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基督山伯爵(The Count of Monte Cristo)第二十一章 狄布伦岛

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

DANTèS, although stunned and almost suffocated, had sufficient presence of mind to hold his breath, and as his right hand (prepared as he was for every chance) held his knife open, he rapidly ripped up the sack, extricated his arm, and then his body; but in spite of all his efforts to free himself from the shot, he felt it dragging him down still lower. He then bent his body, and by a desperate effort severed the cord that bound his legs, at the moment when it seemed as if he were actually strangled. With a mighty leap he rose to the surface of the sea, while the shot dragged down to the depths the sack that had so nearly become his shroud.

Dantès waited only to get breath, and then dived, in order to avoid being seen. When he arose a second time, he was fifty paces from where he had first sunk. He saw overhead a black and tempestuous sky, across which the wind was driving clouds that occasionally suffered a twinkling star to appear; before him was the vast expanse of waters, sombre and terrible, whose waves foamed and roared as if before the approach of a storm. Behind him, blacker than the sea, blacker than the sky, rose phantom-like the vast stone structure, whose projecting crags seemed like arms extended to seize their prey, and on the highest rock was a torch lighting two figures. He fancied that these two forms were looking at the sea; doubtless these strange grave-diggers had heard his cry. Dantès dived again, and remained a long time beneath the water. This was an easy feat to him, for he usually attracted a crowd of spectators in the bay before the lighthouse at Marseilles when he swam there, and was unanimously declared to be the best swimmer in the port. When he came up again the light had disappeared.

He must now get his bearings. Ratonneau and Pomègue are the nearest islands of all those that surround the Chateau d'If, but Ratonneau and Pomègue are inhabited, as is also the islet of Daume, Tiboulen and Lemaire were therefore the safest for Dantès' venture. The islands of Tiboulen and Lemaire are a league from the Chateau d'If; Dantès, nevertheless, determined to make for them. But how could he find his way in the darkness of the night? At this moment he saw the light of Planier, gleaming in front of him like a star. By leaving this light on the right, he kept the Island of Tiboulen a little on the left; by turning to the left, therefore, he would find it. But, as we have said, it was at least a league from the Chateau d'If to this island. Often in prison Faria had said to him, when he saw him idle and inactive, "Dantès, you must not give way to this listlessness; you will be drowned if you seek to escape, and your strength has not been properly exercised and prepared for exertion." These words rang in Dantès' ears, even beneath the waves; he hastened to cleave his way through them to see if he had not lost his strength. He found with pleasure that his captivity had taken away nothing of his power, and that he was still master of that element on whose bosom he had so often sported as a boy.

Fear, that relentless pursuer, clogged Dantès' efforts. He listened for any sound that might be audible, and every time that he rose to the top of a wave he scanned the horizon, and strove to penetrate the darkness. He fancied that every wave behind him was a pursuing boat, and he redoubled his exertions, increasing rapidly his distance from the Chateau, but exhausting his strength. He swam on still, and already the terrible Chateau had disappeared in the darkness. He could not see it, but he felt its presence. An hour passed, during which Dantès, excited by the feeling of freedom, continued to cleave the waves.

"Let us see," said he, "I have swum above an hour, but as the wind is against me, that has retarded my speed; however, if I am not mistaken, I must be close to Tiboulen. But what if I were mistaken?"

A shudder passed over him. He sought to tread water, in order to rest himself; but the sea was too violent, and he felt that he could not make use of this means of recuperation.

"Well," said he, "I will swim on until I am worn out, or the cramp seizes me, and then I shall sink;" and he struck out with the energy of despair.

Suddenly the sky seemed to him to become still darker and more dense, and heavy clouds seemed to sweep down towards him; at the same time he felt a sharp pain in his knee. He fancied for a moment that he had been shot, and listened for the report; but he heard nothing. Then he put out his hand, and encountered an obstacle and with another stroke knew that he had gained the shore.

Before him rose a grotesque mass of rocks, that resembled nothing so much as a vast fire petrified at the moment of its most fervent combustion. It was the Island of Tiboulen. Dantès rose, advanced a few steps, and, with a fervent prayer of gratitude, stretched himself on the granite. which seemed to him softer than down. Then, in spite of the wind and rain, he fell into the deep, sweet sleep of utter exhaustion. At the expiration of an hour Edmond was awakened by the roar of thunder. The tempest was let loose and beating the atmosphere with its mighty wings; from time to time a flash of lightning stretched across the heavens like a fiery serpent, lighting up the clouds that rolled on in vast chaotic waves.

Dantès had not been deceived--he had reached the first of the two islands, which was, in fact, Tiboulen. He knew that it was barren and without shelter; but when the sea became more calm, he resolved to plunge into its waves again, and swim to Lemaire, equally arid, but larger, and consequently better adapted for concealment.

