第二章 The Experiment

上一篇 / 下一篇  2008-10-04 15:51:35 / 个人分类:小说翻译

I do not know how young I was when I performed the experiment that required me to conclude that something was wrong in my life.

我不知道那时候我多小,我做一个实验让我明白一些事在我生命中是错误的.

Victor—so I may call him, though he was still called Primus at the time—had grown a trace of down on his upper lip, finer than the fuzz of a peach. With even this small hint of manhood, he seemed more our leader than before, and there was a newfound glamour to him that touched my heart and troubled my dreams.

维克托——现在我可以这样叫他,虽然他那个时候仍然叫作普里莫斯——上唇长出了细微的绒毛,比桃子上的绒毛都要细.因为这个小小的成年特征,让他看上去比以前更加像我们的头了,而这也产生了一种新的魔力,触动我的心,扰乱我的梦。


We had crept by stealth from the orphanage grounds, and stood among the rocks and bald hills of the West. Below us and to the East, we could see the lights from the Main House, the servants’ quarters, the outbuildings, the stables.

我们偷偷地溜出孤儿院,站在西边光秃秃的山丘上的岩石堆里。往我们下方的东侧望去,能看到主楼上的灯光,职工宿舍,谷仓,和马厩。


Dr. Fell had bought Victor the instrument he was using for his experiment from a scientific catalogue. At the time, I thought it normal and unexceptional. Now, I realize that such an instrument was fabulously expensive: a piece of precision machinery even an observatory would envy.

费尔医生给维可托买了一台机器,他用它来做科学手册上的实验。那个时候,我认为它很平常也不独特。现在,我认识到那样一台机器是难以想象的昂贵:一台即使是天文台都要嫉妒的精密仪器。


The moon rose not long after sunset, and we pointed the lenses of the instrument to the East. Victor held his eye to the eyepiece and made minute adjustments to the vernier dials. He thumbed a red switch with a grimace of satisfaction.

在太阳落下后不久,月亮就升起来了,我们用机器的镜头对准东方.维克多眼睛对着目镜,并在微调刻度盘上调节了几分钟.然后他作出一个满足的鬼脸并按下红色开关.

He said, “An internal computer will track the path of the moon as it rises, and send out periodic pulses. We want to gather a number of samples, to correct for the different cords of atmosphere the signal passes through. The return signal is received by the large dish on the tripod over there, whose motors are slaved to these wheels here. And voila!”

他说,"一个内嵌的计算机将会在月亮升起时跟踪它的轨迹, 然后发出周期脉冲.我们可以收集一系列的样本,来校正大气中通过的不同信号束.返回的信号会被那里三角架上的大圆盘接收,它的马达供这些圆盘运转.看!"


A numerical readout lit up. It was two point something something. 2.8955. Almost three seconds.

一个数字读出器亮了起来.是二点几几.2.8955.将近三秒.


I said, “What now?”
He said, “And now we wait four hours.”
“Did you bring anything to read?”
He just looked at me oddly.
“Or smoke?” I said.
“You are too young to smoke. Besides, it’s bad for you.”
“Quentin said you tried it. You experimented with it.”

我说,"现在做什么?"
他说,"现在我们等四小时."
"你带了什么书来读吗?"
他仅是奇怪地看着我.
"或着烟?"我说.
"你太小了,还不能吸烟.另外,它对你有害."
"昆廷说你试过.你用它作实验."


He shook his head. “It wasn’t me. Trying things common sense abundantly demonstrates are bad for you is not an experiment;such things show you nothing but what your own tastes are. That does not constitute knowledge. This is an experiment!”

他摇摇头."不是我.去做常识充分证明了对你有害的事不是一个实验;那些事不会对你有任何帮助,除了你自己经历坏事.那不会形成任何知识.这才是实验!"


“Then who was it?”
“Who was what?”
“Quentin said he smelled smoke in the boys’ bathroom. Cigarette smoke.”
He looked at me with scathing condescension, but said othing.
“What?” I said.
“Logic. If it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t Quentin, and it wasn’t a girl, who was it?”
“Oh,” I said, feeling sheepish.

