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宝岛(Treasure Island) 十一 我在苹果桶里听到了什

时间:2010-07-16 10:07    来源:    作者: 点击:
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`NO, not I,' said Silver. `Flint was cap'n; I was quartermaster, along of my timber leg. The same broadside I lost my leg, old Pew lost his deadlights. It was a master surgeon, him that ampytated me - out of college and all - Latin by the bucket, and what not; but he was hanged like a dog, and sun - dried like the rest, at Corso Castle. That was Roberts' men, that was, and comed of changing names to their ships - Royal Fortune and so on. Now, what a ship was christened, so let her stay, I says. So it was with the Cassandra as brought us all safe home from Malabar, after England took the Viceroy of the Indies; so it was with the old Walrus, Flint's old ship, as I've seen amuck with the red blood and fit to sink with gold.'

`Ah!' cried another voice, that of the youngest hand on board, and evidently full of admiration, `he was the flower of the flock, was Flint!'

`Davis was a man, too, by all accounts,' said Silver. `I never sailed along of him; first with England, then with Flint, that's my story; and now here on my own account, in a manner of speaking. I laid by nine hundred safe, from England, and two thousand after Flint. That aint bad for a man before the mast - all safe in bank. 'Tain't earning now, it's saving does it, you may lay to that. Where's all England's men now? I dunno. Where's Flint's? Why, most on 'em aboard here, and glad to get the duff - been begging before that, some on 'em. Old Pew, as had lost his sight, and might have thought shame, spends twelve hundred pound in a year, like a lord in Parliament. Where is he now? Well, he's dead now and under hatches; but for two year before that, shiver my timbers! the man was starving. He begged, and he stole, and he cut throats, and starved at that, by the powers!'

`Well, it aint much use, after all,' said the young seaman.

`'Tain't much use for fools, you may lay to it - that, nor nothing,' cried Silver. `But now, you look here: you're young, you are, but you're as smart as paint. I see that when I set my eyes on you, and I'll talk to you like a man.'

You may imagine how I felt when I heard this abominable old rogue addressing another in the very same words of flattery as he had used to myself. I think, if I had been able, that would have killed him through the barrel. Meantime, he ran on, little supposing he was overheard.

`Here it is about gentlemen of fortune. They lives rough and they risk swinging, but they eat and drink like fighting cocks, and when a cruise is done, why, it's hundreds of pounds instead of hundreds of farthings in their pockets. Now, the most goes for rum and a good fling, and to sea again in their shirts. But that's not the course I lay. I puts it all away, some here, some there, and none too much anywheres, by reason of suspicion. I'm fifty, mark you; once back from this cruise I set up gentleman in earnest. Time enough, too, says you Ah, but I've lived easy in the meantime; never denied myself o nothing heart desires, and slep' soft and ate dainty all my days, but when at sea. And how did I begin? Before the mast like you!'

`Well,' said the other, `but all the other money's gone now aint it? You daren't show face in Bristol after this.'

`Why, where might you suppose it was?' asked Silver derisively.

`At Bristol, in banks and places,' answered his companion `It were,' said the cook; `it were when we weighed anchor But my old missis has it all by now. And the ``Spy-glass'' is sold, lease and good-will and rigging; and the old girl's of to meet me. I would tell you where, for I trust you; but it 'ud make jealousy among the mates.'

`And can you trust your missis?' asked the other.

`Gentlemen of fortune,' returned the cook, `usually trusts little among themselves, and right they are, you may lay to it. But I have a way with me, I have. When a mate brings a slip on his cable - one as knows me, I mean - it won't be in the same world with old John. There was some that was feared of Pew, and some that was feared of Flint; but Flint his own self was feared of me. Feared he was, and proud. They was the roughest crew afloat, was Flint's; the devil himself would have been feared to go to sea with them. Well, now, I tell you, I'm not a boasting man, and you seen yourself how easy I keep company; but when I was quartermaster, lambs wasn't the word for Flint's old buccaneers. Ah, you may be sure of yourself in old John's ship.'

`Well, I tell you now,' replied the lad, `I didn't half a quarter like the job till I had this talk with you, John; but there's my hand on it now.'

`And a brave lad you were, and smart, too,' answered Silver, shaking hands so heartily that all the barrel shook, `and a finer figure-head for a gentleman of fortune I never clapped my eyes on.'

By this time I had begun to understand the meaning of their terms. By a `gentleman of fortune' they plainly meant neither more nor less than a common pirate, and the little scene that I had overheard was the last act in the corruption of one of the honest hands - perhaps of the last one left aboard. But on this point I was soon to be relieved for Silver giving a little whistle, a third man strolled up and sat down by the party.