An overhanging rock offered him a temporary shelter, and scarcely had he availed himself of it when the tempest burst forth in all its fury. Edmond felt the trembling of the rock beneath which he lay; the waves, dashing themselves against it, wetted him with their spray. He was safely sheltered, and yet he felt dizzy in the midst of the warring of the elements and the dazzling brightness of the lightning. It seemed to him that the island trembled to its base, and that it would, like a vessel at anchor, break moorings, and bear him off into the centre of the storm. He then recollected that he had not eaten or drunk for four-and-twenty hours. He extended his hands, and drank greedily of the rainwater that had lodged in a hollow of the rock.

As he rose, a flash of lightning, that seemed to rive the remotest heights of heaven, illumined the darkness. By its light, between the Island of Lemaire and Cape Croiselle, a quarter of a league distant, Dantès saw a fishing-boat driven rapidly like a spectre before the power of winds and waves. A second after, he saw it again, approaching with frightful rapidity. Dantès cried at the top of his voice to warn them of their danger, but they saw it themselves. Another flash showed him four men clinging to the shattered mast and the rigging, while a fifth clung to the broken rudder.

The men he beheld saw him undoubtedly, for their cries were carried to his ears by the wind. Above the splintered mast a sail rent to tatters was waving; suddenly the ropes that still held it gave way, and it disappeared in the darkness of the night like a vast sea-bird. At the same moment a violent crash was heard, and cries of distress. Dantès from his rocky perch saw the shattered vessel, and among the fragments the floating forms of the hapless sailors. Then all was dark again.

Dantès ran down the rocks at the risk of being himself dashed to pieces; he listened, he groped about, but he heard and saw nothing--the cries had ceased, and the tempest continued to rage. By degrees the wind abated, vast gray clouds rolled towards the west, and the blue firmament appeared studded with bright stars. Soon a red streak became visible in the horizon, the waves whitened, a light played over them, and gilded their foaming crests with gold. It was day.

Dantès stood mute and motionless before this majestic spectacle, as if he now beheld it for the first time; and indeed since his captivity in the Chateau d'If he had forgotten that such scenes were ever to be witnessed. He turned towards the fortress, and looked at both sea and land. The gloomy building rose from the bosom of the ocean with imposing majesty and seemed to dominate the scene. It was about five o'clock. The sea continued to get calmer.

"In two or three hours," thought Dantès, "the turnkey will enter my chamber, find the body of my poor friend, recognize it, seek for me in vain, and give the alarm. Then the tunnel will be discovered; the men who cast me into the sea and who must have heard the cry I uttered, will be questioned. Then boats filled with armed soldiers will pursue the wretched fugitive. The cannon will warn every one to refuse shelter to a man wandering about naked and famished. The police of Marseilles will be on the alert by land, whilst the governor pursues me by sea. I am cold, I am hungry. I have lost even the knife that saved me. O my God, I have suffered enough surely! Have pity on me, and do for me what I am unable to do for myself."

As Dantès (his eyes turned in the direction of the Chateau d'If) uttered this prayer, he saw off the farther point of the Island of Pomègue a small vessel with lateen sail skimming the sea like a gull in search of prey; and with his sailor's eye he knew it to be a Genoese tartan. She was coming out of Marseilles harbor, and was standing out to sea rapidly, her sharp prow cleaving through the waves. "Oh," cried Edmond, "to think that in half an hour I could join her, did I not fear being questioned, detected, and conveyed back to Marseilles! What can I do? What story can I invent? under pretext of trading along the coast, these men, who are in reality smugglers, will prefer selling me to doing a good action. I must wait. But I cannot ---I am starving. In a few hours my strength will be utterly exhausted; besides, perhaps I have not been missed at the fortress. I can pass as one of the sailors wrecked last night. My story will be accepted, for there is no one left to contradict me."

As he spoke, Dantès looked toward the spot where the fishing-vessel had been wrecked, and started. The red cap of one of the sailors hung to a point of the rock and some timbers that had formed part of the vessel's keel, floated at the foot of the crag. It an instant Dantès' plan was formed. he swam to the cap, placed it on his head, seized one of the timbers, and struck out so as to cut across the course the vessel was taking.

"I am saved!" murmured he. And this conviction restored his strength.

He soon saw that the vessel, with the wind dead ahead, was tacking between the Chateau d'If and the tower of Planier. For an instant he feared lest, instead of keeping in shore, she should stand out to sea; but he soon saw that she would pass, like most vessels bound for Italy, between the islands of Jaros and Calaseraigne. However, the vessel and the swimmer insensibly neared one another, and in one of its tacks the tartan bore down within a quarter of a mile of him. He rose on the waves, making signs of distress; but no one on board saw him, and the vessel stood on another tack. Dantès would have shouted, but he knew that the wind would drown his voice.

