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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Lord Dolphin » CHAPTER VII. WHAT I SAW ONE DAY
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 Now I do not know how brave an English lord may be or how much it may take to scare him, but I, Lord Dolphin, inhabitant of the great Mediterranean1 Sea, was scared nearly out of my wits and skin by the sight I saw one day.
But there is this to comfort me: if I was a coward at the sight, there were plenty of other creatures in the sea to keep me company. Mercy on us! Such a scuttling2 and rushing, such a whisking and a whacking3, flying and plunging4, I for one never saw before. There was actually a chorus of flapping fins6 and thumping7 tails as we raced for our lives.
Was it a steam-engine or a monster boiler8 that was coming right down from upper regions into our midst? Or, had some new sea-monster fallen from the skies to drive us from our hunting and fishing grounds?
We knew something about sea-lions, the huge creature that you may have seen at the Zoo, or in a tank at the park, lifting itself like an enormous sea-horse, and roaring like the animal whose name it bears. But a sea-lion would not have cut through the water from way above. It would have come steering9 along like a great black vessel10, puffing11 and blowing, while all the time it would have been a creature of the sea, and we should have known it, and not have been so terrified.
Or, had a whale come bearing down from upper waters, as they sometimes do, there would have been a disturbance12 first, made by the spouting13 and slashing14 that our instinct at once would have told us came from some monster of the deep.
Or, again, had it been the hulk of a vessel that could not stand some violent storm, oh, yes, we should have known what that was, too. But now, off tore the fishes, mad with terror, big fishes, little fishes, fat fellows, lean fellows, pleasant ones, and grumblers.
I laughed, yes, with all my fright I had to laugh at such a funny sight. I was behind what Folks call "whole schools of fishes," only they speak of "a school of fish," meaning many of one kind, but the madcap crowd I looked upon was made up of almost every size and sort.
I saw a porpoise—porpus—my enormous cousin, all of fifteen feet long, crowd in midst a multitude of swift little swimmers, as if he meant to make them help in spinning him through the water faster than he could go by himself. Then on the back of another Dolphin, I saw a crowd of little fishes that seemed so stiff with fear, they had been knowing enough to cling to the back of the great fish, making a boat of him to bear them to a place of safety.
Paddling sideways, I caught a glimpse of the flying-fish that had been my tormentor15. All at once I stopped short.
Now they say that some Folks are very curious. I do not mean that they are odd or amusing to look at. But they have curiosity, and want to peer and pry16 into things. It is not at all nice to want to find out all about other Folks' affairs. It belongs to a poor, mean nature to want to do that. But to want to inquire into matters for the sake of getting true knowledge is right and worthy17 even for a fish.
And suddenly I had determined18 to see just what that amazing creature could be. If it caught and swallowed me alive, it might, but—it would take a pretty big swallow to make away with Lord Dolphin. I confess to going to work very much like a sneak19. But it was quite easy, seeing all the other fishes had made off and left me a clear field, to hide midst a bed of tall sea-bushes.
So, very gently back I paddled, with motion slow and noiseless, to the region where the monster had come down.
How shall I describe it? In the first place, I had never seen such a shape before. The time when I was borne aloft on high waves, and looked into a ship's cabin, I saw forms something like unto this one in some respects, but, dear sakes, not with such hideous20 parts! But now, to name at once and describe afterwards,—
It was a diver!
The diver belongs to the Folks family, but, bless us, his rig! Imagine, if you can, a black object, with a great bunchy machine of a head, and for the rest, a mass of fixtures22, such as would puzzle a far more stupid creature than a Dolphin to make out.
I have seen a diver many times since then, and am now able to tell a little about the fantastic-looking being. Of course, there is very much more to be known, but if you remember what I say, it will give you some idea of a diver's outfit23 that may linger in your mind, to be added to as you grow older.
First, then, close to his skin are warm woollen garments, sometimes two or even three sets of them. If the weather is cold, he may have on two or three pairs of warm stockings. How would you like being bundled up in that way? Yet that is only the beginning.
Close to his head is a woollen cap coming down over his ears. Thick shoulder-pads keep his outside suit from grazing or hurting, and it may be that other pads are about his body. He next goes into an outside suit of India rubber, covered both inside and outside with a tanned twill which is water-proof, and the rubber itself has been treated in a way to make it very hard and lasting24. There is a double collar about the neck, of tough, sheet rubber, and one is to draw well up about the neck.
