The Deer And The Cauldron 7

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第七回 古来成败原关数 天下英雄大可知

  韦小宝次晨起身,胸口隐隐作痛,又觉周身乏力,自知是昨晚给海老公打了一掌、踢了一脚之故,Trinket woke next morning with a dull pain in his chest and a weakness in all his body, attributable, he at once realized, to the two blows, one with the hand and the other with the foot, which Old Hai had dealt him the night before.支撑着站起身来,但见胸口一大片血污,便除下长袍,浸到水缸中搓了几搓,突然之间,袍上碎布片片脱落。他吃了一惊,将袍子提出水缸,只见胸口衣襟上有两个大洞,一个是手掌之形,一个是脚底之形。Struggling with some difficulty to his feet, he saw that there was a large bloodstain on the upper part of his gown. He took the gown off and put it in the water-butt to soak. While he was giving the bloodstained part a few rubs, he was greatly surprised to see pieces of the material floating off into the water. He took the gown out again and held it up to look. To his astonishment he saw two large holes in the breast of it, one shaped rather like a hand and one like a foot.他大为惊奇:“这……搞的是什么鬼?”一想到“鬼”字,登时全身寒毛直竖。’But. . . but. . . this is spooky, ‘ he said to himself. Spooky. As the real meaning of the word struck him, he felt the small hairs rising along his spine.

  第一个念头便是:“老乌龟的鬼魂出现,在我袍子上弄了这两个洞。”又想:“老乌龟的鬼不知是瞎眼的,还是瞧得见人的?”盲人死了之后,变成的鬼是否仍然眼盲,这念头在他心中一闪即过,没再想下去,His first thought was, The Old Devil’s come back to haunt me. This is the work of his ghost, ‘ Then he thought, ‘I wonder if the Old Devil’s ghost is blind too, or if he is able to see.’ But the interesting notion that blind men might turn into blind ghosts was quickly discarded by his agile mind.提着那件袍子怔怔出神,突然间恍然大悟:“不是鬼!昨晚老乌龟在我胸口打了一掌,踢了一脚,这两个洞是给他打出来的。哈哈,老子的武功倒也不错,只吐了几口血,也没什么大事。唉,不知可受了内伤没有?老乌龟有只药箱,看有什么伤药,还是吃一些为妙。”As he held the garment up and stared at it bemusedly, he suddenly realized that these holes had been caused by the blows which a still living Old Hai had inflicted on him the night before. He chuckled self-admiringly to think that he had been able to survive two such lethal shocks to his system. ‘You must be in pretty good training, old Trink. Only a mouthful or two of blood–that’s nothing. Hm. But perhaps my insides are damaged. I’d better have a look in the Old Devil’s medicine chest and see if there’s anything there for internal injuries. If there is, it might be a good idea to take some.’海老公既死,他所有的物品,韦小宝自然老实不客气的都据为己有,大模大样的咳嗽一声,将那口箱子打了开来,取出药箱。Now that Old Hai was dead, Trinket felt no compunction about taking over his possessions. With a self-important cough he opened up the old eunuch’s big trunk and extracted the medicine chest from among its contents.药箱中一瓶瓶、一包包丸散甚多,瓶子上纸包上也写得有字,可是他识不了几个字,又怎分辨得出哪一包是伤药,哪一瓶是毒药?Inside it were rows and rows of little bottles and little packets, all containing pills and powders. All of them had writing on them, but as there were only a few characters that he could recognize, he had no means of knowing which were medicines and which were poisons.其中有一瓶黄色药粉,却是触目惊心,认得是当日化去小桂子尸体的“化尸粉”,只须在尸体伤口中弹上一些,过不多时,整具尸体连着衣服鞋袜,都化为一滩黄水,这瓶药粉自然碰也不敢碰。One little bottle with yellow powder in it he recognized with a shudder as the one that had been used in the disposal of Laurie’s corpse. A small amount of the powder shaken into his wound had, within a comparatively short time, reduced not only the whole body but even the clothes and shoes of the young eunuch to a pool of yellow liquid. This bottle, needless to say, he did not dare even to touch.再想起只因自己加了药粉的份量,海老公就此双目失明,说什么也不敢随便服药,好在胸口也不甚疼痛,自言自语:“他妈的,老子武功了得,不服药还不是很好?”Remembering that he had caused Old Hai’s blindness by giving him an overdose of his potent cough medicine, he told himself that taking medicines was something you couldn’t be too careful about and, anyway, his chest wasn’t, fortunately, hurting him too badly. ‘Dammit!’ he muttered to himself, ‘After all that Martial Arts training, old Trink must be in pretty good condition. Surely it won’t matter if I don’t take any medicine at all?’

  当下合上药箱,再看箱子其余物件,都是些旧衣旧书之类,此外有二百多两银子,这些银子他自己毫不重视,别说索额图答应了要给他四十五万两银子,就是去跟温有道他们掷掷骰子,几百两银子也就轻而易举地赢了来。So he closed the medicine chest and had a look at the other things in the trunk. As well as old clothes and old books, he found rather more than two hundred taels of silver, but the money meant nothing to him. Quite apart from the half million taels that Songgotu had promised him, he could easily pick up a few hundred taels any time he liked by playing dice with Wen Youdao and his friends.

  他在小桂子的衣箱中取出另一件长袍来披上,看到身上那件轻软的黑色背心,不觉一怔:“老乌龟在我袍上打出两个大洞,这件衣服怎地半点也没破?这是从鳌拜藏宝库中寻出来的,如果不是宝衣,鳌拜怎会放在藏宝库中?”转念一想:In Laurie’s trunk he found a gown to replace the one of his with holes in it. While he was putting it on, he was surprised to observe that the black waistcoat of soft, light material that he had been wearing underneath his gown was unimpaired. ‘If there are two big holes in my gown where the Old Devil hit me last night, why aren’t there holes in this too?’ he wondered. ‘How let’s think. I found this waistcoat in Oboi’s secret vault. There must be something very special about it or he wouldn’t have kept it there.’ This led to a further reflection:

  “老乌龟打我不死,踢我不烂,说不定不是韦小宝武功了得,而是靠了鳌拜的宝衣救命。索大哥当日劝我穿上,倒大有先见之明,而我穿上之后不除下来,先见之明,倒也不小。”’Perhaps it wasn’t my Martial Arts training that saved me from being killed by those two thumps after all. Perhaps it was this precious waistcoat of Oboi’s. Old Songgotu must have had second sight when he insisted that I put it on. Yes, and I must have had second sight too, not to have taken it off again!’正在自鸣得意,忽听得外面有人叫道:“桂公公,大喜,大喜!快开门。”韦小宝一面扣衣钮,一面开门,问道:“什么喜事?”While he was in the midst of these self-congratulatory reflections, he heard a medley of shouts outside his door. ‘Goong-goong, congratulations!’ ‘Open up, Goong-goong!’ ‘Congratulations, Goong-goong!’ Trinket opened the door, still buttoning his gown as he did so. ‘What’s up?’

  门外站着四名太监,一齐向韦小宝躬身请安,齐声道:“恭喜桂公公。”The four eunuchs who had been standing outside began bowing and pumping their hands as he appeared in the doorway. ‘Congratulations, Goong-goong!’韦小宝笑道:“大清早的,这么客气干什么啊?”一名四十来岁的太监笑道:“刚才太后颁下懿旨去内务府,因海大富海公公得病身亡,尚膳司副总管太监的职司,就由桂公公升任。”’Bit early in the morning for all this goong-ing, isn’t it?’ said Trinket. ‘What’s it all about?’ One of them, a forty-year-old eunuch, answered him with a beaming smile: The Empress Dowager has sent a Gracious Edict to the Minister of the Interior appointing you Assistant Manager of the Imperial Catering Department to fill the place of Hai-goong now that he has died of his illness.’另一名太监笑道:“我们没等内务府大臣转达恩旨,就巴巴的赶来向你道喜,今后桂公公统理尚膳司,那真是太好了!”We didn’t want to wait for the Minister to inform you,’ said another of them. ‘We rushed here to congratulate you as soon as we heard. You’ll be in charge of the whole Imperial Catering Department now. It’s wonderful news.’

  韦小宝做太监升级,也不觉得有甚么了不起,但想:“太后升我的级,是叫我对昨晚之事不可泄露半点风声。其实就是不升我,老子可也不敢多口,脑袋搬了家,嘴巴也没有了,还能多口吗?不过太后既然提拔我,总不会杀我了,倒大可放心。”Trinket couldn’t see what was so wonderful about being promoted as a eunuch, but in one respect the news came as something of a relief. ‘If she’s promoting me,’ he thought, ‘it means she wants me to keep quiet about what happened. Well, I’d have kept quiet any way. I don’t want my head to go missing, thank you very much, and she’d certainly have it off if I opened my mouth too wide. Now that she’s arranged for my promotion, she can’t be planning to kill me–not just yet, anyway.’想到此节,登时眉开眼笑,取出银票,每人送了五十两报信费。Though it was this sense of relief rather than any pleasure he took in his promotion that now wreathed his face in smiles, he took four fifty-tad notes from his wad of banknotes and handed one to each of the four eunuchs to reward them for the good news.

  一名太监道:“咱们宫里,可从来没一位副总管像你桂公公这般年轻的。宫里总管太监十四位,副总管太监八位,顶儿尖儿的人物,一古脑儿就只二十二位。本来连三十岁以下的也没有。There has never been an Assistant Manager as young as Laurie-goong in the Palace before,’ said one of the eunuchs. There are fourteen Managers and eight Assistant Managers, just twenty-two Goong-goongs in all, at the very top of the tree, and up to now not one of them under thirty.桂公公今天一升,明儿就和张总管、王总管他们平起平坐,可真了不起!”另一人道:“大伙儿就只知桂公公在皇上跟前大红大紫,想不到太后对你也这般看重,只怕不到半年,便升做总管了。以后可得对兄弟们多多提拔!”To think that after today you’ll be on a level with Zhang-goong and Wang-goong and the other Assistant Managers! It’s amazing!’ ‘We all knew you were a great favourite with the Emperor,’ said another of the eunuchs, ‘but we never realized that the Empress Dowager thought so highly of you too. At this rate they’ll be making you a Manager six months from now. You won’t forget your friends, will you, now that you’ve gone up in the world? We’ll be looking to you now for advancement.’

  韦小宝哈哈大笑,道:“都是自己人、好兄弟,还说什么提拔不提拔?那是太后和皇上恩典,老……老……我桂小宝又有什么功劳?”他硬生生将“老子”二字咽入口中了,好不辛苦,又道:“来来来,大伙儿到屋中坐坐,喝一杯茶!”’Course I won’t forget my friends,’ said Trinket. ‘We’re all brothers still, aren’t we? The promotion makes no difference. But I don’t know about this looking to me for advancement stuff. We depend entirely on the gracious favour of their Imperial Majesties for our promotion.’ (He knew this was the appropriate jargon to use on these occasions.) ‘Old Tr … old … I mean I’ve done nothing special to deserve mine.’ It had required a great deal of effort not to call himself ‘old Trink’ as he habitually did when he was feeling pleased with himself. ‘Come on,’ he said, ‘come inside, all of you. Sit down and have a cup of tea.’那中年太监道:“太后的恩旨,内务府总得下午才能传来。大伙儿公请桂公公去喝上一杯,庆贺公公飞黄腾达,连升二级。桂公公,你现下是五品的官儿,那可不小啊。”’It will be at least midday before the Ministry delivers the Gracious Edict,’ said the middle-aged eunuch. ‘Let’s go and have a few drinks now to celebrate Laurie-goong’s big rise. Two grades in one go, Laurie-goong: you’ll be an officer of the fifth rank now. That’s really something.’其余三人跟着起哄,定要拉韦小宝去喝酒。韦小宝虽然近日受人奉承已惯,但马屁之来,毕竟听着受用,当即锁上了门,笑嘻嘻的跟着四人去喝酒。The other three joined him in clamorous insistence that Trinket should go with them to celebrate. Trinket had recently grown pretty used to flattery, but, since a little massaging of the self-esteem is always agreeable, he laughingly consented, locked the door of his room, and went off with the four eunuchs to imbibe.

  四人之中,两个是太后身边的近侍,奉太后之命去内务府传旨,最先得到消息。其余二人是尚膳监的太监,一个管采办粮食,一个管选购菜肴,最是宫中的肥缺。Two of the four were personal attendants of the Empress Dowager who had been sent by her to the Ministry with the order for Trinket’s promotion and had therefore been the first to know about it. The other two worked in the Imperial Catering Department, one of them as Purchaser of Grains and Cereals, the other as Buyer and Selector of Meats and Victuals for the Imperial Kitchens: both extremely profitable appointments for those who held them.二人一早听到海大富病死消息,立即守在内务府门外,寸步不离,要知道何人接替海大富的遗缺,立即赶去打点,以便保全职位。This last pair had taken their stand outside the doors of the Ministry as soon as they got the news of Old Hai’s death, resolving not to budge an inch from there until they had found out who was going to replace him so that they could get to work on whoever it was immediately and make sure of keeping their own jobs.四人将韦小宝请到御厨房中,恭恭敬敬的请他坐在中间首席。御厨知道这个小孩儿打从明天起便是自己的顶头上司,自是打起全副精神,烹调精美菜肴,只怕便是太后和皇帝,平时也吃不到这般好菜。The four eunuchs conducted Trinket to the Imperial kitchens, where, with much show of deference, they made him sit down at a table in the place of honour. The Palace cooks, knowing that this young lad was from tomorrow onwards going to be in charge over them, summoned up all their skills in preparing delicacies to go with the wine. It is doubtful whether the food normally served to the Emperor and Empress Dowager themselves could equal the culinary triumphs which were set before Trinket on this occasion.

  韦小宝不会喝酒,顺口跟他们胡说八道。一名太监叹道:“海公公为人是挺好,可惜身子总是不成,又瞎了眼睛,这几年来虽说管尚膳监的事,但一个月之中,难得有一两天到御厨房来。”Trinket had no head for wine and was soon chattering away uninhibitedly under the influence of the drink. ‘Hai-goong was a good person, ‘ said one of the eunuchs with a sigh. ‘It’s a pity his health was so poor. And then going blind as well. These last few years, though he was supposed to be in charge of Catering, I doubt whether he came in more than once or twice a month.’另一名太监道:“幸得大伙儿忠心办事,倒也没出什么岔子。”又一名太监道:“海老公是先帝爷喜欢的老臣子,倘若不是靠了老主子的旧恩典,尚膳监的差使早派了别人啦。’It was lucky for him that everyone pulled so well together, ‘ said another. There might easily have been trouble if they hadn’t.’ ‘Hai-goong’s service went back a long way, ‘ said a third. The Late Emperor thought very highly of him. It was out of respect for the Late Emperor that they kept him on. If it weren’t for that, they’d have given the job to someone else long ago.桂公公得皇上和太后宠幸,那可大不相同啦。咱们大树底下好遮荫,办起事来可就方便得多了。”先一人道:“听说海公公昨天是咳嗽死的。”It’ll be very different now, though. You have the favour of both the Emperor and the Empress Dowager, Laurie-goong. You’ll be able to look after us. It will be like having a tree we can shelter under. Our job should be a lot easier from now on, ‘ ‘I heard it was Hai-goong’s cough that finally killed him, ‘ said one of the two who had spoken previously.

  韦小宝道:“是啊,海公公咳嗽起来,常常气也喘不过来。”’Yes, ‘ said Trinket. ‘He very often used to cough till he was out of breath, ‘

  服侍太后的太监道:“今天清早,御医李太医来奏报太后,说海公公患的是痨病入骨,风湿入心,多年老病发作,再也治不好了。生怕痨病传给人,一早就将他尸体火化了。’Dr Li the Imperial Physician came first thing this morning to report to the Empress Dowager, ‘ said one of the eunuchs who waited on the Empress. ‘He said Hai-goong’s consumption had got into his bones and the rheumatism had reached his heart. He said there’s not much you can do about an attack when the disease is a chronic one that the patient has been suffering from for years. He said because of the danger of infection they’d had the body cremated as soon as it was daylight.太后叹了好一会儿气,连说:“可惜,可惜!海大富这人,倒是挺老实的!”The Empress Dowager seemed very upset. “What a pity,” she said, “what a pity! He was such a good man, ‘”

  韦小宝又惊又喜,知道侍卫、御医、太监们都怕担代干系,将海公公被杀身亡之事隐瞒不报,正好迎合了太后心意。Trinket was agreeably surprised. Evidently the Empress Dowager’s attendants, the Imperial Physician, and the eunuchs, scared of getting involved, had all conspired to conceal the violent nature of Old Hai’s death, thus unintentionally falling in with the Empress Dowager’s own wishes.

  韦小宝心想:“什么痨病入骨,风湿入心?老乌龟尖刀入腹,利剑穿心,那才是真的。”’I don’t know about the consumption getting into his bones and the rheumatism reaching his heart, ‘ he thought. The blade going into his belly and the knife reaching his heart would have been more like it, ‘

  喝了一会酒,尚膳监两名太监渐渐提到,做太监的生活清苦,全仗捞些油水,请韦小宝不可像海公公那么固执,一切事情要办得圆通些。After they had been drinking a bit longer, the two eunuchs from the Catering Department began edging the conversation around to the business that was uppermost in their minds. A eunuch’s life was very hard, they told Trinket. They depended very much on the few crumbs they were able to pick up in the performance of their duties. They very much hoped that Trinket would not be as rigid as Hai-goong had been. Flexibility in all things was so important, didn’t he think?韦小宝有些明白,有些不明白,只是唯唯否否,吃完酒后,两名太监将一个小包塞在他怀里,回房打开来一看,原来是两张银票,每张一千两。Trinket could only half understand what they were getting at, so he merely answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to their questions as seemed appropriate. When they had all finished drinking, one of them slipped a little packet into the breast pocket of Trinket’s gown which Trinket took out and opened as soon as he got back to his own room. Inside it he found two banknotes, each for one thousand taels.这“一千两”三字,他倒是认得的,心想:“还没上任,先收二千,油水倒挺不错啊!”(‘One thousand’ and ‘taels’ were among the very few characters he was able to read.) ‘Hm, two thousand before I’ve even started the job, ‘ he thought. ‘Nice little crumbs!’

  申牌时分,康熙派人来传他到上书房去,笑容满面的道:“小桂子,太后说你昨晚又立了大功,要升你的级。”On Public Business Some time towards the middle of the afternoon Kang Xi sent someone round summoning Trinket to the Upper Library. Trinket found him all smiles. ‘Laurie, the Empress Dowager tells me you have performed another great service for us. She wants to have you promoted, ‘韦小宝心想:“我早就知道啦!”立即装出惊喜交集之状,跪下磕头,说道:“奴才也没什么功劳,都是太后和皇上的恩典。”’I could have told you -that, ‘ thought Trinket, but instead he at once assumed an expression of astonished delight, fell on his knees, and kowtowed. ‘I’ve done nothing to deserve this. This is entirely thanks to the gracious favour of Your Imperial Majesties.’

  康熙道:“太后说,昨晚有几名太监在花园中打架,惊吵太后,你过去赶开了,处理得很得当。你小小年纪,倒识大体。”(The words, which he had practised, now came out pat.) The Empress Dowager says there were some eunuchs fighting in the garden last night, ‘ said Kang Xi. The noise gave her a nasty fright. But she says you managed the whole affair very competently. She was most impressed that someone so young should have so mature a grasp of things, ‘韦小宝站起身来,说道:“识大体吗,也不见得。不过我知道,有些事情听了该当牢牢记住,有些事情,应该立刻忘得干干净净,永远不可提起。太监们打架,说的话挺难听,自然谁也不可多提。”Trinket got up off the floor. ‘I don’t know about having a mature grasp of things, ‘ he said. ‘All I know is that there are some things you have to be very careful to remember and some things you need to forget about straight away and never, never mention. Eunuchs fighting sounds bad. I think the less said about it the better, ‘

  康熙点点头,笑吟吟的道:“小桂子,咱二人年纪虽然不大,可得做几件大事出来,别让大臣们瞧小了,说咱们不懂事。”Kang Xi nodded, laughing. ‘Laurie, ‘ he said, ‘though you and I are both young, there are several important things we have got to do. We must be careful that people older than we are don’t look down on us and say that we don’t know what we’re doing, ‘韦小宝道:“正是。只要皇上定下计策,有什么事,交给奴才去办便是。”康熙道:“很好!鳌拜那厮,作乱犯上。我虽饶了他不杀,可是这人党羽众多,只怕死灰复燃,造起反来,那可大大的不妙。”韦小宝道:“正是!”’Of course, ‘ said Trinket. The best thing would be if Your Majesty did all the planning and left the carrying out of whatever it is to me, ‘ ‘Good, ‘ said Kang Xi. ‘It’s that wretched Oboi–the traitor! Though I let him off with his life, I’m beginning to be afraid that he might try to make a comeback. He has a lot of supporters. It would be pretty awful to have a rebellion on our hands, ‘ ‘It certainly would, ‘ said Trinket.

