少年派的奇幻漂流 Chapter 49
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Chapter 49
In the morning I could not move. I was pinned by weakness to the tarpaulin1. Even thinking was exhausting. I applied2 myself to thinking straight. At length, as slowly as a caravan3 of camels crossing a desert, some thoughts came together.
The day was like the previous one, warm and overcast4, the clouds low, the breeze light. That was one thought. The boat was rocking gently, that was another.
I thought of sustenance5 for the first time. I had not had a drop to drink or a bite to eat or a minute of sleep in three days. Finding this obvious explanation for my weakness brought me a little strength.
Richard Parker was still on board. In fact, he was directly beneath me. Incredible that such a thing should need consent to be true, but it was only after much deliberation, upon assessing various mental items and points of view, that I concluded that it was not a dream or a delusion6 or a misplaced memory or a fancy or any other such falsity, but a solid, true thing witnessed while in a weakened, highly agitated7 state. The truth of it would be confirmed as soon as I felt well enough to investigate.
How I had failed to notice for two and a half days a 450-pound Bengal tiger in a lifeboat twenty-six feet long was a conundrum8 I would have to try to crack later, when I had more energy. The feat9 surely made Richard Parker the largest stowaway10, proportionally speaking, in the history of navigation. From tip of nose to tip of tail he took up over a third of the length of the ship he was on.
You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked11 up and felt much better. We see that in sports all the time, don't we? The tennis challenger starts strong but soon loses confidence in his playing. The champion racks up the games. But in the final set, when the challenger has nothing left to lose, he becomes relaxed again, insouciant12, daring. Suddenly he's playing like the devil and the champion must work hard to get those last points. So it was with me. To cope with a hyena13 seemed remotely possible, but I was so obviously outmatched by Richard Parker that it wasn't even worth worrying about. With a tiger aboard, my life was over. That being settled, why not do something about my parched14 throat?
I believe it was this that saved my life that morning, that I was quite literally15 dying of thirst. Now that the word had popped into my head I couldn't think of anything else, as if the word itself were salty and the more I thought of it, the worse the effect. I have heard that the hunger for air exceeds as a compelling sensation the thirst for water. Only for a few minutes, I say. After a few minutes you die and the discomfort16 of asphyxiation17 goes away. Whereas thirst is a drawn-out affair. Look: Christ on the Cross died of suffocation18, but His only complaint was of thirst. If thirst can be so taxing that even God Incarnate19 complains about it, imagine the effect on a regular human. It was enough to make me go raving20 mad. I have never known a worse physical hell than this putrid21 taste and pasty feeling in the mouth, this unbearable22 pressure at the back of the throat, this sensation that my blood was turning to a thick syrup23 that barely flowed. Truly, by comparison, a tiger was nothing.
And so I pushed aside all thoughts of Richard Parker and fearlessly went exploring for fresh water.
The divining rod in my mind dipped sharply and a spring gushed24 water when I remembered that I was on a genuine, regulation lifeboat and that such a lifeboat was surely outfitted25 with supplies. That seemed like a perfectly26 reasonable proposition. What captain would fail in so elementary a way to ensure the safety of his crew? What ship chandler would not think of making a little extra money under the noble guise27 of saving lives? It was settled. There was water aboard. All I had to do was find it.
Which meant I had to move.
I made it to the middle of the boat, to the edge of the tarpaulin. It was a hard crawl. I felt I was climbing the side of a volcano and I was about to look over the rim28 into a boiling cauldron of orange lava29. I lay flat. I carefully brought my head over. I did not look over any more than I had to. I did not see Richard Parker. The hyena was plainly visible, though. It was back behind what was left of the zebra. It was looking at me.
I was no longer afraid of it. It wasn't ten feet away, yet my heart didn't skip a beat. Richard Parker's presence had at least that useful aspect. To be afraid of this ridiculous dog when there was a tiger about was like being afraid of splinters when trees are falling down. I became very angry at the animal. "You ugly, foul30 creature," I muttered. The only reason I didn't stand up and beat it off the lifeboat with a stick was lack of strength and stick, not lack of heart.
Did the hyena sense something of my mastery? Did it say to itself, "Super alpha is watching me-I better not move?" I don't know. At any rate, it didn't move. In fact, in the way it ducked its head it seemed to want to hide from me. But it was no use hiding. It would get its just deserts soon enough.
Richard Parker also explained the animals' strange behaviour. Now it was clear why the hyena had confined itself to such an absurdly small space behind the zebra and why it had waited so long before killing31 it. It was fear of the greater beast and fear of touching32 the greater beast's food. The strained, temporary peace between Orange Juice and the hyena, and my reprieve33, were no doubt due to the same reason: in the face of such a superior predator34, all of us were prey35, and normal ways of preying36 were affected37. It seemed the presence of a tiger had saved me from a hyena-surely a textbook example of jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
But the great beast was not behaving like a great beast, to such an extent that the hyena had taken liberties. Richard Parker's passivity, and for three long days, needed explaining. Only in two ways could I account for it: sedation and seasickness38. Father regularly sedated39 a number of the animals to lessen40 their stress. Might he have sedated Richard Parker shortly before the ship sank? Had the shock of the shipwreck-the noises, the falling into the sea, the terrible struggle to swim to the lifeboat-increased the effect of the sedative41? Had seasickness taken over after that? These were the only plausible42 explanations I could come up with.
