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首页 » 英文科幻小说 » Robur the Conqueror征服者罗布尔 » Chapter XXIII THE GRAND COLLAPSE
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Chapter XXIII THE GRAND COLLAPSE
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 It was indeed the "Albatross!" It was indeed Robur who had reappeared in the heights of the sky! It was he who like a huge bird of prey1 was going to strike the "Go-Ahead."
 
And yet, nine months before, the aeronef, shattered by the explosion, her screws broken, her deck smashed in two, had been apparently3 annihilated4.
 
Without the prodigious5 coolness of the engineer, who reversed the gyratory motion of the fore2 propeller6 and converted it into a suspensory screw, the men of the "Albatross" would all have been asphyxiated7 by the fall. But if they had escaped asphyxia, how had they escaped being drowned in the Pacific?
 
The remains8 of the deck, the blades of the propellers9, the compartments10 of the cabins, all formed a sort of raft. When a wounded bird falls on the waves its wings keep it afloat. For several hours Robur and his men remained unhelped, at first on the wreck11, and afterwards in the india-rubber boat that had fallen uninjured. A few hours after sunrise they were sighted by a passing ship, and a boat was lowered to their rescue.
 
Robur and his companions were saved, and so was much of what remained of the aeronef. The engineer said that his ship had perished in a collision, and no further questions were asked him.
 
The ship was an English three-master, the "Two Friends," bound for Melbourne, where she arrived a few days afterwards.
 
Robur was in Australia, but a long way from X Island, to which he desired to return as soon as possible.
 
In the ruins of the aftermost cabin he had found a considerable sum of money, quite enough to provide for himself and companions without applying to anyone for help. A short time after he arrived in Melbourne he became the owner of a small brigantine of about a hundred tons, and in her he sailed for X Island.
 
There he had but one idea—to be avenged12. But to secure his vengeance13 he would have to make another "Albatross." This after all was an easy task for him who made the first. He used up what he could of the old material; the propellers and engines he had brought back in the brigantine. The mechanism14 was fitted with new piles and new accumulators, and, in short, in less than eight months, the work was finished, and a new "Albatross," identical with the one destroyed by the explosion, was ready to take flight. And he had the same crew.
 
The "Albatross" left X Island in the first week of April. During this aerial passage Robur did not want to be seen from the earth, and he came along almost always above the clouds. When he arrived over North America he descended15 in a desolate16 spot in the Far West. There the engineer, keeping a profound incognito17, learnt with considerable pleasure that the Weldon Institute was about to begin its experiments, and that the "Go-Ahead," with Uncle Prudent18 and Phil Evans, was going to start from Philadelphia on the 29th of April.
 
Here was a chance for Robur and his crew to gratify their longing19 for revenge. Here was a chance for inflicting20 on their foes21 a terrible vengeance, which in the "Go-Ahead" they could not escape. A public vengeance, which would at the same time prove the superiority of the aeronef to all aerostats and contrivances of that nature!
 
And that is why, on this very day, like a vulture from the clouds, the aeronef appeared over Fairmount Park.
 
Yes! It was the "Albatross," easily recognizable by all those who had never before seen her.
 
The "Go-Ahead" was in full flight; but it soon appeared that she could not escape horizontally, and so she sought her safety in a vertical22 direction, not dropping to the ground, for the aeronef would have cut her off, but rising to a zone where she could not perhaps be reached. This was very daring, and at the same time very logical.
 
But the "Albatross" began to rise after her. Although she was smaller than the "Go-Ahead," it was a case of the swordfish and the whale.
 
This could easily be seen from below and with what anxiety! In a few moments the aerostat had attained23 a height of sixteen thousand feet.
 
The "Albatross" followed her as she rose. She flew round her flanks, and maneuvered24 round her in a circle with a constantly diminishing radius25. She could have annihilated her at a stroke, and Uncle Prudent and his companions would have been dashed to atoms in a frightful26 fall.
 
The people, mute with horror, gazed breathlessly; they were seized with that sort of fear which presses on the chest and grips the legs when we see anyone fall from a height. An aerial combat was beginning in which there were none of the chances of safety as in a sea-fight. It was the first of its kind, but it would not be the last, for progress is one of the laws of this world. And if the "Go-Ahead" was flying the American colors, did not the "Albatross" display the stars and golden sun of Robur the Conqueror27?
 
The "Go-Ahead" tried to distance her enemy by rising still higher. She threw away the ballast she had in reserve; she made a new leap of three thousand feet; she was now but a dot in space. The "Albatross," which followed her round and round at top speed, was now invisible.
 
Suddenly a shout of terror rose from the crowd. The "Go-Ahead" increased rapidly in size, and the aeronef appeared dropping with her. This time it was a fall. The gas had dilated28 in the higher zones of the atmosphere and had burst the balloon, which, half inflated29 still, was falling rapidly.
 
