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英国生活指南:第四章

战火中的不列颠

英国生活指南:第四章

翻译:番薯啊同腰果齐欢唱  校对:Zoe骜

美国虽是参战国,但战火还未烧到国内。然而,一旦船离港驶向大不列颠,你就将踏入烽火肆虐的战场。你将发现,整个大不列颠都成为了战场,而且自从1939年9月以来,一直如此。这一切意味着英国人的生活发生了翻天覆地的改变。

每晚,英格兰通宵实行灯火管制,不见一星灯光。高速公路上的路标被全部拆除,转而升起了防空拦截气球。如今,牧场成为小麦田;花坛被改造成了菜园。和平时期英国军队有几十万人,如今已经扩充到两百多万人。从最大型的工厂到最小的乡村作坊,都在为战争生产物资,保证英国有足够军备支持包括本国、利比亚、印度、俄罗斯在内的所有前线军队。成千上万的英国女性投身工厂工作或加入军队辅助部队。旧时期的社会等级被抛到脑后——有工人的儿子升为军官,也有贵族的女儿下到兵工厂工作。

但比这更重要的,是战争本身的影响。英国人遭受了夜复一夜、月复一月的轰炸。成千上万的英国人失去了住所、财产和家人。汽油、衣服稀缺,铁路运输也供应不上。英国人的收入在扣税后,微薄得让美国人难以想象。过去,英格兰有许多东西从来不缺,例如肥皂。但现在肥皂也变得非常短缺,在工厂工作的女孩经常头发上手上黏着油脂,无可奈何。而在所有物资中,食物的定量配给最为严格。

英国人挺过来了。过去的很多个月里,英国人在缺少物资的情况下,仍顽强抗争,而这些物资,美国人民却以为理所当然。不过,你会发现,物资匮乏、生活艰苦、灯火管制还有轮番轰炸,这些都没有压垮英国人。艰苦的岁月和多舛的命途反而孕育出他们不竭的士气和坚定的信心。经受如此多的磨难,如今英国人比以往何时都更决心要赢得这场战争,这是人类天性使然。

对比英国,你们的国家家园安定、食物充足、灯火通明。因此,记住英国士兵和国民一直生活在巨大的压力下,就显得加倍重要。无论何时,挑剔主人的招待都是缺乏礼数的。作为军人,伤害盟军的感情是非常愚蠢的。所以,在你想发泄抱怨英国的啤酒不冷不热,水煮土豆冷冰冰,香烟抽起来味道粗劣的时候,最好忍住,好好想一想。

要是英国人看起来衣着寒酸、不得体,并不是因为他们没有品位、不会打扮。而是因为战时衣物是定量配给的,并且英国人知道,旧衣服缝缝补补凑合着到不能穿为止,能帮助减轻军工生产的压力。对他们而言,旧衣服就是“好衣服”。

有一点要注意的是——应邀拜访英国家庭,要是主人劝你“放开了吃,桌上多着呢”,千万悠着点。为了显示自己热情好客,英国人可能把全家整一星期的定粮摆出来招待你。

浪费东西,意味着糟蹋生命。人们常说,美国人扔进垃圾箱里的食物,比外国人吃掉的还要多。确实如此。一直以来,我们都是粮食“出产国”。而英国,即使在和平时期,大部分的食物也依赖进口。过去两年来,英国人都谨记要珍惜从国外海运而来的的物资。英国的海员有的为输送物资而献出了生命。英国人对此刻骨铭心。他们知道,汽油和食物都代表着货船水手的生命。对于英国人来说,如果白白烧掉汽油,好比浪费了那些死去海员的鲜血。毁坏或浪费食物,那就像浪费了另一个死去水手的生命。

战火中的英国女性。英国女军官或士官有权且经常给男性士兵下达命令。士兵迅速执行命令,并不以之为耻。因为英国女性已经在这场战争中证明了自己。在着火的临时弹药库旁,她们仍坚守岗位;座下摩托车被炸毁,她们就徒步传达讯息。她们从起火的飞机里救出过飞行员。她们有的要是倒在狙击位上,其他女孩马上接替上去,继续战斗。这场战争中,英军没有任何关于女军人面对炮火弃职或失职的记录。

