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宝岛(Treasure Island) 三十二 猎宝记——树丛中的人声

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

PARTLY from the damping influence of this alarm, partly to rest Silver and the sick folk, the whole party sat down as soon as they had gained the brow of the ascent.

The plateau being somewhat tilted towards the west, this spot on which we had paused commanded a wide prospect on either hand. Before us, over the tree-tops, we beheld the Cape of the Woods fringed with surf; behind, we not only looked down upon the anchorage and Skeleton Island, but saw - clear across the spit and the eastern lowlands - a great field of open sea upon the east. Sheer above us rose the Spy-glass, here dotted with single pines, there black with precipices. There was no sound but that of the distant breakers, mounting from all round, and the chirp of countless insects in the brush. Not a man, not a sail upon the sea; the very largeness of the view increased the sense of solitude.

Silver, as he sat, took certain bearings with his compass.

`There are three "tall trees" ' said he, `about in the right line from Skeleton Island. "Spy-glass Shoulder," I take it, means that lower p'int there. It's child's play to find the stuff now. I've half a mind to dine first.'

`I don't feel sharp,' growled Morgan. `Thinkin' o' Flint - I think it were - as done me.'

`Ah, well, my son, you praise your stars he's dead,' said Silver.

`He were an ugly devil,' cried a third pirate, with a shudder; `that blue in the face, too!'

`That was how the rum took him,' added Merry. `Blue! well, I reckon he was blue. That's a true word.'

Ever since they had found the skeleton and got upon this train of thought, they had spoken lower and lower, and they had almost got to whispering by now, so that the sound of their talk hardly interrupted the silence of the wood. All of a sudden, out of the middle of the trees in front of us, a thin, high, trembling voice struck up the well-known air and words:-


`Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--
You-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!'

I never have seen men more dreadfully affected than the pirates. The colour went from their six faces like enchantment; some leaped to their feet, some clawed hold of others; Morgan grovelled on the ground.

`It's Flint, by - !' cried Merry.

The song had stopped as suddenly as it began - broken off, you would have said, in the middle of. a note, as though someone had laid his hand upon the singer's mouth. Coming so far through the clear, sunny atmosphere among the green tree-tops, I thought it had sounded airily and sweetly; and the effect on my companions was the stranger.

`Come,' said Silver, struggling with his ashen lips to get the word out, `this won't do. Stand by to go about. This is a rum start, and I can't name the voice: but it's someone skylarking - someone that's flesh and blood, and you may lay to that.'

His courage had come back as he spoke, and some of the colour to his face along with it. Already the others had begun to lend an ear to this encouragement, and were coming a little to themselves, when the same voice broke out again - not this time singing, but in a fainter distant hail, that echoed yet faint among the clefts of the Spy-glass.

`Darby M'Graw,' it wailed - for that is the word that best describes the sound - `Darby M'Graw! Darby M'Graw!' again and again and again; and then rising a little higher, and with an oath that I leave out, `Fetch aft the rum, Darby!'

The buccaneers remained rooted to the ground, their eyes starting from their heads. Long after the voice had died away they still stared in silence, dreadfully, before them.

`That fixes it!' gasped one. `Let's go.'

`They was his last words,' moaned Morgan, `his last words above board.'

Dick had his Bible out, and was praying volubly. He had been well brought up, had Dick, before he came to sea and fell among bad companions.

Still, Silver was unconquered. I could hear his teeth rattle in his head; but he had not yet surrendered.

`Nobody in this here island ever heard of Darby,' he muttered; `not one but us that's here.' And then, making a great effort, `Shipmates,' he cried, `I'm here to get that stuff, and I'll not be beat by man nor devil. I never was feared of Flint in his life, and, by the powers, I'll face him dead. There's seven hundred thousand pound not a quarter of a mile from here. When did ever a gentleman o' fortune show his stern to that much dollars, for a boosy old seaman with a blue mug - and him dead, too?'