"那么是谁?"
"什么是谁?"
"昆廷说他在男浴室闻到了烟味.香烟."
他非常鄙视地看了我一眼,但没有说话.
"怎么?"我说.
"逻辑.如果不是我,也不是昆廷,也不会是个女孩,那会是谁?"
"哦,"我感到有些窘困地说.


Hours passed. I fidgeted. I paced. I complained about the cold. I sat on the ground, which made me colder. I asked him for his down jacket, which he doffed without a word and tossed to me. I rolled it up and used it as a pillow.
I must have slept.

几个小时过去了.我坐立不安,走来走去,抱怨天太冷.然后我坐在了地上,那使我更冷了.我问他要他的夹克,他一声不吭地脱下来扔给了我.我把它卷了起来当做枕头.


I dreamed that I was on a boat. A man held me roughly in one arm, dangling me over the side. The boat pitched and tossed terribly; rain pelted my face and ran in icy ribbons down my flesh. The man held some sharp, horrible thing near my face: a knife, or something larger than a knife.

我梦到我在一条小船里.一个人用一只手粗暴地抱着我,拖着我上船.小船倾斜着并摇晃的厉害;雨打在我的脸上,冰冷的雨水沿着我的身体向下流.那个人拿着一个锋利,可怕的东西贴近我的脸:一把刀,或者比刀更大的什么东西.

In the dream, the water, which had been black and rolling,webbed with white foam and spray, suddenly grew clear as crystal. A figure that was so large as to make our ship seem the size of a lifeboat was gliding beneath the waves, parallel to our course. The figure had his hands back along his sides and his head down; he did not kick his feet. Instead, the water streamed past him, like wind streaming past a man falling effortlessly through the air.

在梦中,覆盖着白色的泡沫并翻滚着浪花的黑水,突然变得和水晶一样清澈.一个巨大的人影同我们并排行进,让我们的船看上去像一艘在波浪下滑行的救生艇.人影的双手背在身后,低着头;他没有用力抬腿.反而,水从他脚下流过,就向风从身边轻柔地飘过.


“Tell him to quell the storm,” said the voice of the doctor in my ear.

"叫他平息暴风,"医生的声音在我耳边响起.


The figure turned its head and regarded us both. Its eyes were lamps, eerie with a greenish light, and it had a third eye, made of metal, embedded in its forehead.

人影转过他的头,也注意到了我们.他的眼里闪耀着怪异的绿色光芒,并且他还有第三只金属做的,嵌入额头的眼睛.


Instead of being terrified that I was going to be pitched overboard or stabbed, I was overcome with a painful embarrassment to realize that the gigantic figure was utterly nude and that, as he kept turning, I would soon see a penis larger than the member of an elephant, rippling through the water like a periscope.What made it more embarrassing was that the figure had Victor’s features.

我没有感到将会被抛出船外或被伤害的那种恐惧,而是在克服巨大的窘迫感,因为我发觉那个巨大的身影是全裸的,而且他还在继续转过来,很快我就看到一个比大象的还要大的阳具,像潜望镜一样在水面划起涟漪.让我更加窘迫的是,这个人影看起来像维克托.


The third eye, the metal one, seemed to be the only one with a soul in it. In the senseless way things are known in dreams, I knew that the mere fact that it could see me with this eye meant he could speak to me, despite all the water between us, and the noise and wrack of the storm. “I am embedding this message by means of cryptognosis into a preconsciousness level of your nervous system. The paradigms of Chaos have agreed only on this one point. We will wait for you . . .”

那只金属的第三只眼睛,看上去是唯一有神的一只.下意识地,就像在梦中知道的,我明白他既然能看到我,也就意味着他能够对我说话,不管我们之间隔着海水,或是噪音和暴风."我将这个消息通过神秘灵觉埋藏在你神经系统的前意识里.混沌的规则只允许这一点.我们将等待你..."


“Tell him to make the clouds move.”
“What?”
“I said, I hope the clouds move. We need to get a clear reading when the moon reaches zenith.”
I was awake again, with Victor, on the cold hillside. A knotted texture of charcoal-black and gleaming silver hung like a ship out of fairyland high above us. The cloud covered the moon, and limned the edges with swirls of argent.

"叫他把乌云驱散."

"什么?"

"我说,我希望乌云散开.我们要清楚地看到月亮到达顶峰."

