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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Ice Queen » Chapter XIII. SAVED FROM STARVATION.
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 When they arose next morning the air was much lighter1, for it was no longer snowing. Breaking their way out after breakfast, Aleck and Tug2 climbed to the crest3 of the hummock4 above the house, where pretty soon they were joined by Katy and Jim, anxious to get a look abroad. There was not much satisfaction in this, though. On all sides stretched an unbroken area of white—a spotless expanse of new snow such as you never can see on land, for there was nothing to break the colorless monotony, except where the hummock stretched away right and left, half buried, and as white as the rest, save at a few points where crests5 of upturned ice-blocks stood above the drifts.
"There is a higher point a little way over there," said Aleck to Tug; "let's go across, and see if it will show us anything new."
"Mayn't we come?" asked Jim.
"No, Youngster, stay with Katy. It would be a useless journey for you, and we'll soon be back."
And off they went, floundering up to their waists much of the time.
"Jim," says Katy, "I see, just beyond the hut"—pointing in the direction opposite to that in which the lads had gone—"a space under the edge of the hummock where the ice seems pretty clear. Understand? And look! don't you see that long, dark line there? I wonder what it can be? Let us go and find out. We can get along easily enough after a few steps."
Jim strode ahead, and stamped down a path for Katy through the snow that lay between their house and the clear space of ice that had been swept by the eddy6 under the hummock, until, a moment later, they were both running along upon a clean floor towards the object they had seen. Now they could make it out clearly; and at the first discovery Jim tossed his cap high in the air and gave a hurrah7, in which the girl joined, wishing she too had a cap to throw up. What do you suppose it was that had so excited and gladdened them? Can't you guess?
A log of wood frozen into the ice!
"Now we can have all the fire we want."
"And I can keep the coffee hot for the second cup."
Then they looked at one another, and laughed and clapped their hands again. Were two children ever before made so happy by the simple finding of a log?
Just then they heard Aleck's voice:
"Hallo-o-o! Where are you?"
Jim jumped up, and was about to shout back, but his sister threw her hand over his mouth.
"Stop, Jimkin! Let them look for us, and have the fun of being surprised by our great discovery."
So both kept quiet, and let the boys shout. By and by they saw their heads bobbing over the drift, and presently Tug came running towards them, with Aleck close behind.
"Why didn't you answer? Didn't you hear us? Hello! Whoop—la! Wood, or I'm a Dutchman!" and all echoed his wild shout, and tried to imitate his dance, until the joy was bumped out of them by sudden falls on the slippery ice.
It was a tree trunk of oak, that had been floating about, frozen into the ice, above the surface of which fully8 half of it was to be seen. The stubs of the roots were towards them, while the upper end of the tree, which had been a large one, was lost in a drift more than forty feet distant.
"There is enough good wood here," said Aleck, "to keep us warm for two months, if we don't waste it; and we ought to be very thankful."
"Then let's have a fire right away!" Jim exclaimed.
"All right, Youngster," was the Captain's response. "Fetch the axe9, and we'll soon light up."
When Jim had disappeared, Katy asked her brother what he had seen.
"Nothing," was the reply. "And it would just be impossible to move half a mile a day in this snow. It's one of the deepest falls I ever saw. We've got to stay here, for all I see, till it melts, or crusts over, or blows away, or something else happens."
"Well, we have plenty of fuel now."
"Yes, but we can't live on oak—though we might on acorns10. But here comes Jimkin. Let's say no more about it now, Katy."
As the chips flew under Tug's blows, Katy gathered an armful, and hastened back to kindle11 a fire, while Jim and Aleck busied themselves in clearing a good path, and in hauling the hand-sled from under the boat, where it had been jammed into the drift out of the way. By the time it was ready Tug had chopped a sled-load of wood, and they hauled it to the house. It had been very awkward climbing over their wall of boxes, but they had been afraid to move any part of it, for fear of throwing down the snow which had banked it up and made the place so tight and warm. However, there was one box which must shortly be opened in order to get at more provisions; so it was carefully moved, and the wood piled in its place, leaving a low archway underneath12, through which they could crawl on their hands and knees.
"That's just like an igloo," said Katy.
"What's an 'igloo'?"
"An Eskimo house made of frozen snow, in the shape of a dome13, and entered by a low door, just like this one. By the way, are you getting hungry?"
"Yes; bring us something to eat."
They went back to their chopping. Pretty soon Katy came running out, bringing some crackers14, a little hard cheese, and the last small jar of jelly—"just for a taste," she explained. Then she broke out with her story:
"Oh, boys, there's a whole lot of little birds—white and brown—around the house. They seem to like to get near the smoke. I'm going to throw out some crumbs15."
"Yes, do," said Tug, eagerly, "and I'll get my gun."
"What? to shoot them! Oh, no."
"But they will make good eating."
"Ye-e-s, I suppose so," agreed the kind-hearted girl; "but I hate to have them shot."
"It's hard, I know," Aleck said, sympathizing more with his sister than with the birds, I fear; "but we need everything we can get. It may be a great piece of good-fortune that they have come, and—Hold up, Tug; aren't you afraid if you shoot at them they will be scared away for good?"
"No fear of that," was the answer; "and we have no other way. Come along, Katy, and keep Rex quiet."
