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Chapter XII. SNOWED UNDER.
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 There was a roguish twinkle in the Captain's eye, as though oil was not so precious but that they might have burned a few more drops of it; but an order was an order, and everybody was quite ready for darkness when it came, except Tug1.
 
Then, how pitchy it was, and how the wind sung and whizzed over their rough-edged shield of ice, now and then catching2 the border of the ill-stayed tent and giving it a furious flap, as though about to throw it over! But weariness and warmth—for often snowy nights are not so cold as clear ones—closed ears as well as eyes, and when they awoke it was gray light in the tent, and half-past seven o'clock in the morning.
 
Katy was the first one to peep over the gunwale of the boat, though Aleck was already awake.
 
"Is the place full of snow?" he asked.
 
"No, but the canvas sags3 a good deal."
 
"Well, you keep under your blankets till Tug and I—get out of this, mate!—have cleared up the floor a little, and built a fire. I'm afraid we won't get away from here to-day."
 
After breakfast the two larger lads crawled over the wall, sinking up to their waists in the snow as they stepped off. Struggling out, they climbed up a little way upon the crest4 of the hummock5, where it had been swept clear of snow by the wind, which had now subsided6; but nothing could be seen through the veil of thick-flying flakes7 except the dirty gray of their canvas roof and the thin wisps of smoke that curled upward from beneath it. All else was pure white, sinking on every side into a circle of foggy storm. Around the outer side of the boat and the end of the house drifts had been heaped up even on to the edge of the canvas, so that their house had become a cave between the ice and the snow-bank.
 
"It's snug8 enough," said Tug.
 
"Yes, but I should hate to starve to death or freeze there, all the same," Aleck replied.
 
"But it ain't very cold—and—and—say! we've lots of food, haven't we?"
 
"Enough for about ten days, if we put ourselves on precious short rations9; but most of it—the flour and bacon and so on—must be cooked, and this takes fire, and fire needs fuel, which is just what we haven't got. If we should use every bit of wood there is except the boat and sledge10, there wouldn't be enough to cook our food for ten days. Besides, though it isn't cold now, it's likely to turn mighty11 cold after this snow-storm, and then we must have a fire, or freeze."
 
"But we could get ashore12 back at the Point in a day's travel. Or, for that matter, the south shore can't be far off, though we can't see it through this fearful storm."
 
"If we had clear ice it would be all right, but how can we travel in this snow? It can't be less than two feet deep everywhere for miles and miles. You and I might go a little way, but Katy and The Youngster couldn't budge13 twenty steps. It's really a serious scrape we have brought ourselves into; and we ought to have thought about this before we started. Talk about Dr. Kane! He never was worse off in the arctic regions than we're likely to be right here in a day or two, unless something happens."
 
Aleck certainly was very down-hearted, and his companion did not seem much disposed to "brace14 him up," as he would have expressed it. He could only reply, in an equally discouraged voice,
 
"I don't see what can happen out here—for good."
 
"Nor I. Let's go in; it's no use standing15 here in the storm. But, mind you, no word of all this to the others yet."
 
All day long the snow sifted16 down in fine, dense17 flakes that piled up higher and higher around their house, though there was enough wind to keep it from collecting on the roof, which was very fortunate. They sat in the boat, half nestling in the straw; told stories; made Tug tell them everything he could think of about animals and shooting; invented puzzles, Aleck setting some hard sums; mended clothes—this, of course, was Katy's amusement; and guessed at conundrums18. Here Jim outshone all the rest. He was sharper with his answers than any of them, and finally proposed the following:
 
"Ebenezer Mary Jane, spell it with two letters?"
 
They knit their brows over it, pronounced it impossible to solve, and gave it up.
 
"I-t, it," says Jim, and carried off the honors.
 
Tired of this, they listened while Katy read from the precious book of Norwegian stories, and then chapter after chapter out of the little red Testament19.
 
"'Twouldn't be a bad scheme for some raven20 to bring us food," said Tug, thoughtfully. "I reckon Elisha's wilderness21 wasn't a worse one than this ice-plain."
 
"The Eskimos, Dr. Kane writes, eat the raven himself sometimes, in their snow-deserts, which Elisha wouldn't have done on any account, I suppose."
 
 
"No. That would have been like Æsop's fable22 of killing23 the goose that laid the golden eggs."
 
"Yes, so it would," Katy responded; "but the Eskimos have lots of other birds to eat—auks and guillemots, and eider-ducks, and mollemokes."
 
"But they're on the sea, where those birds live in enormous flocks, like our wild pigeons up in the pine woods—millions of 'em!" Tug exclaimed, with outstretched arms. "No such a thing on our lake after the blackbirds leave the marshes24."
 
"Except owls," interposed Jim; "and we can't eat them."
 
"I feel as though even an owl-stew wouldn't be bad about now," Aleck replied.
 
