"Love of Life,"by Jack London-Part One.The two men moved painfully down the bank and fell among the rocks that were scattered everywhere.They were tired and weak.Their faces showed the patient appearance that results from difficulty long endured.They were heavily burdened with blanket packs which were tied to their shoulders.Each man carried a gun.They walked in a leaning position,the shoulders forward,the head farther forward,the eyes fixed upon the ground."I wish we had a couple of those cartridges that are lying in our cache,"said the second man.His voice was completely without expression.And the first man,walking into the milky stream that flowed over the rocks,made no reply.The other man followed at his heels.They did not remove their shoes,although the water was icy cold.It was so cold that their feet soon were without feeling.In places,the water dashed against their knees,and both men found it difficult to remain standing.
The man who followed slipped upon a smooth rock and nearly fell.He recovered his footing with great effort,at the same time uttering a sharp cry of pain.He seemed faint and stretched one hand forward,seeking support against the air.When he had steadied himself,he stepped forward.But he slipped again and nearly fell.Then he stood still and looked at the other man,who had never turned his head.The man stood still for fully a minute,as if he were deciding something.Then he called:"I say-I say,Bill,I hurt my foot."Bill struggled ahead through the milky water.He did not look around.The man watched him go,and although his face lacked expression,as before,his eyes had the look of a wounded animal.The other man climbed the farther bank of the stream and continued straight ahead without looking back.The man in the stream watched him.His lips trembled a little."Bill!"he cried.
It was the despairing cry of a strong man in trouble,but Bill's head did not turn.The man watched him go,struggling forward up the hill toward the skyline.He watched him go until he passed over the hilltop and disappeared.Then he turned his gaze and slowly examined the circle of the world that remained to him now that Bill was gone.The sun was low in the sky,almost hidden by a cover of clouds.The man looked at his watch,while supporting his weight on one leg.It was four o'clock in the afternoon.The season was near the end of July or the first of August.He did not know the exact date within a week or two,but that was enough to know that the sun marked the northwest.He looked to the south and decided that somewhere beyond those hills lay the Great Bear Lake.Also,he knew that behind the same hills the Arctic Circle cut its way across the plains of northern Canada,called the Barrens.This stream in which he stood flowed into the Coppermine River,which in turn flowed north and emptied into the Arctic Ocean.He had never been there,but he had seen it once on a map.
Again his gaze completed the circle of the world about him.It was not a cheerful sight.Everywhere was soft skyline.The hills were all low-lying.There were no trees,no grasses.There was nothing but a vast emptiness that brought fear into his eyes."Bill!"he whispered,once,and twice,"Bill!"He stood trembling in the milky water,feeling the vastness pressing in upon him with great force.He began to shake as with a disease,until the gun falling from his hand into the stream brought him back to reality.He fought with his fear and regaining his self-control,he recovered the gun from the water.He pushed his pack more toward his left shoulder.This helped to take a portion of its weight off the foot he had hurt.Then he proceeded,slowly and carefully,in great pain,to the bank of the stream.He did not stop.With a worry that was madness,unmindful of the pain,he hurried up the hill to the top,over which his companion had disappeared.But at the top he saw a valley,empty of life.He fought with his fear again and won.Then once more he moved the pack farther toward his left shoulder and struggled down the hill
【美国故事】羽毛冠 Feather crown