Gide: The Counterfeiters《偽幣製造者》

紀德(André Gide, 1869-1951)出生於一個虔誠的基督敎家庭;嚴格的清敎徒紀律自小便影響了他的一生。紀德的作品多少帶有自傳的性質;他的日記(Journals)記述了個人一生的心路歷程,也為他的小說提供了說明。1947 年紀德獲頒牛津大學的榮譽博士學位及諾貝爾文學奬;其實,早在二十多歲時,紀德與法國文壇的名人如馬拉美、梵樂希等,便有交往,上述兩項榮譽算是給紀德的一點遲來的恭維。
 



The Counterfeiters is a complicated story. This novel is especially noteworthy for its many complex and overlapping points of views. It consists of (a) direct narrative which records dialogue and conversation among the characters and (b) objective narrative devoted to individual characters.1 Of the characters in the story, Edouard is the central one. His journal provides the two kinds of narratives with a necessary link. He knows everyone else and comments on them. The narrator tells us that Edouard represents himself, but it would be naïve to accept the identification without qualification.2 Edouard, like Gide, is writing a novel called The Counterfeiters.

The device of the novel within a novel is like a series of Chinese boxes, each of which contains a smaller one. The novel within the novel, however, is not to be confused with the novel itself.3

The story is set in the early 1920’s. It begins with Bernard Profitendieu (seventeen years old) reading an old love letter of his mother’s. The letter reveals that he is an illegitimate son. He leaves an insulting letter for Judge Profitendieu, whom he has considered his real father, and runs away from home.4

He spends that night with his friend Olivier Molinier and decides to stay with him until he can find ways and means to support himself. Olivier tells him a lot about the Molinier family. Bernard learns that Olivier’s Uncle Edouard, who is a writer, will be arriving from England the following day. He also learns that Olivier’s elder brother Vincent is involved with some married woman.5

The next morning Bernard gets up early and leaves the house before Olivier awakens. For a time he wonders what to do, and then decides to go to the station to watch Olivier meet his uncle.6

The story now shifts its focus to Vincent. Vincent is a young doctor with a promising future. His mistress, Laura Douviers, is pregnant and he wishes to help her. Unfortunately, he does not have enough money, and he has friends who give him bad advice. One such friend, the Comte de Passavant, is a notorious homosexual. Another corrupting friend associated with Pasavant is Lady Lillian Griffith, who becomes Vincent’s new mistress. He jilts Laura and goes off with Lillian, thus passing outside the purview of the story until almost the end of the novel.7

Next we meet Olivier’s Uncle Edouard. He has been summoned from England to Paris by a letter from Laura, an old friend with whom he was once inconclusively in love. (She is without money, and is ashamed to return to her husband, Felix Douviers.) Edouard is met in the station by his nephew Olivier, of whom he is very fond. So excited is Edouard that, after checking his suitcase, he drops his checkroom ticket while lunching with his nephew.8

Bernard has watched the meeting between the two. He picks up the checkroom ticket that Edouard has dropped and goes off to the station to claim the suitcase. In it he discovers a large sum of money and quickly pockets it. Yet, what really interests him is Edouard’s journal and the letter from Laura. Bernard then realizes that she must be Vincent’s abandoned mistress and resolves to help her. Coming to her hotel as a complete stranger, Bernard offers her Edouard’s money. When Edouard arrives at the hotel, Bernard admits the theft of the bag. Edouard does not, however, take the theft too seriously and even agrees to engage Bernard as his secretary.9

Meanwhile, Olivier has, through Vincent, made the acquaintance of Passavant. Passavant has just written a flashy and meretricious novel. He is launching a magazine whose chief purpose will be to praise his own book. However, he has to hire someone to do the job. Olivier is thus employed as a dummy editor.10 Passavant then suggests that Olivier should spend a vacation with him in Italy to plan the magazine together, though it is obviously homosexual seduction that he has in mind.11

Edouard is distressed by Olivier’s relationship with Passavant, whom he considers a bad writer and a charlatan. But he has other problems on his hands. La Pérouse, an old friend, asks Edouard to set out for Switzerland to look for his illegitimate grandson Boris. A few days later, Edouard, posing as Laura’s husband and taking Bernard along as his secretary, leaves for Switzerland.12

Bernard, unaware, gets into a delicate situation. On the one hand, Olivier, who feels that Bernard has taken his place in Edouard’s affections, is jealous of him. On the other hand, Bernard falls in love with Laura, though in a boyishly worshipful and thoroughly Platonic spirit.13 A dramatic turn takes place only when Laura’s husband offers to take her back and accept her baby as his own.14

