英语短篇小说 | The Hollow of the Three Hills 三丘之谷 纳桑尼尔·霍桑

In those strange old times, when fantastic dreams and madmen's reveries were realized among the actual circumstances of life, two persons met together at an appointed hour and place. One was a lady, graceful in form and fair of feature, though pale and troubled, and smitten with an untimely blight in what should have been the fullest bloom of her years; the other was an ancient and meanly-dressed woman, of ill-favored aspect, and so withered, shrunken, and decrepit, that even the space since she began to decay must have exceeded the ordinary term of human existence. In the spot where they encountered, no mortal could observe them. Three little hills stood near each other, and down in the midst of them sunk a hollow basin, almost mathematically circular, two or three hundred feet in breadth, and of such depth that a stately cedar might but just be visible above the sides. Dwarf pines were numerous upon the hills, and partly fringed the outer verge of the intermediate hollow, within which there was nothing but the brown grass of October, and here and there a tree trunk that had fallen long ago, and lay mouldering with no green successor from its roots. One of these masses of decaying wood, formerly a majestic oak, rested close beside a pool of green and sluggish water at the bottom of the basin. Such scenes as this (so gray tradition tells) were once the resort of the Power of Evil and his plighted subjects; and here, at midnight or on the dim verge of evening, they were said to stand round the mantling pool, disturbing its putrid waters in the performance of an impious baptismal rite. The chill beauty of an autumnal sunset was now gilding the three hill-tops, whence a paler tint stole down their sides into the hollow.
在神奇的远古时代,奇异幻想和痴人之梦都可在凡间成真,话说有那么两个人,在约好的时间地点相见。一位是年轻的姑娘,体态优雅,容貌端庄,但脸色苍白,面露愁容,正值芳年却病容恹恹;另一位则是个年迈的老太婆,衣着简陋,相貌丑陋,满脸皱纹,身材矮小,老态龙钟的样子,仿佛从上古时代就开始人老珠黄。这里人迹罕至,三座小山环绕而立,中有深谷,几成圆形,宽两三百英尺,站在谷底勉强能望见山上挺拔的雪松。山坡上布满矮松树,有些和深谷相连;山谷里尽是深秋枯草,多年腐木随处可见,树干横陈,树根了无生气。杂乱的腐木中,有一株曾经枝繁叶茂的橡树,现在则陈列在一潭浸满青苔的死水旁。如古书上记载,这里是恶魔和他忠诚的仆人出没的地方;午夜时分或者暮色将近的时候,他们就会在此搅起陈腐的死水,进行渎神的仪式。此刻,秋天的落日散出阵阵冷艳的光芒,笼罩着这三座山的山尖,一抹苍凉的暮色投向谷底。

"Here is our pleasant meeting come to pass," said the aged crone, "according as thou hast desired. Say quickly what thou wouldst have of me, for there is but a short hour that we may tarry here."
“这就是我们会面的地方了,”那个干瘪的老太婆说道,“如你所愿了。你想从我这知道什么,尽快说吧,我们不会在此停留太久。”

As the old withered woman spoke, a smile glimmered on her countenance, like lamplight on the wall of a sepulchre. The lady trembled, and cast her eyes upward to the verge of the basin, as if meditating to return with her purpose unaccomplished. But it was not so ordained.
这个枯槁的老太婆说着,脸上闪出一丝笑容,恍如墓穴壁上的微光。姑娘颤抖着,抬头望了望山谷边缘,想着是否要无果而返。但还是没有离开。

"I am a stranger in this land, as you know," said she at length. "Whence I come it matters not; but I have left those behind me with whom my fate was intimately bound, and from whom I am cut off forever. There is a weight in my bosom that I cannot away with, and I have come hither to inquire of their welfare."
“如你所知,我初来此地,”她终于开口道,“我从何而来无关紧要,但从此和我生命中重要的人天各一方,胸中抑郁难以排解,我到这里来,想知道他们如何。”

英语短篇小说 | The Hollow of the Three Hills 三丘之谷 纳桑尼尔·霍桑

"And who is there by this green pool that can bring thee news from the ends of the earth?" cried the old woman, peering into the lady's face. "Not from my lips mayst thou hear these tidings; yet, be thou bold, and the daylight shall not pass away from yonder hill-top before thy wish be granted."
"I will do your bidding though I die," replied the lady desperately.
The old woman seated herself on the trunk of the fallen tree, threw aside the hood that shrouded her gray locks, and beckoned her companion to draw near.
"Kneel down," she said, "and lay your forehead on my knees."

