The Deer And The Cauldron 5

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The Deer And The Cauldron 5

第五回 金戈运启驱除会 玉匣书留想象间

  韦小宝见到皇帝,纵然他面目如同妖魔鬼怪,也决不会呼喊出声,但一见到居然是小玄子,这一下惊诧真是非同小可,呼声出口,If this Emperor he was looking at had been some sort of demon or monster, Trinket might have been able to control himself; but the shock of finding that it was none other than his friend Misty was so great that he could not help letting out a loud cry.知道大事要糟,当即转身,便欲出房逃命,但心念电转:“小玄子武功比我高,这鳌拜更是厉害,我说什么也逃不出去。”灵机一动,心道:“咱们这一宝押下了!通杀通赔,就是这一把骰子。”He knew that no good would come of this discovery and turned to run; but even as he did so, the thought flashed through his mind that if he was no match for Misty, he was certainly no match for the mighty Manchu Champion. He stood no earthly chance of making a getaway. His gambler’s instinct prompted a rapid change of plan: he would stay and brazen it out. ‘Might as well go for bust,’ he thought. ‘It’s worth a try.’纵身而出,挡在皇帝身前,向鳌拜喝道:“鳌拜,你干什么?你胆敢对皇上无礼么?你要打人杀人,须得先过我这一关。”He darted out and planted himself right in front of the young Emperor. ‘You!’ he shouted at the giant. ‘Oboi! What do you think you are playing at? How dare you be so rude to His Majesty? If you’re thinking of doing him the least bit of harm, you’ll have me to deal with first!’

鳌拜身经百战,功大权重,对康熙这少年皇帝原不怎么瞧在眼里。As an old soldier who had earned the great power he wielded by his services on the battlefield, Oboi felt little respect for his inexperienced boy Emperor.康熙(按:康熙本是年号,但通俗小说习惯,不称他本名玄烨而称之为康熙)讥刺他要杀苏克萨哈是出于私心,正揭破了他的痛疮。这人原是个冲锋陷阵的武人,盛怒之下,便握拳上前和康熙理论, And when this same inexperienced boy Emperor suggested that it was personal ambition which had prompted him to ask for Suksaha’s death, it had touched him on the raw–the more so because it was true–and in his rage his rough warrior’s instinct had asserted itself and he had dared to clench his fists and argue with his young Master.倒也并无犯上作乱之心,突然间见书架后面冲出一个小太监,挡在皇帝的面前,叱责自己,不由得吃了一惊,这才想起做臣子的如何可以握拳威胁皇帝,But he had not been planning treason or any such thing, and when he saw this little eunuch dart out from behind the bookcase and stand between himself and Emperor Kang Xi, openly challenging him with words of reproach, he was deeply shocked and reflected immediately on the inappro-priateness of his own almost threatening behaviour.急忙倒退数步,喝道:“你胡说什么?我有事奏禀皇上,谁敢对皇上无礼了?”说着又倒退了两步,垂手而立。He hurriedly stepped back, crying: ‘What an absurd accusation! I was merely reporting to His Majesty on a matter of state. I would never insult my Sovereign!’ He retreated another couple of steps and stood there with his hands hanging respectfully at his sides.每天和韦小宝比武的小玄子,正是当今大清康熙皇帝。他本名玄烨,眼见韦小宝不识得自己,问自己叫什么名字,童心一起,随口就说是“小玄子”。 So Trinket’s daily sparring partner was the Emperor Kang Xi, second in line of the great Manchu Monarchs to sit on the Chinese throne after his father Shun Zhi. Since Trinket had not recognized him on their first encounter, Kang Xi had been only too pleased to pass himself off as ‘Misty’, an invention no doubt inspired by his much grander real name Xuanye (which means roughly speaking Dark Effulgence).他秉承满洲人习性,喜爱角牴之戏,只是练习摔交这门功夫,必须扭打跌扑,扳颈拗腰。

  侍卫们虽教了他摔交之法,却又有谁敢对皇帝如此粗鲁无礼?Like so many Manchus, the young Emperor was very fond of wrestling. But it takes a great deal of practice to become a good wrestler–plenty of real falls, real blows, real rough and tumble–and while the Emperor’s guards were only too happy to teach him the rudiments, they were understandably reluctant to give him a real fight.

  有谁敢去用力扳他的龙头,扼他的御颈?被逼不过之时,只好装模作样,Not one of them was willing to land a real blow on the Dragon head, or to twist the Imperial neck. If they absolutely had to engage him in hand-to-hand combat, they would fake it as best they could.皇帝御腿扫来,扑地便倒,御手扭来,跪下投降,勉强要还击一招半式,也是碰到衣衫边缘,便即住手。But His Majesty’s leg had only to come anywhere near and they would tumble to the ground; his hand had only to move vaguely in their direction and they were on the floor surrendering. If they absolutely had to strike back, their ‘blows’ would freeze on the slightest contact with his clothing.康熙一再叮嘱,必须真打,众侍卫可没一个有此胆子,最多不过扮演得像了一些而已。He was always urging them to ‘fight properly’, but none of them dared to do so. The most they could manage was to fake a little more convincingly.和皇帝下棋,尚可假意出力厮拚,杀得难解难分,直到最后关头方输(据说清末慈禧太后与某太监下象棋,那太监吃了慈禧的马,说道:“奴才杀了老佛爷的一只马。”慈禧怒他说话无礼,立时命人将他拖了出去,乱棒打死),Even at chess, while his opponents might allow themselves a few winning moves during the game, they always made sure they lost at the very end. (The last Empress Dowager of the Manchu dynasty, Ci Xi, who ‘ruled’ during the last half of the nineteenth century, is reported to have been playing chess with one of her eunuchs one day, when the eunuch actually took one of her pieces. ‘Majesty, I have captured one of your knights, ‘ he confessed. She flew into a towering rage at his insolence, and ordered him to be taken out and beaten until he died.)这摔交之戏,却万难装假,就算最后必输,中间厮打之时,有谁敢抓起皇帝来摔他一交?康熙对摔交之技兴味极浓,眼见众侍卫互相比拚时精采百出,一到做自己的对手,便战战兢兢,死样活气,心下极不痛快,后来换了太监做对手,人人也均如挨打不还手的死人一般。It always disappointed Kang Xi intensely to see his guards, who seemed such good wrestlers when they were fighting amongst themselves, go all limp and helpless if he took one of them on himself. It was no better with the eunuchs.做皇帝要什么有什么,但要找一个真正的比武对手,却万难办到,有时真想微服出宫,去找个老百姓打上一架,且看自己的武功到底如何,但这样做毕竟太过危险,终究不过是少年皇帝心中偶尔兴起的异想天开而已。An Emperor was supposed to be able to have whatever he wanted in life–and yet it seemed impossible to find anyone willing to give him a genuine fight. He often thought of leaving the Palace in disguise, of going out and finding a commoner to fight with. At least that way he could find out whether he was any good or not. But the reality of such an escapade was far too dangerous, and it had remained no more than a fantasy in the Imperial imagination.

  这天和韦小宝相遇,比拚一场,韦小宝出尽全力而仍然落败。康熙不胜之喜,生平以这一架打得最是开心。The morning he had first encountered Trinket and the two of them had actually fought it out (Trinket losing despite his genuine exertions), Kang Xi had finally experienced the true joy of the fight!韦小宝约他次日再比,正是投其所好。从此两人日日比武,康熙始终不揭破自己身分,比武之时,也从不许别的太监走近,以免泄露了秘密,这小太监只要一知道对手是皇帝,动起手来便毫无兴味了。Their subsequent sparring matches brought the young Emperor untold delight, so much so that he became determined not to reveal his true identity to his newfound friend. He gave instructions that none of his personal eunuchs was to disturb them. He knew that if one of them revealed his true identity, Trinket would never fight him properly again.

  宫中太监逾千,从来没见过皇帝的本来亦复不少,但净身入宫,首先必当学习宫中种种规矩、品级服色等高下分别,见到康熙身穿皇帝服色而居然不识,也只有韦小宝这冒牌货一人了。There were over a thousand eunuchs in the Palace, and many of them had never set eyes on the Emperor. But they would have been obliged to learn the Court rules and regulations and would only have had to see the Dragon Robes to know who their wearer was. The only Palace Eunuch without this essential piece of knowledge was Trinket, the impostor.就康熙而言,这个胡涂小太监万金难买,实是难得而可贵之至。And from Kang Xi’s point of view, this one eunuch was worth his weight in gold.

  此后康熙的武功渐有长进,韦小宝居然也能跟得上,两人打来打去,始终旗鼓相当,而韦小宝却又稍逊一筹。这样一来,康熙便须努力练功,才不致落败。他是个十分要强好胜之人,练功越有进步,兴味越浓,对韦小宝的好感也是大增。Kang Xi’s skill as a fighter progressed, and Trinket managed to keep up with him, which inspired Kang Xi to practise still harder. He had a strong competitive instinct, and the better a fighter he became, the more pleasure he derived from it. As his pleasure increased, so did his feeling of friendship towards Trinket.

  这日鳌拜到上书房来启奏要杀苏克萨哈,康熙早已知道,鳌拜为了镶黄旗和正白旗两旗换地之争,与苏克萨哈有仇,今日一意要杀苏克萨哈,乃是出于私怨,因此迟迟不肯准奏。Kang Xi had known of Oboi’s intentions towards Suksaha long before the former Regent set foot in the Upper Library that day. There had been enmity between the two Manchu noblemen ever since their two Banners had fallen out over the division of territory (the Manchu conquerors were divided into eight Banners, and Oboi was chief of the Bordered Yellow Banner, while Suksaha headed the Plain White). Kang Xi knew that Oboi was motivated by personal spite, and he had therefore been reluctant to give his consent to Oboi’s proposal–哪知鳌拜嚣张跋扈,盛怒之下显出武人习气,捋袖握拳,便似要上来动手。鳌拜身形魁梧,模样狰狞,康熙见他气势汹汹的上来,不免吃惊,as a result of which Oboi had revealed himself as the fierce warrior he truly was. Kang Xi had been seriously shaken to see this fierce giant of a man come lumbering towards him across the Upper Library floor, sleeves rolled and fists clenched, as if he intended to threaten the Emperor’s person.一众侍卫又都候在上书房外,呼唤不及,何况众侍卫大都是鳌拜心腹,殊不可靠,正没做理会处,恰好韦小宝跃了出来。康熙大喜,寻思:“我和小桂子合力,便可和鳌拜这厮斗上一斗了。”待见鳌拜退下,更是宽心。The Imperial Guards were all outside and out of range–and anyway, they were all Oboi’s hand-picked men and not to be relied on. He was just beginning to sense the extremely precarious nature of his position when suddenly, out of the woodwork(literally!) popped– of all people–his young friend Laurel. Kang Xi was delighted. Together, ‘ he thought quickly to himself, ‘the two of us can give this rascal Oboi a run for his money!’ But then Oboi retreated–and with him the immediate danger.

  韦小宝情不自禁的出声惊呼,泄露了行藏,只得铤而走险,赌上一赌,冲出来向鳌拜呼喝,不料一喝之下,鳌拜竟然退下,不由大乐,Trinket had leapt into the fray on the impulse of the moment. Once out in the open, he had no choice but to forge ahead–into the jaws of certain annihilation! Imagine his surprise (and joy) when the Manchu giant beat a retreat.大声道:“杀不杀苏克萨哈,自当由皇上拿主意。你对皇上无礼,想拔拳头打人,不怕杀头抄家吗?”It went straight to his head: ‘It’s for His Majesty to decide whether or not Suksaha should be put to death–not you! In fact, for your insolence, for daring to bare your fists and threaten His Majesty, I’d say you’re the one who deserves the chop!’

  这句话正说到了鳌拜心中,他登时背上出了一阵冷汗,知道适才行事实在太过鲁莽,当即向康熙道:“皇上不可听这小太监的胡言乱语,奴才是个大大的忠臣。”Oboi broke out in a cold sweat at these words of Trinket’s, and aware of the undeniably boorish nature of his recent behaviour, he turned to Kang Xi and said: ‘Your Majesty, pay no heed to this foolish little eunuch. You know that I am one of your most devoted subjects, ‘

  康熙初亲大政,对鳌拜原是十分忌惮,眼见他已有退让之意,心想此刻不能跟他破脸,便道:“小桂子,你退在一旁。”

  韦小宝躬身道:“是!”退到书桌之旁。Kang Xi still stood in great awe of his former Regent. It was enough that Oboi was backing down. He had no desire to make things any harder for him than they already were. ‘Laurel, ‘ he commanded, ‘step aside.’ ‘Yes, Sire!’ Trinket bowed and moved away to one side of the table.康熙道:“鳌少保,我知道你是个大大的忠臣。你冲锋陷阵惯了的,原不如读书人那样斯文,我也不来怪你。”’Imperial Guardian Oboi, ‘ Kang Xi continued, ‘I know you to be my devoted subject. You are a warrior, a man of action, and not used to the rules of civilized behaviour. I shall be lenient with you.’鳌拜大喜,忙道:“是,是。”康熙道:“苏克萨哈之事,便依你办理就是。你是大忠臣,他是大奸臣,朕自然赏忠罚奸。”Thank you, my Liege!’ panted Oboi, hugely relieved. ‘I shall act as you have suggested in this matter of Suksaha. You are after all my loyal subject, and he is a wicked traitor. It is our custom to reward loyalty and to punish evil.’鳌拜更是喜欢,说道:“皇上这才明白道理了。奴才今后总是忠心耿耿的给皇上办事。”康熙道:“很好,很好。朕禀明皇太后,明日上朝,重重有赏。”鳌拜喜道:“多谢皇上。”康熙道:“还有什么事没有?”鳌拜道:“没有了。奴才告退。”’Very wise, Majesty,’ commented Oboi, looking positively smug. ‘I shall always remain your most loyal and devoted servant!’ ‘Good, good. I shall instruct the Empress Dowager to reward you generously at tomorrow’s audience.’ ‘Much obliged, Majesty.’ ‘Is there anything further?’ ‘Nothing, Majesty. Shall I take my leave?’

  康熙点点头,鳌拜笑容满脸,退了出去。Kang Xi nodded and Oboi withdrew, his face by now wreathed in smiles.康熙等他出房,立刻从椅中跳了出来,笑道:“小桂子,这秘密可给你发现了。”

  韦小宝道:“皇上,我这……这可当真该死,一直不知道你是皇帝,跟你动手动脚,大胆得很。”The Secret is Out Kang Xi waited until Oboi was gone, then leapt up from his chair: ‘Laurel!’ he said with a little laugh, ‘So now you know my secret!’ ‘Majesty, I… I deserve to die! I hadn’t the faintest idea you were the Emperor! It was very wrong of me–to fight with you like I did!’康熙叹了口气,道:“唉,你知道之后,再也不敢跟我真打,那就乏味极了。”韦小宝笑道:“只要你不见怪,我以后仍是跟你真打,那也不妨。”康熙大喜,道:“好,一言为定,若不真打,不是好汉。”说着伸出手来。Kang Xi sighed. ‘Now that you do know, I suppose I’ll never get a real fight out of you again. I’ll never have any fun!’ Trinket smiled: ‘If you promise not to take offence, I’ll carry on fighting with you for real, just like I always do.’ ‘Excellent! Let’s shake on it. For real, or not at all!’ He held out his hand.韦小宝一来不知宫廷中的规矩,二来本是个天不怕地不怕的惫懒人物,当即伸手和他相握,笑道:“今后若不真打,不是好汉。”两人紧握着手,哈哈大笑。Trinket knew nothing of Court etiquette, and if he had known, he was the sort of person not to have cared a fig for it anyway–he grasped the Imperial hand and shook it, with a big grin on his face: ‘From this day on: for real, or not at all!’ They squeezed each other’s hands and laughed heartily together.

  皇太子自出娘胎,便注定了将来要做皇帝,自幼的抚养教诲,就与常人全然不同,Since the moment of his birth, the Heir to the Manchu Throne had been brought up in the consciousness that he was different and special,一哭一笑,一举一动,无不是众目所视,当真是没半分自由。that his every cry or smile, his slightest movement, was being publicly watched over, and that he had not an ounce of freedom.囚犯关在牢中,还可随便说话,在牢房之中,总还可任意行动,His captivity was more total than that of a common criminal, who could at least have the occasional informal conversation within the confines of prison, could at least stroll up and down his cell.皇太子所受的拘束却比囚犯还厉害百倍。负责教诲的师保、服侍起居的太监宫女,生怕太子身上出了什么乱子,整日价战战兢兢,如临深渊,如履薄冰。The young Heir Apparent had always been constantly under surveillance–his tutors, his Court Eunuchs and maidservants, watched over him in constant dread of the slightest mishap befalling his precious person.太子的言行只要有半分随便,师傅便谆谆劝告,唯恐惹怒了皇上。If he exhibited the tiniest degree of informality in his words or activities, he would be instantly admonished by the Imperial tutors–for fear that his father the Emperor might learn of this lapse and the Imperial wrath be kindled.太子想少穿一件衣服,宫女太监便如大祸临头,唯恐太子着凉感冒。一个人自幼至长,日日夜夜受到如此严密看管,实在殊乏人生乐趣。历朝颇多昏君暴君,原因之一,实由皇帝一得行动自由之后,当即大大发泄历年所积的闷气,种种行径令人觉得匪夷所思,太半也不过是发泄过分而已。If the young Heir Apparent conceived the notion of dispensing with some item of clothing, there was panic in the ranks, in case he should catch a chill. . . (Such extreme confinement from infancy is sure to cramp the joie de vivre of any individual. Surely it must be this that has in part led to many of the hideous excesses perpetrated by tyrants down the ages. When a ruler finally reaches the age where he does have freedom, he has this enormous reservoir of pent-up energy waiting to be released. History’s direst excesses are merely the most violent releases of that energy.)康熙自幼也受到严密看管,直到亲政,才得时时吩咐宫女太监离得远远的,不必跟随左右。但在母亲和众大臣眼前,还是循规蹈矩,装作少年老成模样,Kang Xi had just recently embarked on that stage in his life when he could finally tell his eunuchs and maidservants to get out of his sight, to get lost and leave him alone. But in the presence of the Empress Dowager or his Ministers of State, he was still obliged to act the proper little Emperor.见了一众宫女太监,也始终摆出皇帝架子,不敢随便,一生之中,连纵情大笑的时候也没几次。And even in front of the eunuchs and maids he felt obliged to keep up appearances. His true moments of relaxation were few and far between.

  可是少年人爱玩爱闹,乃人之天性,皇帝乞丐,均无分别。在寻常百姓人家,任何童子天天可与游伴乱叫乱跳,乱打乱闹,这位少年皇帝却要事机凑合,方得有此“福缘”。 Every boy–whether Emperor or beggar–likes a bit of fun. This is only normal. In ordinary families children can romp around with their friends, they can fight or play to their hearts’ content. This was not true for the young Emperor. In his case it required the most extraordinary stroke of luck for this to be possible.他只有和韦小宝在一起时,才得无拘无束,抛下皇帝架子,纵情扭打,实是生平从所未有之乐,这些时日中,往往睡梦之中也在和韦小宝扭打嬉戏。And that stroke of luck had been Trinket’s unscheduled arrival on the scene. With Trinket Kang Xi could unwind, he could discard his Imperial persona and be himself; he could play and fight and scramble around. Never in his entire life had he known such unadulterated fun. Since meeting Trinket, his very dreams were of fighting and tumbling with his new friend.

  他拉住韦小宝的手,说道:“在有人的时候,你叫我皇上,没人的时候,咱们仍和从前一样。”He held Trinket by the hand, and said: ‘In front of other people, you’ll have to call me Your Majesty; but when we’re on our own, I’d like you to carry on as before.’韦小宝笑道:“那再好没有了。我做梦也想不到你是皇帝。我还道皇帝是个白胡子老公公呢。”’What a laugh!’ cried Trinket. ‘I’d never have dreamed you were the Emperor! I always thought the Emperor was some old fellow with a long white beard!’

  康熙心想:“父皇崩驾之时,不过廿四岁,也不是甚么白胡子老公公,你这小家伙怎地什么也不知道?”问道:“难道海老公没跟你说起过我么?”Kang Xi mused to himself: ‘My Father was just twenty-four years old when he died–he didn’t have a long white beard. This boy doesn’t seem to know anything!’ ‘Surely Old Hai Goong-goong must have told you something about me?’ he said to Trinket.韦小宝摇头道:“没有。他便是教我练功夫。皇上,你的功夫是谁教的?”康熙笑道:“咱们说过没人的时候,还是和从前一样,怎么叫我皇上了?”韦小宝笑道:“对,我心里有点慌。”Trinket shook his head. ‘Never. He just taught me kungfu. Your Majesty, who teaches you kungfu?’ ‘Wait a minute–I thought we’d agreed to carry on as before? What’s all this “Majesty” business?’ Trinket laughed. ‘Sorry. This is all rather confusing.’

  康熙叹了口气,说道:“我早料到,你知道我是皇帝之后,再也不会像从前那样跟我比武了。”韦小宝微笑道:“我一定跟以前一样打,就只怕不容易。喂,小玄子,你的武功到底是谁教的?”Kang Xi sighed. ‘I knew it would be like this. I knew that as soon as you found out who I was that would be the end of fighting for real.’ ‘No it won’t!’ insisted Trinket. ‘I shall treat you exactly the same as I always have–but I can see it’s not going to be easy. Here goes then–hey Misty, go on, tell me, who teaches you?’康熙道:“我可不能跟你说。你问来干什么?”韦小宝道:“鳌拜这家伙自以为武功了得,对你磨拳擦掌的,倒像想要打人。我想你师父武功很高,咱们请你师父来对付他。”’I’m afraid I can’t tell you. What do you want to know for anyway?’ ‘I was just thinking. That Oboi was starting to look pretty nasty for a moment. Whoever your teacher is, he must be someone very special. Why don’t we just get him to deal with old Oboi for us?’康熙微微一笑,摇头道:“不成的,我师父怎能做这种事?”Kang Xi smiled and shook his head. ‘It wouldn’t work. My teacher would never do anything like that.’

  韦小宝道:“可惜我师父海老公瞎了眼睛,否则请他来打鳌拜,多半也赢得了他。啊,有了,明儿咱二人联手,跟他打上一架,你看如何?这鳌拜虽说是满洲第一勇士,但咱二人并肩子上,就未必会输给他。”康熙大喜。叫道:“妙极,妙极!”’It’s a pity my teacher–Old Hai Goong-goong–is blind. Otherwise I’d have asked him. He could fix Oboi, no problem. I know what, why don’t the two of us take him on together? He may be the Manchu Champion, but I bet we could get the better of him.’ ‘Brilliant! Brilliant!’ cried Kang Xi, clearly delighted by this idea.但随即知道此事决计难行,摇了摇头,叹道:“皇帝跟大臣打架,那太也不成话了。”韦小宝道:“你不是皇帝就好了!”But after a moment’s thought he shook his head and said with a sigh: ‘It wouldn’t do at all for the Emperor to fight with one of his ministers.’ ‘If only you weren’t the Emperor!’ cried Trinket.

  康熙点了点头,一霎时间,颇有些羡慕韦小宝这小太监,爱干什么便干什么,虽在皇宫之中,倒也逍遥自在。Kang Xi nodded. He really envied his little eunuch friend, who could just do whatever he felt like doing–who could be so relaxed and easy even in the Palace.又想起适才鳌拜横眉怒目,气势汹汹,大踏步走上来的神态,不禁犹有余悸,寻思:“这人对我如此无礼,他要杀谁,便非杀谁不可,半点也不将我瞧在眼里。到底他做皇帝,还是我做皇帝哪?只是朝中宫里的侍卫总管都由他统率,八旗兵将也归他调动,我如下旨杀他,他作起乱来,只怕先将我杀了And then his thoughts returned to Oboi and his threatening behaviour, and he couldn’t help still feeling a little afraid. The Palace Guard is under his command, the Banner troops look up to him–if I issue a decree ordering his execution, he’ll rise up against me and I’ll be the one to be put to death!。我须得先换侍卫总管,再撤他的兵权,然后再罢他辅政大臣的职位,最后才将他推出午门,斩首示众,方泄我心头之恨。”First I shall have to change the Palace Guard, and take away his military command–then strip him of his rank as Imperial Guardian, throw him out through the front gate of the Palace, and have his head chopped off! If only I could! That would be the day!’

