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       It was not till almost a Year after this that I broke loose, tho' in the mean time I continued obstinately deaf to all Proposals of settling to Business, and frequently expostulating with my Father and Mother, about their being so positively determin'd against what they knew my Inclinations prompted me to. But being one Day at Hull, where I went casually, and without any Purpose of making an Elopement that time; but I say, being there, and one of my Companions being going by Sea to London, in his Father's Ship, and prompting me to go with them, with the common Allurement of Seafaring Men, viz That it should cost me nothing for my Passage, I consulted neither Father or Mother any more, nor so much as sent them Word of it; but leaving them to hear of it as they might, without asking God's Blessing, or my Father's, without any Consideration of Circumstances or Consequences, and in an ill Hour, God knows. On the first of September 1651 I went on Board a Ship bound for London; never any young Adventurer's Misfortunes, I believe, began sooner, or continued longer than mine. The Ship was no sooner gotten out of the Humber, but the Wind began to blow, and the Winds' to rise in a most frightful manner; and as I had never been at Sea before, I was most inexpressibly sick in Body, and terrify'd in my Mind: I began now seriously to reflect upon what I had done, and how justly I was overtaken by the Judgment of Heaven for my wicked leaving my Father's House, and abandoning my Duty; all the good Counsel of my Parents, my Father's Tears and my Mother's Entreaties came now fresh into my Mind, and my Conscience, which was not yet come to the Pitch of Hardness to which it has been since, reproach'd me with the Contempt of Advice, and the Breach of my Duty to God and my Father. 

       All this while the Storm encreas'd, and the Sea, which I had never been upon before, went very high, tho' nothing like what I have seen many times since; no, nor like what I saw a few Days after: But it was enough to affect me then, who was but a young Sailor, and had never known any thing of the matter. I expected every Wave would have swallowed us up, and that every time the Ship fell down, as I thought, in the Trough or Hollow of the Sea, we should never rise more; and in this Agony of Mind, I made many Vows and Resolutions, that if it would please God here to spare my Life this one Voyage, if ever I got once my Foot upon dry Land again, I would go directly home to my Father, and never set it into a Ship again while I liv'd; that I would take his Advice, and never run my self into such Miseries as these any more. Now I saw plainly the Goodness of his Observations about the middle Station of Life, how easy, how comfortably he had liv'd all his Days, and never had been expos'd to Tempests at Sea, or Troubles on Shore; and I resolv'd that I would, like a true repenting Prodigal, go home to my Father. 

       These wise and sober Thoughts continued all the while the Storm continued, and indeed some time after; but the next Day the Wind was abated and the Sea calmer, and I began to be a little inur'd to it: However I was very grave for all that Day, being also a little Sea sick still; but towards Night the Weather clear'd up, the Wind was quite over, and a charming fine Evening follow'd; the Sun went down perfectly clear and rose so the next Morning; and having little or no Wind and a smooth Sea, the Sun shining upon it, the Sight was, as I thought, the most delightful that ever I saw. 

       I had slept well in the Night, and was now no more Sea sick: but very chearful, looking with Wonder upon the Sea that was so rough and terrible the Day before, and could be so calm and so pleasant in so little time after. And now least my good Resolutions should continue, my Companion, who had indeed entic'd me away, comes to me, Well Bob, says he, clapping me on the Shoulder, How do you do after it? I warrant you were frighted, wa'n't you, last Night, when it blew but a Cap full of Wind? A Cap full d'you call it? said I, 'twas a terrible Storm: A Storm, you Fool you, replies he, do you call that a Storm, why it was nothing at all; give us but a good Ship and Sea Room, and we think nothing of such a Squal of Wind as that; but you're but a fresh Water Sailor, Bob; come let us make a Bowl of Punch and we'll forget all that, d'ye see what charming Weather 'tis now. To make short this sad Part of my Story, we went the old way of all Sailors, the Punch was made, and I was made drunk with it, and in that one Night's Wickedness I drowned all my Repentance, all my Reflections upon my past Conduct, and all my Resolutions for my future. 

