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宝岛(Treasure Island) 十五 岛上的人

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

FROM the side of the hill, which was here steep and stony a spout of gravel was dislodged, and fell rattling and bounding through the trees. My eyes turned instinctively in the direction, and I saw a figure leap with great rapidity behind the trunk of a pine. What it was, whether bear or man c monkey, I could in no wise tell. It seemed dark and shaggy; more I knew not. But the terror of this new apparition brought me to a stand.

I was now, it seemed, cut off upon both sides; behind m the murderers, before me this lurking nondescript. An immediately I began to prefer the dangers that I knew to those I knew not. Silver himself appeared less terrible in contract with this creature of the woods, and I turned on my heel, and looking sharply behind me over my shoulder, began to retract my steps in the direction of the boats.

Instantly the figure reappeared, and, making a wide circuit began to head me off. I was tired, at any rate; but had I bee as fresh as when I rose, I could see it was in vain for me to contend in speed with such an adversary. From trunk to trunk the creature flitted like a deer, running manlike on two legs but unlike any man that I had ever seen, stooping almost double as it ran. Yet a man it was, I could no longer be in doubt about that.

I began to recall what I had heard of cannibals. I was within an ace of calling for help. But the mere fact that he was man, however wild, had somewhat reassured me, and my fear of Silver began to revive in proportion. I stood still, therefore and cast about for some method of escape; and as I was so thinking, the recollection of my pistol flashed into my mind. As soon as I remembered I was not defenceless, courage glowed again in my heart; and I set my face resolutely for this man of the island, and walked briskly towards him.

He was concealed by this time, behind another tree trunk but he must have been watching me closely, for as soon as I began to move in his direction he reappeared and took a step to meet me. Then he hesitated, drew back, came forward again, and at last, to my wonder and confusion, threw himself on his knees and held out his clasped hands in supplication.

At that I once more stopped.

`Who are you?' I asked.

`Ben Gunn,' he answered, and his voice sounded hoarse and awkward, like a rusty lock. `I'm poor Ben Gunn, I am; and I haven't spoke with a Christian these three years.'

I could now see that he was a white man like myself, and that his features were even pleasing. His skin, wherever it was exposed, was burnt by the sun; even his lips were black; and his fair eyes looked quite startling in so dark a face. Of all the beggar-men that I had seen or fancied, he was the chief for raggedness. He was clothed with tatters of old ship's canvas and old sea cloth; and this extraordinary patchwork was all held together by a system of the most various and incongruous fastenings, brass buttons, bits of stick, and loops of tarry gaskin. About his waist he wore an old brass-buckled leather belt, which was the one thing solid in his whole accoutrement.

`Three years!' I cried.

`Were you shipwrecked?'

`Nay, mate,' said he - `marooned.'

I had heard the word, and I knew it stood for a horrible kind of punishment common enough among the buccaneers, in which the offender is put ashore with a little powder and shot, and left behind on some desolate and distant island.

`Marooned three years agone,' he continued, `and lived on goats since then, and berries, and oysters. Wherever a man is, says I, a man can do for himself. But, mate, my heart is sore for Christian diet. You mightn't happen to have a piece of cheese about you, now? No? Well, many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese - toasted, mostly - and woke up again, and here I were.'

`If ever I can get aboard again,' said I, `you shall have cheese by the stone.'

All this time he had been feeling the stuff of my jacket, smoothing my hands, looking at my boots, and generally, in the intervals of his speech, showing a childish pleasure in the presence of a fellow-creature. But at my last words he perked up into a kind of startled slyness.

`If ever you can get aboard again, says you?' he repeated

`Why, now, who's to hinder you?'

`Not you, I know,' was my reply.

`And right you was,' he cried. `Now you - what do you call yourself, mate?'

`Jim,' I told him.

`Jim, Jim,' says he, quite pleased apparently. `Well, now, Jim, I've lived that rough as you'd be ashamed to hear of. Now, for instance, you wouldn't think I had had a pious mother - to look at me?' he asked.

`Why, no, not in particular,' I answered.

`Ah, well,' said he, `but I had - remarkable pious. And I was a civil, pious boy, and could rattle off my catechism that fast, as you couldn't tell one word from another. And here's what it come to, Jim, and it begun with chuck-farthen on the blessed grave-stones! That's what it begun with, but went further'n that; and so my mother told me, and predicked the whole, she did, the pious woman! But it were Providence that put me here. I've thought it all out in this here lonely island, and I'm back on piety. You don't catch me tasting rum so much; but just a thimbleful for luck, of course, the first chance I have. I'm bound I'll be good, and I see the way to. And, Jim' - looking all round him, and lowering his voice to a whisper - I'm rich.'

