最後一片葉子

最後一片葉子

《最後一片葉子》,又譯《最後的常春藤葉》,主人公是瓊珊、蘇艾、貝爾曼。文中作者著力挖掘和讚美小人物的偉大人格和高尚品德,展示他們嚮往人性世界的美好願望。最後一片葉子”的故事,著實讓我們為瓊珊的命運緊張了一番,為蘇艾的友誼感嘆了一回,為貝爾曼的無私震撼了一次。作者通過對窮苦朋友間友誼的描寫,刻畫出一個捨己為人的以自己生命為代價創造真正杰作的畫家形象,謳歌了以貝爾曼為代表的普通人的高尚,體現了人們通過自己的深思而得到的重生。

基本信息

作者簡介

生平

歐亨利歐亨利
1862年9月11日,美國最著名的短篇小說家之——歐·亨利(O.Henry)出生於美國北卡羅來納州有個名叫格林斯波羅的小鎮。曾被評論界譽為曼哈頓桂冠散文作家和美國現代短篇小說之父。1862年他出身於美國北卡羅來納州格林斯波羅鎮一個醫師家庭。父親是醫生。他原名威廉·西德尼·波特(William Sydney Porter)。他所受教育不多,15歲便開始在藥房當學徒,20歲時由於健康原因去德克薩斯州的一個牧場當了兩年牧牛人,積累了對西部生活的親身經驗。1884年以後做過會計員、土地局辦事員、新聞記者。此後,他在德克薩斯做過不同的工作,包括在奧斯汀銀行當出納員。他還辦過一份名為《滾石》的幽默周刊,並在休斯敦一家日報上發表幽默小說和趣聞逸事。1887年,亨利結婚並生了一個女兒。 正當他的生活頗為安定之時,卻發生了一件改變他命運的事情。1896年,奧斯汀銀行指控他在任職期間盜用資金。他為了躲避受審,逃往宏都拉斯。1897年,後因回家探視病危的妻子被捕入獄,判處5年徒刑。在獄中曾擔任藥劑師,他創作第一部作品的起因是為了給女兒買聖誕禮物,但基於犯人的身份不敢使用真名,乃用一部法國藥典的編者的名字作為筆名,在《麥克呂爾》雜誌發表。1901年,因“行為良好”提前獲釋,來到紐約專事寫作。 正當他的創作力最旺盛的時候,健康狀況卻開始惡化,於1910年病逝。

歐·亨利在大概十年的時間內創作了短篇小說共有300多篇,收入《白菜與國王》(1904)[其唯一一部長篇,作者通過四五條並行的線索,試圖描繪出一幅廣闊的畫面,在寫法上有它的別致之處。不過從另一方面看,小說章與章之間的內在聯繫不夠緊密,各有獨立的內容]、《四百萬》(1906)、《西部之心》(1907)、《市聲》(1908)、《滾石》(1913)等集子,其中以描寫紐約曼哈頓市民生活的作品為最著名。他把那兒的街道、小飯館、破舊的公寓的氣氛渲染得十分逼真,故有“曼哈頓的桂冠詩人”之稱。他曾以騙子的生活為題材,寫了不少短篇小說。作者企圖表明道貌岸然的上流社會裡,有不少人就是高級的騙子,成功的騙子。歐·亨利對社會與人生的觀察和分析並不深刻,有些作品比較淺薄,但他一生困頓,常與失意落魄的小人物同甘共苦,又能以別出心裁的藝術手法表現他們複雜的感情。他的作品構思新穎,語言詼諧,結局常常出人意外;又因描寫了眾多的人物,富於生活情趣,被譽為“美國生活的幽默百科全書”。因此,他最出色的短篇小說如《愛的犧牲》(A Service of Love)、《警察與讚美詩》(The Cop and the Anthem)、《帶家具出租的房間》(The Furnished Room)、《麥琪的禮物》(The Gift of the Magi)、《最後的常春藤葉》(The Last Leaf)等都可列入世界優秀短篇小說之中。

他的文字生動活潑,善於利用雙關語、訛音、諧音和舊典新意,妙趣橫生,被喻為[含淚的微笑]。他還以準確的細節描寫,製造與再現氣氛,特別是大都會夜生活的氣氛。

手法

歐·亨利還以擅長結尾聞名遐邇,美國文學界稱之為“歐·亨利式的結尾”他善於戲劇性地設計情節,埋下伏筆,作好鋪墊,勾勒矛盾,最後在結尾處突然讓人物的心理情境發生出人意料的變化,或使主人公命運陡然逆轉,使讀者感到豁然開朗,柳暗花明,既在意料之外,又在情理之中,不禁拍案稱奇,從而造成獨特的藝術魅力。有一種被稱為“含淚的微笑”的獨特藝術風格。歐·亨利把小說的靈魂全都凝聚在結尾部分,讓讀者在前的似乎是平淡無奇的而又是詼諧風趣的娓娓動聽的描述中,不知不覺地進入作者精心設定的迷宮,直到最後,忽如電光一閃,才照亮了先前隱藏著的一切,仿佛在和讀者捉迷藏,或者在玩弄障眼法,給讀者最後一個驚喜。在歐·亨利之前,其他短篇小說家也已經這樣嘗試過這種出乎意料的結局。但是歐·亨利對此運用得更為經常,更為自然,也更為純熟老到。

內容簡介

窮畫家瓊珊得了重病,在病房裡看著窗外對面樹上的常春藤葉子不斷被風吹落,她認為最後一片葉子的凋謝代表自己的死亡,於是她失去了生存的意志。醫生認為再這樣下去瓊珊會死去。貝爾曼,一個偉大的畫家,在聽完蘇艾講述室友瓊珊的事情後,夜裡冒著暴雨,用心靈的畫筆畫出了一片“永不凋落”的常春藤葉,讓瓊珊重拾對生命的希望,而自己卻因此患上肺炎,去世了。

作品原文

中文原文

在華盛頓廣場西面的一個小區里,街道仿佛發了狂似的分成了許多叫做“巷子”的小胡同。這些“巷子”形成許多奇特的角度和曲線。一條街有時就和自己交叉了不止一次。有一次一個畫家發現這條街的一個可貴之處。要是有個收賬的,來這條街收顏料、紙張和畫布的賬款,他準會在轉得暈頭轉向的時候,突然遇到一毛錢也沒收到的自己!

