Masa de Craciun | O poveste de Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens , un scriitor mai mult decat drag mie , poate prea duios pentru unii sau naiv pentru altii , continua sa imi aduca desfatare si bucurie ori de cate ori ii rasfoiesc cartile. Aceasta bucata de proza , cea dintai povestire scurta a lui Dickens , este o mica bijuterie in care se descrie o masa de sarbatoare in familie intr-o maniera care anticipeaza mica dar voioasa adunare festiva a clanului Crachit din “Colinda de Craciun” (A Christmas Carol).M-am incumetat asadar sa purced la o traducere proprie a povestii, care sper sa va incante si sa va pregateasca sufletul pentru magica atmosfera a Craciunului. Pentru cunoscatorii limbii engleze , am introdus mai intai povestea originala a lui Dickens , in limba lui Shakespeare.

A Christmass Dinner

It’s Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused - in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened - by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes - of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world, who cannot call up such thoughts any day in the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire - fill the glass and send round the song - and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it off-hand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it's no worse. Look on the merry faces of your children (if you have any) as they sit round the fire. One little seat may be empty; one slight form that gladdened the father's heart, and roused the mother's pride to look upon, may not be there. Dwell not upon the past; think not that one short year ago, the fair child now resolving into dust, sat before you, with the bloom of health upon its cheek, and the gaiety of infancy in its joyous eye. Reflect upon your present blessings - of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Fill your glass again, with a merry face and contented heart. Our life on it, but your Christmas shall be merry, and your new year a happy one!

Who can be insensible to the outpourings of good feeling, and the honest interchange of affectionate attachment, which abound at this season of the year? A Christmas family-party! We know nothing in nature more delightful! There seems a magic in the very name of Christmas. Petty jealousies and discords are forgotten; social feelings are awakened, in bosoms to which they have long been strangers; father and son, or brother and sister, who have met and passed with averted gaze, or a look of cold recognition, for months before, proffer and return the cordial embrace, and bury their past animosities in their present happiness. Kindly hearts that have yearned towards each other, but have been withheld by false notions of pride and self-dignity, are again reunited, and all is kindness and benevolence! Would that Christmas lasted the whole year through (as it ought), and that the prejudices and passions which deform our better nature, were never called into action among those to whom they should ever be strangers!
The Christmas family-party that we mean, is not a mere assemblage of relations, got up at a week or two's notice, originating this year, having no family precedent in the last, and not likely to be repeated in the next. No. It is an annual gathering of all the accessible members of the family, young or old, rich or poor; and all the children look forward to it, for two months beforehand, in a fever of anticipation. Formerly, it was held at grandpapa's; but grandpapa getting old, and grandmamma getting old too, and rather infirm, they have given up house-keeping, and domesticated themselves with uncle George; so, the party always takes place at uncle George's house, but grandmamma sends in most of the good things, and grandpapa always WILL toddle down, all the way to Newgate-market, to buy the turkey, which he engages a porter to bring home behind him in triumph, always insisting on the man's being rewarded with a glass of spirits, over and above his hire, to drink 'a merry Christmas and a happy new year' to aunt George. As to grandmamma, she is very secret and mysterious for two or three days beforehand, but not sufficiently so, to prevent rumours getting afloat that she has purchased a beautiful new cap with pink ribbons for each of the servants, together with sundry books, and pen-knives, and pencil-cases, for the younger branches; to say nothing of divers secret additions to the order originally given by aunt George at the pastry-cook's, such as another dozen of mince- pies for the dinner, and a large plum-cake for the children.

On Christmas-eve, grandmamma is always in excellent spirits, and after employing all the children, during the day, in stoning the plums, and all that, insists, regularly every year, on uncle George coming down into the kitchen, taking off his coat, and stirring the pudding for half an hour or so, which uncle George good-humouredly does, to the vociferous delight of the children and servants. The evening concludes with a glorious game of blind-man's-buff, in an early stage of which grandpapa takes great care to be caught, in order that he may have an opportunity of displaying his dexterity.

On the following morning, the old couple, with as many of the children as the pew will hold, go to church in great state: leaving aunt George at home dusting decanters and filling casters, and uncle George carrying bottles into the dining-parlour, and calling for corkscrews, and getting into everybody's way.

