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卡拉维拉斯县驰名的跳蛙·The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County(Mark Twain 马克·吐温)·中英双语

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County 

by Mark Twain


[From _The Saturday Press_, Nov. 18, 1865. Republished in _The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches_ (1867), by Mark Twain, all of whose works are published by Harper & Brothers.]

In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon Wheeler, and inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. I have a lurking suspicion that _Leonidas W_. Smiley is a myth; and that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would remind him of his infamous _Jim Smiley_, and he would go to work and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of him as long and as tedious as it should be useless to me. If that was the design, it succeeded.

I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the barroom stove of the dilapidated tavern in the decayed mining camp of Angel's, and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his tranquil countenance. He roused up, and gave me good-day. I told him a friend had commissioned me to make some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood named _Leonidas W_. Smiley--_Rev. Leonidas W._ Smiley, a young minister of the Gospel, who he had heard was at one time a resident of Angel's Camp. I added that if Mr. Wheeler could tell me anything about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would feel under many obligations to him.

Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me there with his chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monotonous narrative which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle-flowing key to which he tuned his initial sentence, he never betrayed the slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive earnestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far from his imagining that there was anything ridiculous or funny about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in _finesse_. I let him go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once.

"Rev. Leonidas W. H'm, Reverend Le--well, there was a feller here once by the name of _Jim_ Smiley, in the winter of '49--or may be it was the spring of '50--I don't recollect exactly, somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other is because I remember the big flume warn't finished when he first came to the camp; but any way, he was the curiousest man about always betting on anything that turned up you ever see, if he could get anybody to bet on the other side; and if he couldn't he'd change sides. Any way that suited the other man would suit _him_--any way just so's he got a bet, _he_ was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance; there couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned but that feller'd offer to bet on it, and take any side you please, as I was just telling you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find him flush or you'd find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there was two birds setting on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first; or if there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar to bet on Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about here, and he was, too, and a good man. If he even see a straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take him to get to--to wherever he _was_ going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road. Lots of the boys here has seen that Smiley and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no difference to _him_--he'd bet on _any_ thing--the dangest feller. Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and it seemed as if they warn't going to save her; but one morning he come in, and Smiley up and asked him how she was, and he said she was considerable better--thank the Lord for his inf'nit' mercy--and coming on so smart that with the blessing of Prov'dence she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, says, ‘Well, I'll risk two-and-a-half she don't anyway.'"

Thish-yer Smiley had a mare--the boys called her the fifteen-minute nag, but that was only in fun, you know, because, of course, she was faster than that--and he used to win money on that horse, for all she was so slow and always had the asthma, or the distemper, or the consumption, or something of that kind. They used to give her two or three hundred yards start, and then pass her under way; but always at the fag-end of the race she'd get excited and desperate-like, and come cavorting and straddling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in the air, and sometimes out to one side amongst the fences, and kicking up m-o-r-e dust and raising m-o-r-e racket with her coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose--and always fetch up at the stand just about a neck ahead, as near as you could cipher it down.

And he had a little small bull-pup, that to look at him you'd think he warn't worth a cent but to set around and look ornery and lay for a chance to steal something. But as soon as money was up on him he was a different dog; his under-jaw'd begin to stick out like the fo'-castle of a steamboat, and his teeth would uncover and shine like the furnaces. And a dog might tackle him and bully-rag him, and bite him, and throw him over his shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson--which was the name of the pup--Andrew Jackson would never let on but what _he_ was satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else--and the bets being doubled and doubled on the other side all the time, till the money was all up; and then all of a sudden he would grab that other dog jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze to it--not chaw, you understand, but only just grip and hang on till they throwed up the sponge, if it was a year. Smiley always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog once that didn't have no hind legs, because they'd been sawed off in a circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a snatch for his pet holt, he see in a minute how he'd been imposed on, and how the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and he 'peared surprised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like, and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so he got shucked out bad. He gave Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it was _his_ fault, for putting up a dog that hadn't no hind legs for him to take holt of, which was his main dependence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid down and died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would have made a name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in him and he had genius--I know it, because he hadn't no opportunities to speak of, and it don't stand to reason that a dog could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances if he hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when I think of that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out.

Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and tom-cats and all of them kind of things, till you couldn't rest, and you couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match you. He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said he cal'lated to educate him; and so he never done nothing for three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to jump. And you bet you he _did_ learn him, too. He'd give him a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut--see him turn one summerset, or may be a couple, if he got a good start, and come down flat-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the matter of ketching flies, and kep' him in practice so constant, that he'd nail a fly every time as fur as he could see him. Smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do 'most anything--and I believe him. Why, I've seen him set Dan'l Webster down here on this floor--Dan'l Webster was the name of the frog--and sing out, "Flies, Dan'l, flies!" and quicker'n you could wink he'd spring straight up and snake a fly off'n the counter there, and flop down on the floor ag'in as solid as a gob of mud, and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd been doin' any more'n any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted. And when it come to fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you ever see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand; and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been everywheres, all said he laid over any frog that ever _they_ see.

Well, Smiley kep' the beast in a little lattice box, and he used to fetch him downtown sometimes and lay for a bet. One day a feller--a stranger in the camp, he was--come acrost him with his box, and says:

"What might be that you've got in the box?"

And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, "It might be a parrot, or it might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't--it's only just a frog."

And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round this way and that, and says, "H'm--so 'tis. Well, what's _he_ good for?"

"Well," Smiley says, easy and careless, "he's good enough for _one_ thing, I should judge--he can outjump any frog in Calaveras county."

The feller took the box again, and took another long, particular look, and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, "Well," he says, "I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog."

"Maybe you don't," Smiley says. "Maybe you understand frogs and maybe you don't understand 'em; maybe you've had experience, and maybe you ain't only a amature, as it were. Anyways, I've got _my_ opinion and I'll risk forty dollars that he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County."

And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad like, "Well, I'm only a stranger here, and I ain't got no frog; but if I had a frog, I'd bet you."

And then Smiley says, "That's all right--that's all right--if you'll hold my box a minute, I'll go and get you a frog." And so the feller took the box, and put up his forty dollars along with Smiley's, and set down to wait.

So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to his-self, and then he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took a teaspoon and filled him full of quail shot--filled! him pretty near up to his chin--and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time, and finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to this feller, and says:

"Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his forepaws just even with Dan'l's, and I'll give the word." Then he says, "One--two--three--_git_!" and him and the feller touched up the frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off lively, but Dan'l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders--so--like a Frenchman, but it warn't no use--he couldn't budge; he was planted as solid as a church, and he couldn't no more stir than if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised, and he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter was, of course.

The feller took the money and started away; and when he was going out at the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his shoulder--so--at Dan'l, and says again, very deliberate, "Well," he says, "_I_ don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog."

Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long time, and at last says, "I do wonder what in the nation that frog throwed off for--I wonder if there ain't something the matter with him--he 'pears to look mighty baggy, somehow." And he ketched Dan'l up by the nap of the neck, and hefted him, and says, "Why blame my cats if he don't weigh five pounds!" and turned him upside down and he belched out a double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was the maddest man--he set the frog down and took out after that feller, but he never ketched him. And----

(Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front yard, and got up to see what was wanted.) And turning to me as he moved away, he said: "Just set where you are, stranger, and rest easy--I ain't going to be gone a second."

But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the history of the enterprising vagabond _Jim_ Smiley would be likely to afford me much information concerning the Rev. _Leonidas W._ Smiley, and so I started away.

At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he buttonholed me and recommenced:

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yaller, one-eyed cow that didn't have no tail, only jest a short stump like a bannanner, and----"

However, lacking both time and inclination, I did not wait to hear about the afflicted cow, but took my leave.

