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Chapter 31
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You do not know how long you are in a river when the current moves swiftly. It seems a long time and it may be very short. The water was cold and in flood and many things passed that had been floated off the banks when the river rose. I was lucky to have a heavy timber to hold on to, and I lay in the icy water with my chin on the wood, holding as easily as I could with both hands. I was afraid of cramps1 and I hoped we would move toward the shore. We went down the river in a long curve. It was beginning to be light enough so I could see the bushes along the shore-line. There was a brush island ahead and the current moved toward the shore. I wondered if I should take off my boots and clothes and try to swim ashore2, but decided3 not to. I had never thought of anything but that I would reach the shore some way, and I would be in a bad position if I landed barefoot. I had to get to Mestre some way.

I watched the shore come close, then swing away, then come closer again. We were floating more slowly. The shore was very close now. I could see twigs4 on the willow5 bush. The timber swung slowly so that the bank was behind me and I knew we were in an eddy6. We went slowly around. As I saw the bank again, very close now, I tried holding with one arm and kicking and swimming the timber toward the bank with the other, but I did not bring it any closer. I was afraid we would move out of the eddy and, holding with one hand, I drew up my feet so they were against the side of the timber and shoved hard toward the bank. I could see the brush, but even with my momentum7 and swimming as hard as I could, the current was taking me away. I thought then I would drown because of my boots, but I thrashed and fought through the water, and when I looked up the bank was coming toward me, and I kept thrashing and swimming in a heavy-footed panic until I reached it. I hung to the willow branch and did not have strength to pull myself up but I knew I would not drown now. It had never occurred to me on the timber that I might drown. I felt hollow and sick in my stomach and chest from the effort, and I held to the branches and waited. When the sick feeling was gone I pulled into the willow bushes and rested again, my arms around some brush, holding tight with my hands to the branches. Then I crawled out, pushed on through the willows8 and onto the bank. It was halfdaylight and I saw no one. I lay flat on the bank and heard the river and the rain.

After a while I got up and started along the bank. I knew there was no bridge across the river until Latisana. I thought I might be opposite San Vito. I began to think out what I should do. Ahead there was a ditch running into the river. I went toward it. So far I had seen no one and I sat down by some bushes along the bank of the ditch and took off my shoes and emptied them of water. I took off my coat, took my wallet with my papers and my money all wet in it out of the inside pocket and then wrung9 the coat out. I took off my trousers and wrung them too, then my shirt and under clothing. I slapped and rubbed myself and then dressed again. I had lost my cap.

Before I put on my coat I cut the cloth stars off my sleeves and put them in the inside pocket with my money. My money was wet but was all right. I counted it. There were three thousand and some lire. My clothes felt wet and clammy and I slapped my arms to keep the circulation going. I had woven underwear and I did not think I would catch cold if I kept moving. They had taken my pistol at the road and I put the holster under my coat. I had no cape10 and it was cold in the rain. I started up the bank of the canal. It was daylight and the country was wet, low and dismal11 looking. The fields were bare and wet; a long way away I could see a campanile rising out of the plain. I came up onto a road. Ahead I saw some troops coming down the road. I limped along the side of the road and they passed me and paid no attention to me. They were a machine-gun detachment going up toward the river. I went on down the road.