He must have assistance in getting into these rigid25 clothes, for it is hard working the arms into the stiff sleeves, and forcing the hands through cuffs26 which are made to expand or let out as they are drawn27 on, then close tight in some odd way with rubber rings and joints28 at the wrist, making the sleeves perfectly29 air tight.
Great care is taken in dressing30 the diver. Everything must fit perfectly, every screw must be properly wound in, every strap31 and buckle32 made fast, or the poor diver may be in great danger. His breastplate of copper33 is fastened on with metal clasps or bolts. A fixture21 at his back steadies the weights both back and front, weighing forty pounds each. These weights, it must be, are in some way supported by the ropes with which they let him down.
Such boots! Stout34 leather, with soles of lead, securely strapped35 on, and weighing at least twenty pounds each. A band fitted about his waist is kept in place by strong braces36.
Then his helmet! Tinned copper, and full of screws, pipes, and hooks. On the face part were three openings as in a lantern, in which were screwed plate-glasses, or bull's-eyes. These, of course, were to see through, and stood out like little telescopes, or half-tumblers, with brass37 frames around them called "guards" which protect the glass, that is thick and strong.
There were also queer valves, or tubes, in the helmet for letting out bad air, yet so contrived38 that no water could get in. A hook was on either side, through which ropes must pass.
The diver can breathe while under water by means of an air-pipe, and by pulling on a life-line, can make his wants known to those above.
When the diver is all ready to descend39, a man at the pump begins supplying him with air, and down he goes, first on an iron ladder at the vessel's side, then on long ladders of rope, with heavy weights at the ends.
I peeped from midst great weed-pads, and saw the diver as he reached the bottom of the sea. Do you wonder I trembled, yet was amused at what I saw? In his hands this time—for I saw him more than once after this—was a great hook and a light bag with a wide-open mouth. And what do you think? He had come to get sponges from the blue sea. Of course not at very great depth.
He knew his work. With the long hook, sponge after sponge was torn from its clung-to home on the slippery rocks, and quickly popped into the bag. He always moved backwards40. If anything stopped him, rock, wreck41, or floating weeds, he could turn slowly and carefully around, and see what it was. But should he meet an object suddenly at the fore5, it might break even his shielded glass. Then he must immediately give the signal to be raised aloft.
Divers42 must begin by going down only a little way under the water, as it takes great skill and long practice to be able to go safely into deep water. A diver has about him a coil of line connected with the ladder, which he unwinds as he moves away; but by winding43 it about him again, he can find his way back to the ladder.
If two divers go down at the same time, I notice they take great care not to let their air-lines or life-lines cross each other's, and so get entangled44. It might be a very serious affair to get them mixed.
I see that divers may go down from either a barge45, a sailing vessel, or a large yacht, but there must be a deck that can hold the necessary machines and rigging to help them in their work. By casting down heavy pieces of lead, the sailor-Folk can "sound," or tell the distance to the bottom of the sea. The diver's line must always be twice the length of the distance he goes down.
I did not find this all out at once. Oh, by no means, but by not running away I gradually learned a great deal. And I was so glad I saw the queer performance! The frightened fishes were not quick to come back to their playground, where such a looking object had come swinging down, and when he came again the next day, and the next, I had the place to myself, and watched while he pretty well cleared that region of its fine, valuable sponges.
The next time I saw a diver it was in deeper water. I was sporting to and fro at another time when there was just such a panic among the fishes as I had seen before, and just such a scramble46.
Down, down came the fearsome looking object, while I mixed myself in with a mass of sea-flowers, and keeping perfectly still, was not noticed. The diver's dress was much the same as the other's had been; he went backwards in the same cautious way, but instead of a long-handled hook, he carried only a queer bag that was let down to him by ropes.
The bag was deep, and had a frame along the top, with a scraper fastened to it. And what do you think again? He began scraping in all the conch-shells he could see that had what looked like a dab47 of mud or a milky48 spot on the side.
He was after pearls!
Divers often fish for pearls midst oyster-beds, and in more shallow water, but there are nets or dredgers also used for that purpose. But I at once knew that very valuable pearls must often be found in conch-shells and deep-sea oyster-shells, as the diver scraped in all of both that he could find.
