The Adventures of Tom Sawyer



   Tom, ara, s'havia format el seu determini. Tot ell era tenebror i desesperança. Era un noi abandonat, sense amics, deia ell; ningú no l'estimava; quan descobrissin a quina resolució l'havien conduït, potser els recaria; havia fet per manera d'obrar bé i anar tirant, però no l'hi havien consentit, i ja que no els convenia cap altra cosa sinó alliberar-se d'ell, que així fos: i que àdhuc el carreguessin amb la culpa per les conseqüències. Per què no havien de fer-ho? Quín dret tenia, el desvalgut, de queixar-se? Sí, l'hi havien obligat, al capdavall: faria una vida criminal. No hi havia opció.

   TOM'S mind was made up now. He was gloomy and desperate. He was a forsaken, friendless boy, he said; nobody loved him; when they found out what they had driven him to, perhaps they would be sorry; he had tried to do right and get along, but they would not let him; since nothing would do them but to be rid of him, let it be so; and let them blame him for the consequences--why shouldn't they? What right had the friendless to complain? Yes, they had forced him to it at last: he would lead a life of crime. There was no choice.

   Mentrestant, era molt més avall de Meadow Land, i el dring de la campana de l'escola per a acoblar els minyons arribava tot desmaiat a la seva oïda. Sanglotà, aleshores, de pensar que mai més, mai més, no tornaria a sentir aquella antiga ressonança familiar: era cosa ben dura, però l'hi obligaven. Ja que era llançat al món glacial, havia de sotmetre's, però els perdonava. I els sanglots es feren intensos i seguits.

   By this time he was far down Meadow Lane, and the bell for school to "take up" tinkled faintly upon his ear. He sobbed, now, to think he should never, never hear that old familiar sound any more--it was very hard, but it was forced on him; since he was driven out into the cold world, he must submit--but he forgave them. Then the sobs came thick and fast.

   En aquella avinentesa, precisament, trobà el companyó jurat de son esperit, Joe Harper, que venia amb una aspra mirada i evidentment arrecerava en son cor algun projecte grandiós i sinistre. Eren, palesament, «dos esperits amb una sola idea». Tom, fregant-se els ulls amb la mànega, començà de barbotejar quelcom sobre un determini d'escapar-se de la seva malmenada existència i la manca de simpatia de la llar, i vaguejar per l'ample món, i no tornar mai més; i acabà esperant que Joe no l'oblidaria.

   Just at this point he met his soul's sworn comrade, Joe Harper--hard-eyed, and with evidently a great and dismal purpose in his heart. Plainly here were "two souls with but a single thought." Tom, wiping his eyes with his sleeve, began to blubber out something about a resolution to escape from hard usage and lack of sympathy at home by roaming abroad into the great world never to return; and ended by hoping that Joe would not forget him.

   Però hom esbrinà que aquesta mateixa requesta, precisament, era la que Joe anava a fer a Tom; i havia anat a la seva percaça amb aquest fi. La seva mare l'havia fuetejat per haver-se begut una llet que ell no havia tastat, ni en sabia res: era evident que estava cansada d'ell i desitjava que partís. Si ella tenia aquests sentiments, ell no podia fer altra cosa que retre-s'hi: esperava que ella seria feliç, i mai no es penediria d'haver llançat son pobre minyó al món insensible, perquè hi passés pena i hi morís.

   But it transpired that this was a request which Joe had just been going to make of Tom, and had come to hunt him up for that purpose. His mother had whipped him for drinking some cream which he had never tasted and knew nothing about; it was plain that she was tired of him and wished him to go; if she felt that way, there was nothing for him to do but succumb; he hoped she would be happy, and never regret having driven her poor boy out into the unfeeling world to suffer and die.

