The Deer And The Cauldron 25

0
150

The Deer And The Cauldron 25
第二十五回 乌飞白头窜帝子 马挟红粉啼宫娥

注:“帝子”是皇帝的女儿,通常指公主。《楚辞•九歌•湘夫人》:“帝子降兮北渚。”帝子是尧的女儿。马怀素《送金城公主适西番诗》:“帝子今何在?重姻适异方。”

Chapter 17-In which Trinket becomes acquainted with the White Nun: they make some Startling Discoveriesi and have a lot of Trouble with Lamas

Adamantine Body-Coal Hill-The Burning-Ground Revisited-Tartar Empress and Tartar Princess-White Nun meets Old Whore-Green Girl Again-Lamas at the Inn-On the Road with Sir Zheng-Sa-sa-satisfaction!-In the Sorghum Field

**************

Adamantine Body

韦小宝被提着疾行,犹似腾云驾雾一般,一棵棵大树在身旁掠过,只觉越奔越高,心中说不出的害怕:“这贼秃一剑刺不死我,定然大大不服气。他要改用别法,且看从万丈高峰上掷下来,我这小贼秃会不会死?”果然不出所料,那白衣僧突然松手,将韦小宝掷下。韦小宝大叫一声,跟着背心着地,却原来只是摔在地下。白衣僧冷冷的瞧着他,说道:“听说少林派有一门护体神功,刀枪不入,想不到你这小和尚倒会。”韦小宝听那人语音清亮,带着三分娇柔,微感诧异,看那人脸时,只见雪白一张瓜子脸,双眉弯弯,凤目含愁,竟是个极美貌的女子,约莫三十来岁年纪,只是剃光了头,顶有香疤,原来是个尼姑。韦小宝心中一喜:“尼姑总比和尚好说话些。”忙欲坐起,只觉胸口剧痛,却是适才给她刺了一剑,虽仗宝衣护身,未曾刺伤皮肉,但她内力太强,戳得他疼痛已极,“啊哟”一声,又即翻倒。
A jumble of trees and clouds passed before his eyes. As they mounted higher and higher, Trinket’s fear increased. This crazy monk doesn’t give up easily,’ he thought. ‘He couldn’t kill me with his sword, so now he’s decided to drop me off a mountain.’ He shut his eyes tight when the monk at last stopped and let go of him, then gave a great cry as he landed on his back with a thump. It took him some moments to realize that he had fallen to the ground from a height of approximately three feet. When he opened his eyes he saw that the eyes of the White Monk were studying him coldly. ‘I have heard it said that some Shaolin monks can make themselves impermeable to weapons,’ the monk was saying, ‘but I wouldn’t have expected so young a monk as you to be able to.’ Trinket listened in amazement. It was a woman’s voice. This wasn’t a monk, it was a woman in her thirties, a distinguished-looking woman with a pale, refined face and a pair of very beautiful but very sad-looking eyes. From her shaved head and the two rows of Little scars where the incense had burned into her scalp at the time of her initiation it was evident that she was in holy orders. The White Monk was in fact a White Nun. He felt relieved. A nun, he thought, should be much easier to deal with than a monk. But just at that moment he became once more conscious of the searing pain in his chest. ‘Aiyo!’

那女尼冷冷的道:“我道少林神功有什么了不起,原来也不过如此。”韦小宝道:“不瞒师太说,清凉寺大雄宝殿中那三十六名少林僧,有的是达摩院首座,有的是般若堂首座……哎唷……哎唷……少林派大名鼎鼎的十八罗汉都在其内,个个都是少林派一等一的头挑高手。他们三十六人敌不过你师太一个人……哎唷……”顿了一顿,又道:“早知如此,我也不入少林寺了,哎唷……拜了师太为师,那可高上百倍。”白衣尼冷峻的脸上露出一丝笑容,问道:“你叫什么名字?在少林寺学艺几年了?”
The White Nun smiled scornfully. ‘So the wonderful Shaolin secret is not so wonderful after all!’ ‘Reverend Mother,’ said Trinket, ‘I don’t mind telling you: there were thirty-six of the most highly trained Shaolin monks, including the famous Eighteen Lohans, in that monastery just now, and the whole lot of them, acting together, couldn’t lay a finger on you. If I’d known what I know now, I’d never have entered the Shaolin Monastery in the first place, I’d have gone to study with you.’ A faint smile passed over the White Nun’s glacial features. ‘What’s your name? How long did you train in the Shaolin Monastery?’

韦小宝思忖:“她行刺皇上,说要为大明天子报仇,自然是反清复明之至,只不知她跟天地会是友是敌,还是暂不吐露的为妙。”便道:“我是扬州穷人家的孤儿,爹爹给鞑子兵杀死了,从小给送进了皇宫去当小太监,叫做小桂子。后来……”白衣女尼沉吟道:“小太监小桂子?好像听过你的名字。鞑子朝廷有个大奸臣鳌拜,是给一个小太监杀死的,那是谁杀的?”韦小宝听得“鳌拜”的名字上加了“大奸臣”三字,忙道:“是……是我杀的。”白衣尼将信将疑,道:“当真是你杀的?那鳌拜武功很高,号称满洲第一勇士,你怎么杀他得了?”
Trinket wasn’t quite sure in which of his many guises to present himself. The White Nun was obviously anti-Manchu and in favour of a Ming Restoration, but was she a friend of the Triads? He had better not take any chances. ‘I’m the orphan boy of poor Yangzhou people,’ he said. ‘My father was killed by the Tartars. I was sent to the Palace when I was Little to be a eunuch. My name is Laurie.’ The White Nun looked thoughtful. ‘Laurie. A Little eunuch called Laurie. Where have I heard that before? Wasn’t there a wicked minister at the Tartar Court called Oboi who was killed by a Little eunuch? What was the name of the little eunuch who killed Oboi?’ ‘Laurie,’ said Trinket. ‘It was me.’ The White Nun was not sure whether to believe him or not. ‘But surely Oboi was the Champion of Manchuria? How could you kill him?’

韦小宝慢慢坐起,说了擒鳌拜的经过,如何小皇帝下令动手,如何自己冷不防向鳌拜刺了一刀,如何将香灰撒入他的眼中,后来又如何在囚室之中刺他背脊。这件事他已说过好几遍,每多说一次,油盐酱醋等等作料便加添一些。白衣尼静静听完,叹了口气,自言自语:“倘若当真如此,庄家那些寡妇们可真要多谢你了。”韦小宝喜道:“你老人家说的是庄家三少奶奶她们?她早谢过我了,还送了一个丫头给我,叫作双儿,这时候她一定急死啦,她……”白衣尼问道:“你又怎地识得庄家的人了?”韦小宝据实而言,最后道:“你老人家倘若不信,可以去叫双儿来问。”白衣尼道:“你知道三少奶和双儿,那就是了。怎么又去做了和尚?”韦小宝心想老皇爷出家之事自当隐瞒,说道:“小皇帝派我作他替身,到少林寺出家,后来又派我去清凉寺。少林派的武功我学得很少,其实就算再学几十年,把什么韦陀掌、般若掌、拈花擒拿手等等都学全了,在你老人家面前,那也毫无用处。”
Trinket sat up now and gave a somewhat embroidered but on the whole truthful account of the part he had played in Oboi’s arrest and assassination. The White Nun listened in silence. When he had done, she gave a little sigh, of relief, perhaps, or satisfaction. ‘If this is true,’ she said, ‘those Zhuang ladies owe you a debt of gratitude.’ ‘Do you mean Widow Zhuang and those ladies?’ said Trinket. ‘Widow Zhuang has already dianked me. And she’s given me a maid called Doublet. Right now Doublet will be worried sick about me.’ ‘How did you come to know them?’ said the White Nun. This episode, too, Trinket gave a fairly trudiful account of. ‘If you don’t believe me, Reverend Mother,’ he concluded, ‘you could easily send for Doublet and ask her yourself.’ That’s not necessary,’ said the White Nun. ‘If you know Widow Zhuang and Doublet, that is enough for me. But tell me, how did you come to be a monk?’ Trinket knew he had better not tell her anything about the Old Emperor, so he merely said: The Young Emperor wanted me to be his Proxy Novice. He sent me to the Shaolin Monastery first, to be made a monk, then after that he had me transferred to the Pure Coolness Monastery. I wasn’t at the Shaolin Monastery very long and I didn’t have time to learn much. But even if I’d been there for years and years, I’d have been no good against someone like you.’

白衣尼突然脸一沉,森然道:“你既是汉人,为什么认贼作父,舍命去保护皇帝?真是生成的奴才胚子!”韦小宝心中一寒,这句话实在不易回答,当时这白衣尼行刺康熙,他情急之下,挺身遮挡,可全没想到要讨好皇帝,只觉康熙是自己世上最亲近之人,就像是亲哥哥一样,无论如何不能让人杀了他。白衣尼冷冷的道:“满洲鞑子来抢咱们大明天下,还不算最坏的坏人,最坏的是为虎作伥的汉人,只求自己荣华富贵,什么事都做得出。”说着眼光射到韦小宝的脸上,缓缓的道:“我把你从这山峰上抛下去。你的护体神功还管不管用?”
The White Nun’s face suddenly assumed a stern expression. ‘You are a Chinese. Aren’t you ashamed to be treating the enemy like your own kin? You risked your life just now to save their Emperor. Only the lowest slave would behave like that.’ Trinket didn’t know how to answer. He had thrown himself in front of Kang Xi instinctively, without thinking. It wasn’t to curry favour or win an award. It was because Kang Xi was the only person who was really close to him, like a brother. How could he have stood by and let someone kill him? But he couldn’t explain this to the White Nun. The worst people are not the Tartars who stole our Ming Empire from us,’ said the White Nun. The worst people of all are Chinese collaborators like you who do their dirty work for them in return for rank and riches.’ She paused a moment and stared hard at him. ‘If I throw you now from the top of this mountain, your “adamantine body” isn’t going to be much use to you, is it?’

韦小宝大声道:“当然不管用。其实也不用将我抛下山去,只须轻轻在我头顶一掌,我的脑袋立刻碎成十七八块。”白衣尼道:“那么你讨好鞑子皇帝。还有什么好处?”韦小宝大声道:“我不是讨好他。小皇帝是我的朋友,他……他说过要永不加赋,爱惜百姓。咱们江湖上汉子,义气为重,要爱惜百姓。”其实他对康熙义气倒确是有的,爱惜百姓什么,却做梦也没想过,眼前性命交关,只好抬出这顶大帽子来抵挡一阵。白衣尼脸上闪过一阵迟疑之色,问道:“他说过要永不加赋,爱惜百姓?”韦小宝忙道:“不错,不错。也不知说过几百遍了。他说鞑子皇帝进关之后大杀百姓,大大的不该,什么扬州十日、嘉定三赌,简直是禽兽畜生做的事。他心里不安,所以……所以要上五台山来烧香拜佛,还下旨免了扬州、嘉定三年钱粮。”白衣尼点了点头。韦小宝又道:“鳌拜这大奸臣害死了许多忠良,小皇帝不许他害,他偏偏不听。小皇帝大怒。就叫我杀他。好师太,你倘若杀了小皇帝,朝廷里大事就由太后做主了。这老婊子坏得不得了,她一拿权,又要搞什么扬州十日、嘉定三赌。你要杀鞑子,还是去杀了太后这老婊子的好。”
‘Of course it isn’t,’ said Trinket. ‘But you don’t need to go to all that trouble anyway. A simple blow from your hand would smash my skull in.’ ‘So what did you hope to gain by currying the Emperor’s favour?’ ‘You don’t understand. I wasn’t greasing,’ said Trinket. The Young Emperor really is my friend. He’s good. He says he’ll never ; raise taxes. He wants to protect the common people—isn’t that what River and Lake is all about?’ The White Nun looked doubtful. ‘Did he really say those things—about not raising taxes and protecting the common people?’ ‘Loads of times,’ said Trinket. ‘He’s often told me that all the killing that the Tartars did when they entered the Passes was bad, very bad. He says that in the Ten Day Massacre of Yangzhou they behaved like wild animals. He’s very unhappy about it. That’s why he came to Wutai, to visit the temples and pray to the Buddha for forgiveness. And he says he’s going to give Yangzhou three years’ freedom from taxes.’ The White Nun nodded thoughtfully. ‘Oboi killed a lot of the good men at Court,’ said Trinket. The Young Emperor tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t listen. That made the Young Emperor very angry, so he told me to kill Oboi. If you kill the Young Emperor, all the important stuff at Court will be taken care of by the Empress Dowager. Now she’s really bad news. She’s an Old Whore. If she gets control of things, it’ll be the Ten Day Massacre all over again, only more of it. If you want to kill Tartars, the one you ought to kill is the Old Whore.’

白衣尼瞪了他一眼,道:“在我面前,不可口出粗俗无礼的言语。”韦小宝道:“是,是!在你老人家跟前,以后七八十年之中,我再也不说半句粗俗的言语。”白衣尼抬头望着天上白云,不去理他,过了一会,问道:“太后有什么不好?”韦小宝心想:“太后做的坏事,跟这师太全不相干,我得胡诌些罪名,加在她头上。”说道:“太后说现下是大清的天下,应当把大明十七八代皇帝的坟墓都掘了,看看坟里有什么宝贝,又说天下姓朱的汉人都不大要得,应当家家满门抄斩,免得他们来抢回大清的江山……”
The White Nun stared at him coldly. ‘You are not to use language like that in my presence!’ However, she ignored his apologies and appeared to be contemplating the sky. ‘So what is so bad about this Empress Dowager?’ she asked presently. This was a tricky question. Trinket couldn’t possibly tell her the truth, because almost all the Empress’s misdeeds were connected in some way with the Old Emperor. He decided that he would have to make something up. ‘Well, for one thing she says that as this is now the Qing Empire, they ought to open up all the Ming Emperors’ tombs and take out the treasure that was buried with them. Then she says that all Chinese with the Ming Imperial surname Zhu should be executed, along with all their families, so that there’s no risk of their getting the Empire back again.’

