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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Young Peggy McQueen » CHAPTER IV. On the Cannibal Isle.
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CHAPTER IV. On the Cannibal Isle.

STRANSOM, the old blackbirder, was a go-ahead kind of fellow, and as bold as a lion. He was just the man who would “make a spoon or spoil a horn”—“do a deed or perish in the attempt.” There was no fear of failure in his heart.
About a couple of hours before sunset he stuck his revolvers in his belt, nodded to those he was leaving behind, and beckoned1 to Tootaker to follow him into the canoe. A few minutes after this the white man and the friendly savage2 stood together in a woodland glade3.
“I can trust Tootaker?”
“Tootaker will die for master. Not false, true, true!”
This in the language of the islanders.
“Lead me through the woods, Tootaker. I would speak with your chief.”
The guide darted4 forward. Stransom looked at his revolvers. He meant to shoot that guide through the head if he{147} exhibited even a trace of treachery or fear. The only thing to dread5 in this wood was the snakes. Creatures of marvellous beauty, small, slender, green or crimson6, they crept and twined everywhere. Among the reeds by pools, in the pools themselves, and in the branches of the trees, Stransom had often to dash them aside with his brown hands. Yet beautiful though they were, a single bite would mean an agonising death.
This jungle was a most intricate one. The trees did not grow from roots underground: the roots were above, so that one had to climb over them, or creep under them. It was a swamp and a labyrinth7 combined, and if Tootaker had wished to be unfaithful, he had a good chance now, even in spite of Stransom’s revolvers. But the white man had won his affection; and, above all, the wondrous8 beauty of the child Peggy had so stolen around his savage heart, that he had lost all desire to live longer among his own people.
The sun was almost down before they got clear of the forest. They were on a bare green hill now, and far below on the east side of the island they could see the waving cocoa-palms and the green banana banks near to which the savages9 dwelt.{148}
“Halt!” cried Stransom.
Then he took out a long piece of rope and tied the guide’s arms to his side and his wrists to one another, bidding the wondering Tootaker watch exactly how it was done. Tootaker had cute eyes, and he needed them to follow this wondrous intricacy of knot.
“Now,” said Stransom, laughing, “pull your hands apart.”
Tootaker did so, and to his amazement10 every knot was instantly loosed and the rope fell to the ground.
“Now bind11 me, Tootaker.”
The black was a little awkward at first, but he soon managed the whole trick.
By this time the moon had risen, and in less than half an hour Tootaker marched with bold strides into the camp, and right up to the great kraal of the king, leading a white captive, apparently12 bound and helpless.
There were shouts of savage joy, but Tootaker held up his hand authoritatively13 and commanded silence. The natives followed as far as the verandah of the palace, but on being told that he and his captive must first hold chik-chak with the chief, they retired14.{149}
Critical moments followed. Stransom was staking his life and the life of all on board the Vulture on one bold stroke. If it failed—well, after all, people have only once to die!
But Tootaker had been well instructed how to play his part, and forgot nothing.
The king was squatting15 on a daïs, from which he did not rise, but received Tootaker with great joy, and asked him question after question, while with bowed head Stransom stood before the throne. He smiled to himself though, when he heard this cannibal king telling Tootaker how his body was to be cut up, and what joints16 should be roasted for the royal table, and what apportioned17 to his under-chiefs and people. The king evidently intended that all the most toothsome and appetising portions of Stransom’s body should fall to his own share.
“Now,” cried the king, “bring him here that I may drink the white man’s blood.”
He seized an ugly knife as he spoke18. But he certainly was not prepared for what followed. With a sharp kick Stransom struck the knife from the savage hand, and next moment he stood before him a free man armed with a revolver in each hand.{150} Stransom spoke hurriedly now, but with excellent effect.
“One loud word, King Karoo, and you are a dead man.”
Their eyes met. The king cowered19 before his captive.
“Ah, you know me now? I am Stransom the blackbirder. How you came here I know not, but you were chief of the Luttoo Isles20, five hundred miles to the west, and you and your fellows massacred every man of the brig Ranger21. Don’t be afraid, old friend. I was her captain, and the only man saved.”
“I saved you!” cried the king, excitedly, as he glanced down the barrel of that revolver in evident dread that it might go off. “I saved you!”
