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宝岛(Treasure Island) 二十一 敌人进攻寨子

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

AS soon as Silver disappeared, the captain, who had been closely watching him, turned towards the interior of the house, and found not a man of us at his post but Gray. It was the first time we had ever seen him angry.

`Quarters!' he roared. And then, as we all slunk back to our places, `Gray,' he said, `I'll put your name in the log; you've stood by your duty like a seaman. Mr Trelawney, I'm surprised at you, sir. Doctor, I thought you had worn the king's coat! If that was how you served at Fontenoy, sir, you'd have been better in your berth.'

The doctor's watch were all back at their loopholes, the rest were busy loading the spare muskets, and every one with a red face, you may be certain, and a flea in his ear, as the saying is.

The captain looked on for a while in silence. Then he spoke. `My lads,' said he, `I've given Silver a broadside. I pitched it in red-hot on purpose; and before the hour's out, as he said, we shall be boarded. We're outnumbered, I needn't tell you that, but we fight in shelter; and, a minute ago, I should have said we fought with discipline. I've no manner of doubt that we can drub them, if you choose.'

Then he went the rounds, and saw, as he said, that all was clear.

On the two short sides of the house, east and west, there were only two loopholes; on the south side where the porch was, two again; and on the north side, five. There was a round score of muskets for the seven of us; the firewood had been built into four piles - tables, you might say - one about the middle of each side, and on each of these tables some ammunition and four loaded muskets were laid ready to the hand of the defenders. In the middle, the cutlasses lay ranged.

`Toss out the fire,' said the captain; `the chill is past, and we mustn't have smoke in our eyes.'

The iron fire-basket was carried bodily out by Mr Trelawney, and the embers smothered among sand.

`Hawkins hasn't had his breakfast. Hawkins, help yourself, and back to your post to eat it,' continued Captain Smollett. `Lively, now, my lad; you'll want it before you've done. Hunter, serve out a round of brandy to all hands.'

And while this was going on, the captain completed, in his own mind, the plan of the defence.

`Doctor, you will take the door,' he resumed. `See, and don't expose yourself; keep within, and fire through the porch. Hunter, take the east side, there. Joyce, you stand by the west, my man. Mr Trelawney, you are the best shot - you and Gray will take this long north side, with the five loopholes; it's there the danger is. If they can get up to it, and fire in upon us through our own ports, things would begin to look dirty. Hawkins, neither you nor I are much account at the shooting we'll stand by to load and bear a hand.'

As the captain had said, the chill was past. As soon as the sun had climbed above our girdle of trees, it fell with all its force upon the clearing, and drank up the vapours at draught. Soon the sand was baking, and the resin melting in the logs of the block-house. Jackets and coats were flung aside; shirts thrown open at the neck, and rolled up to the shoulders; and we stood there, each at his post, in a fever of heat and anxiety.

An hour passed away.

`Hang them!' said the captain. `This is as dull as the doldrums. Gray, whistle for a wind.'

And just at that moment came the first news of the attack.

`If you please, sir,' said Joyce, `if I see anyone am I to fire?'

`I told you so!' cried the captain.

`Thank you, sir,' returned Joyce, with the same quiet civility.

Nothing followed for a time; but the remark had set us all on the alert, straining ears and eyes - the musketeers with their pieces balanced in their hands, the captain out in the middle of the block-house, with his mouth very tight and frown on his face.

So some seconds passed, till suddenly Joyce whipped up his musket and fired. The report had scarcely died away ere it was repeated and repeated from without in a scattering volley, shot behind shot, like a string of geese, from every side of the enclosure. Several bullets struck the log-house, but not one entered; and, as the smoke cleared away and vanished, the stockade and the woods around it looked as quiet and empty as before. Not a bough waved, not the gleam of a musket-barrel betrayed the presence of our foes.

`Did you hit your man?' asked the captain.

`No, sir,' replied Joyce. `I believe not, sir.'

`Next best thing to tell the truth,' muttered Captain Smollett. `Load his gun, Hawkins. How many should you say there were on your side, doctor?'

