴才这就去瞧瞧。” The first thing he said when he saw Trinket enter the room was: ‘Is Her Majesty safe and sound? Tell me what has happened.’ ‘Her Majesty sent me back to my own room for the night, and told me to report for duty in the morning,’ lied Trinket. ‘I’ve only just heard about it. I was on my way to find out more . . .’康熙道:“我去给太后请安,你跟着来。” ‘I must call on Her Majesty myself,’ said Kang Xi. ‘You’d better come along with me.’

韦小宝道:“是。”康熙对母后甚有孝心,不及穿戴,披了件长袍便抢出门去,快步而行,一面问道:“太后要你服侍,你怎么又到了我这里?” Kang Xi quickly changed into a formal robe. As they hurried out together he asked Trinket why he had not gone straight to the Empress Dowager’s apartment, since he was now in her service.韦小宝道:“奴才听得锣声,担心又来了刺客,一心只挂念着皇上,忙不迭奔来,真……真是该死。” ‘I heard the gongs and all the noise and the first thing I thought was that another group of assassins had broken in and that you might be in danger!’康熙一出寝宫,左右太监、侍卫便跟了一大批,十几盏灯笼在身周照着。他见韦小宝衣衫头发极是紊乱,哪知道他是在太后床底钻进钻出,还道他忠心护主,一心一意的只挂念着皇帝,来不及穿好衣服,就赶来保护,颇感喜慰。Kang Xi glanced at Trinket’s dishevelled appearance, and was touched by this evidence of his friend’s devotion—not for one moment guessing that it was the result of the time he had spent squashed under the Empress Dowager’s bed.行出数丈,两名侍卫奔过来禀告:“刺客擅闯慈宁宫,害死了一名太监,一名宫女。” They continued on their way through the Palace grounds, with an escort of eunuchs fore and aft carrying lamps, and in a little while ran into a guard who delivered a breathless report: ‘Assassins have broken into the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity! A eunuch and a maid have been killed!’康熙忙问:“可惊动了太后圣驾?”那侍卫道:“多总管已率人将慈宁宫团团围住,严密保护太后。”康熙略感放心。’And has any harm been done to Her Majesty?’ enquired Kang Xi anxiously. ‘Her Majesty is safe! Colonel Dolong has her apartment surrounded with guards!’ Kang Xi breathed a sigh of relief.

韦小宝心道:“他便是带领十万兵马来保护慈宁宫,这会儿也已迟了。”从乾清宫到慈宁宫相距不远,绕过养心殿和太极殿便到。’Dolong can bring in as many guards as he likes,’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘I’m afraid it’s too late.’ It was not far to the Empress Dowager’s. Their route took them past the Hall of Nurturing the Mind, and the Hall of the Supreme Ultimate.只见灯笼火把照耀如同白昼,数百名侍卫一排排的站着,别说刺客,只怕连一只老鼠也钻不过去。When they arrived, the place was bright as day with the light of lanterns and torches. Nothing, not even a mouse, would have been able to force its way through the phalanx of guards that surrounded it.众侍卫见到皇帝,一齐跪下。康熙摆了摆手,快步进宫。韦小宝掀起门帷。康熙走进门去,只见寝殿中箱笼杂物乱成一团,血流满地,横卧着两具尸首,Seeing the Emperor approach, the guards all fell to their knees. Kang Xi waved to them to rise and walked on in. Trinket lifted the portiere, and Kang Xi stepped inside to a scene of devastation. Broken boxes and furniture littered the room, and two corpses lay in pools of blood on the ground.只吓得心中突突乱跳,叫道:“太后,太后!”床上一人低声道:“是皇帝么?不用担心,我没事。”正是太后的声音。He was visibly shaken. ‘What about Her Majesty?’ he gasped, his voice trembling with terror.

A faint voice came from the bed: ‘Is that the Emperor? Don’t worry, I am unharmed.’

韦小宝这一惊非同小可,心想:“原来老婊子没死。我做事当真胡涂,先前干么不在她身上补上一剑?她没死,我可得死了。” That’s the Old Whore’s voice all right!’ thought Trinket in utter disbelief. ‘She’s still alive, dammit! What an idiot I am! I should have stabbed her a few times myself to make sure! If she’s alive, I’m dead meat!’回过头来,便想发足奔逃,却见门外密密麻麻的站满了侍卫,逃不了三步便会给人抓住,只吓得双足发软,头脑晕眩,便欲摔倒。Once more his thoughts turned to escape. But he knew he’d never succeed in getting past that phalanx of guards. He stood there, his knees turning to jelly, his head swimming. He could feel himself on the verge of toppling over.康熙来到床前,说道:“太后,您老人家受惊了。孩儿保护不周,真是罪孽深重,那些饭桶侍卫,一个个得好好惩办才是。” Kang Xi meanwhile had approached the bed. ‘Your Majesty, I have failed in my duty! And those worthless guards deserve to be severely punished!’太后喘了口气道:“没……没什么。是一个太监和宫女争闹……互相殴斗而死,不干侍卫们的事。” ‘It was . . . nothing . . .’ panted the Empress Dowager. ‘Just a eunuch and a maid fighting . . . They ended up killing each other. It had nothing to do with the guards.’康熙道:“太后身子安好?没惊动到您老人家?”太后道:“没有!只是我瞧着这些奴才生气。皇帝,你去罢,叫大家散去。” ‘Are you really all right, Your Majesty?’ asked Kang Xi. ‘There’s nothing the matter with me,’ she replied. ‘I’m just sick of the sight of these worthless servants of mine . . . You don’t need to stay.’

康熙道:“快传太医来给太后把脉。”韦小宝缩在他身后,不敢答应,只怕给太后瞧见了,又怕一开口就给认了出来。Kang Xi sent for an Imperial Physician to take her pulse. All this while Trinket had been skulking behind Kang Xi, terrified in case the Empress Dowager should spot his presence or recognize his voice.太后道:“不,不用传太医,我睡一觉就好。这两人……这两个奴才的尸首……不用移动。我心里烦得很,怕吵,皇帝,你……你叫大家快走。” ‘There’s no need for a doctor,’ she said. ‘All I need is a good sleep. Leave the two . . . corpses . . . where they are. I don’t want people making a racket in here. You can go now, and tell the others to leave me alone.’她说话声音微弱,上气不接下气,显是受伤着实不轻。Her voice sounded very feeble. She seemed hardly able to breathe. She had clearly been seriously wounded.

康熙很是担心,却又不敢违命,本想彻查这太监和宫女如何殴斗,惹得太后如此生气,两人虽已身死,却犯了这样大罪,还得追究他们家属,可是听太后的话,显然不愿张扬,连尸首也不许移动,只得向太后请了安,退出慈宁宫。韦小宝死里逃生,双脚兀自发软,手扶墙壁而行。Kang Xi had been about to order a full investigation into the disturbance, and into the identity of the two corpses. But he dared not go against the Empress Dowager’s wishes, and withdrew meekly from her apartment, the terrified Trinket trailing behind him, sidling along close to the wall.康熙低头沉思,觉得慈宁宫中今晚之事大是突兀,中间必有隐秘,但太后的意思明明摆着叫自己不可理会。他沉思低头,走了好长一段,这才抬起头来,见韦小宝跟在身后,问道:“太后要你服侍,怎地你又跟着来了?” Most of the way back, Kang Xi had his head bowed in thought, but eventually he looked up and saw Trinket following close behind him. ‘What are you doing here? Why aren’t you with Her Majesty? You work for her now.’韦小宝心想反正天一亮便要出宫逃走,大可信口开河,说道:“先前太后说道心里烦得很,一见到太监便生气。奴才见到太后圣体不大安适,还是别去惹太后烦恼的为妙。”康熙点了点头,回到乾清宫寝殿,待服侍他的众监都退了出去,说道:“小桂子,你留着!”韦小宝应了。’I thought I ought to leave her in peace. She didn’t seem to want people hanging around.’ When they reached Kang Xi’s apartment, the Emperor dismissed all his other eunuchs, then told Trinket to stay behind.

康熙从东到西、又从西到东的踱来踱去,踱了一会,问道:“你看那太监和那宫女,为什么斗殴而死?” He paced up and down the room, back and forth, and from one side to the other. Finally he spoke. ‘Laurel, why do you think those two would have been fighting?’韦小宝道:“这个我可猜不出。宫里很多宫女太监脾气都很坏,动不动就吵嘴,有时还暗中打架,只是不敢让太后和皇上知道罢了。” ‘I haven’t got the slightest idea,’ replied Trinket. ‘Palace eunuchs and maids are like that, they’re a bad-tempered lot, always fighting and arguing. You wouldn’t know, they always do it behind your back.’康熙点点头道:“你去吩咐大家,这事不用再提,免得再惹太后生气。”韦小宝道:“是!”康熙道:“你去罢!”韦小宝请了安,转身出去,心想:“我这一去,永远见你不着了。” ‘Well you’d better let everyone know that this ugly business is not to be talked about. We don’t want to upset Her Majesty.’ Trinket took his leave, thinking to himself, This time I may really never see you again.’

回头又瞧了一眼。康熙也正瞧着他,脸上露出笑容,道:“你过来。”韦小宝转过身来。康熙揭开床头的一只金盒,拿出两块点心,笑道:“累了半天,肚里可饿了罢!”将点心递给他。As he left the room, he turned, to see Kang Xi smiling at him. ‘Come here, Laurel.’ Kang Xi opened a golden casket at the head of his bed and took out two little cakes.’Here, you must be hungry after everything that’s happened!’韦小宝双手接过,想起太后为人凶险毒辣,寝宫里暗藏男人,终有一天会加害皇上。他一切蒙在鼓里,什么都不知道。皇帝对待自己,真就如是朋友兄弟一般,若不把这事跟他说知,他给太后害死,Trinket looked at him. To think that one day his friend the Emperor might himself be in grave danger! The Old Whore was a ruthless enemy, and there was definitely a diabolical plot of some kind afoot in the Palace. She had kept a man hidden in her room, disguised as a woman! One day she might try to kill the Emperor himself.自己可太也没有义气。想到此处,眼前似乎出现了康熙全身筋骨俱断、横尸就地的惨状,心中一酸,忍不住泪水夺眶而出。And concerning all of this, the Emperor—his friend the Emperor—was utterly in the dark. Suppose he himself, Trinket, were to the at the Old Whore’s hands? Then there would be no one left to warn the Emperor. He had a duty to tell him everything he knew! He had visions of Kang Xi’s body lying dead on the ground, his bones all broken. He suddenly burst into tears.

康熙微笑道:“怎么啦?”伸手拍拍他肩头,道:“你愿意跟我,是不是?那也容易,过几天等太后大好了,我再跟太后说去。老实说,我也舍不得你。” ‘What’s the matter?’ There was a concerned smile on the Emperor’s face. He patted Trinket on the shoulder. ‘You want to stay with me, don’t you? Don’t worry, that can be arranged. In a few days’ time, when she’s better, I’ll have a word with her. To tell the truth, I really miss you too!’韦小宝心情激动,寻思:“‘陶宫娥说,我如吐露真情,皇帝不免要杀我灭口。英雄好汉什么都能做,就是不能不讲义气,大丈夫死就死好了。”将两块点心往桌上一放,握住了康熙的手,颤声道:“小玄子,我再叫你一次小玄子,行吗?” Trinket put the cakes on the table and took hold of both of Kang Xi’s hands. His voice trembled: ‘Misty—can I call you that again?’康熙笑道:“当然可以。我早就说过了,没人之处,咱们就跟从前一样。你又想跟我比武,是不是?来来来,放马过来。” Kang Xi laughed. ‘Of course you can! I always said that when there was no one else around we should drop the formalities. I know what it is: you want to fight, don’t you? Come! On guard!’

说着双手一翻,反握住了他双手。韦小宝道:“不忙比武。有一件机密大事,要跟我好朋友小玄子说,可是决不能跟我主子万岁爷说。As he said this, he turned his hands around, and adopted an upside-down grip. ‘It’s not that,’ said Trinket. ‘Fighting can wait. It’s something else, something very important. Something I need to tell my dear friend Misty. Something I could never talk about to His Majesty . . .皇上听了之后,就要砍我脑袋。小玄子当我是朋友,或者不要紧。”康熙不知事关重大,少年心情,只觉十分有趣,忙拉了他并肩坐在床沿上,His Majesty would certainly chop my head off.’ Kang Xi found all this highly intriguing. He put his hands on Trinket’s shoulders and guided him to the edge of the bed, where they sat down together side by side.说道:“快说!快说!”韦小宝道:“现下你是小玄子,不是皇帝?”康熙微笑道:“对,我现下是你的好朋友小玄子,不是皇帝。一天到晚做皇帝,没个知心朋友,也没什么味道。” ‘Come on then, speak up!’ ‘Promise you’ll be Misty, not Majesty?’ ‘Promise. At this moment I’m your good friend Misty, I’m no one’s Majesty! I can tell you, being a Majesty all day long, without a single real friend in the world, can be very tiresome.’韦小宝道:“好,我说给你听。你要砍我脑袋,也没法子。”康熙微笑道:“我干么要杀你?好朋友怎能杀好朋友?” ‘All right then,’ said Trinket, ‘I’ll tell you. And even if you want to chop my head off, you won’t be able to.’ Kang Xi smiled. ‘Why ever should I want to chop your head off? Why should one friend want to kill another?’

韦小宝长长吸了口气,说道:“我不是真的小桂子,我不是太监,真的小桂子已给我杀了。” Trinket heaved a long sigh, and began: ‘Well, here goes. First of all, I’m not really Laurel. I’m not really a eunuch at all. The real Laurel is dead. I killed him.’康熙大吃一惊,问道:“什么?”韦小宝便将自己出身来历简略说了,接着说到如何被掳入宫、如何毒瞎海大富双眼、如何冒充小桂子、海大富如何教武等情,一一照实陈说。’What?’ Kang Xi looked utterly flabbergasted. Trinket proceeded to give him a brief account of his life to date: where he had been born, how he had been captured and brought into the Palace, how he had blinded Old Hai Dafu, how he had impersonated, and then killed, Laurel, and how Old Hai had taught him kungfu.

康熙听到这里,笑道:“他妈的,你先解开裤子给我瞧瞧。”韦小宝知道皇帝精明,这等大事岂可不亲眼验明,当即褪下了裤子。Kang Xi’s first reaction was hysterical laughter. ‘Tamardy! Come on then! Undo your trousers and let’s have a look!’ He needed more than his friend’s word. Trinket did as he was told. He untied his trousers and let them fall to the ground.康熙见他果然并非净了身的太监,哈哈大笑,说道:“原来你不是太监。杀了个小太监小桂子,也没什么大不了。Kang Xi was now able to see with his own eyes that Trinket was decidedly overqualified for the role of eunuch . . . He roared with laughter, and made light of the whole thing. This is a rum state of affairs! Well well well! I think we can let bygones be bygones—after all, killing a junior eunuch isn’t that serious an offence!只不过你不能再在宫里住了。要不然,我就派你做御前侍卫的总管。多隆这厮武功虽然不错,办事可胡涂得很。” But what about the future? We obviously can’t have you, in your current state, running around the Palace like a eunuch any more, that’s for sure! I shall have to see about making you an Intendant of the Palace Guards or something. Dolong’s been pretty incompetent anyway,’韦小宝系上裤子,说道:“这可多谢你啦,不过只怕不成。我听到了跟太后有关的几件大秘密。” Trinket did his trousers up again. That’s very kind of you,’ he said, ‘but I’m afraid I’d be no use at all as a guard. And there’s something else very important I have to tell you. It’s to do with Her Majesty.’

康熙道:“跟太后有关?那是什么?”问到这两句话时,心中已隐隐觉得有些不对。’Her Majesty? What do you mean?’ Even as he asked, Kang Xi sensed that there was worse to come.韦小宝咬了咬牙,便述说那晚在慈宁宫所听到太后和海大富的对答。Trinket braced himself, and launched into an account of what he had heard Old Hai and the Empress Dowager talking about, that fateful night in the garden outside the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity.康熙听到父皇顺治竟然并未崩驾,却是在五台山清凉寺出家,这一惊固然非同小可,这一喜尤其是如颠如狂。When Kang Xi learned that his own father, the Old Emperor Shun Zhi, was still alive, and that he was living as a Buddhist monk in the Pure Coolness Monastery on the Wutai Mountains, his shocked surprise and ecstatic delight can be imagined.他全身发抖,握住了韦小宝双手,颤声道:“这……这当真不假?我父皇……父皇还在人世?” His whole body began to tremble. He seized Trinket by both hands and asked in a shaking voice: ‘Are you . . . sure all this is true? My father . . . the Old Emperor. . . still alive?’韦小宝道:“我听到太后和海大富二人确是这么说的。”康熙站起身来,大声叫道:“那……那好极了!好极了!小桂子,天一亮,咱们立即便往五台山去朝见父皇,请他老人家回宫。” That’s what I heard them saying,’ Kang Xi rose to his feet. Why, this is the most wonderful news!’ he declared in a loud voice, ‘Wonderful, wonderful news! Laurel, at first light, we must go! You and I will set off for Wutai to see him! We will kneel before him, and beg him to return to the Palace!’

康熙君临天下,事事随心所欲,生平唯一大憾便是父母早亡。It had always been Kang Xi’s great regret (in an otherwise pampered life) that his parents had both died when he was so young.有时午夜梦回,想到父母之时,忍不住流泪哭泣。此刻听得韦小宝这么说,虽仍不免将信将疑,却已然喜心翻倒。Often he would lie awake at night weeping as he thought of them. This was the most unbelievably happy news—if he could only bring himself to believe it!韦小宝道:“就只怕太后不愿意。她一直瞒着你,这中间是有重大缘故的。”康熙道:“不错,那是什么缘故?”他一听到父亲未死,喜悦之情充塞胸臆,但稍一凝思,无数疑窦立即涌现。’I don’t think Her Majesty would approve of such an expedition,’ said Trinket. There must be some very important reason why she’s been keeping you in the dark for so long,’ ‘What do you think it could be?’With every second, fresh doubts were rising in his mind, and they began to cloud the unmitigated joy he had at first felt.

