酷兔英语



TARTARIN OF TARASCON

By Alphonse Daudet

EPISODE THE FIRST, IN TARASCON

I. The Garden Round the Giant Trees.

MY first visit to Tartarin of Tarascon has remained a

never-to-be-forgotten date in my life; although quite ten or a dozen

years ago, I remember it better than yesterday.

At that time the intrepid Tartarin lived in the third house on the left

as the town begins, on the Avignon road. A pretty little villa in

the local style, with a front garden and a balcony behind, the walls

glaringly white and the venetians very green; and always about the

doorsteps a brood of little Savoyard shoe-blackguards playing hopscotch,

or dozing in the broad sunshine with their heads pillowed on their

boxes.

Outwardly the dwelling had no remarkable features, and none would ever

believe it the abode of a hero; but when you stepped inside, ye gods and

little fishes! what a change! From turret to foundation-stone--I mean,

from cellar to garret,--the whole building wore a heroic front; even so

the garden!

O that garden of Tartarin's! there's not its match in Europe! Not a

native tree was there--not one flower of France; nothing hut exotic

plants, gum-trees, gourds, cotton-woods, cocoa and cacao, mangoes,

bananas, palms, a baobab, nopals, cacti, Barbary figs--well, you would

believe yourself in the very midst of Central Africa, ten thousand

leagues away. It is but fair to say that these were none of full growth;

indeed, the cocoa-palms were no bigger than beet root and the baobab

(arbos gigantea--"giant tree," you know) was easily enough circumscribed

by a window-pot; but, notwithstanding this, it was rather a sensation

for Tarascon, and the townsfolk who were admitted on Sundays to the

honour of contemplating Tartarin's baobab, went home chokeful of

admiration.

Try to conceive my own emotion, which I was bound to feel on that day of

days when I crossed through this marvellous garden, and that was capped

when I was ushered into the hero's sanctum.

His study, one of the lions--I should say, lions' dens--of the town, was

at the end of the garden, its glass door opening right on to the baobab.

You are to picture a capaciousapartment adorned with firearms and steel

blades from top to bottom: all the weapons of all the countries in the

wide world--carbines, rifles, blunderbusses, Corsican, Catalan, and

dagger knives, Malay kreeses, revolvers with spring-bayonets, Carib and

flint arrows, knuckle-dusters, life-preservers, Hottentot clubs, Mexican

lassoes--now, can you expect me to name the rest? Upon the whole fell a

fierce sunlight, which made the blades and the brass butt-plate of the

muskets gleam as if all the more to set your flesh creeping. Still,

the beholder was soothed a little by the tame air of order and tidiness

reigning over the arsenal. Everything was in place, brushed, dusted,

labelled, as in a museum; from point to point the eye descried some

obliging little card reading:

-----------------------------------------

I Poisoned Arrows! I

I Do Not Touch! I

-----------------------------------------

Or,

-----------------------------------------

I Loaded! I

I Take care, please! I

-----------------------------------------

If it had not been for these cautions I never should have dared venture

in.

In the middle of the room was an occasional table, on which stood

a decanter of rum, a siphon of soda-water, a Turkish tobacco-pouch,

"Captain Cook's Voyages," the Indian tales of Fenimore Cooper and

Gustave Aimard, stories of hunting the bear, eagle, elephant, and so

on. Lastly, beside the table sat a man of between forty and forty-five,

short, stout, thick-set, ruddy, with flaming eyes and a strong stubbly

beard; he wore flannel tights, and was in his shirt sleeves; one hand

held a book, and the other brandished a very large pipe with an iron

bowl-cap. Whilst reading heaven only knows what startling adventure of

scalp-hunters, he pouted out his lower lip in a terrifying way, which

gave the honest phiz of the man living placidly on his means the same

impression of kindly ferocity which abounded throughout the house.

This man was Tartarin himself--the Tartarin of Tarascon, the great,

dreadnought, incomparable Tartarin of Tarascon.

II. A general glance bestowed upon the good town of Tarascon, and a

particular one on "the cap-poppers."

AT the time I am telling of, Tartarin of Tarascon had not become the

present-day Tartarin, the great one so popular in the whole South of

France: but yet he was even then the cock of the walk at Tarascon.

