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宝岛(Treasure Island) 二十 西尔弗前来谈判

时间:2010-07-16 10:05    来源:    作者: 点击:
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SURE enough, there were two men just outside the stockade, one of them waving a white cloth; the other, no less a person than Silver himself, standing placidly by.

It was still quite early, and the coldest morning that I think I ever was abroad in; a chill that pierced into the marrow. The sky was bright and cloudless overhead, and the tops of the trees shone rosily in the sun. But where Silver stood with his lieutenant all was still in shadow, and they waded knee deep in a low, white vapour, that had crawled during the night out of the morass. The chill and the vapour taken together told a poor tale of the island. It was plainly a damp, feverish, unhealthy spot.

`Keep indoors, men,' said the captain. `Ten to one this is a trick.'

Then he hailed the buccaneer.

`Who goes? Stand, or we fire.'

`Flag of truce,' cried Silver.

The captain was in the porch, keeping himself carefully out of the way of a treacherous shot should any be intended. He turned and spoke to us:--

`Doctor's watch on the look out. Dr Livesey take the north side, if you please; Jim, the east; Gray, west. The watch below, all hands to load muskets. Lively, men, and careful.'

And then he turned again to the mutineers.

`And what do you want with your flag of truce?' he cried.

This time it was the other man who replied.

`Cap'n Silver, sir, to come on board and make terms,' he shouted.

`Cap'n Silver! Don't know him. Who's he?' cried the captain. And we could hear him adding to himself: `Cap'n, is it? My heart, and here's promotion!'

Long John answered for himself.

`Me, sir. These poor lads, have chosen me cap'n, after your desertion, sir - laying a particular emphasis upon the word `desertion.' `We're willing to submit, if we can come to terms, and no bones about it. All I ask is your word, Cap'n Smollett, to let me safe and sound out of this here stockade, and one minute to get out o' shot before a gun is fired.'

`My man,' said Captain Smollett, `I have not the slightest desire to talk to you. If you wish to talk to me, you can come, that's all. If there's any treachery, it'll be on your side, and the Lord help you.'

`That's enough, cap'n,' shouted Long John, cheerily. `A word from you's enough. I know a gentleman, and you may lay to that.'

We could see the man who carried the flag of truce attempting to hold Silver back. Nor was that wonderful, seeing how cavalier had been the captain's answer. But Silver laughed at him aloud, and slapped him on the back, as if the idea of alarm had been absurd. Then he advanced to the stockade, threw over his crutch, got a leg up, and with great vigour and skill succeeded in surmounting the fence and dropping safely to the other side.

I will confess that I was far too much taken up with what was going on to be of the slightest use as sentry; indeed, I had already deserted my eastern loophole, and crept up behind the captain, who had now seated himself on the threshold, with his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands, and his eyes fixed on the water, as it bubbled out of the old iron kettle in the sand. He was whistling to himself, `Come, Lasses and Lads.'

Silver had terrible hard work getting up the knoll. What with the steepness of the incline, the thick tree stumps, and the soft sand, he and his crutch were as helpless as a ship in stays. But he stuck to it like a man in silence, and at last arrived before the captain, whom he saluted in the handsomest style. He was tricked out in his best; an immense blue coat, thick with brass buttons, hung as low as to his knees, and a fine laced hat was set on the back of his head.

`Here you are, my man,' said the captain, raising his head. `You had better sit down.'

`You aint a-going to let me inside, cap'n?' complained Long John. `It's a main cold morning, to be sure, sir, to sit outside upon the sand.'

`Why, Silver,' said the captain, `if you had pleased to be an honest man, you might have been sitting in your galley. It's your own doing. You're either my ship's cook - and then you were treated handsome - or Cap'n Silver, a common mutineer and pirate, and then you can go hang!'

`Well, well, cap'n,' returned the sea-cook, sitting down as he was bidden on the sand, `you'll have to give me a hand up again, that's all. A sweet pretty place you have of it here. Ah, there's Jim! The top of the morning to you, Jim. Doctor, here's my service. Why, there you all are together like a happy family, in a manner of speaking.'

`If you have anything to say, my man, better say it,' said the captain.

`Right you were, Cap'n Smollett,' replied Silver. `Dooty is dooty, to be sure. Well, now, you look here, that was a good lay of yours last night. I don't deny it was a good lay. Some of you pretty handy with a handspike-end. And I'll not deny neither but what some of my people was shook - maybe all was shook; maybe I was shook myself; maybe that's why I'm here for terms. But you mark me, cap'n, it won't do twice, by thunder! We'll have to do sentry-go, and ease off a point or so on the rum. Maybe you think we were all a sheet in the wind's eye. But I'll tell you I was sober; I was on'y dog tired; and if I'd awoke a second sooner I'd at caught you i the act, I would. He wasn't dead when I got round to him, not he.'