所以,不久之後不少畫家就摸索到這個古色古香的老格林尼治村來了。他們逛來逛去,尋求朝北的窗戶、18世紀的三角牆、荷蘭式的閣樓,以及低廉的房租。然後,他們又從第六街買來一些鑞杯子和一兩隻烘鍋,組成了一個“藝術區”。

蘇艾和瓊茜在一座矮墩墩的的三層樓磚屋的頂樓設立了她們的畫室。“瓊茜”是喬安娜的暱稱。她倆一個來自緬因州,一個是加利福尼亞州人。她們是在德爾蒙戈飯館吃客飯時碰到的,彼此一談,發現她們對藝術、飲食、衣著的口味十分相投,結果便聯合租下了那間畫室。

那是5月里的事。到了11月,一個冷酷的、肉眼看不見的、醫生們叫做“肺炎”的不速之客,在藝術區里悄悄地遊蕩,用他冰冷的手指頭這裡碰一下那裡碰一下。在廣場東頭,這個破壞者明目張胆地踏著大步,一下子就擊倒幾十個受害者,可是在迷宮一樣、狹窄而鋪滿青的“胡同”里,他的步伐就慢了下來。

肺炎先生不是一個你們心目中行俠仗義的老紳士。一個身子單薄,被加利福尼亞州的西風颳得沒有血色的弱女子,本來不應該是這個有著紅拳頭的、呼吸急促的老傢伙打擊的對象。然而,瓊茜卻遭到了打擊;她躺在一張油漆過的鐵床上,一動也不動,凝望著小小的荷蘭式玻璃窗外對面磚房的空牆。

一天早晨,那個忙碌的醫生揚了揚他那毛茸茸的灰白色眉毛,把蘇艾叫到外邊的走廊上。

“我看,她的病只有一成希望,”他說,一面把體溫表里的水銀甩下去,“這一成希望在於她自己要不要活下去。人們不想活,情願照顧殯儀館的生意,這種精神狀態使醫藥一籌莫展。你的這位小姐滿肚子以為自己不會好了。她有什麼心事嗎?”

“她——她希望有一天能夠去畫那不勒斯海灣。”蘇艾說。

“繪畫?——別瞎扯了!她心裡有沒有值得想兩次的事情。比如說,

男人?”

“男人?”蘇艾像吹口琴似的扯著嗓子說,“男人難道值得... ...不,醫生,沒有這樣的事。”

“能達到的全部力量去治療她。可要是我的病人開始算計會有多少輛馬車送她出喪,我就得把治療的效果減掉百分之五十。只要你能想法讓她對冬季大衣袖子的時新式樣感到興趣而提出一兩個問題,那我可以向你保證把醫好她的機會從十分之一提高到五分之一。”醫生走後,蘇艾走進工作室里,把一條日本餐巾哭成一團濕。後來她手裡拿著畫板,裝做精神抖擻的樣子走進瓊茜的屋子,嘴裡吹著爵士音樂調子。

瓊西躺著,臉朝著視窗,被子底下的身體紋絲不動。蘇艾以為她睡著了,趕忙停止吹口哨。

她架好畫板,開始給雜誌里的故事畫一張鋼筆插圖。年輕的畫家為了鋪平通向藝術的道路,不得不給雜誌里的故事畫插圖,而這些故事又是年輕的作家為了鋪平通向文學的道路而不得不寫的。

蘇艾正在給故事主人公,一個愛達荷州牧人的身上,畫上一條馬匹展覽會穿的時髦馬褲和一片單眼鏡時,忽然聽到一個重複了幾次的低微的聲音。她快步走到床邊。

瓊茜的眼睛睜得很大。她望著窗外,數著……倒過來數。

“十二,”她數道,歇了一會又說,“十一”,然後是“十”,和“九”,接著幾乎同時數著“八”和“七”。

蘇艾關切地看了看窗外。那兒有什麼可數的呢?只見一個空蕩陰暗的院子,20英尺以外還有一所磚房的空牆。一棵老極了的常春藤,枯萎的根糾結在一塊,枝幹攀在磚牆的半腰上。秋天的寒風把藤上的葉子差不多全都吹掉了,幾乎只有光禿的枝條還纏附在剝落的磚塊上。

“什麼,親愛的?”蘇艾問道。

“六,”瓊茜幾乎用耳語低聲說道,“它們現在越落越快了。三天前還有差不多一百片。我數得頭都疼了。但是現在好數了。又掉了一片。只剩下五片了。”

“五片什麼,親愛的。告訴你的蘇艾。”

“葉子。常春藤上的。等到最後一片葉子掉下來,我也就該去了。這件事我三天前就知道了。難道醫生沒有告訴你?”