Let us show whence arose this sovereignty.

In the first place you must know that everybody is shooting mad in these

parts, from the greatest to the least. The chase is the local craze, and

so it has ever been since the mythological times when the Tarasque, as

the county dragon was called, flourished himself and his tail in the

town marshes, and entertained shooting parties got up against him. So

you see the passion has lasted a goodish bit.

It follows that, every Sunday morning, Tarascon flies to arms, lets

loose the dogs of the hunt, and rushes out of its walls, with game-bag

slung and fowling-piece on the shoulder, together with a hurly-burly of

hounds, cracking of whips, and blowing of whistles and hunting-horns.

It's splendid to see! Unfortunately, there's a lack of game, an absolute

dearth.

Stupid as the brute creation is, you can readily understand that, in

time, it learnt some distrust.

For five leagues around about Tarascon, forms, lairs, and burrows are

empty, and nesting-places abandoned. You'll not find a single quail or

blackbird, one little leveret, or the tiniest tit. And yet the pretty

hillocks are mightily tempting, sweet smelling as they are of myrtle,

lavender, and rosemary; and the fine muscatels plumped out with

sweetness even unto bursting, as they spread along the banks of the

Rhone, are deucedly tempting too. True, true; but Tarascon lies behind

all this, and Tarascon is down in the black books of the world of fur

and feather. The very birds of passage have ticked it off on their

guide-books, and when the wild ducks, coming down towards the Camargue

in long triangles, spy the town steeples from afar, the outermost flyers

squawk out loudly:

"Look out! there's Tarascon! give Tarascon the go-by, duckies!"

And the flocks take a swerve.

In short, as far as game goes, there's not a specimen left in the land

save one old rogue of a hare, escaped by miracle from the massacres, who

is stubbornly determined to stick to it all his life! He is very well

known at Tarascon, and a name has been given him. "Rapid" is what

they call him. It is known that he has his form on M. Bompard's

grounds--which, by the way, has doubled, ay, tripled, the value of the

property--but nobody has yet managed to lay him low. At present, only

two or three inveterate fellows worry themselves about him. The rest

have given him up as a bad job, and old Rapid has long ago passed

into the legendary world, although your Tarasconer is very slightly

superstitious naturally, and would eat cock-robins on toast, or the

swallow, which is Our Lady's own bird, for that matter, if he could find

any.

"But that won't do!" you will say. Inasmuch as game is so scarce, what

can the sportsmen do every Sunday?

What can they do?

Why, goodness gracious! they go out into the real country two or

three leagues from town. They gather in knots of five or six, recline

tranquilly in the shade of some well, old wall, or olive tree, extract

from their game-bags a good-sized piece of boiled beef, raw onions, a

sausage, and anchovies, and commence a next to endless snack, washed

down with one of those nice Rhone wines, which sets a toper laughing and

singing. After that, when thoroughly braced up, they rise, whistle the

dogs to heel, set the guns on half cock, and go "on the shoot"--another

way of saying that every man plucks off his cap, "shies" it up with all

his might, and pops it on the fly with No. 5, 6, or 2 shot, according to

what he is loaded for.

The man who lodges most shot in his cap is hailed as king of the hunt,

and stalks back triumphantly at dusk into Tarascon, with his riddled

cap on the end of his gun-barrel, amid any quantity of dog-barks and

horn-blasts.

It is needless to say that cap-selling is a fine business in the town.

There are even some hatters who sell hunting-caps ready shot, torn, and

perforated for the bad shots; but the only buyer known is the chemist

Bezuquet. This is dishonourable!

As a marksman at caps, Tartarin of Tarascon never had his match.

Every Sunday morning out he would march in a new cap, and back he would

strut every Sunday evening with a mere thing of shreds. The loft of

Baobab Villa was full of these glorious trophies. Hence all Tarascon

acknowledged him as master; and as Tartarin thoroughly understood

hunting, and had read all the handbooks of all possible kinds of venery,

from cap-popping to Burmese tiger-shooting, the sportsmen constituted

him their great cynegetical judge, and took him for referee and

arbitrator in all their differences.

