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宝岛(Treasure Island) 十三 我在岸上的冒险是怎样开始的

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

THE appearance of the island when I came on deck next morning was altogether changed. Although the breeze ha now utterly ceased, we had made a great deal of way during the night, and were now lying becalmed about half a mile to the south-east of the low eastern coast. Grey-coloured woods covered a large part of the surface. This even tint was indeed broken up by streaks of yellow sandbreak in the lower lands, and by many tall trees of the pine family, out-topping the others - some singly, some in clumps; but the general colouring was uniform and sad. The hills ran up clear above the vegetation in spires of naked rock. All were strangely shaped, and the Spy-glass, which was by three or four hundred feet the tallest on the island, was likewise the strange in configuration, running up sheer from almost every side then suddenly cut off at the top like a pedestal to put statue on.

The Hispaniola was rolling scuppers under in the ocean swell. The booms were tearing at the blocks, the rudder we banging to and fro, and the whole ship creaking, groaning and jumping like a manufactory. I had to cling tight to the backstay, and the world turned giddily before my eyes; for though I was a good enough sailor when there was way or this standing still and being rolled about like a bottle was thing I never learned to stand without a qualm or so, above all in the morning, on an empty stomach.

Perhaps it was this - perhaps it was the look of the island with its grey, melancholy woods, and wild stone spires, an the surf that we could both see and hear foaming an thundering on the steep beach - at least, although the sun shone bright and hot, and the shore birds were fishing and crying all around us, and you would have thought anyone would have been glad to get to land after being so long at sea, my heart sank, as the saying is, into my boots; and from that first look onward, I hated the very thought of Treasure Island.

We had a dreary morning's work before us, for there was no sign of any wind, and the boats had to be got out and manned, and the ship warped three or four miles round the corner of the island, and up the narrow passage to the haven behind Skeleton Island. I volunteered for one of the boats, where I had, of course, no business. The heat was sweltering, and the men grumbled fiercely over their work. Anderson was in command of my boat, and instead of keeping the crew in order, he grumbled as loud as the worst.

`Well,' he said, with an oath, `it's not for ever.'

I thought this was a very bad sign; for, up to that day, the men had gone briskly and willingly about their business; but the very sight of the island had relaxed the cords of discipline.

All the way in, Long John stood by the steersman and conned the ship. He knew the passage like the palm of his hand; and though the man in the chains got everywhere more water than was down in the chart, John never hesitated once.

`There's a strong scour with the ebb,' he said, `and this here passage has been dug out, in a manner of speaking, with a spade.'

We brought up just where the anchor was in the chart, about a third of a mile from each shore, the mainland on one side, and Skeleton Island on the other. The bottom was clean sand. The plunge of our anchor sent up clouds of birds wheeling and crying over the woods; but in less than a minute they were down again, and all was once more silent.

The place was entirely land-locked, buried in woods, the trees coming right down to high-water mark, the shores mostly flat, and the hill-tops standing round at a distance in a sort of amphitheatre, one here, one there. Two little rivers, or, rather, two swamps, emptied out into this pond, as you might call it; and the foliage round that part of the shore had a kind of poisonous brightness. From the ship, we could see nothing of the house or stockade, for they were quite buried among trees; and if it had not been for the chart on the companion we might have been the first that had ever anchored there sin the island arose out of the seas.

There was not a breath of air moving, nor a sound but the of the surf booming half a mile away along the beaches a against the rocks outside. A peculiar stagnant smell hung over the anchorage - a smell of sodden leaves and rotting tree trunks. I observed the doctor sniffing and sniffing, like someone tasting a bad egg.

`I don't know about treasure,' he said, `but I'll stake my wig there's fever here.'

If the conduct of the men had been alarming in the boat it became truly threatening when they had come aboard. The lay about the deck growling together in talk. The slightest order was received with a black look, and grudgingly and carelessly obeyed. Even the honest hands must have caught the infection, for there was not one man aboard to mend another. Mutiny, it was plain, hung over us like a thunder-cloud.

And it was not only we of the cabin party who perceived the danger. Long John was hard at work going from group to group, spending himself in good advice, and as for example no man could have shown a better. He fairly outstripped himself in willingness and civility; he was all smiles everyone. If an order were given, John would be on his crutch in an instant, with the cheeriest `Ay, ay, sir!' in the world and when there was nothing else to do, he kept up one song after another, as if to conceal the discontent of the rest.