“Yes, you thundering old scoundrel, you saved me, to be tortured and thus made more tender, and so to serve as a side dish for your own table. But, listen! I did not come here to have revenge and kill you! Your people did nothing wrong in massacring the blackbirders. They had come to drag you into bondage22 worse than slavery. I would have done the same had I been in your place. No, I don’t come now to take revenge, else{151} I’d shoot you like a rabbit right off. I’m no longer a blackbirder.”
Then in far simpler language he told the story of the storm, the mutiny, and the desertion of the ship, and the wreck23.
“The blackbirders will come to your island by and by, but if you now make friends with the remainder of my people we will give you and your fellows and your women wonderful gifts and beautiful beads24. See, here are some of them.”
He emptied his pockets as he spoke, of strings25 of beads that quite dazzled the savage king.
“Oh-h-h!” he cried, “and you will give me all this?”
“Yes, if you will come with me to-night, at once, through the moonlight in your big canoe to the creek26 where lies our ship.”
“And you will not kill me and eat me?”
“Eat you, King Karoo! I’d be precious hungry before I touched a morsel27 of such a tough old rascal28 as you. Be true to me as Tootaker has been, and you and your island will be spared when the great ship comes. For I can save you.”
“You are a white devil?” asked the king.{152}
“Angel or devil, I’ll keep my word. Now, which do you choose, death or life?”
And Karoo bent29 his head in submission30, only begging leave to take in his boat ten trusty warriors31.
Stransom, by way of reply, coolly counted the number of chambers32 in his revolvers, going round them with his finger-tips—“One life, two lives, three lives,” etc., up to ten; then he nodded and smiled.
Neither Fitzroy nor his boy were easy enough in their minds to-night to sleep.
The moon was at its height, when suddenly Ralph started up and bayed in anger. A huge war-canoe had swept round the point and was entering the creek.
The big gun was directed at it immediately.
“Who goes there? Speak quick, or I fire!”
“All right, Fitz. It’s Stransom. Prepare to receive royalty33.”
“Hurrah!” shouted Gourmand34, seizing his big bass35 instrument which had been made specially36 for him, and wound right round his shoulder like a Highlander’s plaid. The mouthpiece of it was so big that Willie{153} could get inside easily. He blew a blast that would have awakened37 the dead.
When with considerable difficulty, for he was very fat, the old king got up the side, and saw Gourmand, he started back and nearly went heels over head into the sea again.
“Don’t be afraid, old boy,” said Stransom, hitting him a smack38 on the back that almost took his breath away. “That’s only one of my little boys.”
Then Stransom gave Tootaker orders not to let anyone else up the side, for savages are arrant39 thieves, and took the king below to the saloon. The king’s eyes were now like bull’s eyes with amazement mingled40 with fear.
But Stransom made him sit down, and gave him a stiff glass of whisky. Hand in hand with Willie, Peggy herself came in, all smiles. Stransom introduced them.
“Two babies,” he said, “just three days old.”
Johnnie entered next.
“Born four days ago,” said Stransom, coolly.
“How do, old block? Delighted, I’m sure!{154}”
The king took Johnnie’s extended hand, but holloed with pain immediately after, for the athletic41 boy had given him what he called an artistic42 squeeze. It was artistic enough, anyhow, to make the blood ooze43 from under his nails. No wonder he holloed.
Meanwhile Fitzroy entertained the men in the canoe. They ate like ogres of the good things handed down to them—a bushel of biscuits and about fifteen pounds of salt beef. Fitzroy could see them, their stomachs swelling44 even in the moonlight. Then he threw them down beads, and coloured cloth.
They fought over this till they nearly capsized the great war-canoe. But the fittest survived: the rest were hors de combat between the thwarts45.
The king had more whisky!
He grew happy and fought all his battles over again, and told of all the wondrous cannibal feasts he had taken part in. He even volunteered a song, though he had no more music in him than a carrion46 crow.
He had some more whisky, and was then induced to go on deck, and walk forward, or rather totter47, gibbering all the time like a{155} blithering idiot. Here he lay down, and Fitzroy threw a tarpaulin48 over him.