But the aeronef, slowing her suspensory screws, came down just as fast. She ran alongside the "Go-Ahead" when she was not more than four thousand feet from the ground.
 
Would Robur destroy her?
 
No; he was going to save her crew!
 
And so cleverly did he handle his vessel30 that the aeronaut jumped on board.
 
Would Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans refuse to be saved by him? They were quite capable of doing so. But the crew threw themselves on them and dragged them by force from the "Go-Ahead" to the "Albatross."
 
Then the aeronef glided31 off and remained stationary32, while the balloon, quite empty of gas, fell on the trees of the clearing and hung there like a gigantic rag.
 
An appalling33 silence reigned34 on the ground. It seemed as though life were suspended in each of the crowd; and many eyes had been closed so as not to behold35 the final catastrophe36. Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans had again become the prisoners of the redoubtable37 Robur. Now he had recaptured them, would he carry them off into space, where it was impossible to follow him?
 
It seemed so.
 
However, instead of mounting into the sky the "Albatross" stopped six feet from the ground. Then, amid profound silence, the engineer's voice was heard.
 
"Citizens of the United States," he said, "The president and secretary of the Weldon Institute are again in my power. In keeping them I am only within my right. But from the passion kindled38 in them by the success of the "Albatross" I see that their minds are not prepared for that important revolution which the conquest of the air will one day bring, Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans, you are free!"
 
The president, the secretary, and the aeronaut had only to jump down.
 
Then Robur continued.
 
"Citizens of the United States, my experiment is finished; but my advice to those present is to be premature39 in nothing, not even in progress. It is evolution and not revolution that we should seek. In a word, we must not be before our time. I have come too soon today to withstand such contradictory40 and divided interests as yours. Nations are not yet fit for union.
 
"I go, then; and I take my secret with me. But it will not be lost to humanity. It will belong to you the day you are educated enough to profit by it and wise enough not to abuse it. Citizens of the United States—Good-by!"
 
And the "Albatross," beating the air with her seventy-four screws, and driven by her propellers, shot off towards the east amid a tempest of cheers.
 
The two colleagues, profoundly humiliated41, and through them the whole Weldon Institute, did the only thing they could. They went home.
 
And the crowd by a sudden change of front greeted them with particularly keen sarcasms42, and, at their expense, are sarcastic43 still.
 
And now, who is this Robur? Shall we ever know?
 
We know today. Robur is the science of the future. Perhaps the science of tomorrow. Certainly the science that will come!
 
Does the "Albatross" still cruise in the atmosphere in the realm that none can take from her? There is no reason to doubt it.
 
Will Robur, the Conqueror, appear one day as he said? Yes! He will come to declare the secret of his invention, which will greatly change the social and political conditions of the world.
 
As for the future of aerial locomotion44, it belongs to the aeronef and not the aerostat.
 
It is to the "Albatross" that the conquest of the air will assuredly fall.