`Well?' says Captain Smollett, as cool as can be.

All that Silver said was a riddle to him, but you would never have guessed it from his tone. As for me, I began to have an inkling. Ben Gunn's last words came back to my mind. I began to suppose that he had paid the buccaneers a visit while they all lay drunk together round their fire, and I reckoned up with glee that we had only fourteen enemies to deal with.

`Well, here it is,' said Silver. `We want that treasure, an we'll have it - that's our point! You would just as soon save your lives, I reckon; and that's yours. You have a chart, haven't you?'

`That's as may be,' replied the captain.

`Oh, well, you have, I know that,' returned Long John. `You needn't be so husky with a man; there aint a particle of service in that, and you may lay to it. What I mean is, we want your chart. Now, I never meant you no harm, myself.'

`That won't do with me, my man,' interrupted the captain. `We know exactly what you meant to do, and we don't care; for now, you see, you can't do it.'

And the captain looked at him calmly, and proceeded to fill a pipe.

`If Abe Gray--' Silver broke out.

`Avast there!' cried Mr Smollett. `Gray told me nothing, and I asked him nothing; and what's more I would see you and him and this whole island blown clean out of the water into blazes first. So there's my mind for you, my man, on that.'

This little whiff of temper seemed to cool Silver down. He had been growing nettled before, but now he pulled himself together.

`Like enough,' said he. `I would set no limits to what gentlemen might consider shipshape, or might not, as the case were. And, seein' as how you are about to take a pipe, cap'n, I'll make so free as do likewise.'

And he filled a pipe and lighted it; and the two men sat silently smoking for quite a while, now looking each other in the face, now stopping their tobacco, now leaning forward to spit. It was as good as the play to see them.

`Now,' resumed Silver, `here it is. You give us the chart to get the treasure by, and drop shooting poor seamen, and stoving of their heads in while asleep. You do that, and we'll offer you a choice. Either you come aboard along of us, once the treasure shipped, and then I'll give you my affy-davy, upon my word of honour, to clap you somewhere safe ashore. Or, if that aint to your fancy, some of my hands being rough, and having old scores, on account of hazing, then you can stay here, you can. We'll divide stores with you, man for man; and I'll give my affy-davy, as before, to speak the first ship I sight, and send 'em here to pick you up. Now you'll own that's talking. Handsomer you couldn't look to get, not you. And I hope' - raising his voice - `that all hands in this here blockhouse will overhaul my words, for what is spoke to one is spoke to all.'

Captain Smollett rose from his seat, and knocked out the ashes of his pipe in the palm of his left hand.

`Is that all?' he asked.

`Every last word, by thunder!' answered John. `Refuse that, and you've seen the last of me but musket- balls.'

`Very good,' said the captain. `Now you'll hear me. If you'll come up one by one, unarmed, I'll engage to clap you all in irons, and take you home to a fair trial in England. If you won't my name is Alexander Smollett, I've flown my sovereign's colours, and I'll see you all to Davy Jones. You can't find the treasure. You can't sail the ship - there's not a man among you fit to sail the ship. You can't fight us - Gray, there, got away from five of you. Your ship's in irons, Master Silver; you're on a lee shore, and so you'll find. I stand here and tell you so; and they'd the last good words you'll get from me; for, in the name of heaven, I'll put a bullet in your back when next I meet you. Tramp, my lad. Bundle out of this, please, hand over hand, and double quick.'

Silver's face was a picture; his eyes started in his head with wrath. He shook the fire out of his pipe.

`Give me a hand up!' he cried.

`Not I,' returned the captain.

`Who'll give me a hand up?' he roared.

Not a man among us moved. Growling the foulest imprecations, he crawled along the sand till he got hold of the porch and could hoist himself again upon his crutch. Then he spat into the spring.

`There!' he cried, `that's what I think of ye. Before an hour's out, I'll stove in your old block-house like a rum puncheon. Laugh, by thunder, laugh! Before an hour's out, ye'll laugh upon the other side. Them that die'll be the lucky ones.'