It was then he rejoiced at his precaution in taking the timber, for without it he would have been unable, perhaps, to reach the vessel--certainly to return to shore, should he be unsuccessful in attracting attention.

Dantès, though almost sure as to what course the vessel would take, had yet watched it anxiously until it tacked and stood towards him. Then he advanced; but before they could meet, the vessel again changed her course. By a violent effort he rose half out of the water, waving his cap, and uttering a loud shout peculiar to sailers. This time he was both seen and heard, and the tartan instantly steered towards him. At the same time, he saw they were about to lower the boat.

An instant after, the boat, rowed by two men, advanced rapidly towards him. Dantès let go of the timber, which he now thought to be useless, and swam vigorously to meet them. But he had reckoned too much upon his strength, and then he realized how serviceable the timber had been to him. His arms became stiff, his legs lost their flexibility, and he was almost breathless.

He shouted again. The two sailors redoubled their efforts, and one of them cried in Italian, "Courage!"

The word reached his ear as a wave which he no longer had the strength to surmount passed over his head. He rose again to the surface, struggled with the last desperate effort of a drowning man, uttered a third cry, and felt himself sinking, as if the fatal cannon shot were again tied to his feet. The water passed over his head, and the sky turned gray. A convulsive movement again brought him to the surface. He felt himself seized by the hair, then he saw and heard nothing. He had fainted.

When he opened his eyes Dantès found himself on the deck of the tartan. His first care was to see what course they were taking. They were rapidly leaving the Chateau d'If behind. Dantès was so exhausted that the exclamation of joy he uttered was mistaken for a sigh.

As we have said, he was lying on the deck. A sailor was rubbing his limbs with a woollen cloth; another, whom he recognized as the one who had cried out "Courage!" held a gourd full of rum to his mouth; while the third, an old sailer, at once the pilot and captain, looked on with that egotistical pity men feel for a misfortune that they have escaped yesterday, and which may overtake them to-morrow.

A few drops of the rum restored suspended animation, while the friction of his limbs restored their elasticity.

"Who are you?" said the pilot in bad French.

"I am," replied Dantès, in bad Italian, "a Maltese sailor. We were coming from Syracuse laden with grain. The storm of last night overtook us at Cape Morgion, and we were wrecked on these rocks."

"Where do you come from?"

"From these rocks that I had the good luck to cling to while our captain and the rest of the crew were all lost. I saw your vessel, and fearful of being left to perish on the desolate island, I swam off on a piece of wreckage to try and intercept your course. You have saved my life, and I thank you," continued Dantès. "I was lost when one of your sailors caught hold of my hair."

"It was I," said a sailor of a frank and manly appearance; "and it was time, for you were sinking."

"Yes," returned Dantès, holding out his hand, "I thank you again."

"I almost hesitated, though," replied the sailor; "you looked more like a brigand than an honest man, with your beard six inches, and your hair a foot long." Dantès recollected that his hair and beard had not been cut all the time he was at the Chateau d'If.

"Yes," said he, "I made a vow, to our Lady of the Grotto not to cut my hair or beard for ten years if I were saved in a moment of danger; but to-day the vow expires."

"Now what are we to do with you?" said the captain.

"Alas, anything you please. My captain is dead; I have barely escaped; but I am a good sailor. Leave me at the first port you make; I shall be sure to find employment."

"Do you know the Mediterranean?"

"I have sailed over it since my childhood."

"You know the best harbors?"

"There are few ports that I could not enter or leave with a bandage over my eyes."

"I say, captain," said the sailor who had cried "Courage!" to Dantès, "if what he says is true, what hinders his staying with us?"

"If he says true," said the captain doubtingly. "But in his present condition he will promise anything, and take his chance of keeping it afterwards."

"I will do more than I promise," said Dantès.

"We shall see," returned the other, smiling.

"Where are you going?" asked Dantès.

"To Leghorn."

"Then why, instead of tacking so frequently, do you not sail nearer the wind?"

"Because we should run straight on to the Island of Rion."

"You shall pass it by twenty fathoms."

"Take the helm, and let us see what you know." The young man took the helm, felt to see if the vessel answered the rudder promptly and seeing that, without being a first-rate sailer, she yet was tolerably obedient,--

"To the sheets," said he. The four seamen, who composed the crew, obeyed, while the pilot looked on. "Haul taut."--They obeyed.

"Belay." This order was also executed; and the vessel passed, as Dantès had predicted, twenty fathoms to windward.

"Bravo!" said the captain.