I lost interest in the question. Only water interested me.
I took stock of the lifeboat.



1 tarpaulin nIszk     
  • The pool furniture was folded,stacked,and covered with a tarpaulin.游泳池的设备都已经折叠起来,堆在那里,还盖上了防水布。
  • The pool furniture was folded,stacked,and covered with a tarpaulin.游泳池的设备都已经折叠起来,堆在那里,还盖上了防水布。
2 applied Tz2zXA     
  • She plans to take a course in applied linguistics.她打算学习应用语言学课程。
  • This cream is best applied to the face at night.这种乳霜最好晚上擦脸用。
3 caravan OrVzu     
  • The community adviser gave us a caravan to live in.社区顾问给了我们一间活动住房栖身。
  • Geoff connected the caravan to the car.杰弗把旅行用的住屋拖车挂在汽车上。
4 overcast cJ2xV     
  • The overcast and rainy weather found out his arthritis.阴雨天使他的关节炎发作了。
  • The sky is overcast with dark clouds.乌云满天。
5 sustenance mriw0     
  • We derive our sustenance from the land.我们从土地获取食物。
  • The urban homeless are often in desperate need of sustenance.城市里无家可归的人极其需要食物来维持生命。
6 delusion x9uyf     
  • He is under the delusion that he is Napoleon.他患了妄想症,认为自己是拿破仑。
  • I was under the delusion that he intended to marry me.我误认为他要娶我。
7 agitated dzgzc2     
  • His answers were all mixed up,so agitated was he.他是那样心神不定,回答全乱了。
  • She was agitated because her train was an hour late.她乘坐的火车晚点一个小时,她十分焦虑。
8 conundrum gpxzZ     
  • Let me give you some history about a conundrum.让我给你们一些关于谜题的历史。
  • Scientists had focused on two explanations to solve this conundrum.科学家已锁定两种解释来解开这个难题。
9 feat 5kzxp     
  • Man's first landing on the moon was a feat of great daring.人类首次登月是一个勇敢的壮举。
  • He received a medal for his heroic feat.他因其英雄业绩而获得一枚勋章。
10 stowaway 5tQwv     
  • The stowaway masqueraded as a crew member.偷渡者假扮成乘务员。
  • The crew discovered the stowaway about two days into their voyage.船员在开船约两天后发现了那名偷乘者。
11 perked 6257cbe5d4a830c7288630659113146b     
(使)活跃( perk的过去式和过去分词 ); (使)增值; 使更有趣
  • The recent demand for houses has perked up the prices. 最近对住房的需求使房价上涨了。
  • You've perked up since this morning. 你今天上午精神就好多了。
12 insouciant y6ixF     
  • But not all central bankers are so insouciant.然而,不是所有的央行人士都对此高枕无忧。
  • Americans are remarkably insouciant about this development.美国人对这个数字漫无关心。
13 hyena k47yz     
  • African hyena noted for its distinctive howl.非洲鬣狗,以其特别的嚎叫而闻名。
  • The hyena's public image is not aided by its ridiculous appearance.鬣狗滑稽的外表无助于改善它在公众心中的形象。
14 parched 2mbzMK     
  • Hot winds parched the crops.热风使庄稼干透了。
  • The land in this region is rather dry and parched.这片土地十分干燥。
15 literally 28Wzv     
  • He translated the passage literally.他逐字逐句地翻译这段文字。
  • Sometimes she would not sit down till she was literally faint.有时候,她不走到真正要昏厥了,决不肯坐下来。
16 discomfort cuvxN     
  • One has to bear a little discomfort while travelling.旅行中总要忍受一点不便。
  • She turned red with discomfort when the teacher spoke.老师讲话时她不好意思地红着脸。
17 asphyxiation df310853a95d45c9d691f9e09b0cfdbb     
n. 窒息
  • Objective Inquiry into the heavy asphyxiation rescues measure of the new born. 摘要目的探讨新生儿重度窒息抢救的措施。
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus(SCBA) may be required to prevent asphyxiation of rescue personnel. 可能要求有自给式呼吸器(SCBA),以防止救援人员窒息。
18 suffocation b834eadeaf680f6ffcb13068245a1fed     
  • The greatest dangers of pyroclastic avalanches are probably heat and suffocation. 火成碎屑崩落的最大危害可能是炽热和窒息作用。 来自辞典例句
  • The room was hot to suffocation. 房间热得闷人。 来自辞典例句
19 incarnate dcqzT     
  • She was happiness incarnate.她是幸福的化身。
  • That enemy officer is a devil incarnate.那个敌军军官简直是魔鬼的化身。
20 raving c42d0882009d28726dc86bae11d3aaa7     
  • The man's a raving lunatic. 那个男子是个语无伦次的疯子。
  • When I told her I'd crashed her car, she went stark raving bonkers. 我告诉她我把她的车撞坏了时,她暴跳如雷。
21 putrid P04zD     
  • To eat putrid food is liable to get sick.吃了腐败的食物容易生病。