白衣尼大怒,右手一掌拍在石上,登时石屑纷飞,厉声道:“这女人好恶毒!”韦小宝道:“可不是吗?我劝小皇帝道,这等事万万做不得。”白衣尼哼了一声,道:“你有什么学问,说得出什么道理,劝得小皇帝信你的话?”韦小宝道:“我的道理可大着哪。我说,皇上,一个人总是要死的。阳间固然是你们满洲人掌权,你可知阴世的阎罗王是汉人还是满人?那些判官、小鬼、牛头、马面、黑无常、白无常,是汉人还是满人?他们个个是汉人。你在阳间欺压汉人,就算你活到一百岁,总有一天,你要大大的糟糕。小皇帝说,小桂子,亏得你提醒。因此太后那些坏主意,小皇帝一句也不听,反说要颁下银两,大修大明皇帝的坟,从洪武爷爷的修起,一直修到崇祯皇帝,对了,还有什么福王、鲁王、唐王、桂王。我也记不清那许多皇帝。”
‘Wicked woman!’ cried the White Nun. She hit a rock in her rage with a force that would have broken a normal person’s hand. ‘I know,’ said Trinket. ‘I told the Young Emperor he couldn’t possibly do that.’ ‘How could an uneducated boy like you persuade an Emperor to change his mind?’ said the White Nun. ‘I said to him, “Your Majesty, everyone has got to the some day: even Your Majesty will die sooner or later. Now,” I said, “where did King Yama and all the Officers of the Dead and the devils who serve them come from? They’re all Chinese,” I said. “If you treat the Chinese badly in this life, what’s going to happen to you in the next, after you’re dead?” “You’re right, Laurie,” he said. “I’m glad you reminded me.” Then he gave orders for a lot of money to be spent on repairing the tombs of the Ming Emperors, even the tombs of Prince Fu and Prince Lu and those other ones—I can’t remember all their names now,’

白衣尼突然眼圈一红,掉下泪来,一滴滴眼泪从衣衫上滚下,滴在草上,过了好一会,她伸衣袖一拭泪水,说道:“倘若真是如此,你不但无过,反而有极大功劳,要是我……要是我大明历代皇帝的陵墓都叫这……恶女人给掘了……”说到这里,声音哽咽,再也说不下去。她站起身来,走上一块悬崖。韦小宝大叫:“师太,你……你千万不可……不可自寻短见。”说着奔过去拉她左臂。在这片刻之间,他对这美貌尼姑已大有好感,只觉她清丽高雅,斯文慈和,生平所见女子中没一个及得上。一拉之下,只拉到一只空袖,韦小宝一怔,才知她没了左臂。白衣尼回头道:“胡闹!我为什么要寻短见?”韦小宝道:“我见你很伤心,怕你一时想不开。”白衣尼道:“我如自寻短见,你回到皇帝身边,从此大富大贵,岂不是好?”
The White Nun’s eyes were red and she began to cry. Trinket could see the tears rolling down her cheeks and some of them even falling on to the grass. ‘If what you say is true,’ she said, ‘you are not at all to blame for serving the Tartar Emperor; in fact, you have done your country a great service. Oh!’—she began to sob again—’if that evil woman had had her way . . ,’ Trinket watched with alarm as she stepped to the edge of the cliff and began looking down. Fearing that she was going to make away with herself, he shouted to try and stop her. ‘Reverend Mother, Reverend Mother, you mustn’t give up! Don’t do anything silly, please!’ For some reason it had become important to him that this refined and beautiful woman, so dignified and austere in her manner and so unlike any female he had ever in his life met before, should remain alive. He struggled over to where she stood and reached out for her left arm, intending to pull her back. He found himself holding on to an empty sleeve. She had no left arm. ‘What nonsense!’ she said, as he stood there goggling in surprise. ‘I have no intention of taking my own life.’ ‘You looked so sad,’ said Trinket. ‘I was afraid you might be thinking about it.’ ‘And what if I had committed suicide?’ said the White Nun. ‘You could have gone back to your Emperor and enjoyed a prosperous and happy life.’

韦小宝道:“不,不!我做小太监,是迫不得已,鞑子兵杀了我爸爸,我怎能认贼作……作那个爹?”白衣尼点点头,道:“你倒也还有良心。”从身边取出十几两银子,伸手给他,说道:“给你作盘缠,你回扬州本乡去罢。”韦小宝心想:“我赏人银子,不是二百两,也有一百两,怎希罕你这点儿钱?这师太心肠软,我索性讨讨她的好。”不接银子,突然伏在地下,抱住她腿,放声大哭。白衣尼皱眉道:“干什么?起来,起来。”韦小宝道:“我……我不要银子。”白衣尼道:“那你哭什么?”韦小宝道:“我没爹没娘,从来没人疼我,师太,你……你就像我娘一样。我自个儿常常想,有……有个好好疼我的妈妈就好了。”
‘No,’ said Trinket. ‘I didn’t choose to be a eunuch. Anyway, the Tartars killed my father. I don’t really want to treat the enemy as, you know, what you said before.’ ‘Kin’ was not a word he was familiar with. The White Nun nodded sympathetically. ‘Well, you are a good boy at heart,’ she said. She took some money from an inside pocket and held it out to him. ‘Here, take this. It should be enough to get you back to Yangzhou.’ The amount she was offering him appeared to be ten or twelve taels. He thought amusedly of the gratuities he regularly dispensed himself—two hundred or more taels at a time and never less than a hundred. ‘Still,’ he thought, ‘she has a kind heart. That’s what I must work on.’ Instead of taking the money, he threw himself on his knees, clung to her legs, and broke into noisy sobbing. ‘Get up, get up!’ she said. ‘Whatever is the matter with you?’ ‘I don’t want the money,’ he sobbed. Then why are you crying?’ ‘I haven’t got a father or a mother,’ he sobbed. ‘I’ve always wanted a mother to love me and take care of me. I think my dead mother must have been like you.’

白衣尼脸上一红,轻声啐道:“胡说八道!我是出家人……”韦小宝道:“是,是!”站起身来,泪痕满脸,说哭便哭原是他的绝技之一。白衣尼沉吟道:“我本要去北京,那么带你一起上路好了。不过你是个小和尚……”韦小宝心想:回去北京,那当真再好不过,忙道:“我这小和尚是假的,下山后换过衣衫,便不是小和尚了。”
The White Nun reddened. ‘What nonsense!’ she said, though not unkindly. ‘People in holy orders can have no family.’ ‘I know,’ said Trinket. He got up again, his face all wet with tears. ‘I’m planning to go to Peking,’ she said reflectively. ‘I suppose I could take you with me. But you’re in holy orders too, aren’t you?’ ‘No, no,’ said Trinket hurriedly. ‘I’m not really a monk. I’ll buy some new clothes in the first town we come to and dress up as an ordinary boy.’

白衣尼点点头,更不说话,同下峰来。遇到险峻难行之处,白衣尼提住他衣领,轻轻巧巧的一跃而过。韦小宝大赞不已,又说少林派武功天下闻名,可及不上她一点边儿,那白衣尼便似听而不闻。待韦小宝说到第七八遍时,白衣尼道:“少林派武功自有独到之处,小孩儿家井底之蛙,不可信口雌黄。单以你这刀枪不入的护体神功而言,我就不会。”韦小宝一阵冲动,说道:“我这护体神功是假的。”解开外衣,露出背心,道:“这件背心才是刀枪不入。”白衣尼伸手一扯,指上用劲,以她这一扯之力,连钢丝也扯断了,可是那背心竟丝毫不动。她微微一笑,道:“原来如此。我本来奇怪,就算少林派内功当真了得,以你小小年纪,也决计练不到这火候。”解开了心中一个疑团,甚是高兴,笑道:“你这孩子,说话倒也老实。”韦小宝暗暗好笑,一生之中,居然有人赞他老实,当真希罕之至,说道:“我对别人也不怎么老实,对师太却句句说的是实话,也不知是什么缘故,多半是我把你当作是我……我妈妈……”白衣尼道:“以后别再说这话,难听得很。”韦小宝道:“是,是。”心道:“你在我胸口戳了这一下,这时候还在痛。我已叫了你好几声妈妈,就算扯直了。”他叫人妈妈,就是骂人为婊子,得意之下,又向白衣尼瞧了一眼,见到她高华贵重的气象,不自禁的心生尊敬,好生后悔叫了她几声“妈妈”。他又向白衣尼望了一眼,却见她泪水盈眶,泫然欲泣,心下奇怪。他自然不知道,白衣尼心中正在想:“这件背心,我早该想到了。他……他……可不是也有这么一件吗?”
The White Nun nodded and they set off at once on the north descent of the mountain. She was used to travelling in silence and ignored several of Trinket’s attempts at starting a conversation. There was something he said, however, about his ‘adamantine body’, which obviously still puzzled her. When he assured her that there was really nothing ‘adamantine’ about it at all and opened up his habit to show her the weapon-resistant waistcoat that he wore underneath, she seemed really pleased. ‘No wonder,’ she said. ‘I thought it was strange that one so young should have attained so high a level of skill. Well, I must say, you are a very honest boy.’ Trinket had been called many things in his young life, but this was certainly the first time that anyone had called him honest. He was puzzled, though, when he glanced up at her to see that her eyes were full of tears. He could not know that someone in the past who had been very dear to her had possessed just such a protective waistcoat as the one he was wearing.

Coal Hill

白衣尼和他自北边下山,折而向东。到得一座市镇,韦小宝便去购买衣衫,打扮成个少年公子模样。他假扮喇嘛,护着顺治离清凉寺时,几十万两银票自然决不离身。一路之上吩咐店家供应精美素斋。服侍得白衣尼十分周到。
At the foot of the north face they turned towards the east, and after walking for a few miles in that direction, came to a small market town. Trinket found a shop there where he was able to shed his monkish persona and once more indulge his taste for expensive clothes; for he still had with him the packet of money and valuables made up for him by faithful Doublet when they left the Pure Coolness Monastery in disguise. Soon he was dressed up as a young swell, able to pose as the son of a rich patron and in that capacity devote himself to caring for the material needs of the unworldly nun.

白衣尼对菜肴美恶分辨甚精,便如出身于大富大贵之家一般,与那些少林僧全然不同。她虽不有意挑剔,但如菜肴精致,便多吃几筷。韦小宝有的是银子,只要市上买得到,什么人参、燕窝、茯苓、银耳、金钱菇,有多贵就买多贵。他掌管御厨多时,太后、皇帝每逢佛祖诞、观音诞或是祈年大斋都要吃素,他点起素菜来自也十分在行。有时客店中的厨子不知如何烹饪,倒要他去厨房指点一番,煮出来倒也与御膳有七八分差相仿佛。白衣尼沉默寡言,往往整日不说一句话。韦小宝对她既生敬意,便也不敢胡说八道。
She seemed to take little interest in such mundane matters as the food she ate, yet she had a natural fastidiousness, and Trinket found that if he took trouble to buy the choicest materials— ginseng, bird’s-nest, fating (China-root fungus), Wood Ear mushrooms, and the like—and insist that they were properly cooked (even on occasion going into the kitchen of the inn or restaurant where they were eating to give instructions to the bewildered chef), she could be coaxed into eating a few mouthfuls more. As a devout Buddhist she could eat only vegetarian food; but Trinket had been head of the Imperial Catering Department, and the Emperor and Empress Dowager both ate vegetarian dishes on the Buddha’s birthday and the Rogation Days, and other feasts and fasts of the Buddhist Church, so he knew plenty of excellent vegetarian recipes. She liked to travel in silence, and whole days went by without her saying a word. Yet Trinket had developed so profound a respect for her that, far from finding this irksome, he made a conscious effort to avoid foul language and not speak his usual nonsense in her presence.

不一日到了北京,韦小宝去找了一家大客店,一进门便赏了十两银子。客店掌柜虽觉尼姑住店有些突兀,但这位贵公子出手豪阔,自是殷勤接待。白衣尼似乎一切视作当然,从来不问。用过午膳后,白衣尼道:“我要去煤山瞧瞧。”韦小宝道:“去煤山吗?那是崇祯皇上归天的地方,咱们得去磕几个头。”
Eventually they arrived in Peking and Trinket found a large, high-class hostelry for them to stay in. It was unusual for a nun to stay in such a place, but Trinket had pressed ten taels into the proprietor’s hand almost as soon as they entered the door and, seeing that the nun was in the company of this well-dressed and obviously rich young gentleman, the man did his very best to please. For her part the White Nun treated their staying there as the most natural thing in the world and, indeed, seemed quite unaware of her surroundings. After they had eaten, she expressed a desire to go and visit Coal Hill. That’s where the Emperor Chong Zhen died,’ said Trinket. ‘We must kowtow there and say a prayer for him.’

那煤山便在皇宫之侧,片刻即到。来到山上,韦小宝指着一株大树,说道:“崇祯皇上便是在这株树上吊死的。”白衣尼伸手抚树,手臂不住颤动,泪水扑簌簌的滚了下来,忽然放声大哭,伏倒在地。韦小宝见她哭得伤心,寻思:“难道她认得崇祯皇帝?”心念一动:“莫非她就跟陶姑姑一样,也是大明皇宫里的宫女,说不定还是崇祯皇帝的妃子。不,年纪可不对了,她好像比老婊子还年轻,不会是崇祯的妃子。”只听她哭得哀切异常,一口气几乎转不过来,忍不住也掉下泪来,跪倒在地,向那树拜了几拜。白衣尼哀哭良久,站起身来,抱住了树干,突然全身颤抖,昏晕了过去,身子慢慢软垂下来。韦小宝吃了一惊,急忙扶住,叫道:“师太,师太,快醒来。”过了好一会,白衣尼悠悠醒转,定了定神,说道:“咱们去皇宫瞧瞧。”
Coal Hill (which is really five hills) is just north of the Forbidden City, across the road from it. It did not take them long to get there. Trinket pointed out the tree on the central hill on which the last Ming Emperor hanged himself. The White Nun stroked its bark with a trembling hand. He could see the tears rolling down her cheeks. Presently her silent weeping turned into loud wailing and she sank to her knees at the foot of the tree. ‘She must have known him,’ thought Trinket. ‘She can’t have been his concubine, she’s not old enough. Perhaps she was a maid-of-honour, like Auntie Tao.’ After a while the wailing ceased and the White Nun recovered herself sufficiently to make several formal kowtows. Then she stood up, her tears still falling, and enfolded the tree in a half-embrace with her right arm. Suddenly a trembling seized her whole body and she fainted. Trinket rushed forward to catch her as she slipped to the ground. ‘Reverend Mother, Reverend Mother!’ he cried. ‘Open your eyes!’ It was some time before she did so. Then, when she had recovered her composure, she said: ‘Now I want to go to the Palace.’

韦小宝道:“好,咱们先回客店。我去弄套太监的衣衫来,师太换上了,我带你入宫。”白衣尼怒道:“我怎能穿鞑子太监的衣衫?”韦小宝道:“是,是。那么……那么……有了,师太扮作个喇嘛,皇宫里经常有喇嘛进出的。”白衣尼道:“我也不扮喇嘛。就这样冲进宫去,谁能阻挡?”韦小宝道:“是,谅那些侍卫也挡不住师太。只不过……这不免要大开杀戒。师太只顾杀人,就不能静静的瞧东西了。”他可真不愿跟白衣尼就这样硬闯皇宫。白衣尼点点头:“那也说得是,今天晚上趁黑闯宫便了。你在客店里等着我,以免遭遇危险。”韦小宝道:‘不,不,我跟你一起去。你一个人进宫,我不放心。皇宫里我可熟得到了家,地方熟,人也熟。你想瞧什么地方,我带你去便是。”白衣尼不语,呆呆出神。
Trinket suggested that she should go back with him to the hostelry. They could both dress up as eunuchs and he could smuggle her in quite easily. But she wouldn’t hear of it. ‘I shall break in,’ she said. ‘Who will stop me?’ ‘Well, yes,’ said Trinket, not at all happy about the idea. ‘I’m sure there’s no one there who could stand up to you, but you’d have to kill an awful lot of guards. Isn’t it against your vows to kill for no good reason?’ She nodded. ‘You are quite right. I shall wait until it is dark. You can stay behind in the inn, in case I run into trouble.’ ‘No, no,’ said Trinket. Til go with you. I’d be too worried if you went in on your own. I know everything inside there so well, the buildings and the people. It’ll be much easier if I’m with you. You only have to say where you want to go and I can take you there.’ The White Nun looked thoughtful but said nothing.

