I took a wooden boat from Chongqing to Hankou.木船危险,当然知道。一路上数不清的滩,礁石随处都是,要出事,随时可以出。还有盗匪(1)一一实在是最可怜的同胞,他们种地没得吃,有力气没处出卖,当了兵经常饿肚皮,无可奈何只好出此下策(2)。一一假如遇见了,把铺盖或者身上衣服带下去,也是异常难处的事儿(3).
Of course I know it is risky to travel by wooden boat. With countless shoals and reefs to negotiate, accidents may happen any time. To complicate matters, there are bandits
lurking around一those pitiful fellow countrymen who, unable to ward off starvation by farming or soldiering or whatnot, have been reduced to the disreputable business as a last resort. I'll be in a real fix if they should rob me of, say, my bedding or clothes.但是,回转来想,从前没有轮船,没有飞机,历来走川江(4)的人都坐木船。就是如今,上上下下的还有许多人在那里坐木船,如果统计起来,人数该比坐轮船坐飞机的多。人家可以坐,我就不能坐吗?我又不比人家高贵。至于危险,不考虑也罢。轮船飞机就不危险吗?安步当车似乎最稳妥了,可是人家屋檐边也可以掉下一张瓦片来。要绝对避免危险就莫要做人(5).
Now, on reflection, I realize that in the days before steamers and aircraft came into use, people used to travel by wooden boat up and down the Sichuan section of the Yangtse River. Even today, many continue to do so, and statistic will invariably show a higher percentage of people travelling by wooden boat than by steamer or aircraft. Why shouldn't I do the same? Why should I think it beneath myself to travel by wooden boat? As for safety, is it less dangerous to travel by steamer or aircraft? Going on foot seems to be the best choice, but a tile falling off the eaves of somebody's house might prove equally disastrous to foot passengers. Enjoying absolute safety is humanly impossible.要坐轮船坐飞机,自然也有办法(6)。只要往各方去请托,找关系,或者干脆买张黑票。先说黑票,且不谈付出超过定额的钱,力有不及,心有不甘(7),单单一个“黑”字,就叫你不愿领教。“黑”字表示作弊,表示越出常轨。你买黑票,无异同作弊,赞助越出常轨(8)。
It stands to reason that I can go by steamer or aircraft if I care to. I can simply go around fishing for help or personal connections, or just buy a "black" ticket. But I'll have to pay more than the regular price for a "b