  康熙道:“我早知鳌拜这厮倔强,因此没叫送入刑部天牢囚禁,免得他胡言乱语,一直关在康亲王府里。刚才康亲王来奏,说那厮整日大叫大嚷,口出不逊的言语。”说到这里,放低了声音,’I always knew he was a hard man who wouldn’t give in easily, ‘ said Kang Xi. That’s why I didn’t have him sent to the Board of Punishment’s Tian Lao prison. He’d talk too much and there would be too many people there who might listen to him. Up to now he’s been in Prince Kang’s custody at the Prince’s private residence. Now the Prince tells me he’s shouting and bawling all day long–a lot of treasonable nonsense.’ He dropped his voice.道:“这厮说我用小刀子在他背心上戳了一刀。”韦小宝道:“哪有此事?对付这厮,何必皇上亲自动手?

  这一刀是奴才戳的,奴才去跟康亲王说明白好了。”’He’s saying I stabbed him–in the back–with a dagger.’ That’s absurd,’ said Trinket. ‘Why should Your Majesty need to do anything like that yourself? It was I who stabbed him. Let me go to Prince Kang’s place and explain.’

  康熙亲自动手暗算鳌拜,此事传闻开来,颇失为君的体统,他正为此发愁,听韦小宝这般说,心下甚喜,点头道:“这事由你认了最好。”沉吟片刻,说道:“你去康亲王家里瞧瞧,看那厮几时才死。”韦小宝道:“是!”Kang Xi had been worrying that a rumour to the effect that he had personally engineered a plot against Oboi’s life would greatly diminish his Imperial dignity, so Trinket’s suggestion was a welcome one. He nodded vigorously. ‘Actually I think it would be best if you said it was you.’ He mused silently for a while. ‘Go to Prince Kang’s place and have a look at him,’ he said. ‘See if you can get an idea how much longer the fellow is likely to live.’ ‘I will, ‘ said Trinket.康熙道:“我只道他中了一刀转眼便死,因此饶了他性命,没料到这厮如此硬朗,居然能够挺着,还在那里乱说乱话,煽惑人心,早知如此……”The only reason I didn’t have him executed is because I thought that after being wounded like that he would probably die quite soon anyway, ‘ said Kang Xi. ‘I never imagined that anyone could be tough enough to hold out for so long. And now here he is talking a lot of nonsense for everyone to hear, sowing doubts in people’s minds. If I’d known . . .’言下颇有悔意。

  韦小宝揣摸康熙之意,是要自己悄悄将他杀了,便道:“我看他多半挨不过今天。”His voice trailed off regretfully. Trinket could tell that what Kang Xi really wanted but couldn’t say was that Trinket should dispose of Oboi secretly himself. ‘I shouldn’t think he’s very likely to last longer than today, ‘ he said, by way of showing that he understood.

  康熙传来四名侍卫,命他们护送韦小宝去康亲王府公干。Kang Xi summoned four of the Palace Guards and ordered them to escort Trinket to Prince Kang’s residence ‘on public business’.

  韦小宝先回自己住处,取了应用物事,骑了一匹高头大马,在四名侍卫前后拥卫之下,向康亲王府行去,在街上左顾右盼,得意洋洋。After first fetching the things he would need from his room, Trinket mounted a tall, foreign type of horse and set off for Prince Kang’s place escorted by the four guards, two in front and two behind. As he rode through the streets, he looked round to right and left of him, feeling very pleased with himself.

  忽听得街边有个汉子道:“听说擒住大奸臣鳌拜的,是一位十来岁的小公公?”另一人道:“是啊,少年皇帝,身边得宠的公公,也都是少年。”先一人道:“是不是就是这位小公公?”另一人道:“那我可不知道了。”一名侍卫要讨好韦小宝,大声道:“擒拿奸臣鳌拜,便是这位桂公公立的大功。”At one point he heard a man standing at the side of the road say to the man next to him: ‘Someone told me the person who arrested the traitor Oboi was a little eunuch only twelve or thirteen years old.’ The Emperor is only a boy himself, ‘ said the other. That’s why all his favourite eunuchs are young ones.’ ‘Do you think this little eunuch is the one?’ said the first man. That I wouldn’t know, ‘ said the other. One of the guards, anxious to ingratiate himself with the Emperor’s young favourite,-said in a loud voice: This is the one who arrested the traitor Oboi. Laurie-goong. He’s the one.’

  鳌拜嗜杀汉人,残暴贪贿,众百姓恨之入骨,一旦被拿,办罪抄家,北京城内城外,欢声雷动。Because of his cruel butchery of so many Chinese, the brutal repressiveness of his government, and his rapacious extortions, the common people hated Oboi with a fierce and burning hatred. When news came overnight that he had been arrested and sentenced to imprisonment and confiscation, the whole city and all the area round about re-echoed to the sound of countless people rejoicing.小皇帝下旨擒拿之时,鳌拜恃勇拒捕,终于为一批小太监打倒,这事也已传得满城皆知。Soon everyone had heard the story that the boy Emperor had ordered Oboi’s arrest but that Oboi had used his mighty strength to resist and only finally been brought down by a handful of little eunuchs. The story became wonderfully embroidered in the telling.众百姓加油添酱,绘声绘影,各处茶馆中的茶客个个说得口沫横飞,什么鳌拜飞腿欲踢皇帝,什么几名小太监个个武功了得,怎样用“枯藤盘根”式将鳌拜摔倒,鳌拜怎样“鲤鱼打挺”,小太监怎样“黑虎偷心”,一招一式,倒似人人亲眼目睹一般。In every tea-house a dozen amateur storytellers, hands waving, spittle flying, demonstrated how Oboi had aimed a flying kick at the Emperor; how a few young eunuchs, each of them a master in the Martial Arts, had brought Oboi to the ground using the Clinging Vine technique; how Oboi had countered with a Threshing Carp movement; how the little eunuchs had then applied the method of attack which the manuals call the Panther Stealing the Heart; and so on, blow by blow, so that you would swear they had witnessed the whole struggle with their own eyes.

  这几天中,只要有个太监来到市上,立即有一群闲人围了上来,打听擒拿鳌拜的情形。此刻听得那侍卫说道,这个小太监便是擒拿鳌拜的大功臣,街市之间立即哄动,无数百姓鼓掌喝彩。During the last few days any eunuch who appeared in the market would be instantly surrounded by a knot of idlers eager for information about the circumstances of Oboi’s arrest. Now that the guardsman had let it be known that the public benefactor who had succeeded in arresting Oboi was none other than the little eunuch riding by on the horse, the news, spreading like wildfire through the whole quarter, produced a storm of clapping and cheering.韦小宝一生之中,哪里受到过这样的荣耀,不由得心花怒放,自己当真如是大英雄一般。一众闲人只是碍着两名手按腰刀的侍卫在前开路,心有所忌,否则早已拥上来围住韦小宝看个仔细、问个不休了。Never in the whole of his young life had Trinket experienced such a moment of glory. A feeling of elation swept over him and he began to believe that he really was a hero. The two guardsmen marching ahead of him to clear the way dropped their hands threateningly on their sword-hilts, and it was only a healthy respect for the swords that prevented a crowd of curious spectators from mobbing him to get a closer view and overwhelming him with their questions.

  五人来到康亲王府。康亲王听得皇上派来内使,忙大开中门,迎了出来,摆下香案,准备迎接圣旨。韦小宝笑道:“王爷,皇上命小人来瞧瞧鳌拜,别的也没什么大事。”The Prince must have received warning of the visit, for when the five of them arrived at his residence, they found the central portals wide open and the Prince waiting outside, a table with incense burning on it laid out in readiness, as if for the formal reception of an Imperial Edict. ‘His Majesty has just ordered me to come and have a look at Oboi, Your Highness,’ said Trinket. That’s all I’ve come about. Nothing important.’

  康亲王道:“是,是!”他在上书房中见到韦小宝一直陪在康熙身边,又知他擒拿鳌拜出过大力,忙笑嘻嘻的挽住他手,’Very good, ‘ said the Prince. Prince Kang had often seen Trinket in attendance on Rang Xi in the Upper Library and knew that he had played a major part in Oboi’s arrest. As there was no Edict, he dropped the formality, seized Trinket by the hand, and gave him a broad and friendly smile.说道:“桂公公,你难得光临,咱们先喝两杯,再去瞧鳌拜那厮。”当即设下筵席。四名侍卫另坐一席,由王府中的武官相陪。康亲王自和韦小宝在花园中对酌,问起韦小宝的嗜好。’It’s an unexpected pleasure to have you here, Laurie-goong, ‘ he said. ‘Let’s have a drink or two first to celebrate. You can have a look at Oboi afterwards.’ He gave orders for a meal to be served. On his instructions the four guardsmen from the Palace were to be entertained by the officers of his own private guards while he and Trinket took their drinks in the garden. Prince Kang asked Trinket what sort of things he liked doing best.

  韦小宝心想:“我如说喜欢赌钱,王爷就会陪我玩骰子,他还一定故意输给我。赢他的钱,这叫做胜之不武。”便道:“我也没什么喜欢的。”’If I say playing dice,’ thought Trinket, ‘he’ll ask me to play with him and lose deliberately so that I can win a lot of money. It’ll be one of those “bloodless victories”. That I don’t like.’ So he said, ‘Well, nothing in particular really.’

  康亲王寻思:“老年人爱钱,中年少年人好色,太监可就不会好色了。这小太监喜欢什么,倒难猜得很。这孩子会武功,如果送他宝刀宝剑,在宫中说不定惹出祸来,倒得担上好大干系。啊,有了!”’Old men are fond of money; middle-aged and young ones are fond of girls,’ thought the Prince, ‘but that rule can’t very well apply in the case of eunuchs. This is going to be difficult. He knows how to fight, of course, but if I gave him a valuable sword or something like that, he might get into trouble with it in the Palace, and then I should be responsible . . . Ah, I know.’笑道:“桂公公,咱们一见如故。我厩中养得有几匹好马,请你去挑选几匹,算是小王送给你的一个小礼如何?”’Laurie-goong,’ he said, ‘I feel as if we’re old friends already. I’ve got quite a good stable here. Why don’t you come along with me now and choose a few horses? We can call it my little present to you to celebrate our new acquaintance.’

  韦小宝大喜,道:“怎敢领受王爷赏赐?”

  康亲王道:“自己兄弟,什么赏不赏的?来来来,咱们先看了马,回来再喝酒。”携着他手同去马厩。康亲王吩咐马夫,牵几匹最好的小马出来。Trinket was very taken with the idea, but thought he had better decline. ‘I’m not worthy of such a favour, Your Highness.’ ‘Nonsense!’ said the Prince. ‘We’re like brothers. It’s not a favour. Come on! We’ll go and look at the horses now and have our drinks when we get back.’ He seized Trinket by the hand again and marched him off to the stables, where he gave orders to the groom to lead out a few of his best ponies.

  韦小宝心头不悦:“为什么叫我挑小马?你当我是只会骑小马的孩子吗?”Trinket was a bit disappointed. ‘Why ponies?’ he thought. ‘Do you think I’m a child and can’t ride anything bigger?’见马夫牵了五六匹小驹出来,笑道:“王爷,我身材不高,便爱骑大马,好显得不太矮小。”To tell the truth, Your Highness,’ he said after the groom had paraded five or six sturdy little creatures for his inspection, ‘as I’m so short, I rather like riding bigger horses because they make me look taller.’

  康亲王立时会意,拍腿笑道:“是我胡涂,是我胡涂。”吩咐马夫:“牵我那匹玉花骢出来,请桂公公瞧瞧。”Prince Kang understood immediately. ‘Oh, how stupid of me!’ he said, slapping his thigh with a laugh. He turned to the groom. ‘Bring out the dappled grey. Let Laurie-goong have a look at Jade Flower.’

  那马夫到内厩之中,牵出来一匹高头大马,全身白毛,杂着一块块淡红色斑点,昂首扬鬣,当真神骏非凡,The groom disappeared into the inner stables and presently reappeared leading a big, tall horse, already saddled and bridled, whose white coat was lightly dappled with pinkish markings: a superb animal who tossed his mane proudly as if conscious of his superiority over other horses.黄金辔头,黄金踏镫,马鞍边上用银子镶的宝石,单是这副马身上的配具,便不知要值多少银子,若不是王公亲贵,便再有钱的达官富商,可也不敢用这等华贵的鞍鞯。韦小宝不懂马匹优劣,见这马模样俊美,忍不住喝彩:“好漂亮的马儿!”His bridle-trimmings and stirrups were of gold and the edges of his saddle were decorated with precious stones set in silver. These furnishings alone must have been worth a fortune. Only a prince or nobleman, not even the grandest minister or wealthiest merchant, would presume to flaunt saddlery of such magnificence. Trinket knew nothing about horses, but at the sight of this one he let out an involuntary cry of admiration. ‘He’s a beauty!’

  康亲王笑道:“这匹马是西域送来的,乃是有名的大宛马,别瞧它身子高大,年纪可还小得很,只两岁零几个月。漂亮的马儿,该当由漂亮人来骑。桂兄弟,你就选了这匹玉花骢怎样?”Prince Kang smiled. ‘He comes from the Far West. He’s one of the famous Ferghana breed. Don’t be deceived by his size. He’s still very young, only two and a half years old. A handsome horse needs a handsome rider. What about choosing my Jade Flower for your present, brother?’韦小宝道:“这……这是王爷的坐骑,小人如何敢要?王爷厚赐,可没的折煞了小人。”康亲王道:“桂兄弟,你这等见外,那是太瞧不起兄弟了。难道你不肯结交我这个朋友?”韦小宝道:“唉,小人在宫中是个……是个低贱之人,怎敢跟王爷交朋友?”Trinket was genuinely overcome. ‘I… well. . . but this is the horse Your Highness rides. It wouldn’t be right for me to ride him. I really couldn’t.’ ‘Brother,’ said the Prince, ‘you’re treating me as if I were a stranger. Don’t you want to be my friend? Aren’t I good enough for you?’ ‘I’m only a Palace … a very lowly sort of person,’ said Trinket. (He couldn’t quite bring himself to say ‘eunuch’.) ‘How could I really be Your Highness’s friend?’

  康亲王道:“咱们满洲人爽爽快快,你当我是好朋友,就将我这匹马骑了去,以后大伙儿不分彼此。否则的话,兄弟心中可大大的生气啦!”说着胡子一翘,一副气呼呼的模样。’We Manchus are blunt, straightforward folk,’ said the Prince. ‘Either you treat me as a friend and take this horse and from now on behave with me as an equal, or… or I am going to be very, very angry.’ He bristled his little moustache up in a very convincing simulation of rage.

  韦小宝大喜,便道:“王爷,你……你待小的这样好,真不知如何报答才是?”Trinket was thrilled. ‘You’re so good to me, Your Highness, I don’t know what I could possibly do in return.’

  康亲王道:“说什么报答不报答的?你肯要这匹马,算是我有面子。”走过去在马臀上轻拍数下,道:“玉花,玉花,以后你跟了这位公公去,可得乖乖的。”向韦小宝道:“兄弟,你试着骑骑看。”’I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ said the Prince. ‘If you’re willing to take this horse, you’ll be doing me a favour.’ He went up to the dappled grey and gave it a few gentle pats on the rump. ‘Jade Flower,’ he said, ‘from now on you’re going to belong to this Goong-goong here. Now be a good boy, won’t you?’ He turned to Trinket. ‘Why don’t you give him a try?’

  韦小宝笑应:“是!”在马鞍上一拍,飞身而起,上了马背。他这几个月武功学下来,拳脚上的真实功夫没学到什么,纵跃之际,毕竟身手矫捷。’All right,’ said Trinket, and slapping a hand on the saddle, he vaulted up into it in a single leap. His few months’ training in the Martial Arts may not have produced much real skill in combat, but at least it had greatly added to his agility.

  康亲王赞道:“好功夫!”牵着马的马夫松了手,那玉花骢便在马厩外的沙地上绕圈小跑。韦小宝骑在马背之上,只觉又快又稳。他丝毫不懂控马之术,生怕出丑,兜了几个圈子便即跃下马背,那马便自行站住了。Prince Kang was impressed and shouted an appreciative ‘Bravo!’ The groom, who up to now had been holding Jade Flower by the bridle, now let go, and the horse, with Trinket on its back, trotted off into the sandy area outside the stables. As it circled round, Trinket experienced a sensation of speed coupled with a reassuring feeling of stability. He hadn’t much idea how to manage a horse and was dreadfully afraid of making a fool of himself, so after they had trotted several times round the ring, he jumped off. Fortunately Jade Flower at once came to a halt and stood still of his own accord.

  韦小宝道:“王爷,可真多谢你的厚赐了!小人这就去瞧瞧鳌拜,回来再来陪你。”’Thank you, Your Highness,’ said Trinket. ‘This really is a wonderful present. Now I think I’d better go and have a look at Oboi. I’ll come and see you when I get back.’康亲王道:“正是,这是奉旨差遣的大事。小兄弟,请你禀报皇上,说我们看守得很紧,这厮就算身上长了翅膀,也逃不了。”韦小宝道:“这个自然。”’You’re right, little brother,’ said Prince Kang. ‘We mustn’t forget that you’re here on Imperial business. When you get back and make your report, do tell the Emperor that we are being extremely careful about security. I don’t think Oboi could escape from here even if he grew a pair of wings.’ ‘I’m sure he couldn’t, ‘ said Trinket.康亲王道:“要不要我陪你去?”韦小宝道:“不敢劳动王爷大驾。”康亲王每次见到鳌拜,总给他骂得狗血淋头,原不想见他,当即派了本府八名卫士,陪同韦小宝去查察钦犯。’Would you like me to come with you?’ the Prince asked him. ‘No, no, please don’t bother, ‘ said Trinket. Previously, every time the Prince had been to see Oboi, he had been subjected to a continuous stream of foul-mouthed invective. Rather relieved that Trinket had declined his offer to go with him, he at once ordered eight of his personal bodyguard to accompany him on his inspection of the Imperial prisoner.八名卫士引着韦小宝走向后花园,来到一座孤零零的石屋之前,屋外十六名卫士手执钢刀把守,另有两名卫士首领绕着石屋巡视,确是防守得十分严密。卫士首领得知皇上派内使来巡查,率领众卫士躬身行礼,打开铁门上的大锁,推开铁门,请韦小宝入内。Behind the Iron Door These eight members of the Prince’s bodyguard conducted Trinket through the big garden at the back of the residence to an isolated stone building outside which another sixteen of them, with bared sabres in their hands, stood guard, while two officers patrolled the building in continuous circuit. The Prince was clearly taking no chances with his prisoner. On learning that their visitor was an emissary from the Palace come to make an inspection, the officer in command drew up his little troop and made them bow to him and then salute; that done, he unlocked a big padlock, pushed open the iron door of the prison, and invited Trinket and his escort to enter.

  石屋内甚是阴暗,走廊之侧搭了一座行灶,一名老仆正在煮饭。Inside the stone prison it was very dark. The iron door opened on to a wide corridor which ran round the sides of a little, gloomy courtyard and led to the main part of the prison at the back. On one side of the corridor was a portable stove on which an old orderly was doing some cooking.那卫士首领道:“这铁门平时轻易不开,钦犯的饮食就由这人在屋里煮了,送进囚房。”韦小宝点头道:“很好!你们王爷想得甚是周到。铁门不开,这钦犯想逃就难得很了。”The iron door is normally kept locked, ‘ the officer explained. ‘This old man cooks the prisoner’s meals for him here, inside the prison. To feed him he only has to take them from here to the cell, ‘ Trinket nodded. ‘Very good, ‘ he said. The Prince seems to have thought of everything. As long as that iron door is kept shut, the prisoner would have a job getting out of here even if he tried. ‘

  卫士首领道:“王爷吩咐过的,钦犯倘若要逃,格杀勿论。”The Prince has given orders that if the prisoner does try to escape, he is to be killed immediately, ‘ said the officer.

