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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Ice Queen » Chapter XXIII. EXPLORING THE ISLAND.
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 When all the property of our shipwrecked crew had been brought ashore1 it made a very small heap, and the biggest part of that seemed to be the bedding. Everybody noticed this, and it added a new gloom to the feeling of discouragement caused by their weariness, by Katy's fright, and, most of all, by the hunger of which their slight breakfast had only taken away the edge.
"Before we do anything else at all," said Captain Aleck, "we must have something more to eat. Do you feel strong enough to help us, Katy?"
"Oh, yes, indeed. I've got quite rid of my foolish weakness."
"That's good. Let us know if we can help you."
Nobody felt in the mood for talking, and Jim really took a nap between the rock and the fire. Though the air was still cold, the sunshine was bright, and under the lee of the little cliff it was very comfortable; but poor Katy had hard work to keep her fingers from almost freezing. What she made was chocolate, fried bacon, and "griddle" cakes, the last cooked in the skillet, and consuming every bit of buckwheat flour and a good share of the sugar. When the meal had been eaten to the last scrap2, and everybody had grown wide awake and cheerful, Aleck rapped on a box, and made a speech:
"Attention, ladies and gentlemen! Though none of us have said much about it, you all know well enough that we're in a regular scrape, and the sooner we discover how we're to get out of it the better. Now, I am going to propose a plan, and if any of you don't like it you can say so."
"We'll do whatever you say," exclaimed Tug3.
"But I don't want to say till we've talked it over. I rather think we're on a small island a good many miles from land. I judge so from what I know of the chart of the lake, and what I can guess of where we drifted on that ice-floe. If so, I do not think anybody lives here, or ever comes here in winter."
"Regular desert island!" Jim was heard to mutter, in a tone that showed his mind busy with the romantic memory of Robinson Crusoe.
"The first thing to do is to find out whether this is so or not. Now I propose that Jim and Katy should stay here—"
"Oh, no, no," Katy interrupted, in an eager appeal. "Those dreadful dogs might come back, and Jimmy is so little! I want you to stay with me, or else let me go with you."
"That's rather rough on the boy," Aleck laughed. "However, I suppose it won't matter. Well, then, Tug, I think you and Jim had better go back in the country, and see what you can find, while I stay and watch over the goods and the sister. What do you say?"
"Good plan," Tug replied. "I'm ready. Are you, Youngster?"
"Yes, siree! But you'll let us take the gun, won't you, Aleck?"
"Oh, yes, you can have the gun. If the dogs, or wolves, or whatever they are, come at us while you're gone, Katy can fight them with firebrands, and I—"
"Oh, you can climb a tree!" said his sister, merrily.
"Yes, I can climb a tree."
While Tug and Jim were gone, Aleck and Katy busied themselves in repacking their goods in snug4 bundles, and in talking over their strange adventures. They were too anxious to feel very gay, but thought it foolish to give way to fretting5 until they had lost all hope. Two hours or more elapsed, and the sun had climbed to "high noon" in the sky, before the explorers came back, bringing solemn faces.
"Island!" both called out as soon as they came near; "and a small one at that."
"Any people on it?" asked Katy.
"Not a soul that I could see," Tug said. "I allow they come here in summer, though, for the trees have been cut down, and there's a rough little shanty6 on the other side."
"Could we live in it?"
"Didn't go inside; don't know. It's half full of snow. Better than no shelter at all, I suppose. It ain't far off. Suppose you all go over there and look at it—Jim can show you where it is—while I guard the grub against those pesky dogs. I don't wonder the brutes7 are savage8, for I don't see how they could get anything to eat here."
When the three had left the rocks at the beach, under Jim's guidance, they found themselves in a brushy wood consisting largely of hemlocks9 and pines, often closely matted together. A few minutes' walking carried them through this and up to a ridge10 of jagged limestone11 rocks, one point of which, a little distance off, stood up like a big monument. This ridge ran about east and west, and they had come up its southern side. Its northern face was very snowy, had few trees, and sloped down an eighth of a mile to the water.
At one place on this northern beach several great rocks rose from the water's edge, and among them stood a small grove12 of hemlocks and other trees. In that thicket13, Jimmy told them, the old shanty was placed. They thought it must be very small, or else well stowed away, for they could see nothing of it. To get down to it was no easy task, for the crevices14 and holes in the rocky hillside had drifted full of snow, and they were continually sinking in where they had expected to stand firm, or finding a solid rock ahead when they tried to flounder out. It was a chilled and ill-tempered trio that finally reached the beach, and sought the shelter of the thicket.
Now it became easier to understand why the hut had been invisible from above, for it was only a shanty propped15 up between two great rocks that helped to form its walls and support its roof. From the broken oars16 and many fragments of nets, the old corks17 and other rubbish lying about, they saw at once that it had been built by fishermen, who probably came there to spend the night now and then, or, perhaps, stayed a week or so at a time in the summer.
