陪理珀讀幾篇小文章,其中一

篇摘錄自蕭伯納(George Bernard

Shaw, 1856-1950)的劇本 The Man

of Destiny。蕭伯納文筆之辛辣不待

贅言,他借劇中拿破崙(Napoleon)

之口,犀利挖苦英國人一番。



 There is nothing so bad or so good

 that you will not find Englishmen

 doing it; but you will never find an

 Englishman in the wrong. He does

 everything on principle. He fights

 you on patriotic principles; he robs

 you on business principles; he

 enslaves you on imperial principles;

 he bullies you on manly principles;

 he supports his king on loyal

 principles and cuts off his king's

 head on republican principles. His

 watchword is always Duty; and

 he never forgets that the nation

 which lets its duty get on the

 opposite side to its interest is lost.



  「你會發現,英國人做事嘛,

要不壞極,要不好極;可你就是挑

不出他們理虧。」幹啥事都幹絕的

民族,豈容小覷?蕭伯納其實不無

自得之意。無論開戰、劫掠、搞奴

隸、捧王室、砍國王頭,全振振有

詞,「師出有名」,甚至「強凌弱

大欺小」(bully)也是「基於男子

漢原則」(on manly principles)。

証諸今日大西洋兩岸盎格魯-薩克

森(Anglo-Saxons)後代的種種作

為,絲毫不讓先祖專美於前。

  與理珀讀完之後,相顧大笑。

他在莫斯科待了一年,主修俄國史

,對西方歷史頗能心領神會。閒談

中,聊及英文命名一事。國人為著

與英美人士打交道、或旅行方便,

通常會取個英文名字聊備一格。可

也有人完全不理會這套,老子行不

改姓、坐不更名,叫俺叫到底了!

理珀的一位老師正是箇中人物。略

加轉述如下。

  有個老美問〔理珀的〕老師:

「你就叫這名兒?沒有英文名?」

  老師答說:「沒有。」

  老美納悶了,追問:「怎會沒

有呢?你取個英文名字罷。」

  老師說:「好。我是 Attila。」

  老美登時傻眼,繼而傻笑。(注)

  聽此妙答,滿肚笑氣噴射而出。

不愧是搞歷史的!

  不禁想起,某位摯友也幹過類

似的事兒。一天,他上某國使館辦

事,使館人員明明認識他,偏故意

喬模喬樣問:「你叫甚麼名兒?」

  他面色不改,泰然答道:「我

叫毛澤東。」




【注】


Attila the Hun(約 406-453),

「威」名昭彰的匈奴王,外號「上

帝之鞭」(the Scourge of God)。

公元五世紀時,多次率領大軍侵略

羅馬帝國,當時西方人聞風喪膽,

遠比成吉思汗(1167?-1227)更

早揚威歐亞大陸。



【參考資料】


  The Man of Destiny

 (節錄上文引文出處)


Napoleon: No, because the English

are a race apart. No Englishman is

too low to have scruples: no

Englishman is high enough to be

free from their tyranny. But every

Englishman is born with a certain

miraculous power that makes him

master of the world. When he wants

a thing, he never tells himself that

he wants it. He waits patiently until

there comes into his mind, no one

knows how, a burning conviction

that it is his moral and religious

duty to conquer those who have

got the thing he wants. Then he

becomes irresistible. Like the

aristocrat, he does what pleases

him and grabs what he wants: like

the shopkeeper, he pursues his

purpose with the industry and

steadfastness that come from

strong religious conviction and

deep sense of moral responsibility.

He is never at a loss for an

effective moral attitude. As the

great champion of freedom and

national independence, he conquers

and annexes half the world, and calls

it Colonization. When he wants a

new market for his adulterated

Manchester goods, he sends a

missionary to teach the natives

the gospel of peace. The natives

kill the missionary: he flies to arms

in defence of Christianity; fights for

it; conquers for it; and takes the

market as a reward from heaven.

In defence of his island shores, he

puts a chaplain on board his ship;

nails a flag with a cross on it to

his top-gallant mast; and sails to

the ends of the earth, sinking,

burning and destroying all who

dispute the empire of the seas

with him. He boasts that a slave

is free the moment his foot touches

British soil; and he sells the children

of his poor at six years of age to

work under the lash in his factories

for sixteen hours a day. He makes

two revolutions, and then declares

war on our one in the name of law

and order. There is nothing so bad

or so good that you will not find

Englishmen doing it; but you will

never find an Englishman in the

wrong. He does everything on

principle. He fights you on patriotic

principles; he robs you on business

principles; he enslaves you on

imperial principles; he bullies you

on manly principles; he supports

his king on loyal principles, and

cuts off his king's head on republican

principles. His watchword is always

duty; and he never forgets that the

nation which lets its duty get on the

opposite side to its interest is lost.



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