  卫士首领引着韦小宝进内,走进一座小堂,便听得鳌拜的声音从里面传了出来,正在大骂皇帝:The officer conducted Trinket to the main part of the prison on the farther side of the courtyard. They were now in a sort of large vestibule from which they could hear the sound of Oboi shouting out imprecations against the Emperor. “你奶奶的,老子出生入死,立了无数汗马功劳,给你爷爷、父亲打下一座花花江山。你这没出息的小鬼年纪轻轻,便不安好心,在背后捅我一刀子,暗算老子。老子做了厉鬼,也不饶你。”’Damn you, you misbegotten little bastard! How many times have I risked my neck for you lot? It was my blood, my sweat that won this great Empire for your grandfather and your father to enjoy. And now you’ve inherited it, you simpering little brat, how do you show your gratitude? By stabbing me in the back, like the dirty little sneak-thief you are. But you won’t get away with this. Even if I die, my ghost will come back to haunt you.’

  卫士首领皱眉道:“这厮说话无法天天,真该杀头才是。”韦小宝循声走到一间小房的铁窗之前,探头向内张去,只见鳌拜蓬头散发,手上脚上都戴了铐镣,在室中走来走去,铁链在地下拖动,发出铿锵之声。The officer frowned distastefully. ‘Listen to that,’ he said. ‘It’s a disgrace. They ought to cut his head off.’ Walking in the direction of the cursing, Trinket came to the barred window of a cell, inside which a dishevelled Oboi, fettered at both wrists and ankles, paced to and fro. A long chain trailed behind him which clanked each time he moved.鳌拜斗然见到韦小宝,叫道:“你……你……你这罪该万死、没卵子的小鬼,你进来,你进来,老子扠死了你!”双目圆睁,眼光中如要喷出火来,突然发足向韦小宝疾冲,砰的一声,身子重重撞在墙上。He broke off his cursing for a moment when he caught sight of Trinket peering in through the window. ‘So it’s you,’ he said, ‘you . . . you bollockless little criminal! You deserve to die a thousand times over. Come inside and let me strangle you!’ His eyes, round with anger, glared at Trinket as if he hoped to burn him up with their fire. Suddenly he made a rush towards the window, hurling his body with a crash against the wall.

  虽然明知隔着一座厚墙,韦小宝还是吃了一惊,退了两步,见到他狰狞的形相,不禁甚是害怕。卫士首领安慰道:“公公别怕,这厮冲不出来。”韦小宝定了定神,见铁窗上的铁条极粗,石墙极厚,而鳌拜身上所戴的脚镣手铐又极沉重,不由得精神大振,Despite its thickness Trinket gave an involuntary start and, when he saw the evil, contorted expression on Oboi’s face, began to feel really frightened. The officer spoke reassuringly. ‘Don’t be afraid of him, Goong-goong. He can’t get out.’ Trinket took a good look at the massive iron bars in the window, the thick stone wall, and the heavy shackles on Oboi’s hands and feet and felt his courage returning.说道:“又怕他什么?你们几位在外边等我,皇上吩咐了,有几句话要我问他。”众卫士齐声答应退出。’I’m not afraid of him, ‘ he said airily. ‘Would you gentlemen mind leaving me alone with him for a few minutes and waiting for me outside? There are a few questions that the Emperor has asked me to put to him.’ The officer and escort chorused their compliance and withdrew.鳌拜兀自在厉声怒骂。韦小宝笑道:Meanwhile Oboi’s cursing continued unabated. Trinket laughed. “鳌少保,皇上吩咐我来瞧瞧你老人家身子好不好。你骂起人来,倒也中气十足,身子硬朗得很哪,皇上知道了,必定喜欢得紧。”The Emperor sent me here to see how you were,’ he said. To judge from your cursing, it sounds as if you’ve still got plenty of energy. In pretty good shape I should say you were. The Emperor will be glad to hear it.’

  鳌拜举起双手,将铁铐在铁窗上撞得当当猛响,怒道:“你奶奶的,你这狗娘养的小杂种。你去跟皇帝说,用不着他这么假心假意,要杀便杀,鳌拜还怕了不成?”Oboi lifted up his fists in a rage and hammered with his manacles on the iron bars of the window. ‘Up your mother’s, you little bitch’s abortion!’ he said. ‘Go back and tell the Emperor that there’s no need for this lousy pretending. If he wants to kill me, tell him to get on with it. Do you think Oboi gives a damn?’

  韦小宝见他将铁窗上粗大的铁格打得直晃,真怕他破窗而出,又退了一步,笑道:“皇上可没这么容易就杀了你。要你在这里安安静静的住上二三十年,Trinket could see the thick iron bars of the cell window shaking in Oboi’s grip and began to wonder if he might not, after all, be able to break through the window and get out. He moved back a step, but continued smiling. ‘Oh no, the Emperor has no intention of killing you. He wants you to spend a nice, quiet time here reflecting–twenty or thirty years maybe–等到心中真的懊悔了,爬着出去向皇上磕几百个响头,皇上念着你从前的功劳,说不定便饶了你,放了你出去。不过大官是没得做了。”until you’ve thoroughly repented. Then, if you crawl out of here and kowtow to him a few hundred times, he just might remember your past services and grant you a pardon. You’d be allowed to go free then, though not, of course, to hold high office any more.’

  鳌拜厉声道:“你叫他快别做这清秋大梦,要杀鳌拜容易得很,要鳌拜磕头,却是千难万难。”Oboi’s voice rose to a shout. Tell him he’s day-dreaming. Tell him if he wants to kill me, that’s easy; but if he wants me to kowtow to him, that’s not difficult, it’s impossible.’

  韦小宝笑道:“咱们走着瞧罢,过得三年五载,皇上忽然记起你的时候,又会派我来瞧瞧你。鳌大人,你身子保重,可千万别有什么伤风咳嗽,头痛肚痛。”’We’ll see,’ said Trinket, still smiling. ‘Perhaps in four or five years’ time the Emperor will suddenly remember you and send me to see you again. In the meantime, Lord Oboi, take care of your health, won’t you? We wouldn’t want you getting colds or coughs or the bellyache or anything.’

  鳌拜大骂:“痛你妈的王八羔子。小皇帝本来好好地,都是给你们这些狗娘养的汉人教坏了。老皇爷倘若早听了我的话,朝廷里一个汉官也不用,宫里一只汉狗也不许进来,那会像今日这般乱七八糟?”’Bellyache be damned, you horrible little vermin!’ said Oboi in a rage. The Young Emperor was all right until he was ruined by you stinking Chinese. The Late Emperor ought to have listened to me. He ought never to have employed a single Chinese on public business. He ought not to have allowed so much as a Chinese dog inside the Palace. If he’d done as I said, we shouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.’

  韦小宝不去理他,退到廊下行灶旁,见锅中冒出蒸气,Trinket took no further notice of him. Walking back into the corridor in the front part of the prison, he saw that the pot on the portable stove was giving off a good deal of steam.揭开锅盖一看,煮的是一锅猪肉白菜,说道:“好香!”He lifted the lid off and inspected the pork and cabbage bubbling away inside. ‘Smells good,’ he said.那老仆道:“给犯人吃的,没什么好东西。”韦小宝道:“皇上吩咐我来钦察犯人的饮食,可不许饿坏了他。”那老仆道:“好教公公放心,饿不了的。王爷叮嘱了,每天要给他吃一斤肉。”’It’s not very nice, really, ‘ said the old orderly. ‘It’s what the prisoner eats.’ The prisoner’s feeding arrangements are one of the things the Emperor told me to look into,’ said Trinket. ‘He’s not to be starved.’ ‘No fear of that, Goong-goong,’ said the old man. The Prince’s orders are that he is to be given a pound of meat every day.’韦小宝道:“你舀一碗给我尝尝,倘若待亏了钦犯,我请王爷打你板子。”老仆惶恐道:“是,是!小人不敢亏待了钦犯。”忙取过碗来,盛了一碗猪肉白菜,双手恭恭敬敬的递上,又递上一双筷子。’Ladle out some for me in a bowl, so that I can have a taste, ‘ said Trinket. ‘If I find that you’re not feeding him properly, I’ll tell the Prince to have you beaten, ‘ ‘I assure you I’m feeding him properly, ‘ said the old orderly, all of a tremble. ‘I wouldn’t dare not to.’ He hurried off to fetch a bowl, ladled out a generous helping of the stew into it, and offered it respectfully to Trinket with both his hands. He also handed him a pair of chopsticks.

  韦小宝接过碗来,喝了一口汤,不置可否,向筷子瞧了瞧,说道:“这筷子太脏,你给我好好的擦洗干净。”那老仆忙道:“是,是!”接过筷子,到院子中水缸边去用力擦洗。Trinket held up the bowl to his lips and sipped the liquid; but instead of commenting on it, he glanced at the chopsticks and handed them back to the old man. These chopsticks are dirty. Take them away and give them a good wipe.’ ‘Yes, yes, very good, ‘ said the old man humbly, and trotted off with them to the water-butt in the courtyard, where he proceeded to give them a prolonged and vigorous rub.

  韦小宝转过身子,取出怀中的一包药末,倒在那一大碗猪肉白菜之中,随即将纸包放回怀里,将菜碗晃动几下,药末都溶入了汤里。While he was doing this, Trinket turned his back to the courtyard, took a packet from the inside breast pocket of his gown, and poured its contents into the bowl of pork and cabbage; then, slipping the empty packet back inside his gown, he gave the bowl a few shakes to help the powder dissolve.他知道康熙要杀鳌拜,却要做得丝毫不露痕迹,从上书房中出来时便有了主意,Trinket knew that Kang Xi wanted Oboi dead, but with no incriminating evidence to show how he had died. An idea of how this might be accomplished had come to him as he was on his way out of the Upper Library.回到住处,从海老公的药箱中取出十来种药末,也不管有毒无毒,胡乱混在一起,包了一包,心想这十几种药粉之中,必有两三种是毒药,给他服了下去,定然死多活少。When he got back to his own room he had taken a dozen or so little packets from Old Hai’s medicine chest, mixed their contents together and wrapped the mixture up in a larger packet. He had no means of knowing which of the randomly chosen packets had contained medicines and which poisons, but he argued that out of a dozen or so there must have been at least two or three which contained poisons, from which it followed that if Oboi could be induced to swallow the mixture, the chances of his survival were very slender.

  那老仆擦完筷子,恭恭敬敬的递过。韦小宝接过筷子,在鳌拜那碗猪肉中不住搅拌,说道:“嗯,猪肉倒也不少。平时都这么多吗?我瞧你很会偷食!”Having now finished his meticulous wiping of the chopsticks, the old orderly brought them back and handed them very respectfully to Trinket, who busied himself for some time picking over the contents of the bowl with them. ‘Hm, ‘ he said presently. There’s a lot of meat here. Do you always give him as much meat as this? I’m sure you’re quite capable of stealing bits of it to eat yourself.’那老仆道:“每餐都有不少猪肉,小人不敢偷食的。”心下诧异:“这位小公公怎么知道我偷犯人的肉吃,可有点希奇!”韦小宝道:“好,你送去给犯人吃。”’Oh, I wouldn’t dare, ‘ said the old orderly. ‘He always gets as much as this, every mealtime, ‘ But while he said this, he was thinking, ‘Funny, I wonder how this little Goong-goong knows that I always sneak a bit for myself. Very strange ‘All right, ‘ said Trinket. ‘Give the prisoner his food then, ‘那老仆道:“是,是!”又装了三大碗白饭,连同那大碗白菜猪肉,装在盘里,捧去给鳌拜。The old man filled three large bowls with boiled rice, put them, together with the bowl of pork and cabbage stew, on a tray and carried the lot off to Oboi’s cell.韦小宝提着筷子在锅边轻轻敲击,心下甚是得意,寻思:

  “鳌拜这厮吃了我这碗加料大补的猪肉白菜,若不七孔流血,也得……也得八孔流血而死。”他本来想另说一句成语,但肚中实在有限,只好在“七孔流血”之下,再加上一孔。他放下碗筷,踱出门去,Trinket drummed softly with the chopsticks on the side of the cooking-pot, feeling very pleased with himself. ‘When Oboi has finished my specially seasoned pork and cabbage stew, ‘ he said to himself, ‘he ought to bleed from at least eight of his orifices, ‘ Trinket had heard it said of people who died of poisoning that they had ‘bled from all seven orifices’ and been greatly impressed by the saying; but he didn’t know what an ‘orifice’ was or that the body has, in any case, only got seven of them, so his hyperbole was not, strictly speaking, anatomically correct. Presently he left off his drumming, laid down the chopsticks and strolled through the doorway to gossip with the sentries outside.和守门的卫士们闲谈了片刻,心想这当儿鳌拜多半已将一碗猪肉吃了个碗底朝天,向卫士首领道:“咱们再进去瞧瞧!”After chatting with them until he estimated that Oboi must have had ample time to polish off his stew, he suggested to the officer that they should go inside again ‘to have another look’.卫士首领应道:“是!”两人刚走进门,忽听得门外两人齐声吆喝:“什么人?站住了!”跟着飕飕两响射箭之声。The two of them had barely got inside the prison when they heard a shout from the two soldiers guarding the door: ‘Halt! Who goes there?’ This was followed by the whirring sound of two arrows fired in rapid succession.那卫士首领吃了一惊,忙道:“公公,我去瞧一下。”急奔出门。韦小宝跟着出去,只听铮铮之声大作,十来名青衣汉子手执兵刃,已和众卫士动上了手。’Goong-goong, ‘ said the officer in a state of great alarm, ‘I must go out and see what’s happening.’ And he dashed outside. Trinket, following behind, heard a great clashing of steel on steel and saw about a dozen swordsmen, entirely clothed in black, engaged in hand-to-hand combat with two dozen or more of the guards.韦小宝大惊:“啊哟,鳌拜的手下之人来救他了。”’Aiyo!’ he cried out in dismay, ‘Oboi’s supporters have come to rescue him.’

  那卫士首领拔剑指挥,只吆喝得数声,一男一女分从左右夹击而上。The officer who had been accompanying him had now drawn his sword and was issuing commands to his men, but before he had uttered more than a few words, two of the intruders, one male and one female, closed in on him from either side.护送韦小宝的四名御前侍卫便在左近,闻声来援,加入战团。那些青衣汉子武功甚强,霎时之间已有两名王府卫士尸横就地。The four Imperial guardsmen who had escorted Trinket from the Palace, hearing the sounds of the fray from where they were waiting, now ran up to help and joined in the melee. The black-clad intruders appeared to be the superior swordsmen: already two of the Prince’s guardsmen lay dead upon the ground in testimony of their skill.

  韦小宝缩身进了石屋,忙将门关上,正要取门闩支撑,突然迎面一股大力涌到,将他推得向后跌出丈余,Trinket slipped back inside the prison, shut the door quickly behind him, and was just about to fasten a door-bar across it when a tremendous shove from outside caused it to fly inwards, with such force that he was thrown back a couple of yards across the corridor.四名青衣汉子冲进石屋,大叫:“鳌拜在哪里?鳌拜在哪里?”一名长须老者一把抓起韦小宝,问道:“鳌拜关在哪里?”Four of the black-clad intruders hurled themselves through the open doorway shouting ‘Where’s Oboi? Where’s Oboi?’ as they ran. A bearded elderly man in black seized hold of Trinket and asked him the same question: Where’s Oboi?’韦小宝向外一指,说道:“关在外边的地牢里。”两名青衣人便向外奔出。外边又有四名青衣人奔了进来,疾向后院窜去,突然有人叫道:“在这里了!”Trinket pointed towards the doorway: ‘He’s in the underground dungeon outside.’ Immediately two of the men in black dashed out again; but even as they did so, another four came rushing inside, jumped into the courtyard, and ran through into the back part of the prison. A few moments later one of them could be heard shouting ‘He’s here!’长须老者大怒,举刀向韦小宝砍落。韦小宝急闪避开。旁边一名青衣人提腿在他屁股上一脚,只踢得韦小宝飞出丈许,摔入后院。Angrily the old man with the long beard raised his scimitar, intending to cut Trinket down. Trinket jumped clear of the blade, but a kick aimed at him by another of the men caught him in the backside with such force that it lifted him clean into the air so that he fell in a heap inside the courtyard.

  六名青衣人齐去撞击囚室的铁门。但铁门甚是牢固,顷刻间却哪里撞得开?只听得外面锣声镗镗镗急响,王府中已发出警号。Farther back in the prison six of the black-clad intruders were battering at the iron door of Oboi’s cell; but the door was very strong and there was little hope of their being able to break it down in a hurry. Outside the dong dong dong of gongs could now be heard. Already the alarm was being sounded everywhere in the Prince’s residence.一名青衣人叫道:“须得赶快!”长须老者道:“废话,谁不知道要快?”一名青衣汉子见一时撞不开铁门,提起手中钢鞭去撬窗上的铁条,撬得几撬,两根铁条便弯了。’We’ve got to hurry,’ cried one of the men in black. ‘Idiot!’ said the long-bearded elder. ‘Of course we’ve got to hurry.’ But already one of the men in black, more resourceful than the others, realizing that there was no hope of battering the door down, had inserted the steel stock that he carried as a weapon between two bars of the cell window and was using it as a lever to prise them apart. After a few heaves, the bars began to bend.这时又有三名青衣汉子奔了进来。囚室外地形狭窄,九个人挤在一起,施展不开手脚。By this time another three of the men in black had rushed in to join the others outside the cell. Already the space there was crowded, leaving little room for manoeuvre.

  韦小宝悄悄在地下爬出去,没爬得几步,便给人发觉,挺剑向他背心上刺到。Trinket, who had meanwhile crawled out of the courtyard, was trying to worm his way to some corner of safety in the rear part of the prison when one of the men spotted him and made a stab at his back.韦小宝向左闪让,那人长剑横掠,嗤的一声,在他背心长袍上拉了条口子。韦小宝幸得有宝衣护身,这一剑没伤到皮肉,Trinket threw himself out of the way, but the man raised his sword and slashed at him from the side. The blade caught him between the shoulder-blades and made a big rip in his gown. It was lucky that he was wearing his weapon-proof waistcoat underneath or the sword would have cut into his flesh.惊惶下跃起身来,斜刺冲出。另一名青衣汉子骂道:“小鬼!”举刀便砍。韦小宝一跃而起,抓住了囚室窗上的铁条,Trinket jumped up in a panic and, scarcely knowing where he was going, dashed headlong into the group outside the cell. ‘You little devil!’ cried one of the men with a curse and made a slash at him with his sabre. In desperation Trinket jumped up and caught at the bars of the cell window.身子临空悬挂。使钢鞭的青衣汉子正在撬挖铁条,见韦小宝阻在窗口,挥鞭击落。As he hung there with his feet well above the ground, he was getting in the way of the man with the steel stock who was prising open the bars. The man drew out his weapon from between the bars and flourished it over his head, preparing to knock Trinket down with it.韦小宝无路可退,双脚穿入两条铁条之间。两根铁条已给撬得弯了,他身子瘦小,竟从空隙间穿过,一松手,已钻入了囚室。当的一声响,钢鞭击在铁条之上。There was nowhere for Trinket to go now but the cell. With a great heave he hauled his legs up and pushed them between the two bars that the stock had been working on. Fortunately his body was slight enough to follow his legs through the gap. Releasing his grip, he was able to drop down into the cell just as the stock crashed down on the bars.外边的青衣汉子纷纷呼喝:“我来钻,我来钻。”那使钢鞭的汉子探头欲从空隙中钻进去。可是十三四岁的韦小宝钻得过,这汉子身材肥壮,却哪里进得去?韦小宝从靴筒中拔出匕首,暗叫:“救兵快来,救兵快来!”At once there were competing shouts from the men outside the cell: ‘Let me go through!’ ‘Let me try!’ It was the man with the stock, though, who poked his head between the bars and tried to squeeze his body through the gap. But the space which would admit a skinny thirteen-year-old was far too narrow for a solidly built adult like the man with the stock, who now appeared to be stuck halfway, unable to go either forward or back. Unaware that the man was stuck, Trinket took the dagger from inside his boot and prepared to defend himself.

