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Fred0

香港三部曲

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Jim
1 hour ago, EnergyReaper said:

Personally, I think 人事 here means more special, not the knowledge of the ways of the world, but the knowledge of sexual activity.

Yes, that sounds likely - "the ways of the world" sort of works the same in English though, it doesn't necessarily mean sexual relations but can strongly imply them (ETA I should add, in this context of them being sold into a brothel).

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Fred0

Deyun has been delivered to Heavenly Fragrance Pavillion, a brothel, where she will be deflowered this evening. The man who has paid for the privilege  is arranging a dinner party to celebrate the event.

漂染大王在西厢宴会厅大摆筵席打通厅,今晚是他和琵琶仔琼花「定情」之夜,厅内张灯结彩,灯火辉煌,各色鲜花缀成上、下对联:

 

  花径不曾缘客扫

 

  蓬门今始为君开

 

鼓乐迎客,寨中妓女争妍斗艳,倾巢而出。琼花照规矩「出毛巾」,分赠到贺宾客,漂染大王接过金丝银缕的华美毛巾,怎么也没想到有今天。

 

1. What is a 漂染大王?- probably not a bleached and dyed big king, which is all I can come up with.

 

2. I would translate the couplet as:

This flowered footpath, no guest has ever swept,

This overgrown gate, a gentleman now commences to open.

Please criticize this translation.

 

3. The following sentence:  To the strains of music accompanied by drumbeats the guests are being welcomed. Prostitutes from this brothel,  vying with one another for beauty, have been turned out in force. Beautiful Flower according to standard practice is “出毛巾.”

Does 出毛巾 mean handing out towels to the guests?

 

4. Continuing:  Distributing gifts to the arriving guests (whom have come to) congratulate (the host),  漂染大王 takes (接过)golden silk, silver threaded towels, ...

So now who is giving towels to whom? What is going on here?

 

5. What does the last clause mean?  “How could he have ever expected to see this day arrive?”

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Jim

1, It sounds like he's a businessman in the dyeing trade, so it will likely be The Dye King IMO, bit like the Snow Plow King in that Simpsons' episode. Possibly because the author wants him to be a bit of crude bourgeois to show the sort of person who patronised brothels in this way. A quick search discovered people offering hairdressing tips online using the same name now with that meaning.

 

2. In literary Chinese 始为...开 means opened for the first time though it can also mean "in the beginning" or "started off as" - here's a search of Qing texts at C Text where you can see it in other contexts: https://ctext.org/qing?searchu=始为 I think that e.g. that result 云云,是從古之始為政者 shows it used in the same way.

 

3. It does look to be handing out towels/kerchiefs to guests, you can see from what follows that the Dye King gets a particularly fancy one (which is your number 4) embroidered with gold and silver threads/brocade

 

5. 怎么也没想到有今天 He never imagined he'd live to see a day like this/ be part of something like this happening. Maybe he started out poor so the luxury and expense still comes as a surprise.

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Fred0

Thank you so much. You give me courage to go on.

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