時間︰2014-07-15 00:08 作者︰未知 點擊︰

Luck

好運氣

Mark Twain

馬克·吐溫

I was at a dinner in London given in honor of one of the most celebrated English military menof his time. I do not want to tell you his real name and titles. I will just call him LieutenantGeneral Lord Arthur Scoresby. I cannot describe my excitement when I saw this great andfamous man. There he sat, the man himself, in person, all covered with medals. I could not takemy eyes off him. He seemed to show the true mark of greatness. His fame had no effect onhim. The hundreds of eyes watching him, the worship of so many people did not seem to makeany difference to him.

事情發生在倫敦的一次宴會上。這次宴會是為當代英國威名顯赫的兩三位軍事將領之一舉行的。由于下面即將說明的原因,我將不提他的真實姓名和各種頭餃。我將稱他為陸軍中將阿瑟·斯考茲比勛爵、皇家護衛騎士、巴斯爵士,等等,等等,等等。鼎鼎大名的人物具有多大的魅力130年前他在克里米亞戰役中嶄露頭角,名聲大噪,歷久不衰。從那時以後我曾無數次听見人們談到他,而此刻他本人就坐在那兒。我盯著這位半神半人似的人物,看呀,看呀,看呀,好像這就是我的美酒佳肴。我注視著他,搜尋他的一切特點並默記在心︰他的面部表情安詳、矜持、高貴、嚴肅;他的氣質中具有樸素、誠實的品格,這是一眼就看得出的;他對自己的豐功偉績雖然躊躇滿志,但卻不露聲色——好像不知道成百雙充滿崇敬之情的眼楮正注視著他;好像不知道出自人們內心的一股深厚的愛慕之情,一種真誠的崇拜,正朝他涌來。

Next to me sat a clergyman, who was an old friend of mine. He was not always a clergyman.During the first half of his life he was a teacher in the military school at Woolwich. There was astrange look in his eye as he leaned toward me and whispered – "Privately – he is a completefool." He meant, of course, the hero of our dinner.

坐在我左邊的牧師是我的老相識。他現在是牧師,可前半輩子卻是在戎馬生涯中度過的,而且還當過伍立奇軍事學校的教官。就在我剛談到的這個時刻,他眼中隱隱約約閃現出一種十分離奇的目光,一邊用手勢指著宴會上的那位英雄,一邊俯過頭來輕輕地,但卻是滿有把握地對我說︰“私下說說一他是個頭號大傻瓜。”

This came as a shock to me. I looked hard at him. I could not have been more surprised if hehas said the same thing about Nepoleon, or Socrates, or Solomon. But I was sure of two thingsabout the clergyman. He always spoke the truth. And, his judgment of men was good.Therefore, I wanted to find out more about our hero as soon as I could.

這個評語使我大吃一驚。如果他說的是拿破侖、甦格拉底或是所羅門,我也不會感到更驚奇了。有兩點我是清楚的︰這位牧師說話句句真實可靠;而且他很有知人之明。因此我斷定,毫無疑問,世人是錯看了這位英雄︰他的確是個傻瓜。于是我就想在方便的時候向這位孤身獨處的牧師問清楚,他是怎樣發現這個秘密的。

Some days later I got a chance to talk with the clergyman, and he told me more. These are hisexact words:

過了些日子,機會來到了,下面就是這位牧師告訴我的話︰

About forty years ago, I was an instructor in the military academy at Woolwich, when youngScoresby was given his first examination. I felt extremely sorry for him. Everybody answeredthe questions well, intelligently, while he – why, dear me – he did not know anything, so tospeak. He was a nice, pleasant young man. It was painful to see him stand there and giveanswers that were miracles of stupidity.I knew of course that when examined again he wouldfail and be thrown out. So, I said to myself, it would be a simple, harmless act to help him asmuch as I could. I took him aside and found he knew a little about Julius Ceasar's history. But,he did not know anything else. So, I went to work and tested him and worked him like a slave. Imade him work, over and over again, on a few questions about Ceasar, which I knew he wouldbe asked.If you will believe me, he came through very well on the day of the examination. Hegot high praise too, while others who knew a thousand times more than he were sharplycriticized. By some strange, lucky accident, he was asked no questions but those I made himstudy. Such an accident does not happen more than once in a hundred years. Well, all throughhis studies, I stood by him, with the feeling a mother has for a disabled child. And he alwayssaved himself by some miracle.