  耳听得外面铜锣声、呼喝声、兵刃撞击声响成一团。突然间呼的一声,一股劲风当头压落。韦小宝一个打滚,滚出数尺。He could hear a confused medley of sounds outside the prison–the sound of the alarm gongs being beaten, the shouts and cries of men, and the clash of weapons–and quietly prayed that help would soon be forthcoming. Then, quite suddenly, what seemed like a miniature whirlwind knocked him over and sent him spinning.

  但听得呛啷啷一声大响,脸上泥沙溅得发痛、他不暇回顾,急跃而起。只见鳌拜双手舞动铁链,荷荷大叫,乱纵乱跃,这时那使钢鞭的青衣汉子正从窗格中钻进来,鳌拜连手铐带铁链往他头上猛力击下,这青衣汉子登时脑浆迸裂而死。There was a great clanking sound and dust and dirt from the floor of the cell was thrown up into his face, making his eyes smart, so that for a moment he was unable to see what was happening. When he jumped to his feet and opened his eyes again, he could see Oboi swinging his chain about with both hands, bellowing like a bull, and jumping up and down like a demented animal. As the man with the stock struggled to get further in, Oboi lifted his hands up and brought the chain and the two manacles down on his head with savage force, splitting his skull open so that the brains gushed out and he died instantly.韦小宝惊奇不已:“他怎么将来救他的人打死了?”随即明白:“啊哟,他吃了我的加料药粉,虽然中毒,可不是翘辫子见阎罗皇,却是发了疯!”Trinket was unable to overcome his astonishment. ‘But why?’ he thought. ‘Why has he killed a man who was coming to rescue him?’ Then suddenly it dawned on him. ‘Aiyo! It’s my special mixture. Instead of kicking the bucket, he’s gone off his head!’

  窗外众汉子大声呼喝,鳌拜举起手铐铁链,往铁窗上猛击。韦小宝心想:“他如回过身来打我,老子可得要归天!”急急之下不及细想,提起匕首,猛力向鳌拜后心戳去。There was a great cry from the men outside the cell, to which Oboi responded by hammering fiercely with his manacles and chain against the bars. ‘If he turns round and gives me a swipe,’ thought Trinket, ‘I shall end up in Heaven.’ There was no time for reflection. Almost without thinking what he was doing, he raised the dagger and plunged it with all his might in Oboi’s back.

  鳌拜服药后神智已失,浑不知背后有人来袭,韦小宝匕首戳去,他竟不知闪避,波的一声,匕首直刺入背。The poisonous mixture had produced so great a confusion in Oboi’s mind that he was totally unaware that there was anyone behind him and he made no effort to avoid the blow. As the dagger sank, with a clearly audible sound, into his back,鳌拜张口狂呼,双手连着手铐乱舞。Oboi opened his mouth wide and let out a fearsome yell, simultaneously threshing the air with his chained and manacled fists.韦小宝顺势往下一拖,那匕首削铁如泥,直切了下去,鳌拜的背脊一剖为二,立即摔倒。Without releasing his grip on the dagger, Trinket drew it downwards, still buried up to the hilt in Oboi’s back. The blade, which could cut iron as easily as putty, sheared through flesh and bone, opening his back up like the belly of a gutted fish. Oboi fell like a log and measured his length on the floor.窗外一众青衣人霎时之间都怔住了,似乎见到了世上最希奇古怪之事。三四人同时叫了出来:“这小孩杀了鳌拜!这小孩杀了鳌拜!”For some moments there was an awed silence from the men crowded round the window, as if what they had just witnessed was the most extraordinary thing that had happened since the world began. Then three or four of them began shouting simultaneously, ‘The boy has killed him!’ ‘Oboi has been killed by the boy!’

  那长须人道:“撬开铁窗,进去瞧明白了,是否真是鳌拜!”’Prise those bars farther open,’ the man with the long beard ordered. ‘We need to get in and see if it really is Oboi.’

  当下便有二人拾起钢鞭,用力扳撬窗上铁条。两名王府卫士冲进室来,长须人挥动弯刀,一一砍死。一名青衣汉子提起短枪,隔窗向韦小宝不住虚刺,令他无法走进窗格伤人。At once two men took up the steel stock and began working away with all their might on the iron bars. Just then two of the Prince’s guards came running in, only to be cut down, in rapid succession, by the bearded man’s scimitar. Meanwhile one of the black-clad men thrust a spear through the bars and jabbed it repeatedly in Trinket’s direction so as to prevent his getting near enough the window to hurt anyone.

  过不多时,铁条的空隙扩大,一个青衣瘦子说道:“待我进去!”从铁条空隙间跳进囚室。韦小宝举匕首向他刺去。那瘦子举刀一挡,嗤的一声响,单刀断为两截。那瘦子一惊,In no time at all the gap between the bars had been considerably widened and a very thin man volunteered to be the first to go in. As he jumped down into the cell, Trinket aimed a blow at him with his dagger which the man parried with his cutlass. There was a swishing sound as the dagger cut the blade in two, and for a split second the man looked at his truncated weapon in astonishment;手中断刀向韦小宝掷出。韦小宝低头闪避,双手手腕已被那瘦子抓住,顺势反到背后。另一个青衣汉子举刀架在他颈中,喝道:“不许动!”then, quickly recovering himself, he flung it in Trinket’s face. Trinket ducked to avoid it, but as he did so, felt his wrists being tightly gripped, while at the same time a second man bore him down backwards, pinning him to the floor. As he lay there, yet another of the men stood over him holding the point of his sword against his throat and shouted to him not to move.

  窗上的铁条又撬开了两根,长须人和一名身穿青衣的秃子钻进囚室,抓住鳌拜的辫子,提起头来一看,齐声道:“果是鳌拜!”By now two more bars of the window had been prised apart and the bearded elder and another man who had a completely bald head squeezed through into the cell. One of them seized Oboi by the back of his hair and jerked his head up so that they could examine his face. ‘It’s Oboi all right,’ they said.长须人想将尸首推出窗外,但铐镣上的铁链牢牢钉在石墙之中,一时无法弄断。The bearded man wanted to push Oboi’s body through the cell window, but the chain to which his fetters were attached was fastened to a ring built firmly into the wall and there seemed little prospect of their being able to cut through it.那瘦子拿起韦小宝的匕首,嗤嗤四声响,将连在鳌拜尸身上的铁链都割断了。长须人赞道:“好刀!”将尸身从窗格中推出,外边的青衣汉子拉了出去。The thin man, however, knew better. He picked Trinket’s dagger up from the floor and with four swift slashes neatly severed the chain at Oboi’s wrists and ankles. ‘Good blade!’ said Long Beard admiringly as he dragged the corpse up to the window; and now, with the help of those pulling outside, he managed to push it through.那瘦子将韦小宝推出,余下三人也都钻出囚室。长须人发令:“带了这孩子走!大伙儿退兵!”The thin man shoved Trinket through, and when he had climbed through himself, the remaining three, the man who had pinned Trinket to the floor with his sword and the other two, followed, leaving the cell empty. The bearded man now issued the command to retreat: ‘Now everybody, out! We’ll be carrying the boy with us.’众人齐声答应,向外冲出。一名青衣大汉将韦小宝挟在胁下,冲出石屋。只听得飕飕声响,箭如飞蝗般射来。There was an answering cry from the men, and the whole party, one of them carrying Trinket like a parcel under his arm, ran towards the exit. They had reached the doorway and were preparing to make a dash into the open, when there was a whirring sound and a hail of arrows came flying, thick as locusts, through the air.王府中二十余名卫士不住放箭,康亲王提刀亲自督战。A score or more of the Prince’s guardsmen were shooting continuously at the doorway. Prince Kang himself, sword in hand, was directing operations.众青衣人为箭所阻,冲不出去。抱着鳌拜尸首的是个道士,叫道:“跟我来!”举起尸身挡在身前。As the party of black-clad men wavered, held back by the storm of arrows, one of their number, a hefty Taoist priest who had been carrying Oboi’s body shouted out to the others ‘Follow me!’, at the same time moving into the doorway and holding Oboi’s body in front of him as a shield.康亲王见到鳌拜,不知他已死,又见韦小宝被刺客拿住,大叫:“停箭!别伤了桂公公!”韦小宝心想:“康亲王倒有良心,老子会记得你的!”Prince Kang recognized Oboi but did not realize that he was dead. However, when he saw that the intruders had captured Trinket, he called out to the archers to hold their fire. ‘Stop shooting! Don’t hurt Laurie-goong!’ ‘You’re a good bloke, Prince Kang,’ Trinket said to himself. ‘I shan’t forget this.’

  王府弓箭手登时停箭。那些青衣汉子高声呐喊,冲出石屋。那长须人手一挥,四名汉子疾向康亲王冲去。众卫士大惊,顾不得追敌,都来保护王爷,岂知这是那长须人声东击西之计,余人乘隙跃上围墙,逃出王府。As soon as the Prince’s archers ceased shooting, the party of black-clad intruders raised a cheer and came surging out of the prison. Four of them, at a sign from Long Beard, made a rush for Prince Kang, causing the startled guardsmen to forget about the enemy and run to their master’s defence. It was only a feint, for the rest of the party profited from the confusion to climb over the surrounding wall and make their getaway.攻击康亲王的四名汉子轻功甚佳,并不与众卫士交手,东一窜,西一纵,似乎伺机要取康亲王性命,待得同伴尽数出了王府,四人几声呼啸,跃上围墙,连连挥手,The four men left behind were evidently expert in diversionary tactics. Avoiding actual contact with the guardsmen, they had weaved and circled around as if looking for an opening to get at the Prince himself until they were satisfied that the rest of the party were safely out of the grounds; then, exchanging whistles, they made a run for the surrounding wall and were soon on top of it. Before dropping behind it, all four of them appeared to be waving with their hands.十余件暗器纷向康亲王射去。众卫士又是连声惊呼,挥兵刃砸打暗器,但还是有一枝钢镖打中了康亲王左臂。这么一阵乱,四名青衣汉子又都出了王府。In fact they were releasing a shower of little dart-like objects in the direction of the Prince. When the guards saw them coming, there was a great hullabaloo as they tried to knock them down with their sabres. In spite of all their efforts, one small steel dart lodged itself in the Prince’s arm, and by the time the tumult had subsided, the four had got well away from the residence.

  韦小宝被一条大汉挟在胁下飞奔,但听得街道上蹄声如雷,有人大叫:“康亲王府中有刺客!”正是大队官军到来增援。As Trinket sped down the street under the big man’s arm, he could hear a thunderous sound of many running feet and someone shouting ‘Intruders at Prince Kang’s!’ It was a large reinforcement of Imperial troops on their way to help the Prince.

  一众青衣汉子奔入王府旁的一间民房,闩上了大门,又从后门奔出,The little troop of men in black ran inside the house of a commoner next door to the Prince’s residence, made fast the door with a door-bar, and then ran out at the back.显然这些人干事之前,早就把地形察看明白,预备了退路。在小巷中奔行一程,又进了一间民房,仍是从后门奔出,转了几个弯,奔入一座大宅之中。It was clear that they had studied the layout of the area carefully beforehand and planned their getaway. For a while they ran along a narrow lane, then entered another house, ran through it, and once more left by the back. After taking several turnings in the maze of back streets beyond, they ran inside a much larger residence which had a very big yard inside the gate.

  各人立刻除下身上青衣,迅速换上各种各式衣衫,顷刻间都扮成了乡农模样,挑柴的挑柴,挑菜的挑菜。There they proceeded to take off their black clothing and don a variety of different disguises. In no time at all the men in black had transformed themselves into countrymen, many of them with carrying-poles on their shoulders from which hung loads of firewood or vegetables.一名汉子将韦小宝用麻绳牢牢绑住。两名汉子推过一辆木车,车上有两只大木桶,将鳌拜的尸体和韦小宝分别装入桶中。One of them trussed Trinket up with a hempen rope, while two others pushed a cart upon which were two large wooden barrels. Into one of these they put Oboi’s body; into the other one they lifted Trinket.韦小宝心中只骂得一句:“他妈的!”头上便有无数枣子倒下来,将他盖没,桶盖盖上,什么也瞧不见了。Tamardy!’ Trinket began swearing to himself; but before he could think of any more appropriate curses, a seemingly unending shower of jujube-dates was poured down on his head, until he was completely covered and had disappeared beneath them. Then a lid was placed on top and he could no longer see anything.

  跟着身子晃动,料想木车推出了大门。枣子之间虽有空隙,不致窒息,却也呼吸困难。Shortly after that his body began to be jolted to and fro: evidently the cart was being pushed out of the yard. Although there was sufficient air in between the dates to prevent him suffocating, he found it very hard to breathe.韦小宝惊魂略定,心想:“这些鳌拜的家将部属把老子拿了去,势必要挖出老子的心肝来祭鳌拜。最好是途中遇上官兵,老子用力一滚,木桶翻倒,那便露出了马脚。”For some time he remained in a state of shock; then gradually, as he began recovering, he was able to think about his predicament. ‘This lot must have been members of Oboi’s staff. The reason they’ve kidnapped me is almost certainly because they want to cut my heart and liver out and sacrifice them to Oboi’s ghost. My best chance of escape would be if we were to run into a troop of soldiers. If I could wriggle about a bit so that the barrel overturned, they’d see that something funny was going on and I’d be rescued.’可是四肢被紧紧绑住,哪里动得分毫?木桶外隐隐传来辚辚车声,身子颠簸不已,行了良久,又哪里遇到官兵了?韦小宝咒骂一阵,害怕一阵,忽然张口咬了一枚枣子来吃,倒也肥大香甜,吃得几枚,惊惧之余,极其疲倦,过不多时,竟尔沉沉睡去。But it soon became apparent that he was trussed up so tightly that he couldn’t move an inch. The jolting went on interminably, accompanied by the squeaking of the cartwheels, only faintly audible from inside the barrel. As time went by, the chances of their encountering a party of Imperial troops receded and Trinket passed the time alternating between periods of cursing and periods of silent panic. On a sudden impulse he opened his mouth and began to eat one of the dates. He found it plump and sweet and went on to eat several more. A great tiredness began to take possession of him– his body’s reaction to all the shock and fear it had been subjected to–and in a very short time he was fast asleep.

  一觉醒来,车子仍是在动,只觉全身酸痛,想要转动一下身子,仍半分动弹不得,心想:“老子这次定然逃不过难关了,待会只好大骂一场,出一口心中的恶气,再过二十年,又是一条大汉。”When he woke up again, the cart was still moving as before but his body was now aching all over. He had an overwhelming desire to change his position, but was unable to move himself even the tiniest bit. ‘Old Trink’s never going to get out of this one, ‘ he thought. I’ll just have to wait until the time comes and have a good curse. Give them a piece of my mind. I’ll feel better then.’ He tried to remember the sort of things the bolder spirits among the condemned used to shout on their way to execution, clinging desperately to the hope of reincarnation as they cried out their defiance to an admiring crowd: Til be back, good people, I’ll be back. Twenty years from now, look out for a brave young man!’又想:“幸亏我已将鳌拜杀了,否则这厮被这批狗贼救了出去,老子又被他们拿住,一样的难以活命,死得可不够本。鳌拜是朝廷大官,韦小宝只不过是丽春院里的一个小鬼,一命换一命,老子便宜之极,哈哈,大大便宜!”Then he thought: ‘Well, at least I killed Oboi. If I hadn’t, and they’d rescued him alive, they’d still have taken me, and I’d still be for it. That would have been dying for nothing. Besides, Oboi was a big shot at Court and I’m only a little kid from the brothel. My life for his: that’s a pretty good bargain. Ha ha! It’s a very good bargain.’

  既然无法逃命,只好自己如此宽解,虽说便宜之极,心中却也没半点高兴。Since there now seemed no hope of escape, this was the only way in which he could try to cheer himself up. But though, viewed in these terms, the exchange was indeed a remarkably good one, it cannot be said that he felt the least little bit cheered.

  过了一会,便又睡着了,这一觉睡得甚久,醒来时发觉车子所行地面甚为平滑,行得一会,车子停住,却没有人放他出来,让他留在枣子桶中。After a bit he dropped off again and this time he slept for quite a long while. When at last he woke up, he found that the cart was running smoothly on level ground. Presently it stopped, but no one came to take him out. He was left alone in his barrel amidst the dates.

  过了大半天,韦小宝气闷之极,又要朦胧睡去,忽听得豁啦一响,桶盖打开,有人在捧出他头顶的枣子。韦小宝深深吸了口气,大感舒畅,睁开眼来,只见黑沉沉地,头顶略有微光。Another long period elapsed during which Trinket’s spirits reached their lowest ebb. He was just beginning to doze off again when there was a sudden rush of sound as someone lifted the lid off the barrel and began scooping out the dates above his head. He was able to take a few big breaths of air, which brought a delicious feeling of relief; and when he opened his eyes, there was now, in the inky darkness of the barrel, a faint suggestion of brightness overhead.有人双手入桶,将他提了起来,横抱在手臂之中,旁边有人提着一盏灯笼,原来已是夜晚。The person scooping out the dates now plunged his hands down into the barrel, yanked Trinket out of it, and held him like a baby in his arms. Another man, standing beside him, was holding a lantern. For the first time Trinket realized that it was night.韦小宝见抱着他的是个老者,神色肃穆,处身所在是一个极大的院子。那老者抱着韦小宝走向后堂,提着灯笼的汉子推开长窗。He was being held by a rather dignified old man–though of considerable strength. They appeared to be standing in a large courtyard. The old man carried Trinket to a building on the far side of the courtyard. In addition to the main entrance, there were several screen-doors at regular intervals along the facade, one of which the man with the lantern held open for them to enter.

  韦小宝暗叫一声:“苦也!”不知高低,但见一座极大的大厅之中,黑压压的站满了人,少说也有二百多人。这些人一色青衣,头缠白布,腰系白带,都是戴了丧,脸含悲愤哀痛之色。As they did so, Trinket let out an involuntary ‘Help!’. They were in a large hall, densely packed with men, at least two hundred of them, all in mourning–white bands round their heads and white sashes over their black clothes–and all with expressions of angry bereavement on their faces.大厅正中设着灵堂,桌上点燃着八根极粗的蓝色蜡烛。灵堂旁挂着几条白布挽联,竖着招魂幡子。In the centre, at one end of the hall, was a funeral shrine, an altar-like table with eight large, blue candles burning on it, two white funerary scrolls hanging, one at each side of it, on the wall behind, and a large ‘spirit banner’ and ‘spirit tablet’ in the middle.韦小宝在扬州之时,每逢大户人家有丧事,总是去凑热闹,讨赏钱,乘人忙乱不觉,就顺手牵羊,拿些器皿藏入怀中,到市上卖了,便去赌钱,因此灵堂的陈设看得惯了,一见便知。Back in Yangzhou Trinket often used to go to the big houses when they were having a funeral, partly for the fun of watching, partly in the hope of earning a few coppers as a supernumerary mourner. Sometimes, when everyone was too busy to notice, he would sneak one or two of the funeral vessels and hide them under his clothing to sell later in the market, in order to raise money for his gambling. He was therefore very familiar with funeral furnishings and at once realized what was going on in the hall.

  他在枣桶中时,早料到会被剖心开膛,去祭鳌拜,此刻事到临头,还是吓得全身皆酥,牙齿打战,格格作响。He had already decided, when he was in the barrel among the dates, that the probable intention of his captors was to cut him open and offer his heart to Oboi’s ghost, but now that the moment had actually come, he felt sick with terror and his teeth chattered noisily in his head.那老者将他放下,左手抓住他肩头,右手割断了绑住他手足的麻绳。韦小宝双足酸软,无法站定。那老者伸手到他右胁之下扶住。The old man now put him down and, holding him tightly by the shoulder with his left hand, used his right hand to cut the ropes binding his hands and feet. But Trinket’s legs were so wobbly that he was unable to stand, and the old man had to slip a hand under his right armpit to hold him up.

