我的生活 海伦·凯勒自传
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller


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    Chapter I
    Chapter I
    
    It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist. The task of writing an autobiography is a difficult one. When I try to classify my earliest impressions, I find that fact and fancy look alike across the years that link the past with the present. The woman paints the child's experiences in her own fantasy. A few impressions stand out vividly from the first years of my life; but "the shadows of the prison-house are on the rest." Besides, many of the joys and sorrows of childhood have lost their poignancy; and many incidents of vital importance in my early education have been forgotten in the excitement of great discoveries. In order, therefore, not to be tedious I shall try to present in a series of sketches only the episodes that seem to me to be the most interesting and important.
    I was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, a little town of northern Alabama.
    The family on my father's side is descended from Caspar Keller, a native of Switzerland, who settled in Maryland. One of my Swiss ancestors was the first teacher of the deaf in Zurich and wrote a book on the subject of their education--rather a singular coincidence; though it is true that there is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.
    My grandfather, Caspar Keller's son, "entered" large tracts of land in Alabama and finally settled there. I have been told that once a year he went from Tuscumbia to Philadelphia on horseback to purchase supplies for the plantation, and my aunt has in her possession many of the letters to his family, which give charming and vivid accounts of these trips.
    My Grandmother Keller was a daughter of one of Lafayette's aides, Alexander Moore, and granddaughter of Alexander Spotswood, an early Colonial Governor of Virginia. She was also second cousin to Robert E. Lee.
    My father, Arthur H. Keller, was a captain in the Confederate Army, and my mother, Kate Adams, was his second wife and many years younger. Her grandfather, Benjamin Adams, married Susanna E. Goodhue, and lived in Newbury, Massachusetts, for many years. Their son, Charles Adams, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and moved to Helena, Arkansas. When the Civil War broke out, he fought on the side of the South and became a brigadier-general. He married Lucy Helen Everett, who belonged to the same family of Everetts as Edward Everett and Dr. Edward Everett Hale. After the war was over the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
    I lived, up to the time of the illness that deprived me of my sight and hearing, in a tiny house consisting of a large square room and a small one, in which the servant slept. It is a custom in the South to build a small house near the homestead as an annex to be used on occasion. Such a house my father built after the Civil War, and when he married my mother they went to live in it. It was completely covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckles. From the garden it looked like an arbour. The little porch was hidden from view by a screen of yellow roses and Southern smilax. It was the favourite haunt of humming-birds and bees.
    The Keller homestead, where the family lived, was a few steps from our little rose-bower. It was called "Ivy Green" because the house and the surrounding trees and fences were covered with beautiful English ivy. Its old-fashioned garden was the paradise of my childhood.
    Even in the days before my teacher came, I used to feel along the square stiff boxwood hedges, and, guided by the sense of smell, would find the first violets and lilies. There, too, after a fit of temper, I went to find comfort and to hide my hot face in the cool leaves and grass. What joy it was to lose myself in that garden of flowers, to wander happily from spot to spot, until, coming suddenly upon a beautiful vine, I recognized it by its leaves and blossoms, and knew it was the vine which covered the tumble-down summer-house at the farther end of the garden! Here, also, were trailing clematis, drooping jessamine, and some rare sweet flowers called butterfly lilies, because their fragile petals resemble butterflies' wings. But the roses--they were loveliest of all. Never have I found in the greenhouses of the North such heart-satisfying roses as the climbing roses of my southern home. They used to hang in long festoons from our porch, filling the whole air with their fragrance, untainted by any earthy smell; and in the early morning, washed in the dew, they felt so soft, so pure, I could not help wondering if they did not resemble the asphodels of God's garden.
