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宝岛(Treasure Island) 十四 第一次打击

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

I WAS so pleased at having given the slip to Long John, that I began to enjoy myself and look around me with some interest on the strange land that I was in.

I had crossed a marshy tract full of willows, bulrushes, and odd, outlandish, swampy trees; and I had now come out upon the skirts of an open piece of undulating, sandy country, about a mile long, dotted with a few pines, and a great number of contorted trees, not unlike the oak in growth, but pale in the foliage, like willows. On the far side of the open stood one of the hills, with two quaint, craggy peaks, shining vividly in the sun.

I now felt for the first time the joy of exploration. The isle was uninhabited; my shipmates I had left behind, and nothing lived in front of me but dumb brutes and fowls. I turned hither and thither among the trees. Here and there were flowering plants, unknown to me; here and there I saw snakes, and one raised his head from a ledge of rock and hissed at me with a noise not unlike the spinning of a top. Little did I suppose that he was a deadly enemy, and that the noise was the famous rattle.

Then I came to a long thicket of these oak-like trees - live, or evergreen, oaks, I heard afterwards they should be called - which grew low along the sand like brambles, the boughs curiously twisted, the foliage compact, like thatch. The thicket stretched down from the top of one of the sandy knolls, spreading and growing taller as it went, until it reached the margin of the broad, reedy fen, through which the nearest of the little rivers soaked its way into the anchorage. The marsh was steaming in the strong sun, and the outline of the Spy-glass trembled through the haze.

All at once there began to go a sort of bustle among the bulrushes; a wild duck flew up with a quack, another followed, and soon over the whole surface of the marsh a great cloud of birds hung screaming and circling in the air. I judged at once that some of my shipmates must be drawing near along the borders of the fen. Nor was I deceived; for soon I hear the very distant and low tones of a human voice, which, I continued to give ear, grew steadily louder and nearer. This put me in a great fear, and I crawled under cover of the nearest live-oak, and squatted there, hearkening, as silent as a mouse.

Another voice answered; and then the first voice, which now recognised to be Silver's, once more took up the store and ran on for a long while in a stream, only now and again interrupted by the other. By the sound they must have bee talking earnestly, and almost fiercely; but no distinct word came to my hearing.

At last the speakers seemed to have paused, and perhaps to have sat down; for not only did they cease to draw an nearer, but the birds themselves began to grow more quiet and to settle again to their places in the swamp.

And now I began to feel that I was neglecting my business' that since I had been so foolhardy as to come ashore with these desperadoes, the least I could do was to overhear them at their councils; and that my plain and obvious duty was to draw' as close as I could manage, under the favourable ambush c the crouching trees.

I could tell the direction of the speakers pretty exactly, not only by the sound of their voices, but by the behaviour of the few birds that still hung in alarm above the heads of the intruders.

Crawling on all-fours, I made steadily but slowly toward them; till at last, raising my head to an aperture among the leaves, I could see clear down into a little green dell beside the marsh, and closely set about with trees, where Long John Silver and another of the crew stood face to face in conversation.

The sun beat full upon them. Silver had thrown his ha beside him on the ground, and his great, smooth, blond fact all shining with heat, was lifted to the other man's in a kin' of appeal.

`Mate,' he was saying, `it's because I thinks gold dust of you - gold dust, and you may lay to that! If I hadn't too to you like pitch, do you think I'd have been here a-warning of you? All's up - you can't make nor mend; it's to save your neck that I'm a-speaking, and if one of the wild 'uns knew it, where 'ud I be, Tom - now, tell me, where 'ud I be?'

`Silver,' said the other man - and I observed he was not only red in the face, but spoke as hoarse as a crow, and his voice shook, too, like a taut rope - Silver,' says he, `you're old, and you're honest, or has the name for it; and you've money, too, which lots of poor sailors hasn't; and you're brave, or I'm mistook. And will you tell me you'll let yourself be led away with that kind of a mess of swabs? not you! As sure as God sees me, I'd sooner lose my hand. If I turn agin my dooty--'

And then all of a sudden he was interrupted by a noise. I had found one of the honest hands - well, here, at that same moment, came news of another. Far away out in the marsh there arose, all of a sudden, a sound like the cry of anger, then another on the back of it; and then one horrid, long-drawn scream. The rocks of the Spy-glass re-echoed it a score of times; the whole troop of marsh-birds rose again, darkening heaven, with a simultaneous whirr; and long after that death yell was still ringing in my brain, silence had re-established its empire, and only the rustle of the redescending birds and the boom of the distant surges disturbed the languor of the afternoon.