       In a word, as the Sea was returned to its Smoothness of Surface and settled Calmness by the Abatement of that Storm, so the Hurry of my Thoughts being over, my Fears and Apprehensions of being swallow'd up by the Sea being forgotten, and the Current of my former Desires return'd, I entirely forgot the Vows and Promises that I made in my Distress. I found indeed some Intervals of Reflection, and the serious Thoughts did, as it were endeavour to return again sometimes, but I shook them off, and rouz'd my self from them as it were from a Distemper, and applying my self to Drink and Company, Soon master'd the Return of those Fits, for so I call'd them, and I had in five or six Days got as compleat a Victory over Conscience as any young Fellow that resolv'd not to be troubled with it, could desire. But I was to have another Trial for it still; and Providence, as in such Cases generally it does, resolv'd to leave me entirely without Excuse. For if I would not take this for a Deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most harden'd Wretch among us would confess both the Danger and the Mercy. 

       The sixth Day of our being at Sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the Wind having been contrary, and the Weather calm, we had made but little Way since the Storm. Here we were obliged to come to an Anchor, and here we lay, the Wind continuing contrary, viz. at South-west, for seven or eight Days, during which time a great many Ships from Newcastle came into the same Roads, as the common Harbour where the Ships might wait for a Wind for the River. 

       We had not however rid here so long, but should have Tided it up the River, but that the Wind blew too fresh; and after we had lain four or five Days, blew very hard. However, the Roads being reckoned as good as a Harbour, the Anchorage good, and our Ground-Tackle very strong, our Men were unconcerned, and not in the least apprehensive of Danger, but spent the Time in Rest and Mirth, after the manner of the Sea; but the eighth Day in the Morning, the Wind increased, and we had all Hands at Work to strike our Top-Masts, and make every thing snug and close, that the Ship might ride as easy as possible. By Noon the Sea went very high indeed, and our Ship rid Forecastle in, shipp'd several Seas, and we thought once or twice our Anchor had come home; upon which our Master order'd out the Sheet Anchor; so that we rode with two Anchors a-Head, and the Cables vered out to the better End. 

       By this Time it blew a terrible Storm indeed, and now I began to see Terror and Amazement in the Faces even of the Seamen themselves. The Master, tho' vigilant to the Business of preserving the Ship, yet as he went in and out of his Cabbin by me, I could hear him softly to himself say several times, Lord be merciful to us, we shall be all lost, we shall be all undone; and the like. During these first Hurries, I was stupid, lying still in my Cabbin, which was in the Steerage, and cannot describe my Temper: I could ill reassume the first Penitence, which I had so apparently trampled upon, and harden'd my self against: I thought the Bitterness of Death had been past, and that this would be nothing too like the first. But when the Master himself came by me as I said just now, and said we should be all lost, I dreadfully frighted: I got up out of my Cabbin, and look'd out; but such a dismal Sight I never saw: The Sea went Mountains high, and broke upon us every three or four Minutes: When I could look about, I could see nothing but Distress round us: Two Ships that rid near us we found had cut their Masts by the Board, being deep loaden; and our Men cry'd out, that a Ship which rid about a Mile a-Head of us was foundered. Two more Ships being driven from their Anchors, were run out of the Roads to Sea at all Adventures, and that was not a Mast standing. The light Ships fared the best; as not so much labouring in the Sea; but two or three of them drove, and came close by us, running away with only their Sprit-sail out before the Wind. 

       Towards Evening the Mate and Boat-Swain begg'd the Master of our Ship to let them cut away the Foremast, which he was very unwilling to: But the Boat-Swain protesting to him, that if he did not, the Ship would founder, he consented; and when they had cut away the Foremast, the Main-Mast stood so loose, and shook the Ship so much, they were obliged to cut her away also, and make a clear Deck. 

