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SHOGUN 幕府大将军(前传2)铁铮 博士 译

(2009-06-04 22:18:38)
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The wind freshened even more and the ship lurched.  She was riding under bare poles but for storm tops'ls.  Even so the tide and the storm bore her strongly toward the darkening horizon.

  风势不断增强,船身剧烈颠簸。主桅杆风帆已经扯下,只剩下顶桅风帆了,即使这样,随着浪涌,猛烈的波涛和风暴还在把战舰不断推向更加黑暗的远方地平线。

There's more storm there, Blackthorne told himself, and more reefs and more shoals.  And unknown sea.  Good.  I've set myself against the sea all my life and I've always won.  I always will.

  无尽黑暗的远方风暴会更加可怕,布莱克松暗地告诫自己,那里有更多的暗礁和危险海区¼¼还有鬼知道什么海里的怪物。这辈子面对大海,我一直都能战胜它,将来也肯定没问题。

 First English pilot ever to get through Magellan's Pass.  Yes, the first—and first pilot ever to sail these Asian waters, apart from a few bastard Portuguese or motherless Spaniards who still think they own the world.  First Englishman in these seas. . . .

  我是航海通过麦哲伦海峡的第一个英国领航船长。是啊,头一个——也是第一个航行这片亚洲海域的领航船长,当然,不算那少数混蛋葡萄牙船长和婊子养的西班牙船长们,这些可笑的家伙自以为是地认为他们拥有全世界。我是进入这些海域的第一个英国人……

 So many firsts.  Yes.  And so many deaths to win them.

   第一个、第一个……这么多第一个。唉,又有多少人为了实现这些目标而丧命啊。

  Again he tasted the wind and smelled it, but there was no hint of land.  He searched the ocean but it was dull gray and angry.  Not a fleck of seaweed or splash of color to give a hint of a sanding shelf.  He saw the spire of another reef far on the starboard quarter but that told him nothing.  For a month now outcrops had threatened them, but never a sight of land.  This ocean's endless, he thought.  Good.  That's what you were trained for—to sail the unknown sea, to chart it and come home again.  How many days from home?  One year and eleven months and two days.  The last landfall Chile, one hundred and thirty-three days aft, across the ocean Magellan had first sailed eighty years ago called Pacific.

他又一次仔细感受这海风,却还是无法体察到一丝一毫陆地的气息。他探询着大海,却只见一片死灰黯淡,和暴怒的海涛力量。压根找不到暗示附近有近岸沙床的哪怕一小片海藻,或者一星点生机颜色。他能看到船舷右后方很远的海域有一片尖耸的海礁,不过这对于辨识陆地方位根本无济于事。已经连续一个月了,这片海域的各种水面礁石不断威胁着他们的航行,可就是看不到陆地的影子。这真是片无边无尽的海洋啊——他不禁在想。也好,你所接受的训练就是来对付它的—— 涉险未知海域,绘制航海图表,再顺利返航。这次离家已经多少日子了?整整一年十一个月零两天啊。记得最近一次登陆靠岸补充是在美洲的智利,那之后又航行了一百三十三天,我们跨过了八年前麦哲伦首航的大洋——太平洋。

   Blackthorne was famished and his mouth and body ached from the scurvy.  He forced his eyes to check the compass course and his brain to calculate an approximate position.  Once the plot was written down in his rutter—his sea manual—he would be safe in this speck of the ocean.  And if he was safe, his ship was safe and then together they might find the Japans, or even the Christian King Prester John and his Golden Empire that legend said lay to the north of Cathay, wherever Cathay was.

  布莱克松早已经饥肠辘辘,经受着败血症的折磨,嘴巴干裂,身体疼痛。他强打精神察看了罗盘方位,费力地脑算着目前的大致航行位置。一旦他能在他的海图志——他的航海路线手册里标注好这个方位点,不至于迷失,他在这大洋中的这方小天地就安全了。由此他领航的舰船也就安全无恙,大伙一起努力没准就能找到日本群岛,甚至可能找到欧洲中世纪到处传说的东方基督教国王普莱斯特约翰和他神奇的黄金帝国?据传说他的国度在中国以北?当然啦,得先找到中国再说。

     And with my share of the riches I'll sail on again, westward for home, first English pilot ever to circumnavigate the globe, and I'll never leave home again.  Never.  By the head of my son!