Tom had leaped at the sound, like a horse at the spur; but Silver had not winked an eye. He stood where he was, resting lightly on his crutch, watching his companion like a snake about to spring.

`John!' said the sailor, stretching out his hand.

`Hands off!' cried Silver, leaping back a yard, as it seemed to me, with the speed and security of a trained gymnast.

`Hands off, if you like, John Silver,' said the other. `It's a black conscience that can make you feared of me. But, in heaven's name, tell me what was that?'

`That?' returned Silver, smiling away, but warier than ever, his eye a mere pin-point in his big face, but gleaming like a crumb of glass. `That? Oh, I reckon that'll be Alan.'

And at this poor Tom flashed out like a hero.

`Alan!' he cried. `Then rest his soul for a true seaman! And as for you, John Silver, long you've been a mate of mine, but you're mate of mine no more. If I die like a dog, I'll die in my dooty. You've killed Alan, have you? Kill me too, if you can. But I defies you.'

And with that, this brave fellow turned his back directly on the cook, and set off walking for the beach. But he was not destined to go far. With a cry, John seized the branch of a tree, whipped the crutch out of his armpit, and sent that uncouth missile hurtling through the air. It struck poor Tom point foremost, and with stunning violence, right between the shoulders in the middle of his back. His hands flew up, he gave a sort of gasp, and fell.

Whether he were injured much or little, none could ever tell. Like enough, to judge from the sound, his back was broken on the spot. But he had no time given him to recover Silver, agile as a monkey, even without leg or crutch, was on the top of him next moment, and had twice buried his knife up to the hilt in that defenceless body. From my place of ambush, I could hear him pant aloud as he struck the blows.

I do not know what it rightly is to faint, but I do know that for the next little while the whole world swam away from before me in a whirling mist; Silver and the birds, and the tall Spy-glass hill-top, going round and round and topsy-turvy before my eyes, and all manner of bells ringing and distant voices shouting in my ear.

When I came again to myself, the monster had pulled himself together, his crutch under his arm, his hat upon his head. Just before him Tom lay motionless upon the sward; but the murderer minded him not a whit, cleansing his bloodstained knife the while upon a wisp of grass. Everything else was unchanged, the sun still shining mercilessly on the steaming marsh and the tall pinnacle of the mountain, and I could scarce persuade myself that murder had been actually done, and a human life cruelly cut short a moment since, before my eyes.

But now John put his hand into his pocket, brought out a whistle, and blew upon it several modulated blasts, that rang far across the heated air. I could not tell, of course, the meaning of the signal; but it instantly awoke my fears. More men would be coming. I might be discovered. They had already slain two of the honest people; after Tom and Alan, might not I come next?

Instantly I began to extricate myself and crawl back again, with what speed and silence I could manage, to the more open portion of the wood. As I did so, I could hear hails coming and going between the old buccaneer and his comrades, and this sound of danger lent me wings. As soon as I was clear of the thicket, I ran as I never ran before, scarce minding the direction of my flight, so long as it led me from the murderers; and as I ran, fear grew and grew upon me, until it turned into a kind of frenzy.

Indeed, could anyone be more entirely lost than I? When the gun fired, how should I dare to go down to the boats among those fiends, still smoking from their crime? Would not the first of them who saw me wring my neck like a snipe's? Would not my absence itself be an evidence to them of my alarm, and therefore of my fatal knowledge? It was all over, I thought. Good-bye to the Hispaniola, good-bye to the squire, the doctor, and the captain! There was nothing left for me but death by starvation, or death by the hands of the mutineers.

All this while, as I say, I was still running, and, without taking any notice, I had drawn near to the foot of the little hill with the two peaks, and had got into a part of the island where the live-oaks grew more widely apart, and seemed more like forest trees in their bearing and dimensions. Mingled with these were a few scattered pines, some fifty, some nearer seventy, feet high. The air, too, smelt more freshly than down beside the marsh.

And here a fresh alarm brought me to a standstill with a thumping heart

从高个子约翰手下溜掉,我得意极了,开始兴致勃勃地欣赏起我登上的这块陌生的陆地的风光来。

我穿过了一大片长满杨柳、芦苇和许多古怪的、我不认得的植物的沼泽地,现在我来到了一片约一英里长的起伏不平的沙地的边缘。这里点缀着少量的松树,还有大量的长得歪歪扭扭的树,样子略似橡树,叶色则淡如杨柳。在这片开阔地带的远处,矗立着一座双峰小山,它的两个嶙峋的峰顶在阳光下闪闪发光。