“喲,我從來沒聽過這么荒唐的話,”蘇艾滿不在乎地說,“那些破常春藤葉子同你的病有什麼相干?你以前不是很喜歡這棵樹嗎?得啦,你這個淘氣的姑娘。不要說傻話了。瞧,醫生今天早晨還告訴我,說你迅速痊癒的機會是,讓我想想他是怎么說的---他說你好的幾率有十比一!噢,那簡直和我們在紐約坐電車或者走過一座新樓房的把握一樣大。喝點湯吧,讓蘇艾去畫她的畫,好把它賣給編輯先生,換了錢來給她的病孩子買點紅葡萄酒,再買些豬排給自己解解饞。”

“你不用買酒了,”瓊茜的眼睛直盯著窗外說道,“又落了一片。不,我不想喝湯。只剩下四片了。我想在天黑以前等著看那最後一片葉子掉下去。然後我也要去了。”

“瓊茜,親愛的,”蘇艾俯著身子對她說,“等我畫完行嗎?明天我一定得交出這些插圖。我需要光線,否則我就拉下窗簾了。”

“你就不能到另一間屋子裡去畫嗎?”瓊茜冷冷地問道。

“我要在這兒陪你,和你在一起,”蘇艾說,“再說,我不喜歡你老是盯著那些葉子看。”

“你一畫完就叫我,”瓊茜說著,便閉上了眼睛。她臉色蒼白,一動不動地躺在床上,就像是座橫倒在地上的雕像。“因為我想看那最後一片葉子掉下來,我等得不耐煩了,也想得不耐煩了。我想擺脫一切,飄下去,飄下去,像一片可憐的疲倦了的葉子那樣。”

“你爭取睡一會兒,”蘇艾說道,“我得下樓把貝爾曼叫上來,給我當那個隱居的老礦工的模特兒。我一會兒就會回來的。你不要動,等我回來。”

老貝爾曼是住在她們這座樓房底層的一個畫家。他年過60,有一把像米開朗琪羅的摩西雕像那樣的大鬍子,這鬍子長在一個像半人半獸的森林之神的頭顱上,又鬈曲地飄拂在小鬼似的身軀上。貝爾曼是個失敗的畫家。他操了四十年的畫筆,還遠沒有摸著藝術女神的衣裙。他老是說就要畫他的那幅傑作了,可是直到現在他還沒有動筆。幾年來,他除了偶爾畫點商業廣告之類的玩意兒以外,什麼也沒有畫過。他給藝術區里窮得雇不起職業模特兒的年輕畫家們當模特兒,掙一點錢。他喝酒毫無節制,還時常提起他要畫的那幅傑作。除此以外,他是一個火氣十足的小老頭子,十分瞧不起別人的溫情,卻認為自己是專門保護樓上畫室里那兩個年輕女畫家的一隻看家犬。

蘇艾在樓下他那間光線黯淡的斗室里找到了貝爾曼,滿嘴酒氣撲鼻。一幅空白的畫布繃在個畫架上,擺在屋角里,等待那幅傑作已經25年了,可是連一根線條都還沒等著。蘇艾把瓊茜的胡思亂想告訴了他,還說她害怕瓊珊自個兒瘦小柔弱得像一片葉子一樣,對這個世界的留戀越來越微弱,恐怕真會離世飄走了。

老貝爾曼兩隻發紅的眼睛顯然在迎風流淚,他十分輕蔑地嗤笑這種傻呆的胡思亂想。

“什麼,”他喊道,“世界上竟會有人蠢到因為那些該死的常春藤葉子落掉就想死?我從來沒有聽說過這種怪事。不,我才沒功夫給你那隱居的礦工糊塗蟲當模特兒呢。你怎么可以讓她胡思亂想?唉,可憐的瓊珊小姐。”

“她病得很厲害很虛弱,”蘇艾說,“發高燒發得她神經昏亂,滿腦子都是古怪想法。好吧,貝爾曼先生,你不願意給我當模特兒就算了,我看你是個討厭的老... ...老囉唆鬼。”

“你簡直太婆婆媽媽了!”貝爾曼喊道,“誰說我不願意當模特兒?走,我和你一塊去。我不是講了半天願意給你當模特兒嗎?老天爺,像瓊珊小姐這么好的姑娘真不應該躺在這種地方生病。總有一天我要畫一幅傑作,那時我們就可以都搬出去了。“

“一定的!”

他們上樓以後,瓊茜正睡著覺。蘇艾把窗簾拉下,一直遮住窗台,做手勢叫貝爾曼到隔壁屋子裡去。他們在那裡提心弔膽地瞅著窗外那棵常春藤。後來他們默默無言,彼此對望了一會。寒冷的雨夾雜著雪花不停地下著。貝爾曼穿著他的舊藍襯衣,坐在一把翻過來充當岩石的鐵壺上,扮作隱居的礦工。

第二天早晨,蘇艾只睡了一個小時的覺,醒來了,她看見瓊茜無神的眼睛睜得大大地注視拉下的綠窗簾。

“把窗簾拉起來,我要看看。”她低聲地命令道。

蘇艾疲倦地照辦了。

然而,看呀!經過了漫長一夜的風吹雨打,在磚牆上還掛著一片藤葉。它是常春藤上最後的一片葉子了。靠近莖部仍然是深綠色,可是鋸齒形的葉子邊緣已經枯萎發黃,它傲然掛在一根離地二十多英尺的藤枝上。

“這是最後一片葉子。”瓊茜說道,“我以為它昨晚一定會落掉的。我聽見風聲了。今天它一定會落掉,我也會死的。”

“哎呀,哎呀,”蘇艾把疲乏的臉龐挨近枕頭邊上對她說,“你不肯為自己著想,也得為我想想啊。我可怎么辦呢?”

可是瓊珊不回答。當一個靈魂正在準備走上那神秘的、遙遠的死亡之途時,她是世界上最寂寞的人了。那些把她和友誼極大地聯結起來的關係逐漸消失以後,她那個狂想越來越強烈了。

白天總算過去了,甚至在暮色中她們還能看見那片孤零零的藤葉仍緊緊地依附在靠牆的枝上。後來,夜的來臨帶來呼嘯的北風,雨點不停地拍打著窗子,雨水從低垂的荷蘭式屋檐上流瀉下來。

天剛蒙蒙亮,瓊茜就毫不留情地吩咐拉起窗簾來。

那片枯藤葉仍然在那裡。

瓊茜躺著對它看了許久。然後她招呼正在煤氣爐上給她煮雞湯的蘇。

“我是一個壞女孩兒,蘇艾,”瓊茜說,“天意讓那片最後的藤葉留在那裡,證明我曾經有多么壞。想死是有罪的。你現在就給我拿點雞湯來,再拿點摻葡萄酒的牛奶來,再……不,先給我一面小鏡子,再把枕頭墊墊高,我要坐起來看你做飯。”

