This Day in History April 3… 歷史上的今天 4月3日

Before emails, cell phones, telephones, and telegraphs in the US, there was the Pony Express. Brave young men would carry mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California on horseback. The first successful run began on this date in 1860. The riders would have to travel across 3,200 kilometers as fast as they could. Over 190 Pony Express stations were set up along the way, and at each station, the rider would switch horses. Riders for the Pony Express made good money for their work-US$25 per week-as compared to US$1 per week for other unskilled jobs. Eventually, though, telegraph lines were set up in major cities and the Pony Express was no longer needed.

在美國有電子郵件、 手機、電話和電報之前,他們有小馬快遞。勇敢的青年騎馬帶著信件,一路從密蘇里州的聖喬瑟夫到達加州的沙加緬度。首次成功的遞送行動始於1860年的今 日。騎士得以最快的速度橫跨3200公里。沿路上設有190多個小馬快遞的休息站,騎士會在每個站更換馬匹。比起其他不需特殊技能、每星期只領到一塊美金 的工作,擔任小馬快遞的騎士薪水還不錯,他們一星期可以賺到25元美金。不過最終因為大城市電報線路的設置,小馬快遞便不再為人所需了。


◎telegraph n.電報
◎on horseback 騎著馬
◎as + adv./adj. + as sb can 某人盡可能地…
例:Jenny overslept this morning, so she rushed to the school as quickly as she could.(珍妮今早睡過頭,因此她盡快趕到學校去。)
◎set up... 建立…
例:Andrew set up a trust fund for his children in case anything happened to him.(安德魯為小孩設立一筆信託基金,以防他出什麼意外。)
◎compared to/with... 與……比起來
例:Compared to plastic bags, paper bags are much more environmentally friendly.(和塑膠袋相比,紙袋要環保多了。)
◎skilled a.需要技能的;有技能的


小馬快遞是隸屬於 Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express Company 公司的運送系統(mail delivery system)。當初選擇使用馬匹遞送信件是因為比起驛馬車(stagecoach),騎馬較為快速。雖然小馬快遞只存在了一年多便劃下句點,但卻對美國 西部歷史有重要的影響。而日後成為西部傳奇人物之一的『水牛比爾』(Buffalo Bill),年輕時即是小馬快遞騎士中的一員。

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