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英语阅读两个狙击手

时间:2021-12-08 19:27:48|栏目:高中英语|点击:

英语阅读两个狙击手

The long June twilight faded into night. Dublin lay enveloped in darkness but for the dim light of the moon that shone through fleecy clouds, casting a pale light as of approaching dawn over the streets and the dark waters of the Liffey. Around the beleaguered Four Courts the heavy guns roared. Here and there through the city, machine guns and rifles broke the silence of the night, spasmodically, like dogs barking on lone farms. Republicans and Free Staters were waging civil war.


On a roof top near O’Connell Bridge, a Republican sniper lay watching. Beside him lay his rifle and over his shoulders was slung a pair of field glasses. His face was the face of a student, thin and ascetic, but his eyes had the cold gleam of the fanatic. They were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.


He was eatingpHqrtg8o0/4rTEBHkof+PNkplPNgOAdWjVOkF+g4d1I= a sandwich hungrily. He had eaten nothing since morning. He had been too excited to eat. He finished the sandwich, and, taking a flask of whiskey from his pocket, he took a short draught. Then he returned the flask to his pocket. He paused for a moment, consi-dering whether he should risk a smoke. It was dangerous. The flash might be seen in the darkness, and there were enemies watching. He decided to take the risk. Placing a cigarette between his lips, he struck a match, inhaled the smoke hurriedly and put out the light. Almost immediately, a bullet flattened itself against the parapet1 of the roof. The sniper took another whiff and put out the cigarette. Then he swore softly and crawled away to the left. Cautiously he raised himself and peered over the parapet. There was a flash and a bullet whizzed over his head. He dropped immediately. He had seen the flash. It came from the opposite side of the street.


He rolled over the roof to a chimney stack in the rear, and slowly drew himself up behind it. His enemy was under cover. Just then an armored car came across the bridge and advanced slowly up the street. It stopped on the opposite side of the street, fifty yards ahead. The sniper could hear the dull panting of the motor. His heart beat faster. It was an enemy car. He wanted to fire, but he knew it was useless. His bullets would never pierce the steel that covered the gray monster.


Then round the corner of a side street came an old woman, her head covered by a tattered shawl. She began to talk to the man in the turret of the car. She was pointing to the roof where the sniper lay—an informer. The turret opened. A man’s head and shoulders appeared, looking toward the sniper. The sniper raised his rifle and fired. The head fell heavily on the turret wall. The woman darted toward the side street. The sniper fired again. The woman whirled round and fell with a shriek into the gutter.


Suddenly from the opposite roof a shot rang out and the sniper dropped his rifle with a curse. The rifle clattered to the roof. He stooped to pick the rifle up. He couldn’t lift it. His forearm was dead. “Christ,” he muttered, “I’m hit.”


Dropping flat onto the roof, he crawled back to the parapet. With his left hand he felt the injured right forearm. There was no pain—just a deadened sensation, as if the arm had been cut off.


Quickly he drew his knife from his pocket, opened it on the breast-work of the parapet, and ripped open the sleeve.


Then taking out the field dressing, he ripped open the packet with his knife. He broke the neck of the iodine2 bottle and let the bitter fluid drip into the wound. A paroxysm of pain swept through him. He placed the cotton wadding over the wound and wrapped the dressing over it. He tied the ends with his teeth.


Then he lay against the parapet, and, closing his eyes, he made an effort of will to overcome the pain.


In the street beneath all was still. The armoured car had retired speedily over the bridge, with the machine-gunner’s head hanging lifelessly over the turret. The woman’s corpse lay still in the gutter.


The sniper lay still for a long time nursing his wounded arm and planning escape. Morning must not find him wounded on the roof. The enemy on the opposite roof covered his escape. He must kill that enemy and he could not use his rifle. He had only a revolver to do it. Then he thought of a plan.


Taking off his cap, he placed it over the muzzle of his rifle. Then he pushed the rifle slowly over the parapet, until the cap was visible from the opposite side of the street. Almost immediately there was a report3, and a bullet pierced the centre of the cap. The sniper slanted the rifle forward. The cap slipped down into the street. Then catching the rifle in the middle, the sniper dropped his left hand over the roof and let it hang, lifelessly. After a few moments he let the rifle drop to the street. Then he sank to the roof, dragging his hand with him.


Crawling quickly to the left, he peered up at the corner of the roof. His ruse had succeeded. The other sniper, seeing the cap and rifle fall, thought he had killed his man. He was now standing before a row of chimney, looking across, with his head clearly silhouetted against the western sky.