我现在头一次尝到了探险的乐趣。这个小岛无人居住,我的船友们又被我甩到了后面,前面除了不会说话的鸟兽外,也并无别的活物。我在树木间东走西转。到处都是我叫不出名目的开花植物,还到处有蛇,有一条从凸出来的岩石边上昂起了头,向我发出像陀螺飞转时的嘶嘶声。我丝毫没想到它会是个死敌,而那声音正是大名鼎鼎的响尾蛇的特征。

接着我走进一条长长的灌木林带,那里尽是些状似橡树的树——后来我听说它们叫做长生或长青橡树,它们像黑莓那样矮矮地蔓延在沙地上,枝条奇特地扭曲着,树叶密得像茅草一样。这条灌木林带从一个沙丘顶上延伸下来,愈往下树长得就愈高,铺开得也愈广,一直到了一片开阔的、长满芦苇的沼地边缘,附近的一条小河就是从这里流向锚地的。沼泽在毒日头下泛着气泡,望远镜山的轮廓就在这蒸腾的雾气中微微颤动。

芦苇丛里骤然响起了一阵喧闹声。一只野鸭嘎的一声飞了起来,跟着又飞起来一只,很快,整个沼地上空便黑压压地布满了这尖叫着盘旋的飞鸟。我立刻作出判断,这一定是和我同船的一些船友正沿着沼地的边缘向这边靠来。果然不出所料,因为很快我就远远地听到一个人低低的说话声,当我继续侧耳倾听的时候,这声音便愈来愈大、愈来愈近了。

这可把我吓坏了,于是我爬到最近的一棵长生橡树下面,蜷伏在那里,像只耗子似的屏息静听。

另一个声音答话了;于是前面那个声音——现在我已辨认出是西尔弗的声音——又继续絮叨起来,滔滔不绝地讲了半天,只是偶尔被另一个声音打断一下。从语气上听来,他们谈得很认真,几乎可以说是激烈,但是我听不清他们到底在谈什么。

最后双方似乎都住了口,可能是坐下来了,因为不仅他们没有走得更近,而且鸟儿们也开始安静下来,在沼地里重新栖息下来。

这时我才开始意识到自己的失职,既然我如此莽撞地跟着这些亡命徒上了岸,至少我应当去偷听一下他们的集会;这样,摆在我面前的明显、直接的任务就是,在那些歪歪扭扭的树木的掩蔽下,尽可能地爬得离他们近些。

我能相当准确地辨别出谈话人所在的方向,不仅是通过他们的声音,还根据鸟儿的动静,因为仍有几只鸟在侵入者的头顶上惊恐地盘旋着。我四肢着地、缓慢而坚定地向着他们爬去,直到最后,我抬头向叶隙中望去,能够清晰地看到下面沼地旁一小块绿色的谷地;高个子约翰和另一个水手正面对面地站在那里谈话。

太阳直射在他们身上。西尔弗已经把他的帽子扔到了他旁边的地上,他的光滑、白皙的大脸盘正热切地闪着光,对着另一个人的脸,作出一副恳求的表情。

“伙计,”他正在说,“这正是因为我看你是尘土里的金子——尘土里的金子,你要明白这一点!要不是我特别喜欢你,你想我会在这里向你报警吗?一切都已成定局——你再也改变不了这局面了;我的话是要你保住脑袋,要是被那些野家伙中的一个知道了,他们会怎样拾援我,汤姆——嗯,你说说看,他们会怎样拾援我?”

“西尔弗,”另一个人说——我看到他不仅涨红了脸,嗓音也像乌鸦似的沙哑,而巴还像绷紧的绳索般发颤——“西尔弗,”他说,“你老了,又是个正派人,至少有这么个名声;你也有钱,这是许多穷水手所没有的;要是我没看错,你又敢作敢为。难道你是想告诉我,你要被那些乌七八糟的无赖牵着走吗?你犯不着!上天明鉴,我宁可马上失掉我的手,要是我背叛我的职责——”

接下来,他突然被一个吵嚷声打断了。我刚刚发现了一个正直的水手——就在这里,而与此同时,又传来了另一个消息。在沼地老远的那边蓦地响起了一声愤怒的叫喊,接着又是一声,然后便是一声可怕的、拖长的惨叫,在望远镜山的山岩激起了好几声回响,沼地的鸟再次成群地振翅惊飞,把天都遮住了。过后很久,这临死前的呼号还在我的脑海中回响,虽然周围又复归寂静,只有归鸟人塘的扑翼声和远处的涛声打破着午后的沉寂。

汤姆听到这叫喊,像马被靴刺踢了似地跳了起来,但是西尔弗连眼睛都没眨一下。他站在原地,轻松地倚着他的拐,像一条伺机进攻的蛇一样注视着他的同伴。

“约翰!”那个叫汤姆的水手说,伸出了他的手。

“住手!”西尔弗叫道,跳后了一码,在我看来,迅捷、平稳,犹如熟练的体操家。

“听你的,住手可以,约翰·西尔弗,”另一个说道,“是你心里有鬼,才会害怕我。但是,看在上帝分上,告诉我那边怎么了?”