  韦小宝见厅上这些人显然都有武功,自己只怕一个也打不过,要逃走那是千难万难,Trinket glanced furtively along the rows of mourners. All of them were armed with swords or cutlasses and all looked as if they knew how to use them. There wasn’t a single one in that multitude that he would have been a match for. If he wanted to escape, it was going to be very, very difficult.但左右是个死,好在绑缚已解,总得试试,最不济逃不了,给抓了回来,一样的开心剖膛,难道还能多开一次,多剖一回?On the other hand, if he was going to die anyway, he might as well give it a try now that he was no longer bound. If he made a dash for it, the very worst that could happen was that they would catch him again and cut his heart out, which they were going to do in any case. They couldn’t do it twice over.眼前切要之事,第一要那老头子的手不在自己胁下托住,以免身子一动便给他抓住;第二要设法弄熄灯笼烛火,黑暗一团,便有脱身之机。他偷眼瞧厅上众人,只见各人身上都挂插刀剑兵刃。一名中年汉子走到灵座之侧,说道:If .only the old man would take that hand away from under his arm! As long as it was there, he couldn’t make the slightest move without him tightening his grip. A middle-aged man now made his way to the shrine and addressed the spirit tablet in a voice that was choked with emotion. “今日大……大仇得报,大……大哥你可以眼闭……眼闭了。”一句话没说完,已泣不成声。他一翻身,扑倒在灵前,放声大哭。厅上众人跟着都号啕大哭。’Brother, today you are at last revenged. Brother, now you can . . . can . . . can rest in peace.’ At this point he broke down completely, flung himself on his knees before the altar, and burst into loud sobs. Immediately the entire congregation began weeping and wailing at the tops of their voices.

  韦小宝心道:“辣块妈妈,老子来骂几句。”但立即转念:“我开口一骂,这些乌龟王八蛋马上向老子动手,可逃不了啦。”’Hot-piece momma!’ thought Trinket disgustedly. This is where old Trink does a bit of cursing.’ But then, almost immediately, he changed his mind. ‘As soon as I open my mouth, these clowns will be on to me. There certainly won’t be any escaping after that.’斜眼见托着自己的老者正自伸衣袖拭泪,便想转身就逃,但身后站满了人,只须逃出一步,立时便给人抓住,心想时机未到,不可卤莽。He took a sideways glance at the old man who up to now had been supporting him, and saw that he was surreptitiously wiping away a tear with his sleeve. ‘Now’s the time,’ he thought, and turned to bolt. But the space behind them had in the meantime filled up with other mourners. It would be impossible for him to move a single step without one of them grabbing him. This isn’t the right moment after all,’ he thought. ‘Mustn’t rush it.’

  人丛中一个苍老的声音喝道:“上祭!”一名上身赤裸、头缠白布的雄壮大汉大踏步走上前来,手托木盘,高举过顶,盘中铺着一块红布,红布上赫然放着一个血肉模糊的人头。From somewhere in the congregation an elderly voice called out, ‘Make the offering.’ At once a big, strapping fellow, bare to the waist and with a white cloth tied round his head, strode towards the altar holding a wooden trencher above shoulder height in front of him. The trencher was covered with a red cloth on which, nearly fainting with horror, Trinket saw a bloodstained human head.韦小宝险些儿晕去,心想:“辣块妈妈,这些王八蛋要来割老子的头了。”又想:“这是谁的头?是康亲王吗?还是索额图的?不会是小皇帝的罢?”木盘举得甚高,看不见首级面容。那大汉将木盘放在供桌上。扑地拜倒。大厅上哭声又振,众人纷纷跪拜。’Hot-piece momma!’ he thought. ‘Are these turtle’s-eggs going to cut my head off?’ ‘Whose head is it, anyway?’ he wondered. ‘Prince Kang’s? Brother Songgotu’s? Surely it can’t be the little Emperor’s?’ The trencher was being held too high for him to be able to get a glimpse of the face.) The big fellow placed the trencher with its severed head on the altar, knelt down, and kowtowed. Once more a sound of weeping rose from the congregation as, one by one, they too dropped to their knees and kowtowed.

  韦小宝心道:“他妈的,此时不走,更待何时?”转身正欲奔跑,那老者拉拉他衣袖,轻轻在他背上一推。Tamardy!’ thought Trinket. ‘If I don’t try to get away now, I never will,’ and he turned to run. But the old man pulled him back by his sleeve and pushed him lightly on the back.韦小宝四肢绑缚解开不久,血脉尚未行开,腿上没半点气力,给他一推之下,立即跪倒,见众人都在磕头,只好跟着磕头,心中大骂:“贼鳌拜,乌龟鳌拜。老子一刀戳死了你,到得阴间,老子又再来戳你几刀!”Because it was not long since his limbs had been trussed up, the circulation in them had still not properly returned, consequently his legs were still very weak and the pressure on his back was enough to bring him to his knees. As everyone else was kowtowing, he thought he had better do the same; but he was silently cursing as he did so: ‘Stinking Oboi! Turtle-shit Oboi! I stabbed you in this world, and if I meet you in the next, I’ll stab you a few times more!’

  有些汉子拜毕站起身来,有些兀自伏地大哭。韦小宝心想:“男子汉大丈夫,这般大哭也不怕羞,鳌拜这王八蛋有什么好,死了又有什么可惜?又用得着你们这般大流马尿?”Some of the men got up again after kowtowing, but quite a few of them remained on their knees, still weeping uncontrollably. ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, great big fellows blubbering away like babies,’ thought Trinket. ‘Oboi was such a rotten bugger when he was alive, why make such a fuss because he’s dead? Anyway, it’ll do him no good, shedding all this horse-piss at his funeral.’众人哭了一阵,一个高高瘦瘦的老者走到灵座之侧,朗声说道:“各位兄弟,咱们尹香主的大仇已报,鳌拜这厮终于杀头,实是咱们天地会青木堂的天大喜事……”When everyone had finally finished weeping, a very tall, very thin old man went up to the front and took up a position at the side of the altar from which to address the congregation. ‘Brothers,’ he began, in clear, ringing tones, ‘today the murder Brother Yin, our beloved Master, has been avenged. Oboi has at last been brought to justice. For all members of the Green Wood Lodge of the Triad Society this is a truly wonderful day . . .’

  韦小宝听到“鳌拜这厮终于杀头”八个字,耳中嗡的一声,又惊又喜,一个念头闪电似的钻入脑中:“他们不是鳌拜的部属,反是鳌拜的仇人?”Oboi brought to justice! Trinket heard the words with a mixture of joy and incredulity. There was a buzzing in his ears as their full significance flashed like lightning through his brain. These weren’t Oboi’s supporters after all. They were his enemies!那高瘦老者下面的十几句话,韦小宝全然听而不闻,过了好一会,定下神来,才慢慢将他说话听入心中,但中间已然漏了一大段,只听他说道:The old man must have uttered a dozen or more sentences after this which Trinket listened to without hearing. It was quite some time before the turmoil in his mind subsided and he was able to take in what he was saying. “……今日咱们大闹康亲王府,杀了鳌拜,全师而归,鞑子势必丧胆,于本会反清复明的大业,实有大大好处。本会各堂的兄弟们知道了,一定佩服咱们青木堂有智有勇,敢作敢为。”’. . . I have no doubt that today’s successful attack on the residence of Prince Kang, in which we killed Oboi and returned without losing a single man, has dealt a heavy blow to the Tartars’ morale,’ Trinket heard him saying. ‘But not only that. It also represents a very important step forward in the great struggle to which our Society is dedicated: the overthrow of the Qing and the restoration of the Ming. Every member in every Lodge of our Society will surely, when he hears about this, acknowledge with admiration the resourcefulness, bravery, and daring of the Green Wood Lodge.’众汉子纷纷说道:“正是,正是!”“咱们青木堂这次可大大的露了脸。”“莲花堂、赤火堂他们老是自吹自擂,可哪有青木堂这次干得惊天动地!”“这件事传遍天下,只怕到处茶馆中都要编成了故事来唱。将来把鞑子逐出关外,天地会青木堂名垂不朽!”This was greeted with a variety of responses from different parts of the hall. ‘Hear, hear.’ This time the Green Wood Lodge has done something it can really be proud of.’ This is one in the eye for the Lotus Flower Lodge and the Red Fire Lodge. They are always boasting about the wonderful things they’ve done, but they’ve never done anything that’s a patch on this.’ ‘When this news gets public, the storytellers in the tea-houses will be singing ballads about what we’ve done, I shouldn’t wonder. One day, when the Tartars have been driven back north of the Wall, the Green Wood Lodge will go down in history.’ “什么把鞑子逐出关外?要将众鞑子斩尽杀绝,个个死无葬身之地。”’What do you mean, when they’ve been driven back north of the Wall? We’re going to wipe the buggers out, aren’t we? Every man jack of them!’

  众人你一言,我一语,精神大振,适才的悲戚之情,顷刻间一扫而空。Almost everyone seemed to have something to say. In the general excitement the uncontrollable grief they had been displaying only a few minutes before seemed to have been totally forgotten. By now it was clear to Trinket beyond any shadow of doubt that the men who had captured him were a group of Resistance fighters.

  韦小宝听到这里,更无怀疑,知道这批人是反对朝廷的志士。他在遇到茅十八之前,在扬州街坊市井之间,便已常听人说起天地会反清的种种侠义事迹。Long before he had met Whiskers Mao, as an urchin playing in the streets and markets of Yangzhou, he had often heard people talking about the heroic exploits of the Triad Society.当年清兵攻入扬州,大肆屠杀,奸淫掳掠,无恶不作,所谓:“扬州十日,嘉定三屠”,实是惨不堪言。The Qing army’s entry into Yangzhou after the siege of 1645 had been followed by an orgy of massacre, rape, and pillage in which every imaginable atrocity was committed by the victorious soldiery. The Ten Days of Yangzhou’–the expression often used when people referred to this appalling episode in their history–had become a synonym for cruelty.扬州城中几乎每一家人家,都有人在这场大屠杀中遭难。因之对于反清义士的钦佩,扬州人比之别地人氏,无形中又多了几分。Almost every household in Yangzhou had lost one or more of its members in the massacres. It was only natural, therefore, that these heroic Resistance fighters who still kept up the struggle against the Manchus should enjoy an even greater measure of popularity in Yangzhou than they did in other cities.其时离“扬州十日”的惨事不过二十几年,韦小宝从小便听人不断说起清军的恶行,又听人说史阁部如何抗敌殉难,某人又如何和敌兵同归于尽。As only twenty years had gone by since the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Trinket was, from his earliest childhood, constantly hearing older people talk about the misdeeds of the Qing army, the heroic death of the Ming General Shi Kef a, and the bravery of this or that Ming fighter who had managed to take some of the enemy with him when he died.这次茅十八和众盐枭在丽春院中打架,便是为了强行替天地会出头而起,一路上听他说了不少天地会的英雄事迹,又有什么“为人不见陈近南,就称英雄也枉然”等等言语,When Whiskers Mao fought single-handed against the salt smugglers in the Vernal Delights brothel, it was the good name of the Triad Society, although he did not himself belong to it, that he was quixotically defending; and afterwards, when Trinket was accompanying him on the journey to Peking, Whiskers Mao was constantly talking about the heroic deeds of the Triads and reciting the little rhyme about their Helmsman: Who’s never yet met Chen Jinnan . . . Can’t call himself a proper man.心中早已万分向往仰慕,这时亲眼见到这一大群以杀鞑子为己任的英雄豪杰,不由得大为兴奋,一时竟忘了自己是鞑子朝廷中“小太监”的身份。So Trinket had long been an admirer of those heroes devoted to the extermination of the hated Tartars and was tremendously excited to be seeing them in the flesh for the first time, forgetting that, insofar as he was supposedly a little eunuch in the employment of the Manchu Court, he was now one of the hated Tartars himself.

  那高瘦老者待人声稍静,续道:“咱青木堂这两年中,时时刻刻记着尹香主尹大哥的大仇,When the interruptions from the floor had subsided somewhat, the tall, thin old man continued: ‘Never for a moment, during the whole of this past two years, have we members of the Green Wood Lodge ceased remembering the great wrong that was done to our beloved Master.人人在万云龙大哥的灵前沥血为誓,定要杀了鳌拜这厮为尹大哥报仇。Each one of us, standing before his spirit tablet, took an oath, sealed with our own blood, to kill Oboi in revenge.尹香主当时慷慨就义,江湖上人人钦仰,今日他在天之灵,见到了鳌拜这个狗头,一定会仰天大笑。”How bravely our Brother went to his cruel death! Not only members of our own Society but members of the entire Brotherhood of River and Lake admired his courage. And now, looking down from Heaven and seeing that vile dog’s head on the altar, he must be giving one of those big laughs we all remember so well.’

  众人都道:“正是,正是!”A chorus of agreement arose from the assembly.

  人丛中一个雄壮的声音道:“两年前大伙儿立誓,倘若杀不得鳌拜,我青木堂中人人都是狗熊灰孙子,再也没脸面在江湖上行走。今日终于雪了这场奇耻大辱。我姓樊的这两年来饭也吃不饱、觉也睡不好,日思夜想,就是打算怎生给尹香主报仇,为青木堂雪耻,大伙儿终于心愿得偿,哈哈,哈哈!”Somewhere from among them a powerful bass voice could be heard speaking: ‘Two years ago when we took that oath, we said that if we didn’t succeed in killing Oboi, then all members of the Green Wood Lodge could consider themselves a pack of lily-livered cowards and never be able to hold their heads up on River and Lake again. For my part, I don’t mind telling you, I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly during these last two years. Every minute of the day and night I’ve been turning over in my mind how we were going to get vengeance for Brother Yin and put an end to our shame. And now– we’ve done it at last!’许多人跟着他都狂笑起来。He broke off into somewhat hysterical laughter, in which many of those around him joined.

  那高瘦老者说道:“好,我青木堂重振雄风,大伙扬眉吐气,重新抬起头来做人。’As Brother Fan has just said,’ the tall, thin old man continued after this interruption, ‘the Green Wood Lodge has regained its honour; we can feel proud of ourselves once more; we can lift up our heads again in front of other people.这两年来,青木堂兄弟们个个都似无主孤魂一般,在天地会中聚会,别堂的兄弟只消瞧我一眼,冷笑一声,我就惭愧得无地自容,对会中的大事小事,不敢插嘴说一句话。During this past two years we have been like a troop of lost souls. At meetings of the Society every look, every sneer from a member of one of the other Lodges has made us wish we could sink into the ground to hide our shame. For that reason we haven’t dared open our mouths, even when the matters under discussion were of no importance.虽然总舵主几次传了话来,开导咱们,说道为尹香主报仇,是天地会全体兄弟们的事,决不是青木堂一堂的事。可是别堂兄弟们冷言冷语,却不这么想啊。自今而后,那可是大不相同了。”And though the Helmsman sent strict instructions that avenging Brother Yin’s murder was to be considered the business of the whole Society and not only of our Lodge, it was obvious from the sarcastic comments made by members of other Lodges that they didn’t agree with him. But that’s all ended now. From now on things are going to be different.’

  另一人道:“对,对,李大哥说得对,咱们乘此机会,一鼓作气,轰轰烈烈的再干他几件大事出来。鳌拜这恶贼号称‘满洲第一勇士’,今日死在咱们手下,那些满洲第二勇士、第三勇士、第四勇士,那是个个怕得要死了!”’Brother Li is right,’ said one of the men. ‘But we shouldn’t let this opportunity go by. We ought to press on now and do a few more really big jobs. They used to call that evil bastard Oboi the Number One Manchu Champion. Now we’ve got rid of him, you can bet that Number Two and Number Three and Number Four are all shaking in their shoes.’众人一听,又都轰然大笑起来。韦小宝心想:“你们一会儿哭,一会儿笑,倒像是小孩儿一般。”This was greeted by a great explosion of laughter from everyone in the hall. ‘What a lot of babies you are!’ thought Trinket. ‘Crying your eyes out one minute and laughing your heads off the next.’

  人丛中忽然有个冷冷的声音说:“是我们青木堂杀了鳌拜么?”

  众人一听此言,立时静了下来,大厅中聚着二百来人,片刻之间鸦雀无声。Suddenly a dry, ironical voice could be heard above the laughter. ‘Was it the Green Wood Lodge who killed Oboi?’ At once everyone stopped laughing and a total hush fell over all the men gathered in the hall.

  过了良久,一人说道:“杀死鳌拜的,虽是另有其人,但那也是咱们青木堂攻入康亲王府之后,那人乘着混乱,才将鳌拜杀死。”After what seemed a very long time someone said: ‘It was someone else who actually killed him, but we made the successful attack on Prince Kang’s place. They simply took advantage of our attack to kill him in the confusion.’

  先前那人又冷冷的道:“原来如此。”’I see,’ said the man who had asked the question, still speaking in a very sarcastic tone of voice.

  那声音粗壮之人大声道:“祁老三,你说这话是什么意思?”What exactly are you trying to say, Tertius?’ asked the man with the big bass voice.

  那祁老三仍是冷言冷语:“我又有什么意思了?没有意思,一点也没有意思!只不过别堂中兄弟如果说道:‘这番青木堂可当真威风啦!但不知杀死鳌拜的,却是贵堂中哪一位兄弟?’What am I trying to say?’ Tertius replied in his dry, sarcastic voice. ‘I’m not trying to say anything. I was just wondering what we’ll do when we meet someone from one of the other Lodges. Suppose they ask for some details. “That last job done by you Green Wood Lodge fellows was really impressive. Tell me, which of your members was it who actually killed Oboi?”这一句话问了出来,只怕有些儿难以对答。大家不妨想想,这句话人家会不会问?只怕一千个人中,倒有九百九十九个要问罢!大伙儿自吹自擂,尽往自己脸上贴金,未免……未免有点……嘿嘿,大伙儿肚里明白!”Wouldn’t we find that question a little bit hard to answer? I think you’ll agree that nine hundred and ninety-nine people out of a thousand would be sure to ask that question. Yet here we are taking all the credit for ourselves and blowing our own trumpet fit to burst a gut. Isn’t it all–heh heh!–well, you know what I mean.’众人尽皆默然,都觉他说话刺耳,听来极不受用,但这番话却确是实情,难以辩驳。Again there was silence. Tertius’s words had grated on their ears and made them all feel extremely uncomfortable; but unfortunately they were true; there was no denying it.

  过了好一会,那高瘦老者道:“这个清宫中的小太监阴错阳差,杀了鳌拜,那自是尹香主在天之灵暗中佑护,假手于一个小孩儿,除此大奸。After another long pause, the tall, thin elder gave his opinion: ‘It was rather a fluke that a little eunuch from the Qing Palace should have been the one to take Oboi’s life. I think we should see the hidden influence of Brother Yin’s spirit in this, borrowing this boy’s hand as an instrument to bring that evil villain to justice.大家都是铁铮铮的男子汉,也不能昧着良心说假话。”众人面面相觑,有的不禁摇头,本来兴高采烈,但想到杀死鳌拜的并非青木堂的兄弟,登时都感大为扫兴。But we’re all honest, decent men here, I hope. No one’s conscience is going to let him tell lies about it.’ The men hearing him looked at each other and some of them shook their heads. A moment ago they had been so happy, so triumphant; but now, when they considered that it wasn’t a Brother from the Green Wood Lodge who had killed Oboi, they felt very much cast down.

  那高瘦老者道:“这两年来,本堂无主,大伙儿推兄弟暂代执掌香主的职司。现下尹香主的大仇已报,兄弟将令牌交在尹香主灵前,请众兄弟另选贤能。”’During these past couple of years,’ the tall, thin elder went on, ‘while our Lodge has been without a Master, I have been acting, at your request, as a temporary stand-in. Now that Brother Yin has been avenged, I am going to put the baton of office on the altar and ask the rest of you to choose someone worthy to be Master.’说着在灵座前跪倒,双手拿着一块木牌,拜了几拜,站起身来,将令牌放在灵位之前。???

  一人说道:“李大哥,这两年之中,你将会务处理得井井有条,这香主之位,除了你之外,又有谁能配当?你也不用客气啦,乘早将令牌收起来罢!”’Brother Li, ‘ a man said addressing the speaker, ‘everything during these past two years has run very smoothly under your management. I can’t think of anyone more suited to the job of Master than yourself. There’s no need for you to be so modest about it. I think you ought to just pick up that baton again and hold on to it.’

