刎颈之交 百科内容来自于: 百度百科

“刎颈”,割脖子。“交”,交情,友谊。比喻可以同生死、共患难的朋友。出自《史记·廉颇蔺相如列传》:“卒相与欢,为刎颈之交。”

成语信息

读音

wěn jǐng zhī jiāo

含义

比喻可以同生死、共患难的朋友。

用法

偏正式;作宾语;含褒义

近义词

患难之交良朋益友莫逆之交

反义词

历史典故

简介

战国时,赵国宦者令缨贤的门客蔺相如,受赵王派遣,带着稀世珍宝和氏璧出使秦国。他凭着智慧与勇气,完璧归赵,得到赵王的赏识,封为上大夫
负荆请罪

负荆请罪

后来,秦王又提出与赵王在渑池相会,想逼迫赵王屈服。蔺相如和廉颇将军力劝赵王出席,并设巧计,廉颇以勇猛善战给秦王以兵力上的压力,蔺相如凭三寸不烂之舌和对赵王的一片忠心使赵王免受屈辱,并安全回到赵国赵王为了表彰蔺相如,就封他为上卿,比廉颇将军的官位还高。
这下廉颇可不乐意了,他认为自己英勇善战,为赵国拼杀于前线,是第一大功臣,而蔺相如只凭一张嘴,居然官居自己之上。廉颇很不服气,就决心要好好羞辱他一番。
蔺相如听到这个消息,便处处回避与廉颇见面。到了上朝的日子,就称病不出。有一次,蔺相如有事出门遇到廉颇。廉颇就命令手下用各种办法堵住蔺相如的路,最后蔺相如只好命令回府。廉颇就更得意了,到处宣扬这件事。蔺相如的门客们听说了,纷纷提出要回家,蔺相如问为什么,他们说:“我们为您做事,是因为敬仰您是个真正崇高的君子,可现在您居然对狂妄的廉颇忍气吞声,我们可受不了” 蔺相如听了,哈哈一笑,问道:“你们说是秦王厉害还是廉颇将军厉害?我连秦王都不怕,又怎么怕廉颇呢?秦国现在不敢来侵犯,只是慑于我和廉将军一文一武保护着赵国,作为赵王的左膀右臂,我又怎能因私人的小小恩怨而不顾国家的江山社稷呢?”
廉颇听说后,非常惭愧,便袒胸露背背着荆条向蔺相如请罪。从此,他们便成了同生死共患难的好朋友,齐心为国效力。

原文

既罢归国,以相如功大,拜为上卿,位在廉颇之右。廉颇曰:“我为赵将,有攻城野战之大功,而蔺相如徒以口舌为劳,而位居我上,且相如素贱人,吾羞,不忍为之下。”宣言曰:“我见相如,必辱之。”相如闻,不肯与会。相如每朝时,常称病,不欲与廉颇争列。已而相如出,望见廉颇,相如引车避匿。于是舍人相与谏曰:“臣所以去亲戚而事君者,徒慕君之高义也。今君与廉颇同列,廉君宣恶言而君畏匿之,恐惧殊甚,且庸人尚羞之,况于将相乎!臣等不肖,请辞去。”蔺相如固止之,曰:“公之视廉将军孰与秦王?”曰:“不若也。”相如曰:“夫以秦王之威,而相如廷叱之,辱其群臣,相如虽驽,独畏廉将军哉?顾吾念之,强秦之所以不敢加兵于赵者,徒以吾两人在也。今两虎共斗,其势不俱生。吾所以为此者,以先国家之急而后私仇也。”廉颇闻之,肉袒负荆,因宾客至蔺相如门谢罪。曰:“鄙贱之人,不知将军宽之至此也。”卒相与欢,为刎颈之交。

