Tea Culture

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Mark Twain (1835-1910) was, of course, the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the Missourian who learned to pilot Mississippi river boats and who grew to become one of the America's leading humorists, social critics, and men of letters. Twain recorded his experiences in numerous newspaper features and columns and in several books, including Life on the Mississippi (1883), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and his masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)。 Indeed, for some literary historians, the true American novel has its beginnings in the work of Twain. In the selection that follows, Twain contrasts his views of the Mississippi first as a novice and then as an experienced river pilot. Now when I had mastered the language of this water, and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a valuable acquisition. But I had lost something, too. I had lost something which could never be restored to me while I lived. All the grace, the beauty, the poetry, had gone out of the majestic river! I still keep in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I witnessed when steam-boating was new to me. A broad expanse of the river was turned to blood; in the middle distance the red hue brightened into gold, through which a solitary log came floating black and conspicuous; in one place a long, slanting mark lay sparkling upon the water; in another the surface was broken by boiling, tumbling rings, that were as many-tinted (着色) as an opal (蛋白石); where the ruddy flush was faintest, was a smooth spot that was covered with graceful circles and radiating lines ever so delicately traced; the shore on our left was densely wooded, and the somber (阴暗的) shadow that fell from this forest was broken in one place by a long, ruffled trail that shone like silver; and high above the forest wall a clean-stemmed dead tree waved a single leafy bough (树枝) that glowed like a flame in the...
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