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首页 » 英文科幻小说 » Robur the Conqueror征服者罗布尔 » Chapter XX THE WRECK OF THE ALBATROSS
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Chapter XX THE WRECK OF THE ALBATROSS
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 It was then twenty minutes after midnight. Five or six shots had been fired from the aeronef. Uncle Prudent1 and Frycollin, supporting Phil Evans, had taken shelter among the rocks. They had not been hit. For the moment there was nothing to fear.
 
As the "Albatross" drifted off from Pitt Island she rose obliquely2 to nearly three thousand feet. It was necessary to increase the ascensional power to prevent her falling into the sea.
 
When the look-out man had got clear of his gag and shouted, Robur and Tom Turner had rushed up to him and torn off his bandage. The mate had then run back to the stern cabin. It was empty! Tapage had searched Frycollin's cabin, and that also was empty.
 
When he saw that the prisoners had escaped, Robur was seized with a paroxysm of anger. The escape meant the revelation of his secret to the world. He had not been much concerned at the document thrown overboard while they were crossing Europe, for there were so many chances that it would be lost in its fall; but now!
 
As he grew calm, "They have escaped," said he. "Be it so! But they cannot get away from Pitt Island, and in a day or so I will go back! I will recapture them! And then—"
 
In fact, the safety of the three fugitives3 was by no means assured. The "Albatross" would be repaired, and return well in hand. Before the day was out they might again be in the power of the engineer.
 
Before the day was out! But in two hours the "Albatross" would be annihilated5! The dynamite6 cartridge7 was like a torpedo8 fastened to her hull9, and would accomplish her destruction in mid-air. The breeze freshened, and the aeronef was carried to the northeast. Although her speed was but moderate, she would be out of sight of the Chatham Islands before sunrise. To return against the wind she must have her propellers10 going, particularly the one in the bow.
 
"Tom," said the engineer, "turn the lights full on."
 
"Yes, Sir."
 
"And all hands to work."
 
"Yes, Sir."
 
There was no longer any idea of putting off the work till tomorrow. There was now no thought of fatigue12. Not one of the men of the "Albatross" failed to share in the feelings of his chief. Not one but was ready to do anything to recapture the fugitives!
 
As soon as the screw was in place they would return to the island and drop another anchor, and give chase to the fugitives. Then only would they begin repairing the stern-screw; and then the aeronef could resume her voyage across the Pacific to X Island.
 
It was important, above all things, that the "Albatross" should not be carried too far to the northeast, but unfortunately the breeze grew stronger, and she could not head against it, or even remain stationary13. Deprived of her propellers she was an unguidable balloon. The fugitives on the shore knew that she would have disappeared before the explosion blew her to pieces.
 
Robur felt much disappointment at seeing his plans so interfered15 with. Would it not take him much longer than he thought to get back to his old anchorage?
 
While the work at the screw was actively16 pushed on, he resolved to descend17 to the surface of the sea, in the hope that the wind would there be lighter18. Perhaps the "Albatross" would be able to remain in the neighborhood until she was again fit to work to windward.
 
The maneuver19 was instantly executed. If a passing ship had sighted the aerial machine as she sunk through the air, with her electric lights in full blaze, with what terror would she have been seized!
 
When the "Albatross" was a few hundred feet from the waves she stopped. Unfortunately Robur found that the breeze was stronger here than above, and the aeronef drifted off more rapidly. He risked being blown a long, way off to the northeast, and that would delay his return to Pitt Island. In short, after several experiments, he found it better to keep his ship well up in the air, and the "Albatross" went aloft to about ten thousand feet. There, if she did not remain stationary, the drifting was very slight. The engineer could thus hope that by sunrise at such an altitude he would still be in sight of the island.
 
Robur did not trouble himself about the reception the fugitives might have received from the natives—if there were any natives. That they might help them mattered little to him. With the powers of offense20 possessed21 by the "Albatross" they would be promptly22 terrified and dispersed23. The capture of the prisoners was certain, and once he had them again, "They will not escape from X Island!"
 
