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文学作品汉译:The School for Sympathy

2014-11-06    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

文学作品汉译:Edward Verrall Lucas - The School for Sympathy

文学作品汉译:请欣赏爱德华·凡尔拉尔·卢卡斯作品《The School for Sympathy》

The School for Sympathy

Edward Verrall Lucas

I had heard a great deal about Miss Beam's school, but not till last week did the chance come to visit it.

The cabman drew up at a gate in an old wall, about a mile out of the town. I noticed as I was waiting for him to give me change that the Cathedral spire was visible down the road. I rang the bell, the gate automatically opened, and I found myself in a pleasant garden facing a square, red, ample, Georgian house, with the thick white window-frames that to my eyes always suggest warmth and welcome and stability. There was no one in sight but a girl of about twelve, with her eyes covered with a bandage, who was being led carefully between the flower-beds by a little boy of some four years her junior. She stopped, and evidently asked who it was that had come in, and he seemed to be describing me to her. Then they passed on, and I entered the door which a smiling parlour-maid — that I had expected — that pretty sight! — was holding open for me.

Miss Beam was all that I had expected - middle-aged, authoritative, kindly, and understanding. Her hair was beginning to turn grey, and her figure had a fullness likely to be comforting to a homesick child.

We talked idly for a little while, and then I asked her some questions as to her scholastic methods, which I had heard were simple.

“Well,” she said, “we don’t as a matter of fact do much teaching here. The children that come to me — small girls and smaller boys — have very few formal lessons: no more than is needful to get application into them, and those only of the simplest — spelling, adding, subtracting, multiplying, writing. The rest is done by reading to them and by illustrated discourses, during which they have to sit still and keep their hands quiet. Practically there are no other lessons at all.”

“But I have heard so much,” I said, “about the originality of your system.”

Miss Beam smiled. “Ah, yes,” she said. “I am coming to that. The real aim of this school is not so much to instil thought as thoughtfulness — humanity, citizenship. That is the ideal I have always had, and happily there are parents good enough to trust me to try and put it into execution. Look out of the window a minute, will you ?”

I went to the window, which commanded a large garden and playground at the back.

“What do you see ?” Miss Beam asked. “I see some very beautiful grounds,” I said, “and a lot of jolly children; but what perplexes me, and pains me too, is to notice that they are not all as healthy and active as I should wish. As I came in I saw one poor little thing being led about owing to some trouble with her eyes, and now I can see two more in the same plight; while there is a girl with a crutch just under the window watching the others at play. She seems to be a hopeless cripple."

Miss Beam laughed. “Oh, no,” she said; “she’s not lame, really; this is only her lame day. Nor are those others blind; it is only their blind day.” I must have looked very much astonished, for she laughed again. “There you have an essential part of our system in a nutshell. In order to get a real appreciation and understanding of misfortune into these young minds we make them participants in misfortune too. In the course of the term every child has one blind day, one lame day, one deaf day, one maimed day, one dumb day. During the blind day their eyes are bandaged absolutely, and it is a point of honour not to peep. The bandage is put on overnight; they wake blind. This means that they need assistance in everything, and other children are told off to help them and lead them about. It is educative to both of them — the blind and the helpers.”

“There is no privation about it,” Miss Beam continued. “Everyone is very kind, and it is really something of a joke, although, of course, before the day is over the reality of the affliction must be apparent even to the least thoughtful. The blind day is, of course, really the worst,” she went on, “but some of the children tell me that the dumb day is the most dreaded. There, of course, the child must exercise will-power only, for the mouth is not bandaged.... But come down into the garden and see for yourself how the children like it.”

Miss Beam led me to one of the bandaged girls, a little merry thing, whose eyes under the folds were, I felt sure, as black as ash-buds. “Here’s a gentleman come to talk to you,” said Miss Beam, and left us.

“Don’t you ever peep?” I asked, by way of an opening.

“Oh, no,” she exclaimed; “that would be cheating. But I’d no idea it was so awful to be blind. You can’t see a thing. One feels one is going to be hit by something every moment. Sitting down’s such a relief.”

“Are your guides kind to you ?” I asked.

“Pretty good. Not so careful as I shall be when it’s my turn. Those that have been blind already are the best. It’s perfectly ghastly not to see. I wish you’d try !”

“Shall I lead you anywhere?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” she said; “let’s go for a little walk. Only you must tell me about things. I shall be so glad when today’s over. The other bad days can’t be half as bad as this. Having a leg tied up and hopping about on a crutch is almost fun, I guess. Having an arm tied up is a little more troublesome, because you have to get your food cut up for you, and so on; but it doesn’t really matter. And as for being deaf for a day, I shan’t mind that — at least, not much. But being blind is so frightening. My head aches all the time, just from dodging things that probably aren’t there. Where are we now?”

“In the playground.” I said, “going towards the house. Miss Beam is walking up and down the terrace with a tall girl.”

“What has the girl got on?” my companion asked.

“A blue serge skirt and pink blouse.”

“I think it’s Millie. She said. “What colour’s her hair?”

“Very light,” I said.

“Yes, that’s Millie. She’s the head girl. She’s awfully decent.”

“There’s an old man tying up roses,” I said.

“Yes, that’s Peter. He’s the gardener. He’s hundreds of years old!”

“And here comes a dark girl in red, on crutches.”

“Yes,” she said; “that’s Beryl.”

And so we walked on, and in steering this little thing about I discovered that I was then times more thoughtful already than I had any notion of, and also that the necessity of describing the surroundings to another makes them more interesting.

When Miss Bean came to release me I was quite sorry to go, and said so.

“Ah!” she replied; “then there is something in my system after all!”

I walked back to the town murmuring (inaccurately as ever) the lines: —

Can I see another’s woe
And not share their sorrow too?
O no, never can it be,
Never, never, can it be.

译文见第二页



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