The Deer And The Cauldron 4

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The Deer And The Cauldron 4

第四回 无迹可寻羚挂角 忘机相对鹤梳翎

  靴声响到门口,那人走了进来。韦小宝从桌底下瞧出去,见那靴子不大,来人当是个和自己差不多年纪的男孩,当即放心,将烧饼放入口中,却也不敢咀嚼,只是用唾沫去浸湿烧饼,待浸软了吞咽。The boots reached the door, and came on into the room. Trinket peeped out from behind the table-cloth. From the size of his footwear, the new arrival seemed to be a boy like himself. He heaved a sigh of relief, and put the pancake in his mouth. He didn’t dare to take a bite out of it, but softened it with his saliva, and then swallowed it silently down.

  只听得咀嚼之声发自桌边,那男孩在取糕点而食,Meanwhile he could hear noisy munching coming from the table above him. The new boy was clearly tucking in.韦小宝心想:“也是个偷食的,我大叫一声冲出去,这小鬼定会吓得逃走,我便可大嚼一顿了。”又想:“刚才真笨,该当把几碟点心倒在袋里便走。这里又不是丽春院,难道短了什么,就定是把帐算在我头上?” ‘Why, he’s just another scavenger like me!’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘I’ll jump out and scare him off, then I can carry on eating to my heart’s content.’ His thoughts ran on: ‘What a fool I was just now! I should have stuffed a whole plateful in my pocket and buggered off! This isn’t like home. They wouldn’t miss a little thing like that, or expect me to pay for it!’忽听得砰砰声响,那男孩在敲击什么东西,韦小宝好奇心起,探头张望,All of a sudden there was a series of noisy thumps. The new scavenger had started hitting something. His curiosity aroused, Trinket poked his head out from under the table.只见那男孩约莫十四五岁年纪,身穿短打,伸拳击打梁上垂下来的一只布袋。他打了一会,又去击打墙边的皮人。What he saw was a boy of fourteen or fifteen, in a short gown, punching at one of the bags that hung from the beam. After a while, the boy moved across and started attacking one of the oxhide cut-outs.那男孩一拳打在皮人胸口,随即双臂伸出,抱住了皮人的腰,将之按倒在地,所用手法,便似昨日在酒馆中所见到那些摔交的满人一般。He struck the figure first on the chest with one fist, then reached forward with both hands and grappled it by the waist, forcing it to the ground. It was very much the same sort of technique as the one used by the Manchu wrestlers in the inn the previous day.韦小宝哈哈一笑,从桌底钻了出来,说道:“皮人是死的,有什么好玩?我来跟你玩。”那男孩见他突然现身,脸上又缠了白布,微微一惊,但听他说来陪自己玩,登时脸现喜色,Trinket chuckled to himself and darted out from beneath the table. ‘Why fight a dummy!’ he cried. ‘Why not try me?’ The other boy’s first reaction was one of alarm, at the sight of this strange apparition with its head swathed in bandages. But alarm quickly turned to delight when he realized that he had found a sparring partner.道:“好,你上来!”韦小宝扑将过去,便去扭男孩的双臂。那男孩一侧身,右手一勾,韦小宝站立不住,立时倒了。那男孩道:“呸,你不会摔交。”’Very well!’ he replied. ‘On guard!’ Trinket sprang forward and seized the boy’s arms, intending to give him a sharp twist, but the boy turned smartly, and hooked him with his right foot, sending Trinket crashing to the floor. ‘You’re hopeless!’ he jeered. ‘You obviously don’t know the first thing about wrestling!’

  韦小宝道:“谁说不会?”跃起身来,去抱他左腿。那男孩伸手抓他后心,韦小宝一闪,那男孩便抓了个空。韦小宝记得茅十八在酒馆中与七名大汉相斗的手法,突然左手出拳,击向那男孩下颚,砰的一声、正好打中。’Who says I don’t!’ protested Trinket, leaping to his feet again and reaching for the boy’s left leg. The boy made a grab for his back, but this time Trinket dodged in time and the boy seized a handful of air. Trinket recalled Whiskers’ fight with the seven wrestlers at the inn, and shot out a quick left that caught the boy hard, fair and square, on the lower cheek.那男孩一怔,眼中露出怒色。韦小宝笑道:“呸,你不会摔交!”The boy stood there stunned for a few seconds, and a momentary look of anger came into his eyes. ‘You’re hopeless!’ cried Trinket with a grin. ‘You obviously don’t know the first thing about wrestling.’那男孩一言不发,左手虚晃,韦小宝斜身避让,那男孩手肘斗出,正撞在他的腰里。韦小宝大叫一声,痛得蹲了下来。The boy said nothing, but feinted with his left fist. Trinket fell for it and dodged, and as he did so, the boy’s elbow came crashing across into his midriff and winded him completely. He crumpled up and fell to the ground in excruciating pain.那男孩双手从他背后腋下穿上,十指互握,扣住了他后颈,将他上身越压越低。The boy now came at Trinket from behind, slipped both hands under his arms and laced his hands together around his throat, throttling him, and pressing him harder and harder down on to the ground.韦小宝右足反踢。那男孩双手猛推,将韦小宝身子送出,拍的一声,跌了个狗吃屎。Trinket kicked frantically with his right foot, but then the boy loosed his hands and gave him a terrific shove which sent him rolling across the room like a puppy chasing its own tail.

  韦小宝大怒,翻滚过去,用力抱住了男孩的双腿,使劲拖拉,那男孩站立不住,倒了下来,正好压在韦小宝身上。这男孩身材比韦小宝高大,立即以手肘逼住韦小宝后颈。Trinket was furious. He came tumbling back, wrapped both arms round the boy’s legs, and tugged at him with all his might. The boy crashed down right on top of him. He was quite a bit bigger than Trinket, and had soon succeeded in throttling him again and pinning him to the ground.韦小宝呼吸不畅,拚命伸足力撑,翻了几下,终于翻到了上面,反压在那男孩身上。只见他人小身轻压不住对方,又给那男孩翻了上来压住。Trinket began to choke, thrashed out with his feet to extricate himself, and finally managed to wriggle on top of the boy and hold him down. He was too light to maintain the upper hand for long, however, and soon the boy was back on top of him again.

  韦小宝极是滑溜,放开男孩双腿,钻到他身后,大力一脚踢中他屁股。那男孩反手抓住他右腿使劲一扯,韦小宝仰面便倒。那男孩扑上去扠住他头颈,喝道:“投不投降?”Ever a crafty fighter, Trinket now let go of the boy’s legs, got behind him, and landed him a good kick on the backside. The boy quickly grabbed his right leg and tugged at it, sending Trinket crashing down on his back. The boy leapt astride him, pinned his head to the floor, and cried: ‘Well! Surrender?’韦小宝左足钩转,在那男孩腰间擦了几下,那男孩怕痒,嘻的一笑,手劲便即松了。Trinket had meanwhile managed to hook his left foot round the boy’s waist, and started to rub it up and down the small of his back. The boy, it transpired, was extremely ticklish, and he couldn’t help giggling, and loosened his grasp.韦小宝乘机跃起,抱住他头颈。那男孩使出摔交手法,抓住了韦小宝后领,把他重重往地下一摔。韦小宝一阵晕眩,动弹不得。那男孩哈哈大笑,说道:“服了么?”Trinket seized his chance, leapt up, and pinned his opponent down by the throat. The boy now used a standard wrestling ploy, gripping Trinket by the back of the neck and pulling him to the ground with considerable force. Trinket went out like a light. When he regained consciousness, he found that he was temporarily immobilized. The boy burst out laughing. ‘Well? Had enough? Give in?’

  韦小宝猛地跃起,一个头锤,正中对方小腹。那男孩哼了一声,倒退几步。But Trinket was not finished yet. He eventually succeeded in jumping up and landing a head-butt right in the boy’s midriff. The boy groaned and staggered back a few steps.韦小宝冲将上去,那男孩身子微斜,横脚钩扫。韦小宝摔将下来,狠命抱住了他大腿。两人同时跌倒。Trinket lunged after him, the boy leant a little to one side, put out a leg, and brought him tumbling to the floor. Trinket reached out frantically as he fell, clutching at the boy’s legs, and the two of them went down together.一时那男孩翻在上面,一时韦小宝翻在上面,翻了十七八个滚,终于两人互相扭住,呼呼喘气,They struggled for a while, each one gaining the upper hand for a moment, then going under, ringing the changes more than a dozen times, until finally they were in a complete deadlock, panting and staring fixedly at each other.突然之间,两人不约而同的哈哈大笑,都觉如此扭打十分好玩,慢慢放开了手。And then suddenly, at exactly the same moment, they both burst out laughing. There was something about the clinch they were in that struck them both as terribly funny. Slowly they let go.

  那男孩一伸手,扯开了韦小宝脸上的白布,笑道:“包住了头干么?”The boy reached out a hand and began removing the bandages from Trinket’s face. ‘What did you want to wrap your face up for?’

  韦小宝吃了一惊,便欲伸手去夺,但想对方既已看到自己真面目,再加遮掩也是无用,笑道:“包住了脸,免得进来偷食时给人认了出来。”Trinket was about to snatch the bandages back, when he reflected that the boy had already seen most of his face and that it would achieve nothing. ‘I didn’t want anyone to recognize me taking the cake.’那男孩站起身来,笑道:“好啊,原来你时时到这里偷食。”韦小宝道:“时时倒也不见得。”’I see,’ said the boy, chuckling and standing up. ‘So you make a habit of coming here and taking food, do you?’ ‘No, I don’t,’ said Trinket.说着也站了起来,见那男孩眉清目秀,神情轩昂,对他颇有好感。As he rose to his feet, he stole a closer glance at his opponent: there was something at once impressive and attractive about the boy’s features, a clearness of brow, a noble look in the eyes, an expression in the face, that drew Trinket towards him.

  那男孩问道:“你叫什么名字?”韦小宝道:“我叫小桂子,你呢?”那男孩略一迟疑,道:“我叫……叫小玄子。你是哪个公公手下的?”韦小宝道:“我跟海老公。”小玄子点了点头,就用韦小宝那块白布抹了抹额头汗水,’What’s your name?’ asked the boy. ‘Laurel,’ replied Trinket. ‘And yours?’ After a moment’s hesitation the boy replied: ‘Mine’s . . . People call me Misty. Which of the Goong-goongs do you work for?’ ‘I’m with Hai Goong-goong.’ Misty nodded, and used Trinket’s bandages to mop the sweat from his brow.拿起一块点心便吃。韦小宝不肯服输,心想你大胆偷食,我的胆子也不小于你,当即拿起一块千层糕,肆无忌惮的放入口中。He helped himself to a cake. Trinket was not going to be outdone. If this young fellow could continue calmly scavenging, so could he. He popped another slice of layer cake nonchalantly into his mouth.

  小玄子笑了笑,道:“你没学过摔交,可是手脚挺灵活,我居然压你不住,再打几个回合,你便输了。”韦小宝道:“那也不见得,咱们再打一会试试。”小玄子道:“很好!”两人又扭打起来。’I can see you’ve never done any wrestling,’ laughed Misty. ‘But you’re a quick mover all the same! You managed to get away that time. A few more goes and I’d have had you, though–‘ ‘Is that right?’ protested Trinket. ‘Come on then: let’s see–‘ ‘At you!’ The two of them set to again.

  小玄子似乎会一些摔交之技,年纪和力气又都大过韦小宝,不过韦小宝在扬州市井间身经百战,与大流氓、小无赖也不知打过了多少场架,扭打的经验远比小玄子丰富。Misty clearly knew a few wrestling moves, and was the older and stronger of the two. But Trinket had the benefit of years of experience in the streets of Yangzhou, where he’d had to deal with all manner of bullies and thugs, big and small, and in this respect he was definitely Misty’s superior.总算他记得茅十八的教训,而与小玄子的扭打只是游戏,并非拚命,什么拗手指、拉辫子、咬咽喉、抓眼珠、扯耳朵、捏阴囊等等拿手的成名绝技,倒也一项没使。But for one reason or another (partly Whiskers’ lecture, partly because this was, after all, only ‘play-fighting’ and not in deadly earnest) he didn’t avail himself of a single one of the dubious tricks at which he excelled: the finger-twist, the pigtail-pull, the throat-bite, the eye-poke, the ear-yank, the grip-o’-the-balls.这么一来,那就难以取胜,扭打几回合,韦小宝终于给他骑在背上再也翻不了身。小玄子笑道:“投不投降?”韦小宝道:“死也不降。”小玄子哈哈一笑,跳了起来。As a result he eventually came off the loser again, with Misty sitting on his back, and no hope of throwing him off. ‘Surrender?’ ‘Never!’ Misty burst out laughing and jumped up.

  韦小宝扑上去又欲再打。小玄子摇手笑道:“今天不打了,明天再来。不过你不是我对手,再打也没用。”Trinket went for him again, but this time Misty shook his head. ‘No more for today! Tomorrow, if you like. But I don’t see the point: you’ll never be able to beat me!’韦小宝不服气,摸出一锭银子,约有三两上下,说道:“明天再打,不过要赌钱,你也拿三两银子出来。”Trinket was not having this.He pulled a piece of silver from his pocket, about three taels’ worth: Tomorrow we fight for money! You’d better bring three taels yourself!’小玄子一怔,道:“好,咱们打个彩头。明天我带银子来,中午时分,在这里再打过。”Misty seemed somewhat taken aback by this but then concurred. ‘All right. We fight for money. I’ll bring my stake. See you here at noon tomorrow.’韦小宝道:“死约会不见不散,大丈夫一言既出,……马难追。”这“驷马难追”的“驷”他总是记不住,只得随口含糊带过。小玄子哈哈大笑,说道:“不错,大丈夫一言既出,……马难追。”说着出屋而去。’Live or die! Excellent kungfu! My word is my wand!’ cried Trinket, and Misty burst out laughing. ‘It certainly is!’ And with that he left the room.

  韦小宝抓了一大把点心,放在怀里,走出屋去,想起茅十八与人订约比武,Trinket helped himself to a big handful of cakes and stuffed them inside his jacket. Then he too left the room. As he went, he found himself thinking of Whiskers’ heroic stand at Victory Hill:虽在狱中,也要越狱赴约,虽然身受重伤,仍是誓守信约,在得胜山下等候两位高手,这等气概,当真令人佩服。now there was a man! Whiskers had pledged his word to fight, and nothing could have stood between him and the fulfilment of that pledge, not the walls of his prison cell, not even his own wounds.他听说书先生说英雄故事,听得多了,时时幻想自己也是个大英雄、大豪杰,既与人订下比武之约,岂可不到?How many times Trinket had sat listening to the storytellers’ tales, and how many times he’d dreamed of one day being a hero himself–Trinket the Brave Man and True! Now, he’d said he would fight, and there could be no going back! He had pledged his word!心想明日要来,今晚须得回到海老公处,And if he was to be a man of his word, he would have to forget about escape–at least for the time being. He would have to go back to the old eunuch that evening.于是顺着原路,慢慢觅到适才赌钱之处。先前向着右首走,以致越走越远,这次折而向左,走过两道回廊,依稀记得庭园中的花木曾经见过,一路寻将过去,终于回到海老公的住所。He therefore decided to retrace his steps to the room where they had been gambling earlier in the day–and from there he took a direction opposite to the one he had taken earlier (which had led him deeper and deeper into the mansion), followed two covered walkways, vaguely remembered one or two shrubs he had passed by in the courtyards on the way, and somehow, by hook or by crook, navigated his way back to the old eunuch’s quarters.

  他走到门口,便听到海老公的咳嗽之声,问道:“公公,你好些了吗?”海老公沉声道:“好你个屁!快进来!”Trinket is Asked to Steal a Sutra As he drew near the entrance, he heard the old fellow coughing. ‘Goong-goong? Are you feeling any better?’ ‘Better my arse!’ muttered the eunuch. ‘Get a move on, will you!’

  韦小宝走进屋去,只见海老公坐在椅上,那张倒塌了的桌子已换过了一张。海老公问道:“赢了多少?”韦小宝道:“赢了十几两银子,不过……不过……”Trinket hurried over to him. Old Hai was sitting at a table (the broken one had been replaced). ‘How much did you win?’ ‘I won a dozen taels,’ replied Trinket. ‘But I–‘海老公道:“不过怎么?”韦小宝道:“不过借给了老吴。”其实他赢了二十几两,除了借给老吴之外,还有八九两剩下,生怕海老公要他交出来,不免报帐时不尽不实。’You what?’ snapped the eunuch. ‘I lent them to Wu.’ In actual fact he’d won twenty and lent twelve to Wu: the remaining eight he wished to hang on to.