       Any one may judge what a Condition I must be in at all his; who was but a young Sailor, and who had been in such Fright before at but a little. But if I can express at this Distance the Thoughts I had about me at that time, I was in tenfold more Horror of Mind upon Account of my former Convictions, and the having returned from them to the Resolutions I had wickedly taken at first, than I was at Death it self; and these added to the Terror of the Storm, put me into such a Condition, that I can by no Words describe it. But the worst was not come yet, the Storm continued with such Fury, that the Seamen themselves acknowledged they had never known a worse. We had a good Ship, but she was deep loaden, and wallowed in the Sea, that the Seamen every now and then cried out, she would founder. It was my Advantage in one respect, that I did not know what they meant by Founder, till I enquir'd. However, the Storm was so violent, that I saw what is not often seen, the Master, the Boat-Swain, and some others more sensible than the rest, at their Prayers, and expecting every Moment when the Ship would go to the Bottom. In the Middle of the Night, and under all the rest of our Distresses, one of the Men that had been down on Purpose to see, cried out we had sprung a Leak; another said there was four Foot Water in the Hold. Then all Hands were called to the Pump. At that very Word my Heart, as I thought, died within me, and I fell backwards upon the Side of my Bed where I sat, into the Cabbin. However, the Men roused me, and told me, that I that was able to do nothing before, was as well able to pump as another; at which I stirr'd up, and went to the Pump and work'd very heartily. While this was doing, the Master seeing some light Colliers, who not able to ride out the Storm, were oblig'd to slip and run away to Sea, and would come near us, ordered to fire a Gun as a Signal of Distress. I who knew nothing what that meant, was so surprised, that I thought the Ship had broke, or some dreadful thing had happen'd. In a word, I was so surprised, that I fell down in a Swoon. 

       As this was a time when every Body had his own Life to think of, no body minded me, or what was become of me; but another Man stept up the Pump, and thrusting me aside with his Foot, let me lye, thinking I had been dead; and it was a great while before I came to my self. 

       We work'd on, but the Water encreasing in the Hold, it was apparent that the Ship would founder, and tho' the Storm began to abate a little, yet as it was not possible she could swim till we might run into a Port, so the Master continued firing Guns for Help; and a light Ship who had rid it out just a Head of us ventured a Boat out to help us. It was with the utmost Hazard the Boat came near us, but it was impossible for us to get on Board, or for the Boat to lie near the Ship Side, till at last the Men rowing very heartily, and venturing their Lives to save ours, our Men cast them a Rope over the Stern with a Buoy to it, and then vered it out a great Length, which they after great Labour and Hazard took hold of and we hall'd them close under our Stern and got all into their Boat. It was to no Purpose for or us after we were in the Boat to think of reaching to own Ship, so all agreed to let her drive and only to pull her in towards Shore as much as we could, and our Master promised them, That if the Boat was stav'd upon Shore he would make it good to their Master, so partly rowing and partly driving our Boat went away to the Norward sloaping wards the Shore almost as far as Winterton Ness. 

       We were not much more than a quarter of an Hour out four Ship but we saw her sink, and then I understood for the first time what was meant by a Ship foundering in the Sea; I must acknowledge I had hardly Eyes to look up when he Seamen told me she was sinking; for from that Moment hey rather put me into the Boat than that I might be said to go in, my Heart was as it were dead within me, partly with Fright, partly with Horror of Mind and the Thoughts of what was yet before me. 

       While we were in this Condition, the Men yet labouring the Oar to bring the Boat near the Shore, we could see, hen our Boat mounting the Waves, we were able to see the Shore, a great many People running along the Shore to assist us when we should come near, but we made but slow way towards the Shore, nor were we able to reach the Shore, till being past the Light-House at Winterton, the Shore falls off to the Westward towards Cromer, and so the Land broke off a little the Violence of the Wind: Here we got in, and tho' not without much Difficulty got all safe on Shore and walk'd afterwards on Foot to Yarmouth, where, as unfortunate Men, we were used with great Humanity as well by the Magistrates of the Town, who assign'd us good Quarters, as by particular Merchants and Owners of Ships, and had Money given us sufficient to carry us either to London or back to Hull, as we thought fit. 

       Had I now had the Sense to have gone back to Hull, and have gone home, I had been happy, and my Father, an Emblem of our Blessed Saviour's Parable, had even kill'd the fatted Calf for me; for hearing the Ship I went away in was cast away in Yarmouth Road, it was a great while before he had any Assurance that I was not drown'd. 

