The Deer And The Cauldron 8

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第八回 佳客偶逢如有约 盛名长恐见无因In which Trinket meets the Helmsman and becomes Master of the Green Wood Lodge Trinket meets the Helmsman

韦小宝随着关安基、李力世等群豪来到大门外,只见二三百人八字排开,Trinket accompanied Big Beaver, Brother Li, and the other leaders to the main gate. Outside they found the members of the Lodge already waiting, between two and three hundred of them, spread out in V-shaped formation on either side of the gate,脸上均现兴奋之色。all with eager, expectant looks on their faces.过了一会,两名大汉抬着担架,抬了茅十八出来。李力世道:“茅兄,你是客人,不用这么客气。”茅十八道:“久仰陈总舵主大名,当真如雷贯耳,今日得能拜见,就算……就算即刻便死,那……那也是不枉了。”他说话仍是有气没力,但脸泛红光,极是高兴。After a while the same two big fellows came out carrying Whiskers between them in his hammock. ‘Mao, old fellow, ‘ said Brother Li, ‘you don’t need to wait out here with us. You’re our guest.’ ‘Just hearing about the Helmsman has always been an inspiration to me, ‘ said Whiskers. ‘Now that there’s a chance to actually see him, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.’ Because of his extreme weakness his voice was still faint, but there was a flush of excitement on his pallid cheeks.

  耳听得马蹄声渐近,尘头起处,十骑马奔了过来。当先三骑马上乘客,没等奔近便翻身下马。Presently the sound of galloping grew nearer and a party of some ten or so horsemen could be seen approaching in a little cloud of dust. The three foremost of them jumped lightly from their horses while they were still at some distance from the gate.李力世等迎将上去,与那三人拉手说话,十分亲热。韦小宝听得其中一人说道:“总舵主在前面相候,请李大哥、关夫子几位过去……”Brother Li and the other leaders went forward to meet them and there was much exchange of handclasps and friendly greetings. Trinket overheard one of the horsemen saying that the Helmsman was waiting somewhere ‘ahead’ and wanted Brother Li, Big Beaver, and one or two other seniors to come and see him.几个人站着商量了几句,李力世、关安基、祁彪清、玄贞道人等六人便即上马,和来人飞驰而去。After standing there some minutes in discussion, six leading members of the Lodge–Brother Li, Big Beaver, Tertius, Father Obscurus, and two others whom Trinket didn’t know by name–got on to waiting horses and galloped off with the other riders.茅十八好生失望,问道:“陈总舵主不来了吗?”对他这句问话,没一人回答得出,各人见不到总舵主,个个垂头丧气。’Isn’t the Helmsman coming here then?’ asked Whiskers, dreadfully disappointed. None of those waiting had the heart to answer him, since they were all feeling equally disappointed.韦小宝心道:“人家欠了你们一万两银子不还吗?还是赌钱输掉了老婆裤子?你奶奶的,脸色这等难看!”过了良久,有一人骑马驰来传令,点了十三个人的名字,要他们前去会见总舵主。那十三人大喜,飞身上马,向前疾奔。’What’s the matter with you all?’ thought Trinket. ‘Anyone would think someone had borrowed ten thousand taels off you and wouldn’t pay it back, or you’d lost your wife’s trousers gambling or something. What a miserable-looking lot!’ After a good while longer, another horseman arrived and read out the names of thirteen Lodge-members who were to go for interviews with the Helmsman. The thirteen men, with rapturous expressions on their faces, dashed to the ready-waiting horses, jumped into the saddle, and galloped away.

  韦小宝问茅十八道:“茅大哥,陈总舵主年纪很老了罢?”茅十八道:“我……我便是没……没见过。江湖之上,人人都仰慕陈总舵主,但要见上他……他老人家一面,可当真艰难得很。”韦小宝嘿了一声,心中却道:“哼,他妈的,好大架子,有什么希罕?老子才不想见呢。”’Whiskers, ‘ Trinket asked his stricken friend, ‘is this Helmsman a very old man?’ ‘I… I’ve never met him, ‘ said Whiskers. ‘On River and Lake there’s no one who doesn’t look up to him, but I do know that to actually get to meet him is very, very difficult, ‘ Tamardy!’ thought Trinket. ‘What a big-head! Well, you don’t impress me, Mr Big Shot Helmsman. It’s all the same to me whether I see you or not, ‘

  群豪见这情势,总舵主多半是不会来了,但还是抱着万一希望,站在大门外相候,有的站得久了,便坐了下来。By this time it was beginning to look as if most members of the Lodge were definitely not going to get a glimpse of their beloved leader; nevertheless they continued to stand there outside the gate, nursing a faint hope that he might after all appear. Some of them, tired of standing, sat on the ground.有人劝茅十八道:“茅爷,你还是到屋里歇歇。我们总舵主倘若到了,尽快来请茅爷相见。”茅十八摇头道:“不!我还是在这里等着。陈总舵主大驾光临,在下不在门外相候,那……那可太也不恭敬了。唉,也不知我茅十八这一生一世,有没福份见他老人家一面。”One of them urged Whiskers to go indoors and rest. ‘If the Helmsman does come, ‘ he told Whiskers, ‘I promise to let you know straight away.’ But Whiskers shook his head. ‘No, no, I’d rather wait here. If the Helmsman did come and I wasn’t waiting here outside, it would be very–well, disrespectful.’ He sighed wistfully. ‘I wonder if it will be my luck to see him before I die.’

  韦小宝跟着茅十八从扬州来到北京,一路之上,听他言谈之中,对武林中人物都不大瞧在眼内,但对这个陈总舵主却一直十分敬重,不知不觉的受了感染,心中也不敢再骂人了。In his conversations with Trinket on the long journey from Yangzhou to Peking there was hardly a well-known practitioner of the Martial Arts whom Whiskers had not at one time or other disparaged. Chen Jinnan, the Helmsman, appeared to be the only expert in these matters for whom he had unqualified respect. Listening to Whiskers now, Trinket could not help absorbing a little of his enthusiasm, to the extent that he now stopped thinking of rude things to say about this paragon who seemed so conscious of his own worth.

  忽听得蹄声响动,又有人驰来,坐在地下的会众都跃起身来,大家伸长了脖子张望,均盼总舵主又召人前去相会,这次有自己的份儿。果然来的又是四名使者,为首一人下马抱拳,说道:“总舵主相请茅十八茅爷、韦小宝韦爷两位,劳驾前去相会。”Suddenly there was a sound of hoofbeats once more and another party of horsemen came riding up. Those Triads who had been sitting on the ground leaped to their feet and everyone craned forward, hoping that this time the summons would be for him. There were four messengers this time. Their leader, having dismounted from his horse, clasped his hands together respectfully: The Helmsman requests Mr Mao and Mr Wei to favour him with their company.’

  茅十八一声欢呼,从担架中跳起身来,但“哎唷”一声,又跌在担架之中,叫道:“快去,快去!”Whiskers leaped up with a joyful cry, then almost immediately sank back into the hammock with a groan. ‘Let’s go!’ he said to his bearers. ‘Hurry!’韦小宝也是十分高兴,心想:“人家叫我‘公公’的叫得多了,倒没什么人叫我‘韦爷’,哈哈,老子是‘韦小宝韦爷’。” Trinket, for his part, was extremely tickled to be called ‘Mr Wei’. Even his surname–his mother’s actually, since his paternity was unknown–was seldom used; but never in his life before had anyone called him ‘Mr’. Well!’ he thought. ‘I’ve heard plenty of “Goong-goongs” recently; but not “Mr”. Ha ha! Now I’m “Mr Trinket Wei”.’两名使者在马上接过担架,双骑相并,缓缓而行。Two of the mounted men took charge of Whiskers, supporting the ends of the carrying-pole from which his hammock was suspended on their saddle-bows and riding along in parallel very slowly and carefully.另一名使者将坐骑让给了韦小宝,自己另乘一马,跟随在后。Another of them gave up his horse to Trinket and found himself another horse on which he rode along behind.六个人沿着大路行不到三里,便转入右边的一条小路。一路之上都有三三两两的汉子,或坐或行,巡视把守。为首的使者伸出中指、无名指、小指三根手指往地下一指,把守二人点点头,也伸手做个暗号。The little party of six walked their horses along the road for about a mile before taking a right-hand turn into a little side-road. Along this, every few hundred yards, were little knots of two or three men, some sitting, some walking to and fro, all evidently lookouts, since the leading horseman, on seeing them, would make a sign, stretching out the last three fingers of his right hand and pointing with them downwards, whereupon the men would nod and silently answer him with some mysterious signal of their own.韦小宝见这些人所发暗号各各不同,也不知是何用意。又行了十二三里,来到一座庄院之前。Trinket observed that the signals they made were all different, but was unable to guess their significance. After they had been riding along this side-road for about four miles, they came to a large farmhouse or grange.

  守在门口的一名汉子大声叫道:“客人到!”跟着大门打开,李力世、关安基,还有两名没见过面的汉子出来,As they arrived at the entrance, a guard on the door shouted to the people inside, The guests have arrived,’ whereupon the door opened and out came Brother Li, Big Beaver, and two other men whom Trinket hadn’t seen before.抱拳说道:“茅爷、韦爷,大驾光临,敝会总舵主有请。”韦小宝大乐,心想:“我这个‘韦爷’毕竟走不了啦!”One of these last clasped his hands politely and welcomed them in: ‘Mr Mao, Mr Wei, welcome! Our Society’s Helmsman looks forward to meeting you.’ Trinket was thrilled. The ‘Mr’ seemed to be sticking. Whiskers struggled to get up.茅十八挣扎着想起来,说道:“我这么去见陈总舵主,实在,实在……哎唷……”终于支撑不住,又躺倒在担架上。李力世道:“茅爷身上有伤,不必多礼。”让着二人进了大厅。’I can’t see the Helmsman like this. It’s too . . . it’s too . . .’ but the effort to raise himself once more ended in a groan. ‘You’re a wounded man,’ said Brother Li. ‘You don’t need to stand on ceremony.’ He ushered Trinket and Whiskers’ bearers into the main reception room.一名汉子向韦小宝道:“韦爷请到这里喝杯茶,总舵主想先和茅爷谈谈。”当下将茅十八抬了进去。A man offered Trinket some tea and asked him to wait there a while as the Helmsman wanted to speak to Mr Mao first. Whiskers was carried through an inner door for his interview.

  韦小宝喝得一碗茶,仆役拿上四碟点心,韦小宝吃了一块,心想:“这点心比之皇宫里的,可差得太远了,还及不上丽春院的。”While Trinket was drinking his cup of tea, a servant came in with four plates on which were various cakes and dimsum. His reaction on sampling these was unfavourable. These aren’t a patch on the ones they do in the Palace,’ he thought. They’re not even as good as the ones they used to serve in the brothel.’对这个总舵主的身份,不免有了一点瞧不起。但肚中正饿,还是将这些瞧不在眼里的点心吃了不少。His estimation of the Helmsman at once went down a couple of notches. However, he was feeling empty, and in quite a short time had made considerable inroads into the eatables on all four of the plates.

  过了一顿饭时分,李力世等四人又一起出来,其中一个花白胡子老者道:“总舵主有请韦爷。”After about the time it would take to consume an average meal, Brother Li and the other three came in again, and one of the two Trinket didn’t know by name, an old man with a grizzled beard, told him that the Helmsman was now ready to see him.韦小宝忙将口中正在咀嚼的点心用力吞落了肚,双手在衣襟上擦了擦,跟着四人入内,来到一间厢房之外。那老者掀起门帷,说道:“‘小白龙’韦小宝韦爷到!”At some risk of choking, he swallowed the large mouthful he had been chewing, brushed off the crumbs with his hands, and followed the four men into one of the wings of the building which, together with the main reception room, enclosed a large courtyard on three sides. There, stopping outside a doorway, the old man with the grizzled beard lifted up the door-curtain and announced them. ‘Mr Trinket Wei, the Little White Dragon to see you.’

  韦小宝又惊又喜,心想:“他居然知道我这个杜撰的外号,定然是茅大哥说的了。”Trinket was surprised and a little flattered that they should somehow have got hold of his made-up nom de guerre. This must be Whiskers’ doing, he concluded.

  房中一个文士打扮的中年书生站起身来,笑容满脸,说道:“请进来!”韦小宝走进房去,两只眼睛骨碌碌的乱转。关安基道:“这位是敝会陈总舵主。”A man in his thirties dressed in the costume of a scholar rose to his feet as they entered, smiling a welcome. Trinket walked in and stood for a moment darting questioning glances around him. This is the Helmsman,’ said Big Beaver。韦小宝微微仰头向他瞧去,见这人神色和蔼,但目光如电,直射过来,不由得吃了一惊,双膝一曲,便即拜倒。Trinket stole a glance at the scholar. He had a mild and gentle face, but there was a force in his flashing eyes which seemed to bore right through him and made him gasp. Almost unconsciously he sank to his knees and began to kowtow;

  那书生俯身扶起,笑道:“不用多礼。”韦小宝双臂被他一托,突然间全身一热,打了个颤,便拜不下去,那书生笑道:“这位小兄弟擒杀满洲第一勇士鳌拜,为我无数死在鳌拜手里的汉人同胞报仇雪恨,数日之间,名震天下。成名如此之早,当真古今罕有。”but the scholar bent down to stop him. ‘No, no, that’s not necessary,’ he said with a laugh. Trinket could feel the scholar’s strong hands on his arms. A warm sensation passed through his body, followed by a little tremor of excitement. He abandoned his kowtow and got up. ‘By arresting and killing Oboi, the Manchu Champion,’ said the scholar, speaking to the four older men but keeping his eyes on Trinket, ‘our young hero here has avenged the deaths of countless numbers of our fellow-countrymen. In the course of a few days his name has become a household word. To have won such fame, and so early in life too, is an almost unparalleled achievement.’

  韦小宝本来脸皮甚厚,倘若旁人如此称赞,便即跟着自吹自擂一番,但在这位不怒自威的总舵主面前,竟然讷讷的不能出口。Although Trinket had enough cheek to shame the devil and would normally, if anyone else had praised him like this, have treated it as an excuse to show off, he found himself, in the presence of this Helmsman with his gentleness and his air of quiet authority, completely tongue-tied.

