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瓦尔登湖:经济篇11

2006-07-28 18:48

  A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do, that has lain dusty in the garret for an indeterminate period.  Old shoes will serve a hero longer than they have served his valet —— if a hero ever has a valet —— bare feet are older than shoes, and he can make them do.  Only they who go to soires and legislative balls must have new coats, coats to change as often as the man changes in them. But if my jacket and trousers, my hat and shoes, are fit to worship God in, they will do; will they not?  Who ever saw his old clothes—— his old coat, actually worn out, resolved into its primitive elements, so that it was not a deed of charity to bestow it on some poor boy, by him perchance to be bestowed on some poorer still, or shall we say richer, who could do with less?  I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.  If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit?  If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes.  All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.  Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles.  Our moulting season, like that of the fowls,must be a crisis in our lives.  The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it.  Thus also the snake casts its slough, and the caterpillar its wormy coat, by an internal industry and expansion;for clothes are but our outmost cuticle and mortal coil.  Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors, and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion, as well as that of mankind.

  We don garment after garment, as if we grew like exogenous plants by addition without.  Our outside and often thin and fanciful clothes are our epidermis, or false skin, which partakes not of our life, and may be stripped off here and there without fatal injury;our thicker garments, constantly worn, are our cellular integument,or cortex; but our shirts are our liber, or true bark, which cannot be removed without girdling and so destroying the man.  I believe that all races at some seasons wear something equivalent to the shirt.  It is desirable that a man be clad so simply that he can lay his hands on himself in the dark, and that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly that, if an enemy take the town, he can,like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety.  While one thick garment is, for most purposes, as good as three thin ones, and cheap clothing can be obtained at prices really to suit customers; while a thick coat can be bought for five dollars, which will last as many years, thick pantaloons for two dollars, cowhide boots for a dollar and a half a pair, a summer hat for a quarter of a dollar, and a winter cap for sixty-two and a half cents, or a better be made at home at a nominal cost, where is he so poor that, clad in such a suit, of his own earning, there will not be found wise men to do him reverence?

  When I ask for a garment of a particular form, my tailoress tells me gravely, "They do not make them so now," not emphasizing the "They" at all, as if she quoted an authority as impersonal as the Fates, and I find it difficult to get made what I want, simply because she cannot believe that I mean what I say, that I am so rash.  When I hear this oracular sentence, I am for a moment absorbed in thought, emphasizing to myself each word separately that I may come at the meaning of it, that I may find out by what degree of consanguinity They are related to me, and what authority they may have in an affair which affects me so nearly; and, finally, I am inclined to answer her with equal mystery, and without any more emphasis of the "they" —— "It is true, they did not make them so recently, but they do now."  Of what use this measuring of me if she does not measure my character, but only the breadth of my shoulders,as it were a peg to bang the coat on?  We worship not the Graces,nor the Parcae, but Fashion.  She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority.  The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller's cap,and all the monkeys in America do the same.  I sometimes despair of getting anything quite simple and honest done in this world by the help of men.  They would have to be passed through a powerful press first, to squeeze their old notions out of them, so that they would not soon get upon their legs again; and then there would be some one in the company with a maggot in his head, hatched from an egg deposited there nobody knows when, for not even fire kills these things, and you would have lost your labor.  Nevertheless, we will not forget that some Egyptian wheat was handed down to us by a mummy.

  一个人,到后来,找到工作做了,其实并不要他穿上新衣服去上工的;旧衣服就行了,就是那些很久地放在阁楼中,积起了灰尘的fH衣服。一个英雄穿IR鞋子的时间倒要比他的跟班穿它们的时间长——如果说,英雄也有限班的活——至于赤脚的历史比穿鞋子更悠久了,而英雄是可以赤脚的。只有那些赴夜宴,到立法院去的人必须穿上新衣服,他们换了一件又一件,正如那些地方换了一批又一批人。可是,如果把我的短上衣和裤子穿上身,帽子戴上鞋子穿上,便可以礼拜上帝的话,那未有这些也就够了,不是吗?