  但转念又想,此计也是不妥,只要一换侍卫总管,鳌拜便知是要对付他了,此人大权在握,如果给他先下手为强,自己可要遭殃,只有暂且不动声色,待想到妥善的法子再说。But a moment’s reflection sufficed to tell him what a hopeless course of action that would be. If he changed the Guard, Oboi would know he was after him; and Oboi wielded enormous power. Oboi only had to move first, and Kang Xi would be finished. No, he had to bide his time in silence, wait for the perfect plan to present itself, and then act.他不愿在韦小宝面前显得没有主意,说道:“你这就回海老公那里去罢,好好用心学本事,明日咱们仍在那边比武。”

  韦小宝应道:“是。”康熙又道:“你见到我和鳌拜的事,可不许跟谁提起。”Kang Xi did not wish to share these ruminations with his young friend. ‘You’d better go back to Old Hai Goong-goong,’ he said, ‘and work hard at your kungfu. We’ll meet again tomorrow for our usual bout. And not a word of what you saw today–to anyone!’韦小宝道:“是。这里没有旁人,我要走便走,不跟你请安磕头了。”康熙哈哈一笑,摆手道:“不用了。明儿仍是死约会,不见不散。”’Certainly not. Since there’s no one else here, I’ll just slip off– you don’t mind if I drop the down-on-my-knees head-knocking stuff, do you?’ Kang Xi laughed and waved goodbye. ‘Don’t forget, tomorrow–same time, same place. Live or die!’

  韦小宝虽然没偷到《四十二章经》,但发见日日与他比武之人竟然便是皇帝,实是兴奋万分。Trinket had not succeeded in laying hands on the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections–but he had discovered the secret identity of his daily sparring partner, and he left the Upper Library in a state of excitement bordering on delirium.幸好海老公双眼盲了,瞧不出他神情有异,只是觉得他今日言语特多,不知遇上了什么高兴事情,试探了几句。韦小宝却十分机警,不露半点口风。Luckily Old Hai was blind in both eyes and unable to observe the change in his manner. He did however notice that the boy seemed especially talkative and wondered what had happened to put him in so cheerful a mood. Trinket was guarded in his answers to the old eunuch’s questions.

  次日韦小宝去和康熙比武,他心中颇想和平日一般打法,但既知他是皇帝,自卫时尽管守得严密,反击的招数却自然而然的疲弱无力。The next day, when he went to have his usual bout with ‘Misty’, it was with every intention of fighting as usual. But somehow, now that he knew who his opponent was, while his defensive moves were tighter than ever, his attacks were listless and half-hearted. It just seemed to happen that way.康熙明白他心意,进攻时也不出全力,心想对方既有顾忌,自己使劲攻击,未免胜之不武。只打得片刻,韦小宝已输了两个回合。Kang Xi noticed at once, and moderated the intensity of his own attacking moves. It would be unfair to fight to win against an opponent who was handicapped in this way. They fought two short bouts, and Trinket lost both times.

  康熙叹了口气,问道:“小桂子,昨儿你到我书房去干什么?”韦小宝道:“温有道昨天发烧,起不了身,他兄弟叫我到上书房去帮着打扫收拾。我没做惯,于脚慢了些,不想遇到了你。”他说得煞有介事,不但面不改色,几乎连自己也相信确是如此。(此段霍克斯不知何故未作翻译)

  康熙道:“你知道我是皇帝之后,咱们再也不能真打了。”颇感意兴索然。韦小宝道:“我也觉得今天打来没什么劲道。”康熙忽然想起,说道:“我倒有个法儿。咱们既然不能再打,我只好瞧你跟别人打,过过瘾也是好的。来,你跟我去换衣服,咱们到布库房去。”Kang Xi sighed. ‘Now that you know who I am, we’ll never have a decent fight again!’ He sounded genuinely depressed. ‘I know what you mean,’ replied Trinket. ‘I felt it today. There wasn’t really any punch in it.’ Kang Xi’s face suddenly lit up. ‘I know,’ he said, ‘since we can’t fight any more, I’ll have to watch you fighting someone else. That’ll be better than nothing. Come on, let’s go and change. Then we’ll go to the Dressing Rooms.’韦小宝道:“布库房是什么地方?放布匹的库房吗?”康熙笑道:“不是的。布库房是武士练武摔交的地方。”韦小宝拍手笑道:“那好极了!”’The what?’ said Trinket. ‘Is that where you store your robes?’ Kang Xi laughed. ‘No! It’s where the real professionals go to practise fighting and wrestling.’ Trinket clapped his hands excitedly: ‘Excellent!’

  康熙回去更衣,韦小宝跟在后面。康熙一换了袍服,十六名太监前呼后拥,到布库房去瞧众武士摔交,那就神色庄严,再也不跟韦小宝说笑了。So Kang Xi retired to one of his private chambers with Trinket, and the two of them got changed. Kang Xi, now in his formal robes, set off with an entourage of Eunuch Attendants–eight in front to clear the way, eight behind to bring up the rear–in the direction of the Imperial Dressing Rooms, where they proceeded to watch the wrestling. Kang Xi was now the Emperor again, and not laughing or chatting with Trinket any more.

  众武士见皇上驾到,无不出力相搏。康熙看了一会,叫一名胖大武士过来,说道:“我身边有个小太监,也学过一点摔交,你教他几手。”转头向韦小宝道:“你跟他学学。”说着目目夹夹左眼了一。The professional wrestlers redoubled their efforts when they saw who had come to watch. Kang Xi stood there for a while and then called one of the fattest of them over. This young eunuch here,’ he said, pointing to Trinket, ‘has done a little wrestling. I’d like you to give him some extra instruction.’ Turning to Trinket he went on: ‘I want you to learn from this gentleman.’ As he said this he winked with his left eye.他二人均已见到,这武士虽然身材魁梧,却是笨手笨脚,看来不是韦小宝的对手。Both of them had already had ample opportunity to observe that this man, despite his enormous size, was a clumsy fighter, and certainly no match for Trinket.

  两人下场之后,扭打几转,韦小宝使出一招“顺水推舟”,要将那武士推出去。不料那武士身子太重,说什么也推他不倒。Trinket and the fat man took the floor and after a few preliminary grapples Trinket tried a move on him known as Punting the Boat Downstream, intending to send him skidding across the room. But such was the man’s sheer bulk that however hard Trinket pushed him, he did not budge an inch.武士首领背转身子,连使眼色。那胖大武士会意,假装脚下踉跄,扑地倒了,好一会爬不起来。众武士和太监齐声喝采。The chief instructor turned his back on Trinket and gave the man a meaningful look. The fat man understood at once and faked a rather convincing stumble, followed by a total collapse that left him prostrate and immobile for quite some time. All the wrestlers and eunuchs present applauded enthusiastically.

  康熙甚是喜欢,命近侍太监赏了一锭银子给韦小宝,暗想:“这小桂子武功不及我,他能推倒这胖大家伙,我自然也能。”心痒难搔,跃跃欲试,Kang Xi was delighted and ordered one of his attendant eunuchs to reward Trinket with an ingot of silver. ‘I’m a better fighter than Laurel,’ he thought to himself. ‘If he can put this fat man on the floor, so can I.’ He was itching to have a try.但碍于万乘之尊,总不能下场动手,叹了口气,向近侍太监道:“你去选三十名小太监来,都要十四五岁的,叫他们天天到这里来练功夫。哪一个学得快的,像这小桂子那样,我就有赏赐。”那太监含笑答应,心想皇帝是小孩心性,要搞些新玩意。But knew that it would be beneath his dignity as the occupant of the Dragon Throne to step into a common wrestling ring, and with a sigh he turned to one of the eunuchs and said: ‘I want you to choose twelve of the younger eunuchs–I’d like them to be fourteen or fifteen years old–and tell them to come here every day and practise kungfu. The one that makes the fastest progress and can fight as well as young Laurel here, will receive a reward!’ The eunuch masked a smile as he obeyed his Master’s order, thinking to himself that the boy Emperor was indulging another of his childish whims.

  韦小宝回到屋中,海老公问起今日和小玄子比武的经过。

  韦小宝说得有声有色,似乎一番大战,双方打得激烈非凡。但海老公细问之下,立刻发觉了破绽,沉着脸问道:Trinket returned to his quarters, and Old Hai asked him how his fight had gone. Trinket gave him a blow-by-blow account, inventing a host of details and describing a thrilling series of bouts. But the old eunuch was no fool, and saw through his story at once. “小玄子怎么啦?今日生了病吗?”韦小宝道:“没有啊,不过他精神不大好。”海老公哼了一声,道:“你从头到尾,一招一式的说给我听。”韦小宝情知瞒他不过,只得照实细细说了。’What was the matter with your partner today, then? ‘ ‘No!’ protested Trinket. ‘He just wasn’t in a very good mood.’ Old Hai humphed. ‘Describe it to me again, every move, in detail.’ Trinket knew he could never pull it off if he lied, and so he told the truth, starting from the beginning–but still without mentioning his opponent’s identity.海老公抬起了头,缓缓道:“这一招你明明可以将他脑袋扳向左方,你却想把他身子抱起,以致落败。你不是不会,而是故意在让他,那是什么缘故?”Hai looked up at him and said very slowly: ‘That’s funny. You knew the move perfectly well. You could easily have sent him reeling, but instead you put your arm round him and conceded defeat. You did it on purpose, didn’t you? Why?’

  韦小宝笑道:“我也没故意让他。只不过他打得客气,我也就手下留情。我和他做了好朋友,自然不能打得太过分了。”想到自己和皇帝是“好朋友”,不自禁的十分得意。Trinket gave a nervous little laugh. ‘It wasn’t exactly on purpose. It was just that he was being gentle so I felt I had to hold back. Now that we’re such good friends, I can’t really fight too hard.’ As he said this, and reflected that he was now a ‘good friend’ of the Emperor’s, he could not help feeling extremely pleased with life, and with himself.

  海老公道:“你和他成了好朋友?哼,不过你的打法不是手下留情,而是不敢碰他。你终于……你终于知道了?”’So you’re a good friend of his, are you?’ commented Old Hai drily. ‘Hm … I don’t think you were holding back, I think you were afraid to fight. I think. . . you’ve finally found out, haven’t you?’

  韦小宝心中一惊,颤声道:“知……知道什么?”海老公道:“是他自己说的,还是你猜到了的?”韦小宝道:“说什么啊!我这可不懂了。”Trinket’s heart missed a beat. ‘Found out. . . Found out what?’ His voice trembled. ‘Did he tell you? Or did you guess?’ asked Old Hai. ‘Tell me what? I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ protested Trinket.海老公厉声道:“你给我老老实实说来!咳咳……咳咳……你怎么知道小玄子身分的?”一伸手,抓住了他左腕。’I want the truth!’ growled Hai, who now clearly meant business. He coughed, before continuing: ‘How did you find out who Misty really is?’ He reached out and gripped Trinket fiercely by the left wrist.

  韦小宝登时痛入骨髓,手骨格格作响,似乎即便欲折断,叫道:“投降,投降!”海老公道:“你怎么知道的?”手上反而加劲。韦小宝叫道:“喂,喂,你……你……你懂不懂规矩?我已叫了投降,你还不放手?”海老公道:“我问你话,你就好好的答。”There was a cracking sound in his bones and a sharp pain seared through Trinket’s hand. He thought it must be broken. ‘I give in! I surrender!’ he cried. ‘How did you find out?’ repeated Old Hai. He tightened his grip still further. ‘Ow! Ow!’ yelled Trinket. ‘You’re . . . you’re cheating! I already said I surrender. Why won’t you let go?’ ‘Why won’t you answer my question?’

  韦小宝道:“好,你如早已知道小玄子是谁,我就跟你说其中的原因。否则的话,你就捏死了我,我也不说。”海老公道:“那有什么希奇?小玄子就是皇上,我起始教你‘大擒拿手’之时,就已知道了。”’All right. If you really do know who Misty is, I’ll tell you the whole story. If you don’t, you can squeeze me to death and I’ll never tell!’ ‘Of course I know. He’s the Emperor. I knew that when I first taught you those moves from me Greater Catch-Can.’说着放开了手。韦小宝喜道:“原来你早知道了,可瞒得我好苦。那么跟你说了也不打紧。”于是将昨天在上书房中撞见康熙和鳌拜的事说了,讲到今天在布库房中打倒一名胖大武士,又是眉飞色舞起来。Old Hai let go of Trinket’s hand. ‘So you knew all along!’ exclaimed Trinket, greatly relieved. ‘You really had me fooled. In that case, there’s no harm telling you.’ He told him the whole story of his previous day’s encounter in the Upper Library with Kang Xi and Oboi, and of that morning’s bout with the fat wrestler in the Dressing Room–relating his triumph with great gusto.海老公听得甚是仔细,不住插口查问。韦小宝说完后,又道:“皇上吩咐我不得跟你说的,你如泄漏了出去,我两个人都要杀头。”海老公冷冷道:“皇上跟你是好朋友,不会杀你,只会杀我。”韦小宝得意洋洋的道:“你知道就好啦。”Old Hai followed intently, interjecting questions at regular intervals. ‘His Majesty told me not to tell you any of this,’ concluded Trinket. ‘If you let on that you know, we’ll both be put to death.’ ‘But I thought His Majesty was your good friend,’ commented Hai drily. ‘He wouldn’t put you to death–just me.’ ‘Just so long as you realize that,’ said Trinket cockily.

  海老公沉思半晌,道:“皇上要三十名小太监一起练武,那是干什么来着?多半他是技痒,跟你打得不过瘾,要找些小太监来挨他的揍。”站起身来,在屋中绕了十来个圈子,说道:“小桂子,你想不想讨好皇上?”Old Hai brooded for a moment. Why would His Majesty want twelve young eunuchs to practise kungfu? Probably he’s not getting enough fun out of fighting you and is looking for new sparring partners.’ He rose to his feet and paced several times round the room. Finally he added: ‘Laurel, do you really want to win the young Emperor’s favour?’

  韦小宝道:“他是我好朋友,让他欢喜开心,那也是做朋友的道理啊。”’Of course I do! He’s my friend!’ Then listen very carefully to what I am about to say,’ said the eunuch, with a sudden intensity.

  海老公厉声道:“我有一句话,你好好记在心里。今后皇上再说跟你是朋友什么的,你无论如何不可应承。你是什么东西,真的能跟皇上做朋友?他今日还是个小孩子,说着高兴高兴,这岂能当真?你再胡说八道,小心脖子上的脑袋。”’From today, if His Majesty ever talks in that way again–calls you his friend and so forth–you must absolutely refuse to go along with it. How could a nobody like you ever be the Emperor’s friend? He’s just a child, and says such things on a childish impulse. You must on no account take him seriously. Another word of such nonsense from you, and your head will be for the chop!’

  韦小宝原也想到这种话不能随口乱讲,经海老公这么疾言厉色的一点醒,伸了伸舌头,说道:“以后杀我的头也不说了。不过人头落地之后,是不是还能张嘴说话,这中间只怕大大儿的有些讲究。”Trinket had pretty much reached the same conclusion on his own, but this vehement warning of Old Hai’s gave him a bit of a fright. He shot his tongue out in alarm: ‘I promise I’ll never talk like that again. Mind you, I shan’t be able to stop my head talking when it hits the ground.’

  海老公哼了一声,道:“你想不想学上乘武功?”韦小宝喜道:“你肯教我上乘武功,那真是求之不得了。Old Hai gave a little snort. ‘Now–do you want to learn some advanced kungfu?’ ‘I’d love to, Goong-goong,’ replied the delighted Trinket.

  公公,你这样一身好武艺,不收一个徒儿传了下不来,岂不可惜?”海老公道:“世人阴险奸诈的多,忠厚老实的少。收了个坏徒儿,让他来谋害师父,却又何苦?”’It would be such a shame if your fighting skills were not handed down to a disciple.’ This world is full of wicked and treacherous people, ‘ replied Old Hai. There’d be little point in my teaching someone who’d turn against me!’韦小宝心中一动:“我弄瞎了他眼睛,他心中是不是也有点因头?这件事性命交关,非查个清清楚楚、明明白白不。”Trinket’s heart missed another beat. ‘I’m the one who blinded him in both eyes,’ he thought to himself. ‘I wonder if he’s beginning to suspect. This is getting very serious.’

  但见他神色木然,并无恼怒之意,便道:“是啊,既要你信得过,又对你忠心,原也不大易找,这世上只怕也只我小桂子一人了。公公,你道我到上书房去干什么?我是冒了杀头的危险,想去将那部《四十二章经》偷出来给你。只不过皇上书房里的书成千成万,我又不大识字……”He looked the old eunuch straight in the face. But it was a face that betrayed nothing. It was utterly impassive and devoid of emotion. ‘Yes, Goong-goong, it would be hard to find an honest and trustworthy disciple–I’m probably the only one in this world. You know why I risked my life going to the Upper Library yesterday? To get hold of that Sutra for you. The trouble is, there are so many thousands of books in His Majesty’s Upper Library, and I can’t read very well, and–‘

  海老公插嘴道:“嗯,你又不大识字!”韦小宝心中突的一跳:“啊哟,不好!不知小桂子识字多不多。倘若他识得很多字,我这么说,可露出马脚了。”’What?’ interjected Old Hai. ‘Are you still having trouble with your reading?’ ‘Help!’ thought Trinket quickly, his heart thumping. ‘I’ve really put my foot in it now! I’ve no idea how good at reading the real Laurel was. Suppose he was a brilliant reader? Then I’m done for!’忙道:“我找来找去,也寻不着那部《四十二章经》。不过不要紧,以后我时时能到上书房去,总能教这部书成为顺手牵羊之羊,叶底偷桃之桃。”’Well, I looked everywhere,’ he ventured, ‘and I just couldn’t find that particular Sutra. But don’t worry. Now I can go to the Upper Library any time, and sooner or later the book will just drop into my hand like a nice ripe plum.’

  海老公道:“你没忘了就好。”韦小宝道:“我怎么会忘?你公公待我真是没得说的,我如不想法子好好报答你,这一生一世当真枉自为人了。”海老公喃喃的道:“嗯,我如不想法子好好报答你,这一生一世当真枉自为人了。”’So long as you don’t forget!’ ‘How could I ever forget? After all you’ve done for me, Goong-goong, I must do something to pay you back, or I’ll have lived for nothing!’ ‘Hm,’ muttered Old Hai. ‘If I don’t pay you back, I’ll have lived for nothing too!’这两句话说得冷冰冰地,韦小宝听在耳里,不由得背上一阵发毛,偷眼瞧他脸色,却无丝毫端倪可寻,心想:“老乌龟厉害得很,他早知小玄子就是皇上,却不露半点口风。我可须得小心,他如知道他这对眼珠子是我弄瞎的,我韦小宝这对眼珠子倘若仍能保得住,那定是老天爷没了眼珠子啦。”There was something chilling about the way he said this that sent a shiver down Trinket’s spine. But when he stole another glance at the old eunuch’s face, it was as inscrutable as ever. ‘The wily Old Turtle!’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘He knew who Misty was all along, and never let on. I must tread very carefully. Supposing he knows who I am too, and that I’m the one who blinded him. He’ll be sure to pay me back for that, or Heaven itself is blind.’两人默默相对。韦小宝半步半步的移向门边,只要瞧出海老公神色稍有不善,立即飞奔出外,决意逃出宫去,从此不再回来。The two of them confronted each other silently. Trinket edged towards the door step by step; the slightest sign of a move from Old Hai and he would bolt for it, escape from the Palace and never come back.

  却听得海老公道:“你以后再也不能用大擒拿手跟皇上扭打了。这门功夫再学下去,都是分筋错骨之法,脱人关节,断人筋骨,怎能用在皇上身上?”韦小宝道:“是!”海老公道:“我从今天起教你一门功夫,叫做‘大慈大悲千叶手’。” But all he heard was: ‘In future you are never to use Catch-Can techniques when you spar with His Majesty. Some of them are dangerous. You could dislocate one of his limbs or break one of his bones.’ ‘Yes, Goong-goong!’ ‘From now on, I shall teach you a new style of kungfu, ‘ said Old Hai. ‘It is called the Merciful Guanyin of a Thousand Hands.’韦小宝道:“这名字倒怪,我只听过大慈大悲、救苦救难、观世音菩萨。”’Why’s it called that?’ asked Trinket.海老公道:“你见过千手观音没有?”’After Guanyin the Goddess of Mercy, the Guanyin of a Thousand Hands.’韦小宝道:“千手观音?我见过的,观音菩萨身上生了许许多多手。每只手里拿的东西都不同,有的是个水瓶,有的是根树枝,还有篮子、铃子,好玩得紧。”海老公道:“你是在扬州庙里见到的么?”’Oh, I know, I’ve seen a statue of her. One hand’s holding a bell, one’s holding a basket–every hand’s got something different in it. It’s really good.’ ‘You must mean the one in the temple in Yangzhou?’

  韦小宝道:“扬州庙里?”这一惊当真非同小可,一个箭步窜到门边,便欲夺门而出。’Yangzhou?’ Trinket’s heart leaped into his mouth. Old Hai must know all. The game was up. He bolted straight for the door and was about to run outside.

  海老公道:“千手观音吗,天下就只扬州的庙里有,你没去过扬州庙里,怎能见到千手观音?”韦小宝轻吁一口长气,心道:“原来只扬州的庙里才有千手观音,险些给你吓得拉尿。”’The only statue of Guanyin of a Thousand Hands is in Yangzhou, and you’ve never been to Yangzhou, so how could you have seen it?’ ‘So there’s only one and it’s in Yangzhou,’ Trinket was thinking frantically to himself. ‘The old boy just about scared the piss out of me!’忙道:“我怎会去过扬州?扬州在什么地方?千手观音什么的,是听人家说的,我可没见过。想在你老人家面前吹几句牛,神气神气,哪知道你见多识广,一下子就戳破了我的牛皮。”海老公叹道:“要戳破你这小滑头的牛皮,可实在不容易得很。”’Of course I’ve never been to Yangzhou,’ he replied. ‘Where is Yangzhou anyway? I’ve only ever heard of the statue, I’ve never actually seen it. I was just bragging; I wanted to impress you, Goong-goong–only of course you knew too much and saw through it straightaway.’ ‘Cunning little rogue, aren’t you!’ said Old Hai with a sigh. ‘Very hard to see through your little tricks.’韦小宝道:“容易,容易。我撒一句谎,不到半个时辰,就给你老人家戳穿了西洋镜。”

  海老公嗯了一声,问道:“你冷吗?怎不多穿件衣服?”韦小宝道:“我不冷。”海老公道:“怎么你说话声音有点儿发抖?”’Not hard at all!’ protested Trinket disingenuously. ‘If I ever do tell a lie, you’re sure to see through it straightaway.’ Old Hai humphed. ‘Are you cold?’ he asked. ‘Why don’t you wear more?’ ‘I’m not cold,’ replied Trinket. ‘Why are you shivering then? It sounds as if you’re shivering.’韦小宝道:“刚才给吹了阵冷风,现下好了。”海老公道:“门边风大,别站在门口。”韦小宝道:“是,是!”走近几步,却总是不敢走到海老公身边。There was a bit of a draught just then. It’s better now.’ ‘Don’t stand by the door then, if you’re worried about the draught.’ ‘Yes, Goong-goong!’ Trinket retreated back into the room, but still he did not dare go too close to Old Hai.