"Bravo!" repeated the sailors. And they all looked with astonishment at this man whose eye now disclosed an intelligence and his body a vigor they had not thought him capable of showing.

"You see," said Dantès, quitting the helm, "I shall be of some use to you, at least during the voyage. If you do not want me at Leghorn, you can leave me there, and I will pay you out of the first wages I get, for my food and the clothes you lend me."

"Ah," said the captain, "we can agree very well, if you are reasonable."

"Give me what you give the others, and it will be all right," returned Dantès.

"That's not fair," said the seaman who had saved Dantès; "for you know more than we do."

"What is that to you, Jacopo?" returned the Captain. "Every one is free to ask what he pleases."

"That's true," replied Jacopo; "I only make a remark."

"Well, you would do much better to find him a jacket and a pair of trousers, if you have them."

"No," said Jacopo; "but I have a shirt and a pair of trousers."

"That is all I want," interrupted Dantès. Jacopo dived into the hold and soon returned with what Edmond wanted.

"Now, then, do you wish for anything else?" said the patron.

"A piece of bread and another glass of the capital rum I tasted, for I have not eaten or drunk for a long time." He had not tasted food for forty hours. A piece of bread was brought, and Jacopo offered him the gourd.

"Larboard your helm," cried the captain to the steersman. Dantès glanced that way as he lifted the gourd to his mouth; then paused with hand in mid-air.

"Hollo! what's the matter at the Chateau d'If?" said the captain.

A small white cloud, which had attracted Dantès' attention, crowned the summit of the bastion of the Chateau d'If. At the same moment the faint report of a gun was heard. The sailors looked at one another.

"What is this?" asked the captain.

"A prisoner has escaped from the Chateau d'If, and they are firing the alarm gun," replied Dantès. The captain glanced at him, but he had lifted the rum to his lips and was drinking it with so much composure, that suspicions, if the captain had any, died away.

"At any rate," murmured he, "if it be, so much the better, for I have made a rare acquisition." Under pretence of being fatigued, Dantès asked to take the helm; the steersman, glad to be relieved, looked at the captain, and the latter by a sign indicated that he might abandon it to his new comrade. Dantès could thus keep his eyes on Marseilles.

"What is the day of the month?" asked he of Jacopo, who sat down beside him.

"The 28th of February."

"In what year?"

"In what year--you ask me in what year?"

"Yes," replied the young man, "I ask you in what year!"

"You have forgotten then?"

"I got such a fright last night," replied Dantès, smiling, "that I have almost lost my memory. I ask you what year is it?"

"The year 1829," returned Jacopo. It was fourteen years day for day since Dantès' arrest. He was nineteen when he entered the Chateau d'If; he was thirty-three when he escaped. A sorrowful smile passed over his face; he asked himself what had become of Mercédès, who must believe him dead. Then his eyes lighted up with hatred as he thought of the three men who had caused him so long and wretched a captivity. He renewed against Danglars, Fernand, and Villefort the oath of implacable vengeance he had made in his dungeon. This oath was no longer a vain menace; for the fastest sailer in the Mediterranean would have been unable to overtake the little tartan, that with every stitch of canvas set was flying before the wind to Leghorn.

唐太斯尽管有点头晕目眩的,而且几乎快要窒息了,他还算头脑清醒,不时地屏住了他的呼吸。他的右手本来就拿着一把张开的小刀(他原准备随时乘机逃脱时用的),所以现在他很快地划破口袋,先把他的手臂挣扎出来,接着又挣出他的身体。虽然他竭力想抑脱掉那铁球,但整个身体却仍在不断地往下沉。于是他弯下身子,拚命用力割断了那绑住他两脚的绳索,此时他已几乎要窒息了。他使劲用脚向上一蹬,浮出了海面,那铁球便带着那几乎成了他裹尸布的布袋沉入了海底。

唐太斯在海面只吸了一口气,便又潜到了水里,以免被人看到。当他第二次浮出水面的时候,距离第一次沉下去的地方已有五十步了。他看到天空是一片黑暗,预示着大风暴即将来临了,风在用劲地驱赶着疾驰的浮云,不时的露出一颗闪烁的星星。在他的面前,是一片无边无际,阴沉可怕的海面,浊浪汹涌,滚滚而来在他的背后,耸立着一座比大海比天空更黑暗的,象一个赤面獠牙似的怪物,它那凸出的奇岩象是伸出来的捕人的手臂。在那块最高的岩石上,一支火把照出了两个人影。他觉得这两个人是在往大海里张望,这两个古怪的掘墓人肯定已听到了他的喊叫声。唐太斯又潜了下去,在水下停留了很长一段时间。他从前就很喜欢潜泳,他过去在马赛灯塔前的海湾游泳的时候,常常能吸引许多观众,他们一致称赞他是港内最好的游泳能手。当他重新露出头来的时候,那火光已不见了。

