The United States has a natural connection with Europe, and a strong interest in Europe has driven generations of Americans to go to Europe. Mark, Twain is one of them, he has traveled in Europe many times, even one-sixth of his life. They all choose to spend time in Europe. At the same time, as a successful travel writer of that era, Mark Twain tried his best to put everything he saw in his travels into writing, so his writings of Europe seemed to have a unique charm.
1. Beautiful scenery Mark Twain, who traveled by train
in Europe, did not feel bored, because the scenery on the journey was so attractive. The train flies all day in the mountains with continuous peaks and peaks. I can see that the top of the mountain is sunny, and the mountainside is dotted with exquisite villas. They are located in the gardens and bushes, and they are quite tasty; The galloping trains fly like birds in the sultry sky, overlooking the gorge, which is really fresh and exciting.
Traveling in a horse-drawn carriage is another feeling. Lucerne, Switzerland is full of idyllic charm, with cars driving between cliffs and meadows, surrounded by delightful lakes and mountains, and the beautiful chirping of many birds. In this summer beauty, the clear and cool lake water and the elusive fish made Mark fascinated. Cozy cabins can be seen everywhere – this charming village complex unique to Switzerland seems to be a magic stroke, making the surrounding scenery full of agility and interest.
In the countryside of Milan, Italy, the road along the way is flat, with trees on both sides, and the fragrance of flowers is blowing in the breeze. The country girls who come from time to time on the country roads are all beautiful and picturesque. These simple and lovely girls are extremely commensurate with the surrounding fields and green grass. Beauty and beauty are combined into one. Whenever they took a break, they laughed and cursed at Mark Twain’s gang and made them happy. Thus, the idea that haunted Mark Twain’s mind was finally confirmed – that the sloppy, romantic, dirty country girls read in poetry are all lies.
In a word, in the relatively hurried and aggressive American society, the beautiful scenery in Europe all reveals leisure and comfort. Whenever I encounter a slowly crawling truck, I always see the driver spread his hands and feet, basking in the sun, lying on the car, He slept sweetly and in a laid-back mood; the peasants and children were idle and doing nothing, while the mules and chickens were free in the living room and courtyard.
2. Romantic and charming atmosphere
On the streets of Paris, you can see famous ladies with “ambiguous reputation” everywhere, with gorgeously dressed attendants, and six gorgeously dressed attendants on their horses. The attendant was wearing a livery, blue with silver, green with gold, red with black, and was dazzled and stunned. Mark, Twain said with a smile, looking at the beautiful livery, he could not bear it. I can’t stop wanting to be a servant. It is much easier in Europe to distinguish a person’s social class by clothing than in the United States. Mark and Twain, who had just arrived in a foreign country, rarely had the leisure to appreciate the dress of the French.
Every night in Paris was really “exciting”: the streets were full of life, lively, with gas lights everywhere, like day! There are bustling cars, and “happy people” looking for fun, everything seems cheerful and happy; the small tables on the sidewalk are full of people drinking wine or sipping coffee; in the bar, the waiters Walking around, circling behind your buttocks like a butterfly in a flower, staying on the left and right, always on call, the guests who come and go with a moustache are always lively and kind. In short, the atmosphere completely different from the American continent made Mark and Twain feel novel and moved, and the silk-string music floating in the air added a layer of romance to everything around him.
In this situation, Mark Twain couldn’t help being “overwhelmed” and had to “see the flowers”, and then unknowingly also infected the “temperament” of the French. If Mark Twain was just a “restrained” spectator in the beginning, he has now become a participant in this exotic romance: ordering the champagne served at this inexpensive place, Eating delicacies from the mountains and seas, sipping fine wine, and facing the French people who are steady, safe, happy, and happy, and infected by the calm and laid-back atmosphere around them, it seems that they suddenly become smarter and begin to understand the “meaning of being a human being”.
3. The kingdom of humanity
Mark Twain’s understanding of Europe did not stop at the stage of perceptual understanding that he saw in front of him, but was based on his rational analysis. in-depth observation.
In France, everything is “planned”, everything is organized and never goes wrong. Mark, Twain takes the trouble to tell about his experience in France. On the train, the train attendant always answers all your questions in a courteous and tireless manner. Not only that, but also takes you to wherever you want to go, so as not to worry about it. You are lost; the departure time is strictly abided by the timetable, and there will be no delay; there is no such thing as “superior innocence”, if there is a traffic accident, if there is no direct responsible person, the fault will be investigated To the “supervisor”, this largely guarantees the safety of passengers. Mark Twain sighed sincerely: “France is indeed a ‘wonderful’ place.”
Mark Twain even more meticulously peeped out the warmth of Europe from a detail. In America, a singer with a hoarse voice or a high jumper with a broken leg is no longer a blockbuster. But in Germany, both the government and the audience are more concerned about these retired or physically handicapped artists, and they seem to prefer singers who “can’t sing”. Such a tolerant attitude is extremely rare in the United States. Therefore, he believes that the Germans’ generous character is worthy of emulation.
Through this little incident, Mark Twain had a deeper understanding of the Germans, who he felt were not as indifferent as rumored, but kind, excitable, and warm. In ordinary social etiquette, they hug and kiss, and the German language is full of affectionate nicknames, whether for houses, dogs, horses, grandmothers, etc., or other animate or inanimate things . This made Mark Twain perceive that compared with the Germans, the Americans were indifferent and self-controlled.
4. “Don’t dare to get a haircut in Paris again”
As Mark Twain’s understanding of Europe deepened, everything in Europe was not perfect, and the opposite of “Pleasant Land” was a Europe that he “dare not dream of anymore”. Ever since he was a child, Mark Twain has had an extravagant hope that one day he will shave his face in a palatial barbershop in Paris, lying upright on an upholstered chaise longue, smearing the room with perfume and driving people into the dark. Sweet Country… But what happened to him in Paris was this: Butcher-like barbers scoured some remote corner for a razor, led them to a small, shabby, filthy back room, and brought them Two ordinary chairs with backrests, and then the razor fluttered, and the face suddenly opened… As a result, Mark Twain’s long-awaited happy dream of the Paris barbershop suddenly came to nothing.
The embarrassment that Mark Twain encountered was not limited to the haircut. His beautiful illusions about Europe were in danger of being shattered at any time: the Parisian clerk in his dreams was just like the ordinary French women he had seen before—they were unremarkable and long. They have big hands and big feet and big mouths: ugly figures, neither attractive nor dignified; their hair is brushed straight to the back, and they are not divided; almost all of them have flat noses and slightly bristles on their lips, even educated people You can’t even see them, you can tell from their looks that they like to eat onions and garlic… An idol in childhood has been shattered.
European food is also hard to swallow, after a few months of drinking coffee in Europe, one’s mind becomes unclear, the bread is also “cold and hard”, which is disgusting, and there is never any change, there is never a different variety . Mark, Twain was always thinking about American food and dreaming about that thick drink at home with a layer of curdled yellow cream on the surface. He desperately wanted to return to mainstream American society, as if he had never been out, and he needed “hot biscuits, real coffee and potatoes, fried chicken, real cream, steak, and toast.” It has to be said that Europe at this time gradually lost its charm in the eyes of Mark Twain.
5. The “flower of evil” of capitalism is
commendable. The prosperity of Paris, France, did not firmly grasp the eyes of Mark and Twain. He also set his sights on a relatively remote area – Saint-Antoine on the outskirts of Paris. , everything here is in contrast to the extravagant Versailles: the streets are small and narrow: dirty children block the street; The inhabitants of these winding streets are willing to kill for seven dollars, and then sink their corpses into the Senar River. There are prostitutes living in other streets… In the entire suburb of Saint-Antoine, misery, poverty , evil and crime are always inseparable.
In addition, Mark Twain and his entourage discovered that in a run-down slum in Italy, there was a beautiful girl who could buy a kiss for a franc. This is actually a veiled writing of the reality of prostitution in Italy. There were several women and little girls in the car in Paris, and he wrote directly that they were the rumored prostitutes.
In the above narration, Mark Twain, as a bystander of European business society, launched his critique of capitalist Europe, and he also used his personal experience as an example to outline the world of Paris, France. The tour guide they hired had a “fly in the ointment”, he always used the most superficial excuse to trick them into waiting in the shirt store, shoe store, tailor store, glove store, and did everything possible to get them to buy things, Mark Twain said. Uncover the secret – he will get a kickback from the boss! What a cunning “speculator”! The waiter in the mall also begged him to buy this and that, endlessly; in the shops in Geneva, people rushed over and followed him as soon as he walked in; and in the bustling big company in Paris, Mark · Twain said sarcastically that the aggressive actions of clerks such as impolite entanglement and chasing have become a “learning”.
6. “Disgusting” Art Mark Twain, who was
walking in the museum, did not get lost in the praises of European art from the people around him, but gave his own interpretation, which he felt was similar to “The Last Supper”. ” is indeed great, but that was “more than three hundred years ago”. In his eyes, this so-called “art treasure” has become very ugly with the accumulation of time. The frescoes are all dilapidated and stained around, and they have been stained and faded with age. The characters in the painting are also unrecognizable, mottled, and almost indistinguishable. Their hair has become a dark spot on the wall, and there is no expression in their eyes, only the posture of the characters can be distinguished. He even said “rebellious”: “As usual, I can’t help but see that the copy is much better than the original!”
The icons and the Eucharist as works of art are also extremely ugly. On the icons in Italian churches, the Savior and the Virgin wear silver or gilded crowns, which are nailed to the heads of the portraits, and even the original works of the masters of art are not spared. They look really out of place and strange. In Milan Cathedral, a priest showed Mark Shawin two fingers of St. Paul, a finger of St. Peter, a black bone of Judas Iscariot, and the remains of other disciples… …All these relics are carried and displayed on the streets of Milan every year.
Seeing such a description, the reader can’t help but be surprised that the Eucharist, which should have won people’s admiration, was described as such by Mark Twain. However, in his eyes, both the portraits of the disciples of Christ and the Holy Communion of the saints were all dressed up as flashy and nondescript. The Eucharistics, in particular, were supposed to rest peacefully in tombs that were not coveted by the outside world, and they themselves did not necessarily want to be disturbed, but for various purposes, vain people exhibited them as “arts”, and also From time to time it is carried out and swaggered around.
In addition to teasing and satirizing European art, Mark Twain also mocked the crowd who were rushing to it. Every year, people from all over the world come here to praise the masterpieces here. They stand in front of the painting in a trance, holding their breaths and grinning. As soon as they speak, they exclaim intermittently, exclaiming “Wonderful, Beautiful, Absolutely”. what. In addition, he also talked about some artistic terms that are easy to learn and worthless, and talked endlessly about mood, look, and tone. The ignorant, joking talk of these people made him feel “angry and funny,” Mark Twain scoffed, something that disappeared a hundred years before they were born.
The Europe written by Mark Twain generally presents two images of “the land of paradise” and “the place where one dares not to dream again”, which not only shows his attachment to the “land of his ancestors”, but also reflects his beautiful fantasy about Europe. Disappointment after shattering. As he said in Leaving Europe, Europe has many advantages that the United States does not have, but they cannot make up for many more valuable things that only exist in the motherland. In this sense, the United States is Mark Twain’s real home.