And with a dreadful oath he stumbled off, ploughed down the sand, was helped across the stockade, after four or five failures, by the man with the flag of truce, and disappeared in an instant afterwards among the trees

果然,寨子外面有两个人,其中一个挥舞着一块白布,而另外一个,丝毫不差,正是西尔弗本人,正不动声色地站在一边。

时辰还早,那是我出海以来遇到的最冷的一个早晨,寒气直刺人我的骨髓。头上的大空晴朗无云,林梢在晨光下泛着一抹玫瑰红。但是西尔弗和他的副官所站的地方还都是在阴影之中,他们的膝部浸在夜间从沼地那边蔓延过来的贴地的白色雾气中。寒气和水汽合在一起正好解释了这个岛荒无人烟的原因。这里显然是个潮湿、闷热、不卫生的地方。

“不要出去,弟兄们,”船长说,“十有八九这是个圈套。”

接着他向海盗喊话。

“来者何人?站住,否则我们开枪了。”

“打着休战旗呢。”西尔弗叫道。

船长站在门廊下,十分谨慎地选择了一处冷枪打不到的地方。他转过身来对我们说:

“医生那组负责警戒守卫。利弗西医生,烦劳你守住北面。吉姆,东面;葛雷,西面。不当班的一组,全部安装弹药。手脚麻利点,弟兄们,还要当心。”

然后他又转向了反叛分子。

“你们打着休战旗来干什么?”他喊道。

这回是另外一个人答话了。

“西尔弗船长,先生,上来跟你们谈判来啦。”他喊道。

“西尔弗船长!我不认识他。他是谁?”船长叫道。接着我们听见他独自念叨:“船长,当真?嗬,高升啦!”

高个子约翰本人答话了。

“是我,先生。这些可怜的孩子们推举我当船长,在你离职之后,先生”——在“离职”一词上他特别加重了语气进行强调。“如果我们能达成协议的话,我们愿意归顺,并且说一不二。我只要求你一句话,斯莫列特船长,就是保证我平安无事地从这个寨子出去,请迟一分钟开枪,让我走出射程。”

“老兄,”斯莫列特船长说,“我压根就不想同你谈什么。要是你想跟我谈的话,你可以过来,就这些。要说要花招,那只会是你们那边,让上帝来指点你吧。”

“这就够了,船长,”高个子约翰欢喜地喊道。“有你一句话就够了。我了解一个绅士的所为,这点你可以相信。”

我们可以看到打休战旗的家伙正试图阻止西尔弗。这不足为奇,因为船长的答话透着不客气。但是西尔弗却大声地嘲笑了他,用手拍着他的后背,仿佛他的警戒心理多么荒唐好笑似的。接着他就向寨子挺进,把他的拐扔了过来,然后一条腿伸了过来,以极大的力气和技巧成功地翻越了栅栏,安然无恙地落到了这一边。

我得承认,我被正在发生的事情完全吸引住了,压根没起到一个警戒哨的作用;事实上,我已经离开了东边的射击孔,趴在了船长的后面,这会儿他正坐在门槛上,肘拄在膝盖上,用手托着头,注视着从那只旧铁锅底的沙中冒出的水。他正径自吹着口哨,“来吧,姑娘们和小伙子们。”

西尔弗费了好大的力气才爬上了小丘。面对陡峭的斜坡、密密麻麻的树桩以及松软的沙土,他和他的拐就像搁浅的船一样。但是他像个男子汉般地默默地硬撑了下来,终于来到了船长的面前,用优美的姿势向他行了个礼。他显然穿上了他最好的行头:一件宽松的蓝色外套,下摆一直垂到膝部,上面密密麻麻地钉着铜扣子,后脑勺上还扣着顶镶着好看的花边的帽子。

“你来了,老兄,”船长说,抬起了他的头。“你最好坐下来。”

“你不能让我进去吗,船长?”高个子约翰抱怨道,“这么冷的一个大清早,先生,坐在外面的沙地上可够我受的。”

“听着,西尔弗,”船长说,“要是你安分守己的话,你这会儿正坐在你的厨房里哩。你这是咎由自取。你既是我船上的厨子——那么你就该受到优待——可你又是西尔弗船长,无非是个叛乱分子,是个海盗,那就该让你上绞架!”

“好啦,好啦,船长,”冰手厨子答道,这会儿他正乖乖地坐在沙地上,“你得再拉我一把,就这样。你们这儿倒是个好地方哇。啊,这是吉姆!早上好,吉姆。医生,向你问安。啊,你们全都聚在了一块儿,可以说是个幸福快乐的家庭啦。”

“要是你有话要说,老兄,最好直说。”船长说道。

“你说得对,斯莫列特船长,”西尔弗答道,“公事公办,没错儿。好吧,你看看昨夜你的人干的好事。我不否认干得漂亮。你手下有人棍棒舞得厉害。我也不否认我的人——可能是全体,都被打了个措手不及,可能我本人也被打了个措手不及,这可能就是我上这儿来谈判的原因。但是你听着,船长,决不会有第二次了,我赌咒!我们会加强警戒,少喝些郎姆酒。可能你认为我们全都烂醉了吧,但是我告诉你我是清醒的,我只不过累得像条狗。要是我早醒上一秒种的话,我就会当场抓住你们,我会的。当我跑到他跟前的时候,他还没咽气呢。”

“嗯?”斯莫列特船长说,尽可能地保持着冷静。

西尔弗所说的这一切,对他来说是一个谜,但是你从他的口气中却决不会察觉出来。至于我,我开始有点开窍了。我想起了本·葛恩最后说的那句话。我想他在海盗们醉倒在篝火旁时光顾了那里,我敢肯定,我们只剩下十四个敌人需要对付了。

“好啦,就这样,”西尔弗说。“我们想得到那笔宝藏,我们一定能得到它——我们就是奔它来的!我说,你们只须保住性命就行,这就是你们的目的。你有张图,是不是?”