Remember! All kinds of shell-fish are called "mollusca," have white blood, and breathe not only in the water, but also in the air.
And will you believe it? I have found out considerable about the signals that a diver gives to the man at the pump on deck.
If he wants to be pulled up, be gives the life-line four sharp pulls. If he wants more air, he gives one pull at the air-pipe. Two pulls on the life-line, and two pulls on the air-pipe, given quickly one after the other, mean that he is in trouble, and wants the help of another diver. One pull on the life-line means "all right."
There are many other signals I could not find out the meaning of, so can say nothing about. My instincts, as well as what I have noticed, tell me that a diver must be in the best of health, must be rather thin, have excellent eyesight, sound lungs, steady nerves, and a strong heart. The work is not easy. I wonder if work that pays well is often easy? I do not believe it is.
There used to be a strange machine in use called the "diving-bell." A great cast-iron cage, shaped something like a bell, let down by ropes, and so heavy that its own weight would sink it. Divers could sit inside, and fresh air was supplied by a force-pump. Bull's-eyes of heavy glass let in the light.
This must have frightened the fishes quite as much as did the diver, although it was not as frightful49 in appearance.
After a time, when the diver came down, some of my mates, seeing I was not a bit afraid if only hidden from sight myself, stayed near me under the broad seaweeds, but most of them fled far and wide at his approach.
The divers themselves are not free from danger. Great sea-serpents or sharks sometimes make it hot for them, but they are watchful50, spry, and being "Folks," with power to think and plan, can generally look out for themselves and their safety.


1 Mediterranean ezuzT     
  • The houses are Mediterranean in character.这些房子都属地中海风格。
  • Gibraltar is the key to the Mediterranean.直布罗陀是地中海的要冲。
2 scuttling 56f5e8b899fd87fbaf9db14c025dd776     
n.船底穿孔,打开通海阀(沉船用)v.使船沉没( scuttle的现在分词 );快跑,急走
  • I could hear an animal scuttling about in the undergrowth. 我可以听到一只动物在矮树丛中跑来跑去。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • First of all, scuttling Yu Lung (this yuncheng Hejin) , flood discharge. 大禹首先凿开龙门(今运城河津市),分洪下泄。 来自互联网
3 whacking dfa3159091bdf0befc32fdf3c58c1f84     
adj.(用于强调)巨大的v.重击,使劲打( whack的现在分词 )
  • a whacking great hole in the roof 房顶上一个巨大的窟窿
  • His father found him a cushy job in the office, with almost nothing to do and a whacking great salary. 他父亲给他在事务所找到了一份轻松舒适的工作,几乎什么都不用做,工资还极高。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 plunging 5fe12477bea00d74cd494313d62da074     
adj.跳进的,突进的v.颠簸( plunge的现在分词 );暴跌;骤降;突降
  • War broke out again, plunging the people into misery and suffering. 战祸复发,生灵涂炭。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • He is plunging into an abyss of despair. 他陷入了绝望的深渊。 来自《简明英汉词典》
5 fore ri8xw     
  • Your seat is in the fore part of the aircraft.你的座位在飞机的前部。
  • I have the gift of fore knowledge.我能够未卜先知。
6 fins 6a19adaf8b48d5db4b49aef2b7e46ade     
  • The level of TNF-α positively correlated with BMI,FPG,HbA1C,TG,FINS and IRI,but not with SBP and DBP. TNF-α水平与BMI、FPG、HbA1C、TG、FINS和IRI呈显著正相关,与SBP、DBP无相关。 来自互联网
  • Fins are a feature specific to fish. 鱼鳍是鱼类特有的特征。 来自辞典例句
7 thumping hgUzBs     
  • Her heart was thumping with emotion. 她激动得心怦怦直跳。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • He was thumping the keys of the piano. 他用力弹钢琴。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
