時間︰2014-07-15 00:08 作者︰未知 點擊︰



Mark Twain


I was at a dinner in London given in honor of one of the most celebrated English military menof his time. I do not want to tell you his real name and titles. I will just call him LieutenantGeneral Lord Arthur Scoresby. I cannot describe my excitement when I saw this great andfamous man. There he sat, the man himself, in person, all covered with medals. I could not takemy eyes off him. He seemed to show the true mark of greatness. His fame had no effect onhim. The hundreds of eyes watching him, the worship of so many people did not seem to makeany difference to him.


Next to me sat a clergyman, who was an old friend of mine. He was not always a clergyman.During the first half of his life he was a teacher in the military school at Woolwich. There was astrange look in his eye as he leaned toward me and whispered – "Privately – he is a completefool." He meant, of course, the hero of our dinner.


This came as a shock to me. I looked hard at him. I could not have been more surprised if hehas said the same thing about Nepoleon, or Socrates, or Solomon. But I was sure of two thingsabout the clergyman. He always spoke the truth. And, his judgment of men was good.Therefore, I wanted to find out more about our hero as soon as I could.


Some days later I got a chance to talk with the clergyman, and he told me more. These are hisexact words:


About forty years ago, I was an instructor in the military academy at Woolwich, when youngScoresby was given his first examination. I felt extremely sorry for him. Everybody answeredthe questions well, intelligently, while he – why, dear me – he did not know anything, so tospeak. He was a nice, pleasant young man. It was painful to see him stand there and giveanswers that were miracles of stupidity.I knew of course that when examined again he wouldfail and be thrown out. So, I said to myself, it would be a simple, harmless act to help him asmuch as I could. I took him aside and found he knew a little about Julius Ceasar's history. But,he did not know anything else. So, I went to work and tested him and worked him like a slave. Imade him work, over and over again, on a few questions about Ceasar, which I knew he wouldbe asked.If you will believe me, he came through very well on the day of the examination. Hegot high praise too, while others who knew a thousand times more than he were sharplycriticized. By some strange, lucky accident, he was asked no questions but those I made himstudy. Such an accident does not happen more than once in a hundred years. Well, all throughhis studies, I stood by him, with the feeling a mother has for a disabled child. And he alwayssaved himself by some miracle.


I thought that what in the end would destroy him would be the mathematics examination. Idecided to make his end as painless as possible. So, I pushed facts into his stupid head forhours. Finally, I let him go to the examination to experience what I was sure would be hisdismissal from school. Well, sir, try to imagine the result. I was shocked out of my mind. Hetook first prize! And he got the highest praise.

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