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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Ice Queen » Chapter XX. A NIGHT IN AN OPEN BOAT.
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 What should be done? Aleck was sure that their only chance for life lay in getting the boat afloat; but unless it could be brought nearer the edge this could not be done, and perhaps it was impossible, anyway. Yet to stay where they were meant destruction. Katy and Jim climbed into the boat, and crouched1 down out of the snow, while the larger lads stood outside trying to find some way out of their desperate situation. They must think fast; minutes were precious; but, cudgel their brains as they might, only darkness, a howling snow-squall, and crashing blocks of ice greeted their eyes or thoughts. One minute passed, two minutes passed, yet they could see no way to help themselves. The third minute was slipping by, when a huge ice-cake crowded its resistless way underneath2 the rear edge of their own raft, towards which the stern of the boat was pointing, and slowly lifted it above the level of the water.
At once the sledge3 began to feel this inclination4, and started to move forward.
"Jump in!" shouted Aleck, and leaped aboard, with Tug6 beside him. "Try to steady her!" they heard him cry, and each seized an oar5, or a boat-hook, or whatever was nearest. But it was of little use. Slowly but gently the hinder part of the ice-cake rose, and the front part tipped down. As the slant7 deepened, the speed of the sliding boat increased, until it went with a rush, and struck the water with a plunging8 splash that would surely have swamped them had it not been for the tight half-deck forward; this shed the water, and caused the little craft to rise upon an even keel as soon as she had fairly left the surface of the ice. It was evident in an instant, however, that she would sink in a very short time unless freed of the great sledge that was dragging upon her bottom. Already the water was pouring over her sides, and Aleck knew that they were in imminent9 danger of sinking or capsizing, or both. Tug had leaped in forward, and to him Aleck shouted, "Cut those bands!"
"Haven't any knife."
"Here's the hatchet10. Hurry up!"
One stroke of Tug's arm parted one of the bands, and he raised his hatchet for the second one, for there were two straps12 forward. As it descended13, Aleck drew his pocket-knife across the strained band astern, which parted with a loud ripping noise. The idea was that both straps should be severed14 at the same instant; but in the darkness Tug partly missed his aim, and the poor boat, held to the sledge by a single strap11, began to yaw and jerk and ship water in a most alarming manner—a strain she could not have borne one moment had not the half-cut band of canvas broken, setting the boat free. Aleck had intended to hold to the strap and take the sledge aboard; but this struggle, which came so near wrecking15 them all, wrenched16 it out of his hand, and the first wave washed the bobs beyond recovery—a loss whose full force did not strike them at once, for they had too much else to think of.
The weight and awkwardness of the sledge having been taken away, the boat rode much more lightly in the face of the ice-clogged sea, and showed how stanch17 and trim she really was, though much cold water splashed over her rails.
"Now," said Aleck, cheerfully, though it was fortunate the darkness could conceal19 how anxious was the expression of his face, "now we shall get along. Jim, get out your oars20 (the stroke); and look out for floating ice forward, Tug. Katy, my little steersman, are you very, very cold?"
"N-n-n-o!" the girl answered, bravely, but her teeth chattered22 dreadfully.
"Better say you are, for you can't hide it, poor child. Wait a minute till I get this strap off my roll of bedding, and I will wrap a blanket around you."
Doubling a large blanket, he put it carefully over her head and shoulders like an immense hood23. Then he buckled24 around her the strap which had held the roll together, leaving only a fold out of which she might grasp the tiller, and another crevice25 through which to peep and breathe.
"We've got to have that lantern lit, because you must see the compass."
Taking some matches from his pocket, he knelt down, placed the lantern under the skirt of Katy's blanket robe, crouched over it as close as he could, and struck a match. It went out. A second fizzed a while, which only warmed the wicking, but at the third the oil in the wick took fire, and the lantern was soon shining gayly into the bright face of the compass at Katy's feet.
"Now, Youngster, for the oars. Lie low, and let me crawl over you to my seat."
Aleck got there and was ready, but Jim was still fumbling26 about on each side, and feeling under the thwart27.
"What's the matter? Why don't you go to work?"