8 boiler OtNzI     
  • That boiler will not hold up under pressure.那种锅炉受不住压力。
  • This new boiler generates more heat than the old one.这个新锅炉产生的热量比旧锅炉多。
9 steering 3hRzbi     
  • He beat his hands on the steering wheel in frustration. 他沮丧地用手打了几下方向盘。
  • Steering according to the wind, he also framed his words more amicably. 他真会看风使舵,口吻也马上变得温和了。
10 vessel 4L1zi     
  • The vessel is fully loaded with cargo for Shanghai.这艘船满载货物驶往上海。
  • You should put the water into a vessel.你应该把水装入容器中。
11 puffing b3a737211571a681caa80669a39d25d3     
v.使喷出( puff的现在分词 );喷着汽(或烟)移动;吹嘘;吹捧
  • 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》
12 disturbance BsNxk     
  • He is suffering an emotional disturbance.他的情绪受到了困扰。
  • You can work in here without any disturbance.在这儿你可不受任何干扰地工作。
13 spouting 7d5ba6391a70f183d6f0e45b0bbebb98     
n.水落管系统v.(指液体)喷出( spout的现在分词 );滔滔不绝地讲;喋喋不休地说;喷水
  • He's always spouting off about the behaviour of young people today. 他总是没完没了地数落如今年轻人的行为。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Blood was spouting from the deep cut in his arm. 血从他胳膊上深深的伤口里涌出来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
14 slashing dfc956bca8fba6bcb04372bf8fc09010     
adj.尖锐的;苛刻的;鲜明的;乱砍的v.挥砍( slash的现在分词 );鞭打;割破;削减
  • Slashing is the first process in which liquid treatment is involved. 浆纱是液处理的第一过程。 来自辞典例句
  • He stopped slashing his horse. 他住了手,不去鞭打他的马了。 来自辞典例句
15 tormentor tormentor     
n. 使苦痛之人, 使苦恼之物, 侧幕 =tormenter
  • He was the tormentor, he was the protector, he was the inquisitor, he was the friend. 他既是拷打者,又是保护者;既是审问者,又是朋友。 来自英汉文学
  • The tormentor enlarged the engagement garment. 折磨者加大了订婚服装。
16 pry yBqyX     
  • He's always ready to pry into other people's business.他总爱探听别人的事。
  • We use an iron bar to pry open the box.我们用铁棍撬开箱子。
17 worthy vftwB     
  • I did not esteem him to be worthy of trust.我认为他不值得信赖。
  • There occurred nothing that was worthy to be mentioned.没有值得一提的事发生。
18 determined duszmP     
  • I have determined on going to Tibet after graduation.我已决定毕业后去西藏。
  • He determined to view the rooms behind the office.他决定查看一下办公室后面的房间。
19 sneak vr2yk     
  • He raised his spear and sneak forward.他提起长矛悄悄地前进。
  • I saw him sneak away from us.我看见他悄悄地从我们身边走开。
20 hideous 65KyC     
  • The whole experience had been like some hideous nightmare.整个经历就像一场可怕的噩梦。
  • They're not like dogs,they're hideous brutes.它们不像狗,是丑陋的畜牲。
21 fixture hjKxo     
  • Lighting fixture must be installed at once.必须立即安装照明设备。
  • The cordless kettle may now be a fixture in most kitchens.无绳电热水壶现在可能是多数厨房的固定设备。
22 fixtures 9403e5114acb6bb59791a97291be54b5     
(房屋等的)固定装置( fixture的名词复数 ); 如(浴盆、抽水马桶); 固定在某位置的人或物; (定期定点举行的)体育活动
  • The insurance policy covers the building and any fixtures contained therein. 保险单为这座大楼及其中所有的设施保了险。
  • The fixtures had already been sold and the sum divided. 固定设备已经卖了,钱也分了。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
23 outfit YJTxC     
  • Jenney bought a new outfit for her daughter's wedding.珍妮为参加女儿的婚礼买了一套新装。
  • His father bought a ski outfit for him on his birthday.他父亲在他生日那天给他买了一套滑雪用具。
24 lasting IpCz02     
  • The lasting war debased the value of the dollar.持久的战争使美元贬值。
  • We hope for a lasting settlement of all these troubles.我们希望这些纠纷能获得永久的解决。
25 rigid jDPyf     
  • She became as rigid as adamant.她变得如顽石般的固执。
  • The examination was so rigid that nearly all aspirants were ruled out.考试很严,几乎所有的考生都被淘汰了。
26 cuffs 4f67c64175ca73d89c78d4bd6a85e3ed     
n.袖口( cuff的名词复数 )v.掌打,拳打( cuff的第三人称单数 )
  • a collar and cuffs of white lace 带白色蕾丝花边的衣领和袖口
