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宝岛(Treasure Island) 十八 第一天战斗的结果

时间:2010-07-16 10:05    来源:    作者: 点击:
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WE made our best speed across the strip of wood that now divided us from the stockade; and at every step we took the voices of the buccaneers rang nearer. Soon we could hear their footfalls as they ran, and the cracking of the branches as they breasted across a bit of thicket.

I began to see we should have a brush for it in earnest, and looked to my priming.

`Captain,' said I, `Trelawney is the dead shot. Give him your gun; his own is useless.'

They exchanged guns, and Trelawney, silent and cool as he had been since the beginning of the bustle, hung a moment on his heel to see that all was fit for service. At the same time, observing Gray to be unarmed, I handed him my cutlass. It did all our hearts good to see him spit in his hand, knit his brows, and make the blade sing through the air. It was plain from every line of his body that our new hand was worth his salt.

Forty paces farther we came to the edge of the wood and saw the stockade in front of us. We struck the enclosure about the middle of the south side, and, almost at the same time, seven mutineers - Job Anderson, the boatswain, at their head - appeared in full cry at the south-western corner.

They paused, as if taken aback; and before they recovered, not only the squire and I, but Hunter and Joyce from the block house, had time to fire. The four shots came in rather a scattering volley; but they did the business: one of the enemy actually fell, and the rest, without hesitation, turned and plunged into the trees.

After reloading, we walked down the outside of the palisade to see the fallen enemy. He was stone dead - shot through the heart.

We began to rejoice over our good success, when just at that moment a pistol cracked in the bush, a ball whistled close past my ear, and poor Tom Redruth stumbled and fell his length on the ground. Both the squire and I returned the shot; but as we had nothing to aim at, it is probable we only wasted powder. Then we reloaded, and turned our attention to poor Tom.

The captain and Gray were already examining him; and I saw with half an eye that all was over.

I believe the readiness of our return volley had scattered the mutineers once more, for we were suffered without further molestation to get the poor old gamekeeper hoisted over the stockade, and carried, groaning and bleeding, into the log-house.

Poor old fellow, he had not uttered one word of surprise, complaint, fear, or even acquiescence, from the very beginning of our troubles till now, when we had laid him down in the log-house to die. He had lain like a Trojan behind his mattress in the gallery; he had followed every order silently doggedly, and well; he was the oldest of our party by a score of years; and now, sullen, old, serviceable servant, it was he that was to die.

The squire dropped down beside him on his knees and kissed his hand, crying like a child.

`Be I going, doctor?' he asked.

`Tom, my man,' said I, `you're going home.'

`I wish I had had a lick at them with the gun first,' he replied.

`Tom,' said the squire, `say you forgive me, won't you?'

`Would that be respectful like, from me to you, squire?' was the answer. `Howsoever, so be it, amen!'

After a little while of silence, he said he thought somebody might read a prayer. `It's the custom, sir,' he added apologetically. And not long after, without another word, he passed away.

In the meantime the captain, whom I had observed to be wonderfully swollen about the chest and pockets, had turned out a great many various stores - the British colours, a Bible a coil of stoutish rope, pen, ink, the log-book, and pounds of tobacco. He had found a longish fir-tree lying felled an trimmed in the enclosure, and, with the help of Hunter, he had set it up at the corner of the log-house where the trunks crossed and made an angle. Then, climbing on the roof, he had with his own hand bent and run up the colours.

This seemed mightily to relieve him. He re-entered the log-house, and set about counting up the stores, as if nothing else existed. But he had an eye on Tom's passage for all that; and as soon as all was over, came forward with another flag, and reverently spread it on the body.

`Don't you take on, sir,' he said, shaking the squire's hand. `All's well with him; no fear for a hand that's been shot down in his duty to captain and owner. It mayn't be good divinity, but it's a fact.'

Then he pulled me aside.

`Dr Livesey,' he said, `in how many weeks do you and squire expect the consort?'

I told him it was a question, not of weeks, but of months; that if we were not back by the end of August, Blandly was to send to find us; but neither sooner nor later. `You can calculate for yourself,' I said.

`Why, yes,' returned the captain, scratching his head, `and making a large allowance, sir, for all the gifts of Providence, I should say we were pretty close hauled.'

`How do you mean?' I asked.

`It's a pity, sir, we lost that second load. That's what I mean,' replied the captain. `As for powder and shot, we'll do. But the rations are short, very short - so short, Dr Livesey, that we're, perhaps, as well without that extra mouth.'

And he pointed to the dead body under the flag.

Just then, with a roar and a whistle, a round-shot passed high above the roof of the log-house and plumped far beyond us in the wood.

`Oho!' said the captain. `Blaze away! You've little enough powder already my lads.'

At the second trial, the aim was better, and the ball descended inside the stockade, scattering a cloud of sand, but doing no further damage.

`Captain,' said the squire, `the house is quite invisible from the ship. It must be the flag they are aiming at. Would it not be wiser to take it in?'

