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2006-07-28 23:35

  Yes, I did eat $8.74, all told; but I should not thus unblushingly publish my guilt, if I did not know that most of my readers were equally guilty with myself, and that their deeds would look no better in print.  The next year I sometimes caught a mess of fish for my dinner, and once I went so far as to slaughter a woodchuck which ravaged my bean-field —— effect his transmigration, as a Tartar would say —— and devour him, partly for experiment's sake;but though it afforded me a momentary enjoyment, notwithstanding a musky flavor, I saw that the longest use would not make that a good practice, however it might seem to have your woodchucks ready dressed by the village butcher. Clothing and some incidental expenses within the same dates,though little can be inferred from this item, amounted to

  $ 8.40-3/4

  Oil and some household utensils ……  2.00

  So that all the pecuniary outgoes, excepting for washing and mending, which for the most part were done out of the house, and their bills have not yet been received —— and these are all and more than all the ways by which money necessarily goes out in this part of the world —— were

  House …… $ 28.12+ Farm one year …… 14.72+ Food eight months ……  8.74 Clothing, etc., eight months ……  8.40-3/4 Oil, etc., eight months ……  2.00


  In all …… $ 61.99-3/4

  I address myself now to those of my readers who have a living to get.  And to meet this I have for farm produce sold

  $ 23.44 Earned by day-labor ……  13.34


  In all …… $ 36.78,

  which subtracted from the sum of the outgoes leaves a balance of $25.21 3/4 on the one side —— this being very nearly the means with which I started, and the measure of expenses to be incurred —— and on the other, beside the leisure and independence and health thus secured, a comfortable house for me as long as I choose to occupy it.

  These statistics, however accidental and therefore uninstructive they may appear, as they have a certain completeness, have a certain value also.  Nothing was given me of which I have not rendered some account.  It appears from the above estimate, that my food alone cost me in money about twenty-seven cents a week.  It was, for nearly two years after this, rye and Indian meal without yeast,potatoes, rice, a very little salt pork, molasses, and salt; and my drink, water.  It was fit that I should live on rice, mainly, who love so well the philosophy of India.  To meet the objections of some inveterate cavillers, I may as well state, that if I dined out occasionally, as I always had done, and I trust shall have opportunities to do again, it was frequently to the detriment of my domestic arrangements.  But the dining out, being, as I have stated,a constant element, does not in the least affect a comparative statement like this.

  I learned from my two years' experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one's necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals,and yet retain health and strength.  I have made a satisfactory dinner, satisfactory on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) which I gathered in my cornfield,boiled and salted.  I give the Latin on account of the savoriness of the trivial name.  And pray what more can a reasonable man desire,in peaceful times, in ordinary noons, than a sufficient number of ears of green sweet corn boiled, with the addition of salt?  Even the little variety which I used was a yielding to the demands of appetite, and not of health.  Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries; and I know a good woman who thinks that her son lost his life because he took to drinking water only.




  我从两年的经验中知道,甚至在这个纬度上,要得到一个人所必需的食粮也极少麻烦,少到不可信的地步;而且一个人可以像动物一样的吃简单的食物,仍然保持康健和膂力。我曾经从玉米田里采了一些马齿苋(学名Portulaca oleracea)煮熟加盐,吃了一餐,这一餐饭在好些方面使我心满意足。我把它的拉丁文的学名写下是因为它的俗名不很好。请说说看,在和平的年代,在日常的中午时分,除了吃一些甜的嫩玉米,加上盐煮,一个讲究理性的人还能希望什么更多的食物呢?就是我稍稍变换花样,也只是为了换换口味,并不是为了健康的缘故。然而人们常常挨饿,不是因为缺少必需品,而是因为缺少了奢侈品;我还认识一个良善的女人,她以为她的儿子送了命是因为他只喝清水。

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