  众人默然半晌。另一人道:“这香主之职,可并不是凭着咱们自己的意思,要谁来当就由谁当。那是总舵委派下来的。”There was a moment or two of silence after this, then another of the men spoke up: ‘It’s not really for us to say who ought to be Master. We’re supposed to wait for the Helmsman to appoint somebody.’先一人道:“规矩虽是如此,但历来惯例,每一堂商定之后报了上去,上头从来没驳回过,所谓委派,也不过是例行公事而已。”That may be what the rules say, ‘ the first man retorted, ‘but what’s always happened in the past is that the Lodges have first decided who they wanted and then reported it to headquarters for confirmation. Headquarters has never yet turned down anyone that the Lodges have chosen; so when you say “appoint”, it’s really just a formality.’

  另一人道:“据兄弟所知,各堂的新香主,向来都由旧香主推荐。’Yes, but as every Brother here knows, ‘ said the second man, ‘the new Master chosen by the Lodge has up to now always been someone that the old Master has recommended.旧香主或者年老,或者有病,又或是临终之时留下遗言,从本堂兄弟之中挑出一人接替,可就从来没有自行推选的规矩。”It’s always been done that way in the past, whether the old Master was retiring because of old age, or because he was ill, or whether he died and named someone in his will. It’s never been a case of the Brothers choosing for themselves.’

  先一人道:“尹香主不幸为鳌拜所害,哪有什么遗言留下?贾老六,这件事你又不是不知,又干么在这里挑眼了?我明白你的用意,你反对李大哥当本堂香主,乃是心怀不轨,另有图谋。”’Brother Yin couldn’t leave a will, because he was murdered by Oboi, ‘ said the first speaker. ‘You know that as well as I do, Scar-face, so why all this fuss about rules and regulations? Of course, I know why you’re so opposed to Brother Li being Master: it’s because you want to twist things around in favour of your own little scheme.’

  韦小宝听到“贾老六”三字,心下一凛,记得扬州众盐枭所要找的就是此人,转头向他瞧去,果见他头顶光秃秃地,一根小辫子上没剩下几根头发,脸上有个大刀疤。Trinket heard the name ‘Scarface’ with a start of fear. This was the name of the man the salt smugglers had been looking for in Yangzhou. He turned to look at this man: bald as a coot with only the tiniest little pigtail at the back and a scar on his face–just as the smugglers had described him.那贾老六怒道:“我又心怀什么不轨,另有什么图谋了?Scarface replied angrily: ‘What exactly do you mean, Squinty, twist things around in favour of my own little scheme?

  崔瞎子,你话说得清楚些,可别含血喷人。”Either speak plainly or keep your nasty remarks to yourself.’那姓崔之人少了一只左目,大声道:“哼,打开天窗说亮话,青木堂中,又有谁不知道你想捧你姊夫关夫子做香主。’Huh, if you want it plain, you can have it plain!’ replied Squinty heatedly. (Trinket noticed that his left eye was missing, which presumably accounted for the nickname.) ‘Everyone in this Lodge knows that you’re trying to push your own brother-in-law for Master.关夫子做了香主,你便是国舅老爷,那还不是大权在手,要风得风、要雨得雨吗?”If Big Beaver gets the job, then with his authority behind you, you’ll have the sun shining out of your arse-hole.’

  贾老六大声道:“关夫子是不是我姊夫,那是另一回事。

  这次攻入康王府,是关夫子率领的,终于大功告成,奏凯而归,凭着我姊夫的才干,他不能当香主吗?李大哥资格老,人缘好,我并不是反对他。不过讲到本事,毕竟还是关夫子行得多。”Scarface’s voice rose in angry protest. The fact that Big Beaver is my brother-in-law has got nothing to do with it. We’ve just made a successful attack on Prince Kang’s place. My brother-in-law led it, and it was thanks to his leadership that we came back from it victorious. Doesn’t his ability qualify him to be Master? Brother Li is the most senior of us and we all get on well with him. I’ve got nothing against Brother Li. But if we’re talking about ability, I should have thought Big Beaver was far and away the best qualified.’

  崔瞎子突然纵声大笑,笑声中充满了轻蔑之意。贾老六怒道:“你笑什么?难道我的话说错了?”Squinty let out a loud laugh at this, expressive of the deepest contempt. ‘What are you laughing at?’ asked Scarface angrily. ‘Have I said something wrong?’崔瞎子笑道:“没有错,咱们贾六哥的话怎么会错?我只是觉得关夫子的本事太也厉害了些。五关是过了,六将却没有斩。事到临头,却将一个大仇人鳌拜,让人家小孩儿一刀杀了。”’Oh no, ‘ said Squinty. ‘How could anything Brother Scarface said ever be wrong? I was just thinking that Big Beaver’s ability, as you call it, can be a bit expensive at times. He can break through the five passes all right, but then you find he hasn’t killed all the six generals. I mean, take this last job. When it came to the push, he allowed our great enemy Oboi, whom we were supposed to be trying to capture, to be polished off by a little kid with a knife, ‘突然人丛中走出一人,满脸怒容在灵座前一站,韦小宝认得他便是率领众人攻入康亲王府的那个长须人。见他一部长须飘在胸前,模样甚是威严。原来此人姓关,名叫安基,因胡子生得神气,又是姓关,人家便都叫他关夫子。Another member of the congregation now strode to the front and took up his stand beside the altar. His face, which was dark with anger, Trinket recognized as that of the long-bearded man he had seen directing operations in the prison. Evidently the nickname ‘Big Beaver’ was a reference to the luxuriant growth which he wore like a bib on his chest and which made his already impressive figure even more commanding.他双目瞪着崔瞎子,粗声说道:“崔兄弟,你跟贾老六斗口,说什么都可以,我姓关的可没得罪你。大家好兄弟,在万云龙大哥灵前赌过咒,发过誓来,说什么同生共死。你这般损我,是什么意思?”’Now look here, Squinty, ‘ said Big Beaver in a voice that was thick with anger, ‘if it’s a slanging match with Scarface you’re having, you can say what you like; only leave me out of it. We’re all supposed to be Brothers in this Lodge. We swore a sacred oath in front of Dragon Brother’s tablet to live and die together. I’ve done nothing to offend you; why should you make these sarcastic remarks about me?’

  崔瞎子心下有些害怕,退了一步,说道:“我……我可没敢损你。”Squinty was more than a little afraid of Big Beaver and willing to retract a little. ‘I wasn’t intending to say anything sarcastic about you, Big Beaver, ‘ he said nervously.顿了一顿,又道:“关二哥,你……你如赞成推举李大哥作本堂香主,那么……那么做兄弟的给你磕头赔罪,算是我说错了话。”Then, after an awkward pause, ‘Look, Brother: if you … if you will agree to let Brother Li’s name go forward for Master, I’m willing to kowtow to you and apologize. I’m willing to admit that what I said about you was wrong.’

  关安基铁青着脸,说道:“磕头赔罪,那怎么敢当?本堂的香主由谁来当,姓关的可不配说这一句话。崔兄弟,你也还没当上天地会的总舵主,青木堂的香主是谁,还轮不到你来说话。”Big Beaver looked at him stonily: ‘I don’t want your apology. In any case, it’s not for me to say who ought to be the new Master. Nor for you to say either, unless by any chance you’re planning to take over the job of Helmsman of the Triad Society yourself.’

  崔瞎子又退了一步,大声道:“关二哥,你这话也不明摆着损人吗?我崔瞎子是什么脚色,便是再投十八次胎,也挨不上当天地会的总舵主。我只是说,李力世李大哥德高望重,本堂之中,再也没哪一位像李大哥那样,教人打从心窝里佩服出来。本堂的香主倘若不是请李大哥当,只怕十之八九的兄弟们都会不服。”Squinty retracted a little more. ‘Who’s being sarcastic now, Big Beaver?’ he said. ‘You know me. I could never hope to be Helmsman of the Triad Society, not in eighteen reincarnations. All I was trying to say was that Brother Li is a good man whom all of us respect. There’s no one in this Lodge more sincerely admired by all the Brothers. I guarantee you that if anyone else were to be appointed Master, eight or nine out of ten of the Brothers in this Lodge would feel unhappy about it.’

  人丛中有一人道:“崔瞎子,你又不是本堂十之八九的兄弟,怎知道十之八九的兄弟们心中不服?我看啊,李大哥人是挺好的,大伙儿跟他老人家喝喝酒、聊聊天、晒晒太阳,那是再好不过了。可是说到做本堂香主,只怕十之八九的兄弟们心中大大的不以为然。”’Hold on, Squinty!’ said another voice from the floor. ‘You’re not eight or nine out of ten of the Brothers in the Lodge. How do you know what they would feel? Brother Li is a very nice man, nobody disputes that. If you’re looking for someone to sit in the sun and have a jaw and a drink or two with, you couldn’t find a nicer. But if you’re talking about making him Master of this Lodge, I think you’d find that eight or nine out of ten of the Brothers in this Lodge would not agree with you:’

  又一人道:“我说呢,张兄弟的话对得不能再对。德高望重又怎么样?咱们天地会是反清复明,又不是学孔夫子,讲什么仁义道德。德高望重,就能将鞑子吓跑吗?要找德高望重之人,私塾中整天‘诗云子曰’的老秀才可多得很。”众人一听,都笑了起来。’I couldn’t agree more with what Brother Zhang has just said,’ another voice chimed in. ‘You say that Brother Li is a good man whom all of us respect. Well, what about it? The aim of the Triad Society is to drive the Manchus out of China and restore the Ming, not to study the works of Confucius and learn how to be virtuous. If it’s a good, highly respected person you’re looking for, you can find one in just about any village school in the country, teaching the little lads to read their books.’ This last contribution set the whole assembly laughing.

  一名道人道:“依你之见,该当由谁来当本堂香主?”A Taoist priest spoke next, addressing his question to the previous speaker. ‘Who in your opinion ought to be Master of the Green Wood Lodge then?’那人道:“第一、咱们天地会干的是反清复明大事。第二、咱们青木堂要在天地会各堂之中出人头地,干得有声有色。众兄弟中哪一个最有才干,最有本事,大伙儿便推他为香主。”’Whoever takes the job on has got two objectives to bear in mind,’ the man replied. The first is to carry on the business of the whole Triad Society, which is to drive out the Manchus and restore the Ming. The second is to make our Green Wood Lodge stand out from among the other Lodges. That means doing the job with a bit of style. In my opinion whichever of the Brothers is best qualified to lead us towards those objectives should be chosen by the other Brothers to be our Master.’那道人道:“最有才干、最有本事,依贫道看来,还是以李大哥为第一。”’But in my opinion,’ said the Taoist, ‘the one best qualified to lead us towards those objectives is Brother Li.’

  人丛中数十人都大声叫嚷起来:“我们推关夫子!李大哥的本事怎及得上关夫子?”A chorus of some dozens of voices expressed dissent. ‘No, no, Big Beaver.’ ‘Big Beaver.’ ‘Big Beaver is much more qualified.’

  那道人道:“关夫子做事有股冲劲,这是大家都佩服的……”许多人叫了起来:“是啊!还有什么说的?”那道人双手乱摇,叫道:“且慢,且慢,听我说完。Whatever job he does Big Beaver always carries out with tremendous energy,’ said the Taoist. ‘I think we all of us admire him for that–‘ A number of voices interrupted him: ‘There you are then! There’s nothing more to be said.’ The Taoist waved his hands impatiently. ‘Just a minute, just a minute! Let me finish what I was saying.不过关夫子的脾气十分暴躁,动不动就发火骂人。他眼下在本堂中不过是一个寻常兄弟,大伙儿见到他,心中已先怕了三分。他一做香主,只怕谁也没一天安稳的日子过。”I was going to add that Big Beaver has a very violent temper which is always liable to flare up on the slightest provocation. At present he is only an ordinary member of the Lodge like all the rest of us, yet even now everyone is a little bit afraid of him. If he were to become Master, there would never be a moment’s peace for any of us.’一人道:“关夫子脾气近来好得多了。他一做香主,只会更好。”’Big Beaver’s temper has been a lot better lately than it used to be,’ one of the men said. ‘If he were to become Master, it would get even better.’

  那道士摇头道:“江山易改,本性难移。The Taoist shook his head. ‘You know what the proverb says: “It’s easier for the earth to leave its moorings than for a man to change his nature.”关夫子的脾气,是几十年生成的,就算按捺得住一时,又怎能按捺得一年半载?青木堂香主是终身之事,不可由于一个人的脾气不好,闹得弟兄们失和,大家人心涣散,不免误了大事。”Big Beaver’s temper has been with him since time out of mind. He might be able to control it for a week or two, but not for years on end. Whoever becomes Master of the Green Wood Lodge has got the job for life. We can’t have the Brothers at loggerheads with each other and their morale undermined and their undertakings failing just because of one man’s temper.’贾老六道:“玄贞道长,我瞧你的脾气,也不见得有什么高明。”’What about yourself, Father Obscurus?’ said Scarface. ‘I can’t see that your own temper is all that wonderful.’

  那道人道号玄贞,听他这么说,哈哈一笑,说道:“正是各人之事自家知,贫道脾气不好,得罪人多,所以尽量少开口。不过推选香主,乃是本堂大事,贫道忍不住要说几句了。The Taoist whom Scarface called ‘Father Obscurus’ laughed unconcernedly. ‘I know my own weaknesses better than anyone, Scarface,’ he said. ‘I know I’ve got a bad temper and I know that I give offence to a lot of people. That’s why I generally keep my mouth shut. I’ve only opened it on this occasion because choosing a Master is too important a matter to keep quiet about.

  贫道脾气不好,不做香主,并不碍事。哪一位兄弟瞧着不顺眼,不来跟我说话,也就罢了,远而避之,也就是了。但如贫道做了香主,岂能不理不睬,远而避之?”It’s true I’ve got a bad temper, but as I’m not Master, it doesn’t matter. Any Brother who finds he can’t get on with me doesn’t have to speak to me, he has only to avoid me. If I were Master, he wouldn’t be able to avoid me. He’d have to take notice of me.’贾老六道:“又没人推你做香主,为什么要你出来东拉西扯?”’But nobody’s asking you to be Master, Obscurus,’ said Scar-face. ‘So why waste everyone’s time by dragging in all these objections?’

  玄贞勃然大怒,厉声道:“贾老六,江湖上朋友见到贫道之时,多尊称一声道长,便是总舵主,也是客客气气。The Taoist flew into a rage. ‘Now look here, Scarface,’ he said, in a voice that was charged with anger, ‘wherever I go on River and Lake, everyone–everyone without exception–has the courtesy to address me by my proper title. I am “Father Obscurus”. Even to the Helmsman I am “Father Obscurus”. The Helmsman in fact is always extremely courteous to me.哪有似你这般无礼的。你……你狗仗人势,想欺侮到我玄贞头上,可没那么容易!我明明白白跟你说,关夫子要当本堂香主,我玄贞第一个不赞成!他要当这香主,第一就须办到一件事。这件事要是办到了,贫道说不定就不反对。”Not like you, you . . . you mannerless booby! Beaver’s dog! Barking for Beaver! Let me make one thing perfectly clear. If Big Beaver is planning to be Master of this Lodge, I shall be the first one to oppose his election. Only on one condition would I consider withdrawing my objection, and I might not even then.’

  贾老六本来听他说“狗仗人势”,心下已十分生气,只是一来玄贞道人武功高强,他当真动了怒,可也真不敢和他顶撞;Scarface had been considerably angered by the taunt that he was ‘barking for Beaver’. However, Father Obscurus was a redoubtable fighter and therefore not a person to be crossed when he was seriously angry;二来这道人在江湖上名头甚响,总舵主对他客气,确也不假。自己要拥姊夫做本堂香主,此人如一力作梗,实是一个极大的障碍,moreover he was not boasting when he said that he was widely respected by members of the kungfu fraternity and treated with a certain measure of deference even by the Helmsman. If he was fully determined to oppose it, he could make the election of Big Beaver, which Scarface was trying to promote, extremely difficult.听他说只要姊夫办到一件事,便不反对他做香主,心下一喜,问道:“那是什么事,你倒说来听听。”玄贞道人道:“关夫子第一件要办的大事,便须和‘十足真金’贾金刀离婚!”Scarface was therefore pleasantly surprised to hear that there was a possibility that he might reconsider his objection. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘what condition is that? Let’s hear it.’ The condition is that Big Beaver should divorce Real Gold, ‘ said Father Obscurus.

  此言一出,众人登时哄堂大笑,原来玄贞道人所说的“十足真金”贾金刀,便是关夫子的妻室,贾老六的嫡亲姊姊。她手使两把金刀,人家和她说笑,常故意询问:“关嫂子,你这两口金刀,到底是真金还是假金?”This produced a roar of laughter from the assembly. ‘Real Gold’ was the nickname of Scarface’s elder sister who was married to Big Beaver. Her favoured weapons were a pair of gold-plated short-swords. Some of the more mischievous members of the Lodge, playing on the meaning of her real name which sounded like the Chinese word for ‘fake’, would innocently inquire whether her two swords were real gold or fake gold.她一定郑重其事的道:“十足真金,十足真金!哪有假的?”因此上得到个“十足真金”的外号。’Oh,’ she would reply seriously, wholly unaware that her leg was being pulled, ‘real gold, real gold.’ And so, from the frequent repetition of this hoary joke, she acquired the nickname ‘Real Gold’ and was now known by no other name.玄贞道人要关夫子和妻子离婚,岂不是摆明了要贾老六的好看?其实“十足真金”贾金刀为人心直口快,倒是个好人。In pretending to make the divorce of Big Beaver from his warlike spouse a condition of his withdrawing his opposition to Big Beaver’s election, Father Obscurus intended no more than a dig at Scarface. Real Gold was a blunt and outspoken but thoroughly good-hearted woman.她兄弟贾老六也不坏,只是把姊夫抬得太高,关夫子又脾气暴躁,得罪人多,大家背后不免闲话甚多。For that matter, her Brother Scarface was by no means a bad fellow, merely somewhat overzealous in crying up the merits of his brother-in-law, a very irascible individual whose bouts of bad temper had offended many and were the occasion of much resentful muttering behind his back.关安基手一伸,砰的一声,在桌上重重一拍,喝道:“玄贞道长,你说什么话来?我当不当香主,有什么相干,你干什么提到我老婆?”Big Beaver’s irascibility was now provoked by the Taoist’s gibe. ‘Father Obscurus, what do you mean by it?’ he shouted, simultaneously dealing the altar-table by which he was standing a mighty thump. ‘Never mind whether I should be Master or not; why do you have to bring my old woman into it?’

  玄贞道人还未答话,人丛中一人冷冷的道:“关夫子,尹香主可没得罪你,你拍他的灵座干什么?”原来关安基适才一拍,却是拍在灵座之上。Before the Taoist could reply, an ironical voice spoke out from somewhere in the congregation: ‘Hey, Big Beaver! What’s Brother Yin done to offend you that you should bash his table like that?’

  关安基心中一惊,他人虽暴躁,倒是机灵得很,大声道:“是兄弟错了!”在灵位之前跪倒,拜了几拜,说道:This took Big Beaver by surprise; but in spite of being so irascible, he had considerable presence of mind. ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have done that,’ he cried out in a very loud voice so that all could hear, and, dropping down on his knees in front of the altar, he bowed to the spirit tablet and addressed his apologies to the soul of the dead Master. “尹大哥,做兄弟的盛怒之下,在你灵台上拍了一掌。实在是兄弟的不是,请你老人家在天之灵,不可见怪。”说着砰砰砰的叩了几个响头。’Brother Yin, in my anger I hit your altar with my hand. I shouldn’t have done it, Brother Yin. I’m very sorry. Please look down from Heaven and forgive me.’ Having said that, he knocked his head hard on the floor a number of times.余人见他如此,也就不再追究。崔瞎子道:“大家瞧!关夫子光明磊落,人是条汉子,就是脾气暴躁,沉不住气。他做错了事,即刻认错,那当然很好。可是倘若当了香主,一件事做错了,往往干系极大,就算认错,又有什么用?”The assembly, seeing him so contrite, were prepared to let the matter rest. Except, that is, for Squinty. There you are, everybody! You see?’ he called out triumphantly. ‘Big Beaver’s a fine man–honest, straightforward’–you know where you are with him. The only trouble is, he’s got a bad temper and he can’t control it. If he does something wrong, he’ll admit it straight away, and that’s very good. But suppose he were the Master and made a mistake. The consequences could be very serious. Admitting it wouldn’t help.’