  海老公道:“这‘大慈大悲千叶手’是佛门功夫,动起手来能制住对方,却不会杀人伤人,乃是天下最仁善的武功。”This Merciful Guanyin kungfu I’m going to teach you is one of the Buddhist styles of Martial Arts. It is designed to control your opponent, not to kill or injure him. It is the most humane of all the styles of fighting.’

  韦小宝喜道:“这门功夫不会杀人伤人,跟皇上动手过招,那是再好也没有了。”Then it’s perfect for fighting with the Emperor!’ said Trinket with delight.

  海老公道:“不过这功夫十分难学,招式挺多,可不大容易记得周全。”韦小宝笑道:“既然招式挺多,记不全就不要紧,忘了一大半,剩下来的还是不少。”’But it is particularly hard to learn,’ continued Hai. There are a large number of moves, and it’s hard to remember them all.海老公道:“哼,懒小子,还没学功夫,就已在打偷懒的主意。你这一辈子,可别想学好上乘武功。”韦小宝道:“是,是。要学到你老人家那样厉害的武功,我这一辈子自然是老猫鼻子上挂咸鱼,嗅鲞啊嗅鲞(休想)。”心想:“就算武功练得跟你一模一样,到头来还是给人弄瞎了眼睛,你老乌龟挺开心吗?”海老公道:“你走过来。”韦小宝道:“是!”走近了几步,离开海老公仍有数尺。海老公道:“你怕我吃了你吗?”韦小宝笑道:“我的肉是酸的,不大好吃。”Come over here!’ ‘Yes, Goong-goong!’ He took several steps, and stopped a few feet from Old Hai. ‘What’s the matter–are you afraid I’m going to eat you?’ Trinket laughed nervously. ‘I’m afraid you’d find my flesh rather sour!’海老公左手扬起,突然拍出。韦小宝吃了一惊,向右一避,忽然背上拍拍两声,已被海老公打中,登时跪倒在地动弹不得,Suddenly Old Hai lunged out with his left. Trinket dodged to the right, but the next thing he knew he had taken two sharp blows on his back, and was down on his knees, incapable of further motion of any sort.心下大骇:“这一下糟了,他……他要取我性命。”海老公道:“这是‘大慈大悲千叶手’的第一手,叫做‘南海礼佛’。你背上已给打中了两处穴道,不过打穴功夫十分难练,要以上乘内功作根基,跟皇上过招,又难道真能打他穴道,叫他跪在你面前?你只须记住了手法,装模作样的比比架式,也就是了。”This is it!’ he thought to himself in terror. ‘Now he’s going to kill me!’ That,’ said Hai coolly, ‘is the first move in the Merciful Guanyin style. It’s called Buddha of the South Seas. Two vital points in your back have been closed. Closing points is an advanced form of kungfu–built on a solid foundation of Inner Force development. Don’t imagine you can actually do this when you next fight the Emperor. Just remember the move, and go through the motions.’说着伸手在他背心两处穴道上按了按。韦小宝手足登时得能动弹,心神略定,慢慢站起身来,心道:“原来老乌龟是教我功夫,可吓得我魂灵出窍,这会儿也不知归了窍没有。”Old Hai pressed the points on Trinket’s back, and Trinket’s hands and feet came back to life. He could move again. He tried to compose himself, and stood up. ‘So the Old Turtle was just teaching me a move!’ he thought to himself. ‘He scared the wits out of me–in fact I’m not sure they’ve managed to find their way back in again yet!’

  这一日海老公只教了三招,道:“第一天特别难些,以后你如用心,便可多学几招。”That day Old Hai only taught Trinket three new moves, and concluded his lesson by saying: The first day is always especially hard. If you’re a good student, I’ll teach you some more later.’

  韦小宝第二天也不去赌钱了,中午时分,自行到比武的小室中去等候康熙,知道桌上糕点是为皇帝而设,也就不敢再拿来吃。The following day Trinket did not go gambling, but at midday he made his own way to the little room where he and Kang Xi had had their sparring matches. This time he decided not to touch the cakes, knowing that they had been specially prepared for the Emperor.等了大半个时辰,康熙始终不来。韦小宝心道:“是了,他跟我比武没味道,不来玩了。”于是径去上书房。书房门外守卫的侍卫昨天见康熙带同韦小宝去布库房,神色甚和,知道他是皇上跟前得宠的小太监,也不加阻拦。He waited for over half an hour, and still Kang Xi had not come. ‘I see,’ he thought to himself. ‘He’s not enjoying fighting with me any more, so he’s staying away.’ He made his way across to the Upper Library. The guards posted outside the Upper Library door had noted the special favour shown to Trinket the previous day, and knowing that he had now become the Emperor’s favourite little eunuch they did nothing to prevent him from entering.

  韦小宝走进书房,只见康熙伸足在踢一只皮凳,踢了一脚又是一脚,神色气恼,不住吆喝:“踢死你,踢死你!”韦小宝心想:“他在练踢脚功夫么?”不敢上前打扰,静静的垂手站在一旁。He found Kang Xi busy kicking a leather stool. Again and again he kicked it, and seemed greatly exasperated. He kept crying out: ‘Kick you to death! Kick you to death!’ Trinket wondered if this was some new form of Kick kungfu. He stood respectfully watching with his hands hanging at his side, while the Emperor continued kicking.

  康熙踢了一会,抬头见到韦小宝,露出笑容,道:“我闷得很,你来陪我玩玩。”When Kang Xi looked up and saw Trinket, a big grin spread across his face. ‘I’m so bored! Come and have some fun with me!’ he cried.

  韦小宝道:“是。海老公教了我一门新功夫,叫做什么‘大慈大悲千叶手’,比之先前所教的大擒拿手,那可厉害得多了。他说我学会之后,你一定斗我不过了。”’Certainly,’ Trinket replied. ‘Listen to this. Old Hai Goong-goong has taught me a new kind of kungfu. It’s called the Merciful Guanyin of a Thousand Hands. It’s much better than that stuff I learned before, that Greater Catch-Can. He says that now I’m certain to beat you.’

  康熙道:“那是什么功夫,你使给我瞧瞧。”韦小宝道:“好!我这可要打你啦!”拉开招式,双掌飞扬,“南海礼佛”、“金玉瓦砾”、“人命呼吸”, To which Kang Xi replied: ‘Come and show me! Come and show me what kind of kungfu it is!’ Trinket adopted the first position, and then sent both his hands flying through the air as he executed in rapid succession the three moves known as Buddha of the South Seas, Slivers of Gold and Jade, and Breath of Life.一共三招,出手迅捷,在康熙背心、肩头、左胸、右腿、咽喉五处都用手指轻轻一拍。这“大慈大悲千叶手”变化奇特,和“大擒拿来”大不相同。His hands moved with lightning speed, touching Kang Xi’s back and shoulders, the left-hand side of his chest, his right thigh, his throat. This Merciful Guanyin style of kungfu (also known as the Thousand Hands style) was almost dance-like. It was quite extraordinary, quite unlike the Greater Catch-Can.康熙猝不及防,连一下也没能躲过。韦小宝出手甚轻,自然没打痛他。其实韦小宝内力固然全无,膂力也微弱之极,就算当真相斗,给他打中几下也是无关痛痒。Kang Xi was totally unprepared for it and failed to dodge a single one of Trinket’s moves. But Trinket’s touch had been very light and he had caused him no pain. In fact Trinket had no Inner Force whatsoever, and only a very small degree of outer, or muscular strength. So even if the contest had been a genuine one, he would not have caused his opponent any real damage.但这么连中五下,毕竟是从所未有之事。康熙“咦”的一声,喜道:“这门功夫妙得很啊。你明天再来,我也去请师父教上乘功夫,跟你比过。”But the mere fact that he had struck home five times in succession was enough to make Kang Xi cry out in astonishment. ‘This style of kungfu is amazing! Come again tomorrow–I’ll get my teacher to show me some moves to counter yours!’韦小宝道:“好极,好极!”他回到住处,将康熙的话说了。海老公道:“不知他师父教的是什么功夫,今日你再学几招千叶手。”’Excellent!’ replied Trinket. ‘Excellent!’ He returned to his quarters and recounted Kang Xi’s words to Old Hai, who commented: ‘I wonder what style of kungfu his teacher is going to be teaching him? Today I’m going to show you some moves in the Thousand Leaves style.’这一日韦小宝又学了六招,乃是“镜里观影”、“水中捉月”、“浮云去来”、“水泡出没”、“梦里明明”、“觉后空空”。这六招都是若隐若现、变幻莫测的招数,虚式多而实式少,So that day Trinket learnt another six moves. These were: Shadow in the Mirror, Moon in the Water, Drifting Clouds, Bouncing Bubbles, Brightness in the Dream, and Void after Enlightenment. These were all very subtle moves, full of feints and ploys.海老公只是要韦小宝硬记招式,至于招式中的奥妙之处却毫不讲解,甚至姿式是否正确无误,出招部位是否恰到好处,海老公一来看不见,二来毫不理会。Old Hai merely wanted Trinket to remember the movements; he did not go into them at all deeply. As for whether Trinket was executing them correctly or not, in the first place Old Hai could not see, and in the second place he did not really mind.韦小宝见他教得随便,心下暗暗欢喜,心道:“你马马虎虎的教,我就含含糊糊的学,哥儿俩胡里胡涂的混过便算。倘若你要顶真,老子可没闲功夫陪你玩了。”Trinket was only too happy with this: ‘Be my sloppy teacher, and I’ll be your sloppy student–the two of us can muddle our way through very nicely. Start getting too serious, and I’m afraid old Trink will simply be left behind.’次日韦小宝来到御书房外,只见门外换了四名侍卫,正迟疑间,一名侍卫笑道:“你是桂公公吗?皇上命你即刻进去。”The following day when Trinket came to the Upper Library he saw that there were four new guards on duty outside the door. He was hesitating to go in when one of the guards called out with a big smile on his face: ‘Aren’t you Laurel Goong-goong? His Majesty has given instructions that you are to proceed straight into the Upper Library.’

  韦小宝一怔,心道:“什么桂公公?”但随即明白:“桂公公就是老子了,这侍卫知道我是皇帝亲信,对我加意客气。”Trinket was taken aback by this and stood there for a moment thinking to himself: ‘What’s all this Laurel Goong-goong stuff?’ Then he realized: ‘Of course–Laurel Goong-goong–that’s just me, old Trink.’当即笑着点了点头,说道:“幸会,幸会,你四位贵姓啊?”四名侍卫跟他通了姓名。韦小宝客气了几句。那姓张的侍卫笑道:“你这可快进去罢,皇上已问了你几次呢。”韦小宝走进书房。康熙从椅中一跃而起,笑道:“你昨天这三招,我师父已教了破法,咱们这便试试去。”So he smiled back, and nodded his head. ‘You’d better go straight in,’ replied the guard. ‘His Majesty has already asked for you several times.’ As Trinket walked into the Upper Library, Kang Xi leapt up from his chair. ‘You know those three moves you tried out on me yesterday?’ he cried with a laugh. ‘Well, my teacher has already shown me the countermoves. So let’s get down to business.’韦小宝道:“你师父既说破得,自然破得了,也不用试啦。”康熙道:“非试不可!你先悄悄到咱们的比武厅去,别让别人知道了,我随后就来。”’Since your teacher’s already taught you the countermoves,’ said Trinket, ‘you’ll obviously be able to deal with them, so what’s the point in even trying?’ To which Kang Xi replied: ‘Of course we must try. You make your way quietly over to the room where we always have our fights. Don’t let anyone else know. I’ll be there in a moment.’韦小宝答应了,径去那间小房。康熙初学新招,甚是性急,片刻间就来了。两人一动上手,康熙果然以巧妙手法,将韦小宝第一天所学的三招都拆解了,还在韦小宝后肩上拍了一掌。Trinket agreed to this and went on his way. Kang arrived shortly afterwards, and the two of them set to. Sure enough, Kang Xi’s newly learned techniques were able to deal very promptly with Trinket’s moves of the day before. He ended up by striking Trinket on the shoulder.韦小宝见他所出招数甚为高明,心下也是佩服,问道:“你这套功夫叫什么名堂?”康熙道:“这是‘八卦游龙掌’。我师父说,你的‘大慈大悲千叶手’招式太多,记起来挺麻烦。我们的‘八卦游龙掌’只有八八六十四式,但反复变化,尽可敌得住你的千叶手。”Trinket was most impressed. ‘What’s all this new stuff called?’ he asked. This is called the Eight Trigrams of the Roving Dragon. My teacher says that your Merciful Guanyin kungfu has got far too many different moves and that they are very hard to remember. This Roving Dragon style has only got sixty-four forms. But they are very complex, and they are certainly enough to deal with what you have learned.’韦小宝道:“那么哪一门功夫厉害些?”’Which of the two is the more effective?’ asked Trinket.

  康熙道:“我也问过了。师父说道,这两门都是上乘掌法,说不上哪一门功夫厉害。谁的功夫深,用得巧妙,谁就胜了。”’I asked my teacher that question,’ replied Kang Xi. ‘My teacher says that both of them belong to advanced Schools, and that it is hard to say which is the more effective. It depends on who’s doing it, and on how good they are.’

  韦小宝道:“我昨天又学了六招,你倒试试。”当下将昨天那六招使出来,虽然第二、三招全然忘记,第五招根本用得不对。康熙还是一连给他拍中了七八下,’I learned six more moves yesterday too,’ said Trinket. ‘Want to try them out?’ He proceeded to demonstrate the six moves–although it must be admitted that he’d already quite forgotten the second and third, and did the fifth in quite the wrong way. None the less he succeeded in striking Kang Xi seven or eight times in a row, and the Emperor was most impressed.点头道:“你这六招妙得很,我这就去学拆解之法。”韦小宝回到住处,将康熙学练“八卦游龙掌”的事说了给海老公听。海老公点了点头,道:“我少林派的千叶手,原只武当派这路八卦游龙掌敌得住。’I’d better go and learn how to deal with these new ones at once,’ he said. Trinket went back to his quarters and told Old Hai all about his friend’s new Roving Dragon kungfu. Old Hai nodded: ‘Precisely,’ he said. The only proper riposte to our Merciful Guanyin style in the Shaolin tradition is the Eight Trigrams of the Roving Dragon in the Wudang tradition.他师父的话不错。两路掌法各有各的妙处,谁学得好,谁就厉害。”韦小宝道:“他是皇帝,我怎能盖过了他去?自然该当让他学得好些。”他不肯刻苦练功,先安排好落场势再说。

  海老公道:“你如太也差劲,皇上就没兴致跟你练了。”韦小宝道:“常言道:明师必出高徒,强将手下无弱兵。你是明师,又是强将,教出来的人也不会太差劲的。你老望安,放一百二十个心好啦!”海老公摇了摇头,说道:“别胡吹大气啦,桌上的饭菜快冷了,你先去喝那碗汤罢!”(中间一截没有译文)And his teacher was right: each School has its strong points, and whoever studies the hardest will be the better fighter. Now–drink up that bowl of soup. Your food will get cold.’

  韦小宝道:“我服侍你老人家喝汤。”海老公道:“我不喝汤,喝了汤要咳嗽。”i in not navmg any soup today–it only makes me cough.’韦小宝道:“是。”自行过去喝汤,心道:“我老人家喝汤,倒不咳嗽。”’Very well, Master, ‘ said Trinket, and he sat down to drink his own.此后几个月中,康熙和韦小宝各学招式,日日比试。两人并不真打,没了各出全力以争胜负之心,拚斗时的乐趣不免大减,总算两人所学的招式颇为繁复,以之拆解,倒也变化多端,只是如此文比,更似下棋,决不像打架。For several months after this, Kang Xi and Trinket continued to learn more and more moves, and tried them out on each other every day. But they were no longer fighting for real, and somehow their contests had lost some of their gusto. The bouts started to resemble a civilized game of chess, rather than a real sparring match.康熙明知韦小宝决不敢向自己屁股狠狠踢上一脚,就也不好意思向他脑袋重重捶上一拳。Kang Xi knew only too well that his friend would never again dare to give him a proper kick up the bum, and he for his part felt reluctant to deal Trinket a crushing blow on the head.

  韦小宝学武只是为了陪皇帝过招,自己全不用心,学了后面,忘了前面的。康熙的师父显然教得也颇马虎。两人进步甚慢,比武的兴致也是大减。到后来康熙隔得数日,才和韦小宝拆一次招。Trinket had only learnt all of this kungfu in order to keep the Emperor company. He was not particularly interested in it. He’d learn new moves, only to find that he’d forgotten the old ones. The two of them made very slow progress, and both began to find it boring. Then Kang Xi began missing days between bouts.

  这些时日中,康熙除了和韦小宝比武外,也常带他到书房伴读。皇宫中侍卫太监,都知尚膳监的小太监小桂子眼下是皇上跟前第一个红人,大家见到他时都不敢直呼“小桂子”,都是桂公公长,桂公公短的,叫得又恭敬又亲热。During this time, apart from their bouts together, Kang Xi would often take his friend with him to the Upper Library, to keep him company in his studies. The guards and eunuchs on duty in the Palace by now all knew that little Laurel, the eunuch from the Imperial Catering Department, was the Emperor’s special favourite. They all addressed him as ‘Laurel Goong-goong’ when they met him, instead of ‘Laurie junior’, and were most respectful and affectionate towards him.

  韦小宝要讨好海老公,每日出入上书房,总想将那部《四十二章经》偷出来给他,可是寻来寻去,始终不见。Trinket had not forgotten about the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections, and every time he went to the Upper Library he had a good look for it. He wanted to be able to carry out Old Hai’s commission. But he just couldn’t find the book anywhere, however hard he searched.

  这日康熙和韦小宝练过武后,脸色郑重,低声道:“小桂子,咱们明天要办一件大事,你早些到书房来等我。”One day, after a bout, Kang Xi turned to his friend with an expression of unwonted seriousness, and said to him in a low voice: ‘Laurie, tomorrow you and I have something very important to do. I’d like you to come to the Upper Library earlier than usual and wait for me.’韦小宝应道:“是。”他知道皇帝不爱多说话,他不说是什么事,自己就不能多问。Trinket knew that the Emperor was a young man of few words, and did not press him with any questions.

  次日一早,他便到上书房侍候。康熙低声道:“我要你办一件事,你有没有胆子?”Early the following day he went to the Upper Library. Kang Xi said to him softly: There’s something important I want you to do for me. I’m not sure you have the courage for it.’韦小宝道:“你叫我办事,我还怕什么?”康熙道:“这件事非同小可,办得不妥,你我俱有性命之忧。”To which Trinket replied: ‘You give me the order, and I’ll find the courage!’ This is no ordinary matter, ‘ said Kang Xi. ‘If it is not done properly, then you and I could both be risking our lives.’韦小宝微微一惊,说道:“最多我有性命之忧。你是皇帝,谁敢害你?再说,你照看着我,我说什么也不能有性命之忧。”心想须得把话说在前头,我韦小宝如有性命之忧,唯你皇帝是问,你可不能置之不理。Trinket was a little taken aback by this. ‘I might be risking my life, ‘ he said, ‘but you’re the Emperor. Who would dare harm you? Besides, with you to protect me, how could I be afraid for my life?’ What he really meant was: ‘If I should ever be in any danger, I hope you’ll take care of me.’康熙道:“鳌拜这厮横蛮无礼,心有异谋,今日咱们要拿了他,你敢不敢?”Kang Xi replied: This villain Oboi is abusing his power and taking more and more liberties. He is plotting treason. Today the two of us are going to lay hands on him. Are you game?’

  韦小宝在宫中已久,除了练武和陪伴康熙之外,极少玩耍,近几个月来海老公不许自己再去跟温氏兄弟他们赌钱,只有偶尔偷偷去赌上一手,而跟康熙比武,更是越来越没劲,正感气闷,听得要拿鳌拜,不由得大喜,忙道:“妙极,妙极!Now Trinket had been in the Palace quite a while by now, and apart from his bouts with the Emperor and the time he spent in the Upper Library there was really very little fun to be had– especially since for the past few months Old Hai had forbidden him to gamble any more with the Wen brothers and he had only been able to sneak over for the occasional secret game. He was altogether bored: this talk of a new adventure fired him up. ‘Sounds great!’ he cried.

  我早说咱二人合力斗他一斗。就算他是满洲第一勇士,你我武功都已练得差不多了,决不怕他。”’Didn’t I say that the two of us could deal with him? He may be the Manchu Champion, but we’ve learnt a lot of new moves, so why should we have anything to fear from him?’

  康熙摇头道:“我是皇帝,不能亲自动手。鳌拜这厮身兼领内侍卫大臣,宫中侍卫都是他的亲信心腹。他一知我要拿他,多半就会造反。众侍卫同时动手,你我固然性命不保,连太皇太后、皇太后也会遭难。因此这件事当真危险得紧。”Kang Xi shook his head. ‘I am the Emperor. I can’t make the first move. Oboi is in command of the Imperial Guard, and all of the guards in the Palace are his trusted men. If he suspects that I’m going to arrest him, he’s sure to strike first. And if all of the guards rise up against us at once, then I’m afraid that you and I will not live to tell the tale, and neither will the Empress Dowager. So you see this is extremely dangerous.’韦小宝一拍胸膛,说道:“那么我到宫外等他,乘他不备,一刀刺死了他。要是刺他不死,他也不知是你的意思。”Trinket struck his chest and said: ‘In that case I will go and lie in wait for him outside the Palace and catch him unawares. I’ll strike him dead with a dagger. That way, even if I fail, he’ll not know that it’s anything to do with you.’

  康熙道:“这人武功十分了得,你年纪还小,不是他对手。何况在宫门之外,他卫士众多,你难以近身,就算真的刺死了他,只怕你也会给他的卫士们杀了。我倒另有个计较。”This man is a superb fighter, ‘ said Kang XL ‘And you are still young. You don’t stand a chance against him. Besides, outside the Palace he always goes around with a large number of guards. You’d never be able to get anywhere near him. And even if you did manage to stab him, you’d be killed by his guards. No, I have another plan.’韦小宝道:“是。”康熙道:“待会他要到我这里来奏事,我先传些小太监来在这里等着。你见我手中的茶盏跌落,便扑上去扭住他。十几名小太监同时拥上,拉手拉脚,让他施展不出武功。倘若你还是不成,我只好上来帮忙。”’Yes?’ asked Trinket. ‘We’ll wait for him to come here and report to me, ‘ said Kang Xi. I’ll send for my twelve hand-picked young eunuchs to wait on me. When you see me drop my tea-cup, that’s the signal: you jump on him and pin him down. At the same time I’ll tell the eunuchs to bind his hands and feet. That way he’ll have no chance to fight. And if you can’t manage on your own, I shall just have to come to your aid myself.’韦小宝喜道:“此计妙极,你有刀子没有?这件事可不能弄糟,要是拿他不住,我便一刀将他杀了。”That’s a first-rate plan!’ cried Trinket. ‘Have you got a dagger? We mustn’t bungle this. If I don’t manage to get hold of him properly, then I shall stab him to death.’他在杀了小桂子之初,靴筒中带得有匕首,后来得知小玄子便是皇帝,和康熙对拆掌法,时常纵跃窜跳,生怕匕首从靴中跌了出来,除了当值的带刀侍卫,在宫中带刀那可是杀头的罪名,就此不敢随身再带了。At first, after the killing of Laurel, Trinket had always kept his dagger stuck down the side of his boot. Later, when he discovered that Misty was in fact the Emperor, and they were constantly tumbling around together, he was afraid that the dagger might slip out of his boot; besides, it was strictly forbidden on pain of death to carry a knife in the Palace, with the exception of the guards who were on duty. For these reasons he had long since given up carrying the dagger around with him.

  康熙点了点头,拉开书桌抽屉,取出两把黄金为柄的匕首,一把交给了韦小宝,一把插入自己靴筒。韦小宝也将匕首插入靴筒,只觉血脉贲张,全身皆热,呼呼喘气,说道:“好家伙,咱们干他的!”Kang Xi nodded in answer to Trinket’s question, and opening one of the drawers in his desk, took out two golden-handled daggers and gave one to Trinket. The other he slipped into his own boot. Trinket did likewise, and as he felt the dagger against his leg, the blood raced in his veins. His whole body grew hot and his breath came fast. ‘Come on!’ he said. ‘Let’s do the fellow in!’