“这潭发绿的死水旁,有谁能从天涯海角给你带来消息呢?”老太婆嚷道,凝视着姑娘的脸庞,“反正你是不会从我的口中听到他们的消息;若你有胆量的话,在日头还没有落山的时候还能实现你的愿望。”
“我死活都会听您的话,”姑娘绝望地回答。
老太婆在横倒的树干上坐下,把头巾掀开,露出灰白的头发,示意姑娘靠近。
“跪下,”她说,“把额头靠在我膝盖上。”

She hesitated a moment, but the anxiety that had long been kindling burned fiercely up within her. As she knelt down, the border of her garment was dipped into the pool; she laid her forehead on the old woman's knees, and the latter drew a cloak about the lady's face, so that she was in darkness. Then she heard the muttered words of prayer, in the midst of which she started, and would have arisen.
姑娘迟疑了片刻,但心中久久燃烧的渴望令她此刻心急如焚。她走了过去,跪在老太婆面前,衣服的边角都浸到水里;她的前额靠在老太婆的膝盖上,老太婆在了她头上盖了一个斗篷,她的眼前顿时一片黑暗。这时,她听到了喃喃的祷告声,心中大骇,几欲起身。

"Let me flee,--let me flee and hide myself, that they may not look upon me!" she cried. But, with returning recollection, she hushed herself, and was still as death.
“让我逃走,让我逃走,躲藏起来,不要有人对我说三道四!”她大喊着,紧接着,阵阵涌起的回忆让她平静下来,如死尸一样纹丝不动。

For it seemed as if other voices--familiar in infancy, and unforgotten through many wanderings, and in all the vicissitudes of her heart and fortune--were mingling with the accents of the prayer. At first the words were faint and indistinct, not rendered so by distance, but rather resembling the dim pages of a book which we strive to read by an imperfect and gradually brightening light. In such a manner, as the prayer proceeded, did those voices strengthen upon the ear; till at length the petition ended, and the conversation of an aged man, and of a woman broken and decayed like himself, became distinctly audible to the lady as she knelt. But those strangers appeared not to stand in the hollow depth between the three hills. Their voices were encompassed and reechoed by the walls of a chamber, the windows of which were rattling in the breeze; the regular vibration of a clock, the crackling of a fire, and the tinkling of the embers as they fell among the ashes, rendered the scene almost as vivid as if painted to the eye. By a melancholy hearth sat these two old people, the man calmly despondent, the woman querulous and tearful, and their words were all of sorrow. They spoke of a daughter, a wanderer they knew not where, bearing dishonor along with her, and leaving shame and affliction to bring their gray heads to the grave. They alluded also to other and more recent woe, but in the midst of their talk their voices seemed to melt into the sound of the wind sweeping mournfully among the autumn leaves; and when the lady lifted her eyes, there was she kneeling in the hollow between three hills.
因为她听到除了祷告好像还有其他声音,在幼年时就很熟悉的声音,那是久经波折,命途浮沉仍不曾忘记的声音。刚开始,声音模糊微弱,不是因为距离远,而像在昏暗的灯光下读书一样费力,读着读着,灯光渐渐亮起来。如此一般,随着祈祷,那些声音也渐渐清晰,直到祷告声不再,姑娘才听清这是一对风烛残年的老夫妇的声音。但声音听起来不是从三座山中的深谷传来,而是在一个房间里反复回荡,余音袅袅,不绝如缕,甚至还听得到风吹得窗户吱吱嘎嘎作响,钟表滴滴答答地摆动,柴火噼噼啪啪地燃烧,还有余烬哗哗啦啦落在灰上的声音,通通混淆在一起,历历在目,如临其境,。两位老人悲伤地坐在壁炉旁边,老头伤心沮丧,老太太哀怨悲切,话语如怨如慕,如泣如诉。他们在说一个不知所向的女儿,忍受着屈辱到处漂泊,给他们的晚年也带来了无尽的耻辱和折磨。他们继续哀诉近年来的悲痛,说着说着,只听得哀怨的声音渐渐化为阵阵秋风,卷起落叶,呼啸而去;当姑娘抬起头来,发现自己还跪在三座山中的深谷里。

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