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瓦尔登湖:经济篇19

2006-07-28 19:17

  So I went on for some days cutting and hewing timber, and also studs and rafters, all with my narrow axe, not having many communicable or scholar-like thoughts, singing to myself, ——

  Men say they know many things;But lo! they have taken wings ——The arts and sciences,And a thousand appliances;The wind that blows Is all that any body knows.

  I hewed the main timbers six inches square, most of the studs on two sides only, and the rafters and floor timbers on one side,leaving the rest of the bark on, so that they were just as straight and much stronger than sawed ones.  Each stick was carefully mortised or tenoned by its stump, for I had borrowed other tools by this time.  My days in the woods were not very long ones; yet I usually carried my dinner of bread and butter, and read the newspaper in which it was wrapped, at noon, sitting amid the green pine boughs which I had cut off, and to my bread was imparted some of their fragrance, for my hands were covered with a thick coat of pitch.  Before I had done I was more the friend than the foe of the pine tree, though I had cut down some of them, having become better acquainted with it.  Sometimes a rambler in the wood was attracted by the sound of my axe, and we chatted pleasantly over the chips which I had made.

  By the middle of April, for I made no haste in my work, but rather made the most of it, my house was framed and ready for the raising.  I had already bought the shanty of James Collins, an Irishman who worked on the Fitchburg Railroad, for boards.  James Collins' shanty was considered an uncommonly fine one.  When I called to see it he was not at home.  I walked about the outside, at first unobserved from within, the window was so deep and high.  It was of small dimensions, with a peaked cottage roof, and not much else to be seen, the dirt being raised five feet all around as if it were a compost heap.  The roof was the soundest part, though a good deal warped and made brittle by the sun.  Doorsill there was none,but a perennial passage for the hens under the door board.  Mrs. C. came to the door and asked me to view it from the inside.  The hens were driven in by my approach.  It was dark, and had a dirt floor for the most part, dank, clammy, and aguish, only here a board and there a board which would not bear removal.  She lighted a lamp to show me the inside of the roof and the walls, and also that the board floor extended under the bed, warning me not to step into the cellar, a sort of dust hole two feet deep.  In her own words, they were "good boards overhead, good boards all around, and a good window" —— of two whole squares originally, only the cat had passed out that way lately.  There was a stove, a bed, and a place to sit,an infant in the house where it was born, a silk parasol,gilt-framed looking-glass, and a patent new coffee-mill nailed to an oak sapling, all told.  The bargain was soon concluded, for James had in the meanwhile returned.  I to pay four dollars and twenty-five cents tonight, he to vacate at five tomorrow morning,selling to nobody else meanwhile: I to take possession at six.  It were well, he said, to be there early, and anticipate certain indistinct but wholly unjust claims on the score of ground rent and fuel.  This he assured me was the only encumbrance.  At six I passed him and his family on the road.  One large bundle held their all ——bed, coffee-mill, looking-glass, hens —— all but the cat; she took to the woods and became a wild cat, and, as I learned afterward,trod in a trap set for woodchucks, and so became a dead cat at last.

  我便这样一连几天,用那狭小的斧头,伐木丁丁,砍削木料、门柱和椽木,并没有什么可以奉告的思想,也没有什么学究式的思维,只是自己歌唱,——人们说他们懂得不少;瞧啊,他们生了翅膀,——百艺啊,还有科学,还有千般技巧;其实只有吹拂的风才是他们全部的知觉。

  我把主要的木材砍成六英寸见方,大部分的间柱只砍两边,椽木和地板是只砍一边,其余几边留下树皮,所以它们和锯子锯出来的相比,是同样地挺直,而且更加结实。每一根木料都挖了榫眼,在顶上劈出了榫头,这时我又借到一些工具。在林中过的白昼往往很短;然而,我常常带去我的牛油面包当午餐,在正午时还读读包扎它们的新闻报纸,坐在我砍伐下来的青松枝上,它们的芳香染到面包上,因为我手上有一层厚厚的树脂。

  在我结束以前,松树成了我的密友,虽然我砍伐了几枝,却依然没有和它们结冤,反而和它们越来越亲了。有时候,林中的闲游者给斧声吸引了过来,我们就愉快地面对着碎木片瞎谈。

  我的工作干得一点不紧张,只是尽力去做而已,到四月中旬,我的屋架已经完工,可以立起来了。我已经向詹姆斯。柯令斯,一个在菲茨堡铁路上工作的爱尔兰人,买下他的棚屋来使用他的木板。詹姆斯。柯令斯的棚屋被认为是不平凡的好建筑。

  我找他去的时候,他不在家。我在外面走动,起先没有给里面注意到,那窗子根深而且很高。屋很小,有一个三角形的屋顶,别的没有什么可看的,四周积有五英尺高的垃圾,像肥料堆。屋顶是最完整的一部分,虽然给太阳晒得弯弯曲曲,而且很脆。没有门框,门板下有一道终年群鸡乱飞的通道。柯夫人来到门口,邀我到室内去看看货色。

  我一走近,母鸡也给我赶了进去。屋子里光线暗淡,大部分的地板很脏,潮湿,发粘,摇动,只有这里一条,那里一条,是不能搬,一搬就裂的木板。她点亮了一盏灯,给我看屋顶的里边和墙,以及一直伸到床底下去的地板,却劝告我不要踏人地窖中去,那不过是两英尺深的垃圾坑。用她自己的话来说,“头顶上,四周围,都是好木板,还有一扇好窗户,”——原来是两个方框,最近只有猫在那里出进。那里有一只火炉,一张床,一个坐坐的地方,一个出生在那里的婴孩,一把丝质的遮阳伞,还有镀金的镜子一面,以及一只全新的咖啡磨,钉牢在一块幼橡木上,这就是全部了。我们的交易当下就谈妥,因为那时候,詹姆斯也回来啦。当天晚上,我得付四元两角五分,他得在明天早晨五点搬家,可不能再把什么东西卖给别人了;六点钟,我可以去占有那棚屋。他说,赶早来最好,趁别人还来不及在地租和燃料上,提出某种数目不定,但是完全不公道的要求。

  他告诉我这是唯一的额外开支。到了六点钟,我在路上碰到他和他的一家。一个大包裹,全部家产都在内,——床,咖啡磨,镜子,母鸡,——只除了猫;它奔入树林,成为野猫,后来我又知道它触上了一只捕捉土拨鼠的机关,终于成了一只死猫。

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