過了一個鐘頭,她說道:“蘇艾,我希望有一天能去畫那不勒斯的海灣。”

下午醫生來了,他走的時候,蘇艾找了個藉口跑到走廊上。

“有五成希望,”醫生一面說,一面把蘇艾細瘦的顫抖的手握在自己的手裡“好好護理,你會成功的。現在我得去看樓下另一個病人。他的名字叫貝爾曼... ...聽說也是個畫家,也是肺炎。他年紀太大,身體又弱,病勢很重。他是治不好的了,今天要把他送到醫院裡,讓他更舒服一點。”

第二天,醫生對蘇艾說:“她已經脫離危險,你成功了。現在只剩下營養和護理了。”

下午蘇艾跑到瓊茜的床前,瓊茜正躺著,安詳地編織著一條毫無用處的深藍色毛線披肩。蘇艾用一隻胳臂連枕頭帶人一把抱住了她。

“我有件事要告訴你,小傢伙,”她說,“貝爾曼先生今天在醫院裡患肺炎去世了。他只病了兩天。頭一天早晨,門房發現他在樓下自己那間房裡痛得動彈不了。他的鞋子和衣服全都濕透了,冰涼冰涼的。他們搞不清楚在那個淒風苦雨的夜晚,他究竟到哪裡去了。後來他們發現了一盞沒有熄滅的燈籠,一把挪動過地方的梯子,幾支扔得滿地的畫筆,還有一塊調色板,上面塗抹著綠色和黃色的顏料,還有,親愛的,瞧瞧窗子外面,瞧瞧牆上那最後一片藤葉。難道你沒有想過,為什麼風颳得那樣厲害,它卻從來不搖一搖、動一動呢?唉,親愛的,它就是貝爾曼的傑作——在最後一片葉子落下來的那天晚上,他把它畫在那裡的。”

英文原文

In a little district west of Washington Square the streets have run crazy and broken themselves into small strips called "places." These "places" make strange angles and curves. One Street crosses itself a time or two. An artist once discovered a valuable possibility in this street. Suppose a collector with a bill for paints, paper and canvas should, in traversing this route, suddenly meet himself coming back, without a cent having been paid on account!

So, to quaint old Greenwich Village the art people soon came prowling, hunting for north windows and eighteenth-century gables and Dutch attics and low rents. Then they imported some pewter mugs and a chafing dish or two from Sixth Avenue, and became a "colony."

At the top of a squatty, three-story brick Sue and Johnsy had their studio. "Johnsy" was familiar for Joanna. One was from Maine; the other from California. They had met at the table d'hôte of an Eighth Street "Delmonico's," and found their tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so congenial that the joint studio resulted.

That was in May. In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Over on the east side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores, but his feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and moss-grown "places."

Mr. Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman. A mite of a little woman with blood thinned by California zephyrs was hardly fair game for the red-fisted, short-breathed old duffer. But Johnsy he smote; and she lay, scarcely moving, on her painted iron bedstead, looking through the small Dutch window-panes at the blank side of the next brick house.

One morning the busy doctor invited Sue into the hallway with a shaggy, grey eyebrow.

"She has one chance in - let us say, ten," he said, as he shook down the mercury in his clinical thermometer. " And that chance is for her to want to live. This way people have of lining-u on the side of the undertaker makes the entire pharmacopoeia look silly. Your little lady has made up her mind that she's not going to get well. Has she anything on her mind?"

"She - she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples some day." said Sue.

"Paint? - bosh! Has she anything on her mind worth thinking twice - a man for instance?"

"A man?" said Sue, with a jew's-harp twang in her voice. "Is a man worth - but, no, doctor; there is nothing of the kind."

"Well, it is the weakness, then," said the doctor. "I will do all that science, so far as it may filter through my efforts, can accomplish. But whenever my patient begins to count the carriages in her funeral procession I subtract 50 per cent from the curative power of medicines. If you will get her to ask one question about the new winter styles in cloak sleeves I will promise you a one-in-five chance for her, instead of one in ten."

After the doctor had gone Sue went into the workroom and cried a Japanese napkin to a pulp. Then she swaggered into Johnsy's room with her drawing board, whistling ragtime.

Johnsy lay, scarcely making a ripple under the bedclothes, with her face toward the window. Sue stopped whistling, thinking she was asleep.

She arranged her board and began a pen-and-ink drawing to illustrate a magazine story. Young artists must pave their way to Art by drawing pictures for magazine stories that young authors write to pave their way to Literature.

As Sue was sketching a pair of elegant horseshow riding trousers and a monocle of the figure of the hero, an Idaho cowboy, she heard a low sound, several times repeated. She went quickly to the bedside.

Johnsy's eyes were open wide. She was looking out the window and counting - counting backward.

"Twelve," she said, and little later "eleven"; and then "ten," and "nine"; and then "eight" and "seven", almost together.

Sue look solicitously out of the window. What was there to count? There was only a bare, dreary yard to be seen, and the blank side of the brick house twenty feet away. An old, old ivy vine, gnarled and decayed at the roots, climbed half way up the brick wall. The cold breath of autumn had stricken its leaves from the vine until its skeleton branches clung, almost bare, to the crumbling bricks.

"What is it, dear?" asked Sue.

"Six," said Johnsy, in almost a whisper. "They're falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred. It made my head ache to count them. But now it's easy. There goes another one. There are only five left now."

"Five what, dear? Tell your Sudie."

"Leaves. On the ivy vine. When the last one falls I must go, too. I've known that for three days. Didn't the doctor tell you?"

"Oh, I never heard of such nonsense," complained Sue, with magnificent scorn. "What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well? And you used to love that vine so, you naughty girl. Don't be a goosey. Why, the doctor told me this morning that your chances for getting well real soon were - let's see exactly what he said - he said the chances were ten to one! Why, that's almost as good a chance as we have in New York when we ride on the street cars or walk past a new building. Try to take some broth now, and let Sudie go back to her drawing, so she can sell the editor man with it, and buy port wine for her sick child, and pork chops for her greedy self."