The Burning-Qround Revisited

到得二更天时,白衣尼和韦小宝出了客店,来到宫墙之外。韦小宝道:“咱们绕到东北角上,那边的宫墙较矮,里面是苏拉杂役所住的所在,没什么侍卫巡查。”白衣尼依着他指点,来到北十三排之侧,抓住韦小宝后腰,轻轻跃进宫去。韦小宝低声道:“这边过去是乐寿堂和养性殿,师太你想瞧什么地方?”
About ten o’clock that evening Trinket and the White Nun left the hostelry and made their way to the foot of the Palace wall. ‘We should get in from the north-east side,’ said Trinket. The wall’s a bit lower there. It’s where the sula live—you know, the people who do the dirty work for the eunuchs. There won’t be any guards patrolling that part.’ The White Nun followed his advice. When they reached the section of wall which Trinket judged the best place to go over, she helped him up on to it, then floated down ahead of him not far from the barrack-like quarters of the sula. ‘Well,’,’said Trinket when they were both inside, ‘that building there is the Hall of Joyful Old Age and that one there is the Nurturing Nature Hall. What is it you want to see?’

白衣尼沉吟道:“什么地方都瞧瞧。”向西从乐寿堂和养性殿之间穿过,绕过一道长廊,经玄穹宝殿、景阳宫、钟粹宫而到了御花园中。白衣尼虽在黑暗之中,仍行走十分迅速,转弯抹角,竟无丝毫迟疑,遇到侍卫和更夫巡查,便在屋角或树林后一躲。韦小宝大奇:“她怎地对宫中情形如此熟悉?她以前定是在宫里住过的。”跟着她过御花园,继续向西,出坤宁门,来到坤宁宫外。白衣尼微一踌躇,问道:“皇后是不是住在这里?”韦小宝道:“皇上还没大婚,没有皇后。从前太后住在这里,现今搬到慈宁宫去了。眼下坤宁宫没人住。”白衣尼道:“咱们去瞧瞧。”
‘Everything,’ said the White Nun, and after walking swiftly in a westerly direction between the two buildings he had indicated, she hurried round the two sides of a covered gallery, through two more Palace halls, and out into the Palace gardens. Trinket noticed that, although it was dark and the buildings were all unlit, she continued to walk at the same swift pace, turning corners without hesitation and only stopping momentarily to conceal herself behind a wall or a tree when there were signs of a watchman or a patrolling guard in the near vicinity. It was obvious that she knew her way around and must at one time have had her home in the Palace. He followed her through the gardens and through the Gate of Female Repose. Outside the Palace of Female Repose she waited for him to catch up. ‘Is this still where the Empress lives?’ she asked him. ‘No one lives here,’ said Trinket. ‘There isn’t an Empress. The Young Emperor hasn’t married yet.’ ‘We’ll go in and have a look,’ she said.

来到坤宁宫外,伸手按上窗格,微一使劲,窗闩嗤嗤轻响,已然断了,拉开窗子,跃了进去。韦小宝跟着爬进。坤宁宫是皇后的寝宫,韦小宝从没来过,这寝宫久无人住,触鼻一阵灰尘霉气。月光从窗纸中映进一些微光,依稀见到白衣尼坐在床沿之上,一动也不动。过了一会,听得扑簌簌有声,却是她眼泪流上了衣襟。韦小宝心道:“是了,她多半跟陶姑姑一样,本来是宫里的宫女,服侍过前朝皇后。”只见她抬头瞧着屋梁,低声道:“周皇后,就是……就是在这里自尽死的。”韦小宝应道:“是。”心下更无怀疑,低声问道:“师太,你要不要见见我姑姑?”白衣尼奇道:“你姑姑?她是什么人?”韦小宝道:“我姑姑姓陶,叫作陶红英……”白衣尼轻声惊呼:“红英?”韦小宝道:“是啊,说不定你认识她。我姑姑从前是服侍崇祯皇帝的长公主的。”
At a touch of her hand a window-catch was broken, the casement opened, and she sailed in. Trinket scrambled in after her. Inside it was musty and there was a smell of damp. He couldn’t see anything at first, but presently, in the moonlight that filtered faintly through the windows, he could make out her shape, sitting motionless on the edge of the great bed of state. It was so silent that he could hear, or thought he could hear, the falling of a tear. ‘Yes, definitely,’ he told himself. ‘She must have been a maid-of-honour, like Auntie Tao. One of the Ming Empress’s maids-of-honour.’ The White Nun had raised her head and was staring at one of the beams. ‘This is where the Empress Zhou hanged herself,’ she said. ‘Reverend Mother,’ said Trinket, ‘would you like to meet my auntie?’ Who is your aunt,’ the White Nun asked curiously. What sort of person is she?’ ‘I call her my Auntie Tao,’ said Trinket. ‘Her real name is Tao Hongying.’ ‘Hongying?’ said the White Nun, startled. ‘I thought you might know her,’ said Trinket. ‘She used to work for the Emperor Chong Zhen’s eldest daughter, the Princess Royal.’

白衣尼道:“好,好。她在哪里?你快……快去叫她来见我。”她一直泰然自若,即就那日在清凉寺中行刺康熙,尽管行动迅速,仍不失镇静,可是此刻语音中竟显得十分焦急。韦小宝道:“今晚是叫不到了。”白衣尼连问:“为什么?为什么?”韦小宝道:“我姑姑忠于大明,曾行刺鞑子太后,可惜刺她不死,只好在宫里躲躲藏藏。她要见到我的暗号之后,明晚才能相见。”白衣尼道:“很好,红英这丫头有气节。你做什么暗号?”韦小宝道:“我跟姑姑约好的。我在火场上堆一个石堆,插一根木条,她便知道了。”白衣尼道:“咱们就做暗号去。”
‘Yes, yes,’ said the White Nun. Where is she? Fetch her here!’ Normally she was so stately and unruffled. He had never before heard her speak with urgency in her voice. ‘I shan’t be able to get her for you tonight,’ he said. Why not?’ ‘She tried to assassinate the Empress Dowager, but she didn’t succeed in killing her. Since men she’s had to move about all the time hiding herself in different parts of the Palace. If I want to see her, I have to leave a secret sign somewhere and go there to see her next day. The earliest we could see her would be tomorrow night.’ ‘What is the sign?’ the White Nun asked him. ‘I have to make a little pile of stones somewhere in the burning-ground and stick a big twig in the top of it.’ ‘Very well,’ she said. ‘Let’s do that now.’

跃出窗外,拉了韦小宝的手,出隆福门,过永寿宫、体元殿、保华殿,向北来到火场。韦小宝拾起一根炭条,在一块木片上画了只雀儿,用乱石堆成一堆,将木条插入石堆。白衣尼忽道:“有人来啦!”火场是宫中焚烧废物的所在,深夜忽然有人到来,事非寻常。韦小宝一拉白衣尼的手,躲到了一只大瓦缸之后,只听得脚步声细碎,一人奔将过来,站定身四下一看,见到了韦小宝所插的木条,微微一怔,便走过去拔起。这人一转身,月光照到脸上,韦小宝见到正是陶红英,心中大喜,叫道:“姑姑,我在这里。”从瓦缸后面走了出来。
This time it was Trinket who led the way. The burning-ground was the area in which the Palace rubbish was burned. The first thing he did when they got there was to look for an odd piece of board and a bit of charred wood. He used the charred wood to draw a crude picture of a bird. Then he made a little pile of stones, stuck a bit of wood in the top of it, and propped the bird picture up against the stones. There’s someone coming!’ said the White Nun as he was finishing. He took her hand and the two of them crouched down behind a large earthenware water-jar. There was a hurried patter of footsteps. Someone ran into the middle of the burning-ground, stopped, looked round in each direction, caught sight of the stone-heap with a visible start, then ran over to it and picked up the picture of the bird. Just at that moment the moon came out from behind a cloud and Trinket could see that it was Aunt Tao. He rose and stepped out from behind the jar. ‘Auntie!’ he called softly. ‘Here I am. I’m over here.’

陶红英抢上前来,一把搂住了他,喜道:“好孩子,你终于来了。每天晚上,我都到这里来瞧瞧,只盼早日见到你的记号。”韦小宝道:“姑姑,有一个人想见你。”陶红英微感诧异,放开了他身子,问道:“是谁?”白衣尼站直身子,低声道:“红英,你……你还认得我么?”陶红英没想到瓦缸后另有别人,吃了一惊,退后三步,右手在腰间一摸,拔短剑在手,道:“是……是谁?”白衣尼叹了口气,道:“原来你不认得我了。”陶红英道:“我……我见不到你脸,你……你是……”白衣尼身子微侧,让月光照在她半边脸上,低声道:“你相貌也变了很多啦。”陶红英颤声道:“你是……你是……”突然间掷下短剑,叫道:“公主,是你?我……我……”扑过去抱住白衣尼的腿,伏在地上,呜咽道:“公主,今日能再见到你,我……我便即刻死了,也……也喜欢得紧。”
She ran to him and enfolded him in her arms. ‘Dear boy! You’re back at last! I’ve been coming here every night, hoping to see the sign,’ ‘Auntie,’ said Trinket, ‘I’ve got someone here who wants to meet you.’ ‘Oh?’ she said releasing him, a trifle suspiciously. ‘Who is it?’ The White Nun stood up to her full height. ‘Hongying,’ she said. ‘Can you still recognize me?’ Startled, for she had not realized that there was another person behind the jar, Aunt Tao retreated a few steps and drew her sword. Who are you?’ she said. The White Nun sighed. ‘You don’t recognize me, do you?’ ‘I can’t see your face,’ said Aunt Tao. She sounded shaken. ‘Are you . . . is it. . .?’ The White Nun turned her face into the moonlight. ‘You have changed too, Hongying,’ she said sadly. ‘I hardly knew you.’ ‘You aren’t. . .?’ Aunt Tao’s voice was shaking. Suddenly she threw down her sword, rushed forwards, flung herself to her knees, and embraced the White Nun’s legs. ‘Princess,’ she sobbed, ‘Princess! To see you again! Oh, I could die happy this very moment!’

一听得“公主”二字,韦小宝这一下惊诧自是非同小可,但随即想起陶红英先前说过的往事:她是先朝宫中的宫女,一直服侍长公主,李闯攻入北京后,崇祯提剑要杀长公主,砍断了她手臂,陶红英在混乱中晕了过去,醒转来时,皇帝和公主都已不见。韦小宝向白衣尼望了一眼,心想:“她少了一条手臂,对宫中情形这样熟悉,又在坤宁宫中哭泣,我早该想到了。似她这等高贵模样,怎能会是宫女?我到这时候才知,真是大大的蠢才。”只听白衣尼道:“这些日子来,你一直都在宫里?”陶红英呜咽道:“是。”白衣尼道:“这孩子说,你曾行刺鞑子皇太后,那很好。可……可也难为你了。”说到这里,泪水不禁涔涔而下。陶红英道:“公主是万金之体,不可在这里耽搁。奴婢即刻送公主出宫。”白衣尼叹了口气,道:“我早已不是公主了。”陶红英道:“不,不,在奴婢心里,你永远是公主,是我的长公主。”
So was this the Princess Royal? Trinket was at first startled, but a moment later felt a fool for not having realized it sooner. Aunt Tao had told him more than once how, when the rebel general Bash-em Li captured Peking, the Ming Emperor had tried to kill his favourite daughter before taking his own life, but had only succeeded in cutting off her arm. Aunt Tao was there at the time and had seen it with her own eyes, but then she had fainted, and when she came to, the Princess and the Emperor had both disappeared. Of course the White Nun was a Princess! How could a person of such dignified aloofness have been a mere maid-of-honour? And she only had one arm. ‘So you never left the Palace?’ he heard the White Nun ask Aunt Tao. ‘No, I never left.’ The boy tells me that you tried to kill the Tartar Dowager,’ said the White Nun. ‘You have kept faith all these years.’ She was weeping now herself. ‘Princess, your life is precious. You mustn’t stay here a moment longer. I’ll see you out.’ ‘I stopped being a Princess long ago,’ said the White Nun. ‘Oh no,’ said Aunt Tao. ‘In my heart you will always be a Princess, always. My Princess.’

白衣尼凄然一笑。月光之下,她脸颊上泪珠莹然,这一笑更显凄清。她缓缓的道:“宁寿宫这会儿有人住么?我想去瞧瞧。”陶红英道:“宁寿宫……现今是……是鞑子的建宁公主住着。不过这几天鞑子皇帝、太后和公主都不在宫里,不知上哪里去了。宁寿宫只余下几个宫女太监。待奴婢去把他们杀了,请公主过去。”宁寿宫是公主的寝宫,正是这位大明长平公主的旧居。白衣尼道:“那也不用杀人,我们过去瞧瞧便是。”陶红英道:“是。”她不知长平公主已身负超凡入圣的武功,只道是韦小宝带着她混进宫来的。她乍逢故主,满心激动,别说公主不过是要去看看旧居,就是刀山油锅,也毫不思索的抢先跳了。当下三人向北出西铁门,折而向东,过顺贞门,经北五所、茶库,来到宁寿宫外。陶红英低声道:“待奴婢进去驱除宫女太监。”白衣尼道:“不用。”伸手推门,门闩轻轻一响的断了,宫门打开,白衣尼走了进去。虽然换了朝代,宫中规矩并无多大更改,宁寿宫是白衣尼的旧居,她熟知太监宫女住宿何处,不待众人惊觉,已一一点了各人的晕穴,来到公主的寝殿。陶红英又惊又喜,道:“公主,想不到你武功如此了得!”白衣尼坐在床沿之上,回思二十多年前的往事,自己曾在这里图绘一人的肖像,又曾与此人同被共枕。现今天下都给鞑子占了去,自己这一间卧室,也给鞑子的公主占住了,那人更是远在绝域万里之外,今生今世,再也难以相见……陶红英和韦小宝侍立在旁,默不作声。
‘Is anyone now living in the Longevity Rooms?’ ‘The Tartar Princess,’ said Aunt Tao. ‘But at the moment she and her brother the Emperor and the Empress Dowager are all away somewhere. There are only a few eunuchs and Palace ladies left behind there. I’ll go there and kill them for you.’ ‘No, no,’ said the White Nun. There’s no need to kill anyone. I only want to have a look.’ From the burning-ground to the Longevity Rooms was a maze-like walk through several gates and courtyards and past several buildings, the last of which was the repository in which tea was stored. As the three of them stood outside the building which more than twenty years earlier had been the White Nun’s home, Aunt Tao, knowing nothing yet of her former mistress’s almost supernatural skill in the Martial Arts, once more offered to go in first, not to kill, but at least to drive out, the women and eunuchs inside. That won’t be necessary,’ said the White Nun, stretching out her hand and giving the doors a push. Aunt Tao watched in astonishment as the bar on the inside broke with a slight snapping sound and the doors flew open. The White Nun, remembering the layout of the building, knew where the sleeping women and eunuchs were to be found. Gliding into their quarters, she swiftly, with unerring touch, pressed the points on each one of them that would render them unconscious till the morning. Then she went into the main bedroom and sat down on the bed while Aunt Tao and Trinket stood to one side and waited.