`I know precisely,' said Dr Livesey. `Three shots were fired on this side. I saw the three flashes - two close together - one farther to the west.'

`Three!' repeated the captain. `And how many on yours, Mr Trelawney?'

But this was not so easily answered. There had come many from the north - seven, by the squire's computation; eight or nine, according to Gray. From the east and west only a single shot had been fired. It was plain, therefore, that the attack would be developed from the north, and that on the other three sides we were only to be annoyed by a show of hostilities. But Captain Smollett made no change in his arrangements. If the mutineers succeeded in crossing the stockade, he argued, they would take possession of any unprotected loophole, and shoot us down like rats in our own stronghold.

Nor had we much time left to us for thought. Suddenly, with a loud huzza, a little cloud of pirates leaped from the woods on the north side, and ran straight on the stockade. At the same moment, the fire was once more opened from the woods, and a rifle-ball sang through the doorway, and knocked the doctor's musket into bits.

The boarders swarmed over the fence like monkeys. Squire and Gray fired again and yet again; three men fell, one forwards into the enclosure, two back on the outside. But of these, one was evidently more frightened than hurt, for he was on his feet again in a crack, and instantly disappeared among the trees.

Two had bit the dust, one had fled, four had made good their footing inside our defences; while from the shelter of the woods seven or eight men, each evidently supplied with several muskets, kept up a hot though useless fire on the log-house.

The four who had boarded made straight before them for the building, shouting as they ran, and the men among the trees shouted back to encourage them. Several shots were fired; but, such was the hurry of the marksmen, that not one appeared to have taken effect. In a moment, the four pirates had swarmed up the mound and were upon us.

The head of Job Anderson, the boatswain, appeared at the middle loophole.

`At 'em, all hands - all hands!' he roared, in a voice of thunder.

At the same moment, another pirate grasped Hunter's musket by the muzzle, wrenched it from his hands, plucked it through the loophole, and, with one stunning blow, laid the poor fellow senseless on the floor. Meanwhile a third, running unharmed all round the house, appeared suddenly in the doorway, and fell with his cutlass on the doctor.

Our position was utterly reversed. A moment since we were firing, under cover, at an exposed enemy; now it was we who lay uncovered, and could not return a blow.

The log-house was full of smoke, to which we owed our comparative safety. Cries and confusion, the flashes and reports of pistol-shots, and one loud groan, rang in my ears.

`Out, lads, out, and fight 'em in the open! Cutlasses!' cried the captain.

I snatched a cutlass from the pile, and someone, at the same time snatching another, gave me a cut across the knuckles which I hardly felt. I dashed out of the door into the clear sunlight. Someone was close behind, I knew not whom. Right in front, the doctor was pursuing his assailant down the hill, and, just as my eyes fell upon him, beat down his guard, and sent him sprawling on his back, with a great slash across the face.

`Round the house, lads! round the house!' cried the captain and even in the hurly-burly I perceived a change in his voice.

Mechanically I obeyed, turned eastwards, and with my cutlass raised, ran round the corner of the house. Next moment I was face to face with Anderson. He roared aloud, and his hanger went up above his head, flashing in the sunlight. I had not time to be afraid, but, as the blow still hung impending, leaped in a trice upon one side, and missing my foot in the soft sand, rolled headlong down the slope.

When I had first sallied from the door, the other mutineers had been already swarming up the palisade to make an end of us. One man, in a red night-cap, with his cutlass in his mouth, had even got upon the top and thrown a leg across. Well, so short had been the interval, that when I found my feet again all was in the same posture, the fellow with the red night-cap still half-way over, another still just showing his head above the top of the stockade. And yet, in this breath of time, the fight was over, and the victory was ours.

Gray, following close behind me, had cut down the big boatswain ere he had time to recover from his lost blow. Another had been shot at a loophole in the very act of firing into the house, and now lay in agony, the pistol still smoking in his hand. A third, as I had seen, the doctor had disposed of at a blow. Of the four who had scaled the palisade, one only remained unaccounted for, and he, having left his cutlass on the field, was now clambering out again with the fear of death upon him.