Between three and four daily, at Costecalde the gunsmith's, a stout

stern pipe-smoker might be seen in a green leather-covered arm-chair in

the centre of the shop crammed with cap-poppers, they all on foot and

wrangling. This was Tartarin of Tarascon delivering judgement--Nimrod

plus Solomon.

III. "Naw, naw, naw!" The general glance protracted upon the good town.

AFTER the craze for sporting, the lusty Tarascon race cherishes one

love: ballad-singing. There's no believing what a quantity of ballads

is used up in that little region. All the sentimental stuff turning into

sere and yellow leaves in the oldest portfolios, are to be found in full

pristine lustre in Tarascon. Ay, the entire collection. Every family has

its own pet, as is known to the town.

For instance, it is an established fact that this is the chemist

Bezuquet's family's:

"Thou art the fair star that I adore!"

The gunmaker Costecalde's family's:

"Would'st thou come to the land Where the log-cabins rise?"

The official registrar's family's:

"If I wore a coat of invisible green, Do you think for a moment

I could be seen?"

And so on for the whole of Tarascon. Two or three times a week there

were parties where they were sung. The singularity was their being

always the same, and that the honest Tarasconers had never had an

inclination to change them during the long, long time they had been

harping on them. They were handed down from father to son in the

families, without anybody improving on them or bowdlerising them:

they were sacred. Never did it occur to Costecalde's mind to sing

the Bezuquets', or the Bezuquets to try Costecalde's. And yet you may

believe that they ought to know by heart what they had been singing for

two-score years! But, nay! everybody stuck to his own,and they were all

contented.

In ballad-singing, as in cap-popping, Tartarin was still the foremost.

His superiority over his fellow-townsmen consisted in his not having

any one song of his own, but in knowing the lot, the whole, mind you!

But--there's a but--it was the devil's own work to get him to sing them.

Surfeited early in life with his drawing-room successes, our hero

preferred by far burying himself in his hunting story-books, or spending

the evening at the club, to making a personal exhibition before a Nimes

piano between a pair of home-made candles. These musical parades seemed

beneath him. Nevertheless, at whiles, when there was a harmonic party at

Bezuquet's, he would drop into the chemist's shop, as if by chance,

and, after a deal of pressure, consent to do the grand duo in Robert

le Diable with old Madame Bezuquet. Whoso never heard that never heard

anything! For my part, even if I lived a hundred years, I should always

see the mighty Tartarin solemnly stepping up to the piano, setting

his arms akimbo, working up his tragic mien, and, beneath the green

reflection from the show-bottles in the window, trying to give his

pleasant visage the fierce and satanic expression of Robert the Devil.

Hardly would he fall into position before the whole audience would be

shuddering with the foreboding that something uncommon was at

hand. After a hush, old Madame Bezuquet would commence to her own

accompaniment:

"Robert, my love is thine!

To thee I my faith did plight,

Thou seest my affright,--

Mercy for thine own sake,

And mercy for mine!"

In an undertone she would add: "Now, then, Tartarin!" Whereupon Tartarin

of Tarascon, with crooked arms, clenched fists, and quivering nostrils,

would roar three times in a formidable voice, rolling like a thunderclap

in the bowels of the instrument:

"No! no! no!" which, like the thorough southerner he was, he pronounced

nasally as "Naw! naw! naw!" Then would old Madame Bezuquet again sing:

"Mercy for thine own sake,

And mercy for mine!"

"Naw! naw! naw!" bellowed Tartarin at his loudest, and there the gem

ended.

Not long, you see; but it was so handsomely voiced forth, so clearly

gesticulated, and so diabolical, that a tremor of terror overran the

chemist's shop, and the "Naw! naw! naw!" would be encored several times

running.

Upon this Tartarin would sponge his brow, smile on the ladies, wink to

the sterner sex, and withdraw upon his triumph to go remark at the club

with a trifling, offhand air:

"I have just come from the Bezuquets', where I was forced to sing 'em

the duo from Robert le Diable."

The cream of the joke was that he really believed it!

IV. "They!"

CHIEFLY to the account of these diverse talents did Tartarin owe his

lofty position in the town of Tarascon. Talking of captivating, though,

this deuce of a fellow knew how to ensnare everybody. Why, the army,

at Tarascon, was for Tartarin. The brave commandant, Bravida, honorary

captain retired--in the Military Clothing Factory Department--called him

a game fellow; and you may well admit that the warrior knew all about

game fellows, he played such a capital knife and fork on game of all

kinds.

