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E.B.怀特致其兄 Stanley Hart White 的一封信   

2013-12-01 08:54:56|  分类: 杂拌儿 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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E.B.怀特的散文名篇《再到湖上》写的是重返其少时与全家一再去过的一处湖边营地。怀特这封写给兄长的一封信可以与《再到湖上》参照阅读。


To Stanley Hart White
Thurdsday
Bert Mosher's
Belgrade Lakes, Maine
[1936?]

Dear Stan,

 I returned to Belgrade. Things haven't changed much. There's a train called the Bar Harbor Express, and Portland is foggy early in the morning, and the Pullman blankets are brown and thin and cold. But when you look out of the window in the diner, steam is rising from pastures and the sun is out, and pretty soon the train is skirting a blue lake called Messalonski. Things don't change much. Even the names, you still hear them: names like Caswell, Bartlett, names like Bickford, Walter Gleason, Damren. Gram lives alone in the chowder house, down by the lake, brooding on days before the farm burnt, hanging draperies the Count sends her from abroad. The lake hangs clear and still at dawn, and the sound of a cowbell comes softly from a faraway woodlot. In the shallows along shore the pebbles and driftwood show clear and smooth on bottom, and black water bugs dart, spreading a wake and a shadow. A fish rises quickly in the lily pads with a little plop, and a broad ring widens to eternity. The water in the basin is icy before breakfast, and cuts sharply into your nose and ears and makes your face blue as you wash. But the boards of the dock are already hot in the sun, and there are doughnuts for breakfast and the smell is there, the faintly rancid smell that hangs around Maine kitchens. Sometimes there is little wind all day, and on still hot afternoons the sound of a motorboat comes drifting five miles from the other shore, and the droning lake becomes articulate, like a hot field. A crow calls, fearfully and far. If a night breeze springs up, you are aware of a restless noise along the shore, and for a few minutes before you fall asleep you hear the intimate talk between fresh-water waves and rocks that lie below bending birches. The insides of your camp are hung with pictures cut from magazines, and the camp smells of lumber and damp. Things don't change much. Meadow stream has a beginning in the pickerel weeds. If you push along quietly, a blue heron will rise with a heavy squawk and a flap. The ends of logs that jut out are covered with the dung of little animals that come there to eat fresh mussels and wash their paws at the stream-side. Over at the Mills there's a frog box, sunk half in the water. People come there in boats and by bait. You buy a drink of Birch Beer at Bean's tackle store. Big bass swim lazily in the deep water at the end of the wharf, well fed. Long lean guide boats kick white water in the stern till they such under. There are still one cylinder engines that don't go. Maybe it's the needle valve. At twilight, cows come hesitantly down the little woods roads behind the camps to steal a drink in the cove. They belong to a man named Withers. Withers' cows. Pasture bars are cedar, stripped of bark, weathered grey. On rainy days swallows come and dip water, and the camps are cold. When the wind swings into the north, the blow comes. It comes suddenly, and you know a change has come over things, instinctively. Next day you will see a little maple, flaming red, all alone in a bog. It's cold and fearsome by the lake. The wind still holds strong into the second morning, and white caps are as thick as whiskers. When you get back on the road, away from the lake, the road lies warm and yellow, and you hear the wind fussing in the treetops behind you and you don't care. The rocks in the stream behind the Salmon Lake House are colored red and colored green, where the boats have scraped them under water. The clothesline behind Walter Gleason’s house is flapping with white wash…There's a house on a hill where a lady that used to keep cats. Along the road the apples are little and yellow and sweet. Puddles dry in the sun, and the mud cakes, and yellow butterflies diddle in the new mud. Cow trails lead up slopes through juniper beds and thistles and grey rocks, and below you the lake hangs blue and clear, and you see the islands plain. Sometimes a farm dog barks. Yes, sir, I returned to Belgrade, and things don't change much. I thought somebody ought to know.
                                                                        
En

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