Of all the gloomy features of that gloomy afternoon, this obvious anxiety on the part of Long John appeared the worst.'

We held a council in the cabin.

`Sir,' said the captain, `if I risk another order, the whole ship'll come about our ears by the run. You see, sir, here is. I get a rough answer, do I not? Well, if I speak back, pikes will be going in two shakes; if I don't, Silver will see there something under that, and the game's up. How, we've on one man to rely on.'

`And who is that?' asked the squire.

`Silver, sir,' returned the captain; `he's as anxious as you and I to smother things up. This is a tiff; he'd soon talk 'em out of it if he had the chance, and what I propose to do is to give him the chance. Let's allow the men an afternoon ashore. If they all go, why, we'll fight the ship. If they none of them go, well, then, we hold the cabin, and God defend the right. If some go, you mark my words, sir, Silver'll bring em aboard again as mild as lambs.'

It was so decided; loaded pistols were served out to all the sure men; Hunter, Joyce, and Redruth were taken into our confidence, and received the news with less surprise and a better spirit than we had looked for, and then the captain went on deck and addressed the crew.

`My lads,' said he, `we've had a hot day, and are all tired and out of sorts. A turn ashore'll hurt nobody - the boats are still in the water; you can take the gigs, and as many as please may go ashore for the afternoon. I'll fire a gun half an hour before sundown.'

I believe the silly fellows must have thought they would break their shins over treasure as soon as they were landed; for they all came out of their sulks in a moment, and gave a cheer that started the echo in a far-away hill, and sent the birds once more flying and squalling round the anchorage.

The captain was too bright to be in the way. He whipped out of sight in a moment, leaving Silver to arrange the party; and I fancy it was as well he did so. Had he been on deck, he could no longer so much as have pretended not to understand the situation. It was as plain as day. Silver was the captain, and a mighty rebellious crew he had of it. The honest hands - and I was soon to see it proved that there were such on board - must have been stupid fellows. Or, rather, I suppose the truth was this, that all hands were disaffected by the example of the ringleaders - only some more, some less: and a few, being good fellows in the main, could neither be led nor driven any further. It is one thing to be idle and skulk, and quite another to take a ship and murder a number of innocent men.

At last, however, the party was made up. Six fellows were to stay on board, and the remaining thirteen, including Silver, began to embark.

Then it was that there came into my head the first of the mad notions that contributed so much to save our lives. If six men were left by Silver, it was plain our party could not take and fight the ship; and since only six were left, it was equally plain that the cabin party had no present need of my assistance. It occurred to me at once to go ashore. In a jiffy I had slipped over the side, and curled up in the fore- sheets of the nearest boat, and almost at the same moment she shoved off.

No one took notice of me, only the bow oar saying, `Is that you, Jim? Keep your head down.' But Silver, from the other boat, looked sharply over and called out to know if that were me; and from that moment I began to regret what I had done.

The crews raced for the beach; but the boat I was in, having some start, and being at once the lighter and the better manned, shot far ahead of her consort, and the bow had struck among the shoreside trees, and I had caught a branch at swung myself out, and plunged into the nearest thicket, while Silver and the rest were still a hundred yards behind.

`Jim, Jim!' I heard him shouting.

But you may suppose I paid no heed; jumping, ducking and breaking through, I ran straight before my nose, till could run no longer

次日清晨,我走上甲板一看,那个岛完全变了样。虽然现在风已全息,我们在夜里还是前进了一大段路,眼下正停在距离低矮的东岸东南方约半英里远的地方。灰色调的树林覆盖了岛的表面的很大部分。诚然,一条条带状的黄沙低地和许多松杉科的大树也破坏了这均匀的色调,这些大树或卓然独立,或三五成群,高高地凌驾于其他树木之上;但总的色彩是单调、阴郁的,在树林上面,清晰地矗立着小山顶端那光秃秃的岩石。所有的山都是奇形怪状的,而那座高达三四百英尺的全岛最高峰“望远镜山”的轮廓也最为奇特,它高高耸立,几乎每一面山坡都很陡峭,但是到了顶上却突然削平,好像一座安放雕像的平台。