  总舵主指着一张椅子,微笑道:“请坐!”自己先坐了,韦小宝便也坐下。李力世等四人却垂手站立。’Sit down!’ The Helmsman pointed to a chair and sat down himself. Trinket followed his example but noticed that the four older men remained standing, their arms held respectfully at their sides.总舵主微笑道:“听茅十八茅爷说道,小兄弟在扬州得胜山下,曾用计杀了一名清军军官黑龙鞭史松,初出茅庐第一功,便已不凡。但不知小兄弟如何擒拿鳌拜。”’I gather that your career as a strategist began very early,’ said the Helmsman, smiling. ‘Mr Mao tells me that already, near Victory Hill, when you were still not far from Yangzhou, you killed a Manchu officer by means of a ruse. I still haven’t heard how you managed to arrest Oboi though.’

  韦小宝抬起头来,和他目光一触,一颗心不由得突突乱跳,满腹大吹法螺的胡说八道霎时间忘得干干净净,一开口便是真话,Lifting his head slightly, Trinket caught a glimpse of those dazzling eyes and felt his heart beating faster. All desire to indulge in his customary trumpet-blowing drained from him on the instant and he found himself for once giving a completely honest account of what he had done.将如何得到康熙宠幸、鳌拜如何无礼、自己如何和小皇帝合力擒他之事说了。只是顾全对康熙的义气,不提小皇帝在鳌拜背后出刀子之事。He told the Helmsman how he had become Rang Xi’s favourite; how Oboi had threatened and insulted the young Emperor; and how he and the Emperor had joined forces to take Oboi prisoner. Out of a sense of loyalty to Kang Xi, he said nothing about Kang Xi stabbing Oboi in the back;但这样一来,自己撒香炉灰迷眼、举铜香炉砸头,明知不是下三滥、便是下二滥的手段,却也无法再行隐瞒了。but he made no attempt to conceal the fact that he had blinded Oboi with incense-ash and then hit him on the head with a bronze brazier, although he was fully aware that to a man of honour like the Helmsman this would seem, if not a third-rate, certainly a pretty second-rate way of overcoming an enemy.

  总舵主一言不发的听完,点头道:“原来如此。小兄弟的武功和茅爷不是一路,不知尊师是哪一位?”The Helmsman listened to all that Trinket had to say without making a single interruption. When at last Trinket had finished, he nodded. ‘I see. Well, clearly you didn’t learn your technique from Mr Mao. Who was your teacher?’韦小宝道:“我学过一些功夫,可算不得有什么尊师。老乌龟不是真的教我武功,他教我的都是假功夫。”’I’ve had a little training,’ said Trinket, ‘but I didn’t have a proper teacher. What the Old Devil taught me wasn’t real Martial Arts, it was just rubbish.’总舵主纵然博知广闻,“老乌龟”是谁,却也不知,问道:“老乌龟?”The Old Devil?’ The Helmsman’s vast knowledge did not encompass any practitioner with that nom de guerre.

  韦小宝哈哈大笑,道:“老乌龟便是海老公,他名字叫作海大富。茅十八大哥和我,就是给他擒进宫里去的……”Trinket burst out laughing. ‘Old Devil is what I used to call the old eunuch Hai-goong– among other things. His real name was Hai Dafu. He’s the one who captured me and Mao Eighteen and brought us into the Palace . . .’说到这里,突然惊觉不对,自己曾对天地会的人说,茅十八和自己是给鳌拜擒去的,这会儿却说给海老公擒进宫去,岂不是前言不对后语?He suddenly realized that this flatly contradicted what he had said previously. He had told the Triad members that he and Mao Eighteen had been captured and taken into the Palace by Oboi.好在他撒谎圆谎的本领着实不小,跟着道:“这老儿奉了鳌拜之命,将我二人擒去,想那鳌拜是个极大的大官,自然不能轻易出手。”To a practised liar like Trinket, however, this presented little difficulty. The old eunuch was acting on Oboi’s orders. I suppose Oboi, being so important, was too grand to do the dirty work himself.’

  总舵主沉吟道:“海大富?海大富?鞑子宫内的太监之中,有这样一号人物?小兄弟,他教你的武功,你演给我瞧瞧。”But the Helmsman appeared to be deep in thought. ‘Hai Dafu? Hai Dafu? Is there a eunuch with that name in the Tartar Palace?’ He turned to Trinket. ‘Show me a few of the things he taught you, little brother,’ he said.

  韦小宝脸皮再厚,也知自己的武功实在太不高明,说道:“老乌龟教我的都是假功夫。他恨我毒瞎了他眼睛,因此想尽办法来害我。这些功夫是见不得人的。”However immune to self-criticism Trinket might be, he knew that what he liked to call his Martial Arts training was really a joke. The Old Devil only pretended to teach me,’ he said. ‘He hated me because I made him blind, so he did everything in his power to harm me. The sort of things he taught me were not the sort of things you’d want anyone else to see.’总舵主点了点头,左手一挥,关安基等四人都退出房去,反手带上了门。总舵主问道:“你怎样毒瞎了他眼睛?”The Helmsman nodded and made a little gesture with his left hand. At once Big Beaver and the other three older men left the room, closing the door after them as they went. ‘Now, ‘ said the Helmsman, ‘what did you mean when you said you made the old eunuch go blind?’

  在这位英气逼人的总舵主面前,韦小宝只觉说谎十分辛苦,还是说真话舒服得多,这种情形那可是从所未有,当下便将如何毒瞎海老公、如何杀死小桂子、如何冒充他做小太监等情形说了。In the presence of this heroic individual Trinket found it harder to tell his habitual lies than to tell the truth–a sensation he had never experienced before. He now found himself telling the Helmsman how the massive dose of medicine he had put in the old eunuch’s cup had caused him to go blind and how he had killed the little eunuch Laurie and taken his place.

  总舵主又是吃惊,又是好笑,左手在他胯下一拂,发觉他阳具和睾丸都在,并未净身,的的确确不是太监,The Helmsman, having heard this last piece of information with amusement and some surprise, felt with his left hand between Trinket’s legs and satisfied himself that he was indeed equipped with those parts which eunuchs lack but ordinary little boys possess.不由得吁了口长气,微笑道:“好极,好极!我心中正有个难题,好久拿不定主意,原来小兄弟果然不是给净了身,做了太监!”Then he gave what to Trinket sounded very much like a sigh of relief. ‘Good,’ he said with a little smile. ‘If you haven’t been mutilated and you aren’t a eunuch, this suggests a way out of a difficulty that has been bothering me for some time.’

  左手在桌上轻轻一拍,道:“定当如此!尹兄弟后继有人,青木堂有主儿了。”He tapped the table lightly with his left hand and continued speaking, apparently to himself. ‘Yes, of course. This is obviously the solution. It gives Brother Yin a successor and the Green Wood Lodge a Master.’

  韦小宝不明白他说些什么,只是见他神色欢愉,确是解开了心中一件极为难之事,也不禁代他高兴。Trinket didn’t understand what he was talking about, but he could tell from his pleased expression that some great weight had been lifted from his mind and couldn’t help feeling pleased on his behalf.总舵主负着双手,在室内走来走去,自言自语:“我天地会所作所为,无一不是前人从所未行之事。万事开创在我,骇人听闻,物议沸然,又何足论?”他文绉绉的说话,韦小宝更加不懂了。The Helmsman walked to and fro in the room, his hands clasped behind him, muttering to himself. ‘Everything this Society has ever done has been unprecedented. All innovation lies ultimately in the hands of the individual. We must be bold enough to ignore the censures of the vulgar and the loud outcries of those to whom every novelty is shocking.’ To Trinket this book-language of the Helmsman’s was even more incomprehensible than what he had said before.

  总舵主道:“这里只有你我二人,不用怕难为情。那海大富教你的武功,不论真也好,假也好,你试演给我瞧瞧。”’Look,’ said the Helmsman to Trinket, ‘there are only two of us here now, so you’ve no need to feel embarrassed. Never mind whether what Hai Dafu taught you was the real thing or not; just give me a demonstration of what it was.’韦小宝这才明白,他命关安基等四人出去,是为了免得自己怕丑,Trinket now realized that it was to spare him the embarrassrnent of making a fool of himself in front of the others that he had sent them out of the room.眼见无可推托,说道:“是老乌龟教的,可不关我事,如果太也可笑,你骂他好了。”There seemed to be nothing for it but to comply ‘Well, it’s what the Old Devil taught me, ‘ he said, ‘so it’s not my fault how bad it is. If it looks really ridiculous, you must put the blame on him.’总舵主微笑道:“放手练好了,不用担心!”韦小宝于是拉开架式,将海老公所教的小半套“大慈大悲千叶手”使了一遍,其中有些忘了,有些也还记得。The Helmsman gave his little smile. ‘Don’t worry about that; just get on with it, ‘ So Trinket struck up an attitude and began to go through the motions of the Merciful Guanyin repertoire–the rather limited parts of it, that is, that the old eunuch had taught him. He had already forgotten some bits of it, but could remember enough to put on some sort of performance.总舵主凝神观看,待韦小宝使完后,点了点头,道:“从你出手中看来,似乎你还学过少林寺的一些擒拿手,是不是?”The Helmsman watched him with fixed attention and nodded when he had finished. ‘From what you’ve just been doing, ‘ he said, ‘it looks as though you may have been taught a little bit of the Shaolin School of Catch-Can. Am I right?’韦小宝学“大擒拿手”在先,自然知道这门功夫更加不行,原想藏拙,但总舵主似乎什么都知道,The Greater Catch-Can is what Trinket had learned first, before he even started on the Merciful Guanyin method of self-defence. He knew he must be even worse at Catch-Can than at the Merciful Guanyin stuff and had been hoping to conceal his inadequacy by keeping quiet about it; but there was no concealing anything from the Helmsman, who appeared to know everything: there was nothing for it but to go on making a fool of himself.只得道:“老乌龟还教过我一些擒拿法,是用来和小皇帝打架的。”’Yes, ‘ he said. ‘The Old Devil taught me a bit of Catch-Can to use in my wrestling-bouts with the Emperor.’于是将“大擒拿手”中的一些招式也演了一遍。总舵主微微而笑,说道:“不错!”韦小宝道:“我早知你见了要笑。”And he proceeded to demonstrate as much as he could remember of the Greater Catch-Can. Once again the Helmsman gave his little smile. ‘Not bad!’ ‘I knew all along it would only make you laugh, ‘ said Trinket.

  总舵主微笑道:“不是笑你!我见了心中喜欢,觉得你记性、悟性都不错,是个可造之材。那一招‘白马翻蹄’,海大富故意教错了,但你转到‘鲤鱼托鳃’之时,能自行略加变化,并不拘泥于死招。那好得很!”’I wasn’t laughing at you, ‘ said the Helmsman. ‘I was smiling because I was pleased to see that your memory and comprehension are so good. That White Pony Kick you couldn’t quite bring off I think Hai Dafu must have deliberately taught you incorrectly; but instead of letting it fluster you, you used your own imagination and initiative to develop it into a Carp-Fin Flick. I thought that was very good.’韦小宝灵机一动,寻思:“总舵主的武功似乎比老乌龟又高得多,如果他肯教我武功,我韦小宝定能成为一个真英雄,不再是冒牌货的假英雄。”Trinket guessed that the Helmsman was a far greater Master of the Martial Arts than the Old Devil had been and the thought suddenly struck him how wonderful it would be if the Helmsman were willing to take him on as a disciple, to be his teacher, his Shifu. Then, surely, he could become a real hero, not the fake one he was at present.斜头向他瞧去,便在这时,总舵主一双冷电似的目光也正射了过来。韦小宝向来惫懒,纵然皇太后如此威严,他也敢对之正视,但在这位总舵主跟前,却半点不敢放肆,目光和他一触,立即收了回来。He glanced shyly in the Helmsman’s direction and found that cold, electric gaze directed at him. Trinket was a shameless young blackguard and could look even the formidable Empress Dowager in the eye without blenching; but the Helmsman was somehow different.

  总舵主缓缓的道:“你可知我们天地会是干什么的?”In the Helmsman’s presence he had become suddenly terrified of misbehaving and as soon as their eyes met had quickly to avert his own. ‘Do you know what the Triad Society is for?’ the Helmsman asked him, speaking very slowly and deliberately.韦小宝道:“天地会反清复明,帮汉人,杀鞑子。”’The Triad Society wants to drive out the Qing and restore the Ming,’ said Trinket. ‘It’s for helping the Chinese and killing Tartars.’总舵主点头道:“正是!你愿不愿意入我天地会做兄弟?”The Helmsman nodded. ‘Exactly. Would you like to join the Triad Society and become a Brother?’

  韦小宝喜道:“那可好极了。”在他心目中,天地会会众个个是真正英雄好汉,想不到自己也能为会中兄弟,That would be terrific,’ said Trinket delightedly. In his mind every member of the Triad Society was a hero. It had not occurred to him that he might ever become one himself.又想:“连茅大哥也不是天地会的兄弟,我难道比他还行?”说道:“就怕……就怕我够不上格。”But then he reflected that Whiskers wasn’t a member, and it was absurd to imagine that he could be better-qualified than Whiskers; so he said, ‘I’m afraid . . . I’m afraid I’m not good enough.’霎时间眼中放光,满心尽是患得患失之情,只觉这笔天外飞来的横财,多半不是真的,不过总舵主跟自己开开玩笑而已。His eyes, which for a moment had been shining, were now full of disappointment. It was too much to hope that the Helmsman’s offer had been serious. He must have been joking.总舵主道:“你要入会,倒也可以。只是我们干的是反清复明的大事,以汉人的江山为重,自己的身家性命为轻。再者,会里规矩严得很,如果犯了,处罚很重,你须得好好想一想。”’If you want to be a member you can,’ said the Helmsman, ‘only you must remember that this is a very important business we are engaged in. We have to put our country first, even before our lives. Then again, the rules are very strict and the penalties for breaking them very heavy. You need to think carefully before you decide.’韦小宝道:“不用想,你有什么规矩,我守着便是。总舵主,你如许我入会,我可快活死啦。”’I don’t need to think,’ said Trinket. ‘Whatever your rules are, I’ll keep them. If you’ll let me join, Helmsman, I’ll be the happiest boy in the world.’总舵主收起了笑容,正色道:“这是极要紧的大事,生死攸关,可不是小孩子们的玩意。”The Helmsman’s smile gave way to a more grave expression. ‘This is an extremely serious business, involving matters of life and death. We’re not talking about children’s games.’韦小宝道:“我当然知道。我听人说,天地会行侠仗义,做得都是惊天动地的大事,怎么会是小孩子的玩意?”’I know that,’ said Trinket. ‘I’ve heard lots about the Triad Society. It fights for Honour and Justice. It does all sorts of amazing things. Of course it isn’t a children’s game.’总舵主微笑道:“知道了就好,本会入会时有誓词三十六条,又有十禁十刑的严规。”The Helmsman smiled. ‘Well, as long as you know. There are thirty-six rules that everyone joining the Society must swear to follow. The rules include ten absolute prohibitions, each with a very severe punishment laid down for anyone who breaks it.’说到这里,脸色沉了下来,道:“有些规矩,你眼前年纪还小,还用不上,不过其中有一条:

  ‘凡我兄弟,须当信实为本,不得谎言诈骗。’这一条,你能办到么?”His face became grave again. ‘Some of the rules don’t apply in your case yet, because you’re too young; but there’s one of them against dishonesty. It says, “Every Brother must be honest in all his dealings. He must not lie or cheat.” Do you think you are capable of keeping that rule?’