 

中文译文

一个朋友从东部来了信,我遵他的命去拜访了好脾气、爱絮叨的西蒙·威勒,打听我朋友的朋友列昂尼达斯·W·斯迈雷的下落。这件受人之托的事究竟结果如何,我来做个交代。事后我心里嘀咕,这位列昂尼达斯·W·斯迈雷是瞎编出来的,我朋友根本就不认识此人。他准是琢磨着:只要我向老威勒一打听,就会让他联想起那个厚脸皮的吉姆·斯迈雷来,赶快打开话匣子把那些又臭又长、和我毫不相干的陈年旧事抖搂出来,把我顷死。要是我朋友存心这么干,那他真是做对了。
我见到西蒙·威勒的时候,他正在破破烂烂的矿山屯子安吉尔那座歪歪斜斜的酒馆里,靠着吧台旁边的炉子舒舒服服地打盹。我注意到他是个胖子,秃脑门,一脸安详,透着和气、朴实。他站起身来问了声好。我告诉他,朋友托我来打听一位儿时的密友,这人叫列昂尼达斯·W·斯迈雷——也就是列昂尼达斯·W·斯迈雷神父,听说这位年轻的福音传教士曾在安吉尔屯子里住过。我又加了一句:要是威勒先生能告诉我这位列昂尼达斯·W·斯迈雷神父的消息,我将感激不尽。
西蒙·威勒把我逼到墙角,拿自己的椅子封住我的去路,然后讲了一通下面段落里那些枯燥无味的事情。他脸上不露一丝笑意,眉头一皱不皱,从第一句起,他用的就是四平八稳的腔调,没有变过。他绝不是生性就爱唠叨;因为他收不住的话头里透着认认真真、诚心诚意的感人情绪,这是明明白白地告诉我,按他的想法,别管这故事本身是不是荒唐可笑,他可是把讲故事当成一件要紧事来办,而且对故事里的两位主人公推崇备至,认为他们智谋超群。我听凭他按照自己的路子讲下去,一直没有打断。
列昂尼达斯神父,嗯,列神父——嗯,这里从前倒是有过一个叫吉姆·斯迈雷的,那是四九年冬天——也许是五○年春天——不知道怎么闹的,我记不太清楚了,总归不是四九年就是五○年,因为他刚来到屯子的时候,那大渡槽还没造好呢;别的不说,要比谁最古怪,他算得上天下第一。只要能找到一个人愿打赌,他就赔,碰上什么就赌什么。别人要是不愿赌黑,他就赔黑;别人不愿赌白,他就赌白。不管怎么样,别人想怎么赌,他都陪着——不管怎么样,只要能赌得起来,他就舒服了。虽说这样,他照样有好运气,那可不是一般的好,十有八九总是他赢。他老惦记找机会打赌;无论大事小事,只要有人提出来,不管你的注往哪一边下,他都照赌不误,这些我刚才都告诉过你啦。赛的要是马,收场的时候他不是赢得满满当当,就是输得一干二净;如果斗的是狗,他赌;斗的是猫,他赌;斗的是鸡,他还赌;嘿,就算有两只鸟落在篱笆上,他也要跟你赌哪一只先飞;屯子里聚会他必到,到了就拿沃尔克牧师打赌,他打赌说,沃尔克牧师布道在这一带是头一份;那还用说,他本来就是个好人么。要是他看见一只屎克螂朝哪里开步走,他就跟你赌它几天才能到——不论到哪儿都行;只要你接茬,哪怕是去墨西哥,他也会跟着那只屎克螂,看看它到底去不去那儿,路上得花几天的时间。这儿的小伙子好多都见过斯迈雷,都能给你讲讲这个人。嘿,讲起他的事来可是绝对重不了样——他不论什么都赌——那家伙特有意思。有一回,沃尔克牧师的太太病得不轻,有好几天的工夫,眼看着她就没救了;可一天早晨牧师进来了,斯迈雷站起来问他太太怎么样,他说,她好多了——全凭主的大恩大德——看这势头,有主保佑,她能缓过来;还没等他讲完,斯迈雷来了一句:“这样吧,我押两块五,赌她缓不过来。”
