Sigsand Manuscript


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 The Second had another long look, and then went for his nightglasses. For some time after, he watched the thing at intervals, taking short hurried strides up and down the poop between whiles.
 Evidently he was puzzled; so was I for that matter. The light was not that of another vessel; it appeared to be, as I have just said, more of the nature of a corposant, or "corpse-candle."
 Presently the hail of the "lookout" came hollowly aft. "Light on the port bow, Sir."
 "Thanks for nothing," I heard the Second Mate mutter: then louder, "Aye, Aye."
There was not a breath of wind. The "courses" had been hauled up to prevent chafing, and we were lying silently in the night.
 A little later, after a prolonged gaze, the Second again called me to him and asked if I thought the light any plainer. "Yes, Sir," I replied. "It's much plainer and larger too, Sir."
 For a while he was silent.
 "Queer thing, Sir." I ventured after a bit.
 "Damned queer!" he replied. "I shall call the Old Man soon if it comes any closer."
 "Perhaps it's not moving," I suggested. The Second Mate looked at me a moment moodily, then stood upright with a sudden movement.
 "I never thought of that," he cried. "You think we may be in a current taking us towards it?" I nodded silently.
 He went to the side and looked over, then returned irritably. "I wish to heaven it was daylight!" he snapped. In a while he looked again; then an exclamation of surprise came from him quickly, and turning, he handed the glasses to me.
 "See if you can see anything queer about it," he said.
 I had a long look, then passed them back to him.
 "Well?" he questioned impatiently.
 "I don't know, Sir," I answered. "It bbeats all I've seen while I've been fishing: it seems tons larger too.
 "Yes, Yes!" he growled, "but don't you notice anything about the shape?"
 "Jove, yes, Sir, I do now you mention it. You mean it looks like a great wedge? And the colour, Sir, it's wonderful. You might almost fancy..." I hesitated somewhat shyly.
 "Go on," he grunted.
 "Well, sir, you could almost fancy it was a tremendous valley of light in the night."
 He nodded appreciatively, but said nothing.



"The Riven Night"
Written by William Hope Hodgson
Transrated by shigeyuki


The Riven Night

by William Hope Hodgson

 Captain Ronaldson had lost his wife. This much we knew, and when the stern-visaged man came aboard to take command, it was I, the eldest apprentice, who stood at the gangway and passed his "things" aboard. One quick glance I have in his face as he passed me, and the world of sorrow that lurked in those sombre eyes touched me with a feeling of intense pity; though I knew little, save that he had lost his wife after a brief space of married life. Afterwards I learnt something of their story. How he had fought and saved to make sufficient to marry the woman he loved. How for her sake he had lived straightly and honourably, working at his profession until at last he had obtained a Master's certificate. Then they had married, and for six brief weeks' joy had been theirs; and now--this!
 During our outward voyage the Captain was grimly silent. He acted like one who had lost all interest in life. As a result, the two Mates after a few attempts to draw him into conversation left him pretty much to himself, which indeed was what he apparently desired.
 We reached Melbourne after an uneventful voyage and, having discharged and reloaded, commenced the homeward passage: the strangest and weirdest, surely, that ever man took. Even now, I scarce know what was real and what not. Sometimes I'm almost persuaded that the whole dread incident was a fearsome dream, were it not that the things which happened (things I cannot explain away) have left all too real and lasting traces.
 We had a tedious passage with continual headwinds, heavy gales, and long calms, and it was during one of these that the strange thing I have to tell of befell.
 We had been out a hundred and forty-three days. The heat had been stifling, and thankful I was when night came, bringing its shade from the oppression.
 It was my "timekeeping," and I walked the lee side of the poop sleepily.
 Suddenly the Second Mate called me up to wind'ard. "Just have a squint over there, Hodgson; I seemed to see something just now, "and he pointed out into the gloom about four points on the port bow.
 I looked steadily for some minutes but could see nothing. Then there grew out of the darkness a faint, nebulous light of a distinctly violet hue. "There's something over there, Sir," I said. "It looks like one of those corpse-candles."