`fire - fire from the house!' cried the doctor. `And you, lads, back into cover.'

But his words were unheeded, no shot was fired, and the last boarder made good his escape, and disappeared with the rest into the wood. In three seconds nothing remained of the attacking party but the five who had fallen, four on the inside, and one on the outside, of the palisade.

The doctor and Gray and I ran full speed for shelter. The survivors would soon be back where they had left their muskets, and at any moment the fire might recommence.

The house was by this time somewhat cleared of smoke, and we saw at a glance the price we had paid for victory. Hunter lay beside his loophole, stunned; Joyce by his, shot through the head, never to move again; while right in the centre, the squire was supporting the captain, one as pale as the other.

`The captain's wounded,' said Mr Trelawney.

`Have they run?' asked Mr Smollett.

`All that could, you may be bound,' returned the doctor `but there's five of them will never run again.'

`Five!' cried the captain. `Come, that's better. Five against three leaves us four to nine. That's better odds than we had at starting. We were seven to nineteen then, or thought we were, and that's as bad to bear.'

The mutineers were soon only eight in number, for the man shot by Mr Trelawney on board the schooner died that same evening of his wound. But this was, of course, not known till after by the faithful party

西尔弗一消失,一直密切注视着他的船长便将身子转回了屋里,发现除了葛雷外谁都没在自己的岗位上。这是我们第一次看到船长勃然大怒。

“各就各位!”他吼道。接着,当我们全部溜回到自己的位置上之后,“葛雷,”他说,“我要把你的名字写进航海日志里:你像名真正的海员一样忠于职守。特里罗尼先生,我对你感到吃惊,阁下。医生,我想你是穿过军装的!要是你在方特诺依就是这样服役的话,先生,那你最好躺到你的铺位上去。”

医生这一组的人都回到了自己的射击孔旁,其余的人都忙着给备用枪支上弹药。可以肯定,我们每个人都是面红耳赤的,而且,就像俗语讲的,耳朵里就像有个跳蚤。

船长默默地察看了一会儿。然后他又开口讲话了。

“弟兄们,”他说,“我已经给了西尔弗个侧舷炮齐发。我给他一顿痛骂,就是想激怒他;就像他说的,不出一个钟头,我们就要受到进攻。我们在人数上处于劣势,这一点我是不必说了,但是我们是在工事里作战,而且,在一分钟前,我还会说我们作战是有纪律性作保证的。只要你们愿意,我毫不怀疑我们会给他们来个迎头痛击。”

接着他又进行了一番巡视,随即看到,就像他说的,万事俱备。

在屋子窄的那两面,也就是东面和西面,只有两个射击孔;在门廊所在的南面,还有两个;而在北面则有五个。我们七个人有整整二十支枪。柴禾被堆成了四堆——你可以把它们叫做四张台子——每堆都位于屋子每一面的中央,而在每个这样的台子上都放了些弹药和四支装好弹药的火枪,以供守卫者取用。在屋子当中的地方,则放置了一排弯刀。

“把炉火熄了,”船长说,“寒气过去了,我们不必再叫烟熏得我们睁不开眼睛。”

那个铁篓子被特里罗尼先生整个地拎了出去,余烬在沙子里灭掉了。

“霍金斯还没吃上早饭呢。霍金斯,你自己动手去拿早饭,回到你的岗位上去吃,”斯莫列特船长接着说道,“打起精神来,孩子,只要还活着你就得吃饭。亨特,给大家上一圈白兰地。”

在这段时间里,船长在脑子里构想出防守方案。

“医生,你把住门,”他说,“注意,不要暴露自己;待在里面,从门廊往外射击。亨特,负责东面。乔埃斯,你站在西面,老弟。特里罗尼先生,你是最好的射手——你和葛雷得负责最长的北面,有五个射击孔;这里最危险。要是他们上到这面来,从我们自己的射击孔里向我们开火,情况就不妙了。霍金斯,你和我枪法都不怎么样,我们就站在一边装弹药,打个下手。”