About one o'clock in the morning the fore4-screw was finished, and all that had to be done was to get it back to its place. This would take about an hour. That done, the "Albatross" would be headed southwest and the stern-screw could be taken in hand.
 
And how about the match that was burning in the deserted24 cabin? The match of which more than a third was now consumed? And the spark that was creeping along to the dynamite?
 
Assuredly if the men of the aeronef had not been so busy one of them would have heard the feeble sputtering25 that was going on in the deck-house. Perhaps he would have smelt26 the burning powder! He would doubtless have become uneasy! And told Tom Turner! And then they would have looked about, and found the box and the infernal machine; and then there would have been time to save this wonderful "Albatross" and all she bore!
 
But the men were at work in the bow, twenty yards away from the cabin. Nothing brought them to that part of the deck; nothing called off their attention from their work. Robur was there working with his hands, excellent mechanic as he was. He hurried on the work, but nothing was neglected, everything was carefully done. Was it not necessary that he should again become absolute master of his invention? If he did not recapture the fugitives they would get away home. They would begin inquiring into matters. They might even discover X Island, and there would be an end to this life, which the men of the "Albatross" had created for themselves, a life that seemed superhuman and sublime27.
 
Tom Turner came up to the engineer. It was a quarter past one. "It seems to me, sir, that the breeze is falling, and going round to the west."
 
"What does the barometer28 say?" asked Robur, after looking up at the sky.
 
"It is almost stationary, and the clouds seem gathering29 below us."
 
"So they are, and it may be raining down at the sea; but if we keep above the rain it makes no difference to us. It will not interfere14 with the work."
 
"If it is raining it is not a heavy rain," said Tom. "The clouds do not look like it, and probably the wind has dropped altogether."
 
"Perhaps so, but I think we had better not go down yet. Let us get into going order as soon as we can, and then we can do as we like."
 
At a few minutes after two the first part of the work was finished. The fore-screw was in its place, and the power was turned on. The speed was gradually increased, and the "Albatross," heading to the southwest, returned at moderate speed towards the Chatham Islands.
 
"Tom," said Robur, "it is about two hours and a half since we got adrift. The wind has not changed all the time. I think we ought to be over the island in an hour."
 
"Yes, sir. We are going about forty feet a second. We ought to be there about half-past three."
 
"All the better. It would suit us best to get back while it is dark, and even beach the "Albatross" if we can. Those fellows will fancy we are a long way off to the northward30, and never think of keeping a look-out. If we have to stop a day or two on the island—"
 
"We'll stop, and if we have to fight an army of natives?"
 
"We'll fight," said Robur. "We'll fight then for our "Albatross.""
 
The engineer went forward to the men, who were waiting for orders. "My lads," he said to them, "we cannot knock off yet. We must work till day comes."
 
They were all ready to do so. The stern-screw had now to be treated as the other had been. The damage was the same, a twisting from the violence of the hurricane during the passage across the southern pole.
 
But to get the screw on board it seemed best to stop the progress of the aeronef for a few minutes, and even to drive her backwards31. The engines were reversed. The aeronef began to fall astern, when Tom Turner was surprised by a peculiar32 odor.
 
This was from the gas given off by the match, which had accumulated in the box, and was now escaping from the cabin. "Hallo!" said the mate, with a sniff33.
 
"What is the matter?" asked Robur.
 
"Don't you smell something? Isn't it burning powder?"
 
"So it is, Tom."
 
"And it comes from that cabin."
 
"Yes, the very cabin—"
 
"Have those scoundrels set it on fire?"
 
"Suppose it is something else!" exclaimed Robur. "Force the door, Tom; drive in the door!"
 
But the mate had not made one step towards it when a fearful explosion shook the "Albatross." The cabins flew into splinters. The lamps went out. The electric current suddenly failed. The darkness was complete. Most of the suspensory screws were twisted or broken, but a few in the bow still revolved34.
 
At the same instant the hull of the aeronef opened just behind the first deck-house, where the engines for the fore-screw were placed; and the after-part of the deck collapsed35 in space.
 
Immediately the last suspensory screw stopped spinning, and the "Albatross" dropped into the abyss.
 