  韦小宝微微一怔,道:“对你总舵主,我自然不敢说谎。

  可是对其余兄弟,难道什么事也都要说真话?”Trinket was slightly taken aback. ‘I’d never tell you a lie, Helmsman,’ he said, ‘but with the other Brothers, would I have to tell them the truth–all the time?’总舵主道:“小事不论,只论大事。”韦小宝道:“是了。好比和会中兄弟们赌钱,出手段骗人可不可以?”’Perhaps not in minor matters,’ said the Helmsman, ‘but in important ones, yes.’ ‘Well that’s all right,’ said Trinket. ‘What about gambling? If I’m gambling with other members of the Society, am I allowed to cheat a bit?’

  总舵主没想到他会问及此事,微微一笑,道:“赌钱虽不是好事,会规倒也不禁。可是你骗了他们。他们知道了要打你,会规也不禁止,你岂不挨打吃亏?”The Helmsman was unprepared for a question of this nature. ‘Gambling is not a good thing,’ he said with the faintest of smiles, ‘but mere is nothing in the rules which forbids it. Of course, if you cheated them and they found out, they would probably beat you up, and there’s no rule against that either: so you’d probably be well advised not to try.’韦小宝笑道:“他们不会知道的,其实我不用欺骗,赢钱也是十拿九稳。”They wouldn’t find out,’ said Trinket, grinning. ‘Actually, though, I don’t need to cheat. When I gamble, nine times out of ten I win anyway’

  天地会的会众多是江湖豪杰,赌钱酗酒,乃是天性,向来不以为非,总舵主也就不再理会,向他凝视片刻,道:“你愿不愿拜我为师?” Since most members of the Society came from a travelling background in which gambling and drunken brawling were accepted as normal behaviour, the Helmsman was inclined to turn a blind eye on rnese matters. He looked at Trinket intently for some moments as if trying to make his mind up about something. ‘Would you like to be my apprentice?’

  韦小宝大喜,立即扑翻在地,连连磕头,口称:“师父!”总舵主这次不再相扶,由他磕了十几个头,道:“够了!”韦小宝喜孜孜的站起身来。What happiness! Trinket fell at once to his knees and began kowtowing. ‘Shifu!1 This time the Helmsman made no effort to raise him up, but let him knock his head a dozen or more times on the floor before he stopped him. ‘All right, that’s enough.’ Trinket got up again, smiling delightedly.

  总舵主道:“我姓陈,名叫陈近南。这‘陈近南’三字,是江湖上所用。你今日既拜我为师,须得知道为师的真名。’Now that I have become your Shifu, you had better know my real name,’ said the Helmsman, ‘but you are not to tell anyone.我真名叫作陈永华,永远的永,中华之华。”说到自己真名时压低了声音。My surname is Chen. I expect you know that already. But Chen Jinnan is only the name I am known by on River and Lake. It is not my real name. My real name is Chen Yonghua.’

  韦小宝道:“是,徒弟牢牢记在心中,不敢泄漏。”’I’ll remember that,’ said Trinket. ‘And I promise not to tell anyone.’

  陈近南又向他端相半晌,缓缓说道:“你我既成师徒,相互间什么都不隐瞒。我老实跟你说,你油腔滑调,狡猾多诈,The Helmsman contemplated his new disciple for some moments in silence. ‘Now that we are Shifu and apprentice, ‘ he said gravely ‘we have to be completely open with each other. I don’t mind telling you that I find you both glib-tongued and sly.跟为师的性格十分不合,我实在并不喜欢,所以收你为徒,其实是为了本会的大事着想。“韦小宝道:“徒儿以后好好的改。”Your nature is a very different one from my own, and I must admit that I am not at all happy about this. In taking you on as my apprentice, it’s more the interests of the Society than anything else that I have in mind.’ ‘From now on I’ll do my best to change,’ said Trinket.

  陈近南道:“江山易改,本性难移,改是改不了多少的。’It’s easier for the earth to leave its moorings than for a man to change his nature,’ said the Helmsman. ‘You won’t be able to change very much.

  你年纪还小,性子浮动些,也没做了什么坏事。On the other hand you’re still young and comparatively unformed; and so far you don’t seem to have done anything particularly bad.以后须当时时记住我的话。我对徒儿管教极严,你如犯了本会的规矩,心术不正,为非作歹,为师的要取你性命,易如反掌,也决不怜惜。”In future you’ll just have to keep reminding yourself all the time to do as I tell you. I believe in being very strict with my apprentices, so if I find that you have been breaking the Society’s rules or plotting mischief or doing anything really bad, I shall kill you without mercy. And remember: I can kill you any time, as easily as breaking an egg.’说着左手一探,擦的一声响,将桌子角儿抓了一块下来,双手搓了几搓,木屑纷纷而下。As if to demonstrate, he tapped the table with his left hand and then seized the corner of it in his grasp. There was a crunching sound as it broke off. Then he took the broken-off piece between his palms and rubbed it until it fell in a shower of tiny slivers on the floor.韦小宝伸出了舌头,半天缩不进去,随即喜欢得心痒难搔,Trinket stuck his tongue out in amazement and it was some time before he could put it back in again. Yet his overriding feeling was not of amazement but of happiness that he had got this heroic strong man for his teacher.笑道:“我一定不做坏事。一做坏事,师父你就在我头上这么一抓,这么一搓。再说,只消做得几件坏事,师父你这手功夫便不能传授徒儿了。”’I promise you I won’t ever do anything bad,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t want my Shifu to crunch my head up! And besides, if I did do a few bad things, and you did crunch me up, with me gone, who’d there be to pass on your secrets!’

  陈近南道:“不用几件,只是一件坏事,你我便无师徒之份。”韦小宝道:“两件成不成?”’Not “a few bad things”!’ said the Helmsman. ‘One! Just one bad thing, and I shall no longer consider you my apprentice.’ ‘What about two bad things?’ said Trinket.陈近南脸一板,道:“你给我正正经经的,少油嘴滑舌。一件便是一件,这种事也有讨价还价的?”The Helmsman’s face looked stern. ‘You’re being flippant. When I say one bad thing I mean one. Do you think this is something you can haggle about?’韦小宝应道:“是!”心中却说:“我做半件坏事,却又如何?”’No, sir,’ said Trinket; but a rebellious little voice inside him was saying, ‘What about half a bad thing?’

  陈近南道:“你是我的第四个徒儿,说不定便是我的关门弟子。天地会事务繁重,我没功夫再收弟子。’You are my fourth apprentice,’ said the Helmsman, ‘and probably you will be my last. The Triad Society keeps me so busy that I don’t have much time for apprentices.你的三个师兄,两个在与鞑子交战时阵亡,一个死于国姓爷光复台湾之役,都是为国捐躯的大好男儿。为师的在武林中位份不低,名声不恶,你可别替我丢脸。”Of your three Brother-apprentices, two died fighting against the Tartars and the third was killed in Marshal Zheng’s campaign to retake Taiwan. All three were brave young men who gave their lives for their country. Apart from that I have my own reputation to keep up and I don’t want you disgracing me.’

  韦小宝道:“是!不过……不过……”陈近南道:“不过什么?”’No, sir,’ said Trinket. ‘But. . . but–‘ ‘But what?’ said the Helmsman.韦小宝道:“有时我并不想丢脸,不过真要丢脸,也没有法子。好比打不过人家,给人捉住了,关在枣子桶里,当货物一般给搬来搬去,师父你可别见怪。”’Sometimes things that might disgrace you seem to happen to me when I can’t help it,’ said Trinket. ‘Like being captured by someone bigger and stronger than me and shut up in a barrel of dates and pushed around like goods to market. You mustn’t blame me for things like that.’

  陈近南皱起眉头,又好气,又好笑,叹了口长气,说道:“收你为徒,只怕是我生平所作的一件大错事。The Helmsman found he didn’t quite know whether to be angry or amused. Finally he gave a sigh. ‘I’m beginning to think that taking you on as my apprentice may prove to be the biggest mistake of my life.但以天下大事为重,只好冒一冒险。小宝,待会另有要务,你一切听我吩咐行事,少胡说八道,那就不错。”韦小宝道:“是!”There’s so much that hangs on this though, I just have to take the chance. Now listen, Trinket. There’s going to be some important business presently. Just keep quiet, do everything I tell you, and don’t talk a lot of nonsense, and you’ll be all right. Is that understood?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ said Trinket.

  陈近南见他欲言又止,问道:“你还想说什么?”韦小宝道:“徒儿说话,总是自以为有理才说。我并不想胡说八道,你却说我胡说八道,那岂不冤枉么?”Observing that Trinket appeared to be hesitating, the Helmsman asked him if there was something else he wanted to say. ‘It’s only that what I say always does seem sensible to me, ‘ said Trinket. ‘I never mean to talk nonsense. So when you tell me I’m talking nonsense, it seems unfair.’陈近南不愿再跟他多所纠缠,说道:“那你少说几句好了。”心想:“天下不知多少成名的英雄好汉,在我面前都是恭恭敬敬,大气也不敢透一声,这个刁蛮古怪的顽童,偏有这许多废话。”’In that case the best thing is not to talk at all,’ said the Helmsman. But what he thought was, ‘How many men of valour and reputation have I seen behaving like submissive flunkeys and hardly daring to breathe in my presence, yet this two-faced, shifty little urchin can stand here and give me all this lip!’站起身来,走向门口,道:“你跟我来。”He got up and strode towards the door. ‘Come on,’ he said. ‘Follow me.’

  韦小宝抢着开门,掀开门帷,让陈近南出去,跟着他来到大厅。Trinket rushed to open it for him and held up the door-curtain for him to go through. Then he followed him to the hall.

  厅上本来坐着二十来人,一见总舵主进来,登即肃立。The Initiation of Trinket As the Helmsman entered, the score or so of men who had been seated along either side of the room rose respectfully to their feet.陈近南点了点头,走到上首的第二张椅上坐下。The Helmsman gave a nod, strode towards the three seats of honour at the top end of the hall and sat down in the left-hand one, leaving the principal seat and the right-hand one empty.韦小宝见居中有张椅子空着,在师父之上还空着一张椅子,心下纳罕:“难道总舵主还不是最大?怎地在师父之上还有两个人?”Trinket felt sure that his Shifu was the most important person present and couldn’t understand why he hadn’t sat down in the centre chair.陈近南道:“众位兄弟,今日我收了个小徒。”向韦小宝一指,道:“就是他!”’Brothers,’ said the Helmsman, ‘today I have decided to take on an apprentice.’ He pointed to Trinket. ‘Here he is.’

  众人一齐上前,抱拳躬身,说道:“恭喜总舵主。”又向韦小宝拱手,纷纷道喜。各人脸色有的显得十分欢喜,有的则大为诧异,有的则似乎不敢相信。The men got up and crowded forward to congratulate the Helmsman, bowing and pumping their hands. Then, one by one, they congratulated Trinket. Some of them, as they did so, looked genuinely pleased, some looked surprised, a few looked frankly incredulous.陈近南吩咐韦小宝:“见过了众位伯伯、叔叔。”韦小宝向众人磕头见礼。李力世在旁介绍:“这位是莲花堂香主蔡德忠蔡伯伯。”The Helmsman now told Trinket to greet his new ‘uncles’ and Trinket had to go up to each of them in turn and kowtow. Brother Li stood beside him as he did so and introduced each of them by name. ‘This is Cai Dezhong, the Master of the Lotus Flower Lodge.’ ‘Uncle Cai,’ said Trinket, kowtowing. “这位是洪顺堂香主方大洪方伯伯。”“这位是家后堂香主马超兴马伯伯。”韦小宝在这些香主面前逐一磕头,一共引见了九个堂的香主,以后引见的便是位份和职司较次之人。’This is Fang Dahong, the Master of the Obedience Lodge.’ ‘Uncle Fang.’ ‘This is Ma Chaoxing, the Master of the Clan Lodge.’ ‘Uncle Ma.’ Altogether there were nine Masters. After he had kowtowed to all of them, he had to kowtow to those next in rank to the Masters–the seconds-in-command.

  那九堂香主都还了半礼。连称:“不敢,小兄弟请起。”其余各人竟不受他磕头,他刚要跪下,便给对方伸手拦住。While he had been kowtowing to the Masters, he noticed that they only bowed in return, saying, as they did so, ‘No, no, please get up!’, but those of lower rank would not let him kowtow at all. As soon as he began to kneel, they put their hands out to stop him.韦小宝身手敏捷,有时跪得快了,对方不及拦阻,忙也跪下还礼,不敢自居为长辈。厅上二十余人,韦小宝一时也记不清众人的姓名和会中职司,只知个个是天地会中的首脑人物,心想:“我一拜总舵主为师,大家都当我是自己人,便将身分姓名都说了出来。”心下好生喜欢。Once or twice he was too quick for them and was on his knees before they could prevent him. In those cases they were obliged to kneel down themselves and return his kowtow.