   Mentre els dos nois caminaven tots adolorits, feren un nou pacte d'ajut mutual i d'ésser germans, i no separar-se mai fins que la mort els lliurés de llurs calamitats. Aleshores començaren de perfilar llurs plans. Joe duia al magí d'ésser ermità, i viure de rosegons en una remota caverna, i morir-se paulatinament, de fred i necessitat i dolor; però, després d'haver parat atenció a Tom, concedí que una vida de crim oferia alguns eminents aventatges: així és que consentí a ésser pirata.

   As the two boys walked sorrowing along, they made a new compact to stand by each other and be brothers and never separate till death relieved them of their troubles. Then they began to lay their plans. Joe was for being a hermit, and living on crusts in a remote cave, and dying, some time, of cold and want and grief; but after listening to Tom, he conceded that there were some conspicuous advantages about a life of crime, and so he consented to be a pirate.

   Tres milles més avall de Sant Petersburg, en un indret on el riu Mississipí tenia poc més d'una milla d'amplada, hi havia una illa llarga, estreta, boscosa, amb un alfac en son extrem, ben escaient com a lloc de cita. No era habitada. S'estenia qui-sap-lo envers l'altra ribera, entre una selva espessa i gairebé absolutament despoblada. Així, doncs, l'illa de Jackson fou escollida. Quínes haguessin d'ésser les víctimes de llurs pirateries, era cosa que no se'ls acudí. Després anaren a cercar Huckleberry Finn, i ell va unir-se'ls tot seguit, perquè totes les carreres li eren iguals: li era indiferent. Es separaren al cap de poc, per a trobar-se en un indret solitari de la vora del riu, a dues milles del poblet, a l'hora favorita, que era la mitja nit. Allí hi havia un petit rai de brancatge que es proposaven capturar. Cadascú d'ells portaria hams i cordills, i les provisions que pogués robar de la manera més ombrívola i misteriosa, com escau als bandejats: i abans que la tarda fos passada s'havien enginyat per gaudir la dolça ufana d'escampar que ben tost la ciutat «sabria alguna cosa». Tots els que oïren aquesta vaga al·lusió foren advertits que calia «no dir-ne un mot i esperar».

   Three miles below St. Petersburg, at a point where the Mississippi River was a trifle over a mile wide, there was a long, narrow, wooded island, with a shallow bar at the head of it, and this offered well as a rendezvous. It was not inhabited; it lay far over toward the further shore, abreast a dense and almost wholly unpeopled forest. So Jackson's Island was chosen. Who were to be the subjects of their piracies was a matter that did not occur to them. Then they hunted up Huckleberry Finn, and he joined them promptly, for all careers were one to him; he was indifferent. They presently separated to meet at a lonely spot on the river-bank two miles above the village at the favorite hour--which was midnight. There was a small log raft there which they meant to capture. Each would bring hooks and lines, and such provision as he could steal in the most dark and mysterious way--as became outlaws. And before the afternoon was done, they had all managed to enjoy the sweet glory of spreading the fact that pretty soon the town would "hear something." All who got this vague hint were cautioned to "be mum and wait."

   Cap a la mitja nit, Tom arribà amb un pernil elaborat i unes quantes bagatel·les, i s'aturà entre unes espesses mates, damunt un penyal que dominava el lloc de la cita. Hi havia celístia i una gran quietud. El riu poderós s'estenia com un oceà en sossec. Tom parà atenció un moment, però cap so no trencava la calma. Després féu un xiulet baix i precís. Li respongueren de sota el penyal. Tom xiulà dues vegades més. Aquests senyals foren respostos d'igual manera. Després una veu cautelosa digué:

   About midnight Tom arrived with a boiled ham and a few trifles, and stopped in a dense undergrowth on a small bluff overlooking the meeting-place. It was starlight, and very still. The mighty river lay like an ocean at rest. Tom listened a moment, but no sound disturbed the quiet. Then he gave a low, distinct whistle. It was answered from under the bluff. Tom whistled twice more; these signals were answered in the same way. Then a guarded voice said:

   -Quí hi ha aquí?

   "Who goes there?"

   -Tom Sawyer, el Negre Flagell de la Mar Espanyola. Digueu els vostres noms.

