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时间：2021-09-25 07:52:41 编辑：罗永浩今年目标收入至少100亿 浏览量：58341
As a sporting man, and a man of fashion, I need not say that I took in the Flare-up regularly; ay, and wrote one or two trifles in that celebrated publication (one of my papers, which Tagrag subscribed for me, Philo-pestitiaeamicus, on the proper sauce for teal and widgeon — and the other, signed Scru-tatos, on the best means of cultivating the kidney species of that vegetable — made no small noise at the time, and got me in the paper a compliment from the editor). I was a constant reader of the Notices to Correspondents, and, my early education having been rayther neglected (for I was taken from my studies and set, as is the custom in our trade, to practise on a sheep’s head at the tender age of nine years, before I was allowed to venture on the humane countenance,)— I say, being thus curtailed and cut off in my classical learning, I must confess I managed to pick up a pretty smattering of genteel information from that treasury of all sorts of knowledge; at least sufficient to make me a match in learning for all the noblemen and gentlemen who came to our house. Well, on looking over the Flare-up notices to correspondents, I read, one day last April, among the notices, as follows:—
And then began a game of battledore between myself and my conscience.
Then there are long corridors defended by gusts of hot air; down the middle swoops a pale little girl on parlour skates. “Get out of my way!” she shrieks as she passes; she has ribbons in her hair and frills on her dress; she makes the tour of the immense hotel. I think of Puck, who put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes, and wonder what he said as he flitted by. A black waiter marches past me bearing a tray that he thrusts into my spine as he goes. It’s laden with large white jugs; they tinkle as he moves, and I recognise the unconsoling fluid. We’re dying of iced water, of hot air, of flaring gas. I sit in my room thinking of these things — this room of mine which is a chamber of pain. The walls are white and bare, they shine in the rays of a horrible chandelier of imitation bronze which depends from the middle of the ceiling. It flings a patch of shadow on a small table covered with white marble, of which the genial surface supports at the present moment the sheet of paper I thus employ for you; and when I go to bed (I like to read in bed, Harvard) it becomes an object of mockery and torment. It dangles at inaccessible heights; it stares me in the face; it flings the light on the covers of my book but not upon the page — the little French Elzevir I love so well. I rise and put out the gas — when my room becomes even lighter than before. Then a crude illumination from the hall, from the neighbouring room, pours through the glass openings that surmount the two doors of my apartment. It covers my bed, where I toss and groan; it beats in through my closed lids; it’s accompanied by the most vulgar, though the most human, sounds. I spring up to call for some help, some remedy; but there’s no bell and I feel desolate and weak. There’s only a strange orifice in the wall, through which the traveller in distress may transmit his appeal. I fill it with incoherent sounds, and sounds more incoherent yet come back to me. I gather at last their meaning; they appear to constitute an awful inquiry. A hollow impersonal voice wishes to know what I want, and the very question paralyses me. I want everything — yet I want nothing, nothing this hard impersonality can give! I want my little corner of Paris; I want the rich, the deep, the dark Old World; I want to be out of this horrible place. Yet I can’t confide all this to that mechanical tube; it would be of no use; a barbarous laugh would come up from the office. Fancy appealing in these sacred, these intimate moments to an “office”; fancy calling out into indifferent space for a candle, for a curtain! I pay incalculable sums in this dreadful house, and yet haven’t a creature to assist me. I fling myself back on my couch and for a long time afterwards the orifice in the wall emits strange murmurs and rumblings. It seems unsatisfied and indignant and is evidently scolding me for my vagueness. My vagueness indeed, dear Harvard! I loathe their horrible arrangements — isn’t that definite enough?
Well, I console myself — since consolation is needed — with the greater bonhomie. Have you ever arrived at an English country-house in the dusk of a winter’s day? Have you ever made a call in London when you knew nobody but the hostess? People here are more expressive, more demonstrative; and it’s a pleasure, when one comes back — if one happens, like me, to be no one in particular — to feel one’s merely personal and unclassified value rise. They attend to you more; they have you on their mind; they talk to you; they listen to you. That is the men do; the women listen very little — not enough. They interrupt, they prattle, one feels their presence too much as importunate and untrained sound. I imagine this is partly because their wits are quick and they think of a good many things to say; not indeed that they always say such wonders! Perfect repose, after all, is not all self-control; it’s also partly stupidity. American women, however, make too many vague exclamations — say too many indefinite things, have in short still a great deal of nature. The American order or climate or whatever gives them a nature they can let loose. Europe has to protect itself with more art. On the whole I find very little affectation, though we shall probably have more as we improve. As yet people haven’t the assurance that carries those things off; they know too much about each other. The trouble is that over here we’ve all been brought up together. You’ll think this a picture of a dreadfully insipid society; but I hasten to add that it’s not all so tame as that. I’ve been speaking of the people that one meets socially, and these’re the smallest part of American life. The others — those one meets on a basis of mere convenience — are much more exciting; they keep one’s temper in healthy exercise. I mean the people in the shops and on the railroads; the servants, the hack-men, the labourers, the conductors; every one of whom you buy anything or have occasion to make an inquiry. With them you need all your best manners, for you must always have enough for two. If you think we’re too democratic taste a little of American life in these walks and you’ll be reassured. This is the region of inequality, and you’ll find plenty of people to make your curtsey to. You see it from below — the weight of inequality’s on your own back. You asked me to tell you about prices. They’re unspeakable.
“They’re so awfully ugly and they increase so the dear woman’s ugliness.” This remark began to flash a light, and when he quickly added “She sees herself, she sees her own fate!” my response was so immediate that I had almost taken the words out of his mouth. While I tried to fix this sudden image of Flora’s face glazed in and cross-barred even as Mrs. Meldrum’s was glazed and barred, he went on to assert that only the horror of that image, looming out at herself, could be the reason of her avoiding such a monitress. The fact he had encountered made everything hideously vivid and more vivid than anything else that just such another pair of goggles was what would have been prescribed to Flora.