Edouard has finally located little Boris. He is a badly disturbed child, subject to neurotic obsessions. Having temporarily cured Boris of neurosis, Edouard brings him to his grandfather, who is teaching at a Protestant boys’ school in Paris, the Ecole Vedel-Azais. The school is run by Laura’s parents. Olivier’s younger brother George is a student there.15

Bernard finds a post at the school and settles down. He has become friendly with Laura’s family. Then Olivier returns to Paris; he begins to suspect that Passavant is a fraud and yearns to resume his friendship with Bernard and Edouard. The circle is reunited at a wild literary party attended by Olivier, Edouard, Passavant, Bernard, and Laura’s younger sister, Sarah.16 Passavant, eager to distract public attention from his homosexuality, ostentatiously flirts with Sarah. Edouard takes the opportunity to warn Olivier that he is in bad company.17

As the party progresses, Olivier gets into a drunken brawl. Edouard finally takes his nephew under protection and carries him back to his own apartment. Olivier is happy at being restored to Edouard’s good care. He is resolved to break off with Passavant.18 Bernard meanwhile takes Sarah home to her parents’ school where her brother Armand locks them into a bedroom so that they are obliged to sleep together.19

The next morning when Edouard wakes up, there is a smell of gas in the apartment. During the night Olivier has attempted suicide. Edouard nurses him back to health. Both uncle and nephew feel happy.20

Bernard tells Edouard about some children in the school, including George Molinier, who are engaged in some underhanded activities. They have been regularly visiting prostitutes and conducting orgies. They are suspected by the police of passing counterfeiting coins. Judge Profitendieu discovers that George is involved and fears Bernard may be also. He asks Edouard to investigate. Edouard does so, and the young counterfeiters, in fear of the police, throw their coins down a sewer.21

The gang at the Vedel-Azais School turn to torment little Boris. They form a secret club and each member has to prove that he is brave enough to do anything whatever. Boris is chosen by a manipulated lot-drawing to commit suicide in front of the entire school. The joke is that the pistol stolen from Boris’s grandfather, La Pérouse, is to be empty though Boris does not know it. The gang leader Gheridanisol, however, substitutes a real bullet for the blank cartridge.22 Boris bravely accepts his fate, driven by a desire to prove himself a man, and also by hidden, unexorcized feelings of guilt. Before a horrified school, and in the presence of his grandfather, he blows his brains out.23

This sudden tragedy shocks George back to his senses. His former admiration for Gheridanisol gives way to horror, and he returns to his parents.24 For some time Bernard has regretted the harsh letter that he wrote his foster father, Judge Profitendieu. Both father and son reconcile and Bernard decides to return home.25 Olivier having completely recovered, Edouard settles down to write his book with a great sense of peace.26 Then, indirectly we hear word of Vincent. He has drifted with Lillian Griffith to Africa and murdered her under obscure circumstances. Now he is insane, and believes himself to be the Devil.27

So the story has ended happily for Bernard, happily after serious trouble for Olivier and George, and tragically for Boris and Vincent.28 While Gide’s novel ends here, Edouard’s book seems yet to begin.29 There is one more boy in the Profitendieu family who is too young to have figured prominently up to this point : Bernard’s younger brother Caloub (Charles). In the last sentence of Gide’s novel, Edouard remarks, “I feel very curious to know Caloub.”30
 



注釋

1 《偽幣製造者》一書故事相當複雜。這部小說由於它許多複雜而重叠的敍事觀點(points of view)尤其值得注意。小說是由兩種敍事法(narrative)所構成:其一為直接敍事,記錄了角色之間的對話;其二是客觀敍事,專針對個別的角色。Point of view 在小說技巧上指說故事的觀點而言,作複數形時 point 字加 s。devoted to: 專心致力於……。

2 故事中的角色,以 Edouard 為首要。他的日記為兩種敍事文提供了必要的連貫。他認識故事中的每一個角色,並且加以評論。小說中的敍述者(narrator)告訴們說,Edouard 代表他,可是如果我們毫無限制地(without qualification)接受這個 identification,將會是太率真了(naïve)。Identification: 視為相同。Native 一字的涵義通常不是作恭維用的。

3 像紀德一樣,書中的 Edouard 也在寫一部叫《偽幣製造者》的小說。這種「小說中的小說」的設計有如一連串的 Chinese boxes,每個盒子中又裝了一個小盒子。然而,Edouard 所要寫的那部小說中的小說,不能與紀德這一部小說混為一談。

4 故事是安排在 1920 年代初年。一開始,十七歲的 Bernard Profitendieu 正在讀一封他母親的情書。信上揭示:他是一個私生子。於是他留下一封辱駡的信給多年來他一直認為是直正父親的 Judge Profitendieu。Prrrofitendieu 這個法文字譯作英文是 Profit in God,即「蒙主庇佑而發逹」的意思。