  康熙道:“你去传十二名小太监来。”韦小宝答应了,出去呼传。这些小太监在布库房中练习扑击已有数月,虽然没什么武功,但拉手扳脚的本事却都已不差。’I want you to go now and summon those twelve young eunuchs, ‘ said Kang Xi. ‘Straight away!’ replied Trinket, and off he went. The twelve young eunuchs had already had a few months of practice in the Dressing Room, and although they were by no means kungfu adepts, they knew a few basic holds and throws.康熙向十二名小太监道:“你们练了好几个月,也不知有没有长进。待会有个大官儿进来,这人是咱们朝里的扑击好手,我让他试试你们的功夫。Kang Xi now addressed them: ‘I know that all of you have been practising for several months. I hope you’ve made some progress? In a few minutes one of my Ministers is going to come in. He’s one of the best fighters at Court and I want him to have a look at what you can do.你们一见我将茶盏摔在地下,便即一拥而上,冷不防的十二个打他一个。要是能将他按倒在地,令他动弹不得,我重重有赏。”说着拉开书桌的抽屉,取出十二只五十两的元宝,道:“赢得了他,每人一只元宝,倘若输了,十二个人一齐斩首。这等懒惰无用的家伙,留着干什么?”最后这两句话说得声色俱厉。The minute you see me drop my tea-cup on the ground, I want you to jump on him. I want the twelve of you to take him unawares. I want you to pin him to the ground so that he can’t move. You’ll be generously rewarded afterwards.’ Kang Xi opened one of the drawers of his desk and took out twelve ingots of silver, each weighing fifty ounces. ‘Overcome him, and each of you gets one of these, ‘ he said. ‘Lose, and I’ll have all of your heads off!’ These last words sounded rather serious, and the Emperor’s face looked grim.

  十二名小太监一齐跪下,说道:“奴才们自当奋力为皇上办事。”

  康熙笑道:“那又是什么办事了?我只是考考你们,且瞧谁学得用心,谁在贪懒。”All twelve eunuchs fell to their knees: ‘Your Majesty, we promise to do the job to the very best of our ability, ‘ Kang Xi smiled. ‘What do you mean, do the job? I’m just giving you a little test, making sure you’re practising properly, and not becoming slack.’

  韦小宝暗暗佩服:“他在小太监面前也不露半点口风,以防这些小鬼沉不住气,在鳌拜面前露出了马脚。”众小太监起身后,康熙从桌上拿起一本书,翻开来看。韦小宝听他低声吟哦,居然声不颤、手不抖,Trinket was secretly impressed. ‘He doesn’t want to give anything away–in case any of them might think of betraying his secret plan to Oboi, ‘ The eunuchs rose to their feet, and Kang Xi took a book from his desk and began reading it. Trinket could hear him quietly reciting the text and turning the pages, without the slightest tremor in his voice, or the slightest shake in his hand.面临大事,镇定如恒,自己手心中却是一阵冷汗,又是一阵发热,心下暗骂:There he was, moments away from this great enterprise, calm as ever–whereas he, Trinket, was in a muck sweat.

  “韦小宝你这小王八蛋,这一下你可给小玄子比下去啦。你武功不及他,定力也不及他。”转念又想:“他是皇帝,自然胆子该比我大些。那也没什么了不起。倘若我做皇帝,当然胜过他了。”Trink, old turtle, ‘ he said to himself, ‘just look at yourself! And look at him! Face it, you were no match for Misty on the wrestling floor, and you’re no match for him in a crisis either!’ His thoughts ran on: ‘But then he is the Emperor! He’s supposed to be a bit braver than me! If I were Emperor, I’d probably be even cooler than he is!’但内心隐隐又觉得未免难以自圆其说。过了好半晌,门外靴声响起,一名侍卫叫道:“鳌少保见驾,皇上万福金安。”康熙道:“鳌少保进来罢!”鳌拜掀起门帷,走了进来,跪下磕头。But somewhere deep inside him he didn’t really believe this to be true. Several minutes went by, and then there was the sound of footsteps outside the door. ‘His Honour the Imperial Guardian Oboi to see Your Majesty!’ announced a guard. ‘Let the Guardian enter!’ replied Kang Xi, whereupon Oboi drew aside the door-curtain and entered the Upper Library. He fell to his knees, knocking his head on the ground in ceremonial kowtow.

  康熙笑道:“鳌少保,你来得正好,我这十几名小太监在练摔交。听说你是我满洲勇士中武功第一,你来指点他们几招如何?”鳌拜微笑道:“皇上有兴,臣自当效力。”康熙笑道:“小桂子,你吩咐外面侍卫们下去休息,不听传呼,不用进来伺候。”Kang Xi smiled. ‘Guardian, you have come at a fortunate moment. These eunuchs have been practising their wrestling skills, and since you are the Manchu Champion, I should like you to teach them a thing or two.’ A little smile stole across Oboi’s face. ‘Since it is Your Majesty’s wish I am happy to obey.’ Kang Xi smiled. ‘Laurel, you can dismiss the guards on duty outside. Tell them that there’s no need for them to come in unless they are summoned.’说着笑了笑,向鳌拜扮个鬼脸,鳌拜哈哈一笑。韦小宝走出去吩咐。康熙低声道:“鳌少保,你劝我别读汉人的书,我想你的话很对,咱们还是在书房里摔交玩儿的好,不过别让人听到了。要是给皇太后知道了,可又要逼我读书啦。”As he said this Kang Xi chuckled and pulled a strange face at Oboi, who laughed a little apprehensively. Trinket went out to do Kang Xi’s bidding. ‘Guardian,’ said Kang Xi in a low voice, ‘you advised me the other day not to spend so much time reading Chinese books. I’ve been thinking about what you said and I think you’re right. That’s why I’ve decided to practise a little wrestling here in the Upper Library instead. I think it would be rather fun. But I don’t think we should let other people hear what’s going on. If the Empress Dowager were to know, she’d be nagging me for ever about my studies.’鳌拜大喜,连声道:“对,对,对!皇上这主意挺高明,汉人的书本儿,读了有什么用?”

  韦小宝回进书房,道:“侍卫们多谢皇上恩典,都退下去啦。”Oboi seemed very pleased to hear this. ‘Yes! Yes, Your Majesty! This is an extremely wise decision of Your Majesty’s! As I said before, no good will ever come from reading all those Chinese books.’ . Meanwhile Trinket came back into the Upper Library, saying: ‘The guards have all been dismissed, Your Majesty.’

  康熙笑道:“好,咱们玩咱们的。小监们,十二个人分成六对,打来瞧瞧。”

  十二名小太监卷袖束带,分成六对,扑击起来。

  鳌拜笑吟吟的观看,Kang Xi smiled. ‘Good! We can get on with things then, and have a bit of fun. Now then, eunuchs, I want you to form six pairs, and we’ll see what you can do.’ The eunuchs rolled up their sleeves, tightened their sashes, and began wrestling in six pairs. Oboi stood there watching and chuckling to himself.见这些小太监武功平平,笑着摇了摇头。康熙拿起茶盏喝了一口,笑道:“鳌少保,小孩儿们本事还使得吗?”鳌拜笑道:“将就着瞧瞧,也过得去!”康熙笑道:“跟你鳌少保比,那自然不成!”身子微侧,手一松,呛啷一声,茶盏掉在地下,呼叫出声:“啊哟!”He could see that the eunuchs were not particularly skilful, and shook his head with a knowing smile. Kang Xi lifted his cup to his lips and drank a mouthful of tea. ‘Guardian, what do you think? Not bad for children?’ Oboi smiled. ‘I suppose they’ll do, Your Majesty ‘But they wouldn’t stand a chance against you, of course,’ said Kang Xi. As he said this he leaned casually to one side, and allowed his hand to slide and knock the cup from the table onto the floor. ‘Oh dear!’ he cried.

  鳌拜一怔,说道:“皇上……”两个字刚出口,身后十二名小太监已一齐扑了上来,扳手攀臂,抱腰扯腿,同时进攻。

  康熙哈哈大笑,说道:“鳌少保留神。”Oboi was taken aback. ‘Majesty!’ he began to say, when all of a sudden the twelve eunuchs pounced on him from behind. Soon they had his arms twisted behind his back and his body pinned to the ground. Kang Xi gave a loud laugh. ‘Beware, Guardian!’ he cried.鳌拜只道少年皇帝指使小太监试他功夫,微微一笑,双臂分掠,四名小太监跌了出去。他还不敢使力太过,生怕伤了众小监,Oboi was still under the illusion that the young Emperor was testing the eunuchs out, and he gave a slight smile. He wrenched his arms free, and sent four of the eunuchs flying through the air. He was still reluctant to show his full strength, and nervous of causing the eunuchs any actual bodily harm.左腿轻扫,又扫倒了两名,随即哈哈大笑。余下众小监记着皇上“若是输了,十二个人一齐斩首”的话,出尽了吃奶的力气,牢牢抱住他腰腿。He kicked lightly with his left leg and threw a couple more to the ground. He laughed loudly. The remaining eunuchs remembered the Emperor’s words about what would happen to them if they came out the losers, and they clung desperately to his legs.

  韦小宝早已闪在他身后,看准了他太阳穴,狠命一掌。鳌拜只感头脑一阵晕眩,心下微感恼怒:“这些小监儿好生无礼。”左臂倏地扫出,将三个小太监猛推出去,Trinket had meanwhile darted behind Oboi, and he now took aim at the giant’s Greater Yang vital point and struck at it with all his might. Oboi had a sudden sensation of dizziness. ‘These little geldings have a nerve!’ he thought to himself. He swept his left arm outwards and sent three more of them crashing away into the room.转过身来,胸口又吃了韦小宝一拳。韦小宝这两下偷袭,手法算得甚快,但他全无力道,打中的虽是鳌拜的要害之处,却无效用。He spun around. As he did so he took another knock from Trinket. Both times Trinket had caught him unawares, and both times he had managed to land a couple of sharp and well-placed blows. But there was no real strength in them. He had contacted highly sensitive spots, but to little effect.鳌拜见偷袭自己之人竟是皇帝贴身的小太监,隐隐觉得有些不妙,但毕竟不信皇帝是要这些小孩儿来擒拿自己,左掌一伸,往韦小宝右肩按了下去。

  韦小宝使一招“觉后空空”,左掌在鳌拜面前晃了两下。Oboi knew now that his ambusher was the Emperor’s favourite eunuch, and had a sneaking feeling that things were not as innocent as he had been led to believe. But why would the Emperor let loose a pack of mere children against him? He raised his left fist and began to bring it down towards Trinket’s right shoulder. Trinket now used the move known as Void after Enlightenment. First he waved his left fist in front of Oboi’s face,

  鳌拜一低头,砰的一声,胸口已吃了一腿。韦小宝却“啊”的一声叫了出来,原来这一腿踢在他胸口,便如踢中了一堵墙壁一般,自己脚上反是一阵剧痛。鳌拜见他连使杀着,又惊又怒,and Oboi duly lowered his head. Then there was a sharp crack as Trinket’s foot landed on his chest. But it was Trinket who cried out. He felt as if he had made contact with a brick wall. His foot was in agony. Oboi was both surprised and angry to see young Laurel using serious moves against him.混斗之际,也不及去想皇帝是何用意,只想推开众小监的纠缠,先将韦小宝收拾了下来。可是众小监抱腰的抱腰,拉腿的拉腿,摔脱了几名,余下的又扑将上来。

  康熙拍手笑道:“鳌少保,只怕你要输了。”In the heat of the moment he ceased to concern himself with what the Emperor might or might not have been intending. First he must free himself from this swarm of eunuchs. Then he could deal with Laurel. But somehow the eunuchs clung on, some wrapping their arms round his waist, others tugging at his legs; he had no sooner thrown one off, than another flung himself at him again. Kang Xi was clapping his hands and crying with glee: ‘Guardian, you seem to be losing!’鳌拜奋拳正要往韦小宝头顶打落,听得康熙这么说,心道:“原是跟我闹着玩的,怎能跟小孩子们一般见识?”手臂一偏,劲力稍收,拍的一声响,这拳打在韦小宝右肩,只使了一成力。Oboi had been just about to bring his fist down with a crack on Trinket’s head when he heard the Emperor speak. ‘So it’s all for sport after all!’ he thought to himself. ‘Of course! As if these children could really think themselves a match for me!’ As this thought went through his mind he deflected his blow on to Trinket’s right shoulder and withheld some of its force.但他力大无穷,当年战阵中与明军交锋,双手抓起明军官兵四下乱掷,来去如风,当者披靡。It should be remembered how enormous Oboi’s strength was. In past encounters with the Ming army, he had been known to pick up soldiers with his bare hands and hurl them around on the battlefield.韦小宝只马马虎虎的学过几个月武功,又是个小孩,虽有众小监相助,却如何奈得了他?这一拳打将下来,韦小宝一个踉跄,向前摔倒,顺势左肘撞出,正撞在鳌拜腰眼之中。Trinket was a mere child, who barely knew the rudiments of kungfu, and even with this mob of little eunuchs to help him, he simply did not stand a chance. This one blow of Oboi’s sent him straight down on to the floor. As he went down he managed to stick out his left elbow and dig it sharply into Oboi’s midriff.鳌拜笑骂:“你这小娃娃,倒狡猾得很!”右手在韦小宝背上轻轻一推。韦小宝扑地倒了,站起身来,手中已多了一柄匕首,猱向鳌拜扑去。’Why,’ sneered Oboi, ‘you crafty little beggar!’ and chopped lightly on Trinket’s back as he tried to stand up. Trinket went down again with a crash. He stood up again, and this time he had a dagger in his hand. He spun round and leaped at Oboi.

  鳌拜蓦地见到他手中多了一柄明晃晃的刀子,呆了一呆,叫道:“你……你干什么?”韦小宝笑道:“我用刀子,你空手,咱们斗斗!”鳌拜喝道:“快放开刀子,皇上跟前,不得动凶器。”Oboi saw the blade glinting in Trinket’s hand, and stared for a moment in disbelief. ‘What?’ he cried. ‘What’s this?’ Trinket laughed. ‘You can fight bare-handed. Let’s go!’ Tut down the knife!’ cried Oboi. ‘You know it’s forbidden to carry knives in the Emperor’s presence.’韦小宝笑道:“好,放下就放下!”俯身将匕首往靴筒中插去。这时仍有七八个小太监扭住了鳌拜,韦小宝突然向前一跌,似乎立足不住,身子撞向鳌拜,挺刀戳出,想戳他肚子,Trinket laughed again. ‘Fine! I’ll put it down then.’ He stooped, as if to replace the dagger in his boot. As they were speaking, seven or eight of the young eunuchs had got a grip on Oboi. Trinket stumbled straight forward into Oboi, as if he had lost his footing, and as he did so he lunged with the knife, intending to stab him in the stomach.不料鳌拜应变敏捷,迅速异常的一缩,这一刀刺中了他大腿。鳌拜一声怒吼,双手甩脱三名小太监,扠住了韦小宝的脖子。But Oboi was too quick for him. He pulled back, and the knife caught him in the leg. Roaring with fury, Oboi took three of the eunuchs with his bare hands and threw them to the ground. Then he seized Trinket by the scruff of the neck.

  康熙见韦小宝与众小太监抢夺不下鳌拜,势道不对,绕到鳌拜背后,拔出匕首,一刀插入了他背心。鳌拜猛觉背心上微痛,立即背肌一收,康熙这一刀便刺得偏了,未中要害。Kang Xi could see that Trinket and the eunuchs were in serious trouble. He crept round behind Oboi, pulled out his own knife, and stabbed him in the back. The instant Oboi felt the steel against his skin he flinched and drew in his back. This sent the dagger slightly off course, and it failed to do any serious harm.鳌拜顺手掷开韦小宝,犹如旋风般转过身来,眼前一个少年,正是皇帝。He threw Trinket down and whirled round, only to see that his new assailant was none other than the Emperor.

  鳌拜一呆,康熙跃开两步。鳌拜大叫一声,终于明白皇帝要取自己性命,挥拳便向康熙打来。康熙侧身避过。鳌拜抓住两名小监,将他们脑袋对脑袋的一撞,二人登时头骨破裂。Oboi stared at Kang Xi, and Kang Xi leapt back a couple of steps. Oboi let out a great cry, as he finally realized the truth, that the Emperor was plotting to take his life. Flailing his fists in the air, he leapt into the attack. Kang Xi retreated. Oboi seized two of the eunuchs and knocked their heads together, smashing both of their skulls.他跟着左手一拳,直打进一名小监的胸膛,右脚连踢,将四名小监踢得撞上墙壁,一个个筋折骨断,哼也没哼一声,便已死去,接着左足踹在一名抱住他右腿的小监肚上,那小监立时肚破肠裂。他霎时之间连杀八人,余下四名小监都吓得呆了,不知如何是好。At the same time he dealt another of the eunuchs a sharp punch in the chest, and kicked out with his right foot, sending four others tumbling back towards the wall, their sinews torn, their bones broken. Without so much as uttering a cry, they fell dead to the ground. Another eunuch still clung to Oboi’s right leg, and Oboi began stamping on him. The eunuch’s stomach burst open and his innards spilt on to the floor. In a matter of seconds Oboi had sent eight opponents to their deaths. The remaining four eunuchs just stood there staring in helpless terror.

  韦小宝手挺匕首,向他扑去。鳌拜左拳直击而出。韦小宝只感一股劲风扑面而至,气也喘不过来,挥匕首向他手臂插落。鳌拜手臂微斜,避过匕首,随即挥拳击出,打中韦小宝左肩。韦小宝身子飞出,掠过书桌,一交摔在香炉上,登时炉灰飞扬。Trinket now came at him again, dagger in hand. Oboi struck at him with his left fist. Trinket sensed that the blow coming at him had the force of a thunderbolt. He did not even have time to take a breath. He lunged at Oboi’s arm with the dagger. Oboi dodged, and brought his fist down heavily on Trinket’s left shoulder, sending him catapulting over the desk. He landed on the brazier that stood on the floor beyond the table, and the ashes went flying up into the air.

  康熙始终十分沉着,使开“八卦游龙掌”和鳌拜游斗,但康熙在这路掌法上的造诣颇为有限,更遇到了鳌拜这等天生神勇的猛将,实在并无多大用处。鳌拜被他打中两掌,毫不在乎,左脚踢出,正中康熙右腿。康熙站立不定,向前伏倒。Kang Xi had been watching all of this in silence. Now he decided to try his Roving Dragon technique against Oboi. But Kang Xi was a novice in this style, whereas Oboi was a veteran and a ferocious fighter. Kang Xi managed to get home a couple of blows, but they seemed to have no effect. Oboi kicked out with his left foot and struck Kang Xi on the right leg, bringing him crashing down to the floor.

  鳌拜吼声如雷,大呼:“大伙儿一起死了罢!”双拳往他头顶擂落。康熙和韦小宝扭打日久,斗室中应变的身法甚是熟练迅捷,眼见鳌拜拳到,当即一个打滚,滚到了书桌底下。’Die one, die all!’ bellowed Oboi, and as he did so he brought down both of his fists with a great thundering smash towards Kang Xi’s head. Luckily, in this instance Kang Xi’s months of sparring with Trinket paid off. He dodged skilfully, escaped the oncoming blow, and rolled under the desk.

  鳌拜左腿飞起,踢开书桌,右腿连环,又待往康熙身上踢去,突然间尘灰飞扬,双眼中都是细灰。鳌拜哇哇大叫,双手往眼中乱揉,右腿在身前飞快踢出,生恐敌人乘机来攻。Oboi came after him, kicking the desk away with his left leg. He circled his right leg and was about to land a direct kick on Kang Xi’s body, when a great cloud of ash exploded into the air and blew directly into his eyes. Oboi began howling and rubbing his eyes wildly with both hands. He continued to kick out frantically with his right foot, afraid that his enemy would use this occasion to counter-attack.原来韦小宝见事势紧急,从香炉中抓起两把炉灰,向鳌拜撒去。v香灰甚细,一落入鳌拜双眼,立时散开。鳌拜蓦地里左臂上一痛,却是韦小宝投掷匕首,刺不中他胸口要害,却插入了他手臂。The fine particles of ash worked their way quickly into Oboi’s eyes. The next thing Oboi felt was a sharp pain in his left arm. Trinket had flung his dagger at the man’s chest, but had missed his target.这时书房中桌翻凳倒,乱成一团,韦小宝见鳌拜背后有张椅子,正是皇帝平时所坐的龙椅,当即奋力端起青铜香炉,跳上龙椅,对准了鳌拜后脑,奋力砸落。By now the Upper Library was in complete chaos, with chairs and tables lying higgledy-piggledy all over the floor. Trinket spotted one chair right behind Oboi–it was in fact Kang Xi’s Dragon chair, and it was upright! He grabbed the brazier, leapt up on to the chair, took aim, and brought the full weight of the brazier smashing down on the back of Oboi’s head.这香炉是唐代之物,少说也有三十来斤重,鳌拜目不见物,难以闪避,砰的一声响,正中头顶。鳌拜身子一晃,摔倒在地,晕了过去。香炉破裂,鳌拜居然头骨不碎。This brazier was almost a thousand years old. It was an antique of the Tang dynasty, and weighed at least thirty catties. Blinded by the ash, Oboi was unable to see it coming, and it landed on his head with an almighty crash. He tottered and fell to the ground unconscious. The brazier lay shattered. Oboi’s great head remained intact.

  康熙大喜,叫道:“小桂子,真有你的。”他早已备下牛筋和绳索,忙在倒翻了的书桌抽屉中取将出来,和韦小宝两人合力,把鳌拜手足都绑住了。韦小宝已吓得全身都是冷汗,手足发抖,抽绳索也使不出力气,和康熙两人你瞧瞧我,我瞧瞧你,都是喜悦不胜。Kang Xi was ecstatic. ‘Laurie!’ he cried. ‘You’ve saved us all!’ He fumbled about in the drawers of his desk and pulled out some lengths of leather and rope, which he had put there in advance. Then he and Trinket between them bound Oboi’s hands and feet. Trinket was now in a cold sweat and trembling too violently to get a proper grip on the rope. He and Kang Xi looked at each other, speechless with joy and excitement.

  鳌拜不多时便即醒转,大叫:“我是忠臣,我无罪!这般阴谋害我,我死也不服。”

  韦小宝喝道:“你造反!带了刀子来到上书房,罪该万死。”Oboi soon came round and began shouting: ‘I’m a loyal subject! I’ve done no wrong! This is a wicked plot against me! I’ll never give in! I’ll fight to the death!’ Traitor!’ cried Trinket in return. ‘Coming into the Emperor’s Upper Library with a knife! You deserve to die a thousand times over!’

  鳌拜叫道:“我没带刀子!”韦小宝喝道:“你身上明明不是带着两把刀子?背上一把,手臂上一把,还敢说没带刀?”韦小宝强辞夺理,鳌拜怎辩得他过?何况鳌拜头顶给铜香炉重重一砸,背上和臂上分别插了一刀,虽非致命,却也受伤不轻,情急之下,只是气急败坏的大叫大嚷。’I never brought a knife!’ protested Oboi. ‘No!’ crowed Trinket. ‘Not one, but two–the one in your back, and the one in your arm! Try denying that!’ Oboi was really in no state to argue with Trinket. What with the brazier, and the two knife wounds, he was in no state to do anything more than huff and puff and cry out in protest.