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 prey g1czH     
n.被掠食者,牺牲者,掠食;v.捕食,掠夺,折磨
参考例句:
  • Stronger animals prey on weaker ones.弱肉强食。
  • The lion was hunting for its prey.狮子在寻找猎物。
2 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。
3 apparently tMmyQ     
adv.显然地;表面上,似乎
参考例句:
  • An apparently blind alley leads suddenly into an open space.山穷水尽,豁然开朗。
  • He was apparently much surprised at the news.他对那个消息显然感到十分惊异。
4 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》
5 prodigious C1ZzO     
adj.惊人的,奇妙的;异常的;巨大的;庞大的
参考例句:
  • This business generates cash in prodigious amounts.这种业务收益丰厚。
  • He impressed all who met him with his prodigious memory.他惊人的记忆力让所有见过他的人都印象深刻。
6 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。
7 asphyxiated df1132b39a5443cbe960dfadf4b37a90     
v.渴望的,有抱负的,追求名誉或地位的( aspirant的过去式和过去分词 );有志向或渴望获得…的人
参考例句:
  • The men trapped in the mine were asphyxiated by gas. 那些困在矿井中的人因瓦斯中毒窒息死亡。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • The men in the coal-mine were asphyxiated by the bad gas. 煤矿坑里的工人们为毒气所窒息。 来自辞典例句
8 remains 1kMzTy     
n.剩余物,残留物;遗体,遗迹
参考例句:
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
9 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
10 compartments 4e9d78104c402c263f5154f3360372c7     
n.间隔( compartment的名词复数 );(列车车厢的)隔间;(家具或设备等的)分隔间;隔层
参考例句:
  • Your pencil box has several compartments. 你的铅笔盒有好几个格。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The first-class compartments are in front. 头等车室在前头。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 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。
12 avenged 8b22eed1219df9af89cbe4206361ac5e     
v.为…复仇,报…之仇( avenge的过去式和过去分词 );为…报复
参考例句:
  • She avenged her mother's death upon the Nazi soldiers. 她惩处了纳粹士兵以报杀母之仇。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The Indians avenged the burning of their village on〔upon〕 the settlers. 印第安人因为村庄被焚毁向拓居者们进行报复。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 vengeance wL6zs     
n.报复,报仇,复仇
参考例句:
  • He swore vengeance against the men who murdered his father.他发誓要向那些杀害他父亲的人报仇。
  • For years he brooded vengeance.多年来他一直在盘算报仇。
14 mechanism zCWxr     
n.机械装置;机构,结构
参考例句:
  • The bones and muscles are parts of the mechanism of the body.骨骼和肌肉是人体的组成部件。
  • The mechanism of the machine is very complicated.这台机器的结构是非常复杂的。
15 descended guQzoy     
a.为...后裔的,出身于...的
参考例句:
  • 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。
16 desolate vmizO     
adj.荒凉的,荒芜的;孤独的,凄凉的;v.使荒芜,使孤寂
参考例句:
  • The city was burned into a desolate waste.那座城市被烧成一片废墟。
  • We all felt absolutely desolate when she left.她走后,我们都觉得万分孤寂。
17 incognito ucfzW     
adv.匿名地;n.隐姓埋名;adj.化装的,用假名的,隐匿姓名身份的
参考例句:
  • He preferred to remain incognito.他更喜欢继续隐姓埋名下去。
  • He didn't want to be recognized,so he travelled incognito.他不想被人认出,所以出行时隐瞒身分。
18 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。
19 longing 98bzd     
n.(for)渴望
参考例句:
  • Hearing the tune again sent waves of longing through her.再次听到那首曲子使她胸中充满了渴望。
  • His heart burned with longing for revenge.他心中燃烧着急欲复仇的怒火。
20 inflicting 1c8a133a3354bfc620e3c8d51b3126ae     
把…强加给,使承受,遭受( inflict的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • He was charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm. 他被控蓄意严重伤害他人身体。
  • It's impossible to do research without inflicting some pain on animals. 搞研究不让动物遭点罪是不可能的。
21 foes 4bc278ea3ab43d15b718ac742dc96914     
敌人,仇敌( foe的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • They steadily pushed their foes before them. 他们不停地追击敌人。
  • She had fought many battles, vanquished many foes. 她身经百战,挫败过很多对手。
22 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。
23 attained 1f2c1bee274e81555decf78fe9b16b2f     
(通常经过努力)实现( attain的过去式和过去分词 ); 达到; 获得; 达到(某年龄、水平、状况)
参考例句:
  • She has attained the degree of Master of Arts. 她已获得文学硕士学位。
  • Lu Hsun attained a high position in the republic of letters. 鲁迅在文坛上获得崇高的地位。
24 maneuvered 7d19f91478ac481ffdfcbdf37b4eb25d     
v.移动,用策略( maneuver的过去式和过去分词 );操纵
参考例句:
  • I maneuvered my way among the tables to the back corner of the place. 我在那些桌子间穿行,来到那地方后面的角落。 来自辞典例句
  • The admiral maneuvered his ships in the battle plan. 舰队司令按作战计划进行舰队演习。 来自辞典例句
