米歇尔·麦格里安(Michelle Magorian),英国当代最具影响力的儿童文学家之一,1947年生于英格兰。她自幼热爱表演,曾留学法国马赛尔·马索巴黎国际默剧学校,成为一名职业演员。回到英国后,她开始了自己的表演生涯,同时对儿童文学产生了浓厚兴趣。1981年,米歇尔在写作学习班完成了自己的儿童文学处女作《晚安,汤姆先生》(Good Night, Mister Tom),一举夺得了卫报儿童小说奖(Guardian Children's Fiction Prize)。该小说还被BBC评为有史以来最伟大的100部小说之一。1998年,这部小说被改编成电影,受到了广大英国观众的欢迎。此后米歇尔还获过国际读书协会奖(International Reading Association Award),2008年又以其新书Just Henry获得英国科斯塔图书奖(Costa Book Award)。
Saturday Morning 周六清晨
When Willie awoke it was still very dark. The pain that had brought him sharply back to consciousness seared1) through his stomach. He held his breath and pushed his hand down the bed to touch his nightgown. It was soaking. It was then that he became aware that he was lying in between sheets. That's what they did to people after they had died, they laid them out in a bed. He sat up quickly and hit his head on the rafter2). Crawling out of bed, doubled over3) with the pain in his gut, he hobbled4) over to the window and let out a frightened cry. He was in a graveyard. He was going to be buried alive! The pain grew in intensity. He gave a loud moan and vomited all over the floor.
In the morning Tom found him huddled5) under the bed. The sheets were drenched6) in urine. He stripped them off the mattress and carried Willie down to the living room.
It was a hot, sultry7) day. The windows were wide open but no breeze entered the cottage. Willie stood in front of the stove. Through the side window he could see his gray garments and underwear hanging on a small washing line outside. Tom pulled the voluminous8) nightshirt over his head and threw it into a copper tub with the sheets. He sluiced9) Willie's body tenderly with cold water and soap. The weals10) stuck out mauve11) against his protruding12) ribs and swollen stomach. He could hardly stand.
"Sorry, mister," he kept repeating, fearfully, "sorry, Mister Tom."
Tom just grunted13) in his usual manner. He pulled Willie's clothes off the line and handed them to him. "Too hot for socks," he muttered. "Leave them off."
"I can't go aht wivout me socks14)," cried Willie in alarm. "Please, Mister Tom, I can't."
"Why?" Tom snorted.
"Me legs," he whispered. He didn't want everyone to see the marks of his sins. Tom sighed and threw the socks on the table. They had breakfast by the open window. Tom sat with his shirt sleeves rolled up, the beads of sweat trickling15) down the sides of his ruddy face, while Willie continued to shiver, managing to drink only half a cup of tea and eat a small piece of bread.
"Blimmin'16) blue," muttered Tom to himself as he observed Willie's face. He cleared the breakfast things and left him with the small addressed postcard that he had been provided with to write a message on for his mother. Willie sat dejectedly17) at the table and watched Tom drag his small mattress past the window. He could hear him scrubbing18) away at it. He lowered his head. He was so ashamed. Everyone who came near the church would see it and realize how wicked he had been. He hadn't meant to wet himself. He didn't even remember doing it.
He stared at the small postcard in front of him. Clasping19) a pencil between his fingers, he clenched his free hand into a fist and dug his knuckles into the table so that he wouldn't cry.
"How you gettin' on?" asked Tom.
Willie jumped and flushed hotly.
"Can't think of what to say, that it?" He took the pencil from Willie's hand and turned the postcard towards himself. "Not much room, eh?"
Willie tugged20) at his hair in embarrassment.
"Lost yer voice?"
"No, Mister Tom," he answered quietly.
"What d'you want to say, then?"
He shrugged his shoulders and looked dumbly at the grain on the wooden table.
"Are you happy here?"
He looked up quickly and nodded. "Yeh."
"Arrived safely, is happy and ..."
"Mister, Mister Tom," said Willie, interrupting him. "You goin' to tell her I was bad?"
"No," Tom said, and went on writing. "Here, listen to this. 'Dear Mrs. Beech, William ...' "
"She don't call me that. She calls me Willie."
He altered the word. " 'Willie,' " he continued, " 'has arrived safely, is happy and good. Yours sincerely, Mr. Thomas Oakley.' There." He handed the postcard and pencil back to him. "Now write yer name."
Willie paled. "I can't."
"Didn't they have school in London?"
"Yeh, but ..." and he trailed off21).
"How about readin'?" asked Tom. "You can read, can't you?"
"But you was lookin' at them books last night."
"I was lookin' at the pitchers22)."
Tom scratched his head. The village children were reading at least some words by the time they were six. This boy was eight, so he said. He glanced down at the label on the table to check. "William Beech. Born Sept. 7th, 1930."
"Nine on Thursdee," he remarked. "Your birthday's in five days' time." Willie didn't understand what was so particularly special about that.
"You're nine on Thursdee," Tom repeated, but Willie couldn't think of anything to say.
"Anyways," he continued, "about this here schoolin', didn't yer teacher help you?"
"Yeh, but ..." he hesitated. " 'E23) didn't like me. The others all called me Sillie Sissie Willie24)."
"What about yer friends?"
He whispered something.
"I can't hear you, boy."
Willie cleared his throat. "I ain't got no friends."
