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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Dark Star » CHAPTER XXI METHOD AND FORESIGHT
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 Without a word—with merely a careless glance at Neeland, who remained seated under the level threat of Ali Baba’s pistol, the big, handsome German removed his overcoat. Under it was another coat. He threw this off in a brisk, businesslike manner, unbuckled a brace2 of pistols, laid them aside, unwound from his body a long silk rope ladder which dropped to the floor at Ilse Dumont’s feet.
The girl had turned very pale. She stooped, picked up the silk ladder, and, holding it in both hands, looked hard at Golden Beard.
“Johann,” she said, “I gave my word of honour to this young man that if he came here no harm would happen to him.”
“I read the note you have shoved under his door,” said Golden Beard. “That iss why we are here, Karl and I.”
Neeland remembered the wax in the keyhole then. He turned his eyes on Ilse Dumont, curiously3, less certain of her treachery now.
Meanwhile, Golden Beard continued busily unwinding things from his apparently4 too stout5 person, and presently disengaged three life-belts.
One of these he adjusted to his own person, then, putting on his voluminous overcoat, took the pistol from Ali Baba, who, in turn, adjusted one of the remaining life-belts to his body.240
Neeland, deeply perplexed6 and uncomfortable, watched these operations in silence, trying to divine some reason for them.
“Now, then!” said Golden Beard to the girl; and his voice sounded cold and incisive7 in the silence.
“This is not the way to do it,” she said in a low tone. “I gave him my word of honour.”
“You will be good enough to buckle1 on that belt,” returned Golden Beard, staring at her.
Slowly she bent8 over, picked up the life-belt, and, looping the silk rope over her arm, began to put on the belt. Golden Beard, impatient, presently came to her assistance; then he unhooked from the wall a cloak and threw it over her shoulders.
“Now, Karl!” he said. “Shoot him dead if he stirs!” And he snatched a sheet from the bed, tore it into strips, walked over to Neeland, and deftly9 tied him hand and foot and gagged him.
Then Golden Beard and Ali Baba, between them, lifted the young man and seated him on the iron bed and tied him fast to it.
“Go out on deck!” said Golden Beard to Ilse Dumont.
“Let me stay––”
“No! You have acted like a fool. Go to the lower deck where is our accustomed rendezvous10.”
“I wish to remain, Johann. I shall not interfere––”
“Go to the lower deck, I tell you, and be ready to tie that rope ladder!”
Ali Baba, down on his knees, had pulled out a steamer trunk from under the bed, opened it, and was lifting out three big steel cylinders11.
These he laid on the bed in a row beside the tied man; and Golden Beard, still facing Ilse Dumont, turned his head to look.241
The instant his head was turned the girl snatched a pistol from the brace of weapons on the washstand and thrust it under her cloak. Neither Golden Beard nor Ali Baba noticed the incident; the latter was busy connecting the three cylinders with coils of wire; the former, deeply interested, followed the operation for a moment or two, then walking over to the trunk, he lifted from it a curious little clock with two dials and set it on the railed shelf of glass above the washstand.
“Karl, haf you ship’s time?”
Ali Baba paused to fish out his watch, and the two compared timepieces. Then Golden Beard wound the clock, set the hands of one dial at the time indicated by their watches; set the hands of the other dial at 2:13; and Ali Baba, carrying a reel of copper12 wire from the bed to the washstand, fastened one end of it to the mechanism13 of the clock.
Golden Beard turned sharply on Ilse Dumont:
“I said go on deck! Did you not understand?”
The girl replied steadily14:
“I understood that we had abandoned this idea for a better one.”
“There iss no better one!”
“There is! Of what advantage would it be to blow up the captain’s cabin and the bridge when it is not certain that the papers will be destroyed?”