正如船长所说,寒气过去了。太阳刚一爬到我们外围的树梢上,就将它的热力倾向了地面,把个雾气吸得干干净净。沙子很快便开始发烫,木屋房架上木头里的树脂也被烤化了。外套和上衣已被扔到了一边,衬衫领口也敞开着,翻到了肩上;我们每个人都站在各自的岗位上,天气炎热加上内心焦灼,弄得浑身燥热。

一个钟头过去了。

“该死的家伙!”船长说,“这沉闷得像赤道无风带似的。葛雷,吹口哨招招风吧。”

而就在这时,传来了进攻的第一声消息。

“请问,先生,”乔埃斯说,“要是我看见什么人,我可以开枪吗?”

“我告诉你可以开枪!”船长大声喊道。

“谢谢你,先生。”乔埃斯仍旧彬彬有礼地答道。

接下来半晌不见动静,但那句话已经使我们都警惕得竖起了耳朵、睁大了眼睛——枪手们用手端平了枪,船长仁立在屋子的中央,紧闭着嘴巴,皱着眉头。

这样又过了几秒钟,直到乔埃斯猛地举枪开了火。枪声余音未落,回敬的枪声便接踵而至,从寨子的四面八方飞来,像接连不断的雁群似的,一枪紧挨一枪。有几发子弹打中了木屋子,但是没有穿透进来。当硝烟散去之后,寨子和环绕它的树林又恢复了先前的寂静和空落。没有一根树枝摇动,也没见到一个暴露我们敌人踪迹的枪管在闪光。

“你击中目标了吗?”船长问道。

“没有,先生,”乔埃斯答道,“我想是没有,先生。”

“讲实话也算不错,”斯莫列特船长咕哝道。“给他的枪装上弹药,霍金斯。你那边打了几枪,医生?”

“这我知道得很清楚,”利弗西医生说道,“这边是三枪。我看到三次闪光——两次挨得近——另外一次离得远,靠西边。”

“三枪!”船长重复道。“那么你那边总共有多少呢,特里罗尼先生?”

这可不太容易回答了。从北面射来了许多枪——据乡绅计算是七枪,而据葛雷估计则是八枪到九枪。从东面和西面射来的总共只有一枪。因此,进攻显然是从北面展开,而在其余的三面,我们将只受到些虚张声势的骚扰。但是,斯莫列特船长并没有改变部署。他提出,如果反叛分子成功地越过了栅栏的话,他们就会占领任何一个无人把守的射击孔,就会把我们像打耗子一样地打死在我们自己的堡垒里。

我们也没有时间多想了。突然,随着一声呐喊,一小撮海盗窜出了北面的树林,直奔寨子跑来。与此同时,树林里又一次开了火,一颗子弹呼啸着从门外飞来,立刻便把医生的枪击成了碎片。

海盗们像猿猴般地翻越了栅栏。乡绅和葛雷一次又一次地射击,三个倒下了,一个向前倒在寨子里面,两个朝后倒在了外面。但这两个中,有一个显然是受了惊吓而非挂彩,因为他又一骨碌爬起来,立刻便消失在了树林里。

两个当场毙命,一个跑掉了,四个已经漂亮地进到了我们的栅栏里面;而在树林的隐蔽下,还有七八个人,每个人显然都配备了好几支枪,不断地向木屋进行猛烈的、然而是无效的射击。

那四个越过栅栏的人直奔木屋冲来,一边跑还一边喊着,而那些树林里的人也跟着呐喊助威。我们这边开了几枪,但是枪手由于过于匆忙,似乎一发也未中的。不一会儿,四个海盗便已冲上了小丘,向我们扑来。

那个水手长乔布·安德森的脑袋出现在中间的一个射击孔里。

“灭了他们,一个不留——一个不留!”他用雷鸣般的声音咆哮着。

与此同时,另一个海盗猛地抓住了亨特的枪管,从他的手中夺了过去,拖出了射击孔,然后,以漂亮的一击,打得这可怜的人倒在了地板上,失去了知觉。此时,第三个海盗丝毫未损地绕着木屋跑了一匝后,突然出现在了门口,举着他的弯刀向医生砍去。