翻译

廉颇说:“我身为赵国的大将,有攻城野战的大功;而蔺相如仅凭着口舌立了点功,位次却在我之上。况且相如本来是个微贱之人。我感到羞耻,不甘心位居他之下。”并公开扬言说:“我见了蔺相如,定要羞辱他。”相如听说了这话,不肯和他见面。相如每逢上朝时,常常推托有病,不愿跟廉颇争位次的先后,后来相如出门,望见廉颇,他就调转车绕道回避。
于是,相如的门客们都劝相如说:“我们之所以离开亲眷家人来侍奉您,只是仰慕您的高尚德行啊。现在您和廉颇职位相同,廉将军公然说一些无礼的话,您却害怕而躲避他,恐惧得太过分了。平常的人对此尚且会感到羞耻,何况身为将相的人呢!我们这些人没用,请让我们走吧!”蔺相如坚决挽留他们说:“诸位看廉将军的威风比秦王怎么样?”门客们回答说:“自然不如秦王。”相如说:“凭着秦王那样的威风,可是我蔺相如公开在朝廷上呵斥他,羞辱他的大臣们。我虽然无能,难道会单怕廉将军吗?但我想到,强暴的秦国之所以不敢对赵国施加武力,只因为有我们两个人在。假如两虎相斗,势必不能同存。我所以这样做,是因为把国家的急难放在前头而把个人的仇怨放在后头啊。”
后来廉颇听到这话,就光着膀子背上荆条,由门客引导着到相如府上赔罪,说:“我这粗野鄙贱的人,不知道将军您竟宽容我到了这种地步啊!”
两人终于彼此和好,成了同生共死的朋友。

