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宝岛(Treasure Island) 二十五 我降下了骷髅旗

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

I HAD scarce gained a position on the bowsprit, when the flying jib flapped and filled upon the other tack, with a report like a gun. The schooner trembled to her keel under the reverse; but next moment, the other sails still drawing, the jib flapped back again, and hung idle. This had nearly tossed me off into the sea; and now I lost no time, crawled back along the bowsprit, and tumbled head foremost on the deck. I was on the lee-side of the forecastle, and the main-sail, which was still drawing, concealed from me a certain portion of the after-deck. Not a soul was to be seen. The planks, which had not been swabbed since the mutiny, bore the print of many feet; and an empty bottle, broken by the neck, tumbled to and fro like a live thing in the scuppers. Suddenly the Hispaniola came right into the wind. The jibs behind me cracked aloud; the rudder slammed to; the whole ship gave a sickening heave and shudder, and at the same moment the main-boom swung inboard, the sheet groaning in the blocks, and showed me the lee after-deck. There were the two watchmen, sure enough: red-cap on his back, as stiff as a handspike, with his arms stretched out like those of a crucifix, and his teeth showing through his open lips; Israel Hands propped against the bulwarks, his chin on his chest, his hands lying open before him on the deck, his face as white, under its tan, as a tallow candle. For a while the ship kept bucking and sidling like a vicious horse, the sails filling, now on one tack, now on another, and the boom swinging to and fro till the mast groaned aloud under the strain. Now and again, too, there would come a cloud of light sprays over the bulwark, and a heavy blow of the ship's bows against the swell: so much heavier weather was made of it by this great rigged ship than by my homemade, lop-sided coracle, now gone to the bottom of the sea. At every jump of the schooner, red-cap slipped to and fro; but - what was ghastly to behold - neither his attitude nor his fixed teeth-disclosing grin was anyway disturbed by this rough usage. At every jump, too, Hands appeared still more to sink into himself and settle down upon the deck, his feet sliding ever the farther out, and the whole body canting towards the stern, so that his face became, little by little, hid from me; and at last I could see nothing beyond his ear and the frayed ringlet of one whisker. At the same time, I observed around both of them, splashes of dark blood upon the planks, and began to feel sure that they had killed each other in their drunken wrath. While I was thus looking and wondering, in a calm moment, when the ship was still, Israel Hands turned partly round, and, with a low moan, writhed himself back to the position in which I had seen him first. The moan, which told of pain and deadly weakness, and the way in which his jaw hung open, went right to my heart. But when I remembered the talk I had overheard from the apple barrel, all pity left me. I walked aft until I reached the mainmast. `Come aboard, Mr Hands,' I said ironically. He rolled his eyes round heavily; but he was too far gone to express surprise. All he could do was to utter one word, `Brandy.' It occurred to me there was no time to lose; and, dodging the boom as it once more lurched across the deck, I slipped aft, and down the companion-stairs into the cabin. It was such a scene of confusion as you can hardly fancy. All the lock-fast places had been broken open in quest of the chart. The floor was thick with mud, where ruffians had sat down to drink or consult after wading in the marshes round their camp. The bulkheads, all painted in clear white, and beaded round with gilt, bore a pattern of dirty hands. Dozens of empty bottles clinked together in corners to the rolling of the ship. One of the doctor's medical books lay open on the table, half of the leaves gutted out, I suppose, for pipelights. In the midst of all this the lamp still cast a smoky glow, obscure and brown as umber. I went into the cellar; all the barrels were gone, and of the bottles a most surprising number had been drunk out and thrown away. Certainly, since the mutiny began, not a man of them could ever have been sober. Foraging about, I found a bottle with some brandy left, for Hands; and for myself I routed out some biscuits, some pickled fruits, a great bunch of raisins, and a piece of cheese. With these I came on deck, put down my own stock behind the rudder-head, and well out of the coxswain's reach, went forward to the water-breaker, and had a good, deep drink of water, and then, and not till then, gave Hands the brandy. He must have drunk a gill before he took the bottle from his mouth. `Aye,' said he, `by thunder, but I wanted some o' that!' I had sat down already in my own corner and begun to eat. `Much hurt?' I asked him. He grunted, or, rather I might say, he barked. `If that doctor was aboard,' he said, `I'd be right enough in a couple of turns; but I don't have no manner of luck, you see, and that's what's the matter with me. As for that swab, he's good and dead, he is,' he added, indicating the man with the red cap. `He warn't no seaman, anyhow. And where mought you have come from?' `Well,' said I, `I've come aboard to take possession of this ship, Mr Hands; and you'll please regard me as your captain until further notice.' He looked at me sourly enough, but said nothing. Some of the colour had come back into his cheeks, though he still looked very sick, and still continued