When the church-party return to lunch, grandpapa produces a small sprig of mistletoe from his pocket, and tempts the boys to kiss their little cousins under it - a proceeding which affords both the boys and the old gentleman unlimited satisfaction, but which rather outrages grandmamma's ideas of decorum, until grandpapa says, that when he was just thirteen years and three months old, HE kissed grandmamma under a mistletoe too, on which the children clap their hands, and laugh very heartily, as do aunt George and uncle George; and grandmamma looks pleased, and says, with a benevolent smile, that grandpapa was an impudent young dog, on which the children laugh very heartily again, and grandpapa more heartily than any of them.

But all these diversions are nothing to the subsequent excitement when grandmamma in a high cap, and slate-coloured silk gown; and grandpapa with a beautifully plaited shirt-frill, and white neckerchief; seat themselves on one side of the drawing-room fire, with uncle George's children and little cousins innumerable, seated in the front, waiting the arrival of the expected visitors. Suddenly a hackney-coach is heard to stop, and uncle George, who has been looking out of the window, exclaims 'Here's Jane!' on which the children rush to the door, and helter-skelter down- stairs; and uncle Robert and aunt Jane, and the dear little baby, and the nurse, and the whole party, are ushered up-stairs amidst tumultuous shouts of 'Oh, my!' from the children, and frequently repeated warnings not to hurt baby from the nurse. And grandpapa takes the child, and grandmamma kisses her daughter, and the confusion of this first entry has scarcely subsided, when some other aunts and uncles with more cousins arrive, and the grown-up cousins flirt with each other, and so do the little cousins too, for that matter, and nothing is to be heard but a confused din of talking, laughing, and merriment.

A hesitating double knock at the street-door, heard during a momentary pause in the conversation, excites a general inquiry of 'Who's that?' and two or three children, who have been standing at the window, announce in a low voice, that it's 'poor aunt Margaret.' Upon which, aunt George leaves the room to welcome the new-comer; and grandmamma draws herself up, rather stiff and stately; for Margaret married a poor man without her consent, and poverty not being a sufficiently weighty punishment for her offence, has been discarded by her friends, and debarred the society of her dearest relatives. But Christmas has come round, and the unkind feelings that have struggled against better dispositions during the year, have melted away before its genial influence, like half-formed ice beneath the morning sun. It is not difficult in a moment of angry feeling for a parent to denounce a disobedient child; but, to banish her at a period of general good- will and hilarity, from the hearth, round which she has sat on so many anniversaries of the same day, expanding by slow degrees from infancy to girlhood, and then bursting, almost imperceptibly, into a woman, is widely different. The air of conscious rectitude, and cold forgiveness, which the old lady has assumed, sits ill upon her; and when the poor girl is led in by her sister, pale in looks and broken in hope - not from poverty, for that she could bear, but from the consciousness of undeserved neglect, and unmerited unkindness - it is easy to see how much of it is assumed. A momentary pause succeeds; the girl breaks suddenly from her sister and throws herself, sobbing, on her mother's neck. The father steps hastily forward, and takes her husband's hand. Friends crowd round to offer their hearty congratulations, and happiness and harmony again prevail.

As to the dinner, it's perfectly delightful - nothing goes wrong, and everybody is in the very best of spirits, and disposed to please and be pleased. Grandpapa relates a circumstantial account of the purchase of the turkey, with a slight digression relative to the purchase of previous turkeys, on former Christmas-days, which grandmamma corroborates in the minutest particular. Uncle George tells stories, and carves poultry, and takes wine, and jokes with the children at the side-table, and winks at the cousins that are making love, or being made love to, and exhilarates everybody with his good humour and hospitality; and when, at last, a stout servant staggers in with a gigantic pudding, with a sprig of holly in the top, there is such a laughing, and shouting, and clapping of little chubby hands, and kicking up of fat dumpy legs, as can only be equalled by the applause with which the astonishing feat of pouring lighted brandy into mince-pies, is received by the younger visitors. Then the dessert! - and the wine! - and the fun! Such beautiful speeches, and SUCH songs, from aunt Margaret's husband, who turns out to be such a nice man, and SO attentive to grandmamma! Even grandpapa not only sings his annual song with unprecedented vigour, but on being honoured with an unanimous ENCORE, according to annual custom, actually comes out with a new one which nobody but grandmamma ever heard before; and a young scapegrace of a cousin, who has been in some disgrace with the old people, for certain heinous sins of omission and commission - neglecting to call, and persisting in drinking Burton Ale - astonishes everybody into convulsions of laughter by volunteering the most extraordinary comic songs that ever were heard. And thus the evening passes, in a strain of rational good-will and cheerfulness, doing more to awaken the sympathies of every member of the party in behalf of his neighbour, and to perpetuate their good feeling during the ensuing year, than half the homilies that have ever been written, by half the Divines that have ever lived.

