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首页 » 双语小说 » 不平静的坟墓 An Unquiet Grave » Chapter 2 'Oh,Whistle,and I'll Come to You,My Boy'
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Chapter 2 'Oh,Whistle,and I'll Come to You,My Boy'
  'Are you going away for the holidays,Professor?' The speaker was sitting next to the Professor at dinner in St James's college.

'Yes,I'm leaving tomorrow,'said Professor Parkins. 'I'm learning to play golf,and I'm going to Burnstow on the east coast for a week or two to improve my game.'

Professor Parkins was a young man who took himself,and everything that he did,very seriously.

'Oh,Parkins,'said another man.'There are the remains of an old Templar church at Burnstow.Would you have a look at the place?I'd like to know if its worth going to see.'

'Certainly,'said the Professor.'I'll make some notes for you if you like.'

'There won't be much left above ground.I think the place is quite near the beach,about half a mile north from the Globe Inn.'

'I'm staying at the Globe,in fact,'said Parkins.He sounded a little annoyed.'I could only get a room with two beds in it.I plan to do some work there,and I need a large room with a table,but I really don't like the idea of having two beds in the room.'

'Two beds?How terrible for you,Parkins!'said a man called Rogers.'I'll come down and use one of them for a few days.I'll be a companion for you.'

Parkins gave a polite little laugh.'I'm afraid you'd find it rather dull,Rogers.You don't play golf,do you?'

'No.Very boring game,'said Rogers,not at all politely.'But if you don't want me to come,just say so. The truth, as you always tell us, never hurts.'

Professor Parkins was well known for always being polite and always telling the truth, and Rogers often amused himself by asking questions which Parkins found difficult to answer. Parkins tried to find an answer now that was both polite and truthful.

'Well,Rogers,perhaps it will be a little difficult for me to work if you are there. '

Rogers laughed loudly.'Well done,Parkins!'he said. 'Don't worry.I'll let you get on with your work in peace, and I can be useful and keep the ghosts away.'Here he smiled at the others round the table, while Parkins'face turned a deep pink.'Oh,I'm sorry,Parkins,'Rogers added.'I for- got that you don't like careless talk about ghosts.'

'That is quite true,'said Parkins.His voice got a little louder.'I cannot accept the idea of ghosts.It is the complete opposite of everything I believe.I hold,as you know, very strong opinons on this matter.'

'Oh yes,we know that,'said Rogers.'Well,we'll talk about it again at Burnstow perhaps.'

From this conversation it will be clear that Parkins was in- deed a very serious young man—quite unable,sadly,to see the funny side of anything,but at the same time very brave and sincere in his opinions.

Late the following day Parkins arrived at the Globe Inn in Burnstow,and was taken to his room with the two beds, of which we have heard.He unpacked his things and arranged his books and papers very tidily on the large table by the window.In fact, the table was surrounded on three sides by windows:the large central window looked straight out to sea, the right one looked south over the village of Burnstow, and the left one looked north along the beach and the low cliff behind it.Between the inn and the sea,there was only a piece of rough grass and then the beach.Over the years the sea had slowly come closer;now it was no more than fifty metres away.

Most of the people staying at the Globe were there for the golf.One of tnem was a Colonel Wilson,an old soldier with a very loud voice,and very strong opinions.

Professor Parkins, who was as brave as he was honest, spent the first day of his holiday playing golf with Colonel Wilson,and trying to'improve his game.'Perhaps he was not wholly successful in this,because by the end of the afternoon the Colonel's face was a most alarming colour. Even his moustache looked angry,and Parkins decided that it would be safer not to walk back to the inn with him.He thought he would walk along the beach instead, and try to find the remains of the Templar church.

He found them very easily—by falling over some of the old stones,in fact. When he picked himself up, he saw that the ground all around him was broken up with shallow holes and bits of old stone wall covered in grass.The Templars used to build round churches, Parkins remembered, and even after hundreds of years there were enough grass-covered stones left to show the circle of the outer wall. For a time Parkins walked around,looking and measuring,and making notes in his note- book.

There was a large stone in the centre of the circle, and Parkins noticed that the grass had been pulled away from one corner of it.He knelt down and,using his pocket-knife, dug away some more of the grass to see the stone underneath. As he did so,a piece of earth fell inwards,showing that there was a hole under the stone.He tried to light a match to see inside, but the wind was too strong, so he put his hand into the hole and felt around with his knife.The sides,top,and bottom of the hole were smooth and regular,he discovered;it must be a man-made hole in a wall.As he pulled the knife out, he heard the sound of metal on metal—there was something in the hole. He put his hand back in and his fingers found a thin piece of metal.Naturally enough, he pulled it out,and saw that it was a piece of metal pipe about ten centimetres long,also man- made and clearly very old.By this time it was getting too dark to do anything more, so he put the metal pipe in his pocket and started to walk home along the beach.