to slip out and settle down as the ship banged about. `By-the-bye,' I continued, `I can't have these colours, Mr Hands; and, by your leave, I'll strike 'em. Better none than these.' And, again dodging the boom, I ran to the colour lines, handed down their cursed black flag, and chucked it overboard. `God save the king!' said I, wavkng my cap; `and there's an end to Captain Silver!' He watched me keenly and slyly, his chin all the while on his breast. `I reckon,' he said at last - `I reckon, Cap'n Hawkins, you'll kind of want to get ashore, now. S'pose we talks.' `Why, yes,' says I, `with all my heart, Mr Hands. Say on.' And I went back to my meal with a good appetite. `This man,' he began, nodding feebly at the corpse - `O'Brien were his name - a rank Irelander - this man and me got the canvas on her, meaning for to sail her back. Well, he's dead now, he is - as dead as bilge; and who's to sail this ship, I don't see. Without I gives you a hint, you aint that man, as far's I can tell. Now, look here, you gives me food and drink, and a old scarf or ankecher to tie my wound up, you do; and I'll tell you how to sail her; and that's about square all round, I take it.' `I'll tell you one thing,' says I: `I'm not going back to Captain Kidd's anchorage. I mean to get into North Inlet, and beach her quietly there.' `To be sure you did,' he cried. `Why, I aint sich an infernal lubber, after all. I can see, can't I? I've tried my fling, I have, and I've lost, and it's you has the wind of me. North Inlet? Why, I haven't no ch'ice, not I! I'd help you sail her up to Execution Dock, by thunder! so I would.' Well, as it seemed to me, there was some sense in this. We struck our bargain on the spot. In three minutes I had the Hispaniola sailing easily before the wind along the coast of Treasure Island, with good hopes of turning the northern point ere noon, and beating down again as far as North Inlet before high water, when we might beach her safely, and wait till the subsiding tide permitted us to land. Then I lashed the tiller and went below to my own chest, where I got a soft silk handkerchief of my mother's. With this, and with my aid, Hands bound up the great bleeding stab he had received in the thigh, and after he had eaten a little and had a swallow or two more of the brandy, he began to pick up visibly, sat straighter up, spoke louder and clearer, and looked in every way another man. The breeze served us admirably. We skimmed before it like a bird, the coast of the island flashing by, and the view changing every minute. Soon we were past the high lands and bowling beside low, sandy country, sparsely dotted with dwarf pines, and soon we were beyond that again, and had turned the corner of the rocky hill that ends the island on the north. I was greatly elated with my new command, and pleased with the bright, sunshiny weather and these different prospects of the coast. I had now plenty of water and good things to eat, and my conscience, which had smitten me hard for my desertion, was quieted by the great conquest I had made. I should, I think, have had nothing left me to desire but for the eyes of the coxswain as they followed me derisively about the deck, and the odd smile that appeared continually on his face. It was a smile that had in it something both of pain and weakness - a haggard, old man's smile; but there was, besides that, a grain of derision, a shadow of treachery, in his expression as he craftily watched, and watched, and watched me at my work

我刚攀上船头的斜桅,三角帆就像放炮似地啪的一声被风吹得张了起来,转向另一边。大船转弯时全身无处不震动。但紧接着,虽然别的帆还张着,船头的三角帆却又啪啦一声被风刮回,无力地垂下来。

