英語の音に親しむ165 [英語ヒアリング練習]

Folding back the counterpane, I stooped over the bed. Though none of
the most elegant, it yet stood the scrutiny tolerably well. I then
glanced round the room; and besides the bedstead and centre table,
could see no other furniture belonging to the place, but a rude
shelf, the four walls, and a papered fireboard representing a man
striking a whale. Of things not properly belonging to the room,
there was a hammock lashed up, and thrown upon the floor in one
corner; also a large seaman's bag, containing the harpooneer's
wardrobe, no doubt in lieu of a land trunk. Likewise, there was a
parcel of outlandish bone fish hooks on the shelf over the
fire-place, and a tall harpoon standing at the head of the bed.

But what is this on the chest? I took it up, and held it close to
the light, and felt it, and smelt it, and tried every way possible to
arrive at some satisfactory conclusion concerning it. I can compare
it to nothing but a large door mat, ornamented at the edges with
little tinkling tags something like the stained porcupine quills
round an Indian moccasin. There was a hole or slit in the middle of
this mat, as you see the same in South American ponchos. But could
it be possible that any sober harpooneer would get into a door mat,
and parade the streets of any Christian town in that sort of guise?
I put it on, to try it, and it weighed me down like a hamper, being
uncommonly shaggy and thick, and I thought a little damp, as though
this mysterious harpooneer had been wearing it of a rainy day. I
went up in it to a bit of glass stuck against the wall, and I never
saw such a sight in my life. I tore myself out of it in such a hurry
that I gave myself a kink in the neck.

I sat down on the side of the bed, and commenced thinking about this
head-peddling harpooneer, and his door mat. After thinking some time
on the bed-side, I got up and took off my monkey jacket, and then
stood in the middle of the room thinking. I then took off my coat,
and thought a little more in my shirt sleeves. But beginning to feel
very cold now, half undressed as I was, and remembering what the
landlord said about the harpooneer's not coming home at all that
night, it being so very late, I made no more ado, but jumped out of
my pantaloons and boots, and then blowing out the light tumbled into
bed, and commended myself to the care of heaven.

Whether that mattress was stuffed with corn-cobs or broken crockery,
there is no telling, but I rolled about a good deal, and could not
sleep for a long time. At last I slid off into a light doze, and had
pretty nearly made a good offing towards the land of Nod, when I
heard a heavy footfall in the passage, and saw a glimmer of light
come into the room from under the door.

Lord save me, thinks I, that must be the harpooneer, the infernal
head-peddler. But I lay perfectly still, and resolved not to say a
word till spoken to. Holding a light in one hand, and that identical
New Zealand head in the other, the stranger entered the room, and
without looking towards the bed, placed his candle a good way off
from me on the floor in one corner, and then began working away at
the knotted cords of the large bag I before spoke of as being in the
room. I was all eagerness to see his face, but he kept it averted
for some time while employed in unlacing the bag's mouth. This
accomplished, however, he turned round--when, good heavens! what a
sight! Such a face! It was of a dark, purplish, yellow colour, here
and there stuck over with large blackish looking squares. Yes, it's
just as I thought, he's a terrible bedfellow; he's been in a fight,
got dreadfully cut, and here he is, just from the surgeon. But at
that moment he chanced to turn his face so towards the light, that I
plainly saw they could not be sticking-plasters at all, those black
squares on his cheeks. They were stains of some sort or other. At
first I knew not what to make of this; but soon an inkling of the
truth occurred to me. I remembered a story of a white man--a
whaleman too--who, falling among the cannibals, had been tattooed by
them. I concluded that this harpooneer, in the course of his distant
voyages, must have met with a similar adventure. And what is it,
thought I, after all! It's only his outside; a man can be honest in
any sort of skin. But then, what to make of his unearthly
complexion, that part of it, I mean, lying round about, and
completely independent of the squares of tattooing. To be sure, it
might be nothing but a good coat of tropical tanning; but I never
heard of a hot sun's tanning a white man into a purplish yellow one.
However, I had never been in the South Seas; and perhaps the sun
there produced these extraordinary effects upon the skin. Now, while
all these ideas were passing through me like lightning, this
harpooneer never noticed me at all. But, after some difficulty
having opened his bag, he commenced fumbling in it, and presently
pulled out a sort of tomahawk, and a seal-skin wallet with the hair
on. Placing these on the old chest in the middle of the room, he
then took the New Zealand head--a ghastly thing enough--and crammed
it down into the bag. He now took off his hat--a new beaver
hat--when I came nigh singing out with fresh surprise. There was no
hair on his head--none to speak of at least--nothing but a small
scalp-knot twisted up on his forehead. His bald purplish head now
looked for all the world like a mildewed skull. Had not the stranger
stood between me and the door, I would have bolted out of it quicker
than ever I bolted a dinner.

Even as it was, I thought something of slipping out of the window,
but it was the second floor back. I am no coward, but what to make
of this head-peddling purple rascal altogether passed my
comprehension. Ignorance is the parent of fear, and being completely
nonplussed and confounded about the stranger, I confess I was now as
much afraid of him as if it was the devil himself who had thus broken
into my room at the dead of night. In fact, I was so afraid of him
that I was not game enough just then to address him, and demand a
satisfactory answer concerning what seemed inexplicable in him.

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陸奥の しのぶもぢずり 誰ゆゑに
乱れそめにし 我ならなくに 河原左大臣

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コメント 4


by ねこばす (2009-01-02 13:55) 


by sなか (2009-01-02 20:55) 

Three Points to the Starboard

papered fireboard云々の箇所が気になって、
by Three Points to the Starboard (2009-07-29 04:29) 


Three Points to the Starboardさん、


by sなか (2009-07-30 11:06) 



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