Chapter 17 -In a little time, with no more boats appearing, the fear of the natives coming back wore off(逐渐消失).I began to think again of a voyage to the mainland.But I was somewhat discouraged(暮气沉沉的) when I had a serious conversation with...
Chapter 17 -In a little time, with no more boats appearing, the fear of the natives coming back wore off(逐渐消失).I began to think again of a voyage to the mainland.But I was somewhat discouraged(暮气沉沉的) when I had a serious conversation with the Spaniard(西班牙人).He explained that there were sixteen more white men on the mainland, who were very badly(极端地) in need of(需要) food and necessities(生活必须品).He told me they had some weapons(武器) with them, but they were perfectly useless, for they had neither gunpowder(火药) nor bullets(子弹).I asked him what he thought would become of(发生) them there, and if they had formed any plan for making their escape.He said they had talked many times about it, but had no tools to build a ship, or supplies of any kind.I asked him how he thought they would treat me if I were to offer them a means of escape.I told him that what I feared most was that they would betray(叛逆) me, and that once we escaped they would make me their prisoner in New Spain.He answered, with a great deal of directness, that their situation was so hopeless, that he believed they would never think of mistreating(荼毒) any man that would help save them.If I agreed, he would go to them with Friday’s father, and talk with them about it, and return again and bring me their answer.Then he told me that he would take my side(站在某人那里) to the last drop of his blood, if his companions should somehow come to betray(叛逆) me.He told me they were all of them very civilized, honest men.He was sure, if I would help save them, they would live and die for me.After he gave these promises, I gave the Spaniard(西班牙人) permission to go over to the mainland.He would see what he could do with those he had left behind there, and bring the old native over to interpret.The Spaniard(西班牙人) and Friday’s father went away in one of the boats in which they had been brought.I gave each of them a gun, ordering them not to use their guns except in emergencies.They went away in the month of October.I had been waiting for them for eight days when a strange and unexpected accident occurred.I was asleep in my tent one morning, when my man Friday came running in to me, and called aloud, “Master, master, they are come, they are come!”I jumped up, and, regardless of(掉臂…) danger, I went against my usual habit and ran out without taking my guns.I was surprised when, turning my eyes to the sea, I saw a boat about a mile and a half away, with a sail.I called Friday in, and told him to stay close to me, for these were not the people we were expecting, and we did not know yet whether they were friends or enemies.I climbed up to the top of the hill to get a better view of them. I saw an English ship lying at anchor(抛着锚), and a smaller boat that was approaching the shore.The joy of seeing a ship, and one that might be manned(利用) by my own countrymen(同胞), was such as I cannot describe.Yet I had some secret doubts, telling me to be careful.In the first place, I wondered what business an English ship could have in that part of the world.This was not the way to or from any part of the world where the English had any business.I soon saw the boat land on the shore, about half a mile from me.When they were on shore, I could tell that they were Englishmen, and that there were eleven men.Three of them had no guns and were tied with ropes. When the first four or five men jumped on shore, they took those three out of the boat as prisoners.Friday called out to me, in English, “Oh master! You see English mans eat prisoners as well as native man’s.”“No, no,” said I, “Friday, I am afraid they will murder them, but you may be sure they will not eat them.”All this while I had no thought of what the matter really was, but stood trembling(发抖) with the horror(恐慌) of the sight, expecting every moment that the three prisoners would be killed.I wished greatly now for the Spaniard(西班牙人), and the native that had gone with him.With them I felt I might have saved the three men, but I soon thought of another way of saving them.After I had seen the shocking treatment the three prisoners received, I observed the others running about the island, as if they wanted to see the country.I observed also, that the three prisoners now also had freedom to go where they pleased, but they sat down all three upon the ground, and seemed very afraid.This reminded me of the first time I came on shore, and how wildly(失控地) I looked around me.It was just at high tide(潮汐) when these people came on shore.They had carelessly stayed till the tide(潮水) went out, leaving their boat stuck on the sand.About two o’clock, in the hot part of the day, they all went to sleep.I took two bird guns, and I gave Friday three more guns.I had my goat-skin coat on, and a goat-skin cap, a sword by my side, two guns in my belt, and a gun upon each shoulder.I decided to show myself to the three poor scared men, and learn something of their condition, and so I walked toward them, with Friday behind me.Before any of them saw me, I called aloud to them, in Spanish, “Who are you, gentlemen?”They started up at the noise, but were ten times more confused(困惑的) when they saw me, and how strange I looked.They made no answer at all, but I thought I noticed them just about to run from me, when I spoke to them in English: “Gentlemen, do not be surprised at me. Perhaps you may have a friend near when you did not expect it.”“He must be sent directly from Heaven, then,” said one of them, very seriously, to me, “for our situation is past the help of man.”“All help is from Heaven, sir!” said I; “but can you show a stranger the way to help you, for you seem to be in some great difficulty?”The poor man, with tears running down his face, returned, “Am I talking to God or a real man?”“I am a man,—an Englishman, and want to help you—tell us freely, how can we help you? What is your situation?”“Our situation, sir,” said he, “is that I was the captain of that ship. My men have mutinied(叛逆) against me. They have decided to set me on shore in this lonely place, with these two men with me, where we are expected to die.”“Have they any weapons(武器)?” said I.“They had only two guns, and another which they left in the boat.” he answered.“Well, then,” said I, “leave the rest to me. I see they are all asleep, so it is an easy thing to kill them all, but should we not rather take them prisoners?”He told me there were two desperate(掉臂一切的) criminals among them, to whom it was not safe to show any mercy(仁慈).If they were dealt with(处置惩罚), he believed all the rest would return to their duty.I asked him which they were.He told me he could not at that distance distinguish(看清) them, but he would obey my orders in anything I would direct.“Well,” said I, “let us withdraw(撤出) out of their sight and hearing, and we will plan further.”So they willingly went back with me, till the woods hid us from them.“Sir,” said I, “I will save your life, on two conditions.”He predicted(预测) my conditions by telling me that both he and the ship, if recovered, should be commanded by me in everything.“Well,” said I, “I have two conditions. First, that while you stay in this island with me, you will not claim to have any power here. Second, that if the ship is recovered, you will carry me and my man to England for free.”He promised that he would obey these most reasonable demands, and that he would owe(欠) his life to me.I told him I thought it was best to fire on the others at once as they lay.If any were not killed at the first shot, we might spare them.He said, very modestly, that he was hesitant(犹豫的) to kill them if he could avoid it.
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