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宝岛(Treasure Island) 三十三 西尔弗的垮台

时间:2010-07-16 10:05    来源:    作者: 点击:
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THERE never was such an overturn in this world. Each of these six men was as though he had been struck. But with Silver the blow passed almost instantly. Every thought of his soul had been set full- stretch, like a racer, on that money; well, he was brought up in a single second, dead; and he kept his head, found his temper, and changed his plan before the others had had time to realise the disappointment.

`Jim,' he whispered, `take that, and stand by for trouble.'

And he passed me a double-barrelled pistol.

At the same time he began quietly moving northward, and in a few steps had put the hollow between us two and the other five. Then he looked at me and nodded, as much as to say, `Here is a narrow corner,' as, indeed, I thought it was. His looks were now quite friendly; and I was so revolted at these constant changes, that I could not forbear whispering, `So you've changed sides again.'

There was no time left for him to answer in. The buccaneers, with oaths and cries, began to leap, one after another, into the pit, and to dig with their fingers, throwing the boards aside as they did so. Morgan found a piece of gold. He held it up with a perfect spout of oaths. It was a two-guinea piece, and it went from hand to hand among them for a quarter of a minute.

`Two guineas!' roared Merry, shaking it at Silver. `That's your seven hundred thousand pounds, is it? You're the man for bargains, aint you? You're him that never bungled nothing, you wooden-headed lubber!'

`Dig away, boys,' said Silver, with the coolest insolence; `you'll find some pig-nuts and I shouldn't wonder.'

`Pig-nuts!' repeated Merry, in a scream. `Mates, do you hear that? I tell you, now, that man there knew it all along. Look in the face of him, and you'll see it wrote there.'

`Ah, Merry,' remarked Silver, `standing for cap'n again? You're a pushing lad, to be sure.'

But this time everyone was entirely in Merry's favour. They began to scramble out of the excavation, darting furious glances behind them. One thing I observed, which looked well for us: they all got out upon the opposite side from Silver.

Well, there we stood, two on one side, five on the other the pit between us, and nobody screwed up high enough to offer the first blow. Silver never moved; he watched them very upright on his crutch, and looked as cool as ever I saw him. He was brave, and no mistake.

At last, Merry seemed to think a speech might help matters.

`Mates,' says he, `there's two of them alone there; one's the old cripple that brought us all here and blundered us down to this; the other's that cub that I mean to have the heart of. Now, mates--'

He was raising his arm and his voice, and plainly meant to lead a charge. But just then - crack! crack! crack! - three musket-shots flashed out of the thicket. Merry tumbled head foremost into the excavation; the man with the bandage spun round like a teetotum, and fell all his length upon his side, where he lay dead, but still twitching; and the other three turned and ran for it with all their might.

Before you could wink, Long John had fired two barrels of a pistol into the struggling Merry; and as the man rolled up his eyes at him in the last agony, `George,' said he, `I reckon I settled you.'

At the same moment the doctor, Gray, and Ben Gunn joined us, with smoking muskets, from among the nutmeg trees.

`Forward!' cried the doctor. `Double quick, my lads. We must head 'em off the boats.'

And we set off at a great pace, sometimes plunging through the bushes to the chest.

I tell you, but Silver was anxious to keep up with us. The work that man went through, leaping on his crutch till the muscles of his chest were fit to burst, was work no sound man ever equalled; and so thinks the doctor. As it was, he was already thirty yards behind us, and on the verge of strangling, when we reached the brow of the slope.

`Doctor,' he hailed, `see there! no hurry!'

Sure enough there was no hurry. In a more open part of the plateau, we could see the three survivors still running in the same direction as they had started, right for Mizzen-mast Hill. We were already between them and the boats; and so we four sat down to breathe, while Long John, mopping his face, came slowly up with us.

`Thank ye kindly, doctor,' says he. `You came in in about the nick, I guess, for me and Hawkins. And so it's you, Ben Gunn!' he added. `Well, you're a nice one to be sure.'