The Republican sniper smiled and lifted his revolver above the edge of the parapet. The distance was about fifty yards—a hard shot in the dim light, and his right arm was paining him like a thousand devils. He took a steady aim. His hand trembled with eagerness. Pressing his lips together, he took a deep breath through his nostrils and fired.


Then, when the smoke cleared he peered across and uttered a cry of joy. His enemy had been hit. He was reeling over the parapet in his death agony. He struggled to keep his feet, but he was slowly falling forward, as if in a dream. The rifle fell from his grasp, hit the parapet. Then the dying man on the roof crumpled up and fell forward. The body turned over and over in space and hit the ground with a dull thud. Then it lay still.


The sniper looked at his enemy falling and he shuddered. The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse. The sweat stood out in beads on his forehead. His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody. He looked at the smoking revolver in his hand, and with an oath he hurled it to the roof at his feet. The revolver went off with the concussion and the bullet whizzed past the sniper’s head. He was frightened back to his senses by the shock. His nerves steadied. The cloud of fear scattered from his mind and he laughed.


Taking the whiskey flask from his pocket, he emptied it at a draught. He felt reckless under the influence of the spirit. He decided to look for his company commander, to report. He picked up his revolver and put it in his pocket. Then he crawled down through the sky-light to the house underneath. When the sniper reached the laneway on the street, he felt a sudden curiosity as to the identity of the enemy sniper whom he had killed. He decided that he was a good shot, whoever he was. He wondered if he knew him. Perhaps he had been in his own company before the split in the army. He decided to risk going over to have a look at him. He peered round. In the upper part of the street there was heavy firing, but around here all was quiet.


The sniper darted across the street. A machine-gun tore up the ground around him with a hail of bullets, but he escaped. He threw himself face downward beside the corpse. The machine-gun stopped.


Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face.


六月漫長的暮光渐渐隐没于夜色之中,都柏林笼罩在黑暗里,只有从朵朵轻云中透出的淡淡月光映照着一排排街道和利菲河黑黝黝的河面,有如黎明之光。重型大炮在被围困的四法院周围轰鸣,机枪声和步枪声像空寂农场里的狗吠声似的在城市各处响起,时断时续,打破了夜晚的寂静。共和派和自由邦派正在打内战。


一个共和党人的狙击手趴在奥康奈尔桥附近的一个屋顶上观察着,他的身旁放了一支步枪,肩上挎了一副战地望远镜。他的面庞还是学生模样,身体瘦削得像一个苦行僧,可是他的眼睛却闪着狂热的寒光,这是一对深沉的、若有所思的双眼,对死亡已经司空见惯。


他在狼吞虎咽地吃三明治,从早晨到现在他还没吃过东西,他太兴奋了。吃完三明治,他从口袋里掏出一扁瓶威士忌喝了一小口,又把酒瓶放回口袋。他顿了顿,考虑着是否应该冒险抽口烟。会很危险,黑灯瞎火的,敌人会发现火光,敌人也在观察哩。最后,他还是决定冒一次险,他把香烟放在唇间,划着了火柴,急急忙忙地吸了一口就吹灭了火。几乎是与此同时,一颗子弹射了过来,打在护墙上被撞扁。狙击手又吸了一口就掐灭了烟,低低地骂了一句就爬到了左边。他小心翼翼地从护墙内探出身来窥望,一道光闪过,一颗子弹嗖的一声贴着他的头皮飞了过去,他立刻缩了回来。他根据看到的闪光判断出子弹是从街道对面射过来的。


他滚到后面的烟囱旁边,在烟囱后面缓缓地立起身来。对面的狙击手隐在夜幕中看不见,却见一辆装甲车驶过桥面,沿这条街缓缓开来。装甲车停在街对面,离这里50码远。他听得见马达沉闷的喷气声。狙击手的心怦怦直跳,越来越快。是敌军的车,他想开枪,可他知道没用,因为子弹绝对无法穿透那个灰色庞然大物的钢质外壳。


接着,从旁边小街街角走过来一个头部裹着破破烂烂披肩的老太太。她开始跟装甲车炮塔里的机枪手说着什么,边说边用手指着这个狙击手所在的房顶——肯定是在告密。炮塔开了,露出了机枪手的头和肩,他朝老太太所指的方向瞭望。狙击手立刻端起枪来开了火,机枪手的头重重地落到炮塔的侧壁上。老太太向那条小街冲去。狙击手又开了一枪,老太太尖叫一声转了个圈,掉进路边沟里。