Tootaker stood sentry49 over his king all night, and the savage emperor was a different man in the morning, and a sadder.
But in this strange way was friendship established between the white men and this terrible tribe of cannibals.


1 beckoned b70f83e57673dfe30be1c577dd8520bc     
v.(用头或手的动作)示意,召唤( beckon的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He beckoned to the waiter to bring the bill. 他招手示意服务生把账单送过来。
  • The seated figure in the corner beckoned me over. 那个坐在角落里的人向我招手让我过去。 来自《简明英汉词典》
2 savage ECxzR     
  • The poor man received a savage beating from the thugs.那可怜的人遭到暴徒的痛打。
  • He has a savage temper.他脾气粗暴。
3 glade kgTxM     
  • In the midst of a glade were several huts.林中的空地中间有几间小木屋。
  • The family had their lunch in the glade.全家在林中的空地上吃了午饭。
4 darted d83f9716cd75da6af48046d29f4dd248     
v.投掷,投射( dart的过去式和过去分词 );向前冲,飞奔
  • The lizard darted out its tongue at the insect. 蜥蜴伸出舌头去吃小昆虫。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The old man was displeased and darted an angry look at me. 老人不高兴了,瞪了我一眼。 来自《简明英汉词典》
5 dread Ekpz8     
  • We all dread to think what will happen if the company closes.我们都不敢去想一旦公司关门我们该怎么办。
  • Her heart was relieved of its blankest dread.她极度恐惧的心理消除了。
6 crimson AYwzH     
  • She went crimson with embarrassment.她羞得满脸通红。
  • Maple leaves have turned crimson.枫叶已经红了。
7 labyrinth h9Fzr     
  • He wandered through the labyrinth of the alleyways.他在迷宫似的小巷中闲逛。
  • The human mind is a labyrinth.人的心灵是一座迷宫。
8 wondrous pfIyt     
  • The internal structure of the Department is wondrous to behold.看一下国务院的内部结构是很有意思的。
  • We were driven across this wondrous vast land of lakes and forests.我们乘车穿越这片有着湖泊及森林的广袤而神奇的土地。
9 savages 2ea43ddb53dad99ea1c80de05d21d1e5     
未开化的人,野蛮人( savage的名词复数 )
  • There're some savages living in the forest. 森林里居住着一些野人。
  • That's an island inhabited by savages. 那是一个野蛮人居住的岛屿。
10 amazement 7zlzBK     
  • All those around him looked at him with amazement.周围的人都对他投射出惊异的眼光。
  • He looked at me in blank amazement.他带着迷茫惊诧的神情望着我。
11 bind Vt8zi     
  • I will let the waiter bind up the parcel for you.我让服务生帮你把包裹包起来。
  • He wants a shirt that does not bind him.他要一件不使他觉得过紧的衬衫。
12 apparently tMmyQ     
  • An apparently blind alley leads suddenly into an open space.山穷水尽,豁然开朗。
  • He was apparently much surprised at the news.他对那个消息显然感到十分惊异。
13 authoritatively 1e057dc7af003a31972dbde9874fe7ce     
  • "If somebody'll come here and sit with him," he snapped authoritatively. “来个人到这儿陪他坐着。”他用发号施令的口吻说。
  • To decide or settle(a dispute, for example) conclusively and authoritatively. 判定结论性、权威性地决定或解决(纠纷等)
14 retired Njhzyv     
  • The old man retired to the country for rest.这位老人下乡休息去了。
  • Many retired people take up gardening as a hobby.许多退休的人都以从事园艺为嗜好。
15 squatting 3b8211561352d6f8fafb6c7eeabd0288     
v.像动物一样蹲下( squat的现在分词 );非法擅自占用(土地或房屋);为获得其所有权;而占用某片公共用地。
  • They ended up squatting in the empty houses on Oxford Road. 他们落得在牛津路偷住空房的境地。
  • They've been squatting in an apartment for the past two years. 他们过去两年来一直擅自占用一套公寓。 来自《简明英汉词典》
16 joints d97dcffd67eca7255ca514e4084b746e     