`I'm Ben Gunn, I am,' replied the maroon, wriggling like an eel in his embarrassment. `And,' he added, after a long pause, `how do, Mr Silver? Pretty well, I thank ye, says you.'

`Ben, Ben,' murmured Silver, `to think as you've done me!' The doctor sent back Gray for one of the pickaxes, deserted, in their flight, by the mutineers; and then as we proceeded leisurely down hill to where the boats were lying, related, in a few words, what had taken place. It was a story that profoundly interested Silver; and Ben Gunn, the half-idiot maroon, was the hero from beginning to end.

Ben, in his long, lonely wanderings about the island, had found the skeleton - it was he that had rifled it; he had found the treasure; he had dug it up (it was the haft of his pickaxe that lay broken in the excavation); he had carried it on his back, in many weary journeys, from the foot of the tall pine to a cave he had on the two-pointed hill at the north-east angle of the island, and there it had lain stored in safety since two months before the arrival of the Hispaniola.

When the doctor had wormed this secret from him, on the afternoon of the attack, and when, next morning he saw the anchorage deserted, he had gone to Silver, given him the chart, which was now useless - given him the stores, for Ben Gunn's cave was well supplied with goats' meat salted by himself - given anything and everything to get a chance of moving in safety from the stockade to the two-pointed hill, there to be clear of malaria and keep a guard upon the money.

`As for you, Jim,' he said, `it went against my heart, but I did what I thought best for those who had stood by their duty; and if you were not one of these, whose fault was it?'

That morning, finding that I was to be involved in the horrid disappointment he had prepared for the mutineers, he had run all the way to the cave, and, leaving the squire to I guard the captain, had taken Gray and the maroon, and started, making the diagonal across the island, to be at hand beside the pine. Soon, however, he saw that our party had the start of him; and Ben Gunn, being fleet of foot, had been despatched in front to do his best alone. Then it had occurred to him to work upon the superstitions of his former shipmates; and he was so far successful that Gray and the doctor had come up and were already ambushed before the arrival of the treasure-hunters.

`Ah,' said Silver, `it were fortunate for me that I had Hawkins here. You would have let old John be cut to bits, and never given it a thought, doctor.'

`Not a thought,' replied Doctor Livesey, cheerily.

And by this time we had reached the gigs. The doctor, with the pick-axe, demolished one of them, and then we all got aboard the other, and set out to go round by sea for North Inlet.

This was a run of eight or nine miles. Silver, though he was almost killed already with fatigue, was set to an oar, like the rest of us, and we were soon skimming swiftly over a smooth sea. Soon we passed out of the straits and doubled the south-east corner of the island, round which, four days ago, we had towed the Hispaniola.

As we passed the two-pointed hill, we could see the black mouth of Ben Gunn's cave, and a fire standing by it, leaning on a musket. It was the squire; and we waved a handkerchief and gave him three cheers, in which the voice of Silver joined as heartily as any.

Three miles, farther, just inside the mouth of North Inlet, what should we meet but the Hispaniola, cruising by herself? The last flood had lifted her; and had there been much wind, or a strong tide current, as in the southern anchorage, we should never have found her more, or found her stranded beyond help. As it was, there was little amiss, beyond the wreck of the mainsail. Another anchor was got ready, and dropped in a fathom and a half of water. We all pulled round again to Rum Cove, the nearest point for Ben Gunn's treasure-house; and then Gray, single-handed, returned with the gig to the Hispaniola, where he was to pass the night on guard.

A gentle slope ran up from the beach to the entrance of the cave. At the top, the squire met us. To me he was cordial and kind, saying nothing of my escapade, either in the way of blame or praise. At Silver's polite salute he somewhat flushed.

`John Silver,' he said, `you're a prodigious villain and impostor - a monstrous impostor, sir. I am told I am not to prosecute you. Well, then, I will not. But the dead men, sir, hang about your neck like millstones.'

`Thank you kindly, sir,' replied Long John, again saluting.