    The beginning of my life was simple and much like every other little life. I came, I saw, I conquered, as the first baby in the family always does. There was the usual amount of discussion as to a name for me. The first baby in the family was not to be lightly named, every one was emphatic about that. My father suggested the name of Mildred Campbell, an ancestor whom he highly esteemed, and he declined to take any further part in the discussion. My mother solved the problem by giving it as her wish that I should be called after her mother, whose maiden name was Helen Everett. But in the excitement of carrying me to church my father lost the name on the way, very naturally, since it was one in which he had declined to have a part. When the minister asked him for it, he just remembered that it had been decided to call me after my grandmother, and he gave her name as Helen Adams.
    I am told that while I was still in long dresses I showed many signs of an eager, self-asserting disposition. Everything that I saw other people do I insisted upon imitating. At six months I could pipe out "How d'ye," and one day I attracted every one's attention by saying "Tea, tea, tea" quite plainly. Even after my illness I remembered one of the words I had learned in these early months. It was the word "water," and I continued to make some sound for that word after all other speech was lost. I ceased making the sound "wah-wah" only when I learned to spell the word.
    They tell me I walked the day I was a year old. My mother had just taken me out of the bath-tub and was holding me in her lap, when I was suddenly attracted by the flickering shadows of leaves that danced in the sunlight on the smooth floor. I slipped from my mother's lap and almost ran toward them. The impulse gone, I fell down and cried for her to take me up in her arms.
    These happy days did not last long. One brief spring, musical with the song of robin and mocking-bird, one summer rich in fruit and roses, one autumn of gold and crimson sped by and left their gifts at the feet of an eager, delighted child. Then, in the dreary month of February, came the illness which closed my eyes and ears and plunged me into the unconsciousness of a new-born baby. They called it acute congestion of the stomach and brain. The doctor thought I could not live. Early one morning, however, the fever left me as suddenly and mysteriously as it had come. There was great rejoicing in the family that morning, but no one, not even the doctor, knew that I should never see or hear again.