  陈近南待韦小宝和众人相见已毕,说道:“众位兄弟,我收了这小徒后,想要他入我天地会。”众人齐声道:“那再好也没有了。”’Brothers,’ said the Helmsman when Trinket had finished his bowings and kowtowings, ‘now that this boy is my apprentice, I should like him to become a member of the Society.’ The Brothers unanimously proclaimed themselves delighted with the idea.

  莲花堂香主蔡德忠是个白发白须的老者,说道:Cai Dezhong, the Master of the Lotus Flower Lodge, an old man with white hair and a white beard, pronounced the sort of auspicious words that custom decrees on these occasions: “自来名师必出高徒。总舵主的弟子,必是一位智勇兼全的小侠,在我会中,必将建立大功。”They always say that famous teachers have famous pupils, so we can be sure that any apprentice of our Helmsman is going to be a remarkable young fellow. This young man is bound to have lots of courage and lots of brains and I’ve no doubt at all that our Society can expect great things from him in the future.’家后堂香主马超兴又矮又胖,笑容可掬,说道:“今日和韦家小兄弟相见,也没什么见面礼。姓马的向来就会精打细算,这样罢,我和蔡香主二个,便做了小兄弟入会的接引人,就算是见面礼了。蔡兄以为如何?”Ma Chaoxing, the Master of the Clan Lodge, was short, fat, and jolly. Today is our first meeting,’ he said, ‘but unfortunately I haven’t got a First Meeting present to give him. Well, as you know, I’ve always been a great one for economy, so what I propose is that Lodge Master Cai and I should be his sponsors and he should look on our sponsorship as our present. What do you think of the idea, Brother Cai?’蔡德忠哈哈大笑,说道:“老马打的算盘,不用说,定然是响的。这一份不用花钱的见面礼,算我一个。”Cai Dezhong seemed greatly amused by this. ‘Old Ma always knows how to save the pennies,’ he said, laughing. ‘Yes, I’m certainly willing to go halves in this economical First Meeting present.’ The others present joined in the mirth;众人嘻笑声中,陈近南道:“两位伯伯天大的面子,当你的接引人,快谢过了。”but while they were laughing, the Helmsman pointed out to Trinket that these two very senior persons were in fact doing him a great honour in offering to act as his sponsors. ‘You’d better quickly show them your appreciation,’ he said.

  韦小宝道:“是!”上前磕头道谢。So Trinket did some more kowtowing.陈近南道:“本会的规矩,入会兄弟的言行好歹,和接引人有很大干系。我这小徒人是很机警的,就怕他灵活过了头,做事不守规矩。’According to the rules of the Society,’ said the Helmsman, addressing the two sponsors, ‘the conduct of any new entrant is very much the sponsors’ concern. This young apprentice of mine is a very sharp lad–in fact, a bit too sharp at times. I’m afraid there may be times when he’s liable to go a little too far and misbehave himself.蔡马二位香主既做他接引人,以后也得帮我担些干系,如见到他有什么行止不端,立即出手管教,千万不可客气。”I am looking to you, as his sponsors, to relieve me of some of the responsibility of keeping him out of mischief. If you should ever see him misbehaving, do, I beg you, discipline him straight away.’蔡德忠道:“总舵主太谦了。总舵主门下,岂有不端之士?”陈近南正色道:“我并非太谦。对这个小孩儿,我委实好生放心不下。大伙儿帮着我管教,也帮着我分担一些心事。”马超兴笑道:“管教是不敢当的。小兄弟年纪小,若有什么事不明白,大家是自己兄弟,自然是开诚布公,知无不言,言无不尽。”陈近南点头道:“我这里先多谢了。”???韦小宝心想:“我又没做坏事,师父便老是担心我做坏事。’I haven’t done anything wrong yet,’ thought Trinket, ‘so why does he keep going on about me misbehaving?是了,他听了我对付老乌龟的手段,怕我老毛病发作,对他也会如此这般。老乌龟想害死我,又不是我师父,我才毒瞎了他眼睛。I know. It’s because of what I told him about playing that trick on the Old Devil. He’s afraid I might feel tempted to do something like that to him. But that’s silly. The Old Devil was trying to kill me.你真是我师父,教我真功夫,我怎会来作弄你?你却把话说在前头,这里许多人个个都来管教管教,我动也不能动了。”And in any case, he wasn’t my Shifu. And he didn’t teach me properly either. Whereas you are my real Shifu and you are going to teach me the real thing. But now that you’ve said all this stuff about me and got all these people keeping an eye on me, I shan’t be able to move without getting jumped on.’

  只听陈近南道:“李兄弟,便请你去安排香堂,咱们今日开香堂,让韦小宝入会。”李力世答应了出去安排。While he was in the midst of these reflections, he heard the Helmsman asking Brother Li to prepare the Induction ceremony– the ceremony in which he would be initiated into full membership. Brother Li went off to make the arrangements.

  陈近南道:“照往日规矩,有人要入本会,经人接引之后,须得查察他的身世和为人,少则半年,多则一年两年,查明无误,方得开香堂入会。’According to a rule we’ve always followed in the past,’ said the Helmsman, ‘a novice who has been presented to the Society by his sponsors has to undergo a probationary period of anything from six months to one or two years, and we don’t hold the Induction ceremony until we are fully satisfied that there is nothing in his personality or past history which might disqualify him from becoming a full member.但韦小宝在清宫之中担任职司,是鞑子小皇帝身边十分亲近之人,于本会办事大有方便,咱们只得从权。可不是我为了自己弟子而特别破例。”In Trinket’s case though, because he is employed in the Qing Palace and holds a position of trust there which brings him into close contact with the young Emperor, I think we have to make an exception. This is a matter of expediency, you understand. I’m not asking for an exception to be made simply on the grounds that he is my apprentice.’众人都道:“弟兄们都理会得。”The assembled leaders all indicated their approval and assured him that they understood.

  洪顺堂香主方大洪身材魁梧,一部黑须又长又亮,朗声说道:“咱们能有这么一位亲信兄弟,在鞑子小皇帝身边办事,当真上天赐福,合该鞑子气数将尽,The Master of the Obedience Lodge, a giant of a man with a long, glossy black beard, was particularly emphatic. ‘A chance like this, to have a young Brother we can trust working at the young Tartar Emperor’s side,’ he said in his powerful voice, ‘it must be a sign that Heaven is on our side and that the Tartars’ luck is running out.我大明江山兴复有望。这叫做知己知彼,百战百胜。哪一个不明白总舵主的用心?”That means there’s a real hope now of winning our country back for the Ming. They say if you know yourself and know your enemy you can win every battle: well, from now on we shall certainly know our enemy. I’m sure everyone here can understand what the Helmsman has in mind.’韦小宝心想:“你们待我这么好,原来要我在皇上那边做奸细。我到底做是不做?”想起康熙待自己甚好,不禁颇感踌躇。’I see,’ Trinket said to himself. ‘So that’s why I’m being treated SO’well. You want me to spy on the Emperor for you. I’m not sure I want to do that.’ When he remembered how well Kang Xi had always treated him, he couldn’t help having serious doubts about the whole business.

  蔡德忠当下将天地会的历史和规矩简略给韦小宝说知,Cai Dezhong now undertook to tell Trinket something about the history and traditions of the Society.说道:“本会的创始祖师,便是国姓爷,原姓郑,大名上成下功。The founder of the Society, he explained, was Marshal Zheng, whom the foreigners called Coxinga.当初国姓爷率领义师,进攻江南,围困江宁,功败垂成,在退回台湾之前,接纳总舵主的创议,设立了这个天地会。那时咱们的总舵主,便是国姓爷的军师。Some twenty or so years earlier Coxinga had led a patriot army South of the River to besiege Nanking, but in a heroic struggle, after coming within an ace of victory, he had been defeated and forced to fall back on Taiwan. He had founded the Society before leaving for Taiwan, adopting a plan presented to him by his military adviser Chen Jinnan, or the Helmsman as they now called him.我和方兄弟、马兄弟、胡兄弟、李兄弟,以及青木堂的尹香主等等,都是国姓爷军中的校尉士卒。”Cai himself, the other Masters (including Brother Yin, the late Master of the Green Wood Lodge), and most of the senior members of the Society like Brother Li had been officers in the Marshal’s Grand Army.

  韦小宝知道“国姓爷”便是郑成功,当年得明朝皇帝赐姓为朱,因此人们尊称他为“国姓爷”。郑成功在江浙闽粤一带声名极响,他于康熙元年去世,其时逝世未久,人人提到他时,语气之间还是十分恭敬。茅十八也曾跟他说起过的。(Trinket had already heard about Coxinga from Whiskers. It was only a few years since his death, and his reputation was still strong throughout the southern regions of China.)蔡德忠又道:“咱们大军留在江南的甚多,无法都退回台湾,有些退到厦门,那也只是一小部分,因此总舵主奉国姓爷之命,留在中土,成立天地会,联络国姓爷的旧部。Of the large number of soldiers of the Grand Army left behind on the mainland, only a fraction made their way down to Xiamen. The Helmsman had the Marshal’s orders to contact these old soldiers of the Grand Army and recruit them into the Society.凡是曾随同国姓爷攻打江浙的兵将,自然都成为会中兄弟,不必由人接引,也不须察看。但若外人要入会,就得查察明白,以防有奸细混入。”Anyone who had been in the Grand Army could become a member automatically. Anyone else wishing to join had to be first introduced by sponsors and then undergo a period of probation during which he was carefully investigated. This was a precaution against letting in Government spies.

  他说到这里,顿了一顿,脸上忽然现出异样神采,继续说道:The old man paused for a moment; then suddenly his face lit up and he continued more animatedly: “想当年咱们大军从台湾出发,一共是一十七万人马,五万水军,五万骑兵,五万步兵,一万人游击策应,又有一万‘铁人兵’, ‘I remember when the Grand Army set sail from Taiwan, a hundred and seventy thousand of them. Magnificent! Fifty thousand marines, fifty thousand cavalry, fifty thousand infantry, ten thousand light support troops, and ten thousand “Ironclads”.个个身披铁甲,手持长矛,专斫鞑子兵的马足,兵刃羽箭伤他不得。The Ironclads were completely covered from head to foot in plate armour. Not a blade or an arrow could touch them. They carried very long halberds designed for cutting the legs of the Tartars’ horses.镇江扬篷山那一战,总舵主领兵二千,大破鞑子兵一万八千人,At Zhenjiang, in the battle of the Yang Peng Mountain, the Helmsman led a force of only two thousand against an army of eighteen thousand Tartars and completely smashed them.当真是威风凛凛,杀气腾腾。我是总舵主麾下第八镇的统兵官,That was a sight! Awe-inspiring! Our men had murder in their eyes. I was in charge of the Eighth Brigade then under the Helmsman’s command.带兵冲杀过去,只听得鞑子兵人人大叫:‘马鲁,马鲁!契胡,契胡!’”When we charged, we could hear the Tartars shouting to each other, “Maloo, malool Cheehoo, cheehoo”

  韦小宝只听得眉飞色舞,问道:“那是什么?”蔡德忠道:“‘马鲁,马鲁’是鞑子话‘妈啊,妈啊’的意思,‘契胡,契胡’便是‘逃啊,逃啊’!”众人都笑了起来。Trinket was beginning to quite enjoy his indoctrination. ‘What does that mean?’ he asked. ‘Maloo is the Tartar word for “mother”, ‘ said old Cai. ‘Cheehoo means run. At this point everyone started laughing.

  马超兴笑道:“蔡香主一说起当年攻克镇江、大杀鞑子兵的事,便兴高采烈,三日三夜也说不完。’When Brother Cai gets going on the Zhenjiang campaign and how they killed the Tartars,’ said Ma Chaoxing, laughing with the rest, ‘there’s no holding him back. He’ll go on for three days and three nights without stopping if you give him the chance.你接引人给韦兄弟说会中规矩,这般说来,说到韦兄弟的须子跟你一般长了,还是说不完……”Come on, old Cai, if this is your idea of what a sponsor ought to say about our traditions, the boy will have a beard as long as your own before you’ve finished instructing him!’话到此处,突然想到韦小宝是个小太监,怎么会有胡子?偷眼向韦小宝瞧了一眼,见他不以为意,才放了心。He stopped rather abruptly and darted a nervous look at Trinket, having just remembered that Trinket was a eunuch (or so he thought) and could never grow a beard. He was relieved to see that Trinket appeared unconcerned.

  这时李力世进来回报,香堂已经设好。Brother Li now came in again and announced that everything was ready for the ceremony.陈近南引着众人来到后堂。韦小宝见一张板桌上供着两个灵牌,中间一个写着“大明天子之位”,侧边一个写着“大明延平郡主、招讨大将军郑之位”, The Helmsman led them all into a second hall farther back in the building. There was an altar-like table at one end of it on which were two spirit tablets, the central one representing the Ming Emperor, the one beside it representing the Founder, Marshal Zheng, who had died two years previously.板桌上供着一个猪头,一个羊头,一只鸡,一尾鱼,插着七枝香。In front of the tablets were four plates of offerings: a pig’s head on one, a sheep’s head on the second, a cock on the third, and a fish on the fourth. In the middle of the table there was a burner in which were stuck seven burning sticks of incense.众人一齐跪下,向灵位拜了。蔡德忠在供桌上取过一张白纸,朗声读道:Everyone knelt down facing the altar, and when they had kowtowed to the tablets, Cai Dezhong picked up a sheet of paper from it and read out the Induction oath in a loud, clear voice:“天地万有,回复大明,灭绝胡虏。吾人当同生同死,仿桃园故事,约为兄弟,姓洪名金兰,合为一家。拜天为父,拜地为母,日为兄,月为姊妹,复拜五祖及始祖万云龙为洪家之全神灵。吾人以甲寅七月二十五日丑时为生时。凡昔二京十三省,当一心同体。今朝廷王侯非王侯,将相非将相,人心动摇,即为明朝回复、胡虏剿灭之天兆。吾人当行陈近南之命令,历五湖四海,以求英雄豪杰。焚香设誓,顺天行道,恢复明朝,报仇雪耻。歃血誓盟,神明降鉴。”(按:此项誓词,根据清代传下之天地会文件记录,原文如此。)Apart from what it said about the Great Ming being the rightful rulers and expelling the foreign foe, there wasn’t a great deal in it mat Trinket could understand. It seemed that they all belonged to a family called ‘Hong’ in which Heaven was their father, Earth was their mother, the sun was their brother, and the moon was their sister. Apart from the surname ‘Hong’, each of them, on entering the Society, acquired the secret name ‘Jinlan’ — meaning Golden Orchid. (‘What’s the good of a name,’ thought Trinket, ‘if everyone’s got the same one?’). They kowtowed when old Cai read out the words ‘Heaven my father’ and ‘Earth my mother’ and once more for someone called ‘Dragon Brother’ whom Trinket had heard mentioned a couple of times the day before. They were all supposed to have been born on the same day. Old Cai even read out the date. (Trinket knew this didn’t make sense, but decided he’d better not ask about it.) They prayed ‘in the words of the oath made in the Peach Tree Garden’ that they might all the on the same day. And there was more besides.