O masa de Craciun

Este vremea Craciunului ! Numai un om mizantrop pana in maduva oaselor nu poate simti un adevarat simtamant de voiosie in piept sau nu ii pot fi trezite in minte placute asociatii cu ocazia Craciunului.
Exista oameni care iti pot spune ca sarbatoarea de Craciun nu mai este ce a fost altadata , ca fiecare Craciun umbreste sau destrama sperantele luminoase sau perspectivele fericite resimtite cu un an inainte ; prezentul nu face decat sa le aduca aminte despre situatiile dificile si veniturile diminuate , de petrecerile spumoase cu prietenii de altadata si de privirile reci care ii atintesc acum , intr-o perioada plina de adversitati si nenoroc. Nu te lasa niciodata in voia unor astfel de amare reminiscente …

Exista cativa oameni care au trait indeajuns in mijlocul lumii pentru a nu-si lasa mintea prada unor ganduri de acest fel in nici o zi anului. Asadar , nu alege cea mai fericita zi din cele 365 pentru a te imbufna in amintiri dureroase , ci trage-ti un scaun langa flacarile voioase ale caminului – umple-ti paharul si trimite-ti in jur cantecul – iar in cazul in care camera ta iti pare a fi mai stramta decat acum o duzina de ani , ori daca paharul iti este plin cu un punch puturos in locul unui vin stralucitor , priveste partea placuta a lucrurilor , goleste-ti dintr-o inghititura paharul , umple-ti inca unul , fredoneaza-ti vechiul cantecel favorit si multumeste-i lui Dumnezeu ca nu este si mai rau.Priveste fetele fericite ale copiilor tai ( daca ai vreunul) in timp ce stau in jurul focului.Unul din micile scaune poate fi gol ; una din siluetele fragile care multumea inima tatalui si ii umplea inima de mandrie mamei atunci cand o privea poate sa nu fie prezenta. Nu lasa trecutul sa te copleseasca ; nu te gandi ca acum un de zile , copilul care zace acum in pamant statea in fata ta cu bujori de sanatate in obraji si cu voiosia copilariei sclipindu-i in ochi. Reflecteaza asupra binecuvantarilor prezentului – fiecare om are parte de multe de acest fel – si nu la ghinioanele tale trecute , de care au parte toti oamenii. Umple-ti din nou paharul , cu fata inveselita si inima plina de multumire. Viata ne este pusa mereu la incercare , dar Craciunul trebuie sa-ti fie fericit , iar noul an unul ferice !

Cine poate ramane insensibil la avalansa de bune simtaminte si la impartasirea onesta al atasamentului afectiv care abunda in acesta perioada a anului ? O masa de Craciun in familie ! Ce poate fi mai desfatator decat acest eveniment ? Pare a fi un lucru magic , asezat sub obladuirea Craciunului . Micile gelozii si neintelegeri sunt uitate ; sentimentele sociale sunt desteptate in sufletele acelora care au fost multa vreme instrainati ; tatal si fiul, sau sora si fratele , care s-au intalnit si au trecut unul pe langa celalalt facandu-se a nu se vedea ori au schimbat o privire rece de recunoastere in urma cu cateva luni , se deschid unul spre altul si se reintorc la o imbratisare calda , ingropandu-si animozitatile din trecut in prezenta fericire. Inimile bune ce au dus dorul celorlalti , dar se lasasera cotropite de false notiuni de mandrie si demnitate sunt din nou la un loc , si totul nu este decat bunatate si bunavointa ! Daca acest Craciun ar cuprinde intreg anul (asa cum ar trebui) , toate prejudecatile si pasiunile care ne deformeaza natura noastra buna nu ne-ar mai acapara in mijlocul oamenilor, fie ei chiar straini !