Luncheon16 was stuffed in their pockets, and all hastened towards the house.
There they still were—several flocks of birds resembling sparrows, but larger than any common sparrow, and white; so white, in fact, that they could only be seen at all against the snow by glimpses of a few brown and black feathers on their backs. In each flock, however, there were one or two of a different sort, easily distinguishable by their darker plumage and rusty17 brown heads. Tug said they were Lapland longspurs, and had pretty much the same habits as their numerous associates. The whole flock of birds was very restless, constantly rising and settling, but showed no disposition18 to go away, and took little alarm at the four figures that stealthily approached.
"What are they?" whispered Aleck to Tug.
"White snow-flakes, or snow-buntings," he whispered back. "Mighty19 good eating."
Creeping quietly into the house, Tug took his shot-gun out of the boat and hastily loaded it, but with great care to see that the priming was well up in the nipple and a good cap on. Then he slung20 over his shoulders his shot-pouch and powder-horn—a short, black, well-polished horn of buffalo21, of which he was very proud, for it had been a curiosity in Monore—and begged them all to stay in the house and let him alone, unless he called to them, and, above all, to keep the dog inside.
This said, he crawled forward out of the low doorway22, holding his gun well in front of him, and the other three sat down to wait for the result.
Scarcely a minute had passed before a sharp report was heard, and a little thud upon the canvas roof. At this sound Rex leaped up, and was greatly excited. His ears were raised, his eyes flashed, and he gave several short, quick barks. But Aleck had twisted his fingers in the dog's mane, and forced him to drop down and keep quiet.
Very soon afterwards there rang out a second report, and again, after time enough to reload, a third. Then the sportsman's voice was heard calling, and all ran out to see how many he had bagged.


1 lighter 5pPzPR     
  • The portrait was touched up so as to make it lighter.这张画经过润色,色调明朗了一些。
  • The lighter works off the car battery.引燃器利用汽车蓄电池打火。
2 tug 5KBzo     
  • 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。
3 crest raqyA     
  • 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。
4 hummock XdCzX     
  • 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。
5 crests 9ef5f38e01ed60489f228ef56d77c5c8     
v.到达山顶(或浪峰)( crest的第三人称单数 );到达洪峰,达到顶点
  • The surfers were riding in towards the beach on the crests of the waves. 冲浪者们顺着浪头冲向岸边。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The correspondent aroused, heard the crash of the toppled crests. 记者醒了,他听见了浪头倒塌下来的轰隆轰隆声。 来自辞典例句
6 eddy 6kxzZ     
  • 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 hurrah Zcszx     
  • We hurrah when we see the soldiers go by.我们看到士兵经过时向他们欢呼。
  • The assistants raised a formidable hurrah.助手们发出了一片震天的欢呼声。
8 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
9 axe 2oVyI     
  • Be careful with that sharp axe.那把斧子很锋利,你要当心。
  • The edge of this axe has turned.这把斧子卷了刃了。
10 acorns acorns     
n.橡子,栎实( acorn的名词复数 )
  • Great oaks from little acorns grow. 万丈高楼平地起。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Welcome to my new website!It may not look much at the moment, but great oaks from little acorns grow! 欢迎来到我的新网站。它现在可能微不足道,不过万丈高楼平地起嘛。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 kindle n2Gxu     
  • This wood is too wet to kindle.这木柴太湿点不着。
  • A small spark was enough to kindle Lily's imagination.一星光花足以点燃莉丽的全部想象力。
12 underneath VKRz2     
  • Working underneath the car is always a messy job.在汽车底下工作是件脏活。
  • She wore a coat with a dress underneath.她穿着一件大衣,里面套着一条连衣裙。
13 dome 7s2xC     
  • The dome was supported by white marble columns.圆顶由白色大理石柱支撑着。
  • They formed the dome with the tree's branches.他们用树枝搭成圆屋顶。
14 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
  • 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》
15 crumbs crumbs     
int. (表示惊讶)哎呀 n. 碎屑 名词crumb的复数形式
  • She stood up and brushed the crumbs from her sweater. 她站起身掸掉了毛衣上的面包屑。
  • Oh crumbs! Is that the time? 啊,天哪!都这会儿啦?
16 luncheon V8az4     
  • We have luncheon at twelve o'clock.我们十二点钟用午餐。
  • I have a luncheon engagement.我午饭有约。
17 rusty hYlxq     
  • The lock on the door is rusty and won't open.门上的锁锈住了。
  • I haven't practiced my French for months and it's getting rusty.几个月不用,我的法语又荒疏了。
18 disposition GljzO     
  • He has made a good disposition of his property.他已对财产作了妥善处理。
  • He has a cheerful disposition.他性情开朗。
19 mighty YDWxl     
  • 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。
20 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。
21 buffalo 1Sby4     
  • Asian buffalo isn't as wild as that of America's. 亚洲水牛比美洲水牛温顺些。
  • The boots are made of buffalo hide. 这双靴子是由水牛皮制成的。
22 doorway 2s0xK     
  • They huddled in the shop doorway to shelter from the rain.他们挤在商店门口躲雨。
  • Mary suddenly appeared in the doorway.玛丽突然出现在门口。


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