That day I crossed the Venetian plain. It is a low level country and under the rain it is even flatter. Toward the sea there are salt marshes13 and very few roads. The roads all go along the river mouths to the sea and to cross the country you must go along the paths beside the canals. I was working across the country from the north to the south and had crossed two railway lines and many roads and finally I came out at the end of a path onto a railway line where it ran beside a marsh12. It was the main line from Venice to Trieste, with a high solid embankment, a solid roadbed and double track. Down the tracks a way was a flag-station and I could see soldiers on guard. Up the line there was a bridge over a stream that flowed into the marsh. I could see a guard too at the bridge. Crossing the fields to the north I had seen a train pass on this railroad, visible a long way across the flat plain, and I thought a train might come from Portogruaro. I watched the guards and lay down on the embankment so that I could see both ways along the track. The guard at the bridge walked a way up the line toward where flay14, then turned and went back toward the bridge. I lay, and was hungry, and waited for the train. The one I had seen was so long that the engine moved it very slowly and I was sure I could get aboard it. After I had almost given up hoping for one I saw a train coming. The engine, coming straight on, grew larger slowly. I looked at the guard at the bridge. He was walking on the near side of the bridge but on the other side of the tracks. That would put him out of sight when the train passed. I watched the engine come nearer. It was working hard. I could see there were many cars. I knew there would be guards on the train, and I tried to see where they were, but, keeping out of sight, I could not. The engine was almost to where I was lying. When it came opposite, working and puffing15 even on the level, and I saw the engineer pass, I stood up and stepped up close to the passing cars. If the guards were watching I was a less suspicious object standing16 beside the track. Several closed freight-cars passed. Then I saw a low open car of the sort they call gondolas18 coming, covered with canvas. I stood until it had almost passed, then jumped and caught the rear hand-rods and pulled up. I crawled down between the gondola17 and the shelter of the high freight-car behind. I did not think any one had seen me. I was holding to the hand-rods and crouching19 low, my feet on the coupling. We were almost opposite the bridge. I remembered the guard. As we passed him he looked at me. He was a boy and his helmet was too big for him. I stared at him contemptuously and he looked away. He thought I had something to do with the train.

We were past. I saw him still looking uncomfortable, watching the other cars pass and I stooped to see how the canvas was fastened. It had grummets and was laced down at the edge with cord. I took out my knife, cut the cord and put my arm under. There were hard bulges20 under the canvas that tightened21 in the rain. I looked up and ahead. There was a guard on the freight-car ahead but he was looking forward. I let go of the hand-rails and ducked under the canvas. My forehead hit something that gave me a violent bump and I felt blood on my face but I crawled on in and lay flat. Then I turned around and fastened down the canvas.

I was in under the canvas with guns. They smelled cleanly of oil and grease. I lay and listened to the rain on the canvas and the clicking of the car over the rails. There was a little light came through and I lay and looked at the guns. They had their canvas jackets on. I thought they must have been sent ahead from the third army. The bump on my forehead was swollen22 and I stopped the bleeding by lying still and letting it coagulate, then picked away the dried blood except over the cut. It was nothing. I had no handkerchief, but feeling with my fingers I washed away where the dried blood had been, with rainwater that dripped from the canvas, and wiped it clean with the sleeve of my coat. I did not want to look conspicuous23. I knew I would have to get out before they got to Mestre because they would be taking care of these guns. They had no guns to lose or forget about. I was terrifically hungry.

 

我不晓得在河上究竟漂流了多久,因为河流湍急。时间好像很长,又可能很短。河水很冷,在泛滥,水上漂过许多东西,都是河水上涨时从岸上卷来的。我幸而抱住一根沉重的木头,身子躺在冰冷的水里,下巴靠在木头上,双手尽量轻松地抱着木头。我怕的是抽筋,只盼着会漂到岸边去。我漂下河去,划出一条长长的曲线。天开始亮了,我看得见河岸上的灌木丛。前头有一座矮树丛生的小岛,流水带着我朝岸上漂去。我不晓得该不该脱下靴子和衣服,游上岸去,终而决定不这么做。我当时总觉得我一定能上岸的,不管怎样上岸法。如果上岸时光着脚,那就糟了。我总得想法子赶到美斯特列。

我看着河岸在靠近,接着我又漂开去,接着又靠近了一点。我和木头现在漂流得慢一些了。河岸已很近。我看得见柳树丛的嫩枝了。木头慢慢地转动,河岸转到了我的后边,我这才知道我们到了一个漩涡中。我们慢慢地转着。我再看见河岸时,已离得很近,我一手抱住木头,抽出一支胳膊来划水,加上用脚踩水,希望靠拢岸边,但是结果还在老地方。我担心会给漩涡卷出去,还是一手抱住木头,抬起两脚来推木头的边沿,用力往岸边死推。岸上的灌木丛我看得见了,但是尽管有我的动力,并且拼命划水,水流可又把我卷走了。这时我才想起自己可能淹死,因为我的靴子太笨重了,但是我还是划水,死命挣扎,等我抬起头来时,岸正在渐渐靠近,于是我继续拼命划水,双脚笨重,惊慌失措,我终于奋力游到了岸边。我抓住了柳枝,吊在那儿,可是没有气力往上攀,不过心里明白,现在已不至于溺死了。我人在木头上时,始终没想到会淹死。刚才使尽了气力,胸口和胃里都觉得又空又想吐,只好攀住柳枝等待着。恶心过去后,我才爬进树丛,又休息了一下,双臂抱住一棵柳树,双手紧紧地抓住树枝。后来我爬出树丛,穿过树与树之间,爬到了岸上。那时天已半亮,我看不见一个人影。我平躺在河岸上,听着流水声和雨声。