韦小宝道:“宫中大事,我什么都不明白,只能将太后和海大富的对答,据实说给你听。” ‘I don’t understand Palace affairs,’ said Trinket. ‘All I can do is repeat the rest of what I heard the two of them say that night.’康熙道:“是,是!快说,快说!”听韦小宝说到端敬皇后和孝康皇后如何为人所害,Then do so! At once!’ Trinket went on to describe in lurid detail how the two Empresses, Shun Zhi’s favourite Empress Donggo, and the Empress Kang, had met with their deaths.康熙跳起身来,叫道:“你……你说孝康皇后,是……是给人害死的?”韦小宝见他神色大变,双眼睁得大大的,脸上肌肉不住牵动,不禁害怕,颤声道:“我……我不知道。只听到海大富跟太后是这么说的。” Kang Xi jumped to his feet and cried: ‘You’re saying … the Empress Kang was murdered?’ Trinket observed the change in the Emperor’s expression. His eyes were blazing with rage, his cheeks were twitching uncontrollably. ‘I… I don’t know for sure,’ he said, somewhat shakily. ‘That’s just what Old Hai and Her Majesty said.’康熙道:“他们怎地说?你……你再说一遍。”韦小宝记性甚好,重述那晚太后与海大富的对答,连二人的声调语气也都学得极像。’What exactly did they say? Go over it again.’ Trinket had an excellent memory for detail, and was a brilliant mimic. He reproduced the content and tone of the conversation to perfection.

康熙呆了半晌,道:“我亲娘……我亲娘竟是给人害死的?”韦小宝道:“孝康皇后就是……是……是你的母亲?” He paused for a moment, but Kang Xi was silent. Finally he spoke. ‘My own mother! Murdered!’ ‘Was the Empress Kang your mother?’ gasped Trinket.康熙点了点头,道:“你说下去,一句也不可遗漏。”心中一酸,泪水涔涔而下。
Kang Xi nodded.
‘Go on,’ he said. ‘Don’t leave anything out.’ There were tears streaming down his cheeks.

韦小宝接着述说凶手用“化骨绵掌”先害死端敬皇后的儿子荣亲王,再害死端敬皇后和贞妃,顺治出家后,太后又害死孝康皇后,殓葬端敬皇后和贞妃的仵作如何奉海大富之命赴五台山禀告顺治,Trinket went on to describe the Soft Crush karate technique used to murder not only Empress Donggo, her little boy Prince Rong, and her sister the Lady Zhen, but also Empress Kang. He told how Old Hai had extracted the information from the undertaker, and had then sent the undertaker to Wutai to inform the Old Emperor;顺治如何派遣海大富回宫彻查,直说到太后和海大富对掌。how the Old Emperor had ordered Old Hai to track down the killer; how Old Hai and the Empress Dowager had fought through the night.他不敢说海大富是自己所杀,却说他眼睛瞎了之后,敌不过太后,以致对掌身亡。He did not dare admit that it was he himself who had delivered the coup the grace, but said instead that the blind old eunuch had been no match for the Empress, and that she had finally killed him.康熙定了定神,详细盘问当晚情景,追查他所听到的说话,反复细问,料定韦小宝决无可能捏造此事,抬起头想了一会,问道:“你为什么直到今天,才跟我说?” Kang Xi struggled to compose himself. He cross-questioned Trinket again and again about that evening, and finally convinced himself that the boy was telling the truth. He looked up thoughtfully. ‘Why have you kept this a secret from me until now?’

韦小宝道:“这件事关涉太大,我哪敢乱说?可是明天我要逃出宫去,再也不回来了,想到你孤身在宫中极是危险,可不能再瞒。” ‘I was too scared,’ replied Trinket. ‘But just now I made up my mind: tomorrow I’m going to run away, and never come back. And then I thought of you all on your own here and I knew I had to tell you.’康熙道:“你为什么要出宫?怕太后害你?”韦小宝道:“我跟你说,今晚死在慈宁宫里的那个宫女,是个男人,是太后的师兄。” ‘Why are you going to run away? Are you afraid of her?’ There’s something else I have to tell you. That maid who’s lying dead in her room, the one who was killed last night. . . that’s not her maid at all, it’s a man! She called him her brother-in-arms!’太后宫中的宫女竟然是个男人,此事自然匪夷所思,但康熙这晚既听到自己已死的父皇竟然未死,而母亲又是为一向端庄慈爱的太后所暗杀,再听到一个宫女是男人假扮,已丝毫不以为奇,何况眼前这个小太监也就是假扮的,问道:“你又怎么知道?” After all that Kang Xi had learned during the past few minutes, he was not even especially shocked to learn that this maid was a man. After all, the eunuch in front of him was not a eunuch. ‘And how do you know that?’ he asked.

韦小宝道:“那晚我听到了太后跟海大富的说话后,太后一直要杀我灭口。”当下将太后如何派遣瑞栋、柳燕,以及众太监先后来加害自己等情一一说了,’It’s all part of the plot,’ replied Trinket. ‘For some time now, the Empress Dowager has being trying to have me killed.’又说到在慈宁宫中听到一个男子和太后对答,两人争闹起来,那男子假扮的宫女为太后所杀,太后却也受了伤。’It’s all part of the plot,’ replied Trinket. ‘For some time now, the Empress Dowager has being trying to have me killed.’ He went on to tell Kang Xi how Colonel Rui, Sister Swallow (the Fat Sow), and the four eunuchs had one after another been sent to do away with him; how he’d overheard the man’s voice arguing with the Empress Dowager that evening, and how they’d ended up fighting. It was the Empress who had killed him, Trinket said, herself suffering serious wounds in the process.他这番说话当然不尽不实,既不提到陶宫娥,也不说自己杀了瑞栋和柳燕,偷了几部《四十二章经》等情。His story was, needless to say, larded with inventions and riddled with omissions. There was no mention, for instance, of Tao Hongying (Green Slippers), or of the fact that it was he, Trinket, who had killed Colonel Rui and the Sow, and stolen the Sutras.康熙沉吟道:“这人是太后的师兄?听他口气,似乎太后尚受另一人的挟制,那会是什么人?难道……难道这人知道太后寝殿中有个假宫女,因此……”Kang Xi pondered all of this. ‘So, this man was some sort of brother-in-arms of Her Majesty’s? It sounds as if she was acting on someone else’s orders. I wonder who that person could be? Perhaps whoever it was got wind of the fact that she had this man in her bedroom . . .’韦小宝听他言语涉及太后的“奸情”,不敢接口,只摇了摇头,过了一会,才道:“我也想不出。” Trinket could see which direction the Emperor’s thoughts were heading. In the circumstances he did not feel like engaging in any speculations as to the Old Whore’s sex life. He shook his head, indicating that he had no idea who was behind it all.

康熙道:“传多隆来。”韦小宝答应了,心想:“皇帝要跟太后翻脸,叫多隆捉拿老婊子来杀头?我到底是快快逃走好呢?还是留着再帮他?”
‘Send for Colonel Dolong,’ said Kang Xi. Trinket wondered if the Emperor was about to issue orders for the Old Whore’s arrest and execution. If so, should he run for it, or stay and help his friend?

多隆正自忧心如焚,宫里接连出事,When Dolong received the Emperor’s summons, he was beside himself with anxiety. Everything seemed to be going wrong at the same time.自己脖子上的脑袋就算不搬家,脑袋之上的帽子、帽子之上的顶子,总是大大的不稳,Even if he managed to survive this latest crisis with his head still connected to his shoulders, it was beginning to look extremely unlikely that he would emerge with the same hat sitting on that head, or the same button of rank sitting on that hat . . .听得皇帝传呼,忙赶进乾清宫来。康熙吩咐道:“慈宁宫没什么事,你立即撤去慈宁宫外所有侍卫。太后说听到侍卫站在屋外,心里就烦得很。” He hurried post-haste to the Hall of Heavenly Purity. Things have calmed down at the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity,’ Kang Xi informed him. ‘You can dismiss your men. Her Majesty says it disturbs her to have so many guards on duty outside her apartment.’多隆见皇上脸色虽然颇为古怪,却没半句责备的言语,心中大喜,忙磕了头出去传令。Dolong was hugely relieved to have escaped the Emperor’s wrath. He could not help noticing a strange expression on Kang Xi’s face, but for the time being at least he, Dolong, had survived unscathed. He hurried off to carry out his orders.

康熙又将心中诸般疑团,细细询问韦小宝,Kang Xi still had a large number of unresolved doubts, and continued to ply Trinket with questions about the previous night’s affair.过了良久,料知众侍卫已撤,说道:“小桂子,我和你夜探慈宁宫。”韦小宝道:“你亲自去探?”康熙道:“正是!”Eventually word came that the guards had been dismissed. ‘Come,’ he said to Trinket, ‘we must go back to the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity under cover of darkness. I want you to come with me on a secret mission!’一来事关重大,不能单是听了一个假冒小太监的一面之辞,便对抚育自己长大的母后心存怀疑;In the first place, Kang Xi felt the need to see things for himself before rushing to form a judgement. He should not condemn the woman who had reared him merely on the evidence of this eunuch who had turned out not to be a eunuch at all.二来“犯险夜探”,那是学武之人非做不可之事,有此机会,如何可以轻易放过?自己是皇帝,不能出宫一试身手,在宫里做一下“夜行人”,却也是聊胜于无。只不过下旨先令慈宁宫守卫尽数撤走,自己再去“夜探”,未免不合“武林好手”的身分而已。Secondly, this offered him a rare opportunity for adventure, something he had long felt the lack of in the confines of the Forbidden City.韦小宝道:“太后已将她师兄杀了,这会儿正在安睡养伤,只怕探不到什么。” ‘But she has already killed her brother-in-arms,’ protested Trinket. ‘She’s probably just sleeping and regaining her strength. There won’t be anything much to see.’

康熙道:“没有探过,怎知探不到什么?”当即换上便装,脚下穿了薄底快靴,便是当日跟韦小宝比武的那一身装束,’We must at least look. Otherwise, how will we know there’s nothing to see?’ Kang Xi slipped into some less formal attire, and put on some thin-soled cloth boots. Now he was dressed as he had been in the old days, when he and Laurel had fought.从床头取过一柄腰刀,悬在腰间,从乾清宫侧门走了出去。众侍卫、太监正在乾清宫外层层守卫,一见之下,慌忙跪下行礼。He took a short-sword from the head of the bed, and slung it from his waist. As they left by the side gate outside the Hall of Heavenly Purity, the host of guards and eunuchs on duty outside fell to their knees.康熙喝令:“大家站住,谁也不许乱动。”这是皇帝圣旨,谁敢有违?二百余名侍卫和太监就此直挺挺的站在原地,一动也不动。’I want all of you to stay exactly where you are! No one is to move!’ ordered the Emperor. All two hundred of them stood obediently to attention and remained rooted to the spot.

Night Mission

康熙带着韦小宝,来到慈宁宫花园,见静悄悄的已无一人。他掩到太后寝殿窗下,俯耳倾听,只听得太后不住咳嗽,All was quiet in the garden outside the Empress Dowager’s apartment. Kang Xi crept to the window and listened. He heard the Empress Dowager coughing.霎时之间,心中思涌如潮,又是悲苦,又是烦躁,听得太后的咳嗽声音,既想冲进去搂着她痛哭一场,又想扠住她脖子厉声质问,到底父皇和自己亲生母后是怎样了?Confused emotions surged through his breast. Part of him wanted to rush in and fling his arms around her and sob his heart out; part of him wanted to throttle her and squeeze the truth out of her. . . about his father’s death, his mother’s death . . .他一时盼望小桂子所说的全是假话,又盼望他所说的丝毫不假。他不住发抖,寒毛直竖,凉意直透骨髓。Part of him prayed that Trinket’s story was false; part of him hoped that it was true. He was shaking uncontrollably, chilled to the bone, his flesh shivering.

太后房中烛火未熄,忽明忽暗映着窗纸。There was still a candle burning inside, and a flickering light showed through the paper panes of the window.过了一会,听得一个宫女的声音道:“太后,缝好了。”太后“嗯”了一声,说道:“把这宫女……宫女的死尸,装……装在被袋里。” Kang Xi could hear a maid’s voice: ‘Your Majesty, I’ve finished the stitching.’ The Empress Dowager cleared her throat. ‘Wrap the maid’s body … in the roll of bedding . . .’那宫女道:“是。那太监的死尸呢?”太后怒道:“我只叫你装那宫女,你……你又管什么太监?”那宫女忙道:“是!”接着便听到有物件在地下拖动之声。’What about the eunuch’s body, Your Majesty?’ ‘I said the maid!’ snapped the Empress Dowager. ‘I never said anything about the eunuch!’ ‘Yes Ma’am!’ replied the terrified maid. This was followed by the sound of a body being dragged across the floor.

康熙忍耐不住,探头去窗缝中张望,可是太后寝殿窗房的所有缝隙均用油灰塞满,连一条细缝也没有。Kang Xi could contain his curiosity no longer. He tried to peep through a crack in the wooden casement, but found that every single crack had been sealed with putty.他往日曾听韦小宝说过江湖上夜行人的行事诀窍与和禁忌,那都是转述茅十八从扬州来到北京之时一路上所说的。此时窗户无缝,正中下怀,当下伸指沾了唾液,轻轻湿了窗纸,指上微微用力,窗上便破了个小孔,却无半点声息。Remembering the age-old River and Lake trick, first told him by Trinket (who had learned it from Whiskers Mao on their way to Peking from Yangzhou), he moistened his finger with spittle and gently (and silently) rubbed a small hole in the paper window-pane.他就眼张去,见太后床上锦帐低垂,一名年轻宫女正在将地下一具尸首往一只大布袋中塞去,Through his peep-hole he could now see the Empress Dowager sitting in bed behind a partly closed embroidered bed-curtain, while a young maid was trying her best to stuff a body into a large cloth sack.尸首穿的是宫女装束,可是头顶光秃秃地一根头发也无。那宫女将尸首塞入袋中,拾起地下的一团假发,微一迟疑,也塞进了布袋,低声道:“太后,装……装好啦!” The body was dressed in maid’s clothes, but the head was shiny and bald. The maid finally succeeded in pushing the bald pate into the sack, then after a moment’s hesitation picked up the wig and threw it in too. ‘Your Majesty, I’ve wrapped up the … body …”

太后道:“外边侍卫都撤完了?我好像听到还有人声。”那宫女走到门边,向外一张,说道:“没人了。”’Have all the guards outside gone away? I thought I could hear someone.’ The maid went to the door and looked outside. ‘There’s nobody there, Ma’am.’太后道:“你把口袋拖到荷花塘边,在袋里放四块大石头,用……用绳子……咳……咳……将袋口扎住了,然后……然后……咳咳……把袋子推落塘里。” ‘Well then, you’re to drag the sack to the Lotus Pond, put four large stones inside it, and then . . . tie it up . . .’ she coughed, ‘tie it up with rope and then . . .’ more coughing, ‘push it in the pond.’那宫女道:“是。”声音发抖,显得很是害怕。太后道:“袋子推下池塘之后,多扒些泥土抛在上面,别让人瞧见。”那宫女又应道:“是。”拖着袋子,出房走向花园。’Yes, Ma’am.’ The maid’s voice trembled with fear. ‘When you’ve pushed it into the pond, dig up some earth and throw it into the water, so that no one can see the body.’ ‘Yes, Ma’am.’ The maid with difficulty dragged the sack out of the room and set off into the garden.

康熙心想:“小桂子说这宫女是个男人,多半不错。这中间若不是有天大隐情,太后何必要沉尸入塘,灭去痕迹?” ‘It seems Trinket was right about this maid being a man,’ thought Kang Xi to himself. There’s obviously something very shady going on, or why would she want to throw the body into a pond?’见韦小宝便站在身边,不自禁的伸出手去,握住了他手。两人均觉对方手掌又湿又冷。
He reached out and held Trinket’s hand in his own. They could each feel how cold and clammy the other’s palm was.

过了一会,听得扑通一声,那装尸首的布袋掉入了荷塘,跟着是扒土和投掷泥土入塘的声音,又过一会,那宫女回进寝殿。There was an audible splash as the body slid into the pond, followed by the sound of earth being thrown into the water. Minutes later the maid returned.韦小宝早就认得她声音,便是那小宫女蕊初。
Trinket had recognized her voice from the very first. It was his old flame Blossom, she of the honey-cakes. ‘Did you manage it all right?’ asked the Empress Dowager. ‘Yes, Ma’am.’

太后问道:“都办好了?”蕊初道:“是,都办好了。”太后道:“这里本来有两具尸首,怎么另一具不见了?明天有人问起,你怎么说?”蕊初道:“奴才……奴才什么也不知道。” ‘What will you say tomorrow if they ask you what happened to the other corpse?’ ‘I… I don’t know anything about it. . .’太后道:“你在这里服侍我,怎会什么也不知道?”蕊初道:“是,是!”太后怒道:“什么‘是,是’?”
‘Of course you must know something about it: you work here, you’re my maid!’ ‘Yes! Yes, Ma’am!’ ‘What do you mean, “Yes!”?’ The Empress Dowager sounded angry.