       But my ill Fate push'd me on now with an Obstinacy that nothing could resist; and tho' I had several times loud Calls from my Reason and my more composed Judgment to go home, yet I had no Power to do it. I know not what to call this, nor will I urge, that it is a secret over-ruling Decree that hurries us on to be the Instruments of our own Destruction, even tho' it be before us, and that we rush upon it with our Eyes open. Certainly nothing but some such decreed unavoidable Misery attending, and which it was impossible for me to escape, could have push'd me forward against the calm Reasonings and Perswasions of my most retired Thoughts, and against two such visible Instructions as I had met with in my first Attempt. 

       My Comrade, who had help'd to harden me before, and who was the Master's Son, was now less forward than I; the first time he spoke to me after we were at Yarmouth, which was not till two or three Days, for we were separated in the Town to several Quarters; I say, the first time he saw me, it appear'd his Tone was alter'd, and looking very melancholy and shaking his Head, ask'd me how I did, and telling his Father who I was, and how I had come this Voyage only for a Trial in order to go farther abroad; his Father turning to me with a very grave and concern'd Tone, Young Man, says he, you ought never to go to Sea any more, you ought to take his for a plain and visible Token that you are not to be a Seafaring Man. Why, Sir, said I, will you go to Sea no more? That is another Case, said he, it is my Calling, and therefore my Duty; but as you made this Voyage for a Trial, you see what a Taste Heaven has given you of what you are to expect if you persist; perhaps this is all befallen us on your Account, like Jonah in the Ship of Tarshish. Pray, continues he, what are you? and on what Account did you go to Sea? Upon that I told him some of my Story; at the End of which he burst out with a strange kind of Passion, What had I done, says he, that such an unhappy Wretch should come into my Ship? I would not set my Foot in the same Ship with thee again for a Thousand Pounds. This indeed was, as I said, an Excursion of his Spirits which were yet agitated by the Sense of his Loss, and was farther than he could have Authority to go. However he afterwards talk'd very gravely to me, exhorted me to go back to my Father, and not tempt Providence to my Ruine; told me I might see a visible Hand of Heaven against me, And young Man, said he, depend upon it, if you do not go back, where-ever you go, you will meet with nothing but Disasters and Disappointments till your Father's Words are fulfilled upon you. 

       We parted soon after; for I made him little Answer, and I saw him no more; which way he went, I know not. As for me, having some Money in my Pocket, I travelled to London by Land; and there, as well as on the Road, had many Struggles with my self, what Course of Life I should take, and whether I should go Home, or go to Sea. 

       As to going Home, Shame opposed the best Motions that offered to my Thoughts; and it immediately occurr'd to me how I should be laugh'd at among the Neighbours, and should be asham'd to see, not my Father and Mother only, but even every Body else; from whence I have since often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common Temper of Mankind is, especially of Youth, to that Reason which ought to guide them in such Cases, viz. That they are not asham'd to sin, and yet are asham'd to repent; not asham'd of the Action for which they ought justly to be esteem'd Fools, but are asham'd of the returning, which only can make them be esteem'd wise Men. 

       In this of Life however I remained some time, uncertain what Measures to take, and what Course of Life to lead. An irresistible Reluctance continu'd to going Home; and as I stay'd a while, the Remembrance of the Distress I had been in wore off; and as that abated, the little Motion I had in my Desires to a Return wore off with it, till at last I quite lay'd aside the Thoughts of it, and lookt out for a Voyage. 

       这事过了一年光景,我终于离家出走了,而在这一年里,尽管家里人多次建议我去干点正事,但我就是顽固不化,一概不听,反而老是与父母亲纠缠,要他们不要那样反对自己孩子的心愿。有一天,我偶然来到赫尔市。当时,我还没有私自出走的念头。但在那里,我碰到了一个朋友。他说他将乘他父亲的船去伦敦,并怂恿我与他们一起去。他用水手们常用的诱人航海的办法对我说,我不必付船费。这时,我既不同父母商量,也不给他们捎个话,我想我走了以后他们迟早会听到消息的。同时,我既不向上帝祈祷,也没有要父亲为我祝福,甚至都不考虑当时的情况和将来的后果,就登上了一艘开往伦敦的船。时间是一六五一年九月一日。谁知道这是一个恶时辰啊!我相信,没有一个外出冒险的年轻人会像我这样一出门就倒霉,一倒霉就这么久久难以摆脱。我们的船一驶出恒比尔河就刮起了大风,风助浪势,煞是吓人。因为我第一次出海,人感到难过得要命,心里又怕得要死。这时,我开始对我的所作所为感到后悔了。我这个不孝之子,背弃父母,不尽天职,老天就这么快惩罚我了,真是天公地道。这时,我父母的忠告,父亲的眼泪和母亲的祈求,都涌进了我的脑海。我良心终究尚未丧尽,不禁谴责起自己来:我不应该不听别人的忠告,背弃对上帝和父亲的天职。