   一旦得到航海探险该得的那份财富,我就再次起航,向西航行,返航回家啦。我将会是第一个完成环游世界的英国领航船长,我可就不再离家出海了。叫我发毒誓也行,反正是绝对不干了。

    The cut of the wind stopped his mind from wandering and kept him awake. To sleep now would be foolish. You'll never wake from that sleep, he thought, and stretched his arms to ease the cramped muscles in his back and pulled his cloak tighter around him. He saw that the sails were trimmed and the wheel lashed secure. The bow lookout was awake. So patiently he settled back and prayed for land.

  凛冽的海风打断了他的思绪,一阵寒颤过后清醒了许多。现在要是昏睡过去就太不明智了。布莱克松寻思着,那恐怕再也没法儿醒过来了。他伸了伸胳膊,放松一下后背酸痛的肌肉,裹紧自己的披风。他再次巡查了一下——船帆已经扎紧,方向舵也绑紧固定好了。船头守卫还挺清醒地警戒着海面。布莱克松于是耐心地把自己安顿好,再次祈祷能够尽快着陆。

 "Go below, Pilot. I take this watch if it pleases you." The third mate, Hendrik Specz, was pulling himself up the gangway, his face gray with fatigue, eyes sunken, skin blotched and sallow. He leaned heavily against the binnacle to steady himself, retching a little. "Blessed Lord Jesus, piss on the day I left Holland."

   “下去歇着吧,掌舵的。要是愿意让我来当班儿。”三副亨德里克·斯派兹蹒跚着从挑台通道走过来。他也是饿得脸色灰暗,眼窝深陷,身上的皮肤又是淤血又是肿烂。只见他身子沉重,依靠着罗盘台才能站稳,强忍着呕吐恶心。“上帝啊,我离开荷兰真是昏了头了。”

 "Where's the mate, Hendrik?"

"In his bunk. He can't get out of his scheit voll bunk. And he won't—not this side of

Judgment Day."

"And the Captain-General?"

"Moaning for food and water." Hendrik spat. "I tell him I roast him a capon and bring it on a silver platter with a bottle of brandy to wash it down. Scheit-huis! Coot!"

"Hold your tongue!"

"I will, Pilot. But he's a maggot-eaten fool and we'll be dead because of him." The young

man retched and brought up mottled phlegm. "Blessed Lord Jesus help me!"

"Go below. Come back at dawn."

“大副在哪里,亨德里克?”

“在他自己的架子床铺上。他没法从那狗屎床铺钻出来。况且他根本不打算出来——现在简直就是世界末日的鬼样子。”

“那舰队司令大人呢?”

“司令?一直在那儿哀号着要水,要吃的。”亨德里克啐了一口。“我跟他说我给他烤好了一只肥美的童子鸡,银盘子盛着端上来,再上一瓶白兰地喝着。真狗屁!这个老笨蛋!”

“别胡说!”

“我知道啦,掌舵的。可司令他就是个连蛆虫都吃得下的傻瓜,我们都得被他拖累死。”

年轻的三副说完又禁不住一阵恶心翻腾,呕得到处是粘痰。“上帝啊救救我吧!”

“快下去吧,天快亮时再上来。”

Hendrik lowered himself painfully into the other seachair. "There's the reek of death below. I take the watch if it pleases you. What's the course?"

"Wherever the wind takes us."

"Where's the landfall you promised us? Where's the Japans—where is it, I ask?"

"Ahead."

"Always ahead! Gottimhimmel, it wasn't in our orders to sail into the unknown. We should be back home by now, safe, with our bellies full, not chasing St. Elmo's fire."

"Go below or hold your tongue."

 “我不下去,下面舱里到处是死亡的恶臭。如果你没意见我来当班儿。航向多少?”

   “你看风往哪儿吹,我们就往哪去。”  

“那我们在哪儿登陆上岸?你许诺过的,日本国在哪儿?——我问你它到底在哪儿? ”  “就在前方。”

  “你总是这句话!真他妈的,我们原来的使命根本不是向未知海域航行。要不然我们就早该平安返航到家了,肚子吃得饱饱的,可不用在这儿乞求什么神灵保佑。”

  “赶快下去!要么闭上你的嘴。”

   Sullenly Hendrik looked away from the tall bearded man. Where are we now? he wanted to ask. Why can't I see the secret rutter? But he knew you don't ask those questions of a pilot, particularly this one. Even so, he thought, I wish I was as strong and healthy as when I left Holland. Then I wouldn't wait. I'd smash your gray-blue eyes now and stamp that maddening half-smile off your face and send you to the hell you deserve. Then I'd be Captain-Pilot and we'd have a Netherlander running the ship—not a foreigner—and the secrets would be safe for us. Because soon we'll be at war with you English. We want the same thing: to command the sea, to control all trade routes, to dominate the New World, and to strangle Spain.