必须确定一下方向了。兰顿纽和波米琪是伊夫堡周围最近的小岛,但兰顿纽和波米琪是有人居住的,大魔小岛也是如此。狄波伦或黎玛最安全。这两个岛离伊夫堡有三哩路,唐太斯决定游到那儿去。但在黑夜里他怎样来辨别方向呢?这时,他看到了伯兰尼亚灯塔象一颗灿烂的明星闪烁在他前面。假如这个灯光在右面,则狄布伦岛应左面,所以他只要向左转就能找到它。但我们已经说过,从伊夫堡到这个岛至少有三哩路。在狱中的时候,法利亚每见他显出萎靡不振,无精打采的样子时,就常常对他说:“唐太斯,你可不能老是这个样子。要是你不好好地锻炼身体,你就是逃了出去体力不支也会淹死的。”在海浪劈头打来的时候,这些话又在唐太斯的耳边响了起来,他使劲划起水来,以此看看自己是否真的体力不支。他很高兴地看到长期的牢狱生活并未夺去他的力量,他以前常常在海的怀抱里象一个孩子似的嬉戏,而现在他仍是这方面的老手。

恐惧是一个无情的追逐者,它迫使唐太斯加倍用力。他侧耳倾听,想听听有没有什么声音传来。每次浮出浪峰时,他的目光就向地平线上搜索一下,努力透过黑暗望出去。每一个较高的浪头都象是一只来追赶他的小船,于是他就使足了劲拉开了他和小船之间的距离,但这样反复做了几次以后,他的体力便消耗得很厉害。他不停地向前游去,那座可怕的城堡渐渐地消失在黑暗里了。他虽看不清它的模样,但却仍能感觉到它的存在。

一小时过去了,在这期间,因获得了自由而兴奋不已的唐太斯,不断地破浪前进。“我来算算看,”他说,“我差不多已游了一小时了,我是逆风游的,速度不免要减慢,但不管怎样,要是我没弄错方向的话,我离狄布伦岛一定很近了。但要是我弄错了呢?”他浑身打了个寒颤。他想浮在海面上休息一下,但海面波动得太猛烈,无法靠这种方法来休息。

“好吧,”他说,“我就游到精疲力尽为止,游到双臂麻木,浑身抽筋,然后淹死算了。”于是他孤注一掷,使出全身力气。

突然间,他觉得天空似乎更黑更阴沉了,稠密的云块向他头顶上压了下来,同时,他感到膝盖一阵剧痛。他的想象力告诉他自己已中了一颗子弹,一刹那间,他就会听到枪声,然而并没有枪声。他伸出手,觉得有个东西挡住了他,于是他伸出脚去,碰到了地面,这时他才看清了自己错当成乌云的那个东西了。

在他的面前,耸立着一大堆奇形怪状的岩石,活象是经过一场猛烈的大火之后凝固而成的东西。这就是狄布伦岛了。唐太斯站起身来,向前走了几步,边感谢上帝边直挺挺地在花岗石上躺了下来,此刻他觉得睡在岩石上比睡在最舒适的床上还要柔软。然后,也不管风暴肆虐,大雨倾注他就象那些疲倦到了极点的人那样沉入了甜蜜的梦乡。一小时以后,爱德蒙被雷声惊醒了。此时,大风暴正以雷霆万钧之势在奔驰,闪电一次次划过夜空,象一条浑身带火的赤炼蛇,照亮了那浑沌汹涌的浪潮卷滚着的云层。

唐太斯没有弄错,他已到达了两个小岛中的一个,这里的确是狄布伦岛。他知道这个地方是草木不生,无处隐藏的,但如果海能稍微平静一些,他就要重新跳到海水里去,再游到黎玛岛去,那儿虽也和这儿一样荒无人烟,但地方比较大,因此也较容易藏身。

一块悬空的岩石成了他暂时栖身之处,他刚躲到它的黑面,大风暴就又以排山倒海之势扑来。爱德蒙觉得他身下的岩石都在抖动,凶猛的波浪冲到花岗岩上,溅了他一身的水。他虽然已很安全,却在这耀眼的雷电交加之中一直感到头晕目眩。他似乎觉得整个岛都在脚下颤抖,象一艘抛了锚的船在断缆以后被带入了风暴的中心。这时他想起自己已有二十四小时没吃东西了。他伸出手去,贪婪地捧着积存在岩洞里的雨水喝着。

