The Last Leaf 最後一片葉子

 |2021.01.17
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In a strange place called Greenwich Village, where many artists lived in their studios. Among them were Joanna and Su, they had their studio at the top of a three-story brick building.

As the seasons changed, in November, in the bitter cold, many artists in the village caught pneumonia. Unfortunately, Joanna caught the dreadful disease. She lay on her bed, hardly able to move, looking through the small window at the wall of the next brick house.

One morning, after checking on Joanna, her doctor took Sue aside and talked to her.

"She will survive only if she really wants to live, but she looks as though she has lost all hope. Is she disappointed about something?"

"She was dreaming of painting the Bay of Naples someday, but now it seems like she is just awaiting her death," replied Sue softly.

As she started a pen-and-ink drawing, she heard a low sound from Joanna's bed. She quickly went to the bedside.

Joanna was looking out of the window intently and counting. Sue listened closer. Joanna was counting backward.

"Twelve," she said, and a while later, "eleven", and then after a while, "ten", and then "nine."

Sue saw an old ivy vine that had climbed halfway up the brick wall but was decayed at the roots. The autumn wind had blown most of its weak leaves away until just a couple more were remaining. The almost bare vine clung to the bricks, with just a few leaves left.

"What is it, dear?" Sue asked.

"Six," whispered Joanna. "Now falling fast! I am sure three days back there were almost a hundred leaves.....there goes another. There are only five leaves left now."

"Tell me, dear. Five what?"

"Leaves. On the ivy vine. When the last one falls, I will go too. I know that. Didn't the doctor tell you?"

"Oh, dear! Such nonsense! The vine has nothing to do with your getting well. The doctor this morning told me that your chances of getting well were.....let me remember.....yes, he said the chances were ten to one! I must hand in this drawing by tomorrow. I need the light to draw. Otherwise, I would have drawn the shade down."

"Why don't you draw in the other room?"

"I want to be with you," Sue said softly. "Try to get some sleep. I have to call Behrman up to be my model for the old hermit miner in my drawing. I'll come back in a minute."

Old Behrman lived on the ground floor beneath them. He was a painter. He was past sixty and had a long beard that was the main feature of him. Behrman had had consistent failures as an artist. He always talked about a masterpiece that he was going to paint soon but had never got around to actually doing it.

Sue found Behrman and told him about Joanna's illusion about the vine and its falling leave.

Old Behrman shouted his contempt for such idiotic imaginings.

Sue could not sleep that night, and in the morning she found Joanna staring at the drawn green shade.

"Pull up the shade. I want to see."

But, look! Even after the beating rain and the horrendous gusts of wind, there stood the one ivy leaf against the brick wall. It was the last one, still dark green near its stem, but its serrated edges oddly highlighted with the color of decay. It held on to the branch about twenty feet above the ground.

"There is the last one," said Joanna weakly. "I thought it would fall during the night. I heard the rain and wind. I am sure it will fall today, and I shall die at the same moment."

The day progressed wearily, and even at dusk, they could see the lone ivy leaf bravely clinging to its stem against the brick wall. When night came, the wind blew again mercilessly, and the rain beat against the windows.

When the new day dawned, Joanna wanted the shade up again. She looked at the vine.

The ivy leaf was still there.

For a very long time, Joanna lay on her bed, looking at the leaf. Then she called Sue, who was making broth over the stove.

"Sudie, I have not been a good girl," said Joanna. "See, something has made that last leaf clings on there, to show me how wicked I was.

That afternoon Sue found Joanna, still on her bed, but happily knitting a scarf. Her eyes welled up. She went to her and hugged her.

"I have something to tell you, my dear," Sue said. "It about Mr. Behrman. He died of pneumonia in the hospital today. He was sick for only two days. The janitor found him in his room downstairs, in terrible pain, on the first day. He was icy cold, and his clothes and shoes were soaking wet. They couldn't understand where he had been on such a terrible night. And then they found a lantern, and a ladder, scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it, and ...... look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn't you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it's Behrman's masterpiece, he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell."