In the evening half-light the place seemed wild and lonely, and a cold north wind blew at his back. Far ahead of him he could see the lights of the village, but here there was only the long empty beach with its black wooden breakwaters, and the shadowy, whispering sea.

He crossed the stones higher up on the beach and went down to the sand, which was easier to walk on, although he had to climb over the breakwaters every few metres.

When he looked behind him to see how far he had come, he saw that he might have a companion on his walk home. A dark figure, some way back, seemed to be running to catch up with him,but he never seemed to get any closer.It couldn't be anybody he knew, Parkins thought,so he did not wait for him. However,a companion, he began to think, would really be very welcome on that cold, dark beach.He suddenly remembered the stories he had read in his less sensible childhood—stories of strange companions met in lonely places. 'What would I do now,'he wondered,'if I looked back and saw a black figure with wings and a tail? Would I run, or would I stand and fight?Fortunately,the person behind me doesn't look like that—and he seems to be as far away as when I first saw him.I shall get my dinner before he does, and, oh dear!It's nearly time for dinner now.I must run!'

At dinner the Professor found the Colonel much calmer than he had been in the afternoon.Later,the two men played cards together and, as Parkins played cards much better than he played golf,the Colonel became quite friendly and they arranged to play golf together again the next day.

When Parkins returned to his room, he found the little met- al pipe where he had put it on the table.He looked at it carefully and realized that it was a whistle.He tried to blow it but it was full of earth,so he took out his knife and cleared the earth out onto a piece of paper,which he then shook out of the window As he stood at the open window, he was surprised to see someone standing on the grass in front of the hotel, although it was almost midnight.

He shut the window and took the whistle over to the light to look at it again He cleaned the dirt off and found that there were letters deeply cut along the side of the whistle.



QUIS EST ISTE QUI VENIT



'Now,that's Latin,'he said to himself.'I think it means, “Who is this who is coming?”Well, the best way to find out is clearly to whistle for him.'

He put the whistle to his lips and blew,then stopped suddenly,surprised and pleased at the sound he had made.It was a soft sound, but also seemed to travel a long way.And it brought a picture into his mind—a picture of a wide,dark place at night, with a fresh wind blowing, and in the middle a lonely figure…But at that moment a real wind made his window shake,and the picture disappeared.The wind was so sudden that it made him look up,just in time to see the white shape of a seabird's wing outside the window.

He was so interested in the sound the whistle had made that he blew it again,this time more loudly.No picture came into his mind,but a sudden and very violent wind blew his window open with a crash.Both candles went out,and the wind seemed to be trying to pull the room to pieces.For twenty seconds Parkins battled to close the window again,but it was like trying to push back a burglar who was fighting to get in. Then the wind suddenly dropped for a moment,and the window banged shut and fastened itself.Parkins lit the candles and lookea to see what damage had been done.There was none— not even a broken window.But the noise had woken the Colonel in the room above;Parkins could hear him walking around and talking to himself.

The wind continued to blow for a long time,beating against the house and crying like a creature in pain.Lying in bed,listening,Parkins thought that a less sensible person might imagine all kinds of unpleasant things.In fact,after a quarter of an hour,he thought that even sensible people would prefer not to hear this sound.

He noticed that one of his neighbours was finding it difficult to sleep,too.He could quite clearly hear someone not far away,turning over in bed again and again.

Sometimes when we close our eyes and try to sleep, we see pictures that are so unpleasant that we have to open our eyes again to make them disappear. This is what now happened to the Professor.Every time he closed his eyes he saw the same picture.There was a long beach with breakwaters running down to the sea,under a dark sky He recognized it as the beach he had walked along earlier Then,in the distance, he saw a man running along the beach,climbing desperately over the breakwaters and looking back over his shoulder all the time. Parkins could not see his face, but he knew that the man was terribly afraid. He was also nearly exhausted Each breakwater was harder to climb than the last.'Will he get over this next one?'thought Parkins.'It seems higher than the others.'Yes; half climbing, half throwing himself, the man got over,and then fell to the ground, unable to get up again.

The picture had not yet shown any cause for the man's fear, but now a distant figure appeared,moving very quickly.It wore a long, flowing garment, and there was something so strange about the way it moved that Parkins was very unwilling to see it any closer.It stopped,lifted its arms, bent down towards the sand,then ran,still bent over,down to the edge of the sea and back again.Now it straightened itself,and moved forward along the beach at a frightening speed.At last it came to the breakwater where the man lay hidden. Again it ran down to the sea and back again, then lifted its arms and ran towards the breakwater.

