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2017年05月21日

更髒的手 - 古德明

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Daniel Webster, a 19th-century American politician, twice served as Secretary of State. When he was a boy in the district school, he was not noted for tidiness. Finally the teacher, in despair, told him that if he appeared again with such dirty hands she would thrash him.
He did appear in the same condition. "Daniel," the teacher said, "hold out your hand." Daniel spat on his palm, rubbed it on the seat of his trousers, and held it out.
The teacher surveyed it in disgust. "Daniel," she said, "if you can find me another hand in this school that is dirtier than that, I will let you off."*
Daniel promptly held out the other hand.
十九世紀美國政壇人物丹尼爾.韋伯斯特曾兩任國務卿。他小時,在社區學校讀書,不以整潔見稱。他的教師終於忍不住,說下次見到他,雙手仍然那麼骯髒的話,就非打不可。
丹尼爾再見老師的時候,依然故我。那老師說:「丹尼爾,伸出手來。」丹尼爾朝手掌吐一口唾液,在褲子屁股處抹抹,然後伸出手掌。
那教師望着那手掌,一臉嫌惡之色,說道:「丹尼爾,你在學校裏找得到一隻更髒的手,我就放過你。」
丹尼爾馬上呈上另一隻手。
*Let off是「從輕發落」或「釋放」的意思,例如:I will let you off this time but don't do it again(我這次放過你,但以後不要再犯)。

古德明

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