(按:大明长平公主之事,请参阅拙作《碧血剑》。)

过了好一会,白衣尼轻声叹息,幽幽的道:“点起烛火。”陶红英道:“是。”点燃了蜡烛,只见墙壁上、桌椅上,都是刀剑皮鞭之类的兵器,便如是个武人的居室,哪里像是金枝玉叶的公主寝宫。白衣尼道:“原来这公主也生性好武。”韦小宝道:“这鞑子公主的脾气很怪,不但喜欢打人,还喜欢人家打她,武功却稀松平常,连我也不如。”他向床上瞧了一眼,想起那日躲在公主被中,给太后抓住,若不是那枚五龙令掉了出来,此刻早在阴世做小太监、服侍阎罗王的公主了。白衣尼轻声道:“我那些图画、书册,都给她丢掉了?”陶红英道:“是。这番邦女子只怕字也认不得几个,懂得什么丹青图书?”白衣尼左手一抬,袖子微扬,烛火登时灭了,说道:“你跟我出宫去罢。”陶红英道:“是。”又道:“公主,你身手这样了得,如能抓到鞑子太后,逼她将那几部经书交了出来,便可破了鞑子的龙脉。”
‘Light the candles!’ she said, after sitting for a while in silence. When they were lit, it could be seen that the tables, chairs, and walls were covered with whips and every kind of weapon. The room was more like an armoury than the boudoir of a princess. What became of my paintings and calligraphic scrolls?’ the White Nun asked. ‘And what happened to all my books? Were they all thrown away?’ ‘I am afraid so,’ said Aunt Tao. ‘I doubt whether the Tartar Princess can read more than a few words, and I’m sure she knows nothing about painting.’ ‘It seems that she is fond of Martial Arts,’ said the White Nun. ‘Yes,’ said Trinket, ‘but she’s pretty hopeless. Even I could beat her. She’s very weird. She doesn’t just like beating other people, she likes being beaten herself.’ The White Nun flicked out her left sleeve and put out the candles. ‘Princess,’ said Aunt Tao, ‘with your wonderful skill you should be able to seize the Empress Dowager and force her to hand over her Sutras. That would enable us to sever the Tartars’ Dragon Line and break their power.’

白衣尼道:“什么经书?鞑子的龙脉?”陶红英当下简述八部《四十二章经》的来历。白衣尼默默的听完,沉吟半晌,说道:“这八部经书之中,倘若当真藏着这么个大秘密,能破得鞑子的龙脉,自是再好不过。等鞑子皇太后回宫,我们再来。”三人出得宁寿宫,仍从北十三排之侧城墙出宫,回到客店宿歇。陶红英和白衣尼住在一房,事隔二十多年,今晚竟得再和故主同室而卧,喜不自胜,这一晚哪里能再睡得着?韦小宝却想:“五部经书在我手里,有一部在皇上那里,另外两部却不知在哪里。这位公主师太要逼老婊子交出经书,她是交不出的,正好三言两语,撺掇公主师太杀了她,拔了皇上和我的眼中钉。”
‘What Sutras?’ said the White Nun. ‘What is this Dragon Line you are talking about?’ Aunt Tao explained about the eight copies of the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections containing some secret which would enable the person possessing it to dig into the ground somewhere along the invisible Dragon Line on which the Manchus’ power depended, thereby undermining their rule. After listening in silence, the White Nun agreed that it was important to get hold of these as soon as possible and proposed that they should return to the Palace the moment the Empress Dowager was once more in residence. Meanwhile Hongying should stay with them in their lodging. Trinket had five of the copies himself and knew that the Empress Dowager had only one. With a bit of luck the White Nun would kill her for refusing to come up with all eight of them and he and Kang Xi would be free at last from her wiles. They climbed out of the Forbidden City by the way they had got in, accompanied this time by Aunt Tao. Back in the hostelry, the White Nun insisted that Aunt Tao should share her own room. The two of them lay awake all that night talking, not sleeping until it was dawn.

Tartar Empress and Tartar Princess

此后数日,白衣尼和陶红英在客店中足不出户,韦小宝每日里出去打听,皇上是否已经回宫。到第七日上午,见康亲王、索额图、多隆等人率领大批御前侍卫,拥卫着几辆大轿子入宫,知道皇上已回。果然过不多时,一群群亲王贝勒、各部大臣陆续进宫,自是去恭叩圣安。韦小宝回到客店告知。
From that day on neither of them set foot outside the hostelry, but Trinket slipped out each day to see if the Emperor had returned yet. On the morning of the seventh day he saw several large palanquins being carried into the Palace, escorted by Prince Kang, Songgotu, Dolong, and a large contingent of the Palace Guards, and knew that the Emperor must be in one of them. This was confirmed when not long afterwards he watched a continuous stream of Princes, Beilehs, and Ministers of State going in to pay their respects. He hurried back to tell the White Nun.

白衣尼道:“很好,今晚我进宫去。鞑子皇帝已回,宫中守卫必比上次严密数倍,你们二人在客店里等着我便是。”韦小宝道:“公主师太,我跟你去。”陶红英也道:“奴婢想随着公主。奴婢和这孩子熟知宫中地形,不会有危险的。”她既和故主重逢,说什么也不肯再离她一步了。白衣尼点头允可。当晚三人自原路入宫,来到太后所住的慈宁宫外。四下里静悄悄地,白衣尼带着三人绕到宫后,抓住韦小宝后腰越墙而入,落地无声。陶红英跃下之时,白衣尼左手衣袖在她腰间一托,她落地时便也一无声息。韦小宝指着太后寝宫的侧窗,打手势示意太后住于该处,领着二人走入后院。那是慈宁宫宫女的住处。眼见只三间屋子的窗子透出淡淡黄光。白衣尼自一间屋子的窗缝中向内一张,见十余名宫女并排坐在凳上,每人低头垂眉,犹似入定一般。她轻轻掀开帘子,径自走进太后的寝殿。韦小宝和陶红英跟了进去。桌上明晃晃的点着四根红烛,房中一人也无。
‘Excellent!’ she said. ‘I shall go in tonight. But now that the Tartar Emperor is back, the guards will be much more on the alert. You two had better stay here.’ Needless to say, neither Trinket nor Aunt Tao was willing to be left behind and in the end she consented to let them come with her. They entered by the same way as before and arrived at the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity without mishap. Trinket made signs to the White Nun to show which part of the building the Empress Dowager’s bedroom was in. They stole round to a courtyard at the back where the maids-in-waiting had their quarters. Only three of the windows at the rear there were faintly lit. The White Nun looked in through one of them and saw a row of ten or more maids sitting side by side on a long bench, their heads bowed down with fatigue and obviously dead to the world. Entering silently by one of these windows, it was fairly easy to step through the door-curtain into the Empress Dowager’s bedroom without disturbing the maids. Four large red candles were burning on a table, but the room was empty.

陶红英低声道:“婢子曾划破三口箱子,抽屉中也全找过了,还没见到经书影子,鞑子太后和那个假宫女就进来了……啊哟,有人来啦!”韦小宝一扯她衣袖,忙躲到床后。白衣尼点点头,和陶红英跟着躲在床后。只听房外一个女子声音说道:“妈,我跟你办成了这件事,你赏我什么?”正是建宁公主。听得太后道:“妈差你做些小事,也要讨赏。真不成话!”两人说着话,走进房来。建宁公主道:“啊哟,这还是小事吗?倘若皇帝哥哥查起来,知道是我拿的,非大大生气不可。”太后坐了下来,道:“一部佛经,又有什么大不了的?我们去五台山进香,为的是求菩萨保祐,回宫之后,仍要诵经念佛,菩萨这才喜欢哪。”公主道:“既然没什么大不了,那么我就跟皇帝哥哥说去,说你差我拿了这部《四十二章经》,用来诵经念佛,求菩萨保祐他国泰民安,皇帝哥哥万岁万岁万万岁。”韦小宝心中喜道:“妙极,原来你差公主去偷了经书来。”转念一想,又觉运气不好,倘若这次不是和白衣尼同来,这部经书大可落入自己手中,现下却没指望了。太后道:“你去说好了。皇帝如来问我,我可不知道这回事。小孩子家胡言乱语,也作得准的?”建宁公主叫道:“啊哟,妈,你想赖么?经书明明在这里。”太后嗤的一笑,道:“那也容易,我丢在炉子里烧了便是。”
‘I went through all the drawers in here,’ Aunt Tao whispered, ‘but I couldn’t find the Sutras. Aiyo! There’s someone coming.’ Trinket tugged at her sleeve and slipped behind the bed-hangings. Aunt Tao and the White Nun followed his example. They heard a girl’s voice speaking outside. ‘Mum, I did what you told me to do. What are you going to give me?’ It was Trinket’s bugbear, the Princess Ning, speaking to the Empress Dowager. ‘Do you expect a reward for a little thing like that?’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘I never heard of such a thing!’ ‘Little thing?’ said the Princess. ‘I bet Emperor-brother would be furious if he knew about it.’ ‘What’s so important about a sutra?’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘Since we’ve got back from Wutai, I want to go on reading the scriptures and praying for the Emperor’s safety.’ ‘Oh, in that case I’ll tell him,’ said the Princess. ‘Ma’s taken your Sutra so that she can pray for your health. Long life to Your Majesty! A long, long life!’ ‘Tell him!’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘I shall simply say that I know nothing about it. No one believes the nonsense that you young people talk.’ ‘Mum!’ said the Princess. ‘How can you have the nerve? The Sutra is with you here, for all to see.’ ‘I shall burn it, then,’ said the Empress Dowager with a laugh.

公主笑道:“算了,算了,我总说不过你。小气的妈,你不肯赏也罢了,却来欺侮女儿。”太后道:“你什么都有了,又要我赏什么?”公主道:“我什么都有了,就是差了一件。”太后道:“差什么?”公主道:“差了个陪我玩儿的小太监。”太后又是一笑,说道:“小太监,宫里几百个小太监,你爱差哪个陪你玩,就差哪一个,还嫌少了?”公主道:“不,那些小太监笨死啦,都不好玩。我要皇帝哥哥身边的那个小桂子……”韦小宝心中一震:“这死丫头居然还记着我。陪她玩这件差事可不容易当,一不小心,便送了老子的一条老命。”只听公主续道:“我问皇帝哥哥,他说差小桂子出京办事去了。可是这么久也不回来。妈,你去跟皇帝说,要他将小桂子给了我。”韦小宝肚里暗骂:“鬼丫头倒想得出,老子落入了你手里,全身若不是每天长上十七八个大伤口,老子就跟你姓。啊哟,公主姓什么?公主跟小皇帝是一样的姓,小皇帝却又姓什么?老子当真胡涂,这可不知道。”太后道:“皇帝差小桂子去办事,你可知去了哪里?去办什么事?”建宁公主道:“这个我倒知道。听侍卫们说,小桂子是在五台山上。”太后“啊”的一声,轻轻惊呼,道:“他……便在五台山上?这一次咱们怎地没见到他?”公主道:“我也是回宫之后,才听侍卫们说起的,可不知皇帝哥哥派他去五台山干什么。听侍卫们说,皇帝哥哥又升了他的官。”太后嗯了一声,沉思半晌,道:“好,等他回宫,我跟皇帝说去。”语音冷淡,似乎心思不属,又道:“不早了,你回去睡罢。”公主道:“妈,我不回去,我要陪你睡。”太后道:“又不是小娃娃啦,怎不回自己屋里去?”
‘How mean you are!’ said the Princess. ‘It’s one thing not to reward me for the favour I’ve done you, but I don’t see why you have to be so nasty to me as well.’ ‘You’ve got everything,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘What could I possibly give you that you haven’t got already?’ There’s one thing I haven’t got,’ said the Princess. ‘Oh, what’s that?’ ‘A little eunuch to play with.’ The Palace is full of them,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘You can take your pick.’ They’re all useless,’ said the Princess. The one I want is Laurie, but he spends all his time with my brother.’ ‘Your brother has sent him off on business,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘I don’t know where, or what it is he has to do.’ ‘I do,’ said the Princess. The guards told me. He’s on Wutai.’ ‘Oh?’ said the Empress Dowager. She was obviously startled. ‘How is it we didn’t see him while we were there?’ ‘I don’t know,’ said the Princess. ‘I didn’t find out myself until we got back.’ The Empress Dowager appeared to be thinking. ‘All right,’ she said finally, ‘when he gets back, I’ll speak to the Emperor about it.’ From the way she spoke it sounded as if her mind was on other things. ‘You’d better go to bed now. It’s getting late.’ ‘Mum,’ said the Princess, ‘can’t I stay here and sleep with you?’ ‘You’re not a child any more,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘Why can’t you sleep in your own bed?’

公主道:“我屋里闹鬼,我怕!”太后道:“胡说,什么闹鬼?”公主道:“妈,真的。我宫里的太监宫女们都说,前几天夜里,每个人都让鬼给迷了,一觉直睡到第二天中午才醒,个个人都做恶梦。”太后道:“哪有这等事,别听奴才们胡说。我们不在宫里,奴才们心里害怕,便疑神疑鬼的。快回去罢。”
‘I’m afraid,’ said the Princess. ‘My room is haunted.’ ‘Rubbish!’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘How can it be haunted?’ ‘No really, Mum. The maids and eunuchs told me. The other night some spirits came and put them all under a spell. They didn’t wake up until midday next day and they had the most terrible nightmares.’ ‘Worthless slaves!’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘When we’re away they make these things up just to frighten themselves with. Now go back to your own room this minute!’