外国小说

friends sworn to death <be David and Jonathan; Demon and Pythias friendship>
●O·Henry
Returning from a hunting trip, I waited at the little town of Los Pinos, in New Mexico, for the south-bound train, which was one hour late. I sat on the porch of the Summit House and discussed the functions of life with Telemachus Hicks, the hotel proprietor.
Perceiving that personalities were not out of order, I asked him what species of beast had long ago twisted and mutilated his left ear. Being a hunter, I was concerned in the evils that may befall one in the pursuit of game.
"That ear," says Hicks, "is the relic of true friendship."
"An accident?" I persisted.
"No friendship is an accident," said Telemachus; and I was silent.
"The only perfect case of true friendship I ever knew," went on my host, "was a cordial intent between a Connecticut man and a monkey. The monkey climbed palms in Barranquilla and threw down cocoanuts to the man. The man sawed them in two and made dippers, which he sold for two reales each and bought rum. The monkey drank the milk of the nuts. Through each being satisfied with his own share of the graft, they lived like brothers.
"But in the case of human beings, friendship is a transitory art, subject to discontinuance without further notice.
"I had a friend once, of the entitlement of Paisley Fish, that I imagined was sealed to me for an endless space of time. Side by side for seven years we had mined, ranched, sold patent churns, herded sheep, took photographs and other things, built wire fences, and picked prunes. Thinks I, neither homocide nor flattery nor riches nor sophistry nor drink can make trouble between me and Paisley Fish. We was friends an amount you could hardly guess at. We was friends in business, and we let our amicable qualities lap over and season our hours of recreation and folly. We certainly had days of Damon and nights of Pythias.
"One summer me and Paisley gallops down into these San Andres mountains for the purpose of a month's surcease and levity, dressed in the natural store habiliments of man. We hit this town of Los Pinos, which certainly was a roof-garden spot of the world, and flowing with condensed milk and honey. It had a street or two, and air, and hens, and a eating-house; and that was enough for us.
"We strikes the town after supper-time, and we concludes to sample whatever efficacy there is in this eating-house down by the railroad tracks. By the time we had set down and pried up our plates with a knife from the red oil-cloth, along intrudes Widow Jessup with the hot biscuit and the fried liver.
"Now, there was a woman that would have tempted an anchovy to forget his vows. She was not so small as she was large; and a kind of welcome air seemed to mitigate her vicinity. The pink of her face was the in hoc signo of a culinary temper and a warm disposition, and her smile would have brought out the dogwood blossoms in December.
"Widow Jessup talks to us a lot of garrulousness about the climate and history and Tennyson and prunes and the scarcity of mutton, and finally wants to know where we came from.
"'Spring Valley,' says I.
"'Big Spring Valley,' chips in Paisley, out of a lot of potatoes and knuckle-bone of ham in his mouth.
"That was the first sign I noticed that the old fidus Diogenes business between me and Paisley Fish was ended forever. He knew how I hated a talkative person, and yet he stampedes into the conversation with his amendments and addendums of syntax. On the map it was Big Spring Valley; but I had heard Paisley himself call it Spring Valley a thousand times.