I now felt sure that the poor fellow had gone crazy in his solitude, and I suppose I must have shown the feeling in my face, for he repeated the statement hotly:--

`Rich! rich! I says. And I'll tell you what: I'll make a man of you, Jim. Ah, Jim, you'll bless your stars, you will, you was the first that found me!'

And at this there came suddenly a lowering shadow over his face; and he tightened his grasp upon my hand, and raised a forefinger threateningly before my eyes.

`Now, Jim, you tell me true: that ain't Flint's ship?' he asked.

At this I had a happy inspiration. I began to believe that I had found an ally, and I answered him at once.

`It's not Flint's ship, and Flint is dead; but I'll tell you true, as you ask me - there are some of Flint's hands aboard; worse luck for the rest of us.'

`Not a man - with one - leg?' he gasped.

`Silver?' I asked.

`Ah, Silver!' says he; `that were his name.'

`He's the cook; and the ringleader, too.'

He was still holding me by the wrist, and at that he gave it quite a wring.

`If you was sent by Long John,' he said, `I'm as good as pork, and I know it. But where was you, do you suppose?'

I had made my mind up in a moment, and by way of answer told him the whole story of our voyage, and the predicament in which we found ourselves. He heard me with the keenest interest, and when I had done he patted me on the head.

`You're a good lad, Jim,' he said; `and you're all in a clove hitch ain't you? Well, you just put your trust in Ben Gunn - Ben Gunn's the man to do it. Would you think it likely, now, that your squire would prove a liberal-minded one in case of help - him being in a clove hitch, as you remark?'

I told him the squire was the most liberal of men.

`Ay, but you see,' returned Ben Gunn, `I didn't mean giving me a gate to keep, and a shuit of livery clothes, and such; that's not my mark, Jim. What I mean is, would he be likely to come down to the toon of, say one thousand pounds out of money that's as good as a man's own already?'

`I am sure he would,' said I. `As it was, all hands were to share.'

`And a passage home?' he added, with a look of great shrewdness.

`Why,' I cried, `the squire's a gentleman. And, besides, if we got rid of the others, we should want you to help work the vessel home.'

`Ah,' said he, `so you would.' And he seemed very much relieved.

`Now, I'll tell you what,' he went on. `So much I'll tell you, and no more. I were in Flint's ship when he buried the treasure; he and six along - six strong seamen. They were ashore nigh on a week, and us standing off and on in the old Walrus. One fine day up went the signal, and here come Flint by himself in a little boat, and his head done up in a blue scarf. The sun was getting up, and mortal whit he looked about the cut-water. But, there he was, you mind, and the six all dead - dead and buried. How he done it, not a man aboard us could make out. It was battle murder, and sudden death, leastways - him against six Billy Bones was the mate; Long John, he was quartermaster and they asked him where the treasure was. ``Ah,'' say he, ``you can go ashore, if you like, and stay,'' he says ``but as for the ship, she'll beat up for more, by thunder!'' That's what he said.

`Well, I was in another ship three years back, and we sighted this island. ``Boys,'' said I, ``here's Flint's treasure let's land and find it.'' The cap'n was displeased at that; but my messmates were all of a mind, and landed. Twelve days they looked for it, and every day they had the worse word for me, until one fine morning all hands went aboard. ``As for you, Benjamin Gunn,'' says they, here's a musket,'' they says, ``and a spade, and pick-axe. You can stay here, and find Flint's money for yourself,'' they says.

`Well, Jim, three years have I been here, and not a bite of Christian diet from that day to this. But now, you look here; look at me. Do I look like a man before the mast? No, says you. Nor I weren't, neither, I says.'

And with that he winked and pinched me hard.

`Just you mention them words to your squire, Jim' - he went on: `Nor he weren't, neither - that's the words. Three years he were the man of this island, light and dark, fair and rain; and sometimes he would, maybe, think upon a prayer (says you), and sometimes he would, maybe, think of his old mother, so be as she's alive (you'll say); but the most part of Gunn's time (this is what you'll say) - the most part of his time Was took up with another matter. And then you'll give him a nip, like I do.'

And he pinched me again in the most confidential manner.

`Then,' he continued - `then you'll up, and you'll say this: - Gunn is a good man (you'll say), and he puts a precious sight more confidence - a precious sight, mind that - in a gen'leman born than in these gen'lemen of fortune, having been one himself.'

