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双语全文 ● 鲁迅 阿Q正传——第五章 生计问题






Chapter 5


The Problem of Making a Living


After Ah Q had kowtowed and complied with the Zhao family’s terms,he went back as usual to the Tutelary God’s Temple. The sun had gone down, and he began to feel that something was wrong. Careful thought led him to the conclusion that this was probably because his back was bare. Re­membering that he still had a ragged lined jacket, he put it on and lay down,and when he opened his eyes again the sun was already shining on the top of the west wall. He sat up, saying, “Curse it ...”


After getting up he loafed about the streets as usual, until he began to feel that something else was wrong, though this was not to be compared to the physical discomfort of a bare back. Apparently, from that day onwards all the women in Weizhuang fought shy of Ah Q: whenever they saw him coming they took refuge indoors. In fact, even Mrs. Zou who was nearing fifty retreated in confusion with the rest, calling her eleven-year-old daugh­ter to go inside. This struck Ah Q as very strange. “The bitches!” he thought.“All of a sudden they’re behaving like young ladies ...”


A good many days later, however, he felt even more forcibly that some­thing was wrong. First, the tavern refused him credit; secondly, the old man in charge of the Tutelary God’s Temple made some uncalled-for remarks, as if he wanted Ah Q to leave; and thirdly, for many days—how many exactly he could not remember—not a soul had come to hire him. To be refused credit in the tavern he could put up with; if the old man kept urging him to leave, he could just ignore his complaints; but when no one came to hire him he had to go hungry, and this was really a “cursed” state to be in.


第五章 生计问题








When Ah Q could stand it no longer he went to his former employers’homes to find out what was the matter—it was only Mr. Zhao’s threshold that he was not allowed to cross. But he met with a strange reception. The one to appear was always a man looking thoroughly annoyed who waved him away as if he were a beggar, saying:


“There’s nothing for you, get out!”


Ah Q found it more and more extraordinary. “These people always needed help in the past,” he thought. “They can’t suddenly have nothing to be done. This looks fishy. ” After making careful inquiries he found out that when they had any odd jobs they all called in Young D. Now this Young D was a thin and weakly pauper, even lower in Ah Q’s eyes than Whiskers Wang. Who could have thought that this low fellow would steal this living from him? So this time Ah Q’s indignation was greater than usual, and go­ing on his way, fuming, he suddenly raised his arm and sang:


“Steel mace in hand I shall trounce you....”


A few days later he did indeed meet Young D in front of Mr. Qian’s house. “When two foes meet, there is no mistaking each other. ” As Ah Q ad­vanced upon him, Young D stood his ground.


“Beast!” spluttered Ah Q, glaring.


“I’m an insect—will that do?” rejoined Young D.


Such modesty only enraged Ah Q even more, but since he had no steel mace in his hand all he could do was to rush forward to grab at Young D’s queue. Young D, protecting his own queue with one hand, grabbed at Ah Q’s with the other, whereupon Ah Q also used his free hand to protect his own queue. In the past Ah Q had never considered Young D worth taking seriously, but owing to his recent privations he was now as thin and weak as his opponent , so that they presented a spectacle of evenly matched antagonists, four hands clutching at two heads, both men bending at the waist, casting a blue, rainbow-shaped shadow on the Qian family’s white wall for over half an hour.


















“All right! All right!” exclaimed some of the onlookers, probably by way of mediation.


“Good, good!” exclaimed others, but whether to mediate, applaud the fighters, or spur them on to further efforts, is not certain.


The two combatants turned deaf ears to them all, however. If Ah Q ad­vanced three paces, Young D would recoil three paces, and there they would stand. If Young D advanced three paces, Ah Q would recoil three paces, and there they would stand again. After about half an hour—Weizhuang had few clocks, so it is difficult to tell the time; it may have been twenty minutes—when steam was rising from their heads and sweat pour­ing down their cheeks, Ah Q let fall his hands, and in the same second Young D’s hands fell too. They straightened up simultaneously and stepped back simultaneously, pushing their way out through the crowd.


“Just you wait, curse you!” called Ah Q over his shoulder.


“Curse you! Just you wait ... ” echoed Young D, also over his shoulder.


This epic struggle had apparently ended in neither victory nor defeat,and it is not known whether the spectators were satisfied or not, for none of them expressed any opinion. But still not a soul came to hire Ah Q for odd jobs.


One warm day, when a balmy breeze seemed to give some foretaste of summer, Ah Q actually felt cold; but he could put up with this—his greatest worry was an empty stomach. His cotton quilt, felt hat, and shirt had long since disappeared, and after that he had sold his padded jacket. Now noth­ing was left but his trousers, and these of course he could not take off. He had a ragged lined jacket, it is true; but this was certainly worthless, unless he gave it away to be made into shoe-soles. He had long been dreaming of finding some money on the road, but hitherto he had not come across any;he had also been hoping he might suddenly discover some money in his tumble-down room, and had frantically ransacked it, but the room was quite, quite empty. Then he made up his mind to go out in search of food.
















As he walked along the road “in search of food” he saw the familiar tavern and the familiar steamed bread, but he passed them by without paus­ing for a second, without even hankering after them. It was not these he was looking for, although what exactly he was looking for he did not know him­self.


Since Weizhuang was not a big place, he soon left it behind. Most of the country outside the village consisted of paddy fields, green as far as the eye could see with the tender shoots of young rice, dotted here and there with round, black, moving objects—peasants cultivating their fields. But blind to the delights of country life, Ah Q simply went on his way, for he knew instinctively that this was far removed from his “search for food.” Finally,however, he came to the walls of the Convent of Quiet Self-improvement.


The convent too was surrounded by paddy fields, its white walls stand­ing out sharply in the fresh green, and inside the low earthen wall at the back was a vegetable garden. Ah Q hesitated for a time, looking around him. Since there was no one in sight he scrambled on to the low wall, holding on to some milkwort. The mud wall started crumbling, and Ah Q shook with fear; however, by clutching at the branch of a mulberry tree he managed to jump over it. Within was a wild profusion of vegetation, but no sign of yel­low wine, steamed bread, or anything edible. A clump of bamboos by the west wall had put forth many young shoots, but unfortunately these were not cooked. There was also rape which had long since gone to seed, mustard already about to flower, and some tough old cabbages.


Resentful as a scholar who has failed the examinations Ah Q walked slowly towards the gate of the garden. Suddenly, however, he gave a start of joy, for what did he see there but a patch of turnips! He knelt down and had just begun pulling when a round head appeared from behind the gate, only to be promptly withdrawn. This was no other than the little nun. Now though Ah Q had always had the greatest contempt for such people as little nuns, there are times when “Discretion is the better part of valour.” He hastily pulled up four turnips, tore off the leaves, and stuffed them under his jacket. By this time an old nun had already come out.










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