ウィリアム・ホープ・ホジスン 著

shigeyuki 訳


"The Riven Night"
Written by William Hope Hodgson
Transrated by shigeyuki

The fellows were a bit excited in a sort of subdued way; though I am inclined to think there was far more curiosity and, perhaps, a certain consciousness of the strangeness of it all. I know that, looking to leeward, there was a tendancy to keep well together, in which I sympathised.
"Must be a bloomin' stowaway," one of the men suggested.
I grabbed at the idea, instantly. Perhaps--And then, in a moment, I dismissed it. I remembered how that first thing had stepped over the rail into the sea. That matter could not be explained in such a manner. With regard to this, I was curious and anxious. I had seen nothing this time. What could the Second Mate have seen? I wondered. Were we chasing fancies, or was there really someone--something real, among the shadows above us? My thoughts returned to that thing, Tammy and I had seen near the log-reel. I remembered how incapable the Second Mate had been of seeing anything then. I remembered how natural it had seemed that he should not be able to see. I caught the word "stowaway" again. After all, that might explain away this affair. It would--
My train of thought was broken suddenly. One of the men was shouting and gesticulating.
"I sees 'im! I sees 'im!" He was pointing upwards over our heads.
"Where?" said the man above me. "Where?"
I was looking up, for all that I was worth. I was conscious of a certain sense of relief. "It is real, then," I said to myself. I screwed my head round, and looked along the yards above us. Yet, still I could see nothing; nothing except shadows and patches of light.
Down on deck, I caught the Second Mate's voice.
"Have you got him?" he was shouting.
"Not yet, Zur," sung out the lowest man on the lee side.
"We sees 'im, Sir," added Quoin.
"I don't!" I said.
"There 'e is agen," he said.
We had reached the t'gallant rigging, and he was pointing up to the royal yard.
"Ye're a fule, Quoin. That's what ye are."
The voice came from above. It was Jock's, and there was a burst of laughter at Quoin's expense.
I could see Jock now. He was standing in the rigging, just below the yard. He had gone straight away up, while the rest of us were mooning over the top.
"Ye're a fule, Quoin," he said, again, "And I'm thinking the Second's juist as saft."
He began to descend.
"Then there's no one?" I asked.
"Na'," he said, briefly.
As we reached the deck, the Second Mate ran down off the poop. He came towards us, with an expectant air.

「密航者がおるに違げえねえ」誰かがいった。すぐに、そいつはうまい考えだと思った、たぶん―と、その瞬間やめてしまったよ。初めて見た奴のことを思いだしたんだ。そいつは海から手摺りを越えて入ってきた。あれは密航者なんかじゃ説明できやしない。これには興味は引かれたが、心配もあった。俺は今度はなにも見てない。二等航海士はいったい何を見たっていうんだ。俺は訝った。俺たちは幻を追っかけてるんじゃないか、それとも真上の暗闇の中には本当に誰か、いや、何かがいるんだろうか。心はタミーとログリールの側に見たものへと移っていった。そのとき何も見つけられなかった二等航海士がどれほど無能に見えたか覚えている。何も見ようともしなかったことがどれほど当然なことに思えたか覚えている。そして、また「密航者」という言葉をかみしめた。まったく、それなら今回は納得がいくじゃないか。こいつは・・・思考はふいに断ち切られた。誰かが叫び、興奮して手を振っている。 「いたぞ!見つけた!」そいつは頭上のずっと先を指さしていた。
「まんだです、シャー」風下側の一番下の男が答える。                           「俺らにゃ見えます、サー」コインが付け加えた。        
その声は真上からきこえてきた。そいつはジョックだった。コインのはやとちりをげらげら笑っている。       そのうちジョックの姿が見えるようになった、あいつは帆桁の真下の索具にいた。俺たちがトップでもたもたしてる間に、まっすぐ登りきってしまってたんだな。