  关安基本来声势汹汹,质问玄贞道人为何提及他妻子“十足真金”贾金刀,但盛怒之下,在尹香主灵台上拍了一掌,为人所责,虽然立即向尹香主灵位磕头,众兄弟不再追究,气势终于馁了,一时不便再和玄贞道人理论。Big Beaver’s blustering attempt to take Father Obscurus to task for mentioning his wife had been somewhat undermined by his own careless treatment of the late Master’s shrine; and though he soon disarmed criticism by kowtowing to the spirit tablet, the rebuke which his action provoked had so much taken the wind out of his sails that he had no spirit left to remonstrate further with the Taoist.玄贞也就乘机收篷,笑道:“关夫子,你我自己兄弟,一同出生入死,共过无数患难,犯不着为了一时口舌之争,失了兄弟间的和气。刚才贫道说的笑话,你包涵包涵,回家别跟贾金刀嫂子说起,否则她来揪贫道须子,可不是玩的。”Father Obscurus for his part gladly took advantage of the other’s temporary silence to beat a graceful retreat. ‘Come on, now, Big Beaver,’ he said. ‘You and I have been Brothers in this movement for a long time now: I don’t know how many times we’ve faced death together or how many tight spots we’ve helped each other out of. Surely we’re not going to fall out now over a few careless words? Anyway, whatever you do, don’t tell Real Gold about this when you get home. I should hate to have her coming after me and pulling me by the beard.’众人又都笑了起来。关安基对这道人本有三分忌惮,只好付之一笑。This caused a big laugh among all those present, which Big Beaver himself, who truth to tell was a tiny bit afraid of Father Obscurus, felt obliged to join in.

  众人你一言,我一语,有的说李大哥好,有的说关夫子好,始终难有定议。After that the discussion became general. One man would speak out for Brother Li, then another man would speak out for Big Beaver; and so it went on, with no sign that they would ever arrive at a conclusion.

  忽有一人放声大哭,一面哭,一面说道:“尹香主啊尹香主,你在世之日,我青木堂中何等和睦,众兄弟真如至亲骨肉一般,同心协力,干那反清复明的大事。Suddenly someone in the assembly burst into noisy weeping and began speaking most emphatically through his sobs. ‘Brother Yin, oh, Brother Yin, we were such a happy family when you were alive, all working together for the great cause.不幸你为鳌拜这奸贼所害,我青木堂中,再没第二个人能如你这般,既有人缘,又有本事。尹香主啊,除非你死而复生,否则我青木堂只怕要互相纷争不休,成为一盘散沙,再也不能如你在世之时那般兴旺了。”And then that monster Oboi went and killed you! There’s no one like you left in the Green Wood Lodge, Brother, no one who comes anywhere near you. Come back from the dead and lead us, or we’ll go on bickering with each other until the whole Brotherhood falls apart. The Green Wood Lodge will never thrive again as it used to.’众人听到他这等说,许多人忍不住又都流起泪来。Many of the congregation who heard him could not refrain from weeping themselves.

  有一人道:“李大哥有李大哥的好处,关夫子有关夫子的好处,两位都是自己好兄弟,可不能为了推举香主之事,大伙儿不和。Then someone came up with a new proposal. ‘Brother Li and Big Beaver are equally good in their different ways and both are our good friends. We can’t allow the business of choosing a Master to set us all against one another.依我之见,不如请尹香主在天之灵决定。咱们写了李大哥和关夫子的名字,大伙儿向尹香主灵位磕头,然后拈阄决定,最是公平不过。”许多人随声附和。As I see it, the best way out of this would be to let Brother Yin in Heaven make the decision for us. Let’s write down the names of Brother Li and Big Beaver on pieces of paper and after that we’ll draw to see which of them it should be. There can’t be a fairer way than that.’ A number of those present murmured their assent.

  贾老六大声道:“这法儿不好。”有人道:“怎么不好?”贾老六道:“拈阄由谁来拈?”那人道:“大伙儿推举一位兄弟来拈便是了。”Scarface, however, loudly objected. ‘No, that way’s no good.’ ‘Why not?’ somebody asked him. ‘Well, who’s going to draw?’ ‘We choose one of ourselves to draw for the rest of us,’ said the former speaker.贾老六道:“只怕人有私心,发生弊端。”崔瞎子怒道:“在尹香主灵前,谁有这样大的胆子,敢作弊欺瞒尹香主在天之灵?”’Yes, but could you trust them to play fair?’ said Scarface. There might be some cheating.’ ‘What, in front of Brother Yin’s spirit tablet?’ said Squinty angrily. ‘Cheating our dead Brother who’s up in Heaven? Who’d have the nerve?’贾老六道:“人心难测,不可不防。”崔瞎子骂道:“操你奶奶的,除非是你想作弊。”贾老六怒道:“你这小子骂谁?”崔瞎子怒道:“是我骂了你这小子,却又怎么?”’People are funny,’ said Scarface. They might.’ ‘Well, toot your granny’s!’ said Squinty coarsely. ‘If anyone did, it would be you.’ ‘Who are you swearing at?’ Scarface asked angrily. ‘Suppose I’m swearing at you, boy?’ said Squinty, just as angrily. ‘What about it?’贾老六道:“我忍耐已久,你骂我奶奶,那可无论如何不能忍了。”

  刷的一声,拔出了钢刀,左手指着他喝道:“崔瞎子,咱哥儿到外面院子中去比划比划。”’I’ve had enough of this,’ said Scarface. ‘You’ve insulted my grandmother. I’m not standing for that.’ There was a swishing sound as he drew his sword from its scabbard. With his free left hand he pointed challengingly at Squinty. ‘Outside, Squinty!’ he said. ‘We’ll settle this in the courtyard.’

  崔瞎子慢慢拔出了刀,道:“这是你叫阵,我被迫应战。关夫子,你亲耳听到的。”Very slowly, Squinty unsheathed his own weapon. ‘Now, you made the challenge. I’m fighting because you force me to. Bear witness, Big Beaver. You heard him challenge me.’关安基道:“大家兄弟,不可为这件事动刀子。崔兄弟,你骂我舅子,那是你的不对。”崔瞎子道:“我早知你要分派我的不是。你还没做香主,已是这样,若是做了,那还了得?”We’re all Brothers,’ said Big Beaver. ‘You shouldn’t be fighting over a thing like this. But you did swear at my brother-in-law, Squinty. It’s you who were in the wrong.’ ‘I knew all along you’d put the blame on me,’ said Squinty. That’s how you are now, and you’re not even Master yet.’关安基怒道:“难道你骂人祖宗,那就对了?你操我小舅子的奶奶,我算是你什么人?”’So you have the right to insult anyone you like, do you,’ said Big Beaver angrily, ‘including my ancestors? If you’ve been tooting my brother-in-law’s grandmother, what sort of relation of yours does that make me?’

  众人忍不住大笑,一时大堂之中,乱成一团。贾老六见姊夫为他出头,更是气盛,便要往庭中闯去,却有人伸手拦住,劝道:There was a lot of laughter at this; but because of this brawling between the protagonists of the two parties, the hall was now in an uproar. Scarface, encouraged by his brother-in-law’s support, was very cock-a-hoop and already pushing his way out of the hall towards the courtyard when one of the men put out a hand and restrained him. “贾老六,你想你姊夫当香主,可不能得罪人太多,遇到了事,须得让人一步。”’If you want your brother-in-law to be Master, Scarface,’ the man advised him, ‘I wouldn’t offend too many people, if I were you. You’ve got to be a bit more easygoing than this if you want to get other people on your side.’崔瞎子慢慢收刀入鞘,说道:“我也不是怕了你,只不过大家义气为重,自己兄弟,不能动刀子拚命。总而言之,关夫子要当香主,我姓崔的说什么也不赞成。关夫子的气还好受,贾老六的气却受不了。阎王好见,小鬼难当。”Meanwhile Squinty was slowly sheathing his sword. As he did so, he shot a look at Scarface. ‘Don’t think I’m backing down because I’m afraid of you,’ he said. ‘It’s out of consideration for the other Brothers. We’re not supposed to bear arms against one another, it’s against the rules. Anyway, ‘ he said, addressing the assembly at large, ‘all I want to say is, if anyone’s looking for votes to make Big Beaver Master, he can count me out of it. I can just about put up with Big Beaver’s temper, but to have to put up with Scarface’s as well–that’s asking too much. The King of Hell I can face, but not his little sidekick.’

  韦小宝站在一旁,听众人你一言我一语的争执不休,有的人粗口詈骂,又有人要动刀子打架,冷眼旁观,颇觉有趣。Trinket, watching and listening as an outsider while the men argued with each other interminably, occasionally swearing at each other and even threatening each other with their swords, was by this time quite enjoying himself.

  初时他以为这些人是鳌拜的部属,不免要杀了自己祭奠鳌拜,待知这些人恨极了鳌拜,心中登如一块大石落地,To begin with he had thought that they were intending to kill him as a sacrifice to Oboi’s ghost. It had been a tremendous relief when he discovered that, far from being supporters of Oboi, they actually detested him.可是听得他们口口声声的说什么“反清复明”,又担心起来:“他们自然认定我是清宫里的小太监,不论如何辩白,他们定然不信。After a while, however, hearing the men’s repeated references to the aim of their Society–getting rid of the Manchus and restoring the Ming–he began to worry again. ‘As far as they are concerned, I’m a little eunuch from the Palace,’ he thought. ‘Whatever I tell them, I’ll never be able to convince them that I’m not.

  待得香主选定之后,第一件事就会来杀了我。那不是反清复明吗?眼前的‘清人’,除了老子之外,哪里还有旁人?再说,我在这里,把他们的什么秘密都听了去,Once they’ve chosen their new Master, probably the first thing they’ll do will be to get rid of me. After all, from their point of view, I’m the only Manchu around here to get rid of. There aren’t any others hereabouts. Besides, I’ve been listening to their secrets.就算不杀我灭口,也必将我关了起来,永世不得超生。老子这还是溜之大吉的为妙。”慢慢一步一步的退到门边,只盼厅中情势再乱,便逃了出去。Even if they don’t kill me to shut my mouth, they’ll probably shut me away for the rest of my life. I think the time really has come, old Trink, for you to scarper.’ With that he began edging, step by step, towards the open doorway, hoping that while confusion still reigned inside the hall he might, with a bit of luck, escape.

  只听得一人说道:“拈阄之事,太也玄了,有点儿近乎儿戏。我说呢,还是请李大哥和关夫子以武功来决胜败,拳脚也好,兵刃也好,点到为止,不可伤人。大伙儿站在旁边睁大了眼瞧着,谁胜谁败,清清楚楚,谁也没有异言。”贾老六首先赞成,大声道:“好!就是比武决胜败,倘若李大哥胜了,我贾老六就拥李大哥为香主。”他这一句话一出口,韦小宝立时心想:“你赞成比武,那定是你姊夫的武功胜过了李大哥,还比什么?”连韦小宝都这么想,旁人自然是一般的想法,拥李派登时纷纷反对,有的说:“做香主是要使全堂兄弟和衷共济,跟武功好不好没多大关系。”“真的要比武决定谁做香主,如果本堂兄弟之中,有人武功胜过了关夫子,是不是又让他来当香主呢?”“这不是推香主,那是摆擂台了。关夫子不妨摆下擂台,让天下英雄好汉都来打擂台。”“倘若鳌拜这奸贼不死,他是‘满洲第一勇士’,关夫子的武功未必便胜得过他,打了擂台之后,难道便请鳌拜来做咱们香主?”众人一听,忍不住都笑了出来。???正纷乱间,忽有人冷冷的道:“尹香主啊尹香主,你一死之后,大家都瞧你不起了。在你灵前说过的话,立过的誓,都变成放他妈的狗屁了。”Suddenly a familiar dry voice rose above the chatter: ‘Poor Brother Yin! Out of sight, out of mind! The oath we all swore in front of your spirit tablet now counts for no more than a dog’s fart!’

  韦小宝认得这人的声音,知道是专爱冷言冷语的祁老三。Trinket recognized the voice as that of the man they called Tertius–the one who was so fond of making sarcastic remarks.

  众人立时静了下来,跟着几个人同时问道:“祁老三,你说这话是什么意思?”There was an instant hush; then, after a moment or two of silence, several voices spoke at once: ‘All right, Tertius. What are you trying to tell us?’

  祁老三冷笑道:“哼,我姓祁的当年在万云龙大哥和尹香主灵前磕过头。在手指上刺过血,还立下重誓,决意为尹香主报仇,亲口说过:‘哪一个兄弟杀了鳌拜,为尹香主报得大仇,我祁彪清便奉他为本堂香主,忠心遵奉他号令,决不有违!’’I seem to remember kowtowing in front of the spirit tablets of Dragon Brother and Brother Yin,’ said Tertius, ‘and pricking my finger, and swearing a solemn oath: I, Tertius, do solemnly swear that if any Brother kills Oboi and avenges the great wrong done to our Master, Brother Yin, I will acknowledge that Brother to be the Master of this Lodge and will faithfully carry out his commands.”这一句话,我祁老三是说过的。姓祁的说过话算数,决不是放狗屁!”Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I say something I mean it. That oath meant more than a dog’s fart to me.’

  霎时之间,大厅中一片寂静,更无半点声息。原来这一句话,大厅上每个人都说过的。Once more there was silence. In the whole of that great hall it would have been possible to hear a pin drop. Every man in the hall had, in fact, sworn the same oath.隔了一会,还是贾老六第一个沉不住气,说道:“祁三哥,你这话是没错,这几句话大家都说过,连我贾老六在内,说过的话,自然不能含糊。可是……可是……你知,我知,大家都知,杀死鳌拜的,乃是这个……这个……”他转身寻觅韦小宝,Finally Scarface could contain himself no longer and broke the silence. What you say is true, Tertius. All of us, including me, we all said those words. But–dammit Tertius!–you know … I know . . . we all know … the person who killed Oboi was this. . . this He looked round the hall, seeking to locate Trinket.突然看见韦小宝一只脚已跨出了厅门,正要向外逃遁,大叫:“抓住他,别让他走了!”Suddenly he caught sight of him, already with one foot over the threshold and just about to make his getaway. ‘Hold him!’ roared Scarface. ‘Don’t let him get away!’

  韦小宝拔足欲奔,刹那之间,六七个人扑了上去,十几只手同时抓在他的身上,将他硬生生的拖了回来。韦小宝高声大叫:“喂,喂,乌龟儿子王八蛋,你们拖老子干什么?”他想这次反正是活不成了,不如骂个痛快再说。Trinket tried to make a dash for it; but on the instant he felt six or seven pairs of strong hands seize hold of him and drag him inside. ‘Hey, hey,’ he shouted, ‘turtle’s-egg sons of turtle’s bastards! Take your dirty hands off me!’ ‘Now I’m really done for!’ he thought. ‘So I might as well have the satisfaction of swearing at them.’

  人丛中走出一个身穿秀才衣巾的人来,说道:“小兄弟,且莫骂人。”韦小宝认得他的声音,道:“你是祁老三?”One of the men stepped out from the assembly and approached him. He was wearing the dress of a scholar. ‘You shouldn’t swear like that, little brother,’ he said. Trinket recognized the voice. ‘Aren’t you Tertius?’ he said.那人正是祁老三祁彪清,愕然道:“你认得我?”韦小宝道:“我认得你妈!”祁彪清有三分书呆子脾气,不知他这是骂人的言语,更加奇怪了,问道:“你怎么会认得我妈?”

The man was startled. ‘Do you know me?’ he asked. ‘Know your mother’s!’ said Trinket rudely. Tertius, for all his sarcasm, was in some respects rather a simple soul. ‘How can you know my mother?’ he asked, puzzled.韦小宝道:“我跟你妈是老相好,老姘头。”众人哈哈大笑,都道:“这小太监油嘴滑舌!”祁彪清脸上一红,道:“取笑了。”随即正色道:“小兄弟,你干么要杀鳌拜?”’I’m her boyfriend, aren’t I?’ said Trinket. ‘Her fancy man.’ There was loud laughter from the assembled men. This young eunuch was a cheeky little devil they thought, half admiringly. But Tertius blushed. ‘You’re making fun of me,’ he said. Then, looking very serious, ‘Now tell me, little brother,’ he asked Trinket, ‘why did you kill Oboi?’韦小宝灵机一动,大声道:“鳌拜这奸贼做了不少坏事,害死了咱们汉人的无数英雄好汉,我韦小宝跟他誓不两立。我……我好端端一个人,却给他捉进皇宫,做了太监。我恨不得将他斩成肉酱,丢在池塘里喂王八。”他知道越是说得慷慨激昂,活命的机会越大。Trinket was quick to seize the opportunity this offered. ‘The filthy bastard asked for it. He did so many wicked things. He killed so many of us Chinese. Look at all the brave Brothers of River and Lake he murdered. He was my worst enemy. I was a … a whole boy till he had me taken to the Palace and snipped off all my best bits! I hate him. I hate him so much I’d like to chop him up into mincemeat and throw it into the water to feed the turdes.’ The thicker he laid it on, Trinket calculated, the greater were his chances of staying alive.

  大厅上众人你瞧瞧我,我瞧瞧你,都感惊异。祁彪清问道:“你做太监做了多久?”韦小宝道:“什么多久了?半年也还不到。我原是扬州人,却给他捉到北京来了。Sure enough, the men in the hall, when they heard this diatribe, looked at each other in some surprise. ‘How long have you been a eunuch?’ Tertius asked him. ‘How long?’ said Trinket. ‘Less than six months. Yangzhou is where I come from. I was rounded up by him there and brought to Peking.

  辣块妈妈的,臭鳌拜死了也要上刀山、下油锅、滚钉板、穿骨头的贼鳌拜。”一连串扬州骂人的言语冲口而出。Hot-piece momma! That stinking Oboi! Now that he’s dead I hope he’s climbing the mountain of knives. I hope he’s boiling in oil. I hope they’re rolling him on spiked boards . . .’ He proceeded to unleash a torrent of the foulest Yangzhou abuse.

  一个中年汉子点头道:“他倒真是扬州人。”他说的也是扬州口音。A middle-aged man in the assembly nodded his head appreciatively: ‘He’s from Yangzhou, all right.’ The man who said this himself spoke with a strong Yangzhou accent.

  韦小宝道:“阿叔,咱们扬州人,给满洲鞑子杀得可惨了,一连杀了十天,从朝到晚不停,我爷爷、奶奶、大奶奶、二奶奶、三奶奶、四奶奶,没一个不给鞑子杀了。Trinket now appealed to this fellow-townsman: ‘We Yangzhou folk suffered more than they did anywhere else from the cruelty of those Manchu Tartars, didn’t we, Uncle? The killing went on for ten days, from morning to night without stop. My grandpa, my grandma, and all three of my great-aunts were killed by those bloodthirsty Tartar turdes.满洲鬼从东门杀到西门,从南门杀到北门,都是这鳌拜下的命令。我……

  我跟他有不共戴天之仇。”他记起听人所说“扬州十日”大屠杀惨事,越说越真。众人听得耸然动容,连连点头。They marched all the way from the East Gate to the West Gate and all the way from the South Gate to the Nortii Gate, killing as they went. That was on Oboi’s orders they did that.’ He searched his memory for a suitably resounding phrase. ‘How could I share the same sky with a man like that?’ He could remember a great deal of what people had told him about the appalling Ten Days of Yangzhou. What he said on this subject therefore had the ring of truth about it. The men listening were visibly moved and many of them nodded their heads.

