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查尔斯·狄更斯 英国人对美国的友情

2006-07-07 17:11

Charles Dickens

ENGLISH FRIENDSHIP FOR AMERICA

April 18,1868

  Gentlemen:

  I cannot do better than take my cue from yourdistinguished President,and refer in my first re-marks to his remarks in connection with the old,natural,association between you and me.When Ireceived an invitation from a private association ofworking members of the press of New York to dinewith them to-day,I accepted that compliment ingrateful remembrance of a calling that was once myown,and in loyal sympathy towards a brotherhoodwhich,in the spirit,I have never quitted.To thewholesome training of severe newspaper work,when I was a very young man,I constantly refermy first successes; and my sons will hereafter tes-tify to their father that he was always steadilyproud of that ladder by which he rose.If it wereotherwise,I should have but a very poor opinion oftheir father,which,perhaps,upon the whole,Ihave not.Hence,gentlemen,under any circum-stances,this company would have been exception-ally interesting and gratifying to me.But whereas Isupposed that like the fairies'pavilion in the“Ara-bian Nights,” it would be but a mere handful,andI find it turn out,like the same elastic pavilion,capable of comprehending a multitude,so much the more proud am I of the honor of being your guest;for you will readily believe that the morewidely representative of the press in America myentertainers are,the more I must feel the good-willand the kindly sentiments towards me of that vastinstitution.

  Gentlemen,I henceforth charge myself,notonly here but on every suitable occasion whatsoever and wheresoever,to express my high and grate-ful sense of my second reception in America,andto bear my honest testimony to the national gen-erosity and magnanimity.Also,to declare how as-tounded I have been by the amazing changes that Ihave seen around me on every side.Nor am I,believe me,so arrogant as to suppose that in five-and-twenty years there have been no changes in me,and that I had nothing to learn and no extremeimpressions to correct when I was here first.

  Gentlemen,the transition from my own feel-ings towards and interest in America to those ofthe mass of my countrymen seems to be a naturalone; but,whether or no,I make it with an expressobject.I was asked in this very city,about lastChristmas time,whether an American was not atsome disadvantage in England as a foreigner.Thenotion of an American being regarded in Englandas a foreigner at all,of his ever being thought of orspoken of in that character,was so uncommonlyincongruous and absurd to me,that my gravity was,for the moment,quite overpowered.As soonas it was restored,I said that for years and yearspast I hoped I had had as many American friendsand had received as many American visitors as al-most any Englishman living,and that my unvary-ing experience,fortified by theirs,was that it wasenough in England to be an American to be re-ceived with the readiest respect and recognitionanywhere.Hereupon,out of half-a-dozed people,suddenly spoke out two,one an American gentle-man,with a cultivated taste for art,who,findinghimself on a certain Sunday outside the walls of acertain historical English castle,famous for its pic-tures,was refused admission there,according tothe strict rules of the establishment on that day,but who,on merely representing that he was anAmerican gentleman,on his travels,had,not tosay the picture gallery,but the whole castle,placed at his immediate disposal.The other was alady,who,being in London,and having a greatdesire to see the famous reading-room of the British Museum,was assured by the English fami-ly with whom she stayed that it was unfortunatelyimpossible,because the place was closed for aweek,and she had only three days there.Uponthat lady's going to the Museum,as she assuredme,alone to the gate,self-introduced as an Amer-ican lady,the gate flew open,as it were,magical-ly.I am unwillingly bound to add that she certain-ly was young and exceedingly pretty.Still,the porter of that institution is of an obese habit,and,according to the best of my observation of him,notvery impressible.

  Now,gentlemen,I refer to these trifles as acollateral assurance to you that the Englishmen who shall humbly strive,as I hope to do,to be inEngland as faithful to America as to England her-self,have no previous conceptions to contend a-gainst.Points of difference there have been,pointsof difference there are,points of difference thereprobably always will be between the two great peo-ples.But broadcast in England is sown the senti-ment that those two peoples are essentially one,and that it rests with them jointly to uphold thegreat Anglo-Saxon race,to which our presidenthas referred,and all its great achievements beforethe world.And if I know anything of my country-men-and they give me oredit for knowing some- thing-if I know anything of my countrymen,gen- tlemen,the English heart is stirred by the flutter-ing of those Stars and Stripes,as it is stirred by noother flag that flies except its own.If I know mycountrymen,in any and every relation towardsAmerica,they begin,not as Sir Anthony Absoluterecommended that lovers should begin,with“a lit-tle aversion.” but with a great liking and a pro-found respect; and whatever the little sensitivenessof the moment,or the little official passion,or thelittle official policy now,or then,or here,orthere,may be,take my word for it,that the firstenduring,great,popular consideration in Englandis a generous construction of justice.

  Finally,gentlemen,and I say this subject toyour correction,I do believe that from the greatmajority of honest minds on both sides,there can-not be absent the conviction that it would be betterfor this globe to be riven by an earthquake,firedby a comet,overrun by an iceberg,and abandonedto the Arctic fox and bear,than that it should pre-sent the spectacle of these two great nations,eachof which has,in its own way and hour,striven sohard and so successfully for freedom,ever again being arrayed the one against the other.Gentle-men,I cannot thank your President enough or you enough for your kind reception of my health,and of my poor remarks,but,believe me,I do thankyou with the utmost fervor of which my soul is ca-pable.