But there was no sign of re-awakening courage in his followers; rather, indeed, of growing terror at the irreverence of his words.

`Belay there, John!' said Merry. `Don't you cross a sperrit.'

And the rest were all too terrified to reply. They would have run away severally had they dared; but fear kept them together, and kept them close by John, as if his daring helped them. He, on this part, had pretty well fought his weakness down.

`Sperrit? Well, maybe,' he said. `But there's one thing not clear to me. There was an echo. Now, no man ever seen a sperrit with a shadow; well, then, what's he doing with an echo to him, I should like to know? That aint in natur', surely?'

This argument seemed weak enough to me. But you can never tell what will affect the superstitious, and, to my wonder, George Merry was greatly relieved.

`Well, that's so,' he said. `You've a head upon your shoulders, John, and no mistake. `Bout ship, mates! This here crew is on a wrong tack, I do believe. And come to think on it, it was like Flint's voice, I grant you, but not just so clearaway like it, after all. It was liker somebody else's voice now - it was liker--'

`By the powers, Ben Gunn!' roared Silver.

`Ay, and so it were,' cried Morgan, springing on his knees. `Ben Gunn it were!'

`It don't make much odds, do it, now?' asked Dick. `Ben Gunn's not here in the body, any more'n Flint.'

But the older hands greeted this remark with scorn.

`Why nobody minds Ben Gunn,' cried Merry; `dead or alive, nobody minds him.'

It was extraordinary how their spirits had returned, and how the natural colour had revived in their faces. Soon they were chatting together, with intervals of listening; and not long after, hearing no further sound, they shouldered the tools and set forth again, Merry walking first with Silver's compass to keep them on the right line with Skeleton Island. He had said the truth: dead or alive, nobody minded Ben Gunn.

Dick alone still held his Bible, and looked around him as he went, with fearful glances; but he found no sympathy, and Silver even joked him on his precautions.

`I told you,' said he - `I told you, you had sp'iled your Bible. If it aint no good to swear by, what do you suppose a sperrit would give for it? Not that!' and he snapped his big fingers, halting a moment on his crutch.

But Dick was not to be comforted; indeed, it was soon plain to me that the lad was falling sick; hastened by heat, exhaustion, and the shock of his alarm, the fever, predicted by Doctor Livesey, was evidently growing swiftly higher.

It was fine open walking here, upon the summit; our way lay a little downhill, for, as I have said, the plateau tilted towards the west. The pines, great and small, grew wide apart; and even between the clumps of nutmeg and azalea, wide open spaces baked in the hot sunshine. Striking, as we did, pretty near north- west across the island, we drew, on the one hand ever nearer under the shoulders of the Spy-glass, and on the other, looked ever wider over that western bay where I had once tossed and trembled in the coracle.

The first of the tall trees was reached, and by the bearing, proved the wrong one. So with the second. The third rose nearly two hundred feet into the air above a clump of underwood; a giant of a vegetable, with a red column as big as a cottage, and a wide shadow around in which a company could have manoeuvred. It was conspicuous far to sea both on the east and west, and might have been entered as a sailing mark upon the chart.

But it was not its size that now impressed my companions; it was the knowledge that seven hundred thousand pounds in gold lay somewhere buried below its spreading shadow. The thought of the money, as they drew nearer, swallowed up their previous terrors. Their eyes burned in their heads; their feet grew speedier and lighter; their whole soul was bound up in that fortune, that whole lifetime of extravagance and pleasure, that lay waiting there for each of them.

Silver hobbled, grunting, on his crutch; his nostrils stood out and quivered; he cursed like a madman when the flies settled on his hot and shiny countenance; he plucked furiously at the line that held me to him, and, from time to time, turned his eyes upon me with a deadly look. Certainly he took no pains to hide his thoughts; and certainly I read them like print. In the immediate nearness of the gold, all else had been forgotten; his promise and the doctor's warning were both things of the past; and I could not doubt that he hoped to seize upon the treasure, find and board the Hispaniola under cover of night, cut every honest throat about that island, and sail away as he had at first intended, laden with crimes and riches.