我醒了过来,和维克多一起,在寒冷的山坡上.碳黑色并闪着微弱银色光芒的云团像漂离仙境的小船一样,高高地挂在我们的上方.乌云遮住了月亮,边缘描绘出银色的光晕.

Victor was still standing.
“How long have I been asleep?”
“Two hours, fourteen minutes.”
“Oh.”

维克托仍然站着.

"我睡了多久."

"两小时十四分钟."

"喔."

Silence.
Then I said, “Why are you doing this? We could get caught.It’s not as if Michelson and Morley hadn’t done this experiment one hundred years ago.”

安静.

然后我说,"你为什么要作这个实验?我们会被抓住的.象迈克逊和莫雷在一百年前就已经作过这个实验了."


He said, “One hundred eight. They’ve been saying untrue things to us. The teachers. The readings we got from the interferometer in lab class had been meddled with. When I did the experiment under controlled conditions, I got results consistent with the theory that light is conveyed via luminiferous aether.”

他说,"一百零八年.他们对我们说的话并不是事实.老师们,我们在实验课的干涉仪上看到的现象被干扰了.当我在可控的条件下实验时,我得到的结论是光通过光介质传播."

I sat up. “Are you saying there’s no Einsteinian relativity?But there have been other experiments. The procession of the axis of Mercury. Cesium clocks in a fast-flying airplane. Light was seen to bend around the sun during an eclipse.”

我坐起来."你是说没有爱因斯坦相对论?但是有其他的证据.水星轨迹轴心.高速飞行的飞机上的铯原子钟.在日蚀期间光线看上去在太阳周围弯曲.


“We have only hearsay for that.”

"我们只是听说那些."


I was astonished. The sheer magnitude of his skepticism was beyond words. It was like an elephant I had seen once during a rare field trip to Swansea Zoo. As soon as you think you understand how big it is, you look again, and it is bigger.

我惊讶了.无法用言语形容他这样完全彻底的怀疑论.就像我在一次难得的,去斯旺西动物院实地考察期间看到大象是那样.就在你以为你知道它有多大是时候,再看一眼,发现它更大了.


He said, “Picture this. According to relativity, objects compress in the direction of motion, right? And yet it also says that the same objects and events appear from each other’s ‘frames of reference’ to be symmetrical, right?”

他说,"这样设想.依照相对论,物体在它运动的方向压缩,是吧?然而,它也说出现在彼此的'参照系'中的对象和事件是对称的, 是吧?"


“Right.”

"对."


“Take a cup with a tight-fitting lid. The cup and lid fit together, correct? Now move the lid and cup away at right angles, the lid horizontally, the cup vertically. Got the picture?”
“Got it.”
“What happened when you bring the lid and cup back together at near light speed?”
“Um . . . I am sure you are about to tell me . . .”

"拿着一个拧紧盖子的杯子.杯子和盖子被拧在一起,对不对?现在把盖子拧下来,和杯子摆成一个直角,盖子平放,杯子直放.能够想象这个画面吗?"

"可以."

"这时候你用接近光速的时间将盖子和杯子拧在一起会发生什么?"

"恩.....我认为你打算告诉我..."


“From the point of view of the lid, the cup is compressed in its direction of motion, horizontally. The cup is shorter, but still a cylinder. The lid, to itself, suffers no distortion, of course. When the two meet, the lid will fit on the cup. But from the point of view of the cup, the lid is foreshortened in its direction of motion, vertically. Which means the lid is now an oval. The cup still appears round to itself. When the two meet, the lid cannot fit on the cup. The same event has two different results from two different points of view.”

"从盖子的观点看,被子在它的运动方向上被压缩了,水平方向.杯子变短了,但是仍然是一个圆柱.当然,盖子本身没有受到扭曲.当它们两个向遇时,盖子可以和杯子合盖.但是从杯子的观点看,盖自从它的垂直运动方向被缩短了.这意味着盖子现在是椭圆形.杯子仍然保持着原来的圆形.当两者向遇时,盖子就不能和杯子合盖.同样的事件从两个不同的视角看有不同的结果."

I looked at him sidelong, wondering if he were kidding. For the first time, I wondered whether other people have more trouble visually picturing things in their imagination than I did. I mean, it is not as if I could look into their heads to see.