“Listen once!” returned Golden Beard, wagging his finger in her face:
“Cabin and bridge are directly above us and there remains15 not a splinter large like a pin! I know. I know my bombs! I know––”
The soft voice of Ali Baba interrupted, and his shallow, lightish eyes peered around at them:242
“Eet ees veree excellent plan, Johann. We do not require these papers; eet ees to destroy them we are mooch anxious”—he bent a deathly stare on Neeland—“and this yoong gentleman who may again annoy us.” He nodded confidently to himself and continued to connect the wires. “Yes, yes,” he murmured absently, “eet ees veree good plan—veree good plan to blow him into leetle pieces so beeg as a pin.”
“It is a clumsy plan!” said the girl, desperately16. “There is no need for wanton killing17 like this, when we can––”
“Killing?” repeated Golden Beard. “That makes nothing. This English captain he iss of the naval18 reserve. Und this young man”—nodding coolly toward Neeland—“knows too much already. That iss not wanton killing. Also! You talk too much. Do you hear? We are due to drop anchor about 2:30. God knows there will be enough rushing to and fro at 2:13.
“Go on deck, I say, and fasten that rope ladder! Weishelm’s fishing smack19 will be watching; und if we do not swim for it we are caught on board! Und that iss the end of it all for us!”
“Johann,” she began tremulously, “listen to me––”
“Nein! Nein! What for a Frauenzimmer haff we here!” retorted Golden Beard, losing his patience and catching20 her by the arm. “Go out und fix for us our ladder und keep it coiled on the rail und lean ofer it like you was looking at those stars once!”
He forced her toward the door; she turned, struggling, to confront him:
“Then for God’s sake, give this man a chance! Don’t leave him tied here to be blown to atoms! Give him a chance—anything except this! Throw him out of the port, there!” She pointed21 at the closed port, evaded22 243Golden Beard, sprang upon the sofa, unscrewed the glass cover, and swung it open.
The port was too small even to admit the passage of her own body; she realised it; Golden Beard laughed and turned to examine the result of Ali Baba’s wiring.
For a second the girl gazed wildly around her, as though seeking some help in her terrible dilemma23, then she snatched up a bit of the torn sheeting, tied it to the screw of the porthole cover, and flung the end out where it fluttered in the darkness.
As she sprang to the floor Golden Beard swung round in renewed anger at her for still loitering.
“Sacreminton!” he exclaimed. “It is time you do your part! Go to your post then! We remain here until five minutes is left us. Then we join you.”
The girl nodded, turned to the door.
“Wait! You understand the plan?”
“You understand that you do not go overboard until we arrive, no matter what happens?”
He stood looking at her for a moment, then with a shrug24 he went over and patted her shoulder.
“That’s my brave girl! I also do not desire to kill anybody. But when the Fatherland is in danger, then killing signifies nothing—is of no consequence—pouf!—no lives are of importance then—not even our own!” He laughed in a fashion almost kindly25 and clapped her lightly once more on her shoulder: “Go, my child. The Fatherland is in danger!”
She went, not looking back. He closed and locked the door behind her and calmly turned to aid Ali Baba who was still fussing with the wires. Presently, however, he mounted the bed where Neeland sat tied and 244gagged; pulled from his pockets an auger26 with its bit, a screw-eye, and block and tackle; and, standing27 on the bed, began to bore a hole in the ceiling.
In a few moments he had fastened the screw-eye, rigged his block, made a sling28 for his bombs out of a blanket, and had hoisted29 the three cylinders up flat against the ceiling from whence the connecting wires sagged30 over the foot of the bedstead to the alarm clock on the washstand.
To give the clock more room on the glass shelf, Ali Baba removed the toilet accessories and set them on the washstand; but he had no room for a large jug31 of water, and, casting about for a place to set it, noticed a railed bracket over the head of the bed, and placed it there.
Then, apparently satisfied with his labours, he sat down Turk fashion on the sofa, lighted a cigarette, selected a bonbon32 from the box beside him, and calmly regaled himself.
