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警察与赞美诗英文原文

英文原版  The Cop And The Anthem

  O Henry

  On his bench in Madison Square Soapy moved uneasily, and when Soapy moves uneasily on his bench in the park, you may know that winter is near.

  A dead leaf fell in Soapy's lap. That was Jack Frost's card. Jack is kind to the regular residents of Madison Square, and gives them warning of his annual call.

  Soapy realized the fact that the time had come for him to provide against the coming winter. And therefore he moved uneasily on his bench.

  The winter ambitions of Soapy were not of the highest. In them there were no dreams of Mediterranean voyages, of blue Southern skies or the Vesuvian Bay. Three months on the Island was what his soul desired. Three months of assured board and bed and good company, safe from north winds and policemen, seemed to Soapy the most desirable thing.

  For years the hospitable Blackwell prison had been his winter refuge. Just as the more fortunate New Yorkers had bought their tickets to Palm Beach and the Riviera each winter, so Soapy had made his arrangements for his annual journey to the island. And now the time had come. On the night before three Sunday newspapers, put under his coat, about his feet and over his lap, had not helped him against the cold as he slept on his bench near the fountain in the old square. There were many institutions of charity in New York where he might receive lodging and food, but to Soapy's proud spirit the gifts of charity were undesirable. You must pay in humiliation of spirit for everything received at the hands of philanthropy. So it was better to be a guest of the law.

  Soapy, having decided to go to the Island, at once set about accomplishing his desire. There were many easy ways of doing this. The pleasantest was to dine at some good restaurant; and then, after declaring bankruptcy, be handed over to a policeman. A magistrate would do the rest.

  Soapy left his bench and went out of the square and up Broadway. He stopped at the door of a glittering cafe. He was shaven and his coat was decent. If he could reach a table in the restaurant, the portion of him that would show above the table would raise no doubt in the waiter's mind. A roasted duck, thought Soapy, with a bottle of wine, and then some cheese, a cup of coffee and a cigar would be enough. Such a dinner would make him happy, for the journey to his winter refuge.

  But as Soapy entered the restaurant door, the head waiter's eye fell upon his shabby trousers and old shoes. Strong hands turned him about and pushed him in silence and haste out into the street.

  Soapy turned off Broadway. Some other way of entering the desirable refuge must be found.

  At a corner of Sixth Avenue Soapy took a stone and sent it through the glass of a glittering shop window. People came running around the corner, a policeman at the head of them. Soapy stood still, with his hands in his pockets, and smiled at the sight of the policeman.

  "Where is the man that has done that?" asked the policeman.

  "Don't you think that I have had something to do with it?" said Soapy, not without sarcasm, but friendly.

  The policeman paid no attention to Soapy. Men who break windows do not remain to speak with policemen. They run away. He saw a man running to catch a car and rushed after him with his stick in his hand. Soapy, with disgust in his heart, walked along, twice unsuccessful.

  On the opposite side of the street was a little restaurant for people with large appetites and modest purses. Soapy entered this place without difficulty. He sat at a table and ate beefsteak and pie. And then he told the waiter that he had no money.

  "Now go and call a cop," said Soapy. "And don't keep a gentleman waiting."

  "No cop for you," said the waiter. "Hey!"

  In a moment Soapy found himself lying upon his left ear on the pavement. He arose with difficulty, and beat the dust from his clothes. Arrest seemed a rosy dream. The Island seemed very far away. A policeman who stood before a drug store two doors away laughed and walked down the street. Soapy seemed to liberty.

  After another unsuccessful attempt to be arrested for persecution a young woman, Soapy went further toward the district of theatres.

  When he came upon a policeman standing in front of a glittering theatre, he caught at the straw of "disorderly conduct."

  On the sidewalk Soapy began to sing drunken songs at the top of his voice. He danced, howled, and otherwise disturbed the peace.

  The policeman turned his back to Soapy, and said to a citizen:

  "It is one of the Yale lads celebrating their football victory over the Hartford College. Noisy, but no harm. We have instructions not to arrest them."

  Sadly, Soapy stopped his useless singing and dancing. A sudden fear seized him. Was he immune to arrest? Would never a policeman lay hands on him? The Island seemed an unattainable Arcadia. He buttoned his thin coat against the north wind.

  In a cigar store he saw a well-dressed man lighting a cigar. He had set his silk umbrella by the door, Soapy entered the store, took the umbrella, and went out with it slowly. The man with the cigar followed hastily.

  "My umbrella," he said.

  "Oh, is it?" said Soapy. "Well, why don't you call a policeman? I took it. Your umbrella! Why don't you call a cop? There stands one on the corner."

  The umbrella owner slowed his steps. Soapy did likewise. The policeman looked at them curiously.

  "Of course," said the umbrella man, "that is - well, you know how these mistakes occur - I - if it's your umbrella I hope you'll excuse me - I picked it up this morning in a restaurant - if it is yours, why - I hope you'll -"

  "Of course it's mine," said Soapy.

  The ex-umbrella man retreated. The policeman hurried to help a well-dressed woman across the street.

  Soapy walked eastward. He threw the umbrella angrily into a pit. He was angry with the men who wear helmets and carry clubs. Because he wanted to be arrested, they seemed to regard him as a king who could do no wrong.

  At last Soapy reached one of the avenues to the east where it was not so noisy. He went towards Madison Square, for the home instinct remains even when the home is a park bench.

  But on a quiet corner Soapy stopped before an old church. Through one window a soft light glowed, where, no doubt, the organist played a Sunday anthem. For there came to Soapy's ears sweet music that caught and held him at the iron fence.

  The moon was shining; cars and pedestrians were few; birds twittered sleepily under the roof. And the anthem that the organist played cemented Soapy to the iron fence, for he had known it well in the days when his life contained such things as mothers and roses and ambitions and friends.

  The influence of the music and the old church produced a sudden and wonderful change in Soapy's soul. He saw with horror the pit into which he had fallen. He thought of his degraded days, dead hopes and wrecked faculties.

  And also in a moment a strong impulse moved him to battle with his desperate fate. He would pull himself out of this pit; he would make a man of himself again. There was time; he was young yet. Those sweet organ notes had set up a revolution in him. Tomorrow he would be somebody in the world. He would -

  Soapy felt a hand on his arm. He looked quickly around into the broad face of a policeman.

  "What are you doing here?" asked the policeman.

  "Nothing," said Soapy.

  "Then come along," said the policeman.

  "Three months on the Island," said the Magistrate in the Police Court the next morning.

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