蕊初颤声道:“奴才见到那死了的宫女站起身来,原来她只是受伤,并没有死。她慢慢的……慢慢的走出去。那时候……那时候太后正在安睡,奴才不敢惊动太后,眼见那个宫女走出了慈宁宫,不知道……不知道到哪里去啦。” ‘I saw the one wearing maid’s clothes stand up … She wasn’t dead, she was only wounded.’ Blossom’s voice trembled. ‘You were asleep, Your Majesty, and I didn’t want to wake you. The wounded maid just got up and walked out… I don’t know where she went. . .’太后叹了口气,说道:“原来这样,阿弥陀佛,她没死,自己走了,那倒好得很。”蕊初道:“正是,谢天谢地,原来她没死。”
The Empress Dowager gave a sigh. ‘Yes! That’s what happened! Buddha be praised! She didn’t die after all, she just walked out of the room! Heaven be praised!’ ‘Yes, Ma’am, Heaven be praised!’ repeated the unfortunate maid. ‘Earth be praised! She didn’t die after all!’

A Secret Assignment

康熙和韦小宝又待了一会,听太后没再说话,似已入睡,于是悄悄一步步的离开,回到乾清宫。Kang Xi and Trinket stood there waiting for a while. There was no further sound. It seemed that the Empress Dowager must have gone back to sleep. They crept away silently, back to the Hall of Heavenly Purity.只见一众侍卫太监仍是直挺挺的站着不动。康熙笑道:“大家随便走动罢!”他虽笑着说话,笑声和话声却甚为干涩。The contingent of two hundred guards and eunuchs was still there, standing stiffly to attention. They had taken the Emperor’s orders extremely literally. ‘At ease!’ said Kang Xi with a laugh. But his laughing command had a bitter ring to it.回入寝宫,他凝视韦小宝,良久不语,突然怔怔的掉下泪来,说道:“原来太后……太后……”韦小宝也不知说什么话好。
He walked into his bedroom and stared deeply into Trinket’s face. A tear stole down his cheek. ‘So that’s what she . . . she . . .’ Trinket could think of nothing to say.

康熙想了一会,双手一拍,两名侍卫走到寝殿门口。Kang Xi brooded silently for a while. Then he clapped his hands. Two guards appeared in the bedroom doorway.康熙低声道:“有一件机密事情,差你二人去办,可不能泄漏出去。慈宁宫花园的荷塘中,有一只大口袋,你二人去抬了来。’I have a confidential mission for the two of you,’ said Kang Xi. ‘You are not to breathe a word of this to a soul, understand? I want you to go to the Lotus Pond in the garden of the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity. You’ll find a large sack in the pond. I want you to drag it out.太后正在安睡,你二人倘若发出半点响声,吵醒了太后,那就自己割了脑袋罢。”两人躬身答应而去。Her Majesty is sleeping. Don’t make a sound, don’t wake her up, or I’ll chop off your heads!’ The two guards bowed low and went to do his bidding.康熙坐在床上,默不作声,反复思量。隔了好半晌,终于两名侍卫抬了一只湿淋淋的大布袋,来到寝殿门外。Kang Xi sat on the bed deep in thought. Presently the guards returned, dragging a large, dripping sack. They waited with it outside the bedroom door.康熙道:“可惊醒了太后没有?”两名侍卫齐道:“奴才们不敢。”康熙点了点头,道:“拿进来!”两名侍卫答应了,将布袋拿进屋来。康熙道:“出去罢!”’Did you wake Her Majesty?’ asked Kang Xi. ‘No, Your Majesty!’ chorused the guards. Kang Xi nodded. ‘Bring it in!’ They deposited the sack inside the room, and were dismissed.

韦小宝等名侍卫退出寝殿,带上了门,上了闩,便解开布袋上的绳索,将尸首拖了出来。见尸首脸上胡子虽剃得极光,须根隐约可见,Trinket waited until they had gone, then closed and bolted the door. He untied the sack and dragged the body out. The face was beardless, but beginning to show unmistakable signs of stubble.喉头有结,胸口平坦,自是个男子无疑。这人身上肌肉虬结,手指节骨凸起,纯是一副久练武功的模样。From this, from the protruding Adam’s apple, from the flat chest, there was not the slightest doubt that this was a man, a strong, heavily-built man, a man who, judging from his bulging knuckles, had spent much time boxing.看来此人假扮宫女、潜伏宫中只是最近之事,否则以他这副形相,连做男人也是太丑,如何能假扮宫女而不给发觉?Such a person could only have succeeded in masquerading as a maid for a very short period. Even as a male, he was an ugly hulk.

康熙拔出腰刀,割破此人的裤子,看了一眼之后,恼怒之极,连挥数刀,将他腰胯之间斩得稀烂。Kang Xi bared his short-sword, and slashed open the man’s trousers. What he saw there rilled him with rage. He began angrily hacking at the man’s thighs and genitals, leaving them a bloody pulp.韦小宝道:“太后……”康熙怒道:“什么太后?这贱人逼走我父皇,害死我亲娘,秽乱宫廷,多行不义。我……我要将她碎尸万段,满门抄斩。” ‘Her Majesty . . .’ began Trinket. ‘What Majesty?’ cried Kang Xi indignantly. That slut drove out my father, murdered my mother, defiled the Palace with her filthy behaviour, slept with this vile creature, and you call her Majesty? I should hack her into a thousand pieces, execute her entire clan, and confiscate every penny they possess!’韦小宝吁了口长气,登时放心:“皇上不再认她是太后,这老婊子不论做什么坏事,给我知道了,他也不会杀我灭口。” Trinket let out a long breath. ‘Phew!’ he thought to himself. ‘Maybe I’m saved from the clutches of the Old Whore after all!’

康熙提刀又在尸首上剁了一阵,一时气愤难禁,便欲传呼侍卫,将太后看押起来审问,转念一想:Kang Xi stabbed the body a few more times, but this was still not enough to vent his rage. He was on the point of sending his guards to arrest the Empress Dowager for questioning, but thought better of it. “父皇未死,却在五台山出家,这是何等大事?一有泄漏,天下官民群相耸动,我可万万卤莽不得。”说道:“小桂子,明儿一早,我便跟你去五台山查明真相。” It would be very rash to betray the fact that he knew his father was in retreat on Wutai. He turned impulsively to Trinket. ‘Laurel, tomorrow you and I will go to the Wutai Mountains!’

韦小宝应道:“是!”心中大喜,得和皇帝同行,到五台山去走一遭,比之闷在北京城里自是好玩得多了。’Yes, Your Majesty!’ Trinket was delighted at the idea of going on a trip with Kang Xi, and at the thought of getting out of the confines of the Forbidden City.但康熙可远比韦小宝见识明白,思虑周详,随即想到皇帝出巡,十分隆重,至少也得筹备布置好几个月,沿途百官预备接驾保护,大费周章,决不能说走便走;But Kang Xi’s impulse was short-lived. He was by now sufficiently grown-up and wise to know that an Imperial Expedition of any kind would inevitably be a cumbersome affair, involving months of planning and an escort of hundreds of guards.又想自己年幼,亲政未久,朝中王公大臣未附,倘若太后乘着自己出京之机夺政篡权,废了自己,另立新君,却是可虑;Besides, there was always the danger that the Empress Dowager (if she was plotting something) might take advantage of his absence from Peking to usurp power.又如父皇其实已死,或者虽然尚在人世,却不在五台山上,自己大张旗鼓的上山朝见,要是未能见到,不但为天下所笑,抑且是贻讥后世。And finally, just supposing his father was not still alive, or was alive but not in the Wutai Mountains, he would make a laughing-stock of himself by going there now.

他想了一会,摇头道:“不行,我不能随便出京。小桂子,你给我走一遭罢。”韦小宝颇感失望,道:“我一个人去?” ‘Perhaps not,’ he said, shaking his head. ‘I don’t think I can go. I can’t leave the Capital. Laurie, you’ll have to go for me.’ ‘Me? All on my own?’ Trinket sounded very disappointed.康熙道:“你一个人去。待得探查明白,父皇确是在五台山上,我在京里又布置好了对付那贱人的法子,咱二人再一同上山,以策万全。” ‘You must go. I want you to find out the truth. I want to know for sure that my father is there. Then I’ll deal with that slut, and afterwards we can both go to Wutai without putting him in any danger.’

韦小宝心想皇帝既决定对付太后,自己去五台山探访,自是义不容辞,说道:“好,我就去五台山。” Trinket could see that this was a more sensible plan, and reluctantly he agreed to go.康熙道:“我大清的规矩,太监不能出京,除非是随我同去。好在你本来不是太监。小桂子,你以后不做太监了,还是做侍卫罢。’Court eunuchs are not normally allowed to leave Peking,’ said Kang Xi, ‘unless they are accompanying the Emperor. I think I’ll have to make you a Palace Guard, Laurie.不过宫里朝里的人都已认得你,忽然不做太监,大家会十分奇怪。嗯,我可对人宣称,为了擒拿鳌拜,It’ll look a bit odd, though, if you suddenly stop being a eunuch, without any explanation. I’ll have to make an announcement and say that you were only pretending to be a eunuch on my orders, so as to catch that scoundrel Oboi.你奉我之命,假扮太监,现下元凶已除,自然不能老是假扮下去。小桂子,将来你读点书,我封你做个大官儿。” Now that he’s out of the way, there’s no need for you to pretend any more. Come to think of it, Laurie, since you’re not a eunuch any more, if you studied a bit, one day I really could make you one of my Great Ministers!’

韦小宝道:“好啊!只不过我一见书本子就头痛。我少读点书,你封我的官儿,也就小些儿好了。” ‘Excellent!’ cried Trinket. There’s only one snag. The sight of a book gives me a terrible headache. Perhaps I could be one of your Little Ministers?’康熙坐在桌前,提起笔来,给父皇写信,禀明自己不孝,直至此刻方知父皇尚在人世,心中欢喜逾恒,即日便上山来,恭迎圣驾回宫,重理万机,而儿子亦得重接亲颜,Kang Xi sat down at a table and began writing a letter to his father. In it he begged forgiveness for not having known until now that his father was still alive, and communicated his intention of visiting him in the mountains and escorting him back to Peking, where he could once more rule over his devoted subjects.写得几行字,忽想:“这封信要是落入了旁人手中,那可大大不妥。小桂子倘若给人擒获或者杀死,这信就给人搜去了。” He had reached this point in the letter, when it suddenly occurred to him that if his emissary Laurel did get captured and this letter were to fall into the wrong hands, disaster could ensue.

他拿起了那页写了半张的信纸,在烛火上烧了,又提笔写道:“敕令御前侍卫副总管钦赐穿黄马褂韦小宝前赴五台山一带公干,各省文武官员受命调遣,钦此。”He took the sheet of paper, lit it in the flame of a candle, and burnt it to ash. He began again. This time it was a straightforward Imperial Edict requesting all concerned to give aid to Lieutenant-Colonel Trinket Wei of the Palace Guards, by Imperial Command wearer of the Yellow Jacket, proceeding on an Imperial Commission to the Wutai Mountains.写毕,盖了御宝,交给韦小宝,笑道:“我封了你一个官儿,你瞧瞧是什么。” Having written the Edict, he affixed the Imperial Seal to it, and handed it with a smile to Trinket. ‘There. I’ve given you your first official appointment. Have a look.’

韦小宝睁大了眼,只识得自己的名字,和“五、一、文”三个字,一共六个字,而“韦”字和“宝”字也是跟“小”字上下相凑才识得的,要是分开,就认不准了,摇头道:“不识得是什么官。是皇上亲封的,总不会是小官罢?” Trinket blinked at the Edict. Apart from his own name there was a grand total of three characters he recognized. ‘Sorry, I can’t read it, Majesty. But if you gave me the appointment, it must be a good one!’康熙笑着将那道敕令读了一遍。韦小宝伸了伸舌头,道:“是御前侍卫副总管,厉害,厉害,还赏穿黄马褂呢。” Kang Xi read the Edict aloud for his benefit. Trinket stuck his tongue out in astonishment. ‘Wow! A Lieutenant-Colonel! And wearing the Yellow Jacket! Not bad for a start!’

康熙微笑道:“多隆虽是总管,可没黄马褂穿。你这事如能办得妥当,回宫后再升你的官。只不过你年纪太小,官儿太大了不像样,咱们慢慢的来。”韦小宝道:“官大官小,我也不在乎,只要常常能跟你见面,那就很好了。”康熙又喜又悲,说道:“你此去一切小心,行事务须万分机密。这道敕令,如不是万不得已,不可取出来让人见到。这就去罢!”

The Getaway

韦小宝向康熙告别,见东方已现出鱼肚白,回到屋里,轻轻开门进去。As Trinket took his leave of Kang Xi and made his way back to his own apartment, first light was dappling the eastern sky. He opened the door quietly.方怡并没睡着,喜道:“你回来了。”韦小宝道:“万事大吉,咱们这就出宫去罢。”沐剑屏迷迷糊糊的醒转,道:“师姊很是担心,怕你遇到危险。”韦小宝笑问:“你呢?”沐剑屏道:“我自然也担心。你没事罢?” Fang Yi had been awake since Trinket left them, and greeted him gladly on his return. The Little Countess awoke and sleepily informed him how worried they had both been for his safety.韦小宝道:“没事,没事。” ‘All is well!’ announced Trinket. ‘Now we really will be able to make our getaway at last!’

只听得钟声响动,宫门开启,文武百官便将陆续进宫候朝。The morning bells could be heard, as the gates of the Palace were opened and courtiers began to troop in for early audience.韦小宝点燃桌上蜡烛,察看二人装束并无破绽,笑道:“你二人生得太美,在脸上擦些泥沙灰尘罢。” Trinket lit a candle and inspected the two girls’ disguise. It still seemed quite convincing. The trouble is, you’re both too pretty!’ he quipped. ‘Better rub a bit of dirt on your faces!’沐剑屏有些不愿意,但见方怡伸手在地下尘土往脸上搽去,也就依样而为。韦小宝将从太后床底盗来的三部经书也包入包袱,摸出那枝银钗,递给方怡,说道:“是这根钗儿罢?” The Little Countess was reluctant to do this, but Fang Yi agreed to go through the motions. Then Trinket wrapped up the three Sutras he had taken from the Empress Dowager’s room, and handed Fang Yi her silver hairpin. ‘I believe this is yours.’

方怡脸上一红,慢慢伸手接过,说道:“你甘冒大险,原来……原来是去为我取这根钗儿。”心中一酸,眼眶儿红了,将头转了过去。She blushed and held out her hand. ‘You mean you went through all that danger to get this for me . . .’ She sounded moved, and looked positively moist-eyed. She turned away in embarrassment.韦小宝笑道:“也没什么危险。”心想:“这叫做好心有好报,不去取这根钗儿,捞不到一件黄马褂穿。” ‘It wasn’t that dangerous,’ said Trinket, reflecting to himself that if he hadn’t gone to get her the hairpin, none of the other things would have happened, including his entitlement to wear the Yellow Jacket!他带领二人,从禁宫城后门神武门出宫。其时天色尚未大亮,守门的侍卫见是桂公公带同两名小太监出宫,除了巴结讨好,谁来多问一句?He set off with the two of them, leaving the Forbidden City once more through the northern gate, the Gate of the Divine Warrior. In the still dim early morning light, the guards on the gate paid scant attention to the two young eunuchs accompanying the familiar figure of Laurel Goong-goong.

方怡出得宫来,走出十余丈后,回头向宫门望了一眼,百感交集,真似隔世为人。韦小宝在街边雇了三顶小轿,吩咐抬往西长安街,Once they were out in the street, Trinket hired three small sedan chairs, and told the bearers to take them to Chang’an Street West.下轿另雇小轿,到天地会落脚处两条胡同外下轿,说道:“你们沐王府的朋友,昨天都出城去了。我得跟朋友商议商议,且看送你们去哪里。” They got out there, and Trinket hired another chair. This carried them to within two alleyways of the Triad headquarters, and here they dismounted.他做了钦赐黄马褂的御前侍卫副总管,自觉已成了大人,加之有钦命在身,去查一件天大的大事,突然收起了油腔滑调,再者师父相距不远,可也不敢放肆。方怡问道:“你……你今后要去哪里?”韦小宝道:“我不敢再在北京城多耽,走得越远越好,要等到太后死了,事平之后,才敢回来。”(Pass)方怡道:“我们在河北石家庄有个好朋友,你……你如不嫌弃,便同……同去暂避一时可好?”沐剑屏道:“好啊,你是我们的救命恩人,大家是自己人。三个人一起赶路,也热闹些。”两人凝望着他,均有企盼之意,沐剑屏显得天真热切,方怡则微含羞涩。The girls told Trinket they should be making their way south to join a friend in the city of Shijiazhuang, in Hebei Province. They invited him to accompany them.韦小宝如不是身负要务,和这两个俏佳人结伴同行,长途遨游,原是快活逍遥之极,此刻却不得不设法推托,说道:“我还答应了朋友去办一件要紧事,这时候不能就去石家庄。你们身上有伤,两个姑娘儿家赶路不便,我得拜托一两个靠得住的朋友,护送你们前去。咱们且歇一歇,吃饱了慢慢商量。” Trinket (tempted though he was by the thought of roaming around the countryside with these two delectable young ladies) had other more pressing affairs to attend to. He persuaded them to come in with him for a moment, to rest and eat, and then think about their future plans.