当他站起身来的时候,一道闪电划破了天空,驱走了黑暗,直射到了上帝灿烂的宝座脚下。借着这道电光,唐太斯看到,在黎玛岛和克罗斯里海角之间,离他不到一哩远的海面上,有一艘渔船,象一个幽灵似的,正被风浪摆弄着,从浪峰跌入浪谷。一秒钟以后,他又看到了它,而且更近了。唐太斯用尽力气大喊,想警告他们将有触礁的危险,但他们自己已发觉了。又一闪电使他看到有四个人紧紧地抱住了折断的桅杆和帆索,而第五个人则紧抱着那破裂的舵轮。

他看到的那些人无疑也看到了他,因为狂风把他们的喊叫声带到了他的耳朵里。在那折断的桅杆上,有一张裂成碎片的帆还在飘着。突然间,那条挂帆的绳索断了,那张帆便象一只大海鸟似的消失在夜的黑暗里了。与此同时,他听到了一声猛烈的撞击声,接着痛苦的呼救声传进了他的耳朵里。在岩石顶上的唐太斯借闪电的光看到那艘帆船撞成了碎片,在碎片之中,又看到了神色绝望的人头和伸向天空的手臂。接着一切又都被黑暗所吞没。那副悲惨的景象象闪电一样瞬间而过。

唐太斯冒着粉身碎骨的危险奔下岩石。他侧耳倾听,尽力四下里张望,但什么也听不到,什么也看不到。没有人在挣扎呼叫,只有风暴还在肆虐。又过了一会儿风渐渐平息了,大片灰色的云层向西方卷去,蓝色的苍穹显露了出来,上面点缀着明亮的星星。不久,地平线上现出了一道红色的长带,波浪渐渐变成了白色,一道亮光掠过海上面,把吐着白沫的浪尖染成了金黄色。白天来临了。

唐太斯默默地,一动不动地站着,面对着这壮丽的景观。

他又向城堡那个方向望去,望望海,又望望陆地。那阴森的建筑耸立在大海的胸膛上,带着庞然大物的那种庄严显赫的神态,似乎面对着万物一样。这时大约已经五点钟了。海面愈来愈平静了。

“在两三小时以内,”唐太斯想道,“狱卒会到我的房间里去发现我那可怜的朋友的尸体,认出他来,又找不到我,就会发出呼叫。于是他们就会发现,接着就会询问那两个把我抛入海的人,而他们一定听到了我的喊叫声。于是满载着武装士兵的小艇就会来追赶那不幸的逃犯。他们会鸣炮向每一个沿海居民警告,叫他们不要庇护一个走投无路,赤身裸体,饥寒交迫的人。马赛的警察会在海岸上搜索,而监狱长则会从海上来追赶我。我又冷又饿,甚至连那把救命的小刀都丢了。噢,我的上帝呀,我受苦真是受够啦!可怜可怜我吧,救救我吧,我已毫无办法啦!”

唐太斯由于精疲力尽,脑子昏沉沉的,正当他焦虑地望着伊夫堡那个方向时,他突然看到在波米琪岛的尽头,象一只鸟儿掠过海面,出现了一艘小帆船,只有水手的眼睛才能辨认出它是一艘热那亚独桅帆船。它从马赛港出发向海外疾驶,它那尖尖的船头正破浪而来。“啊!”爱德蒙惊叫道,“再过半小时我就可以登上那艘船了,只要我不被盘问、搜索、被押回马赛!我该怎么办呢?我编个什么故事好呢?这些人假装在沿海做贸易,实际上都是走私贩子,他们可能会出卖我的,以此来表示他们自己是好人。我该等一下。但我已不能再等了,或许城堡里还未发现我已经失踪了。我可以冒充昨天晚上沉船上的一个水手。这个故事不会显得荒唐可笑,也不会有人来拆穿我的。”

唐太斯一边想着,一边向那渔船撞破的地方张望了一下,这一看不由得使他吃了一惊。岩石尖上正挂着一顶水手的红帽子,岩的脚下漂浮着一块风帆船龙骨的碎片。唐太斯顿时拿定了主意。他急忙向帽子游过去,把它戴在自己头上,又抓住一块龙骨的碎片,然后尽力向那帆船航行的路线横截过去。

“我有救了!”他喃喃地说,这个信念恢复了他的力量。

爱德蒙很快就发觉,那艘帆船顶着风,正在伊夫堡和兰尼亚灯塔之间抢风斜驶。一时间,他怕那帆船不沿岸航行,而径自驶出海去。但他不久就从它行驶的方向上看出象大多数到意大利的船一样,它也想从杰罗斯岛和卡接沙林岛之间穿过去。总之,他和帆船正慢慢地在接近,只要它再往岸边靠近一些,帆船就会接近到离他四分之一哩以内了。他浮出水面上,做出痛苦求救的信号,但船上没有人看到他,船又转了一个弯。唐太斯本来可以大声喊叫的,但他想到他的喊叫声会被风吞没的,这时他很庆幸自己预先想到,抱住了这块龙骨,要是没有它,他也许坚持不到登上那艘船的,而且如果船上的人没有看到他,船就过去了的话,那他就再也不能游回岸上了。