  • The cuffs of his shirt were fraying. 他衬衣的袖口磨破了。
27 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
28 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。
29 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
30 dressing 1uOzJG     
  • Don't spend such a lot of time in dressing yourself.别花那么多时间来打扮自己。
  • The children enjoy dressing up in mother's old clothes.孩子们喜欢穿上妈妈旧时的衣服玩。
31 strap 5GhzK     
  • She held onto a strap to steady herself.她抓住拉手吊带以便站稳。
  • The nurse will strap up your wound.护士会绑扎你的伤口。
32 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。
33 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。
35 strapped ec484d13545e19c0939d46e2d1eb24bc     
  • Make sure that the child is strapped tightly into the buggy. 一定要把孩子牢牢地拴在婴儿车上。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The soldiers' great coats were strapped on their packs. 战士们的厚大衣扎捆在背包上。 来自《简明英汉词典》
36 braces ca4b7fc327bd02465aeaf6e4ce63bfcd     
n.吊带,背带;托架( brace的名词复数 );箍子;括弧;(儿童)牙箍v.支住( brace的第三人称单数 );撑牢;使自己站稳;振作起来
  • The table is shaky because the braces are loose. 这张桌子摇摇晃晃,因为支架全松了。
  • You don't need braces if you're wearing a belt! 要系腰带,就用不着吊带了。
37 brass DWbzI     
  • Many of the workers play in the factory's brass band.许多工人都在工厂铜管乐队中演奏。
  • Brass is formed by the fusion of copper and zinc.黄铜是通过铜和锌的熔合而成的。
38 contrived ivBzmO     
  • There was nothing contrived or calculated about what he said.他说的话里没有任何蓄意捏造的成分。
  • The plot seems contrived.情节看起来不真实。
39 descend descend     
  • I hope the grace of God would descend on me.我期望上帝的恩惠。
  • We're not going to descend to such methods.我们不会沦落到使用这种手段。
40 backwards BP9ya     
  • He turned on the light and began to pace backwards and forwards.他打开电灯并开始走来走去。
  • All the girls fell over backwards to get the party ready.姑娘们迫不及待地为聚会做准备。
41 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。
42 divers hu9z23     
  • He chose divers of them,who were asked to accompany him.他选择他们当中的几个人,要他们和他作伴。
  • Two divers work together while a standby diver remains on the surface.两名潜水员协同工作,同时有一名候补潜水员留在水面上。
43 winding Ue7z09     
  • A winding lane led down towards the river.一条弯弯曲曲的小路通向河边。
  • The winding trail caused us to lose our orientation.迂回曲折的小道使我们迷失了方向。
44 entangled e3d30c3c857155b7a602a9ac53ade890     
adj.卷入的;陷入的;被缠住的;缠在一起的v.使某人(某物/自己)缠绕,纠缠于(某物中),使某人(自己)陷入(困难或复杂的环境中)( entangle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The bird had become entangled in the wire netting. 那只小鸟被铁丝网缠住了。
  • Some military observers fear the US could get entangled in another war. 一些军事观察家担心美国会卷入另一场战争。 来自《简明英汉词典》
45 barge munzH     
  • The barge was loaded up with coal.那艘驳船装上了煤。
  • Carrying goods by train costs nearly three times more than carrying them by barge.通过铁路运货的成本比驳船运货成本高出近3倍。
46 scramble JDwzg     
  • He broke his leg in his scramble down the wall.他爬墙摔断了腿。
  • It was a long scramble to the top of the hill.到山顶须要爬登一段长路。
47 dab jvHzPy     
  • She returned wearing a dab of rouge on each cheekbone.她回来时,两边面颊上涂有一点淡淡的胭脂。
  • She gave me a dab of potatoes with my supper.她给我晚饭时,还给了一点土豆。
48 milky JD0xg     
  • Alexander always has milky coffee at lunchtime.亚历山大总是在午餐时喝掺奶的咖啡。
  • I like a hot milky drink at bedtime.我喜欢睡前喝杯热奶饮料。
49 frightful Ghmxw     
  • How frightful to have a husband who snores!有一个发鼾声的丈夫多讨厌啊!
  • We're having frightful weather these days.这几天天气坏极了。
50 watchful tH9yX     
  • The children played under the watchful eye of their father.孩子们在父亲的小心照看下玩耍。
  • It is important that health organizations remain watchful.卫生组织保持警惕是极为重要的。


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