当下来到天地会的住处。守在胡同外的弟兄见到是他,忙引了进去。马彦超迎了出来,见他带着两名小太监,甚是诧异。The guard at the entrance to the Triad house let them through, and Brother Gao ushered the three of them in, looking somewhat bemused by the two new little eunuch companions that the Lodge Master had in tow.韦小宝在他耳边低声道:“是沐家小公爷的妹子,还有一个是她师姊,我从宫里救出来的。”马彦超请二女在厅上就坐,奉上茶来,将韦小宝拉在一边,说道:“总舵主昨晚出京去了。” Trinket explained who they really were, and Gao promptly showed them to a seat and served them tea. He took Trinket aside. The Helmsman has had to leave Peking early. He went last night.’韦小宝大喜,他一来实在怕师父查问武功进境,二来又不知是否该将康熙所命告知,听说已然离京,心头登时如放下一块大石,This was a huge load off Trinket’s mind. He had been dreading the thought of having to face another kungfu inquisition from his Shifu; and he had been unable to resolve in his own mind his latest dilemma, whether or not to inform the Helmsman of the new (and very important) mission on which he was being sent by the Emperor.脸上却装作失望之极,顿足道:“这……这……这……唉,师父怎地这么快就走了?” He still managed an excellent display of disappointment, and stamped his foot on the ground in mock frustration. ‘Why did he have to leave in such a hurry?’

马彦超道:“总舵主吩咐属下转告韦香主,说他老人家突然接到台湾来的急报,非赶回去处理不可。总舵主要韦香主一切小心,相机行事,’Urgent news from Taiwan,’ replied Gao. ‘He was obliged to return there at once. He said that you were to be very cautious.宫中如不便再住,可离京暂避,又说要韦香主勤练武功,韦香主身上的伤毒不知已全清了没有,如果身子不妥,务须急报总舵主知道。”韦小宝道:“是。师父惦记我的伤势武功,好教人心中感激。”他两句话倒是不假,听得师父在匆忙之际还是记挂着自己身子,确是感念,又问:“台湾出了什么事?” It might be necessary for you to leave the Palace and lie low for a while.’ Trinket was touched by this concern on the part of the Helmsman. ‘What’s happened in Taiwan?’

马彦超道:“听说是郑氏母子不合,杀了大臣,好像生了内变。总舵主威望极重,有甚么变乱,他老人家一到必能平息,韦香主不必忧虑。李大哥、关夫子、樊大哥、风大哥、玄贞道长他们都跟着总舵主去了。徐三哥和属下留在京里,听由韦香主差遣。” There seems to be some friction within the Marshal’s family. The Helmsman is needed there to restore the peace. Some of the Brothers have gone with him—Big Beaver, Brother Li, Father Obscurus. Brother Xu and I and some of the others have stayed behind here to wait for your orders.’韦小宝点点头,说道:“你叫人去请徐三哥来。”心想“八臂猿猴”徐天川武功既高,人又机警,而且是个老翁,护送二女去石家庄最好不过。Trinket nodded his head. ‘Ask Brother Xu to come in.’ The Eight-Armed Ape might be just the person to escort the two girls to Shijiazhuang, thought Trinket: he was an excellent fighter, and old enough to be their father.又想:“台湾也是母子不和,杀人生事,倒跟北京的太后、皇帝一样。”

他回到厅上,和方沐二人同吃面点。沐剑屏吃得小半碗面,便忍不住问道:“你当真不能和我们同去石家庄吗?” Meanwhile he and the girls had a light meal of noodles. The Little Countess picked at her food. ‘Are you sure you can’t come with us to Shijiazhuang?’ she asked.韦小宝向方怡瞧去,见她停箸不食,凝眸相睇,目光中殊有殷切之意,不由得胸口一热,Trinket looked at Fang Yi, who had put down her chopsticks and was staring at him with a beseeching expression. He was very tempted.便想要二女跟着自己去五台山,但随即心想:“我去办的是何等大事?带着这两个受伤的姑娘上道,碍手碍脚,受人注目,那是万万不可。” He even thought of suggesting that the two of them went with him to the Wutai Mountains. But a moment’s reflection sufficed to tell him that would be a crazy idea. They were both wounded, and their presence would be bound to attract attention.叹了口气,道:“我事了之后,便到石家庄来探望。你们的朋友住在哪里?叫什么名字?” He sighed. ‘I must finish my errand first, and then I’ll come and find you. Where does your friend live in Shijiazhuang? What’s his name?’

方怡慢慢低下头去,用筷子挟了一根面条,却不放入口里,低声道:“那位朋友在石家庄西市开一家骡马行,他叫‘快马’宋三。” Fang Yi picked up her chopsticks and toyed with her noodles. ‘He runs a donkey stable,’ she said softly. ‘His name is Song San, people call him Mr Gallop.’韦小宝道:“‘快马’宋三,是了,我一定来探望你们。”脸上出现顽皮神色,轻声道:“我又怎能不来?怎舍得这一对羞花闭月的大老婆、小老婆?” Trinket gave a mischievous little smile. “I’ll be there, never fear. I’m always game for a gallop, or a canter, or even a trot, so long as I’ve got one of my women up in the saddle with me . . .’沐剑屏笑道:“乖不了半天,又来贫嘴贫舌了。” He received an immediate scolding from the Little Countess for being so flippant at a time like this.方怡正色道:“你如真当我们是好朋友,我们……我们天天盼望你来。要是心存轻薄,不尊重人,那……那也不用来了。” ‘If you’re our friend,’ said Fang Yi in an earnest tone of voice, ‘you’ll always be welcome to come and see us wherever we are. But if all you want to do is make silly remarks like that, then you might as well stay away.”

韦小宝碰了个钉子,微觉无趣,道:“好啦,你不爱说笑,以后我不说就是。” Trinket was beginning to find their constant priggishness depressing. ‘If that’s how you feel,’ he said somewhat petulantly, ‘I might as well keep my mouth shut and say nothing at all.’方怡有些歉然,柔声道:“就是说笑,也有个分寸,也得瞧时候,瞧地方。你……你生气了吗?” Fang Yi insisted that there was nothing wrong with occasionally joking and having a little fun. But one should know where to draw the line. ‘So please don’t be cross with us!’韦小宝又高兴起来,忙道:“没有,没有。只要你不生气就好。”方怡笑了笑,轻轻的道:“对你啊,谁也不会真的生气。” The way she said this was so endearing, Trinket’s spirits immediately soared again. ‘How could I be cross with you?’ protested Trinket. ‘But what about you? Are you cross with me?’ ‘No one could ever really be cross with you!’

方怡这么嫣然一笑,纵然脸上尘土未除,却也是俏丽难掩,韦小宝登时觉得身上一阵温暖。他一口一口喝着面汤,一时想不出话来说。
Fang Yi’s face was still smudged with dirt, but to Trinket she seemed as lovely as ever, and the sight of her gave him a warm, tingling sensation. He sat there, gazing at her, and silently drinking his noodle broth.

忽听得天井中脚步声响,一个老儿走了进来,却是徐天川到了。他走到韦小宝身前,躬身行礼,满脸堆欢,恭恭敬敬的说道:“您老好。”他为人谨细,见有外人在座,便不称呼“韦香主”。韦小宝抱拳还礼,笑道:“徐三哥,我给你引见两位朋友。这两位都是‘铁背苍龙’柳老爷子的高足,这一位方姑娘,这一位沐姑娘,是沐王府的小郡主。”向方沐二女道:“这位徐大哥,跟柳老爷子、你家小公爷都相识。”他生怕方沐二女怀恨记仇,加上一句:“本来有一点儿小小过节,现下这梁子都已揭开了。”待三人见过礼后,说道:“徐三哥,我想拜托你一件事。”徐天川听得这两个女扮男装的小太监竟是沐王府的重要人物,心想沐剑声等都已知道韦小宝来历,这两位姑娘自然也早得悉,便道:“韦香主有所差遣,属下自当奉命。”方怡和沐剑屏却其实不知道韦小宝的身分,听徐天川叫他“韦香主”,都大为奇怪。韦小宝微微一笑,说道:“两位姑娘跟吴立身吴老爷子、刘一舟刘大哥他们一般,都是失陷在皇宫之中,此刻方才出来。沐家小公爷、刘一舟师兄他们都已离京了罢?” Presently Xu Tianchuan came in, and Trinket introduced him to the two girls. It was only now (on observing Xu’s attitude of reverence, and on hearing him address Trinket as Lodge Master Wei) that they became aware of Trinket’s Triad identity.徐天川道:“沐王府众位英雄昨天都已平安离京。沐小公爷还托我打探小郡主的下落,我请他放心,包在天地会身上,必定找到小郡主。”说着脸露微笑。”沐剑屏道:“刘师哥跟我哥哥在一起?”她这话是代方怡问的。徐天川道:“在下送他们分批出城,刘师兄是跟柳老爷子在一起,向南去的。”方怡脸上一红,低下头来。Xu informed Trinket that he had escorted the Mu Family out of the city, and that they had headed south. When Fang Yi heard that the group included her beloved Liu Yizhou, her face flushed and she hung her head bashfully.

韦小宝心想:“你听得心上人平安脱险,定然是心花怒放。”殊不知这一次却猜错了。’Look how happy she is, the minute she hears that her lover is alive and well!’ thought Trinket moodily.方怡心中想的是:“我答应过他,他如救了刘师哥性命,我便得嫁他为妻,终身不渝。可是他是个太监,怎生嫁得?他小小年纪,花样百出,却又是什么‘韦香主’了?” But the thoughts running through Fang Yi’s mind were somewhat different. ‘If Liu is saved, then I’ve given my word, and I’m married to a eunuch! What kind of marriage can that ever be?’韦小宝道:“这两位姑娘力抗清宫侍卫,身上受了伤,现下要到石家庄一位朋友家去养伤。我想请徐三哥护送前去。”徐天川欢然道:“理当效劳。韦香主派了一件好差使给我。属下对不起沐王府的朋友,反蒙沐小公爷相救,心中既感且愧。得能陪伴两位姑娘平安到达,也可稍稍补报于万一。” Xu Tianchuan agreed to escort the girls to Shijiazhuang. He was delighted to have this opportunity to show his goodwill towards the Mu Family, and vowed that he would gladly go with them all the way to Yunnan Province if need be, to show his gratitude to Lodge Master Wei.

沐剑屏向徐天川瞧了一眼,见他身形瘦小,弓腰曲背,是个随时随刻便能一命呜呼的糟老头子,说什么护送自己和师姊,只怕一路之上还要照料他呢,何况韦小宝不去,早已好生失望,不悦之意忍不住便在脸上流露了出来。方怡却道:“烦劳徐老爷子大驾,可实在不敢当,只须劳驾给雇一辆大车,我们自己上路好了。我们的伤也没什么大不了,实在不用费神。”徐天川笑道:“方姑娘不用客气。韦香主既有命令,我说什么要奉陪到底。两位姑娘武艺高强,原不用老头儿在旁惹厌,‘护送’两字,老头儿实在没这个本领。但跑腿打杂,侍候两位姑娘住店、打尖、雇车、买物,那倒是拿手好戏,免得两位姑娘一路之上多费口舌,对付骡夫、车夫、店小二这些人物。” The Little Countess at first turned her nose up at the idea of being escorted by this old man, but he was so insistent that in the end she consented. He pointed out that while they had little need of protection (given their undoubted kungfu prowess), he could still make himself useful by performing all sorts of necessary services for them, such as hiring carts, booking rooms at inns, procuring refreshments, dealing with grooms, and so on.方怡见难再推辞,说道:“徐老爷子这番盛意,不知如何报答才好。”徐天川哈哈大笑,道:“报什么答?不瞒两位姑娘说,我对咱们这位韦香主,心中佩服得了不得,别瞧他年纪轻轻,实在是神通广大。他既救了我老命,昨天又给老头子出了胸中一口恶气,我心中正在嘀咕,怎生想法子好好给他办几件事才好,哪想他今天就交给了我这一件差使。两位姑娘就算不许我陪着,老头儿也只好不识相,一路之上做个先行官,逢山开路,遇水搭桥,侍候两位平安到达石家庄。别说从北京到石家庄只几天路程,韦香主倘若吩咐老头儿跟随两位上云南去,那也是说去便去,送到为止。”

沐剑屏见到他模样虽然猥琐,说话倒很风趣,问道:“他昨天给你出了什么气?昨天,他……他不是在皇宫里么?”徐天川笑道:“吴三桂那奸贼手下有个狗官,叫做卢一峰。他将老头儿拿了去,拷打辱骂,还拿张膏药封住我的嘴巴,幸得令兄派人救了我出来。韦香主答应我说,他定当叫人打断这狗官的双腿。我想吴三桂的狗儿子这次来京,手下带的能人极多。卢一峰这厮上次吃过我苦头,学了乖,再也不敢独自出来,咱们要报仇,可不这么容易。哪知道昨天我在西城种德堂药材铺,见到一个做跌打医生的朋友,说起平西王狗窝里派人抬了一个狗官,到处找跌打医生。事情可也真奇怪,跌打医生找了一个又一个,一共找了二三十人,却又不让医治,只是跟他们说,这狗官名叫卢一峰,胡涂混蛋,平西王的狗儿子亲自拿棍子打断了他的一双狗腿,要他痛上七日七夜,不许医治。”

方怡和沐剑屏都十分奇怪,问韦小宝:“那是什么道理?”韦小宝道:“这狗官得罪了徐三哥,自然要叫他多吃点儿苦头。”沐剑屏道:“平西王狗窝里的人,却干么又将他抬来抬去,好让众人得知?”韦小宝道:“吴应熊这小子是要人传给我听,我叫他打断这狗官的腿,他已办妥了。”沐剑屏更是奇怪,问道:“他又为什么要听你的话?”韦小宝微笑道:“我胡说八道,骗了他一番,他就信啦。”徐天川道:“我本想赶去将他毙了,但想这狗官给人抬着游街示众,断了两条腿又不许医治,如去杀了他,反倒便宜了这厮。昨天下午我亲眼见到了他,一条狗命十成中倒已去了九成,裤管卷了起来,露出两条断腿,又肿又紫,痛得只叫妈。两位姑娘,你说老头儿心中可有多痛快?” And it would be such a pleasure, he repeated, to be able to repay Lodge Master Wei for what he’d done for him. Xu explained to the girls how he had been savagely beaten up by the Satrap’s official Lu Yifeng, and how Trinket had had a word with the Satrap’s son, as a result of which Lu had had both his legs broken personally by Wu Yingxiong.

这时马彦超已雇了三辆大车,在门外等候。Meanwhile Brother Gao had ordered three large carts, and was waiting outside.他也是天地会中的得力人物,但会中规矩,大家干的是杀头犯禁之事,如非必要,越少露相越好,是以也没给方、沐二人引见。(pass)韦小宝寻思:“我包袱之中一共已有五部《四十二章经》,这些书有什么用,我是一点也不知道,但这许多人拚了性命偷盗抢夺,其中一定大有缘故,带在身上赶路,可别失落了。” Trinket had been wondering what to do with the five copies of the Sutra that were now in his possession: the three he had taken from the secret compartment in the Empress Dowager’s bed, and the two he had previously acquired.沉吟半晌,有了计较,向马彦超悄悄的道:“马大哥,我在宫里有个要好兄弟,给鞑子侍卫们杀了,我带了他骨灰出来,要好好给他安葬。请你即刻差人去买口棺木。” He took Gao aside. ‘Brother Gao, a friend oE mine in the Palace has been killed by the guards, and I want to bury his ashes. I’d be grateful if you could purchase a coffin for me.’马彦超答应了,心想韦香主的好友为鞑子所杀,那必是反清义士,亲自去选了一口上好柳州木棺材。Gao assumed that the Lodge Master’s friend must be a hero who had died in the cause of the Resistance, and he went out and bought the very best coffin available, made of wood from Liuzhou in the deep South.他知道这位韦香主手面甚阔,将他所给的三百两银子使得只剩下三十几两,除了棺木之外,其他寿衣、骨灰坛、石灰、绵纸、油布、灵牌、灵幡、纸钱等物一应俱全,尽是最佳之物,又替方沐二女买了改换男装的衣衫鞋帽,途中所用的干粮点心,By the time he had also bought the urn, paper money, spirit tablet, spirit banner and other funeral paraphernalia, ordinary men’s attire for the ladies to change into, and an assortment of snacks for them to take with them on their journey, he had spent almost all of the three hundred taels given him by Trinket.还叫了一名仵作、一名漆匠。待得诸物抬到,韦小宝和二女都已睡了两个时辰。The few remaining taels went towards hiring the services of a coroner to officiate at the funeral ceremony, and a carpenter. He returned a few hours later, to find Trinket and the girls still taking a nap.