       这时风暴越刮越猛,海面汹涌澎湃,波浪滔天。我以前从未见过这种情景。但比起我后来多次见到过的咆哮的大海,那真是小巫见大巫了;就是与我过几天后见到的情景,也不能相比。可是,在当时,对我这个初次航海的年轻人来说,足已令我胆颤心惊了,因为我对航海的事一无所知。我感到,海恒比尔河,又作亨伯河,发源于英格兰中部,流入北海。浪随时会将我们吞没。每次我们的船跌入浪涡时,我想我们会随时倾覆沉入海底再也浮不起来,了。在这种惶恐不安的心情下,我一次又一次地发誓,下了无数次决心,说如果上帝在这次航行中留我一命,只要让我双脚一踏上陆地,我就马上回到我父亲身边,今生今世再也不乘船出海了。我将听从父亲的劝告,再也不自寻烦恼了。同时,我也醒悟到,我父亲关于中间阶层生活的看法,确实句句在理。就拿我父亲来说吧,他一生平安舒适,既没有遇到过海上的狂风恶浪,也没有遭到过陆上的艰难困苦。我决心,我要像一个真正回头的浪子,回到家里,回到我父亲的身边。

       这些明智而清醒的思想,在暴风雨肆虐期间,乃至停止后的短时间内,一直在我脑子里盘旋。到了第二天,暴风雨过去了,海面平静多了,我对海上生活开始有点习惯了。但我整天仍是愁眉苦脸的;再加上有些晕船,更是打不起精神来。到了傍晚,天气完全晴了,风也完全停了,继之而来的是一个美丽可爱的黄金昏。当晚和第二天清晨天气晴朗,落日和日出显得异常清丽。此时,阳光照在风平浪静的海面上,令人心旷神怡。那是我以前从未见过的美景。

       那天晚上我睡得很香,所以第二天也不再晕船了,精神也为之一爽。望着前天还奔腾咆哮的大海,一下子竟这么平静柔和,真是令人感到不可思议。那位引诱我上船的朋友唯恐我真的下定决心不再航海,就过来看我。"喂,鲍勃,"他拍拍我的肩膀说,"你现在觉得怎样?我说,那天晚上吹起一点微风,一定把你吓坏了吧?""你说那是一点微风?"我说,"那是一场可怕的风暴啊!""风暴?你这傻瓜,"他回答说,"你把那也叫风暴?那算得了什么!只要船稳固,海面宽阔,像这样的一点风我们根本不放在眼里。当然,你初次出海,也难怪你,鲍勃。来吧,我们弄碗甜酒喝喝,把那些事统统忘掉吧!你看,天气多好啊!"我不想详细叙述这段伤心事。简单一句话,我们因循一般水手的生活方式,调制了甜酒,我被灌得酩酊大醉。那天晚上,我尽情喝酒胡闹,把对自己过去行为的忏悔与反省,以及对未来下的决心,统统丢到九霄云外去了。