Nevertheless, when lunch-time came, both the big boys vowed25 they were not a bit hungry, and refused to eat. Katy took only a cracker26, but Jim ate three crackers27 and the last bit of the cold ham, picking the bone so clean that, big as it was, Rex, who was frightfully hungry, could get little comfort out of it, though he gnawed28 at it nearly all the afternoon. Then Tug smashed it for him, and gave him another try, which he appreciated highly.
 
"Poor Rex!" said Katy, with a sigh. "Travellers get so badly off they have to kill and eat their dogs sometimes"—Rex stopped crunching29, and looked up with a glance of alarm at this—"and if we should—"
 
 
"What a grand time Rex would have at his own bones!" interrupted Tug—a joke the utter absurdity30 of which wrinkled the faces that had become straight into hearty31 laughter. Towards evening a fire was built, which used the last of the sticks and one of the box-covers before the biscuits could be baked in the skillet, the ham fried, and tea made.
 
"I'm 'fraid it won't be long before I shall have to try the little stove," said Katy.
 
"I had no idea we were so near the end," Aleck muttered, under his breath.
 
The meal that evening was a very dull one, and if they did not go to sleep at once after they had gone to bed, certainly there was little fun-making among the weather-bound prisoners. Aleck said afterwards he thought he slept about an hour that night, and Katy was sure she didn't really get soundly asleep at all; but it is difficult to lie awake all night, though your rest may be so broken that you think in the morning you have never once lost your knowledge of what was going on.
 
 