韦小宝先行换了常人装束,心道:“我奉旨去五台山公干,这可有得忙了,怎么还有时候练武功?师父这部武功秘诀,可别给人偷了去。”当下将五部经书连同师父所给的武功秘诀,用油布一层一层的包裹完密,When Trinket awoke, he took the five copies of the Sutra, and the little kungfu manual given him by the Helmsman (when was he going to have time to practise, after all, on this new mission?), and wrapped them carefully in several layers of oil-cloth.到灶下去捧了一大把柴灰,放在骨灰坛中,心想:“最好棺材之中放一具真的尸首,那么就算有人开棺查检,也不会起疑。只不过一时三刻,也找不到个坏人来杀了。” Then he took a handful of ash from under the kitchen stove, and put it inside a burial urn.于是醮些清水,抹在眼中脸上,神情悲哀,双手捧了油布包和骨灰坛,走到后厅,将包裹和骨灰坛放入棺材,跪了下来,放声大哭。He rubbed some water in his eyes, and, sobbing most convincingly, made his way to the outhouse where the coffin had been placed.徐天川、马彦超,以及方沐二女都已候在厅上,见他跪倒痛哭,哪有疑心,只道确是他好友的骨灰,也都跪倒行礼。韦小宝见过死者家人向吊祭者还礼的情形,抢到棺木之侧,跪下向四人磕头还礼。There, he knelt solemnly and placed the package and the urn in the coffin. Brothers Xu and Gao, and the two girls, also fell to their knees and bowed their heads, not for a moment questioning the sincerity of Trinket’s grief for this departed friend of his.眼看仵作放好绵纸、石灰等物,钉上了棺盖。漆匠便开始油漆。Finally, when the coroner had placed a layer of soft paper and lime on the contents of the coffin, and the carpenter had nailed it up and added a coat of varnish, the ‘mourners’ departed and the coffin was left standing on its own in die outhouse.马彦超问道:“这位义士尊姓大名,好在棺木上漆书他的名号。”韦小宝道:“他……他……他………”抽抽噎噎的不住假哭,心下寻思,说道:“他叫海桂栋。”那是将海大富、小桂子、瑞栋三人的名字各凑一字,心道:“我杀了你们三人,现下向你们磕头行礼,焚化纸钱给你们在阴世使用,你们三个冤鬼,总不该缠上我了罢?”沐剑屏见他哭得悲切,劝慰道:“满清鞑子杀死我们的好朋友,总有一日要将他们杀得干干净净,给好朋友报仇雪恨。”韦小宝哭道:“鞑子自然要杀,这几位好朋友的仇,却是万万报不得的。”沐剑屏睁大了一双秀目,怔怔的瞧着他,心想:“为什么报不得?”(pass)

Departure from Peking

四人休息了一会,和马彦超作别上道。韦小宝道:“我送你们一阵。”方沐二人脸上均现喜色。After another short rest, Trinket said he would accompany them some of the way, an offer gladly accepted by the two girls二女坐了一辆大车,韦小宝和徐天川各坐一辆。三辆大车先出东门,向东行了数里,这才折而向南。又行得七八里,来到一处镇甸,They climbed into one cart, while Trinket and Xu each boarded one of the others. They left Peking by one of the eastern gates, and after travelling in an easterly direction for a while, turned south and travelled another two or three miles, when they came to a small country town.徐天川吩咐停车,说道:“送君千里,终须一别,天色已经不早,咱们在这里喝杯茶,这就分手罢!” Here Brother Xu ordered the drivers to stop, and suggested that they should drink some tea in a small tea-house, and that the Lodge Master might wish to take his leave.走进路旁一间茶馆,店伴泡上茶来,三名车夫坐了另一桌。徐天川心想韦香主他们三人必有体己话要说,背负着双手,出去观看风景。The waiter poured tea, while the drivers sat at a separate table. Xu himself wandered out to admire the view, thinking that the Lodge Master might wish to make his farewell undisturbed.

沐剑屏道:“桂……桂大哥,你其实姓韦,是不是?怎么又是什么香主?” The Little Countess spoke first. ‘Brother Laurel,’ she began. ‘Now we know that your real name is Wei. Lodge Master Wei—what does that mean?’韦小宝笑道:“我姓韦,名叫小宝,是天地会青木堂香主。到这时候,可不能再瞒你们了。”沐剑屏叹道:“唉!”韦小宝问:“为什么叹气?”沐剑屏道:“你是天地会青木堂香主,怎地……怎地到皇宫中去做了太监,那不是……那不是……”The time has come to tell you the truth,’ announced Trinket with a smile. ‘Yes, my real name is Trinket Wei, and I am Lodge Master of the Green Wood Triad Lodge.’ The Little Countess let out a soft sigh. Then how did you let yourself become … a … Palace Eunuch? It seems such a terrible . . .’方怡知道她要说“可惜之极”,一来此言说来不雅,二来不愿惹起韦小宝的愁思,插嘴道:“英雄豪杰为了国家大事,不惜屈辱自身,那是教人十分佩服的。” Fang Yi knew what she meant: such a terrible shame, such a waste, to be castrated. ‘It was worth it!’ she put in fiercely. ‘He let himself be mutilated for the Great Cause! He’s a brave boy!’她料想韦小宝必是奉了天地会之命,自残身体,入宫卧底,确然令人敬佩。韦小宝微微一笑,心想:“要不要跟她们说我不是太监?” If it had been as she imagined—if Trinket really had allowed himself to be castrated in order to work as a Triad spy—he would have been brave indeed! Trinket gave a wry smile. ‘Shall I tell them, or not?’ he was wondering.

忽听得徐天川喝道:“好朋友,到这时候还不露相吗?”伸手向右首一名车夫的肩头拍了下去。Even as this thought was passing through his mind, he heard a cry from the next table. Xu Tianchuan had hurled himself at one of the drivers, and brought the edge of his right palm down sharply on the man’s shoulder.徐天川的右掌刚要碰上那车夫肩头,那人身子一侧,徐天川右掌已然拍空,他左拳却已向车夫右腰击到。The driver darted to one side. As Xu’s right cut through thin air, he drove his left fist into the driver’s side.那车夫反手勾推,将这拳带到了外门。徐天川右肘跟着又向他后颈压落。那车夫右手反扬,向徐天川顶门虚击,But the man caught the incoming fist and turned it back on itself. Xu now brought his right elbow down on the back of the man’s neck, whereupon the man swept his right hand through the air and feinted at the crown of Xu’s head.徐天川手肘如和他头颈相触,便有如将自己头顶送到他手掌之下,立即双足使劲,向后跃开。他连使三招,掌拍、拳击、肘压,是都十分凌厉的手法,可是那车夫竟都轻描淡写的一一化开。Xu saw the danger he was in, and leapt backwards. Each one of his moves had met with a smart riposte.徐天川又惊又怒,料想这人定是大内好手,奉命前来拿人,当下左手连挥,示意韦小宝等三人快逃,自己与敌人纠缠,让他们三人有脱身之机。By now Xu was both angry and alarmed. This driver had clearly been planted to do some mischief. Xu gestured to Trinket, indicating that the three of them should escape while they still could.可是他们三人哪肯不顾义气?方怡身上有伤,难以动手,韦小宝和沐剑屏都拔出兵刃,便要上前夹击。But escape was not at all what they had in mind. Fang Yi was still too weak to fight, but the Little Countess and Trinket immediately drew their swords and joined the fray.

那车夫转过身来,笑道:“八臂猿猴好眼力!”声音颇为尖锐。The driver turned around. ‘Allow me to congratulate the Eight-Armed Ape on having such keen eyesight!’ It was a high-pitched voice.四人见他面目黄肿,衣衫污秽,形貌丑陋,一时间也瞧不出多少年纪。The driver had a sallow, puffy face, and was dressed in dirty rags. It was hard to tell what age he was.徐天川听他叫出自己外号,心下更惊,抱拳道:“尊驾是谁?干么假扮车夫,戏弄在下?” Xu was greatly taken aback to hear himself being called by his nom de guerre. ‘May I know your name?’ he asked, cupping his hands in a polite gesture. ‘And why you choose to disguise yourself as a driver, and play tricks on me?’那车夫笑道:“戏弄是万万不敢的。在下与韦香主是好朋友,得知他出京,特地前来相送。”韦小宝搔了搔头,道:“我……我可不认得你啊。” The driver laughed. ‘I can assure you, it is no trick. I am a good friend of Lodge Master Wei’s, and thought I should accompany him out of Peking.’ Trinket scratched his head. ‘But… I don’t even know who you are!’ he exclaimed.那车夫笑道:“我二人昨晚还联手共抗强敌,你怎地便忘了?” ‘Only last night the two of us were fighting together! How could you have forgotten me so soon!’韦香主恍然大悟,说道:“啊,你……你是陶……陶……”将匕首插入靴筒,奔过去拉住她手,才知道车夫是陶宫娥所乔装改份。The truth suddenly dawned on Trinket. ‘You must be Tao!’ He slipped his dagger back in his boot, and hurried over to grasp the ‘driver’ by the hand. It was the maid Tao Hongying, dressed as a man.

陶宫娥脸上涂满了牛油水粉,旁人已难知她喜怒,但见她眼光中露出喜悦之色,She had smeared so much grease and powder on her face, that it was hard to tell what expression she wore. But there was a glint of pleasure in her eyes.说道:“我怕鞑子派人阻截,因此乔装护送一程,不料徐老爷子好眼力,可瞒不过他的法眼。”徐天川见了韦香主的神情,知道此人是友非敌,又是欢喜,又感惭愧,拱手道:“尊驾武功高强,佩服,佩服!韦香主人缘真好,到处结交高人。”陶宫娥笑道:“不敢!请问徐大哥,我的改装之中,什么地方露了破绽?” ‘I was concerned that the Tartars might try to intercept you. I never expected anyone to see through my disguise! Tell me, Brother Xu, what was it that gave me away?’徐天川道:“破绽是没有。只不过一路之上,我见尊驾挥鞭赶骡,不似寻常车夫。尊驾手腕不动,鞭子笔直伸了出去,手肘不抬,鞭子已缩回来。这一份高明武功,北京赶大车的朋友之中,只怕还没几位。” ‘It was something about the way you handled the whip,’ said Xu. ‘You managed to control it without ever moving your wrist or your elbow. I knew you were no ordinary driver the minute we left Peking.’四人都大笑起来。徐天川笑道:“在下倘若识相,见了尊驾这等功夫,原不该再伸手冒犯,只不过老头子就是不知好歹,那也没法子。”陶宫娥道:“徐大哥言重了,得罪了莫怪。”徐天川抱拳道:“不敢,请问尊姓大名。”韦小宝道:“这位朋友姓陶,跟兄弟是……生死之交。”陶宫娥正色道:“不错,正是生死之交。韦香主救过我的性命。”韦小宝忙道:“前辈说哪里话来?咱们只不过合力杀了个大坏蛋而已。”陶宫娥微微一笑,道:“韦兄弟,徐大哥,方沐二位,咱们就此别过。”一拱手,便跃上大车赶车的座位。Trinket introduced Tao as a close friend of his, and Xu begged Tao’s forgiveness. ‘I must be leaving you all,’ said Tao. She bowed, and jumped up onto the driver’s seat of one of the three carts.

韦小宝道:“陶……陶大哥,你去哪里?”陶宫娥笑道:“我从哪里来,回哪里去。”韦小宝点头道:“好,后会有期。”眼见她赶着大车,径自去了。’Where are you going?’ asked Trinket. ‘Back to where I came from,’ she replied enigmatically. Trinket nodded. ‘Until we meet again!’ Tao drove the cart off into the distance.沐剑屏问道:“徐老爷子,这人武功真的很高吗?”徐天川道:“武功了得!她是个女子,更加了不起。” The Little Countess turned to Xu. ‘Was that man’s kungfu really so extraordinary?’ ‘I should say so,’ replied Xu. ‘Especially for a woman!’沐剑屏奇道:“她是女子?”徐天川道:“她跃上大车时扭动腰身,姿式固然好看,但不免扭扭捏捏,那自然是女子。” ‘A woman? Why do you say that?’ ‘Didn’t you see the way she jumped up onto the cart? Did you ever see a man with a wiggle like that?’沐剑屏道:“她说话声音很尖,也不大像男人。韦大哥,她……她本来的相貌好看么?”韦小宝道:“四十年前或许好看的。但你就算再过四十年,仍比现今的她好看得多。”沐剑屏笑道:“怎么拿我跟她比了?原来她是个老婆婆。”(omit)

韦小宝想到便要跟她们分手,不禁黯然,又想孤身上路,不由得又有些害怕。从扬州来到北京,是跟茅十八这江湖行家在一起;在皇宫之中虽迭经凶险,但人地均熟,每到紧急关头,往往凭着一时机智而化险为夷,此去山西五台山,这条路固然从未走过,前途更是一人不识。他从未单身行过长路,毕竟还是个孩子,难免胆怯。Trinket meanwhile had fallen silent. He knew the time had come for him to leave, and he was beginning to mink with some trepidation of the dangers that lay ahead of him on the road to the Wutai Mountains. On his original journey to Peking from Yangzhou he had been accompanied by the seasoned River and Lake veteran Whiskers Mao. Since then, in the Palace, whenever danger threatened, which was often, somehow he had always managed to pull something out of the bag. This time he would be travelling alone and across unfamiliar terrain. Suddenly he felt like a scared little boy.一时想先回北京,叫马彦超陪同前去五台山,却想这件事有关小玄子的身世,如让旁人知道了,可太也对不起好朋友。For a moment he contemplated going back to Peking and asking Brother Gao to accompany him. But that would entail betraying the Emperor’s confidence. No, mere was nothing for it; he had to do it alone.

徐天川只道他仍回北京,说道:“韦香主,天色不早,你这就请回罢,再迟了只怕城门关了。” ‘It’s getting late, Master,’ said old Xu, who still supposed that Trinket would be returning to the Capital. ‘You’d best be heading back, or you’ll find the city gates closed.’韦小宝道:“是。”方怡和沐剑屏都道:“盼你办完事后,便到石家庄来相见。我们等着你。”韦小宝点点头,心中甜甜地、酸酸地,说不出话来。’Come and visit us in Shijiazhuang when your mission is accomplished,’ said the girls. Trinket nodded. He could not bring himself to say anything, torn between the sweetness of being with them, and the bitterness of having to say goodbye.徐天川请二女上车,自己坐在车夫身旁,赶车向南。Xu bade the girls climb into their cart, and himself sat down beside the driver.韦小宝眼见方沐二女从车中探头出来,挥手相别。大车行出三十余丈,转了个弯,便给一排红柳树挡住,再也不见了。Trinket watched them as they set off towards the south. They leaned out and waved goodbye, then their cart made a turn, was obscured by a row of willow trees, and they disappeared from view.

Trinket acquires an Aunt

韦小宝上了剩下的一辆大车,命车夫折而向西,不回北京城去。那车夫有些迟疑,韦小宝取出十两银子,说道:“十两银子雇你三天,总够了罢?”车夫大喜,忙道:“十两银子雇一个月也够了。小的好好服侍公子爷,公子爷要行便行,要停便停。” Trinket mounted the last cart. He instructed the driver not to return to Peking, but to head directly west. The driver’s reluctance soon evaporated at the sight of the twelve taels in Trinket’s hand. ‘Will this be enough for three days?’ ‘Yes, sir! At your service, sir!’当晚停在北京西南廿余里一处小镇,在一家小客店歇宿。韦小宝抹身洗脚,没等到吃晚饭,便已倒在炕上睡着了。That night they stopped in a little market town some seven or eight miles south-west of Peking, and found lodgings at an inn. Trinket had a quick wash, and fell asleep on the heated brick bed without even bothering to eat.

次晨醒转,只觉头痛欲裂,He awoke early the next morning with a splitting headache.双眼沉重,半天睁不开来,四肢更酸软无比,难以动弹,便如在梦魇中一般。His eyes were so heavy that he could barely open them. His entire body was in great pain, and he could scarcely move. It was like waking into a nightmare.他想张口呼叫,却叫不出声,一张眼,却见地下躺着三人,He tried to open his mouth and speak, but could not utter a single sound. Finally, when he was able to see, he made out the bodies of three men lying on the ground by the bed.他大吃一惊,呆了半晌,定了定神,慢慢挣扎着坐起,只见炕前坐着一人,正笑吟吟的瞧着他。韦小宝“啊”的一声。那人笑道:“这会儿才醒吗?”正是陶宫娥。He stared at this sight in horror, then succeeded in composing himself and struggled into a sitting position, only to become aware of another figure standing before him, looking at him and chuckling quietly. Trinket let out a little cry. ‘Awake at last!’ said the figure, which Trinket was enormously relieved to recognize as Tao Hongying.

韦小宝这才宽心,说道:“陶姊姊,陶姑姑,那……那是怎么回事?”陶宫娥笑道:“你瞧瞧这三个是谁。” Sister . . . er, Miss Tao, what’s going on?’ ‘Who are those three?’ she asked him, by way of reply.韦小宝爬下炕来,腿间只一软,便已跪倒,当即后仰坐地,伸手支撑,这才站起,见地下三人早已死了,却都不识,Trinket tried to climb down onto the floor, but promptly collapsed and had to prop himself up against the side of the bed. He could see that the three bodies were dead, but failed to recognize a single one of them.说道:“陶姑姑,是你救了我性命?”陶宫娥笑道:“你到底叫我姊姊呢,还是姑姑?可别没上没下的乱叫。”韦小宝笑道:“你是姑姑,陶姑姑!” ‘I don’t know. Auntie Tao, it looks as if you’ve saved my life!’ She laughed. ‘Well make up your mind! Am I to be Sister, Miss, or Auntie?’ ‘Auntie,’ decided Trinket.

陶宫娥微笑道:“你一个人行路,以后饮食可得小心些,若是跟那八只手的老猴儿在一起,决不能上了这当。”韦小宝道:“我昨晚给人下了蒙汗药?”陶宫娥道:“差不多罢。”韦小宝想了想,说道:“多半茶里有古怪,喝上去有点酸味,又有些甜甜的。”心想:“我自己身上带着一大包蒙汗药,却去吃人家的蒙汗药。他妈的,我这次不尝尝蒙汗药的滋味,又怎知是酸酸甜甜的?”问道:“这是黑店?”陶宫娥道:“这客店本来是白的,你住进来之后,就变黑了。”韦小宝仍然头痛欲裂,伸手按住额头道:“这个我可不懂了。”陶宫娥道:“你住店后不久,就有人进来,绑住了店主夫妇跟店小二,将这间白店改了黑店。一名贼人剥下店小二的衣服穿了,在茶壶里撒了一把药粉,送进来给你。The guards had first overpowered the innkeeper, his wife, and the tea-boy, and had then put a sleeping potion in Trinket’s tea.我见你正在换衣服,想等你换好衣服之后,再出声示警,不料你除了衣衫抹身。She would have intervened, but could see that Trinket was washing and didn’t want to disturb him.等我过了一会再来看你,你早已倒了茶喝过了。幸亏这只是蒙汗药,不是毒药。”韦小宝登时满脸通红,昨晚自己抹身之时,曾想象如果方怡当真做了自己老婆,紧紧抱着她,是怎么一股滋味,当时情思荡漾,情状不堪。(Trinket recalled that the previous evening, while he was washing, he had been idly dreaming of how nice it would be if Fang Yi were his wife and had her arms around him. He vaguely remembered being aroused, and blushed to think what Auntie Tao must have seen.)