White Nun meets Old Whore

公主不敢再说,请了安退出。太后坐在桌边,一手支颐,望着烛火呆呆出神,过了良久,一转头间,突然见到墙上两个人影,随着烛焰微微颤动。她还道是眼花,凝神一看,果然是两个影子。一个是自己的,另一个影子和自己的影子并列。这一惊非同小可,想到自己过去害死了的人命,不由得全身寒毛直竖,饶是一身武功,竟然不敢回过头来。过了好一会,想起:“鬼是没影子的,有影子的就不是鬼。”可是屏息倾听,身畔竟无第二人的呼吸之声,只吓得全身手足酸软,动弹不得,瞪视着墙上两个影子,几欲晕去。突然之间,听到床背后有轻轻呼吸,心中一喜,转过头来。只见一个白衣尼姑隔着桌子坐在对面,一双妙目凝望着自己,容貌清秀,神色木然,一时也看不出是人是鬼。太后颤声道:“你……你是谁?为什么……为什么在这里?”白衣尼不答,过了片刻,冷冷的道:“你是谁?为什么在这里。”
When the Princess had gone, the Empress Dowager sat down at her table, on which lay the stolen copy of the Sutra. She appeared to be lost in thought. After a while she turned her head, catching sight, as she did so, of a human shadow on the wall. Her first reaction was to look away in terror as she thought of the victims she had murdered; but then she remembered that ghosts are said to cast no shadows and looked again. She held her breath and listened. There was no sound of breathing and her terror returned. Then, a few moments later, she heard breathing quite close to her, from the other side of the table. A white-robed nun was sitting there, her large and lustrous eyes staring at her unwaveringly from a beautiful but expressionless face—whether a living person or a spirit she could not tell. ‘Who are you?’ she said. ‘What are you doing here?’ The White Nun at first ignored her question, then, very coldly, she said: Who are you… What are you doing here?’

太后听到她说话,惊惧稍减,说道:“这里是皇宫内院,你……你好大胆?”白衣尼冷冷的道:“不错,这里是皇宫内院,你是什么东西?大胆来到此处?”太后怒道:“我是皇太后,你是何方妖人?”白衣尼伸出右手,按在太后面前那部《四十二章经》上,慢慢拿过。太后喝道:“放手!”呼的一掌,向她面门击去。白衣尼右手翻起,和她对了一掌。太后身子一晃,离椅而起,低声喝道:“好啊,原来是个武林高手。”
‘How dare you!’ said the Empress Dowager. This is the Imperial Palace.’ ‘Quite so,’ said the White Nun. This is the Imperial Palace. What is a creature like you doing in it?’ ‘I am the Empress Dowager,’ said the Empress angrily. ‘What are you—a witch?’ The White Nun stretched out her right hand and calmly removed the copy of the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections from the table. ‘Put that down!’ shouted the Empress Dowager and aimed a blow at her face. But the White Nun had already slipped the Sutra into her bosom and parried the blow easily with her hand. ‘A professional, are you?’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘Very well.’

既知对方是人非鬼,惧意尽去,扑上来呼呼呼呼连击四掌。白衣尼坐在椅上,并不起立,先将经书在怀中一揣,举掌将她攻来的四招一一化解了。太后见她取去经书,惊怒交集,催动掌力,霎时间又连攻了七八招。白衣尼一一化解,始终不加还击。太后伸手在右腿上一摸,手中已多了一柄寒光闪闪的短刃。韦小宝凝神看去,见太后手中所握的是一柄白金点钢蛾眉刺,当日杀海大富用的便是此物。她兵刃在手,气势一振,接连向白衣尼戳去,只听得风声呼呼,掌劈刺戳,寝宫中一条条白光急闪。韦小宝低声道:“我出去喝住她,别伤了师太。”陶红英一把拉住,低声道:“不用!”但见白衣尼仍稳坐椅上,右手食指东一点,西一戳,将太后凌厉的攻势一一化解。太后倏进倏退,忽而跃起,忽而伏低,迅速之极,掌风将四枝蜡烛的火焰逼得向后倾斜,突然间房中一暗,四枝烛火熄了两枝,更拆数招,余下两枝也都熄了。黑暗中只听得掌风之声更响,夹着太后重浊的喘息之声。忽听白衣尼冷冷的道:“你身为皇太后,这些武功是哪里学来的?”
She rose from her chair and proceeded to aim a succession of four or five blows at the nun. But the nun remained seated in her chair and effortlessly brushed them aside. When seven or eight more of her attacks were similarly frustrated, the Empress Dowager reached down and extracted a gleaming stiletto from her stocking. Trinket recognized the gold-inlaid stiletto of Emei steel with which she had stabbed Old Hai. He wanted to shout out, but Aunt Tao whispered to him not to. The scene that now followed was quite extraordinary. The Empress Dowager sprang up and down like a cat, stabbing and thrusting at the White Nun, while the White Nun, sitting bolt upright in her chair and using no more than the index finger of her right hand, remained unscathed. The violent movements of the Empress Dowager caused the candles to flicker, until one by one all four of them went out. Trinket and Aunt Tao could no longer see what was happening, but they could hear the Empress Dowager panting and a moment later they heard the White Nun speaking. ‘You say you are the Empress Dowager. Where did you learn to fight like this?’

太后不答,仍是竭力进攻,突然拍拍拍拍四下清脆之声,显是太后脸上给打中了四下耳光,跟着她“啊”的一声叫,声音中充满着愤怒与惊惧,腾的一响,登时房中更无声音。黑暗中火光一闪,白衣尼手中已持着一条点燃了的火折,太后却直挺挺的跪在她身前,一动也不动。韦小宝大喜,心想:“今日非杀了老婊子不可。”只见白衣尼将火折轻轻向上一掷,火飞起数尺,左手衣袖挥出,那火折为袖风所送,缓缓飞向烛火,竟将四枝烛火逐一点燃,便如有一只无形的手在空中拿住一般。白衣尼衣袖向里一招,一股吸力将火折吸了回来,伸右手接过,轻轻吹熄了,放入怀中。只将韦小宝瞧得目瞪口呆,佩服得五体投地。太后被点中穴道,跪在地下,一张脸忽而紫胀,忽而惨白,低声怒道:“你快把我杀了,这等折磨人,不是高人所为。”
The Empress Dowager made no reply, though from the continued panting and other noises they could tell that she was endeavouring to keep up the attack. Suddenly there came the sound of four sharp slaps, then a great cry of rage and surprise, and then silence. A spark flashed out in the darkness followed by a little spurt of flame, and there was the White Nun with a lighted spill in her hand. She flicked it in the direction of the candles and, by manipulating her sleeve in a way that a conjuror might have envied, caused it to light all four candles in succession and then to return to her hand, whereupon she blew it out and put it back in an inside pocket. They could see now that the Empress Dowager was kneeling down in front of her. The White Nun must have immobilized her by pressing on a point, for she seemed unable to move. To judge from her face, which was rapidly changing colour, from red to white and from white to red again, she must have been in pain. ‘Kill me quickly!’ she said in a low voice. ‘It’s not right to torture people like this.’

白衣尼道:“你一身蛇岛武功,这可奇了。一个深宫中的贵人,怎会和神龙教拉上了关系?”韦小宝暗暗咋舌,心想这位师太无事不知,以后向她撒谎,可要加倍留神。太后道:“我不知神龙教是什么。我这些微末功夫,是宫里一个太监教的。”白衣尼道:“太监?宫里的太监,怎会跟神龙教有关?他叫什么名字?”太后道:“他叫海大富,早已死了。”韦小宝肚里大笑,心道:“老婊子胡说八道之至。倘若她知道我躲在这里,可不敢撒这漫天大谎了。”白衣尼沉吟道:“海大富?没听见过这一号人物。你刚才向我连拍七掌,掌力阴沉,那是什么掌法?”太后道:“我师父说,这是武当派功夫,叫作……叫作柔云掌。”白衣尼摇头道:“不是,这是‘化骨绵掌’。武当派名门正派,怎能有这等阴毒的功夫?”太后道:“师太说得是。那是我师父说的,我……我可不知道。”她见白衣尼武功精深,见闻广博,心中越来越敬畏,言语中便也越加客气。白衣尼道:“你用这路掌法,伤过多少人?”太后道:“我……晚辈生长深宫,习武只是为了强身,从来没伤过一个人。”韦小宝心想:“不要脸,大吹法螺,不用本钱。”只听她又道:“师太明鉴,晚辈有人保护,一生之中,从来没跟人动过手,今晚遇上师太,那是第一次。晚辈所学的武功,原来半点也没有用。”白衣尼微微一笑,道:“你的武功,也算挺不差的了。”太后道:“晚辈是井底之蛙,今日若不见到师太的绝世神功,岂知天地之大。”白衣尼唔了一声,问道:“那太监海大富几时死的?是谁杀了他的?”太后道:“他……他逝世多年,是年老病死的。”白衣尼道:“你自身虽未作恶,但你们满洲鞑子占我大明江山,逼死我大明天子。你是第一个鞑子皇帝的妻子,第二个鞑子皇帝的母亲,却也容你不得。”太后大惊,颤声道:“师……师太,当今皇帝并不是晚辈生的。他的亲生母亲是孝康皇后,早已死了。”白衣尼点头道:“原来如此。可是你身为顺治之妻,他残杀我千千万万汉人百姓,何以你未有一言相劝?”太后道:“师太明鉴,先帝只宠那狐媚子董鄂妃,晚辈当年要见先帝一面也难,实是无从劝起。”白衣尼沉吟片刻,道:“你说的话也不无道理。今日我不来杀你……”太后道:“多谢师太不杀之恩,晚辈今后必定日日诵经念佛。那……那部佛经,请师太赐还了罢。”白衣尼道:“这部《四十二章经》,你要来何用?”太后道:“晚辈虔心礼佛,今后有生之年,日日晚晚都要念经。”白衣尼道:“《四十二章经》是十分寻常的经书,不论哪一所庙宇寺院之中,都有十部八部,何以你非要这部不可?”太后道:“师太有所不知。这部经书是先帝当年日夕诵读的,晚辈不忘旧情,对经如对先帝。”白衣尼道:“那就不是了。诵经礼佛之时,须当心中一片空明,不可有丝毫情缘牵缠。你一面念经,一面想着死去的丈夫,复有何用?”太后道:“多谢师太指点。只是……只是晚辈愚鲁,解脱不开。”白衣尼双眼中突然神光一现,问道:“到底这部经书之中,有什么古怪,你给我从实说来。”太后道:“实在……实在是晚辈一片痴心。先帝虽然待晚辈不好,可是我始终忘不了他,每日见到这部经书,也可稍慰思念之苦。”白衣尼叹道:“你既执迷不悟,不肯实说,那也由得你。”左手衣袖挥动,袖尖在她身上一拂,被点的穴道登时解了。太后道:“多谢师太慈悲!”磕了个头,站起身来。
‘I don’t understand it,’ said the White Nun. ‘Every move you make reeks of Snake Island. How does someone living in the seclusion of the Palace come to have contact with the Mystic Dragon Sect?’ Trinket gasped. This Reverend Mother of his seemed to know everything. He had better be careful in future what lies he told in her presence. But for the moment it was the Empress Dowager who was telling all the lies: she knew nothing at all about the Mystic Dragon Sect. All she knew of Martial Arts had been taught her by an old eunuch called Hai Dafu. She had never used these methods to harm anyone. Pressed about the significance of the Sutra she set so much store by, she insisted that she wanted it only for sentimental reasons, because of its connection with her late husband. ‘You are a foolish woman,’ said the White Nun. ‘Since you refuse to tell me the truth, you have only yourself to blame for the consequences.’ She flicked her with the tip of her long sleeve, releasing the locked point so that she could move again. Thank you, Your Reverence,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘You are very kind.’

白衣尼道:“我也没什么慈悲。你那‘化骨绵掌’打中在别人身上之后,那便如何?”太后道:“那太监没跟我说过,只说这路掌法很是了得,天下没几人能抵挡得住。”白衣尼道:“嗯,适才你向我拍了七掌,我也并没抵挡,只是将你七掌‘化骨绵掌’的掌力,尽数送了回去,从何处来,回何处去。这掌力自你身上而出,回到你的身上。这恶业是你自作,自作自受,须怪旁人不得。”
‘Not kind at all,’ said the White Nun. ‘What effect does Soft Crush have on a person?’ The eunuch who taught me wouldn’t say exactly,’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘All he would say was that the effects were terrible and that very few people could survive them.’ Those last seven Soft Crush blows you aimed at me I turned back on you,’ said the White Nun. ‘Each will have the effect on your own body that it would have had on mine. Whatever you suffer as a consequence will be self-inflicted.’

太后不由得魂飞天外。她自然深知这“化骨绵掌”的厉害,身中这掌力之后,全身骨骸酥化,寸寸断绝,终于遍体如绵,欲抬一根小指头也不可得。当年她以此掌力拍死董鄂妃姊妹、董鄂妃的儿子荣亲王,三人临死时的惨状,自己亲眼目睹。这白衣尼武功如此了得,而将敌人掌力逼回敌身,亦为武学中所常有,此言自非虚假,这等如有人将七掌“化骨绵掌”拍在自己身上。适才出手,唯恐不狠,实是竭尽了平生之力,只一掌便已禁受不起,何况连拍七掌?霎时间惊惧到了极处,跪倒在地,叫道:“求师太救命。”白衣尼叹了口气道:“业由自作,须当自解,旁人可无能为力。”太后磕头道:“还望师太慈悲,指点一条明路。”白衣尼道:“你事事隐瞒,不肯吐实。明路好端端的就摆在你眼前,自己偏不愿走,又怨得谁来?我纵有慈悲之心,也对我们汉人同胞施去。你是鞑子满奴,和我有深仇大恨,今日不亲手取你性命,已是慈悲之极了。”说着站起身来。
The Empress Dowager looked as if she might faint. She had seen the effects of Soft Crush on the Donggo sisters and the baby prince. The last seven blows she had aimed at the White Nun had been delivered with all the force she could muster. Any one of them would have been enough to guarantee an agonizing death. She sank to her knees again. ‘Reverend Mother, have mercy!’ The White Nun sighed. The damage you have done yourself is irreversible. No one else can save you.’ The Empress Dowager knocked her head on the floor. Tell me what I can do. There must be something. Have pity on me!’ ‘I could have helped you, but you have only told me lies,’ said the White Nun. ‘In any case, you are a Tartar. You are my mortal enemy. I have shown you enough mercy already by not killing you.’ She got up from her chair.