It was a fall of ten thousand feet for the eight men who were clinging to the wreck36; and the fall was even faster than it might have been, for the fore propeller11 was vertical37 in the air and still working!
 
It was then that Robur, with extraordinary coolness, climbed up to the broken deck-house, and seizing the lever reversed the rotation38, so that the propeller became a suspender. The fall continued, but it was checked, and the wreck did not fall with the accelerating swiftness of bodies influenced solely39 by gravitation; and if it was death to the survivors40 of the "Albatross" from their being hurled41 into the sea, it was not death by asphyxia amid air which the rapidity of descent rendered unbreathable.
 
Eighty seconds after the explosion, all that remained of the "Albatross" plunged42 into the waves!

该作者的其它作品
Around the World In 80 Days八十天环游地球
气球上的五星期 Five Weeks in a Balloon
 

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 prudent M0Yzg     
adj.谨慎的,有远见的,精打细算的
参考例句:
  • A prudent traveller never disparages his own country.聪明的旅行者从不贬低自己的国家。
  • You must school yourself to be modest and prudent.你要学会谦虚谨慎。
2 obliquely ad073d5d92dfca025ebd4a198e291bdc     
adv.斜; 倾斜; 间接; 不光明正大
参考例句:
  • From the gateway two paths led obliquely across the court. 从门口那儿,有两条小路斜越过院子。 来自辞典例句
  • He was receding obliquely with a curious hurrying gait. 他歪着身子,古怪而急促地迈着步子,往后退去。 来自辞典例句
3 fugitives f38dd4e30282d999f95dda2af8228c55     
n.亡命者,逃命者( fugitive的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Three fugitives from the prison are still at large. 三名逃犯仍然未被抓获。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Members of the provisional government were prisoners or fugitives. 临时政府的成员或被捕或逃亡。 来自演讲部分
4 fore ri8xw     
adv.在前面;adj.先前的;在前部的;n.前部
参考例句:
  • 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。
5 annihilated b75d9b14a67fe1d776c0039490aade89     
v.(彻底)消灭( annihilate的过去式和过去分词 );使无效;废止;彻底击溃
参考例句:
  • Our soldiers annihilated a force of three hundred enemy troops. 我军战士消灭了300名敌军。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • We annihilated the enemy. 我们歼灭了敌人。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 dynamite rrPxB     
n./vt.(用)炸药(爆破)
参考例句:
  • The workmen detonated the dynamite.工人们把炸药引爆了。
  • The philosopher was still political dynamite.那位哲学家仍旧是政治上的爆炸性人物。
7 cartridge fXizt     
n.弹壳,弹药筒;(装磁带等的)盒子
参考例句:
  • Unfortunately the 2G cartridge design is very difficult to set accurately.不幸地2G弹药筒设计非常难正确地设定。
  • This rifle only holds one cartridge.这支来复枪只能装一发子弹。
8 torpedo RJNzd     
n.水雷,地雷;v.用鱼雷破坏
参考例句:
  • His ship was blown up by a torpedo.他的船被一枚鱼雷炸毁了。
  • Torpedo boats played an important role during World War Two.鱼雷艇在第二次世界大战中发挥了重要作用。
9 hull 8c8xO     
n.船身;(果、实等的)外壳;vt.去(谷物等)壳
参考例句:
  • The outer surface of ship's hull is very hard.船体的外表面非常坚硬。
  • The boat's hull has been staved in by the tremendous seas.小船壳让巨浪打穿了。
10 propellers 6e53e63713007ce36dac451344bb87d2     
n.螺旋桨,推进器( propeller的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The water was thrashing and churning about under the propellers. 水在螺旋桨下面打旋、翻滚。 来自辞典例句