     亨德里克阴沉着脸,不再盯着眼前这大胡子的魁梧男人。亨德里克很想问问这掌舵的领航员,我们现在到底在哪里?凭什么我就不能看看你那神神秘秘的海图志?可他知道,他不该向一个领航船长问这些,特别是不能问这个家伙。道理上就算这样,他在想,可我就是希望现在自己能和离开荷兰时同样强健。那我可就不客气了——我会马上废了你这家伙的灰蓝色眼睛,让你那另人发疯的假笑再也笑不出来,把你这该死的送进地狱。到那时,我就是船长了,也就是说是荷兰人在掌控这艘船了——可不再是外国佬——这些航海秘密就将安全属于我们荷兰人。不远的将来,我们荷兰就会同你们英国人开战。因为没办法,我们两国争夺的目标相同:那就是我们都想独自掌握制海权,都想控制所有海上贸易航道,都想主控新大陆,扼杀西班牙!

      "Perhaps there is no Japans," Hendrik muttered suddenly. "It's Gottbewonden legend."

        “也许根本没有什么日本国,”亨德里克突然像想起什么,小声咕哝着说。“尽是些传说而已。”

     "It exists.  Between latitudes thirty and forty north.  Now hold your tongue or go below."

     "There's death below, Pilot," Hendrik muttered and put his eyes ahead, letting himself drift.

      Blackthorn shifted in his seachair, his body hurting worse today.  You're luckier than most, he thought, luckier than Hendrik.  No, not luckier.  More careful.  You conserved your fruit while the others consumed theirs carelessly.  Against your warnings.  So now your scurvy is still mild whereas the others are constantly hemorrhaging, their bowels diarrhetic, their eyes sore and rheumy, and their teeth lost or loose in their heads.  Why is it men never learn?

  “日本就在前面。方位北纬三十度到四十度之间。你现在赶紧闭嘴,要么下到舱里去。”

   “舱里面就是死人呆的地方,掌舵的。”亨德里克还在嘀咕着,一边望向前方的海面,身子随着风浪涌动晃来晃去。

   布莱克松在海员椅上挪动了一下身体,感觉浑身不适,比昨天还要厉害。他在想,你比其他大多数人要运气好,起码比亨德里克好的多。哦,不对,不是运气好,是更当心自己身体。别的海员大吃大嚼挥霍自己那份水果时,你把自己那份水果仔细储备好,以备长远。到如今你得的败血症没有那么严重,可其他人呢?经常内出血,生痢疾拉肚子,眼睛生疮溃烂流脓,牙床松动,牙齿掉落¼¼他搞不懂,这些家伙怎么从来不知教训?

       He knew they were all afraid of him, even the Captain-General, and that most hated him.  But that was normal, for it was the pilot who commanded at sea; it was he who set the course and ran the ship, he who brought them from port to port.

      Any voyage today was dangerous because the few navigational charts that existed were so vague as to be useless.  And there was absolutely no way to fix longitude.

    布莱克松心里明白,船员们都惧怕他,连舰队司令大人都有那么一点。大多数人甚至挺嫉恨他。可这也满正常的,因为在海上,是领航船长说了算;是他设定好航行方向,驾驶着舰船,是他带着大伙儿航行周转一个个港口。

     现在任何海上航程都危机重重,因为现存的有限领航图表都太不完善,几乎对于引导航行都无济于事。也还绝对没办法在航行中修正经度差(注5)。

     "Find how to fix longitude and you're the richest man in the world," his old teacher, Alban Caradoc, had said.  "The Queen, God bless her, 'll give you ten thousand pound and a dukedom for the answer to the riddle.  The dung-eating Portuguese'll give you more—a golden galleon.  And the motherless Spaniards'll give you twenty!  Out of sight of land you're always lost, lad."  Caradoc had  paused and shaken his head sadly at him as always.  "You're lost, lad.  Unless . . ." 