"Can't find but one oar."
"Only one oar? Sure?"
Then the two searched, but to no purpose. It had been dropped overboard, evidently, during the excitement about losing the sledge.
"Well, Jim, it's your fault, but it can't be helped now. You take this quilt, and cuddle down as close to Katy as you can get, and try to keep each other warm. I'll row alone. Ready, forward?"
"Ay, ay, sir."
Then they began to move ahead through the water, which came in long rollers, not in breaking waves, because there was so much ice around them that the wind could not get hold of it. It was very cold. Occasionally Tug would fend28 away a cake of ice, or they would stop and steer21 clear of a big piece; but pretty soon he called out in a shaky voice that he was too stiff to stand there any longer, where the spray was blowing over him, and that he should be good for nothing in a few minutes unless he could row awhile to get warm. So Aleck took his place, fixing the spare canvas into a kind of shield to keep off the spattering drops. It was very forlorn and miserable29, and to say that all wished themselves back on shore would be but the faintest expression of their distress30.
Little was said. Pushing their way slowly through the cakes of ice, which had grown denser31 now; changing every little while from oars to boat-hook and back again, while Katy, protected from freezing by her double blanket and Jim's close hugging, kept the yawl's head due north; fighting fatigue32, hunger, cold, and a great desire to sleep, these brave boys worked hour after hour for their lives and the lives in their care.
When they were beginning to think it almost morning they came squarely against a field of ice which stretched right and left into the darkness farther than it was possible to see. Whether this was the edge of a stationary33 field or only a large raft they couldn't tell; but they were too exhausted34 to go farther, and they decided35 to tie up and wait for daylight. Tug struck his hook into the ice until it held firmly, then lashed18 it to the bow. Aleck also stepped out and drove one of the short railway spikes36 into the ice near the stern, around which a rope was hitched37. Then both the boys opened a second roll of bedding, and snuggled down as well as they could to get what rest they were able to while waiting for sunrise. Crowded together in the straw (though it was damp with snow), and covered with quilts and blankets, they could keep tolerably warm, and even caught little naps. The snow had stopped now, and the stars began to appear, first in the north, then overhead, then gradually everywhere. The wind still blew, but the boat rose and fell more and more slowly upon the rollers, until at last it stood perfectly38 still. This happened so suddenly, and was followed by so complete steadiness, that it aroused Tug's curiosity. Poking39 his head from under the covering, he said, "I think we are frozen in." Nobody answered him, for they were asleep, or too stupid to care; but the gray daylight which came at last showed that he was right. On their right hand was a great sheet of new, thin ice; on their left a mass of thick old ice, white with snow. Straight ahead, so well had Katy steered40, towered the rocks and trees of a high, wooded shore, coming momently into greater and greater distinctness as the red streamers of the morning shot higher and higher into the eastern sky.
Tug was the first to catch this sight, and roused his fellows with a shout:
"Land!—land! Hurrah41!"