  海老公脸一沉,说道:“借给老吴这小子有什么用?他又不是上书房的。怎么不借给温家哥儿俩?”Old Hai scowled at him. ‘What do you want to go lending money to that Wu fellow for? He doesn’t even work in the Upper Library, dammit! You could at least have lent to one of the Wen brothers!’韦小宝不明缘由,道:“温家哥儿没向我借。”海老公道:“没向你借,你不会想法子借给他吗?我吩咐你的话,难道都忘了?”Trinket didn’t follow this at all. ‘But they didn’t ask me for a loan.’ Then you should have found a way to offer one. Have you forgotten everything I ever told you?’韦小宝道:“我……我昨晚杀了这小孩子,吓得什么都忘了。要借给温家哥儿,不错,不错,你老人家确是吩咐过的。”’It’s just that. . . what with killing that boy yesterday, I can’t seem to think straight, it must have gone clean out of my mind. I ought to have lent the money to one of the Wen brothers, that’s right, I remember now, you told me.’

  海老公哼了一声,道:“杀个把人。有什么了不起啦?不过你年纪小,没杀过人,那也难怪。那部书,你没有忘记?”Old Hai humphed. ‘What’s so alarming about killing? I suppose you’re only a child though, you’ve never done it before. Now, about the book– I hope you haven’t forgotten.’

  韦小宝道:“那部书……书……我……我……”海老公又哼了一声,道:“当真什么都忘记了?”韦小宝道:“公公,我……我头痛得很,怕……怕得厉害,你又咳得这样,我真担心,什……什么都胡涂了。”

  海老公道:“好,你过来!“韦小宝道:“是!”走近了几步。The book?’ Old Hai humphed again. ‘Have you forgotten everything?’ ‘Goong-goong, I… I’ve got this terrible headache . . . and I’m so worried about your cough … I just can’t keep my mind on anything!’ ‘Very well. Come over here!’ ‘Yes, Goong-goong!’ Trinket walked a few steps closer.海老公道:“我再说一遍,你倘若再不记得,我杀了你。”韦小宝道:“是,是。”心想:“你只要再说一遍,我便过一百年也不会忘记。”’I’m going to repeat it for you once more. Forget this time, and I shall kill you ‘Yes, Goong-goong!’ piped Trinket, thinking to himself, ‘Just say it once, and I’ll never forget it, not in a hundred years!’

  海老公道:“你去赢温家哥儿俩的银子,他们输了,便借给他们,借得越多越好。过得几日,你便要他们带你到上书房去。他们欠了你钱,不敢不依,如果推三阻四,你就说我会去跟上书房总管乌老公算帐。温家兄弟还不出钱来,自会乘皇上不在……”’Listen: you’re to win money from the Wen brothers. Then you’re to lend them money, the more the better. Then, after a few days you’re to ask them to take you to the Upper Library. They’ll have to say yes, if they owe you money. If they try to fob you off, you tell them that I’ll report them to the Chief Librarian; I’ll tell him they refuse to pay their debts, and ask him to wait for His Majesty to–‘韦小宝道:“皇上?”海老公道:“怎么?”韦小宝道:“没……没什么。”海老公道:“他们会问你,到上书房干什么,你就说人望高处,盼望见到皇上,能够在上书房当差。’His Majesty?’ ‘What?’ ‘Oh . . . nothing.’ ‘If they ask you why you want to go to the Upper Library, you say that you’re longing for a glimpse of His Majesty, so you just want a chance to perform some little errand there.温家兄弟不会让你见到皇上的,带你过去时,皇上一定不会在书房里,你就得设法偷一部书出来。”Of course the Wen brothers won’t let you see His Majesty; when they take you, His Majesty won’t even be in the Upper Library. That’s when you find a way to steal the book . . .’

  韦小宝听他接连提到皇上,心念一动:“难道这里是皇宫?不是北京城里的大妓院?啊哟喂,是了,是了,若不是皇宫,哪有这等富丽堂皇的?这些人定是服侍皇帝的太监。”Something was beginning to fall into place in Trinket’s mind, with all these references to ‘His Majesty’. ‘Could this be the Palace, the Forbidden City itself!’ he thought silently to himself. ‘Have I been wrong all this time, about it being the number one whore-house in Peking? Aiyeehl Of course! That must be it! These people are all eunuchs working for the Emperor. . .’韦小宝虽然听人说过皇帝、皇后、太子、公主,以及宫女、太监,但只知道皇帝必穿龙袍,余人如何模样就不知道了。As a boy, Trinket had heard people talk about the Emperor, the Empress, Princes and Princesses, Palace Ladies, Palace Eunuchs, but he hadn’t the faintest idea what these grand beings actually looked like. All he knew was that the Emperor wore a Dragon Robe.他在扬州看白戏倒也看得多了,不过戏台上的那些太监,服色打扮跟海老公、老吴他们全然不同,手中老是拿着一柄拂尘挥来挥去,唱的戏文没一句好听。他和海老公相处一日,又和老吴、温氏兄弟赌了半天钱,可不知他们便是太监,In Yangzhou he’d seen all sorts of plays, but the eunuchs on stage were never dressed anything like Old Hai, or his new gambling friend Wu. And the stage eunuchs always held those long horsehair fly-whisks, and kept waving them around in the air. And anyway, he had never understood a word of what they were singing. So this was what real Palace Eunuchs were like!此刻听海老公这么说,这才渐渐省悟,心道:“啊哟,这么一来,我岂不变成了小太监?”’Cripes!’ he cried silently to himself. That means I’ve become a little Palace Eunuch myself! I’ve lost my balls!’

  海老公厉声道:“你听明白了没有?”韦小宝道:“是,是,明白了,要到皇……皇帝的书房去。”海老公道:“到皇上书房去干什么?去玩吗?”韦小宝道:“是去偷一部书出来。”’Did you take in what I said just now?’ growled Old Hai. ‘Yes, Goong-goong, yes! I’ve got to go to His Majesty’s Upper Library!’ ‘And why have you got to go? To play?’ To steal a book.’海老公道:“偷什么书?”韦小宝道:“这个……这个……什么书……我……我记不起了。”海老公道:“我再说一遍,你好好记住了。那是一部佛经,叫做《四十二章经》,这部经书模样挺旧的,一共有好几本,你要一起拿来给我。记住了吗?叫什么?”’Which book?’ ‘I… I… can’t remember.’ Til tell you once more. And this time, don’t forget\ It’s a Sutra, called the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections. It’s very old. There are several copies of it. Just bring them all to me. Got it? Now–what’s it called?’韦小宝喜道:“叫做《四十二章经》。”海老公听出他言语中的喜悦之意,问道:“有什么开心?”韦小宝道:“你一提,我便记起了,所以高兴。”The Sutra in Forty-Two Sections.’ ?Trinket sounded very pleased with himself. ?’What are you so happy about?’ snapped the old eunuch. ‘I’m just happy about. . . about remembering it the minute you mentioned it again.’原来他听海老公说要他到上书房去“偷书”,“偷”是绝不困难,“书”却难倒了人。In actual fact, when Old Hai had spoken of stealing a book, Trinket’s heart had sunk. The ‘stealing’ part was no problem; it was the ‘book’ part that presented what seemed at first like an insurmountable obstacle.他西瓜大的字识不了一担,要分辨什么书,可真杀了头也办不到,待得听说书名叫做《四十二章经》。不由得心花怒放,“章经”是什么东西不得而知,“四十二”三字却是识得的,五个字中居然识得三个,不禁大为得意。The trouble was that Trinket could barely read. He couldn’t decipher more than a word or two, let alone book tides. Then he heard the eunuch say that the book was the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections, and his heart leapt: what the word Sutra looked like he had not the foggiest notion, but numbers were something he could read. So the second part of the title was a walk-over! Wasn’t that sufficient reason to be pleased?

  海老公又道:“在上书房中偷书,手脚可得干净利落,假如让人瞧见了,你便有一百条性命也不在了。”’Now,’ went on Old Hai, ‘if you go stealing books from the Upper Library, you’ve got to be very smart, very careful. If anyone spots you, you’re as good as dead a hundred times over.’韦小宝道:“这个我理会得,偷东西给人抓住了,还有好戏唱吗?”灵机一动,说道:“不过我决不会招你公公出来。”’I know,’ said Trinket. He suddenly thought of something, and added: ‘If I did get caught, I’d never dream of dragging you into it, Goong-goong!’海老公叹道:“招不招我出来,也没什么相干了。”咳了一阵,说道:“今天你干得不错,居然赢到了钱。他们没起疑心罢?”Old Hai heaved a strangely unconcerned sigh. ‘Drag me in or drag me out, it’s all the same to me . . .’ He had another coughing fit, and went on: ‘You’ve done quite well today. At least you’ve won something. What did the others think? Were they suspicious?’韦小宝笑道:“嘿嘿,没有,那怎么会?”想要自称自赞一番,终于忍住。海老公道:“别躲懒,左右闲着没事,便多练练。”Trinket chortled. ‘Oh no, why should they be?’ He was about to boast, but thought better of it. ‘Well then, don’t sit around doing nothing. Eat your lunch, and if you’ve no jobs to do, go and practise with the dice!’韦小宝应了,走进房中,只见桌上放着碗筷,四菜一汤,没人动过,忙道:“公公,你不吃饭?我装饭给你。”海老公道:“不饿,不吃,你自己吃好了。”’Yes, Goong-goong!’ Trinket walked across to the dining-table, where bowls and chopsticks had been laid, four dishes and a soup, all untouched. ‘Goong-goong, aren’t you eating? Let me serve you!’ ‘I’m not hungry. You go ahead.’

  韦小宝大喜,来不及装饭,挟起一块红烧肉便吃,虽然菜肴早已冷了,吞入饥肠,却是说不出的美味,Trinket was delighted, and without bothering to fill his bowl with rice, he attacked a dish of stewed meat. The food was cold, but he was hungry, and to him it was indescribably delicious.心想:“这些饭菜不知是谁送来的。这种小事别多问,睁大眼睛瞧着,慢慢的自会知道。”又想:“倘若这里真是皇宫,那么老吴、温家哥儿,还有那个小玄子都是太监了。’I wonder where they get the food from? Oh well, I’d better not ask too many questions, just keep my eyes open and pick things up one at a time. If this really is the Forbidden City, then old Wu and the Wen brothers and little Misty must all of them be eunuchs.却不知皇帝老儿和皇后娘娘是怎么一副模样,总得瞧个明白才是。回到扬州,嘿嘿,老子这说起来可就神气啦。茅大哥不知能不能逃出皇宫去?赌钱时没听到他们说起拿住了人,多半是逃出去啦。”I wonder what the actual Emperor and Empress look like? I must try and get a look. Then one day when I’m back at home, ha ha! I can tell people who I’ve seen. Just imagine the look on their faces! ‘I wonder if Whiskers got out safe? They didn’t say anything about someone getting caught when we were gambling . . . Most probably he got away all right.’吃完饭后,只怕海老公起疑,便拿着六颗骰子,在碗里玎玲玲的掷个不休,掷了一会,只觉眼皮渐重,昨晚一夜没睡,这时实在疲倦得很了,不多时便即睡着了。When he had finished eating, he went through the motions of practising with the dice so as not to arouse the old eunuch’s suspicions, throwing them noisily across the table. After a while his eyelids began to feel heavy. He hadn’t slept all night. In minutes he was sound asleep.

  这一觉直睡到傍晚时分,跟着便有一名粗工太监送饭菜来。韦小宝服侍海老公吃了一碗饭,又服侍他上床睡觉,自己睡在小床上,Foolproof Moves He slept till evening, when a junior eunuch brought in their supper. Trinket waited on Old Hai as he ate a bowl of rice, and then helped him to bed. Afterwards he went to lie down on the smaller bed,心想:“明日最要紧的是和小玄子比武,要打得赢他才好。”闭上眼睛,回想茅十八在酒馆中跟满洲武士打架的手法,却模模糊糊的记不明白,thinking to himself: Tomorrow, whatever else happens, I must win my fight with Misty!’ He lay there, trying to remember Whiskers’ fight with the wrestlers in the tavern. He wished he could remember the details more clearly.不禁有些懊悔:“茅大哥要教我武艺,我偏不肯学,这一路上倘若学了来,小玄子力气虽比我大,又怎能是我对手?明天要是再给他骑住了翻不过来,输了银子不打紧,这般面子大失,我这‘小白龙’韦小宝在江湖上可也不用混啦。”’If only I’d taken old Whiskers up on his offer! With him as my teacher I could have learnt a thing or two on the way up here, and then I could have put Misty in his place–even though he is stronger than I am. If he gets me on the ground again tomorrow, I’ll die of shame! Little White Dragon–forget it! I’d never dare show my face among the Brothers!’突然心想:“满洲武士打不过茅大哥,茅大哥又不是老乌龟的对手,何不骗得老乌龟教我些本事?”Suddenly a thought occurred to him. The wrestlers were no match for Whiskers; but Whiskers was no match for Old Turtle-head–why don’t I get him to teach me a few moves?’当即说道:“公公,你要我去上书房拿几本书,这中间却有一桩难处。”

  海老公道:“什么难处?”韦小宝道:“今儿我赌了钱回来,遇到一个小……小太监,拦住了路,要我分钱给他,我不肯,他就跟我比武,说道我胜得过他,才放我走。我跟他斗了半天,所以……所以连饭也赶不及回来吃。”He asked the old eunuch at once: ‘Goong-goong, if you want me to go stealing books from the Upper Library, there’s just one problem.’ ‘What’s that?’ ‘Well, after today’s game, I met this . . . little eunuch, who stood in my way and asked me to give him some of my winnings. I wouldn’t, so we ended up fighting. That’s why I was so late for lunch.’海老公道:“你输了,是不是?”韦小宝道:“他又高又壮,力气可比我大得多了。他说天天要跟我比武,哪一日我赢了他,他才不来缠我。”海老公道:“这小娃娃叫什么名字?哪一房的。”’He beat you, presumably.’ ‘He was bigger than me, and stronger. He says I’ve got to fight with him every day, until I can beat him. Then he’ll let me off.’ ‘What was the little fellow’s name? Which part of the Palace was he from?’韦小宝道:“他叫小玄子,可不知是哪一房的。”

  海老公道:“定是你赢了钱,神气活现的惹人讨厌,否则别人也不会找上你。”’He’s called Misty. I don’t know where he’s from.’ ‘You must have been acting too pleased with yourself after your win–that’s probably what annoyed him.’韦小宝道:“我不服气,明儿再跟他斗过,就不知能不能赢。”海老公哼了一声,道:“你又在想求我教武功了。我说过不教,便是不教,你再绕弯儿也没用。”’I won’t let him get away with it! I’m going to fight him tomorrow! But I just wonder if I can beat him.’ Old Hai humphed. ‘You want to wangle some moves out of me, don’t you? The answer’s no, so it’s no use trying.’

  韦小宝心中暗惊:“老乌龟倒聪明,不上这当。”说道:“这小玄子又不会武功,我要赢他。也不用学什么武艺,谁要你教了?’Clever Old Turtle-head!’ thought Trinket, silently cursing to himself. This little fellow Misty,’ he began again, out loud, ‘he wasn’t such a good fighter really. I wouldn’t need to learn much to beat him. I don’t need you to teach me, either.今儿我明明已骑在他身上,只不过他力气大。翻了过来。明天我出力掀住他,这家伙未必就能乌龟翻身。”他这一天已然小心收敛,不说一句粗话,这时终于忍不住说了一句。I had him on the ground today, it’s just that he was too strong for me: he managed to buck me off. Tomorrow I’ll get a proper grip on him. That should fix the little bugger!’ He had been trying so hard all day to keep his language clean.