  蔡德忠念罢演词,解释道:“韦兄弟,这番话中所说桃园结义的故事,你知道吗?”When he had finished reading the oath, Cai Dezhong asked Trinket if he understood the bit about the Peach Tree Garden.韦小宝道:“刘关张桃园三结义,不愿同年同月同日生,但愿同年同月同日死。”Trinket knew about this from the stories in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, all of which he had heard many times over at storytellers’ sessions in Yangzhou. ‘It was the oath taken by the three heroes Liu, Guan, and Zhang when they became blood-brothers,’ he said. Though they hadn’t all been born on the same day, they prayed that they might all die on the same day, so that they could say they had lived and died together.’蔡德忠道:“对了,你入了天地会,大家便都是兄弟了。我们和总舵主是兄弟,你拜他老人家为师,大家是你的伯伯叔叔,因此你见了我们要磕头。但从今而后,大家都是兄弟,你就不用再向我们磕头了。”That’s right,’ said old Cai. ‘When you enter the Triad Society, you become one of the Brothers. We’re all Brothers. The Helmsman’s a Brother too, just like the rest of us. A Shifu is like a father, so when you became the Helmsman’s apprentice, we all became your uncles. That’s why you had to kowtow to us. But from now on we’re your Brothers, so you won’t have to kowtow to us any more.’韦小宝应道:“是。”心想:“那好得很。”蔡德忠道:“我们天地会,又称为洪门,洪就是明太祖的年号洪武。姓洪名金兰,就是洪门兄弟的意思。我洪门尊万云龙为始祖,那万云龙,就是国姓爷了。一来国姓爷的真姓真名,兄弟们不敢随便乱叫;二来如果给鞑子的鹰爪们听了诸多不便,所以兄弟之间,称国姓爷为万云龙。‘万’便是千千万万人,‘云龙’是云从龙。千千万万人保定大明天子,恢复我锦绣江山。韦兄弟,这是本会的机密,可不能跟会外的朋友说起,就算茅十八茅爷是你的好朋友、好兄弟,也是不能跟他说的。”’Right,’ said Trinket. (‘And a good job too,’ he thought.) Old Cai then explained that Dragon Brother was what they called Marshal Zheng, their Founder. This was a secret he must never, never tell anyone, not even his friend Mao Eighteen. This was because the political connections of the Society must at all costs be concealed from their enemies.韦小宝点头道:“我知道了。茅大哥挺想入咱们天地会,咱们能让他入会吗?”Trinket took advantage of this reference to Mao Eighteen to say how much Whiskers longed to become a Triad and to ask what chance there was of his being made a member.蔡德忠道:“日后韦兄弟可以做他的接引人,会中再派人详细查察之后,那自然也是可以的。”Cai Dezhong said that, after a suitable interval, Trinket would be able to sponsor Mao Eighteen himself and, provided that those appointed by the Society to investigate him found no impediment, he would of course be welcome to join.(按:“万云龙”到底是谁,各家说法不同。本书中关于天地会之事迹人物,未必尽与流传之记载相符,其中大半为作者之想象及创造。)

  蔡德忠又道:“七月二十五日丑时,是本会创立的日子时辰。本会五祖,乃是我军在江宁殉难的五位大将,第一位姓甘名辉。想当年我大军攻打江宁,我统率镇兵,奉了总舵主军师之命,埋伏在江宁西城门外,鞑子兵……”他一说到当年攻打江宁府,指手划脚,不由得越说越远。马超兴微笑插嘴:“蔡香主,攻打江宁府之事。咱们慢慢再说不迟。”

  蔡德忠一笑,伸手轻轻一弹自己额头,道:“对,对,一说起旧事,就是没了没完。现下我读‘三点革命诗’,我读一句,你跟着念一句。”当下读诗道:“三点暗藏革命宗,入我洪门莫通风。养成锐势从仇日,誓灭清朝一扫空。”韦小宝跟着念了。

  蔡德忠道:“我这洪门的洪字,其实就是我们汉人的‘汉’字。我汉人的江山给鞑子占了,没了土地,‘汉’字中去了个‘土’字,便是‘洪’字了。”当下将会中的三十六条誓词、十禁十刑、二十一条守则,都向韦小宝解释明白,大抵是忠心义气、孝顺父母、和睦乡党、兄弟一家、患难相助等等。若有泄漏机密、扳连兄弟、投降官府、奸淫掳掠、欺侮孤弱、言而无信、吞没公款等情由,轻则割耳、责打,重则大解八块,断首分尸。After explaining a few more puzzling bits of the oath, old Cai got on to the thirty-six rules and the various prohibitions and penalties. For offences like lying, revealing secrets, betraying friends, surrendering to Government forces, embezzling the Society’s funds, or oppressing the widow and the orphan the penalties ranged from i||y||| flogging and cutting an ear off to beheading and dividing the body into eight pieces.

  韦小宝一一凛遵,发誓不敢有违。他这次是真心诚意,发誓时并不捣鬼。Trinket swore to abide by all these rules, and it has to be said that at the actual moment of swearing he sincerely intended to do so.

  马超兴取过一大碗酒来,用针在左手中指上一刺,将血滴入酒中。Ma Chaoxing fetched a large bowlful of wine, pricked the middle finger of his left hand with a large needle, and let some drops of blood from it fall into the wine.陈近南等人也都刺了血,最后韦小宝刺血入酒。各人喝了一口血酒,入会仪典告成。The Helmsman did the same after him and then all the others followed suit until finally it was Trinket’s turn to prick his finger and add a few drops to the mixture. Then, when they had all drunk from the bowl, the ceremony was over.众人和他拉手相抱,甚是亲热。韦小宝全身热呼呼地,只觉从今而后,在这世上再也不是无依无靠。The Brothers all clustered round Trinket, clasping his hands and embracing him in affectionate congratulation. A wonderfully warm sensation seemed to envelop his body and he began to feel that, with all these loving Brothers to support him, he would never be alone in the world again.

  陈近南道:“本会共有十堂,前五房五堂,后五房五堂。Lodges and the Five Rear Lodges. The Helmsman began telling Trinket about the Society’s structure. The Triad Society is organized in ten Lodges. We call them the Five Forward

  前五房莲花堂、洪顺堂、家后堂、参太堂、宏化堂。Lotus Flower, Obedience, Clan, Unity, and Transformation are the names of the Five Forward Lodges.后五房青木堂、赤火堂、西金堂、玄水堂、黄土堂。九堂的香主,都已聚集在此,只有青木堂香主尹兄弟,前年为鳌拜那恶贼害死,至今未有香主。Green Wood, Red Fire, White Metal, Black Water, and Yellow Earth are the names of the Five Rear Lodges. Apart from the Green Wood Lodge, each of the ten Lodges has a Master. The Master of the Green Wood Lodge, Brother Yin, was killed by Oboi two years ago and since then the Lodge has been without one.青木堂中兄弟,昔日曾在万云龙大哥灵位和尹香主灵位前立誓,哪一个杀了鳌拜,为尹香主报得大仇,大伙儿便奉他为本堂香主。这件事可是有的?”众人都道:“正是,确有这事。”Some time ago the Brothers of the Green Wood Lodge swore an oath in front of the spirit tablets of Dragon Brother and Brother Yin that whoever could avenge Brother Yin’s murder by killing Oboi should become Master of the Lodge and would be recognized as such by all the Brothers.’ He looked round at the assembled men. ‘Is that correct?’ Unanimously they confirmed that such an oath had indeed been taken.

  陈近南锐利的目光,从左至右,在各人脸上扫了过去,The Helmsman’s piercing glance swept in an arc from left to right of the hall, resting momentarily on each of their faces.缓缓说道:He continued, weighing each word carefully as he spoke. “听说青木堂中的好兄弟们,为了继立香主之事,曾发生一些争执,’I understand that there has been a certain amount of disagreement among our good Brothers of the Green Wood Lodge about who should be their next Master.虽然大家顾全大局,仁义为重,并没伤了和气,但此事如无妥善了断,青木堂之内,总伏下一个极大的隐忧。Although they are much too sensible and have too much respect for the common good of the Society to allow real ill-feeling to develop as a consequence of this disagreement, unless it can be satisfactorily resolved, it will continue to be a hidden source of unease.青木堂是我天地会中极重要的堂口,The Green Wood Lodge is one of the Society’s most important Lodges.统管江南、江北各府州县,近年来更渐渐扩展到了山东、河北,这一次更攻进了北京城里。Its original sphere of operations was North and South of the River, but during the last year or two this has extended to include Shandong and Hebei, and in this last successful raid it has struck at a target inside the Capital itself.青木堂香主是否得人,与本会的兴衰、反清大业的成败有极大干系。Whether or not the Green Wood Lodge gets the right person for their new Master has a bearing on the future well-being of our Society and the success or failure of its great mission.如果堂中众兄弟意见不合,不能同心协力,这大事就干不成了。”If the Brothers of the Green Wood Lodge cannot agree and cannot work together, that great mission cannot be fulfilled.’顿了一顿,问道:“鳌拜那奸贼,乃是韦小宝所杀,这是青木堂会兄弟都亲眼目睹的,是不是?”The Helmsman paused for a moment. The person who killed Oboi was Trinket Wei,’ he said. ‘Our Brothers of the Green Wood Lodge actually saw him do it. Is that correct?’

  李力世和关安基同声道:“正是。”’It is,’ Brother Li and Big Beaver replied in unison.李力世跟着道:“大伙儿在万云龙大哥灵位之前发过的誓,决不能说了不算。The oath we all swore in front of the spirit tablets of Dragon Brother and Brother Yin cannot be set aside,’ Brother Li added.如果这样的立誓等如放屁,以后还能在万云龙大哥的灵位之前立什么誓,许什么愿?’If we are going to treat a solemn oath like that as if it meant no more than a dog’s fart (excuse my bluntness), what would be the value of any promises we made in the future?韦小宝兄弟年纪虽小,我李力世愿拥他为本堂香主。”Although Brother Wei is only a boy, I am willing to give him my support as Master of the Green Wood Lodge.’关安基被他抢了头, Big Beaver saw that he had allowed Brother Li to steal a march on him and wondered what he ought to say himself. 心下又想:“这小孩是总舵主的徒儿,身份已非比寻常。This boy is the Helmsman’s own apprentice,’ he reflected. ‘He’s no ordinary boy, that’s clear.听总舵主说这番话,显是要他这个小徒当本堂香主。And from the way the Helmsman’s been speaking, it’s pretty obvious that he wants his new apprentice to be Master.李老儿一味和我争香主当,眼看谁也不服谁,索性一拍两散。As long as Old Li was in the running for the Mastership, there was never any likelihood of one of us giving in to the other, so I suppose we might just as well both of us give up the fight.他已先出口向总舵主讨好,我可不能输给了他,反而显得自己存了私心。”And since Li’s already made up his mind to pull out– and put himself in the Helmsman’s good graces by speaking up first–it’ll look pretty bad if I don’t do the same.’便道:“李大哥的话甚是。’Brother Li is absolutely right,’ he said, having now made his mind up.韦兄弟机警过人,在总舵主调教之下,他日定是一位威震江湖的少年英侠。关安基愿拥韦小宝兄弟为青木堂香主。”’Brother Wei is an exceptionally bright young fellow, and by the time the Helmsman has finished training him, I’m sure he’ll turn out to be a true hero of River and Lake. Yes, definitely. He has my support too, as Master of the Green Wood Lodge.’

  韦小宝吓了一跳,双手乱摇,叫道:“不成,不成!这……这个什么香主、臭主,我可做不来!”Trinket was in a panic. ‘No! No!’ he shouted, gesturing wildly with both hands. ‘I can’t do it. I don’t want to be a blinking Master.’

  陈近南双眼一瞪,喝道:“你胡说什么?”韦小宝不敢再说。The Helmsman stared at him angrily. ‘Don’t talk nonsense, boy!’ he shouted. Trinket fell silent.

  陈近南道:“这小孩手刃鳌拜,那是不能改变的事实,This boy killed Oboi with his own hands,’ said the Helmsman. ‘That is an unalterable fact.我们遵守在万云龙大哥灵位前所立的誓言,只得让他来当青木堂香主。我是为了要让他当香主,才收他为徒;可不是收了他为弟子之后,才想到要他当香主。这小孩气质不佳,以后不知要让我头痛几百次。”

  方大洪道:“总舵主的苦心,兄弟们都理会得。总舵主跟韦兄弟非亲非故,今日才第一次见面。总舵主破例垂青,自然是为了本会的大事着想。不过……不过……总舵主也不必担心。本会兄弟们在江湖上混,读书的人少,哪一个不口出粗言俗语?韦兄弟年纪小,李大哥和关夫子都愿全力辅佐,决不会出什么乱子。”???

  陈近南点头道:“咱们所以让韦小宝当青木堂香主,是为了在万云龙大哥灵位之前立过誓,决不能不算。The only reason we’re making him Master of the Green Wood Lodge is because we can’t set aside the oath that was made in front of Dragon Brother’s spirit tablet.但只要他做了一天香主,也算是做过了。But we shall have fulfilled the promise made in that oath even if he’s only Master for a day. I明天倘若他胡作非为,扰乱青木堂事务,有碍本会反清复明大业,咱们立即开香堂将他废了,决不有半分姑息。f the day after becoming Master he starts playing up, upsetting the Lodge’s routines or hindering the Society in its mission, we shall have no compunction whatever about calling an assembly and getting rid of him.李大哥、关二哥,我拜托你们两位用心帮他。I’ve already asked Brother Li and Brother Guan if they will do their best to help him.如这小孩行事有什么不妥当的地方,务须一一向我禀报,不得隐瞒。”If the boy should prove unreliable in any way, I must beg them to report the facts to me immediately, without concealment.’李力世和关安基躬身答应。Brother Li and Big Beaver bowed their assent to his request.