`Strike my colours!' cried the captain. `No, sir, not I;' and as soon as he had said the words, I think we all agreed with him. For it was not only a piece of stout, seamanly, good feeling; it was good policy besides, and showed our enemies that we despised their cannonade.

All through the evening they kept thundering away. Ball after ball flew over or fell short, or kicked up the sand in the enclosure; but they had to fire so high that the shot fell dead and buried itself in the soft sand. We had no ricochet to fear; and though one popped in through the roof of the log-house and out again through the floor, we soon got used to that sort of horse-play, and minded it no more than cricket.

`There is one thing good about all this,' observed the captain; `the wood in front of us is likely clear. The ebb has made a good while; our stores should be uncovered. Volunteers to go and bring in pork.'

Gray and Hunter were the first to come forward. Well armed, they stole out of the stockade; but it proved a useless mission. The mutineers were bolder than we fancied, or they put more trust in Israel's gunnery. For four or five of the were busy carrying off our stores, and wading out with the to one of the gigs that lay close by, pulling an oar on so hold her steady against the current. Silver was in the stern-sheets in command; and every man of them was now provided with a musket from some secret magazine of their own.'

The captain sat down to his log, and here is the beginning of the entry:--

`Alexander Smollett, master; David Livesey, ship's doctor; Abraham Gray, carpenter's mate; John Trelawney, owner; John Hunter and Richard Joyce, owner's servant, landsmen - being all that is left faithful of the ship's company - with stores for ten days at short rations, came ashore this day, and flew British colours on the log-house in Treasure Island. Thomas Redruth, owner's servant landsman, shot by the mutineers; James Hawkins, cabin-boy--'

And at the same time I was wondering over poor Jim Hawkins's fate.

A hail on the land side.

`Somebody hailing us,' said Hunter, who was on guard. `Doctor! squire! captain! Hullo, Hunter, is that you?' came the cries.

And I ran to the door in time to see Jim Hawkins, safe and sound, come climbing over the stockade

我们以最快的速度穿越了隔在我们和寨子之间的那片丛林。我们每前进一步,海盗们的吵嚷声也就更近一步。很快我们就能听到他们奔跑的脚步声,以及他们横冲直撞时林中树枝的断裂声。

我开始意识到我们就要打一场遭遇战了,于是便检查了我的枪膛。

“船长,”我说,“特里罗尼是个神枪手。把你的枪给他,他自己的报废了。”

他们交换了枪支。特里罗尼,自从出乱子时起就一直保持着沉默和冷静,现在仍然如此,他停住片刻,从头到尾检查了一遍他的武器。与此同时,我注意到葛雷没有武器,于是便把我的弯刀递给了他。我们所有的人看到他往手上啐了口唾沫,拧紧眉毛,将弯刀舞得呼呼生风的样子都大为高兴。从他身体各方面看,显而易见,我们这个新伙计决不是个孬种。

又向前跑了四十步,我们来到了林子的边缘,看到寨子就在我们前面。我们从南边栅栏的中央处接近寨子,几乎与此同时,以水手长乔布·安德森为首的七个反叛分子叫嚣着从寨子的西南角出现了。

他们停了一下,似乎要往回退,在他们恢复神智以前,不仅乡绅和我,还有木屋里的亨特和乔埃斯都抓住时机开了枪。四声枪响合成了一阵零乱的扫射,但是弹未虚发,其中的一个敌人倒了下去,而其余那些人则毫不犹豫地转身向林中逃去。

在将子弹重新上膛后,我们沿着寨子边向下走去,查看一下倒地的那个敌人。他已经断了气——子弹穿过了他的心脏。

我们正为战果而欢呼时,就在这一刹那间,一颗子弹随着一声枪响从我的耳畔呼啸而过,接着可怜的汤姆·雷卓斯便踉跄着直挺挺地倒在了地上。乡绅和我两人都进行了回击,但是由于我们没有目标可供瞄准,也就差不多等于是白费了弹药。然后我们又重新装好了火药,这才将注意力转到可怜的汤姆身上。

船长和葛雷已经在查看他的伤势了,我大致看了一眼心中便已明白,他是没救了。

我想是我们有准备的回击再次使反叛分子溃散了,因为在我们将可怜的猎场老总管托过木栅、抬进木屋时,再没受到骚扰;而在这一道上,他一直呻吟着、流着血。

自从我们遇到麻烦到现在,可怜的老伙计连一句表示惊奇、抱怨、恐惧、甚或默认的话也没有,而这会儿我们把他安置到木屋里等死,他也依旧无话。他曾经用一块垫子掩护着,像个特洛伊人似地把守着过道;他曾经默默地、忠实地、而且是出色地执行了每道命令;他是我们这些人中年岁最大的一个,比我们大了二十岁;而今,正是这位沉默的、年长的忠仆要与世长辞了。

乡绅跪在他身边吻着他的手,哭得像个孩子。

“我要去了吗,医生?”他问道。

“汤姆,我的朋友,”我说,“你要回家去了。”

“我但愿我是第一个打中他们的。”他答道。

“汤姆,”乡绅说,“你愿意说宽恕我吗,愿意吗?”