  海老公道:“你想他翻不过来,那也容易。”韦小宝道:“我想也没什么难处,我明天一定牢牢掀住他肩头。”海老公道:“哼,掀住肩头有什么用?能不能翻身,全仗腰间的力道,你须用膝盖抵住他后腰穴道。你过来,我指给你看。”’If you want to stop him bucking you, that’s easy!’ said Old Hai. ‘I didn’t think it would be hard. I just get him in a good shoulder grip, then–‘ That’s no good! Bucking comes from the lower back. You have to knee him on the vital point in the small of his back. Come over here and I’ll show you.’韦小宝一骨碌从床上跃下,走到他床前,海老公摸到他后腰一处所在,轻轻一按,韦小宝便觉全身酸软无力。Trinket hopped out of bed and was at Old Hai’s bedside in a trice. The old eunuch felt around in the small of his back and pressed lightly. Trinket felt his whole body go limp.海老公道:“记住了吗?”韦小宝道:“是,明儿我便去试试,也不知成不成?”海老公怒道:“什么成不成?那是百发百中,万试万灵。”又伸手在他头颈两侧轻轻一按。韦小宝“啊”的一声叫了出来,只觉胸口一阵窒息,气也透不过来。’Can you remember that?’ ‘Yes, I’ll try it out tomorrow. Let’s hope it works.’ ‘Works? Of course it will work. It’s absolutely foolproof!’ Old Hai reached out his hand and pressed lightly on either side of Trinket’s neck. Trinket let out a gasp of pain. He had a choking sensation in his chest, and could hardly breathe.海老公道:“你如出力拿他这两处穴道,他就没力气和你相斗。”韦小宝大喜,道:“成了,明儿我准能赢他。”这个“准”字,是日间赌钱时学的。回到床上睡倒,想起明天“小白龙”韦小宝打得小玄子大叫“投降”,十分得意。’Get him on these two points,’ said Hai, ‘and he’ll have no strength to fight with.’ Trinket was pleased as punch. ‘Well, that’s it then! Tomorrow, I win!’ Trinket went back to bed, and fell asleep dreaming of Misty surrendering to the Little White Dragon! Live or Die!

  次日老吴又来叫他去赌钱。那温家兄弟一个叫温有道,一个叫温有方,轮到两兄弟做庄时,韦小宝使出手段,赢了他们二十几两银子。他兄弟俩手气又坏,不到半个时辰,五十两本钱已输干了。Wu came to fetch him again the following morning. It was the Wen brothers’ turn to be bankers. Trinket had soon managed to win over twenty taels off them. It was a bad day for the bank altogether. In less than an hour they had to pay out fifty taels, which was all they had.韦小宝借了二十两给他们,到停赌时,温家兄弟又将这二十两银子输了。韦小宝心中记着的只是和小玄子比武之事,赌局一散,便奔到那间屋去。Trinket lent them another twenty, and by the end of the day’s play that was all gone too. All Trinket could think about was his appointment with Misty. As soon as the gambling was over, he hurried to the ‘cake room’.只见桌上仍是放着许多碟点心,他取了几块吃了,听得靴子声响,只怕来的不是小玄子,心想先钻入桌底再说,The table was piled high again with good things to eat, and this time Trinket tucked in with a vengeance. Then he heard the flip-ploy of cloth boots again. He ducked under the table, just in case it turned out to be someone other than Misty.却听得小玄子在门外叫道:“小桂子,小桂子!”韦小宝跃到门口,笑道:“死约会,不见不散。”小玄子也笑道:“哈哈,死约会,不见不散。”走进屋子。’Laurel! Laurel!’ It was Misty’s voice calling from the doorway. Trinket sprang out, and with a big grin on his face, called back: ‘Live or die!’ ‘I live, you die!’ laughed Misty, striding into the room.韦小宝见他一身新衣,甚是华丽,不禁颇有妒意,寻思:“待会我扯破你的新衣,叫你神气不得!”Trinket noticed at once that he was wearing a completely new outfit, and couldn’t help feeling jealous. ‘Huh!’ he muttered to himself. ‘Just you wait! You won’t be so pleased when I’ve made a big rip in that smart gown of yours!’一声大叫,便向他扑了过去。小玄子喝道:“来得好。”扭住他双臂,左足横扫过去。韦小宝站立不定,晃了几下,一交跌倒,拉着小玄子也倒了下来。He let out a great war cry and threw himself straight into the attack. ‘Excellent kungfu!’ cried his opponent, grappling him with both arms, and delivering a swinging kick with his left foot. Trinket lost his balance, tottered and fell, bringing Misty down with him.

  韦小宝一个打滚,翻身压在小玄子背上,记得海老公所教,便伸手去拿他后腰穴道,可是他没练过打穴拿穴的功夫,这穴道岂能一拿便着?As Trinket rolled and spun round, he managed to pin Misty face down on the floor. He remembered Old Hai’s little demonstration, and felt for the vital point in the small of Misty’s back. But he had never done this sort of thing before, and it was hard to find the point at his very first attempt.拿的部位稍偏,小玄子已然翻了过来,抓住他左臂,用力向后拗转。韦小宝叫道:“啊哟,你不要脸,拗人手臂么?”小玄子笑道:“学摔交就是学拗人手臂,什么不要脸了?”Misty meanwhile had spun round, gripped Trinket’s left arm, and twisted it back. ‘Hey!’ screamed Trinket, ‘that’s not fair! Twisting my arm like that!’ That’s what wresding’s all about!’ laughed Misty. ‘Who says it’s not fair!’韦小宝趁他说话之时一口气浮了,全身用力向他后腰撞去,将背心撞在他头上,右手从他臂腋里穿了过来,用劲向上甩出。Trinket took advantage of the fact that Misty was busy speaking and momentarily off his guard, to launch a counter-attack. He brought his head down with all his might on to Misty’s back, shot his right hand under his armpit, and flung him up into the air as hard as he could.小玄子的身子从他头顶飞过,拍的一声,掉在地下。Misty went flying over his head and landed widi a crash on the ground.

  小玄子翻身跳起,道:“原来你也会这招‘羚羊挂角’。”韦小宝不知“羚羊挂角”是什么手法,误打误撞的胜了一招,大为得意,He leapt to his feet again, crying: ‘So you know the Bucking Antelope too!’ Trinket had never even heard of the Antelope. He’d just been improvising and thrashing around, and somehow or other had managed to outwit his opponent. He was pretty chuffed.说道:“这‘羚羊挂角’算得什么,我还有许多厉害手法没使出来呢。”小玄子喜道:“那再好也没有了。咱们再来比划。”The Antelope is nothing!’ he cried. ‘I know plenty more, and they’re a lot worse. You haven’t seen anything yet!’ ‘Perfect!’ cried Misty in delight.

  韦小宝心道:“原来你学过武功,怪不得打你不过。可是你使一招,我学一招,最多给你多摔几交,你的法子我总能学了来。”’Go to!’ Trinket engaged in a quick moment’s reflection: ‘Misty has obviously had lessons–that’s why he keeps getting the better of me. But that’s no problem. All I have to do is watch his moves and copy them. He can throw me a few times– I’ll soon get the hang of it.’

  眼见小玄子又扑将过来,便也猛力扑去。不料小玄子这一扑却是假的,待韦小宝扑到,他早已收势,侧身让开,伸手在他背上一推。韦小宝扑了个空,本已收脚不住,再给他顺力推出,登时砰的一声,重重摔倒。Misty started coming at him. Trinket lunged back, but it was a feint: Misty stepped aside, let Trinket surge on, and chopped him on the back with the side of his hand. Trinket was unable to rein himself in, and went crashing to the ground.

  小玄子大声欢呼,跳过来骑在他背上,叫道:“投不投降?”Misty gave a great cry of delight, leapt forwards, and planted himself astride Trinket’s back. ‘Surrender?’

  韦小宝道:“不降!”欲待挺腰翻起,蓦地里腰间一阵酸麻,后腰两处穴道已被小玄子屈指抵住,那正是海老公昨晚所教的手法,自己虽然学会了,却给对方抢先用出。’No! Never!’ protested Trinket, but when he tried to straighten himself up and get to his feet, he felt a sudden numbness in the small of his back. Misty had beaten him to it! He had pressed on exactly the spot Old Hai had been trying to teach him the previous evening.韦小宝挣了几下,始终难以挣脱,只得叫道:“好,降你一次!”小玄子哈哈大笑,放了他起身。韦小宝突然伸足绊去,After struggling futilely for a moment longer, he finally gave up. ‘All right!’ he cried. This time I surrender!’ Misty laughed and set him free. As Trinket got up, he suddenly shot out one of his feet.小玄子斜身欲跌,韦小宝顺手出拳,正中他腰间。小玄子痛哼一声,弯下腰来,韦小宝自后扑上,双手箍住他头颈两侧。Misty toppled over, and Trinket punched him in the small of the back. Misty gave a cry of pain and bent double. Trinket leapt on him from behind and gripped him tightly round the throat with both his hands.小玄子一阵晕眩,伏倒在地。韦小宝大喜,双手紧箍不放,问道:“投不投降?”Misty lost consciousness for an instant, and fell flat on the ground. Trinket held on and demanded triumphantly: ‘Surrender?’

  小玄子哼了一声,突然间双肋向后力撞。韦小宝胸口肋骨痛得便欲折断,大叫一声,仰天倒下。Misty gave a little grunt. Then suddenly he drove his elbows hard into Trinket’s ribs, and Trinket went reeling over on to the floor, screaming with pain, certain that he must have several broken bones.小玄子翻身坐在他胸口,这一回合又是胜了,只是气喘吁吁,也已累得上气不接下气,问道:“服……服……服了没有?”韦小宝道:“服个屁!不……不……服,一百个……一……一万个不服。你不过碰巧赢了。”Misty spun round and sat astride his chest, once more the victor, though this time a winded and exhausted one, panting for breath. ‘Do . . . you . . . give in?’ ‘Give in my arse!’ panted Trinket back. The answer’s no! A hundred times no! You were lucky just now, that’s all!’小玄子道:“你不服,便……便起来打过。”韦小宝双手撑地,只想使劲弹起来,但胸口要害处给对手按住了,什么力气都使不出来,僵持良久,只得又投降一次。Then get up … and fight!’ Trinket stretched and heaved with all his might (what little of it he had left), but his opponent was still astride his aching ribs, and his efforts were to no avail. After several more minutes of futile struggle, he surrendered yet again.

  小玄子站起身来,只觉双臂酸软。韦小宝勉力站起,身子摇摇摆摆,说道:“明儿……明儿再来打过,非……非叫你投降不可。”Misty rose to his feet. His arms were sore and limp with exhaustion. Trinket staggered to his feet and took a few tottering steps across the room. Tomorrow . . . tomorrow I’ll take you on again . . . and I’ll beat you for sure!’小玄子笑道:“再打一百次,你也……也……也是个输,你有胆子,明天就再来打。”韦小宝道:“只怕你没胆子呢,我为什么没胆子?死约会,不见不散。”小玄子道:“好,死约会,不见不散。”Misty laughed. ‘If we fight a hundred times, you’ll. . . you’ll always lose! If you’ve got the guts, come again tomorrow!’ ‘You’re probably the one who’s not got the guts! I’m not afraid. Live or die! My word is my wand!’

  两人打得兴起,都不提赌银子的事。小玄子既然不提,韦小宝乐得假装忘记,倘若是他赢了,银子自然非要不可。They had both been quite carried away by the fighting, and neither of them had mentioned the money, or the bet they had laid. Or to be strictly accurate, Misty didn’t mention it, and since he didn’t, Trinket was more than happy to pretend to have forgotten. If he had emerged the victor, it would have been a very different story.

  韦小宝回到屋中,向海老公道:“公公,你的法子不管用,太也稀松平常。”海老公哼了一声,说道:“没出息,又打输了。”Trinket Takes a Lesson in Kungfu Trinket returned to report to the old eunuch. ‘Goong-goong, those moves of yours were a load of rubbish.’ Old Hai gave a little grunt. ‘You mean you lost again, you good-for-nothing!’韦小宝道:“如果用我自己的法子,虽然不一定准赢,也不见得准输。可是你的法子太也脓包,人家也都会的,有什么希奇?”’At least if I’d used my own moves,’ replied Trinket, ‘I might have won once or twice. Your moves are crap! He knew them all already!’海老公奇道:“他也知道这法子?你试给我瞧瞧。”韦小宝心想:“你眼睛瞎了,试给你看看,难道你看得见么?”突然心念一动:“不知他是真瞎还是假瞎,可得试他一试。”Old Hai looked puzzled. ‘You mean he knew them too? Show me what he did.’ ‘But the old boy’s blind,’ Trinket mused to himself. ‘What’s the use of my showing him? He won’t be able to see.’ Then a thought suddenly occurred to him: ‘How can I be sure he’s really blind, and not just pretending? Why don’t I try him out. . .’当即双肘向后一撞,道:“他这么一撞,只撞得我全身三千根骨头,根根都痛。”He went through the motions of a backward thrust with both elbows. That’s how he hit me. Every bone in my body was sore.’海老公叹了口气,道:“你说这么一撞,我又怎瞧得见?”颤巍巍的站起身来,道:“你试着学他的样。”韦小宝心下暗喜:“老乌龟是真的瞎了。”The old eunuch sighed. ‘It’s no use saying “That’s how.” I can’t see a thing.’ He rose shakily to his feet. ‘Now–do what he did.’ Trinket was secretly delighted: ‘So the Old Devil really is blind!’背心向着他,挺肘缓缓向后撞去,道:“他用手肘这样撞我。”待得手肘碰到了海老公胸口,便不再使力。海老公嗯了一声,说道:“这是‘腋底锤’,那也算不了什么。”He turned his back on him, and slowly stuck his elbows out in his direction. ‘That’s how he hit me.’ As his elbows were about to make contact with Old Hai’s chest, he stopped. Hai humphed. That’s the Armpit Mallet Strike. Nothing very unusual about that.’韦小宝道:“还有这样。”拉住了海老公左手,放在自己右肩,说道:“他用力一甩,我身子便从他头顶飞了过去。”这一招其实是他甩倒小玄子的得意之作,故意倒转来说,要考一考海老公。Then there was this one,’ Trinket went on. He took the old eunuch’s left hand, and placed it on his own right shoulder. Then he threw me, and I went flying over his head.’ This was in fact what he had done to Misty–but he decided to swap roles, and test out Old Hai.海老公道:“这是‘羚羊挂角’。”韦小宝道:“原来你早知道了。”跟着拉住他手臂,慢慢而后拗转。海老公道:“嗯,这是‘倒折梅’中的第三手。还有什么?”That’s the Bucking Antelope.’ ‘Oh, so you know that one too!’ commented Trinket. He then took Old Hai’s arms and bent them both slowly backwards. ‘Aha!’ said Hai. That is the third part of the move known as Breaking the Branch of the Plum Tree. What else did he do?’

  韦小宝道:“原来小玄子这些手法都有名堂,我跟他乱打乱扭,那些手段可也得有几个好听的名堂才成啊。我向他扑过去,这小子向旁闪开,却在我背上顺势一推,我就……”’If all of his moves have fancy names, surely mine must have too? Well, I went for him, and he dodged to one side, and then he managed to get behind me and give me a push, and I just–‘海老公不等他说完,便问:“他推在你哪里?”韦小宝道:“他一推我便摔得七荤八素,怎还记得推在哪里。”海老公道:“你记记看。是推在这里么?”说着伸手按在他左肩背后。韦小宝道:“不是。”海老公道:“是这里么?”按在他右肩背后。’Where?’ interrupted Hai. ‘Where did he push you?’ ‘How can I remember where he pushed me–I just passed out and saw stars.’ Try and think, ‘ said Hai. ‘Did he push you here?’ He reached out and pressed behind Trinket’s left shoulder.韦小宝仍道:“不是。”海老公连按了六七个部位,韦小宝都说不是。海老公伸掌按在他右腰肋骨之下,问道:“是这里么?”说着轻轻一推。’No. It wasn’t there, ‘ said Trinket. ‘Here?’ asked Hai, pressing this time behind his right shoulder. ‘No.’ Hai tried six or seven different places, but to all of them Trinket replied ‘No’. Then Hai reached down to the small of his back, just below his ribcage, and pressed very lightly on the right-hand side. ‘Here?’韦小宝一个踉跄,跌出几步,立时记起小玄子推他的正是这个所在,大声道:“是了,一点不错,正是这里。公公,你怎么知道?”Trinket started, and stumbled forwards a few steps. He remembered instantly. That’s it! That’s exactly where he pressed. Goong-goong, how did you know?’