"Without saying any more, we went out after supper and set on the railroad track. We had been pardners too long not to know what was going on in each other's mind.
"'I reckon you understand,' says Paisley, 'that I've made up my mind to accrue that widow woman as part and parcel in and to my hereditaments forever, both domestic, sociable, legal, and otherwise, until death us do part.'
"'Why, yes,' says I, 'I read it between the lines, though you only spoke one. And I suppose you are aware,' says I, 'that I have a movement on foot that leads up to the widow's changing her name to Hicks, and leaves you writing to the society column to inquire whether the best man wears a japonica or seamless socks at the wedding!'
"'There'll be some hiatuses in your program,' says Paisley, chewing up a piece of a railroad tie. 'I'd give in to you,' says he, 'in 'most any respect if it was secular affairs, but this is not so. The smiles of woman,' goes on Paisley, 'is the whirlpool of Squills and Chalybeates, into which vortex the good ship Friendship is often drawn and dismembered. I'd assault a bear that was annoying you,' says Paisley, 'or I'd endorse your note, or rub the place between your shoulder-blades with opodeldoc the same as ever; but there my sense of etiquette ceases. In this fracas with Mrs. Jessup we play it alone. I've notified you fair.'
"And then I collaborates with myself, and offers the following resolutions and by-laws:
"'Friendship between man and man,' says I, 'is an ancient historical virtue enacted in the days when men had to protect each other against lizards with eighty-foot tails and flying turtles. And they've kept up the habit to this day, and stand by each other till the bellboy comes up and tells them the animals are not really there. I've often heard,' I says, 'about ladies stepping in and breaking up a friendship between men. Why should that be? I'll tell you, Paisley, the first sight and hot biscuit of Mrs. Jessup appears to have inserted a oscillation into each of our bosoms. Let the best man of us have her. I'll play you a square game, and won't do any underhanded work. I'll do all of my courting of her in your presence, so you will have an equal opportunity. With that arrangement I don't see why our steamboat of friendship should fall overboard in the medicinal whirlpools you speak of, whichever of us wins out.'
"'Good old hoss!' says Paisley, shaking my hand. 'And I'll do the same,' says he. 'We'll court the lady synonymously, and without any of the prudery and bloodshed usual to such occasions. And we'll be friends still, win or lose.'
"At one side of Mrs. Jessup's eating-house was a bench under some trees where she used to sit in the breeze after the south-bound had been fed and gone. And there me and Paisley used to congregate after supper and make partial payments on our respects to the lady of our choice. And we was so honorable and circuitous in our calls that if one of us got there first we waited for the other before beginning any gallivantery.
"The first evening that Mrs. Jessup knew about our arrangement I got to the bench before Paisley did. Supper was just over, and Mrs. Jessup was out there with a fresh pink dress on, and almost cool enough to handle.