       简而言之,风暴一过,大海又平静如镜,我头脑里纷乱的思绪也随之一扫而光,怕被大海吞没的恐惧也消失殆尽,我热衷航海的愿望又重新涌上心头。我把自己在危难中下的决心和发的誓言一概丢之脑后。有时,我也发现,那些忏悔和决心也不时地会回到脑海里来。但我却竭力摆脱它们,并使自己振作起来,就好像自己要从某种坏情绪中振作起来似的。因此,我就和水手们一起照旧喝酒胡闹。不久,我就控制了自己的冲动,不让那些正经的念头死灰复燃。不到五六天,我就像那些想摆脱良心谴责的年轻人那样,完全战胜了良心。为此,我必定会遭受新的灾难。上帝见我不思悔改,就决定毫不宽恕地惩罚我,并且,这完全是我自作自受,无可推诿。既然我自己没有把平安渡过第一次灾难看作是上帝对我的拯救,下一次大祸临头就会变本加厉;那时,就连船上那些最凶残阴险、最胆大包天的水手,也都要害怕,都要求饶。

       出海第六天,我们到达雅茅斯锚地。在大风暴之后,我们的船没有走多少路,因为尽管天气晴朗,但却一直刮着逆风,因此,我们不得不在这海中停泊处抛锚。逆风吹了七八天,风是从西南方向吹来的。在此期间,许多从纽卡斯尔来的船只也都到这一开放锚地停泊,因为这儿是海上来往必经的港口,船只都在这儿等候顺风,驶入耶尔河。

       我们本来不该在此停泊太久,而是应该趁着潮水驶入河口。无奈风刮得太紧,而停了四五天之后,风势更猛。但这块锚地素来被认为是个良港,加上我们的锚十分牢固,船上的锚索、辘轳、缆篷等一应设备均十分结实,因此水手们对大风都满不在乎,而且一点也不害怕,照旧按他们的生活方式休息作乐。到第八天早晨,风势骤然增大。于是全体船员都动员起来,一起动手落下了中帆,并把船上的一切物件都安顿好,使船能顶住狂风,安然停泊。到了中午,大海卷起了狂澜。我们的船头好几次钻入水中,打进了很多水。有一两次,我们以为脱了船锚,因此,船长下令放下备用大锚。这样,我们在船头下了两个锚,并把锚索放到最长的限度。

       这时,风暴来势大得可怕,我看到,连水手们的脸上也显出惊恐的神色。船长虽然小心谨慎,力图保牢自己的船,但当他出入自己的舱房而从我的舱房边经过时,我好几次听到他低声自语,"上帝啊,可怜我们吧!我们都活不了啦!我们都要完蛋了!"他说了不少这一类的话。在最初的一阵纷乱中,我不知所措,只是一动不动地躺在自己的船舱里--我的舱房在船头,我无法形容我当时的心情。最初,我没有像第一次那样忏悔,而是变得麻木不仁了。我原以为死亡的痛苦已经过去,这次的风暴与上次一样也会过去。但我前面说过,当船长从我舱房边经过,并说我们都要完蛋了时,可把我吓坏了。我走出自己的舱房向外一看,只见满目凄凉;这种惨景我以前从未见过:海上巨浪滔天,每隔三四分钟就向我们扑来。再向四面一望,境况更是悲惨。我们发现,原来停泊在我们附近的两艘船,因为载货重,已经把船侧的桅杆都砍掉了。突然,我们船上的人惊呼起来。原来停在我们前面约一海里远的一艘船已沉没了。另外两艘船被狂风吹得脱了锚,只得冒险离开锚地驶向大海,连船上的桅杆也一根不剩了。小船的境况要算最好了,因为在海上小船容易行驶。但也有两三只小船被风刮得从我们船旁飞驰而过,船上只剩下角帆而向外海飘去。

       到了傍晚,大副和水手长恳求船长砍掉前桅;此事船长当然是绝不愿意干的。但水手长抗议说,如果船长不同意砍掉前桅,船就会沉没。这样,船长也只好答应了。但船上的前桅一砍下来,主桅随风摇摆失去了控制,船也随着剧烈摇晃,于是他们又只得把主桅也砍掉。这样就只剩下一个空荡荡的甲板了。