解 說

在一個叫做格林威治村的奇特所在,聚集了許多住在自己工作室的藝術家。其中,喬安娜和蘇的工作室,在三層紅磚房的頂樓。

隨著季節更替,在嚴寒的十一月中,村裡的許多藝術家都得了肺炎。不幸的是,喬安娜也染上這可怕的疾病。幾乎無法動彈的她,躺在床上,透過小窗望著隔壁的磚牆。

一天早晨,醫師在檢查完喬安娜後,把蘇叫到一旁說話。

「唯有她真的想活下去,她才能撐過這場病,但她似乎已失去了所有希望,她因為某件事而失落嗎?」

蘇輕聲回答:「她夢想有一天能畫那不勒斯灣,但現在看來,她正等著迎接死亡。」

當她準備開始自己的鋼筆繪圖時,她聽到喬安娜發出細小的聲音,她迅速趕到床邊。

喬安娜專心地看著窗外數著,蘇靠近聽,喬安娜正在倒數。

她說:「十二。」又過了一會兒,「十一」,然後過了一會兒,「十」,然後是「九」。

蘇看到一株古老的常春藤,藤蔓已經爬到磚牆的一半,但根部腐爛了。秋風吹走了大部分薄弱的葉子,幾乎裸露的藤蔓緊貼著磚頭,只剩下幾片葉子。

「什麼事呀,親愛的?」蘇問她。

「六片。」喬安娜低聲說。「現在掉落得很快!我確定三天前還有近百片葉子……又掉了一片,現在只剩五片葉子了。」

「告訴我,親愛的。五片什麼?」

「葉子,在常春藤上。當最後一片葉子掉落時,我也會走。我知道,醫師不是這麼告訴妳的嗎?」

「哦,親愛的,別胡說啊!常春藤與妳的康復無關。今早醫師告訴我,妳的健康機會是…讓我回想…是的,他說,這種機會是十比一!我必須明天交上這幅畫,我需要光線。不然我會把窗簾拉上的。」

「妳為什麼不到另一個房間畫?」

「我想和妳在一起。」蘇輕聲說。「試著睡一下吧。我必須叫貝爾曼為畫裡的老隱士擺姿勢,我待會兒再回來。」

貝爾曼老先生住在她們樓下,他是六十多歲的畫家,留著長長的鬍鬚是他的主要特徵。貝爾曼始終是個失敗藝術家,他總是說他即將要畫一幅曠世傑作,但從未真正開始提筆。

蘇找到了貝爾曼,也告訴他喬安娜對常春藤落葉等同生命結束的錯覺。

老貝爾曼對這種愚蠢想法大吼大叫表示不以為然。

蘇那晚無法入睡,隔天早上,她發現喬安娜盯著綠色的窗簾。

「拉開窗簾,我想看。」

但是,看哪!即使在陣陣暴雨和可怕的強風過後,那常春藤葉子仍然屹立在磚牆上。它是最後一片,莖幹附近仍然是深綠色,但是鋸齒狀的邊緣,出奇地加深了反差的顏色。它固定在離地面約十英尺的樹枝上。

「最後一片。」喬安娜虛弱地說。「我以為它會在夜間掉落。我聽到風雨的聲響。我確定今天會掉,而且我會在同一時間死去。」

漫長的一天過去,即使到了黃昏時分,她們還能看到那常春藤葉子勇敢地貼在磚牆上。夜幕降臨時,風又無情地吹了一夜,雨用力拍打窗戶。

新的一天到來時,喬安娜再次要求拉開窗簾,她看著常春藤蔓。

葉子還在那裡。

喬安娜躺在床上,看著葉子很久。然後,她對著正在爐上煮湯的蘇說。

「蘇蘇,我不是一個好女孩。」喬安娜說。「妳瞧,有股力量讓那片最後的葉子緊緊地貼在那裡,讓我知道,自己有多怪異。」

那天下午,蘇發現喬安娜仍在她的床上,但興高采烈地編織了一條圍巾、眼睛閃閃發亮,蘇過去擁抱她。

蘇說:「親愛的,我有事要告訴妳。」「是關於貝爾曼先生的,他今天在醫院因為肺炎過世了,他才病了兩天,大樓管理員在頭一天發現,他在樓下的房間裡,表情極痛苦,他渾身冰冷,衣服和鞋子都像浸過水一樣溼,他們想不通他在天氣如此惡劣的夜晚去過哪裡,然後他們發現了燈籠、梯子、分岔的筆刷,還有上面混合綠色和黃色的調色盤……親愛的,妳看窗外牆上最後一片常春藤葉子,難道妳沒留意為什麼風吹時它從不飄動嗎?親愛的,這是貝爾曼的傑作啊,他在最後一片葉子掉落的夜晚畫的。」

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