    I fancy I still have confused recollections of that illness. I especially remember the tenderness with which my mother tried to soothe me in my waking hours of fret and pain, and the agony and bewilderment with which I awoke after a tossing half sleep, and turned my eyes, so dry and hot, to the wall, away from the once-loved light, which came to me dim and yet more dim each day. But, except for these fleeting memories, if, indeed, they be memories, it all seems very unreal, like a nightmare. Gradually I got used to the silence and darkness that surrounded me and forgot that it had ever been different, until she came--my teacher--who was to set my spirit free. But during the first nineteen months of my life I had caught glimpses of broad, green fields, a luminous sky, trees and flowers which the darkness that followed could not wholly blot out. If we have once seen, "the day is ours, and what the day has shown."
    
    第一章
    
    我是怀着惴惴不安的心情书写我生活的历史的。在我整个的童年时代,生活犹如笼罩在我身边的一团金色雾霭。冥冥之中,我是懵懂而迟疑地揭开生活的迷帐的。每当我试图分辨孩童时期记忆的时候,我就会发现,往昔的时光美好而真实,它如同一条纽带,同此时此刻的我紧紧相连。女人们通常会以富于想象力的方式来描述自己的童年经历。虽然,那些鲜活而生动的记忆来自我生命的最初时光,但是,“牢房一般的阴暗将伴随着我的余生”。此外,童年时代的欢乐和悲伤大都成为往事前尘,它们已然失去了当时的锋芒;在我接受早期教育过程中的那些重大事件,已经随着更加激动人心的伟大发现而被淡忘。因此,从这个意义上来说,将我生活中那些至关重要的章节做一个全盘性的勾勒,于我倒并不是一件枯燥乏味的工作。
    我于1880年6月27日出生在亚拉巴马州北部的一个叫做图斯康比亚的小镇。
    我父亲家的先人是来自瑞士的卡斯帕·凯勒家族,他们最初定居在马里兰州。在我的瑞士祖先中,有一个人曾是苏黎世聋哑学校的首位教师,他曾写过一本有关教学生涯的书——这似乎具有某种一脉相承的偶然性;尽管在他的祖先中没有王者,也不曾豢养过一个奴隶,而且,在早期先民之中,也没有奴隶曾隶属于一位王者。
    我的祖父,卡斯帕·凯勒家族之子,“进入”了亚拉巴马州这片广袤的土地并最终在此定居。我后来得知,曾经有那么一年,祖父骑马从图斯康比亚前往费城,为的是给种植园添置一些耕作用具。在我姑妈寄来的许多家信中,曾对祖父的这些旅行有过生动而清晰的记述。
    我的祖母凯勒是一个侍从武官的女儿,那名军官叫亚历山大·穆尔;祖母也是亚历山大·斯鲍茨伍德的孙女,这位斯鲍茨伍德先生曾是弗吉尼亚州最早的殖民总督。此外,祖母也是罗伯特·E.李将军的二表妹。
    我的父亲,亚瑟·H.凯勒是联邦军队中的一个上尉,而我的母亲凯特·亚当斯是他的第二个妻子,两人年龄相差悬殊。母亲的祖父是本杰明·亚当斯,他娶了苏姗娜·E.古德休为妻,他们在马萨诸塞州的纽伯里住了很多年。他们的儿子查尔斯·亚当斯就出生在马萨诸塞州的纽伯里波特,后来他搬到了阿肯色州的海伦娜。当时正值南北战争爆发,他代表南军参战,后来官至准将军衔。他娶了露西·海伦·埃弗里特为妻,露西同爱德华·埃弗里特和爱德华·埃弗里特·黑尔博士同宗同门。战争结束后,夫妻俩搬到了田纳西州的孟菲斯。
    我一直住在一个狭小的房子里面,直到疾病令我丧失了视觉和听觉。当时的家园是由一个巨大的四方形房间和一个小房间构成的,仆人们都睡在那个小房间里。这源自南方人的习俗,挨着宅第建一座附属的小房子,以备不时之需。宅第是我父亲在内战结束后建造的,在娶了我母亲后,他们就在此定居了。房子完全被葡萄藤、攀爬的蔷薇和金银花覆盖了,从花园望去,那里就像一个巨大的凉亭。而那个小门廊则被满眼的黄玫瑰和南方天冬草所遮蔽。因此这里就变成了蜂雀和蜜蜂最常出没的地方。
    凯勒家的宅第距我们家的玫瑰小凉亭只有几步之遥。这里也被叫做“常春藤绿地”,因为房子和周围的树丛及篱笆被美丽的英格兰常春藤所缠绕覆盖。这个老式的花园正是我童年时代的天堂。
    直到我的老师出现之前,我一直习惯于沿着正方形的黄杨木树篱摸索前行。嗅觉是我的向导,通过它,我发现了生命中的第一株紫罗兰花和百合花。正是在这个小花园里,在经历了暴躁情绪的发作之后,我继续寻找令我舒适的感觉,我把自己温热的脸埋进凉飕飕的树叶和草丛之中。将自己迷失在花丛中是如此地令人愉悦,从一个地方寻觅到又一个地方也带给我其乐无穷的*。就在探寻的过程中,我会突然碰到一枝美丽的藤蔓,我会通过它的叶子和花蕾来辨别其形状,而且我知道,这就是那株覆盖着摇摇欲坠的凉亭,远在花园尽头的葡萄藤!在我身边,还有触手可及的铁线莲,垂落于枝叶间的茉莉花,以及一些叫做蝴蝶百合的稀有花卉,这种花的花瓣因其形似蝴蝶那对脆弱易折的翅膀而得名。而玫瑰,则是花园中最傲人的花魁。我从来没有在北方的温室里见过长势如此繁茂的玫瑰,花朵沿着门廊形成了一道长长的花径,空气中弥漫着沁人的芳香,那种清醇的味道丝毫不沾染泥土的浊气。每天早晨,在露水的沐浴中,玫瑰娇柔淳美,这时我就会禁不住展开神思遐想,这些花儿是不是很像上帝花园中的常春花呢?