  海老公不答,凝思半晌,道:“我教你的两个法子,你说他居然也会,这话不假罢?”韦小宝道:“自然不假。货真价实,童叟无欺。这小子不但会按我后腰,还掀住了我胸口这个地方,我登时气也透不过来,只好暂且投降一次。这叫做……”Hai said nothing, but stood there lost in silent thought. ‘You say he knew both the moves I taught you–are you sure you’re speaking the truth? You’re not making it up?’ ‘Of course I’m not making it up!’ protested Trinket. ‘Honour bright! And then he came down here on my chest and I couldn’t breathe! I had to surrender to that one: that’s called the–‘

  海老公不理他叫做什么,伸出手来,说道:“他按在你胸口什么地方?”韦小宝拉过他手来,按在自己胸口,正是小玄子适才制住他的所在,道:“这里。”Old Hai was not prepared to listen to Trinket’s fancy names for different ways of surrendering. He stretched out his hand: ‘Where did he crush your chest?’ Trinket took his hand and held it against the exact spot where Misty had so successfully immobilized him.海老公叹了口气,道:“这是‘紫宫穴’,这孩子的师父,可是位高人哪。”Hai gasped. That is the vital point known as the Purple Palace. This young opponent of yours has clearly studied with a High Master!’韦小宝道:“那也没什么,大丈夫能屈能伸,留得青山在,不怕没烧柴。(忙乱之中,将“不怕没柴烧”说成了“不怕没烧柴”。) That’s no big deal, ‘ quipped Trinket. ‘I know a thing or two about a thing or two. When there’s grass on the hill, there’ll be burnt kindling . . .'(He was very flustered, and got his Ancient Chinese Proverb about ‘kindling to burn’ a bit tangled up.)我……我韦……我小桂子今日输了一仗,明日去赢他回来,也非难事。”’Your Trink– um, Laurie may have lost today, but tomorrow he’ll win for sure!’

  海老公回坐椅中,右手五指屈了又伸,伸了又屈,闭目沉思,过了好一会,说道:“他会‘小擒拿手’,那倒没什么,可是他那一掌推在你右腰‘意舍穴’上,这是武当派的‘绵掌’手法。Old Hai went back to his chair and sat there counting his fingers, his eyes closed in thought. After a long silence he said: ‘It’s no surprise to me that he should be able to use moves from the Lesser Catch-Can School–but that chest press on your House of Will vital point is a classic move from the Soft Hand School in the Wudang tradition.后来他按你‘筋缩穴’,再按你‘紫宫穴’,更是武当派的打穴手法。原来咱们宫中暗藏着一位武当高手。嗯,很好,很好!你说那小……小玄子有多大年纪?”And he followed it up with two more Wudang moves–one on the Knotted Sinew point, one on the Purple Palace. So we have a Wudang Master lurking in our midst, right here in the Palace! Well, well. . . This young Misty that you fought with–how old would you say he was?’韦小宝道:“比我大得多了。”海老公道:“大几岁?”韦小宝道:“好几岁。”海老公怒道:“什么好几岁?大一两岁是几岁,八九岁也是几岁。他要是大了你八九岁,你还跟他打个什么?”’Quite a bit older than me, ‘ replied Trinket. ‘How much older?’ ‘Oh, a lot.’ ‘What do you mean, “a lot”? A year or two is a lot, eight or nine years is a lot. If he was eight or nine years older than you, why were you wasting your time fighting with him in the first place?’韦小宝道:“好,算他只大我一两岁罢,可是他比我高大得多。”好在对手年纪大,身材高,打输了也不算太过丢脸,’All right, he was just a year or two older than me, ‘ conceded Trinket. ‘But a lot taller.’ Trinket thought that defeat at the hands of a taller (and slightly older) adversary was at least honourable.若不是要海老公传授武艺,比武败阵之事那是决计不说的,回来势必天花乱坠,说得自己是大胜而归。Of course, if he had not wanted to learn some new moves from the old eunuch he would never have admitted to his defeat in the first place. He would have come home in triumph!海老公沉吟道:“这小子十四五岁年纪,嗯,你跟他打了多少时候才输?”韦小宝道:“少说也有两三个时辰。”’So this fellow is fourteen or fifteen years old, ‘ mumbled Hai to himself. ‘Hm–how long did you fight before you conceded victory?’ ‘Oh, five or six hours.’海老公脸一沉,喝道:“别吹牛!到底多少时候?”韦小宝道:“就算没一个时辰,也有大半个时辰。”海老公哼了一声,道:“我问你,你便好好的说。这人学过武功。你没学过,打输了又不丢脸。Hai scowled. ‘Don’t talk such rubbish!’ he snapped. ‘How long was it?’ ‘Well. . . Maybe not quite two hours–but longer than one.’ Hai gave a little snort. ‘Just give me straight answers to my questions. This young man has clearly studied the Martial Arts, and you haven’t, so there’s no shame in it.跟人打架,输十次八次不要紧,就算是输一百次,二百次,你年纪还小,又怕什么了?只要最后一次赢了,赢得对手再也不敢跟你打,那才是英雄好汉。”In kungfu, it doesn’t matter how often you lose, so long as you win in the end. If you win that last fight, and your opponent never dares to take you on again–then you’re a Brave Man and True!’韦小宝道:“对!当年汉高祖百战百败,最后一次却把楚霸王打得乌江上吊……”’Yes!’ cried Trinket. ‘Like the great founder of the Han dynasty. A hundred times he fought, and a hundred times he was defeated. But in that last battle he got the better of the King of Chu–who hung himself by the banks of the Black River.’海老公道:“什么乌江上吊,是乌江自刎。”韦小宝道:“上吊也罢,自刎也罢,都是输得自杀。”’Fell on his sword! Get the story right, please, ‘ the old eunuch scolded him. ‘Oh it’s all the same–anyway, he lost and did himself in.’

  海老公道:“你总有得说的。我问你,今儿跟小玄子打,一共输了几次?”韦小宝道:“也不过一两次,两三次。”海老公道:“是四次,是不是?”韦小宝道:“真正输的,也不过两次,另外两次他赖皮,我不算输。”Trust you to have the last word. Now, tell me, how many times did you lose to Misty today?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know: once or twice, two or three times.’ ‘You mean four, don’t you?’ ‘I only really lost twice. The other two times he cheated. They don’t count.’海老公道:“每一次打多少时候?”韦小宝道:“我算不准时候,有时像大便,有时像小便。”海老公道:“胡说八道!什么有时像大便,有时像小便?”韦小宝道:“拉屎便慢些,撒一泡尿就用不了多少时候。”’How long did each fight last?’ ‘I wasn’t exactly timing them,’ replied Trinket cheekily. ‘Sometimes as long as a crap; sometimes as long as a piss.’ ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ ‘Well, when I take a crap it takes a while; but when I take a leak it’s all over in a few seconds

  海老公微微一笑,说道:“这小子比喻虽然粗俗,说得倒明白。”A faint smile crossed the old eunuch’s face. ‘It’s a coarse kind of comparison,’ he muttered to himself, ‘but in a way it makes sense.’寻思半晌,道:“你没学过武功,这小玄子须得跟你缠上一会,才将你打倒,他这‘小擒拿手’功夫是新学的,你不用怕。He brooded for a while, and then said to Trinket: ‘You can tell from the length of time it took this Misty fellow to get the better of you, that he’s a novice. It’s just that you know even less than he does.我教你一路‘大擒拿手’,你好好记住了,明天去跟他打过。”I’ll teach you some moves from the Greater Catch-Can. If you remember them properly, you can try them out on him tomorrow.’韦小宝大喜,道:“他使的是小擒拿手,咱们使大擒拿手,以大压小,自然必胜。”海老公道:“那也不一定。大小擒拿手各有所长,要瞧谁练得好。要是他练得好过了你。小擒拿手便胜过大擒拿手了。这大擒拿手共有一十八手,每一手各有七八种变化,一时之间你也记不全,先学一两手再说。”Trinket was delighted. ‘It’ll be the Greater versus the Lesser! I’ll be bound to win!’ ‘Don’t count on it. Both Catch-Cans have their strong points. All depends on the skill of the fighter. There are eighteen forms of the Greater Catch-Can, and each form has seven or eight variations. That’s a great deal to remember. I’ll teach you one or two forms to start with.’当下站起身来,摆开架式,演了一遍,说道:“这一招叫做‘仙鹤梳翎’。你先练熟了,跟我拆解。”Old Hai rose to his feet and adopted a fighting posture. After a brief demonstration he announced: That move is known as Stork Preening Feathers. Now you must practise it thoroughly. Step by step. Then try it with me.’

  韦小宝看了一遍便已记得,练了七八次,自以为十分纯熟,说道:“练熟啦!”Trinket had memorized it at first glance. He practised it seven or eight times and reckoned he had it down to perfection. ‘I’ve mastered that one!’ he exclaimed.

  海老公坐在椅上,左臂一探,便往他肩头抓去,韦小宝伸手挡格,却慢了一步,已被他抓住肩头。海老公道:“熟什么?再练。”From where he sat in his chair, Old Hai shot out his left arm and gripped Trinket by the shoulder. Trinket tried to parry with his hand, but was much too slow, and the old eunuch held him fast. ‘Mastered it, eh?’ croaked Old Hai. ‘Practise it again.’

  韦小宝又练了几次,再和海老公拆招。海老公左臂一探,姿式招数仍和先前一模一样。韦小宝早就有备,只见他手一动便伸手去格,岂知仍是慢了少许,还是给他抓住了肩头。Trinket practised it several more times on his own, and then tried it again with Old Hai, who shot out his left arm and followed the exact same sequence of moves as before. This time Trinket was prepared, but try as he might, when he parried he was still far too slow, and the old eunuch had him once more by the shoulder.海老公哼了一声,骂道:“小笨蛋!”韦小宝心中骂道:“老乌龟!”不住练那格架的姿式,到得第三次拆解,仍是给他抓住,不禁心下迷惘,不知是什么缘故。Old Hai humphed: ‘Clot!’ Turtle!’ thought Trinket to himself. He went on practising, but when on the third try he found himself outclassed yet again, he began to feel a sense of helpless despair.海老公道:“我这一抓,你便再练三年,也避不开的。我跟你说,你不能避,我来抓你肩头,你就须得用手掌切我手腕,这叫做以攻为守。”’You could practise for three years and still not learn how to parry that snatch of mine,’ said Old Hai. ‘You have to counter with a sideways cut across my wrist. That’s called defence through attack.’

  韦小宝大喜,说道:“原来如此,那容易得很!你如早说,我早就会了。”待得海老公左手抓来,韦小宝右掌发出,去切他手腕,’So that’s it!’ exclaimed Trinket. That’s easy as anything! Why didn’t you tell me before?’ Old Hai tried another snatch and this time Trinket did as he had been instructed and cut across the line of Hai’s attack with the edge of his right palm.不料海老公并不缩手,手掌微偏,拍的一声,重重打了他一记耳光。韦小宝大怒,也是一记耳光打过去,海老公左掌翻转,抓住了他手腕,顺势一甩,将他身子摔了出去,笑道:“小笨蛋,记住了吗?”But Old Hai, instead of pulling in his exposed hand, adjusted the angle slightly and dealt the boy a resounding box on the ears. Trinket flew into a temper and tried to pay him back, but Old Hai, with a deft flip of his left hand, caught him by the wrist and threw him tumbling across the floor. ‘Clot! Remember that one?’韦小宝这一下摔倒,肩头撞上墙脚,幸好海老公出手甚轻,否则只怕肩骨都得撞断。韦小宝大怒之下,一句“老乌龟”刚到口边,总算及时收住,Trinket’s shoulder had crashed into the wall. Luckily Old Hai had not put much force into the throw, or the bones in his shoulder would have been smashed to pieces. Turtle!’ was on the very tip of Trinket’s tongue, but he just managed to swallow his rage.随即心想:“这两下好得很啊,明天我跟小玄子比武,便用他妈的一下,包管小玄子抵挡不了。”当即爬起身来,将海老公这两下手法想了一下,记在心里,跟着又再去试演。Those two moves will come in very handy tomorrow,’ he thought to himself, ‘when I fight with Misty. One of those and he’ll be finished!’ He clambered to his feet, mentally rehearsing to himself Old Hai’s moves, and presented himself for another bout with his master.试到十余次后,海老公神秘莫测的手法,瞧在眼里已不觉太过奇怪,终于练到肩头已不会给他抓中,但那一记耳光,却始终避不开,A dozen or so bouts later, he began to grow accustomed to the extraordinary speed of the old eunuch’s handwork, and was even able to extricate himself from the shoulder snatch–but somehow he never managed to get away without a box on the ears.只不过海老公出手时已不如第一次时使劲,手指轻轻在他脸上一拂,便算一记耳光,这一拂虽然不痛,但每一次总是给拂中了。韦小宝既不回打,海老公也不抓他摔出。Old Hai did not subject him every time to the complete tumble-across-the-floor, but contented himself with a carefully placed, and devastatingly effective, flick of the side of his hand. Trinket did not try to counter it, and Old Hai spared him the humiliation of being thrown across the room.

  韦小宝心下沮丧,问道:“公公,你这一记怎样才避得开?”Trinket was by now thoroughly dejected. ‘Goong-goong, ‘ he asked, ‘how can I ever get clear of that flick of yours?’

  海老公微微一笑,说道:“我要打你,你便再练十年也躲不开的,小玄子却也打你不到。咱们练第二招罢。”Old Hai gave an inscrutable little smile. ‘If I want to box you on the ears, you’ll never get away–not if you practise for ten years. But you’ll be a match for your friend Misty. Now, let us practise the second move.’站起身来,将第二招大擒拿手“猿猴摘果”试演了一遍,又和他照式拆解。He rose to his feet and demonstrated the second move for Trinket–the part of the Greater Catch-Can sequence known as Monkey Picking Fruit. Then they did it together, move by move.

  韦小宝天性甚懒,本来决不肯用心学功夫,但要强好胜之心极盛,一心要学得几下巧妙手法,逼得小玄子大叫投降,便用心学招。Trinket was incurably lazy by nature, and had never been interested in the idea of learning kungfu properly. But he was very keen to win, and desperately wanted to learn a few tricks with which to bring Misty to his knees! So despite himself, he became a model student.海老公居然也并不厌烦。这天午后直到傍晚,两人不停的拆解手法。海老公坐在椅上,手臂便如能够任意伸缩一般,只要随意一动,韦小宝身上便中了一记,总算他下手甚轻,每一招都未使力。And Old Hai was strangely long-suffering with him. They practised all through the afternoon. The old eunuch sat in his chair, moving his arms effortlessly through the air, and applying very little actual force–but though the blows were light, they were delivered with unerring accuracy.但饶是如此,当晚韦小宝睡在床上,只觉自头至腿,周身无处不痛,这大半天中,少说也挨了四五百下。That night, when Trinket lay down to sleep, his body was a mass of aches and pains. He must have been ‘touched’ between four and five hundred times.他躺在床上,只是暗骂:“老乌龟,打了老子这么多下。明日老子打赢了小玄子,老乌龟,你就向我磕三百个响头,老子也决不跟你学功夫了。”He lay there inwardly cursing the old eunuch: ‘Nasty Old Devil! Just you wait! Tomorrow, when I’ve beaten Misty, I’ll never, never, ever be your student again, however many hundreds of times you kowtow and beg me by knocking your nasty old turtle-head on the ground!’

  次日上午,韦小宝赌完钱后,便去跟小玄子比武,眼见他又换了件新衣,心道:“你这小子,天天穿新衣,你上院子嫖姑娘吗?”The next day, after his morning gambling session, Trinket went off to fight with Misty. He found his young sparring partner sporting another brand new outfit. ‘Where does the little blighter think he’s off to every day,’ he wondered silently, ‘with all his fancy clothes? On a brothel crawl?’妒意大盛,上手便撕他衣服。嗤的一声响,将他衣襟撕了一条大缝,这一来,可忘了新学的手法,In a sudden fit of jealousy he reached out and tore at the boy’s gown. There was a loud ripping sound, and one of the seams came apart. But in that one moment he forgot everything he had just learned.给小玄子一拳打在腰里,痛得哇哇大叫。小玄子乘机伸指戳出,戳中他左腿。韦小宝左腿酸麻,跪了下来,给小玄子在后一推,立时伏倒。Misty landed him a punch right in the midriff, making him howl with pain. Misty also seized the opportunity to jab his fingers into Trinket’s left thigh. Trinket sank to the ground, his left leg numb with pain, whereupon Misty pushed him from the back and he fell flat on his face.小玄子纵身骑在他背上,又制住了他“意舍穴”,韦小宝只得投降。Misty now leapt astride his back and applied pressure to the vital point known as House of Will. Trinket surrendered.