  谁曾注意到他的破衣服——真的已经穿得破敝不堪了,变成了当初的原料,就是送给一个乞儿也算不得行善了,说不定那乞儿还要拿它转送给一个比他更贫苦的人,那人倒可以说是最富有的,因为最后还是他什么都不要还可以过活的呢。我说你得提防那些必须穿新衣服的事业,尽可不提防那些穿新衣服的人。如果没有新的人,新衣服怎么能做得合他的身?如果你有什么事业要做,穿上旧衣服试试看。人之所需,并不是要做些事,而是要有所为,或是说,需有所是。也许我们是永远不必添置新衣服的,不论旧衣服已如何破敝和肮脏,除非我们已经这般地生活了,或经营了,或者说,已向着什么而航行了,在我们这古老的躯壳里已有着新的生机了,那时若还是依然故我,便有旧瓶装新酒之感了。我们的换羽毛的季节,就像飞禽的,必然是生命之中一个大的转折点。潜鸟退到僻静的池塘边去脱毛。蛇蜕皮的情形也是如此,同样的是蛹虫的出茧。都是内心里孜孜扩展着的结果;衣服不过是我们的最表面的角质,或者说,尘世之烦恼而已。要不然我们将发现我们在伪装底下行进,到头来必不可兔地将披人类及我们自己的意见所唾弃。

  我们穿上一件衣服又一件,好像我们是外生植物一样,靠外加物来生长的。穿在我们最外面的,常常是很薄很花巧的衣服,那只是我们的表皮,或者说,假皮肤,并不是我们的生命的一部分,这里那里剥下来也并不是致命伤;我们经常穿着的、较厚的衣服,是我们的细胞壁,或者说,皮层;我们的衬衣可是我们的韧皮,或者说,真正的树皮,剥下来的话,不能不连皮带肉,伤及身体的。我相信所有的物种,在某些季节里都穿着有类似衬衣的东西。一个人若能穿得这样简单,以至在黑暗中都能摸到自己,而且他在各方面都能生活得周密,有备而无恐,那未,即使敌人占领了城市,他也能像古代哲学家一样,空手徒步出城,不用担什么心思。一件厚衣服的用处,大体上可跟三件薄的衣服相同,便宜的衣服可以用真正适合顾客财力的价格买到,一件厚厚的上衣五元就可以买到了,它可以穿上好几年,厚厚的长裤两元钱,牛皮靴一元半,夏天的帽子不过一元的四分之一,冬天的帽子六毛两分半,或许还可以花上一笔极少的钱,自己在家里制一顶更好的帽子,那穿上了这样的一套自己辛勤劳动赚来的衣服,哪里还是贫穷,难道会没有聪明人来向他表示敬意吗?

  当我定做一件特别式样的衣服时,女裁缝郑重其事地告诉我,“现在他们不时行这个式样了,”说话中一点没有强调“他们”两字,好像她说的是跟命运之神一样的某种非人的权威,我就很难于得到我自己所需要的式样了,因为她不相信我是当真他说话的,她觉得我太粗莽了。而我,一听到这神示似的文句,就有一会儿沉思,把每一个字都给我自己单个地强调了一下,好让我明白它的意思,好让我找出他们和我有怎么样的血缘关系,在一件与我如此密切有关的事上,他们有什么权威;最后,我决定用同样神秘的方式来答复她,所以也不把“他们”两字强调。——“真的,近来他们并不时行这个式样,可是现在他们又时行这个了。”她量了我的身材,但没有量我的性格,只量了我肩宽,好像我是一个挂衣服的钉子,这样量法有什么用处?我们并不崇拜娴雅三女神,也不崇拜帕尔茜。我们崇拜时髦。她纺织,剪裁,全权处理。巴黎的猴王戴上了一顶旅行帽,全美国的猴子学了样。有时我很失望,这个世界上,可有什么十分简单而老实的事是通过人们的帮助而能办成功的?必须先把人们透过一个强有力的压榨机,把他们的旧观念压榨出来,使他们不再能够马上用两条腿直立,到那时你看人群中,有的人脑子里是长蛆虫的,是从不知什么时候起就

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