It was always at this moment that Parkins was not brave enough to keep his eyes closed any longer.At last he decided to light his candle,get out a book, and read for a while.The noise of the match and the sudden light seemed to alarm some- thing near his bed—a rat, probably—which ran away across the floor. The match immediately went out, but a second one burnt better,and Parkins lit the candle and opened his book. When he finally felt sleepy, he forgot, for the first time in his tidy, sensible life, to blow out the candle, and the next morning it was completely burnt down.

He was in his room after breakfast when the servant who cleaned the rooms came in,carrying some blankets.

'Would you like any extra blankets on your bed,sir?' she asked.

'Ah, yes,thank you,'said Parkins.'I would like one.I think it's getting colder.'

'Which bed shall I put it on,sir?' the girl asked.

'What? Why, the one I slept in last night,' replied Parkins.

'Yes,sir. But we thought you'd slept in both of them, sir.We had to make both of them this morning.'

'Really?How strange!'said Parkins.'I didn't touch the other bed except to put my suitcase on it when I unpacked. But you thought that someone had actually slept in it?'

'Oh yes,sir.The sheets and blankets were thrown all over the place.I thought you'd had bad dreams, sir.'

'Oh dear,' said Parkins.'Well,I'm sorry if I made extra work for you.Oh, I'm expecting a friend of mine from Cam- bridge to come for a few days and sleep in the other bed.That will be all right,I suppose?

'Oh yes,sir,'said the girl.'It's no trouble, I'm sure. Thank you, sir.'And she left the room .

That day Parkins tried very hard to improve his game,with some success, and the Colonel became even more friendly, and quite talkative.

'That was an extraordinary wind we had last night, he said as they were playing.'In my part of the country they would say that someone had been whistling for it.'

'Do they really believe in that kind of thing where you come from?'asked Parkins.

'They believe in it all over the place,'the Colonel replied. 'And,in my experience,there's usually some truth in what the country people say.'

There was a pause in the conversation while they continued with the game Then Parkins said,'I feel I should tell you, Colonel,that I hold very strong opinions on these matters.In fact,I don't believe at all in anything supernatural.'

'What?' cried the Colonel,'D'you mean to say that you don't believe in ghosts,or anything of that kind?'

'In nothing whatever of that kind,'replied Parkins. 'There is an explanation for everything, you see.In fact,'he went on,'I blew a whistle myself last night,and the wind seemed to come in answer to my call.But of course—'

The Colonel stopped and looked at him.'Whistling, were you?' he said.'What kind of whistle did you use? Your turn to play,sir.'

Parkins hit his ball,and then told the Colonel about finding the old whistle in the Templar church.

'Well,sir,I'd be very careful about using a thing like that,'said the Colonel.'Who knows what the Templars used it for? Dangerous lot of people,they were.'

He went on to give his opinions on the church,old and modern,and the two men had a very enjoyable argument. The morning passed so pleasantly that they continued to play golf together in the afternoon,then walked back in the evening light to the Globe.

As they turned the corner of the inn,the Colonel was nearly knocked down by a small boy who ran into him at high speed, and then remained holding on to him and crying.At first the Colonel was rather annoyed,but he soon saw that the boy was so frightened that he could not speak.

'What's the matter?What have you seen?Who has frightened you? the two men asked together.

'Oh sir!I saw it wave at me out of the window, 'cried the boy,'and I don't like it.'

'What window?' said the Colonel crossly.'Explain your- self,boy.'

'The front window in the inn,sir,upstairs.'

After several questions they learnt that the boy had been playing with his friends on the grass in front of the inn. When the others had gone home for their tea,he had looked up at the big front window and had seen something waving at him. It was a figure of some kind,in white.The boy couldn't see its face,but it had waved at him.There was something horrible about it,and it wasn't like a human being at all.

'It was someone trying to frighten you,'said the Colonel. 'Next time, like a brave little English boy, you throw a stone at it…Well,perhaps not that;but tell the people in the inn about it. Now,here's sixpence for you,and you'd better run along home for your tea.'

The two men went round to the front of the inn and looked up.There was only one window that fitted the description they had heard.

'That's very strange,'said Parkins.'I remember that I locked my door when I went out this morning and the key is still in my pocket.'

They went upstairs,found that the door of the room was still locked,unlocked it,and went in.

'Well,everything seems perfectly all right,'said Parkins, looking around.

'Except your bed,'said the Colonel.

'That's not my bed,'said Parkins.'But it certainly looks very untidy.The sheets and blankets were thrown about all over the bed.Parkins thought for a while.'Ah,'he said,'I disarranged it when I was unpacking.Perhaps the girl came in to make the bed,the boy saw her at the window,and then she was called away before she could finish it.'

'Well,ring the bell and ask her,'said the Colonel.