Tom gave a snort. He noticed Willie looking at the black box on the stool.
"Blimmin' heat," he grumbled, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief. "Pick up that box, William, and bring it over here."
Willie did so and placed it carefully on the table. "Lift the lid, then." Willie stared at it. "Go on, cloth ears25), open it."
He raised the lid and gazed at the brightly colored pots. "Paints?" he inquired.
Tom grunted in the affirmative26). "Bit old, but the pots'll do. You paint?"
Willie's face fell. He longed to paint. "Nah, 'cos I can't read ..."
"The ones that can read and write gits the paint, that it?"
"Yeh." Willie touched one of the pots gently with his hand and then hastily took it away. "I done drawin' with bits of chalk and crayon, on me own."
Tom straightened himself. "We'd best post yer letter. Mustn't worry yer mum. Climb out. Where's that ole thing?" he mumbled. "Sammy," he shouted, "Sammy."
Willie shaded his eyes and looked around for him. He caught sight of a mound27) of black-and-white fur slumped28) under the oak tree.
"Mister Tom," he said, pointing to the dog, "look." Sammy lifted his head. Heaving his body up to his feet, he left his cool sanctuary29) and ambled30) over towards them.
They walked round to the back garden of the cottage, past the little wooden outhouse that was the toilet. On top of its roof lay Willie's mattress.
"Don't worry, boy," said Tom, "it'll be dry by tonight."
威利在汤姆的精心照顾下逐渐变得活泼开朗,并开始受到老师同学的喜爱,交到了像扎克这样的好朋友。而在照顾威利的过程中,汤姆也找到了生活的意义,开始直面妻儿离世的伤心往事。然而,好景不长,当伦敦不再被认为是德军攻击的目标时,小威利在母亲来信的催促下,不得不返城了。重回伦敦是威利的噩梦。威利回来的时候,单身的母亲居然又生了一个小女孩,为了防止婴孩哭叫,她竟然用胶带封上了自己女儿的嘴!而威利则常常因为不再像以前那般俯首贴耳而惨遭毒打。在远方思念威利的汤姆,经历了一场威利绝望呼救的梦魇之后,终于难耐重重忧虑,起身赶往伦敦。上天垂怜,当汤姆几经波折,终于找到威利的时候,可怜的小男孩已经被他那疯狂的母亲锁在楼梯下的小房间里好几天了,他怀抱着死去的妹妹,正在绝望中等待死亡的降临。汤姆不顾警察的反对,默默地抱起威利,把他带回乡下。经过一段时间的悉心呵护,小威利终于康复了,而汤姆也得到了孩子的监护权。然而,威利的好朋友扎克却在回伦敦途中不幸遇难。威利痛不欲生,但是最终在汤姆的陪伴下度过了生命中的又一次磨难,完成了人生中的再一次成长。小说结尾时,小威利的一句对白不禁让人潸然泪下,他看着汤姆先生,深情地说:“爸, 我正长大!(Dad, I am growing!)”
1. sear [sIE(r)] vt. 烧灼;灼痛
2. rafter [5rB:ftE(r)] n. 椽(支撑起一个斜屋顶的斜梁中的一根)
3. double over: (因剧痛或大笑等而)弯着身子
4. hobble [5hCbl] vi. 跛行,一瘸一拐地行走
5. huddle [5hQdl] vi. 缩成一团,蜷缩
6. drench [drentF] vt. 使湿透
7. sultry [5sQltrI] adj. 湿热的,闷热的
8. voluminous [vE5lju:mInEs] adj. 宽松的
9. sluice [slu:s] vt. (引水)冲洗
10. weal [wi:l] n. (皮肤受抽打后)条状鞭痕;(隆起的)伤痕
11. mauve [mEuv] adj. 淡紫色的
12. protruding [prEu5tru:dIN] adj. 伸出的;突出的
13. grunt [^rQnt] vt. 咕哝着表示;咕哝着说
14. I can't go aht wivout me socks: 此句应为:I can't go out without my socks. 文中多处出现方言或口语等非标准英语。
15. trickle [5trIkl] vi. 成小股流动;淌,滴
16. blimmin': 英国俚语,bloody和bleedin'的礼貌用法,用在对话中与bloomin'意思相近,用于增强厌恶感。
17. dejectedly [dI5d\ektIdlI] adv. 情绪低落地;垂头丧气地
18. scrub [skrQb] vi. 用力擦洗
19. clasp [klB:sp] vt. 握紧;扣紧
20. tug [tQ^] vt. 用力拖(或拉)
21. trail off: 逐渐减弱;缩小
22. pitcher [5pItFE(r)] n. 罐,壶。此处应为picture,写作pitcher是为了描写威利的发音。
23. 'E: 指she,写作'E同样是为了描写威利的发音。
24. Sillie Sissie Willie: 傻娘娘腔威利。sillie即silly,意为“傻的,愚蠢的”;sissie即sissy,意为“娘娘腔的男子”。
25. cloth ears: <英口> 听觉不灵(或不能辨别音调)的耳朵
26. in the affirmative: 以肯定方式;表示赞成
27. mound [maund] n. 土堆;土墩
28. slump [slQmp] vi. (沉重或突然地)倒下
29. sanctuary [5sANktjuErI] n. 避难所
30. amble [5Ambl] vi. 缓行;从容漫步