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The Gold-Bug. Złoty żuk

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Kilka słów o książce pt. “The Gold-Bug. Złoty żuk

The Gold-Bug. Złoty żuk to historia rozwiązywania zaszyfrowanej wiadomości i poszukiwania ukrytego skarbu.

Edgar Allan Poe amerykański poeta, nowelista krytyk i redaktor. Jego twórczość, a zwłaszcza pełne grozy i fantastyki opowiadania, to jedno z najważniejszych zjawisk w literaturze światowej.

Seria „Czytamy Poego” zawiera opowiadania w oryginalnej, pełnej wersji angielskiej wraz z polskim tłumaczeniem.

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Poniżej prezentujemy fragment książki autorstwa Edgar Allan Poe

EdgarAllan PoeThe Gold-Bug. Złoty żukTłumaczenie z oryginału: Rafał ŚmietanaCzytamy Poego

Gold-Bug. Złoty żuk

SeriaCzytamy Poego to atrakcyjna pomoc dla uczących się języka angielskiego.

Seria zawiera opowiadania Edgara Allana Poego w oryginalnej, pełnej wersji angielskiej wraz z polskim tłumaczeniem.

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Wydanie dwujęzyczne zostało przygotowane z myślą o czytelnikach średniozaawansowanych i zaawansowanych. Dzięki wersji polskiej z książki korzystać mogą również początkujący w nauce angielskiego.

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[ 1 ] What
ho! what ho! this fellow is dancing mad!

[ 2 ] He hath
been bitten by the Tarantula.

[ 3 ] All in the

[ 4 ] Many years ago,
I contracted an intimacy with a Mr. William Legrand. He was of an ancient
Huguenot family, and had once been wealthy; but a series of misfortunes
had reduced him to want. To avoid the mortification consequent upon
his disasters, he left New Orleans, the city of his forefathers, and
took up his residence at Sullivan’s Island, near Charleston, South

[ 5 ] This Island is
a very singular one. It consists of little else than the sea sand, and
is about three miles long. Its breadth at no point exceeds a quarter
of a mile. It is separated from the main land by a scarcely perceptible
creek, oozing its way through a wilderness of reeds and slime, a favorite
resort of the marsh-hen. The vegetation, as might be supposed, is scant,
or at least dwarfish. No trees of any magnitude are to be seen. Near
the western extremity, where Fort Moultrie stands, and where are some
miserable frame buildings, tenanted, during summer, by the fugitives from
Charleston dust and fever, may be found, indeed, the bristly palmetto;
but the whole island, with the exception of this western point, and
a line of hard, white beach on the seacoast, is covered with a dense
undergrowth of the sweet myrtle, so much prized by the horticulturists
of England. The shrub here often attains the height of fifteen or twenty
feet, and forms an almost impenetrable coppice, burthening the air with
its fragrance.

[ 6 ] In the inmost
recesses of this coppice, not far from the eastern or more remote end
of the island, Legrand had built himself a small hut, which he occupied
when I first, by mere accident, made his acquaintance. This soon ripened
into friendship—for there was much in the recluse to excite interest
and esteem. I found him well educated, with unusual powers of mind, but
infected with misanthropy, and subject to perverse moods of alternate
enthusiasm and melancholy. He had with him many books, but rarely employed
them. His chief amusements were gunning and fishing, or sauntering along
the beach and through the myrtles, in quest of shells or entomological
specimens;—his collection of the latter might have been envied by
a Swammerdamm. In these excursions he was usually accompanied by an old
negro, called Jupiter, who had been manumitted before the reverses of
the family, but who could be induced, neither by threats nor by promises,
to abandon what he considered his right of attendance upon the footsteps
of his young “Massa Will.” It is not improbable that the relatives
of Legrand, conceiving him to be somewhat unsettled in intellect, had
contrived to instill this obstinacy into Jupiter, with a view to the
supervision and guardianship of the wanderer.