  他站起身来,凝了凝神,待得小玄子扑将过来,便即使出那招“仙鹤梳翎”,去切对方手腕。He stood up and tried to collect his thoughts. He saw Misty come hurrying towards him again and decided it was the right moment to try Stork Preening Feathers. He cut across the line of Misty’s wrist.小玄子急忙缩手,伸拳欲打,这一招已给韦小宝料到,一把抓住他手腕,扭了过来,跟着以左肘在他背心急撞,小玄子大叫一声,痛得无力反抗,这一回合却是韦小宝胜了。Misty pulled back his hand smartly, and was aiming a clenched fist, but Trinket forestalled his next move and gripped his wrist, twisting it, while at the same time driving his left elbow sharply into the small of his opponent’s back. Misty let out a great cry of pain. He knew that this round was Trinket’s.

  两人比武以来,韦小宝首次得胜,心中喜悦不可言喻。他虽在扬州得胜山下杀过一名军官,在宫中又杀过小桂子,但两次均是使诈。This was Trinket’s first victory over Misty. He was beside himself. He had already taken two lives: the Captain at Victory Hill, and young Laurel. But those had both been the result of trickery.他生平和人打架,除了欺侮八九岁的小孩子战无不胜之外,和大人打架,向来必输,偶然占一两次上风,也必是出到用口咬、撒泥沙等等卑鄙手段。至于在小饭店桌子底下用刀剁人脚板,其无甚光彩之处,也不待人言而后知。In terms of actual fighting he had a virtually unbroken record as a loser–unless one counted the times he had bullied little eight- or nine-year-olds. He might have got the upper hand once or twice in the occasional scrap–but that had always been through some cheap trick or other: biting, or throwing sand, or slicing off bits of his opponents’ feet from under the table.

  以真本事获胜,这一役实是生平第一次。他一得意,不免心浮气粗,第三回合却又输了。Today was his first bona fide victory. Needless to say it went straight to his head, and he lost the next round.

  第四回合上韦小宝留了神,使出那招“猿猴摘果”,和对方扭打良久,竟然僵持不下,到后来两人都没了力气,搂住了一团,不停喘气,只得罢斗。In the fourth round Trinket concentrated hard. He decided to try out Monkey Picking Fruit. They got into a long clinch which neither seemed able to break. Then they both ran out of steam and ended up in a huddle on the ground, both panting for breath. They agreed to call it a tie.小玄子甚喜,笑道:“你今天……今天的本事长进了,跟你比武有些味道,是谁……谁教你了?”韦小宝也气喘吁吁的道:“这本事我……我早就有的,不过前两天没使出来,明儿我还有更……更加厉害的手段,你敢不敢领教?”Misty seemed to be enjoying himself enormously. He laughed. Today you’ve . . . you’ve really improved! It’s really fun fighting you! Who’s been giving you lessons?’ Trinket was still out of breath. ‘I’ve . . . I’ve always known those moves, it’s just that I didn’t want to use them on you the other day. Tomorrow I’ve got some . . . some new ones to try out. They’re even better. But maybe you’re too scared.’小玄子哈哈大笑,说道:“自然要领教的,可别是大叫投降的手段。”韦小宝道:“呸,明天定要你大叫投降。”Misty laughed out loud. ‘Of course not! Just you be careful you don’t end up doing that favourite trick of yours–you know, the one where you yell “I surrender!”.’ ‘You’re the one who’ll end up doing that\’韦小宝回到屋中,得意洋洋的道:“公公,你的大擒拿手果然使得,我扭住了那小子的手腕,再用手肘在他背上这么一撞,这小子只好认输。The Archer Trinket went back feeling extremely full of himself. ‘Goong-goong!’ he called out. ‘I tried your Greater Catch-Can! I gave his wrist a good twist, then I thumped him on the back with my elbow like this–and he surrendered, just like that\’

”海老公问道:“今日你和他打了几个回合?”韦小宝道:“打了四场,各赢两场。本来我可以赢足三场,第三场太不小心。”’How many rounds did you fight today?’ asked Old Hai. ‘Four,’ replied Trinket. ‘We won two each. I should have won three, but I was a bit too careless in the third.’海老公道:“你说话七折八扣,倘若打了四场,你最多只赢一场。”韦小宝笑了笑,说道:“第一场我没赢。第二场却的的确确是我赢了,若有虚言,天诛地灭。第三场他不算输。第四场打得大家没了气力,约定明天再打过。”’I am unconvinced,’ commented the old eunuch. ‘If you fought four rounds, I’d guess you only won one at the very most.’ Trinket gave a short laugh. ‘All right, I lost the first round. But I won the second–honour bright! May Heaven strike me dead if I tell a lie! The third round was–well, let’s say he didn’t exactly lose . . . And then in the last round we both got puffed and agreed to fight again tomorrow.’海老公道:“你老老实实说给我听,一招一式,细细比来。”韦小宝记心虽好,但毕竟于武术所知太少,这四场一招一式如何打法,却说不完全,’Now, tell me exactly what happened,’ said Hai. ‘I want a truthful blow-by-blow account.’ Trinket had a good memory, but he really knew next to nothing about Martial Arts, and there was no way he could describe all of the moves.他只记得第三场取胜的那一招得意之作。可是海老公偏要细问他如何落败。韦小宝只想含糊其辞的混了过去,最后总是给逼问到了真相。小玄子用以取胜的招式,海老公一一举出,便如亲见一般,比之韦小宝还说得详尽十倍。他这么一提,韦小宝便记得果是如此。The best he could do was to give an account of his own winning move in the third round–the one he’d been so pleased with himself about. But Hai wanted everything. Trinket tried to improvise, and somehow, by answering Hai’s questions, which jolted his own memory, he managed in the end to give a reasonably accurate and detailed account of Misty’s winning moves.

  韦小宝道:“公公,你定有千里眼,否则小玄子那些手法,你怎能知道得清清楚楚?”’You must have eyes that see a thousand leagues, Goong-goong!’ exclaimed Trinket. ‘How else could you know so clearly what Misty’s moves were?’

  海老公低头沉思,喃喃道:“果真是武当高手,果真是武当高手。”韦小宝又惊又喜,道:“你说小玄子这小子是武当派高手?我能跟这高手斗得不分上下,哈哈……”Old Hai bowed his head in deep thought, and muttered to himself: This really must be the teaching of a High Master of the Wudang School!’ Trinket seemed delighted: ‘You mean my friend Misty is a High Master? If he and I are just about an equal match, then I must be . . . Ha ha . . .’海老公呸的一声,道:“别臭美啦!谁说是他了?我是说教他拳脚的师父。”Old Hai gave a snort of disapproval. ‘Stuff and nonsense! Don’t go giving yourself airs! I never said he was a Master. I was talking of his teacher.’韦小宝道:“那么你是什么派的?咱们这一派武功天下无敌,自然比武当派厉害得多,那也不用说啦。”他还不知海老公是何门派,便先大肆吹嘘。’So what School do you belong to, then?’ asked Trinket innocendy. Whichever it is, our School is the best in the world! It’s far more deadly man the Wudang School!’ His bragging was based on utter ignorance.海老公道:“我是少林派。”韦小宝大喜,道:“那好极了,武当派的武功一遇上咱们少林派,那是落花流水,夹着尾巴便逃。”海老公哼的一声,说道:“我又没收你做弟子,你怎么能算少林派?”’I belong to me Shaolin School,’ replied Hai. Terrific!’ exclaimed Trinket. ‘Shaolin versus Wudang: it’s got to be a walk-over! They’ll run away from us with their tails between their legs!’ Old Hai humphed: ‘You’re no disciple of mine, and you don’t belong to the Shaolin School! How dare you talk of us?’韦小宝讪讪的道:“我又不说我是少林派,我学的是少林派武功,那总不错罢?”海老公道:“小玄子使的既是武当派正宗擒拿手,咱们便须以少林派正宗擒拿手法对付,否则就敌他不过。”’I didn’t say I belonged,’ said Trinket sheepishly. ‘But I am studying the Shaolin style, right?’ ‘Yes. This Misty is using standard Wudang Catch-Can techniques, so we have to use the standard Shaolin Catch-Can against him.’韦小宝道:“是啊,我打输了事小,连累了咱们少林派的威名,却大大的不值得了。”少林派的威名到底有多大,他全然不知,但如自己跟少林派拉扯上一些干系,总不会是蚀本生意。That’s what I meant!’ cried Trinket. ‘So if I lose, I’m not only disgracing myself, I’m disgracing the glorious Shaolin tradition!’ In actual fact he knew nothing whatsoever about the Shaolin School or its glorious tradition, but now that he was a part of it, it had to be something special.

  海老公道:“昨天我传你这两手大擒拿手,本意只想打得那小子知难而退,不再纠缠不清,你便可以去上书房拿书。’When I taught you those moves yesterday,’ went on Hai, ‘my intention was to scare this young fellow, to get him out of the way, so that you could get that book for me from the Upper Library.可是眼前局面有点儿不同了,这小子果是武当派嫡系,这一十八路大擒拿手,便须一招一式的从头教起。你会不会弓箭步?”But what you have told me changes everything. If he is part of the Wudang Lineage, then I shall have to teach you all eighteen forms of the Greater Catch-Can. Do you know the Archer?’韦小宝道:“弓箭步吗,那当然是弯弓射箭时的姿式了。”海老公脸一沉,说道That’s where you bend the bow and pull the arrow, right?’ Old Hai scowled.:“要学功夫,便得虚心,不会的就说不会。学武的人,最忌自作聪明,自以为是。前腿屈膝,其形如弓,称为‘弓足’; The first rule in kungfu is to be truthful. If you don’t know something then say so. In the Martial Arts the deadliest sin is pride. Now listen. You bend the knee of the forward leg like a bow: that’s the Bow.后腿斜挺,其形如箭,称为‘箭足’,两者合称,就叫做‘弓箭步’。”说着摆了个“弓箭步”的姿式。韦小宝依样照做,说道:“这有什么难哪?我一天摆他个百儿八十的。”You stretch the back leg out at an angle like an arrow: that’s the Arrow. The two together make the Archer.’ As he spoke he demonstrated, and Trinket copied. That’s easy! I could do that hundreds of times!’

  海老公道:“我不要你摆百儿八十的,就只要你摆一个。你这么摆着,我不叫站起来,你可不许动。”说着摸他双腿姿式,要他前腿更曲,后腿更直。’I don’t need you to do it hundreds of times–just once. Now, into position, and unless I give the order, you’re not to make the slightest move.’ He pressed down on Trinket’s legs, so that his front leg was more bent, his back leg straighten.韦小宝道:“那也挺容易呀。”可是这么摆着姿式不动,不到半炷香时分,双腿已酸麻之极,叫道:“这可行了罢?”海老公道:“还差得远呢。”韦小宝道:“我练这怪模样,又管什么用?难道还能将小玄子打倒么?”This is easy!’ exclaimed Trinket. But as the minutes went by, his legs began to go numb. ‘Isn’t that enough yet?’ ‘Not by a long way!’ ‘But what’s the point of my staying all strung out in this weird position?’ protested Trinket. This isn’t going to help me beat Misty!’海老公道:“这‘弓箭步’练得稳了,人家就推你不倒,用处大着呢。”韦小宝强辩:“就算人家推倒了我,我翻个身便站起来了,又不吃亏。”海老公缓缓点头,不去理他。’If you can once master the Archer,’ said Hai, somewhat sententiously, ‘then no one will ever be able to topple you over. That’s how useful it is!’ Trinket was not impressed. ‘But even if I do get knocked over, I can always bounce back, can’t I?’ Hai was deep in thought, and nodded his head slowly.

  韦小宝见他点头,便挺直身子,拍了拍酸麻的双腿。海老公喝道:“谁叫你站直了?快摆‘弓箭步’!”韦小宝道:“我要拉尿!”海老公喝道:“不准!”韦小宝道:“我要拉屎!”海老公道:“不准!”韦小宝道:“这可当真要拉出来啦!”海老公叹了口气,只得任由他上茅房,松散双腿。When Trinket saw him nod, he straightened up at once and started slapping his legs. ‘Who said you could stand up?’ roared the old eunuch. The Archer again–at once!’ ‘I need to piss!’ cried Trinket. Well you can’t!’ Hai barked back at him. ‘I need to crap!”Permission not granted!’ Then I’ll just have to do it here on the floor!’ Old Hai heaved a sigh, and reluctantly gave him permission to go. Once safely there, Trinket proceeded to flex his legs and make himself feel more comfortable.

  韦小宝人虽聪明,但要他循规蹈矩,一板一眼的练功,却说什么也不干。海老公倒也不再勉强,只传了他几下擒拿扭打的手法。Trinket was a bright sort of lad, but not the type to follow instructions to the letter, or learn something thoroughly according to the rules. Old Hai soon had to relax his high standards, and content himself with teaching.拆解之时,须得弯腰转身、蹲倒伏低,海老公却不跟他来这一套,只是出声指点,伸手一摸,便知他姿式手法是否有误。Trinket one or two grappling moves and snatches. When they practised, since the moves involved a lot of bending and turning and crouching and squatting, the old eunuch did not always join in himself, but called out the directions one by one and felt with his hands to make sure Trinket was doing them properly.

  次日韦小宝又去和小玄子比武,自忖昨天四场比赛,输了两场,赢了一场,今日多学了许多功夫,自非四场全胜不可。哪知一动手,几招新手法用到小玄子身上之时,竟然并不管用,或是给他以特异手法化解了开去,一上来两场连输。The next day Trinket went to fight with Misty again. He was confident that this time, with his newly acquired technique, he would win every bout. But somehow everything he tried fell flat. Each one of his wonderful new moves met with a new (and equally wonderful) riposte, and he ended up losing the first two rounds.

  韦小宝又惊又怒,在第三场中小心翼翼,才拗住了小玄子的左掌向后力扳,小玄子翻不过来,只得认输。韦小宝得意洋洋,Shocked and angry, he fought the third with extra determination, catching Misty’s left hand in a tight grip and bending it back in such a way that Misty was unable to move and had to surrender. Trinket was pleased as punch.第四场便又输了,给小玄子骑在头颈之中,双腿挟住了头颈,险些窒息。他投降之后,站起身来,骂道:“他妈的,你……”But then he lost the fourth, ending up with Misty astride his neck, squeezing with his legs, all but throttling him. He surrendered, got up, and yelled: ‘Tamardy! What the hell do you think you’re–‘

  小玄子脸一沉,喝道:“你说什么?”神色间登时有股凛然之威。’What was that?’ cried Misty with a frown. What was that you just said?’ The word Trinket had used was one of the commonest (and most explicit) forms of abuse to be heard on the streets of Yangzhou–or indeed of any city in China, the tendency to insult the virtue of an adversary’s mother being more or less universal. Misty, however, had never heard the word used before, and sounded very shocked.韦小宝一惊,寻思:“不对,这里是皇宫,可不能说粗话。茅大哥说,到了北京,不能露出破绽,我说他妈的粗话,便露出了他妈的破绽,拆穿了西洋镜。”Trinket was at once on his guard. ‘Oops!’ he thought to himself. This is the Forbidden City– “not quite the place for that kind of language. Whiskers warned me not to give myself away!’忙道:“我说我这一招‘他妈的’式打你不过,只好投降。”Quickly he improvised. ‘ ‘I was just saying that my move wasn’t hard enough.’小玄子脸露笑容,问道:“你这招手法叫做‘他妈的’?那是什么意思?”’Oh. That’s new!’