   "Tom Sawyer, the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main. Name your names."

   -Huck Finn, el Mà-roja, i Joe Harper, Terror de les mars.- Tom havia proporcionat aquests títols, que pertanyien a la seva literatura predilecta.

   "Huck Finn the Red-Handed, and Joe Harper the Terror of the Seas." Tom had furnished these titles, from his favorite literature.

   -Bé està. Doneu la contrasenya.

   "'Tis well. Give the countersign."

   Un parell de roncs murmuris lliuraren el mateix nom paorós, simultàniament, a la nit que els arrecerava:

   Two hoarse whispers delivered the same awful word simultaneously to the brooding night:



   Aleshores Tom tirà a baix el pernil, per damunt el penyal, i es deixà caure al seu darrera, esquinçant a la vegada, fins a cert punt, pell i vestits en son esforç. Hi havia un caminal fàcil i confortable al llarg de la ribera, sota el penyal, però li mancaven els aventatges de la dificultat i el perill, de tant de preu quan es tracta d'un pirata.

   Then Tom tumbled his ham over the bluff and let himself down after it, tearing both skin and clothes to some extent in the effort. There was an easy, comfortable path along the shore under the bluff, but it lacked the advantages of difficulty and danger so valued by a pirate.

   La Terror de les Mars havia portat un llom de porc, i s'havia extenuat traginant-lo fins allí. Finn, el Mà-roja, havia robat una cassoleta, i una quantitat de tabac de fulla a mig preparar, i també havia portat unes quantes panotxes per fer-ne pipes. Però cap dels pirates no fumava ni mastegava tabac sinó ell. El Negre Flagell de la Mar Espanyola digué que no fóra bo de començar sense fer una mica de foc. Aquest pensament era assenyat; els mistos eren amb prou feines coneguts en aquell temps. Veieren un foc que treia fum en gran rai, a unes cent yardes, més amunt, i anaren llisquívolament cap allí i en prengueren una brasa. Convertiren l'empresa en una imposant aventura, dient: «Sst!» tot sovint, i aturant-se de cop i volta, i amb el dit als llavis; avançant amb les mans damunt imaginaris mànecs de punyals, i disposant en llòbrecs murmuris que si «l'enemic es movia calia enfonsar-los-hi fins al mànec», perquè «els morts no parlen». Massa sabien que els homes del rai havien baixat al poblet a dar un tom pels magatzems o a abandonar-se a la grifolda; però tanmateix això no era excusa perquè conduïssin l'afer d'una manera que no fos piratenca.

   The Terror of the Seas had brought a side of bacon, and had about worn himself out with getting it there. Finn the Red-Handed had stolen a skillet and a quantity of half-cured leaf tobacco, and had also brought a few corn-cobs to make pipes with. But none of the pirates smoked or "chewed" but himself. The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main said it would never do to start without some fire. That was a wise thought; matches were hardly known there in that day. They saw a fire smouldering upon a great raft a hundred yards above, and they went stealthily thither and helped themselves to a chunk. They made an imposing adventure of it, saying, "Hist!" every now and then, and suddenly halting with finger on lip; moving with hands on imaginary dagger-hilts; and giving orders in dismal whispers that if "the foe" stirred, to "let him have it to the hilt," because "dead men tell no tales." They knew well enough that the raftsmen were all down at the village laying in stores or having a spree, but still that was no excuse for their conducting this thing in an unpiratical way.

   Al cap de poc s'allunyaren. Tom comandava, Huck tenia el rem de darrera, i Joe el de davant. Tom estava al mig de la nau, amb celles ombrívoles i braços closos i donava les seves ordes amb un murmuri baix i ferreny.

   They shoved off, presently, Tom in command, Huck at the after oar and Joe at the forward. Tom stood amidships, gloomy-browed, and with folded arms, and gave his orders in a low, stern whisper:

   -Orseu, i ajusteu-la al vent!

   "Luff, and bring her to the wind!"