When the girl came,she explained that she had made the bed in the morning and that no one had been in the room since the Professor had left.Mr Simpson,the manager,had the only other key.Mr Simpson then came up and said that he had not been in the room himself,and had not given the key to anyone else.Parkins checked the room carefully;nothing was missing and his books and papers were as he had left them. The girl made the bed again and the two men went down to have their tea.

That evening, Colonel Wilson was unusually quiet and thoughtful during dinner and cards and,as they were going up to their rooms, he said to Parkins:

'You know where I am if you need me during the night.'

'Thank you,Colonel,but I don't expect to call on you,'replied Parkins.'Oh,I have that whistle I told you about. Would you like to see it?'

The Colonel turned the whistle over in his hands,looking at it carefully.

'What are you going to do with it?' he asked.

'I'll show it to the people at Cambridge when I get back and probably give it to the museum,if it's any good.'

'If it were mine,'said the Colonel,'I'd throw it into the sea right now.But,of course, you and I don't think the same way about these things.Good night.'

And he went off to his room.

There were no curtains at the windows in the Professor's room.The previous night it had not mattered, but tonight there was a bright moon in a cloudless sky.Parkins was afraid that the moonlight might wake him up in the middle of the night,so he arranged a blanket,held up with a stick and his umbrella,which would stop the moonlight shining on to his bed.Soon he was comfortably in bed where he read a book for a while.Then he blew out his candle and went to sleep.

An hour or so later he was suddenly woken by a loud crash. In a moment he realized that the blanket had fallen down and a bright moon was shining on his bed.Should he get up and put the blanket up again,or could he manage to sleep if he did not?He lay in bed f& bbs1NE& bbsto decide what to do.

All at once he turned over in bed,eyes wide open,listening hard.There had been a movement in the other bed!Was it a rat?The sound came again,something moving in the blankets and making the bed shake.No rat could make a noise like that,surely!

Suddenly his heart nearly stopped beating as a figure sat up in the empty bed.Parkins jumped out of his own bed and ran towards the window to get his stick.As he did so,the thing in the other bed slid to the floor and stood, with arms stretched out,between Parkins and the door.

Parkins stared at the creature in horror.He could not reach the door without touching it as he passed,and the thought of that touch made him feel sick.

Now it began to move,bending low and feeling its way with arms that were hidden in its flowing garment.Parkins realized with horror that it could not see.It turned away from him and,in doing so,touched the bed he had just left. It bent its head low and felt all over the bed in a way that made Parkins tremble with fear.

Realizing that the bed was empty,the creature moved for- ward into the moonlight which shone in through the window. For the first time Parkins saw it clearly, but the only thing he could remember later was a horrible, a sickeningly horrible, face of crumpled cloth.The expression on that face he could not or would not describe, but it certainly drove him nearly mad with fear.

But he had no time to watch it for long.With frightening speed the creature moved around the room,searching and feeling,and a corner of its flowing garment brushed across Parkins'face. He screamed in horror, and at once it jumped at him, driving him towards the window. The next moment Parkins was halfway through the window backwards,screaming again and again at the top of his voice, and the cloth face was pushed close into his own.

In that final second,the Colonel kicked the door open and was just in time to see the frightening sight at the window. When he reached the figures, only one was left.Parkins fell forward into the room in a faint,and before him on the floor lay a crumpled bedsheet.

The Colonel asked no questions,but kept everyone out of the room, helped Parkins back to bed and,with a blanket round his shoulders,spent the rest of the night in the other bed.

The next morning Mr Rogers arrived and,to his surprise,was very warmly welcomed by the Professor.The three men discussed what to do for a long time.The Colonel,who remembered a similar experience in India,supposed that the creature,having no body of its own,had to make one out of the sheet from the bed.At the end of their talk,the Colonel left the hotel carrying between his finger and thumb a small piece of metal,which he threw into the sea as far as a strong arm could send it.Later,he burnt the sheet in the field be- hind the Globe.

As you can imagine,Professor Parkins'opinions on some matters are now less certain that they used to be.He is also a more nervous person than he was.Even a coat hanging up on a door will alarm him,and the sight of a scarecrow in a field late on a winter afternoon has given him more than one sleepless night.