"You needn't get any more wine," said Johnsy, keeping her eyes fixed out the window. "There goes another. No, I don't want any broth. That leaves just four. I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark. Then I'll go, too."

"Johnsy, dear," said Sue, bending over her, "will you promise me to keep your eyes closed, and not look out the window until I am done working? I must hand those drawings in by to-morrow. I need the light, or I would draw the shade down."

"Couldn't you draw in the other room?" asked Johnsy, coldly.

"I'd rather be here by you," said Sue. "Beside, I don't want you to keep looking at those silly ivy leaves."

"Tell me as soon as you have finished," said Johnsy, closing her eyes, and lying white and still as fallen statue, "because I want to see the last one fall. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of thinking. I want to turn loose my hold on everything, and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor, tired leaves."

"Try to sleep," said Sue. "I must call Behrman up to be my model for the old hermit miner. I'll not be gone a minute. Don't try to move 'til I come back."

Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor beneath them. He was past sixty and had a Michael Angelo's Moses beard curling down from the head of a satyr along with the body of an imp. Behrman was a failure in art. Forty years he had wielded the brush without getting near enough to touch the hem of his Mistress's robe. He had been always about to paint a masterpiece, but had never yet begun it. For several years he had painted nothing except now and then a daub in the line of commerce or advertising. He earned a little by serving as a model to those young artists in the colony who could not pay the price of a professional. He drank gin to excess, and still talked of his coming masterpiece. For the rest he was a fierce little old man, who scoffed terribly at softness in any one, and who regarded himself as especial mastiff-in-waiting to protect the two young artists in the studio above.

Sue found Behrman smelling strongly of juniper berries in his dimly lighted den below. In one corner was a blank canvas on an easel that had been waiting there for twenty-five years to receive the first line of the masterpiece. She told him of Johnsy's fancy, and how she feared she would, indeed, light and fragile as a leaf herself, float away, when her slight hold upon the world grew weaker.

Old Behrman, with his red eyes plainly streaming, shouted his contempt and derision for such idiotic imaginings.

"Vass!" he cried. "Is dere people in the world mit der foolishness to die because leafs dey drop off from a confounded vine? I haf not heard of such a thing. No, I will not bose as a model for your fool hermit-dunderhead. Vy do you allow dot silly pusiness to come in der brain of her? Ach, dot poor leetle Miss Yohnsy."

"She is very ill and weak," said Sue, "and the fever has left her mind morbid and full of strange fancies. Very well, Mr. Behrman, if you do not care to pose for me, you needn't. But I think you are a horrid old - old flibbertigibbet."

"You are just like a woman!" yelled Behrman. "Who said I will not bose? Go on. I come mit you. For half an hour I haf peen trying to say dot I am ready to bose. Gott! dis is not any blace in which one so goot as Miss Yohnsy shall lie sick. Some day I vill baint a masterpiece, and ve shall all go away. Gott! yes."

Johnsy was sleeping when they went upstairs. Sue pulled the shade down to the window-sill, and motioned Behrman into the other room. In there they peered out the window fearfully at the ivy vine. Then they looked at each other for a moment without speaking. A persistent, cold rain was falling, mingled with snow. Behrman, in his old blue shirt, took his seat as the hermit miner on an upturned kettle for a rock.

When Sue awoke from an hour's sleep the next morning she found Johnsy with dull, wide-open eyes staring at the drawn green shade.

"Pull it up; I want to see," she ordered, in a whisper.

Wearily Sue obeyed.

But, lo! after the beating rain and fierce gusts of wind that had endured through the livelong night, there yet stood out against the brick wall one ivy leaf. It was the last one on the vine. Still dark green near its stem, with its serrated edges tinted with the yellow of dissolution and decay, it hung bravely from the branch some twenty feet above the ground.

"It is the last one," said Johnsy. "I thought it would surely fall during the night. I heard the wind. It will fall to-day, and I shall die at the same time."

"Dear, dear!" said Sue, leaning her worn face down to the pillow, "think of me, if you won't think of yourself. What would I do?"

But Johnsy did not answer. The lonesomest thing in all the world is a soul when it is making ready to go on its mysterious, far journey. The fancy seemed to possess her more strongly as one by one the ties that bound her to friendship and to earth were loosed.

The day wore away, and even through the twilight they could see the lone ivy leaf clinging to its stem against the wall. And then, with the coming of the night the north wind was again loosed, while the rain still beat against the windows and pattered down from the low Dutch eaves.

When it was light enough Johnsy, the merciless, commanded that the shade be raised.

The ivy leaf was still there.

Johnsy lay for a long time looking at it. And then she called to Sue, who was stirring her chicken broth over the gas stove.

"I've been a bad girl, Sudie," said Johnsy. "Something has made that last leaf stay there to show me how wicked I was. It is a sin to want to die. You may bring a me a little broth now, and some milk with a little port in it, and - no; bring me a hand-mirror first, and then pack some pillows about me, and I will sit up and watch you cook."

And hour later she said:

"Sudie, some day I hope to paint the Bay of Naples."

The doctor came in the afternoon, and Sue had an excuse to go into the hallway as he left.

"Even chances," said the doctor, taking Sue's thin, shaking hand in his. "With good nursing you'll win." And now I must see another case I have downstairs. Behrman, his name is - some kind of an artist, I believe. Pneumonia, too. He is an old, weak man, and the attack is acute. There is no hope for him; but he goes to the hospital to-day to be made more comfortable."

The next day the doctor said to Sue: "She's out of danger. You won. Nutrition and care now - that's all."

And that afternoon Sue came to the bed where Johnsy lay, contentedly knitting a very blue and very useless woollen shoulder scarf, and put one arm around her, pillows and all.