`Dick's square,' said Silver.

`Oh, I know'd Dick was square,' returned the voice of the coxswain, Israel Hands. `He's no fool, is Dick.' And he turned his quid and spat. `But, look here,' he went on, here's what I want to know, Barbecue: how long are we a-going to stand off and on like a blessed bumboat? I've had a' most enough o Cap'n Smollett; he's hazed me long enough, by thunder! I want to go into that cabin, I do. I want their pickles and wines, and that.'

`Israel,' said Silver, `your head aint much account, nor ever was. But you're able to hear, I reckon; leastways, your ears is big enough. Now, here's what I say: you'll berth forward, and you'll live hard, and you'll speak soft, and you'll keep sober, till I give the word; and you may lay to that, my son.'

`Well, I don't say no, do I?' growled the coxswain. `What I say is, when? That's what I say.'

`When! by the powers!' cried Silver. `Well, now, if you want to know, I'll tell you when. The last moment I can manage; and that's when. Here's a first-rate seaman, Cap'n Smollett, sails the blessed ship for us. Here's this squire and doctor with a map and such - I don't know where it is, do I? No more do you, says you. Well, then, I mean this squire and doctor shall find the stuff, and help us to get it aboard, by the powers. Then we'll see. If was sure of you all, sons of double Dutchmen, I'd have Cap'n Smollett navigate us half-way back again before struck.'

`Why, we're all seamen aboard here, I should think,' said the lad Dick.

`We're all foc's'le hands, you mean,' snapped Silver `We can steer a course, but who's to set one? That's what all you gentlemen split on, first and last. If I had my way I'd have Cap'n Smollett work us back into the trades a' least; then we'd have no blessed miscalculations and a spoonful of water a day. But I know the sort you are. I'll finish with 'em at the island, as soon's the blunt's on board and a pity it is. But you're never happy till you're drunk Split my sides, I've a sick heart to sail with the likes of you!

`Easy all, Long John,' cried Israel. `Who's a-crossing of you?'

`Why, how many tall ships, think ye, now, have I seen laid aboard? and how many brisk lads drying in the sun at Execution Dock?' cried Silver, `and all for this same hurry and hurry and hurry. You hear me? I seen a thing or two at sea, I have. If you would on'y lay your course and a p'int to windward, you would ride in carriages, you would. But not you! I know you. You'll have your mouthful of rum to- morrow, and go hang.'

`Everybody know'd you was a kind of a chapling, John; but there's others as could hand and steer as well as you,' said Israel. `They liked a bit o' fun, they did. They wasn't so high. and dry, nohow, but took their fling, like jolly companions every one.'

`So?' says Silver. `Well, and where are they now? Pew was that sort, and he died a beggar-man. Flint was, and he died of rum at Savannah. Ah, they was a sweet crew they was! on'y, where are they?'

`But,' asked Dick, `when we do lay 'em athwart, what are we to do with 'em, anyhow?'

`There's the man for me!' cried the cook, admiringly. `That's what I call business. Well, what would you think? Put 'em ashore like maroons? That would have been England's way. Or cut 'em down like that much pork? That would have been Flint's or Billy Bones's.'

`Billy was the man for that,' said Israel. ```Dead men don't bite,'' says he. Well, he's dead now himself; he knows the long and short on it now; and if ever a rough hand come to port, it was Billy.'

`Right you are,' said Silver, `rough and ready. But mark you here: I'm an easy man - I'm quite the gentleman, says you; but this time it's serious. Dooty is dooty, mates. I give my vote - death. When I'm in Parlyment, and riding in my coach, I don't want none of these sea - lawyers in the cabin a-coming home, unlooked for, like the devil at prayers. Wait is what I say; but when the time comes, why let her rip!'

`John,' cries the coxswain, `you're a man!'

`You'll say so, Israel, when you see,' said Silver. `Only one thing I claim - I claim Trelawney. I'll wring his calf's head off his body with these hands. Dick!' he added, breaking off, `you just jump up, like a sweet lad, and get me an apple, to wet my pipe like.'

You may fancy the terror I was in! I should have leaped out and run for it, if I had found the strength; but my limbs and heart alike misgave me. I heard Dick begin to rise, and then someone seemingly stopped him, and the voice of Hands exclaimed:--

`Oh, stow that! Don't you get sucking of that bilge, John. Let's have a go of the rum.'