大約40年前,我在伍立奇軍事學校當教官。年輕的斯考茲比參加初試時,我在他那個小組。班上別的學員回答問題都很漂亮,而他一一唉,天啊,他可說是一無所知,我的憐憫之心不禁為之大動。誰都看得出他是個好孩子,可親可愛,又很天真;此刻他站在那兒,呆若木雞,回答問題時的愚昧無知真是荒謬絕倫,叫人看了十分痛心。我的憐憫心都被他激發起來了。我暗自思忖,復試時他肯定是要被刷掉的;既然如此,盡我所能來減輕他摔下來的痛苦,也就只不過是一種無害的慈悲舉動而已。我把他叫到一旁,發現他還知道一點兒愷撒大帝的歷史,既然他別的什麼也不知道,于是我就輔導他,逼他像奴隸船上的奴隸一樣拼命準備有關愷撒大帝的一些老生常談的問題,而我知道這些問題是會考到的。信不信由你,考試那天他居然名列前茅!就憑這點兒純釋是表面功夫的“死記硬背”他過了關,而且還受到贊揚;而別人呢,雖然比他強一千倍,卻被淘汰了。由于某種奇妙幸運的機遇一—這種機遇—百年也難踫到第二次,除了他準備的狹窄範圍之外,沒其妙。這麼說吧,自始至終我都守護著他,我對他的感情就像一位母親對待自己的瘸腿小孩一樣;但他卻總是能從困境中自己解脫出來——明擺著全是憑奇跡。

I thought that what in the end would destroy him would be the mathematics examination. Idecided to make his end as painless as possible. So, I pushed facts into his stupid head forhours. Finally, I let him go to the examination to experience what I was sure would be hisdismissal from school. Well, sir, try to imagine the result. I was shocked out of my mind. Hetook first prize! And he got the highest praise.

當然?  酵防唇掖┤  幕故鞘?N掖蚨ㄖ饕餼×拷興賴猛純斕愣于是我選定了考官最可能出的題目的路子對他反反復復進行填鴨式的硬灌,然後讓他听天由命。您想想那結果吧︰叫我大吃一驚,他居然榮獲頭獎!全場向他熱烈鼓掌祝賀。

I felt guilty day and night – what I was doing was not right. But I only wanted to make hisdismissal a little less painful for him. I never dreamed it would lead to such strange, laughableresults. I thought that sooner or later one thing was sure to happen: The first real test once hewas through school would ruin him.

睡覺?一個星期我都睡不著。我日日夜夜受著良心的折磨。我做的這一切純粹是出于惻隱之心,只是為了讓這可憐的小伙子別摔得太慘。我做夢也沒有想到,事情的結果竟是如此之荒唐透頂。我感到像弗蘭肯斯坦一樣有罪,難過。我讓一個呆瓜可能有機會青雲直上,榮膺重任;而結局只能是︰時機一到,他和他的事業前程都會一塊兒完蛋。

Then, the Crimean War broke out. I felt that sad for him that there had to be a war. Peacewould have given this donkey a chance to escape from ever being found out as being sostupid. Nervously, I waited for the worst to happen. It did. He was appointed an officer. Acaptain, of all things! Who could have dreamed that they would place such a responsibility onsuch weak shoulders as his.

克里米亞戰爭這時剛剛爆發。我暗中想,當然得有一場戰爭。要是在和平時期,就沒有機會叫這頭蠢驢在死之前不露出本相。我等著火山爆發。火山果然爆發了。可是火山爆發時卻驚得我目瞪口呆。官方公報上發表他為作戰團隊的一名上尉!比他強的人服役到老,頭發都灰白了,才能爬到這樣高的位置誰又預料得到他們竟會把責任如此重大的一副擔子放在這樣稚嫩而不堪勝任的肩膀上?要是他們叫他當一名扛大旗的軍士,我還勉強受得了;可是叫他當上尉一想想看!這真把我嚇了個半死。

I said to myself that I was responsible to the country for this. I must go with him and protectthe nation against him as far as I could. So, I joined up with him. And anyway we went to thefield.

我是個愛好安逸、不好活動的人,可是想想看我干了件什麼事。我自思自想,這件事我要對國家負責,我一定得跟他一起去盡我所能保護國家不受他的禍害。于是我拿出歷年辛辛苦苦工作、點點滴滴節省下來的一點積蓄,嘆了口氣,跑到他那個團隊買了個扛大旗的差使,跟部隊一起開赴戰場。

And there – oh dear, it was terrible. Mistakes, fearful mistakes – why, he never did anythingthat was right – nothing but mistakes. But, you see, nobody knew the secret of how stupid hereally was. Everybody misunderstood his actions. They saw his stupid mistakes as works ofgreat intelligence. They did, honestly! His smallest mistakes made a man in his right mind cry,and shout and scream too – to himself, of course. And what kept me in a continual fear wasthe fact that every mistake he made increased his glory and fame. I kept saying to myself thatwhen at last they found out about him, it will be like the sun falling out of the sky.

