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双语故事:RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR 竞选州长 By Mark Twain 马克·吐温

作者:admin 日期: 2015-10-19 13:41:12 人气: 696



By Mark Twain


A few months ago I was nominated forGovernor of the great State of New York, to run against Stewart L. Woodford and John T.Hoffman, on an independent ticket. I somehow felt that I had one prominentadvantage over these gentlemen, and that was, good character. It was easy tosee by the newspapers, that if ever they had known what it was to bear a goodname, that time had gone by. It was plain that in these latter years they hadbecome familiar with all manner of shameful crimes. But at the very moment thatI was exalting my advantage and joying in it in secret, there was a muddyundercurrent of discomfort "riling" the deeps of my happiness -- andthat was, the having to hear my name bandied about in familiar connection withthose of such people. I grew more and more disturbed. Finally I wrote mygrandmother about it. Her answer came quick and sharp. She said:


You have never done one single thing in allyour life to be ashamed of -- not one. Look at the newspapers -- look at themand comprehend what sort of characters Woodford and Hoffman are, and then seeif you are willing to lower yourself to their level and enter a public canvasswith them.


It was my very thought! I did not sleep asingle moment that night. But after all, I could not recede. I was fullycommitted and must go on with the fight. As I was looking listlessly over thepapers at breakfast, I came across this paragraph, and I may truly say I neverwas so confounded before:


PERJURY. -- Perhaps, now that Mr. MarkTwain is before the people as a candidate for Governor, he will condescend toexplain how he came to be convicted of perjury by thirty-four witnesses, inWakawak, Cochin China, in 1863, the intent of which perjury was to rob a poornative widow and her helpless family of a meagre plantain patch, their onlystay and support in their bereavement and their desolation. Mr. Twain owes itto himself, as well as to the great people whose suffrages he asks, to clearthis matter up. Will he do it?


I thought I should burst with amazement!Such a cruel, heartless charge -- I never had seen Cochin China! I never had beard of Wakawak! I didn't know a plantainpatch from a kangaroo! I did not know what to do. I was crazed and helpless. Ilet the day slip away without doing anything at all. The next morning the samepaper had this -- nothing more:


SIGNIFICANT. -- Mr. Twain, it will beobserved, is suggestively silent about the Cochin Chinaperjury.


[Mem. -- During the rest of the campaignthis paper never referred to me in any other way than as "the infamousperjurer Twain."]


Next came the "Gazette," withthis:


WANTED TO KNOW. -- Will the new candidatefor Governor deign to explain to certain of his fellow-citizens (who aresuffering to vote for him!) the little circumstance of his cabin-mates inMontana losing small valuables from time to time, until at last, these thingshaving been invariably found on Mr. Twain's person or in his "trunk"(newspaper he rolled his traps in), they felt compelled to give him a friendlyadmonition for his own good, and so tarred and feathered him and rode him on arail, and then advised him to leave a permanent vacuum in the place he usuallyoccupied in the camp. Will he do this?


Could anything be more deliberatelymalicious than that? For I never was in Montanain my life.


[After this, this journal customarily spokeof me as "Twain, the Montana Thief."]


I got to pick up papers apprehensively -- muchas one would lift a desired blanket which he had some idea might have arattlesnake under it. One day this met my eye:


THE LIE NAILED! -- By the sworn affidavitsof Michael O'Flanagan, Esq., of the Five Points, and Mr. Kit Burns and Mr. JohnAllen, of Water street, it is established that Mr. Mark Twain's vile statementthat the lamented grandfather of our noble standard-bearer, John T. Hoffman,was hanged for highway robbery, is a brutal and gratuitous LIE, without asingle shadow of foundation in fact. It is disheartening to virtuous men to seesuch shameful means resorted to achieve political success as the attacking ofthe dead in their graves and defiling their honored names with slander. When wethink of the anguish this miserable falsehood must cause the innocent relativesand friends of the deceased, we are almost driven to incite an outraged andinsulted public to summary and unlawful vengeance upon the traducer. But no --let us leave him to the agony of a lacerating conscience -- (though if passionshould get the better of the public and in its blind fury they should do thetraducer bodily injury, it is but too obvious that no jury could convict and nocourt punish the perpetrators of the deed).


