The “ballast stone” of the soul

  ”I am not an American, I am the American.” – How to translate the famous Mark Twain quote repeatedly presented by the House Museum in Chinese? On the way back, my wife and I were discussing back and forth.
  - I’m not an American, I’m an American himself? ——I am the prototype of the Americans? ——Am I the most representative American? – Am I the most “American” American? …I have asked several translation experts in the future, and all the above meanings may be in them, but they are all inseparable from this kind of identity: draw an equal sign between self and country – I am the United States, the United States i.e. me. – “Crazy”? “Self-expansion”? It is said that the original words came from Mark Twain’s diary when he was in Europe, and it was a friend’s evaluation of him. In fact, I immediately thought of what Thomas Mann said when he was in the United States when he was persecuted by the Nazis in World War II when he answered the inquiries of the American customs – as a German writer, what will you do after you leave the land of Germany? Thomas Mann replied: Germany is in my blood. Germany is where I am. It is no wonder that this sentence of Hemingway, who is also a famous “madman” in the American literary circle, has also been repeatedly emphasized by the House Museum: The real American literature begins with Mark Twain.
  I am ashamed that I have lived in Connecticut, USA for nearly 25 years. This is the first time I have visited this famous national scenic spot, the former residence of Mark Twain. As the landmark of the ancient Yangcheng “Chen Clan Temple”, I was accompanying a Yale student several years ago, and it was the first time I visited) – people, the “great achievements” that are in front of you are often the most easily overlooked. Just like the “plum blossom” season in the hometown of Jiangnan – after weeks of rainy days, today is finally a bright sun and blue sky. With a rare refreshing breeze in the midsummer heat, we stepped into this shaded, ancient Victorian Gothic-style building.
  When visiting the former residences of cultural celebrities, I generally like to walk alone and enjoy the details slowly, as if I want to silently have a private dialogue with the old people who are separated in time and space. But at this moment, the tour guide dispatched by the museum has clearly ordered: not to leave the team, not to take pictures, must go with the flow of people to watch. As soon as I entered the private library at the entrance of the former residence, I was greeted by two gigantic Chinese-style broad-colored vases standing in front of Linlang ancient books and a closed fireplace. Before appreciating the details of the “Guangcai” style that I identified, the tour guide has already left in a hurry. I thought that this was some kind of “elegant standard” for Western aristocrats in the early years of ancient times – I have seen such exaggerated and dazzling decorations in Goethe’s former residence, Hugo’s former residence, Versailles Palace and Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. “Chinese elegance”. However, the subsequent browsing and reading, the rich stories behind the “Chinese elements” on the furnishings and wallpapers of Mark Twain’s former residence, have greatly exceeded my expectations.
  Attic cornices, crystal chandeliers, exquisite sculptures. In front of this unique design, there are 19 rooms on three floors, it is said that the architect, according to Mark Twain’s own wishes, contains design elements such as steam ships, medieval castles and cuckoo clocks. The red brick building, even with today’s vision, Can be called “mansion”. This kind of luxurious setting arrangement with ensuite bathroom in each bedroom, double washbasin in the bathroom, and even an indoor plant garden with a fountain, etc., in the pioneering generation 150 years ago, its extraordinary position in the layout is even more important. Predictably. According to the tour guide, this unique house was a small cultural center in the Greater New York and New England regions of the eastern United States. Mark Twain was known for his outgoing humor and wide-ranging contacts. Many writers, poets, scholars, priests and celebrities from all walks of life who lit up the North American cultural star were all frequent visitors here. I didn’t expect at the time that among these star-like “regulars”, there were many ancestors that I was very familiar with – ancestors of the same blood and roots as my generation.
  This old house where Mark Twain lived for the longest time, for 17 years, is not the real “root place” of the writer – Mark Twain, born in 1835, whose real name is Samuel Twain. Langhorne Clemens (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), his other famous home is located in the small town of Hannibal in northern Mississippi, which is the place where young Samuel was born and raised. When Samuel was 12, his father died, and he had to drop out of school to work as a laborer in a factory, a miner in a mine, a sailor on the Mississippi River, a typesetter and a reporter editor for a local tabloid. “Mark Twain” is the pseudonym he adopted after writing, originally a term used by Mississippi River sailors to indicate the depth of water measured on the channel. It was in this ups and downs of life at the bottom that young Samuel came into contact with the black slaves under slavery, the Chinese workers in the gold rush, the lumberjacks in the mangroves, and so on. His conscience was warm and finally. It turns into sharp criticism and broad sympathy under the pen; humor, irony and wit are full of fiery emotions, casting his unique writing style. “Mark Twain” was the flashy name of the era long before he became the owner of this elegant home. William Faulkner once said that Mark Twain was “the first true American writer from whom we all inherit”. Hemingway said: “Modern American literature is derived from a book, and its name is “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. And several works that represent Mark Twain’s highest literary achievements-such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” The Gilded Age, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Beggar Prince, The Old Days of the Mississippi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, etc., were completed in this red brick building in front of me.
  This is really a small building full of warmth and spirituality. According to the tour guide, Mark Twain got married when he was 36 years old. His wife was the daughter of a wealthy businessman. This small building was a wedding gift from his father-in-law. This chic small building is full of the writer’s meticulous ingenuity from the room type design to the detailed carvings, which shows how much he loves and fascinates this place. From 1874 to 1891, Mark Twain and his wife and daughter spent the most important, comfortable, and most brilliant time of his life here. He once said: After wandering for half his life, only this small building made him feel at home and made him feel that the world has never been more meaningful than it is now. My eyes stayed on the bed engraved with the cloudy angel for a long time, thinking about those long sleepless nights, the picture of the writer tossing and turning, galloping inspirational thoughts; I also noticed that every floor looked particularly elegant Chen, like those corridors and pavilions where the gods stopped, I recalled the scene where the writer leaned on the railing and looked at it while he was writing, and let Sixu travel through the smoke and clouds. However, when I came to the third floor with the flow of people – the third floor that looked so simple compared to the Victorian aristocratic style of the first and second floors: a pool table, a small desk, a low gas chandelier… The tour guide’s The voice made my heart hum: “This is where Mark Twain buried himself in writing, and his most important works were completed on this small table…”
  Suddenly, the eternally galloping Mississippi River in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” suddenly spread out in front of my eyes. Huckleberry, the white child who ran away from the noble widow’s house, and Jim, the black slave child who met in a thrilling encounter and also escaped, the adventure story of a black and a white pair, through the Mississippi, the great river that runs through the American continent and American history. Traction, the opposing themes of liberty and slavery, the appearance of all beings of all classes and races along the river – nobles, priests, miners, knights… prostitutes, robbers, liars, profiteers… The vast historical picture is hot and alive The luster of life slowly spread to me. I couldn’t help but stop and stay at the end of the stream of people; although it was far away from the fence, I turned my eyes to the side next to the pool table for a long time – I noticed that there was not one, but two, one wide and one narrow. , One high and one low desk, with table lamps, pens, and paper cases displayed on it. In the daze, it seems that there is still a silhouette of a writer with a beard on his lips, echoing the footsteps of a philosopher pacing and contemplating… In front of me is the dark night of the Mississippi River, “The stars are the eggs laid by the moon,” the childish voice of Jim, the dark boy, sounded in my ear, “Meteor was kicked out of the bed by Mother Moon because of her disobedience…”