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为了人与书的相遇

广西师范大学出版社 理想国

 
 
 

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The Eternal Snow Beauty / 永远的尹雪艳  

2013-10-30 10:19:12|  分类: 书·摘 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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YIN HSUEH-YEN SOMEHOW never seemed to age. Of those fashionable young men who had been her admirers more than a dozen years ago in Shanghai’s Paramount Ballroom, some had grown bald on top and some were graying at the temples; some on coming to Taiwan had been downgraded to the level of “consultants” in the foundries, cement works, or synthetic-fabric factories, while a small number had risen to become bank presidents or top executives in the government. But however the affairs of men fluctuated, Yin Hsueh-yen remained forever Yin Hsueh-yen, the “Snow Beauty” of Shanghai fame. In Taipei, she still wore her white ch’i-p’ao of “cicada-wing” gauze, smiling as always her faint smile, not allowing so much as a single wrinkle to appear at the corners of her eyes.

  尹雪艳总也不老。十几年前那一班在上海百乐门舞厅替她捧场的五陵年少,有些头上开了顶,有些两鬓添了霜;有些来台湾降成了铁厂、水泥厂、人造纤维厂的闲顾问,但也有少数却升成了银行的董事长、机关里的大主管。不管人事怎么变迁,尹雪艳永远是尹雪艳,在台北仍旧穿着她那一身蝉翼纱的素白旗袍,一径那么浅浅地笑着,连眼角儿也不肯皱一下。

 

Yin Hsueh-yen was genuinely bewitching, though no one could say precisely where her charm lay. She rarely bothered to put on makeup; at most, she might touch her lips with a little Max Factor now and then; so faint as to be barely noticeable. Nor did she care to wear vivid colors. All through the summer, when the weather was burning hot, she dressed entirely in silvery white, looking cool and fresh beyond words. Indeed, she had lovely snow-white skin and a slender figure, with sweet, exquisite eyes set in an oval face, but it was not these features that made her so extraordinary. Everyone who had ever set eyes on Yin Hsueh-yen said that, for some mysterious reason, every gesture of her hand and every movement of her foot held an alluring charm unmatched in all the world. While a yawn or a frown would have been unbecoming in others, in her it carried another kind of attraction. She spoke little: at crucial moments she might throw in a few words, ever so pleasant and soothing to the ear, in her Soochow-accented Shanghainese. Some patrons who could not afford to have her at their tables came nonetheless to the Paramount just to enjoy her radiant presence and listen to her soft Soochow speech, which seemed to make it all worthwhile. On the dance floor, her head slightly raised, her hips gently swaying, she always danced unhurriedly; even when it was a quick fox-trot, she never let go of herself, displaying the ease and suppleness of a windblown catkin drifting along, free of roots. Yin Hsueh-yen had her own rhythm; she moved to her own beat. No outside disturbance could affect her natural poise.

  尹雪艳着实迷人。但谁也没能道出她真正迷人的地方。尹雪艳从来不爱搽胭抹粉,有时最多在嘴唇上点着些似有似无的蜜丝佛陀;尹雪艳也不爱穿红戴绿,天时炎热,一个夏天,她都浑身银白,净扮得了不得。不错,尹雪艳是有一身雪白的肌肤,细挑的身材,容长的脸蛋儿配着一副俏丽恬静的眉眼子,但是这些都不是尹雪艳出奇的地方。见过尹雪艳的人都这么说,也不知是何道理,无论尹雪艳一举手、一投足,总有一份世人不及的风情。别人伸个腰、蹙一下眉,难看,但是尹雪艳做起来,却又别有一番妩媚了。尹雪艳也不多言、不多语,紧要的场合插上几句苏州腔的上海话,又中听、又熨帖。有些荷包不足的舞客,攀不上叫尹雪艳的台子,但是他们却去百乐门坐坐,观观尹雪艳的风采,听她讲几句吴侬软语,心里也是舒服的。尹雪艳在舞池子里,微仰着头,轻摆着腰,一径是那么不慌不忙地起舞着;即使跳着快狐步,尹雪艳从来也没有失过分寸,仍旧显得那么从容,那么轻盈,像一球随风飘荡的柳絮,脚下没有扎根似的。尹雪艳有她自己的旋律。尹雪艳有她自己的拍子。绝不因外界的迁异,影响到她的均衡。


Inexplicable and innumerable as the Snow Beauty’s charms were, one thing added immensely to her mystery. As her fame grew, she found it difficult to avoid the jealousy of her sisters in the profession, who vented their spite by spreading rumors about her horoscope: that it was dominated by an evil curse, that in it the White Tiger Star was ascendant, and that whoever came near her would lose at least his fortune, if not his life. Strangely enough, this well-publicized curse made her doubly attractive to Shanghai’s fashionable men about town. Their wealth and leisure prompted them to adventure, to try their luck with this evil star, the queen of the Whangpoo metropolis.

  尹雪艳迷人的地方实在讲不清、数不尽。但是有一点却大大增加了她的神秘。尹雪艳名气大了,难免招忌,她同行的姊妹淘醋心重的就到处嘈起说:尹雪艳的八字带着重煞,犯了白虎,沾上的人,轻者家败,重者人亡。谁知道就是为着尹雪艳享了重煞的令誉,上海洋场的男士们都对她增加了十分的兴味。生活悠闲了,家当丰沃了,就不免想冒险,去闯闯这颗红遍了黄浦滩的煞星儿。

 

One of the men who thus tempted fate was Wang Kuei-sheng, scion of the Wang family, kingpins in Shanghai’s cottonyarn industry. Every evening he waited in his brand-new Cadillac at the entrance of the Paramount until Yin Hsueh-yen had finished her rounds at the tables. Then together they would go up to the roof garden on the fourteenth floor of the Park Hotel3 for their exquisite late-night snack. As they gazed at the moon and the bright stars in the sky, Wang Kuei-sheng said that if he could use his family’s gold bars to build a ladder to the heavens he would climb up and pluck the crescent moon to pin in Snow Beautys hair. Yin Hsueh-yen just smiled, without a word to him, as she extended her dainty orchid-like hand and slowly conveyed the crescent-shaped canapés of black caviar into her mouth.