5 當天晚上,Bernard 住在 Olivier 家,並決定留在他那裏,直到找出自食其力(support oneself)的方法與手段。Olivier 告訴他關於 Molinier 家的許多事。他獲知 Olivier 的叔父 Edouard 是位作家,即將於翌日從英國回到巴黎來。他也獲知 Olivier 的哥哥 Vincent 與某個已婚婦人有染。Be involved with someone: 與某人有瓜葛。get involved in something: 涉及某件事。

6 翌日早晨,Bernard 起得很早,而在 Olivier 醒來之前就出去了。一度他不知道(wonder)要做什麼,後來他決定去車站看 Olivier 會他的叔父。watch: 監視、守候。

7 此時,故事的焦點轉移到 Vincent 身上。Vincent 是位年輕的醫生,前途未可限量。(promising: 形容詞,有希望的。)他的情婦 Laura Douviers 懷孕了,他想要幫忙;不幸的是,他没有足夠的錢,而他的壞朋友中,有一個 Passavant 伯爵,是位惡名昭彰的同性戀者。另一位與 Passavant 有交往(associated with)的腐敗朋友是 Lillian Griffith,成了 Vincent 的新情婦。Vincent 拋棄(jilt)Laura,和 Lillian 開溜了,因此直到小說結束之前都消失在故事的範圍(purview)之外。(意思是說,直到小說結束時,我們才再度聽到關於 Vincent 的消息。)Passavant 法文字譯作英文是 Get ahead: 即趕過別人,發跡之意,影射此人行止不正。Lady 是上流社會對婦女的稱呼,不見得是代表頭銜,而且時常帶有不好的意義,如交際花。

8 接著,我們看到了 Olivier 的叔父 Edouard。他是被 Laura 的一封信把他從英國召回巴黎來的。他曾一度愛戀 Laura 而没有結果(inconclusively)。Laura 身上没有錢,也無臉回到她丈夫身邊。Olivier 到車站迎接他的叔父。Edouard 很竉愛他的侄兒,一興奮便把託寄手提包的存據(ticket)掉在地上了。Checkroom: 美式英語又作 locker,即車站或機場讓過路的旅客存放行李的小櫃子。

9 Bernard 一直在旁注視他們叔侄倆的會面。他拾起 Edouard 掉在地上的存據,到車站去領出那只手提包。他在手提包內發現了一大筆錢,很快地將錢置入自己的口袋。(pocket 可當動詞用。)不過,真正令他感到興趣的是 Edouard 的日記及 Laura 寫給他的那封信。Bernard 才瞭解她必定是 Vincent 的過氣(abandoned: 被拋棄的)情婦,而決心要幫助她。Bernard 與她素昧平生,來到她的旅館,將 Edouard 的錢交給她。當 Edouard 隨後到達旅館時,Bernard 承認偷竊了那只手提袋。Edouard 並不以為忤,甚至於同意雇用他當秘書。

10 同時,經由 Vincent 的關係,Olivier 結識(make the acquaintance of )了 Passavant。那時候,Passavant 剛寫完一部炫耀而俗氣的小説。他正開始準備出版(launch)雜誌,其主要目的是要藉這個雜誌來歌頌他自己的書。但是他必須雇用別人來幹這等事,而 Olivier 受聘為編輯只是當一個傀儡。Dummy 是櫉窗或展示場上穿衣飾用的人像模型。


11 Passavant 接著便提議 Olivier 和他一起去義大利度假,裨計劃雜誌的事,雖然 Passavant 內心盤算的顯然是同性戀的誘惑(要勾引 Olivier)。suggest 後面子句中 should 字也可以省略,動詞用原形。

12 Edouard 認為 Passavant 是個差勁的作家,是個江湖上的騙子(charlatan),Olivier 和他的關係令 Edouard 煩惱焦慮。但是 Edouard 手上另有要務而無從干預。他的一個老朋友 La Pérouse 要求他前往(set out for: 出發)瑞士去尋找一個私生的孫兒 Boris。pose as: 假裝是。如 He posed as a rich man。

13 Bernard 不知不覺中掉進了一個微妙的情況。一方面,Olivier 覺得 Bernard 已經取代他的地位,Bernard 愛上了 Laura,雖然他那種愛慕純然是幼稚的崇拜,而且是徹底栢拉圖式的。Platonic love: 精神戀愛(不涉及肉體愛); spirit: 精神——此字也可作「傾向」解。