这一震差一点把我抛下海去,我及时地顺着斜桅爬过去,终于一头跌倒在甲板上。

我处在水手舱背风的一侧,主帆仍张满了风,挡住了我的视线,使我看不到后甲板的一部分。船上一个人影也没有,从内乱开始以来从未洗刷过的甲板上留有许多脚印,一只空酒瓶从颈口处被摔断,活蹦乱跳地在排水孔之间滚来滚去。

突然,伊斯班袅拉号又把船头正对风口。我身后的三角帆啪的一声响,接着是舵砰然巨响,整个船猛地一抖,简直要把我的五脏六腑都翻出来了。就在这一瞬间,主帆桁晃到舷内一侧,帆脚索的滑车呻吟了一声,下风面的后甲板一下子暴露在我面前。

那里赫然是两个留守的海盗。戴红帽的那个家伙四脚朝天躺在那里一动不动,龇着牙、咧着嘴,伸着两条胳膊,像被钉在了十字架上。伊斯莱尔靠舷墙坐着,两腿笔直地伸着,下巴耷拉在胸前,双手张开平放在他面前的甲板上,棕黑色的脸已苍白如蜡。

刹那间,大船如一匹劣马腾空跃起。帆张满了风,一会向这边,一会又向那边。帆桁来回晃荡,直到帆墙难以承受,痛得嗷嗷叫。不时有阵阵浪花飞过舷墙,船头和波浪重重地撞击着。总之,这艘装备良好的大船竟然比不过我那只已沉入海底的简陋的小船稳当。因为大船晃得实在太厉害了。

船每震动一下,戴红帽的那个家伙就跟着左右滑动,叫人害怕的是:尽管船晃来晃去,他的姿势和龇牙咧嘴的怪相却丝毫不受干扰。同样,船每震动一下,汉兹的腿就伸得更远些,整个身体愈来愈靠近船尾,我渐渐看不到他的脸,最后只能看到他的一只耳朵和一络稀少蓬松的胡子。

同时,我发觉他俩身边的甲板上血痕斑斑。我开始相信他们定是酒醉后暴跳如雷,自相残杀,同归于尽了。

我正惊讶地看着这情景,船停了下来。就在这片刻安宁中,伊斯莱尔·汉兹侧过半面身子低声地呻吟了一声,扭动了一下身子后又恢复我刚才看到他时的姿势。那一声呻吟表明他很痛苦,身体处于极度虚弱状态。他张着嘴、耷拉着下巴,让我不禁怜悯起他来。但一想到我躲在苹果桶里偷听到的那些话,怜悯之心顿时化为乌有。

我朝船尾走去,到主桅前边停了下来。

“向你报到,汉兹先生。”我嘲笑着说。

他勉强转动了一下眼珠,精疲力尽的样子,已顾不得惊讶,只嘟哝着说了句:“白兰地!”

我晓得我不能耽误一分钟。在帆桁再次晃荡着掠过甲板时,我一闪身滑到船尾,顺升降口的梯子爬进船舱。

我眼前的景象是一片混乱,简直令人难以置信。凡是上锁的地方都被撬开了,显然是为了找到那张地图。地板上厚厚地沾着一层泥浆,也许那群恶棍从营地那边的沼泽地里跑回来后就坐在这里喝酒或商量怎样办。漆成纯白、嵌着金色珠粒的舱壁上留着泥手印。好几打空酒瓶随船的颠簸而丁丁当当地碰撞着,从一个角落滚到另一个角落。医生的一本医学书被平放在桌子上,一半书页已被撕掉,我猜想是用去卷烟抽了。在桌子上方有一盏被熏成咖啡色的灯还发着微弱的光。

我走进窖舱,所有的酒桶都空了。空酒瓶扔得到处都是,多得让人感到惊奇。无疑,海盗们自从内乱以来没有一人能保持头脑清醒。

我找了半天,发现了一只酒瓶里还剩下一点点白兰地,打算拿给汉兹喝;我为自己找到了一些干面包、一些水果干、一大把葡萄干和一块乳酪。我把这些吃的都带到甲板上,放在舵柄后面副水手长够不着的地方;然后来到淡水桶旁,喝了个够;最后才把那点白兰地递给汉兹。

他一口气至少喝了四分之一品脱,然后才放下酒瓶子。

“暧!”他叹了口气,“他娘的,我刚才就缺几口这玩意儿!”