  韦小宝心道:“还好,还好!这小乌龟整天在皇宫之中,不懂外边骂人的言语。”便胡诌道:“这式‘蹋马蹄’本来是学马失前蹄,蹋了下去,教你不防,我就翻上来压住你。哪知你不上当,这‘蹋马蹄’式便用不出了。”小玄子哈哈大笑,道:“什么蹋马蹄,就是蹋牛蹄也赢不了我。明天还敢不敢再打?”Trinket breathed a sigh of relief. That was a close one. This little turtle obviously spends all his time locked up in the Forbidden City . . .’ Well,’ said Misty, ‘are you coming back for more tomorrow?’韦小宝道:“那还用说,自然要打。喂,小玄子,我问你一句话,你可得老老实实,不能瞒我。”小玄子道:“什么话?”韦小宝道:“教你功夫的师父,是武当派高手,是不是?”’Of course I am! Hey, Misty, there’s something I want to ask you. And I want you to promise to tell me the truth.’ ‘Ask away.’ ‘Your kungfu teacher–he’s a High Master of the Wudang School, isn’t he?’小玄子奇道:“咦,你怎么知道?”韦小宝道:“我从你的手法之中看了出来。”小玄子道:“你懂得我的功夫?那叫什么名堂?”韦小宝道:“那还有不知道的?这是武当派嫡传正宗的‘小擒拿手’,在江湖上也算是第一流的武功了,’How on earth did you know that?’ exclaimed Misty. ‘I could tell from your style.’ ‘You mean you know my style? Go on then, tell me the names of the moves.’ ‘Of course I know it. It’s the Lesser Catch-Can Wudang School, famous among the Brothers of River and Lake.只不过遇到我少林派嫡传正宗的‘大擒拿手’,你终于差了一级。”

  小玄子哈哈大笑,说道:“大吹牛皮,也不害羞!今天比武,是你赢了还是我赢了?”But it can never beat the Greater Catch-Can of our Shaolin School!’ Misty roared with laughter. ‘Aren’t you ashamed to brag like that? Who won today?’韦小宝道:“胜败兵家常事,不以输赢论英雄。”小玄子笑道:“不以成败论英雄。”韦小宝道:“输赢就是成败。”他曾听说书先生说过“不以成败论英雄”的话,只是“成败”二字太难,一时想不起来,却给小玄子说了出来,不由得微感佩服:“你也不过比我大得一两岁,知道的事倒多。”

  他回到屋中,叹了口气,道:“公公,我在学功夫,人家也在学,不过人家的师父本事大,教的法子好。”他不说自己不成,却赖海老公教法不佳。When Trinket arrived back at his quarters, he sighed. ‘Goong-goong, the more I practise my kungfu, the more he practises his. But his teacher seems to teach him things that really work.’

  海老公道:“今天定是四场全输了!浑小子不怪自己不中用,却来埋怨旁人。”韦小宝道:“呸!那怎么会四场全输?多少也得赢他这么一两场、两三场。我今天问过了,人家的师父的的确确是武当派嫡传正宗。”’You obviously lost all four bouts today!’ exclaimed the old eunuch. ‘Instead of looking at your own faults, you have to lay the blame elsewhere.’ Trinket gave a little snort: ‘Who says I lost all four? I always win one or two, or three . . . Today I asked him if his teacher really was a High Master of the Wudang School.’海老公道:“他认了吗?”语调中显得颇为兴奋。韦小宝道:“我问他:‘教你功夫的师父,是武当派的高手,是不是?’他说:‘咦,你怎么知道?’那不是认了?”

  海老公喃喃的道:“所料不错,果然是武当派的。”随即呆呆出神,似在思索一件疑难之事,过了良久,道:“咱们来学几招勾脚的法子。”’And what did he say?’ The eunuch could not conceal his interest. ‘He asked me how I knew. That’s as good as saying yes.’ ‘I thought so all along,’ mumbled Old Hai to himself. ‘So it is the Wudang School.’ He seemed quite lost in thought and stared abstractedly across the room as if he was trying to unravel some difficult puzzle. ‘Come, ‘ he finally said, after a long silence. ‘Let’s study some tripping techniques.’

  如此韦小宝每天向海老公学招,跟小玄子比武。学招之时,凡是遇上难些的,韦小宝便敷衍含糊过去。海老公却也由他,撇开了扎根基的功夫,只是教他躲闪、逃避,以及诸般取巧、占便宜的法门。And so every day Trinket studied with Old Hai. And every day he sparred with Misty. Whenever he encountered a difficult part in some new move, he faked his way through it, and the old eunuch was lenient with him, taking short cuts, omitting a lot of the fundamental techniques in favour of the more useful moves that would enable his student to dodge, to escape, to gain the advantage by whatever means.可是与小玄子相斗之时,他招式增加,小玄子的招式也相应增加,打来打去,十次中仍有七八次是韦小宝输了。But when Trinket went off to fight with Misty, however many moves he had up his sleeve, Misty always seemed to have the appropriate riposte, and still Trinket lost seven or eight times out of ten.

  这些日子中,每日上午,韦小宝总是去和老吴、平威、温有道、温有方等太监赌钱。起初几日他用白布蒙脸,后来渐渐越蒙越少。Trinket makes a Deal The days went by. Every morning Trinket went gambling with the eunuchs–Wu, Fat Ping, and the two Wen brothers. At first he kept his face wrapped in the white muslin bandage, but gradually with every day he revealed a little bit more of his features.众人虽见他和小桂子相貌完全不同,但一来赌得兴起,小桂子以前到底是怎生模样,心中也模模糊糊;His gambling companions could see that he was quite different from Laurel, but somehow they came to accept him as he was. First, the excitement of the game somewhat blurred their memories of the original Laurel.二来他不住借钱于人,人人都爱交他这个朋友;三来他逐日少蒙白布,旁人慢慢的习以为常,居然无人相询。赌罢局散,他便去和小玄子比武,午饭后学习武功。Secondly, Trinket was forever lending them money and he was therefore a most welcome friend (whoever he was). Thirdly, because he only revealed himself gradually, in stages, the edge was taken off their surprise. What with one thing and another, no awkward questions were asked. When the gambling was over, he would go and have a few bouts with Misty. And after lunch he practised kungfu. The Catch-Can techniques grew harder.

  擒拿法越来越难,韦小宝已懒得记忆,更懒得练习,好在海老公倒也不如何逼迫督促,只是顺其自然。Trinket was by nature doubly indolent: he didn’t like taxing his memory, and he didn’t like practising. Luckily for him, Old Hai was not a hard taskmaster, and allowed him to proceed at his own natural pace.

  时日匆匆,韦小宝来到皇宫不觉已有两个月,他每日里有钱可赌,日子过得虽不逍遥自在,却也快乐。Soon he had been in the Forbidden City a full two months– and the time seemed to have sped by. Every day he was given money to gamble with, and though his was not exactly a life of unfettered ease and liberty, he was happy enough.只可惜不能污言秽语,肆意谩骂,又不敢在宫内偷鸡摸狗,撒赖使泼,未免美中不足。His chief regret, the one thing he lamented, was that he could not indulge in his low-life habits, such as his love of filthy expressions and abuse, or his yen for the odd bit of chicken-stealing or dog-baiting.有时也想到该当逃出宫去,但北京城中一人不识,想想有些胆怯,便在宫中一天又一天的耽了下来。韦小宝和小玄子两个月斗了下来,日日见面,交情越来越好。Sometimes he thought of escaping from the Palace–but then he reflected on the fact that he knew precisely no one in Peking, and fear got the better of him. So he let the days slip by. His daily bouts with Misty had engendered a genuine feeling of friendship between the two boys.韦小宝输得惯了,反正“不以输赢论英雄”,赌场上得意武场上输,倒也不放在心上。他和小玄子两人都觉得,只消有一日不打架比武,便浑身不得劲。Trinket often came off the worst, but he was able to console himself with nearly always winning at the gambling table. For both boys their daily bouts became something of an addiction: if they missed a day they became positively unwell.韦小宝的武功进展缓慢,小玄子却也平平,韦小宝虽然输多赢少,却也决不是只输不赢。这两个月赌了下来,温氏兄弟已欠了韦小宝二百多两银子。Trinket’s skill as a fighter made slow but steady progress, while Misty remained constant. Trinket would occasionally win. Over the two-month period, the Wen brothers became indebted to Trinket to the tune of two hundred taels of silver.

  这一日还没赌完,两兄弟互相使个眼色,温有道向韦小宝道:“桂兄弟,咱们有件事商量,借一步说话。”韦小宝道:“好,要银子使吗?拿去不妨。”One day, as they were gambling, the two brothers shot each other a meaningful glance, and one of them, Wen Youdao, said to Trinket: ‘Laurel, dear friend, there’s a matter we’d like to discuss with you. Could we step outside a moment?’ ‘Of course. Do you want to borrow some more money? Go ahead.’ 温有方道:“多谢了!”两兄弟走出门去,韦小宝跟着出去,三人到了隔壁的厢房。温有道说道:“桂兄弟,你年纪轻轻,为人慷慨大方,当真难得。”韦小宝给他这么一奉承,登时心花怒放,说道:“哪里,哪里!自己哥儿们,你借我的,我借你的,那打什么紧!有借有还,上等之人!”’Much obliged!’ The two brothers went outside and Trinket followed them into the next room. ‘My dear Laurel,’ said Wen Youdao, ‘what a rare thing it is indeed, to find someone so young and so extraordinarily generous!’ This was music to Trinket’s ears. ‘Come on! We’re friends. What’s mine is yours for the borrowing; what’s yours is mine. Friends needn’t worry about piddling little things like that.’ 这两个月下来,他已学了一口京片子,虽然偶尔露出几句扬州土话,在旁人听来,却也已不觉得如何刺耳。Over the past couple of months he had managed to pick up quite a passablePeking turn of phrase, and his occasional lapses (little tell-tale bursts of Yangzhou slang) went largely unnoticed.

  温有道说道:“我哥儿俩这两个月来手气不好,欠下你的银子着实不少,兄弟你虽然不在乎,我二人心中却十分不安。”温有方道:“现下银子越欠越多,你兄弟的手气更越来越旺,我哥儿却越来越霉,这样下去,也不知何年何月才能还你。这么一笔债背在身上,做人也没有味儿。”’Our luck has been just terrible these last two months,’ went on Wen Youdao. ‘We owe you a substantial sum. You may make light of it, but it worries us.’ ‘Our debt is growing all the time, ‘ put in his brother. ‘And while your luck at the tables keeps going up, ours keeps going down. At this rate we’ll not be able to pay you back for ages. It’s making our lives a misery just thinking about it!’ 韦小宝笑道:“欠债不还,那是理所当然之事,两位以后提也休提。”温有方叹了口气,道:“小兄弟的为人,那是没得说的了,老实不客气说,咱哥儿的债倘若是欠你小兄弟的,便欠一百年不还也不打紧,是不是?”’But I’m not asking you for any of it!’ replied Trinket with a gracious smile. ‘And I insist that you never bring the subject up again!’ Wen Youfang sighed: ‘If it was only you! Why, to tell the truth, if we only owed money to you, we could let a hundred years go by and not feel under any pressure–isn’t that true?’ 韦小宝笑道:“正是,正是,便欠二百年、三百年却又如何?”温有方道:“二三百年吗?大伙儿都没这个命了。”说到这里,转头向兄长望去。温有道点了点头。温有方续道:“可是咱哥儿知道,你小兄弟的那位主儿,却厉害得紧。”Why, yes!’ laughed Trinket. ‘I suppose it is! Or two hundred! Or three, come to that!’ Two or three?’ queried Wen Youfang. ‘We’ll all be dead and gone by then . , .’ At this point in the conversation he turned and gave his brother a look. Youdao gave a little nod, and Youfang continued: ‘But you see, the trouble is, we know that your master is a very difficult person to deal with–‘ 韦小宝道:“你说海老公?”温有方道:“可不是吗?你小兄弟不追,海老公总有一天不能放过咱兄弟。他老人家伸一根手指,温家老大、温老二便吃不了要兜着走啦。因此咱们得想一个法子,怎生还这笔银子才好?”’You mean Old Hai Goong-goong?’ ‘Precisely,’ replied Wen Youfang. ‘You may not want the money back. But sooner or later Old Hai is going to come after us. And one flick of his little finger will be enough to do for us! We have to think of a way, something we can do, to pay the money back!’

  韦小宝心道:“来了,来了,海老公这老乌龟果然是料事如神。这些日子来我只记着练拳,跟小玄子比武,可把去上书房偷书的事给忘了。我且不提,听他们有何话说。”当下嗯了一声,不置可否。’Here it comes!’ Trinket thought to himself. ‘That Old Turtle Hai is a canny old bugger! All these weeks I’ve been thinking about nothing but practising kungfu and fighting with Misty, and I’d forgotten all about getting that book from the Upper Library for Old Hai. But wait a minute. I’ll let them do the talking first.’ He humphed, in a non-committal sort of way.

  温有方道:“我们想来想去,只有一个法子,求你小兄弟大度包容,免了我们这笔债,别向海老公提起。以后咱哥儿赢了回来,自然如数奉还,不会拖欠分文。”The only way we can think of,’ said Wen Youfang, ‘is to beg you to be most especially generous and charitable, and agree to write off this debt and not to mention a word of it to Old Hai Goong-goong. Then whenever we win anything, we’ll give it to you. We’ll pay you back–every penny of it!’ 韦小宝心头暗骂:“你奶奶的,你两只臭乌龟当我韦小宝是大羊牯?凭你这两只王八蛋的本事,跟老子赌钱还有赢回来的日子?”’Bloody hell you will!’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘What do you putrid turtles take me for? What kind of donkey do you think I am? Do you think a couple of turtle-heads like you will ever win anything off me?’ While these far from charitable thoughts were running through his mind, a troubled expression crossed his face. 当下面有难色,说道:“可是我已经向海公公说了。他老人家说,这笔银子嘛,还总是要还的,迟些日子倒不妨。”The trouble is,’ he began, ‘I’ve already told Old Hai. He says the money has to be repaid–but he’s willing to let it go for a day or two.’

  温氏兄弟对望了一眼,神色甚是尴尬,他二人显然对海老公十分忌惮。温有道道:“那么小兄弟可不可帮这样一个忙?以后你赢了钱,拿去交给海老公,便说……便说是我们还你的。”The Wen brothers exchanged a glance. They looked extremely disconcerted by this piece of information. Clearly they were terrified of Old Hai. ‘In that case,’ said Wen Youdao, ‘would you be able to help us out, Laurel old friend! Whenever you win, give your winnings to Hai Goong-goong and say. . . say it’s in repayment of our debt?’ 韦小宝心中又在暗骂:“越说越不成话了,真当我是三岁小孩儿么?”说道:“这样虽然也不是不行,不过我……我可未免太吃亏了些。”They’ve got a bloody nerve!’ thought Trinket to himself. What do they take me for? A three-year-old?’ What he said was: That could work, I suppose . . . though I’d be losing out rather

  温氏兄弟听他口气松动,登时满面堆欢,一齐拱手,道:“承情,承情,多多帮忙。”温有方道:“小兄弟的好处,我哥儿俩今生今世,永不敢忘。”韦小宝道:“倘若这么办,我要二位大哥办一件事,不知成不成?”二人没口子的答应:“成,成,什么事都成。”The Wen brothers thought they detected a more co-operative note, and instantly began beaming with pleasure and pumping their hands. ‘Most dreadfully obliged! So very kind of you!’ ‘Never, in our entire lifetimes, will we forget this kindness of yours, dear friend!’ gushed Wen Youfang. ‘But if I do this for you,’ countered Trinket, ‘there’s something I want the two of you to do for me in return.’ ‘Of course! Of course!’ they chanted in unison. ‘Consider it done!’

  韦小宝道:“我在宫里这许多日子,可连皇上的脸也没有见过。你二位在上书房服侍皇上,我想请二位带我去见见皇上。”’All the time I’ve been in service here,’ Trinket went on, ‘I have never had so much as a peep at His Majesty’s face. Since the two of you wait on him in the Upper Library, I thought you might take me with you and let me have a little tiny look

  温氏兄弟登时面面相觑,大有难色。温有道连连搔头。温有方说道:“唉,这个……这个……这个……”连说了七八个“这个”,再也接不下去。The Wen brothers exchanged a rapid (and very awkward) glance. Wen Youdao scratched his head several times. Well. . . that might be … a wee bit. . .’ began Wen Youfang. He repeated the ‘a wee bit’ seven or eight times, and then fell silent.