`Dick,' said Silver, `I trust you. I've a gauge on the keg, mind. There's the key; you fill a pannikin and bring it up.'

Terrified as I was, I could not help thinking to myself that this must have been how Mr Arrow got the strong waters that destroyed him.

Dick was gone but a little while, and during his absence Israel spoke straight on in the cook's ear. It was but a word or two that I could catch, and yet I gathered some important news; for, besides other scraps that tended to the sam purpose, this whole clause was audible: `Not another man of them'll jine.' Hence there were still faithful men on board When Dick returned, one after another of the trio took the pannikin and drank - one `To luck'; another with a `Here's to old Flint'; and Silver himself saying, in a kind of song `Here's to ourselves, and hold your luff, plenty of prizes and plenty of duff.'

Just then a sort of brightness fell upon me in the barrel and looking up, I found the moon had risen, and was silvering, the mizzen-top and shining white on the luff of the fore-sail and almost at the same time the voice of the look-out shouted `Land ho!'

“不,不是我,”西尔弗说,“弗林特是船长;我因为有这根木腿,只是管掌舵。我失去这条腿,老皮乌失去了他的眼睛,是在同一次测舷受到炮击的时候。是一个技艺精湛的外科医生给我截的腿——那医生是从一个什么大学出来的,一肚子的拉丁词儿,还有别的什么;但是他被像条狗似的吊死在科尔索炮台,晒干了,像其他人一样。那是罗伯特的部下,他们的毛病是出在给船换了名字——‘皇运’等等——带来这个下场。 如今照我说,一条船被命名为什么,就让它一直叫那个名字好了。‘卡散德拉’号就是这样,在殷格兰拿下了‘印度总督号’,她把我们从马拉巴全部送回家;‘老瓦鲁斯’号,弗林特的那艘老帆船,也是这样,当时我见她被鲜血染得斑斑驳驳,被金子压得快 要沉了。”

“啊!”另一个声音叫道,那是船上最年轻的水手,声音里充满了赞美之情,“他 是人中俊杰哩,那个弗林特!”

“人人都说戴维斯也是个人物哩,”西尔弗说。“我从未跟他一起出过海;我先是跟殷格兰,然后跟弗林特,那就是我的经历;这把,可以说,算是我单干了。我从殷格兰那里稳稳当当地拿了九百存上了,后来又从弗林特那里得了两千。对一个在桅杆前于活的人来说,那已经不坏了——全都稳稳当当地存在银行里。单靠会挣钱还不行,还得靠节俭聚财,你要明白这一点。如今殷格兰的全体部下到哪里去了呢?我不知道。弗林特的手下呢?嗯,他们大部分在这条船上,为有肉馒头吃而感到快活——在这之前,他们中有些还要过饭哩。老皮乌,瞎了眼之后,说起来可能惭愧,曾在一年里就花掉了一千二百镑,像个国会里的王公。他现在在哪儿?哎,他现在已经死了,在地底下了;但是在两年前,见鬼!这个人正在挨饿。他乞讨,他偷,他还杀人,这么着他还挨饿,老天!”

“你看,那毕竟没有太大用处。”年轻的水手说。

“对傻瓜们来说是没太大用处,你要明白这一点——对他们来说,什么都没用,” 西尔弗叫道。“但是现在,你瞧:你还年轻,但你却聪明伶俐得跟幅画似的,我一见到你就看出来了,因此我把你当成个男子汉来谈话。”

你可以想像得到,当我听到这个老恶棍把用在我身上的同样的奉承话拿去奉承另一个人时,我是怎样的感觉。我想,要是可能的话,我会穿过这木桶杀了他。同时,他继续讲着,丝毫没想到被人听到。

“幸运的大爷们就是这样。他们艰难地生活着,冒着被绞死的危险,但是他们却像斗鸡般地吃喝着,而一旦一次航行结束了,他们口袋里成百的钢蹦儿就会换成成百上千的金铸。于是,大半花在喝酒和挥霍上,然后就再两手空空地出海。但那不是我的做法。 我把钱都存起来,这儿一些,那儿一些,哪儿都不太多,以免引起怀疑。我五十岁了,这点你要知道;一旦这次返航回去,我就郑重其事地做个绅士。连你也说,时间还富裕着哩。啊,但是那段时间我生活得很愉快,我从不拒绝无忧无虑、整天睡得甜、吃得香的生活,不过到了海上,情形就不同了。而我是怎样开始干起的呢?在桅杆前面,就像你!”