"I have something to tell you, white mouse," she said. "Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia to-day in the hospital. He was ill only two days. The janitor found him the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn't imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found a lantern, still lighted, and a ladder that had been dragged from its place, and some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colours mixed on it, and - look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn't you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it's Behrman's masterpiece - he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell."

作品賞析

因這我想看到最後一片葉子掉下來,我等得不耐煩了,也想得不耐煩了,我想擺脫一切飄下去,飄下去,像一片可憐的,疲倦了的葉子那樣。 ——引自《最後一片葉子》

為什麼要放棄?自己的命運就得自己來主宰;這世上的每一個生命都有權力活出自己的精彩;就把自己當作一個勇士,任何的驚險,都要去嘗試;在每一次失落、失敗後,都要勇敢地站起來!要對自己的未來負責,不需要別人來畫上那一片葉子,讓我們自己對自己說:永遠都不放棄,在任何時刻!

貝爾曼,一個偉大的畫家。雖然他的大半生都窮困潦倒,走得是一條失敗之路。但他始終有個響亮的目標——畫一幅“偉大的傑作”。四十年,他都沒有因自己的失敗而放棄作畫,他一直等待著時機。

與把自己的生命寄託於一片飄搖的葉子瓊西相比,貝爾門曼更像一個失敗的英雄。面對他,和他用生命畫成的“傑作”,我們任何人都不得不肅然起敬。 然而,如果冷靜地思考一下,像貝爾曼這樣幾乎盲目的執著卻並非可取。若沒有最後的偶然,他將是一個徹頭徹尾的可憐蟲。在這個世界上,物競天擇,適者生存,既然他在畫畫方面沒有什麼天賦,不可能有更大的發展,那就應該明智些,在活下來的前提下,更換一種新的生存方式 ,努力使自己活得更出色,而不必拘泥於那沒有發展的繪畫。

生活就像一棵樹。我們不可能將每片葉子、每件事都做得很好。很多時候需要放棄許多的葉子,但不放棄自己。放棄一些葉子,只是為了讓有限的水分和養料開出自己想要的花,結出自己想要的果,只是為了讓自己的根枝長得更粗壯,讓自己有一個更有發展餘地的未來。

歐·亨利紀念獎

歐·亨利給美國的短篇小說帶來新氣息,他的作品因而久享盛名,並具有世界影響。美國自1918年起“歐·亨利紀念獎”,以獎勵每年度的最佳短篇小說,由此可見其聲望之卓著。

死因

在紐約,由於大量佳作出版,他名利雙收。他不僅揮霍無度,而且好賭,好酒貪杯。寫作的勞累與生活的無節制使他的身體受到嚴重損傷。1907年,歐·亨利再婚。可惜,第二次婚姻對他來說並沒有什麼幸福可言。1910年6月3日,他病倒了。兩天后,即6月5日,與世長辭,死於肝硬化,年僅48歲。

創作特色

意料之外,情理之中

從題材的性質來看,歐·亨利的作品大致可分為三類。

一類

以描寫美國西部生活為主。

二類

寫的是美國一些大城市的生活。

三類

則以拉丁美洲生活為對象。這些不同的題材,顯然與作者一生中幾個主要生活時期的不同經歷,有著密切的關係。

而三類作品當中,無疑又以描寫城市生活的作品數量最多,意義最大。

思想和作品的弱點

歐·亨利思想的矛盾和他作品的弱點,與他的創作環境有極大關係。即使在他已經成名,受到讀者廣泛歡迎的時候,他的生活也依然經常處於拮据狀態。他曾經直言不諱地說:我是為麵包而寫作的”。

作品評價

歐·亨利因為他本身是一個窮苦的人,因此他的文章主人公大多是一些貧窮的勞動人民,充滿了對勞動人民的同情。我認為,歐·亨利的小說之所以讓我喜歡,是因為他的小說,我們往往猜不出結果是什麼,而真正的結果會讓我們難以置信,這也說明了他豐富的想像力,歐·亨利的小說語言很生動而且很精練,他的短篇小說一開始就抓住了我們的興趣和注意力,小說中除了文字的幽默詼諧之外,總有一些讓費人猜測的地方,他常常讓我們以為以邏輯思維就可以猜到的結局,卻往往情節一轉,使故事的結尾變的出人意料卻又合情合理,從而造成獨特的藝術魅力,因此被譽為“歐·亨利式結尾”,這也是歐·亨利最為出名的一個方面。《歐·亨利》的短篇小說內容很多:其中多為描寫一些小人物,描寫美國西部牧場,描寫那些死要面子,成天做白日夢的小職員,以及一些城市的騙子,和對拜金主義者的嘲諷。儘管歐·亨利對於社會現狀總有不滿,可他也沒有放棄希望,因此,悲慘的故事和人物總會有一個相對比較好的結局,也讓我們深深的體會到微笑里的辛酸,諷刺里的悲哀和無可奈何。

作品目錄

有譯名

"Girl" “姑娘”

“Next To Reading Matter”“醉翁之意”

"What You Want" “君欲何求”

An Adjustment of Nature 自然之修正

After Twenty Years 二十年後

An Afternoon Miracle 午後的奇蹟

The Atavism Of John Tom Little Bear 小熊約翰·湯姆的返祖現象

Babes In The Jungle 叢林中的孩子

Best-Seller 暢銷品

Between Rounds 鬧劇

A Bird Of Bagdad 巴格達的鳥

A Blackjack Bargainer 閃鋅礦的講價者

Blind Man's Holiday 盲人的節日

The Brief Debut of Tildy 特爾迪的登場

Buried Treasure 埋藏的珍寶

By Courier 郵差

The Caballero's Way 紳士之道

The Cactus 仙人掌

Caliph 哈里發

The Cupid and the Clock 丘比特與鍾

A Call Loan 電話貸款

The Call Of The Tame 馴服的號召

Calloway's Code 卡羅威密碼

The Chair Of Philanthromathematics慈善事業數學講座

Confessions of a Humorist 幽默家的告白

Conscience In Art 藝術良心

The Cop and the Anthem警察與讚美詩

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe 咖啡館裡的世界公民

The Day Resurgent 復活日

The Detective Detector 幾位偵探

A Double-dyed Deceiver雙料騙子

The Duel 決鬥

The Duplicity of Hargraves 哈格里弗斯的兩面性

The Fifth Wheel 第五輪

From the Cabby's Seat

The Furnished Room 帶家具出租的房間

Georgia's Ruling 喬治亞的統治

The Gift of the Magi麥琪的禮物(也有人譯為《賢人的禮物》)

