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They set off along the beach in formation.

The boys made a compact little group that moved over the beach, four plate-like shadows dancing and mingling beneath them.

There was a tiny smudge of smoke wavering into the air on the other side of the rock.

“Some fire—I don’t think.” Ralph turned.

“You two follow behind. I’ll go first, then Piggy a pace behind me. Keep your spears ready.”

High above them from the pinnacles came a sudden shout and then an imitation war-cry that was answered by a dozen voices from behind the rock.

“Halt! Who goes there?” Ralph bent back his head and glimpsed Roger’s dark face at the top.

He stood half-way along the neck and gazed at the savages intently. Freed by the paint, they had tied their hair back and were more comfortable than he was. The savages sniggered a bit and one gestured at Ralph with his spear. Piggy crouched, his back shapeless as a sack.

“I’m calling an assembly.”


Ralph spoke again, loudly. “I’m calling an assembly.” He ran his eye over them.

“Where’s Jack?”

The group of boys stirred and consulted.

A painted face spoke with the voice of Robert. “He’s hunting. And he said we weren’t to let you in.”

“I’ve come to see you about the fire,” said Ralph, “and about Piggy’s specs.”

The group in front of him shifted and laughter shivered outwards from among them, light, excited laughter that went echoing among the tall rocks.

A voice spoke from behind Ralph.

“What do you want?”

He tamed quickly. Jack was advancing from the forest.

“You go away, Ralph. You keep to your end. This is my end and my tribe. You leave me alone.”

“You pinched Piggy’s specs,” said Ralph, breathlessly. “You’ve got to give them back.

“Got to? Who says?”

Ralph’s temper blazed out. “I say! You voted for me for Chief. Didn’t you hear the conch? You played a dirty trick—we’d have given you fire if you’d asked for it.”

The blood was flowing in his cheeks and the bunged-up eye throbbed. “You could have had fire whenever you wanted. But you didn’t. You came sneaking up like a thief and stole Piggy’s glasses!”

“Say that again.”

“Thief! Thief!”

Piggy screamed. “Ralph! Mind me!”

Jack made a rush and stabbed at Ralph’s chest with his spear. Ralph sensed the position of the weapon from the glimpse he caught of Jack’s arm and put the thrust aside with his own butt.

Then he brought the end round and caught Jack a stinger across the ear.

They were chest to chest, breathing fiercely, pushing and glaring.

“Who’s a thief?”

“You are!”

Both boys were breathing very heavily. Truculently they squared up to each other but kept just out of fighting distance.

“Listen. We’ve come to say this. First you’ve got to give back Piggy’s specs. If he hasn’t got them he can’t see. You aren’t playing the game.”

The tribe of painted savages giggled and Ralph’s mind faltered.

Piggy whispered. “And the fire.”

“Oh yes. Then about the fire. I say this again. I’ve been saying it ever since we dropped in.” He held out his spear and pointed at the savages.

“Your only hope is keeping a signal fire going as long as there’s light to see. Then maybe a ship’ll notice the smoke and come and rescue us and take us home. But without that smoke we’ve got to wait till some ship comes by accident. We might wait years; till we were old.”

The shivering, silvery, unreal laughter of the savages sprayed out and echoed away.

A gust of rage shook Ralph. His voice cracked. “Don’t you understand, you painted fools? Sam, Eric, Piggy and me—we aren’t enough. We tried to keep the fire going, but we couldn’t. And then you, playing at hunting.”

He pointed past them to where the trickle of smoke dispersed in the pearly air.

“Look at that! Call that a signal fire? That’s a cooking fire. Now you’ll eat and there’ll be no smoke. Don’t you understand? There may be a ship out there.”

“Let me speak.” Piggy held up the conch.

“I got the conch!” He shouted. “I tell you, I got the conch!”

Silence and pause; but in the silence a curious air-noise, close by Ralph’s head. He gave it half his attention and there it was again; a faint “Zup!” Someone was throwing stones: Roger was dropping them, his one hand still on the lever. Below him, Ralph was a shock of hair and Piggy a bag of fat.

“I got this to say. You’re acting like a crowd of kids.”

The booing rose and died again as Piggy lifted the white, magic shell. “Which is better—to be a pack of painted niggers like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is?”

A great clamour rose among the savages. Piggy shouted again.

“Which is better—to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”

Again the clamour and again—”Zup!”

Ralph shouted against the noise. “Which is better, law and rescue, or hunting and breaking things up?”

Now Jack was yelling too and Ralph could no longer make himself heard. Jack had backed right against the tribe and they were a solid mass of menace that bristled with spears. The intention of a charge was forming among them.

Ralph stood facing them, a little to one side, his spear ready. By him stood Piggy still holding out the talisman, the fragile, shining beauty of the shell.

The storm of sound beat at them, an incantation of hatred.

High over-head, Roger, with a sense of delirious abandonment, leaned all his weight on the lever.

Ralph heard the great rock long before he saw it. He was aware of a jolt in the earth that came to him through the soles of his feet, and the breaking sound of stones at the top of the cliff.

Then the monstrous red thing bounded across the neck and he flung himself flat while the tribe shrieked. The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt, travelled through the air sideways from the rock, turning over as he went. The rock bounded twice and was lost in the forest. Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across that square, red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a bit, like a pig’s after it has been killed.

Then the sea breathed again in a long slow sigh, the water boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone.

This time the silence was complete. Ralph’s lips formed a word but no sound came. Suddenly Jack bounded out from the tribe and began screaming wildly. “See? See? That’s what you’ll get! I meant that! There isn’t a tribe for you any more! The conch is gone...”











































“让我说话。” 猪崽子拿起了海螺。
















2011-02-16 09:58 编辑:kuaileyingyu