On a cold gray morming of last week I duly turned up at Euston Station, to see off an old friend who was starting for America.
Overmight, we had given him a farewell dinner, in which sadness was well mingled with festivity. Years probably would elapse before his return. Some of us might never see him again. Not ignoring the shadow of the future, we gaily celebrated the past. We were as thankful to have known our guest as we were grieved to lose him ; and both these emotions were made evident. It was a perfect farewell.
And now, here we were, stiff and self-conscious on the platform ；and, framed in the window of the railway-carriage was the face of our friend； but it was like the face of a stranger,一a stranger anxious to lease，an appealing stranger， an awkward stranger,... ( Max eerbohm: Yet Again , Chapter 2 Seeing People Off)
这篇节选的英语曾出现在多年前自学考试的翻译试卷里。表面上看，前两段没有什么理解方面的问题，只是最后一段有点费解，但有过类似的经历，或发挥一想象，也不是不可以对付的。作者曾把它翻译成汉语，并在课堂给学生讲评过，当时暗自得意，将“It was a perfect farewel” 译成“那真是个令人难忘的送别”，而没有将其中的“perfect”照字面译成“完美的”。这次写人书稿，找出了整篇原文，原来是Max Beerbohm 的小说Yet Again里描写“送别”的情景。但待我读完它之前的几个段落，我就怎么也得意不起来了。请看：
Iamnotgoodatit.Todoitwellseemstomeoneofthemost ificult things in the world, and probably seems so to you, too. To see a friend off from Waterloo to Vauxhall were easy enough. But we are never called on to perform that small feat. It is only when a friend is going on a longish joumey, and will be absent for a longish time, that we tum up at the railway station. The dearer the friend, and the longer the joumey , and the longer the likely absence, the earlier do we turn up, and the more lamentably do we fail. Our failure is in exact ratio to the seriousness of the occasion, and to the aepth of our feeling.