接头( joint的名词复数 ); 关节; 公共场所(尤指价格低廉的饮食和娱乐场所) (非正式); 一块烤肉 (英式英语)
  • Expansion joints of various kinds are fitted on gas mains. 各种各样的伸缩接头被安装在煤气的总管道上了。
  • Expansion joints of various kinds are fitted on steam pipes. 各种各样的伸缩接头被安装在蒸气管道上了。
17 apportioned b2f6717e4052e4c37470b1e123cb4961     
  • They apportioned the land among members of the family. 他们把土地分给了家中各人。
  • The group leader apportioned them the duties for the week. 组长给他们分派了这星期的任务。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
18 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
19 cowered 4916dbf7ce78e68601f216157e090999     
v.畏缩,抖缩( cower的过去式 )
  • A gun went off and people cowered behind walls and under tables. 一声枪响,人们缩到墙后或桌子底下躲起来。
  • He cowered in the corner, gibbering with terror. 他蜷缩在角落里,吓得语无伦次。
20 isles 4c841d3b2d643e7e26f4a3932a4a886a     
岛( isle的名词复数 )
  • the geology of the British Isles 不列颠群岛的地质
  • The boat left for the isles. 小船驶向那些小岛。
21 ranger RTvxb     
  • He was the head ranger of the national park.他曾是国家公园的首席看守员。
  • He loved working as a ranger.他喜欢做护林人。
22 bondage 0NtzR     
  • Masters sometimes allowed their slaves to buy their way out of bondage.奴隶主们有时允许奴隶为自己赎身。
  • They aim to deliver the people who are in bondage to superstitious belief.他们的目的在于解脱那些受迷信束缚的人。
23 wreck QMjzE     
  • Weather may have been a factor in the wreck.天气可能是造成这次失事的原因之一。
  • No one can wreck the friendship between us.没有人能够破坏我们之间的友谊。
24 beads 894701f6859a9d5c3c045fd6f355dbf5     
n.(空心)小珠子( bead的名词复数 );水珠;珠子项链
  • a necklace of wooden beads 一条木珠项链
  • Beads of perspiration stood out on his forehead. 他的前额上挂着汗珠。
25 strings nh0zBe     
  • He sat on the bed,idly plucking the strings of his guitar.他坐在床上,随意地拨着吉他的弦。
  • She swept her fingers over the strings of the harp.她用手指划过竖琴的琴弦。
26 creek 3orzL     
  • He sprang through the creek.他跳过小河。
  • People sunbathe in the nude on the rocks above the creek.人们在露出小溪的岩石上裸体晒日光浴。
27 morsel Q14y4     
  • He refused to touch a morsel of the food they had brought.他们拿来的东西他一口也不吃。
  • The patient has not had a morsel of food since the morning.从早上起病人一直没有进食。
28 rascal mAIzd     
  • If he had done otherwise,I should have thought him a rascal.如果他不这样做,我就认为他是个恶棍。
  • The rascal was frightened into holding his tongue.这坏蛋吓得不敢往下说了。
29 bent QQ8yD     
  • He was fully bent upon the project.他一心扑在这项计划上。
  • We bent over backward to help them.我们尽了最大努力帮助他们。
30 submission lUVzr     
  • The defeated general showed his submission by giving up his sword.战败将军缴剑表示投降。
  • No enemy can frighten us into submission.任何敌人的恐吓都不能使我们屈服。
31 warriors 3116036b00d464eee673b3a18dfe1155     
武士,勇士,战士( warrior的名词复数 )
  • I like reading the stories ofancient warriors. 我喜欢读有关古代武士的故事。
  • The warriors speared the man to death. 武士们把那个男子戳死了。
32 chambers c053984cd45eab1984d2c4776373c4fe     
n.房间( chamber的名词复数 );(议会的)议院;卧室;会议厅
  • The body will be removed into one of the cold storage chambers. 尸体将被移到一个冷冻间里。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Mr Chambers's readable book concentrates on the middle passage: the time Ransome spent in Russia. Chambers先生的这本值得一看的书重点在中间:Ransome在俄国的那几年。 来自互联网
33 royalty iX6xN     