Shaken as I was with these alarms, it was hard for me to keep up with the rapid pace of the treasure- hunters. Now and again I stumbled; and it was then that Silver plucked so roughly at the rope and launched at me his murderous glances. Dick, who had dropped behind us, and now brought up the rear, was babbling to himself both prayers and curses, as his fever kept rising. This also added to my wretchedness, and, to crown all, I was haunted by the thought of the tragedy that had once been acted on that plateau, when that ungodly buccaneer with the blue face - he who died at Savannah, singing and shouting for drink - had there, with his own hand, cut down his six accomplices. This grove, that was now so peaceful, must then have rung with cries, I thought; and even with the thought I could believe I heard it ringing still.

We were now at the margin of the thicket.

`Huzza, mates, altogether!' shouted Merry; and the foremost broke into a run.

And suddenly, not ten yards further, we beheld them stop. A low cry arose. Silver doubled his pace, digging away with the foot of his crutch like one possessed; and next moment he and I had come also to a dead halt.

Before us was a great excavation, not very recent, for the sides had fallen in and grass had sprouted on the bottom. In this were the shaft of a pick broken in two and the boards of several packing-cases strewn around. On one of these boards I saw, branded with a hot iron, the name Walrus - the name of Flint's ship.

All was clear to probation. The cache had been found and rifled: the seven hundred thousand pounds were gone!

部分是由于太紧张而迈不动步,部分是由于西尔弗和那些生病的海盗想休息一会,总之,这一伙人刚一登上高地的坡顶,就坐了下来。

高地稍稍有些向西斜,因此从我们歇脚的地方向两头都可以看得很远。在我们的前方,越过树梢可以望见森林岬角四周波浪翻腾;在我们后方,不仅看得见锚地和骷髅岛,还可以看到沙尖嘴和东岸低地外大片开阔的海面。我们头顶上耸立着望远镜山,近处的地方长有几棵独松,远处是黑乎乎的峭壁。四周一片寂静,只有远处惊涛拍击礁石的轰鸣声,还有无数昆虫在灌木丛中悉索作响。一个人影也没有,海上也不见有帆动,空旷的景象更使人感到孤独。

西尔弗坐下来,用他的罗盘测了几个方位。

“共有三棵‘大树’,”他说,“在从骷髅岛到那边的直线上。我认为所谓的‘望远镜的肩膀’就是那块低点的山顶。现在看来找到宝藏如同儿戏。我看,先在这儿吃点饭再说。”

“我肚子不饿,”摩根嘀咕道,“想起弗林特就什么也不想吃。”

“是呀,我的宝贝,他死了算是你的造化大。”

“他五得像个恶鬼,”第三个海盗说着打了个寒战,“脸铁青铁青的。”

“那都是喝朗姆酒喝的,”墨利插了一句,“铁青的脸。对,他的脸确实是铁青色的。”

自从发现了那副骨架,又想起弗林特的模样,他们害怕得说话声变得愈来愈小,后来甚至低声耳语起来,树林中仍很寂静,丝毫没受他们谈话声的干扰。摹地,从我们前方的树丛中传来了我们早已熟悉的曲调,声音又尖又高,还颤悠悠的。

  十五个汉子扒上了死人胸——哟——嗬——嗬,再来郎姆酒一大瓶,

我从未见过别人会像那群海盗那样吓得魂飞魄散。他们像中了邪似的面如死灰,有的跳将起来,有的紧紧抓住别人,摩根趴倒在地。

“那是弗林特,我的——!”墨利失声叫道。

歌声嘎然而止,如同开始时一样出乎意料,简直可以说是只唱了半拍,像是让人用手捂住了嘴。天气晴朗,阳光明媚。歌声从苍翠的树林中飘过来,我觉得悠扬动听,因此就更加不能理解为什么他们会如此害怕。“走,”西尔弗勉强说出话来,嘴唇都吓成紫灰色了,“这样可不行,起身出发!这事确实怪,我听不出是谁唱的。不过,定是个有血有肉的大活人,你们放心好了。”