"I sat down by her and made a few specifications about the moral surface of nature as set forth by the landscape and the contiguous perspective. That evening was surely a case in point. The moon was attending to business in the section of sky where it belonged, and the trees was making shadows on the ground according to science and nature, and there was a kind of conspicuous hullabaloo going on in the bushes between the bullbats and the orioles and the jack-rabbits and other feathered insects of the forest. And the wind out of the mountains was singing like a Jew's-harp in the pile of old tomato-cans by the railroad track.
"I felt a kind of sensation in my left side--something like dough rising in a crock by the fire. Mrs. Jessup had moved up closer.
"'Oh, Mr. Hicks,' says she, 'when one is alone in the world, don't they feel it more aggravated on a beautiful night like this?'
"I rose up off the bench at once.
"'Excuse me, ma'am,' says I, 'but I'll have to wait till Paisley comes before I can give a audible hearing to leading questions like that.'
"And then I explained to her how we was friends cinctured by years of embarrassment and travel and complicity, and how we had agreed to take no advantage of each other in any of the more mushy walks of life, such as might be fomented by sentiment and proximity. Mrs. Jessup appears to think serious about the matter for a minute, and then she breaks into a species of laughter that makes the wildwood resound.
"In a few minutes Paisley drops around, with oil of bergamot on his hair, and sits on the other side of Mrs. Jessup, and inaugurates a sad tale of adventure in which him and Pieface Lumley has a skinning-match of dead cows in '95 for a silver-mounted saddle in the Santa Rita valley during the nine months' drought.
"Now, from the start of that courtship I had Paisley Fish hobbled and tied to a post. Each one of us had a different system of reaching out for the easy places in the female heart. Paisley's scheme was to petrify 'em with wonderful relations of events that he had either come across personally or in large print. I think he must have got his idea of subjugation from one of Shakespeare's shows I see once called 'Othello.' There is a coloured man in it who acquires a duke's daughter by disbursing to her a mixture of the talk turned out by Rider Haggard, Lew Dockstader, and Dr. Parkhurst. But that style of courting don't work well off the stage.
"Now, I give you my own recipe for inveigling a woman into that state of affairs when she can be referred to as 'nee Jones.' Learn how to pick up her hand and hold it, and she's yours. It ain't so easy. Some men grab at it so much like they was going to set a dislocation of the shoulder that you can smell the arnica and hear 'em tearing off bandages. Some take it up like a hot horseshoe, and hold it off at arm's length like a druggist pouring tincture of asafoetida in a bottle. And most of 'em catch hold of it and drag it right out before the lady's eyes like a boy finding a baseball in the grass, without giving her a chance to forget that the hand is growing on the end of her arm. Them ways are all wrong.
"I'll tell you the right way. Did you ever see a man sneak out in the back yard and pick up a rock to throw at a tomcat that was sitting on a fence looking at him? He pretends he hasn't got a thing in his hand, and that the cat don't see him, and that he don't see the cat. That's the idea. Never drag her hand out where she'll have to take notice of it. Don't let her know that you think she knows you have the least idea she is aware you are holding her hand. That was my rule of tactics; and as far as Paisley's serenade about hostilities and misadventure went, he might as well have been reading to her a time- table of the Sunday trains that stop at Ocean Grove, New Jersey.