   -Bé bé, senyor!

   "Aye-aye, sir!"

   -Ferma, feeerma la nau!

   "Steady, steady-y-y-y!"

   -Ja n'està, senyor!

   "Steady it is, sir!"

   -Amolleu-la un punt!

   "Let her go off a point!"

   -Ja està, senyor!

   "Point it is, sir!"

   Com que els minyons menaven constantment i monòtonament el rai cap al mig del riu, hom entenia indubtablement que aquestes ordes no eren dades sinó «per seguir la moda», i no pretenien significar cap cosa especial.

   As the boys steadily and monotonously drove the raft toward mid-stream it was no doubt understood that these orders were given only for "style," and were not intended to mean anything in particular.

   -Quínes veles porta?

   "What sail's she carrying?"

   -Veles majors, cofes i petifocs, senyor.

   "Courses, tops'ls, and flying-jib, sir."

   -Hisseu els sobres! Desplegueu aquí dalt l'ala de gàvia! De pressa!

   "Send the r'yals up! Lay out aloft, there, half a dozen of ye--foretopmaststuns'l! Lively, now!"

   -Bé, bé, senyor!

   "Aye-aye, sir!"

   -Allargueu els riços al guanet de l'arbre mestre! Escotes i braces! Amunt, fillets!

   "Shake out that maintogalans'l! Sheets and braces! now my hearties!"

   -Ala, a sotavent, tot a babord!

   "Aye-aye, sir!"

   -Estigueu a punt per a l'encontre! Port, port! Som-hi, companys! Amb delit! Ferma la nau!

   "Hellum-a-lee--hard a port! Stand by to meet her when she comes! Port, port! Now, men! With a will! Stead-y-y-y!"

   -Ferma està, senyor!

   "Steady it is, sir!"

   El rai passava al mig del riu. Els minyons encararen bé la proa, i després descarregaren els rems. El riu no era alt, de manera que no hi havia més que dues o tres milles de marxa. Amb prou feines fou dita una paraula durant els següents tres quarts d'hora. Ara el rai passava davant el poblet llunyà. Dos o tres llumets de feble resplendor mostraven on queia, pacíficament adormit més enllà del vague i dilatat corrent, ple de pedreria d'estels, inconscient del fet paorós que estava succeïnt. El Negre Flagell romania encara quiet, amb els braços closos, mirant per darrera vegada la escena de ses joies primerenques i sos darrers sofriments, i desitjant que «ella» pogués veure'l ara, lluny, anant per la mar esquerpa, confrontant el perill i la mort amb cor indomable, marxant cap el seu destí amb un somriure inflexible en els llavis. Era un esforç ben petit per a la seva imaginació el transportar l'illa de Jackson més enllà de l'esguard del poblet: així és que li donà «la darrera mirada» cortrencat i satisfet. Els altres pirates miraren per darrer cop, també; i tots plegats miraren per tant de temps que estigueren a punt de deixar que el corrent se'ls endugués enfora de l'abast de l'illa. Però descobriren a temps el perill i feren una maniobra per impedir-ho. Cap a les dues del matí el rai tocava a terra a l'alfac, a dues-centes yardes damunt el cap de l'illa; i ells passaren gual endavant i endarrera fins que hagueren desembarcat els nòlits. Entre ço que pertanyia al petit rai hi havia una antiga vela, i ells l'estengueren damunt un amagatall, entre les mates, fent-ne una tenda per arrecerar les seves provisions; però ells dormirien al ras si el temps era bo, com escau als bandejats.