Presently Golden Beard tied the cord which held up the sling in which the bombs were slung33 against the ceiling. He fastened it tightly to the iron frame of the bed, stepped back to view the effect, then leisurely34 pulled out and filled his porcelain35 pipe, and seated himself on the sofa beside Ali Baba.
Neither spoke36; twice Golden Beard drew his watch from his waistcoat pocket and compared it carefully with the dial of the alarm clock on the washstand shelf. The third time he did this he tapped Ali Baba on the shoulder, rose, knocked out his pipe and flung it out of the open port.
Together they walked over to Neeland, examined the gag and ligatures as impersonally37 as though the prisoner were not there, nodded their satisfaction, 245turned off the electric light, and, letting themselves out, locked the door on the outside.
It lacked five minutes of the time indicated on the alarm dial.


1 buckle zsRzg     
  • The two ends buckle at the back.带子两端在背后扣起来。
  • She found it hard to buckle down.她很难专心做一件事情。
2 brace 0WzzE     
n. 支柱,曲柄,大括号; v. 绷紧,顶住,(为困难或坏事)做准备
  • My daughter has to wear a brace on her teeth. 我的女儿得戴牙套以矫正牙齿。
  • You had better brace yourself for some bad news. 有些坏消息,你最好做好准备。
3 curiously 3v0zIc     
  • He looked curiously at the people.他好奇地看着那些人。
  • He took long stealthy strides. His hands were curiously cold.他迈着悄没声息的大步。他的双手出奇地冷。
4 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。
6 perplexed A3Rz0     
  • The farmer felt the cow,went away,returned,sorely perplexed,always afraid of being cheated.那农民摸摸那头牛,走了又回来,犹豫不决,总怕上当受骗。
  • The child was perplexed by the intricate plot of the story.这孩子被那头绪纷繁的故事弄得迷惑不解。
7 incisive vkQyj     
  • His incisive remarks made us see the problems in our plans.他的话切中要害,使我们看到了计划中的一些问题。
  • He combined curious qualities of naivety with incisive wit and worldly sophistication.他集天真质朴的好奇、锐利的机智和老练的世故于一体。
8 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。
9 deftly deftly     
  • He deftly folded the typed sheets and replaced them in the envelope. 他灵巧地将打有字的纸折好重新放回信封。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • At last he had a clew to her interest, and followed it deftly. 这一下终于让他发现了她的兴趣所在,于是他熟练地继续谈这个话题。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
10 rendezvous XBfzj     
  • She made the rendezvous with only minutes to spare.她还差几分钟时才来赴约。
  • I have a rendezvous with Peter at a restaurant on the harbour.我和彼得在海港的一个餐馆有个约会。
11 cylinders fd0c4aab3548ce77958c1502f0bc9692     
n.圆筒( cylinder的名词复数 );圆柱;汽缸;(尤指用作容器的)圆筒状物
  • They are working on all cylinders to get the job finished. 他们正在竭尽全力争取把这工作干完。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • That jeep has four cylinders. 那辆吉普车有4个汽缸。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 copper HZXyU     
  • The students are asked to prove the purity of copper.要求学生们检验铜的纯度。
  • Copper is a good medium for the conduction of heat and electricity.铜是热和电的良导体。
13 mechanism zCWxr     
  • The bones and muscles are parts of the mechanism of the body.骨骼和肌肉是人体的组成部件。
  • The mechanism of the machine is very complicated.这台机器的结构是非常复杂的。
14 steadily Qukw6     
  • The scope of man's use of natural resources will steadily grow.人类利用自然资源的广度将日益扩大。
  • Our educational reform was steadily led onto the correct path.我们的教学改革慢慢上轨道了。
15 remains 1kMzTy     
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