  • A putrid smell drove us from the room.一股腐臭的气味迫使我们离开这房间。
22 unbearable alCwB     
  • It is unbearable to be always on thorns.老是处于焦虑不安的情况中是受不了的。
  • The more he thought of it the more unbearable it became.他越想越觉得无法忍受。
23 syrup hguzup     
  • I skimmed the foam from the boiling syrup.我撇去了煮沸糖浆上的泡沫。
  • Tinned fruit usually has a lot of syrup with it.罐头水果通常都有许多糖浆。
24 gushed de5babf66f69bac96b526188524783de     
v.喷,涌( gush的过去式和过去分词 );滔滔不绝地说话
  • Oil gushed from the well. 石油从井口喷了出来。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • Clear water gushed into the irrigational channel. 清澈的水涌进了灌溉渠道。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
25 outfitted a17c5c96672d65d85119ded77f503676     
v.装备,配置设备,供给服装( outfit的过去式和过去分词 )
  • They outfitted for the long journey. 他们为远途旅行准备装束。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • They outfitted him with artificial legs. 他们为他安了假腿。 来自辞典例句
26 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
27 guise JeizL     
  • They got into the school in the guise of inspectors.他们假装成视察员进了学校。
  • The thief came into the house under the guise of a repairman.那小偷扮成个修理匠进了屋子。
28 rim RXSxl     
  • The water was even with the rim of the basin.盆里的水与盆边平齐了。
  • She looked at him over the rim of her glass.她的目光越过玻璃杯的边沿看着他。
29 lava v9Zz5     
  • The lava flowed down the sides of the volcano.熔岩沿火山坡面涌流而下。
  • His anger spilled out like lava.他的愤怒像火山爆发似的迸发出来。
30 foul Sfnzy     
  • Take off those foul clothes and let me wash them.脱下那些脏衣服让我洗一洗。
  • What a foul day it is!多么恶劣的天气!
31 killing kpBziQ     
  • Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.投资者准备清仓以便大赚一笔。
  • Last week my brother made a killing on Wall Street.上个周我兄弟在华尔街赚了一大笔。
32 touching sg6zQ9     
  • It was a touching sight.这是一幅动人的景象。
  • His letter was touching.他的信很感人。
33 reprieve kBtzb     
  • He was saved from the gallows by a lastminute reprieve.最后一刻的缓刑令把他从绞架上解救了下来。
  • The railway line, due for closure, has been granted a six-month reprieve.本应停运的铁路线获准多运行6 个月。
34 predator 11vza     
  • The final part of this chapter was devoted to a brief summary of predator species.本章最后部分简要总结了食肉动物。
  • Komodo dragon is the largest living lizard and a fearsome predator.科摩多龙是目前存在的最大蜥蜴,它是一种令人恐惧的捕食性动物。
35 prey g1czH     
  • Stronger animals prey on weaker ones.弱肉强食。
  • The lion was hunting for its prey.狮子在寻找猎物。
36 preying 683b2a905f132328be40e96922821a3d     
v.掠食( prey的现在分词 );掠食;折磨;(人)靠欺诈为生
  • This problem has been preying on my mind all day. 这个问题让我伤了整整一天脑筋。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • For a while he let his eyes idly follow the preying bird. 他自己的眼睛随着寻食的鸟毫无目的地看了一会儿。 来自辞典例句
37 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
38 seasickness ojpzVf     
  • Europeans take melons for a preventive against seasickness. 欧洲人吃瓜作为预防晕船的方法。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • He was very prone to seasickness and already felt queasy. 他快晕船了,已经感到恶心了。 来自辞典例句
39 sedated sedated     
v.使昏昏入睡,使镇静( sedate的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She's sedated,but she's probably scared out of her mind. 她很安静,但是她可能已经吓疯了。 来自电影对白
  • Are you telling me the porn actually sedated you? 你是要告诉我,那毛片的确让你镇静下来吗? 来自电影对白
40 lessen 01gx4     
  • Regular exercise can help to lessen the pain.经常运动有助于减轻痛感。
  • They've made great effort to lessen the noise of planes.他们尽力减小飞机的噪音。
41 sedative 9DgzI     
adj.使安静的,使镇静的;n. 镇静剂,能使安静的东西
  • After taking a sedative she was able to get to sleep.服用了镇静剂后,她能够入睡了。
  • Amber bath oil has a sedative effect.琥珀沐浴油有镇静安神效用。
42 plausible hBCyy     
  • His story sounded plausible.他说的那番话似乎是真实的。
  • Her story sounded perfectly plausible.她的说辞听起来言之有理。
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