陶宫娥年纪虽已不小,毕竟是女子,隔窗见到如此丑态,自然不能多看。陶宫娥道:“昨日我跟你分手,回到宫里,但见内外平静无事,并没为太后发丧。我自是十分奇怪,匆匆改装之后,到慈宁宫外察看,见一切如常,原来太后并没死。这一下可不对了。我本想太后一死,咱二人仍可在宫中混下去,昨晚这一刀既然没刺死她,那就非得立即出宫不可,还得赶来通知你,免得你撞进宫来,自己送送死。” Auntie Tao proceeded to tell him what had happened. She had returned to the Palace from their last encounter at the teahouse, only to find that the Empress Dowager was still alive.韦小宝假作惊异,大声道:“啊,原来老婊子没死,那可糟糕。”心下微感惭愧:“昨日匆忙之间,忘了提起,我以为你早知道了。” (Trinket pretended to be surprised by this piece of information. Secretly he regretted not having told her the previous evening.)

陶宫娥道:“我刚转身,见有三名侍卫从慈宁宫里出来,形迹鬼鬼祟祟,心想多半是太后差他们去捉拿我的,但见他们并不是朝我的住处走去,当时也没功夫理会,回到住处收拾收拾,又改了装,从御膳房侧门溜出宫来。”韦小宝微笑道:“原来姑姑装成了御膳房的苏拉。”御膳房用的苏拉杂役最多,劈柴、抬煤、杀鸡、洗菜、烧火、洗锅等等杂务,均由苏拉充当,这些人在御膳房畔出入,极少有人留意。The Palace, she had concluded, was now altogether too dangerous a place for her. She had decided to leave immediately, disguising herself as one of the menials working in the Imperial Kitchens. It was then that she had spotted three suspicious-looking guards setting off on a mission from the Empress Dowager’s apartment. She had ended up following them, and they had led her straight to this inn and to Trinket.

陶宫娥道:“我一出宫,便见到那三名侍卫,已然改了装束,背负包袱,各牵马匹,显然是有远行。”韦小宝“啊”了一声,伸左足向一具死尸踢了一脚,道:“便是这三位开黑店的朋友了?”陶宫娥微笑道:“那可得多谢这三位朋友,若不是他们引路,我怎又找得到你?谁料得到你会绕道向西?他们出城西门,一路上打听,可见到个十四五岁的少年单身上道,果然是奉太后之命拿你。傍晚时分,他们查到了这里,我也就跟到了这里。”韦小宝心下感激,道:“若不是姑姑相救,此刻我连阎罗王的问话也答不上来啦。他问:‘韦小宝,你怎么死的?’我只好说:‘回大王,胡里胡涂,莫名其妙!’”

陶宫娥在深宫住了数十年,平时极少和人说话,听韦小宝说话有趣,笑道:“这孩子!阎罗王定说:‘拉下去打!’”韦小宝笑道:“可不是么?阎罗老爷胡子一翘,喝道:‘活着胡里胡涂,莫名其妙,也就罢了,怎么死了也胡里胡涂?我这里倘若都是胡涂鬼,我岂不变成胡涂阎罗王?’”两人都哈哈大笑起来。

韦小宝问道:“姑姑,后来怎样?”陶宫娥道:“我听他们在灶下低声商议,一人说:‘太后圣谕,这小鬼能活捉最好,否则就一刀杀了,可是他身上携带的东西,尽数得带回去呈缴,一件也不许短少。’ ‘So, what did you do then?’ asked Trinket. ‘I heard them whispering in the kitchen. Their orders were to bring you back alive if possible. But come what may, they were to get hold of something you had on you.另一人道:‘这小鬼胆敢偷盗太后日日念诵的佛经,当真活得不耐烦了,难怪太后生气。太后吩咐,最要紧的就是那几部佛经。’小兄弟,你当真拿了太后的佛经么?是你们总舵主叫你拿的,是不是?”说着目不转瞬的凝视着他。One of them said what a cocky little fellow you must be to have stolen Her Majesty’s Sutra, the one she uses every day to pray from . . . Tell me, my young friend, is it true that you took her Sutra? Your Helmsman told you to, didn’t he?’ Tao was gazing deep into Trinket’s eyes.韦小宝突然明白:“是了,她在太后房中找寻的,正是这几部《四十二章经》。”脸上装作迷惘一片,说道:“什么佛经?我们总舵主不拜菩萨。我从来没见他念过什么经。” It suddenly dawned on Trinket that what Auntie Tao must have been searching for in the Dowager Empress’s bedroom was a Sutra, or several copies of the Sutra. He feigned an expression of innocent incomprehension. ‘What Sutra? The Helmsman isn’t even a Buddhist. I’ve never seen him read a single Buddhist Sutra in his life.’

陶宫娥武功虽高,但自幼便在禁宫,于人情世故所知极少。两人虽然同在皇宫,韦小宝日日和皇帝、太后、王公、大官、侍卫、太监见面,时时刻刻在阴谋奸诈之间打滚,练得机伶无比,周身是刀;陶宫娥却只和两名老宫女相伴,一年之间也难得说上几十句话,此外什么人也不见。两人机智狡狯之间的相差,比之武功间的差距尤远。她见韦小宝天真烂漫,心想:“我刚救了他性命,他心中对我感激之极,小孩子又会说什么假话?何况我已亲自查过他的包袱?” Auntie Tao was taken in. She was a fine fighter, but in terms of worldly guile, Trinket was far and away her superior. He had grown accustomed to dealing with treacherous Palace intrigue, while she had spent her life in the inner apartments secluded with other maids-in-waiting, and would often speak no more than a couple of sentences in the course of a whole day.点了点头,道:“我见他们打开你的包袱细查,见到许多珠宝,又有几十万两银子的银票,好生眼红,商量着如何分赃。我听着生气,便进来一起都料理了。” ‘I saw the three of them searching your belongings,’ she said. They found a lot of valuables and a large sum of money. They were talking about stealing it. That put me in a rage, and I went straight in and dealt with them.’

韦小宝骂道:“他妈的,原来太后这老婊子知道我有钱,派了侍卫来谋财害命。又下蒙汗药,又开黑店,这老婊子净干下三滥的勾当,真不是东西。” ‘Damn that Old Whore!’ cursed Trinket. ‘She was after my money! That’s why they laid a trap for me here. They would have killed me for it!’陶宫娥道:“那倒不是的。太后要的只是佛经,不是珠宝银子。’I don’t think so,’ said Tao. The Empress Dowager wanted the Sutras, not the valuables. Those Sutras are very important.那几部佛经事关重大,我想会不会你交了给徐天川和那两位姑娘,带到石家庄去收藏?心想敌人已除,就让你多休息一会。My next thought was that maybe you’d given them to Xu Tianchuan for safe keeping, and that he and those two young ladies had taken them to Shijiazhuang.当下骑了马向南赶去,在一家客店外找到了他们的大车,本想悄悄的查上一查,可是这位‘八臂猿猴’机警之至,我一踏上屋顶,他就知道了,So I followed them south and tried to search their cart outside the inn where they were staying. But that Eight-Armed Ape spotted me before I’d even started.说不得,只好再动一次手。”韦小宝道:“他不是你对手。”陶宫娥道:“我本不想得罪你们天地会,可是没法子。我将他点倒后,说了许多道歉的话,请他别生气。小兄弟,下次你见到他,再转言几句,说我实在是出于无奈。我在他三人的行李之中查了一遍,连那辆大车也拆开来查过了,什么也没查到,便解开了他们穴道。赶着骑马回来。” I had to fight with him again, and close their Vital Points, I’m afraid. I went through all their things, I even broke into the cart, but I couldn’t find anything. So I came hurrying back here.韦小宝道:“原来我胡里胡涂、莫名其妙之时,你却去办了这许多事。陶姑姑,你怎么知道我是天地会的?”陶宫娥微笑道:“我给你们赶了这半天车,怎会听不到你们说话?你小小年纪便做了青木堂香主,这在天地会中是挺大的职份,是不是?”韦小宝甚是得意,笑道:“也不算小了。”陶宫娥沉吟半晌,问道:“你跟随皇帝多时,可曾听到他说起过甚么佛经的事?” Tell me, did the Emperor ever talk to you about the Sutras?’韦小宝道:“说起过的。太后和皇上好像挺看重这些劳什子的佛经。其实他妈的有甚么用?太后做人这样坏,就算一天念一万遍阿弥陀佛,菩萨也不会保佑……”’He did mention them,’ replied Trinket. To be honest, I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Even if the Old Whore spends the rest of her life chanting Sutras, it still won’t save her from all the wicked things she’s done.’

陶宫娥不等他说完,忙问:“他们说些甚么?”韦小宝道:“皇上派我跟索额图大人到鳌拜府里查抄,叮嘱我一定要抄到两部四甚么经,’What exactly did the Emperor say?’ Auntie Tao pressed Trinket for an answer. The first time was when I went with Songgotu to look through Oboi’s things. He wanted me to keep an eye open for two copies of a Sutra.好像有个‘二’字,又有个‘十’字的。”陶宫娥脸上露十分兴奋之情,道:“对,对!是《四十二章经》,你抄到了没有?”
Something with a Four and a Two in it…” ‘Yes! That’s it! The Sutra in Forty-Two Sections. Did you find them?’

韦小宝道:“我瞎字不识,知道他什么《四十二章经》,五十三章经?后来索大人找到了,我拿去交给太后。她欢喜得很,赏了我许多糖果糕饼,他妈的,老婊子真小气,不给金子银子,当我小孩子哄,只给我糖果糕饼。早知她这样坏,那两部经书我早丢在御膳房灶里,当柴烧了……”’No, ,’ didn’t. I can’t even read. It was Songgotu who found them. Afterwards I handed them over to the Empress Dowager. She gave me some stupid cakes as a reward! If I’d known what a disgusting Old Whore she was, I’d have chucked the Sutras in the kitchen stove and burned them . . .’陶宫娥忙道:“烧不得,烧不得!”韦小宝笑道:“我也知烧不得,皇上一问索大人,西洋镜就拆穿了。”陶宫娥沉吟道:“这样说来,太后手里至少有两部《四十二章经》?”韦小宝道:“恐怕有四部。” ‘That would have been a tragedy!’ cried Auntie Tao. ‘I suppose so,’ replied Trinket. ‘Anyway, now the Old Whore has got four copies of the thing.’陶宫娥道:“有四部?你……你怎么知道?”韦小宝道:“前天晚上我躲在她床底下,听她跟那个男扮女装的宫女说起,她本来就有一部,从鳌拜家里抄去了两部,她又差御前侍卫副总管瑞栋,在一个什么旗主府中又去取了一部来。”陶宫娥道:“正是,是从镶蓝旗旗主府里取来的。那么她手里共有四部了,说不定有五部、六部。” ‘Four? How do you know?’ ‘I heard her talking about it with that man-maid of hers the other evening. There’s the one she had in the first place; the two I gave her; and a fourth one which Colonel Rui stole for her from some Bannerman or other.’ ‘Who knows,’ muttered Tao, ‘she may even have others.’

站了起来走了几步,说道:“这些经书十分要紧,小兄弟,我真盼你能助我,将太后那几部《四十二章经》都盗了出来。” She paced up and down the room. Those Sutras are of the greatest importance. I am counting on you, my young friend, to help me steal them from her.’韦小宝沉吟道:“老婊子如果伤重,终于活不成,这几部经书,恐怕会带到棺材里去。” ‘But she may die,’ said Trinket in a low voice, ‘and then she’ll take them with her to her grave.’陶宫娥道:“不会的,决计不会。我却担心神龙教教主棋高一着,捷足先得,这就糟了。” That’s very unlikely,’ said Tao. ‘What I fear is that the Leader of the Mystic Dragon Sect will move first. If he should lay his hands on them, that would be a disaster of the greatest magnitude!’ “神龙教教主”这五字,韦小宝却是第一次听见,问道:“那是什么人?” This was the first time Trinket had heard tell of this leader or his sect. ‘Who’s he?’ he asked.

陶宫娥不答他的问话,在房中踱步兜了几个圈子,见窗纸渐明,天色快亮,转过身来,Tao made no reply, but continued pacing round the room. First light was beginning to glimmer through the window.道:“这里说话不便,唯恐隔墙有耳,咱们走罢!”将三具尸首提到客店门外,放入大车。
‘We had better not talk any more here. These walls have ears!’ They dragged the corpses out and lifted them onto the cart.

这三人都是给她用重手震死,并未流血,倒十分干净,Tao had killed them with her naked hands, and there was no trace of blood on the bodies.说道:“店主人和你的车夫都给他们绑着,让他们自行挣扎罢。” They tied up the innkeeper and your driver. We had best leave them to sort themselves out.’和韦小宝并坐在车夫位上,赶车向西。行得七八里,天已大明,陶宫娥将三具尸首丢在一个乱坟堆里,拿几块大石盖住了,So saying she leapt onto the driver’s seat, and the two of them drove the cart off in a westerly direction. Two or three miles further on, Tao dumped the corpses in an abandoned grave by the roadside, and weighed them down with a few heavy rocks.回到车上,说道:“咱们在车上一面赶路,一面说话,不怕给谁听了。”韦小宝笑道:“也不知道车子底下有没有人。”陶宫娥一惊,说道:“对,你比我想得周到。”一挥鞭子,马鞭绕个弯儿,刷的一声,击到车底。她连击三记,确知无人,笑道:“这些江湖上防人的行径,我可一窍不通了。”韦小宝道:“那我更是半窍不通了。你总比我行些,否则昨儿晚便救不了我。”这时大车行在一条大路之上,四野寂寂。’We can carry on talking as we travel,’ she said to Trinket, as they continued on their way. The road broadened into a highway, on both sides of which stretched a wide expanse of uncultivated countryside.陶宫娥缓缓的道:“你救过我性命,我也救过你性命,咱们算得是生死患难之交。小兄弟,按年纪说,我做得了你娘,承你不弃,叫我一声姑姑,你肯不肯真的拜我为姑母,算是我的侄儿?” ‘You have saved my life, and I have saved yours,’ said Tao. ‘We are bound by a strong tie. What do you say to the idea of calling me your real Aunt? Will you let me adopt you as my nephew?’

韦小宝心想:“做侄儿又不蚀本,反正姑姑早已叫了。”忙道:“那好极了。不过有一件事说来十分倒霉,你一知道后,恐怕不要我这个侄儿了。”陶宫娥问道:“什么事?”Trinket pondered this briefly. He could not see how he could lose from the deal. That’s a wonderful idea!’ he cried. ‘But Auntie, before we go any further, there’s one confession I have to make.’韦小宝道:“我没爹爹,我娘是在窑子里做婊子的。”’What’s that?’ ‘If you’re going to be my Aunt, there are things I think you ought to know about me. I don’t have a real father. And my mother was a whore . . .’

陶宫娥一怔,随即满脸堆欢,喜道:“好侄儿,英雄不怕出身低。咱们太祖皇帝做过和尚,做过无赖流氓,也没什么相干。你连这等事也不瞒我,足见你对姑姑一片真心,我自然也是什么都不瞒你。” Tao was momentarily taken aback by this, but then a smile of pleasure stole across her face. ‘My dear boy, that needn’t be an obstacle. Why, the greatest heroes have had the humblest origins: take our Founding Emperor—he was once a monk and a beggar, and that never stood in his way. I’m glad that you have been so honest with me. It shows that you really do think of me as your Aunt!’韦小宝心想:“我娘做婊子,茅十八茅大哥是知道的,终究瞒不了人。要骗出人家心里的话,总得把自己最见不得人的事先抖了出来。”当即跃下地来,跪倒磕头,说道:“侄儿韦小宝,拜见我的亲姑姑。” Trinket jumped down from the cart and knocked his head on the ground. ‘Nephew Trinket Wei does homage to his very own Aunt!’

陶宫娥数十年寂居深宫,从无亲人,连稍带情谊的言语也没听过半句,忽听韦小宝叫得如此亲热,不由得心头一酸,Tao had been shut up all these years in the Palace, and these were the first words of affection she had heard in a very long time. She was strangely moved.忙下车扶起,笑道:“好侄儿,从此之后,我在这世上多了个亲人……”说到这里,忍不住流下泪来,一面笑,一面拭泪,道:“你瞧,这是大喜事,你姑姑却流起眼泪来。”
She too clambered down from the cart. ‘Dear nephew,’ she said, a happy smile on her face, ‘from this day, I have family in the world . . .’ Tears sprang to her eyes. ‘See what a happy occasion this is? Look at me! I’m crying!’

The Eight Sutras, the Dragon Line, and the Mystic Dragons

两人回到车上,陶宫娥右手握缰,左手拉住韦小宝的右手,让骡子慢慢一步步走着They continued slowly on their way in the cart, Auntie Tao holding the reins in her right hand, and Trinket’s hand in her left.,说道:“好侄儿,我姓陶,那是真姓,我闺名叫做红英,打从十二岁上入宫,第二年就服侍公主。” ‘Dear boy,’ she began, ‘let me tell you something of my story. I entered Palace service when I was twelve years old. The very next year I began working for Her Highness the Princess—’韦小宝道:“公主?”陶红英道:“是,公主,我大明崇祯皇帝陛下的长公主。”
‘Princess?’ ‘Yes. Princess Chang. The daughter of the Emperor Chong Zhen of the Ming.’

