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瓦尔登湖:经济篇12

2006-07-28 18:51

  On the whole, I think that it cannot be maintained that dressing has in this or any country risen to the dignity of an art.  At present men make shift to wear what they can get.  Like shipwrecked sailors, they put on what they can find on the beach, and at a little distance, whether of space or time, laugh at each other's masquerade.  Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.  We are amused at beholding the costume of Henry VIII, or Queen Elizabeth, as much as if it was that of the King and Queen of the Cannibal Islands.  All costume off a man is pitiful or grotesque.  It is only the serious eye peering from and the sincere life passed within it which restrain laughter and consecrate the costume of any people.  Let Harlequin be taken with a fit of the colic and his trappings will have to serve that mood too. When the soldier is hit by a cannonball, rags are as becoming as purple.

  The childish and savage taste of men and women for new patterns keeps how many shaking and squinting through kaleidoscopes that they may discover the particular figure which this generation requires today.  The manufacturers have learned that this taste is merely whimsical.  Of two patterns which differ only by a few threads more or less of a particular color, the one will be sold readily, the other lie on the shelf, though it frequently happens that after the lapse of a season the latter becomes the most fashionable. Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called.  It is not barbarous merely because the printing is skin-deep and unalterable. I cannot believe that our factory system is the best mode by which men may get clothing.  The condition of the operatives is becoming every day more like that of the English; and it cannot be wondered at, since, as far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad,but, unquestionably, that corporations may be enriched.  In the long run men hit only what they aim at.  Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.

  As for a Shelter, I will not deny that this is now a necessary of life, though there are instances of men having done without it for long periods in colder countries than this.  Samuel Laing says that "the Laplander in his skin dress, and in a skin bag which he puts over his head and shoulders, will sleep night after night on the snow …… in a degree of cold which would extinguish the life of one exposed to it in any woollen clothing."  He had seen them asleep thus.  Yet he adds, "They are not hardier than other people."  But,probably, man did not live long on the earth without discovering the convenience which there is in a house, the domestic comforts, which phrase may have originally signified the satisfactions of the house more than of the family; though these must be extremely partial and occasional in those climates where the house is associated in our thoughts with winter or the rainy season chiefly, and two thirds of the year, except for a parasol, is unnecessary.  In our climate, in the summer, it was formerly almost solely a covering at night.  In the Indian gazettes a wigwam was the symbol of a day's march, and a row of them cut or painted on the bark of a tree signified that so many times they had camped.  Man was not made so large limbed and robust but that he must seek to narrow his world and wall in a space such as fitted him.  He was at first bare and out of doors; but though this was pleasant enough in serene and warm weather, by daylight, the rainy season and the winter, to say nothing of the torrid sun, would perhaps have nipped his race in the bud if he had not made haste to clothe himself with the shelter of a house.  Adam and Eve, according to the fable, wore the bower before other clothes.  Man wanted a home, a place of warmth, or comfort, first of warmth, then the warmth of the affections.

  整个说来,这国或别国的服装已达到了一种艺术的尊贵地位的这类话是不能成立的。目前的人,还是有什么,穿什么。像破碎的舟上的水手漂到岸上,找得到什么就穿什么,他们还站得隔开一点,越过空间的或时间的距离,而嘲笑着彼此的服装呢。每一代人都嘲笑老式样,而虔诚地追求新式样。我们看到亨利八世或伊丽莎白女王的装束,就要好笑,仿佛他们是食人岛上的岛王和岛后一样。衣服没有了人,就可怜和古怪起来。抑制住哗笑,并且使任何人的衣服庄严起来的,乃是穿衣人的严肃地显现的两眼和穿衣人在衣服之中过的真诚的生活。穿着斑斓衣衫的丑角如果突然发疝痛了,他的衣服也就表现了这痛楚的情绪。当士兵中了炮弹,烂军装也宛如高贵的紫袍。

  男女都爱好新式样,这种稚气的、蛮夷的趣味使多少人转动眼珠和眯起眼皮看着万花筒,好让他们来发现今天这一代需要什么样的式样。制造商人早知道他们的趣味只是反复无常的。两种式样,其不同只有几条丝线,而颜色多少还是相似的,一件衣服立刻卖掉了,另一件却躺在货架上,常常在过了一个季节之后,后者又成了最时髦的式样。

  在身上刺花,比较起来真还不算是人们所说的可怕的习气呢。这并不仅仅因为刺花是深入皮肤,不能改变就变得野蛮的。

  我不相信我们的工厂制度是使人们得到衣服穿的最好的办法。技工们的情形是一天一天地更像英国工厂里的样子了,这是不足为奇的,因为据我听到或观察到的,原来那主要的目标,并不是为了使人类可以穿得更好更老实,而无疑的,只是为了公司要赚钱。

  往长远处看去,人类总能达到他们的目标的,因此尽管事情一时之间是要失败的,目标还是不妨定得崇高些。

  至于住所,我并不否认这现在是一种生活必需品了,虽然有很多例子可以说明,很久以来比这里更为寒冷的国土上都有人能够没有住所照样生活下去,塞牟尔。莱恩说,“北欧的拉普兰人穿了皮衣,头上肩上套着皮囊,可以一夜又一夜的睡在雪地上——那寒冷的程度可以使穿羊毛衣服的人冻死的。”他亲眼看到他们这样地睡着。接着他说,“可是他们并不比旁人更结实。”大概是人类生活在地球上不多久以后,就发现了房屋的便利,以及家庭生活的安逸,这句话的原意,表示对于房屋感到满足,超过家庭的融乐:然而有的地带,一说到房屋就联想到冬天和雨季,一年里有三分之二时间不用房屋,只要一柄遮阳伞,在这些地方,这样的说法就极其片面,而且只是偶尔适用罢了。我们这一带的气候,以前夏天晚上只要有个遮盖就行了。在印第安人的记录中,一座尖屋是一整天行程的标志,在树皮上刻着或画着的一排尖屋代表他们已经露营了多少次。人类没有壮大的肢体,身材并不魁梧,所以他得设法缩小他的世界,用墙垣来圈起一个适宜于他的空间。最初他是裸体的,在户外的;虽然在温和宁静的气候中,在白昼还非常愉快,可是另外有雨季和冬天,且不说那炎炎赤日,要不是人类赶快用房屋来荫蔽他自己,人种或许早在抽芽的时候就被摧残了。按照传说,亚当和夏娃在穿衣服之前,以枝叶蔽体。人类需要一个家庭,一个温暖的地方,或舒服的地方,但是肉体的温暖在先,然后才是感情的温暖啊。了。按照传说,亚当和夏娃在穿衣服之前,以枝叶蔽体。人类需要一个家庭,一个温暖的地方,或舒服的地方,但是肉体的温暖在先,然后才是感情的温暖啊。

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