   “要是你能想法儿修正航行中的经度差,你准能成为这世界上最有钱的人,”布莱克松记得他的老师——奥班·凯拉多克老先生曾经告诉他。“女皇陛下,上帝保佑她,如果你能成功破解这难题,她会赏赐你一万英镑还会封赏你为公爵。要是卖给那些吃屎的葡萄牙人这研究成果,他们会赏赐你更多——一艘金子打造的大帆船。如果是婊子养的西班牙人开价肯定更高——他们会赏赐你二十艘这样的金帆船!是啊小伙子,现在这样航行,一但看不到陆地做参照,就肯定迷失方向,除非¼¼”

   "Unless you have a rutter!"  Blackthorne had shouted happily, knowing that he had learned his lessons well.  He was thirteen then and had already been apprenticed a year to Alban Caradoc, pilot and shipwright, who had become the father he had lost, who had never beaten him but taught him and the other boys the secrets of shipbuilding and the intimate way of the sea.

    “除非你拥有一份海图志!”布莱克松记得当时自己快活地喊出了答案,很满意自己的学习成果。那时他只有十三岁,已经跟随奥班·凯拉多克学徒有一年多了。老凯拉多克曾经是个领航船长,也是个造船匠,他代替了布莱克松失去的父亲给布莱克松关爱,从不打他,而是耐心教导他和其他孩子——教他们怎样造船,讲给孩子们航海的秘密。

       A rutter was a small book containing the detailed observation of a pilot who had been there before.  It recorded magnetic compass courses between ports and capes, headlands and channels.  It noted the sounding and depths and color of the water and the nature of the seabed.  It set down the how we got there and how we got back:  how many days on a special tack, the pattern of the wind, when it blew and from where, what currents to expect and from where; the time of storms and the time of fair winds; where to careen the ship and where to water; where there were friends and where foes; shoals, reefs, tides, havens; at best, everything necessary for a safe voyage.

    海图志是一种小开本的资料图书,里面详细记述了航海驾驶者的航海观测与现场描述。在它里面领航船长会详细记录航行经过不同海港、海角、海岬、海峡时的罗盘指示方位。里面还有对所经过的海域海水的颜色、水深、海床的自然特征状况以及海浪声响的记述。里面有对领航船长驾驶着舰船如何进出该片海域的关键记录: 航向不变的稳定风帆航行时间有多少天,行驶中海风的情况如何,风何时刮起,风向如何,会遭遇哪种气流,气流又会从哪边来,在哪里可以整修清理舰船,在哪里可以补充淡水,何处能找到盟友,哪里会遭遇敌人;还包括沙床海滩、礁石、潮汐、港口避难所等等,这些情况的详细记述对于一趟安全的海上航行都至关重要。

    The English, Dutch, and French had rutters for their own waters, but the waters of the rest of the world had been sailed only by captains from Portugal and Spain, and these two countries considered all rutters secret.  Rutters that revealed the seaways to the New World or unraveled the mysteries of the Pass of Magellan and the Cape of Good Hope—both Portuguese discoveries—and thence the seaways to Asia were guarded as national treasures by the Portuguese and Spanish, and sought after with equal ferocity by their Dutch and English enemies.

   英国人、荷兰人以及法国人都有各自国家自身海疆的海图志。但是对于世界上其他海域,到目前还只有葡萄牙和西班牙人曾经航行过,因而两国当仁不让把持着这些海域的海图志资料秘密绝不外泄。那些记述了通往美洲新世界的海上通道的海图志,还有那些揭开葡萄牙人地理发现成果——麦哲伦通道及好望角神秘面纱的海图志,都是高度保密的资料。至于说详细记述通往亚洲海上路线的重要海图志,更是被葡萄牙和西班牙两国当作国家宝藏严格保护,作为对手的英国和荷兰则以同样狂热的劲头拼命想搞到手。

    But a rutter was only as good as the pilot who wrote it, the scribe who hand-copied it, the very rare printer who printed it, or the scholar who translated it.  A rutter could therefore contain errors.  Even deliberate ones.  A pilot never knew for certain until he had been there himself.  At least once.

     可是海图志的价值很大程度上受到很多因素影响——编写它的领航船长的记述是否准确详实?印刷出版者的制作水平怎样?还有,不同语言的翻译者是否准确完善地把海图志的内容翻译成功?明白了上述问题,就不会奇怪人们经常发现编写出版的海图志可能包含着错误与疏漏。有些甚至可能是作者故意为之。航海驾驶者即使有了海图志,还是不能掉以轻心,最稳妥放心的航海经验就是自己亲自到过海图志描述的海域,至少要走过那么一遭。

     At sea the pilot was leader, sole guide, and final arbiter of the ship and her crew.  Alone he commanded from the quarterdeck.