“好啦,”另一个说,“不过现在,其他那些个钱全都泡汤了,是不是?这次回去之后你再不敢在布里斯托尔露面了。”

“怎的,你猜想这钱在哪儿?”西尔弗嘲弄地问道。

“在布里斯托尔,在银行里和其他一些地方。”他的伙伴答道。

“是的,”厨子说,“当我们起锚时,钱是在那儿;但如今我的老婆已经把它们全取出来了。而‘望远镜’酒店也出兑了,连同租约。商誉和全部设施;我老婆也离开了那儿,等着同我会面。我可以告诉你在哪儿,因为我信得着你;但这在伙计们中间会引起妒嫉的。”

“那么你信得过你的老婆吗?”另一个问。

“幸运的大爷们,”厨子答道,“通常他们之间毫无信用可言,他们就是这样,你要明白这一点。不过我自有办法,我是这样的。一巳有哪个家伙算计我——我指和我相熟的人——那他就别想和老约翰活在同一个世界上。有些人怕皮乌,而有些人怕弗林特; 但是弗林特他本人怕我。他怕的,但是他又骄傲。他们是船上最粗野的水手,弗林特的部下都是;就连魔鬼自己也不敢到海上和他们呆在一起。好啦,现在,我跟你讲,我不是个自吹自擂的家伙,而你如今可以自己亲眼见到,我和同伴们相处得多么轻松;但当我还是舵手那会儿,‘绵羊’决不是用来形容弗林特手下的老海盗们的字眼。啊,你在老约翰的船上自己会证实这一点的。”

“好吧,现在我告诉你,”小伙子答道,“在和你谈话之前,我一丁点儿都不喜欢这行当,约翰;但是现在,我向你伸出我的手。”

“你真是个有胆量的小伙儿,而且还聪明伶俐,”西尔弗答道,一边热烈地握手,以至于这木桶整个身子都摇晃起来。“而且我还没见过像你这么标致的幸运的大爷哩。”

直到这会儿我才开始明白他们所说的一些黑话的意思。所谓的“幸运的大爷”,很明显,不多也不少,就是指一个普通的海盗,而我听到的那小小的一幕,正是腐化一个最老实的人的最后一场演出——可能这是船上剩下的最后一个老实人了。但在这一点上,我很快得到了宽慰,因为西尔弗轻轻地打了个呼哨,第三个人逛荡了过来,坐在这一对的旁边。

“狄克是我们这边的。”西尔弗说。

“哦,我晓得狄克是我们这边的,”舵手伊斯莱尔·汉兹的声音回答说。“他不笨, 狄克不笨。”说着他转动了下嘴里的烟草块,吐了口唾沫。“但是,你看,”他接着说 道,“我想知道的是这个,‘大叉烧’:还要多久我们才会离开这只该死的垃圾船?斯 莫列特船长快要让我受够了,他把我欺侮够了,这个挨雷劈的!我想进到那个特舱里去,我非要进去。我想要他们的泡菜和葡萄酒,什么都要。”

“伊斯莱尔,”西尔弗说道,“你的脑子不太好使,从来如此。但是我想你总还能听吧,至少你的耳朵长得还够大。听着,这就是我想说的:你还是要住在前舱,还是要 忍受煎熬过日子,还是要低声下气地说话,但是你要保持清醒,直到我发话;而你要明白这一点,我的孩子。”

“好啦,我没有说不,我说了吗?”水手长忿忿不平地说道。“我说的是要等到什么时候?那才是我说的意思。”

“什么时候!老天!”西尔弗叫道,“好吧,要是你想知道的话,现在我来告诉你要等到什么时候,要等到我设法拖到的最后一刻,这就是那个时候。这里有个第一流的航海家,斯莫列特船长,为我们驾驶着这艘好运气的船。这里有这个乡绅和医生,把持着这张地图——而我不知道它在哪里,我知道吗?你来说说看,你也不知道呀。那么好啦,我的意思是,乡绅和医生把真货找到,帮助咱们装上船,谢天谢地!然后我们就有好看的啦。要是我信得过你们这些双料的荷兰崽子的话,在我进攻之前,我要让斯莫列特船长先重新为我们把船开回到中途。”

“怎么,我想我们这儿可全都是出过海的呀。”那个小伙子狄克叫道。

“你的意思是我们都是水手舱里面的人手,”西尔弗不耐烦地打断了他的话。“我们能按照一条航线来行驶,但是由谁来确定这条航线呢?那就是你们这些大爷们全都傻 眼的地方。要是按我的意思来,我要让斯莫列特船长至少为我们工作到驶人贸易风带的时候,那么我们就不会有该死的计算错误,也不必每天只喝一匙淡水了。但是我知道你们是哪种人。等钱财一搬上船,我就在岛上解决了他们,真是可惜。你们都是些急功近利、短视的家伙。说来真是让我笑破肚皮,和你们这种人一道航行真让我恶心!”