       谁都可以想象我当时的心情。因为我只是一个初次航海的小青年,不久前那次小风浪已把我吓得半死,更何况这次真的遇上了大风暴。此时此刻,当我执笔记述我那时的心情,我感到,那时我固然也害怕死,使我更害怕的是想到自己违背了自己不久前所作的忏悔,并且又像在前次危难中那样重新下定种种决心,这种恐惧感比我害怕死更甚。当时的心情既然如此,再加上对风暴的恐怖,那种心理状态即使现在我也无法用笔墨描述。但当时的情景还不算是最糟的呢!更糟的是风暴越刮越猛,就连水手们自己也都承认,他们平生从未遇到过这么厉害的大风暴。我们的船虽然坚固,但因载货太重,吃水很深,一直在水中剧烈地摇摆颠簸。只听见水手们不时地喊叫着船要沉了。当时我还不知道"沉"是什么意思,这于我倒也是件好事。后来我问过别人后才明白究竟。这时风浪更加凶猛了,我看到了平时很少见到的情况:船长、水手长,以及其他一些比较有头脑的人都不断地祈祷,他们都感到船随时有沉没的危险。到了半夜,更是灾上加灾。那些到船舱底下去检查的人中间,忽然有一个人跑上来喊道:船底漏水了;接着又有一个水手跑上来说,底舱里已有四英尺深的水了。于是全船的人都被叫去抽水。我听到船底漏水时,感到我的心就好像突然停止了跳动;我当时正坐在自己的舱房的床边,一下子感到再也支持不住了,就倒在了船舱里。这时有人把我叫醒,说我以前什么事也不会干,现在至少可以去帮着抽水。听了这话我立即打起精神,来到抽水机旁,十分卖力地干起来。正当大家全力抽水时,船长发现有几艘小煤船因经不起风浪,不得不随风向海上飘去;当他们从我们附近经过时,船长就下令放一枪,作为求救的信号。我当时不知道为什么要放枪,听到枪声大吃一惊,以为船破了,或是发生了什么可怕的事情。一句话,我吓得晕倒在抽水机旁。

       这种时候,人人都只顾自己的生命,那里还会有人来管我死活,也没有人会看一下我到底发生了什么事。另一个人立刻上来接替我抽水;他上来时把我一脚踢到一边,由我躺在那里。他一定以为我已经死了。过了好一会儿我才苏醒过来。

       我们继续不断地抽水,但底舱里进水越来越多。我们的船显然不久就会沉没。这时,尽管风势略小了些,但船是肯定不可能驶进港湾了。船长只得不断鸣枪求救。有一艘轻量级的船顺风从我们前面飘过,就冒险放下一只小艇来救我们。

       小艇上的人冒着极大的危险才划近我们的大船,但我们无法下到他们的小艇,他们也无法靠拢我们的大船。最后,小艇上的人拚命划浆,舍死相救;我们则从船尾抛下一根带有浮筒的绳子,并尽量把绳子放长。小艇上的人几经努力,终于抓住了绳子。我们就慢慢把小艇拖近船尾,全体船员才得以下了小艇。此时此刻,我们已无法再回到他们的船上去了,大家一致同意任凭小艇随波飘流,并努力向岸边划去。我们的船长许诺,万一小艇在岸边触礁,他将给他们船长照价赔偿。这样,小艇半划着,半随浪逐流,逐渐向北方的岸边飘去,最后靠近了温特顿岬角。

       离开大船不到一刻钟,我们就看到它沉下去了。这时,我才平生第一次懂得大海沉船是怎么回事。说实在话,当水手们告诉我大船正在下沉时,我几乎不敢抬头看一眼。当时,与其说是我自己爬下了小艇,还不如说是水手们把我丢进小艇的。从下小艇一刻起,我已心如死灰;一方面这是由于受风暴的惊吓,另一方面由于想到此行凶吉未卜,内心万分恐惧。

       尽管我们处境危难,水手们还是奋力向岸边划去。当小艇被冲上浪尖时,我们已能看到海岸了,并见到岸上有许多人奔来奔去,想等我们小艇靠岸时救助我们。但小艇前进速度极慢,而且怎么也靠不了岸。最后,我们竟划过了温特顿灯塔。海岸由此向西凹进,并向克罗默延伸。这样,陆地挡住了一点风势,我们终于费了九牛二虎之力靠了岸。全体安全上岸后,即步行至雅茅斯。我们这些受难的人受到了当地官员、富商和船主们的热情款待;他们妥善安置我们住宿,还为我们筹足了旅费。我们可以按自己的意愿或去伦敦,或回赫尔。