我斜眼看着他,觉得他是不是在开玩笑.第一次,我怀疑是否其他人在他们的想象中有比我更多的,令人困惑的真实画面.我的意思是,我不能透视到他们的脑袋里去看.

I opened my mouth to say that both observers would see the motion vector as a diagonal, but then I closed it again. I did not like arguing with Victor.

我张开嘴,想说两边的观测者都会看到运动适量呈一条对角线,但是我又闭上了嘴.我不喜欢和维克托吵架.


“What in particular happened?” I said.

"有什么特别的发生?"我说.


For a moment I thought he was going to ask me what I meant, but then he said, “You know Mrs. Lilac from the village, whom Mrs. Wren uses to carry burdens and packages when she has done too much shopping?”

那时,我以为他会问我是什么意思,但是他说道,"我在村庄里认识了莱勒克夫人, 当她买了很多东西的时候, 经常让瑞文女士帮她拿包裹.


“Sort of the way you do me,” I said archly. I had carried the equipment up the slope from the hedges behind the lab shed.
“I don’t see the analogy.”

"就像你对我那样,"我简短地说.我把仪器从实验室后面的树篱里抬到了上坡上。

"我不认为这是一会事."


“Go on with your story.”

"继续说."


“Mrs. Lilac passed me in the hall. She said her daughter Lily was going to graduate from upper school soon and, seeing as how I had helped Lily learn her letters when she was in grammar school, would I care to attend the graduation ceremony? You know who Lily is, don’t you?”

"莱勒克夫人在大厅里遇到我.她说她女儿莉丽就要从中学毕业了,因为我在她上小学的时候帮她学过字母, 问我是否愿意去参加她的毕业典礼?你知道莉丽是谁,对吧?"


“Yes. I know who she is,” I said shortly.

"对.我知道她是谁,"我简略地说.


I was thinking that Victor had been to see Lily Lilac on every occasion that the Headmaster would allow. She was fairhaired and fine boned, with a breezy, insincere manner I found exasperating.

我想起只要校长允许,维克托一有机会就去见莉丽.莱勒克.她有着漂亮的头发和身材,还有另我讨厌的傲慢和虚伪的态度.


Her father owned the fish cannery, and was counted as being one of the more influential people, among the working class, in town. Lily owned her own outboard motor, and she went boating on every possible occasion.

她的父亲拥有一家鱼罐头厂,在镇上工人阶级中算得上是一个很有影响里的人.莉丽有自己的马达船,只要一有机会就出海.


From time to time I had seen Victor watching Lily Lilac from the sea cliff. He would stand among the rocks with a telescope, and watch her fly by, her boat bouncing along the waters of the bay, her blond hair bouncing in the wind. She was always with a different boy each time. She seemed to be able to do what she liked, and go where she liked, when she liked. I do not recall hating any other living being so fiercely.

有时我看到维克托从海崖上看莉丽.莱勒克.他拿着望远镜站在石头上,看她经过,看她的船在海湾中飘荡,看她棕色的头发在风中飞扬.她每次都和一个不同的男孩在一起.她看上去可以作一切她想作的事, 去任何她想去的地方, 只要她喜欢.我从没有这么强烈地恨过其他人.


“I know her,” I said with a sniff. “So you’ve been invited to a graduation. I doubt Headmaster will allow you off the grounds.”I remember I was being fiercely loyal to Headmaster Boggin in those days, and thought he could do no wrong.

"我知道她,"我轻蔑地说."所以你被邀请去参加毕业典礼.我怀疑校长不会允许你离开这里."记得在那些日子里我万分地忠于伯金校长,并认为他没有做错事.

Victor favored me with another one of his withering glances.

维克托又给了我一个讽刺的斜视.

“What?” I said. “What?”

"怎么?"我说."怎么了?"


“Logic. How young do you think a person has to be to not know her letters and numbers? And I must have been old enough to know mine. Let’s assume I was unduly precocious,and she was unduly slow.”

"逻辑.你觉得一个人还不认识字母和数字的时候有多大?我肯定足够大,已经认识了.让我们假设我过度地早熟, 而她过度晚熟."


“Yes, let’s do,” I said, perhaps with a note of venom in my voice.

"好的, 就着样做,"我说,我的声音也许中带着怨毒的音符.