  康熙见十二名小太监中死剩四人,说道:“你们都亲眼瞧见了,鳌拜这厮犯上作乱,竟想杀我。”Kang Xi turned to the four eunuchs who were still alive, and said to them: ‘You all saw it with your own eyes, didn’t you? This traitor Oboi tried to take my life!’四个小监惊魂未定,脸如土色,有一人连称:“是,是!”其余三人却一句话也说不出来。康熙道:“你们出去,宣我旨意,召康亲王杰书和索额图二人进来。刚才的事,一句话也不许提起,若有泄漏风声,小心你们的脑袋。”四名小监答应了出去。The four eunuchs stood there ashen-faced, still greatly shaken by their recent brush with death. One of them managed to pipe: ‘Yes! Yes!’ But the other three stood there in silence. ‘You can go now,’ ordered Kang Xi. ‘I want you to send for Prince Kang and Songgotu. Tell them both to report to me immediately. Not a word of what has just taken place in this room! If any one of you breathes a word of it, I’ll have his head off!’ The eunuchs retreated in obedience.

  鳌拜兀自大叫:“冤枉,冤枉!皇上亲手杀我顾命大臣,先帝得知,必不饶你!”

  康熙脸色沉了下来,道:“想个法儿,叫他不能胡说!”

  韦小宝应道:“是!”Oboi continued to cry out: ‘Justice! Justice! The Emperor himself has tried to take the life of his loyal subject! The Lord above will be my witness! The Lord will not spare you!’ Kang Xi frowned. ‘Laurie, find a way of stopping up this man’s mouth!’ he cried. ‘Yes, I will,’ said Trinket.走过去伸出左手,捏住了鳌拜的鼻子。鳌拜张口透气,韦小宝右手拔下他臂上的匕首,往他口中乱刺数下,在地下抓起两把香灰,硬塞在他嘴里。He stepped forward and took hold of Oboi’s nose with his left hand, pinching it between his fingers. Oboi immediately opened his mouth to take a breath, whereupon Trinket with his right hand drew the dagger from Oboi’s arm and rammed the handle of it down his throat several times. Then he took a couple of handfuls of ash from the brazier and stuffed them down Oboi’s throat.鳌拜喉头荷荷几声,几乎呼吸停闭,哪里还说得出话来?韦小宝又拔下他背上的匕首,将一双匕首并排插在书桌上,自己守在鳌拜身旁,倘若见他稍有异动,立即便拔匕首戳他几刀。Oboi began choking noisily, and was only able to breathe with the greatest of difficulty. Then Trinket drew the other dagger from his shoulder and stuck both daggers into the top of Kang Xi’s desk. He himself stood beside Oboi, watching over him, ready to plunge both daggers into him again at the slightest sign of any movement.

  康熙眼见大事已定,心下甚喜,见到鳌拜雄壮的身躯和满脸血污的狰狞神情,不由得暗自惊惧,又觉适才之举实在太过鲁莽,Kang Xi was enormously relieved to see that the situation was now under control. But as he looked at Oboi’s great brawny body and his bloodstreaked face, he couldn’t help experiencing a secret shudder of fear. It really had been a very rash plan.只道自己和小桂子学了这许久武艺,两人合力,再加上十二名练过摔交的小太监,定可收拾得了鳌拜,哪知道遇上真正的勇士,几名小孩子毫无用处,而自己和小桂子的武艺,只怕也并不怎么高明,若不是小桂子使计,此刻自己已被鳌拜杀了。He, and Laurel with his smattering of kungfu, had been foolish enough to think they could take on Oboi, with nothing more to help them than twelve young eunuchs! They had discovered him to be every bit the Champion he was reputed to be. If it had not been for Laurel’s little ruse, he himself might now be lying dead at Oboi’s hands.这厮一不做、二不休,多半还会去加害太皇太后和皇太后。朝中大臣和宫中侍卫都是他的亲信,这厮倘若另立幼君,无人敢问他的罪。想到此处,不由得打了个寒噤。And who knows, the villain might have gone on to harm the Empress Dowager. All the great Ministers of Court and the Palace Guard were Oboi’s men. If Oboi had wished to set another infant Emperor on the throne, no one would have dared oppose him. This thought sent another shudder down Kang Xi’s spine.

  等了好一会,四名小监宣召康亲王和索额图进来。二人一进上书房,眼见死尸狼藉,遍地血污,这一惊实是非同小可,立即跪下连连磕头,齐声道:“皇上万福金安。”After a little while Prince Kang and Songgotu arrived in answer to the Emperor’s summons. When they entered the Upper Library and saw the tangled pile of dead bodies and blood, the two nobles were appalled. They fell to their knees at once and began performing the kowtow, crying: ‘Health and long life to Your Majesty!’康熙道:“鳌拜大逆不道,携刀入宫,胆敢向朕行凶。幸好祖宗保祐,尚膳监小监小桂子会同众监,力拒凶逆,将其擒住。如何善后,你们瞧着办罢。”’Lord Oboi,’ replied Kang Xi, ‘dared to rebel against me. He brought weapons with him into the Palace, wishing to harm my person. Luckily my ancestors have protected me, and the young eunuch Laurel and other young eunuchs defended me against this vicious attack. They have taken the man captive. I now call on you to advise me what best course of action to follow.’康亲王和索额图向来和鳌拜不睦,受其排挤已久,陡见宫中生此大变,又惊又喜,再向皇帝请安,自陈疏于防范,罪过重大,幸得皇帝洪福齐天,百神呵护,鳌拜凶谋得以不逞。Neither Prince Kang nor Songgotu had been on good terms with Oboi. In fact they had long been at the receiving end of his bullying. This sudden turn of events both surprised and pleased them. Having once more prayed for the Emperor’s long life, they bewailed their own negligence that had led to this dire state of affairs, and thanked providence that the Emperor had been able to deal with the situation with such dispatch and nip the conspiracy in the bud.

  康熙道:“行刺之事,你们不必向外人提起,以免太皇太后和皇太后受惊,传了出去,反惹汉官和百姓们笑话。鳌拜这厮罪大恶极,就无今日之事,也早已罪不容诛。”Kang Xi spoke: ‘I want no word of this attempt on my life to go beyond these walls. I don’t want to alarm the Empress Dowager. Besides, if news of this were to get out, I would be mocked by the Chinese officials and by the common people. Oboi is a villain. Even without today’s crime, he would have deserved severe punishment.’

  康亲王和索额图都磕头道:“是,是!”心下都暗暗怀疑:“鳌拜这厮天生神勇,是我满洲第一勇士,真要行刺皇上,怎能为几名小太监所擒?这中间定然另有别情。”Prince Kang and Songgotu knocked their heads on the ground. ‘Yes, Sire! Yes, Sire!’ But secretly they were thinking to themselves: ‘Oboi is a mighty warrior. He is the Manchu Champion. If he had really wished to assassinate the Emperor, how would a few eunuchs have been able to stop him? There must be more to this than meets the eye.’好在二人巴不得重重处分鳌拜,有什么内情不必多问,何况皇帝这么说,又有谁胆敢多问一句?But they were only too pleased to be able to get hold of Oboi, and were not unduly anxious to enquire into the facts. Besides, the Emperor had given his orders. Who were they to question them?

  康亲王道:“启奏皇上:鳌拜这厮党羽甚多,须得一网成擒,以防另有他变。让索大人在这里护驾,不可有半步离开圣驾。奴才去下传旨意,将鳌拜的党羽都抓了起来。圣意以为如何?”’Your Majesty,’ began Prince Kang. ‘Many people are in league with this villain Oboi–they must all be rounded up at once, to forestall any further trouble. I request that His Excellency Songgotu remain here to protect Your Majesty. He must not leave you unattended for an instant. I shall proceed with the arrest of all of Oboi’s associates. What does Your Majesty think of this?’康熙点头道:“很好!”康亲王退了出去。索额图细细打量小桂子,说道:“小公公,你今日护驾之功,可当真不小啊。”Kang Xi nodded. ‘Very good!’ Whereupon Prince Kang immediately withdrew. Songgotu now looked at Laurel, sizing him up carefully, and said: ‘You have done very well indeed, young Goong-goong, in protecting the person of His Majesty today.’

  小桂子道:“那是皇上的福气,咱们做奴才的有什么功劳?”’His Majesty was his own protector,’ protested Trinket. ‘Heaven has blessed him. He had no need of my paltry efforts.’

  康熙见韦小宝并不居功,对适才这番激斗更只字不提,甚感喜欢,暗想自己亲自出手,在鳌拜背上插了一刀,此事如果传了出去,颇失为人君的风度。又想:“小桂子今天的功劳大得无以复加,可说是救了我的性命。可惜他是个太监,不论我怎么提拔,也总是个太监。祖宗定下严规,不许太监干政,看来只有多赏他些银子了。”Kang Xi was indeed grateful to Laurel for not having divulged too many details of the recent ‘operation’. His own act in stabbing Oboi in the back was hardly the sort of thing people would consider proper for an incumbent of the Dragon Throne. ‘Why,’ he thought to himself, ‘today Laurel has proved himself to be a real treasure. He has saved my life! What a pity he is a eunuch. However high I may wish to promote him, I won’t be allowed to. I suppose all I can do is to reward him with money.’

  康亲王办事十分迅速,过不多时,已领了几名亲信的王公大臣齐来请安,回禀说鳌拜的羽党已大部成擒,宫中原有侍卫均已奉旨出宫,不留一人,请皇上另派领内侍卫大臣,另选亲信侍卫护驾。Prince Kang acted swiftly. He returned shortly afterwards to report that Oboi’s close associates had all been arrested. Not one of the original Palace Guards had been kept on, they had all been sent off on duty outside the Forbidden City. He requested the Emperor to appoint a new Guard.康熙甚喜,说道:“办得很妥当!”几名亲王、贝勒、文武大臣见到上书房中八名小太监被鳌拜打得脑盖碎裂、肠穿骨断的惨状,无不惊骇,齐声痛骂鳌拜大逆不道。Kang Xi was very pleased. ‘You have done well,’ he said. By now there were several Princes of the First and Second Degree and prominent civil and military officials gathered in the Upper Library. They were appalled at the terrible mess–dead eunuchs with their brains spilled on the floor and their guts bulging out of their stomachs–and cursed Oboi for a wicked villain.当下刑部尚书亲自将鳌拜押了下去收禁。王公大臣们说了许多恭颂圣安的话,便要退出去商议,如何定鳌拜之罪。Shortly afterwards the President of the Board of Punishments himself took charge of Oboi’s detention and had him led away to the dungeons. The Princes and Ministers respectfully took their leave and withdrew to consult amongst themselves how best to deal with Oboi.

  康亲王杰书禀承康熙之意,嘱咐众人道:“皇上仁孝,不欲杀戮太众,惊动了太皇太后和皇太后,因此鳌拜大逆不道之事,不必暴之于朝,只须将他平素把持政事、横蛮不法的罪状,一桩桩的列出来便是。”王公大臣齐声称颂圣德。Prince Kang communicated to them the Emperor’s own instructions. ‘His Majesty is a person of great benevolence and filial devotion. He does not wish to see many innocent people die as a result of this incident, nor does he wish to alarm the Empress Dowager unnecessarily. He has therefore decided not to make public Lord Oboi’s wicked treason. He will only charge him with attempting to monopolize power and to intimidate others.’ The Princes and Ministers were unanimous in their praise of the Emperor’s wisdom.

  行刺皇帝,非同小可,鳌拜固然要凌迟处死,连他全族老幼妇孺,以及同党的家人、族人,无一能够幸免,这一件大案办下来,牵累一广,少说也要死数千之众。The attempted assassination of the Emperor was indeed a very serious offence, and for this Oboi would undoubtedly have had to pay the penalty of death by the Slow Process. In addition to this his entire clan, old and young, and all of his associates and their clans, would have been put to death. The whole thing would probably have involved several thousand people.康熙虽恨鳌拜跋扈,却也不愿乱加罪名于他头上,更不愿累及无辜。

  康熙亲政时日已经不短,但一切大小政务,向来都由鳌拜处决,However much Kang Xi disliked Oboi, he was not willing to go to these lengths, or to implicate so many others in the villain’s downfall. Kang Xi himself had not held the reins of power for very long and every one of his actions had until now been vetted by Oboi.朝中官员一直只听鳌拜的话办事,今日拿了鳌拜,见王公大臣的神色忽然不同,对自己恭顺敬畏得多。康熙直到此刻,方知为君之乐,又向韦小宝瞧了一眼,见他缩在一角,一言不发,心想:“这小子不多说话,乖觉得很。”All the officials at Court had always taken their orders from Oboi. Now that Oboi had been arrested Kang Xi noticed how quickly the Princes and Ministers changed their tune. For the first time he was tasting the true joy of being a ruler. He looked over towards Trinket and saw him sitting huddled quietly in a corner. The boy’s silence had been most discreet, he thought to himself.

  众大臣退出去后,索额图道:“皇上,上书房须得好好打扫,是否请皇上移驾,到寝宫休息?”康熙点点头,由康亲王和索额图伴向寝宫。韦小宝不知是否该当跟去,正踌躇间,康熙向他点了点头,道:“你跟我来。”When the other Ministers had left, Songgotu spoke to Kang Xi: ‘Majesty, we must restore order in the Upper Library. May I request that Your Majesty withdraws to your quarters to rest.’ Kang Xi nodded his head, and Prince Kang and Songgotu prepared to escort the Emperor to his personal quarters in the Palace. Trinket did not know whether he should go too. As he was hesitating, Kang Xi nodded to him and told him to follow.

  康亲王和索额图在寝宫外数百步处便已告辞。皇宫的内院,除了后妃公主、太监宫女之外,外臣向来不得涉足。The Empress Dowager Prince Kang and Songgotu took their leave of the Emperor several hundred paces before he reached his personal quarters, that inner sanctum where ordinary officials of the Court were not allowed, only the various Imperial consorts, eunuchs, and maids-in-waiting.

  韦小宝跟着康熙进内,本来料想皇帝的寝宫定是金碧辉煌,到处镶满了翡翠白玉,墙壁上的夜明珠少说也有二三千颗,晚上不用点灯。Trinket went on in with Kang Xi. He had always imagined the Emperor’s sleeping quarters to be a place of absolute luxury and splendour, gilded with gold and studded with precious stones, with so many lustrous pearls suspended on the walls that there would never be need of lamps at night.哪知进了寝宫,也不过是一间寻常屋子,只被褥枕头之物都是黄绸所制、绣以龙凤花纹而已,一见之下,大失所望,心道:“比我们扬州丽春院中的房间,可也神气不了多少。”To his surprise he found it to be rather an ordinary room, apart from the bedding and coverlets, which were of yellow silk, embroidered with dragons and phoenixes. Trinket was greatly disappointed. ‘Why,’ he thought to himself, ‘this place isn’t even up to the standard of some of the top rooms at Mum’s whore-house in Yangzhou!’

  康熙喝了宫女端上来的一碗参汤,吁了口长气,说道:“小桂子,跟我去见皇太后。”其时康熙尚未大婚,寝宫和皇太后所居慈宁宫相距不远。One of the ladies-in-waiting brought Kang Xi a bowl of ginseng soup and he drank it down and let out a long breath. ‘Laurel,’ he said, ‘come with me and we’ll go and speak with the Empress Dowager.’ At this time Kang Xi was still unmarried, and his sleeping quarters were not far from the Imperial residence of the Empress Dowager, the compound known as the Hall of Maternal Tranquillity.

  到得皇太后的寝宫,康熙自行入内,命韦小宝在门外相候。韦小宝等了良久,无聊起来,When they reached the Empress Dowager’s quarters, Kang Xi went on ahead, telling Trinket to wait for him outside the door. Trinket waited there a long time, and was beginning to feel bored.心想:“我学了海老公教的‘大慈大悲千叶手’,皇上学了‘八卦游龙掌’,可是今儿跟鳌拜打架,什么千叶手、游龙掌全不管用,还是靠我小白龙韦小宝出到撒香灰、砸香炉的下三滥手段,这才大功告成。那些武功再学下去也没什么好玩了,在皇宫中老是假装太监,向小玄子磕头,也气闷得很。鳌拜已经拿了,小玄子也没什么要我帮忙了。明日我就溜出宫去,再也不回来啦。”’All that time I’ve spent practising Old Hai’s kungfu,’ he thought to himself, ‘and Misty’s put in a lot of effort too, and there we were today face to face with Oboi, and none of it was the slightest use. The only thing that worked was my trick with the incense brazier. What’s the point of learning any more kungfu–it’s all a waste of time! It’s no fun either. Here I am in the Palace, pretending to be a eunuch, and knocking my head on the ground every time the Emperor goes by. It’s just boring the pants off me! Now that he’s got Oboi locked up, old Misty won’t need me any more. Tomorrow I might as well run away and never come back.’

  他正在思量如何出宫,一名太监走了出来,笑道:“桂兄弟,皇太后命你进去磕头。”韦小宝肚中暗骂:“他奶奶的,又要磕头!你辣块妈妈的皇太后干么不向老子磕头?”He was just wondering to himself how best to get out of the Palace, when a eunuch came up to him and said in a friendly tone: ‘Laurel, Her Majesty the Empress Dowager commands me to bring you into her presence. You are to kowtow before her.’ Tamardy!’ muttered Trinket silently to himself. “Damn! Hot mother’s! More head-knocking! If I had my way this old bag of an Empress Dowager would be knocking her head for me!’恭恭敬敬的答应:“是!”跟着那太监走了进去。穿过两重院子后,那太监隔着门帷道:“回太后,小桂子见驾。”轻轻掀开门帷,将嘴努了努。But what he said (and in a most respectful tone) was: ‘Yes! At once!’ And off he went, following the eunuch. They made their way through two courtyards and came to a doorway, where the eunuch annnounced: ‘Your Majesty! Presenting Laurel!’ As he said this, he held up the door-curtain and pulled a face at Trinket.

  韦小宝走进门去,迎面又是一道帘子。这帘子全是珍珠穿成,发出柔和的光芒。一名宫女拉开珠帘。韦小宝低头进去,微抬眼皮,只见一个三十岁左右的贵妇坐在椅中,康熙靠在她的身旁,自然便是皇太后了,当即跪下磕头。Trinket walked in, There before him hung another blind, made entirely of strung pearls, shimmering lustrously in the half light. A lady-in-waiting lifted this aside and Trinket lowered his head and went on in. He squinted ahead of him and caught sight of a noble-looking lady of about thirty years of age, sitting on a chair, with Kang Xi standing at her side. This he assumed to be the Empress Dowager. He fell to his knees at once to kowtow.

  皇太后微笑点了点头,道:“起来!”待韦小宝站起,说道:“听皇帝说,今日擒拿叛臣鳌拜,你立了好大的功劳。”

  韦小宝道:“回太后:奴才只知道赤胆忠心,保护主子。皇上吩咐怎么办,奴才便奉旨办事。奴才年纪小,什么都不懂的。”The lady smiled and nodded her head. ‘Arise!’ she said graciously. Then, as Trinket rose to his feet, she went on: ‘His Majesty tells me that today you have helped him to arrest the traitor Oboi, and that you have shown yourself to be a most devoted subject. ‘Your Majesty,’ said Trinket, ‘I am the Emperor’s most loyal servant. His word is my command. 1 am young and ignorant.’他在皇宫中只几个月,但赌钱时听得众太监说起宫里和朝廷的规矩,一一记在心里,知道做主子最忌奴才居功,你功劳越大,越是要装得没半点功劳,主子这才喜欢,Trinket had not been in the Forbidden City for more than a few months, but he had picked up quite a lot of the Court jargon, especially at his gambling sessions, where he had had ample opportunity to listen to his fellow eunuchs. The one thing that rulers seemed to like least, he had noticed, was when their subjects took the slightest credit for anything they had done. The rule seemed to be that the more you did the less credit you should appear to take. This kept the masters happy.假使稍有骄矜之色,说不定便有杀身之祸,至于惹得主子憎厌,不加宠幸,自是不在话下。Any sign of pride would certainly lead to an instant fall. It would undoubtedly bring about the termination of Imperial favour.

  他这样回答,皇太后果然很是喜欢,说道:“你小小年纪,倒也懂事,比那做了少保、封了一等超武公的鳌拜还强。孩儿,你说咱们赏他些什么?”The Empress Dowager certainly seemed very pleased with his remarks. ‘You may be young,’ she said, ‘but you seem wise beyond your years.’ She turned to Kang Xi: ‘My child, how should we reward this eunuch? ‘康熙道:“请太后吩咐罢。”???皇太后沉吟道:“你在尚膳监,还没品级罢?海大富海监是五品,赏你个六品的品级,升为首领太监,就在皇上身边侍候好了!”She pondered a wnue. ‘Tell me,’ she said, ‘in the Imperial Catering Department, you still have no rank–am I right? And Old Hai Dafu, I seem to recall, is a eunuch of the fifth rank. I am going to appoint you eunuch of the sixth rank, and I am going to promote you to the position of Senior Eunuch Attendant upon His Majesty.’韦小宝心道:“辣块妈妈的六品七品,就是给我做一品太监,老子也不做。”脸上却堆满笑容,跪下磕头,道:“谢皇太后恩典,谢皇上恩典。”’Blimey!’ thought Trinket silently to himself. ‘What the hot-piece of tamardy mother’s is all this about? Sixth, seventh, fifth–I dunno, it’s all the same to me. All I know is I never really wanted to be a eunuch in the first place.’ But although he was thinking these thoughts his face was wreathed in smiles, and he fell to one knee again and knocked his head on the ground, saying: ‘Your Majesty, I deeply appreciate this great favour. I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.’ ‘Or heart of my bottom . . .’ his private thoughts ran on.

  清宫定例,宫中总管太监共十四人,副总管八人,首领太监一百八十九人,太监则无定额,Now Court regulations stipulated that there should be no more than fourteen Eunuch Managers, eight Eunuch Assistant Managers, and a hundred and eighty-nine Senior Eunuchs. There was no limit on the number of ordinary eunuchs.清初千余人,自后增至二千余人。有职司的太监最高四品,最低八品,普通太监则无品级。韦小宝从无品级的太监一跃而升为六品,在宫中算得是少有的殊荣了。At the beginning of the Manchu dynasty there had been over a thousand of these, but this had gradually swollen to over two thousand. Eunuchs entrusted with official positions ranged from fourth grade down to eighth grade in the official hierarchy, whereas ordinary eunuchs belonged to no grade at all. So in other words Trinket had been catapulted from being a eunuch with no grade whatsoever to being a senior eunuch of the sixth grade. Such a meteoric promotion was without precedent in the Palace.

  皇太后点了点头,道:“好好的尽心办事。”韦小宝连称:“是,是!”站起身来,倒退出去。The Empress Dowager nodded her head and said: ‘Perform your duties diligently.’ ‘I will, Your Majesty, I will.’ Trinket rose to his feet again and began to withdraw backwards from the chamber.宫女掀起珠帘时,韦小宝偷偷向皇太后瞧了一眼,只见她脸色极白,目光炯炯,但眉头微蹙,似乎颇有愁色,又好像在想什么心事,As the ladies-in-waiting lifted up the pearl-strung blind, he stole a quick last glance at the Empress Dowager. Her complexion was very pale, and her eyes glistened. There were lines on her forehead, as if her thoughts were troubled by grief, as if she was preoccupied with some secret matter of her own.寻思:“她身为皇太后,还有什么不开心的?啊,是了,她死了老公。就算是皇太后,死了老公,总不会开心。”’She’s the Empress Dowager,’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘What’s she got to be unhappy about? Oh, I know, it must be because her old man’s dead. Even an Empress Dowager needs an old man.’他回到住处,将这一天的事都跟海老公说了。海老公竟然没半分惊诧之意,淡淡的道:“算来也该在这两天动手的了。皇上的耐心,可比先帝好得多。”Trinket returned to his quarters and related the dramatic events of the day to Old Hai, who seemed not the slightest bit surprised. ‘I thought as much,’ he commented in a matter-of-fact tone. ‘It was bound to happen sooner or later. His Majesty has shown a great deal more patience than the Late Emperor.’韦小宝大奇,问道:“公公,你早知道了?”海老公道:“我怎会知道?我是早在猜想。皇上学摔交,还说是小孩子好玩,但要三十名小太监也都学摔交,学来干什么?皇上自己又用心学那‘八卦游龙掌’,自然另有用意了。Trinket found this very strange. ‘Goong-goong,’ he asked, ‘did you know about this beforehand?’ ‘How could I have known about it?’ said Old Hai. ‘I simply guessed. One thing I knew: the Emperor was learning those wrestling moves for a purpose. It wasn’t just for fun. Then those junior eunuchs he had practising, and the Eight Trigrams of the Roving Dragon he started working on–there was clearly a purpose behind all of that. ‘大慈大悲千叶手’和‘八卦游龙掌’这两路武功,倘若十年八年的下来,当真学到了家,两人合力,或许能对付得了鳌拜。可是这么半吊子的学上两三个月,又有什么用?唉,少年人胆子大,不知天高地厚,今日的事情,可凶险得很哪。”If the two of you had been able to combine his Roving Dragon and your Merciful Guanyin styles and put eight or nine years of practice into it, then you might possibly have been able to defeat Lord Oboi. But not after two or three months! Young people are like that–they go rushing in. Today’s undertaking was highly dangerous.’