So was the legislature on Tartarin's side. Two or three times, in open

court, the old chief judge, Ladevese, had said, in alluding to him:

"He is a character!"

Lastly, the masses were for Tartarin. He had become the swell bruiser,

the aristocratic pugilist, the crack bully of the local Corinthians

for the Tarasconers, from his build, bearing, style--that aspect of a

guard's-trumpeter's charger which fears no noise; his reputation as a

hero coming from nobody knew whence or for what, and some scramblings

for coppers and a few kicks to the little ragamuffins basking at his

doorway.

Along the waterside, when Tartarin came home from hunting on Sunday

evenings, with his cap on the muzzle of his gun, and his fustian


生词表:
  • sunshine [´sʌnʃain] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.日光,阳光   (初中英语单词)
  • dwelling [´dweliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.住所;寓所   (初中英语单词)
  • remarkable [ri´mɑ:kəbl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.值得注意的;显著的   (初中英语单词)
  • cellar [´selə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.地窑,地下室   (初中英语单词)
  • conceive [kən´si:v] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.设想;表达;怀孕   (初中英语单词)
  • emotion [i´məuʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.感情;情绪;激动   (初中英语单词)
  • opening [´əupəniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开放;开端 a.开始的   (初中英语单词)
  • apartment [ə´pɑ:tmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.一套房间   (初中英语单词)
  • sunlight [´sʌnlait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.日光   (初中英语单词)
  • occasional [ə´keiʒənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.偶然的;临时的   (初中英语单词)
  • indian [´indiən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.印度的 n.印度人   (初中英语单词)
  • elephant [´elifənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.象   (初中英语单词)
  • reading [´ri:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(阅)读;朗读;读物   (初中英语单词)
  • dragon [´drægən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.龙   (初中英语单词)
  • passion [´pæʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.激情;激怒;恋爱   (初中英语单词)
  • creation [kri´eiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.创作;作品;创造   (初中英语单词)
  • readily [´redili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.乐意地;容易地   (初中英语单词)
  • learnt [lə:nt] 移动到这儿单词发声  learn 的过去式(分词)   (初中英语单词)
  • feather [´feðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.羽毛   (初中英语单词)
  • miracle [´mirəkl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.奇迹;令人惊奇的   (初中英语单词)
  • scarce [skeəs, skers] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.缺乏的;稀有的   (初中英语单词)
  • goodness [´gudnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.优良;美德;精华   (初中英语单词)
  • commence [kə´mens] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&vi.开始   (初中英语单词)
  • thoroughly [´θʌrəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.完全地,彻底地   (初中英语单词)
  • whistle [´wisəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.吹哨 n.口哨;汽笛   (初中英语单词)
  • glorious [´glɔ:riəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.光荣的;辉煌的   (初中英语单词)
  • collection [kə´lekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.收集;征收;募捐   (初中英语单词)
  • instance [´instəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.例子,实例,例证   (初中英语单词)
  • invisible [in´vizəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.看不见的;无形的   (初中英语单词)
  • sacred [´seikrid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.神圣的;庄严的   (初中英语单词)
  • knowing [´nəuiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.会意的,心照不宣的   (初中英语单词)
  • musical [´mju:zikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.音乐的;悦耳的   (初中英语单词)
  • nevertheless [,nevəðə´les] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.&ad.然而;不过   (初中英语单词)
  • pressure [´preʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.压榨 vt.对…施压力   (初中英语单词)
  • working [´wə:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.工人的;劳动的   (初中英语单词)
  • fierce [fiəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.残忍的;强烈的   (初中英语单词)
  • audience [´ɔ:diəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.听众;观众;接见   (初中英语单词)
  • terror [´terə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.恐怖;惊骇   (初中英语单词)
  • withdraw [wið´drɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.收回;撤销;撤退   (初中英语单词)
  • triumph [´traiəmf] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.胜利 vi.得胜,战胜   (初中英语单词)
  • trifling [´traifliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.微小的;轻浮的   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • warrior [´wɔriə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.勇士,战士   (初中英语单词)
