14-A Noble Gangster
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14-A Noble Gangster

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There was a tine when the owners of shops and businesses in Chicago that to pay large sums of money to gangsters in return for 'protection.' If the money was not paid promptly, the gangsters would quickly put a man out of business by destroying his shop. Obtaining 'protection money' is not a modern crime. As long ago as the fourteenth century, an Englishman, Sir John Hawkwood, made the remarkable discovery that people would rather pay large sums of money than have their life work destroyed by gangsters.

  Six hundred years ago, Sir Johan Hawkwood arrived in Italy with a band of soldiers and settled near Florence. He soon made a name for himself and came to be known to the Italians as Giovanni Acuto. Whenever the Italian city-states were at war with each other, Hawkwood used to hire his soldiers to princes who were willing to pay the high price he demanded. In times of peace, when business was bad, Hawkwood and his men would march into a city-state and, after burning down a few farms, would offer to go away protection money was paid to them. Hawkwood made large sums of money in this way. In spite of this, the Italians regarded him as a sort of hero. When he died at the age of eighty, the Florentines gave him a state funeral and had a pictured with as dedicated to the memory of 'the most valiant soldier and most notable leader, Signor Giovanni Haukodue.'

  New words and expressions 生词和短语

  gangster

  n. 歹徒,强盗

  Chicago

  n. 芝加哥(美国城市)

  protection

  n. 保护

  promptly

  adv. 准时地

  destroy

  v. 毁掉;消灭

  remarkable

  adj. 不寻常的

  hand

  n. 帮,团伙

  Florence

  n. 佛罗伦萨(意大利城市)

  city-state

  n. (古代)城邦

  hire

  v. 租出,雇给

  prince

  n. 君主,诸候

  Florentine

  n. 佛罗伦萨人

  funeral

  n. 葬礼

  dedicate

  v. 奉献,题献给

  memory

  n. 纪念

  valiant

  adj. 英勇的

  参考译文

  曾经有一个时期,芝加哥的店主和商行的老板们不得不拿出大笔的钱给歹徒以换取"保护"。如果交款不及时,歹徒们就会很快捣毁他的商店,让他破产.榨取"保护金"并不是一种现代的罪恶行径.早在14世纪,英国人约翰.霍克伍德就有过非凡的发现:"人们情愿拿出大笔的钱,也不愿毕生的心血毁于歹徒之手.

  600年前,约翰.霍克伍德爵士带着一队士兵来到意大利,在佛罗伦萨附近驻扎下来,很快就出了名.意大利人叫他乔凡尼.阿库托.每次意大利各城邦之间打伏,霍克伍德把他的士兵雇佣给愿给他出高价的君主。和平时期,当生意萧条时,霍克伍德便带领士兵进入某个城邦,纵火烧毁一两个农场,然后提出,如向他们缴纳保护金,他们便主动撤离。霍克伍德用这种方法挣了大笔钱.尽管如此,意大利人还是把他视作某种英雄。他80岁那年死去时,佛罗伦萨人为他举行了国葬,并为他画像以纪念这位"骁勇无比的战士、杰出的领袖乔凡尼.阿库托先生."

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