     That's heady wine, Blackthorne told himself.  And once sipped, never to be forgotten, always to be sought, and always necessary.  That's one of the things that keep you alive when others die.

      He got up and relieved himself in the scuppers.  Later the sand ran out of the hourglass by the binnacle and he turned it and rang the ship's bell.

"Can you stay awake, Hendrik?"

"Yes.  Yes, I believe so."

     在无尽的大海上,领航船长就是说了算的,是唯一指引航向的人,船上和船员中有任何纠纷和问题,他也是那个唯一的裁定人。是他,自己一人在驾驶台发号施令。

    这种权力感就像要人命的烈酒,布莱克松自己也明白。那种滋味一旦尝过,可是绝对忘不掉,这种瘾头根本戒不掉,你会苦苦追寻它,总觉得离不开。即使其他人都玩完了,只要有了它你就能坚持亢奋。

    布莱克松站起身来,透过船身侧面的甲板排水孔撒了泡尿。过了一会儿,他看到罗盘操作台旁边的沙漏计时器已经漏光了砂子。布莱克松把沙漏倒了个个,一边敲响了船上的时辰铃。

  “你真能保持清醒,不睡过去?亨德里克?”

   “是,是,我想没问题。”

   "I'll send someone to replace the bow lookout.  See he stands in the wind and not in thelee.  That'll keep him sharp and awake."  For a moment he wondered if he should turn the ship into the wind and heave to for the night but he decided against it, went down the companionway, and opened the fo’c’sle door.  The companionway led into the crew's quarters.  The cabin ran the width of the ship and had bunks and hammock space for a hundred and twenty men.  The warmth surrounded him and he was grateful for it and ignored the ever present stench from the bilges below.  None of the twenty-odd men moved from his bunk.

    “我会叫人来和那个船头警卫换班儿,你要督促新换上的当班警卫机灵点儿,要让他站在那里一边吹风儿一边警戒,别躲在掩体后面,这样才能在冷风刺激下时刻保持清醒,不然会睡着。”布莱克松一时间还想把船转向,这样可以保持顺风向安稳过夜?还是算了吧。他一步步走下楼梯,打开甲板下层前舱的门。这楼梯通往船员们休息的地方。大房间开间占据整个船身宽度,足够容纳一百二十个海员的多层架子板床和吊床。布莱克松真是庆幸这里倒是挺暖和,他也顾不上那挥之不去的底层舱缝沉积的霉臭味儿。虽然见他进来,架子床上蜷缩的二十多个家伙都赖着不动窝儿。

    "Get aloft, Maetsukker," he said in Dutch, the lingua franca of the Low Countries, which he spoke perfectly, along with Portuguese and Spanish and Latin.

    "I'm near death," the small, sharp-featured man said, cringing deeper into the bunk.  "I'm sick.  Look, the scurvy's taken all my teeth.  Lord Jesus help us, we'll all perish!  If it wasn't for you we'd all be home by now, safe!  I'm a merchant.  I'm not a seaman.  I'm not part of the crew. . . .  Take someone else.  Johann there's—"  He screamed as Blackthorne jerked him out of the bunk and hurled him against the door.  Blood flecked his mouth and he was stunned.  A brutal kick in his side brought him out of his stupor.

     "You get your face aloft and stay there till you're dead or we make landfall."

The man pulled the door open and fled in agony.

    “马苏克,你上去换班儿。”布莱克松用荷兰语命令道。他说这种低地国家的通行语言很地道。另外,他的葡萄牙语、西班牙语和拉丁文也同样很流利。

    “我就快死了,”马苏克是个小个子,长得五官很突出,他哀叫着缩进床架深处。“你瞧,我病得厉害,我得了败血症,牙都掉光了。上帝啊救救我们!我们都得完蛋!要不是你这开船的家伙一意孤行,我们现在早就到家了,肯定平平安安的!我是个做买卖的,不是海员。我不属于船员队伍. . . . . . . .你要挑人值班儿别找我,约恩在那儿——”一声惨叫中,布莱克松一把将他从床架子上揪下来,接着猛地把他顶到门上。马苏克经过这么一折腾,嘴里泛出一丝污血,整个人都呆掉了。布莱克松又踢了他一脚,才把他从木然中拉回现实。

    “你这家伙赶快上去值班儿,你就老老实实死在执勤岗位上吧,要么一直干到我们登陆上岸。”马苏克无奈地拉开舱门,哭丧着脸悻悻而去。

     Blackthorne looked at the others.  They stared back at him.  "How are you feeling, Johann?"