The Girl And The Graft 女孩與貪污

The Girl And The Habit 女孩與習慣

The Gold That Glittered 閃亮的金子

The Green Door 綠色的門

The Handbook of Hymen 婚姻手冊

The Head-Hunter 獵頭者

Hearts and Crosses 心與十字架

Hearts and Hands 心與手

The Hiding of Black Bill 布萊克·比爾藏身記

The Higher Abdication 退位

The Higher Pragmatism 實用主義

Hygeia at the Solito 索利托牧場的衛生學

The Hypotheses of Failure 失敗的假設

The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson 乾燥峽谷詹森的印第安夏日

Jimmy Hayes And Muriel 吉米·海斯和繆里爾

Jeff Peters As A Personal Magnet 催眠術家傑甫·彼得斯

The Last Leaf 最後一片常春藤葉

A Little Local Colour 地方特色

A Little Talk About Mobs 小談暴徒

Lost on Dress Parade 華而不實

Madame Bo-peep of the Ranches 女牧場主波皮普

Mammon and the Archer 愛神與財神

Man About Town 城中男子

The Man Higher Up 黃雀在後

The Marionettes 提線木偶

The Marry Month of May 五月是個結婚月

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog 黃狗追思錄

The Missing Chord 斷了的弦

The Moment of Victory 勝利時刻

A Municipal Report 市政報告

A Newspaper Story 報紙的故事

A Night In New Arabia 新阿拉伯一夜

No Story 沒有故事

One Dollar's Worth 一元錢的價值

Out of Nazareth 拿撒勒之外

The Pimienta Pancakes 比綿塔薄餅

The Poet And The Peasant 詩人與農夫

A Poor Rule 愚昧的規定

The Princess and the Puma公主與美洲獅

Proof Of The Pudding 布丁的證明

Psyche And The Pskyscraper 心理分析與摩天大樓

A Ramble In Aphasia 小談失語症

The Ransom of Mack 馬克的救贖

The Ransom of Red Chief 紅色酋長的救贖

The Red Roses of Tonia 托尼婭的紅玫瑰

The Reformation of Calliope 雄辯女神的改變

The Roads We Take 我們選擇的道路

The Robe Of Peace 和平之長袍

The Romance of a Busy Broker 證券經紀人的浪漫故事

The Rose of Dixie 南部之花

The Rubber Plant's Story 橡膠樹的故事

A Sacrifice Hit 祭祀衝突

Schools and Schools 學校

Seats of the Haughty 傲慢之席位

A Service of Love 愛的犧牲

Shearing The Wolf 虎口拔牙

The Skylight Room 帶天窗的房間

The Snow Man 雪人

Sociology in Serge and Straw

The Song and the Sergeant 歌曲與警官

The Sparrows in Madison Square 麥迪遜廣場的麻雀

The Sphinx Apple 斯芬克斯蘋果

Suite Homes and their Romance 套間的浪漫

Supply and Demand 供需

A Technical Error 技術性失誤

Telemachus, Friend 刎頸之交

The Theory and the Hound 理論與獵犬

Thimble Thimble 頂針

The Third Ingredient 第三種成分

To Him Who Waits 給等待的人

Tobin's Palm 托賓的手掌

Tommy's Burglar 湯米的竊賊

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen 兩位感恩節的紳士

An Unfinished Story 沒說完的故事

The Unknown Quantity 未知數量

The Venturers 投機者

While The Auto Waits 汽車等待的時候

The Whirligig of Life 生活的波折

Withes' Loaves 女巫的麵包

The World and the Door 世界與門

無譯名

A Chaparral Christmas Gift

A Chaparral Prince

Christmas by Injunction

The Coming-Out of Maggie

Compliments Of The Season

The Dog and the Playlet

Cupid a la Carte

He Also Serves

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein

A Matter of Mean Elevation

Past One At Rodney's

Round The Circle

Rus in Urbe

Sisters of the Golden Circle

Springtime a la Carte

Strictly Business

The Things The Play

賞析

歐·亨利的小說通俗易懂,其中無論發生了什麼,發生在何處,也無論主人公是何等人物,他的故事寫的都是世態人情,並且易有濃郁的美國風味。一般說來,驅使人們行動的欲望和動機是相當複雜的,但是歐·亨利人物的思想相對來說卻都比較簡單,動機也比較單一,矛盾衝突的中心似乎都是貧與富。這一方面大概因為美國是個平民社會,不存在天生高人一等的貴族階級,既然金錢面前人人平等,貧富就成了社會的主要矛盾。另一方面,此時正值美國內戰後的“鍍金時代”,拜金主義盛行,坑蒙拐騙樣樣齊全,貪污舞泛濫成災,似乎只人能賺到錢便是成功,並不問問錢的來歷是否清白合法,難怪金錢的占有程度便成了人們關注的中心,與歐·亨利同時代的馬克·吐溫說得好:“在世界上任何地方,貧窮總是不方便的。但只有在美國,貧窮是恥辱。”歐·亨利筆下的芸芸眾生就是生活在這樣一個金錢主宰的世界中,他們的處境動機,他們的的喜怒哀樂,大都與金錢的占有有關,所以歐·亨利描繪的世態人情,無論是善是惡,都有某種美國式的單純。