随着伊斯班袅拉号船身的摆动,排水孔几乎没到了水下。帆的下桁像要把滑车扯下来,舵左碰右撞,砰然作响。整个船身辗轧着、呻吟着、颠簸着,如同一所作坊。我不得不紧紧抓住后牵索,只觉得眼前天旋地转。因为我虽然在航行时适应了海上的颠晃,但像这样站在那里像只瓶子似地转,站稳不发晕的本事我还没学会,特别是在早上空腹的时候。

可能是因为这个——也就是这个岛屿的模样,包括它灰色、忧郁的林子和岩石裸露的峰顶,以及我们可以看到和听见的浪击陡岸的飞沫和轰鸣——总之,尽管日头照着,明媚而和暖,岸上的鸟绕着我们四周鸣叫着捕食鱼类,你会想到,在经过了这么长时间的海上航行后,任何一个人都会兴高采烈地上岸去走走,但是,就像俗语说的,我的心沉到了底;从第一眼见到陆地起,我一想到这个宝岛就厌恶透顶。

我们有一上午的枯燥工作要做,因为一丝风也没有,必须放下小划子,载上人,用绳索拖着大船走上三四英里绕过岛角,通过那狭窄的入口,进入到骷髅岛后面的港湾。我自告奋勇地上了其中的一个划子,当然,我并没有多少事可做。天气热得使人发昏,人们一边干一边发出强烈的抱怨。安德森是我这条划子上的头头,他非但不使船员们保持秩序,反而同那最能骂的人一样大声地发着牢骚。

“瞧着吧,”他说,夹着一声诅咒,“长不了啦。”

我想这是个极坏的征兆,因为,直到这天以前,人们都干得很欢,并且都心甘情愿地,但一看到这个岛,纪律的约束就松弛了。

高个子约翰一路上站在舵手旁边指引大船进港。他对这个入口了如指掌。尽管测水的人用测链测得的水深每一处都比图上标的深些,约翰却一次都没犹豫过。

“退潮时这里水冲得急,”他说,“把这里的入口挖了,可以说就像铲子铲似的。”

我们在图上标的锚地下了错,离主岛和骷髅岛两岸各约三分之一英里。水底是干净的沙砾。我们抛锚的响声惊起了成群的飞鸟,它们在林子上空盘旋着、鸣叫着,但是不到一分钟的工夫又都落了下来,一切又归于沉寂。

这个地方完全被陆地包围着,被树林所掩蔽,树木一直长到满潮时的水位。海滩非常的平坦,小山这儿一座、那儿一座地矗立在一段距离之外,形成了个圆形剧场的形状。两条小河,或者不如说是两个沼泽,汇人了这个池塘,要是你想这么叫这个港湾的话。而环绕这一带的岸上的植物叶子都泛着有毒的光泽。从船上我们什么都看不到,既没有房屋,也没有栅栏,因为它们都被遮蔽在丛林中了。要不是随身带的那张地图,我们几乎以为自己是这个岛露出海面以来头一个在此下错的哩。

空气纹丝不动,除了半英里外惊涛拍岸、撞击峭壁的轰鸣,再没有别的声音了。锚地笼罩着一股特殊的霉味——一股叶子潮湿和树于腐烂的气味。我注意到医生嗅了又嗅,就像一个人在闻一只臭鸡蛋。

“我不知道有没有什么宝藏,”他说,“但我以我的假发打赌,这里肯定有热病。”

要说水手们在划子上的举动已是一种警告的话,那么当他们来到大船上时就变成一种真正的威胁了。他们聚在甲板上纷纷议论着。命令他们做任何一点小事都会招来冷眼,即使一时遵命去做了,也是勉勉强强、漫不经心的。即便最老实的人也受到了感染,因为船上没有一个能去纠正别人行为的人。显然,哗变像块雷雨前的乌云一般笼罩在我们上方。

但并不只是我们这帮特舱里的人察觉到了危机。高个子约翰从一堆人的身边走到另一堆人的身边,卖力地活动着,竭尽全力地劝说着,做出任何人都不可能比他更好的榜样的姿态。他在积极主动和温顺谦恭方面做了超水平的发挥;他对每一个人都微笑。一旦一项命令发布,约翰就会马上架着他的拐,用世界上最欢快的腔调应道:“是,是,先生!”而当没有什么事可做的时候,他就一支接一支地唱歌,似乎想掩盖其余人的不满。