25 radius LTKxp     
n.半径,半径范围;有效航程,范围,界限
参考例句:
  • He has visited every shop within a radius of two miles.周围两英里以内的店铺他都去过。
  • We are measuring the radius of the circle.我们正在测量圆的半径。
26 frightful Ghmxw     
adj.可怕的;讨厌的
参考例句:
  • How frightful to have a husband who snores!有一个发鼾声的丈夫多讨厌啊!
  • We're having frightful weather these days.这几天天气坏极了。
27 conqueror PY3yI     
n.征服者,胜利者
参考例句:
  • We shall never yield to a conqueror.我们永远不会向征服者低头。
  • They abandoned the city to the conqueror.他们把那个城市丢弃给征服者。
28 dilated 1f1ba799c1de4fc8b7c6c2167ba67407     
adj.加宽的,扩大的v.(使某物)扩大,膨胀,张大( dilate的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • Her eyes dilated with fear. 她吓得瞪大了眼睛。
  • The cat dilated its eyes. 猫瞪大了双眼。 来自《简明英汉词典》
29 inflated Mqwz2K     
adj.(价格)飞涨的;(通货)膨胀的;言过其实的;充了气的v.使充气(于轮胎、气球等)( inflate的过去式和过去分词 );(使)膨胀;(使)通货膨胀;物价上涨
参考例句:
  • He has an inflated sense of his own importance. 他自视过高。
  • They all seem to take an inflated view of their collective identity. 他们对自己的集体身份似乎都持有一种夸大的看法。 来自《简明英汉词典》
30 vessel 4L1zi     
n.船舶;容器,器皿;管,导管,血管
参考例句:
  • The vessel is fully loaded with cargo for Shanghai.这艘船满载货物驶往上海。
  • You should put the water into a vessel.你应该把水装入容器中。
31 glided dc24e51e27cfc17f7f45752acf858ed1     
v.滑动( glide的过去式和过去分词 );掠过;(鸟或飞机 ) 滑翔
参考例句:
  • The President's motorcade glided by. 总统的车队一溜烟开了过去。
  • They glided along the wall until they were out of sight. 他们沿着墙壁溜得无影无踪。 来自《简明英汉词典》
32 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。
33 appalling iNwz9     
adj.骇人听闻的,令人震惊的,可怕的
参考例句:
  • The search was hampered by appalling weather conditions.恶劣的天气妨碍了搜寻工作。
  • Nothing can extenuate such appalling behaviour.这种骇人听闻的行径罪无可恕。
34 reigned d99f19ecce82a94e1b24a320d3629de5     
vi.当政,统治(reign的过去式形式)
参考例句:
  • Silence reigned in the hall. 全场肃静。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • Night was deep and dead silence reigned everywhere. 夜深人静,一片死寂。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
35 behold jQKy9     
v.看,注视,看到
参考例句:
  • The industry of these little ants is wonderful to behold.这些小蚂蚁辛勤劳动的样子看上去真令人惊叹。
  • The sunrise at the seaside was quite a sight to behold.海滨日出真是个奇景。
36 catastrophe WXHzr     
n.大灾难,大祸
参考例句:
  • I owe it to you that I survived the catastrophe.亏得你我才大难不死。
  • This is a catastrophe beyond human control.这是一场人类无法控制的灾难。
37 redoubtable tUbxE     
adj.可敬的;可怕的
参考例句:
  • He is a redoubtable fighter.他是一位可敬的战士。
  • Whose only defense is their will and redoubtable spirit.他们唯一的国防是他们的意志和可怕的精神。
38 kindled d35b7382b991feaaaa3e8ddbbcca9c46     
(使某物)燃烧,着火( kindle的过去式和过去分词 ); 激起(感情等); 发亮,放光
参考例句:
  • We watched as the fire slowly kindled. 我们看着火慢慢地燃烧起来。
  • The teacher's praise kindled a spark of hope inside her. 老师的赞扬激起了她内心的希望。
39 premature FPfxV     
adj.比预期时间早的;不成熟的,仓促的
参考例句:
  • It is yet premature to predict the possible outcome of the dialogue.预言这次对话可能有什么结果为时尚早。
  • The premature baby is doing well.那个早产的婴儿很健康。
40 contradictory VpazV     
adj.反驳的,反对的,抗辩的;n.正反对,矛盾对立
参考例句:
  • The argument is internally contradictory.论据本身自相矛盾。
  • What he said was self-contradictory.他讲话前后不符。
41 humiliated 97211aab9c3dcd4f7c74e1101d555362     
感到羞愧的
参考例句:
  • Parents are humiliated if their children behave badly when guests are present. 子女在客人面前举止失当,父母也失体面。
  • He was ashamed and bitterly humiliated. 他感到羞耻,丢尽了面子。
42 sarcasms c00b05e7316dbee6fd045772d594fea5     
n.讥讽,讽刺,挖苦( sarcasm的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Bertha frowned, finding it difficult to repress the sarcasms that rose to her lips. 伯莎皱起眉头,她觉得要把溜到嘴边的挖苦话咽下去是件难事。 来自辞典例句
  • But as a general rule Bertha checked the sarcasms that constantly rose to her tongue. 然而总的说来,伯莎堵住不断涌到她嘴边的冷嘲热讽。 来自辞典例句
43 sarcastic jCIzJ     
adj.讥讽的,讽刺的,嘲弄的
参考例句:
  • I squashed him with a sarcastic remark.我说了一句讽刺的话把他给镇住了。
  • She poked fun at people's shortcomings with sarcastic remarks.她冷嘲热讽地拿别人的缺点开玩笑。
44 locomotion 48vzm     
n.运动,移动
参考例句:
  • By land,air or sea,birds are masters of locomotion.无论是通过陆地,飞越空中还是穿过海洋,鸟应算是运动能手了。
  • Food sources also elicit oriented locomotion and recognition behavior patterns in most insects.食物源也引诱大多数昆虫定向迁移和识别行为。


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