1 crouched 62634c7e8c15b8a61068e36aaed563ab     
v.屈膝,蹲伏( crouch的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He crouched down beside her. 他在她的旁边蹲了下来。
  • The lion crouched ready to pounce. 狮子蹲下身,准备猛扑。
2 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。
3 sledge AxVw9     
  • 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。
4 inclination Gkwyj     
  • She greeted us with a slight inclination of the head.她微微点头向我们致意。
  • I did not feel the slightest inclination to hurry.我没有丝毫着急的意思。
5 oar EH0xQ     
  • The sailors oar slowly across the river.水手们慢慢地划过河去。
  • The blade of the oar was bitten off by a shark.浆叶被一条鲨鱼咬掉了。
6 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。
7 slant TEYzF     
  • The lines are drawn on a slant.这些线条被画成斜线。
  • The editorial had an antiunion slant.这篇社论有一种反工会的倾向。
8 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》
9 imminent zc9z2     
  • The black clounds show that a storm is imminent.乌云预示暴风雨即将来临。
  • The country is in imminent danger.国难当头。
10 hatchet Dd0zr     
  • I shall have to take a hatchet to that stump.我得用一把短柄斧来劈这树桩。
  • Do not remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet.别用斧头拍打朋友额头上的苍蝇。
11 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。
12 straps 1412cf4c15adaea5261be8ae3e7edf8e     
n.带子( strap的名词复数 );挎带;肩带;背带v.用皮带捆扎( strap的第三人称单数 );用皮带抽打;包扎;给…打绷带
  • the shoulder straps of her dress 她连衣裙上的肩带
  • The straps can be adjusted to suit the wearer. 这些背带可进行调整以适合使用者。
13 descended guQzoy     
  • A mood of melancholy descended on us. 一种悲伤的情绪袭上我们的心头。
  • The path descended the hill in a series of zigzags. 小路呈连续的之字形顺着山坡蜿蜒而下。
14 severed 832a75b146a8d9eacac9030fd16c0222     
v.切断,断绝( sever的过去式和过去分词 );断,裂
  • The doctor said I'd severed a vessel in my leg. 医生说我割断了腿上的一根血管。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • We have severed diplomatic relations with that country. 我们与那个国家断绝了外交关系。 来自《简明英汉词典》
15 wrecking 569d12118e0563e68cd62a97c094afbd     
  • He teed off on his son for wrecking the car. 他严厉训斥他儿子毁坏了汽车。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Instead of wrecking the valley, the waters are put to use making electricity. 现在河水不但不在流域内肆疟,反而被人们用来生产电力。 来自辞典例句
16 wrenched c171af0af094a9c29fad8d3390564401     
v.(猛力地)扭( wrench的过去式和过去分词 );扭伤;使感到痛苦;使悲痛
  • The bag was wrenched from her grasp. 那只包从她紧握的手里被夺了出来。
  • He wrenched the book from her hands. 他从她的手中把书拧抢了过来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 stanch SrUyJ     
  • Cuttlebone can be used as a medicine to stanch bleeding.海螵蛸可以入药,用来止血。
  • I thought it my duty to help stanch these leaks.我认为帮助堵塞漏洞是我的职责。
18 lashed 4385e23a53a7428fb973b929eed1bce6     
adj.具睫毛的v.鞭打( lash的过去式和过去分词 );煽动;紧系;怒斥
  • The rain lashed at the windows. 雨点猛烈地打在窗户上。
  • The cleverly designed speech lashed the audience into a frenzy. 这篇精心设计的演说煽动听众使他们发狂。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 conceal DpYzt     
  • He had to conceal his identity to escape the police.为了躲避警方,他只好隐瞒身份。
  • He could hardly conceal his joy at his departure.他几乎掩饰不住临行时的喜悦。
20 oars c589a112a1b341db7277ea65b5ec7bf7     
n.桨,橹( oar的名词复数 );划手v.划(行)( oar的第三人称单数 )
  • He pulled as hard as he could on the oars. 他拼命地划桨。
  • The sailors are bending to the oars. 水手们在拼命地划桨。 来自《简明英汉词典》
21 steer 5u5w3     
  • If you push the car, I'll steer it.如果你来推车,我就来驾车。
  • It's no use trying to steer the boy into a course of action that suits you.想说服这孩子按你的方式行事是徒劳的。
22 chattered 0230d885b9f6d176177681b6eaf4b86f     