  • The ship's propellers churned the waves to foam. 轮船的推进器将海浪搅出泡沫。 来自辞典例句
11 propeller tRVxe     
n.螺旋桨,推进器
参考例句:
  • The propeller started to spin around.螺旋桨开始飞快地旋转起来。
  • A rope jammed the boat's propeller.一根绳子卡住了船的螺旋桨。
12 fatigue PhVzV     
n.疲劳,劳累
参考例句:
  • 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。
13 stationary CuAwc     
adj.固定的,静止不动的
参考例句:
  • 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。
14 interfere b5lx0     
v.(in)干涉,干预;(with)妨碍,打扰
参考例句:
  • If we interfere, it may do more harm than good.如果我们干预的话,可能弊多利少。
  • When others interfere in the affair,it always makes troubles. 别人一卷入这一事件,棘手的事情就来了。
15 interfered 71b7e795becf1adbddfab2cd6c5f0cff     
v.干预( interfere的过去式和过去分词 );调停;妨碍;干涉
参考例句:
  • Complete absorption in sports interfered with his studies. 专注于运动妨碍了他的学业。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I am not going to be interfered with. 我不想别人干扰我的事情。 来自《简明英汉词典》
16 actively lzezni     
adv.积极地,勤奋地
参考例句:
  • During this period all the students were actively participating.在这节课中所有的学生都积极参加。
  • We are actively intervening to settle a quarrel.我们正在积极调解争执。
17 descend descend     
vt./vi.传下来,下来,下降
参考例句:
  • 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。
18 lighter 5pPzPR     
n.打火机,点火器;驳船;v.用驳船运送;light的比较级
参考例句:
  • 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。
19 maneuver Q7szu     
n.策略[pl.]演习;v.(巧妙)控制;用策略
参考例句:
  • All the fighters landed safely on the airport after the military maneuver.在军事演习后,所有战斗机都安全降落在机场上。
  • I did get her attention with this maneuver.我用这个策略确实引起了她的注意。
20 offense HIvxd     
n.犯规,违法行为;冒犯,得罪
参考例句:
  • I hope you will not take any offense at my words. 对我讲的话请别见怪。
  • His words gave great offense to everybody present.他的发言冲犯了在场的所有人。
21 possessed xuyyQ     
adj.疯狂的;拥有的,占有的
参考例句:
  • He flew out of the room like a man possessed.他像着了魔似地猛然冲出房门。
  • He behaved like someone possessed.他行为举止像是魔怔了。
22 promptly LRMxm     
adv.及时地,敏捷地
参考例句:
  • He paid the money back promptly.他立即还了钱。
  • She promptly seized the opportunity his absence gave her.她立即抓住了因他不在场给她创造的机会。
23 dispersed b24c637ca8e58669bce3496236c839fa     
adj. 被驱散的, 被分散的, 散布的
参考例句:
  • The clouds dispersed themselves. 云散了。
  • After school the children dispersed to their homes. 放学后,孩子们四散回家了。
24 deserted GukzoL     
adj.荒芜的,荒废的,无人的,被遗弃的
参考例句:
  • The deserted village was filled with a deathly silence.这个荒废的村庄死一般的寂静。
  • The enemy chieftain was opposed and deserted by his followers.敌人头目众叛亲离。
25 sputtering 60baa9a92850944a75456c0cb7ae5c34     
n.反应溅射法;飞溅;阴极真空喷镀;喷射v.唾沫飞溅( sputter的现在分词 );发劈啪声;喷出;飞溅出
参考例句:
  • A wick was sputtering feebly in a dish of oil. 瓦油灯上结了一个大灯花,使微弱的灯光变得更加阴暗。 来自汉英文学 - 家(1-26) - 家(1-26)
  • Jack ran up to the referee, sputtering protest. 贾克跑到裁判跟前,唾沫飞溅地提出抗议。 来自辞典例句
26 smelt tiuzKF     
v.熔解,熔炼;n.银白鱼,胡瓜鱼
参考例句:
  • Tin is a comparatively easy metal to smelt.锡是比较容易熔化的金属。
  • Darby was looking for a way to improve iron when he hit upon the idea of smelting it with coke instead of charcoal.达比一直在寻找改善铁质的方法,他猛然想到可以不用木炭熔炼,而改用焦炭。
27 sublime xhVyW     
adj.崇高的,伟大的;极度的,不顾后果的