“噢,朋友,你一吹哨,我就会来到你身边”



“教授,你要去度假吗?”在圣·詹姆斯学院吃饭时,坐在教授身边的人问道。

“对,明天就动身,”帕金斯教授说,“我正学打高尔夫球,所以要到东海岸的伯恩斯陀用一两周时间提高球艺。”

帕金斯教授是个严格要求自己并且凡事认真的年轻人。

“噢,帕金斯,”另一个人说,“伯恩斯陀有个古老的圣殿骑士教堂的遗迹。你愿意去看看吗?我想了解一下那地方是不是值得一看。”

“当然没问题,”教授说,“如果你希望的话,我可以为你做点儿记录。”

“地面上应当没有什么东西了。我觉得那地方离海滩很近,在地球旅馆北部大约半英里的地方。”

“其实,我就要住地球旅馆。”帕金斯说。听起来他有点不大高兴。“我只能住上双人间。我打算在那儿干点儿活,需要个能放张桌子的大房间,我确实不喜欢屋子里放两张床。”

“两张床?这让你太不舒服了,帕金斯!”一个叫罗杰斯的人说,“我要去住几天,睡其中一张床,跟你作个伴。”

帕金斯礼貌地轻轻一笑说:“恐怕你会觉得那里的生活很乏味,罗杰斯。你不会打高尔夫球,对吧?”

“对。很无聊的运动,”罗杰斯很不礼貌地说,“如果你不愿意让我去,直说好了。你不是常告诉我们实话不伤人吗?”

帕金斯教授一向以礼貌待人和总说实话出名,罗杰斯则经常以问一些使他难以回答的问题为乐。眼下帕金斯正在努力寻找着一个既礼貌又符合事实的回答。

“这么说吧,罗杰斯,如果你在那儿,或许我干起活来会有点困难。”

罗杰斯大笑起来。“好了,帕金斯!”他说,“别担心。我会让你静心工作的,而且我会对你有用,可以为你驱走鬼神。”说到这儿,他对围坐在桌子周围的人们笑着,这时帕金斯的脸变得通红。“噢,对不起,帕金斯,”罗杰斯接着说,“我忘了你不喜欢人们随便谈什么鬼呀神的。”

“一点不假,”帕金斯的说话声高了些,“我不能接受那种认为鬼神存在的观点。我根本不信。你们知道我对这件事情的看法很固执。”

“噢,是啊,我们知道,”罗杰斯说,“好吧,或许咱们在伯恩斯陀会再谈。”

从这段交谈中可以看出帕金斯的确是个很严肃的年轻人。遗憾的是他看不到事情有趣的一面,可很胆大,对事物的看法很实在。

第二天晚些时候,帕金斯到了伯恩斯陀的地球旅馆,被带到了我们前面听说过的那个内有两张床的房间。他取出包里的东西,把书和材料整整齐齐地放在了靠窗的那张大桌子上。其实,这张桌子是三面靠窗:从中间那扇大窗户可以直接向外看到大海,右边的那扇向南可以俯瞰伯恩斯陀村,左边的那扇向北可以看到海滩和后面低矮的峭壁。小旅店和大海间仅有一块不平整的草地,接着便是海滩了。多年来大海慢慢贴近了那小旅馆,现在相距已经不到50米了。

多数住地球旅馆的人是来打高尔夫球的。其中一位是威尔逊上校,一位嗓门很洪亮、对事物看法很固执的老兵。

帕金斯教授,这位既胆大又坦诚的人,度假的第一天就和威尔逊上校打了一天的高尔夫球来努力“提高球艺”。大概他做得不大好,因为到下午结束时,上校的脸色很吓人,连胡子都气歪了。帕金斯想还是不和他一起回旅馆更安全些。他想沿着海滩走走,寻找一下圣殿骑士教堂的遗迹。

他毫不费力便找到了那些遗迹,其实是因为被一些古旧的石头绊倒而找到的。站起身时,他发现周围的地上布满了浅浅的洞和长满野草的古旧石头墙的碎块。帕金斯记得过去圣殿骑士常盖的是圆形教堂,即使过了几百年,还有那么多长满野草的石头使人们能看出原来外围墙的圈子在哪儿。帕金斯四下转着,观察、测量,并在笔记本上做着记录。

圈子中心有块大石头,帕金斯注意到它一角的野草被人拔掉了。他跪下身子拿自己的小折刀又挖掉一些草,以便观察下面的石头。这时一块土塌了进去,说明石头下面有洞。他想划根火柴看看里面,可风太大,于是他便将手伸进洞里用刀子四下探索着。他发现洞壁、洞顶和洞底都很光滑规则,这一定是在墙里挖的洞。当他从里面拿出刀子时,听到了金属间的撞击声——洞里有东西。他又把手伸进去,手指摸到一片薄薄的金属。很自然他把那东西拿了出来,发现是段长约10厘米的金属管,也是人造的,很明显年代已经很久远了。这时天黑得已经不能干什么了,于是他把那段金属管放进口袋,开始沿着海滩往家走。

傍晚柔和灰暗的光线使这个地方显得荒凉而孤寂,冰冷的北风侵袭着他的后背。他能看到远方村里的灯光,可眼前只有长长的空落落的海滩和黑色的木制防波堤,还有那朦朦胧胧低声作响的大海。