  韦小宝道:“我又不想对皇上奏什么事,只不过到上书房去耽上一会儿,能见到皇上的金面,那是咱们做奴才的福气,要是没福见到,也不能怪你二位啊。”’I don’t want to actually talk to him or anything,’ explained Trinket. ‘I’d just like to hang out in the Upper Library for a few minutes, long enough to see the Imperial Visage, you know–what a blessing that would be! Of course, if it’s impossible to arrange for such a blessing to come my way, I won’t hold it against you–‘   温有道忙道:“这个倒办得到。今日申牌时分,我到你那儿来,便带你去上书房。那个时候,皇上总是在书房里做诗写字,你多半能见到。别的时候皇上在殿上办事,那便不易见着了。”说着斜头向温有方霎了霎眼睛。’It’s not at all impossible, actually,’ said Wen Youdao hurriedly. ‘I’ll come and fetch you between three and five this afternoon and take you to the Upper Library. His Majesty goes there regularly at that time to practise calligraphy and write verses. You may very likely have a chance to see him then. At other times he is busy elsewhere in one of the Halls of State, and it’s almost impossible to get anywhere near him.’ As he said this he inclined his head to one side and gave his brother a little wink.   韦小宝瞧在眼里,心中又是“臭乌龟、贱王八”的乱骂一阵,寻思:“这两只臭乌龟听说我要见皇帝,脸色就难看得很。他们说申牌时分皇帝一定在上书房,其实是一定不在上书房。Trinket could see all of this quite clearly. ‘Putrid turtles!’ he thought angrily to himself. ‘Lousy rotten pigs! The minute I said I wanted to see the Emperor they looked ugly as hell. All this stuff about this afternoon is a load of crap– that’s probably the one time in the day I’ll be bound not to see him! 他们不敢让我见皇帝,我几时又想见了?他奶奶的,皇帝倘若问我什么话,老子又怎回答得出?一露出马脚,那还不满门抄斩?说不定连老子的妈也要从扬州给拉来杀头。So when will I? And anyway, supposing I did,’ his thoughts rambled on, ‘and supposing he spoke to me, what the hell would I say? I’d only put my foot in it and give myself away, and then he’d have my whole clan put to death or something dreadful like that–have Mum dragged all the way up from Yangzhou and cut her head off! 海老乌龟教我武功,也不知教得对不对,为什么打来打去,总是打不过小玄子?我去把那部不知是《三十二章经》还是《四十二章经》从上书房偷了出来,给了海老乌龟,他心里一喜欢,说不定便有真功夫教我了。”当下便向温氏兄弟拱手道谢,道:’But I’d better give it a try. I don’t even know if all this kungfu the old eunuch’s been teaching me is the real thing. It doesn’t seem to work against Misty. If I can get hold of that book he wants so badly–the Thirty-Two Sections Thing or whatever it’s called–that should make the Old Turtle happy. Then at least he might teach me some kungfu that really works.’ He proceeded to pump his hands in gratitude to the Wen brothers:

“咱们做奴才的,连万岁爷的金面也见不着,死了定给阎王老子大骂乌龟王八蛋。”他去和小玄子比武之后,回到屋里,只和海老公说些比武的情形,温氏兄弟答允带他去上书房之事却一句不提,心想待我将那部经书偷来,好教海老乌龟大大惊喜一场。’If a humble servant like me goes and dies without having set eyes on the Blessed Face, when I get down in the nether world, old King Yama will curse me for a stinking old turtle!’ After his bout with Misty, he returned to his quarters and chatted with Old Hai as usual about the way the fight had gone. He made no mention of the fact that the Wen brothers had agreed to sneak him into the Upper Library. His plan was to lay hands on the Sutra and give the Old Turtle a big surprise! 未牌过后,温氏兄弟果然到来。温有方轻轻吹了声口哨,韦小宝便溜了出去。温氏兄弟打个手势,也不说话,向西便行。The early afternoon drew to an end and, true to their word, the Wen brothers arrived to collect Trinket. Wen Youfang whistled quietly outside, and Trinket managed to slide softly out without Old Hai noticing. The brothers gestured silently and set off in a westerly direction. 韦小宝跟在后面,有了上次的经历,他一路上留心穿廊过户时房舍的形状,以免回来时迷失道路。After his previous experience, Trinket made sure this time to make a mental note of all the walkways and corridors they went down, and of the countless doorways and rooms they went through. This time, he wanted to be able to find his way back.

  从他住屋去上书房,比之去赌钱的所在更远,几乎走了一盏茶时分。温有道才轻声道:“上书房到了,一切小心些!”韦小宝道:“我理会得。” The distance from his quarters to the Upper Library was much greater than the distance to the gambling room. They seemed to walk for a good quarter of an hour. And then Wen Youfang whispered: ‘Here we are! This is the Upper Library! Be extra careful now!’ ‘Message received!’Trinket whispered back.

  两人带着他绕到后院,从旁边一扇小门中挨身而进,再穿过两座小小的花园,走进一间大房间中。

  但见房中一排排都是书架,架上都摆满了书,也不知有几千几万本。 They guided him round the back of a large courtyard, and sneaked in through a little side-door. They then made their way through two miniature gardens and into a large room. The entire room was lined with bookshelves, and every shelf was stacked with books. There must have been tens of thousands of them. 韦小宝倒抽了口凉气,暗叫:“辣块妈妈不开花,开花养了小娃娃!他奶奶的,皇帝屋里摆了这许多书,整天见的都是书,朝也书(输),晚也书(输),还能赌钱么?海老公要的这几本书,我可到哪里找去?”他生长市井,一生之中从来没见过书房是什么样子,只道房中放得七八本书,就是书房了。Trinket gasped and muttered silently to himself: ‘Hot-piece tamardy! Where on earth am I going to find the Old Turtle’s Sutra in amongst this lot?’ Trinket had grown up in a very different world from this. In his home town, he had never set eyes on a library of any sort. Probably his idea of a library would have been a dozen or so books in a room somewhere. 从七八本书中,检一本写有“三十二”或“四十二”几个字的书,想必不难,此刻眼前突然出现了千卷万卷书籍,登时眼花缭乱,不由得手足无措,便想转身逃走。Finding the Sutra from among a dozen books might have been a feasible proposition . . . but here\ He looked around him at the sea of books, and his eyes started swimming. He was seized with a sense of panic, and his first instinct was to run for it.  温有道低声道:“再过一会,皇上便进书房来了,坐在这张桌边读书写字。”

  韦小宝见那张紫檀木的书桌极大,桌面金镶玉嵌,心想:“桌上镶的黄金白玉,一定不是假货,挖了下来拿去珠宝店,倒有不少银子好卖。”’His Majesty will arrive in a moment,’ said Wen Youdao, sotto voice. This is where he will sit, at this table here. This is where he will do his reading and writing.’ Trinket stared at the massive rosewood table, inlaid with gold and jade. That stuff’s all real!’ he thought to himself. ‘All that gold and jade! All those precious stones! If I could somehow pick it all off, I’d get a fortune for it at the jewellers!’ 见桌上摊着一本书,左首放着的砚台笔筒也都雕刻精致。椅子上披了锦缎,绣着一条金龙。韦小宝见了这等气派,心中不禁怦怦乱跳,寻思:There was a threadbound volume lying open on the table, and to its left all of the paraphernalia of the traditional scholar had been neatly set out: inkstone, calligraphy brush, brush-stand. The chair was spread with a brocade cover, embroidered with a dragon in gold thread. Trinket was utterly overawed and his heart was racing. “他奶奶的,这乌龟皇帝倒会享福!”书桌右首是一只青铜古鼎,烧着檀香,鼎盖的兽头口中袅袅吐出一缕缕青烟。’Mother’s!’ he exclaimed silently to himself. ‘Look at the classy stuff this Emperor’s got! The lucky turtle!’ To the right of the table stood an antique bronze tripod, and delicate curls of sandalwood incense-smoke drifted out through the perforated mouth of the animal-shaped cover. 温有道道:“你躲在书架后面,悄悄见一见皇上,那就是了。皇上读书写字的时候,不许旁人出声,你可不得咳嗽打喷嚏。否则皇上一怒,说不定便叫侍卫将你拖出去斩首。”’You hide behind this bookcase,’ Wen Youdao instructed Trinket. ‘When His Majesty comes in, you can have a peep. And that’s it. When His Majesty is studying, no one must make a sound. You mustn’t cough or sneeze. If you do, you may offend His Majesty, and he may very well have you taken out by the guards and executed!’ 韦小宝道:“我自然知道,不能咳嗽打喷嚏,更加不得放响屁。”温有道脸一沉,道:“小兄弟,上书房不比别的地方,可不能说不恭不敬的胡话。”韦小宝伸了伸舌头,不敢说了。’I know, I know,’ said Trinket. ‘I’m not allowed to cough, I’m not allowed to sneeze, I’m not allowed to fart!’ Wen Youdao frowned. ‘Laurel Goong-goong my friend, the Upper Library is a very special sort of place. You really mustn’t say anything rude or silly in here.’ Trinket shot out his tongue and was silent. 只见他两兄弟一个拿起拂尘,一个拿了抹布,到处拂扫抹拭。书房中本就清洁异常,一尘不染,但他二人还是细心收拾。温氏兄弟抹了灰尘后,各人从一只柜子中取出一块雪白的白布,再在各处揩抹,揩抹一会,拿起白布来瞧瞧,看白布上有无黑迹,真比抹镜子还要细心,直抹了大半天,这才歇手。One of the Wen brothers took a fly-whisk, the other a duster, and they went around the room busily dusting and whisking. There was actually not a speck of dust in the whole place, but that was not going to prevent them fromconscientiously executing their duties. Then they polished every surface with a piece of white cloth, until it was as spotless and shining as a mirror.

  温有道说道:“小兄弟,皇上这会儿还不来书房,今天是不来啦。耽会侍卫大人便要来巡查,见到你这张生面孔,定要查究,大伙儿可吃罪不起。”’Laurel,’ said Wen Youdao, when this elaborate cleansing ritual was finally completed, ‘it rather seems as if His Majesty may not be coming today after all. In a moment or two the Captain of the Guard will be here on his round of inspection, and if he sets eyes on you, we’ll be in big trouble.’韦小宝道:“你们先去,我再等一会就走。”’You two go back on your own,’ said Trinket. ‘I want to stay here a little longer.’温氏兄弟齐声道:“那不成!”温有道说道:“宫里的规矩,你也不是不知道,皇上所到的地方,该当由谁侍候,半分也乱不得。宫里太监宫女几千人,倘若哪一个想见皇上,便自行走到皇上跟前,那还成体统吗?”’Out of the question!’ piped both Wen brothers simultaneously. ‘According to Palace regulations,’ said Wen Youdao, ‘there mustn’t be the slightest deviation from the normal roster of attendance on His Majesty. There are literally thousands of eunuchs and Palace ladies-in-waiting, and they can’t all just go barging in whenever they feel like seeing him!’温有方道:“好兄弟,不是咱哥儿不肯帮忙,咱二人能够进上书房,每天也只有这半个时辰,打扫揩抹过后,立刻便须出去。’Don’t misunderstand us,’ put in Wen Youfang. ‘We want to help you, Laurel old friend. But even we are only allowed in the Upper Library for half an hour each day. We have to leave the minute we’ve done the cleaning. We can’t stay any longer ourselves.不瞒你说,别说你不能在上书房里多耽,便是咱哥儿俩,过了时不出去,给侍卫大人们查到了,那也是重则抄家杀头,轻则坐牢打板子。”Honestly! If we did, and the Captain of the Guard found out, we’d be lucky to get away with a jail sentence and a flogging! Quite probably we’d have our family property confiscated and all our relatives put to death!’

  韦小宝伸了伸舌头,道:“哪有这么厉害?”温有方顿足道:“皇上身边的事,也开得玩笑么?好兄弟,你想见皇上,咱们明日这时再来碰碰运气。”Trinket shot his tongue out again. : ‘That seems a bit stiff!’ This concerns the Emperor’s own person and security,’ observed Wen Youfang, with an emphatic stamp of the foot. ‘It’s no laughing matter. If you still want to see His Majesty, we’ll come back tomorrow and try our luck again.’韦小宝道:“好,那么咱们就走罢。”温氏兄弟如释重负,一个挽住他左臂,一个挽住他右臂,惟恐他不走,挟了他出去。韦小宝突然道:“其实你们两个,也从来没见过皇上,是不是?”’Very well,’ said Trinket. ‘We’d best be off then.’ The Wen brothers had clearly feared the worst. Somewhat relieved, they marched him firmly out of the room, each of them with a hand on one shoulder. As they went, Trinket suddenly remarked: ‘You’ve probably never set eyes on the Emperor yourselves, have you?温有方一怔,道:“你……你……怎么……”他显是要说“你怎么知道?”’ Wen Youfang stared at him aghast: ‘How . . . how . . . did you–‘ But before he could say the word ‘know’, his brother butted in with:温有道忙道:“我们怎么没见过?皇上在书房里读书写字,那是常常见到的。”韦小宝心想:“每天这时候,你们进书房里来揩抹灰尘,这时候皇帝自然不会来,难道你两个王八蛋东摸西摸抹灰尘的孙子德性,皇帝爱瞧得很么?”’Of course we have! Why, he comes to the Library every day to study. We see him all the time.’ ‘Oh yes!’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘As if His Majesty would want to be there with you two turtles rushing around, dusting and whisking!’

  温有道又道:“小兄弟答允还银子给海公公,我兄弟俩日后必有补报。要见皇上嘛,那是一个人的福命,是前生修下来的福报,’Laurel old friend,’ Wen Youdao went on, ‘it really is dashed decent of you to help us with the money thing, and we’ll definitely find a way of saying thank you. But as for actually seeing His Majesty, that’s something that–well, it sort of lies in the laps of the gods, if you know what I mean.造桥铺路,得积无数阴德,命中如果注定没这个福气,可也勉强不来。”A man has to be sort of blessed with it, it comes as a divine reward, you know, for past virtue: it’s not something you can just ask for. . .’

  说话之间,三个人已从侧门中出去。韦小宝道:“既是如此,过几天你们再带我来碰碰运气罢!”二人连说:“好极,好极!”三人就此分手。They had already left the Upper Library courtyard well behind them. ‘Oh well, ‘ said Trinket, ‘let’s try again in a few days’ time!’ ‘Yes let’s!’ chorused the Wen brothers eagerly. And they parted ways.

  韦小宝快步回去,穿过了两条走廊,便在一扇门后一躲,过得一会,料想他二人已经去远,悄悄从门后出来,循原路回去上书房,Trinket hurried away down one long pathway after another. Then he darted behind a door, and waited till he was sure the Wen brothers would be well out of sight before stealing out from behind the door and retracing his steps to the Upper Library.去推那侧门时,不料里面已经闩上。他一怔,心想:“只这么一会儿,里面便已上了闩,看来温家兄弟的话不假,侍卫当真来巡查过了。不知他们走了没有?”He reached the side-door of the Library courtyard and gave it a push, only to find that it had been barred from the inside. Trinket was rather taken aback: truely they should have locked up already. . . Maybe the Wens were speaking the truth and the Guard really has come on a tour of inspection. I wonder if they’ve been and gone yet?’附耳在门上一听,不闻有何声息,又凑眼从门缝中向内张去,庭院中并无一人,He pressed his ear to the door and listened. Hearing no sound from within, he put his eye to a crack in the door and looked into the courtyard. He could see no sign of anyone there.他想了想,从靴筒中摸出一把薄薄的匕首。这匕首便是当日用来刺死小桂子的,他潜身皇宫,自知危机四伏,打从那日起,这匕首便始终没离过身。He reached for his boot and pulled out a little dagger–it was the one he had killed Laurel with. The Forbidden City was clearly a very dangerous place and he had resolved to keep the dagger with him at all times from that day forth.当下将匕首刃身从门缝中插了进去,轻轻拨得几拨,门闩向上抬起。Very carefully he inserted the blade between the two leaves of the door, and began to prise the bar lightly but firmly upwards.

  他将门推开两寸,从门缝中伸手进去先抓住了门闩,不让落地出声,Having opened the door a couple of inches, he reached through the crack and took hold of the door-bar; he slid it out (taking care not to let it fall or make a sound) and opened the door.这才推门,闪身入内,反身又关上了门,上了门闩,倾听房中并无声息,一步步的挨过去,探头在书房中一张,幸喜无人,等了片刻,这才进去。He slipped through, barred the door again behind him, and having ascertained that all was quiet in the courtyard he crept stealthily across it and poked his head into the Upper Library itself. Luck was with him. The room was empty. In he went.他走到书桌之前,看到那张披了绣龙锦缎的椅子,忽有个难以抑制的冲动:Once more he stood before the inlaid rosewood table and gazed at the brocade cover draped over the chair, with its dragon embroidered in gold thread. Suddenly he had an irresistible impulse. “他妈的,这龙椅皇帝坐得,老子便坐不得?”斜跨一步,当即坐入了椅中。他初坐下时心中怦怦乱跳,坐了一会,心道:“这椅子也不怎么舒服,做皇帝也没什么了不起。”’Oh mother’s! If the Emperor can sit on this dragon seat, why shouldn’t old Trink!’ One stride and he was there, sitting on the chair. At first his heart pounded with excitement. But then he thought to himself: This chair isn’t even particularly comfortable. Being Emperor isn’t so very special after all.’毕竟不敢久坐,便去书架上找那部《四十二章经》。可是书架上几千部书一部叠着一部。那些书名一百本中难得有一两个字识得。He did not stay seated for long but was soon scanning the bookshelves for the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections. There were literally thousands of books stacked on top of each other. And he could decipher hardly a single one of the tides.他拚命去找《四》字,“四”字倒也找到了好几次,可是下面却没有“十”字“二”字。原来他找到的全是《四书》,甚么《四书集注》、《四书正义》之类。He looked desperately for the number Four, but of the tides that contained it, none had a Ten or a Two to make up the requisite total. (They were in fact all editions of the famous Four Books of Confucianism–The Annotated Four Books, The Four Books Expounded, etc.)找了一会,看到了一部《十三经注疏》,识得了“十三”二字,欢喜了片刻,但知道那终究不是《四十二章经》。He searched again and located a tide that began with a Ten and a Three–Thirteen (it was an edition of the Thirteen Classics)–and experienced a momentary thrill before he realized that it was not what he was looking for.