   The raft drew beyond the middle of the river; the boys pointed her head right, and then lay on their oars. The river was not high, so there was not more than a two or three mile current. Hardly a word was said during the next three-quarters of an hour. Now the raft was passing before the distant town. Two or three glimmering lights showed where it lay, peacefully sleeping, beyond the vague vast sweep of star-gemmed water, unconscious of the tremendous event that was happening. The Black Avenger stood still with folded arms, "looking his last" upon the scene of his former joys and his later sufferings, and wishing "she" could see him now, abroad on the wild sea, facing peril and death with dauntless heart, going to his doom with a grim smile on his lips. It was but a small strain on his imagination to remove Jackson's Island beyond eye-shot of the village, and so he "looked his last" with a broken and satisfied heart. The other pirates were looking their last, too; and they all looked so long that they came near letting the current drift them out of the range of the island. But they discovered the danger in time, and made shift to avert it. About two o'clock in the morning the raft grounded on the bar two hundred yards above the head of the island, and they waded back and forth until they had landed their freight. Part of the little raft's belongings consisted of an old sail, and this they spread over a nook in the bushes for a tent to shelter their provisions; but they themselves would sleep in the open air in good weather, as became outlaws.

   Bastiren un foc al costat d'una gran soca, a vint o trenta passes endins de les ombrívoles fondàries del bosc, i després cuinaren un bocí del porc a la paella, per sopar, i consumiren la meitat de la coca de blat de moro que havien portat. Semblava un joc gloriós el celebrar un festí d'aquella manera lliure i salvatge dins la boscúria verge d'una illa inexplorada i inhabitada, lluny dels indrets per on circulen els homes; i digueren que mai més no tornarien a la civilització. El foc que s'enfilava il·luminà llurs cares, i escampà una llum rogenca damunt les soques i columnes de llur temple selvós, i damunt el lluent fullatge i els fistons de les plantes arrapadisses.

   They built a fire against the side of a great log twenty or thirty steps within the sombre depths of the forest, and then cooked some bacon in the frying-pan for supper, and used up half of the corn "pone" stock they had brought. It seemed glorious sport to be feasting in that wild, free way in the virgin forest of an unexplored and uninhabited island, far from the haunts of men, and they said they never would return to civilization. The climbing fire lit up their faces and threw its ruddy glare upon the pillared tree-trunks of their forest temple, and upon the varnished foliage and festooning vines.

   Quan la darrera fràgil llenqueta de porc havia desaparegut i l'última ració de coca era devorada, els minyons s'estengueren damunt l'herbei, plens de gaubança. Haurien pogut trobar una banda més fresca, però no volien privar-se de un tret tan romàntic com era un foc d'acampament.

   When the last crisp slice of bacon was gone, and the last allowance of corn pone devoured, the boys stretched themselves out on the grass, filled with contentment. They could have found a cooler place, but they would not deny themselves such a romantic feature as the roasting campfire.

   -No és una diversió?- digué Joe.

   "Ain't it gay?" said Joe.

   -És una llaminadura- digué Tom.

    -Què dirien, els nois, si ens veiessin?

   "It's nuts!" said Tom. "What would the boys say if they could see us?"

   -Què dirien? Si vinguessin a raure aquí, es moririen: oi, Huck?

   "Say? Well, they'd just die to be here--hey, Hucky!"

   -També ho compto- digué Huckleberry; -però tanmateix a mi m'escau. No demano cosa millor. Mai no tinc tanta cosa a menjar, generalment; i aquí no poden venir i donar-li una guitza a un hom i fer-lo pertenir d'aquella manera.

   "I reckon so," said Huckleberry; "anyways, I'm suited. I don't want nothing better'n this. I don't ever get enough to eat, gen'ally--and here they can't come and pick at a feller and bullyrag him so."

   -Aquesta és ben bé la vida que fa per a mi- digué Tom. -No cal que hom es llevi al matí, i que vagi a escola, i es renti, i totes aquelles remalaïdes ximpleses. Veieu? Un pirata no ha de fer res, Joe, quan és a la platja, però un ermità ha de dir qui sap les pregàries, i en acabat no té cap divertiment, almenys en el seu ofici.

   "It's just the life for me," said Tom. "You don't have to get up, mornings, and you don't have to go to school, and wash, and all that blame foolishness. You see a pirate don't have to do anything, Joe, when he's ashore, but a hermit he has to be praying considerable, and then he don't have any fun, anyway, all by himself that way."