在那个阴郁的下午表露出的所有阴郁的征兆中,高个子约翰表现出的这种明显的焦虑是那最坏的。

我们在特舱中举行了一次军事会议。

“阁下,”船长说,“要是我冒险再下一道命令,全船人就会立刻来造我们的反。你看,阁下,情况就是如此,我受到了无礼的顶撞,不是吗?好,要是我回嘴,一眨眼就会刀枪相见;要是我不,西尔弗就会看出里面有鬼,计划就会泡汤。现在,我们只有一个人可以依靠。”

“这又是谁呢?”乡绅问。

“西尔弗,阁下,”船长答道,“他和你我一样急于把事情平息下去。这是他们之间的小小分歧,一旦他有机会,就会说服他们,而我打算做的就是给他这种机会。我们将准许船员们到岸上呆一个下午。要是他们全都上岸的话,我们就可以据守住大船来作战。要是他们谁也不去,好吧,那我们就把住特舱,上帝保卫正义的一方。要是他们中的一些人上岸,你记住我的话,阁下,西尔弗会把他们像带领绵羊似的带回到船上来。”

事情就这么定了。装好弹药的手枪全都发给了忠实可靠的人;亨特、乔埃斯和雷卓斯使我们信心大增,因为当他们听到消息后并没怎么惊讶,而且精神比我们预想的要好。于是船长就走到甲板上向船员们讲话。

“弟兄们,”他说,“我们遇到了个大热天,全都累坏了,精神不佳。到岸上走走对任何人都没有坏处——划子仍在水里,只要你们愿意,可乘划子到岸上去呆一个下午。日落前半小时我将鸣枪召唤你们返船。”

我相信这些愚蠢的家伙们一定以为一到岸上宝藏便垂手可得;因为他们所有的温怒立刻一扫而光,发出的欢呼声在远山激起了回响,再一次地惊起了鸟群,在锚地上空盘旋着惊叫不已。

船长太明智了,决不碍他们的事。他一转眼就走开了,留下了西尔弗他们,由西尔弗来安排;我想他这样做也好。要是他留在甲板上,他就无法再装聋作哑。这一点明白如昼。西尔弗是船长,而且手下有一帮图谋叛乱的船员。老实的人手——很快我就得到证实,船上还确有这样的人在——一定是些很迟钝的家伙。或许,我进一步猜想,事情的真相是,所有的人手都被坏头头带坏了——只是有些程度重些有些程度轻些而已,极少数几个大体上还是好人,他们不愿被利诱或威胁着走得太远。吊儿郎当、睁一只眼闭一只眼是一回事,而夺船、谋害大批无辜的性命则完全是另一码事。

最后,不管怎么说,这帮人总算分派好了。六个人留在大船上,其余的十三个,包括西尔弗,开始上划子。

这时我的脑海中产生出第一个疯狂的念头——多亏它,我们后来才得以逃生。既然西尔弗留下了六个人,显然我们这帮人不能把船夺过来;但既然只留下了六个人,同样也很清楚,特舱这边也不是非用我帮忙不可。我立刻想到了上岸。眨眼间我便溜过了船舷,把身子蜷在最近的一条划子的船头板下,几乎就在同时,它就出发了。

没有人注意到我,只是船首的桨手说了句:“是你吗,吉姆?把头低下。”但是西尔弗从另一条划子上敏锐地扫视过来,喊了一声,以便确定是否是我;从那一刻起,我开始后悔这样做了。

水手们竞先向岸划去,但是我乘的划子,由于起划略早,舟身较轻,配备的桨手好一些,远远地划在它的同伴的前头,船首一头插在岸上的树丛里,于是我一把拽住根枝条,荡了出去,接着便钻进了最近的灌木丛,这时西尔弗和其余的人还在身后一百码的地方哩。“吉姆!吉姆!”我听他在喊。

但是你猜得到,我是不会理会的。我连蹦带跳地躲闪着,向前钻,笔直地飞跑着,直到再也跑不动了为止


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