参考例句:
  • We should take some time to enjoy the sublime beauty of nature.我们应该花些时间去欣赏大自然的壮丽景象。
  • Olympic games play as an important arena to exhibit the sublime idea.奥运会,就是展示此崇高理念的重要舞台。
28 barometer fPLyP     
n.气压表,睛雨表,反应指标
参考例句:
  • The barometer marked a continuing fall in atmospheric pressure.气压表表明气压在继续下降。
  • The arrow on the barometer was pointing to"stormy".气压计上的箭头指向“有暴风雨”。
29 gathering ChmxZ     
n.集会,聚会,聚集
参考例句:
  • He called on Mr. White to speak at the gathering.他请怀特先生在集会上讲话。
  • He is on the wing gathering material for his novels.他正忙于为他的小说收集资料。
30 northward YHexe     
adv.向北;n.北方的地区
参考例句:
  • He pointed his boat northward.他将船驶向北方。
  • I would have a chance to head northward quickly.我就很快有机会去北方了。
31 backwards BP9ya     
adv.往回地,向原处,倒,相反,前后倒置地
参考例句:
  • 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。
32 peculiar cinyo     
adj.古怪的,异常的;特殊的,特有的
参考例句:
  • He walks in a peculiar fashion.他走路的样子很奇特。
  • He looked at me with a very peculiar expression.他用一种很奇怪的表情看着我。
33 sniff PF7zs     
vi.嗅…味道;抽鼻涕;对嗤之以鼻,蔑视
参考例句:
  • The police used dogs to sniff out the criminals in their hiding - place.警察使用警犬查出了罪犯的藏身地点。
  • When Munchie meets a dog on the beach, they sniff each other for a while.当麦奇在海滩上碰到另一条狗的时候,他们会彼此嗅一会儿。
34 revolved b63ebb9b9e407e169395c5fc58399fe6     
v.(使)旋转( revolve的过去式和过去分词 );细想
参考例句:
  • The fan revolved slowly. 电扇缓慢地转动着。
  • The wheel revolved on its centre. 轮子绕中心转动。 来自《简明英汉词典》
35 collapsed cwWzSG     
adj.倒塌的
参考例句:
  • Jack collapsed in agony on the floor. 杰克十分痛苦地瘫倒在地板上。
  • The roof collapsed under the weight of snow. 房顶在雪的重压下突然坍塌下来。
36 wreck QMjzE     
n.失事,遇难;沉船;vt.(船等)失事,遇难
参考例句:
  • 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。
37 vertical ZiywU     
adj.垂直的,顶点的,纵向的;n.垂直物,垂直的位置
参考例句:
  • The northern side of the mountain is almost vertical.这座山的北坡几乎是垂直的。
  • Vertical air motions are not measured by this system.垂直气流的运动不用这种系统来测量。
38 rotation LXmxE     
n.旋转;循环,轮流
参考例句:
  • Crop rotation helps prevent soil erosion.农作物轮作有助于防止水土流失。
  • The workers in this workshop do day and night shifts in weekly rotation.这个车间的工人上白班和上夜班每周轮换一次。
39 solely FwGwe     
adv.仅仅,唯一地
参考例句:
  • Success should not be measured solely by educational achievement.成功与否不应只用学业成绩来衡量。
  • The town depends almost solely on the tourist trade.这座城市几乎完全靠旅游业维持。
40 survivors 02ddbdca4c6dba0b46d9d823ed2b4b62     
幸存者,残存者,生还者( survivor的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The survivors were adrift in a lifeboat for six days. 幸存者在救生艇上漂流了六天。
  • survivors clinging to a raft 紧紧抓住救生筏的幸存者
41 hurled 16e3a6ba35b6465e1376a4335ae25cd2     
v.猛投,用力掷( hurl的过去式和过去分词 );大声叫骂
参考例句:
  • He hurled a brick through the window. 他往窗户里扔了块砖。
  • The strong wind hurled down bits of the roof. 大风把屋顶的瓦片刮了下来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
42 plunged 06a599a54b33c9d941718dccc7739582     
v.颠簸( plunge的过去式和过去分词 );暴跌;骤降;突降
参考例句:
  • The train derailed and plunged into the river. 火车脱轨栽进了河里。
  • She lost her balance and plunged 100 feet to her death. 她没有站稳,从100英尺的高处跌下摔死了。


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