「除了對法國，我肯定沒有任何種族偏見。」 旅遊，是十九世紀學習不同文化的最佳方式，前往歐陸和聖地更是當時有錢有閒的旅人和朝聖者的重要人生經歷。一八六七年，美國才剛結束南北內戰不久，當時便有一群觀光客從美國出發，搭乘「貴格城號」輪船，前往歐洲及中東聖地旅行。這是美國人首度前往歐陸和聖地的「觀光團」，而團員當中更有一位鼎鼎有名的人物，那就是馬克．吐溫。 當時年方三十二的馬克．吐溫得到報社贊助，得以隨團同行。在這趟歷時五個半月、從紐約出發，途經歐洲，再轉進中東聖地的旅程中，馬克．吐溫沿途紀錄，寫出了他此生最暢銷、同時也是歷史上銷售量最大的遊記之一——《傻子旅行記》（The Innocents Abroad）。在這部一八六九年出版的遊記中，馬克．吐溫針對世人熟悉的各古跡、典故與必訪之處，都有幽默兼諷刺的觀察描述。 《美國傻子遊法國》即擷選自這部遊記，故事記述馬克．吐溫和同行友人在南法港城馬賽下船後，一路朝北前往花都巴黎的沿途趣聞，以及抵達巴黎後這群「美國鄉巴佬」的遭遇。從餐廳點餐糗事、法國風俗窺探，著名景點探訪，且看馬克．吐溫如何將他在法國所受的文化震撼和花都風情體驗，化為一段古今虛實交織，既嘲諷又幽默的文化觀察筆記!
隔晚，夜幕低垂之時，我們的輪船吐著蒸氣，緩緩駛入尊貴的馬賽市的人造港，目睹那微弱的日光替馬賽港成群的尖塔和堡壘鍍上一層金，柔和的光暈淹沒圍繞著港都的草木，撫觸那或近或遠、妝點著馬賽景緻的白色郊區住宅，增添一股迷人風采。 沒人架起船板，我們困在船上，無法到碼頭，真的很惱人，眾人都熱血沸騰——我們想好好見識法國！夜幕低垂，我們一行三人和船夫協議好，要把他的船當橋用——他的船尾正好銜接我們的升降梯，船頭則搆得到碼頭。我們上船後，這傢伙卻開始駛向港口，我用法語告訴他，我們只想踏過他的座板上岸，然後問他出海做什麼。他說他聽不懂我說什麼，我又重複一遍，他依舊沒聽懂，看來這人不諳法語。博士也嘗試跟他溝通，但醫生說的話他一樣有聽沒有懂。我請船夫解釋他在做什麼，他解釋了，這下換我沒聽懂。丹大聲說： 「噢，去碼頭啦，你這老白癡——我們想要去碼頭！」 我們冷靜地跟丹講道理，用英文跟這個老外講話不會有用——他最好讓我們用法語跟他溝通，讓他明白該怎麼做，別讓這老外覺得自己聽不懂人話。 「好吧，去，都讓你們去講，」他說，「別理我，我也不想插手。只不過照你剛剛的法語跟他溝通，他永遠都不會搞懂我們想去哪裡，這是我的看法。」 他這番言辭遭到我們嚴厲指責，我們說只見過偏見之徒，還沒見識過無知之人。接著這法國人又對我們開口，醫生說： 「聽著，丹，他說他是要allez那個douain，意思是他要去飯店。噢，當然是囉——誰教我們不懂法語。」 套用一句傑克的台詞，這句話滅了他的士氣：忿忿不平的成員乖乖閉嘴，不再批評。我們一路滑行，經過一列輪船的尖尖船頭，最後停泊在一個石岸碼頭的政府辦公大樓前。這下我們輕而易舉地想起，「douain」其實是海關，不是飯店。但我們隻字未提，海關官員大方展現法式禮節，迅速打開我們的小背包，旋即關上，拒絕檢查護照，便送我們離去。我們在看到的第一間咖啡館停下腳步，走進去，有個老女人領我們到一張桌子就座，等我們點餐。 醫生說：「Avez-vous du vin〜您有葡萄酒嗎？」 老太太一臉疑惑，醫生重複一次，這次字字分明：「Avez-vous du vin！」 這下老太太表情更困惑了。我說：「醫生，你的發音肯定哪裡有誤，讓我試著跟她說說。 Madam，avez-vous du vin？這樣說沒用的，醫生——讓你見識一下。」 「女士，您有葡萄酒—乳酪—麵包—醃豬腳—奶油—蛋—牛肉—英國山葵、德國酸菜、美國的燉野豬肉和玉米嗎？世上任何能填飽基督徒肚子的食物全端上桌吧！」 她說：「謝天謝地，你們剛剛怎麼不說英文？我聽不懂你們災難式的法語啊！」 我們忿忿不平的成員大肆羞辱嘲笑，好端端的晚餐興致就這麼遭到破壞，我們氣得默默快速解決晚餐，盡速揚長而去。我們人就在美麗的法國，站在一棟古色古香的寬闊石屋建築之前，四周環繞著各式各樣令人費解的法文路標，而頂著絡腮鬍、奇裝異服的法國人對我們投以注目禮。這一切的一切逐漸且確實地浮上我們心頭，我們驚覺無論如何，我們正走在這夢寐以求的美好法國，吸取它的本質，忘卻其餘瑣事，開心到目眩神迷，感受其中的幸福浪漫——然後想到這瘦巴巴的老女人，帶著她糟糕的英文在這樣的美好時刻打斷我們，讓美妙想像隨風逝去！真的讓人氣惱。 我們出發前往市中心，期間不時問路。我們從未成功讓對方聽懂我們究竟想要什麼，也從沒聽懂對方的回應，不過他們總會比手畫腳指出方向——屢試不爽，我們禮貌性地點點頭說：「Merci, monsieur〜謝謝，先生。」這算是我們忿忿不平成員的一場慘烈勝利，而這樣的勝利令他焦躁不安，他常問： 「那個海盜說啥？」 「怎麼了嗎？他告訴我們賭場要怎麼走。」 「是沒錯，但他說了什麼？」 「噢，他說什麼不重要——重點是我們聽得懂他的意思。這些都是受過教育的讀書人，跟那個離譜的船夫不同。」 「是嗎，我真希望他們受過足夠的教育，可以告訴別人怎麼找到路，我們已經兜了一小時的圈子，我經過同一家藥房七次了。」 我們說這是低俗而不體面的誤謬說法（但其實我們心知肚明並非如此）。很明顯地，我們不能再經過那間藥房——可能還得持續問路，可是如果我們想遏止忿忿不平成員的質疑，便絕對不能再跟著別人的手指頭走。 我們在鋪有瀝青的和緩街道上走了一大段路，街道上奶油色的嶄新石造商行林立。路長達一哩，每條街、每棟房屋都猶如從同一個模子倒出來，街上燈火通明——這段路最後帶我們來到主要大街。到處都是鮮艷色彩，煤氣燈閃爍如星光，打扮亮眼的男男女女擠滿了人行道，到處可見腳步匆忙、生氣勃勃、活力四射與歡騰的笑語！我們找到羅浮和平大飯店，填寫下我們的名字、出生地、職業、上一站造訪之地、單身還是已婚、我們喜不喜歡這裡、今年幾歲、下一站前往何處，還有預計抵達時間，以及一大堆差不多重要的資料——這都是飯店老闆和祕密員警需要的資料。我們僱用一位嚮導展開旋風式的觀光行程。踏上法國土地的頭一晚讓人心情澎湃，我們想不起一半去過的景點或確實看見的事物，我們根本沒打算細看任何東西，只想匆匆一瞥就走人——腳步不停，繼續走！這個國家的精神在我們心靈，我們最後深夜時在大賭場歇腿，出手綽闊地點了香檳，要喝到成為肚子鼓漲的貴族實在易如反掌，因為香檳價格根本不貴！金碧輝煌的賭場裡約有五百人，這是我的猜測，不過牆壁上貼滿鏡子，究竟有多少人誰都說不準，說不定賭場裡有十萬人。打扮時髦有型的年輕人，以及裝束頗具格調的年輕女性，還有老紳士和女士，全都成群或一對對圍著數不清的大理石桌而坐，享用高級晚餐、醊飲葡萄酒，微醺恍惚，喋喋不休地交談。遙遠的一端有個舞台和大型交響樂團，男女演員穿著荒謬可笑的喜劇戲服，不時地跳出來唱著荒謬有趣的歌曲，至少從他們誇張的表演中猜測歌曲應是荒謬有趣的。但觀眾僅僅停下交談，冷眼注視著演出，沒人微笑，也沒人鼓掌！我一直以為法國人隨時都準備好取笑任何事呢。 Toward nightfall the next evening, we steamed into the great artificial harbor of this noble city of Marseilles, and saw the dying sunlight gild its clustering spires and ramparts, and flood its leagues of environing verdure with a mellow radiance that touched with an added charm the white villas that flecked the landscape far and near. There were no stages out, and we could not get on the pier from the ship. It was annoying. We were full of enthusiasm—we wanted to see France! Just at nightfall our party of three contracted with a waterman for the privilege