他越过海滩高处的石头地往下走上一片沙地,沙地好走一些,虽然每走几米就要爬一段防波堤。

当他回头看自己走出了多远时,发现好像有个伴儿跟他一起往家走。一个黑乎乎的人影似乎在他后面跑着追他,可似乎怎么也不能靠近他。帕金斯心想他肯定不认识这人,于是就没等他。他开始想到,在这寒冷黑暗的沙滩上,有人作伴也是很不错的。突然他又想起小时候不大懂事时读过的故事——那些在人烟稀少的地方遇到奇怪伴侣的故事。“我现在该怎么办呢?”他心里想,“如果我回头看到一个长着翅膀和尾巴的黑影,我是跑,还是站在那里跟他拼呢?还好,我后面那人不像是那样的——他离我的距离似乎跟我一开始看到他时差不多。我得先吃饭,天啊!快到吃饭时间了,我得跑了!”

吃饭时,教授发现上校比下午平静多了。后来他们一起玩牌,由于帕金斯的牌技比他的高尔夫球技强很多,上校变得很友好起来。他们还安排了第二天再去打球。

帕金斯回到房间便看到了自己放在桌子上的那一小段金属管,他仔细看了看,发现它是个口哨。他想吹吹,可里面都是土,于是他拿出刀子把土掏出来倒在一张纸上,抖落在窗外。他站在开着的窗户旁时很惊讶地发现虽然已经快半夜了,却有个人站在旅馆前面的草地上。

他关上窗户把口哨拿到亮处又看了看,把上面的土擦干净后发现口哨上深深地刻着:



QUIS EST ISTE QUI VENIT



“噢,这是拉丁文,”他自语道,“我想它的意思是'来者是谁?'哦,知道来者是谁最好的办法显然是给他吹口哨听。”

他把口哨放在嘴边吹起来,突然又停了下来,吹出的声音使他自已都感到既惊讶又高兴。那声音很柔和,可似乎又能传出很远,并且把一幅画面呈现在他脑海中——画面是夜里一个宽阔黑暗的地方,清风吹拂,画面中间还有个孤零零的人影……这时真的有股风吹得他的窗户晃动起来,那画面消失了。风起得很突然,他禁不住向天上看了一眼,正好看见窗外一只海鸟白色翅膀的轮廓。

他觉得那口哨发出的声音很有意思,于是便又吹起来,这回声音更大了。他的脑海里不再呈现出画面。突然一阵狂风砰地一声把他的窗户刮开了。两根蜡烛都灭了,那风似乎想把屋子撕成碎片。帕金斯用了20秒钟的时间拼命地试着把窗户关上,可这简直像是要把拼命想进屋的强盗推回去一样。这时风突然停了一下,窗户砰地一声关上,搭扣自动扣上。帕金斯点上蜡烛看看有什么被弄坏的地方,他发现没有任何地方被弄坏——甚至连块破玻璃都没有。可这里的声音吵醒了楼上房间里的上校;帕金斯能听见他踱着步自言自语。

风又继续刮了好长一阵子,不断撞击着房子,像个忍受着痛苦的人在叫喊。帕金斯躺在床上听着,心里想一个不太明智的人可能会想像出各种各样的不愉快的事情来。事实上过了一刻钟,他想甚至很明智的人也不会愿意听到这种声音的。

他注意到他的一个邻居也感到难以入睡了。他能清楚地听到不远处有人在床上翻来覆去的声音。

有时候当我们闭上眼睛想要睡觉时,会看到一些令人不快的画面,于是我们不得不睁开眼睛让它们消散。教授此时的情况正是这样。他一闭上眼睛就会看到同样的画面。黑暗的天空下长长的海滩上防波堤延伸入海。他认出这是他走过的那个海滩。这时他看见远处有个人正沿着海滩跑着,拼命地爬过防波堤,还不时地回头看着。帕金斯看不到那人的脸,可他知道那人害怕极了,而且也快要筋疲力竭了。每个防波堤都比前一个更难爬。“他能爬过下一个吗?”帕多斯想着,“下一个似乎比前头的那些都高。”那人全身用力地爬着翻了过去,接着摔在地上起不来了。

在这之前从画面上还看不出那人为什么害怕,不过这时远处出现了个人影,动作很快。那人穿着一件长而飘垂的外衣,动作看起来有点怪,因而帕金斯很不愿意看到它再靠近了。它停了下来,抬起双臂朝沙地弯下腰,接着还是弯着腰朝海边跑过去又跑了回来。然后直起身,以惊人的速度沿着海滩向前移动着。最后它来到刚才那人藏身的防波堤处。接着朝大海跑过去又跑了回来,之后抬起双臂又朝那防波堤跑了过去。