[ 7 ] The winters in
the latitude of Sullivan’s Island are seldom very severe, and in the
fall of the year it is a rare event indeed when a fire is considered
necessary. About the middle of October, 18—, there occurred, however,
a day of remarkable chilliness. Just before sunset I scrambled my way
through the evergreens to the hut of my friend, whom I had not visited
for several weeks—my residence being, at that time, in Charleston,
a distance of nine my miles from the Island, while the facilities of
passage and re-passage were very far behind those of the present day. Upon
reaching the hut I rapped, as was my custom, and getting no reply, sought
for the key where I knew it was secreted, unlocked the door and went
in. A fine fire was blazing upon the hearth. It was a novelty, and by no
means an ungrateful one. I threw off an overcoat, took an arm-chair by
the crackling logs, and awaited patiently the arrival of my hosts.

[ 8 ] Soon after dark
they arrived, and gave me a most cordial welcome. Jupiter, grinning from
ear to ear, bustled about to prepare some marsh-hens for supper. Legrand
was in one of his fits—how else shall I term them?—of enthusiasm. He
had found an unknown bivalve, forming a new genus, and, more than this,
he had hunted down and secured, with Jupiter’s assistance, a
scarabœus which he believed to be totally new, but in respect
to which he wished to have my opinion on the morrow.

[ 9 ] “And why not
to-night?” I asked, rubbing my hands over the blaze, and wishing the
whole tribe of scarabœi at the devil.

[ 10 ] “Ah, if I had
only known you were here!” said Legrand, “but it’s so long since
I saw you; and how could I foresee that you would pay me a visit this very
night of all others? As I was coming home I met Lieutenant G—, from the
fort, and, very foolishly, I lent him the bug; so it will be impossible
for you to see it until morning. Stay here to-night, and I will send Jup
down for it at sunrise. It is the loveliest thing in creation!”

[ 11 ] “What?—sunrise?”

[ 12 ] “Nonsense! no!—the bug. It is of a brilliant
gold color—about the size of a large hickory-nut—with two jet black
spots near one extremity of the back, and another, somewhat longer,
at the other. The antennœ are—”

[ 13 ] “Dey aint
no tin in him, Massa Will, I keep a tellin on you,” here
interrupted Jupiter; “de bug is a goole bug, solid, ebery bit of him,
inside and all, sep him wing—neber feel half so hebby a bug in my

[ 14 ] “Well, suppose
it is, Jup,” replied Legrand, somewhat more earnestly, it seemed to me,
than the case demanded, “is that any reason for your letting the birds
burn? The color”—here he turned to me—“is really almost enough to
warrant Jupiter’s idea. You never saw a more brilliant metallic lustre
than the scales emit—but of this you cannot judge till tomorrow. In
the mean time I can give you some idea of the shape.” Saying this,
he seated himself at a small table, on which were a pen and ink, but no
paper. He looked for some in a drawer, but found none.

[ 15 ] “Never mind,”
said he at length, “this will answer”; and he drew from his waistcoat
pocket a scrap of what I took to be very dirty foolscap, and made upon
it a rough drawing with the pen. While he did this, I retained my seat
by the fire, for I was still chilly. When the design was complete, he
handed it to me without rising. As I received it, a loud growl was heard,
succeeded by a scratching at the door. Jupiter opened it, and a large
Newfoundland, belonging to Legrand, rushed in, leaped upon my shoulders,
and loaded me with caresses; for I had shown him much attention during
previous visits. When his gambols were over, I looked at the paper, and,
to speak the truth, found myself not a little puzzled at what my friend
had depicted.

[ 16 ] “Well!” I said,
after contemplating it for some minutes, “this is a strange
scarabœus, I must confess: new to me: never saw anything
like it before—unless it was a skull, or a death’s-head—which it
more nearly resembles than anything else that has come under
my observation.”

[ 17 ] “
A death’s-head!” echoed Legrand—“Oh—yes—well, it has something
of that appearance upon paper, no doubt. The two upper black spots look
like eyes, eh? and the longer one at the bottom like a mouth—and then
the shape of the whole is oval.”