The door stood half open, and a snowdrift lay heaped upon the threshold. Edging their way in, they found that the roof and walls were tight, the little window unbroken, and several rough articles of furniture lying about. An old, rusty18 stove, one corner propped up on stones, and the pipe tumbled down, stood against the chimney of mud and sticks that was built up against one of the rocky walls.
"This is splendid!" Katy cried. "Just look at that dear old stove!"
"Yes, sis; I think we must move over here. But are you sure, Jim—how did you find out?—that this is an island, and not the mainland?"
"From the top of that high point of rocks you can see the whole of it. I don't believe it is more than a mile up to the farther end, and not half that down to the other. The island is shaped something like a dumb-bell, only one end is a good deal bigger than the other. We are on the little end here."
"Well, Youngster, you're quite a geographer19; but we can't stop to talk about it now. Let's go back as quickly as we can, and bring part of our goods over this afternoon; don't you think that's best?"
"Oh, yes." And twenty minutes later, rosy20 and panting, Katy astonished the sleepy Tug by rushing into camp, followed closely, not by wild beasts, as he thought would be the case, but by both the brothers she had outsped.
"It's so good!" she exclaimed, catching21 her breath, "to feel something besides slippery ice under your feet! Now, what shall we take first?"
By hard work and little resting the coming of twilight22 found them established in their new home. The last journey had been made after the bedding, by Tug and Aleck, while Jim and Katy cleared the snow all away from the cabin door and off the bending roof, straightened up the rickety old stove, and set a fire going. By the time the larger boys came back, raising a whoop23 far up the hillside as they saw the smoke curling up between the hemlocks, the old hut was warm, and the tin cover of the little iron pot was dancing, in its effort to hold back the escaping steam.
"Ugh!" said Tug, as he pushed the door open and threw down his bundle of blankets; "I'm as hungry as a wolf!"
"If you think you can wait fifteen minutes, Mr. Montgomery, you'll have a bee-yutiful supper. Can you do it?"
"I 'low I can. I ain't a epi—epi—What d'ye call it?"
"That's the chap. I read the other day that the Tartars say he digs his grave with his teeth. I don't want a grave as bad as that yet."
"I suppose that means that a man who lives on too rich food will die by it."
"Yes, I reckon so. But I 'low there's no danger in our case; eh, Aleck? Do you think dried beef and snow-birds too rich for your delicate stomach, my boy?"
That night all bunked25 down on the floor, for they were too weary to care much for anything but a chance to sleep, and the sun was high before any of them found out, in their shady house, that it was morning. When breakfast was ready, and they had all sat down at the rough shelf-table which the fishermen had fastened at one side of the cabin, Aleck called "Attention!" and said that it was time they were looking the situation squarely in the face.
"It's all very funny," he said, "to think ourselves Crusoes, and feel that we are all right because we have a roof over us and a stove to keep warm by. But Crusoe didn't need a roof nor a stove, for he was in a warm climate; and he had goats and birds, and shell-fish along the rocks, and cocoanuts, and lots of other things. Crusoe was a king in his palace beside us."
The circle of faces grew rather grave.
"Here we are, in midwinter, on an island in a fresh-water lake—and not even water, but solid ice—where there are no oysters26 nor clams27, no fruit-trees, and no animals—"
"Except those dogs," Jim interrupted.
"Even they seem to have disappeared," Aleck went on; "and they are starved almost to skin and bone. If a pack of dogs can't get anything to eat, what are we four going to do? I tell you, it's a serious case."
"Well," Tug rejoined, stoutly28, "I, for one, don't give in yet. Look what we did out on the ice! We can fish, and trap snow-birds—I saw a flock last evening; and maybe we can find some mussels near the beach, and so stick it out till the ice breaks up and the birds begin to come in the spring."
"Tug, you're a brick, and I was wrong to feel so lowspirited," said Aleck, heartily29. "I think you're a better fellow to be captain here than I am. I resign."
"Not by a long chalk!" exclaimed Tug. "Here, I'll put it to vote. Whoever wants Aleck to go out, and me to take my innings as captain, hold up his hand."