14 dramatic turn: 戲劇性的轉變。Only when: only 作語意上的强調用。

15 Edouard 終於找到(locate: 找出……之所在)小 Boris。Boris 這孩子有嚴重的精神錯亂(disturbed)。隨時有精神錯亂的執著。在暫時治好了他的精神錯亂之後,Edouard 將他帶回巴黎,並且安頓在他祖父任敎的學校。這個學校是 Laura 的父母親(和祖父)辦的。Olivier 的弟弟 George 也在該校就讀。neurosis: 醫學上作「精神官能症」。

16 Bernard 在學校裏找到了一個職位,安頓下來。他和 Laura 的家人關係友好。不久,Olivier 回到巴黎;他開始懷疑 Passavant 這個人是個騙子(fraud),並且渴望繼續他和 Bernard 及 Edouard 的友誼。這一圈子人(circle)在一個狂野的文人聚會上團圓,參加的人有 Olivier 等人,還有 Sarah(Laura 的妹妹)。

17 Passavant 熱切地要分散(distract)大眾對他身為同性戀者的注意,故他誇示、招搖地(ostentatiously)向 Sarah 調情。Edouard 趁機警告 Olivier 交友不慎(in bad compamy)。

18 派對進行中,Olivier 酒醉與人爭吵(brawl),Edouard 最後保護他的侄兒,帶他回自己的公寓。Olivier 很高興又得到叔父的呵護照顧,並決心和 Passavant 斷絶往來。

19 Bernard 則護送 Sarah 回她父母家,兩人被 Sarah 的哥哥鎖在同一房間過夜。(案: 小說中 Armand 有精神病。)

20 翌晨 Edouard 醒來時,發現公寓內有股瓦斯味。夜裏 Olivier 曾企圖自殺。Edouard 照料他恢復健康,叔侄倆人都很愉快。

21 Bernard 告訴 Edouard 說,學校裏有些小孩(包括George)正從事某種秘密(underhand 或 underhanded)活動。這些孩子們經常逛窰子、狂歡(orgies)。警方懷疑他們用的是偽幣。Profitendieu 發現 George 涉案,他擔心 Bernard 也捲入,便請 Edouard 調查。Edouard 調查了,這些年輕的偽幣製造者便將偽幣丟進下水道(sewer)裏。pass counterfeit coins: pass 作「使通用、傳用」(give currency to)解。

22 學校裏不良幫派(gang)轉而迫害 Boris。他們組成了一個秘密的結社,每個會員必須證明他有勇氣做任何事。經由一個被操蹤的  (manipulated)抽籤(lot-drawing)方式,Boris 被選來當著全校的人面前自殺。本來是場玩笑,將偷來的手槍搶膛裏的子彈取出(empty),但幫派的頭子又將空的彈藥筒(cartridge case 即彈殼)換上了一顆真的子彈。

23 Boris 勇敢地接受了他的命運,內心有股慾望要證實自己是勇敢的人,而同時也是受某種隱匿的、未袪除的罪孽感所驅迫而這樣做。(driven by: 受……驅迫; exorcize: 驅邪,unexorcized: 邪未驅走或驅不走,因為 Boris 原來就有精神問題。)於是就當著全校驚愕的人面前,當著他祖父的面,將自己的頭炸掉了。(事實上,blow out one’s brains 是個成語,即「射殺」。)

24 這突如其來的悲劇終於讓 George 恢復清醒,而他以前對 Gheridanisol 的佩服終為恐佈所取代。give way=yield: 屈服、讓出。

25 有一陣: Bernard 很後悔寫了那封嚴厲刻薄的信給他養父。現在父子和解了,Bernard 又回家去。

26 Olivier 完全康復之後,Edouard 安頓下來,平心靜氣地寫他的書。

27 就在時刻,我們間接獲知 Vincent 的消息(hear word of someone)。他和 Lillian 浪跡(drift: 漂流)到非洲,而在不明的情況下,他將她謀殺了。此時,他已神智不正常,自認為他自己就是魔鬼的化身。

28 小說就此結束,對 Bernard 是喜劇收場,對 Olivier 及 George 在經過一番波折後也是喜劇收場,對 Boris 及 Vincent 則為悲劇下場。

29 儘管紀德這部小說就此結束,但 Edouard 要寫的那部才有待開始呢!( yet: 尚未。)

30 Bernard 同母異父的弟弟 Caloub(法文名,英文等於 Charles)當時還太小,以至於至此尚未能在書中佔有顯著的份量,紀德書上的的最後一句話是 Edouard 說的:「我很好奇想多知道 Caloub」。(筆者附加此段旨在說明紀德的小說與書中人物所要寫的小說不可混淆。請詳本文第一段註 3。)


by Dr. Yuan-huang Tsai