(人)喋喋不休( chatter的过去式 ); 唠叨; (牙齿)打战; (机器)震颤
  • They chattered away happily for a while. 他们高兴地闲扯了一会儿。
  • We chattered like two teenagers. 我们聊着天,像两个十多岁的孩子。
23 hood ddwzJ     
  • She is wearing a red cloak with a hood.她穿着一件红色带兜帽的披风。
  • The car hood was dented in.汽车的发动机罩已凹了进去。
24 buckled qxfz0h     
a. 有带扣的
  • She buckled her belt. 她扣上了腰带。
  • The accident buckled the wheel of my bicycle. 我自行车的轮子在事故中弄弯了。
25 crevice pokzO     
  • I saw a plant growing out of a crevice in the wall.我看到墙缝里长出一棵草来。
  • He edged the tool into the crevice.他把刀具插进裂缝里。
26 fumbling fumbling     
n. 摸索,漏接 v. 摸索,摸弄,笨拙的处理
  • If he actually managed to the ball instead of fumbling it with an off-balance shot. 如果他实际上设法拿好球而不是fumbling它。50-balance射击笨拙地和迅速地会开始他的岗位移动,经常这样结束。
  • If he actually managed to secure the ball instead of fumbling it awkwardly an off-balance shot. 如果他实际上设法拿好球而不是fumbling它。50-50提议有时。他从off-balance射击笨拙地和迅速地会开始他的岗位移动,经常这样结束。
27 thwart wIRzZ     
  • We must thwart his malevolent schemes.我们决不能让他的恶毒阴谋得逞。
  • I don't think that will thwart our purposes.我认为那不会使我们的目的受到挫折。
28 fend N78yA     
  • I've had to fend for myself since I was 14.我从十四岁时起就不得不照料自己。
  • He raised his arm up to fend branches from his eyes.他举手将树枝从他眼前挡开。
29 miserable g18yk     
  • It was miserable of you to make fun of him.你取笑他,这是可耻的。
  • Her past life was miserable.她过去的生活很苦。
30 distress 3llzX     
  • Nothing could alleviate his distress.什么都不能减轻他的痛苦。
  • Please don't distress yourself.请你不要忧愁了。
31 denser denser     
adj. 不易看透的, 密集的, 浓厚的, 愚钝的
  • The denser population necessitates closer consolidation both for internal and external action. 住得日益稠密的居民,对内和对外都不得不更紧密地团结起来。 来自英汉非文学 - 家庭、私有制和国家的起源
  • As Tito entered the neighbourhood of San Martino, he found the throng rather denser. 蒂托走近圣马丁教堂附近一带时,发现人群相当密集。
32 fatigue PhVzV     
  • The old lady can't bear the fatigue of a long journey.这位老妇人不能忍受长途旅行的疲劳。
  • I have got over my weakness and fatigue.我已从虚弱和疲劳中恢复过来了。
33 stationary CuAwc     
  • A stationary object is easy to be aimed at.一个静止不动的物体是容易瞄准的。
  • Wait until the bus is stationary before you get off.你要等公共汽车停稳了再下车。
34 exhausted 7taz4r     
  • It was a long haul home and we arrived exhausted.搬运回家的这段路程特别长,到家时我们已筋疲力尽。
  • Jenny was exhausted by the hustle of city life.珍妮被城市生活的忙乱弄得筋疲力尽。
35 decided lvqzZd     
  • 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。
36 spikes jhXzrc     
n.穗( spike的名词复数 );跑鞋;(防滑)鞋钉;尖状物v.加烈酒于( spike的第三人称单数 );偷偷地给某人的饮料加入(更多)酒精( 或药物);把尖状物钉入;打乱某人的计划
  • a row of iron spikes on a wall 墙头的一排尖铁
  • There is a row of spikes on top of the prison wall to prevent the prisoners escaping. 监狱墙头装有一排尖钉,以防犯人逃跑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
37 hitched fc65ed4d8ef2e272cfe190bf8919d2d2     
(免费)搭乘他人之车( hitch的过去式和过去分词 ); 搭便车; 攀上; 跃上
  • They hitched a ride in a truck. 他们搭乘了一辆路过的货车。
  • We hitched a ride in a truck yesterday. 我们昨天顺便搭乘了一辆卡车。
38 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。
39 poking poking     
n. 刺,戳,袋 vt. 拨开,刺,戳 vi. 戳,刺,捅,搜索,伸出,行动散慢
  • He was poking at the rubbish with his stick. 他正用手杖拨动垃圾。
  • He spent his weekends poking around dusty old bookshops. 他周末都泡在布满尘埃的旧书店里。
40 steered dee52ce2903883456c9b7a7f258660e5     
v.驾驶( steer的过去式和过去分词 );操纵;控制;引导
  • He steered the boat into the harbour. 他把船开进港。
  • The freighter steered out of Santiago Bay that evening. 那天晚上货轮驶出了圣地亚哥湾。 来自《简明英汉词典》
41 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。


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