• 2005-10-05

    + 与Mark Twain擦身而过

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    http://www.blogbus.com/newswolf-logs/1485615.html

    在美国,一百多年前的东西就算是历史悠久了。昨天跟老板去了一趟位于Reno几十个miles之外的Virginia City做他的多媒体project。小城古色古香的建筑,算在美国保存比较完好的少数城镇之一了,加上其银矿之都的遗迹,今天倒是吸引了不少游客。

    昨天听老板讲起,我才知道原来Virginia City还是很有些来头的--大文豪Mark Twain当初随淘金大潮到美国西部Virginia City,结果金矿生意并不如意。后来只好在该城的一份叫做Territorial Enterprise的小报做一名小记。原名Samuel Langhorne Clemens的他就是从此时用Mark Twain做笔名开始他的写作生涯的。

    且看老马后来是怎样形容自己当初所干的差事的:

    "To find a petrified man, or break a stranger's leg, or cave an imaginary mine, or discover some dead Indians in a Gold Hill tunnel, or massacre a family at Dutch Nick's, were feats and calamities that we never hesitated about devising when the public needed matters of thrilling interest for breakfast. The seemingly tranquil ENTERPRISE office was a ghastly factory of slaughter, mutilation and general destruction in those days."
    - Mark Twain's Letters from Washington, Number IX, Territorial Enterprise, March 7, 1868

    看起来当初为了混口饭吃,老马也胡编乱造了不少耸人听闻的假新闻。不过这恐怕也由不得他,在美国19世纪后期黄色新闻渐趋高潮的的时代背景下,报纸不都干这事儿?

    再看一篇他写petrified man的原作没想到大文豪也曾有过这样的烂作:

    PETRIFIED MAN,Territorial Enterprise, October 4, 1862

    A petrified man was found some time ago in the mountains south of Gravelly Ford. Every limb and feature of the stony mummy was perfect, not even excepting the left leg, which has evidently been a wooden one during the lifetime of the owner - which lifetime, by the way, came to a close about a century ago, in the opinion of a savan who has examined the defunct. The body was in a sitting posture, and leaning against a huge mass of croppings; the attitude was pensive, the right thumb resting against the side of the nose; the left thumb partially supported the chin, the fore-finger pressing the inner corner of the left eye and drawing it partly open; the right eye was closed, and the fingers of the right hand spread apart. This strange freak of nature created a profound sensation in the vicinity, and our informant states that by request, Justice Sewell or Sowell, of Humboldt City, at once proceeded to the spot and held an inquest on the body. The verdict of the jury was that "deceased came to his death from protracted exposure," etc. The people of the neighborhood volunteered to bury the poor unfortunate, and were even anxious to do so; but it was discovered, when they attempted to remove him, that the water which had dripped upon him for ages from the crag above, had coursed down his back and deposited a limestone sediment under him which had glued him to the bed rock upon which he sat, as with a cement of adamant, and Judge S. refused to allow the charitable citizens to blast him from his position. The opinion expressed by his Honor that such a course would be little less than sacrilege, was eminently just and proper. Everybody goes to see the stone man, as many as three hundred having visited the hardened creature during the past five or six weeks.

    当年的蒸汽机车,如今已经开进了博物馆。

    木头做的车厢,在风吹日晒之下皮开肉绽。

    想想这块土地上居然有马克。土温追赶淘金大潮而来的脚印。如果时间没有距离,也许我在大街上也会跟他擦身而过呢。

     

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