Adunarea de familie despre care vorbim nu este o simpla reuniune a unor rude , pusa la cale acum o saptamana sau doua , in decursul acestui an , care nu isi are precedent in anii trecuti si nu se va mai repeta in anii viitori. Nu , acesta este o intalnire anuala consacrata a tuturor membrilor disponibili ai familiei , tineri si batrani, saraci sau bogati , iar totii copiii o asteapta cu nerabdare , incepand cu doua luni inainte , intr-o febra a anticiparii. Acum catava vreme acesta adunare avea loc la bunicul ; dar pentru ca bunicul a fost ajuns de batranete , iar bunica este prea batrana , infirma chiar , ei au renuntat sa traiasca de unii singuri si locuiesc acum impreuna cu unchiul George ; asadar petrecerea se desfasoara in casa unchiului George , dar bunica face rost de cele mai multe dintre delicatesele de la masa , iar bunicul se osteneste sa ajunga la piata Newgate pentru a cumpara curcanul , de unde angajeaza un caraus care il urmeaza in triumf pana acasa , insistand intotdeuna ca omul sa fie cinstit cu un pahar de tarie in plus fata de simbrie , pentru a-l bea cu urarea de Craciun fericit si Un an bun adresata sotiei unchiului George. Cat despre bunica , ea este foarte secretoasa cu doua-trei zile inainte , dar nu indeajuns pentru a impiedica aparitia zvonurilor conform carora ar fi cumparat cate o boneta noua cu panglici roz pentru fiecare dintre servitoare , laolalta cu diverse carti , tocuri si penare pentru tinerii invatacei ; asta ca sa nu mai vorbim despre diferitele secrete adaugate ordinelor date anterior de sotia lui George la bucatarie , precum o duzina in plus de placinta cu carne pentru cina si o mare prajitura cu prune pentru copii.

In ajunul Craciunului , bunica este intotdeuna intr-o dispozitie excelenta si, dupa ce ii pune pe copii la treaba pentru a scoate samburii prunelor , insista an de an ca unchiul George sa coboare la bucatarie , sa isi scoata haina si sa amestece puddingul vreme de circa jumatate de ceas , lucru pe care unchiul il face cu insufletire , spre satisfactia zgomotoasa a copiilor si servitorilor. Seara se incheie cu un nemaipomenit joc de-a baba orba , de-a lungul caruia bunicul are grija mereu sa fie prins pentru a avea ocazia de a-si etala dexteritatea.

In dimineata urmatoare , batranul cuplu , insotit de cat de multi copiii pot incape intr-o strana , merge la biserica in mare tinuta , lasandu-l pe unchiul George acasa pentru a umple sticlele cu bautura si a le duce in sufragerie , cautand mereu cate un tiribuson si stand in calea tuturor.
Cand intregul alai se intoarce de la biserica , bunicul scoate la iveala o ramura de vasc din buzunar si ii ispiteste pe baieti sa isi sarute micile verisoare sub ea , o procedura ce aduce o mare satisfactie atat batranului gentleman cat si baietilor , dar care afecteaza ideea bunicii despre eticheta , pana cand bunicul spune ca atunci cand avea treisprezece ani si trei luni a sarutat-o si pe el pe bunica sub o crenguta de vasc , fapt ce ii face pe copii sa bata din palme si sa rada din toata inima , asemeni unchiului George si sotiei lui ; iar bunica pare sa fie satisfacuta si spune , cu un suras binevoitor , ca bunicul a fost un baietel nerusinat , la care copiii hohotesc din nou aprig , bunicul razand cel mai zgomotos dintre toti.

Toate aceste diversiuni nu sunt nimic insa in comparatie cu starea de emotie care urmeaza atunci cand bunica , cu o boneta inalta si o rochie de matase in culoarea ardeziei , si bunicul , imbracat cu o camasa plisata si guler alb , stau impreuna in salon , avandu-i in fata pe copiii unchiului George si o sleahta incalculabila de mici verisori , asteptand sosirea invitatilor.
Dintr-o data , se aude oprind o birja iar unchiul George , pandind la fereastra , exclama “Este Jane ! ” , la care copiii o iau lu fuga spre intrare si coboara tales-balmes scarile ; iar unchiul Robert si matusa Jane , cu micul lor copil si bona lui , precum si toti ceilalti sunt condusi pe scara in mijlocul unor strigate tumultoase “Vai de mine !” ale copiilor si repetate avertismente de a nu lua bebelusul din bratele bonei. Dupa aceea , bunicul il preia pe bebelus , bunica isi saruta fiica , iar harmalaia primilor veniti se linisteste treptat pe masura ce alte matusi impreuna cu alti unchi si verisori sosesc , si verii mai in varsta flirteaza unul cu celalalt , la fel ca si verii mai mici , astfel incat nu se aude nimic clar , ci un zumzait confuz de vorbe , rasete si veselie.