`I dare you to thank me!' cried the squire. `It is a gross dereliction of my duty. Stand back.'

And thereupon we all entered the cave. It was a large, airy place, with a little spring and a pool of clear water, overhung with ferns. The floor was sand. Before a big fire lay Captain Smollett; and in a far corner, only duskily flickered over by the blaze, I beheld great heaps of coin and quadrilaterals built of bars of gold. That was Flint's treasure that we bad come so far to seek, and that had cost already the lives of seventeen men from the Hispaniola. How many it had cost in the amassing, what blood and sorrow, what good ships scuttled on the deep, what brave men walking the plank blindfold, what shot of cannon, what shame and lies and cruelty, perhaps no man alive could tell. Yet there were still three upon that island - Silver, and old Morgan, and Ben Gunn - who had each taken his share in these crimes, as each had hoped in vain to share in the reward.

`Come in, Jim,' said the captain. `You're a good boy in your line, Jim; but I don't think you and me'll go to sea again. You're too much of the born favourite for me. Is that you, John Silver? What brings you here, man?'

`Come back to my dooty, sir,' returned Silver.

`Ah!' said the captain; and that was all he said.

What a supper I had of it that night, with all my friends around me; and what a meal it was, with Ben Gunn's salted goat, and some delicacies and a bottle of old wine from the Hispaniola. Never, I am sure, were people gayer or happier. And there was Silver, sitting back almost out of the firelight, but eating heartily, prompt to spring forward when anything was wanted, even joining quietly in our laughter - the same bland, polite, obsequious seaman of the voyage out

世上再也没有比这更让人失望的事了。那六个人一下子都被击垮了,但西尔弗几乎马上从这次打击中清醒过来。刚才他一门心思地全速向“钱”冲刺,像个参加赛马的骑师。可转眼间又发现是死路一条。不过他仍保持头脑冷静,沉住了气,在别人还没意识到这一切幻想都破灭时,他已改变了他的计划。

“吉姆,”他悄悄地对我说,“把这个拿去,准备应付叛乱。”

说着他递给我一支双筒手枪。

同时,他若无其事地向北走了几步,让土坑把我们俩同他们五个隔开。然后他看看我点头示意,好像说:“形势危急。”——这一点我已意识到了。他的表情现在是非常友善,我对他这种反复无常的作法十分反感,竟忍不住嘀咕了一句:

“这回你又变脸啦。”

他来不及回答我的话。那些海盗连骂带叫一个个跳下坑去,开始用手扒土,又把木板向旁边乱扔一气。摩根找到一枚金币,它在海盗们的手里传来传去足有十几秒钟。

“两基尼,”墨利向西尔弗扬起金币叫嚷着,“这就是你说的七十万镑的财宝吗?你不是谈判的老手吗?你个坏事的木鱼脑袋。”

“挖吧,孩子们,”西尔弗国空一切地冷嘲热讽道,“兴许你们还能挖出两颗花生豆呢。”

“花生豆?”墨利尖叫了一声,“伙计们,你们听见没有?我告诉你们,这家伙早就心里有数,看看他那张脸,上面写的清清楚楚的。”

“啊,墨利,”西尔弗讽刺了他一句,“又准备当船长啦?痛头可真不小,没说的。”

但这一回所有的人都倾向于墨利,他们一边开始爬出土坑,一边回头用愤怒的眼光瞥一眼我们。我发现对我们有利的一面是:他们都爬向面对西尔弗的那边。

我们就这样对峙着,一方两个人,另一方五个人,中间隔着土坑,任何一方都不敢先动手。西尔弗拄着拐杖直挺挺地站在那儿,一动不动盯着他们,看上去和平时一样镇定自如。他确实有胆量,不可否认。

后来,墨利似乎想用一番话打破僵局。

“伙计们,”他说,“他们只有两个人:一个是老瘸鬼,他把咱们骗到这儿来上这么大的当;另一个是个小杂种,我早就想把他的心掏出来。现在,伙计们——”