唐太斯虽然几乎可以肯定那艘独桅船的航行路线,并悬着一颗心注视着它,直到它又向他折回来。于是他朝着那船游去。但还没等到他靠近它,那艘帆船又改变了方向。他拚命一跳,半个身子露出了水面,挥动着他的帽子,发出水手所特有的一声大喊。这一次,他不但被看见,而且被听到了,那艘独桅船立刻转舵向他驶来。同时,他看到他们把小艇放了下来。不一会儿,只见两个人划着小艇,迅速地向他驶来。唐太斯觉得那条横木现在对他没用了,就放弃了它,然后用力游着向他们迎上去。但他过高地估计了自己的力量,他这时才觉得那条横木对他是如何的有用。他的手臂渐渐地僵硬了,两条腿也难以动弹,他几乎喘不过气来了。

他又大叫了一声,那两个水手更加用力,其中一个用意大利语喊道:“挺住!”

这两个字刚传到他的耳朵里,一个浪头猛地向他打来,把他淹没了,他又浮出水面,象一个人快要溺死时那样拚命胡乱划动着,发出第三声大喊,然后他就觉得自己在往下沉,就象那要命的铁球又绑到了他的脚上一样。水没过了他的头,透过水,他看到一方苍白的天和黑色的云块。一阵猛烈的挣扎又把他带到水面上。他觉得好象有人抓住了他的头发,但他什么也看不到了,什么也听不到了。他昏了过去。

当唐太斯重新睁开眼的时候,发现自己已在独桅船的甲板上了。他最关切的事,便是要看看他们航行的方向。他们正在迅速地把伊夫堡抛在后面。唐太斯实在疲乏极了,以致他所发出的那声欢呼被错认为一声痛苦的呻吟。

我们已经说过,他躺在甲板上。一个水手正在用一块绒布摩擦他的四肢;另一个,他认出就是那个喊“挺住!”的人,此时他正拿着一满瓢甜酒凑到他的嘴边;第三个人是一个老水手,他既是掌舵的又是船长,他正同情地注视着他,脸上带着人们常有的那种自己虽在昨天逃过了灾难,说不定灾难明天又会降临的那种表情。几滴朗姆酒使年轻人衰弱的心脏重新兴奋起来,而他四肢也因受到了按摩而重新恢复了活力。

“你是什么人?”船长用很蹩脚的法语问道。

“我是,”唐太斯用蹩脚的意大利语回答说:“一个马耳他水手。我们是从锡接丘兹装谷物来的。昨天晚上我们刚到摩琴海岬遇到了风暴,我们的船就在那个地方触焦沉没了。”

“你刚才是从哪儿游过来的?”

“就是从那些岩石那里游过来的,算我运气好,我当时攀住了块岩石,而我们的船长和其他的船员都死了。我想我是唯一幸存的。我看到了你们的船,我是怕留在这个孤岛上饿死,所以我就抱住一块破船上的木头游到你们船上来。你们救了我的命,我谢谢你们,”唐太斯又说道,“要不是你们中的一个水手抓住我的头发,我早已经完了。”

“那是我呀,”一个外貌诚实直爽的水手说道,“真是千钧一发,因为你正在往下沉呢。”

“是啊,”唐太斯答道,并伸出手去,“我再一次谢谢你。”

“说真的,我刚才有点犹豫呢,”水手回答说,“你的胡子有六英寸长,头发也尺把长,看上去不象个好人,倒象个强盗。”

唐太斯想起来了,他自从进了伊夫堡以后就没有剪过头发,刮过胡子。

“是这样,”他说,“有一次遇险时,我曾向宝洞圣母许过愿,十年不剃头发不刮胡子,只求在危难之中救我的命,今天我许的愿果然应验了。”

“我们现在把你怎么办呢?”船长说道。

“唉!随便你们怎么都行。我们的船沉了,船长死了。我虽然一个人逃出了一条命。不过我是一个好水手,你们在第一个靠岸的港口让我下去好了。我相信一定能在一艘商船上找到一份工作的。”

“你对地中海熟悉吗?”

“我从小就在那里航行。”

“那些最出名的港口你都熟悉吗?”

“没有几个港口是我不能闭着眼睛驶进驶出的。”

“我说,船长,”那个对唐太斯喊“挺妆的水手说道,“假如他所说的话是真的,那么为什么不把他留下来呢?”