韦小宝道:“啊,原来姑姑还是大明崇祯皇帝时候进宫的。”陶红英道:“正是,崇祯皇帝出宫之时,挥剑斩断了公主的臂膀。’So you served in the Palace under the Ming dynasty!’ That’s right. When the Emperor Chong Zhen had to leave the Palace, he cut off the Princess’s arm with his sword.我听到公主遭难的讯息,奔出去想救她,心慌意乱,重重摔了一交,额头撞在阶石上,晕了过去。等到醒转,陛下和公主都已不见了,宫中乱成一团,When I heard what was going on, I ran to save her, but I tripped and hit my head on the steps and fainted. When I came to, His Majesty and the Princess were nowhere to be seen. The Palace was all topsy-turvy.谁也没来理我。不久闯贼进了宫,后来满清鞑子赶跑了闯贼,又占了皇宫。唉,那是许多年前的事了。” No one bothered with me. Not long after that General Bashmen and his troops broke into the Palace. Then the Tartars chased them out and took it over themselves. But that was years ago . . ,’韦小宝问道:“公主不是崇祯皇爷亲生的女儿么?为甚么要砍死她。” ‘But why did the Emperor want to cut off his own daughter’s arm?’

陶红英又叹了口气,道:“公主是崇祯皇爷的亲生女儿,她是最得皇上宠爱的。这时京城已破,贼兵已经进城,皇上决心殉难,Auntie Tao heaved a deep sigh. ‘She was his favourite child, and he loved her dearly. He knew that the rebels were in Peking, and had already decided to take his own life.他生怕公主为贼所辱,所以要先杀了公主。” He was afraid for what they might do to her, so he thought to kill her.’韦小宝道:“原来这样。要杀死自己亲生女儿,可还真不容易。听说崇祯皇爷后来是在煤山吊死的,是不是?” That must have been a pretty difficult thing to do. And then later he hung himself on Coal Hill, right?’陶红英道:“我也是后来听人说的。满清鞑子由吴三桂引进关来,打走了闯贼,霸占了我大明江山。宫里的太监宫女,十之八九都放了出去,说是怕靠不住。That’s what I heard from others. The Tartars were led into Peking by Wu Sangui. Most of the Palace eunuchs and maids were dismissed as untrustworthy.那时我年纪还小,那一摔受伤又重,躺在黑房里,也没人来管。直到三年多之后,才遇到我师父。” I was so young, and I’d been tucked up in bed ever since my fall, so no one noticed my existence. It was only three years later that I met my Shifu.’

韦小宝道:“姑姑,你武功这样高,你师父他老人家的武功自然更加了不起啦。” ‘Your Shifu must really be someone, to have a disciple that can fight like you!’ said Trinket.陶红英道:“我师父说,天下能人甚多,咱们的武功,也算不了甚么。我师父是奉了我太师父之命,进宫来当宫女的。” ‘My Shifu was also a Palace maid,’ replied Auntie Tao. ‘She entered the Palace on the instructions of my Grand-Shifu.’挥鞭在空中虚击一鞭,劈啪作响,续道:“我师父进宫来的用意,便是为了那八部《四十二章经》。” As she said this, Auntie Tao cracked the whip loudly in the air. ‘And the reason my Shifu entered the Palace was to lay hands on the Eight Sutras.’韦小宝问道:“一共八部?”陶红英道:“一共八部。满洲八旗,黄白红蓝,正四旗,镶四旗,每一旗的旗主各有一部,共有八部。” ‘Eight?’ That’s right. One for each of the Banners. The Chief of each Banner—Plain White, Yellow, Red, and Blue; Bordered White, Yellow, Red, and Blue—has his own copy’韦小宝道:“这就是了。我见到鳌拜家里抄出来的那两部经书,书套子的颜色不同,一部是黄套子镶了红边儿,另一部是白套子的。”陶红英道:“原来八部经书的套子,跟八旗的颜色相同,我可从来没见过。” That makes sense,’ said Trinket. The two I saw at Oboi’s were different colours. One was yellow with a red border, one was plain white.’ ‘Yes. The Sutras match the colours of the Banners.’

韦小宝寻思:“我手里已有了五部,那么还缺三部。这八部经书到底有什么古怪,姑姑一定知道,得想法子套问出来。” Trinket was thinking to himself: ‘I’ve got five of them. That means there are still three more knocking around somewhere. But I still don’t know what’s so special about these Sutras. I’m sure Auntie Tao knows. I must try and get it out of her somehow.’他假作痴呆,说道:“原来你太师父他老人家也诚心拜菩萨。宫里的佛经,那自然特别贵重,有人说是用金子水来写的。” He acted stupid again. ‘So I suppose your Shifu’s Shifu—your Grand-Shifu—must have been a very devout Buddhist. These Sutras must be very valuable. The writing’s probably done in gold or something.’陶红英道:“那倒不是。好侄儿,我今天给你说了,你可说什么也不能泄漏出去。你发一个誓来。” ‘No, that’s not it,’ said Auntie Tao. ‘Dear boy, what I’m going to tell you today must never go any further than you. I want you to swear.’

发誓赌咒,于韦小宝原是稀松平常之极,上午说过,下午就忘了,下午说过,没等睡觉就忘了,何况八部经书他已得其五,怎肯将其中秘密轻易告人?Swearing was something that came easily to Trinket. He could swear his head off about something in the morning, and have forgotten all about it by afternoon. And besides, why should he want to go telling anyone else about the Sutras, when his aim was to collect the remaining three for himself?忙道:“皇天后土,韦小宝如将《四十二章经》中的秘密泄漏了出去,日后糟糕之极,死得跟老婊子那个男扮女装的王八蛋师兄一模一样。” ‘If I, Trinket Wei,’ he began, ‘should ever betray the secret of the Eight Sutras to another living soul, may I be struck dead, and die a horrible death, just like that foul turtle the Old Whore kept in her bedroom dressed up as a maid . . .’心想:“要我男扮女装,跟老婊子去睡觉。这种事万万不会做。那就决不能跟这王八蛋师兄死得一模一样。”发了誓日后要应,他倒是信的,因此赌咒发誓之时,总得留下后步。’Come what may, one thing’s for sure,’ he thought to himself. ‘I’ll never be like that creature! No one’ll catch me dressing up as a woman and getting into bed with the Old Whore!’ Somehow, to Trinket’s way of thinking, that thought let him off the hook….

陶红英一笑,说道:“这个誓倒挺新鲜古怪。我跟你说,That’s a strange kind of oath to swear,’ said Auntie Tao with an amused smile. Well, listen while I explain this thing to you.满清鞑子进关之时,并没想到竟能得到大明江山。满洲人很少,兵也不多,When the Manchus came in through the Great Pass, they never thought they would end up ruling China. There were so few of them.他们只盼能长远占住关外之地,便已心满意足了,因此进关之后,八旗兵一见金银珠宝,放手便抢。这些财宝,他们都运到了关外,收藏起来。当时执掌大权的是顺治皇帝的叔父摄政王They thought they would do a bit of marauding and then head back to the North-East. So they just grabbed whatever treasure they could lay their hands on. There was a huge amount of it. The person in command of all the Manchu forces at that time was the Regent Dorgon, uncle of me Emperor Shun Zhi.,但是满洲八旗,每一旗都各有势力。当时八旗旗主会议,将收藏财物的秘密所在,绘成地图,由八旗旗主各执一幅……”But the Banners were powerful, and each Manchu Banner had its own Head. The Banners held a Council, and at the Council they drew a map of the place where they would bury their Manchu treasure. Each of the Eight Banner Heads was to keep a map—’

韦小宝站起身来,大声道:“啊,我明白了!”喜不自胜。大车一动,他又坐倒,Trinket leapt to his feet excitedly and cried out: ‘I’ve got it!’ The cart wobbled and he sat down again promptly.说道:“这八幅地图,便藏在那八部《四十二章经》中。”陶红英道:“好像也并非就是这样。到底真相如何,只有当时这八旗旗主才明白,’Each of the Eight Sutras has a map hidden in it!’ ‘Almost, but not quite. Who knows?’ said Auntie Tao. ‘Only the Eight Banner Heads who were present at the Council meeting know the exact secret.别说我们汉人中没人知晓,连满洲的王公大臣,恐怕也极少知道。我师父说,满洲人藏宝的那座山,是他们龙脉的所在。Even Princes and Great Ministers don’t know. My Shifu told me that the hill where the treasure is buried lies on one of the Dragon Lines that controls the destiny of the Manchu people.鞑子所以能占我大明江山,登基为皇,全仗这座山的龙脉。” This Dragon Line has enabled them to set one of their own kind on the throne and rule China.’

韦小宝问道:“什么龙脉?”陶红英道:“那是一处风水极好的地方,满洲鞑子的祖先葬在那山里,子孙大发,来到中国做了皇帝。’What’s a Dragon Line?’ asked Trinket. ‘It’s a line of power in the earth,’ replied Tao. The Manchu ancestors were buried in this hill. Their sons and grandsons have prospered, and have conquered China.我师父说,咱们如能找到那座宝山,将龙脉截断,再挖了坟,那么满洲鞑子非但做不成皇帝,还得尽数死在关内。My Shifu told me, if only we can find that hill, and break the Dragon Line, not only can we throw the Tartars off the throne of China, but we can send them back for ever to their homeland, to die there.这座宝山如此要紧,因此我太师父和师父花尽心血,要找到山脉的所在。这个大秘密,便藏在那八部《四十二章经》之中。”韦小宝道:“他们满洲人的事,姑姑,你太师父又怎会知道?” My Shifu, and my Grand-Shifu before her, gave their lives in the quest for this knowledge. That’s how important it is. And somehow or other the secret lies hidden in those Eight Sutras.’ ‘How did your Grand-Shifu come to know all this about the Manchus?’ asked Trinket.

陶红英道:“这件事说来话长。我太师父原是锦州的汉人女子,给鞑子掳了去。那鞑子是镶蓝旗的旗主。’It’s a long story. She was the daughter of a Chinese father living in the North-East. She was taken into captivity by the Head of the Bordered Blue Manchu Banner.我太师父说,鞑子进关之后,见到我们中国地方这样大,人这样多,又是欢喜,又是害怕,八旗的旗主接连会议多日,在会中口角争吵,拿不定主意。”韦小宝问道:“争吵什么?”陶红英道:“有的旗主想占了整个中国。有的旗主却说,汉人这样多,倘若造起反来,一百个汉人打一个旗人,旗人哪里还有性命?不如大大的抢掠一番,退回关外,稳妥得多。She said that when the Manchus took Peking, there was a lot of argument among the Banner Heads. Some of them wanted to conquer the whole of China. Others thought that such a conquest would be too great an undertaking, and that it would be safer to take whatever they could carry and go back to the North-East.最后还是摄政王拿了主意,他说,一面抢掠,将金银珠宝运到关外收藏,一面在中国做皇帝,In the end it was Prince Dorgon who decided: they would stay and establish their dynasty, but at the same time they would carry off a huge treasure and bury it somewhere beyond the Pass.如果汉人起来造反,形势危急,旗人便退出山海关。”韦小宝道:“原来当时满清鞑子,对我们汉人实在也很害怕。” Then if the day ever came when they were forced to retreat, they would have something to fall back on.’ ‘So you mean they were afraid of us Chinese?’

陶红英道:“怎么不怕?他们现在也怕,只不过我们不齐心而已。好侄儿,鞑子小皇帝很喜欢你,如果你能探到那八部经书的所在,咱们把经书盗了出来,去破了鞑子的龙脉,’Of course they were! They still are. It’s just that we won’t stand up against them together. Dear boy, you are the Emperor’s favourite. If with your help we can find out where the Sutras are hidden, and get our hands on that treasure, we will be able to strike a double blow! We will have broken the Manchu Dragon Line,那些金银财宝,便可作为义军的军费。咱们只要一起兵,清兵便会吓得逃出关去。” and with the treasure we will be able to pay for the soldiers and the weapons we need. Then we’ll soon have them on the run!’

韦小宝对于破龙脉、起义兵,并不怎么热心,但想到那座山中藏有无数金银财宝,不由得怦然心动,None of this patriotic fervour found much of an echo in Trinket’s opportunist heart. But the thought of all tiiat treasure lying somewhere ready for the taking . . . That was a different matter.问道:“姑姑,这宝山的秘密,当真是在那八部经书之中?”陶红英道:“我太师父对我师父说,那镶蓝旗旗主有一天喝醉了,向他小福晋说,他将来死后,要将一部经书传给小福晋的儿子,不传给大福晋的儿子。小福晋很不高兴,说一部佛经有什么希罕。’Auntie,’ he asked breathlessly, ‘are you saying that the Sutras tell where the treasure is hidden?’ ‘My Shifu heard it from her Shifu,’ replied Tao. ‘She heard the Head of the Bordered Blue Banner one day, in a fit of drunkenness, tell his junior Princess that he would leave her something special after his death, a copy of a Sutra.那旗主说,这是咱们八旗的命根子,比什么都要紧,约略说起这部佛经的来历。太师父在窗外听到了,才明白其中道理。后来太师父练成了武功,我师父也已跟她老人家学艺多年,太师父便出手盗经,却因此给人打得重伤,He called it the very Life Blood of the Eight Banners. That was why both my Shifu and my Grand-Shifu spent their lives in search of it. My Grand-Shifu tried in vain to steal it, but there was a highly skilled fighter in the service of the Bordered Blue Banner who prevented her.临死之前,派我师父混进宫来做宫女,想法子盗经。镶蓝旗旗主府里有武功高手,只道到宫里盗经容易得手。When she was dying she told my Shifu to get into service in the Palace and find a way to get hold of another copy.岂知师父进宫不久,发觉宫禁森严,宫女决不能胡乱行走,要盗经书是千难万难。她跟我挺说得来,又听我说起大明公主的事,心怀旧主,便收了我做弟子。” But my Shifu discovered how difficult it was to accomplish her mission in the Palace. Then she met me, and since I had been a servant of Princess Chang, she took me as a disciple.’韦小宝道:“怪不得老婊子千方百计的,要弄经书到手。她是满洲人,不会去破龙脉,想来是要得宝山中的金银财宝。不过她既是太后,要什么有什么,又何必要什么财宝?” ‘No wonder the Old Whore was so desperate to get her hands on the Sutras!’ said Trinket. ‘She must have been after the treasure! You’d think she had enough money of her own!’

又想:“那么海老乌龟又干么念念不忘的,总是要我到上书房偷经书?嗯,他不会当真想要经书的,或者是想诱我上当,招出是谁主使我毒瞎他眼睛,或者是想由此查到害死端敬皇后的凶手来。His thoughts ran on silendy: ‘What about Old Hai? Why was he always asking me to get the Sutras from the Upper Library for him? Perhaps he was just using it as a way of finding out who I was working for? Or finding out who killed Princess Donggo?他心里多半认定,主使者跟凶手是同一个人。要骗得海老乌龟吐露心事,现下我可没这本事,阎罗王只怕也办不了。” He probably thought they were one and the same person. I’ll never know now, anyway陶红英哪猜得到韦小宝的心思转到了海大富身上?说道:“说不定那宝山之中,另有甚么古怪,连太师父也不知道的。师父在宫里不久就生病死了。她老人家临死之时,千叮万嘱,要我设法盗经,There may be something else in the hill,’ continued Tao, ‘something my Grand-Shifu didn’t know about. My own Shifu fell ill and died in the Palace. Her parting words to me were to find the Sutras.又说,盗经之事万分艰难,以我一人之力未必可成,要我在宫里收一个可靠的弟子,将经书的秘密流传下来。这一代不成,下一代再干,可别让这秘密给湮没了。” She knew it would be too hard for me to achieve this single-handed, so I had to find a reliable disciple in the Palace, someone I could trust with the secret. It mustn’t die with me.’韦小宝道:“是,是!这个大秘密倘若失传,那许许多多金银财宝,未免太……太可惜了。”

陶红英道:“金银财物倒也不打紧,但如让满洲鞑子世世代代占住我们汉人江山,那才是最大的恨事。”韦小宝道:“姑姑说得不错。”心中却道:“这成千成万的金银财宝,倘若不拿出来大花一下,那才是最大的恨事。”

他年纪幼小,满洲兵屠杀汉人百姓的惨事,只从大人口中听到,并未亲历。Trinket was not much of a patriot, and he was too young to have any feelings about the terrible excesses committed by the Manchus during their conquest: the rape and pillage, and the massacres of innocent women and children. These were things he had heard of from his elders, but never witnessed for himself.在宫中这些时候,满洲人只太后一人可恨,海大富虽曾阴谋加害,毕竟是自己害他的多,他害自己的少。其余自皇帝以下,个个待他甚好,也不觉得满洲人如何凶恶残暴。他也知道,自己若不是得到皇帝宠爱,那些满洲亲贵大臣决不会对他如此亲热、如此奉承,但究竟是见到人和蔼的多,凶暴的少,是以种族之仇、家国之恨,心中却是颇淡。In fact, in all his time as a Palace Eunuch, he had received little but kindness from the Manchus—with the exception of Old Hai (though, when all was said and done, Trinket had probably done more harm to the old eunuch than Hai had succeeded in doing to him).