The ingenious closing sentence had theeffect of moving me out of bed with despatch that night, and out at the backdoor, also, while the "outraged and insulted public" surged in thefront way, breaking furniture and windows in their righteous indignation asthey came, and taking off such property as they could carry when they went. Andyet I can lay my hand upon the Book and say that I never slandered GovernorHoffman's grandfather. More -- I had never even heard of him or mentioned him,up to that day and date.


[I will state, in passing, that the journalabove quoted from always referred to me afterward as "Twain, theBody-Snatcher."]


The next newspaper article that attractedmy attention was the following:


A SWEET CANDIDATE. -- Mark Twain, who wasto make such a blighting speech at the mass meeting of the Independents lastnight, didn't come to time! A telegram from his physician stated that he hadbeen knocked down by a runaway team and his leg broken in two places --sufferer lying in great agony, and so forth, and so forth, and a lot more boshof the same sort. And the Independents tried hard to swallow the wretchedsubterfuge and pretend that they did not know what was the real reason of theabsence of the abandoned creature whom they denominate their standard-bearer. Acertain man was seen to reel into Mr. Twain's hotel last night in state ofbeastly intoxication. It is the imperative duty of the Independents to provethat this besotted brute was not Mark Twain himself: We have them at last! Thisis a case that admits of no shirking. The voice of the people demands inthunder-tones: "WHO WAS THAT MAN?


It was incredible, absolutely incredible,for a moment, that it was really my name that was coupled with this disgracefulsuspicion. Three long years had passed over my head since I had tasted ale,beer, wine, or liquor of any kind.


[It shows what effect the times were havingon me when I say that I saw myself confidently dubbed "Mr. DeliriumTremens Twain" in the next issue of that journal without a pang --notwithstanding I knew that with monotonous fidelity the paper would go oncalling me so to the very end.]


By this time anonymous letters were gettingto be an important part of my mail matter. This form was common:


How about that old woman you kicked of...




And this:


There is things which you have done whichis unbeknown to anybody but me. You better trot out a few dollars to yourstruly or you'll hear thro' the papers from…




That is about the idea. I could continuethem till the reader was surfeited, if desirable.


Shortly the principal Republican journal"convicted" me of wholesale bribery, and the leading Democratic paper"nailed" an aggravated case of blackmailing to me.


[In this way I acquired two additionalnames: "Twain, the Filthy Corruptionist," and "Twain, theLoathsome Embracer."]


By this time there had grown to be such a clamorfor an "answer" to all the dreadful charges that were laid to me,that the editors and leaders of my party said it would be political ruin for meto remain silent any longer. As if to make their appeal the more imperative,the following appeared in one of the papers the very next day:


BEHOLD THE MAN! -- The Independentcandidate still maintains Silence. Because he dare not speak. Every accusationagainst him has been amply proved, and they have been endorsed and re-endorsedby his own eloquent silence till at this day he stands forever convicted. Lookupon your candidate, Independents! Look upon the Infamous Perjurer! The Montana Thief! TheBody-Snatcher! Contemplate your incarnate Delirium Tremens! Your FilthyCorruptionist! Your Loath some Embracer! Gaze upon him -- ponder him well --and then say if you can give your honest votes to a creature who has earnedthis dismal array of titles by his hideous crimes, and dares not open his mouthin denial of any one of them!


There was no possible way of getting out ofit, and so, in deep humiliation, I set about preparing to "answer" amass of baseless charges and mean and wicked falsehoods. But I never finishedthe task, for the very next morning a paper came out with a new horror, a freshmalignity, and seriously charged me with burning a lunatic asylum with all itsinmates because it obstructed the view from my house. This threw me into a sortof panic. Then came the charge of poisoning my uncle to get his property, withan imperative demand that the grave should be opened. This drove me to theverge of distraction. On top of this I was accused of employing toothless andincompetent old relatives to prepare the food for the foundling hospital when Iwas warden. I was wavering -- wavering. And at last, as a due and fittingclimax to the shameless persecution that party rancor had inflicted upon me,nine little toddling children of all shades of color and degrees of raggednesswere taught to rush on to the platform at a public meeting and clasp me aroundthe legs and call me PA!


I gave up. I hauled down my colors andsurrendered. I was not equal to the requirements of a Gubernatorial campaign inthe State of New York,and so I sent in my withdrawal from the candidacy, and in bitterness of spiritsigned it,


"Truly yours,


Once a decent man, but now MARK TWAIN, I. P., M. T., B. S., D. T.,F. C., and L. E."



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