每到这时,帕金斯就不敢再闭着眼睛了。最后他决定点上蜡烛拿出书来看一会。划火柴的声音和突然出现的亮光似乎惊吓了他床边的什么东西——可能是老鼠——跑过了地板。火柴马上灭了,不过第二根着得好一点儿,帕金斯点上了蜡烛打开了书。当他终于感到很困倦时,他,这个生活通常安排得有序而合理的人,头一次忘了吹灭蜡烛,第二天早上那蜡烛已经完全烧尽了。

吃完早饭他呆在屋子里,这时打扫房间的仆人进来了,拿着几条毯子。

“先生,您的床上是不是还需要毯子呀?”她问。

“啊,是啊,谢谢你,”帕金斯说,“来一条吧,我觉得天气越来越冷了。”

“先生,我把它放在哪张床上呀?”那女孩问。

“什么?当然放在昨晚我睡的那张床上呀。”帕金斯回答。

“好吧,先生,可是我们觉得您两张床都睡过,今天早晨我们只得都收拾了一下。”

“真的吗?太怪了!”帕金斯说,“除了打开行李时我把手提箱放在上面,后来就一直没动过那张床。你们真觉得有人在上面睡过吗?”

“是的,先生。床单和毯子扔得到处都是。我以为您做恶梦了呢,先生。”

“天啊!”帕金斯说,“哎呀,要是给你添麻烦的话,我真是对不起你。我正等着一位剑桥大学的朋友来呆几天,就睡那张床,可以吧?”

“噢,可以,先生,”那女孩说,“当然没有问题,谢谢您,先生。”说完她便离开了房间。

那天帕金斯下功夫提高球艺,还真有效,上校变得更友善了,而且说了不少话。

“昨天晚上的风刮得太出奇了,”他们打着球时他说,“在我的家乡,人们会说这是有人吹口哨召唤它。”

“你们那儿的人真信这类事情?”帕金斯问。

“那地方的人都信。”上校回答,“而且凭我的经验,那些乡下人说的通常还是有些真实的。”

他们停下谈话继续打球。这时帕金斯说:“上校,我觉得我应该告诉你,我对这些事情很有成见。实际上我根本不相信任何超自然的东西。”

“什么?”上校喊道,“你是说你不相信鬼神什么的?”

“任何那类东西都不信,”帕金斯回答。“你知道,凡事都可以有个解释。事实上,”他接着说,“昨天晚上我吹口哨了,那风似乎是听了我的召唤才来的。不过当然——”

上校停了下来,看着他。“昨晚你吹着口哨吗?”他说,“你是用什么口哨吹的?该你打球了,先生。”

帕金斯击了一下球,接着把自己在圣殿骑士教堂找到那个旧口哨的事儿告诉了上校。

“哎呀,先生,用那样一个东西,我会很小心的,”上校说,“谁知道那些圣殿骑士用它干过什么呢?那都是些危险的人物。”

接着他谈起了自己对古代和现代教堂的看法,俩人兴致勃勃地争论了一番。一上午他们过得很愉快,于是下午接着又打,傍晚一起走回地球旅馆。

他们走到旅店拐弯处时,上校差点儿被一个猛撞在他身上的小男孩撞倒,那小孩还抓着他大哭着。一开始上校很恼火,可他很快发现那男孩吓得连话都说不出来了。

“怎么了?你看见什么了?谁吓着你了?”俩人同时问道。

“噢,先生!我看见那东西对着窗外向我招手,”那男孩叫道,“我不喜欢它。”

“什么窗户?”上校生气地说,“孩子,说说怎么回事?”

“我是说旅馆的前窗户,先生,楼上的。”

问了他几个问题后,他们得知那男孩一直和他的伙伴们在旅馆前的那块草地上玩耍。其他孩子都回家喝茶了,他抬头看了看那扇大大的前窗户,发现有东西在向他招手。那是某种形体,穿白色衣服。男孩看不见它的脸,可它确实朝他招手了。这真是太可怕了,而且那东西根本不像个人。

“这是有人要吓唬你,”上校说,“孩子,下次勇敢点儿,朝他扔石头……噢,或许可以不这样,而是把事情告诉旅馆的人。好了,给你这6便士,你还是跑回家喝茶吧。”

俩人绕到旅馆前面抬头看着,发现只有一扇窗户符合刚才听到的描述。

“太怪了,”帕金斯说,“我记得今天早上出去时锁了门,而且钥匙还在我口袋里呢。”

他们上了楼,发现房门仍然锁着,于是打开锁进了屋。

“噢,一切似乎都很正常。”帕金斯四下看了看说。

“除了你的床以外。”上校说。

“那不是我的床,”帕金斯说,“可那张床确实根不整洁。”床单和毯子扔得满床都是。帕金斯想了想。“啊,”他说,“我从包里取出东西时把那床弄乱了。也许那女孩进来收拾时,刚才那个男孩从窗口看到了她,可是还没等她干完就被叫走了。”

