|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/02/27 09:37 《英语学习》|
A couple of weeks ago, I had a letter from Mr. Li
Pengyi, President of the Foreign Language
Teaching and Research Press, Beijing. He asked me to prepare some formal documents and send them to him as soon as possible. The process was easy enough, but it was slow. Everything had to be done in the right order, at different offices around London.3 At the beginning, I imagined I could complete the task in a couple of days. Quite quickly, I found that this was impossible. I learned that this sort of business has its own pace, which I had to accept.4
It has been hot in London lately, that bright summer weather that starts with fresh sunny mornings, beautiful evenings and nights too warm for sleep. Day by day, the air over the Thames gets heavier.5 The wind blows dust and leaves around. People go to work feeling tired, thinking it would be nice to have a bit of rain. Dull work in offices is even duller than usual in weather like this.
On 17 June, I reached the last part of my paper-chase.6 I was on the doorstep of the Legal Section at the Chinese Consulate as soon as the office opened.7 After a few more delays, I arrived at the desk of the senior official and pushed my pile of documents through the hole in the glass screen8. He glanced through the documents, checking them against the Declaration9 I had made that morning. Without much interest, he asked me a few routine questions and wrote in Chinese on the forms in front of him. He read my statement about the nature of my business10.
'Ah, copyrights? These papers are about copyrights?' he enquired, making a rapid note as he spoke.
'They are for our Chinese publisher in Beijing11,' I explained.
He went on scanning the documents and making notes. I saw him write the name, 'Alexander', in Chinese. He looked up, suddenly a very bright individual, no longer just a bored senior official.12
'Are you13 the author?' he asked.
'No,' I replied. 'The author was my husband, L.G. Alexander. He died. On 17th June. He died a year ago today.'14
He turned to his colleagues, firing off15 a statement in Chinese. They all paused in their work and turned to me, smiling kindly and all speaking together. I couldn't hear them very well because of the glass screen. Then the official spoke quietly but very clearly.
'We did not know that Mr. Alexander had died,' he said. 'We are very sorry to hear it, very sorry indeed. But you must cheer up. Mr. Alexander is very popular in China. I learned English from New Concept English. My colleagues here,' he gestured with a smile to his colleagues16 who were all smiling too. 'My colleagues learned English from New Concept English. Now my daughter is learning from New Concept English as well. So for us he has not died. Please cheer up. Please be happy. We all want you to be happy.'
Coming out \into\ the glare of Portland Place, I felt Louis take my hand.17 Sharing this moment with him, I remembered a line from the Roman poet, Virgil, writing about grief: Et haec meminisse iuvabit: Even these things we will remember with pleasure.18
2.本文作者是已故著名英语教育专家Louis George Alexander教授的夫人。在中国英语学习和爱好者中具有广泛影响的《新概念英语》就是由L.G. Alexander教授编写的。外语教学与研究出版社社长李朋义先生与Alexander教授在多年的合作中结下了深厚的友情。今年的6月17日(教授周年忌日)，作者在前往中国驻伦敦大使馆领事部时遇到了一件令她十分感动的事，所以写了本文并通过E-mail发送给了李朋义社长。
8. glass screen：玻璃幕墙。
10. nature of business：职业，行业。
15. fire off：原义是"一炮，发射火箭"，这里指"脱口而出"。
18.在与他执手共度的这一刻，我想起了古罗马诗人维吉尔写的关于悲伤的一句诗：即使是这样的事情(即悲伤)，我们也将用欢乐记取。Et haec meminisse iuvabit为拉丁语。
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