“I could have been what, three? Have you ever heard a child know his letters at two? How late could she live and not know her letters? Let’s say five. She would be nineteen when she graduated. If she skipped a grade, eighteen. That makes me how old now?”
“Fifteen.”

"我那时多大, 三岁?你曾听说过有个孩子在两岁就认识字母了吗?她多大了还不认识字母?就算五岁吧.那她毕业的时候就是十九岁.如果她跳了一级,就是十八岁.那样的话我现在多大?"


“But suppose the numbers were reversed. What if I had been around five when I taught a two- or three-year-old? How old does that make me?”

"但是假设数字颠倒了.如果我在大约五岁的时候教一个两到三岁的孩子会怎样?那样我是几岁?"


I said, “If you were twenty-and-one, you’d be an adult. They would have let you out of here. They’d have let you out three years ago.”

我说,"如果你是二十一岁,你就是成年人了.他们就会让里离开这里.他们三年前就应该让你离开."


“Would they have?”
“Why would they keep you?”
“Perhaps they get money from the trust for my upkeep. Who knows?”
“But how could they tell such a lie, and not get caught?”
“Who is to catch them? The townspeople are afraid of the Headmaster.”

"他们会吗?"

"他们为什么要留住你?"

"也许他们照看我以从托管人那里得到钱,谁知道?"

"但是他们怎么能说这样一个谎话, 那样不会被捕吗?"

"谁去抓他们?镇上的人都害怕校长."


The idea that anyone could be “afraid” of the kindly old headmaster, with his gentle smile and mild humor, was beyond belief. Had it been anyone other than Victor, I would have laughed aloud.

认为所有人都"害怕"和蔼的校长,那个有温和笑容和适度幽默的校长,的想法是难以另人置信的.如果说这话的是除了维克托的任何人,我都会哈哈大笑的.


But I didn’t laugh. “Someone would tell. They can’t just go on keeping us here forever.”

但是我没有笑."总有人会说.他们不能永远留住我们."


“Who is to tell?” he said. “Who will question their statements?Suppose they say I am fifteen. Don’t I look it? Who questions them? Who doubts them? Who is skeptical enough to go to the trouble to check?”

"谁会说?"他说."谁会质疑他们的声明?假设他们说我是十五岁.我看上去不像吗?谁质疑他们?谁怀疑他们?哪个好怀疑的人会自找麻烦去检查?"


At that moment, a timer on the instrument bleeped.Victor leaned in and looked at the eyepiece. He clicked the red button with his thumb. A moment later the LED readout lit up. 3.3214 . . .

就在这个时候,仪器上的一个记时器响了起来.维克托弯下腰对着目镜看.他用拇指按下了红色按钮.一会儿过后,LED显示屏亮了起来. 3.3214....

He said grimly, “The difference between the reading now and the reading at dusk is merely the angular momentum of the turning of the Earth. Light shot forward, tangentially to the turn, has the velocity of the Earth added, and travels faster. Light shot at a right angle, away from the axis, has no velocity added, and is slower. If we wait till dawn, the component of Earth’s rotation will be subtracted, and the velocity will be slower yet.”

他冷冷地说,"现在读到的和傍晚时读到的差距不过是地球自转的角动量.光直线照射,不受自转影响,由于地球附加的速率,传播的更快.光照程一个直角,远离地轴,没有附加速率,就会传播的更慢.如果我们等到黎明,地球自转的那部分将会减去,速率又会变得慢下来."


“There must be a mistake,” I said slowly. “The instrument must be off.”

"这一定是错了,"我慢慢地说,"机器肯定是关了."

“Is that the most reasonable explanation?”

"那是最合理的解释吗?"


He turned and squinted. The light in the boys’ bathroom off the dormitory was flickering off and on, off and on. That was the signal that Mr. Glum had been seen leaving his little house on the back grounds, no doubt to pull a surprise inspection of the boys’ dorm.

他转过身眯着眼睛看.男生浴室的灯灭了,宿舍的灯一开一关地闪烁着.那是发现格罗姆先生离开他后院的小屋的信号,无疑是去对男生宿舍作突然检查.


There was no light in the girls’ bathroom. Either Mrs. Wren had not stirred and the girls’ dorm was safe, or else Vanity had fallen asleep at her post.