[ 18 ] “Perhaps so,”
said I; “but, Legrand, I fear you are no artist. I must wait until
I see the beetle itself, if I am to form any idea of its personal

[ 19 ] “Well,
I don’t know,” said he, a little nettled, “I draw
tolerably—should do it at least—have had good
masters, and flatter myself that I am not quite a blockhead.”

[ 20 ] “But,
my dear fellow, you are joking then,” said I, “this is a very
passable skull—indeed, I may say that it is
a very excellent skull, according to the vulgar
notions about such specimens of physiology—and your scarabœus
must be the queerest scarabœus in the
world if it resembles it. Why, we may get up a very thrilling bit of
superstition upon this hint. I presume you will call the bug
scarabœus caput hominis, or something of that kind—there
are many titles in the Natural Histories. But where are the
antennae you spoke of?”

[ 21 ] “The
antennœ!” said Legrand, who seemed to be getting
unaccountably warm upon the subject; “I am sure you must see
the antennœ. I made them as distinct as they are
in the original insect, and I presume that is sufficient.”

[ 22 ] “Well, well,”
I said, “perhaps you have—still I don’t see them;” and I handed
him the paper without additional remark, not wishing to ruffle his
temper; but I was much surprised at the turn affairs had taken; his
ill humor puzzled me—and, as for the drawing of the beetle, there
were positively no antennœ visible, and the
whole did bear a very close resemblance to the
ordinary cuts of a death’s-head.

[ 23 ] He received the
paper very peevishly, and was about to crumple it, apparently to throw it
in the fire, when a casual glance at the design seemed suddenly to rivet
his attention. In an instant his face grew violently red—in another as
excessively pale. For some minutes he continued to scrutinize the drawing
minutely where he sat. At length he arose, took a candle from the table,
and proceeded to seat himself upon a sea-chest in the farthest corner of
the room. Here again he made an anxious examination of the paper; turning
it in all directions. He said nothing, however, and his conduct greatly
astonished me; yet I thought it prudent not to exacerbate the growing
moodiness of his temper by any comment. Presently he took from his coat
pocket a wallet, placed the paper carefully in it, and deposited both in
a writing-desk, which he locked. He now grew more composed in his demeanor;
but his original air of enthusiasm had quite disappeared. Yet he seemed
not so much sulky as abstracted. As the evening wore away he became more
and more absorbed in reverie, from which no sallies of mine could arouse
him. It had been my intention to pass the night at the hut, as I had
frequently done before, but, seeing my host in this mood, I deemed it
proper to take leave. He did not press me to remain, but, as I departed,
he shook my hand with even more than his usual cordiality.

[ 24 ] It was about
a month after this (and during the interval I had seen nothing of Legrand)
when I received a visit, at Charleston, from his man, Jupiter. I had
never seen the good old negro look so dispirited, and I feared that some
serious disaster had befallen my friend.

[ 25 ] “Well, Jup,”
said I, “what is the matter now?—how is your master?”

[ 26 ] “Why, to speak
de troof, massa, him not so berry well as mought be.”

[ 27 ] “Not well! I am
truly sorry to hear it. What does he complain of?”

[ 28 ] Dar! dat’s
it!—him neber plain of notin—but him berry sick for all dat.”

[ 29 ] “Very sick, Jupiter!—why
didn’t you say so at once? Is he confined to bed?”

[ 30 ] “No, dat he
ain’t!—he ain’t find nowhar—dat’s just whar de shoe pinch—my
mind is got to be berry hebby bout poor Massa Will.”

[ 31 ] “Jupiter, I should
like to understand what it is you are talking about. You say your master
is sick. Hasn’t he told you what ails him?”

[ 32 ] “Why, massa,
taint worf while for to git mad bout de matter—Massa Will say noffin at
all ain’t de matter wid him—but den what make him go about looking
dis here way, wid he head down and he soldiers up, and as white as
a gose? And den he keep a syphon all de time—”

[ 33 ] “Keeps a what,

[ 34 ]