       当时,我要是还有点头脑,就应回到赫尔,并回到家里。我一定会非常幸福。我父亲也会像耶稣讲道中所说的那个喻言中的父亲,杀肥牛迎接我这回头的浪子。因为,家里人听说我搭乘的那条船在雅茅斯锚地遇难沉没,之后又过了好久才得知我并没有葬身鱼腹。

       但我恶运未尽,它以一种不可抗拒的力量迫使我不思悔改。有好几次,在我头脑冷静时,理智也曾向我大声疾呼,要我回家,但我却没有勇气听从理智的召唤。我不知道,也不想知道该怎么称呼这种驱使自己冥顽不化的力量,但这是一种神秘而无法逃避的定数;它往往会驱使我们自寻绝路,明知大祸临头,还是自投罗网。很显然,正是这种定数使我命中注定无法摆脱厄运。也正是这种定数的驱使,我才违背理智的召唤,甚至不愿从初次航海所遭遇的两次灾难中接受教训。

       我的朋友,即船长的儿子,正是他使我铁下心来上了他父亲的船,现在胆子反而比我小了。当时,我们在雅茅斯市被分别安置在好几个地方住宿,所以两、三天之后他才碰到我。我刚才说了,这是我们上岸分开后第一次见面。我们一交谈,我就发现他的口气变了。他看上去精神沮丧,且不时地摇头。他问了我的近况,并把我介绍给他父亲。他对他父亲说,我这是第一次航海,只是试试罢了,以后想出洋远游。

       听了这话,他父亲用十分严肃和关切的口吻对我说,"年轻人,你不应该再航海了。这次的灾难是一个凶兆,说明你不能当水手"。"怎么啦,先生,"我问,"难道你也不再航海了吗?""那是两码事,"他说,"航海是我的职业,因此也是我的职责。

       你这次出海,虽然只是一种尝试,老天爷已给你点滋味尝尝了;你若再一意孤行,必无好结果的。也许,我们这次大难临头,正是由于你上了我们的船的缘故,就像约拿上了开往他施的船一样。请问,"船长接着说,"你是什么人?你为什么要坐我们的船出海?"于是,我简略地向他谈了谈自己的身世。他听我讲完后,忽然怒气冲天,令人莫可名状。他说,"我作了什么孽,竟会让你这样的灾星上船。我以后绝不再和你坐同一条船,给我一千镑我也不干!"我觉得,这是因为沉船的损失使他心烦意乱,想在我身上泄愤。其实,他根本没有权利对我大发脾气。可是,后来他又郑重其事与我谈了一番,敦促我回到父亲身边,不要再惹怒老天爷来毁掉自己。他说,我应该看到,老天爷是不会放过我的。"年轻人,"他说,"相信我的话,你若不回家,不论你上哪儿,你只会受难和失望。到那时,你父亲的话就会在你身上应验了。"

       我对他的话不置可否,很快就跟他分手了。从此再也没有见到过他,对他的下落,也一无所知。至于我自己,口袋里有了点钱,就从陆路去伦敦。在赴伦敦途中,以及到了伦敦以后,我一直在作剧烈的思想斗争,不知道该选择什么样的生活道路:是回家呢,还是去航海?

       一想到回家,羞耻之心使我归心顿消。我立即想到街坊邻居会怎样讥笑我;我自己也不仅羞见双亲,也羞见别人。这件事使我以后时常想起,一般人之心情多么荒诞可笑,而又那样莫名其妙;尤其是年轻人,照例在这种时刻,应听从理智的指导。然而,他们不以犯罪为耻,反而以悔罪为耻;他们不以干傻事为耻,反而以改过为耻。而实际上他们若能觉悟,别人才会把他们看作聪明人呢。

       我就这样过了好几天,内心十分矛盾,不知何去何从,如何才好。但一想到回家,一种厌恶感油然升起,难以抑制。这样过了一些日子,对灾祸的记忆逐渐淡忘,原来动摇不定的归家念头也随之日趋淡薄,最后甚至丢到了九霄云外。这样,我又重新向往起航海生活来了。

 

    
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