过了一会,我站起身,顺着河岸走。我知道河上这一带没有桥梁,非得到拉蒂沙那不可。我推想我也许正在圣维多的对岸。我开始思量该怎么办。前头有条通河道的水沟。我朝那条沟走去。我至今没见人影,就在水沟边几棵灌木边坐下,脱掉靴子,倒出水来。我脱下军装上衣,从里边口袋里掏出皮夹子,皮夹子里放着我的证件和钞票,全给浸湿了。我拧干军装上衣。我把裤子也脱下来拧干,接着脱衬衫和内衣裤。我用手拍打身体,摩擦一番,再把衣服穿起来。我的军帽可掉了。

我穿上衣之前,先把袖管上的星章割下来,放在里边口袋里,和我的钱放在一起。我的钱虽则湿了,还可以用。我数了一下。一共有三千多里拉。我的衣服又湿又沾,我拍打着臂膀,叫血流通。我穿的是羊毛内衣,只要我人在走动,就不至于受凉。我的手枪已被宪兵在路边夺去了,现在我把手枪套塞进上衣内。我没有披肩,现在雨中很冷。我开始顺着运河的河岸走。已是白天了,乡野又湿又低,好不凄凉。田野光秃濡湿,我看见前面远处有一座钟塔屹立在平原上。我走上一条公路。我看见前头路上有些部队正在走过来。我在路边一拐一拐地往前走,他们走过我身边,没有理睬我。这是开到河边去的一个机枪支队。我顺着公路继续走。

那天我徒步穿越威尼斯平原。这是个又低又平的地带,一落雨,似乎更平凡单调了。靠海边有些盐沼地,道路很少。所有的路都是顺着河口通往海

边去的,我要横穿乡野,只好走运河边那些小径。我从北往南走,跨过两条铁路线和许多道路,终于从一条小径的尽头处走上一片沼泽地边的一条铁路线。这是从威尼斯到的里雅斯德去的干线,有坚固的高堤,有坚固的路基,还铺着双轨。铁轨过去不远的地方有个招呼站,我看得见有士兵在防守。铁轨那一端有一座桥,桥下是一条小河,流到一片沼泽地。我看见桥上也有一名守卫。刚才我跨过北边的乡野时,看到一列火车在这条线上走,因为地势平,远远就望得见,于是我想,可能有列火车从波多格鲁罗开来。我眼睛注意着那些守卫,身子趴在路堤上,以便看得见铁轨的两头。桥上的守卫顺着路线向我趴的地方走过来了一点,随即回转身又朝桥走。我饿着肚皮伏在那儿等火车来。我在平原上所望见的那列火车非常长,机车开得非常慢,这样速度的火车我准跳得上去。我等了半天,几乎等得绝望了,终于有一列火车开来了。车头直开过来,慢慢地越来越大。我看看桥上的守卫。他正在桥的这一头走,不过是在路轨的另一边。这样火车开过时,正好能把他遮住。我看着车头开近来。它开得很吃力。原来挂的车皮很多。我知道火车上一定也有守卫,我想看看守卫在什么地方,但是因为我人躲着,还是看不见。车头快开到我趴着的地方了。车头到我面前了——它虽然在平地上开,还是又吃力又喘气——我看见司机过去了,于是站起来,挨近一节节开过去的车厢。万一守卫看见,由于我站在车轨边,嫌疑性反而少一点。几节封闭的货车开过了。随后我看见一节没有遮盖的、车身很低的车厢,他们叫它为平底船,上边罩着帆布。我等它快要过去时,纵身一跃,抓住车后的把手,攀了上去。我爬到“平底船”和后边一节高高的货车的车檐间。大概没有人看见我吧。我抓着把手,蹲着身子,双脚踏在两节车厢间的联轴节上。火车快到桥上了。我想起桥上那个守卫。火车过去时,他望望我。他还是个孩子,他的帽盔太大了。我轻藐地瞪了他一眼,他赶快掉开头去。他以为我是列车上的什么人员哩。