这个斯迈雷有一匹母马——小伙子们都管它叫“一刻钟老太太”,这话损了点儿,它跑得当然比这快一点儿——他还经常靠这匹马赢钱呢。因为它慢慢吞吞的,不是得气喘,生瘟热,就是有痨病,以及这一类乱七八糟的病。他们总是让它先跑两三百码,可等到了终点跟前,它就抖起精神,拼了老命,撒欢尥蹶子;四只蹄子到处乱甩,甩空了的也有,甩偏了踢到篱笆上的也有,弄得尘土飞扬,再加上咳嗽、打喷嚏、攥鼻涕,闹闹哄哄——赶到裁判席前头的时候,它总是比别的马早一个头,早得刚好让人能看明白。
他还有一只小斗狗,光看外表你准以为它一钱不值,就配在那儿拴着,一副贼溜溜的样子,老想偷点什么。可是,一旦在它身上下了注,它转眼就变了一条狗;它的下巴颏往前伸着,就像火轮船的前甲板,下槽牙都露了出来,像煤火一样放光。别的狗抓它、耍弄它、咬它,接二连三地给它来背口袋,可安得鲁·杰克逊——这是那条狗的名字——安得鲁·杰克逊老是装着没什么不自在的,好像它原本就没有别的盼头——押在另一边的赌注翻了倍再翻倍,一直到再没钱往上押了;这时候,它就一口咬住另一条狗的后腿,咬得死死的——不啃,你明白吗,光咬,叼着不动,直到那狗服软,哪怕等上一年也不要紧。斯迈雷老是靠这条狗赢钱,直到在一条没后腿的狗身上碰了钉子,因为那狗的后腿让锯片给锯掉了。那一次,两条狗斗了好一阵子,两边的钱都押完了,安得鲁·杰克逊上去照着咬惯了的地方下嘴的时候,当时就看出自个儿上当了,看出它怎么让别的狗给涮了。怎么说呢,他当时好像是吃了一惊,跟着就有点儿没精打采,再也没有试着把那一场赢下来;他让人骗惨了。它朝斯迈雷瞧了一眼,好像是说它伤透了心,这都是斯迈雷的错,怎么弄了一条没有后腿的狗来让它咬呢,它斗狗本来靠的就是咬后腿嘛;后来,他一瘸一拐地溜达到旁边,倒在地上就死了。那可是条好狗,那个安得鲁·杰克逊要是活着,准出了名了,胚子好,又聪明——我敢担保安得鲁·杰克逊有真本事;他什么场面没经过啊、一想起它最后斗的那一场,一想起它的下场来,我鼻子就发酸。
唉,这个斯迈雷呀,他还养过拿耗子的狗、小公鸡、公猫,都是这一类的玩艺儿,不论你拿什么去找他赌,他都能跟你兵对兵,将对将,让你赌个没完没了。有一天,他逮着一只蛤蟆带回家去,说是要好好训一训;足足有三个月,他什么事都不干,光呆在后院里头教那只蛤蟆蹦高。果不其然,他把蛤蟆训出来了。只要他从后头点蛤蟆一下,你就看吧,那蛤蟆像翻煎饼一样在空中打个转——兴许翻一个筋斗,要是起得好,也许能翻两个,然后稳稳当当地爪朝下落地,就像一只猎。他还训那蛤蟆逮苍蝇,勤学苦练,练得那蛤蟆不论苍蝇飞出去多远,只要瞧得见,回回都能逮得着。斯迈雷说蛤蟆特爱学习,学什么会什么——这话我信。嘿,我就瞧见过他把丹尼尔·韦伯斯特放在这儿的地板上——那蛤蟆叫丹尼尔·韦伯斯特——大喊一声:“苍蝇,丹尼尔,苍蝇!”快得让你来不及眨眼,蛤蟆就噌曾地照直跳起来,把那边柜台上的一只苍蝇吞下去了,然后像一摊泥“扑嗒”落在地上,拿后腿抓耳挠腮,没事人似的,好像觉得自个儿比别的蛤蟆也强不到哪儿去。别看它有能耐,你还真找不着比它更朴实,更爽快的蛤唤了。只要是从平地上规规矩矩地往上跳,它比你见过的所有蛤蟆都跳得高一个身子。从平地往上跳是它的拿手好戏,你明白吗?只要比这一项,斯迈雷就一路把注押上去。斯迈雷把他的蛤蟆看成宝贝;要说也是,那些见多识广的老江湖都说,从来也没见过这么棒的蛤蟆。