“要我宽恕你,这合乎礼仪吗,先生?”这是答话,“不管怎样,就这么的吧,阿门!”

沉默了片刻之后,他说他想有人给他读上段祈祷文。“那是规矩,先生。”他补充道,带着歉疚。过不多久,他再没说什么就咽了气。

在此期间,船长从我早就注意到的鼓鼓的胸前和口袋里掏出了一堆各式各样的物件——英国国旗、一本《圣经》、一卷粗绳、钢笔、墨水、航海日志,还有几磅烟草。他在栅栏内找到了一棵砍好并削去枝条的长枞树干,在亨特的帮助下,把它竖在了木屋角上树干互相交叉的地方。然后他又爬上了屋顶,亲手拴系好国旗并将它升了起来。

这似乎使他减轻了痛苦。他又返身回到了木屋里,着手去清点那些物资,好像旁的一切都不存在了似的。其实他一直在留心着临终前的汤姆。而当一切都料理完的时候,他拿着另一面国旗走上前去,虔诚地将它覆盖在尸体上面。

“不要再这样了,先生,”他说,一边握着乡绅的手,“他是为履行船长和船主赋予他的职责而死的,死得其所。这也许不太合乎教义的精神,但这是事实。”

然后他把我拉到了一旁。

“利弗西医生,”他说,“你和乡绅指望的那艘接应的船几时能来?”

我告诉他这还是个问题,不是几周的事,而是几个月后的事。要是我们在八月底之前没有返回的话,布兰德利就派人来找我们。但是既不会太早,也不会太晚,刚刚在那时。“你自己可以计算一下。”我说。

“啊,对的,”船长搔着脑袋答道,“即使把天赐的一切都考虑进去,我看我们的处境还是危险哪。”

“你指什么?”我问道。

“我们丢掉了第二船物资实在可惜,先生。我指的就是这个,”船长答道。“至于说弹药,我们还不成问题。但是口粮短缺——非常的短缺——如此的短缺,利弗西医生,我们也许,少掉一张嘴,也好。”

说着,他指了指旗下面的尸体。

正在这时,轰隆一声过后,一颗炮弹呼啸着从我们的木屋上高高飞过,落到我们远处的树林里爆炸了。

“哦嗬!”船长说,“接着打吧!你们的火药没多点儿了,小家伙们。”

第二次炮弹发射得准了点,落到了栅栏里面,扬起了一片沙土,但是没造成更大的破坏。

“船长,”乡绅说,“船上怎么也看不到这屋子,他们一定是瞄准了那面旗。把它降下来是否更明智些?”

“降我的旗!”船长叫道。“不,先生,我不会这么做”;他刚说完这句话,我就知道我们都一致赞同他。因为它不仅是一种顽强的。海员式的、美好的感情的体现者,此外它还是一个高明的策略,告诉我们的敌人,我们没把他们的炮击放在眼里。

整个晚上,他们不断地轰着大炮。炮弹一个接一个地落下来,不是太远,就是太近,或者只是在栅栏里卷起一片尘土;他们不得不发射得很高,以致于炮弹落下时埋进松软的沙土里,灭了火。我们对流弹没啥好怕的,尽管有一发炮弹从木屋顶上溜进来又从地板底下钻了出去。我们很快就习惯了这吵人的玩意,对它的注意,不会比板球更多一点。

“这当中倒有件好事,”船长边观察边说,“我们前面林子里的敌人可能已被炮弹清理干净了,潮水也已退去很久了,我们的物资也该露出水面了,有谁自告奋勇去把腌肉弄回来?”

葛雷和亨特一马当先。他们全副武装地偷偷溜出寨子;但事实证明这次行动是徒劳无功的。反叛分子比我们想像的更为大胆,或者是他们过于信任伊斯莱尔的炮术。因为他们中有四、五个人正忙着拖走我们的物资,并且涉水把它们装到其中的一个划子上,这只划子就停在近旁,里面的人不时划两下桨,以使它在湍流中保持稳定。西尔弗正在船尾板上指挥着,而现在,他们中的每一个人都从他们的秘密军火库里弄到了一支火枪。

船长坐下来写航海日志,这里是所记内容的开头部分:

“亚历山大·斯莫列特,船长;大卫·利弗西,随船医生;亚伯拉罕·葛雷,木匠助手;约翰·特里罗尼,船主;约翰·亨特和理查·乔埃斯,船主的仆人,未出过海的新手——以上是船上剩下的全体忠实的船员——今天带着短缺的、仅够维持十天的口粮上岸,并使英国国旗在宝岛的木屋上空飘扬了起来。托马斯·雷卓斯,船主的仆人,未出过海的新手,被反叛分子击毙;詹姆斯·霍金斯,客舱侍应生——”

在这个时候,我正为可怜的吉姆·霍金斯的安危担忧呢,从陆地那边儿便传来了一声呼唤。

“有人在喊我们。”亨特说,他正在放哨。

“医生!乡绅!船长!喂,亨特,那是你吗?”那声音接连喊道。

我跑到了门口,恰好看见吉姆·霍金斯从木栅上面翻过来,平安无恙




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