  韦小宝侧头瞧着海老公,心中充满了惊佩:“这老乌龟瞎了一双眼睛,却什么事情都预先见到了。”Trinket looked at Old Hai out of the corner of his eye. He was secretly brimming with admiration for the old boy. The Old Turtle may be blind in both eyes, but he knows what’s going on before it’s even happened!’

  海老公问道:“皇上带你去见了皇太后罢?”韦小宝道:“是!”心想:“你又知道了。”’Did His Majesty take you to meet the Empress Dowager?’ ‘Yes, he did.’ As he answered Trinket thought to himself: ‘He knew about that too!’海老公道:“皇太后赏了你些什么?”韦小宝道:“也没赏什么,只是给了我个六品的衔头,升作了首领太监。”海老公笑了笑,道:“好啊,只比我低了一级。我从小太监升到首领太监,足足熬了十三年时光。”’What did she give you for a reward?’ ‘Oh, nothing really,’ said Trinket, embarrassed. ‘She just. . . made me … a sixth-grade eunuch.’ Old Hai laughed. ‘Not bad! Just one grade below me. It took me thirteen years to get that far.’

  韦小宝心想:“这几日我就要走啦。你教了我不少武功,我却毒瞎了你一双眼睛,未免有点对你不住,本该将那几部经书偷了来给你,偏偏又偷不到。”Trinket was thinking to himself: ‘I’ll be gone in a few days. You taught me all that kungfu, and all I’ve done for you is blind you in both eyes. I wish there was something I could do for you. I feel I owe you something. I meant to steal that book, but somehow up to now I haven’t been able to.’海老公道:“你今日立了这场大功,此后出入上书房更加容易……”韦小宝道:“是啊,要借那《四十二章经》是更加容易了。公公,你眼睛不大方便,却要这部经书有什么用?”Even as he was thinking, Old Hai said: ‘What you have done today will stand you in good stead. It will make it easier for you now to get into the Upper Library and–‘ ‘Yes!’ cried Trinket. ‘I’ll be able to get hold of that Sutra for you much more easily now! Goong-goong, you’re having trouble with your eyes–if you can’t really see properly, what do you want a Sutra for?’海老公幽幽的道:“是啊,我眼睛瞎了,看不到经书,你……你却可读给我听啊,你一辈子陪着我,就……就一辈子读这《四十二章经》给我听……”说着突然剧烈的咳嗽起来。’Ah!’ said Old Hai, darkly. ‘You can always read it to me . . . You can stay with me for the rest of my days and read to me from the Sutra … I can listen–‘ Suddenly as he was speaking he started coughing violently.

  韦小宝见了他弯腰大咳的模样,不由得起了怜悯之意:“这老……老头儿真是古怪。”本来在心里一直叫他“老乌龟”的,这时却有些不忍。

  这一晚海老公始终咳嗽不停,韦小宝便在睡梦之中,也不时听到他的咳声。Watching him all bent double and coughing, Trinket couldn’t help feeling sorry for the old man. ‘What a weird old fellow he is!’ he thought to himself. Previously he had always thought of him as the Old Turtle, but somehow he could not bring himself to think of him like that any more. Old Hai did not stop coughing all evening. And all night long Trinket seemed to hear him wheezing, even in his dreams.

  次日韦小宝到上书房去侍候,只见书房外的守卫全已换了新人。The following day Trinket went to the Upper Library to wait upon the Emperor. He found a new contingent of guards on duty outside.

  康熙来到书房,康亲王杰书和索额图进来启奏,说道会同王公大臣,已查明鳌拜大罪一共三十款。康熙颇感意外,道:“三十款?有这么多?”Kang Xi arrived, and Prince Kang and Songgotu came in to deliver their report. In consultation with the Princes of the Blood and with other senior Ministers of the Realm they had compiled a list of thirty serious crimes committed by Oboi. Kang Xi seemed rather taken aback by this. Thirty? As many as that?’康亲王道:“鳌拜罪孽深重,原不止这三十款,只是奴才们秉承皇上圣意,从宽究治。”康熙道:“这就是了,哪三十款?”’Yes,’ replied Prince Kang, ‘his misdeeds were many and far-reaching. In fact there were more than thirty. But we were mindful of Your Majesty’s desire to show clemency.’ ‘Very well,’ said Kang Xi. ‘So tell me, what were they?’

  康亲王取出一张白纸,念道:“鳌拜欺君擅权,罪一。引用奸党,罪二。结党议政,罪三。聚货养奸,Prince Kang took out a sheet of paper and began to read from it.’Item One: That the Duke Oboi did deceive his Sovereign and abuse his powers; ‘Item Two: That he did enter into a conspiratorial association; ‘Item Three: That he formed his own rebel clique;罪四。巧饰供词,罪五。擅起马尔赛等先帝不用之人,罪六。擅杀苏克萨哈等,罪七。擅杀苏纳海等,罪八。偏护本旗,将地更换,罪九。轻慢圣母,罪十。”’Item Four: That he amassed wealth to further his own ends; ‘Item Five: That he falsified evidence; ‘Item Six: That he promoted evil men such as Marsai, whose like the Late Emperor did not employ; ‘Item Seven: That he was responsible for the death of Suksaha; ‘Item Eight: That he was responsible for the death of Sonahai and others; ‘Item Nine: That he sought to take land unlawfully and thereby to enrich his own Banner; ‘Item Ten:他一条条的读下去,直读到第三十条大罪是:“以人之坟墓,有碍伊家风水,勒令迁移。”康熙道:“原来鳌拜这厮做下了这许多坏事,你们拟了什么刑罚?”That he did treat the Empress Dowager with a lack of respect.’ He continued reading through the list of charges, until he came to the final and thirtieth charge, which was that Oboi had caused another person’s grave to be illegally moved, so as to improve the geomantic aspect of his own house. ‘What a catalogue of crimes!’ exclaimed Kang Xi. Tell me, what punishment have you proposed for him?’康亲王道:“鳌拜罪大恶极,本当凌迟处死,臣等体念皇上圣意宽仁,拟革职斩决。其同党必隆、班布尔善、阿思哈等一体斩决。”To this Prince Kang replied: ‘Oboi’s crimes deserve nothing less than the supreme penalty of Lingering Death. But we have borne in mind Your Majesty’s desire for leniency and so we are merely proposing that he be stripped of his office, and decapitated. Other members of his group, such as Ebilun, and Bambursan, and Asahe, should all be executed likewise.’康熙沉吟道:“鳌拜虽然罪重,但他是顾命大臣,效力年久,可免其一死,革职拘禁,永不释放,抄没他的家产。所有同党,可照你们所议,一体斩决。”Kang Xi brooded for a moment. ‘Oboi’s crimes are serious ones,’ he said. ‘But he was a great Minister of State and served the Dragon Throne for many years. His life must be spared. He should be stripped of his rank and held in custody for the rest of his days. All of his family belongings are to be confiscated. As for his fellow conspirators, they should all be executed in accordance with your proposal.’注:据《清史稿·圣祖本纪》:康熙八年,“上久悉鳌拜专横乱政,特虑其多力难制,乃选侍卫拜唐阿年少有力者,为扑击之戏。是日鳌拜入见,即令侍卫等掊而絷之,于是有善扑营之制,以近臣领之。庚申,王大臣议鳌拜狱上,列陈大罪三十,请族诛。诏曰:‘鳌拜愚悖无知,诚合夷族。特念效力年久,迭立战功,贷其死,籍没,拘禁。’”

  康亲王和索额图跪下磕头,说道:“圣上宽仁,古之明君也所不及。”Prince Kang and Songgotu fell to their knees and kowtowed. ‘You are a most wise and forgiving Sovereign, Your Majesty!’ they cried. ‘Wiser even than the great kings of old!’

  这日众大臣在康熙跟前,忙的便是处置鳌拜及其同党之事。众大臣向康熙详奏镶黄旗和正白旗如何争执,That day there was much toing and froing at Court, settling the affairs of Oboi and his fellow conspirators. Detailed reports were presented to Kang Xi of the struggle that had been going on for some time between the Bordered Yellow Banner and the Plain White Banner.韦小宝也听不大懂,只约略知道鳌拜是镶黄旗的旗主,苏克萨哈是正白旗的旗主,两旗为了争夺良田美地,势成水火。Of this Trinket understood little. All he knew was that Oboi had been the head of the Bordered Yellow Banner whereas Suksaha had led the Plain White Banner, and that the two Banners had been contesting the allocation of prime land.苏克萨哈给鳌拜害死后,正白旗所属的很多财产田地为镶黄旗所并,现下正白旗众大臣求皇帝发还原主。Once Suksaha had been done to death by Oboi, a large amount of property and land belonging to the Plain White Banner had been transferred to the Bordered Yellow Banner. And now the Bannermen of the Plain White Banner were petitioning the Emperor to restore their original property.

  康熙道:“你们自去秉公议定,交来给我看。镶黄旗是上三旗之一,鳌拜虽然有罪,不能让全旗受到牵累。咱们什么事都得公公道道。”’I leave you to sort this matter out amongst yourselves, and report to me about it afterwards. The Bordered Yellow Banner is one of the three Higher Banners, and even though Oboi has been found guilty, we must not allow this to drag every member of his Banner into disgrace. These things must be dealt with fairly.”众大臣磕头道:“皇上圣明,镶黄旗全旗人众均沐圣恩。”康熙点了点头,道:“下去罢,索额图留下,我另有吩咐。”His ministers kowtowed to him. ‘Your Majesty, the Bordered Yellow Banner will undoubtedly appreciate your great wisdom.’ Kang Xi nodded. ‘You may leave now. I should like Songgotu to remain behind. I have further instructions for him.’

  待众大臣退出,康熙对索额图道:“苏克萨哈给鳌拜害死之后,他家产都给鳌拜占去了罢?”索额图道:“苏克萨哈的田地财产,是没入了内库的。不过鳌拜当时曾亲自领人到苏克萨哈家里搜查,金银珠宝等物,都饱入了鳌拜私囊。”

When the others had left, Kang Xi spoke to Songgotu: ‘After the death of Suksaha, was all of his property confiscated on Oboi’s instructions?’ To this Songgotu replied: ‘Neither Suksaha’s land nor his property was impounded, but Oboi himself went to Suksaha’s home and conducted a personal inspection of the contents, choosing for his own personal use such gold and precious jewels as he could find.’康熙道:“我也料到如此。你到鳌拜家中瞧瞧,查明家产,本来是苏克萨哈的财物,都发还给他子孙。”’I feared as much,’ replied Kang Xi. ‘I want you to go now to Oboi’s home and to take an inventory of his possessions. Anything you find that was originally the property of Suksaha I want to be returned to his family.’

  索额图道:“皇上圣恩浩荡。”他见康熙没再什么话说,便慢慢退向书房门口。’Your Majesty is most generous,’ replied Songgotu, and seeing that Kang Xi seemed to have no more to say he began backing out towards the door.

  康熙道:“皇太后吩咐,她老人家爱念佛经,听说正白旗和镶黄旗两旗旗主手中,都有一部《四十二章经》……”韦小宝听到《四十二章经》五字,不由得全身为之一震。Before he had left, Kang Xi remarked: ‘The Empress Dowager tells me that in her old age she would like to spend more time reciting the Sutras. She has heard that the heads of both the Bordered Yellow and the Plain White Banners possess a copy of the Sutra in Pony-Two Sections.’ When Trinket heard these last words his body trembled involuntarily.只听康熙续道:“这两部佛经,都是用绸套子套着的,正白旗的用白绸套子,镶黄旗的是黄绸镶红边套子。太后她老人家说,要瞧瞧这两部经书,是不是跟宫里的佛经相同,你到鳌拜家中清查财物,顺便就查一查。”Kang Xi went on: These two copies of the Sutra are both kept in silk wrappers–one plain white and one yellow with a red border. The Empress Dowager says that she would like to have a look at them both. She wants to see if they are the same as the copies of the Sutra in the Palace. I’d like you to keep an eye out for them when you’re at Oboi’s house.’

  索额图道:“是,是,奴才这就去办。”他知皇上年幼,对太后又极孝顺,朝政大事,只要太后吩咐一句,皇上无有不听,皇太后交下来的事,比之皇上自己要办的更为重要,查两部佛经,那是轻而易举,自当给办得又妥又当又迅速。’Yes, Your Majesty,’ replied Songgotu. ‘I will see to this immediately.’ He knew that the young Emperor was extremely devoted to the Empress Dowager and that he obeyed her in everything, even in matters of state. Her orders carried if anything more weight than the Emperor’s.

  康熙道:“小桂子,你跟着前去。查到了佛经,两人一起拿回来。”’Laurel,’ said Kang Xi, ‘why don’t you go with him? When you find the Sutras, the two of you can bring them back.’

  韦小宝大喜,忙答应了,心想海老公要自己偷《四十二章经》,说了大半年,到底是怎么样的经书,连影子的边儿也没见过,这次是奉圣旨取经,自然手到拿来,Trinket was delighted at this and immediately assented. Old Hai had been pressing him to get hold of this Sutra for months, and he had not been able to so much as set eyes on it. Now here he was with Imperial orders to expropriate two copies of it.最好鳌拜家里共有三部,混水摸鱼的吞没一部,拿了去给海老公,好让他大大的高兴一场。Best of all would be if somehow or other there turned out to be three copies of the Sutra in Oboi’s house. Then he could sneak one out for himself and give it to Old Hai. That should make the old boy happy.

  索额图眼见小桂子是皇上跟前十分得宠的小太监,这次救驾擒奸,立有大功,心想取两部佛经,又不是什么大不了的事,用不着派遣此人,心念一转,Songgotu was aware that Laurel had become one of the Emperor’s most favoured eunuchs, and that he had saved the Emperor’s life. At first he was puzzled that such an important person was being sent with him on such a routine job, but after a moment’s thought it dawned on him what was really going on.便已明白:“是了,皇上要给他些好处。鳌拜当权多年,家中的金银财宝自是不计其数。皇上派我去抄他的家,那是最大的肥缺。这件事我毫无功劳,为什么要挑我发财?皇上叫小桂子陪我去,取佛经为名,监视是实。抄鳌拜的家,这小太监是正使,我索某人是副使。这中间的过节倘若弄错了,那就有大大不便。”索额图的父亲索尼,是康熙初立时的四名顾命大臣之首。’Aha! The Emperor is trying to find a way of rewarding him. He knows that after all those years in power Oboi is bound to have amassed a considerable fortune, and that there are bound to be rich pickings! Why should he want to do me a favour? I’ve done nothing to deserve it. No, he’s sending Laurel with me on the pretext of collecting the Sutras, so that the boy can have a good look around and see what’s available. I’m just his cover. I’d better be sure to handle this one right.’ Songgotu’s father Soni had been one of the Four Regents appointed to supervise Kang Xi when he first came to the throne.

  索尼死后,索额图升为吏部侍郎,其时鳌拜专横,索额图不敢与抗,辞去吏部侍郎之职,改充一等侍卫。康熙知他和鳌拜素来不合,因此这次特加重用。On his father’s death Songgotu had been promoted to a prominent position in the Ministry of Civil Office. At that time Oboi was supreme and Songgotu had not dared to go against him. He was in due course removed from his position at the Ministry and made an officer in the Palace Guard. Kang Xi knew that he and Oboi had never been on good terms, and that was why he had selected him for this particular mission.

  两人来到宫门外,索额图的随从牵了马侍候着。索额图道:“桂公公,你先上马罢!”心想这小太监只怕不会骑马,倒要照料着他些,别摔坏了他。Songgotu and Trinket proceeded to the Palace gate, where some of Songgotu’s men were waiting with horses. ‘Laurel Goong-goong, ‘ said Songgotu, ‘why don’t you mount first?’ ‘This little eunuch probably doesn’t know how to ride,’ he thought to himself, ‘but I’d better go through the motions anyway.’哪知韦小宝在宫中学了几个月武功,虽然并无多大真正长进,手脚却已十分轻捷,又幸好当年茅十八教过他上马之法,这次便不致再来一个“张果老倒骑驴,韦小宝倒骑马”,轻轻纵上马背,竟然骑得甚稳。To his surprise Trinket, who after several months’ kungfu practice had become quite agile–and who had learned the rudiments of riding from Whiskers before they even arrived in the Capital–vaulted nimbly on to the horse’s back and sat comfortably in the saddle.两人到得鳌拜府中,鳌拜家中上下人众早已尽数逮去,府门前后军士严密把守。They made their way to Oboi’s mansion. All the members of the household staff had been taken away into custody and the front and back gates were under strict guard.索额图对韦小宝道:“桂公公,你瞧着什么好玩的物事,尽管拿好了。皇上派你来取佛经,乃是酬你的大功,不管拿什么,皇上都不会问的。”’Laurel Goong-goong, ‘ Songgotu said to Trinket, once they were inside, ‘if you see anything that you take a fancy to, just keep it for yourself. His Majesty has sent you to look for the Sutras as a way of rewarding you for what you have done. I’m sure you can take whatever you like and no questions will be asked.’韦小宝见鳌拜府中到处尽是珠宝珍玩,直瞧得眼也花了,只觉每件东西都是好的,扬州丽春院中那些器玩陈设与之相比,那可天差地远了。Trinket looked around him. Oboi’s mansion was piled high with priceless jewels. His eyes were quite dazzled by what he saw. Everything there seemed worth having. By comparison, the knick-knacks decorating his old home in Yangzhou paled into insignificance.初时什么东西都想拿,但瞧瞧这件很好玩,那件也挺有趣,不知拿哪一件才是,又想这几日就要出宫溜走,东西拿得多了,携带不便,只有拣几件特别宝贵的物事才是道理。First he thought he wanted everything there, and then he started trying to choose between one beautiful object and another and found it extremely hard. Anyway, he reflected, he was planning to make his getaway any day now and it would be a handicap to be weighed down with too many things. So he had better restrict himself to one or two of the choicest items.

  索额图的属吏开始查点物品,一件件的记在单上。韦小宝拿起一件珠宝一看,写单的书吏便在单上将这件珠宝一笔划去,表示鳌拜府中从无此物。待韦小宝摇了摇头,放下珠宝,那书吏才又添入清单之中。Songgotu’s staff meanwhile began the business of taking a proper inventory. If Trinket picked up a pearl, the scribe would obligingly delete that item from the inventory, as if it had never existed. If Trinket shook his head and put the pearl back, the scribe would obligingly reinstate the item on the list.二人一路查点进去,忽有一名官吏快步走了出来,向索额图和韦小宝请了个安,说道:“启禀二位大人,在鳌拜卧房中发现了一个藏宝库,卑职不敢擅开,请二位移驾查点。”索额图喜道:“有藏宝库吗?那定是有些古怪物事。”又问:“那两部经书查到了没有?”While all this was going on, an official came hurrying in and fell respectfully to one knee: ‘Gentlemen, in Lord Oboi’s bedroom, we have discovered a hidden vault which we do not dare to open. Would you kindly come and inspect it for yourselves.’ ‘A secret vault!’ exclaimed Songgotu delightedly. That should be very interesting. Have you come across the two Sutras yet?’ he added.那官吏道:“屋里一本书也没有,只有几十本帐簿。卑职等正在用心搜查。”’We’ve not found a single book in the entire house, ‘ replied the officer, ‘apart from all the ledger-books which we are busy sorting through now.’

  索额图携着韦小宝的手,走进鳌拜卧室。只见地下铺着虎皮豹皮,墙上挂满弓矢刀剑,不脱满洲武士的粗犷本色。那藏宝库是地下所挖的一个大洞,上用铁板掩盖,铁板之上又盖以虎皮,这时虎皮和铁板都已掀开,两名卫士守在洞旁。索额图道:“都搬出来瞧瞧。”Songgotu took Trinket by the arm and the two of them made their way to Oboi’s bedroom. It was very much the lair of a rough and ready Manchu warrior–the floor strewn with tiger skins and leopard skins, the walls hung with bows and arrows and swords of every description. The ‘hidden vault’ was in fact a large cavity hollowed out beneath the floor, covered by a metal sheet and a tiger-skin rug. When they arrived, both the rug and the sheet of metal had been removed and two guards were standing over the hole. ‘Haul the stuff up for us to have a look!’ ordered Songgotu.

  两名卫士跳下洞去,将洞里所藏的物件递上来。两名书吏接住了,小心翼翼的放在旁边一张豹皮上。

The guards jumped down into the hole and began passing up everything that was stored inside it. Two scribes noted down the items one by one and carefully placed them to one side, piling them up on top of a panther-skin rug.索额图笑道:“鳌拜最好的宝物,一定都藏在这洞里。桂公公,你便在这里挑心爱的物事,包管错不了。”韦小宝笑道:“不用客气,你自己也挑罢。”刚说完了这句话,突然“啊”的一声叫了起来,只见一名卫士递上一只白玉大匣,匣上刻有五个大字,填了朱砂,前面三字正是“四十二”。 ‘Oboi’s certain to have kept his most precious things in this vault,’ commented Songgotu. ‘Laurel Goong-goong, why don’t you choose something here that you really like. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.’ ‘Come come!’ said Trinket. ‘You choose something too!’ Even as he said this he let out a gasp of astonishment, as he saw one of the guards hand up a large casket made of white jade with five-characters inscribed on it, touched in with cinnabar red. Three of the characters were legible even to Trinket: they were unmistakably the numerals spelling Forty-Two.韦小宝急忙接过,打开玉匣盖子,里面是薄薄一本书,书函是白色绸子,封皮上写着同样的五字,问道:“索大人,这便是《四十二章经》罢?我识得‘四十二’,却不识‘章经’。” He took the casket at once, and raised the lid. Inside lay a slim volume in a white silk wrapper, with the same five characters inscribed on a little title-slip. Trinket turned to Songgotu: ‘Is this the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections then? I can read the Forty-Two bit, but I’m afraid I can’t read the rest.’索额图喜道:“是,是。是《四十二章经》。”韦小宝道:“这‘章经’两字,难认得很,其实也不必花心思去记,只消五个字在一起,上面三个是‘四十二’,下面两字非‘章经’不可。”索额图心道:“那也未必。”含笑道:“正是。”接着那侍卫又递上一只玉匣,匣里有书,书函果是黄绸所制,镶以红绸边。两部书函都已甚为陈旧。’Yes, yes it is ‘, replied Songgotu delightedly. This is it!’ The words for Sutra and Section are really hard to read,’ said Trinket rather lamely. ‘But I suppose with a book, if the tide’s got Forty-Two in it, it’s pretty much bound to be a Sutra, isn’t it?’ The guard handed up another jade casket. It contained another book, this time in a yellow silk wrapper bordered with red. Both books were clearly very old.但宝库里已无第三只匣子,韦小宝心下微感失望。索额图喜道:“桂公公,咱哥儿俩办妥了这件事,皇太后一喜欢,定有重赏。”韦小宝道:“那是什么佛经,倒要见识见识。”说着便去开那书函。索额图心中一动,笑道:“桂公公,我说一句话,你可别生气。”There were no further jade caskets of this kind in the secret vault–much to Trinket’s disappointment. ‘Laurel Goong-goong,’ said Songgotu happily, ‘now that we’ve dealt with this matter of the two Sutras, the Empress Dowager is sure to be very pleased and we will be well rewarded.’ ‘I must have a closer look at this Sutra,’ said Trinket, taking out one of the books and beginning to open it. Songgotu laughed nervously. ‘Laurel Goong-goong, there’s something I feel I ought to say. I hope you won’t take it the wrong way.’