Un ciocanit dublu , ezitant , la usa dinspre strada se face auzit intr-o pauza de moment a conversatiei , fapt ce da nastere unei interogari generale “Cine o fi ?” , iar doi-trei copii privind la geam anunta pe un ton scazut ca a sosit “biata matusa Margaret”.Auzind aceasta , unchiul George paraseste camera pentru a intamplina noua venita , iar bunica se ridica in picioare , intr-o atitudine mai curand rigida si autoritara ; intrucat , Margaret s-a maritat cu un om amarat fara a-i cere consimtamantul , iar saracia nefiind o pedeapsa suficienta pentru ofensa ei , a fost parasita de prietenii ei si privata de societatea dragilor ei rude. Dar a sosit Craciunul , si sentimentele lipsite de bunatate care au luptat contra bunei dispozitii in decursul anului s-au topit sub influenta maretei sarbatori , asemeni ghetii incropite sub soarele de dimineata. Nu este greu ca , intr-un moment de manie , parintii sa intoarca spatele unui copil neascultator ; dar , a-l alunga , intr-o perioada de bunavointa si bucurie generala , de langa caminul in preajma caruia a participat la atatea sarbatori ale aceleiasi zile ani de-a randul , de la pruncie pana la adolescenta si la izbucnirea aproape imperceptibila a feminitatii , este un cu totul alt lucru. Aerul de verticalitate morala si iertare rece pe care si-l asuma batrana doamna nu pare a-i sta bine ; iar atunci cand biata fata este condusa de catre sora ei , palida la infatisare si lipsita de speranta – nu datorita saraciei , caci pe aceasta o poate indura, cat din constiinta unei neglijari si lipse de bunatate nemeritate – este usor sa vezi cat de mult este asumata aceasta atitudine a bunicii. Urmeaza o mica pauza , apoi fata se desprinde brusc de sora ei si se arunca , suspinand , in bratele mamei sale. Tatal se repede grabit inainte si ii intinde mana sotului ei. Prietenii se aduna imprejur daruind sincere felicitari , iar fericirea si armonia stapaneste din nou peste intreaga adunare.

Cat despre cina , totul este inconjurat de o placere perfecta – nimic nu merge asa cum nu trebuie si toata lumea este in culmea bunei dispozitii , dispusa sa aduca satisfactie si sa fie satisfacuta. Bunicul relateaza povestea cumpararii curcanului , cu o mica digresiune referitoare la achizitionarea curcanului din anul precedent , istoriseste despre trecutele Craciunuri , iar bunica il completeaza la aproape fiecare cuvant. Unchiul George zice snoave , taie bucati de pasare , toarna vinul in pahare , glumeste cu copiii de la masa alaturata , le face cu ochiul verilor inamorati sau pe cale de a cadea in mrejele amorului , si aduce bucuria pe fetele tuturor cu umorul si ospitalitatea sa ; iar atunci cand , in final , un servitor maret isi face cale cu greu inauntru , impovarat de un gigantic pudding avand deasupra o ramura de vasc , se dezlantuie atatea rasete , si strigate , si ropote de palme ale unor maini micute si dolofane , si batai in podea ale unor picioruse rotunjoare , incat aceasta harmalaie nu poate fi egalata decat de aplauzele tinerilor musafiri cu care este primita turnarea brandy-ului slab peste placintele de carne.
Apoi desertul , apoi vinul , apoi distractia ! Atat de frumoase discursuri si atat de incantatoare cantece din partea sotului matusii Margaret , care se dovedeste a fi un om atat de dragut si foarte atent fata de bunica ! Chiar si bunicul nu se multumeste sa dea glas doar cantecului sau anual , de altfel cu o vigoare fara precedent , dar , fiind onorat , potrivit traditiei , cu un unanim “Encore” , se lanseaza cu un nou cantec pe care nimeni, inclusiv bunica , nu l-a auzit pana acum ; iar un var cazut in dizgratia celor in varsta , din cauza unor pacate de omisiune si promisiune – neglijand vizitele si persistand in a bea bere – uimeste pe toata lumea si straneste convulsii de rasete prin interpretarea celui mai comic cantec care a fost auzit vreodata. In acest fel se deapana intreaga seara , intr-o revarsare de rationala bunavointa si bucurie , provocand trezirea unei mai mari simpatii al fiecarui membru al petrecerii fata de vecinul sau , atragand perpetuarea bunelor simtaminte pe parcursul urmatorului an , mai mult decat jumatate din predicile scrise vreodata si intr-o mai mare masura decat jumatate din divinitatile ce au trait vreodata.

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Articole din acelasi domeniu in blogul Dianei:

Colinde de Craciun in limba engleza.Christmas Carols

Poezii englezesti despre Craciun.Versuri in limba engleza si in limba romana

Traditii de Craciun in Anglia
Masa de Craciun | O poveste de Charles Dickens Masa de Craciun  | O poveste de Charles Dickens Reviewed by Diana Popescu on decembrie 11, 2010 Rating: 5

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