太后知道时机稍纵即逝,此人一走,自己数日间便死得惨不堪言,董鄂妃姊妹临死时痛楚万状、辗转床第的情景,霎时之间都现在眼前,不由得全身发颤,叫道:“师……师太,我不是鞑子,我是,我是……”白衣尼问道:“你是什么?”太后道:“我是,我是……汉人。”白衣尼冷笑道:“到这当儿还在满口胡言。鞑子皇后哪有由汉人充任之理?”太后道:“我不是胡言。当今皇帝的亲生母亲佟佳氏,她父亲佟图赖是汉军旗的,就是汉人。”白衣尼道:“她是母以子贵,听说本来只是妃子,并不是皇后。她从来没做过皇后,儿子做了皇帝之后,才追封她为皇太后。” 太后俯首道:“是。”见白衣尼举步欲行,急道:“师太,我真的是汉人,我……我恨死了鞑子。”白衣尼道:“那是什么缘故?”太后道:“这是一个天大的秘密,我……我原是不该说的,不过……不过……”白衣尼道:“既是不该说,也就不用说了。”太后这当儿当真是火烧眉毛,只顾眼下,其余一切都顾不得了,一咬牙,说道:“我这太后是假的,我……我不是太后!”
The Empress Dowager was trembling violently. A vision of the Donggo sisters writhing in agony on their beds was swimming before her eyes. ‘I am not a Tartar,’ she said. ‘I’m a Chinese.’ ‘Don’t be absurd!’ said the White Nun, and began to move away. ‘But I am!’ said the Empress Dowager. ‘I really am a Chinese. I hate the Tartars.’ The White Nun halted. ‘Oh?’ she said. ‘Why?’ ‘It’s . . . it’s a secret. I’m not allowed to tell anyone.’ ‘In that case you’d better keep it to yourself.’ The Empress Dowager’s terror of a cruel death now drove out all her other fears. ‘I’m an impostor,’ she said. ‘I’m not the Empress Dowager.’

此言一出,白衣尼固然一愕,躲在床后的韦小宝更是大吃一惊。白衣尼缓缓坐入椅中,问道:“怎么是假的?”太后道:“我父母为鞑子所害,我恨死了鞑子,我被逼入宫做宫女,服侍皇后,后来……后来,我假冒了皇后。”韦小宝越听越奇,心道:“这老婊子撒谎的胆子当真不小,这等怪话也敢说。乖乖龙的东,老婊子还没入我白龙门,已学全了掌门使小白龙的吹牛功夫。我入宫假冒小太监,难道她也是当真入宫假冒皇后?”只听太后又道:“真太后是满洲人,姓博尔济吉特,是科尔沁贝勒的女儿。晚辈的父亲姓毛,是浙江杭州的汉人,便是大明大将军毛文龙。晚辈名叫毛东珠。”白衣尼一怔,问道:“你是毛文龙的女儿?当年镇守皮岛的毛文龙?”太后道:“正是,我爹爹和鞑子连年交战,后来给袁崇焕大帅所杀。其实……其实那是由于鞑子的反间计。”白衣尼哦了一声,道:“这倒是一件奇闻了。你怎能冒充皇后,这许多年竟会不给发觉?”太后道:“晚辈服侍皇后多年,她的说话声调、举止神态,给我学得维肖维妙。我这副面貌,也是假的。”说着走到妆台之侧,拿起一块锦帕,在金盒中浸湿了,在脸上用力擦洗数下,又在双颊上撕下两块人皮一般的物事来,登时相貌大变,本来胖胖的一张圆脸,忽然变成了瘦削的瓜子脸,眼眶下面也凹了进去。白衣尼“啊”的一声,甚感惊异,说道:“你的相貌果然大大不同了。”
The White Nun went back to her chair and sat down again. Trinket was beginning to think that the Empress Dowager was an even better liar than himself; but presently, as her story unfolded, it appeared that she was telling the truth. She was the daughter of Mao Wenlong, a Ming general who had fought against the Manchus on the frontier for several years. Her real name was Mao Dongzhu. When both her parents were killed, she was taken into the Palace and entered the service of the Empress, the Princess of the Borjigit clan who had become the Emperor Shun Zhi’s wife. There, after years of service, she had learned to imitate the voice and gestures of her mistress so well that in the end she was able to impersonate her. ‘My face is false, too,’ she said, and sitting down at her dressing-table, she soaked a tissue in some sort of liquid preparation she got from a gilded jar and rubbed it vigorously on her cheeks. After waiting a few moments, she peeled off two skin-covered pads, one from each side of her face. Even the White Nun gasped. The round, fat face of the Empress Dowager had turned into that of a gaunt-faced, hollow-eyed woman.

沉吟片刻,道:“可是要假冒皇后,毕竟不是易事。难道你贴身的宫女会认不出?连你丈夫也认不出?”太后道:“我丈夫?先帝只宠爱狐媚子董鄂妃一人,这些年来,他从来没在皇后这里住过一晚。真皇后他一眼都不瞧,假皇后他自然也不瞧。”这几句话语气甚是苦涩,又道:“别说我化装得甚像,就算全然不像,他……他……哼,他也怎会知道?”白衣尼微微点头,又问:“那么服侍皇后的太监宫女,难道也都认不出来?”太后道:“晚辈一制住皇后,便让她将慈宁宫的太监宫女尽数换了新人,我极少出外,偶尔不得不出去,宫里规矩,太监宫女们也不敢正面瞧我,就算远远偷瞧一眼,又怎分辨得出真假?”白衣尼忽然想起一事,说道:“不对。你说老皇帝从不睬你,可是……可是你却生下了一个公主。”太后道:“这个女儿,不是皇帝生的。他父亲是个汉人,有时偷偷来到宫里和我相会,便假扮了宫女。这人……他不久之前不幸……不幸病死了。”
‘It certainly is a remarkable transformation,’ said the White Nun. ‘But when you supplanted the Empress, couldn’t her other attendants spot the difference? And what about the Emperor?’ The Emperor was infatuated with Lady Donggo, he never went near the Empress,’ said this woman who called herself Mao Dongzhu. ‘As for her women and her eunuchs: when I first gained control over her, before I began impersonating her, I made her dismiss them and replace them with others, so that when I took over, the ones around me were all new. I avoided going out of my apartments as much as possible; but even when I had to, Court etiquette forbids Palace staff to look members of the Imperial family in the face when they are addressing them, so that if they ever did get to look at me, it would have been from a distance, too far away for them to tell the difference.’ So far the White Nun had seemed convinced; but now, suddenly, she thought of something. ‘Just a minute. You said the Emperor didn’t go near you; yet you have a daughter.’ ‘She isn’t the Emperor’s,’ said Mao Dongzhu. ‘Her father was a Chinese. He used to stay with me sometimes in the Palace disguised as one of my women. He … he … not long ago he fell ill and died.’

陶红英捏了捏韦小宝的手掌,两人均想:“假扮宫女的男子倒确是有的,只不过不是病死而已。”韦小宝又想:“怪不得公主如此野蛮胡闹,原来是那个假宫女生的杂种。老皇爷慈祥温和,生的女儿决不会这个样子。”白衣尼心想:“你忽然怀孕生女,老皇帝倘若没跟你同房,怎会不起疑心?”只是这种居室之私,她处女出家,问不出口,寻思:“这人既然处心积虑的假冒皇后,一觉怀孕,总有法子遮掩,那也不必细查。”摇摇头,说道:“你的话总是不尽不实。”太后急道:“前辈,连这等十分可耻之事,我也照实说了,余事更加不敢隐瞒。”白衣尼道:“如此说来,那真太后是给你杀了。你手上沾的血腥却也不少。”太后道:“晚辈诵经拜佛,虽对鞑子心怀深仇,却不敢胡乱杀人。真太后还好端端的活着。”这句话令床前床后三人都大出意料之外。白衣尼道:“她还活着?你不怕泄漏秘密?”太后走到一张大挂毡之前,拉动毡旁的羊毛衫子,挂毡慢慢卷了上去,露出两扇柜门。太后从怀里摸出一枚黄金钥匙,开了柜上暗锁,打开柜门,只见柜内横卧着一个女人,身上盖着锦被。白衣尼轻轻一声惊呼,问道:“她……她便是真太后?”
Trinket and Aunt Tao gave each other a nudge. This at least they knew to be untrue. The White Nun shook her head. ‘I don’t think you’re telling me all the truth.’ ‘When I’ve just told you a shameful ‘secret like that, Your Reverence?’ said Mao Dongzhu. ‘How can you doubt me?’ ‘What about the real Empress Dowager?’ said the White Nun. ‘You say you have never killed anyone. Surely you have her blood on your hands?’ ‘She is alive and well,’ said Mao Dongzhu. This was a great surprise. ‘But in that case, aren’t you afraid of being found out?’ said the White Nun. By way of an answer, Mao Dongzhu went up to a carpet that covered part of the wall and pulled on a tasselled cord that hung beside it. The carpet rolled up revealing the doors of a large closet, to which she applied a little golden key. She opened the doors and there, lying down inside under a bed-cover of silk brocade, was the body of a woman. The White Nun gave a little gasp. ‘Is this the Empress Dowager?’

太后道:“前辈请瞧她的相貌。”说着手持烛台,将烛光照在那女子的脸上。白衣尼见那女子容色十分憔悴,更无半点血色,但相貌确与太后除去脸上化装之前甚为相似。那女子微微将眼睁开,随即闭住,低声道:“我不说,你……你快快将我杀了。”太后道:“我从来不杀人,怎会杀你?”说着关上柜门,放下挂毡。白衣尼道:“你将她关在这里,已关了许多年?”太后道:“是。”白衣尼道:“你逼问她什么事?只因她坚决不说,这才得以活到今日。她一说了出来,你立即便将她杀了,是不是?”
太后道:“不,不。晚辈知道佛门首戒杀生,平时常常吃素,决不会伤她性命。”白衣尼哼了一声,道:“你当我是三岁孩童,不明白你的心思?这人关在这里,时时刻刻都有危险,你不杀她,必有重大图谋。倘若她在柜内叫嚷起来,岂不立时败露机关?”太后道:“她不敢叫的,我对她说,这事要是败露,我首先杀了老皇帝。后来老皇帝死了,我就说要杀小皇帝。这鞑子女人对两个皇帝忠心耿耿,决不肯让他们受到伤害。”白衣尼道:“你到底逼问她什么话?她不肯说,你干么不以皇帝的性命相胁?”太后道:“她说我倘若害了皇帝,她立即绝食自尽。她所以不绝食,只因我答应不加害皇帝。”白衣尼寻思:真假太后一个以绝食自尽相胁,一个以加害皇帝相胁,各有所忌,相持多年,形成僵局。按理说,真太后如此危险的人物,便一刻也留不得,杀了之后,尚须将尸骨化灰,不留半丝痕迹,居然仍让她活在宫中,自是因为她尚有一件重要秘密,始终不肯吐露之故,而秘密之重大,也就可想而知。问道:“我问你的那句话,你总是东拉西扯,回避不答,你到底逼问她说什么秘密?”
‘Have a look!’ said Mao Dongzhu, bringing a candle over so that the White Nun could get a better view. The woman’s face looked ill and completely bloodless. Apart from that, though, it bore a striking resemblance to what the false Empress Dowager had looked like before she removed the skin-pads from her cheeks. The woman opened her eyes slightly, then quickly closed them again. ‘I shall never tell you,’ she said faintly. ‘Why don’t you kill’ me?’ ‘I’ve never killed anyone,’ lied Mao Dongzhu. ‘You know I wouldn’t kill you.’ She closed and locked the closet and let down the carpet. ‘I take it you’ve been keeping her shut up in here for several years,’ said the White Nun. ‘Yes.’ ‘So what is the information you want to get out of her? It can only be for the sake of what she knows that you have kept her alive so long. As soon as you have it, presumably, you will kill her.’ ‘I am a Buddhist,’ said Mao Dongzhu. The Lord Buddha forbids us to take life.’ ‘Do you take me for a three-year-old?’ said the White Nun contemptuously. ‘It is extremely dangerous for you to keep her here. She has only to cry out and you would be lost.’ ‘I tell her that if she does so I shall kill the Emperor. She is very loyal to him.’ ‘Why don’t you use that threat to obtain the information you want?’ ‘She says if I do so she will stop eating and starve herself to death.’ ‘Come now,’ said the White Nun, ‘you still haven’t told me what this information is that you want to get from her.’

太后道:“是,是。这是关涉鞑子气运盛衰的一个大秘密。鞑子龙兴辽东,占了我大明天下,自是因为他们祖宗的风水奇佳。晚辈得知辽东长白山中,有一道爱新觉罗氏的龙脉,只须将这道龙脉掘断了,我们非但能光复汉家山河,鞑子还得尽数覆灭于关内。”白衣尼点点头,心想这话倒与陶红英所说无甚差别,问道:“这道龙脉在哪里?”太后道:“这就是那个大秘密了。先帝临死之时,小皇帝还小,不懂事,先帝最宠爱的董鄂妃又先他而死,因此他将这个大秘密跟皇后说了,要她等小皇帝年长,才跟他说知。那时晚辈是服侍皇后的宫女,偷听到先帝和皇后的说话,却未能听得全。我只想查明了这件大事,邀集一批有志之士,去长白山掘断龙脉,我大明天下就可重光了。”白衣尼沉吟道:“风水龙脉之事,事属虚无缥缈,殊难入信。我大明失却天下,是因历朝施政不善,苛待百姓,以致官逼民反。这些道理,直到近年来我周游四方,这才明白。”
The answer was still some time coming, and when it did it was only partly true. It did, however, to some extent, tally with what the White Nun had already learned from Aunt Tao. The Aisingioro clan, to which the Manchu Imperial family belonged, had started out in the Long White Mountains of Liaodong. Geomancers claimed to have demonstrated that their rise to power and eventual occupation of the whole of China was thanks to the favourable feng-shui of their old home. Anyone who dug up the Dragon Line in this area would be able to overthrow the Manchu power. The exact position of this Dragon Line was a secret that the Old Emperor had confided to his Empress—the woman locked in the closet—as he lay dying. This was the information that Mao had all these years been trying to extract from her. ‘Geomancy is a superstition,’ said the White Nun. ‘It was mis-government that brought down the Ming Empire. Oppression drove the people to rebel. This much I have learned during my travels. It had nothing to do with Dragon Lines.’