“好吧,按一下铃问问她。”上校说。

那女孩来了,她解释说早晨她收拾了床,而且从教授走后没人进来过。经理辛普森先生那儿还有另外一把钥匙。这时辛普森先生上楼来说他没到这屋来过,也没把钥匙给过任何人。帕金期仔细检查了一下屋子,什么也没少,他的书和材料还是原来的老样子。那女孩又收拾了一遍床,然后俩人下楼来喝茶。

那天晚上吃饭和打牌时,威尔逊上校有点儿不同寻常地沉默和心事重重。他们上楼回房间时,他对帕金斯说:

“夜里需要我时叫我一声。”

“谢谢你,上校,不过我不想麻烦你,”帕金斯回答,“噢,我跟你说过的那个口哨,你想看看吗?”

上校在手里摆弄着那口哨,仔细看着。

“你要怎么处理它呀?”他问。

“回去后我把它拿给剑桥的人们看看。如果有用的话,或许我要把它交给博物馆。”

“如果这东西是我的,”上校说,“我现在就把它扔进海里。不过,对这些事情咱俩看法当然不一致,晚安吧。”

接着他便回房间了。

教授的房间没有窗帘。前一天晚上还没事儿,可今天晚上明亮的月亮挂在无云的天空中。帕金斯担心半夜月光会把他照醒,于是弄了条毯子用一根棍和雨伞挂起来,这样月光就不再照在他床上了。他很快便舒舒服服地躺在床上,看了会儿书,然后吹灭蜡烛睡觉了。

过了约一个小时,他忽然被一声巨响惊醒。他很快意识到是那毯子掉下来了,明亮的月光照在他的床上。是不是应该起来再把毯子挂起来,如果不这样他还能睡着吗?他躺在床上用了好几分钟试图决定该怎么办。

突然他翻了个身,睁大眼睛仔细听起来。另一张床上有动静!是老鼠吗?接着那声音又出现了,有东西在毯子里动而且弄得床也晃动起来。老鼠是绝对不会发出那样的声音的!

一个人影从那张空床上坐起来,这时帕金斯的心几乎突然停止了跳动。他跳下床跑到窗前去拿棍子,与此同时,那张床上的东西滑到地上站起身来,两只胳膊伸着,挡在了帕金斯和门中间。

帕金斯惊恐地盯着那东西看。他想到门口的话,经过它时就必须触到它,一想到触到它,他就觉得恶心。

这时那东西开始动了,弯着身子,用掩在飘垂的外衣里的双臂摸索着往前走。帕金斯惊恐地意识到它看不见东西。它转身离开时,触到了他刚离开的那张床。它低下头在床上到处摸索着,这使帕金斯吓得直哆嗦。

当它发现那床是空的,那东西又向前移动到了从窗口照进的月光中。帕金斯第一次看清了它的模样,可后来他唯一能记起的是那张令人作呕而可怕的皱巴巴布脸。那脸上的表情他描述不上来或者说不想描述,可它确实快要把他吓疯了。

他没有时间一直观察它了。只见那东西以吓人的速度在屋子里转着,寻找着摸索着,它飘垂着的外衣的一角擦过帕金斯的脸,他惊恐地尖叫起来。那东西立即朝他扑过来,把他朝窗前逼去。接着帕金斯的半个身子都探出了身后的窗户,他扯着嗓子一声声尖叫着,那张布脸已经很贴近他的脸了。

就在这千钧一发之时,上校踢开了门,正好看到窗口那令人毛骨悚然的一幕。当他走近时,人影就只剩下一个。帕金斯昏了过去,向前跌进屋子里,他面前的地板上只是条皱巴巴的床单。

上校什么也没问,只是不让任何人进屋。他帮帕金斯躺回床上,自己则在肩上裹了条毯子,在另一张床上过了后半夜。

第二天上午罗杰斯先生到了。出乎他的意料,他受到了教授热诚的欢迎。3个人就该怎么办商量了很长时间。上校记得他在印度有过类似的经历,他认为那东西自己没有躯体而不得不用床单造出一个来。他们说完这些,上校用手指夹着那小片金属离开了旅馆,用力把它远远地扔进了大海。后来他又在地球旅馆后面的空地里烧掉了那条床单。

您可以想像得出,现在帕金斯教授对一些事情的看法不像以前那么绝对了,人也变得比过去紧张了。甚至挂在门上的一件外衣都会吓着他,冬日接近傍晚时看到田里的一个稻草人更使他度过了不止一个不眠之夜。


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