我们过去了。我看见他还是怪不舒服地瞅着后面的那几节车厢,这时我俯下身去看看帆布是怎么绑牢的。帆布边沿上有扣眼,用绳子穿过绑着。我拿出刀子来,割断了绳子,伸出一条胳臂探进去。帆布下有些硬的东西突出着,那帆布因为给雨打湿了,绷得紧紧的。我抬头望望前面。前头货车上有一名守卫,幸亏他是在往前看。我放开把手,往帆布底下一钻。我的前额碰上一件东西,狠狠地一撞,我觉得脸上出血了,但是我还是爬进去,笔直地躺着。我随后转过身把帆布绑好。

帆布底下原来是大炮。大炮涂抹过润滑油和油脂,闻起来觉得很清新。我躺着倾听帆布上的雨声和列车在路轨上开的轧轧声。有些光线漏了进来,我躺着看看那些炮。炮身还罩着帆布套。我想一定是第三军送来的。我额上那一撞,肿起来了,我躺着不动弹,让伤口止血凝结,随后把伤口四周的干血块一一剥掉。这算不了什么。我没有手帕,只能用手指摸摸,然后蘸着帆布上滴下来的雨水,用袖子揩干净那些血迹。我不想让自己的样子惹人注意。我知道在列车到美斯特列以前,我非下车不可,因为到了那地方,一定有人来接收这些大炮。他们现在正需要大炮,损失不起,准不会忘记。我感到非常饿。