"One night when I beat Paisley to the bench by one pipeful, my friendship gets subsidised for a minute, and I asks Mrs. Jessup if she didn't think a 'H' was easier to write than a 'J.' In a second her head was mashing the oleander flower in my button-hole, and I leaned over and--but I didn't.
"'If you don't mind,' says I, standing up, 'we'll wait for Paisley to come before finishing this. I've never done anything dishonourable yet to our friendship, and this won't be quite fair.'
"'Mr. Hicks,' says Mrs. Jessup, looking at me peculiar in the dark, 'if it wasn't for but one thing, I'd ask you to hike yourself down the gulch and never disresume your visits to my house.'
"'And what is that, ma'am?' I asks.
"'You are too good a friend not to make a good husband,' says she.
"In five minutes Paisley was on his side of Mrs. Jessup.
"'In Silver City, in the summer of '98,' he begins, 'I see Jim Batholomew chew off a Chinaman's ear in the Blue Light Saloon on account of a crossbarred muslin shirt that--what was that noise?'
"I had resumed matters again with Mrs. Jessup right where we had left off.
"'Mrs. Jessup,' says I, 'has promised to make it Hicks. And this is another of the same sort.'
"Paisley winds his feet round a leg of the bench and kind of groans.
"'Lem,' says he, 'we been friends for seven years. Would you mind not kissing Mrs. Jessup quite so loud? I'd do the same for you.'
"'All right,' says I. 'The other kind will do as well.'
"'This Chinaman,' goes on Paisley, 'was the one that shot a man named Mullins in the spring of '97, and that was--'
"Paisley interrupted himself again.
"'Lem,' says he, 'if you was a true friend you wouldn't hug Mrs. Jessup quite so hard. I felt the bench shake all over just then. You know you told me you would give me an even chance as long as there was any.'
"'Mr. Man,' says Mrs. Jessup, turning around to Paisley, 'if you was to drop in to the celebration of mine and Mr. Hicks's silver wedding, twenty-five years from now, do you think you could get it into that Hubbard squash you call your head that you are nix cum rous in this business? I've put up with you a long time because you was Mr. Hicks's friend; but it seems to me it's time for you to wear the willow and trot off down the hill.'
"'Mrs. Jessup,' says I, without losing my grasp on the situation as fiance, 'Mr. Paisley is my friend, and I offered him a square deal and a equal opportunity as long as there was a chance.'
"'A chance!' says she. 'Well, he may think he has a chance; but I hope he won't think he's got a cinch, after what he's been next to all the evening.'
"Well, a month afterwards me and Mrs. Jessup was married in the Los Pinos Methodist Church; and the whole town closed up to see the performance.
"When we lined up in front and the preacher was beginning to sing out his rituals and observances, I looks around and misses Paisley. I calls time on the preacher. 'Paisley ain't here,' says I. 'We've got to wait for Paisley. A friend once, a friend always--that's Telemachus Hicks,' says I. Mrs. Jessup's eyes snapped some; but the preacher holds up the incantations according to instructions.
"In a few minutes Paisley gallops up the aisle, putting on a cuff as he comes. He explains that the only dry-goods store in town was closed for the wedding, and he couldn't get the kind of a boiled shirt that his taste called for until he had broke open the back window of the store and helped himself. Then he ranges up on the other side of the bride, and the wedding goes on. I always imagined that Paisley calculated as a last chance that the preacher might marry him to the widow by mistake.