陶红英道:“在宫中这些年来,我也没收到弟子。我见到的宫女本已不多,所遇到的,不是蠢笨胡涂,便是妖媚小气,天天只盼望如何能得皇帝临幸,从宫女升为嫔妃。我们这个大秘密,又怎能跟这等人说?近几年来我常常担心,这般耽误下去,经书的所在固是丝毫得不到线索,连好弟子也收不到一个。将来我死之后,将这大秘密带入了棺材,满洲鞑子坐稳江山,对不起太师父和师父那不用说了,更成为汉人的大罪人。好侄儿,我无意之中和你相遇,跟你说了这件大事,心里实在好生欢喜。”
‘None of the Palace maids were possible disciples,’ continued Auntie Tao. They all seemed either stupid, or flirtatious. How could I trust one of them with my secret? But now I have been lucky enough to meet you. I feel so much easier in my mind, so much happier, now that I’ve shared the secret with you.’

韦小宝道:“我也是好欢喜,不过经书什么的,倒不放在心上。”陶红英道:“那你为什么欢喜?”韦小宝道:“我没亲人,妈妈是这样,师父又难得见面,现下多了个亲姑姑、好姑姑,自然欢喜得紧了。” ‘I feel so much happier too,’ said Trinket. ‘But not because of all that stuff about the Sutras.’ ‘Then why?’ ‘Because now I’ve got a real Auntie! We’re family!’他嘴头甜,哄得陶红英十分高兴。她微笑道:“我得了个好侄儿,也是欢喜得紧。”
He had a way of saying this that brought a flush of pleasure to Tao’s cheeks. ‘Yes, and I’ve got a nephew! So I’m happy too!’

隔了一会,问道:“你师父是谁?”韦小宝道:“我师父便是天地会的总舵主,姓陈,名讳上近下南。”陶红英连陈近南这样鼎鼎大名的人物也是首次听见,点了点头,道:“你师父既是天地会总舵主,武功必定十分了得。”韦小宝道:“只不过我跟随师父时候太短,学不到什么功夫。好姑姑,你传我一些好不好?”陶红英踌躇道:“你如从来没学过武功,我自然将我所知所学,尽数传你。只是你师父的武功,跟我这一派多半全然不同,学了只怕反而有害。依你看来,你师父跟我比较,谁的武功强些?”

韦小宝说要她传授武功,原不过信口讨她欢心,倘若陶红英当真答应传授,他反而要另外寻些因由来推托了,一学武功,五台山一时便去不成,何况他性好游荡玩耍,绝无耐心学武,听她这样问,乘机便道:“姑姑,在你面前,我可不能说谎。”陶红英道:“小孩子自然是诚实的好。”韦小宝道:“我曾见师父跟一个武功很好的人动手,只是三招,便将他制住了,那人输得服服帖帖。姑姑,恐怕你还不及我师父。”陶红英微笑道:“是啊,我也相信远远不及。我跟那个假扮宫女的男人比拚,若不是你在他背上加了一剑,我早就完了。你师父哪会这样不中用?”韦小宝道:“不过那个假宫女可真厉害,我此刻想起来还是害怕。”

陶红英脸上肌肉突然跳动几下,目光中露出了恐惧的神色,双眼前望,呆呆出神。韦小宝道:“姑姑,你不舒服么?”陶红英不答,似乎没听见。韦小宝又问了一次。陶红英身子一颤,道:“没……没有!” But then, quite suddenly, her expression changed. Her face began to twitch, and a look of terror came into her eyes. She gazed into empty space, and when Trinket asked her what the matter was, it was as if she had heard nothing. He asked again, and she seemed to shudder. ‘It’s . . . nothing . . .’突然啪的一声,手中鞭子掉在地下。韦小宝跃下车来,拾起鞭子,飞身又跃上大车,身法甚是干净利落。Suddenly the whip fell from her hand and landed with a thud on the ground. Trinket jumped down from the cart, picked it up, and leapt back up again.

他正自得意,只盼陶红英称赞几句,却见她摇了摇头,道:“孩子,你定了下来之后,该得痛下苦功才成。眼下的功夫,在宫里当太监是太好,行走江湖却是太差,还不及不会丝毫武功之人。”韦小宝满脸通红,应道:“是!”心道:“我武功虽然不成,怎么还不及不会武功之人?”陶红英道:“你如不会丝毫武功,人家也不会轻易的就来杀你。你既有武功,对方防你反击,一出手就不容情,岂不是反而糟糕?”韦小宝道:“倘若遇上开黑店、打闷棍的小贼呢?”陶红英一呆,一时答不上来,过了一会,说道:“那也说得是,江湖之上,小贼大概比武功好手更多。”

她有些心神不定,指着右前面一株大树,道:“我们去歇一歇再走,让骡子吃些草。” Tao seemed very ill at ease. She pointed to a large tree by the roadside. ‘Let’s go and rest there for a while, and let the donkey eat some grass.’赶车来到树下,两人跳下车来,并肩坐在树根上。陶红英又出了一会神,忽然问道:“有没有说话?他有没有说话?” The two of them descended from the cart and sat side by side in the shade of the tree. Tao stared abstractedly in front of her. ‘Did he say anything?’ she said all of a sudden.韦小宝不知她问的是谁,仰起了头瞧着她,难以回答。两人互相瞪视,一个待对方回答,一个不知对方其意何指。过了片刻,陶红英又问:“你有没有听到他说话?有没有见到他嘴唇在动?” Trinket looked at her, at a loss as to what she meant. After a long silence, she asked again: ‘Did you hear him say anything? Did his lips move?’ Trinket was beginning to find her a bit scary. He wondered if she might be possessed.韦小宝见了她这副神气,隐隐有些害怕:“姑姑是中了邪,还是见了鬼?”问道:“姑姑,你见到谁了?”陶红英道:“谁?那个……那个男扮女装的假宫女!”韦小宝更加怕了,颤声问道:“你见到了那个假宫女,在……在哪里?”陶红英恍如从梦中醒觉,说道:“那晚在太后房中,当我跟那假宫女打斗之时,你有没有听到他开口说话?” ‘Who, Auntie?’ he asked, in a trembling voice. ‘Where? When?’ Auntie Tao seemed to wake from a dream. The man we killed, the man dressed as a woman. That evening in the Palace. Did you hear him say anything?’

韦小宝吁了一口气,说道:“嗯,你问的是那晚的事。他说了话吗?我没听见。” Trinket heaved a sigh of relief. At least she wasn’t seeing ghosts. ‘You mean him! No, I didn’t hear him say anything.’陶红英又沉思片刻,摇头道:“我跟他武功相差太远,他也用不到念咒。” Tao fell silent again. She shook her head. ‘I was too weak for him, that’s why. He didn’t need to use any of their spells.’韦小宝全然摸不着头脑,劝道:“姑姑,不用想他了,这人早给咱们杀了,活不转啦。” Trinket had no idea what she was talking about. ‘Forget about him, Auntie. He’s dead and gone.’陶红英道:“这人给咱们杀了,活不转啦。”这句话原是自行宽慰之言,但她说话的神情却显得内心十分惊惧。韦小宝心想:“你武功虽好,却是怕鬼。只杀了一个人,便这样心神不定,何况这假宫女是我杀的,不是你杀的。你去杀老婊子,却又杀了个半吊子,杀得她死一半,活一半,终究还是活了转来,当真差劲。”陶红英道:“他已死了,自然不要紧了,是不是?”韦小宝道:“是啊,就算变了鬼,也不用怕他。”

‘Yes,’ she repeated, ‘dead and gone.’ Somehow this seemed to make her all the more frightened. ‘Even his ghost is nothing to be frightened of,’ said Trinket.

陶红英道:“什么鬼不鬼的?我担心他是神龙教教主座下的弟子,那……那就……嗯,太后叫他作师兄,不会的,决计不会。瞧他武功,也全然不像,是不是?你真的没见到他出手时嘴唇在动,是吗?”自言自语,声音发颤,似乎企盼韦小宝能证实她猜测无误。’It’s not that. What worries me is that he may have been a disciple of the Leader of the Mystic Dragon Sect. But the Dowager Empress kept calling him her brother-in-arms … So he can’t have been. Surely . . .’ She was partly talking to herself, partly calling upon Trinket to reassure her, and her voice was still trembling.韦小宝又怎分辨得出这假宫女的武功家数,却大声道:“不用担心,你说得对,那假宫女的武功不像。他出手时紧闭着嘴,一句话也没说。姑姑,神龙教教主是什么家伙?” ‘Don’t you worry, Auntie, he never said a word. Who is this Mystic Dragon Leader character anyway?’陶红英忙道:“神龙教洪教主神通广大,武功深不可测,你怎么称他甚么家伙?孩子,就算是在背后,言语中也不可得罪了他。洪大教主徒子徒孙甚众,消息灵通之极,你只要说得一句半句不敬的话,传入了他的耳里,你……这一辈子就算是完了。” ‘Leader Hong is a man of extraordinary power. You must never speak of him with disrespect. He gets to hear things. He has followers everywhere. Say a single disrespectful thing about him and . . . you’re done for!’一面说话,一面东张西望,似乎唯恐身边便有神龙教教主的部属。韦小宝道:“神龙教教主这么厉害?难道他比皇帝的权力还大?” Even as she said this she was looking furtively in every direction, as if she feared the presence of some Mystic Dragon informer. ‘How can these Mystic Dragons be so powerful? Are they more powerful than the Emperor?’

陶红英道:“他权力自然没皇帝大。不过你得罪了皇帝,逃去躲藏了起来,皇帝不一定捉得到你;得罪了神龙教教主,却是海角天涯,再无容身之地。” ‘No, they are not. But you can hide from the Emperor. You can’t hide from the Dragons. They will find you wherever you go.’韦小宝道:“这样说来,神龙教比我们天地会还要人多势众?”陶红英摇头道:“不同的,不同的。你们天地会反清复明,行事光明正大,江湖上好汉人人敬重,神龙教却大不相同。” ‘Then they must be a bit like the Triads?’ Tao shook her head. They’re not the same. The Triads are fighting for a cause. They can hold their heads up high, and everyone on River and Lake respects them. The Dragons are different.’韦小宝道:“你是说,江湖上好汉,人人对神龙教甚是害怕?”陶红英想了一会,道:“江湖上的事情,我懂得很少很少,只曾听师父说起过一些。’You mean everyone on River and Lake is afraid of the Dragons?’ Tao pondered this briefly. ‘I don’t know much about River and Lake. Only what my Shifu told me.我太师父如此武功,却死在神龙教弟子的手下。”韦小宝破口骂道:“他妈的,这么说来,神龙教是咱们的大仇人,那何必怕他?” She was an outstanding fighter, and she died at the hands of one of the Dragon Sect.’ Tamardy!’ burst out Trinket. Then they are our sworn enemies! We must fight them, not fear them!’

陶红英摇摇头,缓缓的道:“我师父说,神龙教所传的武功千变万化,固然厉害之极,Tao shook her head again, and said slowly: ‘If only it were as easy as that! My Shifu told me that their kungfu is like a chameleon, constantly changing, full of surprises. That’s part of its strength.更加难当的,是他们教里有许多咒语,临敌之时念将起来,能令对手心惊胆战,他们自己却越战越勇。太师父在镶蓝旗旗主府中盗经,和几个神龙教弟子激战,And they chant spells which boost their own courage and strike fear into the hearts of their opponents. My Grand-Shifu was up against them when she tried to get hold of the Sutra belonging to the Bordered Blue Banner.明明已占上风,其中一人口中念念有辞,太师父击出去的拳风掌力便越来越弱,终于小腹中掌,身受重伤。我师父当时在旁,亲眼得见。她说她奋勇要上前相助,但听了咒语之后,全身酸软,只想跪下来投降,竟然全无斗志。太师父受伤,那人不再念咒,我师父立即勇气大增,冲过去抢了太师父逃走。她事后想起,又是羞惭,又是害怕,因此一再叮嘱我,天下最最凶险的事,莫过于和神龙教教下之人动手。” She had the upper hand, and then one of them started chanting and all her strength and courage just drained away. My Shifu was there. She saw it happen. She ran to her Shifu’s aid, but no sooner did she hear the chanting than her own resolve faltered, she fell to her knees and surrendered. That is the kind of power they have!’

韦小宝心想:“你师父是女流之辈,胆子小,眼见对方了得,便吓得只想投降。”说道:“姑姑,那人念些甚么咒,你听见过么?” Trinket was privately thinking to himself: ‘That’s because your Shifu was a woman.”What was it they chanted?’ he asked. ‘Have you ever heard one of their spells yourself?’陶红英道:“我……我没听见过。我担心那假宫女是神龙教的弟子,因此一直问你,有没有听到他动手时说话,有没有见到他嘴唇在动。”韦小宝道:“啊,原来如此!”回想当时在床底的所见所闻说道:“完全没有,你可有听见?” ‘No, I never have. I suspected that man-maid of being one of them, that’s why I asked you if you’d heard him say anything.’ ‘I didn’t hear anything like that,’ said Trinket.陶红英道:“这假宫女武功比我高出很多,我全力应战,对周遭一切,全无所闻。只是我跟他斗了一会,心中忽然害怕起来,只想逃走,事后想起,很是奇怪。” The strange thing,’ said Tao, ‘is that when I fought against him, I felt all my courage and strength draining away too . . .’韦小宝问道:“姑姑,你学武以来,跟几个人动过手,杀过多少人?”陶红英摇头道:“从来没跟人动过手,一个人也没杀过。” ‘How many people have you fought, Auntie?’ asked Trinket. ‘How many people have you killed in your life?’ Tao shook her head. ‘I’ve never fought before.’

韦小宝道:“这就是了,以后你多杀得几个,再跟人动手就不会害怕了。”陶红英道:“或许你说得是。不过我不想跟人动手,更加不肯杀人,只要能太太平平的找到那八部《四十二章经》,破了满清鞑子的龙脉,那就心满意足了。‘There you are. That’s why. You must fight more, kill more people. Then you won’t be scared.’ ‘You may be right. But I don’t want to fight, I don’t want to kill. I just want to get hold of those Sutras, as peacefully as I possibly can. Then we’ll be able to break the Manchu Dragon Line. Then I’ll be happy.唉,不过,镶蓝旗旗主的那部《四十二章经》,十之八九已落入了神龙教手中,再要从神龙教手中夺回,可难得很了。”她脸上已加化装,见不到她脸色如何,但从眼神之中,仍可见到她内心的恐惧。韦小宝道:“姑姑,你入了我们的天地会可好?” But that Sutra from the Bordered Blue Banner is almost certainly in the hands of the Mystic Dragons, and how will we ever get it back from them?’ Her face was heavily made up, and it was hard to read her expression. But fear was visible in her eyes. ‘Auntie, why don’t you join the Triads?’ said Trinket.

心想:“你怕得这么厉害!我天地会人多势众,可不怕神龙教。” He was thinking that while she might be easily scared, the Triads would surely be more than a match for the Mystic Dragons.陶红英一怔,问道:“你为什么要我入天地会?”韦小宝道:“天地会的宗旨是反清复明,跟你太师父、师父是一般心思。” Auntie Tao seemed a little taken aback by this. ‘Why should I?’ ‘Because the Triad cause is the same cause as your Shifu’s— to bring down the Manchus and restore the Ming!’陶红英道:“那本来也很好,这件事将来再说罢。我现下要回皇宫,你去哪里?” There may be something in that. Let’s talk about it some other time. I must hurry back to the Palace. Which direction are you going in?’

韦小宝奇道:“你又回到皇宫去,不怕老婊子了吗?”陶红英叹了口气,道:“我从小在宫里长大,想来想去,只有在宫里过日子,才不害怕。外面世界上的事,我什么也不懂。’Aren’t you afraid of what the Old Whore might do to you?’ asked Trinket in some surprise. Tao sighed. ‘I’ve been in the Palace since I was a girl. It may not be very safe, but it’s probably the only place where I can survive. I don’t know my way around out here, in the outside world.我本来怕心中这个大秘密随着我带进棺材,现下既已跟你说了,就算给太后杀了,也没什么。I was afraid of my secret dying with me, but now I’ve found you and passed it on, so even if the Empress Dowager kills me, there is nothing left to fear!再说,皇宫地方很大,我找个地方躲了起来,太后找不到我的。” The Palace is big enough. I’ll find somewhere to hide.’韦小宝道:“好,你回宫去,日后我一定来看你。眼下师父有事差我去办。”’I’ll come looking for you one of these days,’ said Trinket. ‘But first I have to complete my mission, the one given me by my Shifu.’

陶红英于天地会的事不便多问,说道:“将来你回宫之后,怎地和我相见?” Auntie Tao assumed this to be Triad business, and was too discreet to enquire further. ‘Where shall we meet?’韦小宝道:“我回到皇宫,在火场上堆一堆乱石,在石堆上插一根木条,木条上画只雀儿,你便知道我回来了。当天晚上,我们便在火场上会面。”’When I come back,’ said Trinket, I’ll go to the burning-ground and make a heap of stones. In the middle of the heap of stones I’ll stick a piece of wood, and on the wood I’ll draw a sparrow. That will mean that I’m back, and we’ll meet there that very evening.’陶红英点头道:“很好,就是这么办。好孩子,江湖上风波险恶,你可得一切小心。”韦小宝点头道:“是,姑姑,你自己也得小心,太后这老婊子心地狠毒,你千万别上她当。” Auntie Tao nodded. ‘Good. Be careful, my boy. River and Lake is full of danger.’ Trinket nodded. ‘And you be careful too, Auntie. That Old Whore is a vicious monster. Don’t fall into any of her traps.’两人驱车来到镇上,韦小宝另雇一车,两人分向东西而别。They drove their cart on to the next country town, and there they parted ways, Tao turning back east towards the Capital, Trinket hiring another cart and continuing on his way westward in the direction of the Wutai Mountains.韦小宝见陶红英赶车向东,不住回头相望,心想:“她虽不是我真姑姑,待我倒真好。” He could see her looking back after him as her cart disappeared into the distance. ‘She may not be my real Auntie,’ he thought to himself, ‘but she certainly seems to be fond of me!’

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