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作者:admin  发表时间:2019-4-9

Preface to “Call to Arms” (December 3, 1922)

                                                                   杨宪益&戴乃迭 译

When I was young I, too, had many dreams.
Most of them came to be forgotten, but I see nothing in this to regret.
For although recalling the past may make you happy, it may sometimes also make you lonely, and there is no point in clinging in spirit to lonely bygone days.
However, my trouble is that I cannot forget completely, and these stories have resulted from what I have been unable to erase from my memory.
For more than four years I used to go, almost daily, to a pawnbroker’s and to a medicine shop.
I cannot remember how old I was then; but the counter in the medicine shop was the same height as I, and that in the pawnbroker’s twice my height.
I used to hand clothes and trinkets up to the counter twice my height, take the money proffered with contempt, then go to the counter the same height as I to buy medicine for my father who had long been ill.
On my return home I had other things to keep me busy, for since the physician who made out the prescriptions was very well-known, he used unusual drugs: aloe root dug up in winter, sugar-cane that had been three years exposed to frost, twin crickets, and ardisia . . . all of which were difficult to procure.
But my father’s illness went from bad to worse until he died.
I believe those who sink from prosperity to poverty will probably come, in the process, to understand what the world is really like.
I wanted to go to the K—— school in N——1 perhaps because I was in search of a change of scene and faces.
There was nothing for my mother to do but to raise eight dollars for my traveling expenses, and say I might do as I pleased.
That she cried was only natural, for at that time the proper thing was to study the classics and take the official examinations.
Anyone who studied “foreign subjects” was looked down upon as a fellow good for nothing, who, out of desperation, was forced to sell his soul to foreign devils.
Besides, she was sorry to part with me.
But in spite of that, I went to N—— and entered the K—— school; and it was there that I heard for the first time the names of such subjects as natural science, arithmetic, geography, history, drawing and physical training.
They had no physiology course, but we saw woodblock editions of such works as A New Course on the Human Body and Essays on Chemistry and Hygiene.
Recalling the talk and prescriptions of physicians I had known and comparing them with what I now knew, I came to the conclusion those physicians must be either unwitting or deliberate charlatans; and I began to sympathize with the invalids and families who suffered at their hands.
From translated histories I also learned that the Japanese Reformation had originated, to a great extent, with the introduction of Western medical science to Japan.
These inklings took me to a provincial medical college in Japan.
I dreamed a beautiful dream that on my return to China I would cure patients like my father, who had been wrongly treated, while if war broke out I would serve as an army doctor, at the same time strengthening my countrymen’s faith in reformation.
I do not know what advanced methods are now used to reach microbiology, but at that time lantern slides were used to show the microbes;
and if the lecture ended early, the instructor might show slides of natural scenery or news to fill up the time.
This was during the Russo-Japanese War, so there were many war films, and I had to join in the clapping and cheering in the lecture hall along with the other students.
It was a long time since I had seen any compatriots, but one day I saw a film showing some Chinese, one of whom was bound, while many others stood around him.
They were all strong fellows but appeared completely apathetic.
Before the term was over I had left for Tokyo, because after this film I felt that medical science was not so important after all.

The people of a weak and backward country, however strong and healthy they may be, can only serve to be made examples of, or to witness such futile spectacles; and it doesn’t really matter how many of them die of illness.

来源:译路通  日期:2018年12月4日



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