  上海棉纱财阀王家的少老板王贵生就是其中探险者之一。天天开着崭新的开德拉克,在百乐门门口候着尹雪艳转完台子,两人一同上国际饭店十四楼摩天厅去共进华美的消夜。望着天上的月亮及灿烂的星斗,王贵生说,如果用他家的金条儿能够搭成一道天梯,他愿意爬上天空去把那弯月牙儿掐下来,插在尹雪艳的云鬓上。尹雪艳吟吟地笑着,总也不出声,伸出她那兰花般细巧的手,慢条斯理地将一枚枚涂着俄国乌鱼子的小月牙儿饼拈到嘴里去。

 

Wang Kuei-sheng speculated madly, seeking to triple or quadruple his fortune by any means, so that he could defeat one by one those wealthy suitors hanging around Yin Hsueh-yen, throw a diamond and cornelian chain round her neck, and lead her home. In due course, Wang was charged with the serious crime of manipulating the market in collusion with government officials and was found guilty. On the day he was taken from prison and shot, Yin Hsueh-yen cancelled her appearance for the evening in token of mourning.

  王贵生拼命地投资,不择手段地赚钱,想把原来的财富堆成三倍、四倍,将尹雪艳身边那批富有的逐鹿者一一击倒,然后用钻石玛瑙串成一根链子,套在尹雪艳的脖子上,把她牵回家去。当王贵生犯上官商勾结的重罪,下狱枪毙的那一天,尹雪艳在百乐门停了一宵,算是对王贵生致了哀。

 

The man who eventually won the Snow Beauty was Director Hung, chief of a government bureau and one of the hotshots in Shanghai’s world of finance. When he had divorced his wife, abandoned their three children, and met all of Yin Hsueh-yen’s conditions, she married him and moved into an elegant Western-style house taken over from the Japanese in the French Concession of Shanghai. In a few months’ time, Yin Hsueh-yen burst upon Shanghai’s high society like a late-blossoming pear tree, completely overshadowing all the other beauties.

  最后赢得尹雪艳的却是上海金融界一位热可炙手的洪处长。洪处长休掉了前妻,抛弃了三个儿女,答应了尹雪艳十条条件。于是尹雪艳变成了洪夫人,住在上海法租界一栋从日本人接收过来华贵的花园洋房里。两三个月的工夫,尹雪艳便像一株晚开的玉梨花,在上海上流社会的场合中以压倒群芳的姿态绽发起来。

 

She was certainly able to dominate any gathering. At brilliant parties where the fashionable daughters of wealthy families sat wrapped in their dark sable or red fox, she had only to appear airily in her waist-hugging, high-collared silver fox for all present to feel themselves intoxicated as with the light breeze in March and involuntarily drawn toward her. In the crowds she seemed a crystalline ice-spirit, her frosty charm a dangerous force. As she glided along with her zephyr step, the sight of her called forth an answering fire in the eyes of those elegant men and women. This, then, was the famous Snow Beauty: on the dance floor of the Jessfield Nightclub, in the corridors of the Lyceum Theater, or in the living rooms of the aristocratic mansions along Avenue Joffre, leaning against a sofa or a chair, a faint smile playing at the corners of her mouth, dressed in silvery white from top to toe, she summoned into her presence a host of bank managers and their assistants, cotton-mill bosses young and old, and the nouveaux riches and their wives.

  尹雪艳着实有压场的本领。每当盛宴华筵,无论在场的贵人名媛,穿着紫貂,围着火狸,当尹雪艳披着她那件翻领束腰的银狐大氅,像一阵三月的微风,轻盈盈地闪进来时,全场的人都好像给这阵风熏中了一般,总是情不自禁地向她迎过来。尹雪艳在人堆子里,像个冰雪化成的精灵,冷艳逼人,踏着风一般的步子,看得那些绅士以及仕女们的眼睛都一起冒出火来,这就是尹雪艳;在兆丰夜总会的舞厅里、在兰心剧院的过道上,以及在霞飞路上一栋栋侯门官府的客堂中,一身银白,歪靠在沙发椅上,嘴角一径挂着那流吟吟浅笑,把场合中许多银行界的经理、协理,纱厂的老板及小开,以及一些新贵和他们的夫人们都拘到跟前来。

 

But in the end Director Hung’s horoscope proved no match for Yin Hsueh-yen’s evil karma. In a year he had lost his position; after two years he was bankrupt; and upon arriving in Taipei, he could not even land an idle consultant’s job. When Yin Hsueh-yen divorced him, however, she was magnanimous: all she took, aside from her own possessions, was her famous Shanghai chef and two Soochow maids.

  可是洪处长的八字到底软了些,没能抵得住尹雪艳的重煞。一年丢官,两年破家产,到了台北来连个闲职也没捞上。尹雪艳离开洪处长时还算有良心,除了自己的家当外,只带走一个从上海跟来的名厨司及两个苏州娘姨。

  ……
  ……

The Eternal Snow Beauty / 永远的尹雪艳 - 北贝 - 为了人与书的相遇
摘自《台北人·Taipei People》(汉英对照版),白先勇/著,叶佩霞、白先勇/译,乔志高/主编,广西师大出版社理想国,2013年10月,详情:http://www.imaginist.com.cn/channel.php?bid=735
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