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1 tug 5KBzo     
v.用力拖(或拉);苦干;n.拖;苦干;拖船
参考例句:
  • We need to tug the car round to the front.我们需要把那辆车拉到前面。
  • The tug is towing three barges.那只拖船正拖着三只驳船。
2 catching cwVztY     
adj.易传染的,有魅力的,迷人的,接住
参考例句:
  • 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。
3 sags cc800c12ffa850d8aa0904183d70bd5c     
向下凹或中间下陷( sag的第三人称单数 ); 松弛或不整齐地悬着
参考例句:
  • The bed sags in the middle, and is uncomfortable. 床的中间往下塌,很不舒服。
  • He sags his pants; doo rags and a stockin cap. 他穿着松弛的裤子。抹布一样的帽子。
4 crest raqyA     
n.顶点;饰章;羽冠;vt.达到顶点;vi.形成浪尖
参考例句:
  • The rooster bristled his crest.公鸡竖起了鸡冠。
  • He reached the crest of the hill before dawn.他于黎明前到达山顶。
5 hummock XdCzX     
n.小丘
参考例句:
  • He crawled up a small hummock and surveyed the prospect.他慢腾腾地登上一个小丘,看了看周围的地形。
  • The two young men advanced cautiously towards the hummock.两个年轻人小心翼翼地向小丘前进。
6 subsided 1bda21cef31764468020a8c83598cc0d     
v.(土地)下陷(因在地下采矿)( subside的过去式和过去分词 );减弱;下降至较低或正常水平;一下子坐在椅子等上
参考例句:
  • After the heavy rains part of the road subsided. 大雨过后,部分公路塌陷了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • By evening the storm had subsided and all was quiet again. 傍晚, 暴风雨已经过去,四周开始沉寂下来。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
7 flakes d80cf306deb4a89b84c9efdce8809c78     
小薄片( flake的名词复数 ); (尤指)碎片; 雪花; 古怪的人
参考例句:
  • It's snowing in great flakes. 天下着鹅毛大雪。
  • It is snowing in great flakes. 正值大雪纷飞。
8 snug 3TvzG     
adj.温暖舒适的,合身的,安全的;v.使整洁干净,舒适地依靠,紧贴;n.(英)酒吧里的私房
参考例句:
  • He showed us into a snug little sitting room.他领我们走进了一间温暖而舒适的小客厅。
  • She had a small but snug home.她有个小小的但很舒适的家。
9 rations c925feb39d4cfbdc2c877c3b6085488e     
定量( ration的名词复数 ); 配给量; 正常量; 合理的量
参考例句:
  • They are provisioned with seven days' rations. 他们得到了7天的给养。
  • The soldiers complained that they were getting short rations. 士兵们抱怨他们得到的配给不够数。
10 sledge AxVw9     
n.雪橇,大锤;v.用雪橇搬运,坐雪橇往
参考例句:
  • The sledge gained momentum as it ran down the hill.雪橇从山上下冲时的动力越来越大。
  • The sledge slid across the snow as lightly as a boat on the water.雪橇在雪原上轻巧地滑行,就象船在水上行驶一样。
11 mighty YDWxl     
adj.强有力的;巨大的
参考例句:
  • A mighty force was about to break loose.一股巨大的力量即将迸发而出。
  • The mighty iceberg came into view.巨大的冰山出现在眼前。
12 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。
13 budge eSRy5     
v.移动一点儿;改变立场
参考例句:
  • We tried to lift the rock but it wouldn't budge.我们试图把大石头抬起来,但它连动都没动一下。
  • She wouldn't budge on the issue.她在这个问题上不肯让步。
14 brace 0WzzE     
n. 支柱,曲柄,大括号; v. 绷紧,顶住,(为困难或坏事)做准备
参考例句:
  • 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。
15 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。
16 sifted 9e99ff7bb86944100bb6d7c842e48f39     
v.筛( sift的过去式和过去分词 );筛滤;细查;详审
参考例句:
  • She sifted through her papers to find the lost letter. 她仔细在文件中寻找那封丢失的信。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • She sifted thistles through her thistle-sifter. 她用蓟筛筛蓟。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 dense aONzX     
a.密集的,稠密的,浓密的;密度大的
参考例句:
  • The general ambushed his troops in the dense woods. 将军把部队埋伏在浓密的树林里。
  • The path was completely covered by the dense foliage. 小路被树叶厚厚地盖了一层。
18 conundrums a46e5f8b66d51238c7a4a31d910cc653     
n.谜,猜不透的难题,难答的问题( conundrum的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • After all the conundrums of Hungary, the second Turkish Grand Prix promises much. 继匈牙利站所有猜不透的事之后,第二届土耳其大奖赛许诺了太多。 来自互联网
  • I see conundrums, dilemmas, quandaries, impasses, gnarly thickets of fateful possibility with no obvious way out. 眼看问题经纬万端,进退两难、入困境,死路一条,盘根错节的命定可能性,但找不到明显的出路。 来自互联网
19 testament yyEzf     
n.遗嘱;证明
参考例句:
  • This is his last will and testament.这是他的遗愿和遗嘱。
  • It is a testament to the power of political mythology.这说明,编造政治神话可以产生多大的威力。
20 raven jAUz8     
n.渡鸟,乌鸦;adj.乌亮的
参考例句:
  • We know the raven will never leave the man's room.我们知道了乌鸦再也不会离开那个男人的房间。
  • Her charming face was framed with raven hair.她迷人的脸上垂落着乌亮的黑发。
21 wilderness SgrwS     
n.杳无人烟的一片陆地、水等,荒漠
参考例句:
  • She drove the herd of cattle through the wilderness.她赶着牛群穿过荒野。
  • Education in the wilderness is not a matter of monetary means.荒凉地区的教育不是钱财问题。
22 fable CzRyn     
n.寓言;童话;神话
参考例句:
  • The fable is given on the next page. 这篇寓言登在下一页上。
  • He had some motive in telling this fable. 他讲这寓言故事是有用意的。
23 killing kpBziQ     
n.巨额利润;突然赚大钱,发大财
参考例句:
  • 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。
24 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》
25 vowed 6996270667378281d2f9ee561353c089     
起誓,发誓(vow的过去式与过去分词形式)
参考例句:
  • He vowed quite solemnly that he would carry out his promise. 他非常庄严地发誓要实现他的诺言。
  • I vowed to do more of the cooking myself. 我发誓自己要多动手做饭。
26 cracker svCz5a     
n.(无甜味的)薄脆饼干
参考例句:
  • Buy me some peanuts and cracker.给我买一些花生和饼干。
  • There was a cracker beside every place at the table.桌上每个位置旁都有彩包爆竹。
27 crackers nvvz5e     
adj.精神错乱的,癫狂的n.爆竹( cracker的名词复数 );薄脆饼干;(认为)十分愉快的事;迷人的姑娘
参考例句:
  • That noise is driving me crackers. 那噪声闹得我简直要疯了。
  • We served some crackers and cheese as an appetiser. 我们上了些饼干和奶酪作为开胃品。 来自《简明英汉词典》
28 gnawed 85643b5b73cc74a08138f4534f41cef1     
咬( gnaw的过去式和过去分词 ); (长时间) 折磨某人; (使)苦恼; (长时间)危害某事物
参考例句:
  • His attitude towards her gnawed away at her confidence. 他对她的态度一直在削弱她的自尊心。
  • The root of this dead tree has been gnawed away by ants. 这棵死树根被蚂蚁唼了。
29 crunching crunching     
v.嘎吱嘎吱地咬嚼( crunch的现在分词 );嘎吱作响;(快速大量地)处理信息;数字捣弄
参考例句:
  • The horses were crunching their straw at their manger. 这些马在嘎吱嘎吱地吃槽里的草。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The dog was crunching a bone. 狗正嘎吱嘎吱地嚼骨头。 来自《简明英汉词典》
30 absurdity dIQyU     
n.荒谬,愚蠢;谬论
参考例句:
  • The proposal borders upon the absurdity.这提议近乎荒谬。
  • The absurdity of the situation made everyone laugh.情况的荒谬可笑使每个人都笑了。
31 hearty Od1zn     
adj.热情友好的;衷心的;尽情的,纵情的
参考例句:
  • After work they made a hearty meal in the worker's canteen.工作完了,他们在工人食堂饱餐了一顿。
  • We accorded him a hearty welcome.我们给他热忱的欢迎。


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