1 ashore tNQyT     
  • 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。
2 scrap JDFzf     
  • A man comes round regularly collecting scrap.有个男人定时来收废品。
  • Sell that car for scrap.把那辆汽车当残品卖了吧。
3 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。
4 snug 3TvzG     
  • 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。
5 fretting fretting     
n. 微振磨损 adj. 烦躁的, 焦虑的
  • Fretting about it won't help. 苦恼于事无补。
  • The old lady is always fretting over something unimportant. 那位老妇人总是为一些小事焦虑不安。
6 shanty BEJzn     
  • His childhood was spent in a shanty.他的童年是在一个简陋小屋里度过的。
  • I want to quit this shanty.我想离开这烂房子。
7 brutes 580ab57d96366c5593ed705424e15ffa     
兽( brute的名词复数 ); 畜生; 残酷无情的人; 兽性
  • They're not like dogs; they're hideous brutes. 它们不像狗,是丑陋的畜牲。
  • Suddenly the foul musty odour of the brutes struck his nostrils. 突然,他的鼻尖闻到了老鼠的霉臭味。 来自英汉文学
8 savage ECxzR     
  • The poor man received a savage beating from the thugs.那可怜的人遭到暴徒的痛打。
  • He has a savage temper.他脾气粗暴。
9 hemlocks 3591f4f0f92457ee865b95a78b3e9127     
由毒芹提取的毒药( hemlock的名词复数 )
10 ridge KDvyh     
  • We clambered up the hillside to the ridge above.我们沿着山坡费力地爬上了山脊。
  • The infantry were advancing to attack the ridge.步兵部队正在向前挺进攻打山脊。
11 limestone w3XyJ     
  • Limestone is often used in building construction.石灰岩常用于建筑。
  • Cement is made from limestone.水泥是由石灰石制成的。
12 grove v5wyy     
  • On top of the hill was a grove of tall trees.山顶上一片高大的树林。
  • The scent of lemons filled the grove.柠檬香味充满了小树林。
13 thicket So0wm     
  • A thicket makes good cover for animals to hide in.丛林是动物的良好隐蔽处。
  • We were now at the margin of the thicket.我们现在已经来到了丛林的边缘。
14 crevices 268603b2b5d88d8a9cc5258e16a1c2f8     
n.(尤指岩石的)裂缝,缺口( crevice的名词复数 )
  • It has bedded into the deepest crevices of the store. 它已钻进了店里最隐避的隙缝。 来自辞典例句
  • The wind whistled through the crevices in the rock. 风呼啸着吹过岩石的缝隙。 来自辞典例句
15 propped 557c00b5b2517b407d1d2ef6ba321b0e     
支撑,支持,维持( prop的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He sat propped up in the bed by pillows. 他靠着枕头坐在床上。
  • This fence should be propped up. 这栅栏该用东西支一支。
16 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》
17 corks 54eade048ef5346c5fbcef6e5f857901     
n.脐梅衣;软木( cork的名词复数 );软木塞
  • Champagne corks were popping throughout the celebrations. 庆祝会上开香槟酒瓶塞的砰砰声不绝於耳。 来自辞典例句
  • Champagne corks popped, and on lace tablecloths seven-course dinners were laid. 桌上铺着带装饰图案的网织的桌布,上面是七道菜的晚餐。 来自飘(部分)
18 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。
19 geographer msGzMv     
  • His grandfather is a geographer.他的祖父是一位地理学家。
  • Li Siguang is a famous geographer.李四光是一位著名的地理学家。
20 rosy kDAy9     
  • She got a new job and her life looks rosy.她找到一份新工作,生活看上去很美好。
  • She always takes a rosy view of life.她总是对生活持乐观态度。
21 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。
22 twilight gKizf     
  • Twilight merged into darkness.夕阳的光辉融于黑暗中。
  • Twilight was sweet with the smell of lilac and freshly turned earth.薄暮充满紫丁香和新翻耕的泥土的香味。
23 whoop qIhys     
  • He gave a whoop of joy when he saw his new bicycle.他看到自己的新自行车时,高兴得叫了起来。
  • Everybody is planning to whoop it up this weekend.大家都打算在这个周末好好欢闹一番。
24 epicure Eolx4     
  • This cookery book have being wrote by a real epicure.这本食谱是由一位真正的美食家写的。
  • He researches diets carefully,and is a true epicure.他对于饮食非常有研究,可以算得上是名副其实的美食家了。
25 bunked 43154a7b085c8f8cb6f5c9efa3d235c1     
v.(车、船等倚壁而设的)铺位( bunk的过去式和过去分词 );空话,废话
  • He bunked with a friend for the night. 他和一个朋友同睡一张床过夜。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • We bunked in an old barn. 我们将就着睡在旧谷仓里。 来自辞典例句
26 oysters 713202a391facaf27aab568d95bdc68f     
牡蛎( oyster的名词复数 )
  • We don't have oysters tonight, but the crayfish are very good. 我们今晚没有牡蛎供应。但小龙虾是非常好。
  • She carried a piping hot grill of oysters and bacon. 她端出一盘滚烫的烤牡蛎和咸肉。
27 clams 0940cacadaf01e94ba47fd333a69de59     
n.蛤;蚌,蛤( clam的名词复数 )v.(在沙滩上)挖蛤( clam的第三人称单数 )
  • The restaurant's specialities are fried clams. 这个餐厅的特色菜是炸蚌。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • We dug clams in the flats et low tide. 退潮时我们在浅滩挖蛤蜊。 来自辞典例句
28 stoutly Xhpz3l     
  • He stoutly denied his guilt.他断然否认自己有罪。
  • Burgess was taxed with this and stoutly denied it.伯杰斯为此受到了责难,但是他自己坚决否认有这回事。
29 heartily Ld3xp     
  • He ate heartily and went out to look for his horse.他痛快地吃了一顿,就出去找他的马。
  • The host seized my hand and shook it heartily.主人抓住我的手,热情地和我握手。


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