  • aspect [´æspekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.面貌;神色;方向   (初中英语单词)
  • heroic [hi´rəuik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.英雄的,英勇的   (高中英语单词)
  • notwithstanding [,nɔtwiθ´stændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.&conj.虽然;还是   (高中英语单词)
  • whilst [wailst] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.当…时候;虽然   (高中英语单词)
  • startling [´stɑ:tliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.惊人的   (高中英语单词)
  • unfortunately [ʌn´fɔ:tʃunitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.不幸;不朽;可惜   (高中英语单词)
  • specimen [´spesimən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.标本,样品;抽样   (高中英语单词)
  • saying [´seiŋ, ´sei-iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.言语;言论;格言   (高中英语单词)
  • needless [´ni:dləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不必要的;无用的   (高中英语单词)
  • exhibition [eksi´biʃ(ə)n] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.展览;显示;表演   (高中英语单词)
  • mighty [´maiti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.强有力的 ad.很   (高中英语单词)
  • solemnly [´sɔləmli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.严肃地,庄严地   (高中英语单词)
  • tragic [´trædʒik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.悲剧的;悲惨的   (高中英语单词)
  • crooked [´krukid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.弯曲的;畸形的   (高中英语单词)
  • formidable [´fɔ:midəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怕的;艰难的   (高中英语单词)
  • thorough [´θʌrə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.彻底的;详尽的   (高中英语单词)
  • sponge [spʌndʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海绵(状物)   (高中英语单词)
  • bearing [´beəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.举止;忍耐;关系   (高中英语单词)
  • balcony [´bælkəni] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.阳台;(戏院的)楼厅   (英语四级单词)
  • turret [´tʌrit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.塔楼;炮塔;转台   (英语四级单词)
  • knives [naivz] 移动到这儿单词发声  knife的复数   (英语四级单词)
  • lastly [´lɑ:stli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.最后,终于   (英语四级单词)
  • flaming [´fleimiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.熊熊燃烧的;热情的   (英语四级单词)
  • flannel [´flænl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.法兰绒   (英语四级单词)
  • whence [wens] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.从何处;从那里   (英语四级单词)
  • tempting [´temptiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.引诱人的,吸引人的   (英语四级单词)
  • inasmuch [,inəz´mʌtʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.因为;鉴于   (英语四级单词)
  • triumphantly [trai´ʌmfəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.胜利地;洋洋得意地   (英语四级单词)
  • sentimental [,senti´mentl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感伤的;多愁善感的   (英语四级单词)
  • superiority [su:piəri´ɔriti, sju:-] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.优越,卓越   (英语四级单词)
  • trying [´traiiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.难堪的;费劲的   (英语四级单词)
  • uncommon [ʌn´kɔmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.非常的,非凡的,罕见的   (英语四级单词)
  • whereupon [,weərə´pɔn] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.在什么上面;因此   (英语四级单词)
  • legislature [´ledʒisleitʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.立法机关   (英语四级单词)
  • aristocratic [,æristə´krætik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.贵族政治的;贵族的   (英语四级单词)
  • reputation [repju´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.名誉;名声;信誉   (英语四级单词)
  • muzzle [´mʌzəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.枪口,炮口   (英语四级单词)
  • capacious [kə´peiʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.广阔的;容积大的   (英语六级单词)
  • arsenal [´ɑ:sənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.兵工厂;军械库   (英语六级单词)
  • turkish [´tə:kiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.土耳其人(语)的   (英语六级单词)
  • cooper [´ku:pə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.制桶工人;修桶工人   (英语六级单词)
  • hunting [´hʌntiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.打猎   (英语六级单词)
  • ferocity [fə´rɔsiti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.凶残,凶猛,暴行   (英语六级单词)
  • incomparable [in´kɔmpərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无可比拟的   (英语六级单词)
  • abandoned [ə´bændənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.被抛弃的;无约束的   (英语六级单词)
  • stubbornly [´stʌbənli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.顽固地,倔强地   (英语六级单词)
  • visage [´vizidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.面容,面貌   (英语六级单词)
  • diverse [dai´və:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.完全不同的   (英语六级单词)
  • charger [´tʃɑ:dʒə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.军马;委托者;控诉者   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:48:15
    文章信息 浏览:0 评论:  赞: