Robert Louis


The Beach of Falesá

Der Strand von Falesá

Übersetzt von Heinrich Conrad
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2022









I saw that is­land first when it was neither night nor morn­ing. The moon was to the west, set­ting, but still broad and bright.
To the east, and right amid­ships of the dawn, which was all pink, the day­star sparkled like a dia­mond.
The land breeze blew in our faces, and smelt strong of wild lime and vanilla:
oth­er things be­sides, but these were the most plain; and the chill of it set me sneez­ing.
I should say I had been for years on a low is­land near the line, liv­ing for the most part sol­it­ary among nat­ives.
Here was a fresh ex­per­i­ence: even the tongue would be quite strange to me;
and the look of these woods and moun­tains, and the rare smell of them, re­newed my blood.
The cap­tain blew out the bin­nacle lamp.
“There!” said he, “there goes a bit of smoke, Mr. Wilt­shire, be­hind the break of the reef.
That’s Falesá, where your sta­tion is, the last vil­lage to the east; nobody lives to wind­ward — I don’t know why.
Take my glass, and you can make the houses out.”
I took the glass; and the shores leaped near­er, and I saw the tangle of the woods and the breach of the surf,
and the brown roofs and the black in­sides of houses peeped among the trees.
“Do you catch a bit of white there to the east’ard?” the cap­tain con­tin­ued.
“That’s your house. Cor­al built, stands high, ver­andah you could walk on three abreast; best sta­tion in the South Pa­cific.
When old Adams saw it, he took and shook me by the hand.
‘I’ve dropped into a soft thing here,’ says he. — ‘So you have,’ says I, ‘and time too!’ Poor Johnny!
I nev­er saw him again but the once, and then he had changed his tune
— couldn’t get on with the nat­ives, or the whites, or something;
and the next time we came round there he was dead and bur­ied.
I took and put up a bit of a stick to him: ‘John Adams, obit eight­een and sixty-eight. Go thou and do like­wise.’ I missed that man.
I nev­er could see much harm in Johnny.”
“What did he die of?” I in­quired.
“Some kind of sick­ness,” says the cap­tain. “It ap­pears it took him sud­den.
Seems he got up in the night, and filled up on Pain-Killer and Kennedy’s Dis­cov­ery.
No go: he was booked bey­ond Kennedy. Then he had tried to open a case of gin.
No go again: not strong enough. Then he must have turned to and run out on the ver­andah, and cap­sized over the rail.
When they found him, the next day, he was clean crazy — car­ried on all the time about some­body wa­ter­ing his copra. Poor John!”
“Was it thought to be the is­land?” I asked.
“Well, it was thought to be the is­land, or the trouble, or something,” he replied.
“I nev­er could hear but what it was a healthy place. Our last man, Vigours, nev­er turned a hair.
He left be­cause of the beach — said he was afraid of Black Jack and Case and Whist­ling Jim­mie,
who was still alive at the time, but got drowned soon af­ter­ward when drunk.
As for old Cap­tain Ran­dall, he’s been here any time since eight­een-forty, forty-five.
I nev­er could see much harm in Billy, nor much change.
Seems as if he might live to be Old Ka­foozleum. No, I guess it’s healthy.”
“There’s a boat com­ing now,” said I. “She’s right in the pass; looks to be a six­teen-foot whale; two white men in the stern sheets.”
“That’s the boat that drowned Whist­ling Jim­mie!” cried the Cap­tain; “let’s see the glass. Yes, that’s Case, sure enough, and the darkie.
They’ve got a gal­lows bad repu­ta­tion, but you know what a place the beach is for talk­ing.
My be­lief, that Whist­ling Jim­mie was the worst of the trouble; and he’s gone to glory, you see.
What’ll you bet they ain’t after gin? Lay you five to two they take six cases.”

Robert Louis Stevenson
The Beach of Falesá / Der Strand von Falesá
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Heinrich Conrad

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