太后道:“是,师太洞明事理,自非晚辈所及。不过为了光复我汉家山河,那风水龙脉之事,也是宁可信其有,不可信其无。若能掘了龙脉,最糟也不过对鞑子一无所损,倘若此事当真灵验,岂不是能拯救普天下千千万万百姓于水深火热之中?”白衣尼矍然动容,点头道:“你说得是。到底是否具有灵效,事不可知,就算无益,也是绝无所损。只须将此事宣示天下,鞑子君臣是深信龙脉之事的,他们心中先自馁了,咱们图谋复国,大伙儿又多了一层信心。你逼问这真太后的,就是这个秘密?”太后道:“正是。但这贱人知道此事关连她子孙基业,宁死不肯吐露,不论晚辈如何软骗硬吓,这些年来出尽了法子,她始终宁死不说。”白衣尼从怀中取出那部《四十二章经》,道:“你是要问她,其余那几部经书是在何处?”太后吓了一跳,倒退两步,颤声道:“你……你已知道了?”白衣尼道:“那个大秘密,便藏在这经书之中,你已得了几部?”太后道:“师太法力神通,无所不知,晚辈不敢隐瞒。本来我已得了三部,第一部是先帝赐给董鄂妃的,她死之后,就在晚辈这里了。另外两部,是从奸臣鳌拜家里抄出来的。可是一天晚上有人入宫行刺,在我胸口刺了一刀,将这三部经书都盗去了。师太请看。”
‘I’m sure you are much cleverer than I am,’ said Mao. ‘Perhaps there is nothing in this Dragon Line business. On the other hand, suppose there is? Isn’t it worth a try?’ ‘You are right,’ said the White Nun. ‘Even if there is nothing in it, the Tartars themselves seem to believe it. If we could get hold of the secret, it would certainly weaken their morale. So this is what you have been trying to find out from the Empress Dowager?’ ‘Yes,’ said Mao, ‘but no matter what I say or do, I can’t get the wretched woman to tell me.’ The White Nun took out the copy of the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections from her bosom. ‘You should try asking her where the rest of these are,’ Mao Dongzhu was visibly shaken. ‘So you know about that too?’ she stammered. The secret is in the Sutras, isn’t it?’ said the White Nun. ‘How many more of them have you got?’ Mao was by now convinced that the White Nun must be clairvoyant and that it was useless to dissimulate any longer. Fal-teringly she told her, quite truthfully, that she had had three copies, one given by the Old Emperor to Lady Donggo which came into her possession when Lady Donggo died, and two that had formerly belonged to Oboi. ‘But an assassin got into the Palace one night,’ she said. ‘He stabbed me and got away with all three of them. Look!’

说着解开外衣、内衣和肚兜,露出胸口一个极大伤疤。韦小宝一颗心怦怦大跳:“再查问下去,恐怕师太要疑心到我头上来了。”只听白衣尼道:“我知道行刺你的是谁,可是这人并没取去那三部经书。”她想这三部经书若为陶红英取去,她决不会隐瞒不说。太后失惊道:“这刺客没盗经书?那么三本经书是谁偷了去,这……这可真奇了。”白衣尼道:“说与不说,也全由得你。”太后道:“师太恨鞑子入骨,又是法力神通,这大秘密若能交在您手里,由您老人家主持大局,去掘了鞑子的龙脉,正是求之不得,晚辈如何会再隐瞒?再说,须得八部经书一齐到手,方能找到龙脉所在,现下有一部已在师太手中,晚辈就算另有三部,也是一无用处。”白衣尼冷冷的道:“到底你心中打什么主意,我也不必费心猜测。你既是皮岛毛文龙之女,那么跟神龙教定是渊源极深的了。”太后颤声道:“不,没……没有。晚辈……从来没听见过神龙教的名字。”白衣尼向她瞪视片刻,道:“我传你一项散功的法子,每日朝午晚三次,依此法拍击树木,连拍九九八十一日,或许可将你体内所中‘化骨绵掌’的阴毒掌力散出。”太后大喜,又跪倒叩谢。
To prove that she was speaking the truth, she unbuttoned her upper garments, tore off her breast-binder, and pointed to an ugly scar on her breast. ‘I know who stabbed you,’ said the White Nun, ‘but the person who stabbed you didn’t take the Sutras,’ ‘Really?’ said Mao. ‘Well, who can have taken them, then? It’s very odd,’ She was genuinely startled and confused, but the White Nun thought she was play-acting. ‘I don’t know what game you’re playing at,’ she said coldly, ‘and I can’t really be bothered to guess. If you are a daughter of Mao Wenlong, you must almost certainly have some connection with the Mystic Dragon Sect.’ ‘I… I… I’ve never even heard of it.’ The White Nun stared hard at her for some moments. ‘I am going to tell you a way of neutralizing the effects of the Soft Crush on your system,’ she said. Three times every day, in the morning, at noon, and again in the evening, you must stand in front of a tree and strike it eighty-one times, and while you are doing that you must recite this mantra,’ (She whispered some words into her ear.)

白衣尼当即传了口诀,说道:“自今以后,你只须一运内力,出手伤人,全身骨骼立即寸断,谁也救你不得了。”太后低声应道:“是。”神色黯然。韦小宝心花怒放:“此后见到老婊子,就算我没五龙令,也不用再怕她了。”白衣尼衣袖一拂,点了她晕穴,太后登时双眼翻白,晕倒在地。白衣尼低声道:“出来罢。”韦小宝和陶红英从床后出来。韦小宝道:“师太,这女人说话三分真,七分假,相信不得。”白衣尼点头道:“经书中所藏秘密,不单是关及鞑子龙脉,其中的金钱财宝,她便故意不提。”韦小宝道:“我再来抄抄看。”假装东翻西寻,揭开被褥,见到了暗格盖板上的铜环,低声喜呼:“经书在这里了!”
Mao Dongzhu delightedly kowtowed her thanks. ‘From now on,’ said the White Nun, ‘if you ever use your Inner Force to inflict Soft Crush on anyone again, your bones will instantly begin crumbling and nothing on earth then can save you. Do you understand?’ ‘Yes,’ said Mao Dongzhu in a barely audible voice and looking very much less cheerful. The White Nun flicked her long sleeve, touching her on the Point of Consciousness. Instantly her eyes rolled up so that only the whites of them were visible, and she fell down in a faint. Trinket and AuntTao came out from behind the bed. ‘Now we must go,’ said the White Nun. ‘Let me first have a look for those Sutras,’ said Trinket. ‘You can’t believe half of what that woman says,’ He made a pretence of searching, then, after looking almost everywhere else, he pulled the bedclothes off the bed, revealing, in the base of the bed, the little board with the inset ring in it. Under it was the secret compartment from which he had taken the Sutras. ‘Look!’ he said, triumphantly. The Sutras will be in here.’

拉起暗格盖板,见暗格中藏着不少珠宝银票,却无经书,叹道:“没有经书!珠宝有什么用?”白衣尼道:“把珠宝都取了。日后起义兴复,在在都须用钱。”陶红英将珠宝银票包入一块锦缎之中,交给白衣尼。韦小宝心想:“老婊子这一下可大大破财了。”又想:“怎地上次暗格中没珠宝银票?是了,上次放了经书,放不下别的东西了,可惜,可惜。”白衣尼向陶红英道:“这女人假冒太后,多半另有图谋。你潜藏宫中,细加查察。好在她武功已失,不足为惧。”陶红英答应了,与旧主重会不久,又须分手,甚是恋恋不舍。白衣尼带了韦小宝越墙出宫,回到客店,取出经书察看。这部经书黄绸封面,正是顺治皇帝命韦小宝交给康熙的。白衣尼揭开书面,见第一页上写着“永不加赋”四个大字,点了点头,向韦小宝道:“你说鞑子皇帝要‘永不加赋’,这四个字果然写在这里。”
He removed the lid with a flourish. Of course they weren’t; but, to his surprise, the cubby-hole was full of jewels, silver, and banknotes. ‘This stuff isn’t much use to us,’ he said. Take it,’ said the White Nun. ‘When the day of Restoration dawns, we shall need all the money we can get.’ Trinket wrapped up the little hoard of treasure in a piece of brocade and handed it to her. That woman is full of guile,’ the White Nun told Aunt Tao. ‘From now on you will have to watch her very carefully. Fortunately she’ll no longer be able to do you any harm.’ Aunt Tao realized sadly that she was expected to stay in the Palace and was soon to be parted once more from her beloved mistress. After painful farewells, the White Nun led Trinket over the wall once more and back to their hostelry. There she was able to give the Sutra she had taken a careful examination. It was the copy which the Old Emperor had given to Kang Xi and which the Princess had stolen from Kang Xi at her mother’s behest. On the flyleaf, in large characters, the Old Emperor had written the words Never Raise Taxes. She showed them to Trinket and read them out to him. ‘You see. You were right about that.’

一页页的查阅下去。《四十二章经》的经文甚短,每一章只寥寥数行,只是字体极大,每一章才占了一页二页不等。这些经文她早已熟习如流,从头至尾的诵读一遍,与原经无一字之差,再将书页对准烛火映照,也不见有夹层字迹。她沉思良久,见内文不过数十页,上下封皮还比内文厚得多,忽然想起袁承志当年得到“金蛇秘笈”的经过,当下用清水浸湿封皮,轻轻揭开,只见里面包着两层羊皮,四边密密以丝线缝合,拆开丝线,两层羊皮之间藏着百余片剪碎的极薄羊皮。韦小宝喜叫:“是了,是了!这就是那个大秘密。”白衣尼将碎片铺在桌上,只见每一片有大有小,有方有圆,或为三角,或作菱形,皮上绘有许多弯弯曲曲的朱线,另用黑墨写着满洲文字,只是图文都已剪破,残缺不全,百余片碎皮各不相接,难以拼凑。韦小宝道:“原来每一部经书中都藏了碎皮,要八部经书都得到了,才拼成得一张地图。”
Then she read through the text, which she already knew more or less by heart, from beginning to end; but she could find nothing in it out of the ordinary. Next she exposed the pages one by one to heat, in case there should be writing in invisible ink between the lines. When diis yielded no result, she laid the book down on the table and stared at it for some minutes. Suddenly a thought struck her. The thickness of the book bore no proportion to its contents, which only consisted of a few pages. She tried soaking the front cover with water. After a while she was able to peel off the outer layer of yellow silk in which it had been bound. Underneath was a double thickness of parchment sewn together on all sides with thread. When she cut the thread, she found that the two layers of parchment made a sort of envelope containing about a hundred Little cut-up pieces of thinner parchment which she removed and spread out on the table. The pieces were of all shapes and sizes, but all of them had markings on them, either red-ink lines or, in black ink, bits of Manchu script. ‘This is it!’ said Trinket excitedly. ‘This is the secret! It’s a map. But this will only be part of it. You have to have all the eight copies in order to make the whole map.’

白衣尼道:“想必如此。”将碎皮放回原来的两层羊皮之间,用锦缎包好,收入衣囊。
‘I think you are right,’ said the White Nun. She put the pieces back into their parchment envelope, wrapped it in a cloth, and put it inside her breast pocket.

Green Girl Again

次日白衣尼带了韦小宝,出京向西,来到昌平县锦屏山思陵,那是安葬崇祯皇帝之所。陵前乱草丛生,甚是荒凉。白衣尼一路之上不发一言,这时再也忍耐不住,伏在陵前大哭。韦小宝也跪下磕头,忽觉身旁长草一动,转过头来,见到一条绿色裙子。这条绿色裙子,韦小宝日间不知已想过了多少万千次,夜里做梦也不知已梦到了多少千百次,此时陡然见到,心中怦的一跳,只怕又是做梦,一时不敢去看。只听得一个娇嫩的声音轻轻叫了一声什么,说道:“终于等到了,我……我已在这里等了三天啦。”接着一声叹息,又道:“可别太伤心了。”正是那绿衣女郎的声音。这一句温柔的娇音入耳,韦小宝脑中登时天旋地转,喜欢得全身如欲炸裂,一片片尽如《四十二章经》中的碎皮,有大有小,有方有圆,或为三角,或作菱形,说道:“是,是,你已等了我三天,多谢,多谢。我……我听你的话,我不伤心。”说着站起身来,一眼见到的,正是那绿衣女郎秀美绝伦的可爱容颜,只是她温柔的脸色突然转为错愕,立即又转为气恼。
They left the city next day and set out westwards for Changping. The tomb of the last Ming Emperor, which they were making for, was in the hills outside the town. The White Nun was silent throughout the journey. They found the tomb neglected, in a wilderness of grass and weeds. The nun’s restraint finally gave way. Throwing herself down on the ground, she broke into noisy weeping. Trinket, too, knelt down on the ground and kowtowed. While he was doing so, he became aware of a shimmer of greenness at his side. Turning his head he saw, with a pounding heart, that it was a green skirt. As if in a dream he heard the gen-dest, most enchanting of voices murmuring something. ‘I’m so glad you’re here,’ said the voice. ‘I’ve been waiting here three whole days.’ This was followed by a sigh, then: ‘Don’t be so sad!’ ‘It was the Green Girl! ‘Oh, thank you for waiting,’ said Trinket, scrambling to his feet and still half in a dream. ‘I don’t feel sad any more when I hear your voice.’ He gazed longingly at the lovely face with its expression of gende concern, but only for a second. Its expression changed suddenly, first to confusion and surprise, and tiien to a look of anger and intense hatred.

韦小宝笑道:“我可也想得你好苦……”话未说完,小腹上一痛,身子飞起,向后摔出丈余,重重掉在地下,却是给她踢了一交。但见那女郎提起柳叶刀,往他头上砍落,急忙一个打滚,拍的一声,一刀砍在地下。那女郎还待再砍,白衣尼喝道:“住手!”那女郎哇的一声,哭了出来,抛下刀子,扑在白衣尼怀里,叫道:“这坏人,他……他专门欺侮我。师父,你快快把他杀了。”
‘I’ve been longing so much to see you . . .’ he was beginning to say, when a painful kick in the belly sent him sprawling and she was on him in an instant with her little sword. She would have sliced his head off if he had not rolled over in time. In fact the sword-point only pierced the ground. ‘Stop it at once!’ cried the White Nun, before she could strike again. The Green Girl dropped her sword and threw herself, weeping, upon the White Nun’s bosom. ‘He’s a wicked boy, Shifu,’ she sobbed. ‘He does nothing but humiliate me. You ought to kill him.’

韦小宝又惊又喜,又是没趣,心道:“原来她是师太的徒弟,刚才那两句话却不是向我说的。”哭丧着脸慢慢坐起,寻思:“事到如今,我只有拚命装好人,最好能骗得师太大发慈悲,作主将她配我为妻。”走上前去,向那女郎深深一揖,说道:“小人无意中得罪了姑娘,还请姑娘大人大量,不要见怪。姑娘要打,尽管下手便是,只盼姑娘饶了小人性命。”那女郎双手搂着白衣尼,并不转身,飞腿倒踢一脚,足踝正踢中韦小宝下颚。他“啊”的一声,又向后摔倒,哼哼唧唧,一时爬不起身。白衣尼道:“阿珂,你怎地不问情由,一见面就踢人两脚?”语气中颇有见责之意。
Trinket was glad to discover that the Green Girl was the White Nun’s disciple. ‘Perhaps if I keep in Reverend Mother’s good books, she’ll help me to marry her,’ he thought. He got up and began to apologize, humbling himself and saying that he was sorry, he hadn’t intended to wrong her and would she please try to forgive him. His answer was a hefty kick, delivered backwards, like the kick of a horse, which had him once more lying on his back, panting and unable for some moments to move. ‘Ah Kor,’ said the White Nun reprovingly, ‘don’t be so unreasonable! You can’t just go kicking people the moment you set eyes on them!’