  陈近南转过身来,在灵位前跪下,The Helmsman turned from them towards the altar and knelt down in front of the spirit tablets;从香炉中拿起三枝香来,双手捧住,朗声道:“属下陈近南,在万云龙大哥灵位之前立誓:then, taking three of the burning joss-sticks from the incense-burner and raising them in both hands, in a loud, clear voice that all could hear, he delivered himself of the following oath:属下的弟子韦小宝倘若违犯会规,又或是才德不足以服众,’I, Chen Jinnan, solemnly swear before the spirit tablet of Dragon Brother that if my apprentice Trinket Wei should transgress the rules of the Society or in other ways prove unworthy,属下立即废了他青木堂香主的职司,决不敢有半分偏私。I will immediately, without prejudice or partiality, dismiss him from the position of Master of the Green Wood Lodge.我们封他为香主,是遵守誓言,他日如果废他,也是遵守誓言。Even as it is in fulfilment of an oath that we now appoint him, so it will be in fulfilment of this oath I now swear that we shall dismiss him.属下陈近南倘若不遵此誓,万大哥在天之灵,教我天雷轰顶,五马分尸,死于鞑子鹰爪之下。”And if I should fail so to do, may the spirit of Dragon Brother looking down from Heaven cause my body to be struck by lightning or torn in pieces by horses or trampled under the feet of the Tartars.’说着举香拜了几拜,将香插回香炉,磕下头去。Having finished his oath, he lifted up the joss-sticks, bowed his head several times, replaced them in the incense-burner, then knelt down again and kowtowed.

  众人齐声称赞:“总舵主如此处事,大公无私,没一个心中不服。”The others present expressed their satisfaction and praised the Helmsman for his fairness and impartiality.

  韦小宝心道:“好啊!我还道你们真要我当什么香主臭主,却原来将我当作一座木板桥来过河,All, that is, except Trinket, who took a very different view of the proceedings. That’s just great, isn’t it!’ he thought. ‘Here’s me thinking you really wanted me to be the Master, and all along all you wanted was a plank to get you across me stream.过了河便拆桥。Once you’re over, you can throw away the plank. Thank you, plank, we don’t need you any more.’今日封我为香主,你们就不算背誓。明日找个岔头,将我废了,又不算背誓。Today you make me a Master so you don’t have to break your oath. Tomorrow you pick on some little fault and get rid of me. Fine. You haven’t broken your oath.那时李大哥也好,关夫子也好,再来当香主,便顺理成章了。”大声说道:“师父,我不当香主!”After that, whether it’s Brother Li or Big Beaver for Master, you haven’t broken any rules and everything’s hunky-dory.’ ‘Shifu,’ he shouted, ‘I’m not doing it!’

  陈近南一愕,问道:“什么?”韦小宝道:“我不会当,也不想当。”’What?’ said the Helmsman, aghast. ‘I can’t do it,’ said Trinket, ‘and I don’t want to do it.’陈近南道:“不会当,慢慢学啊。’If you can’t do it,’ said the Helmsman, ‘you can learn. It’s just a question of time.我会教你,李关二位又答应了帮你。香主的职位,在天地会中位份甚高,你为什么不想当?”You’ve got me to teach you, and Brother Li and Brother Guan have promised to help you. But why don’t you want to? Being a Master is the highest you can get to in the Society.’

  韦小宝摇头道:“今天当了,明天又给你废了,反而丢脸。Trinket shook his head. ‘If I take it on today, you’ll be throwing me out tomorrow. That means shaming me in front of all the others. Why should I let myself in for that?我不当香主,什么事都马马虎虎;If I don’t take it on, I can get by somehow or other the way I am.一当上了,人人都来鸡蛋里寻骨头,不用半天,马上完蛋大吉。”But once I’ve taken it on, everyone’ll be looking for bones in the egg; then, in no time at all, it’ll be goodbye egg and so long Trinket.陈近南道:“鸡蛋里没骨头,人家要寻也寻不着。”’ There aren’t any bones in an egg,’ said the Helmsman. ‘How can anyone find any if there aren’t any there?’韦小宝道:“鸡蛋要变小鸡,就有骨头了。’Eggs turn into chicks, and they have bones,’ said Trinket.就算没骨头,人家来寻的时候,先把我蛋壳打破了再说,搞得蛋黄蛋白,一塌子胡涂。”众人忍不住都笑了起来。’Even if there aren’t any bones yet, if people are trying to find some, they’ll be breaking the eggshell to have a look, and where will I be then, with my yolk and white all mixed up together on the floor?’ This raised a laugh from the assembled men.

  陈近南道:“咱们天地会做事,难道是小孩子儿戏吗?你只要不做坏事。人人敬你是青木堂香主,’Do you think the Triad Society is a children’s game?’ said the Helmsman. ‘As long as you don’t do anything bad, you’ll be respected by everybody as Master of the Lodge.哪一个会得罪你?就算不敬重你,也得敬你是我的弟子。”No one is going to find fault with you. Even if they don’t respect you for your own sake, they will respect you because you are my apprentice.’

  韦小宝想了一想,道:“好,咱们话说明在先。’All right,’ said Trinket after a moment or two of reflection. ‘Only let’s make one thing clear from the start.你们将来不要我当香主,我不当就是。If at some time in the future you don’t want me to be Master, I’ll just stop being Master, and that’ll be the end of it.可不能乱加罪名,又打又骂,什么割耳斩头,大解八块。”I don’t want anyone pinning charges on me so that they can beat me and curse me or cut my ears off or chop my head off or cut me up into eight pieces or any of that stuff.’

  陈近南皱眉道:“你就爱讨价还价。你不做坏事,谁来打你杀你?The Helmsman frowned. ‘Why do you always want to make bargains about everything? Provided you don’t do anything you shouldn’t, nobody is going to beat you or kill you.鞑子倘若打你杀你,大伙儿给你报仇。”And if the Tartars beat you or kill you, all of us here will make it our duty to avenge you.’顿了一顿,诚诚恳恳的道:“小宝,大丈夫敢作敢为,当仁不让,He paused for a moment, then speaking very earnestly he said: ‘Look, Trinket. A man of honour is someone who is prepared to take risks, someone with the courage not to flinch from doing what is right.既入了我天地会,就当奋勇争先,为民除害。老是为自己打算,岂是英雄豪杰的行径?”Now that you are a member of the Triad Society, you are supposed to be foremost in the fight to deliver our people from their sufferings, not always selfishly calculating how to save your own skin. That’s no way to be a hero.’

  韦小宝一听到“英雄豪杰”四字,便想到说书先生所说的那些大英雄,Hero. The word made Trinket think of those paragons he had so often heard about in storytelling sessions in Yangzhou.胸中豪气登生,说道:“对,师父教训得很是。It rekindled a secret ambition to become like one of them himself. ‘You’re right, Shifu,’ he said. Thank you for reminding me.最多砍了脑袋,碗大的疤。The worst that can happen is beheading, and that’s only a neck-sized wound, isn’t it?十八年后,又是一条好汉。”Eighteen years from now, look out for a brave young man!’这是江湖汉子给绑上法场时常说的话,韦小宝用了出来,虽然不大得体,倒博得厅上众人一阵掌声。This last was hardly a suitable thing to say under the circumstances, since it was the kind of thing that condemned bandits shouted on their way to execution, hoping to be born again; nevertheless it earned him a round of applause from the men.陈近南微笑道:“做香主是件大喜事,The Helmsman smiled a trifle wryly. ‘Becoming a Master is something to be cheerful about.又不是绑上法场斩首。这里九位香主,人人做得欢欢喜喜,你该当学他们的样才是。”You’re not about to be beheaded,’ he said. ‘Look at the other nine Masters: they all seem to be happy enough. You should try to be like them.’

  关安基走到韦小宝跟前,抱拳躬身,说道:“属下关安基,参见本堂香主。”Big Beaver stepped up to Trinket, clasped his hands ceremoniously and bowed. ‘Guan Anji, presenting his respects, Master.’韦小宝转头向陈近南道:“我怎么办?”Trinket turned helplessly to the Helmsman. ‘What am I supposed to do?’陈近南道:“你就当还礼。”韦小宝抱拳还礼,道:“关夫子你好。”’Greet him back,’ said the Helmsman. Trinket clasped his hands and bowed. Thank you, Big Beaver. How do you do?’

  陈近南微笑道:“‘关夫子’三字,是兄弟们平时叫的外号。日常无事,可以叫他‘关夫子’,正式见礼之时,便叫他作关二哥。”The Helmsman smiled. ‘Big Beaver is his nickname for everyday use. You must call him Brother Guan if you want to be polite.’韦小宝改口道:“关二哥你好。” Thank you, Brother Guan,’ said Trinket. ‘How do you do?’李力世这一次给关安基占了先,当下跟着上前见礼。This time Big Beaver had stolen a march on Brother Li, who hastened to follow his example.其余九位香主逐一重行和韦小宝叙礼。众人回到大厅,总舵主和十堂香主留下议事。He was followed in turn by each of the Masters, after which most of those present returned to the main hall, leaving only Trinket and the other nine Masters to discuss Society matters with the Helmsman.

  青木堂是后五堂之长,在天地会十堂之中,排列第六。The High Council As first of the Five Rear Lodges, Green Wood Lodge ranked sixth among the ten Lodges of the Society.韦小宝的座位排在右首第一位,Trinket’s place was therefore at the head of the row of five Masters who sat along the right-hand side of the hall.赤火堂等堂香主有白须垂胸,反而坐在他的下首。This meant that he took precedence over the Master of the Red Fire Lodge, a venerable gentleman with white hair and a long white beard who sat on the seat next to him.李力世、关安基等身退在厅外,厅上便只陈近南等十一人,乃是天地会中第一级的首脑。Brother Li and Big Beaver had, of course, left the room. This was the Triad Society’s innermost council: just the Helmsman and the ten Masters.

  陈近南指着居中的一张空椅,道:“这是朱三太子的座位。”指着其侧的一张空椅,(The Helmsman was seated on the left-hand of the three chairs placed along the end of the hall at the opposite end to the altar and at right-angles to the two facing rows of chairs on which the Masters sat.)He pointed to the central chair next to him. This is the Third Prince’s place,’ he said. The Third Prince is the rightful heir to the Ming Imperial throne.’ Then he pointed to the one beyond it, nearest the seat on which Trinket was sitting.道:“这是台湾郑王爷的座位。郑王爷便是国姓爷的公子,现今袭爵为延平郡王。This is where Prince Zheng would sit if he were present. Prince Zheng spends most of his time in Taiwan. He is Marshal Zheng’s son. We call him Prince Zheng because the Ming Emperor made his father the Marshal Prince of Yanping and he inherited the tide on his father’s death.咱们天地会集议,朱三太子和郑王爷倘若不到,总是空了座位。”Whenever we hold a council, we always leave spare seats for the Third Prince and Prince Zheng, even if they aren’t present.’这几句话自是解释给韦小宝听的。他继续说道:“众位兄弟,请先说说各省的情形。”After these preliminary words of explanation, spoken solely for Trinket’s benefit, the Helmsman formally opened the meeting. ‘Now, Brothers, let us have the reports from the different provinces.’

  那前五房中,长房莲花堂该管福建,二房洪顺堂该管广东,三房家后堂该管广西,四房参太堂该管湖南、湖北,五房宏化堂该管浙江。(The Triad Society had divided the whole country into ten spheres of activity each assigned to one of the ten Lodges, as follows: 1 2 3 4 5 .The Five Forward Lodges and their Provinces Lotus Flower Lodge) Fujian Obedience Lodge: Guangdong,Clan Lodge: Guangxi ,Unity Lodge: Hunan & Hubei ,Transformation Lodge: Zhejiang . These were the Five Forward Lodges.后五房中,长房青木堂该管江苏,二房赤火堂该管贵州,三房西金堂该管四川、四房玄水堂该管云南,五房黄上堂该管中州河南。The Five Rear Lodges and their Provinces: 6 Green Wood Lodge: Jiangsu ,7 Red Fire Lodge: Guizhou,8 White Metal Lodge: Sichuan ,9 Black Water Lodge: Yunnan,10 Yellow Earth Lodge: Henan & Central Provinces.天地会为郑成功旧部所组成,主力在福建,When the Triad Society was founded by Marshal Zheng, the largest concentration of ex-Grand Army soldiers (who made up the original membership) was in Fujian.因此莲花堂为长房,实力最强,This was why the Lotus Flower Lodge was the senior and, in terms of manpower, the largest of the ten Lodges.其次为两广、两湖,更其次为浙江、江苏。After Fujian, the provinces most strongly represented by Triad Society membership were, in order of strength, the two Guangs, the two Hus, and, on about equal footing, Zhejiang and Jiangsu.(按:天地会中确有前五房、后五房十堂,蔡德忠、方大洪、马超兴等人历史上确有其人,各堂该管之地区亦大致如史书所载。此后为便于小说之叙述描写,有所更改,不再说明。)???

  当下蔡德忠首先叙述福建的天地会会务,跟着方大洪述说广东会务。Cai Dezhong, Master of the most senior Lodge, now began his report on Triad activities in Fujian.韦小宝听了一会,一来不懂,二来丝毫不感兴趣,到后来听而不闻,心中自行想象赌钱玩耍之事。Trinket listened for a while, but, finding he could understand little of what was said and that what little he could understand was totally lacking in interest, he soon gave up listening and occupied his mind with thoughts of gambling and related matters.