查尔斯·狄更斯

英国人对美国的友情

1868年 4月 18日

  先生们:

  我最好是学你们杰出的主席的样,首先谈谈他提到的关于你们和我之间为时已久的、自然的交往。在我接到纽约新闻界人士要我今天与他们共进晚餐的邀请时,我以对我曾从事过的职业的愉快回忆,和我在内心从未抛弃过的对报界同仁的真诚关心,接受了这一好意。我经常把我早年的成功,归因于我年轻时曾在严格的新闻工作中受到有益的锻炼,今后我的儿子们会证实,他们的父亲始终坚定地为他借以上升的梯子感到自豪。如果情况不是这样,我就只会得到他们对于父亲的很差的评价,但基本上我不会得到那样的评价。因此,先生们,这样的聚会不管怎样都会令我感到分外有趣和愉快的。不过,我原以为这次聚会会像《天方夜谭》里仙女们的帐篷一样,只有巴掌那么大,但我发现,它就像那顶会伸缩的帐篷,结果容纳了一大群人,这使我为有幸成为你们的客人而倍感高兴;因为你们很快就会相信:我的款待者在美国新闻界的代表性越高,我所感受到的这一巨大机构对我的好意和感情就越深。

  先生们,从今以后,我要给自己规定这样一项责任:不仅在这里,而且在任何地方的每一个适宜的场合,表达出我对第二次访美时所受到的款待的高度感激之情,提供我对这个国家的慷慨、高尚行为的公正证明,并且表明我是如何为我所看到的各方面惊人变化而震惊。请相信我,我决不会狂妄自负到认为我在25年里没有变化,并且觉得没有什么可以学习的东西,没有什么足以纠正我首次访美时的观感的强烈印象。

  先生们,我自己对美国的感情和兴趣,看来可以很自然地转变为我的同胞们的感情和兴趣,但是,不管怎样,我是出于一个公开的目的来进行这方面的工作的。大约在去年圣诞节,就在纽约,有人问我:美国人,作为一个外国人,在英国会不会处于某种不利地位。把在英国的美国人视为外国人,以这种眼光去考虑他、谈论他,这样的观念在我看来是非常不恰当和荒谬的。在那次谈话中,我表现得过分严肃。我在恢复了正常的严肃性后说,多少年来我希望像任何一个活着的英国人一样,拥有那么多的美国朋友,接待那么多的美国来访者,并且希望他们的经验会加强我的一条不变的经验:一个美国人在英国到处都会充分地受到发自内心的尊重和关心。关于这一点,我可以立即说出两个人的情况。其中之一是一位很有艺术修养的美国绅士。某个星期日他来到一座以收藏绘画而著名的英国古城堡的城墙外。根据关于星期日的严格规定,起初不允许他进入城堡。但是仅在他说明自己是一个正在旅行的美国绅士以后,不要说画廊,就连整个城堡都让他随意参观了。另一个是一位女士,她在伦敦非常想看一看著名的不列颠博物馆的阅览室。她借住的那家人家告诉她,很遗憾这事办不到,因为博物馆停止开放一星期,而她在伦敦只能再逗留3天。这位女士后来告诉我,她独自走到博物馆门前,自我介绍是位美国女士,大门就神奇般地敞开了。我不情愿,但不得不补充说,她当然十分年轻,而且特别漂亮。不过,博物馆看门人是个大胖子,而且据我认真观察,他还是一个不易被人打动的人。

  先生们,这里我附带提到这些小事是为了向你们肯定:如我所希望的那样,英国人对美国人像对英国本国人一样诚恳,他们本来就没有什么反对的观念。在两个伟大的民族之间,过去、现在和将来都会有不一致的地方。然而在英国广泛地传播着、洋溢着这样一种感情:这两个伟大的民族实质上是一家人,他们共同负有高举盎格鲁一撒克逊旗帜的责任(这一点我们的主席已经谈到了),还要把她的一切成就展现在全世界面前。如果我对我的同胞们还是有所了解的话——他们相信我是了解一些情况的——如果我对我的同胞们有所了解,先生们,英国人的心已为星条旗的飘扬而激动了,尽管除了自己的旗帜外,它一般不为其他任何飘动的旗帜所激动。如果我了解我的同胞,我知道他们不像安东尼·艾布索列特爵士所说的恋人们惯常表现的那样,起初“略带厌恶”、却又深怀好感与尊敬来对待他们同美国的一切关系;不论当时有过什么样的小情绪,也不论现在、将来、这里、那里会有什么样的小小的官僚脾气和官僚政策,请相信我的话,英国人普遍给予美国人的持久的、极大的关心是一种富有正义的思想。

  最后,先生们,我讲一个问题请予以指正。我的确认为,在大西洋两岸众多的、诚实的、有思想的人中,不会没有这样一种看法:让地球被地震震碎,被彗星烧毁,被冰山撞翻,把它扔给北极的狐狸和熊,也比在描述这两个通过各自的方式和时机努力而成功地争取自由的伟大国家的景象时,把它们再度对立起来好。先生们,对于你们的主席和你们大家如此友好、亲切地对待我的健康和我的拙劣言辞,我感激不尽,但请相信我,我的确是以我的心灵所能具有的最大的热情来感谢你们的。

何百华 译

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