“打住吧,高个子约翰,”伊斯莱尔叫道,“谁拦着你啦?”

“怎么,现在你想想看,我见到过多少大船被袭击?又有多少活蹦乱跳的小伙子吊死在杜克刑场、在日头下晒成干儿?”西尔弗叫道,“而所有这一切都是因为急躁、急躁、急躁。你听到我说的啦?海上的事我是经过些的,我的确经过。要是你能坚持你的航线,避过风险,你就会坐四轮马车,你会的。但是你不行!我了解你。要是明天能让你灌上一肚子酒,然后让你上绞架,你也乐不得的。”

“每个人都知道你是个随营牧师似的家伙,约翰;但是其他人中也有卷帆掌舵和你一样能的,”伊斯莱尔说,“他们喜欢逗个乐于,他们是的。他们可不这么让人觉得高不可攀,一点也不,而是自由自在的,跟每个人都像是个风趣的同伴。”

“是这样的吗?”西尔弗说,“好吧,而他们如今在哪里呢?皮乌是那种人,而他这个叫花子死了。弗林特也是那种人,而他在萨凡那酗酒死了。啊,他们都是可爱的船友,他们是的!只是,他们到哪里去了呢?”

“但是,”狄克问道,“不管怎样,到那边后我们怎么对付他们呢?”

“这才是我的好汉呀!”厨子赞美地叫道。

“那就是我所说的麻烦事。唔,你想怎样呢?把他们放逐到荒岛上?那是殷格兰的方式。或者把他们像剁猪肉似的剁了?那是弗林特或比尔·彭斯的做法。”

“比尔就是那种人,”伊斯莱尔说,“‘死人不会咬’,他说。好啦,如今他本人也死了;现在他完全有这个切身体验了;要说有哪个粗暴的家伙活到了头,那就是比尔。”

“你说得对,”西尔弗说道,“差不多是这意思。但是现在你听着:我是个宽容的 人——你还可以说,我是个谦谦君子;但是这次事情严峻。公事公办,伙计。我发表我的意见——处死。当我日后进了国会、坐着四轮马车的时候,我可不想那个在特舱里耍嘴皮子的家伙意外地回家来、像魔鬼作祈祷似地令人大吃一惊。要等待时机,这是我说的;但是一旦时机成熟,就来它个斩尽杀绝!”

“约翰,”水手长叫道,“你真是个好汉!”

“你可以这么说,伊斯莱尔,当你眼见之时,”西尔弗说。“我只要求一件事—— 我要求把特里罗尼交给我。我要用这双手把他的肉脑袋从身子上拧掉。狄克!”他停了一下,加了一句,“你起来,可爱的孩子,给我拿个苹果,润润我的嗓子。”

你可以想像我处在什么样的恐惧中!要是我还有力气的话,我会跳出去逃命了;但是我的四肢和心脏都不听我使唤了。我听到狄克开始起身,接着谁好像拦住了他,汉兹的声音响了起来:

“噢,算啦,你甭去吸桶底的脏水了,约翰。让我们来杯酒吧。”

“狄克,”西尔弗说,“我信得过你。记着,在那小桶上我有个量杯。这是钥匙;你倒一小杯,端上来。”

我大吃一惊,不禁暗自想到,埃罗先生的烈性酒一定就是这样弄来的,那酒毁了他。

狄克只出去了一小会,而当他不在的时候,伊斯莱尔直接把嘴凑到厨子的耳朵上说话。我只能捕捉到不多的字眼,而即便如此我也收集到了些重要的消息;因为除了其他那些意思大体相同的只言片语外,我还听到了句完整的话:“他们中再没有人想加入了。”因此说来,船上还有忠实可信的人。

当狄克回来之后,三个人一个接一个地端起杯子喝上了——一个说“祝好运”;另一个说“这一口为老弗林特”,而西尔弗他本人则用唱歌似的腔调说,“这一口为我们自己,占住上风,广进财源,大吃肉馒头。”

就在这时,一道光亮射进桶内,照到了我身上,而当我抬头望时,发现月亮已经升起来了,照得后桅的顶部银光闪闪,前桅帆的顶上也白花花的;几乎与此同时,观望的声音喊起来:“陆地——嗬!”




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