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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


April 18,1868


  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.



1868年 4月 18日







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