    就像诸多弱小的生命一样,我生命的伊始朴素而单纯;我来了,我观察,我奋争,如同很多百姓家中第一个孩子所做的一样。为了给我起名字,家人还煞费了一番周章。一个家庭里第一个孩子的名字当然马虎不得,家里的每一个人都参与其中。我的父亲建议给我取名米尔德莱德·坎贝尔,此人是父亲极为崇敬的一位祖先,对于这个名字,父亲拒绝做进一步的商榷。而我的母亲则按照她自己的意愿解决这个问题,她认为我应该随她母亲的姓氏。她母亲少女时代的名字是海伦·埃弗里特。没想到的是,就在一家人兴高采烈地带我去教堂洗礼的路上,父亲把起好的名字给弄丢了,这再自然不过了,因为这是一个父亲本不喜欢的名字。所以,当牧师问他的时候,他才记起来,我的名字还是应该随我外祖母的姓氏,这是早就定好了的,于是他给婴儿取名叫海伦·亚当斯。
    我从家人口中得知,当我尚在襁褓中的时候,我就显示出了急躁而固执的个性。我会执意模仿别人做的每一件事情。在六个月大时,我就能咿呀说出“你——好”之类的词句。有一天,我十分清晰地说出了“茶,茶,茶”,这引起了家里每一个人的注意。即便是在我生病之后,我仍然记得在我生命最初几个月里所学到的一个词,这个词就是“水”。此后,在我所有的语言功能丧失殆尽后,我就一直模糊地发出“水”这个词的声音,只有在学习拼读的时候,我才会停止说“水——水”。
    家人还对我讲了我一岁时学走路的情景。那天,母亲把我从澡盆里抱出来,把我放在她的膝盖上。当时,林木婆娑,光影摇曳,我被眼前的景象吸引住了,于是,我从母亲的腿上挣脱出来,试图追逐地上的阴影。这种冲动付出了代价,我跌倒在地,哭叫着扑进母亲的怀里。
    快乐的日子并没有持续多久。一个短暂的春天,知更鸟和嘲鸫的啁啾余音缭绕;一个花果繁盛的夏天;一个金黄色的秋天——时光倏忽即逝,在一个如饥似渴、欣喜异常的幼儿脚下,季节留下了自己最后的礼物。随后,在一个阴沉萧索的二月,疾病封闭了我的眼睛和耳朵,重新将我抛进一个新生婴儿般的无意识状态。家人们管这种病叫做胃和脑的急性阻塞症。医生认为我活不了了,然而造化弄人,就在某天早晨,我身上的烧突然退了,就像它到来时那样神秘莫测。那天早晨,家中充满了喜悦祥和的气氛,但是没有一个人,连同医生在内,全都不知道我再也看不见,再也听不见了。
    如今,对疾病的回忆仍然会令我感到困惑。我特别记得母亲的悉心呵护,她在我一连数小时的焦躁和疼痛之中尽量抚慰我。我会在睡觉过程中惊悸着醒来,随之而来的是巨大的痛楚和迷惑,我试图转动眼睛,然而它是如此地干涩灼热;我把头扭向墙壁,因为那里曾有迷人的亮光,但是我只能看到暗淡模糊的一片,而且每天都在变暗。除了这些短暂的记忆,也就不曾剩下别样的东西了。事实上,这些回忆如梦似幻,恰如一场噩梦。渐渐地,我变得习惯于被寂静和黑暗所围裹,我也没有意识到这种生活有什么与众不同,直到她——我的老师到来的那一天——她引导我进入了精神自由的境界。总之,在我生命的最初十九个月中,我曾对这个世界匆匆一瞥,广袤的绿色田野,明亮的天空,树木和花丛的印记是随后而来的黑暗所无法抹煞掉的。假如我们曾经看见,“那一天就属于我们,那一天所展示的一切就属于我们”。
    

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