`Well,' I said, `I don't understand one word that you've been saying. But that's neither here nor there; for how am I to get on board?'

`Ah,' said he, `that's the hitch, for sure. Well, there's my boat, that I made with my two hands. I keep her under the white rock. If the worst come to the worst, we might try that after dark. Hi!' he broke out, `what's that?'

For just then, although the sun had still an hour or two to run, all the echoes of the island awoke and bellowed to the thunder of a cannon.

`They have begun to fight!' I cried. `Follow me.'

And I began to run towards the anchorage, my terrors all forgotten; while, close at my side, the marooned man in his goatskins trotted easily and lightly.

`Left, left,' says he; `keep to your left hand, mate Jim! Under the trees with you! Theer's where I killed my first goat. They don't come down here now; they're all mast-headed on them mountings for the fear of Benjamin Gunn. Ah! and there's the cemetery' - cemetery, he must have meant. `You see the mounds? I come here and prayed, nows and thens, when I thought maybe a Sunday would be about doo. It weren't quite a chapel, but it seemed more solemn like; and then, says you, Ben Gunn was short-handed - no chapling, nor so much as a Bible and a flag, you says.'

So he kept talking as I ran, neither expecting nor receiving any answer.

The cannon-shot was followed, after a considerable interval, by a volley of small arms.

Another pause, and then, not a quarter of a mile in front of me, I beheld the Union Jack flutter in the air above a wood

从陡峭而多石的这一侧的小丘上头,扑籁籁地掉下来一堆沙砾,穿过树木纷纷落下来。我的眼睛本能地向那个方向转去,我看到有一个身影飞快地向松树树干后面跳去。它究竟为何物,是熊。是人、还是猿猴,我怎么也说不上来。它看上去黑乎乎、毛茸茸的;更多的我就不知道了。但是这个新出现的吓人的东西使我停了下来。

现在看来我是腹背受敌;在我身后是杀人凶手,在我前面是这个隐蔽的怪物。立刻我意识到,与其遭遇未知的危险,莫不如去面对已知的危险。同树林里这个活物比起来,西尔弗他本人也不那么可怕了,于是我转过身去,一边敏锐地关注着我的身后,开始向划子停泊的地方折回我的脚步。

那个身影立刻又出现了,并且绕了一个大弯,开始拦住了我的路。不管怎么说,我累了,但是我也看得出,即使我像刚动身时那样精力充沛,对我来说,与这样一个对手比速度也是徒劳的。这个家伙像头鹿似地在树干之间跳跃,像人似地用两条腿跑,但和我见过的任何人都不同,当它跑时,身子弯得头几乎要触着地。然而它确实是个人,对此我已不再怀疑了。

我开始回想起我听说过的食人番来。我差一点就要喊救命了。但他毕竟是个人,虽然是个野人,这一点多少使我安心些。同时我对西尔弗的恐惧重又复活了。因此,我便站住了,一边想着如何逃跑;当我正这么想着的时候,我摹地想起我还有支手铣。一想到我并非毫无抵抗能力,我心中又重新生出了勇气,于是我决心面对这个岛上的人,迈着轻快的步子向他走去。

这回他躲在另一棵树的树干后面,但是他一定一直在密切地关注着我,因为一旦我开始向他那边迈步,他便出现了,向我这边迈出了一步。接着他犹豫了,又向后退回去,然后又上前,最后,令我既吃惊又困惑的是,他跪到了地上,十指交叉着向前伸出,一副哀求的样子。

这使我再次停下了。

“你是谁?”我问。

“本·葛恩,”他答道,他的声音听起来沙哑而生涩,像把生锈的锁。“我是可怜的本·葛恩,是的;我已经有三年没跟人说话啦。”

现在我已看出,他是个和我一样的白人,并且他的长相还蛮好看。他裸露着的皮肤都被太阳晒黑了,甚至他的嘴唇都是黑的;在这样黑的一张脸上,他的明亮的眼睛着实使人吃惊。在所有我见过或想像出来的乞丐中,他是穿得最破烂的。他穿着船上的旧帆布和防水布的碎片缀成的衣服,这件不同寻常的鹑衣全都是用一系列各不相同、极不协调的栓结物连缀到一块儿的,如铜扣、小细棍以及涂了柏油的束帆索环儿。在他的腰间系着一条旧的带钢扣的皮带,那是他全身上下最结实的一样东西了。

“三年!”我叫道。“是船只失事了吗?”