我们的处境完全颠倒了过来。就在一刻以前,我们还在掩蔽下射击暴露着的敌人,这会儿却是毫无掩蔽地暴露给了对方而无还手之力。

木屋里弥漫着硝烟,多亏了这,我们还算安全些。呐喊和骚乱、火光和枪声,以及一声很大的呻吟,充斥着我的耳朵。

“出去,弟兄们,出去,和他们在开阔地拼!弯刀!”船长叫道。

我从柴禾堆上抓起了一把弯刀,同时另一个人也抓起了一把,在我的手指关节上划了一下,这我当时几乎都没感觉得到。我夺门而出,冲到了明朗的阳光下。有人紧跟在我后面,我搞不清是谁。在正前方,医生正把那个对头赶下了小丘,当我刚刚把目光落到他身上时,他已突破了对方的防守,在那人脸上狠狠地来了一刀,疼得那家伙倒在地上打滚儿。

“绕屋子来,弟兄们!绕屋子来!”船长叫道;即使是在混乱中,我也听出他的声音有些异样。

我机械地服从命令向东转,举着弯刀跑步绕过屋角。接着我便与安德森面对面地遭遇了。他大声地吼叫着,把他的弯刀举过了头顶,刀身在阳光下寒光四射。我连害怕都来不及,就在这刀悬未落的危难关头,我一下子就跳到了一边,脚踩到松软的沙子里没有站稳,跌了一跤,头朝下滚下了斜坡。

当我刚从门口冲出来时,其他的叛乱分子正一窝蜂地涌上栅栏,企图结果了我们。一个戴顶红色睡帽的人,衔着他的弯刀,甚至已经爬到了栅栏顶上,一条腿已经迈了过来。这段间隔是如此的短促,当我重新站起来的时候,那个戴红色睡帽的家伙仍旧一条腿在外一条腿在里,而另一个家伙仍只是露出个脑瓜子在栅栏顶上。然而就在这刹那间,战斗结束了,胜利属于了我们。

紧跟在我后面的葛雷,在那个大个子水手长正为劈空而愣神的当儿就砍倒了他。另外一个,在他从射击孔向屋内开枪的时候被打中了,这会儿正痛苦地在地上挣扎呢,他手里的枪还在冒着烟。第三个,就像我看到的那样,被医生一刀结果了。越过寨子的这四个人中,只有一个没被干掉,他把弯刀丢在了地上,正被死亡吓得抱头鼠窜哩。

“开枪——从屋里开枪!”医生叫道。“还有你们,弟兄,快回屋去隐蔽。”

但他的话未引起注意,因此没人开枪,于是这最后一个海盗便逃之夭夭了,和其余的人一起消失在了林子里。在三秒钟内,这群进攻者什么也没有留下,只剩了五个人倒在地上:四个在栅栏里边,一个在外边。

医生、葛雷和我全速跑回了木屋。幸存的海盗一定很快就回来捡拾枪支,战斗随时都可能再次打响。

这时,屋内的硝烟已经稍稍消散,我们一眼便可看出为胜利所付出的代价来。亨特倒在了他的射击孔旁,昏迷不醒。乔埃斯紧挨着他,被射穿了脑袋,一动不动。而就在屋子正中,乡绅正扶着船长,两人都面色苍白。

“船长受伤了。”特里罗尼先生说。

“他们跑掉了吗?”斯莫列特先生问道。

“都想跑,你可以相信,”医生回答道,“但是有五个永远也跑不了了。”

“五个!”船长叫道,“看,这满不错。五个对三个,剩下我们四个对他们九个。这个差距比刚开头的时候小得多了。那时是我们七个对他们十九个,想想那时的处境,真是让人受不了啊。”①

①叛乱分子很快就只剩下八个了,因为那个在船上被特里罗尼先生打中的人当晚就死了。但是这一点,这忠实正派的一伙当然是后来才知道的。


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