“那边?”西尔弗微笑着答道,但比以前更戒备了,他的眼睛在他的大脸盘上不过针尖大小,但却像玻璃屑般地发着光。“那边?哦,我估计是艾伦。”

听了这个,可怜的汤姆像个英雄似地振奋起来。

“艾伦!”他叫道,“愿这个正直的人的灵魂得到安息!至于你,约翰·西尔弗,长久以来你一直是我的弟兄,但从今往后你再也不是了。即使我像条狗似地惨死,我也要死在我的岗位上。你们已经杀死了艾伦,对不对?也杀了我吧,只要你做得到。但是我不把你们放在眼里。”

说完,这个勇敢的人转身背对着厨子向岸边走去。但是他注定走不了多远。随着一声嚎叫,约翰攀住一根树枝,把他的拐杖猛地掷了出去,这支原始的投枪呼地在空中飞过,它的尖端向前,击中了可怜的汤姆,力猛无比,正中两肩中央的背脊。他的双手向上张开,发出一种喘息,倒下了。

他伤得是轻还是重,我无从得知。从声音推断,他的那段背脊很可能被当场击断了。但他连恢复知觉的时间都没给留下。西尔弗虽然缺了一条腿和拐杖,却敏捷得像个猿猴,一眨眼就跳到了他的身上,将一把刀子两次齐柄戳进这个已经丧失抵抗力的躯体里。从我隐蔽的地方,可以听见他在行凶时发出的呼呼的喘息。

我不知道晕厥是怎样一回事,但我确实知道,接下来有片刻工夫,整个世界在我面前天旋地转;西尔弗、乌、高高的望远镜山峰顶,一圈又一圈地转,在我眼前颠来倒去,在我的耳朵里,万钟齐鸣,还有远远传来的人的喊叫。

当我缓过劲儿来的时候,那个魔鬼已恢复了常态,拐夹到了胳膊底下,帽子戴到了头上。就在他面前,汤姆一动不动地躺在草地上,但是这个凶手看都不看他一眼,只顾用一把草擦拭他那把带着血污的刀。其余的一切都没有变化,太阳仍旧无情地炙烤着那冒着气的沼泽和高高的山尖,而我几乎不能相信,就在我的眼皮底下,就在一刻前,的的确确发生了凶杀,一个人的生命就这样残忍地被剥夺了。

但是这会儿约翰把手放到了口袋里,掏出了个哨子,用它吹了几个不同的音调,那声音就在炎热的空气中传播开了。当然,我说不上来这个信号的含义,但它立刻唤醒了我的恐惧。更多的人将会来到这里。我可能被发现。他们已经于掉两个正派人了,在汤姆和艾伦之后,会不会要轮到我?

我立刻开始逃命,以最快的速度、屏住呼吸、轻手轻脚地向回爬,直向林中比较开阔的地带爬去。当我正爬着的时候,我可以听到那个老海盗正和他的伙伴们互相打着招呼,这危险的声音使我像长了翅膀一样地快起来。一离开丛林,我就以前所未有的速度跑起来,几乎不去辨别跑的方向,只要能离开那些凶手们就好;而当我跑时,恐惧却愈来愈大,最后到了几乎发狂的地步。

事实上,有谁能比我更倒霉?当鸣枪返船的时候,我怎么敢和那些沾满了血腥的魔鬼们一起坐在划子里?他们中谁若是看到我,难道不会把我像只鹭鸶似的拧断脖子?但若是我不在,不就又为他们提供了一个证据,说明我有所察觉、知晓内幕?全完了,我想。再见了,伊斯班袅拉号;再见了,乡绅、医生,还有船长!除了被饿死,或被叛乱之手杀死,我别无出路了。

在我涌出这些念头的时候,就像我说的,我仍然在奔跑,不知不觉来到那座双峰小山的山脚下,进入了岛上这样的一个地带:那里分布着更广大的长生橡树,从姿态和面积上看,更像是林木。中间夹着几株松树,有些高五十尺,有些则将近七十尺。空气也比下面的沼地清新一些。

而就在这里,一种新的危险吓得我不能动弹,心怦怦直跳


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