   -Oh! Sí, és veritat- digué Joe; -però no hi havia pensat gaire, sabeu? M'estimo molt més ésser un pirata, ara que ho he tastat.

   "Oh yes, that's so," said Joe, "but I hadn't thought much about it, you know. I'd a good deal rather be a pirate, now that I've tried it."

   -Veieu?- digué Tom. -La gent no hi té tirada, pels ermitans, avui en dia, com feien en el temps de la vellura; però un pirata sempre és respectat. I un ermità no té més remei que dormir al lloc més dur que pot trobar, i portar robes de sac, i cendra damunt la testa, i estar-se al ras en temps de pluja, i...

   "You see," said Tom, "people don't go much on hermits, nowadays, like they used to in old times, but a pirate's always respected. And a hermit's got to sleep on the hardest place he can find, and put sackcloth and ashes on his head, and stand out in the rain, and--"

   -Per què se'n posa de roba de sac, i de cendra damunt la testa?- demanà Huck.

   "What does he put sackcloth and ashes on his head for?" inquired Huck.

   -No ho sé. Però no tenen més remei: sempre ho fan, els ermitans. Vós hauríeu hagut de fer-ho, si n'haguéssiu estat.

   "I dono. But they've got to do it. Hermits always do. You'd have to do that if you was a hermit."

   -L'as em reflic, que jo m'hi avingués!- digué Huck.

   "Dern'd if I would," said Huck.

   -Bé, doncs, què farieu?

   "Well, what would you do?"

   -No ho sé, però no ho faria això.

   "I dono. But I wouldn't do that."

   -Bé, Huck: és que caldria que ho féssiu. I còm us en sortiríeu?

   "Why, Huck, you'd have to. How'd you get around it?"

   -Ves, no ho comportaria. Tocaria pirandó.

   "Why, I just wouldn't stand it. I'd run away."

   -Tocar pirandó! Quín bell calet seríeu com a ermità! Fóreu una calamitat!

   "Run away! Well, you would be a nice old slouch of a hermit. You'd be a disgrace."

   El Mà-roja no respongué, perquè s'esmerçava en quelcom de millor. Havia acabat de baumar una panotxa, i ara hi adaptava una tija, carregava de tabac, i apretava una brasa contra el carregament i bufava un núvol de fum olorós: estava en plena florida de luxuriosa gaubança. Els altres pirates li envejaven aquest vici majestuós, i resolgueren secretament d'adquirir-lo com més aviat millor. Huck no trigà a dir:

   The Red-Handed made no response, being better employed. He had finished gouging out a cob, and now he fitted a weed stem to it, loaded it with tobacco, and was pressing a coal to the charge and blowing a cloud of fragrant smoke--he was in the full bloom of luxurious contentment. The other pirates envied him this majestic vice, and secretly resolved to acquire it shortly. Presently Huck said:

   -Què els pertoca fer als pirates?

   "What does pirates have to do?"

   Tom said:

   -Oh! Tenen una vida escometedora: prenen vaixells, i els calen foc, i agafen els diners i els enterren en indrets paorosos de llur illa, on hi ha fantasmes i coses a vigilar, i maten a tothom en els vaixells: els fan caminar per un tauló.

   "Oh, they have just a bully time--take ships and burn them, and get the money and bury it in awful places in their island where there's ghosts and things to watch it, and kill everybody in the ships--make 'em walk a plank."

   -I s'emporten les dones a l'illa- digué Joe.- Les dones no les maten.

   "And they carry the women to the island," said Joe; "they don't kill the women."

   -No- confirmà Tom: -no maten les dones: són massa nobles per a fer aquest tropell. I les dones sempre són belleses, tanmateix.

   "No," assented Tom, "they don't kill the women--they're too noble. And the women's always beautiful, too.

   -I no duen pas vestits rebregats! Oh! No! Tot or i argent i diamants- va fer Joe amb entusiasme.