  韦小宝自幼在妓院之中给人呼来喝去,“小畜生,小乌龟”的骂不停口。自从得到康熙的眷顾,宫中不论什么人见到他,都是恭谨异常。Now Trinket had grown up in a whore-house, and had been shouted at and ordered around all his life. He had grown used to being called a pesky little brat or a filthy little turtle. But ever since he had won the favour of the young Emperor, everyone in the Palace had become extraordinarily respectful and courteous towards him.他以一个十四五岁的小孩,平生哪里受过这样的尊敬?眼见索额图在鳌拜府中威风八面,文武官员见到了,尽皆战战兢兢,可是这人对自己却如此客气,不由得大为受用,对他更是十分好感,说道:“索大人有什么吩咐,尽管说好了。”It was a novel and extremely gratifying experience. Here, for example, was Songgotu, a person viewed with considerable awe by those around him, a man whose very presence caused civil and military officials alike to tremble with fear–here was this very important person treating him with extreme deference. It gave Trinket a glow of satisfaction. It caused warm feelings towards this Manchu nobleman to burgeon within his breast. ‘Go ahead, please,’ he said, gracefully. ‘Just say whatever’s on your mind.’

  索额图笑道:“吩咐是不敢当,不过我忽然想起了一件事。桂公公,这两部经书,是皇太后和皇上指明要的,鳌拜又放在藏宝库中,可见非同寻常。到底为什么这样要紧,咱们可不明白了。我也真想打开来瞧瞧,就只怕其中记着什么重大干系的文字,皇太后不喜欢咱们做奴才的见到,这个……这个……嘻嘻……”Songgotu smiled. ‘Oh, it’s not exactly on my mind. It just sort of flashed through it. Laurel Goong-goong, as you know, the Empress Dowager and the Emperor gave particular instructions about these two Sutras. And Lord Oboi hid them down there in his secret vault. Obviously there’s something very special about them. Now we really don’t know why exactly they should be so important, and I must confess I too would really like to open one of them up myself and have a look; but I’m afraid there might be something of enormous importance written down in there, and the Empress Dowager might not be too pleased if we were to see it–whatever it is–so I just wonder it… if perhaps … it wouldn’t be wiser to . . .’

韦小宝经他一提,立时省悟,暗吃一惊,忙将经书放还桌上,说道:“是极,是极!索大人,多承你指点。我不懂这中间的道理,险些惹了大祸。”Trinket got the message at once. He also got the fright of his life and immediately put the Sutra back down on the table. ‘You’re absolutely right, ‘ he said. ‘Songgo my friend, I’m really glad you tipped me off. I understand so little about these things. Nearly got myself into a pile of trouble.’索额图笑道:“桂公公说哪里话来?皇上差咱哥儿俩一起办事,你的事就是我的,哪里还分什么彼此?我如不当桂公公是自己人,这番话也不敢随便出口了。”Songgotu smiled. ‘Come come, Laurel Goong-goong, we were sent on this mission together. Your affairs are mine too. If I hadn’t thought of you as a friend I would hardly have dared to say what I did just now.’

韦小宝道:“你是朝中大官,我……我只是个小……小太监,怎么能跟你当自己人?”’But you are a great Minister of Court, while I am just a little … a little eunuch! How could I possibly deserve to be called your friend!’

  索额图向屋中众官挥了挥手,道:“你们到外边侍候。”众官员躬身道:“是,是!”都退了出去。索额图拉着韦小宝的手,说道:“桂公公,千万别说这样的话,你如瞧得起我索某,咱二人今日就拜了把子,结为兄弟如何?”这两句话说得甚是恳切。韦小宝吃了一惊,道:“我……我跟你结拜?怎……怎配得上啊?”Songgotu waved the assembled officials out of the room: ‘Would you please leave us alone for a moment.’ They bowed and left. Songgotu took Trinket by the hand: ‘Goong-goong, you really mustn’t speak like that. Allow me to share with you a heartfelt desire of mine: it is that we should swear an oath today and become blood-brothers.’ He said this in the most touchingly earnest tone of voice. Trinket was greatly taken aback. ‘But. . . how could I swear an oath with you? I’m not worthy. . .’

  索额图道:“桂兄弟,你再说这种话,那分明是损我了。

  不知什么缘故,我跟你一见就十分投缘。咱哥儿俩就到佛堂之中去结拜了,以后就当真犹如亲兄弟一般,你和我谁也别说出去,只要不让别人知道,又打什么紧了?”’Brother Laurel, ‘ said Songgotu, ‘talk like that again, and it will only mean one thing: that you wish to reject me. I don’t know why, but somehow I feel a real bond with you. Why don’t we both go into the little household shrine and seal this bond now? Then from this day forth we’ll be like real brothers. We’ll mention it to no one else.’紧紧握着韦小宝的手,眼光中满是热切之色。原来索额图极是热中,眼见鳌拜已倒,朝中掌权大臣要尽行更换,He held Trinket’s hand tightly in his own, and there seemed to be an expression of heartfelt sincerity in his eyes. In actual fact, Songgotu was a shrewd individual and very aware of the change of wind blowing at Court since the downfall of Lord Oboi.这次皇上对自己神态甚善,看来指日就能高升。在朝中为官,若要得宠,自须明白皇帝的脾气心情,At present the Emperor was clearly well-disposed towards him, and would no doubt promote him in the near future. But he also knew that if one wanted to advance at Court, the most important thing was to be able to predict the Emperor’s every whim.这小太监朝夕和皇帝在一起,只要他能在御前替自己说几句好话,便已受益无穷。就算不说好话,只要将皇帝喜欢什么,讨厌什么,想干什么事,平时多多透露,自己办起事来自然事半功倍,正中皇帝的下怀。This little eunuch was at the Emperor’s side all day long. He might put in a good word for Songgotu with the Emperor, in which case the benefits would be incalculable. But even if he did not, it would still be invaluable to receive firsthand information about the Emperor’s likes and dislikes, to know what he might be planning, and to be able to adjust his own actions accordingly and win the Emperor’s approval.他生长在官宦之家,父亲索尼是顾命大臣之首,素知“揣摩上意”是做大官的唯一诀窍,而最难的也就是这一件。眼前正有一个良机,只要能将这个小太监好好笼络住了,日后飞黄腾达,封侯拜相,均非难事,是以灵机一动,要和他结拜。Songgotu had grown up in a family of prominent officials and knew how difficult it was to tune into the Emperor’s intentions. Here, Songgotu realized, staring him in the face, was a superb opportunity. If he could somehow bind this young eunuch to him, success–rank, riches, power–all lay within his grasp. Hence the inspiration to seal a bond of friendship.

  韦小宝虽然机伶,毕竟于朝政官场中这一套半点不懂,只道这个大官当真是喜欢自己,不由暗自得意,说道:“这个……这个,我可真是想不到。”索额图拉着他手,道:“来,来,来!咱哥儿俩到佛堂去。”Now Trinket was a clever lad, but he was still relatively new at Court and all of this was way beyond him. He merely supposed that this great official had taken a genuine liking to him–and of course he felt hugely flattered. ‘But this is beyond my wildest dreams!’ Songgotu took his other hand. ‘Come! Let us two brothers proceed to the shrine.’

  满洲人崇信佛教,文武大臣府中均有佛堂。两人来到佛堂之中。The Manchu people were devout Buddhists, and in every prominent civil or military official’s residence there would be a Buddhist shrine. The two of them made their way there.索额图点着了香,拉韦小宝一同在佛像前跪下,拜了几拜,说道:“弟子索额图,今日与……与……与……”转头道:“桂兄弟,你大号叫什么?一直没请教,真是荒唐。”Songgotu lit a stick of incense and knelt down with Trinket before the statue of Buddha. He bowed several times and then said: ‘Your humble disciple Songgotu today wishes to form a bond of friendship with . . . with He turned to Trinket. ‘Brother Laurel, what is your real name? I’ve never thought to ask you. How silly of me!’韦小宝道:“我叫小桂子。”索额图微笑道:“你尊姓是桂,是不是?大号不知怎么称呼?”韦小宝道:“我……我……我叫桂小宝。”Trinket hesitated: ‘My real name … is . Songgotu smiled. ‘Yes, I know. I mean Laurel.’ All right… So Laurel’s your Court name, is it? But what’s your proper name?’ ‘I… well, I. . .’ Trinket hummed and hawed. ‘I’m called . . . well. . . Trinket Laurel!’索额图笑道:“好名字,好名字。你原是人中之宝!”韦小宝心想:“在扬州时,人家都叫我‘小宝这小乌龟’,小宝这名字,又有甚么好了?”Songgotu laughed. ‘A fine name! A fine name! You really are a little treasure–a Trinket among men!’ ‘I don’t think!’ thought Trinket to himself. ‘In Yangzhou people always used to call me “that little turtle Trink”! I don’t see anything very fine about the name myself!’

  只听索额图道:“弟子索额图,今日和桂小宝桂兄弟义结金兰,此后有福共享,有难同当。不愿同年同月同日生,但愿同年同月同日死,弟子倘若不顾义气,天诛地灭,永世无出头之日。”说着又磕下头去,拜罢,说道:“兄弟,你也拜佛立誓罢!”Songgotu went on, rather formally: ‘Your disciple Songgotu wishes to be united in the bond of friendship with Trinket Laurel. From now on we will share blessing and hardship. We may not have been born on the same day of the same month of the same year, but we wish to die on the same day of the same month of the same year. If I do not fulfil this obligation with honour, may Heaven strike me dead, may the Earth swallow me up, and may I never see the light of salvation!’ He knocked his head on the ground and bowed again, saying: ‘Brother, you must also bow to Lord Buddha and take the oath.’

  韦小宝心道:“你年纪比我大得多了,如果我当真跟你同年同月同日死,那可太也吃亏了。”一转念间,已有了主意,心想:“我反正不是桂小宝,胡说一通,怕什么了?”Trinket was thinking to himself: ‘You’re a lot older than me–so why should I want to die on the same day of the same month of the same year as you!’ But then he managed to think his way round it: ‘Why, I’m not really Trinket Laurel anyway! I can just say it, and it won’t really mean a thing!’于是在佛像前磕了头,朗声道:“弟子桂小宝,一向来是在皇帝宫里做小太监的,人人都叫小桂子,和索额图大人索老哥结为兄弟,有福同享,有难同当。So he knocked his head on the ground in front of the Buddha and spoke out loud and clear: ‘Your disciple Trinket Laurel, who has for all these years been waiting on the Emperor in the humble role of eunuch, and whom people call little Laurie, wishes to be tied in a bond of friendship and brotherhood with His Excellency Songgotu, to share with him blessing and hardship.不愿同年同月同日生,但愿同月同月同日死。如果小桂子不顾义气,小桂子天诛地灭,小桂子死后打入十八层地狱,给牛头马面捉住了,一千年、一万年也不得超生。”We may not have been born on the same day of the same month of the same year, but I pray that we may die on the same day of the same month of the same month … If little Laurel does not fulfil this obligation with honour, may little Laurel be struck dead by Heaven and destroyed by Earth, may little Laurel be sent down to the deepest pit of Hell and never be reborn for ten thousand years.’

  他将一切灾祸全都要小桂子去承受,又接连说了两个“同月”,将“但愿同年同月同日死”说成了“但愿同月同月同日死”,顺口说得极快,索额图也没听出其中的花样。韦小宝心想:“跟你同月同日死,那也不打紧。你如是三月初三死的,我在一百年之后三月初三归天,也不吃亏了。”He made sure to say ‘same month of the same month”, and not year, but so quickly that Songgotu could not catch it. ‘I don’t mind dying on the same day of the same month,’ he thought to himself. ‘If you die on the third of the third month, I’d be quite happy to die on the third of the third–a hundred years later As for that stuff about little Laurel being sent down to Hell and not reborn, that didn’t seem too bad an idea either.至于他说小桂子死后打入十八层地狱,千万年不得超生,却是他心中真愿,小桂子是他所杀,鬼魂若来报仇,可不是玩的,如在地狱中给牛头马面紧紧捉住,他韦小宝在阳世自然就太平得很。It was after all Trinket who had killed the real little Laurel in the first place, and it would be no joke if the eunuch’s spirit came back for vengeance. If however the eunuch was locked up in Hell, Trinket could breathe more easily here on earth.

  索额图听他说完,两人对拜了八拜,一起站起身来,哈哈大笑。索额图笑道:“兄弟,你我已是拜把子的弟兄,那比亲兄弟还要亲热十倍。今后要哥哥帮你做什么事,尽管开口,不用客气。”When Songgotu had heard Trinket through, the two of them bowed again eight times, and then they both stood up and laughed loudly. ‘Brother!’ exclaimed Songgotu. ‘Now the two of us are sworn brothers–and that is closer than real brotherhood. From now on if you need my help in anything, you have only to say the word. You must never hold back.’韦小宝笑道:“那还用说?我自出娘肚子以来,就不懂‘客气’二字是什么意思。大哥,什么叫做‘客气’?”两人又相对大笑。Trinket laughed. ‘Why should I hold back? Since the day my mother brought me into the world, I haven’t understood the meaning of the words “hold back”! Tell me, what does it mean, to hold back?’ And the two of them burst out laughing again.

  索额图道:“兄弟,咱二人拜把子这回事,可不能跟旁人说,免得旁人防着咱们。照朝廷规矩,我们做外臣的,可不能跟你兄弟做内官的太过亲热。咱们只要自己心里有数,也就是了。”韦小宝道:“对,对!哑子吃馄饨,心里有数。”’Brother Laurel,’ said Songgotu, ‘you mustn’t speak of this bond of ours to anyone else. People might take it amiss. According to Court regulations, we Ministers of State are not allowed to be too close to people like you working on the inside. Just so long as we know, between ourselves, where we stand, that’s all that matters.’ ‘Yes! Yes!’ cried Trinket. ‘Like the dumb man eating dumpling soup. He knows how many he’s had–that’s all that matters!’

  索额图见他精乖伶俐,点头知尾,更是欢喜,说道:“兄弟,在旁人面前,我还是叫你桂公公,你就叫我索大人。过几天你到我家里来,做哥哥的陪你喝酒听戏,咱兄弟俩好好的乐一下子。”Songgotu was delighted at Trinket’s quick response. ‘Brother,’ he said, ‘in front of other people I’ll still have to call you Laurel Goong-goong, and you must call me Excellency Songgotu. In a few days’ time you must come to my home and I’ll throw a party for you. We’ll have plenty to drink and watch some plays together–we’ll have a really good time.’

  韦小宝大喜,他酒是不大会喝,“听戏”两字一入耳中,可比什么都喜欢,拍手笑道:“妙极,妙极!我最爱听戏。你说是哪一天?”Trinket was delighted to hear this. He might not have been a great wine-connoisseur, but watching plays was one of his favourite activities. He clapped his hands. ‘Excellent! Excellent! I love watching plays! You name the day and I’ll be there.’扬州盐商起居豪奢,每逢娶妇嫁女、生子做寿,往往连做几日戏。韦小宝碰到这些日子,自然是在戏台前钻进钻出的赶热闹、看白戏。Back in Yangzhou the wealthy salt-merchants had the habit of throwing big parties whenever one of their daughters was being married, or a child had been born, and they would have theatricals for several days on end. On such occasions Trinket would sneak up to the front of the stage and watch the fun for free.人家是喜庆好日子,也不会认真对付他这等小无赖,往往还请他吃一碗饭,饭上高高的堆上几块大肉。至于迎神赛会,更有许多不同班子唱戏。一提到“听戏”两字,当真心花怒放。The guests were too busy celebrating to take any notice. They might even give him a bowl of rice, piled up with a few leftovers. There would be plays on festivals and feast-days as well. When Trinket heard the word ‘plays’ he was already in seventh heaven.索额图道:“兄弟既然喜欢,我时时请你。只要那一天兄弟有空,你尽管吩咐好了。”韦小宝道:“就是明天怎样?”’If you like plays so much,’ said Songgotu, ‘I must ask you over as often as I can–whenever you’re free. You just let me know.’ ‘What about tomorrow?’ said Trinket.索额图道:“好极!明天酉时,我在宫门外等你。”Tomorrow it is! I shall wait for you at the entrance to the Palace in the early evening, about six o’clock.’韦小宝道:“我出宫来不打紧吗?”索额图道:“当然不打紧。白天你侍候皇上,一到傍晚,谁也管不着你了。你已升为首领太监,在皇上跟前大红大紫,又有谁敢来管你?”韦小宝笑逐颜开,本想明天就溜出皇宫,再也不回宫去了,但听索额图这么说,自己身分不同,可以自由出入皇宫,倒也不忙便溜,笑道:“好,一言为定,咱哥儿俩有福同享,有戏同听。”索额图拉着他手,道:“咱们这就到鳌拜房中挑宝贝去。”’Will I be allowed to leave the Palace?’ ‘Of course you will.’ Songgotu took him by the hand. ‘Come on now, let’s go back inside the house and choose a few good things.’

  两人回到鳌拜房中,索额图仔细察看地洞中取出来的诸般物事,问道:“兄弟,你爱哪些?”韦小宝道:“什么东西最贵重,我可不懂了,你给我挑挑。”索额图道:“好!”拿起两串明珠,一只翡翠雕成的玉马,道:“这两件珠宝值钱得很。兄弟要了罢。”The two of them went back into the main part of Oboi’s mansion and Songgotu carefully supervised the removal of all of the objects from the ‘vault’. ‘Brother, ‘ he said turning to Trinket, ‘what do you fancy?’ ‘I haven’t any idea which of these things is the most valuable. You just choose something for me.’ ‘Very well.’ Songgotu picked out a couple of strings of pearls and a jade horse inlaid with malachite. These pearl necklaces are very valuable,’ he said. ‘Do you want them?’

  韦小宝道:“好!”将明珠和玉马揣入了怀里,顺手拿起一柄匕首,只觉极是沉重,那匕首连柄不过一尺二寸,套在鲨鱼皮的套子之中,份量竟和寻常的长刀长剑无异。韦小宝左手握住剑柄,拔了出来,只觉一股寒气扑面而至,’Sure,’ said Trinket, and he popped the necklaces and the jade horse into his pocket, at the same time casually picking up a dagger. The dagger seemed strangely heavy. It was only a little over a foot long, including the handle, and was sheathed in a sharkskin case. In appearance it did not seem that different from any ordinary knife. Trinket held it in his left hand and drew it from its sheath. As he did so, he felt a breath of cold air strike him in the face.鼻中一酸,“阿乞”一声,打了个喷嚏,再看那匕首时,剑身如墨,半点光泽也没有。他本来以为鳌拜既将这匕首珍而重之的放在藏宝库中,定是一柄宝刃,哪知模样竟如此难看,便和木刀相似。His nose twitched, and he gave a loud sneeze. When he looked at the blade of the dagger, it was as dark as an ink-stick and reflected not the slightest gleam of light. He imagined that if Oboi had chosen to store this dagger in his secret vault, it must be something precious. And yet it seemed so ordinary and unattractive, just like a wooden sword.他微感失望,随手往旁边一抛,却听得嗤的一声轻响,匕首插入地板,直没至柄。Trinket was rather disappointed, and dropped it down on the floor by his feet. He heard a gentle thud, and when he looked down he saw that the blade had penetrated the wooden floor right up to its hilt.韦小宝和索额图都“咦”的一声,颇为惊异。韦小宝随手这么一抛,丝毫没使劲力,料不到匕首竟会自行插入地板,而刃锋之利更是匪夷所思,竟如是插入烂泥一般。韦小宝俯身拔起匕首,说道:“这把短剑倒有些奇怪。”Both Trinket and Songgotu gasped with astonishment. Trinket had dropped the dagger without the slightest force. Its point must have been extraordinarily sharp for it to have sunk so deep, slicing through the wood like soft mud. Trinket bent down and pulled it out again. This little dagger seems rather special.’

  索额图见多识广,道:“看来这是柄宝剑,咱们来试试。”从墙壁上摘下一柄马刀,拔出鞘来,横持手中,说道:“兄弟,你用短剑往这马刀上砍一下。”韦小宝提起匕首,往马刀上斩落,擦的一声,那马刀应手断为两截。Songgotu had seen rather more of the world and knew rather more about weapons than Trinket. ‘I should call it extremely special! Let’s try it out.’ He took down an ordinary short-sword from the wall, drew it from its scabbard, and held it horizontally in his hands. ‘Brother, try and cut this one in half with your dagger!’ Trinket raised the dagger and brought it down across the blade of the sword. The sword was sliced clean in two.

  两人不约而同的叫道:“好!”这匕首是世所罕见的宝剑,自无疑义,奇的是斩断马刀竟如砍削木材,全无金属碰撞的铿锵声音。’Fantastic!’ they both cried simultaneously. The dagger was clearly a rare weapon of extraordinary power–of that there was no doubt. It had sliced through the heavy metal blade as if it were wood. There had not even been the sound of metal on metal.

  索额图笑道:“恭贺兄弟,得了这样一柄宝剑,鳌拜家中的宝物,自以此剑为首。”韦小宝甚是喜欢,道:“大哥,你如果要,让给你好了。”索额图连连摇手,道:“你哥哥出身是武官,以后做文官,不做武官啦。这柄宝剑,还是兄弟拿着去玩儿的好。”Songgotu laughed. ‘Congratulations, brother! You seem to have acquired some sort of magic dagger! This must have been one of Oboi’s chief treasures.’ Trinket was delighted. ‘Brother Songgo,’ he cried, ‘if you want it you can have it!’ Songgotu shook his head. ‘I may have been a warrior once, but now I have put down my weapons. I think you should keep it. Have some fun with it.’

  韦小宝将匕首插回剑鞘,系在衣带之上。索额图笑道:“兄弟,这剑很短,还是放在靴筒子里好啦,免得入宫时给人看见。”Trinket slipped the dagger back in its sheath and tied it to his belt. Songgotu laughed. ‘Brother, a little dagger like that would be better off tucked down the side of your boot. Otherwise when you go back into the Palace people might see it.’清宫的规矩,若非当值的带刀侍卫,入宫时不许携带武器。韦小宝道:“是!”将匕首收入靴中。以他这等大红人,出入宫门,侍卫自也不会再搜他身上有无携带违禁物事。’Yes, I’ll do that,’ said Trinket, who in fact knew quite well that only the Imperial Guard were allowed to carry weapons inside the precincts of the Forbidden City. He therefore slipped the dagger down inside his boot.

  韦小宝得了这柄匕首,其他宝物再也不放在眼里,过了一会,忍不住又拔出匕首,在墙壁上取下一根铁矛,擦的一声,将铁矛斩为两截。他顺手挥割,室中诸般坚牢物品无不应手而破。他用匕首尖在檀木桌面上画了只乌龟,刚刚画完,拍的一声响,一只檀木乌龟从桌面上掉了下来,桌子正中却空了一个乌龟形的空洞。韦小宝叫道:“鳌拜老兄,您老人家好,哈哈!”Now that he had acquired this magic dagger, Trinket did not seem interested in anything else from Oboi’s vault. He began to feel at a loose end again and pulled out his new toy. He took a lance from the wall, and sliced it in two. Then he started waving his dagger wildly through the air and slicing most of the objects in the room into pieces. He used the point to carve a picture of a turtle on a sandalwood tabletop. He had no sooner finished carving it, than a turtle-shape fell out of the table, leaving a perfect turtle-outline. ‘Oboi old friend!’ cried the delighted Trinket. ‘I really owe you one for this!’