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 cramps cramps     
n. 抽筋, 腹部绞痛, 铁箍 adj. 狭窄的, 难解的 v. 使...抽筋, 以铁箍扣紧, 束缚
参考例句:
  • If he cramps again let the line cut him off. 要是它再抽筋,就让这钓索把它勒断吧。
  • "I have no cramps." he said. “我没抽筋,"他说。
2 ashore tNQyT     
adv.在(向)岸上,上岸
参考例句:
  • The children got ashore before the tide came in.涨潮前,孩子们就上岸了。
  • He laid hold of the rope and pulled the boat ashore.他抓住绳子拉船靠岸。
3 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
4 twigs 17ff1ed5da672aa443a4f6befce8e2cb     
细枝,嫩枝( twig的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Some birds build nests of twigs. 一些鸟用树枝筑巢。
  • Willow twigs are pliable. 柳条很软。
5 willow bMFz6     
n.柳树
参考例句:
  • The river was sparsely lined with willow trees.河边疏疏落落有几棵柳树。
  • The willow's shadow falls on the lake.垂柳的影子倒映在湖面上。
6 eddy 6kxzZ     
n.漩涡,涡流
参考例句:
  • The motor car disappeared in eddy of dust.汽车在一片扬尘的涡流中不见了。
  • In Taylor's picture,the eddy is the basic element of turbulence.在泰勒的描述里,旋涡是湍流的基本要素。
7 momentum DjZy8     
n.动力,冲力,势头;动量
参考例句:
  • We exploit the energy and momentum conservation laws in this way.我们就是这样利用能量和动量守恒定律的。
  • The law of momentum conservation could supplant Newton's third law.动量守恒定律可以取代牛顿第三定律。
8 willows 79355ee67d20ddbc021d3e9cb3acd236     
n.柳树( willow的名词复数 );柳木
参考例句:
  • The willows along the river bank look very beautiful. 河岸边的柳树很美。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Willows are planted on both sides of the streets. 街道两侧种着柳树。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
9 wrung b11606a7aab3e4f9eebce4222a9397b1     
绞( wring的过去式和过去分词 ); 握紧(尤指别人的手); 把(湿衣服)拧干; 绞掉(水)
参考例句:
  • He has wrung the words from their true meaning. 他曲解这些字的真正意义。
  • He wrung my hand warmly. 他热情地紧握我的手。
10 cape ITEy6     
n.海角,岬;披肩,短披风
参考例句:
  • I long for a trip to the Cape of Good Hope.我渴望到好望角去旅行。
  • She was wearing a cape over her dress.她在外套上披着一件披肩。
11 dismal wtwxa     
adj.阴沉的,凄凉的,令人忧郁的,差劲的
参考例句:
  • That is a rather dismal melody.那是一支相当忧郁的歌曲。
  • My prospects of returning to a suitable job are dismal.我重新找到一个合适的工作岗位的希望很渺茫。
12 marsh Y7Rzo     
n.沼泽,湿地
参考例句:
  • There are a lot of frogs in the marsh.沼泽里有许多青蛙。
  • I made my way slowly out of the marsh.我缓慢地走出这片沼泽地。
13 marshes 9fb6b97bc2685c7033fce33dc84acded     
n.沼泽,湿地( marsh的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Cows were grazing on the marshes. 牛群在湿地上吃草。
  • We had to cross the marshes. 我们不得不穿过那片沼泽地。 来自《简明英汉词典》
14 flay 8ggz4     
vt.剥皮;痛骂
参考例句:
  • You cannot flay the same ox twice.一头牛不能剥两次皮。
  • He was going to flay that stranger with every trick known to the law.他要用法律上所有的招数来痛斥那个陌生人。
15 puffing b3a737211571a681caa80669a39d25d3     
v.使喷出( puff的现在分词 );喷着汽(或烟)移动;吹嘘;吹捧
参考例句:
  • He was puffing hard when he jumped on to the bus. 他跳上公共汽车时喘息不已。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • My father sat puffing contentedly on his pipe. 父亲坐着心满意足地抽着烟斗。 来自《简明英汉词典》
16 standing 2hCzgo     
n.持续,地位;adj.永久的,不动的,直立的,不流动的
参考例句:
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
17 gondola p6vyK     
n.威尼斯的平底轻舟;飞船的吊船
参考例句:
  • The road is too narrow to allow the passage of gondola.这条街太窄大型货车不能通过。
  • I have a gondola here.我开来了一条平底船。
18 gondolas c782a4e2d2fa5d1cca4c319d8145cb83     
n.狭长小船( gondola的名词复数 );货架(一般指商店,例如化妆品店);吊船工作台
参考例句:
  • When the G-Force is in motion, the gondolas turn as well. 当“惊呼狂叫”开始旋转时,平底船也同时旋转。 来自互联网
  • Moreton Engineering &Equipment Co. Ltd. -Services include sales tower crane, gondolas, material hoist construction equipment. 山明模型工作室-制作建筑模型,包括售楼模型、规划模型、比赛模型等。 来自互联网
19 crouching crouching     
v.屈膝,蹲伏( crouch的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • a hulking figure crouching in the darkness 黑暗中蹲伏着的一个庞大身影
  • A young man was crouching by the table, busily searching for something. 一个年轻人正蹲在桌边翻看什么。 来自汉英文学 - 散文英译
20 bulges 248c4c08516697064a5c8a7608001606     
膨胀( bulge的名词复数 ); 鼓起; (身体的)肥胖部位; 暂时的激增
参考例句:
  • His pocket bulges with apples. 他的衣袋装着苹果鼓了起来。
  • He bulges out of his black T-shirt. 他的肚子在黑色T恤衫下鼓鼓地挺着。
21 tightened bd3d8363419d9ff838bae0ba51722ee9     
收紧( tighten的过去式和过去分词 ); (使)变紧; (使)绷紧; 加紧
参考例句:
  • The rope holding the boat suddenly tightened and broke. 系船的绳子突然绷断了。
  • His index finger tightened on the trigger but then relaxed again. 他的食指扣住扳机,然后又松开了。
22 swollen DrcwL     
adj.肿大的,水涨的;v.使变大,肿胀
参考例句:
  • Her legs had got swollen from standing up all day.因为整天站着,她的双腿已经肿了。
  • A mosquito had bitten her and her arm had swollen up.蚊子叮了她,她的手臂肿起来了。
23 conspicuous spszE     
adj.明眼的,惹人注目的;炫耀的,摆阔气的
参考例句:
  • It is conspicuous that smoking is harmful to health.很明显,抽烟对健康有害。
  • Its colouring makes it highly conspicuous.它的色彩使它非常惹人注目。


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