我已在角落里坐下来开始吃东西。

“伤得厉害吗?”我问他。

他咕嗜了一声,听起来更像是狗叫。“要是那个大夫在船上,”他说,“我过不了多久就能好起来;可是我不走运,你看,现在落得这份田地。那个狗杂种死了,”他指了指戴红帽的那个家伙说,“他一点也不像水手。你是打哪儿来的?”

“哦,”我说,“我是来接管这艘船的,汉兹先生,在没有接到进一步指示之前,请把我看做你的船长。”

他轻蔑地看了我一眼,酸溜溜的,但什么也没说。他的两颊恢复了些血色,但是看起来还很弱,船颠簸时他的身体还继续侧向一边,贴着甲板。

“对了,”我继续说,“我不能要这面旗,汉兹先生;请允许我把它降下来。宁可不挂旗,也不能挂它。”

我再次躲过帆桁跑到旗索前,降下那该死的黑色的海盗旗,扔出船外。

“上帝保佑吾王!”我挥动帽子喊道,“让西尔弗船长见鬼去吧!”

汉兹很有心计,留心偷看我,下巴一直耷拉在胸前。

“我看,”他终于开口道,“我看,霍金斯船长,你大概打算到岸上去吧。来,让咱俩好好谈谈。”

“好哇,”我说,“我相当愿意,汉兹先生,请说下去。”我回到角落里吃东西,胃口好极了。

“这个家伙,”他向死人那边点了点头示意道,“他叫奥布赖恩,是个臭爱尔兰人。他跟我扯起了帆,打算把船开回去。现在他死了,臭气冲天的。我不知道该由谁来掌舵。要是没有我指点你,你是应付不了的。只要你供我吃喝,再给我一条围巾或手绢把我的伤口包起来,我就告诉你怎样驾驶。这叫做公平交易。”

“我可以告诉你一件事,”我说,“我不准备回到凯特船长锚地去。我打算把船开到北汊,慢慢地把船靠到岸边。”

“那好极了!”他叫了起来,“归根结底,我也不是个笨蛋,难道我看不出来吗?我赌了一次运气,结果输得好惨,让你小子占了便宜。你说把船开进北汊,那就开进北汊,反正我也没办法!哪怕让我帮你把船升到正法码头,我也听你的,妈的!”

看来他的话似乎有点道理。我们的交易就此成交。三分钟后,我已使伊斯班袅拉号沿着藏宝岛的西海岸轻松地顺风行驶,很有希望在中午以前绕过北角,然后转回东南方向,在涨潮时赶紧开进北汊,让高涨的潮水把船冲上浅滩,再等退潮后上岸。

于是我拴牢舵柄,走到船舱里,从我自己的箱子里取出一条我母亲给我的柔软的丝绸手绢。我帮着汉兹用这条手绢把大腿上还在流血的伤口包扎好,那是被弯刀捅的。随后他吃了点东西又喝了两三口白兰地。他的精神状态明显地好转,能坐直了些,嗓门也高了,口齿也伶俐了,跟刚才简直判若两人。

风还真挺够朋友。船像鸟儿一般乘风飞翔,转眼间“轻舟已过万重山”,两岸美景尽收眼底。不久我们就驶过了高地,在稀稀拉拉点缀有几棵低矮的小松树的沙地旁滑行。不久,我们把沙丘也抛在了后面,并且绕过了海岛最北端的一座岩石丘。

我对这项新的职务感到得意扬扬。阳光明媚,风景恰人。我现在有足够的淡水和那么多好吃的东西,原来还因不辞而别感到内疚,现在由于获得这样大的胜利而倍感欣慰。我已没有什么奢求的了。只是副水手长总是盯着我,一副看不起我的架势;我在甲板上走到哪里,他那双眼睛就盯到那里,脸还呈现出一种皮笑肉不笑的表情。这是一个糟老头子的微笑,一定程度上显现出他的痛苦和衰竭;但是,除此之外,他的微笑总给人一种冷嘲热讽的感觉,好像有些图谋不轨。他始终盯着我的一举一动,以一种狡诈的目光向我注视着、注视着、注视着


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