斯迈雷拿一个小笼子盛着那蛤蟆,时不时地带着它逛大街,设赌局。有一天,一个汉子——他是个外乡人——到屯子里来,正碰上斯迈雷提着蛤蟆笼子,就问:
“你那笼子里头装的是什么呀?”
斯迈雷冷着个脸说:“它也许该是个鹦鹉,也许呢,该是只雀儿;可它偏不是——它是一只蛤蟆。”
那汉子拿过笼子,转过来转过去,细细地瞅,说:“嗯——原来是个蛤蟆,它有什么特别的呀?”
“噢,”斯迈雷不紧不慢地说,“它就有一件看家的本事,要叫我说——它比这卡县地界里的哪一只蛤蟆蹦得都高。”
那汉子拿过笼子,又仔仔细细地看了好半天,才还给斯迈雷,慢慢吞吞地说,“是嘛,”他说,“我也没瞧出来这蛤蟆比别的蛤蟆能好到哪儿去。”
“你也许瞧不出来,”斯迈雷说,“对蛤蟆,你兴许是内行,也兴许是外行;兴许是个老把式,也兴许不是;这么说吧,兴许只会看个热闹。别管你怎么看,我心里有数,我赌四十块钱,敢说这蛤蟆比卡县随便哪一只蛤蟆都蹦得高。”
那汉子琢磨了一会儿,有点儿作难:“呃,这儿我人生地不熟的,也没带着蛤蟆;要是我有一只蛤蟆,准跟你赌。”
这时候斯迈雷说话了:“好办——好办——只要你替我把这笼子拿一小会儿,我就去给你逮一只来。”就这样,那汉子拿着笼子,把他的四十块钱和斯迈雷的四十块钱放在一起,坐下等着了。
这汉子坐在那儿想来想去,想了好一会儿,然后从笼子里头把蛤蟆拿出来,扒开它的嘴,自己掏出一把小勺来,给蛤蟆灌了一肚子火枪的铁砂子——一直灌到齐了蛤蟆的下巴颏——然后把蛤蟆放到地上。斯迈雷呢,他上洼地的烂泥里头稀里哗啦趟了一气,到底逮住个蛤蟆。他把蛤蟆抓回来,交给那汉子说:
“行了,你要是准备好了,就把它跟丹尼尔并排摆着,把他的前爪跟丹尼尔的放齐了,我喊个号。”然后他就喊:“一——二——三——蹦!”他和那汉子从后边点那两只蛤蟆,那只新来的蛤蟆蹦得特有劲,可是丹尼尔喘了一口粗气,光耸肩膀——就这样——像法国人似的。这哪管事儿啊;它动不了,跟生了根一样,连挪挪地方都办不到,就像抛了错。斯迈雷又纳闷,又上火;当然啦,说什么他也想不通这到底是怎么一档子事。
那汉子拿起钱就走;临出门了,他还拿大拇指在肩膀上头指指丹尼尔——就像这样——慢慢吞吞地说:“我也没瞧出来这蛤蟆比别的蛤蟆好到哪儿去嘛。”
斯迈雷呢,他站在那儿抓耳挠腮,低着头把丹尼尔端详了好一会儿,最后说:“真闹不明白这蛤蟆怎么栽了——闹不明白它犯了什么毛病——看起来,它肚子胀得不轻。”他揪着丹尼尔脖子上的皮,把蛤蟆掂起来,说:“它要没五磅重才怪呢!”蛤蟆头朝下,吣出满满两大把铁砂子来。这时候斯迈雷才明白过来,他气得发疯,放下蛤蟆就去追那汉子,可再也追不上了。
(这时候,西蒙·威勒听见前院有人喊他的名字,就站起来去看找他有什么事。)他一边往外走,一边扭头对我说:“就在这儿坐着,老客,歇会儿——我一转眼就回来。”
不过,对不住了您呐,我想,再往下听牛皮糖吉姆·斯迈雷的故事,也打听不到列昂尼达斯·W·斯迈雷神父消息呀,于是我拔腿就走。
在门口,我碰上了那个见面熟的威勒回来了,他拽着我又打开了话匣子:
“哎,这个斯迈雷有一头独眼龙母黄牛,尾巴没了,光剩个尾巴撅子,像一根香蕉,还有——”
可我既没功夫,也没这个嗜好;还没等他开讲那头惨兮兮的母牛,我就走了。

(4)

本文由 橙叶博客 作者:FrankGreg 发表,转载请注明来源!

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