  • She claims to be descended from royalty.她声称她是皇室后裔。
  • I waited on tables,and even catered to royalty at the Royal Albert Hall.我做过服务生, 甚至在皇家阿伯特大厅侍奉过皇室的人。
34 gourmand Vezzc     
  • He was long famed as a gourmand and heavy smoker and drinker.长期以来,他一直以嗜好美食和烟酒闻名。
  • The food here satisfies gourmands rather than gourmets.这里的食物可以管饱却不讲究品质。
35 bass APUyY     
  • He answered my question in a surprisingly deep bass.他用一种低得出奇的声音回答我的问题。
  • The bass was to give a concert in the park.那位男低音歌唱家将在公园中举行音乐会。
36 specially Hviwq     
  • They are specially packaged so that they stack easily.它们经过特别包装以便于堆放。
  • The machine was designed specially for demolishing old buildings.这种机器是专为拆毁旧楼房而设计的。
37 awakened de71059d0b3cd8a1de21151c9166f9f0     
v.(使)醒( awaken的过去式和过去分词 );(使)觉醒;弄醒;(使)意识到
  • She awakened to the sound of birds singing. 她醒来听到鸟的叫声。
  • The public has been awakened to the full horror of the situation. 公众完全意识到了这一状况的可怕程度。 来自《简明英汉词典》
38 smack XEqzV     
  • She gave him a smack on the face.她打了他一个嘴巴。
  • I gave the fly a smack with the magazine.我用杂志拍了一下苍蝇。
39 arrant HNJyA     
  • He is an arrant fool.他是个大傻瓜。
  • That's arrant nonsense.那完全是一派胡言。
40 mingled fdf34efd22095ed7e00f43ccc823abdf     
混合,混入( mingle的过去式和过去分词 ); 混进,与…交往[联系]
  • The sounds of laughter and singing mingled in the evening air. 笑声和歌声交织在夜空中。
  • The man and the woman mingled as everyone started to relax. 当大家开始放松的时候,这一男一女就开始交往了。
41 athletic sOPy8     
  • This area has been marked off for athletic practice.这块地方被划出来供体育训练之用。
  • He is an athletic star.他是一个运动明星。
42 artistic IeWyG     
  • The picture on this screen is a good artistic work.这屏风上的画是件很好的艺术品。
  • These artistic handicrafts are very popular with foreign friends.外国朋友很喜欢这些美术工艺品。
43 ooze 7v2y3     
  • Soon layer of oceanic ooze began to accumulate above the old hard layer.不久后海洋软泥层开始在老的硬地层上堆积。
  • Drip or ooze systems are common for pot watering.滴灌和渗灌系统一般也用于盆栽灌水。
44 swelling OUzzd     
  • Use ice to reduce the swelling. 用冰敷消肿。
  • There is a marked swelling of the lymph nodes. 淋巴结处有明显的肿块。
45 thwarts ba268d891889fae488d94d41e38e7678     
阻挠( thwart的第三人称单数 ); 使受挫折; 挫败; 横过
  • Matcham steady and alert, at a sign from Dick, ran along the thwarts and leaped ashore. 麦青机警、镇静地照着狄克向他做的手势,急急地沿着船上的座板,跳到岸上。
  • He laid himself down under the thwarts and waited, panting. 躺在坐板下面,气喘吁吁地等着开船。
46 carrion gXFzu     
  • A crow of bloodthirsty ants is attracted by the carrion.一群嗜血的蚂蚁被腐肉所吸引。
  • Vultures usually feed on carrion or roadkill.兀鹫通常以腐肉和公路上的死伤动物为食。
47 totter bnvwi     
v.蹒跚, 摇摇欲坠;n.蹒跚的步子
  • He tottered to the fridge,got a beer and slumped at the table.他踉跄地走到冰箱前,拿出一瓶啤酒,一屁股坐在桌边。
  • The property market is tottering.房地产市场摇摇欲坠。
48 tarpaulin nIszk     
  • The pool furniture was folded,stacked,and covered with a tarpaulin.游泳池的设备都已经折叠起来,堆在那里,还盖上了防水布。
  • The pool furniture was folded,stacked,and covered with a tarpaulin.游泳池的设备都已经折叠起来,堆在那里,还盖上了防水布。
49 sentry TDPzV     
  • They often stood sentry on snowy nights.他们常常在雪夜放哨。
  • The sentry challenged anyone approaching the tent.哨兵查问任一接近帐篷的人。


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