  关安基道:“怪不得,怪不得!”韦小宝道:“不但我爷爷、奶奶,连我爹爹也让鳌拜给一起杀了。”祁彪清道:“可怜,可怜。”崔瞎子问道:“你今年几岁啦?”韦小宝道:“十三四岁。”’No wonder,’ said Big Beaver. ‘It wasn’t only my grandpa and grandma,’ said Trinket. ‘My father was killed by Oboi as well.’ ‘Poor lad!’ said Tertius; but Squinty was less impressed. ‘How old are you?’ he asked. Thirteen, I think,’ said Trinket.崔瞎子道:“扬州大屠城,已有二十多年,怎么你爹爹也会给鳌拜杀了了?”韦小宝一想不对,撒谎说溜了嘴,随口道:“我怎么知道?那时我又还没生出来,那是我妈说的。”’It’s all of twenty years since the Yangzhou massacres,’ said Squinty. ‘How could your father have been killed by Oboi too?’ Trinket at once realized that he had overdone it; but he was far too practised a liar to be at a loss for words. ‘How should I know?’ he said. ‘I wasn’t born then. I’m only saying what my mother told me.’崔瞎子道:“就算是遗腹子,那也不成啊。”祁彪清道:“崔兄弟,你这话可不对了。这小兄弟只说他爹爹给鳌拜杀了,并没说是‘扬州十日’那一役中杀的。鳌拜做大官一直做到现在,哪一年不杀人?咱们尹香主给鳌拜害死,也不过是两年多前的事。”’Even if you were born after your father’s death,’ said Squinty, ‘it’s still not possible.’ ‘I think you’re wrong there, Squinty,’ said Tertius. The lad only said his father was killed by Oboi. He didn’t say he was killed in the Ten Days of Yangzhou massacres. From the moment Oboi became a great minister right up to the present he was killing people all the time. Our Brother Yin was killed by him only two years ago.’崔瞎子点头道:“是,是!”贾老六忽问:“小……小朋友,你说鳌拜杀了无数英雄好汉,又关你什么事了?”韦小宝道:“怎么不关我事?我有一个好朋友,就给鳌拜捉到清宫之中害死了。我和他是一起给捉进去的。”That’s true,’ said Squinty, finally convinced. ‘Younger, young friend,’ said Scarface suddenly, ‘you said something about Oboi killing a lot of friends of River and Lake. Surely that didn’t have anything much to do with you?’ ‘It certainly did,’ said Trinket. ‘I had a very good friend who was a River and Lake man–he was killed by Oboi in the Palace. He was captured at the same time as me.’众人齐问:“是谁,是谁?”韦小宝道:“这人江湖上大大有名,那便是茅十八!”’Who was that?’ several of the men asked, all speaking at once. ‘He was very well known on River and Lake. His name was Mao Eighteen–his friends called him Whiskers.’十几个人一齐“哦”的一声。贾老六道:“茅十八是你朋友?他可没有死啊。”韦小宝喜道:“他没有死?那当真好!At this there was a chorus of ‘Ohs’. ‘Is Whiskers Mao your friend?’ said Scarface. ‘He wasn’t be killed, you know.’ ‘Do you mean he’s still alive?’ Trinket asked delightedly. ‘I’m so happy!贾老六,你在扬州骂盐枭,茅十八为了你跟人打架,我还帮着他打呢。”You know that time you badmouthed the salt smugglers in Yangzhou, Scarface? Whiskers fought a whole gang of them because of you. And I helped him.’贾老六搔了搔头,道:“可真有这回事。”关安基道:“很好!这个小朋友到底是友是敌,事关重大。老六,你带几位兄弟,去将茅十八请来,认一认人。”贾老六应道:“是!”转身出厅。Scarface scratched his head: ‘Well I’m damned!’ ‘Right then, ‘ said Big Beaver. ‘It’s rather important that we should know for sure whether our young friend here is on our side or not. Scarface, take a few of the Brothers with you and fetch Whiskers Mao here so that he can identify him.’ With a single word of assent Scarface turned and left the hall.祁彪清拉过一张椅子,道:“小兄弟,请坐!”

  韦小宝老实不客气,就坐下来。跟着有人送上一碗面,一杯茶。Tertius drew a chair up and invited his ‘little brother’ to sit down, which Trinket, wasting no words on courtesies, promptly did. Someone handed him a bowl of noodles and a cup of tea.韦小宝原是饿得狠了,吃了个干净。关安基、祁彪清,还有那个人人叫他“李大哥”的李力世陪着他闲谈,言语中颇为客气,He was feeling extremely hungry by now and quickly emptied the bowl. Big Beaver, Tertius, and the man they all called Brother Li sat and chatted with him while they were waiting, their attitude to him now a good deal politer than it had been to begin with.其实是在盘问他的身世和经过遭遇。韦小宝也不隐瞒,偶然吹几句牛,骂几句鳌拜,还是将如何帮着康熙皇帝擒拿鳌拜等一一说了,只是跟海老公学武、康熙亲自出刀子动手等事却不提及。In answering their questions, whether about his past life or about his recent experiences, Trinket concealed nothing from them. Although embroidered with an occasional boast and with a good deal more invective against the hated Oboi, the account he gave of himself was comparatively honest. He even told them about the way in which he had helped the young Emperor effect Oboi’s arrest, merely suppressing the fact that he had been taught Martial Arts by Old Hai, and making no reference to the part that Kang Xi had played in the arrest by personally attacking Oboi with a dagger.关安基等原已听说,鳌拜是为小皇帝及一群小太监所擒,听韦小宝说来活龙活现,多半不假。关安基叹道:“鳌拜号称满洲第一勇士,不但为你所杀,而且也曾为你所擒,那也真是天数了。”Big Beaver and the others had heard that Oboi had been arrested by Kang Xi with the help of a team of little eunuchs and hearing Trinket’s extremely graphic account of this same event were disposed to believe him. When the questioning was over, Big Beaver sighed. ‘So you not only killed him, it was you who arrested him as well, ‘ he said. The Manchu Champion. It must have been destiny.’

  闲谈了半个时辰,关安基、李力世、祁彪清等人都是阅历极富的老江湖,虽觉韦小宝言语有些浮滑,但大关节处却毫不含糊。They had been talking now for something like half an hour. Big Beaver, Brother Li, and Tertius had all three of them knocked about the world a good deal and their years of experience had taught them to be shrewd judges of character. They could see that the boy was too glib to be wholly reliable; nevertheless in essentials his story seemed to be consistent.忽听得脚步声响,厅门推开,两条大汉抬了一个担架进来,贾老六跟在后面说道:“姊夫,茅十八茅爷请来啦!”Suddenly there was a sound of footsteps in the courtyard, the door of the hall was pushed open, and two big, strapping fellows came in, supporting a carrying-pole between them on their shoulders. They were closely followed by Scarface, who called out to announce the new arrival: ‘Mr Mao Eighteen here to see you, brother-in-law.’

  韦小宝跳起身来,只见茅十八躺在担架之上,双颊瘦削,眼眶深陷,容色十分憔悴,问道:“你……你生病吗?”Trinket jumped up to look. Whiskers Mao was lying in a sort of hammock suspended from the pole. His cheeks were hollow, his eyes were deeply sunken, and he looked dreadfully pale and haggard. ‘Oh, ‘ said Trinket with deep concern, ‘you’re ill.’

  茅十八给贾老六抬了来,只知天地会青木堂有大事相商,不知何事,陡然间见到了韦小宝,大喜若狂,叫道:“小宝,你……你也逃出来啦,那可好极了。我……我这些时候老是想着你,只盼伤愈之后,到皇宫来救你出去。这……这真好!”When they called to collect him, all that the men had told Whiskers was that the Green Wood Lodge of the Triad Society wanted to consult him about an important matter. They hadn’t told him what it was. His joy at being unexpectedly confronted with Trinket was almost too much for him. Trinket!’ he cried. ‘You! So you escaped. Oh, I’m glad. I’ve missed you, boy. I was looking forward to the time when my wounds had healed and I could go and rescue you, but here you are. Oh, this is wonderful!’他这几句话一说,众人心中本来还存着三分疑虑的,霎时之间一扫而空。这小太监果然是茅十八的朋友,一起被掳入清宫之中。His words instantly banished any remaining particle of doubt from the minds of the attentively listening men. This little eunuch was indeed Whiskers Mao’s friend and had been captured at the same time as he was and taken into the Palace.茅十八虽然并非天地会的会友,但在江湖上也颇有名声,向来说一是一,说二是二,近年来又为清廷缉捕,乃是众所周知之事。Whiskers was not himself a member of the Triad Society, but he was well-known on River and Lake as a plain-spoken man of his word. Not only that, but during the past few years his arrests and imprisonments by the Manchus, dramatic escapes, and subsequent exploits had made him famous.韦小宝既是他的朋友,自然不会真是清宫中的太监,又见茅十八说话之时,真情流露,显然与这小孩子交情极好。If this lad was his friend, it followed that he could not really be a Palace Eunuch. And Whiskers had addressed the boy with such genuine warmth, it was clear that they must be very good friends indeed.

  韦小宝道:“茅大哥,你……你受了伤?”茅十八叹了口气,道:“唉,那晚从宫中逃出来,将到宫门之外,终于遇上了侍卫,我以一敌五,杀了二人,自己也给砍上了两刀,拚命的逃出宫门。宫中又有侍卫追出,本来是逃不了的,幸好天地会的朋友援手,才救了我性命。你……你也是天地会的好朋友们救出来的吗?”’Did you say you’d been wounded?’ Trinket asked his friend. Whiskers sighed. That evening when I escaped from the Palace, I was just getting past the gate when I ran into some of the guards. It was five against one. I killed two of them, but I got a couple of nasty cuts myself. I managed–only just–to get out of the gate, when a whole lot more guards came running out of the Palace. I’d never have got away if it hadn’t been for the lucky chance that some of these Triad friends happened to be there at the time and gave me a hand. They saved my life. But what about you? Was it these Triad friends who helped you to escape too?’

  关安基等登时神色尴尬,觉得这件事实在做得不大漂亮。This made Big Beaver and the other members of the Lodge feel extremely uncomfortable and for the first time it occurred to them that this whole affair had been somewhat mismanaged.

  哪知韦小宝道:“正是,那老太监逼着我做小太监,直到今日,才逃出来,幸好碰上了天地会的这些……这些爷们。”To their surprise, however, Trinket made no reference to the true nature of his arrival. ‘Yes,’ he said. That old eunuch forced me to take the place of his eunuch house-boy; that’s why I couldn’t get away until now. It was lucky for me that I ran into these Triad … er … gentlemen.’天地会群豪都暗暗吁了口气,觉得韦小宝如此说法,顾全了他们脸面,心中暗暗感激,这人年纪虽小,却很够朋友。The assembled Triad heroes, grateful to him for saving their faces by this tactful cover-up, breathed a collective sigh of relief. A decent little kid, they thought; and in spite of his youth, they now looked on him as a friend.

  当下贾老六招呼茅十八和韦小宝二人到厢房休息,青木堂群雄自在厅上继续会商大事。Scarface invited Whiskers and Trinket to rest in a room on another side of the courtyard while members of the Green Wood Lodge continued to debate their important business in the hall.

  茅十八伤得极重,虽然已养了好几个月伤,仍是身子极弱,刚才抬来时途中又颠簸了一会,伤口疼痛,精神疲乏,想要说话,却无力气。Whiskers had been very severely wounded and even after months of convalescence his body was still very weak. The jolting to which he had been subjected on his way there had caused his wounds to start hurting again, leaving him so drained that, though he would dearly have liked to talk, he had not the energy to do so.

  韦小宝心想:“不管怎样,他们总不会杀我了。”心情一宽,蜷缩在一张太师椅中便睡着了。睡到后来,觉得有人将他抱起,放到床上,盖上了被子。For his part, Trinket decided that whatever happened now, at least they weren’t going to kill him; so, relieved at last of that worry, he curled up in an armchair and promptly went to sleep. Some time later, in the midst of his slumbers, he was half-aware of someone gently picking him up, laying him down on a bed, and covering him with a quilt.

  次晨醒转,有一名汉子送上洗脸水、清茶,一大碗大肉面。韦小宝心想:“招呼老子越来越好,居然拿我当大老爷看待了。”Next morning, while he was still recovering from his long sleep, a man brought him some water to wash with, some tea, and a large bowl of pork and noodles. This is the life!’ Trinket said to himself. ‘I didn’t expect this. They’re treating me like a gent.’但见厢房外站着两个汉子,窗外也站着两名汉子,虽然假装晃来晃去,无所事事,但显然是奉命监视,生怕自己逃了。But then he noticed that there were two men standing outside the door; and when he looked, he could see another two men outside the window. They were trying hard to look as if they were just standing around doing nothing in particular, but it was painfully obvious that they had been stationed there to guard him and prevent him from running away.

  韦小宝又有点担心起来,寻思:“要是真当我大客人相待,为什么又派这四名汉子守住我?”童心忽起:“哼,要守住韦小宝,恐怕也不这么容易,我偏偏溜出去逛逛,瞧你这四个蠢才怎奈何得了我?”Though he no longer feared for his life, Trinket’s worries returned. ‘If they intend to treat me as an honoured guest,’ he thought, ‘why have they put four fellows here to guard me?’ But his sense of mischief soon triumphed over the worry. ‘Huh,’ he muttered, ‘if you’re planning to keep me prisoner here, you won’t find it as easy as you think. I’ll take a little stroll outside in a minute and we’ll see what you four idiots can do to stop me.’看明周遭情势,已有了计较,当即伸手用力推开向东的一扇窗。窗声一响,四名汉子同时向窗子望去,他一引开四人视线,猛力将厢房门向内一拉,立即一骨碌钻入了床底。Having carefully sized up the situation and made his plan, he went up to the east-facing window and gave the casement a mighty push, so that it opened with the maximum amount of noise. Instantly the four pairs of eyes outside were focused on the window. While they were still looking at the window, he skipped over and gave another mighty push to the double doors. Then, with all possible speed, he dashed across the room and hid himself under the bed.

  四名汉子听到门声,立即回头,只见两扇门已经打开,兀自不住晃动,When the four men, startled by this second bang, turned their heads to look, the doors were wide open and still swinging.都大吃了一惊。这四人正是奉命监视韦小宝的,突见房门已开,第一个念头便是他已经逃了,四个人齐叫:“啊哟!”冲入厢房,但见茅十八在床上睡得甚熟,韦小宝果已不知去向。The men had, indeed, been ordered to keep an eye on Trinket, and their first thought on seeing the doors open was that he must already have escaped. With cries of dismay they rushed into the room. Sure enough, Whiskers still lay there sleeping soundly in his bed, but Trinket was nowhere to be seen.一人叫道:“这孩子逃去不远,快分头追截,我去禀告上头。”其余三人应道:“是!”急冲出房,其中二人跃上了屋顶。’He can’t have got far,’ said one of them. ‘You others run and look for him while I go and tell the boss.’ ‘Right,’ said the others, and all four of them rushed outside again. Two of them went up on the roof.

  韦小宝咳嗽一声,从床底下大模大样走了出来,便向外走去,来到大厅之中。Trinket, with a self-important cough, got out from under the bed, walked out of the room, and strutted unconcernedly towards the hall.

  一推开门,只见关安基和李力世并排而坐,一名奉命监视他的汉子正在气急败坏的禀报:“这……这小孩儿忽然逃……逃走了,不知到……到了哪里……”话未说完,突然见到韦小宝出现,那人“啊”的一声,瞪大了双眼,奇怪得说不出话来。As he opened the door, he saw Big Beaver and Brother Li sitting there side by side while one of the four men who had been guarding him stood there breathlessly making his report. That. . . that boy . . . has got away. We don’t know . . . where . . . he’s–‘ Just at that moment he caught sight of Trinket. ‘Oh!’ The man’s eyes became round with surprise and he seemed incapable of further speech.

  韦小宝伸了个懒腰,说道:“李大哥,关夫子,你二位好!”

  关安基和李力世对望了一眼,向那人道:“下去!没半点用用!”Trinket stretched himself lazily. ‘Good morning Brother Li, good morning Big Beaver, ‘ he said. Big Beaver and Brother Li exchanged glances, then, turning to the wretched guard, ‘Go away!’ they said. ‘You’re useless.’

  随即向韦小宝笑道:“请坐,昨晚睡得好罢?”韦小宝笑嘻嘻的坐了下来,道:“很好,很好!”大厅长窗突然推开,两人冲了进来,When the man had gone, they invited Trinket to come and sit with them. ‘How did you sleep last night?’ they asked him. ‘Very well, thank you, ‘ said Trinket with a big grin as he sat beside them. Suddenly one of the screen-doors of the hall burst open and two more of the men rushed in.一人叫道:“关夫子,那……那小孩不知逃到什么地……”忽然见到韦小宝坐着,惊道:“咦!他……他……”’Big Beaver,’ one of them began, ‘that boy . . . he’s got away . . . we don’t know–‘ Then he caught sight of Trinket sitting there. ‘Oh!’ he said, startled. ‘He . . . he . . .’韦小宝忍不住哈哈大笑,道:“你们这四条汉子,太也没用,连个小孩子也看不住。我如想逃走,早就逃了。”另一人傻头傻脑,问道:“你怎么走出来的?怎么我眼睛一花,人影也没瞧见,你就已经逃了。”Trinket could contain himself no longer and burst out laughing. ‘You’re not much good, are you?’ he said. ‘Four big guys like you and you can’t keep watch over one little kid. If I’d really wanted to escape, I’d have been away long ago.’ ‘How did you get out?’ asked the other man, who had not yet spoken. He was a rather stupid-looking fellow. ‘I don’t know whether there’s something wrong with my eyes or what, but I never got a glimpse of you. You were already gone before I noticed.’韦小宝笑道:“我会隐身法,这法儿可不能传你。”关安基皱眉挥手,向那两人道:“下去罢!”那傻头傻脑之人兀自在问:“当真有隐身法?怪不得,怪不得。”李力世道:“小兄弟年纪轻轻,聪明机警,令人好生佩服。”’I can make myself invisible,’ said Trinket, grinning. ‘I’m not going to tell you how it’s done though.’ Big Beaver frowned at the man and waved his hand dismissively. ‘Go on, clear off!’ But the stupid-looking man persisted. ‘Can you really make yourself invisible?’ he asked. ‘Oh well, no wonder.’ ‘I admire your sharpness,’ Brother Li told Trinket. ‘You’ve got a good head on your shoulders for one so young.’

  忽听得远处蹄声隐隐,有一大群人骑马奔来,关安基和李力世同时站起。李力世低声道:“鞑子官兵?”关安基点点头,伸指入口,嘘嘘嘘吹了三声,五个人奔入厅来。Suddenly the three of them became aware of a sound borne in from the distance: the thudding of many hooves. Big Beaver and Brother Li simultaneously jumped to their feet. Tartar soldiers?’ said Brother Li in a low voice. Big Beaver nodded; then, putting two fingers to his lips, he gave three piercing whistles. This brought five men running into the hall.关安基道:“大伙儿预备!叫贾老六领人保护茅十八茅爷。鞑子官兵如是大队到来,不可接战,便照以前的法子分头退却。”Tut everyone on the alert,’ Big Beaver instructed them. ‘And tell Scarface to pick a few men to help him take care of Mao Eighteen. If it’s a big force of Tartars coming, we’re not to give battle. We’ll follow the same pattern that we did last time and disperse.’五人答应了,出去传令,四下里天地会众人齐起。关安基道:“小兄弟,你跟着我好了!”The five men shouted their assent and went outside again to relay these orders. On every hand the members of the Triad Society could be heard preparing themselves for action. Big Beaver turned to Trinket. ‘Little brother,’ he said, ‘you’d better stick with me.’

  忽有一人疾冲进厅,大声道:“总舵主驾到!”关安基和李力世齐声道:“什么?”那人道:“总舵主率同五堂香主,骑了马正往这儿来。”关李二人大喜,齐声问道:“你怎知道?”那人道:“属下在道上遇到总舵主亲口吩咐,命属下先来通知。”At that moment a man came dashing into the hall, shouting at the top of his voice, The Helmsman is coming.’ ‘What?’ cried Big Beaver and Brother Li in unison. The Helmsman is riding here with the nine Masters from the other Lodges,’ said the man. ‘How do you know?’ the two men asked him, delighted but incredulous. ‘I met them on the road and the Helmsman himself sent me ahead to tell you,’ said the man.

  关安基见他跑得气喘吁吁,点头道:“好,你下去歇歇。”又吹口哨传人进来,吩咐道:“不是鞑子官兵,是总舵主驾临!大伙儿一齐出门迎接。”Big Beaver could see that the man was exhausted. ‘Good,’ he said. ‘You’d better go and rest.’ Once more he whistled for the men to come. ‘It isn’t the Tartars,’ he told them, ‘it’s the Helmsman. Tell everyone they are to go outside to welcome him.’

  消息一传出,满屋子都轰动起来。关安基拉着韦小宝的手,道:“小兄弟,本会总舵主驾到,咱们一齐出去迎接!There was tremendous excitement when this message was transmitted to the men. Big Beaver took Trinket by the hand. (‘Come, little brother,’ he said. ‘Our Helmsman will soon be arriving. We must go out to meet him too.’

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