     "Good enough, Pilot.  Perhaps I'll live."

     Johann Vinck was forty-three, the chief gunner and bosun's mate, the oldest man aboard.  He was hairless and toothless, the color of aged oak and just as strong.  Six years ago he had sailed with Blackthorne on the ill-fated search for the Northeast Passage, and each man knew the measure of the other.

     "At your age most men are already dead, so you're ahead of us all."  Blackthorne was thirty- six. Vinck smiled mirthlessly.  "It's the brandy, Pilot, that an' fornication an' the saintly life I've led."

     No one laughed.  Then someone pointed at a bunk.  "Pilot, the bosun's dead."

     "Then get the body aloft!  Wash it and close his eyes!  You, you, and you!"

     The men were quickly out of their bunks this time and together they half dragged, half carried the corpse from the cabin.

      "Take the dawn watch, Vinck.  And Ginsel, you're bow lookout."

     "Yes sir."

布莱克松又瞧瞧剩下的人。大伙也都不示弱地瞪着他。“约恩,你感觉如何?”

“我觉着挺不错了,掌舵的,没准儿我能活下去。”

约恩·温克已经四十三岁了,他是舰上的枪炮长,也是副水手长,是舰上最年长的海员。温克是秃头,牙齿已经掉光了,面色就像陈年老橡树,体格也结实得很。六年前他曾经和布莱克松一道参加那倒霉的找寻东北通道的航程,所以两人都对彼此了如指掌。

“在你这岁数大多数男人早就已经死了,所以说你走在我们前头,又活过来了。”布莱克松今年三十六岁。温克冷嘲热讽的笑着说:“掌舵的,我觉得自己活得这么快活,都是因为有白兰地喝,还有到处干娘们儿的乐子,哦,我可是过的圣人一般的高尚生活的。”

没人笑得出来。沉默了一会儿,有人指着一张床格子说。“掌舵的,水手长死了。”

“死了?那就快把他搬上甲板!把尸首洗干净,让他瞑目!你,你,还有你来搬!”

被点到的海员这次倒是挺麻利地钻出床铺,七手八脚一块使劲儿,把尸体半扛半拽地运出舱房。

“温克,你值早班儿。吉赛儿,你去换船头警卫当班。”

“是,先生。” 

   Blackthorne went back on deck.

   He saw that Hendrik was still awake, that the ship was in order.  The relieved lookout, Salamon, stumbled past him, more dead than alive, his eyes puffed and red from the cut of the wind.  Blackthorne crossed to the other door and went below.  The passageway led to the great cabin aft, which was the Captain-General's quarters and magazine.  His own cabin was starboard and the other, to port, was usually for the three mates.  Now Baccus van Nekk, the chief merchant, Hendrik the third mate, and the boy, Croocq, shared it.  They were all very sick.

   He went into the great cabin.  The Captain-General, Paulus Spillbergen, was lying half conscious in his bunk.  He was a short, florid man, normally very fat, now very thin, the skin of his paunch hanging slackly in folds.  Blackthorne took a water flagon out of a secret drawer and helped him drink a little.

    "Thanks," Spillbergen said weakly.  "Where's land—where's land?"

  布莱克松又回到甲板上。

  掌舵的亨德里克确实还没犯迷糊,船舰状态还算正常。刚刚被换下的船头值班守卫萨勒曼,双眼被凛冽的海风刺痛得红肿流泪,他累得脚步蹒跚、东倒西歪地走过布莱克松身边回舱里去,简直宛如活死人受折磨。布莱克松与他擦身而过,经过另一边的门,到下层舱去。这边的船舱通道通往后面的大舱房。这是舰上专属海军上校的房间和储藏室。布莱克松的房间在后面的右侧舷舱,三个副官的房间按着惯例安排是在左后舷的舱室。现在那房间由商贸会长巴克斯·凡·尼克、三副亨德里克、和船上的少年船员克鲁科一起住着。这些人都病得厉害。

布莱克松走进了舰队司令的大舱房。舰队司令保卢斯·思皮尔伯根躺在架子床上,已经神志不清。中将一直是个脸膛红润的矮胖子,现在却憔悴得厉害,过去的大肚皮瘦得只剩松弛打摺的难看皮囊。布莱克松走过去从密橱里拿出个水罐,扶着上校喂了他点水。

“谢,谢谢,” 思皮尔伯根虚弱地问道。“哪儿是陆地?——在哪儿登陆靠岸?”

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