of using his boat as a bridge—its stern was at our companion ladder and its bow touched the pier. We got in and the fellow backed out into the harbor. I told him in French that all we wanted was to walk over his thwarts and step ashore, and asked him what he went away out there for. He said he could not understand me. I repeated. Still he could not understand. He appeared to be very ignorant of French. The doctor tried him, but he could not understand the doctor. I asked this boatman to explain his conduct, which he did; and then I couldn't understand him. Dan said: "Oh, go to the pier, you old fool—that's where we want to go!" We reasoned calmly with Dan that it was useless to speak to this foreigner in English—that he had better let us conduct this business in the French language and not let the stranger see how uncultivated he was. "Well, go on, go on," he said, "don't mind me. I don't wish to interfere. Only, if you go on telling him in your kind of French, he never will find out where we want to go to. That is what I think about it." We rebuked him severely for this remark and said we never knew an ignorant person yet but was prejudiced. The Frenchman spoke again, and the doctor said: "There now, Dan, he says he is going to allez to the douain. Means he is going to the hotel. Oh, certainly—we don't know the French language." This was a crusher, as Jack would say. It silenced further criticism from the disaffected member. We coasted past the sharp bows of a navy of great steamships and stopped at last at a government building on a stone pier. It was easy to remember then that the douain was the customhouse and not the hotel. We did not mention it, however. With winning French politeness the officers merely opened and closed our satchels, declined to examine our passports, and sent us on our way. We stopped at the first cafe we came to and entered. An old woman seated us at a table and waited for orders. The doctor said: "Avez-vous du vin?" The dame looked perplexed. The doctor said again, with elaborate distinctness of articulation: "Avez-vous du—vin!" The dame looked more perplexed than before. I said: "Doctor, there is a flaw in your pronunciation somewhere. Let me try her. Madame, avez-vous du vin?—It isn't any use, Doctor—take the witness." "Madame, avez-vous du vin—du fromage—pain—pickled pigs' feet—beurre—des oeufs—du boeuf—horseradish, sauerkraut, hog and hominy—anything, anything in the world that can stay a Christian stomach!" She said: "Bless you, why didn't you speak English before? I don't know anything about your plagued French!" The humiliating taunts of the disaffected member spoiled the supper, and we dispatched it in angry silence and got away as soon as we could. Here we were in beautiful France—in a vast stone house of quaint architecture—surrounded by all manner of curiously worded French signs—stared at by strangely habited, bearded French people—everything gradually and surely forcing upon us the coveted consciousness that at last, and beyond all question, we were in beautiful France and absorbing its nature to the forgetfulness of everything else, and coming to feel the happy romance of the thing in all its enchanting delightfulness—and to think of this skinny veteran intruding with her vile English, at such a moment, to blow the fair vision to the winds! It was exasperating. We set out to find the centre of the city, inquiring the direction every now and then. We