   "And don't they wear the bulliest clothes! Oh no! All gold and silver and di'monds," said Joe, with enthusiasm.

   -Quí?- digué Huck.

   "Who?" said Huck.

   -Ves, els pirates.

   "Why, the pirates."

   Huck examinà sos propis vestits amb deseperança.

   Huck scanned his own clothing forlornly.

   -Compto que no estic vestit com convindria per a fer de pirata- digué, amb una patètica recança en la seva veu; -però no he pogut haver sinó això.

   "I reckon I ain't dressed fitten for a pirate," said he, with a regretful pathos in his voice; "but I ain't got none but these."

   Però els altres minyons li digueren que els bells vestits arribarien ben de pressa, un cop haguessin començat llurs aventures. Li feren capir que sos pobres parracs farien el fet, per a començar, encara que fos el costum dels rics pirates de començar amb el guarda-roba complet.

   But the other boys told him the fine clothes would come fast enough, after they should have begun their adventures. They made him understand that his poor rags would do to begin with, though it was customary for wealthy pirates to start with a proper wardrobe.

   Gradualment llur conversa s'extingí i l'ensopiment començà de lliscar damunt les parpelles dels petits bandejats. La pipa caigué dels dits del Mà-roja, i ell dormí el bon son d'una consciència sense noses i de un cos fadigat. Al Terror de les Mars i al Negre Flagell de la Mar Espanyola els costà més de trencar el son. Digueren llurs pregàries interiorment, i bo i ajaguts, ja que allí no hi havia ningú amb autoritat per a fer-los agenollar i dir-les en alta veu: de fet no tenien ganes de dir-les, però els feia temor de pendre's aquests eixamples, que podien atreure un llamp especial i sobtat de les cèliques altures. Després arribaren al marge imminent de la son, i es posaren a rondar-lo; però ara vingué un intrús que no volia donar-se: era la consciència. Començaren de sentir una vaga aprensió que havien fet mal fet de fugir, i després pensaren en les menges robades, i aleshores vingué la positiva tortura. Intentaren arguïr, per allunyar-la, que vintenes de vegades havien furtat llaminadures i pomes; però llur consciència no havia d'apaivagar-se amb tan mesquines plausibilitats. Els semblà, al capdavall, que no s'hi valia a discutir un fet inderrocable: pendre llaminadures no era més que rapissar, mentre que apoderar-se de porc i pernil i béns d'aquesta mena era, clar i net, robar; i contra això hi havia un manament a la Bíblia. Així és que interiorment resolgueren que, mentre romanguessin en aquell ofici, llurs pirateries no serien de bell nou tacades amb el crim del robament. Aleshores llur consciència els concedí una treva, i aquests curiosos pirates il·lògics trencaren pacíficament el son.

   Gradually their talk died out and drowsiness began to steal upon the eyelids of the little waifs. The pipe dropped from the fingers of the Red-Handed, and he slept the sleep of the conscience-free and the weary. The Terror of the Seas and the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main had more difficulty in getting to sleep. They said their prayers inwardly, and lying down, since there was nobody there with authority to make them kneel and recite aloud; in truth, they had a mind not to say them at all, but they were afraid to proceed to such lengths as that, lest they might call down a sudden and special thunderbolt from heaven. Then at once they reached and hovered upon the imminent verge of sleep--but an intruder came, now, that would not "down." It was conscience. They began to feel a vague fear that they had been doing wrong to run away; and next they thought of the stolen meat, and then the real torture came. They tried to argue it away by reminding conscience that they had purloined sweetmeats and apples scores of times; but conscience was not to be appeased by such thin plausibilities; it seemed to them, in the end, that there was no getting around the stubborn fact that taking sweetmeats was only "hooking," while taking bacon and hams and such valuables was plain simple stealing--and there was a command against that in the Bible. So they inwardly resolved that so long as they remained in the business, their piracies should not again be sullied with the crime of stealing. Then conscience granted a truce, and these curiously inconsistent pirates fell peacefully to sleep.