“那得看他说的是不是真话,”船长面带疑虑的说道。“象他现在这样可怜巴巴的样子,说得好听,谁知道。”

“我干起来比我说得更好,”唐太斯说道。

“那我们瞧吧。”对方微笑着回答道。

“你们到哪儿去?”唐太斯问。

“到里窝那。”

“那么,你们为什么老会是这么折来折去而不靠前侧风直驶呢?”

“因为这样我们就会直接撞到里人翁岛上去了。”

“你们会在离岸二十寻[一寻约等于一·六二米]开外的地方通过的。”

“那你就去掌舵吧,让我们来看看你的本事。”

年轻人接过舵把,先轻轻用力一压,船就随之而转,他看出这虽说不是一艘一流的帆船,但尚可操纵如意,于是他喊道:“准备扯帆!”

船上的四个水手都跑去遵命行事,船长站着一边旁观。

“把绳索拉直!”唐太斯又喊道。

水手们即刻服从。

“拴索!”

这个命令也被执行了。果然正如唐太斯所说的,船的右舷离岸二十寻的地方擦了过去。

“好样的!”船长高兴地大喊道。

“好样的!”水手们跟着叫喊起来,他们都惊奇地望着这个人,这个人的目光里又充满了智慧,身体又恢复了活力,他们已不再怀疑他身上所具备的素质了。“你看,”唐太斯离开舵把说,至少在这次航行中。“我对你们还是有点用处的。假如你到了里窝那以后不要我了,可以把我留在那儿。等我领到第一笔薪水就来偿还你们借给我的衣服和伙食费。”

“哦,”船长说,“我们是没有问题的,只要你的要求合理就行了。”

“只要你给我和你的伙计同样的等遇,那么事情就算决定了。”唐太斯答道。

“这不公平,”那个救唐太斯的水手说,“因为你比我们懂得多。”

“你这是怎么啦,雅格布?”船长说道。“要多要少,这是人家的自由嘛。”

“不错,”雅格布答道,“我只多出一件衬衫和一条裤子。”

“这些对我就足够了,”唐太斯插进来说。“谢谢你,我的朋友。”

雅格布窜下舱去不久就拿着那两件衣服爬了上来,唐太斯带着说不出的快乐穿了起来。

“现在,你还需要什么别的吗?”船长问道。

“一片面包,再来一杯我尝过的那种好酒,因为我好长时间没吃东西啦。”的确是,他已有四十个小时没吃任何东西了。

面包拿来了,雅格布把那只酒葫芦递给他。“打压舵!”船长对舵手喊道。唐太斯一面也向那个方向看,一面把酒葫芦举到了嘴边,但他的手突然在半空中停住了。

“咦!伊夫堡那边出了什么事啦?”船长说。

吸引唐太斯注意的,是伊夫堡城垛顶上升起了小团白雾。

同时,又隐约听到了一声炮响。水手们都面面相觑。

“那是什么意思?”船长问。

“伊夫堡有一个犯人逃走了,他们在放示警炮。”唐太斯回答。船长瞥了他一眼,只见他已把甜酒凑到了唇边,神色非常镇定地正在喝酒,所以船长即使有一点怀疑也因此而打消了。

“这酒好厉害。”唐太斯一边说着,一边用他的短袖抹着额头上的汗。

“管它呢,”船长注视着他,心里说道,“就算是他,那也好,因为我毕竟得到了一个少有的老手。”

唐太斯借口说疲倦了,要求由他来掌舵。舵手很高兴能有机会松一松手,就望望船长,后者示意他可以把舵交给新来的伙伴。唐太斯于是就能时时注意到马赛方向的动静了。

“今天是几号?”他问坐在身边的雅格布。

“二月二十八。”

“哪一年?”

“哪一年!你问我哪一年?”

“是的,”年轻人回答说,“我问你今年是哪一年?”

“你连现在是哪一年忘了吗?”

“昨天晚上我受的惊吓太大了。”唐太斯微笑着回答,“我的记忆力几乎都丧失了。我是问你今年是哪一年。”

“一八二九年。”雅格布回答。唐太斯自被捕那天起,已过了十四年了。他十九岁进伊夫堡,逃走的时候已是三十三岁了。

他的脸上掠过了一个悲哀的微笑。心想,过了这么多年不知究竟怎么样了,她一定以为他已经死了吧。接着他又想到了那三个使他囚禁了这么久,使他受尽了痛苦的人,他的眼睛里射出了仇恨的光芒。他又重温了在狱中立下的向对腾格拉尔,弗尔南多和维尔福报仇雪恨的誓言,不达目的誓不罢休。这个誓言不再是一个空洞的威胁,因为地中海上最快速的帆船追不上这只小小的独桅船,船上的每一片帆都鼓满了风,直向里窝那飞去。


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