never did succeed in making anybody understand just exactly what we wanted, and neither did we ever succeed in comprehending just exactly what they said in reply, but then they always pointed—they always did that—and we bowed politely and said, "Merci, monsieur," and so it was a blighting triumph over the disaffected member anyway. He was restive under these victories and often asked: "What did that pirate say?" "Why, he told us which way to go to find the Grand Casino." "Yes, but what did he say?" "Oh, it don't matter what he said—we understood him. These are educated people—not like that absurd boatman." "Well, I wish they were educated enough to tell a man a direction that goes some where—for we've been going around in a circle for an hour. I've passed this same old drugstore seven times." We said it was a low, disreputable falsehood (but we knew it was not). It was plain that it would not do to pass that drugstore again, though—we might go on asking directions, but we must cease from following finger-pointings if we hoped to check the suspicions of the disaffected member. A long walk through smooth, asphaltum-paved streets bordered by blocks of vast new mercantile houses of cream-colored stone every house and every block precisely like all the other houses and all the other blocks for a mile, and all brilliantly lighted—brought us at last to the principal thoroughfare. On every hand were bright colors, flashing constellations of gas burners, gaily dressed men and women thronging the sidewalks—hurry, life, activity, cheerfulness, conversation, and laughter everywhere! We found the Grand Hotel du Louvre et de la Paix, and wrote down who we were, where we were born, what our occupations were, the place we came from last, whether we were married or single, how we liked it, how old we were, where we were bound for and when we expected to get there, and a great deal of information of similar importance—all for the benefit of the landlord and the secret police. We hired a guide and began the business of sightseeing immediately. That first night on French soil was a stirring one. I cannot think of half the places we went to or what we particularly saw; we had no disposition to examine carefully into anything at all—we only wanted to glance and go—to move, keep moving! The spirit of the country was upon us. We sat down, finally, at a late hour, in the great Casino, and called for unstinted champagne. It is so easy to be bloated aristocrats where it costs nothing of consequence! There were about five hundred people in that dazzling place, I suppose, though the walls being papered entirely with mirrors, so to speak, one could not really tell but that there were a hundred thousand. Young, daintily dressed exquisites and young, stylishly dressed women, and also old gentlemen and old ladies, sat in couples and groups about innumerable marble-topped tables and ate fancy suppers, drank wine, and kept up a chattering din of conversation that was dazing to the senses. There was a stage at the far end and a large orchestra; and every now and then actors and actresses in preposterous comic dresses came out and sang the most extravagantly funny songs, to judge by their absurd actions; but that audience merely suspended its chatter, stared cynically, and never once smiled, never once applauded! I had always thought that Frenchmen were ready to laugh at anything.
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