他说着说着胆子就大了些,脸上也恢复了些血色。其他的人经他这么一说,也开始稳定下来。正在这时那声音又响了起来,这回不是唱歌,而是远处有气无力的呼喊声,它的回声使望远镜山的山谷显得更加空荡荡的。

“达比·麦克——格劳!”那声音简直是哀号,——我只能用这两个字来形容它。“达比·麦克——格劳!达比·麦克——格劳!”这样一遍又一遍地重复着,后来声音略高了些喊道:“达比,拿郎姆酒来!”还跟着一句脏话,我就不提了。

海盗们像脚底生了根,站在那里直翻白眼。声音消失后,又过了很长一段时间,他们还呆呆地失魂落魄地望着前方。

“这回可用不着怀疑什么了!”一个海盗心急火燎地说,“咱们快走吧。”

“这正是他咽气之前说的最后一句话。”摩根呻吟道。

狄克取出他那本《圣经》,振振有词地开始祷告。狄克在出海交上这帮坏蛋之前受过良好的教育。

然而,西尔弗未被吓倒,我听得出他的牙在上下打颤,但他没有屈服。

“除了我们这里的几个人,”他自言自语说,“这岛上没有谁听说过有达比这个人哪。”他强打起精神来叫了一声,“伙计们,我是来找宝藏的,不管是人还是鬼,都不能把我吓跑。弗林特活着时,我就没怕过他。现在,我敢说,就是他的鬼魂来,我也不怕。离这儿不到四分之一英里地,埋着价值七十万镑的财宝。身为海盗怎能撇下这么一大堆财宝,掉头逃跑呢?难道就因为害怕一个在海上混的铁青脸的老醉鬼——况且他已经死了?”

但是没有任何迹象表明他的同伙能重振旗鼓;相反,他用这样不敬的口气提到死者,使他们感到更加恐惧。

“行了,约翰!”墨利说,“别埋汰一个死鬼。”

其他人都吓得说不出一句话。他们要是敢动早就跑光了,但是因为害怕,他们不敢四处逃散,都向约翰靠拢过来,似乎他的胆量能帮助他们克服恐惧心里。西尔弗本人则已经在相当程度上消除了一时的怯弱。

“鬼?也许是鬼。”他说。“但有件事我不明白。这声音有回声,可谁见过鬼有影子,是不是?好,那么我倒想知道:鬼叫怎么会有回声呢?这难道正常吗?”

这条理由在我看来不能说明问题,但是你绝对说不出怎样才能说服迷信的人,使我惊奇的是,乔治·墨利居然相信了。

“对,有理,”他说,“你肩上长的确实是脑袋,约翰,没错。走吧!伙计们!我看我们这帮人都想歪了。现在想想看那声音是有点儿像弗林特,我承认,但并不完全一样,更像另一个人的声音,嗯,更像——”

“对了,更像本·葛恩!”西尔弗嚷了起来。

“对,就是他,”

趴在地下的摩根一下子用膝盖撑起上身。“是本·葛恩的声音!”

“这又有什么区别?”狄克问道,“本·葛恩也死了,和弗林特一样。”

但经历较多的老水手觉得他问的可笑极了。

“谁也不会在乎一个本·葛恩,”墨利说,“是死是活,都没人怕他。”

说来也怪,他们又都恢复常态,脸上又恢复了血色,不久他们又谈开了。偶尔停下来,听听,又过了一会儿,听听没再有什么动静,就扛起工具又出发了。墨利带着西尔弗的罗盘走在前头,以保证他们的方向始终与骷髅岛成一条直线。他说的是实情,不管本·葛恩是死是活,谁也不会把他放在眼里。