  轮到青木堂香主述说时,陈近南说道:When it came to his turn to speak, the Helmsman did the speaking for him. “青木堂本来是在江南江宁、苏州一带跟鞑子周旋,’Green Wood Lodge’s original sphere of operations was South of the River,’ said the Helmsman, ‘and most of their fighting was done in the Nanking-Suzhou area.后来尹兄弟把香堂移到了江北徐州,逐步进入山东、直隶,一直伸展到鞑子的京城,Later, though, when Brother Yin moved his headquarters to Xuzhou, North of the River, their sphere of operations was gradually extended to include Shandong, then the Metropolitan Area, then finally the Capital itself.只可惜尹兄弟命丧鳌拜之手,青木堂元气大伤。”After that long run of successes, his tragic death at the hands of Oboi came as a very serious set-back.’他顿了一顿,又道:“日前众兄弟奋勇攻入康亲王府,机缘巧合,小宝手刃鳌拜,为尹兄弟报了大仇,He paused for a moment before continuing. ‘Yesterday in the course of the Green Wood Brothers’ very courageous attack on the residence of Prince Kang, young Trinket here, by a sort of lucky coincidence, avenged the death of Brother Yin by stabbing Oboi to death.青木堂这件事,干得轰轰烈烈,可叫鞑子心惊肉跳。Following this tremendous achievement by the Lodge, the Tartars will no doubt be in a state of panic.只不过这么一来,鞑子自然加紧提防,咱们今后行事,可也得加倍小心才是。”That is good news; but it also means, of course, that they are now going to be doubly on their guard. And that means that we, too, will from now on have to be doubly careful.’众人齐声称是。The Masters murmured their agreement.此后赤火堂、西金堂两堂香主分别述说贵州、四川两省情状,The Master of the Red Fire Lodge was the next to report and after him the Master of the White Metal Lodge, the first for Guizhou Province, the second for Sichuan.韦小宝听得忍不住要打呵欠,急忙伸手掩住了嘴巴。Trinket could feel an irrepressible yawn coming and hastily covered his lower face with his hand.待得玄水堂香主林永超说起云南会务时,When it came to the turn of Lin Yongchao, the Master of the Black Water Lodge, to talk about Triad affairs in Yunnan, however, things began to liven up a little.他神情激昂,不断咒骂,韦小宝才留上了神,只听他道:Lin Yongchao was a very excitable man and used a lot of bad language. Trinket began listening quite attentively to what he was saying. “吴三桂那大汉奸处处跟咱们作对,从去年到今年,还没满十个月,会中兄弟前前后后已有七十九个死在这王八蛋手里。’Everywhere we find ourselves up against that filthy traitor Wu Sangui,’ he was saying. ‘During this past ten months alone no less than seventy-nine–seventy-nine–of our Brothers have lost their lives, thanks to that stinking turtle’s-egg.他妈巴羔子的,老子跟这狗贼不共戴天。There’s no sharing the same sky with the murderous bastard.属下数次派人去行刺,可是这汉奸身边能人甚多,接连行刺三次,都失了手……”Unfortunately, though we’ve already made three attempts to knife him, the bugger is so well guarded that each of them has been a failure.’他指指自己挂在头颈中的左臂,说道:He pointed to his withered arm and forearm that hung like a talisman from his shoulder. “上个月这一次,他奶奶的,老子还折断了一条手臂,’Look at this, dammit! I lost this in last month’s attempt! There’s no end to the harm done by that treacherous bastard.这大汉奸作恶多端,终有一日,要全家给咱们天地会斩成肉酱。”Sooner or later our Society is going to have to turn him and his family into mincemeat.’

  一说到吴三桂,人人气愤填膺。The mention of Wu Sangui provoked a surge of anger in the breasts of all those present.韦小宝在扬州之时,也早听人说吴三桂引清兵入关,夺了汉人的天下。Back in Yangzhou Trinket had long since heard about him–how he had let the Qing army inside the Great Wall and allowed them to take over China.鞑子兵在扬州奸淫烧杀,最大的罪魁祸首便是吴三桂。When the Tartars were raping and burning and massacring in Yangzhou, he was the one, they said, more responsible than anyone else for the atrocities.这人帮满清打天下,官封平西王,永镇云南,And this man, having helped the Manchus to conquer China, had now, as a reward for his treachery, been given the governorship of Yunnan Province with the grandiose tide of ‘Satrap of the West’.韦小宝听人提到吴三桂三字之时,无不咬牙切齿,恨之入骨。Trinket had noticed in the past that when anyone mentioned the name ‘Wu Sangui’ it was through clenched teeth and with the most vehement expressions of hatred and revulsion.这林香主如此破口大骂,韦小宝倒也不以为奇。He was therefore not surprised to hear Lodge Master Lin using such intemperate language in his report.林永超一骂开了头,其余八位香主跟着也骂了起来。他们本来都是军人,近年来混迹江湖,粗口原是说惯了,Once Lin Yongchao had started, the other eight Masters all began swearing and cursing as well. Being all of them ex-soldiers who had, moreover, spent the last few years of their lives on River and Lake, they were accustomed to using bad language.只不过在总舵主面前,大家尽力收敛而已,Normally it was only in the Helmsman’s presence that they made a conscious effort to suppress it.此时一骂上了,谁也不再客气。But now that the ice had been broken, their usual inhibitions were forgotten.韦小宝大喜,一听到这些污言秽语,登时如鱼得水,忍不住插口也骂。Hearing bad language all round him, Trinket began to feel quite cheerful. At last he was in his element again and couldn’t resist making a few contributions of his own.说到骂人,韦小宝和这九位香主相比,颇有精粗之别,他一句句转弯抹角、狠毒刻薄,九位香主只不过胡骂一气,相形之下,不免见绌。In fact, when it came to swearing, the nine other Masters were no match for him. The imaginative variety and blistering venom of his invective made theirs seem repetitive and pale by comparison.

  陈近南摇手道:“够了,够了!天下千千万万人在骂吴三桂,可是这厮还是好好做他的平西王。The Helmsman gestured for silence. ‘All right, that’s enough! There are millions of other people cursing Wu Sangui besides you, but it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference: the wretched fellow is still Satrap of the West.骂是骂他不死的,行刺也不是办法。”Cursing never killed anyone. In any case, assassination is not the answer.’

  宏化堂香主李式开矮小瘦削,说话很轻,骂人也不多,这时说道:In the silence that followed, Li Shikai, the Master of the Transformation Lodge, a small, thin, soft-voiced little man, who had contributed least to the outburst of swearing, was the only one who spoke. “依属下之见,就算咱们大举入滇,将吴三桂杀了,于大局也无多大好处。’As I see it,’ he said, ‘even if we were to organize a large-scale raid into Yunnan and succeeded in killing Wu Sangui, the general situation would not be very much improved.鞑子另派总督、巡抚,云南老百姓一般的翻不了身。The Tartars would simply appoint a Military Governor and a Civil Governor in his place and the people of Yunnan would be just as badly oppressed as they were before.吴三桂这汉奸罪孽深重,若是一刀杀了,未免太也便宜了他。”In any case, the evil done by that wicked traitor is so great that assassination would be letting him off too lightly.’陈近南点头道:“此言甚是有理,却不知李兄弟有何高见?”The Helmsman nodded approvingly. That’s very true. What in your opinion ought to be done?’李式开道:“这件事甚为重大,大伙儿须得从长计议。属下也想不出什么好法子。还是听从总舵主的指点。”This is such an important matter that I think it needs a lot more discussion by all of us,’ said Li Shikai. ‘I haven’t myself any useful suggestion to make, but I should very much like to hear what the Helmsman has to say on the subject.’

  陈近南道:“‘此事重大,须当从长计议。’李兄弟这一句话,便是高见了。’Brother Li has just said that an important matter like this needs a lot more discussion by all of us,’ said the Helmsman. Those are very wise words.常言道得好:一人计短,二人计长。咱们十个人,不,十一个人,静下来细细想想,主意儿就更加多了。Two heads are better than one’ and we are ten heads–no, I’m sorry, eleven. If we all stay calm and give our minds to it, we are sure to come up with some good ideas.咱们杀吴三桂,不但为天地会被他害死的众位兄弟报仇,也是为天下千千万万汉人同胞报仇。Remember that by killing Wu Sangui we should be avenging not only those of our Brothers whose lives he has taken but all those millions of our fellow-countrymen whom he has betrayed.此事我筹思已久,I have been considering this matter for a long time now.吴三桂那厮在云南根深蒂固,势力庞大,单是天地会一会之力,只怕扳他不倒。”The problem is that Wu Sangui is so firmly entrenched in Yunnan and wields so much power that I don’t think even the combined strength of the whole Triad Society would be sufficient to bring him down.’

  林永超大声道:“拚着千刀万剐,也要扳他一扳。”’We must bring him down,’ cried Lin Yongchao excitably. ‘Even if it means death by a thousand cuts, it will be worth it.’蔡德忠道:“你早已扳过了,吴三桂没扳倒,却扳断了自己一只手。”’You’ve had a go already,’ said Cai Dezhong drily. The only thing that got brought down was your arm.’

  林永超怒道:“你耻笑我不成?”蔡德忠自知失言,陪笑道:“我是讲笑话,林兄弟别生气。”’Don’t mock me,’ said Lin Yongchao angrily. Cai Dezhong at once regretted his pleasantry. ‘I was only joking, ‘ he said with a conciliatory smile.

  陈近南见林永超兀自愤愤不平,温言慰道:’Don’t be angry, Brother.’ The Helmsman could see that Lin Yongchao’s ire was unabated and sought emollient words to calm him. “林贤弟,诛杀吴三桂,乃是普天下英雄好汉人人梦寐以求的大事,怎能要林贤弟与玄水堂单独挑起这副重担?There isn’t a brave man alive who doesn’t dream of killing Wu Sangui,’ he said, ‘but why should the burden of so great an undertaking rest on the shoulders of Brother Lin and the Black Water Lodge alone when,就算天地会数万兄弟齐心合力,也未必能动得了他手。”as we’ve already agreed, it’s doubtful whether even the combined forces of the whole Society would be enough to shift him?’林永超道:“总舵主说得是。”这才平了气。That’s true,’ said Lin Yongchao, mollified.

  陈近南道:“我看要办成这件大事,咱们须得联络江湖上各领各派,各帮各会,共谋大举。’As I see it,’ said the Helmsman, ‘we must look to the whole underworld to help us. We need to make contact with every association, every guild, every kungfu fraternity on River and Lake that might be willing to join with us in planning this great enterprise.吴三桂这厮在云南有几万精兵,麾下雄百猛将,非同小可。Wu Sangui has got tens of thousands of highly-trained troops down there in Yunnan. It’s not going to be easy.单是要杀他一人,未必十分为难,If it were just a question of killing Wu Sangui and no one else, it might not be all that difficult;但要诛他全家,杀尽他手下助纣为虐的一众大大小小汉奸恶贼,却非我天地会一会之力能够办到。”but to take out not only Wu Sangui but his family and the whole tribe of villains and traitors who work for him would be well beyond the capacity of the Triad Society alone.’林永超拍腿大叫:“是极,是极!我天地会兄弟已给吴三桂杀了这许多,单杀这贼子一人,如何抵得了命?”’It’s true,’ cried Lin Yongchao, quite convinced now and slapping his thigh to prove it. ‘So many of our Brothers have lost their lives because of him, even if we could assassinate him, his life alone couldn’t pay for theirs.’

  众人想到要诛灭吴三桂全家及手下众恶,都是十分兴奋,All now set their minds to work to think of some master-plan for eliminating Wu Sangui together with his whole family and all his evil henchmen;但过不多时,大家面面相觑,心中均想:“这件事当真甚难。”but after sitting for a considerable time in silent cogitation, they found themselves looking at each other helplessly. The same unspoken conclusion was in every mind: ‘This is going to be much more difficult than we thought.’蔡德忠道:“少林、武当两派人多势众,武功又高,那是一定要联络的。”’Among the Martial Arts fraternity the Shaolin people and the Wudang people have got the biggest membership and the highest standards,’ said Cai Dezhong. ‘I certainly think we ought to contact them.’

  黄土堂香主姚必达踌躇道:“少林寺方丈晦聪大师,在武林中声望自是极高,Yao Bida, the Master of the Yellow Earth Lodge, was not so sure. ‘Father Wisdom, the abbot of the Shaolin Monastery, is the most influential of the Shaolin High Masters,’ he said,不过他向来十分老成持重,不肯得罪官府。’But he’s gone very respectable in his old age and scared of doing anything that might offend the authorities.这几年来,更定下一条规矩,连俗家子弟也不许轻易出寺下山,生怕惹祸生事。These last few years, in order to avoid incidents, he’s made it a rule that no monk, not even a lay brother, may leave the monastery except on the most urgent business.要联络少林派,这中间恐怕有很多难处。”If we did get in touch with the Shaolin people, I think we’d find ourselves up against a lot of difficulties.’

  该管湖广地面的参太堂香主胡德第点头道:“武当派也差不多。Hu Dedi, Master of the Unity Lodge which controlled Triad operations in the Hunan and Hubei area, nodded in agreement. ‘I think you’d find that much the same sort of thing is true of the Wudang people,’ he said.真武观观主云雁道人和师兄云鹤道人失和已久,The Taoist Father Snowgoose, who is priest-in-charge of the Wudang Temple, has a long-standing feud with Father Crane.两人尽是勾心斗角,互相找门下弟子的岔儿。Although the two of them originally trained under the same master, they are constantly plotting against each other and finding fault with each other’s pupils and that sort of thing.杀吴三桂这等冒险勾当,就怕……就怕……”他没再说下去,但谁都明白,多半云雁、云鹤二人都不会愿干。If you’re talking about a dangerous job like taking on Wu Sangui, well. . .’ He didn’t finish what he was saying, but from what he had said already it was pretty obvious to everyone present that probably neither Snowgoose nor Crane would be willing to join them.林永超道:“倘若约不到少林、武当,咱们只好自己来干了。”’If we can’t get either the Shaolin or the Wudang lot to join us,’ said Lin Yongchao, ‘we’ll just have to go ahead on our own.’陈近南道:“那不用性急,武林之中,也并非只有少林、武当两派。”’Let’s not be hasty,’ said the Helmsman. ‘Shaolin and Wudang aren’t the only fraternities that offer training in the Martial Arts.’各个纷纷议论,有的说峨嵋或许愿干,有的说丐帮中有不少好手加入天地会,必愿与天地会联手,去诛杀这大汉奸。A long discussion ensued. Some thought the Emei fraternity might be willing to join them. Some suggested the Beggars Guild on the grounds that quite a few Triads were former members.

