Re: [Slovak-World] Journey 1913 - 4
In the passage:
"And I was already on the deck at daybreak and always waited for the Sun to rise, it rose from clean water and shone on all of us on those wide waters..."
I wonder if "clean" here means not "not dirty", but rather, "nothing but". I could easily imagine my mother or father saying (in dialect) "Tam bula cista voda," meaning "There was nothing there but water."
>>> "Martin Votruba" <votrubam@...> 05/02/07 10:36 AM >>>Another abridged part from Jozef's diary is below, the translation
retains his irregular but determined writing. The 43-year old farmer
remembers how he was sea sick most of the time as he was crossing the
Atlantic in late August 1913. Moreover, the passage took 9 days
instead of the promised 7-8, perhaps because of the rough seas.
votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
x x x
Such awful people were on board that one could not imagine if one
didn't see them, Musulmans from Turkery, also from Bulgaria, and
Greeks, and Italians, and Arabians. One does not see such crude,
dirty, immoral People often, that's how it is! When sailors brought
us bowls with breakfast and bread, that they would snatch it with
their hands, and three-four would have something on their plates and
the rest [of us] had nothing. And although they didn't need bread
much, each took more than necessary and then wiped the table with it
and tossed it under the table. And they were very improper as they
ate, although they saw that they were stuffing themselves for no good
purpose, they still ate like pigs. And they left the table and threw
it up wherever, there was lots of stench! The windows were shut to
keep water from splashing inside, I thought I would perish from the
And when noon came, I became quite concerned, my head was spinning and
I felt sick. Although I was hungry, I only ate a little soup and
bought a paltry apple, it was completely green and sour, and a small
glass of beer. And I went on the deck after lunch again, and I spoke
to my fellow countrymen. There were 17 from [Slovensky/Chorvatsky]
Grob, mostly young single men, and 2 were from Pajs~tu'n and one from
Ruz~indol [villages close to Bratislava]. And so was our time passing
into the sea of eternity, and so were we looking at those Waves and
said that should danger come, it would be useless to put on those
belts that were ready [for us] and it would be useless to swim, too,
because if such a Wave came, it would jump over a boat and cover all
those who would swim.
And so evening came again and as the sun set I always sighed for God,
one more day had passed in our lives and would not return, and who
knew whether all of us would be so lucky as to get up in the morning
again. I prayed the Rosary diligently and oft remembered my family.
If only they could see me day after day, for numerous days, and always
only on water. The sun had already set, night began, we spoke for
some minutes and then went to that stench. I had a very bad place, my
bed was right by the pump that drew water to the Ship's engine. It
rattled the whole night like an old Mill on the Danube. But it was so
that we'd gotten used to that like the Oxen transported from our
Kingdom's lowlands [today's Hungary] all the way to Prussia
[north-eastern Germany today].
And I was already on the deck at daybreak and always waited for the
Sun to rise, it rose from clean water and shone on all of us on those
wide waters, and I sighed for God Almighty. And when I finished my
morning prayer, I figured out that it was Sunday, August the 31st.
And when noon came, the Wave Surge grew stronger. And as we were
sitting down at the tables for lunch, I wondered, should I eat or not?
I recalled my Friend's advice, and when the Sailors brought us
[lunch], I only took a little soup and gave the meat to my Friend.
And I went to the deck right away again and watched out whether a ship
would appear from somewhere, but we looked in vain. We sailed the
whole day and not one ship passed. We were wistful since we had to
sail so much alone.
I mostly remained in the middle of the Ship where it didn't rock as
much as at the ends of the Ship. And yet I was sick and would have
thrown up my lunch, only there was nothing to throw up, because I was
hungry. And so I thought to myself, this is a poor and tiring life,
especially for me! Since I didn't have the money to improve things
for myself. It was a bitter Sunday. And when dusk came, they drove
us downstairs, because it was dangerous to stand on the deck. On
occasion water splashed all the way up to the 3rd-class deck, perhaps
30-35 ft high. So we had to make way to that stench again, it was
> I wonder if "clean" here means not "not dirty", butThank you very much, Helen. It's certainly possible. He uses it
> rather, "nothing but".
twice, once with the diminutive _do tej c~istej vodic~ky_, which
sounded to me like it had to mean "clean," and the two occurrences
aren't far from some religious musings, which seemed to go with the
meaning of purity, too.
However, what you say is completely plausible, and of his 9 other uses
of variations of_c~isty_ (besides the 2 with "water"), 3 certainly
mean "only X," "X all over." I'm not sure that I'll find a definitive
support for one or the other option in the text, but I lean towards
your suggestion at the moment, because I do remember (I translated it
earlier) that "clean" did strike me as a somewhat unexpected thing for
him to say in that instance.
I know the style is awkward, so it's difficult to make suggestions for
improvement, but I'll appreciate any comments from others who read
Jozef's travelogue -- e.g., when something sounds _too_ weird,
unexpected, etc. It may turn out that it's equally weird in Slovak,
but Helen's comment shows that there's room for meaningful changes in
the English version.
votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu