我的译文 2007-4-3 11:35

The Other Lodgers
Ambrose Bierce

"In order to take that train," said Colonel Levering, sitting in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, "you will have to remain nearly all night in Atlanta. That is a fine city, but I advise you not to put up at the Breathitt House, one of the principal hotels. It is an old wooden building in urgent need of repairs. There are breaches in the walls that you could throw a cat through. The bedrooms have no locks on the doors, no furniture but a single chair in each, and a bedstead without bedding--just a mattress. Even these meager accommodations you cannot be sure that you will have in monopoly; you must take your chance of being stowed in with a lot of others. Sir, it is a most abominable hotel.
"The night that I passed in it was an uncomfortable night. I got in late and was shown to my room on the ground floor by an apologetic night-clerk with a tallow candle, which he considerately left with me. I was worn out by two days and a night of hard railway travel and had not entirely recovered from a gunshot wound in the head, received in an altercation. Rather than look for better quarters I lay down on the mattress without removing my clothing and fell asleep.
"Along toward morning I awoke. The moon had risen and was shining in at the uncurtained window, illuminating the room with a soft, bluish light which seemed, somehow, a bit spooky, though I dare say it had no uncommon quality; all moonlight is that way if you will observe it. Imagine my surprise and indignation when I saw the floor occupied by at least a dozen other lodgers! I sat up, earnestly damning the management of that unthinkable hotel, and was about to spring from the bed to go and make trouble for the night- clerk--him of the apologetic manner and the tallow candle--when something in the situation affected me with a strange indisposition to move. I suppose I was what a story-writer might call 'frozen with terror.' For those men were obviously all dead!
"They lay on their backs, disposed orderly along three sides of the room, their feet to the walls--against the other wall, farthest from the door, stood my bed and the chair. All the faces were covered, but under their white cloths the features of the two bodies that lay in the square patch of moonlight near the window showed in sharp profile as to nose and chin.
"I thought this a bad dream and tried to cry out, as one does in a nightmare, but could make no sound. At last, with a desperate effort I threw my feet to the floor and passing between the two rows of clouted faces and the two bodies that lay nearest the door, I escaped from the infernal place and ran to the office. The night- clerk was there, behind the desk, sitting in the dim light of another tallow candle--just sitting and staring. He did not rise: my abrupt entrance produced no effect upon him, though I must have looked a veritable corpse myself. It occurred to me then that I had not before really observed the fellow. He was a little chap, with a colorless face and the whitest, blankest eyes I ever saw. He had no more expression than the back of my hand. His clothing was a dirty gray.
"'Damn you!' I said; 'what do you mean?'
"Just the same, I was shaking like a leaf in the wind and did not recognize my own voice.
"The night-clerk rose, bowed (apologetically) and--well, he was no longer there, and at that moment I felt a hand laid upon my shoulder from behind. Just fancy that if you can! Unspeakably frightened, I turned and saw a portly, kind-faced gentleman, who asked:
"'What is the matter, my friend?'
"I was not long in telling him, but before I made an end of it he went pale himself. 'See here,' he said, 'are you telling the truth?'
"I had now got myself in hand and terror had given place to indignation. 'If you dare to doubt it,' I said, 'I'll hammer the life out of you!'
"'No,' he replied, 'don't do that; just sit down till I tell you. This is not a hotel. It used to be; afterward it was a hospital. Now it is unoccupied, awaiting a tenant. The room that you mention was the dead-room--there were always plenty of dead. The fellow that you call the night-clerk used to be that, but later he booked the patients as they were brought in. I don't understand his being here. He has been dead a few weeks.'
"'And who are you?' I blurted out.
"'Oh, I look after the premises. I happened to be passing just now, and seeing a light in here came in to investigate. Let us have a look into that room,' he added, lifting the sputtering candle from the desk.
"'I'll see you at the devil first!' said I, bolting out of the door into the street.
"Sir, that Breathitt House, in Atlanta, is a beastly place! Don't you stop there."
"God forbid! Your account of it certainly does not suggest comfort. By the way, Colonel, when did all that occur?"
"In September, 1864--shortly after the siege."



格兰特给谢尔曼将军下达了那条著名的命令“create havoc and destruction of all resources that would be beneficial to the enemy。”明确要求谢尔曼对南方进行毁灭性的不计后果,不惜代价的摧毁。即不但消灭敌人军队,还要摧毁敌人的经济基础和敌方居民的战斗意志。


1862年7月,谢尔曼被任命为孟菲斯军官区总司令,负责对南军的坚固据点威克斯堡(Vicksburg)发动进攻。由于兵力不足,攻击并不成功,战局陷入僵持。之后, 格兰特的大部队投入进攻。由于久攻不下和伤亡惨重,恼羞成怒的联邦军开始迁怒于城内的平民。格兰特下令摧毁威克斯堡的一切目标! 数百门重炮对城内的军事设施和民宅进行连续数月的猛烈炮击,把威克斯堡的所有建筑炸成了粉末,无数无辜的平民被炸得粉身碎骨。1863年7月,联邦军攻下了威克斯堡这个战略位置极为关键的城市。由于长达一年的围困造成的饥饿和屠杀性的炮击,造成了数以万计的平民死亡。


“我就是要让整个乔治亚州都鬼哭狼嚎!我就是要让整个乔治亚变成地狱!我就是要让所有乔治亚人----不管男女老少,不管穷人和富人,都感受到刻骨铭心的痛苦!我的军团将毁灭乔治亚州而后快!”“如果人们觉得我残酷和残忍的话,我就会告诉他们,战争就是战争,它的目的并不是要博得人们的好感! 战争就是地狱!如果你们想停止这一切,想要和平的话,你们和你们的亲人就应该放下武器停止这场战争!”

