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blow till his ears were singing with the effort, but then the first breeze of dawn
took the job off his hands and blinded him with ashes. He squatted back, swore, and
rubbed water out of his eyes.
"No use."
Eric looked down at him through a mask of dried blood. Piggy peered in the general
direction of Ralph.
" 'Course it's no use, Ralph. Now we got no fire."
Ralph brought his face within a couple of feet of Piggy's.
"Can you see me?"
"A bit."
Ralph allowed the swollen flap of his cheek to close his eye again.
"They've got our fire."
Rage shrilled his voice.
"They stole it!"
"That's them," said Piggy. "They blinded me. See? That's Jack Merridew. You call an
assembly, Ralph, we got to decide what to do."
"An assembly for only us?"
"It's all we got. Sam--let me hold on to you."
They went toward the platform.
"Blow the conch," said Piggy. "Blow as loud as you can."
The forests re-echoed; and birds lifted, crying out of the treetops, as on that
first morning ages ago. Both ways the beach was deserted. Some littluns came from
the shelters. Ralph sat down on the polished trunk and the three others stood before
him. He nodded, and Samneric sat down on the right. Ralph pushed the conch into
Piggy's hands. He held the shining thing carefully and blinked at Ralph.
"Go on, then."
"I just take the conch to say this. I can't see no more and I got to get my glasses
back. Awful things has been done on this island. I voted for you for chief. He's the
only one who ever got anything done. So now you speak, Ralph, and tell us what. Or
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else--"
Piggy broke off, sniveling. Ralph took back the conch as he sat down.
"Just an ordinary fire. You'd think we could do that, wouldn't you? Just a smoke
signal so we can be rescued. Are we savages or what? Only now there's no signal
going up. Ships may be passing. Do you remember how he went hunting and the fire
went out and a ship passed by? And they all think he's best as chief. Then there
was, there was . . . that's his fault, too. If it hadn't been for him it would never
have happened. Now Piggy can't see, and they came, stealing--" Ralph's voice ran up
"--at night, in darkness, and stole our fire. They stole it. We'd have given them
fire if they'd asked. But they stole it and the signal's out and we can't ever be
rescued. Don't you see what I mean? We'd have given them fire for themselves only
they stole it. I--"
He paused lamely as the curtain flickered in his brain. Piggy held out his hands for
the conch.
"What you goin' to do, Ralph? This is jus' talk without deciding. I want my
glasses."
"I'm trying to think. Supposing we go, looking like we used to, washed and hair
brushed--after all we aren't savages really and being rescued isn't a game--"
He opened the flap of his cheek and looked at the twins.
"We could smarten up a bit and then go--"
"We ought to take spears," said Sam. "Even Piggy."
"--because we may need them."
"You haven't got the conch!"
Piggy held up the shell.
"You can take spears if you want but I shan't. What's the good? I'll have to be led
like a dog, anyhow. Yes, laugh. Go on, laugh. There's them on this island as would
laugh at anything. And what happened? What's grownups goin' to think? Young Simon
was murdered. And there was that other kid what had a mark on his face. Who's seen
him since we first come here?"
"Piggy! Stop a minute!"
"I got the conch. I'm going to that Jack Merridew an' tell him, I am."
"You'll get hurt."
"What can he do more than he has? I'll tell him what's what. You let me carry the
conch, Ralph. I'll show him the one thing he hasn't got."
Piggy paused for a moment and peered round at the dim figures. The shape of the old
assembly, trodden in the grass, listened to him.
"I'm going to him with this conch in my hands. I'm going to hold it out. Look, I'm
goin' to say, you're stronger than I am and you haven't got asthma. You can see, I'm
goin' to say, and with both eyes. But I don't ask for my glasses back, not as a
favor. I don't ask you to be a sport, I'll say, not because you're strong, but
because what's right's right. Give me my glasses, I'm going to say--you got to!"
Piggy ended, flushed and trembling. He pushed the conch quickly into Ralph's hands
as though in a hurry to be rid of it and wiped the tears from his eyes. The green [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]