Sigsand Manuscript


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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。








2007.10.15 23:21 URL | shigeyuki #- [ 編集 ]



2007.10.15 23:24 URL | #- [ 編集 ]