1864年秋,被任命为西部方面军最高司令官的谢尔曼少将,率领10万联邦军和254门火炮,击败南军蒋斯顿将军(Joe Johnston)胡德将军(John B. Hood),攻入乔治亚州,并于9月1日进占了没有作任何抵抗的南方重镇亚特兰大市。

谢尔曼在占领后对当地居民下达了公告,要求所有民兵放下武器,所有市民离开市区。之后,就命令北军在11月离开前纵火烧毁整个城市。成千上万名老人和妇女为阻止联邦军火烧亚特兰大,坚决拒绝离开,他们以为只要他们还在城市里,联邦军为了顾及他们的性命,就不敢放火。但他们太天真了! 当联邦军官兵准备纵火时,老人和妇女们跪在地上,死死抱住联邦军士兵的大腿,放声大哭,声嘶力竭哀求士兵们看在上帝的份上,饶恕他们的城市和家园……但士兵们一脚踢开他们,同时在城市的各条街道纵火。

大火迅速蔓延全城,联邦军士兵自已安全及时地撤出了城市,根本不理会那些老人和妇女。可怜那成千上万的老人和妇女,在铺天盖地而来的大火前绝望地挣扎和惨叫,相互践踏……没有一人逃出火海。 联邦军同时严厉警告撤出城外的亚特兰大居民,任何人如果试图救火,一律格杀勿论! 大火足足延烧了半个月之久。夜晚,翻腾的烈火窜起一百多米高,把整个天空烧得如同白昼,在距离亚特兰大20英里之外都能看到被烈火烧红的天空。白天,从整个城市翻滚而上的巨大浓烟遮天蔽日,使得亚特兰大周围200平方英里内如同黑夜…… 城外,无数惊恐绝望的亚特兰大居民眼睁睁地看着自已的城市、家园和亲人被烈火无情地吞噬,撕心裂肺,顿足捶胸,哭声震天动地……亚特兰大的神甫们默默地站在熊熊燃烧的城市前面,绝望地对着火红的天空,不停地划十字和祷告,为自已的城市和葬身火海的冤魂送行。


曾经是南方最繁荣最美丽的城市亚特拉大在这次浩劫后荡然无存,全部化为废墟,只剩下了一条街幸存下来。这条街如今成为了亚特兰大的一个历史象征,被叫做地下街(The street under ground)。整条街的的确确是在地下,要坐电梯下降才能到。换句话说,如今的整个亚特兰大都是在原来的废墟之上建立起来的!旧的市区被完全地摧毁,埋于了地下。



在谢尔曼看来,对南方普通人民的打击必须和对武装部队的打击一样彻底。 从亚特兰大开始,尽管谢尔曼将军领导的北军一直处于相当顺利的形势,但是为了彻底地吓住南方,他命令部队将遇到的民房一路烧下去,同时杀死所有遇到的一切牲畜和反抗的人。1864年11月,谢尔曼大军离开亚特兰大,开始对南方进行长达一年的灭绝人性的大扫荡。





之后, 谢尔曼将军的部队又一路向北烧将上去,一直烧到南卡罗莱纳的查尔斯顿。查尔斯顿进行了顽强的抵抗,谢尔曼用数百门重炮对查尔斯顿进行屠杀性的炮击,数以万计的平民死于炮火。待到谢尔曼将军攻下查尔斯顿,已经一片断壁残垣。就这样一座已经变成废墟的城市,谢尔曼大军也不放过,照例点了一把大火。在查尔斯顿的郊外,至今还留下一堆堆被北军焚烧后的黑瓦砾的庄园。


按今天的价值计算,谢尔曼的大扫荡给美国南方造成了2万亿美元的财产损失,有数以十万计的平民直接死于谢尔曼军团的大扫荡和抢劫引起的大饥荒,上百万人沦为难民。从30年战争起,在西方恐怕就不曾见过这样直接针对平民的战争暴行。当时邦联总统戴维斯称其为“美洲大陆的阿提拉”。谢尔曼的行为彻底地打破了旧时代战争的界限,他把战争扩大到了全体人民。一百多年来,美国南方民众的子孙对“谢尔曼的大扫荡”耿耿于怀,一代传一代。 美国内战双方的阵亡官兵大都得以安葬,但安葬的规格截然不同。据说北军尸骨全部由联邦政府掩埋,立碑纪念并刻上死者姓名和生卒年月。南军被看做叛匪,尸体乱埋于田野,没人立碑。



谢尔曼从来没有为他在南方的作为说过任何忏悔,道歉乃至遗憾的话。死前他如此地说道:“我没有什么可以忏悔和道歉的,我的所作所为无愧于我的良心。” 有很多美国人支持谢尔曼的大扫荡,“谢尔曼的做法是完全正确的,结束这场战争的唯一方法就是使它变得恐怖变得令敌人无法忍受。” 至于谢尔曼将军和他手下的官兵为何有如此的铁石心肠,以至到能对南方的民众下如此毒手,谢尔曼将军一语道破天机:“我就是要让南方人和他们的子孙后代得到刻骨铭心的教训,永远不敢再想要独立!永远不敢诉诸战争!”----他确实做到了。

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