他扬起胳膊,高声呼喊,显然准备带头发动攻击。但就在这时,只听得砰!砰!砰!——从矮树丛中闪出滑膛枪的三道火光。墨利一头栽进土坑里;头上缠绷带的那个家伙像陀螺似地转了个圈,也直挺挺地掉下坑去呜呼哀哉了,不过手脚还抽动了几下,其余三个掉头就跑。

一眨眼的功夫,高个儿约翰的手枪对准还在挣扎的墨利双筒齐响。墨利在断气前翻起一双眼睛瞪着他。“乔治,”西尔弗说,“这下我可让你闭上嘴了。”

这时,利弗西大夫、葛雷和本·葛恩从肉豆灌丛中向我们跑来,滑膛枪还冒着烟。

“追上去!”大夫喊道。“快,快点,伙伴们!我们必须赶在他们前头把小船夺过来。”

于是我们飞似地奔向海边,不时拨开齐胸高的灌木丛开路前进。

西尔弗拼着老命想跟上我们。他拄着拐杖一蹦一跳,简直能把胸大肌撕裂。医生认为,这样剧烈的运动即使是个没落残疾的人也受不了。尽管如此,当我们到达高地的坡顶时,他还是落在我们后面三十码远,而且已经上气不接下气了。

“大夫,”他喊道,“瞧那儿!不用急!”

的确不用着急,在高地比较开阔的地方,我们看得见三个幸存的海盗还在朝着他们开始跑的方向直奔后桅山。我们已跑到了他们和小船之间,于是我们四人坐下来歇了口气,高个儿约翰抹着脸上的汗慢慢地走过来。

“衷心感谢你,大夫,”他说,“你来的正是时候,救了我和霍金斯。哦,是你呀,本·葛恩?”他说,“嗯,你可真是个好样的。”

“是的,我是本·葛恩。”放荒滩的水手答道,他窘得像条黄鳝似的,扭了几下。“你还好吗,西尔弗先生?”隔了许久他才问了这么一句,“想来一向可好。”

“本啊本,”西尔弗喃喃地说,“没想到是你干的好事。”

大夫派葛雷回去将反叛者逃跑时扔下的镐头拿一把来。然后我们不紧不慢地走下山坡,向停木船的地方走去。一路上,大夫把刚才发生的事简要地说了一遍,这使西尔弗极感兴趣。本·葛恩这个放荒滩的傻小子从头到尾扮演了一个英雄角色。

长期孤身流浪在海岛上的本·葛恩发现了那副骨架,并把它身边的东西搜掠一空。发现宝藏的也是他,他把金银财宝都掘了出来(坑里留下的镐头断柄就是他的),把财宝扛着从大松树下搬到海岛东北角双峰山上的一个洞穴里。不知返了多少越,终于在伊斯班袅拉号抵达前两个月把所有的宝藏都安全运到那里。

在海盗们发动强攻的那天下午,医生就从本·葛恩口中套出了这些秘密。第二天早晨,医生发现锚地里的大船不见了,便去找西尔弗,并把废地图给了他,把补给品也给了他(因为本·葛恩的洞穴里贮存了大量他自己腌制的山羊肉),总之什么都给了他,以换取安全撤离寨子的机会向双峰山转移,避开沼泽地,这样也便于看管财宝。

“对于你,吉姆,”他说,“我一直不放心。不过,我首先应当为那些坚守岗位的人着想。既然你没能做到这一点,那还能怨谁呢?”