只有狄克一个仍然捧着他那本《圣经》,一边走一边心惊胆战地向四周张望。但没人同情他,西尔弗甚至还笑话他疑神疑鬼的。

“我跟你说过,”他说——“你已经把《圣经》弄坏了,凭着它祷告不顶用。你还指望鬼会吃你那套?甭想!”他拄着拐杖暂时停了下来,用他粗大的指头打了个响儿。

但是狄克已不可能感到舒服,我很快就看出来,这家伙病得不轻,再加上酷暑、疲惫和恐惧的催化,利弗西大夫断言的热病显然使狄克的体温急剧升高。

高地上很开阔,树木稀疏,走起来无遮无挡。刚才我说过高地略有些朝西倾斜,所以我们走的可以说是下坡路。大大小小的松树间隔很远,甚至在一丛丛的肉豆蔻和杜鹃花之间也有大片空地曝晒于烈日下。我们这样朝西北方向横贯全岛,一方面愈来愈靠近望远镜山的肩膀,另一方面也愈来愈看清楚了不久前我坐着颠簸的小艇经过的西海湾。

我们来到第一棵大树下,但经过测定方向,证明不是这棵。第二棵也是如此。第三棵松树耸立于一簇矮树丛中,约有两百英尺高。这是植物中的巨将,深红的树干有小屋那么大。宽阔的树阴下可以容得下一个连在此演习。东西两岸都清晰可见这棵树,完全可以作为航标注在地图上。

不过,他们感兴趣的倒不是这棵树的高大,而是他们知道在宽阔的松阴下埋有七十万镑的金银财宝。他们愈走愈近,先前的恐惧已被发财的念头吞噬了。他们个个红着眼睛,脚步变得又轻又快;他们的心思都在那宝藏上,向往着、等待着他们每个人的好运——一辈子的荣华富贵。

西尔弗嘟哝着一瘸一拐朝前走,鼻孔张得大大的,不住地翕动着。当苍蝇叮在他那红通通的满是汗水的脸上时,他像个疯子似地破口大骂。他凶狠地拽过把我拴在他后面的那根绳子,不时恶狠狠地瞪着我。他已没有耐心掩饰自己,我看得一清二楚。财宝近在飓尺,其余的一切都被忘得一千二净,他的承诺和医生的警告都成了过眼烟云。我确信他一定巴望着挖到宝藏,趁天黑找到伊斯班袅拉号,然后把每个好人都杀死在岛上,满载邪恶和金银扬帆出海,这正是他最初的意愿。

在这样忧心忡忡的情况下,我很难跟上猎宝者们飞快的步伐。我不时跌跌撞撞,那时西尔弗就狠呆呆地拽绳子,恶狠狠地瞪着我,眼里充满杀机。落在我们后面殿后的狄克,一会儿骂上几句一会儿又祷告一阵,但他烧的也愈来愈厉害,这更加使我感到痛苦万分,当年这片高地上上演的一幕幕惨剧死死地缠住我。我好像看到了,那个无法无天的青脸海盗(他后来死在萨凡纳,死时还唱着歌,嚷着要酒喝),在这儿亲手杀死了他的六个伙伴。现在这片树丛中如此安静,当时想必是激荡着阵阵惨叫声。我想我又听到了那惨叫声在回响。

我们已经来到丛林的边缘。

“快点,伙计们,都过来!”墨利一声呐喊,走在前头的人拼命跑过去。

忽然,不到十码远,我们就看见他们停了下来。一阵尖叫声由弱转强。西尔弗拄着拐杖,像中了邪似地飞奔上前。紧跟着,他和我都停下来,发了呆。

呈现在我们面前的是一个大土坑,不像是新挖的。坑壁已经塌下去,坑底已长出了青草。土坑里有一把断成两截的镐柄,还扔有一些货箱的破木板。我看到其中一块木板上用烙铁烙过的字样是“海象号”——这是弗林特的船名。

一望便知,宝藏已被别人发现并掠夺一空。七十万镑的财宝已经统统不翼而飞了


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