From the trenches

"What a scene of desolation, the heaved-up mud rimming ten thousand shell craters as far as the sight could reach, north and south and east and west. My God, what a desolation! And here and there, standing like mute, muddied rocks-somehow terrible in their significant grim bashed formlessness-an old concrete blockhouse, with the earth torn up around them in monstrous craters, and, in some cases, surged in great waves of earth against the sides of the blockhouses. The sun was pretty low as I came back, and far off across that Desolation, here and there they showed--just formless, squarish, cornerless masses erected by man against the Infernal Storm that sweeps for ever, night and day, day and night, across that most atrocious Plain of Destruction. My God! talk about a lost World--talk about the END of the World; talk about the "Night Land"--it is all here, not more than two hundred odd miles from where you sit infinitely remote. And the infinite, monstrous, dreadful pathos of the things one sees--the great shell-hole with over thirty crosses sticking up in it; some just up out of the water--and the dead below them, submerged. And near the centre there was one cross inscribed to "Adolphe Dehaut, tué Nov. 26th, 1917." And on the centre of the cross, lashed with a piece of cross-wire, was an empty bottle, upside down. ("Turn down an empty glass," I suppose.) Who, I wonder, was Adolphe Dehaut? If I live and come somehow out of this (and certainly, please God, I shall and hope to) what a book I shall write if my old "ability" with the pen has not forsaken me. Who, I wonder, was Adolphe Dehaut? Some day, if it please God, I'll see that at least one French soldier's name is not lost in the dreadful oblivion that, like the mud of this hideous world, falls on the dead, and they pass out, wrapped in their blanket."



 何と云う荒涼とした光景なのだろう。一万もの破裂弾によって盛り上がった泥のクレーターが、見渡す限りに広がっている。北に、南に、東に、西に。神よ、何と救いのないことか!そこかしこに、聾唖者のように立ち尽くしている泥だらけの岩があり---どれほどの恐怖が、原型を止めぬ程に打ち砕かれたその有様に暗示されているだろう---古いコンクリートのトーチカが巨大なクレーターの中で土に半ば埋もれていたり、所によっては、トーチカの傍らにまで大きくうねった大地が押し寄せていたりしているのだ。私が戻る頃には太陽はとても低く、荒涼の大地の遥か彼方を横切っていた。するとそこかしこにそれらは姿を現す---人々によって立てられた、輪郭を欠き、四角張った、角を失った一群。最も身の毛もよだつような《破壊の平原》を横切り、夜も昼も、昼も夜も、地獄の暴風が永遠に吹き荒れるその中に。神よ!ロストワールドの物語が……世界の終末の物語が……それから《ナイトランド》の物語……それらはすべてここにある。貴方がいる場所から二百マイルほどしか離れていないが、無限に遠い場所だ。そしてこの無常、醜悪さ、恐ろしい悲哀を目にする---巨大な漏斗孔の中に、三十以上の十字架が立ち並んでいる。いくつかの十字架は水の上に突き出しているが---その十字架の下に眠る身体は、水面下にあるのだ。そして中ほどにある十字架の一つには、"Adolphe Dehaut, tue' Nov. 26th, 1917." と刻まれている。十字線で強く結び付けられている十字架の前には、空のボトルがあり、口を下に向けて置かれてある(「空いたグラスは逆さまにすべきだ」と私は思う)。一体、と私は思う、Adolphe Dehautとは誰なんだろう?もし私が生きて何とか此処から戻ることが出来たなら(もちろん、どうか神よ、私はそうしなければならないし、そう望んでいるのです)、そしてその時私にかつてのように「書く力」が残されていたなら、私には書くべき一冊の本がある。誰なのだろう?私は考える。Adolphe Dehautとは一体誰なのだ?いつかもし神が許されるなら、私は少なくとも一人のフランス人の兵士の名前を忘却という深遠の向こうへ置き去りにしないでおこう。死者たちの上に降り注ぎ、包み込んでその存在をかき消してしまう、狂おしい世界の泥のようには。


"From the trenches"
Written by William Hope Hodgson
Transrated by shigeyuki