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Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 4)

A bamboo mesh with the characters '浮生六記 / 坎坷記愁' superimposed on itThis is a sentence-by-sentence translation from the chapter 坎坷記愁 in Shen Fu’s 浮生六記 (Six Records of a Floating Life).

(See the index of Fu Sheng Liu Ji translations)

浮生六記第六卷:坎坷記愁 → Section 4

芸泣曰:「妾固不合妄言,但阿翁當恕婦女無知耳。」 Crying, Yun said “I have indeed spoken improperly, but your honourable father should forgive a woman’s ignorance.”

越數日,吾父又有手諭至,曰: After a few days, my father once again sent instructions, saying:

[手諭](http://www.zdic.net/cd/ci/4/ZdicE6Zdic89Zdic8B300832.htm) is a binome meaning "written order" or "written instructions".

「我不為已甚,汝攜婦別居,勿使我見,免我生氣足矣。」 “I will not be too extreme: take your wife and live elsewhere, and if you don’t make me see you, that will be sufficient to avoid my anger.”

不為已甚 is a set phrase referring to lenience in punishment.

乃寄芸於外家,而芸以母亡弟出,不願往依族中,幸友人魯半舫聞而憐之,招余夫婦往居其家蕭爽樓。 Thereupon, I would have entrusted Yun to her family home, but her mother had died and her younger brother had run away and she did not want to depend on her relatives; fortunately my friend Lu Banfang heard about our situation and took pity, inviting us to go and live at his house, Xiaoshuang House.

_The character 外 - "external" - is often used to refer to a wife's family, hence 外家 being her family home. 蕭爽樓 could be translated literally as "the Villa of Serenity" but here has just been transcribed as Xiaoshuang House._

越兩載,吾父漸知始末,適余自嶺南歸,吾父自至蕭爽樓,謂芸曰: After two years, my father gradually came to understand the full story. It so happened that I had returned from Lingnan when my father arrived at the Villa of Serenity, and said to Yun:

「前事我已盡知,汝盍歸乎?」 “I now completely understand that incident from before - why don’t you come back?”

盍 has a similar meaning to 不何 - "why not".

余夫婦欣然,仍歸故宅,骨肉重圓。 My wife and I were delighted; we returned  to our former home, once again surrounded by kith and kin.

骨肉 is literally "bone and flesh", and is the equivalent of "flesh and blood" or "kith and kin" in English. 重 here is read 'chóng' and means "once again".

豈料又有憨園之孽障耶! How could we anticipate that the curse of Hanyuan would come to cause problems again?

豈 is used to indicate rhetorical or emphatic questions. 孽障 is a binome referring to a Buddhist concept of "karmic obstruction". That is, a problem caused by actions in the past that comes around again.

芸素有血疾,以其弟克昌出亡不返。 Yun had always had tuberculosis, ever since her younger brother Kechang had run away and not returned.

Here 素 means "usually" or "always". The disease mentioned, 血疾, is literally "blood disease". From the symptoms mentioned later, it appears to be tuberculosis.

母金氏復念子而病沒,悲傷過甚所致。 Her mother had missed her son and died of illness, extreme grief being the cause.

_金氏 refers to Yun's family name._

自識憨園,年餘未發,余方幸其得良藥。 Since she had met Hanyuan, she did not pass blood for more than a year; finally, I had had the fortune to find a good remedy.

而憨為有力者奪去, 以千金作聘,且許養其母。 But Hanyuan was snatched away by a rich man, who paid a thousand gold pieces for the betrothal, and moreover promised to take care of her mother.

_為 is a passive marker here, like the modern 被. "有力" is literally "powerful", but came to mean "rich". The nominaliser 者 makes it "a rich person"._

佳人已屬沙叱利矣! The beautiful woman belongs to Shachili!

[Shachili (沙叱利)](http://www.zdic.net/cd/ci/7/ZdicE6ZdicB2Zdic99326173.htm) is a character in a Tang dynasty poem, who kidnaps a beautiful woman. This sentence is a direct quote from the poem.

余知之而未敢言也, 及芸往探始知之,歸而嗚咽,謂余曰: I knew this yet I did not dare to say it, so when Yun went to find her she found out, and came back sobbing, saying to me:

「初不料憨之薄情乃爾也!」 “At first, I never expected that Hanyuan’s feelings would be shallow to this extent!”

Series: Six Records of a Floating Life

  1. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 1)
  2. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 2)
  3. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 3)
  4. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 4) (this article)
  5. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 5)
  6. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 6)
  7. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 7)
  8. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 8)
  9. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 9)
  10. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 10)
  11. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 11)
  12. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 12)
  13. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 13)
  14. Six Records of a Floating Life, 3: Kanke Jichou (Section 14)

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