“不,朋友,”他说——“是被放逐的。”

我听过这个字眼,我因此知道这是海盗中相当普通但是可怕的一种惩罚手段,只给受罚者一点弹药,然后将他甩在某个遥远的荒岛上。

“是三年前被放逐的,”他继续说道,“从那以后,就以山羊为生,还有浆果和牡蛎。要我说,人到哪儿都能自谋生路。但是,朋友,我一心向往文明人的饮食。你现在身上是否碰巧带着块干酪?没有?哎,多少个长夜我都梦见干酪——多半是烤好的——等梦醒了,我还是在这儿。”

“要是我还能回到船上,”我说,“你就会有成堆的干酪吃。”

说话间他一直在抚摸我衣服的料子,抚摸我光滑的手,观赏我的鞋,总之,在他说话的间歇里,对于一个同类的出现,他表现出了一种孩子气的高兴。但是听了我最后的话,他抬起头来,露出一种吃惊和狡黠的神气。

“要是你还能回到船上,你是这么说的吗?”他重复道。“怎么,现在谁在阻拦你吗?”

“我知道不是你。”我答道。

“你说得对,”他叫道。“那么你——你叫什么名字,朋友?”

“吉姆。”我告诉他。

“吉姆,吉姆,”他说,显然很高兴。“你瞧,吉姆,我过的这种苦日子连你听了都会害臊。嗯,比方说吧,你瞧我这副模样,不会想到我有个信神的母亲吧?”

“噢,不,没专门想过。”我答道。

“啊,好吧,”他说,“但是我有的——我的母亲非常的虔诚。我也曾经是个有礼貌的、信神的孩子,我可以把教义背得那么快,以至于你连字句都无法分辨出来。而这会儿我却到了这个地步,吉姆,这都是从我在那该死的墓石上扔铜板赌博开始的!就是玩这个起的头,但是越走越远。我母亲早就告诫过我,她全都预料到了,这个虔诚的女人!把我放到这儿是天意如此。我在这个孤岛上全都仔细想过了,我又皈依上帝了。你可别引诱我喝太多的郎姆酒,不过可以为了祝好运而喝那么一点点,当然,要是有机会的话。我已决定一心向善,我也知道怎么办。而且,吉姆,”他边环顾四周边压低嗓子说——“我发财了。”

现在我觉得这个可怜的人在孤独的生活中有些精神失常了,我猜想我一定把这感觉流露到脸上了,因为他又热切地重复了一遍:

“我发财了!发财了!我跟你说。我还可以告诉你:我会把你变成一个真正的男子汉,吉姆。啊,吉姆,你该庆幸吉星高照,你真是幸运,你是第一个找到我的人!”

说着,他的脸上突然掠过一道阴影,接着他紧紧地抓住了我的手,还竖起一根食指在我的眼前比划着。

“听着,吉姆,你得给我讲实话:那是弗林特的船吗?”他问道。

听了这话,我欢欣鼓舞。我开始相信我找到了一个盟友,于是我立刻答复了他。

“那不是弗林特的船,弗林特已经死了。但是我跟你讲实话,就像你要求的那样——船上有些弗林特的部下;我们其余这些人遭殃了。”

“有没有一个——一条腿的人?”他倒抽了口气问道。

“西尔弗?”我问。

“啊,西尔弗!”他说,“就是这个名字。”

“他是厨子,也是他们的头子。”

他仍握着我的手腕,听了我的话,他又用力地扭了一下。

“要是你是高个子约翰派来的,”他说,“我就完了,这一点我是知道的。但你想你现在处境怎样?”

我立即打定主意,在回答时顺便把我们航行的整个经过以及我们现在的处境都告诉了他。他津津有味地听完了我的叙述,当我说完时,他拍了拍我的脑袋。

“你是个好孩子,吉姆,”他说,“可是你们全都上了圈套了,是不是?好吧,你信任本·葛恩好了——我本·葛恩会给你们帮忙。呢,要是有人能救你们的乡绅摆脱圈套,你认为他在报答援助方面会不会慷慨——就像你对他评论的那样?”

我告诉他乡绅是最慷慨的人。

“啊,但是你要明白,”本·葛恩答道,“我不是指给我份看门的差事或一套号衣什么的,那并不是我想要的,吉姆。我的意思是,他能否愿意从那笔可说已到手的钱财里拿出,比方说一千镑,作为酬报?”