女生浴室里没有光.要么是瑞文女士没有行动,女生宿舍是安全的,要么是瓦妮特在她的"岗位上"睡着了.


Victor stood. “I must run. Don’t let the equipment get damaged when you carry it back down the rocks.”
“Yes, master,” I said sarcastically. But he did not hear me, because he was already jogging down-slope.
Now I was alone, in the cold, with no one but the moon to look after me.

维克托站起来."我得跑了.你从石头上把仪器拿下来的时候别把它弄坏了."

"是,主人,"我讽刺地回答.但是他没有听到,因为他已经跑下山坡了.


Well, there was no need to delay. I started doing, in my mind,that trick I had learned that made all burdens seem lighter than they were when I hoisted them, and I put my hands out toward the instrument.

好吧,没有必要耽搁了.我开始作事,在我的记忆里,我学会了一种诀窍,它能让我提起重物时看上去比实际上要轻,然后我把手伸像仪器.


I was thinking: it was impossible.

我突然想到:这不可能.


The angular momentum of the Earth’s rotation was so small a fraction of the speed of light, I know, that no possible instrument could detect a difference; and surely not a difference of nearly half a second over the (relatively) short distance between Earth and Moon. To be a valid experiment, the second reading would have to be taken half a month later, not half a day later,so that the velocity component added would have been that of the Earth’s motion around the sun.

地球自转的角动量只是光速的很小一部分,我知道,不可能有仪器能检测到一个差值;光在地球与月亮之间传播的时间差不多半秒,这么(相对)短的距离也肯定不会产生一个差值.要作一个有效的实验,第二次读数的时间必须在半个月以后,而不是半天以后,因此增加的分速度应该是由于地球绕太阳旋转的带来的.


So, instead of lifting the instrument just yet, I put my eye to the eyepiece, made sure the instrument was still centered on the same crater of the moon as it had been at dusk, reached, and hit the red switch.

所以,我没有立刻拿起仪器,而是把我的眼睛对向了目镜,确认仪器仍然对准了黄昏时瞄准的月球上的一个陨石坑,伸出手,然后按下了红色按钮.


The dish hummed as a radar beam was sent out, bounced off the moon, came back.
The LED readout lit up. 2.8955.

圆盘发出嗡嗡声并发出雷达波束,被月球反弹,然后返回.

LED屏幕亮了.2.8955


I had little trouble getting the tripod folded and the instrument case packed up, and getting the whole thing hidden under the bushes, where Victor would sneak them back into the lab in the morning, while he had cleanup duty.

我有一点费力地将三脚架折叠起来,并把仪器打包,然后把它们一起藏在灌木从下面,维克托会在明天早上清理它们之后再偷偷带回实验室.


But I had a great deal of trouble falling asleep that night.
Surely it was just a quirky reading from a misaligned instrument,right?

但是那天晚上我始终难以入睡.

当然,那只是一个没有调准的仪器上的一个诡异读数,难道不是吗?


Either that, or the speed of light acted differently when I was watching it than it did when Victor was watching it. Which is impossible, isn’t it? That is not what the Theory of Relativity means. Our notions of reality can change as we learn more; but reality itself, the great unknown, cannot change.But if reality was unknown, how did I know it could not change?

或者,光的速度在我看的时候和维克托看的时候不同.这不可能,不是吗?相对论理论不是这个意思.当我们学习到更多知识的时候,我们对于真相的观点会改变;但是真相本身,那伟大的未知,不会变.但是如果真相是未知的,我又怎么知道它不会改变.


I had a dream about the ship again that night. The man holding me overboard, holding a sword to my throat, was Dr. Fell.

那天晚上我又作了那个关于船的梦.那个拖着我上船,在我喉上架着剑的人,是费尔医生.


TAG: 小说翻译

 

评分:0

我来说两句

显示全部

:loveliness: :handshake :victory: :funk: :time: :kiss: :call: :hug: :lol :'( :Q :L ;P :$ :P :o :@ :D :( :)

日历

« 2019-07-15  
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

数据统计

  • 访问量: 4710
  • 日志数: 24
  • 建立时间: 2008-06-11
  • 更新时间: 2008-11-17

RSS订阅

Open Toolbar