  陈近南听各人说了良久,道:“若不是十拿九稳,咱们可千万不能向人家提出。”The Helmsman listened to their discussion for some time before intervening. ‘There’s only one thing,’ he said. ‘We must be absolutely certain that they are reliable before we breathe a word to anyone else of what we are up to.’方大洪道:“这个自然,没的人家不愿干,碰一鼻子灰不算,也伤了我天地会的脸面。”’Of course,’ said Fang Dahong. To come away with egg on your face because you’d told someone about it and then found they didn’t want to take part would be bad for the reputation of our Society.’陈近南道:“失面子还不紧,风声泄漏出去,给吴三桂那厮加意提防,可更棘手了。”’Never mind about our reputation,’ said the Helmsman. The secret would be out and Wu Sangui would be warned. That would make things even more difficult for us.’李式开道:“为了稳重起见,若要向哪一个门派帮会提出,须得先经总舵主点头,’For safety’s sake,’ said Li Shikai, ‘I think before any of us approaches any other association about this matter, we ought first to get the nod from the Helmsman to confirm that it’s all right for us to do so.别的人可不能随便拿主意。”None of us should act in this on his own initiative.’众人都道:“正该如此。”This met with the unanimous approval of those present.

  各人又商议了一会。陈近南道:“此刻还不能拟下确定的方策。三个月后,大家在湖南长沙再聚。After a little more discussion the Helmsman suggested that as they were obviously not yet in a position to formulate a plan, they should meet again in three months’ time at Changsha in Hunan Province.小宝,你仍回到宫中,青木堂的事务,暂且由李力世、关安基两位代理。Trinket,’ he said, ‘you’d better go back to the Palace now. For the time being the Green Wood Lodge’s affairs can be handled by Brother Li and Brother Guan.长沙之会,你不用来了。”There’ll be no need for you to come to the Changsha meeting.’

  韦小宝应道:“是。”心道:“这不是摆明了过河拆桥么?”’Right,’ said Trinket; but he was thinking: Thank you, plank, we don’t need you any more!’

  众香主散后,陈近南拉了韦小宝的手,回到厢房之中,说道:Last Words for Master Trinket When the other Masters had gone, the Helmsman took Trinket by the hand and led him back to the room where he had had his interview. “北京天桥有一个卖膏药的老头儿,姓徐。’In the Bridge of Heaven district of Peking,’ he told Trinket when they were alone together, ‘there is an old man called Xu who sells medicated plasters.别人卖膏药的旗子上,膏药都是黑色的,这徐老儿的膏药却是一半红,一半青。You can tell him apart from the other plaster-sellers because they all have a black plaster displayed on their flags, but the one on his flag is red and green.你有要事跟我联络,到天桥去找徐老儿便是。If you ever want to get in touch with me about anything, go to the Bridge of Heaven and look for this old man.你问他:

  ‘有没有清恶毒、使盲眼复明的清毒复明膏药?’When you’ve found him, you must say, “Have you got anything for tartar poisoning?” You know, “tartar” as in tartar emetic–the stuff they use in medicine.他说:‘有是有,价钱太贵,要三两黄金、三两白银。’He’ll say, “Yes, but it’s very expensive. Three taels of gold and three taels of silver.”你说:‘五两黄金、五两白银卖不卖?’他便知道你是谁了。”Then if you say, “Would you take five taels of gold and five taels of silver for it?” he’ll know who you are.’

  韦小宝大感有趣,笑道:“人家货价三两、你却还价五两,天下哪有这样的事?”Trinket was intrigued. That’s a funny sort of bargaining–offering five taels when the price is only three, ‘ said Trinket laughing.

  陈近南微笑道:“这是唯恐误打误撞,真有人向他去买‘清毒复明膏药’。 ‘It’s a safeguard, ‘ said the Helmsman with his little smile. ‘Just in case someone did, by pure coincidence, ask for a cure for tartar poisoning.他一听你还价黄金五两、白银五两,便问:‘为什么价钱这样贵?’你说:‘不贵,不贵,只要当真复得了明,便给你做牛做马,也是不贵。’When he hears you offering five taels of gold and five taels of silver, he’ll ask you why you want to pay so much, and you must say, “It’s not a lot. I’d do anything at all to get rid of the Tartar poison.”他便说:‘地振高冈,一派溪山千古秀。’你说:‘门朝大海,三河合水万年流。’???他又问:‘红花亭畔哪一堂?’你说:‘青木堂。’Then he’ll ask you, “Which Lodge beside the Red Flower Pavilion?” and you must say, “The Green Wood one.”他问:‘堂上烧几炷香?’你说:‘五炷香!’烧五炷香的便是香主。Then he’ll ask you, “Who burns the joss-sticks in the Lodge?” and you say, “The Master.”他是本会青木堂的兄弟,属你该管。你有什么事,可以交他办。”The old man is a member of the Green Wood Lodge and under your command. Just tell him whatever it is you want done, and he will do it.’韦小宝一一记在心中。陈近南又将那副对子说了两遍,和韦小宝演习一遍,一字无讹。The Helmsman took Trinket through these questions and responses two or three times so that he could remember them.陈近南又道:“这徐老头虽归你管,武功却甚了得,你对他不可无礼。”韦小宝答应了。’Although this old chap Xu is under your command, ‘ said the Helmsman, you must be careful not to take any liberties with him. He is a first-rate fighter, ‘

  陈近南道:“小宝,咱们大闹康亲王府,鞑子一定侦骑四出,咱们在这里不能久留。’I won’t, ‘ said Trinket. Trinket, ‘ said the Helmsman, ‘the Tartars are sure to have mounted patrols out by now scouring the countryside for a trace of the raiders of Prince Kang’s residence. I shan’t be able to stay here much longer.今日你就回宫去,跟人说是给一帮强人掳了去,你夜里用计杀了看守的强人,逃回宫来。When you get back to the Palace today, you can say that you were carried off by the gang who raided the residence but that during the night you managed by some trick or other to kill the man who was guarding you and escape.如有人要你领兵来捉拿,你可以带兵到这里来,我们把鳌拜的尸身和首级埋在后面菜园里,If they send you out with troops to try and find where you were taken to, you can lead them here. We shall bury Oboi’s body and his head in the vegetable garden behind this grange.你领人来掘了去,就没人怀疑。”You can get the soldiers to dig them up. That should prevent them being suspicious.’韦小宝道:“大伙当然都不在这里了,是不是?”陈近南道:“你一走之后,大伙儿便散,不用担心。’What about the others?’ said Trinket. They won’t still be here, will they?’ They’ll be off shortly after you’ve gone, ‘ said the Helmsman. ‘Don’t worry about them.三天之后,我到北京城里来传你武功。In three days’ time I’ll be coming to Peking myself to begin your training.你到东城甜水井胡同来,胡同口有兄弟们等着,自会带你进来见我。”Go to Sweet Water Lane in the East City. You’ll find some of the Brothers waiting for you at the entrance to the lane. They’ll bring you to me, ‘韦小宝应道:“是。”

  陈近南轻轻抚摸他头,温言道:“你这就去罢!”He patted Trinket lightly on the head. ‘Off you go, then!’ he said gently.韦小宝当下进去和茅十八道别。茅十八不知他已入了天地会,做了香主,Before leaving, Trinket went inside to say goodbye to Whiskers. Whiskers knew nothing about his joining the Triad Society or becoming a Master.问长问短,极是关心。韦小宝也不说穿。He was in fact very concerned about him and asked a lot of questions which Trinket was unable to give a straight answer to because of his vow of secrecy.这时他被夺去的匕首等物早已取回。His dagger and the other things that had been taken from him were now restored to him.陈近南命人替他备了坐骑,亲自送出门外。The Helmsman had ordered someone to get a horse ready for him. He insisted on accompanying him outside to see him off and walked with him as far as the outer gate.李力世、关安基、玄贞道人等青木堂中兄弟,更直送到三里之外。Brother Li, Big Beaver, and the other members of the Green Wood Lodge rode with him for the first mile of the journey before finally taking their leave.

  韦小宝问明路径,催马驰回北京城,Having first made sure of the route to be taken, Trinket rode off at a brisk trot on the way back to Peking.进宫时已是傍晚,即去叩见皇帝。It was already drawing towards evening when he entered the Palace. The first thing he did on entering was to go in and see the Emperor.

  康熙早已得知鳌拜在康亲王府囚室中为韦小宝所杀的讯息,Laurel back at Court The news that Oboi had been killed by Trinket in his cell in Prince Kang’s residence had been transmitted to Kang Xi soon after the event.心想他为鳌拜的党徒所掳,定然凶多吉少。Kang Xi was therefore inclined to think that it was supporters of Oboi who had captured him, in which case there was little prospect of his survival.事情一发,清廷便立即四下缉捕鳌拜的余党拷问,Kang Xi was therefore inclined to think that it was supporters of Oboi who had captured him, in which case there was little prospect of his survival.人是捉了不少,却查不出端倪。but though large numbers had been brought in, the most rigorous questioning had failed to elicit a shred of information about the identity or whereabouts of the raiders.康熙正自老大烦恼,忽听得韦小宝回来,又惊又喜,Just as Kang Xi’s anxiety was at its height, it was announced, to his surprise and delight, that Trinket had returned.急忙传见,一见他走进书房,忙问:“小桂子,你……你怎么逃了出来?”At once he ordered him to be admitted. ‘Laurie!’ he said, as Trinket entered the Upper Library. ‘You! How did you manage to escape?’

  韦小宝一路之上,早已想好了一大片谎话,Trinket had had plenty of time on the journey to think up a story.如何给强人捉去、如何给装在枣子箱中运去等情倒不必撒谎,He had been carried off by the raiders and conveyed out of the city in a barrel of dates. For that part of the story he was able to stick to the facts.跟着说众奸党如何设了灵位祭奠,The people who had captured him were evidently Oboi supporters, because they had set up an altar with Oboi’s spirit tablet on it and were preparing to sacrifice him in front of it.为了等一个首脑人物,却暂不杀他,将他绑在一间黑房之中,The ceremony was postponed because they were waiting for someone important to arrive–their leader, he supposed–so for the time being they had thrown him, still bound, into a darkened room.他又如何在半夜里磨断手上所绑绳索,杀了看守的人,There, in the middle of the night, he had finally succeeded in rubbing through the rope that bound him and in killing the man who had been left to guard him.逃了出来,如何在草丛中躲避追骑,如何偷得马匹,绕道而归,He had escaped and hidden himself in some bushes from the horsemen who rode out to look for him, had stolen a horse and, by a long, circuitous route, had made his way back to the city.说得绘声绘影,生动之至。All this he told so vividly and with such a wealth of detail that Kang Xi could almost imagine he had been there himself.

  康熙听得津津有味,连连拍他肩头,赞道:Having listened with fascination to this pack of lies, he slapped Trinket repeatedly on the back and praised him for his resourcefulness. “小桂子,真有你的。”又道:“这一番可真辛苦了。”’Laurie, you’re a marvel!’ he said. Then, a moment later, he added, ‘This last service has meant a lot of hardship for you, Laurie. Thank you.’

  韦小宝道:“皇上,鳌拜这些奸党,势力也真不小。’Your Majesty,’ said Trinket, ‘these supporters of Oboi’s are still quite powerful.奴才逃出来时,记明了路径,咱们马上带兵去捉,好不好?”After escaping from them, I took care to memorize the route I took on my way back. Shouldn’t we send troops there as soon as possible to try and catch them?’

  康熙喜道:“妙极!你快去叫索额图带领三千兵马,随你去捉拿。”’Excellent idea!’ said Kang Xi delightedly. Tell Songgotu to get three thousand troops ready immediately and go with you to arrest them.’

  韦小宝退了出来,命人去通知索额图。Trinket took his leave of the Emperor and sent someone to pass on the order to Songgotu.索额图听说小桂子给鳌拜手下人捉去,For Songgotu the news that his friend Laurie had been carried off by supporters of Oboi had been a source of deep concern.心想宫中少了个大援,正在发愁,虽说能吞没四十五万两银子,毕竟是所失者大,所得者小,With Laurie no longer there, he would lose the great advantage of a friend in the Palace. He would, of course, be able to pocket the half million taels he had been holding for Laurie, but on the whole the losses outweighed the gains.突然得悉小桂子逃归,登时精神大振,忙带领人马,和韦小宝去捕拿余党。When it was suddenly announced that young Laurie had escaped and was back in the Palace, his spirits rose and he enthusiastically set about getting a troop of armed horsemen together and setting off, with Trinket to guide him, to arrest these remaining active members of Oboi’s party.行到半路,康熙王差人将韦小宝的玉花骢赶着送来。While they were on their way they were overtaken by someone from Prince Kang’s leading Jade Flower on a rein and Trinket exchanged the mount he was riding for the dappled grey.韦小宝骑上名驹,左顾右盼,得意非凡。Looking round to left and right of him from the high saddle of this magnificent horse, he experienced a wonderful feeling of superiority.

  到得天地会聚会之所,自然早已人影不见。When they got to the place where the members of the Triad Society had held their meeting, it was, needless to say, totally deserted.索额图下令搜索,不久便在菜园中将鳌拜的首级和尸身掘了出来,Songgotu ordered the soldiers to search the place, and before long signs of hasty burial were detected in the kitchen garden and Oboi’s decapitated head and headless body were excavated.又找到一块“大清少保一等超武公鳌拜大人之灵位”的灵牌,They found a board on which were written the words ‘Spirit Tablet of the Lord Regent Oboi, Nobleman of the First Rank, Duke of the Great Qing Empire.’几幅吊唁鳌拜的挽联,自然都是陈近南故意留下的。And they also discovered a number of funerary scrolls, thoughtfully planted there by the Helmsman, Chen Jinnan.韦小宝和索额图回到北京,将灵牌、挽联等物呈上康熙,韦小宝神色间倒颇似立了一件大功。Returning to Peking, Trinket and Songgotu submitted the spirit tablet and funerary scrolls for Kang Xi’s inspection. Trinket’s face, as they did so, glowed with modest triumph.康熙奖勉几句,吩咐葬了鳌拜的尸身,命两人继续小心查察The Emperor uttered some words of praise and encouragement, gave orders for Oboi’s remains to be properly interred, and dismissed them with instructions to continue their investigations with all care.。

  韦小宝嘴里连声答应,脸上忠诚勤奋,肚中暗暗好笑。The look on Trinket’s face as he took his leave was all that could be expected of a loyal and conscientious courtier; but inside he was laughing.

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