“我肯定他会的,”我说。“本来就是如此,全船的人本来都有份的。”

“还允许我搭船回家?”他又加上一句,一副鬼精灵的样子。

“当然,”我叫道,“乡绅是个绅士,并且,要是我们除掉了那些人的话,还要劳你把船开回家哩。”

“啊,”他说,“你们会这么做的。”他这才放了心。

“听着,我来给你讲是怎么回事,”他继续说道,“我要告诉你的就这些,再没有别的了。当弗林特埋宝的时候,我在他的船上。他和六个人去了——六个强壮的水手。他们在岸上停留了有一个星期光景,我们这些人呆在老‘瓦鲁斯’号上。有一天来了信号,接着弗林特自己划着划子来了,脑袋上裹着块青头巾。太阳刚刚升起,他的脸看上去一片煞白。但是,你听好,只有他还在,那六个人全死了——死了,埋了。他怎么干的,我们船上这些人谁也弄不明白。反正无非是恶斗、残杀和暴死——他一个人对付六个。比尔·彭斯是大副;高个子约翰,他是舵手;他们问他金银财宝藏在哪儿了,‘啊,’他说,‘你们想的话,可以上岸去,还可以呆在那里,’他说,‘但是至于船,要去搜罗更多的财宝哩,你们这些挨雷劈的!’他就是这么回答他们的。”

“却说三年前我在另一条船上,我们看见了这个岛。‘弟兄们,’我说,‘这里有弗林特的宝藏,咱们上岸去找找吧,’船长听了很不高兴,但是水手们都是一个心眼,船于是靠岸了。他们找了十二天,每天他们都骂我个狗血喷头,直到有一天早上,所有的水手都上船了。‘至于你,本·葛恩,’他们说,‘给你杆枪,’他们说,‘还有一把铲和一把镐。你可以留在这儿,为你自己去找弗林特的钱财吧,’他们说。”

“就这样,吉姆,三年来我就一直在这儿,从那天起到现在,没吃过一口文明人的饭菜。而现在,你看这儿,看看我。我还像是个水手吗?不像,你得说。照我说也不像。”

说时他眨巴着眼睛,并且捏了我一下。

“你只须跟你们的乡绅这么讲,吉姆,”他继续道:“他自己也说不像,的确不像——你得这么说。三年来,无论黑天白天、晴天雨天,岛上始终只有他一个人;有时,他可能会背上段祈祷文(你得说),有时,他也可能想想他的老母亲,就当她还活着(这你也得说);但是葛恩的大部分时间(这是你必须说的)——他的大部分时间都花在另一件事上。然后你就要捏他一下,就像我这样。”

说着他就又捏了我一下,神情极其诡秘。

“然后,”他接着讲道——“然后你就接着讲下去,照这么说:——葛恩是个好人(你得说),他对真正的绅士绝对信任,记着说——绝对信任,而那些幸运的大爷们则让人信不过,他以前就是他们中的一个。”

“好啦,”我说,“你说的话我一句也不明白。但是明白不明白又有什么要紧呢,要是我回不到船上去?”

“啊,”他说,“那是个麻烦,真的。这样吧,我有条小船,是我自己造出来的,我把它藏在那块白色的岩石下边了。要是到了万不得已的地步,我们天黑后可以试它一试,嘿!”他嚷道,“怎么回事?”

因为恰在此时,虽然离日落还有一两个钟头,全岛却响起了大炮轰鸣的回声。

“他们开始打上了!”我叫道,“跟我来。”

于是我开始朝着锚地跑去,把恐惧都忘在了脑后;而就在我身边,那个被放逐的破衣烂衫的水手也跟着轻松地小跑着。

“往左,往左,”他说,“一直往你左手的方向跑,吉姆朋友!往树底下跑!这是我打到第一只山羊的地方。现在它们不上这儿来啦;它们怕本杰明·葛恩,都躲到山顶上去啦。啊!那是地墓”——我想他指的是墓地。“你看到那些土堆了吗?我不时地到这里来作祈祷,当我想差不多该是礼拜天的时候。它不是什么礼拜堂,但是它看上去挺庄严;而你会说,本·葛恩缺人手呀——没有牧师,也没有《圣经》和旗呀,你会说。”

在我奔跑的时候,他就一直这么絮叨着,既没指望得到、也确实没有得到任何回答。

炮声过后,在隔了相当长的间歇之后,又是一排枪声。

又是一个间歇,这之后,我看到前面四分之一英里远的地方,英国国旗在一片树林上空迎风飘扬


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