  正自茫无头绪之际,忽听得书房彼端门外靴声橐橐,跟着两扇门呀的一声开了,原来那边一座大屏风之后另行有门,有人走了进来。He was beginning to grow despondent, when suddenly he heard the familiar plip-plop of boots coming from outside the entrance at the other end of the Upper Library. There was a creak as the door opened, and then the clearly discernible sound of footsteps resumed. Trinket could still see nothing, as a large screen obscured the doorway,韦小宝大吃一惊:“那边原来有门,老子今日要满门抄斩。”要去开闩从进门溜出,无论如何来不及了,急忙贴墙而立,缩在一排书架后面。but he muttered silently to himself: ‘Help! It seems that today is the day old Trink has his whole family executed!’ He could not possibly reach the barred doorway through which he had entered, so he squeezed against the wall behind one of the bookcases.只听得两个人走进书房,挥拂尘四下里拂拭。过不多时,又走进一个人来,先前两人退出了书房。He could hear two men walking around the Upper Library, dusting the bookshelves with fly-whisks. In a little while somebody else came in, and the two ‘cleaners’ departed.另外那人却在书房中慢慢的来回踱步。韦小宝暗叫:“糟糕,定是侍卫们在房中巡视了,莫非我从后门进来,给他们发见了踪迹?”不由得背上出了一阵冷汗。The new arrival began strolling up and down the Library. That’s done it!’ thought Trinket. That’s bound to be the Captain of the Guard come to inspect. They must have spotted me coming in by the back entrance.’ He broke out in a cold sweat.那人踱步良久,忽然门外有人朗声说道:“回皇上:鳌少保有急事要叩见皇上,在外候旨。”The feet continued to stroll up and down the room. Then a voice was heard from outside, calling: ‘Your Majesty! The Imperial Guardian Lord Oboi requests an urgent audience and is waiting outside!’书房内那人嗯了一声。韦小宝又惊又喜:“原来这人便是皇帝。那鳌少保便是茅大哥要跟他比武之人了。此人算是什么满洲第一勇士,却不知是如何威武的模样,非得偷瞧一下不可。下次见到茅大哥,可有得我说的了。”The man in the Upper Library cleared his throat. Trinket’s heart missed a beat: ‘So this is the Emperor, and the one outside is Lord Oboi– the Regent, the one Whiskers wanted to fight! I must have a look at this so-called Manchu Champion! I’ll really have something to tell Whiskers the next time I see him!’

  只听得门外脚步之声甚是沉重,一人走进书房,说道:“奴才鳌拜叩见皇上!”说着跪下磕头。韦小宝忙探头张去,只见一个魁梧大汉爬在地下磕头。Next came heavy footsteps from outside the door, and a man entered the room: ‘Your servant, Majesty!’ This was followed by the sound of something (a head?) being knocked on the floor. Trinket’s curiosity got the better of him. He poked his own head out from behind the bookcase and saw a huge hulk of a man down on all fours, performing the regulation kowtow.他不敢多看,只怕鳌拜一抬起头便见到了自己,忙将头缩回,但身子稍稍移出,斜对鳌拜,One quick glimpse was all he dared allow himself, for fear of being spotted by this giant, and the next instant he was skulking behind the bookcase again–but shifting his position a little, so as to be ‘facing’ Oboi through the shelves.心道:“你又向皇帝磕头,又向老子磕头。什么满洲第一勇士,第二勇士,有什么了不起,还不是向我韦小宝磕头?”

  只听皇帝说道:“罢了!”鳌拜站起身来,’Ha!’ he thought to himself. ‘You’re kowtowing to me as well! Fancy that! The Manchu Champion down on all fours in front of old Trink!’ That will do!’ It was the Emperor who spoke. Oboi rose to his feet.说道:“回皇上:

  苏克萨哈蓄有异心,他的奏章大逆不道,非处极刑不可。”’Majesty! The former Regent Suksaha is harbouring thoughts of treason. His memorial to the throne is wicked and rebellious– he must be severely punished!’皇帝嗯了一声,不置可否。The Emperor cleared his throat again. It was not clear whether he agreed or not.鳌拜又道:“皇上刚刚亲政,苏克萨哈这厮便上奏章,说什么‘兹遇躬亲大政,伏祈睿鉴,令臣往守先皇帝陵寝,如线余息,得以生存。’’Majesty!’ Oboi began again. ‘You have no sooner assumed the reins of government than this rascal presents a memorial begging leave to “proceed to the Late Emperor’s Mausoleum and eke out his few remaining days there …”那不是明明藐视皇上吗?皇上不亲大政,他可以生,皇上一亲大政,他就要死了。His words are an insult to Your Majesty’s honour! During Your Majesty’s minority he was hale and hearty enough; now that you have assumed the full exercise of power he is suddenly at death’s door!这是说皇上对奴才们残暴得很。”He is making a most serious accusation.’皇帝仍是嗯了一声。The Emperor cleared his throat yet again.鳌拜道:“奴才和王公贝勒大臣会议,都说苏克萨哈共有廿四项大罪,怀抱奸诈,存蓄异心,欺藐幼主,不愿归政,实是大逆不道。Oboi went on. ‘I have consulted with other Princes of the Realm, and with the Princes of the Third Degree, and the Great Ministers, and all are in agreement that Suksaha is guilty of Twenty-Four Heinous Crimes, including treason and rebellion!按本朝‘大逆律’,应与其长子内大臣察克旦一共凌迟处死;养子六人,孙一人,兄弟之子二人,皆斩决。其族人前锋营统领白尔赫、侍卫额图等也都斩决。”According to our Statutes, both he and his eldest son, the Minister Chakdan, should be sentenced to the Lingering Death for these offences; his six other sons, his grandsons, and his two nephews should be decapitated; his relatives, including the Commander of the Vanguard Battalion Barhe, and Otu of the Imperial Guard, should also be executed.’皇帝道:“如此处罪,只怕太重了罢?”韦小宝心道:“这皇帝说话声音像个孩童,倒和小玄子很是相似,当真好笑。”’Isn’t that a bit excessive?’ asked the Emperor. The Emperor’s voice is like a boy’s,’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘In fact he sounds a bit like Misty–what a joke!’

  鳌拜道:“回皇上:皇上年纪还小,于朝政大事恐怕还不十分明白。这苏克萨哈奉先皇遗命,与奴才等共同辅政,听得皇上亲政,该当欢喜才是。’Majesty!’ continued Oboi relentlessly. ‘You are still young, and have little experience in affairs of state. Suksaha and I were instructed by His Late Majesty to serve as your Regents during your minority. Your full accession to power should be a cause of joy to us.他却上这道奏章,讪谤皇上,显是包藏祸心,请皇上准臣下之议,立加重刑。皇上亲政之初,应该立威,使臣下心生畏惧。And yet Suksaha submits this slanderous memorial! He is clearly harbouring some evil intention. I beg Your Majesty to authorize me to deal with this matter immediately. You should be firm and show your authority from the very outset of your reign. You should ensure that your ministers and subjects hold you in awe and fear.倘若宽纵了苏克萨哈这大逆不道之罪,日后众臣下都欺皇上年幼,出言不敬,行事无礼,皇上的事就不好办了。”If you deal with this traitor too leniently, in days to come your other ministers will take advantage of your youth and their words and deeds will lack respect. Your own position as Monarch will be threatened.”

  韦小宝听他说话的语气很是骄傲,心道:“你这老乌龟自己先就出言不敬,行事无礼。你说皇帝年幼,难道皇帝是个小孩子吗?这倒有趣了,怪不得他说话声音有些像小玄子。”Trinket thought that Oboi’s tone of voice sounded extremely arrogant. You’re the one who’s lacking in respect, you filthy old turtle!’ he thought. ‘Calling the Emperor young and inexperienced–as if he were some little boy! Could he be a boy? That would be rather fun

  只听得皇帝道:“苏克萨哈虽然不对,不过他是辅政大臣,跟你一样,都是先帝很看重的。倘若朕亲政之初,就……就杀了先帝眷顾的重臣,先帝在天之灵,只怕不喜。”The Emperor now addressed Oboi: ‘What Suksaha has done is wrong. But he was once one of my Regents, just as you were. You were all the trusted Ministers of His Late Majesty. If at the very beginning of my reign I were to . . . put to death one of His Late Majesty’s trusted Ministers, I fear His Late Majesty’s departed spirit would not be pleased.’

  鳌拜哈哈一笑,说道:“皇上,你这几句可是小孩子的话了。先帝命苏克萨哈辅政,是嘱咐他好好侍奉皇上,用心办事。他如体念先帝的厚恩,该当尽心竭力,赴汤蹈火,为皇上效犬马之劳,那才是做奴才的道理。Oboi laughed: ‘Majesty, that is childish talk! His Late Majesty named Suksaha as a Regent in order that he might loyally and diligently serve Your Majesty. He should be true to his Late Sovereign’s wishes, he should be willing to serve Your Majesty with his last breath, to lay down his life for Your Majesty!可是这苏克萨哈心存怨望,又公然讪谤皇上,说什么致休乞命,这倒是自己的性命要紧,皇上的朝政大事不要紧了。那是这厮对不起先帝,可不是皇上对不起这厮。哈哈,哈哈!”Instead of which his mind is filled with resentment and ambition, and he publicly slights Your Majesty. He puts his own preservation above the concerns of the State. It is he who has wronged the Late Emperor; how can Your Majesty talk of wronging this scoundrel? Ha ha!’

  皇帝道:“鳌少保有什么好笑?”鳌拜一怔,忙道:“是,是,不,不是。”猜想起来,鳌拜此时脸上的神色定然十分尴尬。’What is it you find so funny, Imperial Guardian?’ asked the Emperor. Oboi’s face went pale. ‘Nothing, Your Majesty. Nothing.’ He looked almost sheepish.

  皇帝默不作声,过了好一会才道:“就算不是朕对不住苏克萨哈,但如此刻杀了他,未免有伤先帝之明。The Emperor was silent. Finally he spoke again: ‘Perhaps execution is what Suksaha deserves. But if I put him to death, I would surely be causing offence to His Late Majesty’s spirit.天下百姓若不是说我杀错了人,就会说先帝无知人之能。If my subjects did not accuse me of wrongfully taking the man’s life, then they would be bound to question my Father’s judgement in raising Suksaha to a position of power.朝廷将苏克萨哈二十四条大罪布于天下,人人心中都想,原来苏克萨哈这厮如此罪大恶极,这样的坏蛋,先帝居然会用做辅政大臣,和你鳌少保并列,这,这……岂不是太没见识了么?”If the Court publishes the list of Suksaha’s Twenty-Four Heinous Crimes, it will be plain for everyone to see that he was a rogue and a villain, and they will ask themselves how His Late Majesty came to appoint such a wicked person as Regent? And what of the other former Regents, they will say? What of Oboi, for instance? Would such a course of action be wise, do you think?’

  韦小宝心道:“这小孩子皇帝的话说得很有道理。”

  鳌拜道:“皇上只知其一,不知其二。天下百姓爱怎么想,让他们胡思乱想好了,谅他们也不敢随便说出口来。’Allow me to comment, Majesty,’ replied Oboi. ‘Let the people think what they like–what does it matter to us? They will not dare open their mouths.有谁敢编排一句先帝的不是,瞧他们有几颗脑袋?”No one would ever dare breathe a word against His Late Majesty.’皇帝道:“古书上说得好:‘防民之口,甚于防川’,一味杀头,不许众百姓说出心里的话来,那终究不好。”’It is written in one of the ancient classics,’ said the Emperor, ‘that “the word of the people is more to be feared than the flooding of the rivers”. It would not do at all to go around executing people left, right, and centre, and not allow anyone to speak what was on his mind.’鳌拜道:“汉人书生的话,是最听不得的。倘若汉人这些读书人的话对,怎么汉人的江山,又会落入咱们满洲人手里呢?所以奴才奉劝皇上,汉人这许多书,还是少读为妙,只有越读脑子越胡涂了。”皇帝并不答话。’One cannot pay attention to what is written in those Chinese classics. If the Chinese sages were so wise, how were we Manchus able to conquer their land? My advice to you, Majesty, is to put those Chinese books aside: the more Your Majesty reads them the more they addle Your Majesty’s brain.’ The Emperor was silent.

  鳌拜又道:“奴才当年跟随太宗皇帝和先帝爷东征西讨,从关外打到关内,立下无数汗马功劳,汉字不识一个,’In the olden days,’ Oboi went on, ‘when I accompanied His Majesty Nurhachi and His Late Majesty on their various campaigns, we broke through the Pass and won many a hard-fought victory– and we knew not a single word of Chinese!一样杀了不少南蛮。这打天下、保天下嘛,还是得用咱们满洲人的法子。”We killed these southern tribes by the thousands! Conquering and ruling–these are things best done in our Manchu way!’皇帝道:“鳌少保的功劳当然极大,否则先帝也不会这样重用少保了。”’It is true, Oboi, ‘ replied the Emperor, ‘that you have rendered great service to the Dragon Throne. That is why my Late Father set such store by you and appointed you Regent.’鳌拜道:“奴才就只知道赤胆忠心,给皇上办事。打从太宗皇帝起,到世祖皇帝,再到皇上都是一样的。皇上,咱们满洲人办事,讲究有赏有罚,忠心的有赏,不忠的处罚。’All I desire is to serve Your Majesty with a loyal and diligent heart. That was my desire when your Father was alive, and his Father before him. Your Majesty, we Manchus believe in rewarding good and punishing evil.这苏克萨哈是个大大的奸臣,非处以重刑不可。”This Suksaha is a wicked traitor! He must be punished, and punished severely!’韦小宝心道:“辣块妈妈,我单听你的声音,就知你是个大大的奸臣。”’Wow!’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘Red-hot momma! You only have to open your mouth and I can tell that you’re the one who’s a wicked traitor.’

  皇帝道:“你一定要杀苏克萨哈,到底自己有什么原因?”鳌拜道:“我有什么原因?难道皇上以为奴才有什么私心?”’What is it that makes you so determined to take Suksaha’s life?’ ‘Me, Your Majesty?’ protested Oboi. ‘Are you implying that I have some personal motive in this?’越说声音越响,语气也越来越凌厉,顿了一顿,又厉声道:“奴才为的是咱们满洲人的天下。太祖皇帝、太宗皇帝辛辛苦苦创下的基业,可不能让子孙给误了。His voice rose, his tone became more strident and aggressive. After a short pause he continued, almost threateningly: ‘I am asking this for the sake of the Manchu Throne! Your Majesty’s ancestors fought bitterly to create the Empire; their grandchildren must not let it all come to nothing!皇上这样问奴才,奴才可当真不明白皇上是什么意思!”Your Majesty, I find your insinuation hard to comprehend!’

  韦小宝听他说得这样凶狠,吃了一惊,忍不住探头望去,只见一条大汉满脸横肉,双眉倒竖,凶神恶煞般的走上前来,双手握紧了拳头。Trinket was shocked by Oboi’s menacing tone. He poked his head round the bookcase and saw a giant of a man striding towards the throne, the great jowls of his face twitching fiercely, his brows beetling, his fists clenched tightly before him.

  一个少年“啊”的一声惊呼,从椅子中跳了起来。这少年一侧头间,韦小宝情不自禁,也是“啊”的一声叫了出来。

  这少年皇帝不是别人,正是天天跟他比武打架的小玄子。There was a boyish cry, and a tall youth jumped down from the Dragon Throne. He turned his face, and Trinket let out a boyish–and utterly amazed–cry of his own. The young Emperor, the Manchu Monarch, was none other than his friend and daily sparring partner–Misty!

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