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英语美文:三个核桃

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英语美文欣赏系列-三个核桃 

 Observe a child; any one will do. You will see that not a day passes in which he does not find something or other to make him happy, though he may be in tears the next moment. Then look at a man; any one of us will do. You will notice that weeks and months can pass in which every day is greeted with nothing more than resignation, and endured with polite indifference. Indeed, most men are as miserable as sinners, though they are too bored to sin? —— perhaps their sin is their indifference. But it is true that they so seldom smile that when they do we do not recognise their face, so distorted it is from the fixed mask we take for granted. And even then a man can not smile like a child, for a child smiles with his eyes, whereas a man smiles with his lips alone. It is not a smile, but a grin; something to do with humour, but little to do with happiness. And then, as anyone can see, there is a point (but who can define that point?) when a man becomes an old man, and then he will smile again.
  It would seem that happiness is something to do with simplicity, and that it is the ability to extract pleasure from the simplest things —— such as a peach stone, for instance.
  It is obvious that it is nothing to do with success. For Sir Henry Stewart was certainly successful. It is twenty years ago since he came down to our village from London, and bought a couple of old cottages, which he had knocked into one. He used his house as a weekend refuge. He was a barrister. And the village followed his brilliant career with something almost amounting to paternals pride.
  I remember some ten years ago when he was made a King's Counsel, Amos and I, seeing him get off the London train, went to congratulate him. We grinned with pleasure; he merely looked as miserable as though he'd received a penal sentence. It was the same when he was knighted; he never smiled a bit, he didn't even bother to celebrate with a round of drinks at the "Blue Fox". He took his success as a child does his medicine. And not one of his achievements brought even a ghost of a smile to his tired eyes.
  I asked him one day, soon after he'd retired to potter about his garden, what it was like to achieve all one's ambitions. He looked down at his roses and went on watering them. Then he said, "The only value in achieving one's ambition is that you then realise that they are not worth achieving." Quickly he moved the conversation on to a more practical level, and within a moment we were back to a safe discussion on the weather. That was two years ago.
  I recall this incident, for yesterday, I was passing his house, and had drawn up my cart just outside his garden wall. I had pulled in from the road for no other reason than to let a bus pass me. As 1 sat there filling my pipe. I suddenly heard a shout of sheer joy come from the other side of the wall.
  I peered over. There stood Sir Henry doing nothing less than a tribal war dance of sheer unashamed ecstasy. Even when he observed my bewildered face staring over the wall he did not seem put out or embarrassed, but shouted for me to climb over.
"Come and see, Jan. Look! I have done it at last! I have done it at last!"
  There he was, holding a small box of earth in his hand. I observed three tiny shoots out of it.
  "And there were only three!" he said, his eyes laughing to heaven.
  "Three what?" I asked.
  "Peach stones." he replied.
  "I've always wanted to make peach stones grow, ever since I was a child, when I used to take them home after a party, or as a man after a banquet. And I used to plant them, and then forgot where I planted them. But now at last I have done it, and, what's more, I had only three stones, and there you are, one, two, three shoots." he counted.
  And Sir Henry ran off, calling for his wife to come and see his achievemeat—— his achievement of simplicity.

观察任何一个孩子你都会发现,他每天都能找到一两件令自己开心的事,虽然他可能在下一秒就哭哭啼啼。再观察我们中的任何一个成人。你会发现,数星期或数月后,他总是无可奈何地面对每一天的到来,然后以漠然的礼貌方式来忍受。的确,很多人像罪人一样痛苦,虽然他们有太多烦恼,但总不至于去犯罪——或许罪过就在于他们的冷漠。但他们的确很少笑,以至于他们笑的时候,我们都认不出他们的面孔,因为我们已经习惯了那一成不变的严肃表情,这时候反倒觉得他们的脸都扭曲了,而且大人也不能像孩子那样笑,因为孩子笑的时候,眼里满含笑意,而大人们只用嘴唇微笑,这就不是笑了,而只是咧咧嘴;只是幽默,没有快乐。于是,每个人都会发现,当人们变老时(不过谁能说清楚到底是什么时候呢),他就又会笑了。
  快乐似乎就是简单地做事,是一种能从最简单的事物中——比如桃核——提炼出乐趣的能力。
  显然,快乐与成功无关。因为亨利·斯图尔特爵士的确已经很成功了。他是个高级律师。20年前,他从伦敦来到我们村,推倒了几栋买来的旧房子,然后建了所大房子,把它作为周末的休憩之所。他那辉煌的业绩,让全村人觉得,与这么一位了不起的人住一个村,这是几辈子修来的福分。
  我记得10年前,他被任命为国王的法律顾问,看到他走下从伦敦开来的火车,我和阿莫斯都跑过去祝贺他。我们高兴地笑着,他却看起来那么痛苦,像接到判刑通知似的。他被封为爵士时也是这样,没露出一丝笑容,甚至不屑于在“蓝狐狸”摆酒庆祝一番。他看待成功就像小孩子看待吃药一样。似乎任何成功都不能给他带来一丝快乐。
  他退休后不久,有一天,在花园里浇花时,我问他,一个人实现了所有的雄心壮志时是什么感觉。他俯下身看了看玫瑰花.继续给它们浇水。然后说:“实现雄心壮志的唯一价值,是你马上会意识到它们不值得你去实现。”很快,他把话题转到更实际的事情上,一会儿我们就又开始谈论稳妥的天气问题。那是两年前的事了。
  昨天,当我路过他家,在花园的墙外停下手推车时,又想起了这件事。我把车子拉到路边,以免堵住公共汽车。当我坐在车上装烟斗时,突然听到一个欣喜若狂的欢呼声从墙那边传来。
  我向里望去,亨利爵士正在狂蹦乱跳着,像是在跳部落出征舞。甚至当他看到我正迷惑地往里张望时,都没有停下来,也没露出任何尴尬的神情,只是叫我翻墙进去。
  “过来看看,简。看呐,我终于成功了!我终于成功了!”
  他手里拿着一小盒土,站在那里。我看到土里有三棵小芽。
  “只有三个!”他说着,眼睛笑开了花。
  “三个什么?”我问。
  “ 桃核。”他答道。
  “小时候,我就一直想种桃核,每次参加晚会后,我总把桃核带回家,长大后参加宴会后也这样。过去我常常把它们种下去,可过后就忘了种在哪里了。现在,我终于成功了。而且,我只有三颗桃核。你看,一、二、三,共三棵芽。”他数着。
  然后,亨利爵士跑开了,叫妻子来看他的杰作——他的纯朴之作。

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