兩難的處理和意外的結局往往產生令人啼笑皆非的幽默效果,在歐·亨利的小說中,幽默是貫穿始終的,有的專門是為幽默而幽默的。綁架孩子的歹徒被頑童折磨得苦不堪言,寧可倒貼錢把孩子護送回家。幽默家被近日復一日地製造幽默,竟變成了一個心力交瘁的吸血鬼,最終在殯儀館的後房中才得以告別塵世的愚蠢,重新恢復了一個正常人的知覺。歐·亨利顯然是把自己視為一個幽默家,他在《幽默家自白》中寫道:“我的笑話的性質是和善親切的,絕不流於諷刺,使別人生氣。”這句話也適用於歐·亨利本人,他諷刺,但不流於諷刺,他的嘲諷和幽默通常是善意的,有時能令人震驚地揭示出人生的真諦,如《生活的陀螺》和《鐘擺》那樣,它們體現了歐·亨利透視生活的能力。歐·亨利的語言本身也充滿了誇張和幽默,而幽默能直到淡化事物悲劇性的作用,使大眾讀者更能接受。

歌曲LastLeaf

歌曲信息

歌名:Last Leaf

歌手:Tom Waits

伴唱:Keith Richards

吉他:Tom Waits, Keith Richards, Marc Ribot

貝斯:James Whiton

管風琴:Tom Waits

專輯:《Bad As Me》(2011)

內容簡介

本歌曲選自美國民謠歌手湯姆·韋茨(Tom Waits)2011年發行的新專輯《Bad As Me》。湯姆·韋茨生於1949年12月7日,1973年發行第一張個人專輯《Closing Time》,至今已發行24張專輯。他的音樂作品多以低下層人民的生活為主題,以低啞的嗓音、幽默而辛酸的歌詞,及充滿靈性的詞曲編配手法,演繹出一個個楚楚動人的人生故事。通過Last Leaf 這首歌,湯姆·韋茨用蒼老的歌喉重新演繹了美國短篇小說家歐·亨利(O.Henry)的經典小說The Last Leaf(最後一片樹葉),表達了自己對人生的堅定信念及對音樂的執著追求。

英文歌詞

Last Leaf

I'm the last leaf on the tree

The autumn took the rest

But they won't take me

I'm the last leaf on the tree

When the autumn wind blows

They're already gone

They flutter to the ground

Cause they can't hang on

There's nothing in the world

That I ain't seen

I greet all the new ones

That are coming in green

I'm the last leaf on the tree

The autumn took the rest

But they won't take me

I'm the last leaf on the tree

They say I got staying power

Here on the tree

But I've been here since Eisenhower

And I've out lived even he

I'm the last leaf on the tree

The autumn took the rest

But they won't take me

I'm the last leaf on the tree

I fight off the snow

I fight off the hail

Nothing makes me go

I'm like some vestigial tail

I'll be here through eternity

If you want to know how long

If they cut down this tree

I'll show up in a song

I'm the last leaf on the tree

The autumn took the rest

But they won't take me

I'm the last leaf on the tree

I'm the last leaf on the tree

I'm the last leaf on the tree

精彩賞析

我們同時搬進那棟樓,幾乎同時裝修完工。那時我們悠餡家,她常上我那來。來了就會代一盒她老公去港、澳門買的餅乾點心之類的東西,我也常禮尚往來,今天洗一盤車離子端過去我們一起分享,明天她又往來,我們的日子過的真是小奢而愜意。

可笑的是,我們同甘了還要共苦,她老公去澳門一之間把家輸得精光,賓士賣掉,換現代,現代賣了又賣房,現在還舉步維艱。我們幾乎是同時遭受這種滅頂之災。我是那個所謂先生炒期貨,把我推向絕境,他不但拿錢去炒還透支借貸,不死都難。我們到了絕境,好歹她老公還在身邊,我是那個人在深圳找不到工作,只好遠走高飛。一個爛攤子留給我,三房兩廳的房子得我一個人收拾地往出搬,還得找房子。真想從樓上跳下去算了,天天哭,還得天天干活,幹了我一生中最重最多最累的活。要不是鐘點工小周,我真不知道會怎么樣。

就這個時候,我這個也同樣遭受困苦的朋友麗,就成了我生命中的葉子,她安慰我,鼓勵我,幫助我。我很感激,真是覺得就這樣死了都對不起朋友。心情壓抑,頭疼裂,她每天六點不到陪我上醫院掛專家門診。

悲慘的是屋漏偏逢連雨,腰又受傷了,最嚴重時都下不了,沒坐,好像沒腰了。剛開始也沒覺得怎樣,想著會好。可半年都過去,還是這樣。一次躺在沙發上沒撐住掉下來,一下加重到躺著都不行,腰痛腿痛禱地方擱。

我想好,這次是徹底殘了,藥吃的貼的用了不少。我一在西藏齊正的同學還寄來藥膏,可對我來說一點作用都沒有。對明天我看到的是一片黑暗。我可以忍受失去金錢、愛情痛苦不堪的生活,但我決無忍受像廢人一樣黑暗的日子。這次是真真下了決心,給那個先生的遺書都忻了,東西能動的就理理,也沒什麼可理的,動不了。

接下來想的就是怎么個死,我想我死了,別給無關的人留下麻煩和添噁心。房東就是一個問題,跳樓給這院子裡的人添噁心。想來想去沒辦,我又出不去,死不到外面。打電話給藥店的人給我送安眠藥,這個藥店我很熟,她們知道我受傷,可能是有意還是無意,就給麗說:我連續要了好幾次安眠藥。麗明白了,晚上來到我家裡,把我的藥櫃翻了個,把那些藥統統給扔了。我們聊了很多,我傷心得落淚。

她一句話:聽我的,我們先把病棵,其它的我們一起想辦……

朋友此時就像親人一樣的關懷、幫助。我決定聽她的,我現在恢復了好多,她每天都為我這個苦難之人幫忙獻策,讓我都好起來。

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