"After the proceedings was over we had tea and jerked antelope and canned apricots, and then the populace hiked itself away. Last of all Paisley shook me by the hand and told me I'd acted square and on the level with him and he was proud to call me a friend.
"The preacher had a small house on the side of the street that he'd fixed up to rent; and he allowed me and Mrs. Hicks to occupy it till the ten-forty train the next morning, when we was going on a bridal tour to El Paso. His wife had decorated it all up with hollyhocks and poison ivy, and it looked real festal and bowery.
"About ten o'clock that night I sets down in the front door and pulls off my boots a while in the cool breeze, while Mrs. Hicks was fixing around in the room. Right soon the light went out inside; and I sat there a while reverberating over old times and scenes. And then I heard Mrs. Hicks call out, 'Ain't you coming in soon, Lem?'
"'Well, well!' says I, kind of rousing up. 'Durn me if I wasn't waiting for old Paisley to--'
"But when I got that far," concluded Telemachus Hicks, "I thought somebody had shot this left ear of mine off with a forty-five. But it turned out to be only a lick from a broomhandle in the hands of Mrs. Hicks."
●欧亨利
我狩猎归来,在新墨西哥州的洛斯比尼奥斯小镇等候南下的火车。火车误点,迟了一小时。我便坐在“顶点”客栈的阳台上,同客栈老板泰勒马格斯·希克斯闲聊,议论生活的意义。
我发现他的性情并不乖戾,不像是爱打架斗殴的人,便问他是哪种野兽伤残了他的左耳。程序逻辑猎人,我认为狩猎时很容易遭到这类不幸的事件。
“那只耳朵,”希克斯说,“是真挚友情的纪念。”
“一件意外吗?”我追问道。
“友情怎么能说是意外呢?”泰勒马格斯反问道,这下子可把我问住了。
“我所知道的仅有的一对亲密无间,真心实意的朋友,”客栈老板接着说,“要算是一个康涅狄格州人和一只猴子了。猴子在巴兰基利亚爬椰子树,把椰子摘下来扔给那个人。那个人把椰子锯成两片,做成水勺,每只卖两个雷阿尔,换了钱来沽酒。椰子汁归猴子喝。他们两个坐地分赃,各得其所,像兄弟一般,生活得非常和睦。
[巴兰基利亚:哥伦比亚北部马格达莱纳河口的港市。]
[雷阿尔:旧时西班牙和拉丁美洲某些国家用的辅币,有银质的,也有镍质的。]
“换了人类,情况就不同了;友情变幻无常,随时可以宣告失效,不现另行通知。
“以前我有个朋友,名叫佩斯利·菲什,我认为我同他的交情是地久天长,牢不可破的。有七年了,我们一起挖矿,办牧场,兜销专利的搅乳器,放羊,摄影,打桩拉铁丝网,摘水果当临时工,碰到什么就干什么。我想,我同佩斯利两人的感情是什么都离间不了的,不管它是凶杀,谄谀,财富,诡辩或者老酒。我们交情这深简直使你难以想象。干事业的时候,我们是朋友;休息娱乐的时候,我们也让这种和睦相好的特色持续下去,给我们的生活增添了不少乐趣。不论白天黑夜,我们都难舍难分,好比达蒙和派西斯。
[达蒙和派西斯:公元前四世纪锡拉丘兹的两个朋友。派西斯被暴君狄奥尼西斯判处死刑,要求回家料理后事,由达蒙代受监禁。执行死刑之日,派西斯及时赶回,狄奥尼西斯为他们崇高的友谊所感动,便赦免了他们。]
“有一年夏天,我和佩斯利两人打扮得整整齐齐,骑马来到这圣安德烈斯山区,打算休养一个月,消遣消遣。我们到了这个洛斯比尼奥斯小镇,这里简直算得上是世界的屋顶花园,是流炼乳和蜂蜜之地。这里空气新鲜,有一两条街道,有鸡可吃,有客栈可住;我们需要的也就是这些东西。
[流炼乳和蜂蜜之地:《旧约》记载:上帝遣摩西率以色列人出埃及,前往丰饶的迦南,即流奶与蜜之地。]
“我们进镇时,天色已晚,便决定在铁路旁边的这家客栈里歇歇脚,尝尝它所能供应的任何东西。我们刚坐定,用刀把粘在红油布上的盘子撬起来,寡妇杰塞普就端着刚出炉的热面包和炸肝进来了。
“哎呀,这个女人叫鲣鱼看了都会动心。她长得不肥不瘦,不高不矮;一副和蔼的样子,使人觉得分外可亲。红润的脸颊是她喜爱烹调和为人热情的标志,她的微笑叫山茱萸在寒冬腊月都会开花。
“寡妇杰塞普谈风很健地同我们扯了起来,聊着天气,历史,丁尼生,梅干,以及不容易买到羊肉等等,最后才问我们是从哪儿来的。
[丁尼生(1809--1892):英国桂冠诗人。]
“‘春谷。’我回答说。
“‘大春谷。’佩斯利嘴里塞满了土豆和火腿骨头,突然插进来说。
“我注意到,这件事的发生标志着我同佩斯利·菲什的忠诚友谊的结束。他明知我最恨多嘴的人,可还是冒冒失失地插了嘴,替我作了一些措辞上的修正和补充。地图上的名称固然是大春谷;然而佩斯利自己也管它叫春谷,我听了不下一千遍。
“我们也不多话,吃了晚饭便走出客栈,在铁轨上坐定。我们合伙的时间太长了,不可能不了解彼此的心情。
“‘我想你总该明白,’佩斯利说,‘我已经打定主意,要让那位寡妇太太永远成为我的不动产的主要部分,在家庭、社会、法律等等方面都是如此,到死为止。’
“‘当然啦,’我说,‘你虽然只说了一句话,我已经听到了弦外之音。不过我想你也该明白,’我说,‘我准备采取步骤,让那位寡妇改姓希克斯,我劝你还是等着写信给报纸的社会新闻栏,问问举行婚礼时,男傧相是不是在钮扣孔里插了山茶花,穿了无缝丝袜!’
“‘你的如意算盘打错了。’佩斯利嚼着一片铁路枕木屑说。‘遇到世俗的事情,’他说,‘我几乎任什么都可以让步,这件事可不行。女人的笑靥,’佩斯利继续说,‘是海葱和含铁矿泉的漩涡,友谊之船虽然结实,碰上它也往往要撞碎沉没。我像以前一样,’佩斯利说,‘愿意同一头招惹你的狗熊拼命,替你的借据担保,用肥皂樟脑搽剂替你擦脊梁;但是在这件事情上,我可不能讲客气。在同杰塞普太太打交道这件事上,我们只能各干各的了。我丑话说在前头,先跟你讲清楚。’
[“是海葱和含铁矿泉的漩涡”:原文是“the whirlpool of Squills and Chalybeates”。英文成语有“between Scylla and Charybdis”,意为危险之地。“Scylla”是意大利墨西那海峡的岩礁,读音与海葱的拉丁名“Scilla”相近;“Charybdis”是它对面的大漩涡,读音与含水量铁矿泉“Chalybeate”相近,作者故意混淆了这两个字。]
“于是,我暗自寻思一番,提出了下面的结论和附则:
“‘男人与男人的友谊,’我说,‘是一种古老的,具有历史意义的美德。当男人们互相保护,共同对抗尾巴有八十英尺长的蜥蜴和会飞的海鳖时,这种美德就已经制定了。他们把这种习惯一直保留到今天,一直在互相支持,直到旅馆侍者跑来告诉他们说,这种动物实际上不存在。我常听人说,’我说,‘女人牵涉进来之后,男人之间的交情就破裂了。为什么要这样呢?我告诉你吧,佩斯利,杰塞普太太的出现和她的热面包,仿佛使我们两人的心都怦然跳动了。让我们中间更棒的一个赢得她吧。我要跟你公平交易,决不搞不光明正大的小动作。我追求她的时候,一举一动都要当着你的面,那你的机会也就均等了。这样安排,无论哪一个得手,我想我们的友谊大轮船决不至于翻在你所说的药水气味十足的漩涡里了。’
“‘这才够朋友!’佩斯利握握我的手说。‘我一定照样办事。’他说。‘我们齐头并进,同时追求那位太太,不让通常那种虚假和流血的事情发生,无论成败,我们仍是朋友。’
“杰塞普太太客栈旁的几侏树下有一条长凳,等南行火车上的乘客打过尖,离开之后,她就坐在那里乘凉。晚饭后,我和佩斯利在那里集合,分头向我们的意中人献殷勤。我们追求的方式很光明正大,瞻前顾后,如果一个先到,非得等另一个也来了之后才开始调情。
“杰塞普太太知道我们的安排后的第一晚,我比佩斯利先到了长凳那儿晚饭刚开过,杰塞普太太换了一套干净的粉红色的衣服在那儿乘凉,并且凉得几乎可以对付了。
“我在她身边坐下,稍稍发表了一些意见,谈到自然界通过近景和远景所表现出来的精神面貌。那晚确实是一个典型的环境。月亮升到空中应有的地方来应景凑趣,树木根据科学原理和自然规律把影子洒在地上,灌木丛中的蚊母鸟、金莺、长耳兔和别的有羽毛的昆虫此起彼伏地发出一片喧嘈声。山间吹业的微风,掠过铁轨旁边一堆旧蕃茄酱罐头,发出了小口琴似的声音。
“我觉得左边有什么东西在蠢蠢欲动——正如火炉旁边瓦罐里的面团在发酵。原来是杰塞普太太挨近了一些。
“‘哦,希克斯先生,’她说,‘一个举目无亲、孤独寂寞的人,在这样一个美丽的夜晚,是不是更会感情以凄凉?’
“我赶紧从长凳上站起来。
“‘对不起,夫人,’我说,‘对于这样一个富于诱导性的问题,我得等佩斯利来了以后,才能公开答复。’
“接着,我向她解释,我和佩斯利·菲什是老朋友,多年的甘苦与共、浪迹江湖和同谋关系,已经使我们的友谊牢不可破;如今我们正处在生活的缠绵阶段,我们商妥决不乘一时感情冲动和近水楼台的机会互相钻空子。杰塞普太太仿佛郑重其事地把这件事考虑了一会儿,忽然哈哈大笑,周围的林子都响起了回声。
“没几分钟,佩斯利也来了,他头上抹了香柠檬油,在杰塞普太太的另一边坐下,开始讲一段悲惨的冒险事迹:一八九五年圣丽塔山谷连旱了九个月,牛群一批批地死去,他同扁脸拉姆利比赛剥牛皮,赌一只镶银的马鞍。
“那场追求一开头,我就比垮了佩斯利·菲什,弄得他束手无策。我们两人各有一套打动女人内心弱点的办法。佩斯利的办法是讲一些他亲身体验的,或是从通俗书刊里看来的惊险事迹,吓唬女人。我猜想,他准是从莎士比亚的一出戏里学到那种慑服女人的主意的。那出戏叫‘奥赛罗’,我以前也看过,里面是说一个黑人,把赖德·哈格德、卢·多克斯塔德和帕克赫斯特博士三个人的话语混杂起来,讲给一位公爵的女儿听,把她弄到了手。可是那种求爱方式下了舞台就不中用了。
[赖德·哈格德(1856--1925):英国小说家,作品多以南非蛮荒为背景;帕克赫斯特博士(1842--1933):美国长老会牧师,攻击纽约腐败的市政甚力,促使市长改选。]
“现在,我告诉你,我自己是怎样迷住一个女人,使她落到改姓的地步的。你只要懂得怎么抓起她的手,把它握住,她就成了你的人。讲讲固然容易,做起来并不简单。有的男人使劲拉住女人的手,仿佛要把脱臼的肩胛骨复位一样,简直叫你可以闻到山金车酊剂的气味,听到撕绷带的声音了。有的男人像拿一块烧烫的马蹄铁那样握着女人的手,又像药剂师把阿魏酊往瓶里灌时那样,伸直手臂,隔得远远的。大多数男人握到了女人的手,便把它拉到她眼皮下面,像小孩在草里寻找棒球似的,不让她忘掉她的手长在胳臂上。这种种方式都是错误的。
“我把正确的方式告诉你吧。你可曾见过一个人偷偷地溜进后院,捡起一块石头,想扔一只蹲在篱笆上盯着他直瞧的公猫?他假装手里没有东西,假装猫没有看见他,他也没有看见猫。就是那么一回事。千万别把她的手拉到她自己注意得到的地方。你虽然清楚她知道你握着她的手,可是你得装出没事的样子,别露痕迹。那就是我的策略。至于佩斯利用战争和灾祸的故事来博得她的欢心,正像把星期日的火车时刻表念给她听一样。那天的火车连新泽西州欧欣格罗夫之类的小地方也要停站的。
[欧欣格罗夫:新泽西州的滨海小镇,当时人口只有三千左右。]
“有一晚,我先到长凳那儿,比佩斯利早了一袋烟的工夫。我的友谊出了一会儿毛病,我竟然问杰塞普太太是不是认为‘希’字要比‘杰’字好写一点。她的头立刻压坏了我钮扣孔里的夹竹桃,我也凑了过去——可是我没有干。
“‘假如你不在意的话,’我站起来说,‘我们等佩斯利来了之后再完成这件事吧。到目前为止,我还没有干过对不起我们朋友交情的事,这样不很光明。’
“‘希克斯先生,’杰塞普太太说,她在黑暗里瞅着我,神情有点异样,‘如果不是另有原因的话,我早就请你走下山谷,永远别来见我啦。’
“‘请问是什么原因呢,夫人?’我问道。
“‘你既然是这样忠诚的朋友,当然也能成为忠诚的丈夫,’她说。
“五分钟之后,佩斯利也坐在杰塞普太太身边了。
“‘一八九八年夏天,’他开始说,‘我在锡尔弗城见到吉姆·巴塞洛缪在蓝光沙龙里咬掉了一个中国人的耳朵,起因只是一件横条花纹的平布衬衫——那是什么声音呀?’
“我跟杰塞普太太重新做起了刚才中断的事。
“‘杰塞普太太已经答应改姓希克斯了。’我说。‘这只不过是再证实一下而已。’
“佩斯利把他的两条腿盘在长凳脚上,呻吟起来。
“‘勒姆,’他说,‘我们已经交了七年朋友。你能不能别跟杰塞普太太吻得这么响?以后我也保证不这么响。’
“‘好吧,’我说,‘轻一点也可以。’
“‘这个中国人,’佩斯利继续说,‘在一八九七年春天枪杀了一个名叫马林的人,那是——’
“佩斯利又打断了他自己的故事。
“‘勒姆,’他说,‘假如你真是个仗义的朋友,你就不该把杰塞普太太搂得那么紧。刚才我觉得整个长凳都在晃。你明白,你对我说过,只要还有机会,你总是同我平分秋色的。’
“‘你这个家伙,’杰塞普太太转身向佩斯利说,‘再过二十五年,假如你来参加我和希克斯先生的银婚纪念,你那个南瓜脑袋还认为你在这件事上有希望吗?只因为你是希克斯先生的朋友,我才忍了好久;不过我认为现在你该死了这条心,下山去啦。’
“‘杰塞普太太,’我说,不过我并没有丧失未婚夫的立场,‘佩斯利先生是我的朋友,只要有机会,我总是同他公平交易,利益均等的。’
“‘机会!’她说。‘好吧,让他自以为还有机会吧;今晚他在旁边看到了这一切,我希望他别自以为很有把握。’
“一个月之后,我和杰塞普太太在洛斯比尼奥的卫理公会教堂结婚了;全镇的人都跑来看结婚仪式。
“当我们并排站在最前面,牧师开始替我们主持婚礼的时候,我四下里扫了一眼,没找到佩斯利。我请牧师等一会儿。‘佩斯利尖这儿。’我说。‘我们非等佩斯得河。交朋友要交到老——泰勒马格斯·希克斯就是这种人。’我说。杰塞普太太的眼睛里有点冒火;但是牧师根据我的吩咐,没立即育读经文。
“过了几分钟,佩斯利飞快地跑进过道,一边跑,一边还在安上一只硬袖口。他说镇上唯一的卖服装的铺关了门来看婚礼,他搞不到他所喜欢的上过浆的衬衫,只得撬开铺子的后窗,自己取了一件。接着,他站到新娘的那一边去,婚礼在继续进行。我一直在琢磨,佩斯利还在等最后一个机会,盼望牧师万一搞错,替他同寡妇成亲呢。
“婚礼结束后,我们吃了茶、羚羊肉干和罐头杏子,镇上的居民便纷纷散去。最后同我握手的是佩斯利,他说我为人光明磊落,同我交朋友脸上有光。
“牧师在街边有一幢专门出租的小房子;他让我和希克斯太太占用到第二天早晨十点四十分,那时候,我们就乘火车去埃尔帕索度蜜月旅行。牧师太太用蜀葵和毒藤把那幢房子打扮起来,看上去喜气洋洋的,并且有凉亭的风味。
“那晚十点钟左右,我在门口坐下,脱掉靴子凉快凉快,希克斯太太在屋里张罗。没有多久,里面的灯熄了;我还坐在那儿,回想以前的时光和情景。我听到希克斯太太招呼说:‘你就进来吗,勒姆?’
“‘哎,哎!’我仿佛惊醒似地说。‘我刚才在等老佩斯利——’
“可是这句话还没说完,”泰勒马格斯·希克斯结束他的故事说,“我觉得仿佛有人用四五口径的手枪把我这只左耳朵打掉了。后来我才知道,那只是希克斯太太用扫帚把揍了一下。”
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