韦小宝一听大喜,心想:“原来你名叫阿珂,终于给我知道了。”他随伴白衣尼多日,知她喜人恭谨谦让,在她面前,越是吃亏,越有好处,忙道:“师太,姑娘这两脚原是该踢的,实在是我不对,真难怪姑娘生气。她便再踢我一千一万下,那也是小的该死。”爬起身来,双手托住下颚,只痛得眼泪也流了出来。这倒不是做作,实在那一脚踢得不轻。阿珂抽抽噎噎的道:“师父,这小和尚坏死了,他……他欺侮我。”白衣尼道:“他怎么欺侮你?”阿珂脸上一红,道:“他……欺侮了我很多……很多次。”韦小宝道:“师太,总而言之,是我胡涂,武功又差。那一日姑娘到少林寺去玩……”白衣尼道:“你去少林寺?女孩儿家怎么能去少林寺?”韦小宝心中又是一喜:“她去少林寺,原来不是师太吩咐的,那更加好了。”说道:“那不是姑娘自己去的,是她的一位师姊要去,姑娘拗不过她,只好陪着。”白衣尼道:“你又怎地知道?”韦小宝道:“那时我奉了鞑子小皇帝之命,做他替身,在少林寺出家为僧,见到另一位姑娘向少林寺来,姑娘跟在后面,显然是不大愿意。”白衣尼转头问道:“是阿琪带你去的?”阿珂道:“是。”白衣尼道:“那便怎样?”阿珂道:“他们少林寺的和尚凶得很,说他们寺里的规矩,不许女子入寺。”韦小宝道:“是,是。这规矩实在要不得,为什么女施主不能入寺?观世音菩萨就是女的。”白衣尼道:“那便怎样?”韦小宝道:“姑娘说,既然人家不让进寺,那就回去罢。可是少林寺的四个知客僧很没礼貌,胡言乱语,得罪了两位姑娘,偏偏武功又差劲得很。”白衣尼问阿珂道:“你们跟人家动了手?”韦小宝抢着道:“那全是少林寺知客僧的不是,这是我亲眼目睹的。他们伸手去推两位姑娘。师太你想,两位姑娘是千金之体,怎能让四个和尚的脏手碰到身上?两位姑娘自然要闪身躲避,四个和尚毛手毛脚,自己将手脚碰在山亭柱子上,不免有点儿痛了。”白衣尼哼了一声,道:“少林寺武功领袖武林,岂有如此不济的?阿珂,你出手之时,用的是哪几招手法?”阿珂不敢隐瞒,低头小声说了。白衣尼道:“你们将四名少林僧都打倒了?”阿珂向韦小宝望了一眼,恨恨的道:“连他是五个。”白衣尼道:“你们胆子倒真不小,上得少林寺去,将人家五位少林寺僧人的手足打脱了骱。”双目如电,向她全身打量。阿珂吓得脸孔更加白了。白衣尼见到她颈中一条红痕,问道:“这一条刀伤,是寺中高手伤的?”
At last Trinket knew the girl’s name. ‘He’s humiliated me many, many times,’ she protested. Trinket agreed that she had good reason to be angry with him. That time in the Shaolin Monastery . . .’ he began. The White Nun pricked up her ears. ‘You were in the Shaolin Monastery, Ah Kor? What on earth were you doing there? You know that women aren’t allowed.’ Trinket said he was sure she had been dragged there, much against her better judgement, by the Blue Girl, and that the monks she had injured were very much to blame. The news that her protegee had not only made an unauthorized visit to the Shaolin Monastery but had actually fought and injured monks there was making the White Nun seriously incensed; but just as she was about to give expression to her displeasure, she noticed the newly healed knife-wound across the girl’s neck. ‘Was that done in the fighting?’ she asked.

阿珂道:“不,不是。他……他……”抬头向韦小宝白了一眼,突然双颊晕红,眼中含泪道:“他……他好生羞辱我,弟子自己……自己挥刀勒了脖子,却……却没有死。”白衣尼先前听到两名弟子上少林寺胡闹,甚是恼怒,但见她颈中刀痕甚长,登生怜惜之心,问道:“他怎地羞辱你?”阿珂哇的一声,哭了出来。韦小宝道:“的的确确,是我大大的不该,我说话没上没下,没有分寸,姑娘只不过抓住了我,吓我一跳,说要挖出我的眼珠,又不是真挖,偏偏我胆小没用,吓得魂飞天外,双手反过来乱打乱抓,不小心碰到了姑娘的身子,虽然不是有意,总也难怪姑娘生气。”阿珂一张俏脸羞得通红,眼光中却满是恼怒气苦。白衣尼问了几句当时动手的招数,已明就理,说道:“这是无心之过,却也不必太当真了。”轻轻拍了拍阿珂的肩头,柔声道:“他是个小小孩童,又是……又是个太监,没什么要紧,你既已用‘乳燕归巢’那一招折断了他双臂,已罚过他了。”阿珂眼中泪水不住滚动,心道:“他哪里是个小孩童了?他曾到妓院去做坏事。”但这句话却也不敢出口,生怕师父追问,查知自己跟着师姊去妓院打人,心中一急,又哭了出来。韦小宝跪倒在地,连连磕头,说道:“姑娘,你心中不痛快,再踢我几脚出气罢。”阿珂顿足哭道:“我偏偏不踢。”韦小宝提起手掌,劈劈拍拍,在自己脸上连打了几个耳光,说道:“是我该死,是我该死。”白衣尼微皱双眉,说道:“这事也不算是你的错。阿珂,咱们也不能太欺侮人了。”阿珂抽抽噎噎的道:“是他欺侮我,把我捉了去,关在庙里不放。”白衣尼一惊,道:“有这等事?”韦小宝道:“是,是。是我知道自己不对,想讨好姑娘,因此请了她进寺。我心里想,这件事总是因姑娘想进少林寺逛逛而起,寺里和尚不让她进寺,难怪她生气,因此……这就大了胆子,请了姑娘去般若堂玩玩,叫一个老和尚陪着姑娘说话解闷。”白衣尼道:“胡闹,胡闹,两个孩子都胡闹。什么老和尚?”
The Green Girl had to admit that it was self-inflicted, an attempt to erase the dishonour inflicted on her by this hateful young monk. Once more Trinket admitted his guilt. He was hopeless at Martial Arts, he protested, and had been so scared of getting hurt when she attacked him that he had flailed his arms about in a panic and in doing so had inadvertently touched her in an improper manner. The Green Girl blushed scarlet, but there was anger in her eyes. ‘You see, it was not intended,’ said the White Nun, patting her gently on the shoulder. ‘I don’t think you should have taken it so seriously. He’s only a boy, after all. And a eunuch,’ she added shyly. Trinket pursued his advantage by saying that, to compensate the Green Girl for having been refused entry to the monastery by the discourteous monks, he had invited her in and consigned her to the care of a respectable elderly monk to instruct and entertain her. ‘Children, children!’ said the White Nun, shaking her head. ‘Who was this old monk?’

韦小宝道:“是般若堂的首座澄观大师,就是师太在清凉寺中跟他对过一掌的。”白衣尼点点头道:“这位大师武功很是了得。”又拍了拍阿珂的肩头,道:“好啊,这位大师武功既高,年纪又老,小宝请他陪你,也不算委曲了你。这件事就不用多说了。”阿珂心想:“这小恶人实在坏得不得了,只是有许多事,却又不便说,否则师父追究起来,师姊和我都落得有许多不是。”说道:“师父,你不知道,他……他……”白衣尼不再理她,瞧着崇祯的坟墓只呆呆出神。韦小宝向阿珂伸伸舌头,扮个鬼脸。阿珂大怒,向他狠狠白了一眼。韦小宝只觉她就算生气之时,也是美不可言,心中大乐,坐在一旁,目不转睛的欣赏她的神态,但见她从头至脚,头发眉毛,连一根小指头儿也是美丽到了极处。阿珂斜眼向他瞥了一眼,见他呆呆的瞧着自己,脸上一红,扯了扯白衣尼的衣袖,道:“师父,他……他在看我。”白衣尼嗯了一声,心中正自想着当年在宫中的情景,这句话全没听进耳里。这一坐直到太阳偏西,白衣尼还是不舍得离开父亲的坟墓。韦小宝盼她就这样十天半月的一直坐下去,只要眼中望着阿珂,就算不吃饭也不打紧。阿珂却给他瞧得周身好生不自在,虽然不去转头望他,却知他一双眼总是盯在自己身上,心里一阵害羞,一阵焦躁,又是一阵恚怒,心想:“这小恶人花言巧语,不知说了些什么谎话,骗得师父老是护着他。一等师父不在,我非杀了他不可,拚着给师父狠狠责罚一场,也不能容得他如此羞辱于我。”又过了一个多时辰,天色渐黑,白衣尼叹了口长气,站起身来道:“咱们走罢。”
Trinket explained that Brother Simple was the monk in charge of the Prajna Hall. The White Nun nodded. The Green Girl tried to protest against this monstrous distortion of the true facts, but the White Nun ignored her and, turning her back, began silently contemplating the tomb. Trinket pulled a face and stuck his tongue out triumphantly at the fuming girl. The three of them sat there until sundown, the White Nun contemplating her father’s tomb in mournful silence; Trinket contemplating the Green Girl, feeling he would be happy to do nothing but gaze on that ethereal countenance for the rest of his life; the Green Girl in a misery of rage, embarrassment, and shame, trying, unsuccessfully, to ignore him but conscious that she was being stared at After sitting for well over an hour, the White Nun rose to her feet. ‘It’s time to go now,’ she said.

当晚三人在一家农家借宿。韦小宝知道白衣尼好洁,吃饭时先将她二人的碗筷用热水洗过,将她二人所坐的板凳、吃饭的桌子抹得纤尘不染,又去抹床扫地,将她二人所住的一间身打扫得干干净净。他向来懒惰,如此勤力做事,实是生平从所未有。白衣尼暗暗点头,心想:“这孩子倒也勤快,出外行走,带了他倒是方便得多。”她十五岁前长于深宫,自幼给宫女太监服侍惯了,身遭国变之后流落江湖,日常起居饮食自是大不相同。韦小宝做惯太监,又是尽心竭力的讨好,竟令她重享旧日做公主之乐。白衣尼出家修行,于昔时豪华,自早不放在心上,但每个人幼时如何过日子,一生深印脑中,再也磨灭不掉,她不求再做公主,韦小宝却服侍得她犹如公主一般,自感愉悦。
That evening the three of them lodged with a family of peasants. Trinket, knowing how fastidious the White Nun was, took great pains to see that there was no grime or grease to offend her, washing the bowls and chopsticks beforehand in hot water, wiping down the tables and benches, and sweeping and dusting in the room where she and the Green Girl were to sleep until everything there was spotless. Though such a lazy boy as a rule, to the White Nun he appeared industrious and thoughtful. Until the age of fifteen she had been brought up delicately as a princess, and although consciously she no longer set store by such things, unconsciously she was flattered and pleased by his attentions.

晚饭过后,白衣尼问起阿琪的下落。阿珂道:“那日在少林寺外失散之后,就没再见到师姊,只怕……只怕已给他害死了。”说着眼睛向韦小宝一横。韦小宝忙道:“哪有此事?我见到阿琪姑娘跟蒙古的葛尔丹王子在一起,还有几个喇嘛,吴三桂手下的一个总兵。”白衣尼一听到吴三桂的名字,登时神色愤怒之极,怒道:“阿琪她干什么跟这些不相干的人混在一起?”韦小宝道:“那些人到少林寺来,大概刚好跟阿琪姑娘撞到。师太,你要找她,我陪着你,那就很容易找到了。”白衣尼道:“为什么?”韦小宝道“那些蒙古人、喇嘛,还有云南的军官,我都记得他们的相貌,只须遇上一个,就好办了。”
After the evening meal, the White Nun began asking about her other disciple, the Blue Girl, or Ah Ki, as Trinket heard them call her. The Green Girl had last seen her outside the Shaolin Monastery and unkindly suggested that Trinket might have killed her. When Trinket indignantly protested that he had seen her since then in the entourage of Brigadier Ma when the latter had visited the monastery in the company of Prince Galdan and the Grand Lama Sangge and their followers (he said nothing about the beard), the White Nun was not at all pleased to learn that a disciple of hers had been associating with a staff-officer of the detestable Wu Sangui. No doubt Ah Ki had at the time only just met these people, Trinket told her. However, if they could pick up the trail of any of the three personages just mentioned, it should eventually lead them to her. And since he was the only one who knew these people by sight, he would be happy to lead the search.

白衣尼道:“好,那你就跟着我一起去找。”韦小宝大喜,忙道:“多谢师太。”白衣尼奇道:“你帮我去办事,该当我谢你才是,你又谢我什么了?”韦小宝道:“我每日跟着师太,再也快活不过,最好是永远陪在师太身边。就算不能,那也是多陪一天好一天。”白衣尼道:“是吗?”她虽收了阿琪、阿珂两人为徒,但平素对这两个弟子一直都冷冰冰地。二女对她甚为敬畏,从来不敢吐露什么心事,哪有如韦小宝这般花言巧语、甜嘴蜜舌?她虽性情严冷,这些话听在耳中,毕竟甚是受用,不由得嘴角边露出微笑。阿珂道:“师父,他……他不是的……”她深知韦小宝热心帮同去寻师姊,其实是为了要陪着自己,什么“我每日跟着师太,再也快活不过,最好是永远陪在师太身边”云云,其实他内心的真意,该当把“师太”两字,换上了“阿珂”才是。白衣尼向她瞪了眼,道:“为什么不是?你又怎知道人家的心事?我以前常跟你说,江湖上人心险诈,言语不可尽信。但这孩子跟随我多日,并无虚假,那是可以信得过的。他小小孩童,岂能与江湖上的汉子一概而论?”阿珂不敢再说,只得低头应了声:“是。”韦小宝大喜,暗道:“阿珂好老婆,你老公自然与众不同,岂能与江湖上的汉子一概而论?你听师父的话,包你不吃亏。最多不过嫁了给我,难道我还舍得不要你吗?放你一百二十个心。”
The White Nun thankfully accepted his offer, much to the disgust of the Green Girl, who knew that his concern for the Blue Girl was a sham and only an excuse to be near her. She resolved to rid herself of his company at the earliest opportunity. The search for the Blue Girl began next morning. They started off in a southerly direction, as if they were returning to the Pure Coolness Monastery. Although Sangge was not among the lamas captured or killed in the abortive attempt to kidnap the Old Emperor, it was obvious that he must have been the brains behind it and was therefore likely to be, if not still in that area, at least not very far from it.

Previous articleThe Deer And The Cauldron 26
Next articleThe Deer And The Cauldron 24
Discover the wonders of China through studying abroad - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand your horizons, immerse yourself in a rich and diverse culture, and gain a world-class education.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here