“可能是有吧。”船长答道。

“噢,好啦,我知道你有,”高个子约翰答道,“跟手下讲话不必那么不客气,这没有一点用处,你要明白这一点。我的意思是,我们想要你的这张图。听着,就我本人来讲,决不会有意伤害你们。”

“少跟我来这套,老兄,”船长打断了他的话。“你想干什么我们知道得很清楚,我们不在乎。至于你现在想要的东西,你听好,门儿也没有。”

说完,船长平静地注视着他,并继续装着一斗烟。

“如果亚伯拉罕·葛雷——”西尔弗冲口而出。

“住口!”斯莫列特船长吼道。“葛雷什么也没跟我说,我也什么都没问他。再多说点,我想让你们连同这个岛统统沉入到水里去见龙王。以上就是我对你们的看法,老兄。”

船长发的这通小火使西尔弗冷静了几分。他本来有些冒火,但这会儿他又恢复了常态。

“也许是吧,”他说,“先生们根据情况来划定是非曲直,这我不会限制。啊,既然你抽开烟斗了,船长,我也就不拘礼节地照办啦。”

于是他也装了烟斗,点燃了它,这两个人就面对面地默默地抽了会儿烟,时而按一按烟斗,时而伸出头去吐口唾沫。看他们那样子真像在演戏一样。

“听着,”西尔弗重新挑起了话头,“就这样吧。你把寻宝图交给我们,不再向可怜的船员们开枪射击,也别在他们睡熟的时候敲碎他们的脑袋。你们这样做了之后,我们可以给你们个选择的机会。或者,在财宝装上船后,你们和我们一起上船,然后我可以担保,以我的名誉担保,我将让你们在某个地方安全上岸。或者,如果那不合你们的意的话,考虑到我的手下因为肚子里仍有怨气、记着仇,可能有些人会粗暴些,那你们就留在这里,你们可以这样做。我会把给养分给你们些,半对半,我像前次一样发誓,我将告诉给我见到的第一艘船,让他们到这儿来把你们接走。你得承认那是个优待,你不可能得到更优惠的条件了,不可能。而且我希望”——他提高了嗓门——“在这木屋里的所有的人都好好想想我的话,因为我对船长说的也就是对大家说的。”

斯莫列特船长从坐着的地方站了起来,往他左手的掌心上磕了磕烟斗里的灰。

“就这些?”他问道。

“句句是实,我赌咒!”约翰答道。“要是你拒绝的话,你就等着吃枪子儿吧,休想再见到我。”

“很好,”船长说道。“现在你来听我说。要是你们放下武器,一个一个地前来,我就把你们全都铐起来,送回家去,在英格兰来一次公正的审判。要是你们不,我的名字是亚历山大·斯莫列特。我已经升起了我英王陛下的旗帜,我要让你们统统去见龙王。你们找不到宝藏的,你们也不会驾驶这艘船——你们中没人能驾驶得了这艘船。你们打不过我们——葛雷,就从你们那五个中跑了出来,到了这边。你们的船正进退两难,西尔弗船长,你现在在下风岸上,这一点你很快将发现。我站在这里跟你讲这是我对你的最后忠告。因为,以上帝的名义,下次再让我见到你,就让你的后脊梁吃一颗子弹。开步走,小子。烦请从这儿滚开,一步步爬回去,用上加倍的速度。”

西尔弗的面孔是一幅图画;他的眼睛因为暴怒而向外凸着。他甩掉了烟斗里的灰。

“拉我一把!”他叫道。

“我不拉。”船长答道。

“谁来拉我一把?”他吼道。

我们中谁也没动。他咆哮着发出最恶毒的咒骂,爬在沙地上,一直爬到了门廊前,抓着门柱子,用拐将自己的身体重新撑了起来。接着他便向泉水阵了一口。

“看这儿!”他叫道,“这就是我对你们的看法。不出一个钟头,我就要把你们的老木屋像郎姆酒桶似地凿穿。笑吧,你们这些天打雷劈的,笑吧!不出一个钟头,我就让你们笑脸变哭脸,让你们觉着还不如死了的好。”

他又断断续续地骂了一气,这才拄着拐,艰难地踩着沙地向下坡走去,失败了有四、五回,才在打白旗的人的帮助下越过了栅栏,一转眼就消失在了树林里




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