16 desperately cu7znp     
  • He was desperately seeking a way to see her again.他正拼命想办法再见她一面。
  • He longed desperately to be back at home.他非常渴望回家。
17 killing kpBziQ     
  • Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.投资者准备清仓以便大赚一笔。
  • Last week my brother made a killing on Wall Street.上个周我兄弟在华尔街赚了一大笔。
18 naval h1lyU     
  • He took part in a great naval battle.他参加了一次大海战。
  • The harbour is an important naval base.该港是一个重要的海军基地。
19 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。
20 catching cwVztY     
  • There are those who think eczema is catching.有人就是认为湿疹会传染。
  • Enthusiasm is very catching.热情非常富有感染力。
21 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
22 evaded 4b636015da21a66943b43217559e0131     
逃避( evade的过去式和过去分词 ); 避开; 回避; 想不出
  • For two weeks they evaded the press. 他们有两周一直避而不见记者。
  • The lion evaded the hunter. 那狮子躲开了猎人。
23 dilemma Vlzzf     
  • I am on the horns of a dilemma about the matter.这件事使我进退两难。
  • He was thrown into a dilemma.他陷入困境。
24 shrug Ry3w5     
  • With a shrug,he went out of the room.他耸一下肩,走出了房间。
  • I admire the way she is able to shrug off unfair criticism.我很佩服她能对错误的批评意见不予理会。
25 kindly tpUzhQ     
  • Her neighbours spoke of her as kindly and hospitable.她的邻居都说她和蔼可亲、热情好客。
  • A shadow passed over the kindly face of the old woman.一道阴影掠过老太太慈祥的面孔。
26 auger EOIyL     
  • We make a hole in the ice with an auger.我们用螺旋钻在冰上钻洞。
  • Already the Snowblast's huge auger blades were engorging snow.扬雪车上庞大的钻头叶片在开始大量吞进积雪。
27 standing 2hCzgo     
  • 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。
28 sling fEMzL     
  • The boy discharged a stone from a sling.这个男孩用弹弓射石头。
  • By using a hoist the movers were able to sling the piano to the third floor.搬运工人用吊车才把钢琴吊到3楼。
29 hoisted d1dcc88c76ae7d9811db29181a2303df     
把…吊起,升起( hoist的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He hoisted himself onto a high stool. 他抬身坐上了一张高凳子。
  • The sailors hoisted the cargo onto the deck. 水手们把货物吊到甲板上。
30 sagged 4efd2c4ac7fe572508b0252e448a38d0     
  • The black reticule sagged under the weight of shapeless objects. 黑色的拎包由于装了各种形状的东西而中间下陷。
  • He sagged wearily back in his chair. 他疲倦地瘫坐到椅子上。
31 jug QaNzK     
  • He walked along with a jug poised on his head.他头上顶着一个水罐,保持着平衡往前走。
  • She filled the jug with fresh water.她将水壶注满了清水。
32 bonbon WtMzN     
  • Go down to the grocer's and get some bonbons.去杂货店给我买点棒棒糖来。
  • It was greedy of them to eat up all the bonbons.他们把所有的棒棒糖都吃光了,真贪吃。
33 slung slung     
抛( sling的过去式和过去分词 ); 吊挂; 遣送; 押往
  • He slung the bag over his shoulder. 他把包一甩,挎在肩上。
  • He stood up and slung his gun over his shoulder. 他站起来把枪往肩上一背。
34 leisurely 51Txb     
  • We walked in a leisurely manner,looking in all the windows.我们慢悠悠地走着,看遍所有的橱窗。
  • He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work.他从容的吃了早餐,高兴的开车去工作。
35 porcelain USvz9     
  • These porcelain plates have rather original designs on them.这些瓷盘的花纹很别致。
  • The porcelain vase is enveloped in cotton.瓷花瓶用棉花裹着。
36 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。
37 impersonally MqYzdu     
  • "No." The answer was both reticent and impersonally sad. “不。”这回答既简短,又含有一种无以名状的悲戚。 来自名作英译部分
  • The tenet is to service our clients fairly, equally, impersonally and reasonably. 公司宗旨是公正、公平、客观、合理地为客户服务。


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