哎喲喲,真可怕。犯錯誤?——他可只會犯錯誤,別的什麼也干不出來。但是你得明白,這家伙的秘密誰也沒窺破過。大伙兒都錯看了他,並且對他的所作所為每次都必然做出錯誤的解釋。結果是,他們把這個白痴所犯的大錯竟然當成是天才的杰作。我一點也不瞎說,他們就是這樣胡搞的!他最微小的錯誤也足夠叫一個頭腦清醒的人大喊起來;這些錯誤的確叫我大喊起來——這叫我私下里大發雷霆、破口大罵。老是使我直冒冷汗的是,每次他犯下一個新的錯誤,他的英名就愈加大放異彩!我不斷地對自己說,他這樣青雲直上,、有朝一日真相揭穿的時候,那會像太陽從天上掉下來。

He continued to climb up, over the dead bodies of his superiors. Then, in the hottest momentof one battle down went our colonel. My heart jumped into my mouth, for Scoresby was thenext in line to take his place. Now, we are in for it, I said…

他的上級不斷陣亡,他也就踏著他們的尸體步步高升。最後,在某戰役最熾烈的時刻,我們的上校也犧牲了。我嚇得心都快從口里跳出來了,因為斯考茲比是第二名軍餃最高的軍官!瞧吧,我說,不到十分鐘咱們全都得到地獄里報到,沒錯。

The battle grew hotter. The English and their allies were steadily retreating all over the field. Ourregiment occupied a position that was extremely important. One mistake now would bringtotal disaster. And what did Scoresby do this time – he just mistook his left hand for his righthand…that was all. An order came for him to fall back and support our right. Instead, he movedforward and went over the hill to the left. We were over the hill before this insane movementcould be discovered and stopped. And what did we find? A large and unsuspected Russian armywaiting! And what happened – were we all killed? That is exactly what would have happened inninety-nine cases out of a hundred. But no – those surprised Russians thought that no oneregiment by itself would come around there at such a time.

戰斗打得異常激烈,聯軍在整個戰場上節節敗退。我們團隊所踞的陣地十分重要;此刻出錯必會招致全軍覆沒。在這一發千鈞之際,,這個頭號大傻瓜是怎樣指揮的呢?他把團隊從陣地撤出,下令向鄰近的一座小山包發起沖鋒,而那里連一個敵兵的影子也沒有!“一錯再錯!”我自言自語地說,“這下子到底是全完蛋啦。”我們一個勁兒往前沖,敵人還來不及發現和制止我們的瘋狂行動,我們就已經沖上了山脊。我們看到了什麼呢?誰也想不到竟是俄軍整整一個軍的後備隊!結果如何呢?是不是把我們吃掉了呢?百分之九十九的情況下,那必然是我們的下場。但是,不,那些俄國人推測︰在這種時刻,單單一個團隊是決不會像羊群放牧似的在這兒出現的。

It must be the whole British army, they thought. They turned tail, away they went over the hilland down into the field in wild disorder, and we after them. In no time, there was the greatestturn around you ever saw. The allies turned defeat into a sweeping and shining victory.

必定是英軍全軍出擊,必定是俄軍的詭計已被識破而不能得逞;因此他們就掉頭亂跑,從山上跑到山下,混亂不堪,我們則尾追不舍;他們自己破壞了俄軍堅強的中央陣地,撕開了一個缺口,于是俄軍立即全線大潰敗,那情形真是少見,結果聯軍反敗為勝,獲得了偉大、輝煌的勝利!坎羅伯特元帥看到這一切,又驚又喜,贊嘆不已,立即召見斯考茲比,擁抱他,在戰場上當著全軍的面給他授勛!

The allied commander looked on, his head spinning with wonder, surprise and joy. He sentright off for Scoresby, and put his arms around him and hugged him on the field in front of allthe armies. Scoresby became famous that day as a great military leader – honored throughoutthe world. That honor will never disappear while history books last.

那一次斯考茲比犯的是什麼錯誤?只不過是把右手當成了左手——如此而已。命令叫他往後靠,支援我方右翼;而他呢,他卻往前靠,越過小山包向左方運動。但是那一天,他卻一舉成名,成了一位神奇的天才軍事家,譽滿全球。只要世上還有歷史書存在,這種榮譽就永放光芒。

He is just as nice and pleasant as ever, but he still does not know enough to come in out of therain. He is the stupidest man in the universe. Until now, nobody knew it but Scoresby andmyself. He has been followed, day by day, year by year, by a strange luck. He has been ashining soldier in all our wars for years. He has filled his whole military life with mistakes. Everyone of them brought him another honorary title. Look at his chest, flooded with British andforeign medals. Well, sir, every one of them is the record of some great stupidity or other.They are proof that the best thing that can happen to a man is to be born lucky. I say again, asI did at the dinner, Scoresby's a complete fool.

他是一位非常和藹可親、平易近人的好人,但他就是不知道下雨了應當進屋躲躲。這話一點不假。他是宇宙間夭字第一號的蠢驢;半個鐘頭以前除了他自己和我之外還沒有旁人知道內情。日復一日,年復一年,他交的全是好運,一種極不尋常的、令人驚嘆不已的好運。在一代人的時期內,他參加過我們的歷次戰爭,戰功彪炳;他在戎馬生涯中始終不斷犯錯誤,然而這些錯誤總是使他榮膺爵士、從男爵、勛爵或是別的什麼稱號。瞧他的胸脯兒,嘿,密密麻麻掛滿了本國和外國的勛章。你瞧,每枚勛章都是某件荒唐透頂的蠢事的記錄,這些勛章加在一起就證明︰人生在世所能踫到的最最好的事就是一出娘胎就交上好運氣。我在宴會上說過,我現在再說一遍,斯考茲比是個頭號大傻瓜。

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