  索额图却用心查点藏宝库中的其他物事。只见珍宝堆中有件黑黝黝的背心,提了起来,入手甚轻,衣质柔软异常,非丝非毛,不知是什么质料。他一意要讨好韦小宝,说道:“兄弟,这件背心穿在身上一定很暖,你除下外衣,穿了去罢。”Songgotu meanwhile was completing his careful inventory of the items in the vault. In amongst them he saw an interesting-looking pitch-black waistcoat, and fished it out. It was extremely light and made of some unusually soft and flexible material, which was neither silk nor wool. He had no idea what it was, but foremost in his mind was his desire to please Trinket, so he called out to him: ‘Brother, this waistcoat here would keep you nice and snug. Take off your jacket and put it on.’

  韦小宝道:“这又是什么宝贝了?”索额图道:“我也识它不得,你穿上罢!”韦小宝道:“我穿着太大。”索额图道:“衣服软得很,稍为大一些,打一个褶,就可以了。”韦小宝接了过来,入手甚是轻软,想起去年求母亲做件丝棉袄,母亲张罗几天,没筹到钱,终于没做成,这件背心似乎也不比丝棉袄差了,就只颜色太不光鲜,心想:“好,将来我穿回扬州,去给娘瞧瞧。”于是除下外衫,将背心穿了,再将外衣罩在上面,那背心尺寸大了些,好在又软又薄,也没什么不便。’Ha ha!’ said Trinket. ‘What have we here?’ ‘I really don’t know,’ said Songgotu. ‘Come on–try it on!’ ‘It looks too big for me.’ ‘It’s very soft, ‘ said Songgotu. ‘If it’s too big, you can just have it taken in a bit.’ Trinket took the waistcoat from Songgotu. It really was very light. He remembered how just the year before he had begged his mother to make him a padded-silk jacket. She had worked extra hard for a few days, but had not been able to save the money to make one. This waistcoat would do the job nicely, even though it wasn’t quite as bright as he’d had in mind. ‘Next time I go back to Yangzhou, I can show it to Mum, ‘ thought Trinket. So he took off his jacket and put the waistcoat on underneath it. It was slightly on the large side, but so soft that it did not matter.

  索额图清理了鳌拜的宝藏,命手下人进来,看了鳌拜家财的初步清单,不由得伸了伸舌头,说道:“鳌拜这厮倒真会搜刮,他家产比我所料想的多了一倍还不止。”When Songgotu had finished sorting out the vault, he summoned his men back in and examined the inventory they had been taking of the rest of Oboi’s belongings. He shot his tongue out in amazement. ‘What a rogue! That Oboi certainly knew how to fleece people! He’s ten times richer than I ever imagined!’

  他挥手命下属出去,对韦小宝道:“兄弟,他们汉人有句话说:‘千里为官只为财。’这次皇恩浩荡,皇上派了咱哥儿俩这个差使,原是挑咱们发一笔横财来着。这张清单吗,待会我得去修改修改。二百多万两银子,你说该报多少才是?”He waved his men out again and spoke to Trinket. ‘Brother, the Chinese have a saying: “An official treads a long and winding road, and every step of the way is paved with wealth.” His Majesty in his great generosity has chosen us for this job, with a view to letting us line our pockets. I’ve been thinking of making a few little changes to this inventory. With the figures, for example. Here, it gives a total of something over two million taels–what do you think we should put?’

  韦小宝道:“那我可不懂了,一切凭大哥作主便是。”索额图笑了笑,道:“单子上开列的,一共是二百三十五万三千四百一十八两。那个零头仍是照旧,咱们给抹去个‘一’字,戏法一变,变成一百三十五万三千四百一十八两。那个‘一’字呢,咱哥儿俩就二一添作五如何?”’Oh dear, Brother Songgotu, I really don’t know anything about these matters. I leave it up to you.’ Songgotu laughed. ‘Well, let’s see. What have we got here? The list says altogether two million, three hundred and fifty-three thousand, four hundred and eighteen taels’ worth … We can leave most of the digits as they are, but I suggest we make a minor alteration and turn the first two into a one, which would make the figure read one million, three hundred and fifty-three thousand, and so on. And as for the one million left over, I suggest we chop it neatly in half between the two of us.’韦小宝吃了一惊,道:“你……你说……”索额图笑道:“兄弟嫌不够么?”

  韦小宝道:“不,不!我……我是不大明白。”索额图道:“我说把那一百万两银子,咱哥儿俩拿来平分了,每人五十万两。兄弟要是嫌少,咱们再计议计议。”Trinket looked absolutely flabbergasted. ‘You mean . . . You’re saying …Songgotu smiled. ‘Does that seem too little?’ ‘Oh no! No, I really don’t understand–‘韦小宝脸色都变了,他在扬州妓院中之时,手边只须有一二两银子,便如是发了横财一般,在皇宫之中和人赌钱,进出大了,那也只是几十两以至一二百两银子的事,突然听到一分便分到五十万两,几乎不相信自己的耳朵。’What I am suggesting is that we should share the one million, and each take five hundred thousand. But if that seems too little to you, I’m sure we could work it out some other way, ‘ Trinket stood there gawping. In the whore-house in Yangzhou he had never had more than a tael or two in his possession, and now suddenly he was about to become a wealthy man. Why, even when he’d been gambling at the Palace he’d never won much more than twenty or thirty taels at a sitting–at the very most a hundred or two. And here he was, being asked if he’d accept half a million … He could hardly believe his ears.

  索额图适才不住将珍宝塞在他的手里,原是要堵住他的嘴,要他在皇帝面前不提鳌拜财产的真相。否则的话,只要他在皇上跟前稍露口风,不但自己吞下的赃款要尽数吐出,断送了一生前程,势必还落个大大的罪名。他见韦小宝脸色有异,忙道:“兄弟要怎么办,我都听你的主意便是。”Songgotu’s thinking was to pile Trinket so high with wealth that he would be obliged to maintain a discreet silence about the whole operation. Seeing the look of utter astonishment on Trinket’s face, he hurriedly added: ‘Brother, you just tell me how you want to deal with this and I’ll go along with whatever you say.’韦小宝舒了口气,说道:“我说过一切凭大哥作主的。只是分给我五十万……五十万两银子,未免……未免那个……太……太多了。”Trinket let out a long breath: ‘As I’ve already said, I leave the decision entirely to you. It’s just that… for me … half a million seems a little bit… much!’

  索额图如释重负,哈哈大笑,道:“不多,不多,一点儿不多。这样罢,这里所有办事的人,大家都得些好处,做哥哥的五十万两银子之中,拿五万两出来,给底下人大家分分。兄弟也拿五万两出来,宫里的妃子、管事太监他们面上,每个人都有点甜头。这样一来,就谁也没闲话说了。”Songgotu laughed with relief. ‘No, ‘ he said, ‘it’s not too much. Not at all. I’ll tell you what. The others who’ve been helping us here, they need something for their pains. So I suggest I take fifty thousand out of your half million and divide it up as tips for them. And then, when you get home, you can take another fifty thousand and hand out a few gifts to the Palace ladies and all of the eunuchs. That way everyone will be pleased and everyone will keep quiet.’韦小宝愁道:“好是好。我可不知怎么分法。”索额图道:“这些事情,由做哥哥的一手包办便是,包管你面面俱到,谁也得罪不了,人人都会说桂公公年纪轻轻,办事可真够朋友。钱是拿来使的,你我今后一帆风顺,依靠旁人的地方可多着呢。”韦小宝道:“是,是!”Trinket did not look entirely happy. ‘It sounds a good plan, but I wouldn’t have any idea how to divide it up.’ ‘Just leave it to me,’ said Songgotu. I’ll take care of the tips at this end. You can deal with the rest. People will say afterwards how wise and capable young Laurel Goong-goong was for a person of such tender years, and what an excellent friend he was. By handing out the money like this, both of us will smooth our path into the future.’ ‘Yes, yes, I see,’ said Trinket.

  索额图又道:“这一百万两银子呢,鳌拜家里也没这么多现钱,咱们得尽快变卖他的产业,一切做得干手净脚,别让人拿住了把柄。兄弟你在宫里,这许多金元宝、银元宝也没地方存放,是不是?”’Now of course, there won’t be that amount in ready cash amongst Oboi’s possessions, ‘ said Songgotu. ‘We’re going to have to sell a lot of the stuff very quickly. And it must be done very discreetly. Obviously you wouldn’t have anywhere in the Palace to store that many gold and silver ingots, now would you?’

  韦小宝陡然间发了四十五万两银子横财,一时头晕脑胀,不知如何是好,不论索额图说什么,都只有回答:“是,是!”’Yes,’ said Trinket. ‘I mean, no.’ His head was still reeling at the thought of his sudden wealth.索额图笑道:“过得几天,我叫几家金铺打了金票银票,都是一百两一张、五十两一张的。兄弟放在身边,什么时候要使,到金铺去兑成金银便是,又方便,又稳妥。除非有人来摸你的口袋,否则谁也不知你兄弟小小年纪,竟是咱们北京城里的一位大财主呢,哈哈,哈哈!”

‘What I’m going to do,’ said Songgotu with a smile, ‘is this: in a few days’ time I’ll have some of the banks in the Capital issue notes for gold and silver, each worth a hundred or fifty taels. You can carry them around with you, and if you ever need cash you can change them at the bank. It will be convenient and safe. And no one will know that this young fellow I see before me is one of the Capital’s wealthiest residents–that is, they won’t know unless they actually put their hands inside your pockets!’韦小宝跟着打了几个哈哈,心想:“真的我有四十五万两银子?真的四十五万两?”又想:“我有了四十五万两银子,怎样花法?他妈的天天吃蹄膀、红烧全鸡,一生一世也吃不完这四十五万两银子。辣块妈妈的,老子到扬州去开十家妓院,家家比丽春院漂亮十倍。”He burst out laughing, and Trinket joined in, thinking to himself: ‘Will I really have that much money? What will I do with it all? Tamardy! I’ll eat pig’s trotters and chicken casserole for the rest of my life! Yum! And I’ll still have lots left over! Hot-piece mother’s! Old Trink will be able to go back to Yangzhou and open his very own whore-house! No, ten whore-houses–a chain–and each one better than Vernal Delights! Ten times better!’他自幼“心怀大志”,将来发达之后,要开一家比丽春院更大更豪华的妓院,扬眉吐气,莫此为甚。他和丽春院的老鸨吵架,往往便说:“辣块妈妈的,你开一家丽春院有什么了不起?老子过得几年发了财,在你对面开家丽夏院、左边开家丽秋院、右边开家丽冬院,抢光你的生意。嫖客一个也不上门,教你喝西北风。”His single greatest ambition in life, ever since he’d been a little boy, had always been to get rich and open a whore-house that was bigger and better than the one his Mum worked in. Whenever he got into a scrape with the old bawd at home, he always used to shout at her: ‘Red-hot tamardy mother’s! What’s so special about this dump? Give me a few years, and when I’ve made my pile, I’m going to open up my own place right across the road, and I’m going to call it Summer Delights! And then I’ll open Autumn Delights on the left and Winter Delights on the right! I’ll steal all your business! You won’t have a single customer left! You’ll all starve!’想到妓院一开便是十家,手面之阔,扬州人士无不刮目相看,不由得心花怒放。How that he was about to be seriously rich, he could just picture himself, a big shot, the biggest, swankiest whore-house proprietor in Yangzhou. The look on people’s faces as he strolled down the street! Things were going to be different! Trinket was over the moon.

  索额图哪猜得到他心中的大计,说道:“兄弟,皇上吩咐了,苏克萨哈的家产,给鳌拜霸占去了的,要清查出来还给苏克萨哈的子孙。咱们就检六七万两银子,去赏给苏家。这是皇上的恩典,苏家只有感激涕零,又怎敢争多嫌少了?再说,要是给苏家银子太多,倒显得苏克萨哈生前是个赃官,他子孙的脸面也不光彩,是不是?”Songgotu of course had no idea of what was going through Trinket’s mind. ‘Brother Laurel,’ he said, ‘His Majesty instructed us to return to Suksaha’s family all of the property which was originally confiscated by Lord Oboi. I think we should hand them over about sixty or seventy thousand taels. This will be an act of generosity on the Emperor’s part, and they will be only too pleased to accept it. They are not going to make a fuss. Besides, if we give them too much, it will make it look as if Suksaha was a corrupt official while he was alive, and his descendants might feel ashamed. Do you agree?’韦小宝道:“是,是。”心道:“你我哥儿俩可都不是清官罢?也不见得有什么不光彩哪!”’Oh yes!’ piped Trinket. ‘What about us though?’ he was thinking to himself. ‘Our hands aren’t exactly clean. Aren’t our descendants going to be ashamed?’

  索额图道:“皇太后和皇上指明要这两部佛经,这是头等大事,咱们这就先给送了去。鳌拜的财产,慢慢清点不迟。”

  韦小宝点头称是。索额图当下取过两块锦缎,将两只玉匣包好了,两人分别捧了,来到皇宫去见康熙。The Emperor and the Empress Dowager specially asked for these two Sutras–that’s very important,’ said Songgotu. ‘We must take them back straight away. As for the rest of Oboi’s stuff, we can take our time going through it.’ Trinket nodded. Songgotu wrapped the two jade caskets containing the Sutras in lengths of brocade. He and Trinket took one each and returned with them to the Palace to report to the Emperor.

  康熙见他们办妥了太后交下来的差事,甚感欣喜,便叫韦小宝捧了跟在身后,亲自送到太后宫中。索额图不能入宫,告退后又去清理鳌拜的家产。Kang Xi was very pleased to see that they had accomplished their mission successfully on behalf of the Empress Dowager, and he ordered Trinket to accompany him with the Sutras and to present them to the Empress in person. Songgotu was not allowed into the inner quarters and he withdrew, returning to Oboi’s mansion to continue with his inventory.

  康熙在路上问道:“鳌拜这厮家里有多少财产?”韦小宝道:“索大人初步查点,他说一共有一百三十五万三千四百一十八两银子。”他将这数字说成是索额图点出来的,将来万一给皇帝查明真相,也好有个推诿抵赖的余地。As they walked on together, Kang Xi turned to Trinket and asked: ‘How rich was that rogue Oboi?’ ‘Excellency Songgotu has finished making an inventory,’ replied Trinket. ‘He said it came to a total of one million, three hundred and fifty-three thousand, four hundred and eighteen taels.’ He made a point of saying that this was Songgotu’s figure. If the Emperor should ever find out the true extent of Oboi’s wealth, Trinket wanted to be sure that he was covered.这等营私舞弊、偷鸡摸狗的勾当,韦小宝算得是天赋奇才。他五岁那一年上,一个妓女给他五文钱,叫他到街上买几个桃子,他落下一文买糖吃了,用四文钱买了桃子交给那个妓女,那妓女居然并未发觉,还赏了他一个桃子。Trinket had always been a past master at this kind of skulduggery. Once, at Vernal Delights, when he was a little boy of five, one of the whores had given him five coins to go and buy some peaches. He had spent one coin on sweets and bought the peaches with the remaining four. The whore noticed nothing, and even rewarded him with a peach.在韦小宝看来,银钱过手而沾些油水,原是天经地义之事,只不过如果给人查到,却总得有些理由来胡赖一番。这是他头上挨了不少爆栗、屁股上给人踢过无数大脚,因而得来的宝贵经验。The way Trinket saw it, whenever money passed through his hands, it should leave a little something behind, a trace of some sort–it was bound to, that was only right and proper. But if someone found out, there had to be a yarn ready to spin. Over the years he had received countless clouts on the head, and countless boots up the bum. He was very experienced at this kind of thing.

  康熙哼了一声,道:“这混蛋!搜刮了这许多民脂民膏!

  一百三十几万两,嘿嘿,可了不起。”韦小宝心下暗喜:“还有个‘一’字,已给二一添作五了。”说话之间,已到了太后的慈宁宫。Kang Xi humphed. The rogue! To think how many ordinary innocent citizens he must have cheated! Over a million taels! I can hardly believe it!’ Trinket was thinking to himself: ‘You’d better believe it! What would you think if you knew about that little missing digit!’ By now they were at the Empress Dowager’s personal compound.

  太后听说两部经书均已取到,甚是欢喜,伸手从康熙手中接了过来,打开锦缎玉匣,见到书函后更是笑容满面,说道:“小桂子,你办事可能干得很哪!”韦小宝跪下请安,道:“那是托赖太后和皇上的洪福。”She seemed delighted to learn that two copies of the Sutra had been found. She took them from Kang Xi’s hands, removed the brocade covers, and opened the jade caskets. When she saw the books in their wrappers, a broad smile spread across her face. She turned to Trinket and said: ‘Young Laurel, you have done very well!’ Trinket dropped one knee to the ground. ‘It was all thanks to Your Majesties.’

  太后向着身边一个小宫女道:“蕊初,你带小桂子到后边屋里,拿些蜜饯果子,赏给他吃。”那名叫蕊初的小宫女约莫十三四岁年纪,容貌秀丽,微笑应道:“是!”She turned to one of her maids-in-waiting. ‘Blossom, take young Laurel round to the back and give him some honey-cakes.’ The maid called Blossom must have been thirteen or fourteen. She was a pretty girl. ‘Yes, Your Majesty, ‘ she said with a smile.韦小宝又请安道:“谢太后赏,谢皇上赏。”康熙道:“小桂子,你吃完果子,自行回去罢,我在这里陪太后用膳,不用你侍候啦。”韦小宝答应了,跟着蕊初走进内堂,来到一间小小厢房。Trinket dropped one knee to the ground again. ‘I am most grateful to Your Majesties!’ ‘Laurel, ‘ said Kang Xi, ‘when you’ve eaten your cake you can make your own way back. I’ll stay here with Her Majesty. You needn’t wait for me.’ ‘Yes, Majesty,’ said Trinket and went with Blossom across the inner courtyard and into a little room.

  蕊初打开一具纱橱,橱中放着几十种糕饼糖果,笑道:“你叫小桂子,先吃些桂花松子糖罢。”说着取出一盒松子糖来,松子香和桂花香混在一起,闻着极是受用。Blossom opened a muslin cupboard, stocked with all sorts of cakes and biscuits and candied fruit. ‘Since your name is Laurel, ‘ she said, with a little simpering smile, ‘you’d better start off by trying some of these candies flavoured with laurel honey. ‘She took out a little box of assorted candies, some of them laurel-flavoured, some of them pine-nut-flavoured. Trinket thought they smelled delicious.

  韦小宝笑道:“姊姊也吃些。”蕊初道:“太后赏给你吃的,又没赏给我吃,咱们做奴才的怎能偷吃?”韦小宝笑道:“悄悄吃些,又没人瞧见,打什么紧?”蕊初脸上一红,摇了摇头,微笑道:“我不吃。”

  韦小宝道:“我一个人吃,你站着旁边瞧着,可不成话。”He smiled. ‘Won’t you have some too?’ ‘Her Majesty said to give some to you. She didn’t say I could have any. I wouldn’t dream of stealing.’ ‘Oh go on! Just a few! No one’s looking! It won’t matter.’ Blossom flushed and shook her head. She gave a little smile. ‘I won’t.’ ‘Oh come on!’ said Trinket. ‘I shan’t enjoy them if I have to eat them on my own with you standing there watching me, ‘蕊初微笑道:“这是你的福气。我是服侍太后的,连皇上也不服侍,今日却来服侍你吃糖果糕饼。”韦小宝见她巧笑嫣然,也笑道:“我是服侍皇上的,也来服侍你吃些糖果糕饼,那就两不吃亏。”蕊初格的一笑,随即伸手按住了嘴巴,微笑道:“快些吃罢,太后要是知道我跟你在这里说笑话,可要生气呢。”Blossom smiled again. It was a most captivating smile. ‘And Her Majesty told me to offer you these little cakes.’ Trinket smiled back: ‘Come on–you have one too! Then we’ll both be happy.’ She gave a little splutter of laughter and held her hand to her mouth. ‘Eat up!’ she cried. ‘Her Majesty would be angry with me if she knew I was in here chatting with you.’

  韦小宝在扬州之时,丽春院中莺莺燕燕,见来见去的都是女人,进了皇宫之后,今日还是第一次和一个跟他年纪差不多的小姑娘作伴,甚感快慰,In Yangzhou, when Trinket lived in Vernal Delights, he had constantly seen pretty women going to and fro; but since his arrival in the Palace this was the first occasion on which he had been together with a girl of his own age, and he felt strangely elated.灵机一动,He had a sudden inspiration.道:“这样罢!我把糖果糕饼拿了回去,你服侍完太后之后,便出来和我一起吃。”蕊初脸上又是微微一红,道:“不成的,等我服侍完太后,已是深夜了。”韦小宝道:“深夜有什么打紧?你在哪里等我?”’I know what I’ll do,’ he said. I’ll take some of these cakes back with me. When you have finished waiting on Her Majesty, we can meet and eat them together.’ Blossom blushed again. That would never do! By the time I’ve finished waiting on Her Majesty, it’ll be late at night.’ ‘So much the better!’ exclaimed Trinket. ‘Where’s it to be?’

  蕊初在太后身畔服侍,其余宫女都比她年纪大,平时说话并不投机,见韦小宝定要伴她吃糖果,其意甚诚,不禁有些心动。韦小宝道:“在外边的花园里好不好?半夜三更的,没人知道。”Most of the Empress Dowager’s other female attendants were much older than Blossom and she had never got on with them or talked to them much. She could not help finding Trinket’s assignation rather touching. ‘What about the little garden outside?’ he suggested. ‘Sometime after midnight I’ll be there–no one will know.’蕊初犹豫着点了点头。韦小宝大喜,道:“好,一言为定。快给我蜜饯果儿,你拣自己爱吃的就多拿些。”蕊初微笑道:“又不是我一个儿吃,你自己爱吃什么?”韦小宝道:“姊姊爱吃什么,我都爱吃。”蕊初听他嘴甜,十分欢喜,After a little hesitation Blossom nodded. Trinket was very pleased. ‘Good!’ he said. That’s settled then. Come on now, give me some of that crystallized fruit! And you choose some of the ones that you like best.’ She smiled. ‘What about you? Which ones do you like?’ ‘Whatever you like eating, my petal, I’m sure to like too . . .’ Blossom was beginning to enjoy being flirted with.当下拣了十几种蜜饯果子、糖果糕饼,装在一只纸盒里。韦小宝低声道:“今晚三更,在花园的亭子里等你。”蕊初点了点头,低声道:“可要小心了。”韦小宝道:“你也小心。”She selected a dozen or so different kinds of cakes and crystallized fruit and put them in a paper box. Tonight, after midnight, wait for me in the garden,’ whispered Trinket. Blossom nodded and whispered back: ‘But you must be careful!’ ‘So must you!’

  他拿了纸盒,兴冲冲的回到住处。他本来和假装小玄子的皇帝玩得极为有兴,真相揭露之后,再也不能跟他玩了。这几日在皇宫之中,人人对他大为奉承,虽觉得意,却无玩耍之乐。此刻约了一个小宫女半夜中相会,好玩之中带着三分危险,觉得最是有趣不过。他毕竟年纪尚小,虽然从小在妓院中长大,于男女情爱之事,只见得极多,自己却似懂非懂。He took the box and made his way contentedly home. Trinket had been very happy during his sparring days with Misty–but then the truth of Misty’s identity came to light, and the fun had gone out of their games. Since then everyone in the Palace had become so deferential towards him, which was flattering, but not exactly fun. Now he had a midnight assignation with one of the Empress Dowager’s maids–and that was not only fun, it was new and exciting and even a little bit dangerous. He was after all still just a boy. Inevitably, having grown up in the whore-house, he had observed a fair amount of what went on between men and women; but he had no experience or understanding of love–even if at times he liked to pretend that he did.

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