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瓦尔登湖:经济篇20

2006-07-28 19:18

  I took down this dwelling the same morning, drawing the nails,and removed it to the pond-side by small cartloads, spreading the boards on the grass there to bleach and warp back again in the sun. One early thrush gave me a note or two as I drove along the woodland path.  I was informed treacherously by a young Patrick that neighbor Seeley, an Irishman, in the intervals of the carting, transferred the still tolerable, straight, and drivable nails, staples, and spikes to his pocket, and then stood when I came back to pass the time of day, and look freshly up, unconcerned, with spring thoughts,at the devastation; there being a dearth of work, as he said.  He was there to represent spectatordom, and help make this seemingly insignificant event one with the removal of the gods of Troy.

  I dug my cellar in the side of a hill sloping to the south,where a woodchuck had formerly dug his burrow, down through sumach and blackberry roots, and the lowest stain of vegetation, six feet square by seven deep, to a fine sand where potatoes would not freeze in any winter.  The sides were left shelving, and not stoned; but the sun having never shone on them, the sand still keeps its place. It was but two hours' work.  I took particular pleasure in this breaking of ground, for in almost all latitudes men dig into the earth for an equable temperature.  Under the most splendid house in the city is still to be found the cellar where they store their roots as of old, and long after the superstructure has disappeared posterity remark its dent in the earth.  The house is still but a sort of porch at the entrance of a burrow.

  At length, in the beginning of May, with the help of some of my acquaintances, rather to improve so good an occasion for neighborliness than from any necessity, I set up the frame of my house.  No man was ever more honored in the character of his raisers than I.  They are destined, I trust, to assist at the raising of loftier structures one day.  I began to occupy my house on the 4th of July, as soon as it was boarded and roofed, for the boards were carefully feather-edged and lapped, so that it was perfectly impervious to rain, but before boarding I laid the foundation of a chimney at one end, bringing two cartloads of stones up the hill from the pond in my arms.  I built the chimney after my hoeing in the fall, before a fire became necessary for warmth, doing my cooking in the meanwhile out of doors on the ground, early in the morning: which mode I still think is in some respects more convenient and agreeable than the usual one.  When it stormed before my bread was baked, I fixed a few boards over the fire, and sat under them to watch my loaf, and passed some pleasant hours in that way.  In those days, when my hands were much employed, I read but little, but the least scraps of paper which lay on the ground, my holder, or tablecloth, afforded me as much entertainment, in fact answered the same purpose as the Iliad.

  It would be worth the while to build still more deliberately than I did, considering, for instance, what foundation a door, a window, a cellar, a garret, have in the nature of man, and perchance never raising any superstructure until we found a better reason for it than our temporal necessities even.  There is some of the same fitness in a man's building his own house that there is in a bird's building its own nest.  Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged?  But alas! we do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes.  Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?  What does architecture amount to in the experience of the mass of men?  I never in all my walks came across a man engaged in so simple and natural an occupation as building his house.  We belong to the community.  It is not the tailor alone who is the ninth part of a man; it is as much the preacher, and the merchant, and the farmer. Where is this division of labor to end? and what object does it finally serve?  No doubt another may also think for me; but it is not therefore desirable that he should do so to the exclusion of my thinking for myself.

  这同一天的早晨,我就拆卸这棚屋,拔下钉子,用小车把木板搬运到湖滨,放在草地上,让太阳再把它们晒得发白并且恢复原来的形状。一只早起的画眉在我驾车经过林中小径时,送来了一个两个乐音。年轻人派屈里克却恶意地告诉我,一个爱尔兰邻居叫西莱的,在装车的间隙把还可以用的、直的、可以钉的钉子,骑马钉和大钉放进了自己的口袋,等我回去重新抬起头来,满不在乎、全身春意盎然地看着那一堆废墟的时候,他就站在那儿,正如他说的,没有多少工作可做。他在那里代表观众,使这琐屑不足道的事情看上去更像是特洛伊城众神的撤离。

  我在一处向南倾斜的小山腰上挖掘了我的地窖,那里一只土拨鼠也曾经挖过它的丘穴,我挖去了漆树和黑毒的根,及植物的最下面的痕迹,六英尺见方,七英尺深,直挖到一片良好的沙地,冬天再怎么冷,土豆也决不会冻坏了。它的周围是渐次倾斜的,并没有砌上石块;但太阳从没有照到它,因此没有沙粒流下来。这只不过两小时的工作。

  我对于破土特别感到兴趣,差不多在所有的纬度上,人们只消挖掘到地下去,都能得到均一的温度。在城市中,最豪华的住宅里也还是可以找到地窖的,他们在里面埋藏他们的块根植物,像古人那样,将来即使上层建筑完全颓毁,很久以后,后代人还能发现它留在地皮上的凹痕。所谓房屋,还只不过是地洞入口处的一些门面而已。

  最后,在五月初,由我的一些熟识的人帮忙,我把屋架立了起来,其实这也没有什么必要,我只是借这个机会来跟邻舍联络联络。关于屋架的树立,一切荣耀自应归我。

  我相信,有那么一天,大家还要一起来树立一个更高的结构。七月四日,我开始住进了我的屋子,因为那时屋顶刚装上,木板刚钉齐,这些木板都削成薄边,镶合在一起,防雨是毫无问题的,但在钉木板之前,我已经在屋子的一端砌好一个烟囱的基础,所用石块约有两车之多,都是我双臂从湖边抱上山的。但直到秋天锄完了地以后,我才把烟囱完成,恰在必需生火取暖之前,而前些时候我总是一清大早就在户外的地上做饭的:这一种方式我还认为是比一般的方式更便利、更惬意一些。如果在面包烤好之前起风下雨,我就在火上挡几块木板,躲在下面凝望着面包,便这样度过了若干愉快的时辰。那些日子里我手上工作多,读书很少,但地上的破纸,甚至单据,或台布,都供给我无限的欢乐,实在达到了同阅读《伊利亚特》一样的目的。

  要比我那样建筑房屋还更谨慎小心,也是划得来的,比方说,先考虑好一门一窗、一个地窖或一间阁楼在人性中间有着什么基础,除了目前需要以外,在你找出更强有力的理由以前,也许你永远也不要建立什么上层建筑的。一个人造他自己的房屋,跟一头飞鸟造巢,是同样的合情合理。谁知道呢,如果世人都自己亲手造他们自己住的房子,又简单地老实地用食物养活了自己和一家人,那末诗的才能一定会在全球发扬光大,就像那些飞禽,它们在这样做的时候,歌声唱遍了全球。可是,唉!我们不喜欢燕八哥和杜鹃,它们跑到别个鸟禽所筑造的巢中去下蛋,那叽叽喳喳的不协和乐音并不能使行路经过的人听了快乐。难道我们永远把建筑的快乐放弃给木匠师傅?在大多数的人类经验中,建筑算得了什么呢?在我所有的散步中,还绝对没有碰到过一个人正从事着建造自己住的房屋这样简单而自然的工作。我们是属于社会的。不单裁缝是一个人的九分之一,还有传教士,商人,农夫也有这么多呢。这种分工要分到什么程度为止?最后有什么结果?毫无疑问,别人可以来代替我们思想罗;可是如果他这么做是为了不让我自己思想,这就很不理想了。

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