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名人轶事:杰斐逊与赛马骑师

2006-08-09 15:38

  Jefferson's  favorite exercise was riding.He was a judge ofa horse,and rode a very good one.One day,during his presi-dential term,he was riding somewhere in the neighborhood ofWashington,when there came up a crossroad a well-known jockeyand dealer in horse-flesh,whose name we will call Jones.

  He did not know the President,but his professional eye wascaught,in a moment,by the noble steed he rode.Coming upwith an imprudent boldness characteristic of the man,heaccosted the rider,and forthwith began talking in the slang ofhis trade,about the horse,his points,his age,and his value,and expressed a readiness to'swap’ horses.

  Mr.Jefferson gave him brief replies,and civilly declinedall offers of exchange.The fellow offered boots,and pressed andincreased his bids,as the closer he looked at the stranger'ssteed,the better he liked him.

  All his offers were refused with a coolness that nettled him.He then became rude,but his vulgarity made as little impressionas his money,for Jefferson had the most perfect command of histemper,and no man could put him in a passion.

  The jockey wanted him to show the animal's gait,andurged him to trot with him for a wager.But all in vain.

  At length,seeing that the stranger was no customer,andutterly impracticable,he raised his whip and struck Mr.Jefferson's horse across the flank,setting him off in a suddengallop,which would have brought a less accomplished rider tothe ground.At the same time he put spurs to his own beast,hoping for a race.

  Jefferson kept his seat,reined in his restive steed,and putan equally effective rein upon his own temper.

  The jockey wondered;but impudently turned it off with alaugh,and still keeping by the side of his new acquaintance,began talking politics.Being a staunch Federalist,he com-menced to launch out against Jefferson and the policy of hisadministration.Jefferson took his part in the conversation,andurged some things in reply.

  Meanwhile they had ridden into the city,and were makingtheir way along Pennsylvania Avenue.At length they came op-posite the gate of the presidential mansion.

  Here Mr.Jefferson reined up,and courteously invited theman to enter.

  The jockey raised his eye-brows,and asked:“Why,do youlive here?”

  “Yes,”was the simple reply.

  “Why,stranger,what the deuce might be your name?”

  “My name is Thomas Jefferson.”

  Even the jockey's brass turned pale then.Putting spurs tohis nag,he exclaimed:“And my name is Richard Jones,and I'mok!”Saying that,he dashed up the avenue at double quick time,while the President looked after him with a smile,and then rodeinto the gate.

  杰斐逊最喜爱的运动是骑马,他是鉴别马的专家,他自己就骑一匹好马。一天,在他的总统任职期间,他正在华盛顿附近的某个地方骑马,当他骑过一个十字路口的时候,走来一位知名的赛马骑师兼做马匹买卖的商人,人们管他叫琼斯。

  那人不认识总统,但他那专业性的眼睛立刻就被他骑的骏马吸引住了。那人卤莽地走上前来和骑马的人搭话,并马上开始用他那一套行话谈论起那匹马:马的品种的优劣,马的年龄以及他的价值,并表示要换马。

  杰斐逊简单地回答着他,彬彬有理地谢绝了他提出的所有的交换建议。那家伙提出用靴子换,并不断劝说,不断抬高出价,因为他越仔细看这匹陌生人骑的马,就越喜欢他。

  他所有的建议都被冷冷地拒绝了,他被激怒了。然后他变得很粗鲁,但他的粗野行为就象他的钱一样没有对杰斐逊起任何作用,因为杰斐逊能最完美地控制自己的脾气,没有人能够激怒他。

  这个赛马骑师让他展示一下这匹马的步法,竭力要他骑马慢跑和他打个赌。但是一切都无济于事。

  最后,看到这个陌生人不会成为他的主顾,而且是绝对地难对付,他举起马鞭在杰斐逊的马的侧面抽了一下,让马突然疾跑起来,这会使造诣不高的骑手摔到地上来。与此同时,他猛催自己的座骑,希望赛一下。

  杰斐逊依然坐在马鞍上,用缰绳控制着烦躁的马,并同样有效地控制了自己的脾气。

  赛马骑师惊讶了;但只是粗鲁地付之一笑,还是走在他这个新认识的人的旁边,开始谈论起政治来。作为一个坚定的联邦制的拥护者,他开始大肆谴责杰斐逊以及他执政时期的政策。杰斐逊加入了谈话,并鼓励他对某些事情作出回答。

  与此同时,他们骑马进入了市里,沿着宾西法尼亚大道往前走。最后,他们来到了总统官邸大门的对面。杰斐逊勒住缰绳,很有礼貌地请那人进去。

  赛马骑师瞠目结舌,问道:“怎么,你住在这儿?”

  “是的。”回答很简单。

  “嗨,陌生人,你究竟叫什么名字?”

  “我叫托马斯·杰斐逊。”

  说到这儿,赛马骑师的厚脸皮变白了,他猛踢自己的马,喊道:“我叫理查德·琼斯,我很好。”说着,以加倍的速度冲上大路,而总统则满脸微笑地看着他,然后骑进了大门。

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