今天下午,他发现原来本打算让反叛者们空欢喜一场,没料到把我也卷了进去。于是他急忙跑回洞穴,留下乡绅照料船长,自己带领葛雷和放荒滩的水手,按对角线斜穿全岛直奔大松树那边。但不久他发现我们这一小队已走在他们前头,于是飞毛腿本·葛恩被派到前面去设法牵制住他们。本·葛恩想到利用他过去同船伙伴很迷信这一事实来吓唬他们。他这招十分灵验,终于使葛雷和医生在猎宝的海盗抵达之前及时赶到目的地预先埋伏下来。

“啊,”西尔弗说,“幸亏有霍金斯在我身边。否则,即使老约翰让他们碎尸万段,你也不会动心的,大夫。”

“当然不会。”利弗西大夫爽快地回答。

这时我们已来到停小船的地方。医生用镐头把其中的一只小船砸破,我们所有的人登上另一只准备从海上绕到北汊。

这段路有八九英里。西尔弗尽管已经累得半死,还是像我们大家一样划桨。不一会,我们已划出海峡,绕过岛的东南角,在平静的海面上划得飞快,四天前我们曾拖着伊斯班袅拉号经过那里进入海峡。

我们经过双峰山时,可以看得见本·葛恩的黑洞口,有一个人倚着滑膛枪站在洞口旁边,那是乡绅,我们向他挥手致意,并欢呼三声,其中西尔弗喊得十分卖力。

又划了三英里左右,刚进北汊的入口,我们就看到伊斯班袅拉号在自动漂流。潮水把它冲离了浅滩。要是风大或者像南锚地那样有强大的潮流,我们也许从此就找不到它,或者发现它触了礁,再也无济于事。而现在除了一面主帆外,其余部位并无重大损伤。我们取来另一只锚抛人一英尺深的水中,然后坐小船折回最靠近本·葛恩的藏宝洞的郎姆酒湾。再由葛雷单枪匹马地坐小船回到伊斯班袅拉号上去看船过夜。

从岸边到洞口是一段较平坦的斜坡。乡绅在坡顶上迎接我们。他对我既亲切又和蔼,对我逃跑的事只字不提,既不责骂,也不赞赏。当西尔弗恭恭敬敬向他行礼时,他却一下子气得满脸通红。

“约翰·西尔弗,”他说,“你这个大坏蛋、大骗子——一个十恶不赦的大骗子,先生。他们告诉我不让我控告你。好吧,那我就不提。不过,先生,死了那么多人你难道就心安理得吗?”

“衷心感谢你,先生。”高个儿约翰答道,又敬了个礼。

“少谢我!”乡绅喝住他,“我已违背了我应尽的义务,滚进去吧!”

我们都进了洞穴。这地方既宽敞又通风。有一小股清泉流入围着蕨草的池子,地是沙地。斯莫列特船长躺在一大堆火前;闪烁的火光隐约照到远处的一个角落,我看见那里有几大堆金币银币和架成四边形的金条。这就是我们万里迢迢来寻找的弗林特的宝藏,伊斯班袅拉号上已有十七个人为此送了命。这些财宝聚集了多少人的血和泪,多少艘大船沉入海底,多少勇敢的人被逼着蒙住眼睛走在伸出船外的板子上,然后一头栽进海水里,多少次战火硝烟,多少耻辱、欺诈和残暴的行为,恐怕没有一个活着的人能够讲清楚。这个岛上幸存者中有三个人——西尔弗、老摩根和本·葛恩——曾参与这些罪行,并且他们每个人都曾幻想从中分得一份财宝。

“进来,吉姆,”船长说,“从某种意义上讲,你是个好孩子,吉姆,但是下次我决不再带你出海,你简直就是一个天生的宠儿,我可受不了,喔,是你呀,约翰·西尔弗,什么风把你给吹来啦?”

“我回来履行我的义务,先生。”西尔弗答道。

船长“啊”了一声后就再也没说什么。

这天晚上,我和朋友们一起吃的晚饭,可香着哪!本·葛恩的腌羊肉,加上其他好饭菜,还有从伊斯班袅拉号上拿来的一瓶陈年葡萄酒,味道妙极了。我相信没有谁比我们更幸福更快活。西尔弗坐在我们后面火光几乎照不到的地方,尽情地吃着——谁要是需要什么东西,他就立即跑去取来;我们放声大笑,他也过来凑热闹——总之,他又成了航海途中那个爱献殷勤、溜须拍马的船上厨子




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