现在你应该知道为什么英国士兵对女军人怀有敬意了吧。她们赢得了这份最高的敬意。如果你看见一个女孩穿着卡其色军服,或蓝色空军服,胸前配着绶带,记住,她可不是因为织了全伊普斯维奇[1]最多的袜子才得到这份荣誉的。

[1] Ipswich:伊普斯威奇,英格兰萨福克郡首府。位于伦敦东北,1200年设建制。从中世纪到17世纪是一个繁荣的港口,向外出口英国东部的纺织品。译者注。

英文原文:

BRITAIN   AT  WAR                  

AT HOME in America you were in a country at war. Since your ship left port, however, you have been in a war zone. You will find that all Britain is a war zone and has been since September 1939. All this has meant great changes in the British way of life.

Every light in England is blacked out every night and all night. Every highway signpost has come down and barrage balloons have gone up. Grazing land is now ploughed for wheat and flower beds turned into vegetable gardens. Britain’s peacetime army of a couple of hundred thousand has been expanded to over two million men. Everything from the biggest factory to the smallest village workshop is turning out something for the war, so that Britain can supply arms for herself, for Libya, India, Russia, and every front. Hundreds of thousands of women have gone to work in factories or joined the many military auxiliary forces. Old-time social distinctions are being forgotten as the sons of factory workers rise to be officers in the forces and the daughters of noblemen get jobs in munitions factories.

But more important than this is the effect of the war itself. The British have been bombed, night after night and month after month. Thousands of them have lost their houses, their possessions, their families. Gasoline, clothes, and railroad travel are hard to come by and incomes are cut by taxes to an extent we Americans have not even approached. One of the things the English always had enough of in the past was soap. Now it is so scarce that girls working in the factories often cannot get the grease off their hands or out of their hair. And food is more strictly rationed than anything else.

 

The British Came Through. For many months the people of Britain have been doing without things which Americans take for granted. But you will find that shortages, dis-comforts, blackouts, and bombings have not made the British depressed. They have a new cheerfulness and a new determination born out of hard times and tough luck. After going through what they have been through it’s only human nature that they should be more than ever determined to win.

You are coming to Britain from a country where your home is still safe, food is still plentiful, and lights are still burning. So it is doubly important for you to remember that the British soldiers and civilians have been living under a tremendous strain. It is always impolite to criticize your hosts. It is militarily stupid to insult your allies. So stop and think before you sound off about luke-warm beer, or cold boiled potatoes, or the way English cigarettes taste.

If British civilians look dowdy and badly dressed, it is not because they do not like good clothes or know how to wear them. All clothing is rationed and the British know that they help war production by wearing an old suit or dress until it cannot be patched any longer. Old clothes are “good form.”

One thing to be careful about—if you are invited into a British home and the host exhorts you to “eat up— there’s plenty on the table,” go easy. It may be the family’s rations for a whole week spread out to show their hospitality.

 

Waste Means Lives. It is always said that Americans throw more food into their garbage cans than any other country eats. It is true. We have always been a “producer” nation. Most British food is imported even in peacetimes, and for the last two years the British have been taught not to waste the things that their ships bring in from abroad. British seamen die getting those convoys through. The British have been taught this so thoroughly that they now know that gasoline and food represent the lives of merchant sailors. And when you burn gasoline needlessly, it will seem to them as if you are wasting the blood of those seamen—when you destroy or waste food you have wasted the life of another sailor.

 

British Women At War. A British woman officer or non-commissioned officer can—and often does—give orders to a man private. The men obey smartly and know it is no shame. For British women have proven themselves in this war. They have stuck to their posts near burning ammunition dumps, delivered messages afoot after their motor-cycles have been blasted from under them. They have pulled aviators from burning planes. They have died at the gun posts and as they fell another girl has stepped directly into the position and “carried on.” There is not a single record in this war of any British woman in uni-formed service quitting her post or failing in her duty under fire.

Now you understand why British soldiers respect the women in uniform. They have won the right to the utmost respect. When you see a girl in khaki or air-force blue with a bit of ribbon on her tunic—remember she didn’t get it for knitting more socks than anyone else in Ipswich.

英国生活指南:第四章
本作品采用知识共享署名-非商业性使用-禁止演绎进行许可。

英国生活指南:第四章:等您坐沙发呢!

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