突然,对面的屋顶响起枪声,狙击手骂了一句,手中的枪咣当一声砸到了屋顶上。狙击手蹲下拾枪,却没有捡起来,他的前臂中弹了。他低声说道:“主啊,我中弹了。”


他在屋顶上卧倒,爬回护墙旁。他用左手摸了摸受伤的右胳膊,没有痛感,只有麻木的感觉,好像胳膊被砍断了似的。


他迅速从口袋里掏出小刀,抵着护墙把刀打开,用刀把袖子划开。


他拿出战地止血包,用刀把袋子挑开,敲碎碘酒瓶颈,把苦药水滴在伤口上,一阵痉挛似的痛感立刻传遍了全身。最后,他把藥棉放在伤口上,用纱布裹住,借助牙齿把伤口包扎起来。


他贴着护墙躺着,紧闭双眼,强忍着疼痛。


下面的街道一片寂静。装甲车很快从桥上退了下去,机枪手已经死亡,头还在炮塔上耷拉着,老太太的尸体一动不动地躺在沟里。


狙击手静静地躺了很久,一面养伤,一面盘算着怎么逃走。天一亮,屋顶上的自己就会被发现,被打死,而对面的狙击手是自己逃跑的障碍,所以必须杀掉他,可是自己已经不能用步枪了,只能用手枪来凑合。他终于心生一计。


他把帽子摘下来,放到步枪的枪口上,然后把步枪慢慢举过护墙,举到街对面能够看到的地方。几乎与此同时一声枪响,一颗子弹从帽子中间穿过。狙击手把步枪向前倾了倾,帽子滑落到了街上,然后他用左手抓住步枪的中间部分,让手从屋顶上无力地耷拉下来。少顷,他松开手,让步枪掉到街上。随后,他扑倒在屋顶上,手也随着收了回去。


他迅速爬到左边,窥视着对面屋顶的一角,发现自己的计策已经奏效:对面的狙击手看到掉落的帽子和步枪,还以为击毙了敌人,所以此时正站在一排烟囱前朝这边张望,那个人头部的轮廓在西方天幕的映衬下清晰可见。


共和党的狙击手微微一笑,提起左轮手枪架在护墙沿上。距离大约有50码,在暗淡的光线下射击不容易,而且右手还疼得厉害,好像有成千上万个魔鬼在捣乱。他瞄准目标,由于急迫,他的手在颤抖。他抿了抿嘴,鼻子深深吸了口气,开了枪。


硝烟散尽之后,他向对面窥望,不禁惊喜地叫出了声。他的敌人已经被击中,倒在护墙上的身躯正在垂死的痛苦中踉踉跄跄地挣扎,他企图站稳脚跟,却好像在梦中似的向前栽了下去,步枪从手中掉落下来,砸在护墙上。接着,屋顶上的垂死的狙击手向前倒了下去,身体在空中翻了几翻,随着沉闷的砰的一声,摔到街上,一动不动了。


看到敌人倒了下去,狙击手打了个寒战,心中对战争的渴望消失得无影无踪,代之以被懊悔刺痛的心。大颗大颗的汗珠从额头上冒了出来,牙齿也在打战,他开始语无伦次地自言自语,诅咒这场战争,诅咒自己,诅咒所有的人。他看了看手里还冒着烟的枪,骂了一句就把它扔到了脚边,手枪由于震动而走了火,一颗子弹嗖的一声从他的耳旁飞过,他一惊,恢复了理智,神经也稳定了,恐惧的阴云从心头消散,他哈哈大笑起来。


他从口袋里掏出了那瓶威士忌,一口喝了个精光。在酒精的作用下,他胆子又大了起来。他打算找连长报告情况,于是捡起手枪放进口袋,从天窗向下面的房子爬去。临近街口时,他突然产生一股好奇心,想要看看自己打死的那个狙击手是谁,因为不论对方是谁,他都认为对方也是个出色的狙击手。他想看看是不是认识对方,也许在军队没有分裂以前,他们在同一个连队呢。他决定冒险去看一眼,他环顾四周,发现街的那头战火很猛,而这头却是一片寂静。


他冲过街道,一挺机枪射出一串冰雹似的子弹,周围的泥土被纷纷掀起,但是没有打中他。他一下子趴倒在那个狙击手的尸体旁,机枪停止了射击。


他把死尸翻了过来,看到的是自己哥哥的脸。


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