- زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
- سطح متوسط
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
“What are you going to do?” asked the mate.
“I’m going to have the schooner rowed up to the head of that creek over there and then creep through the woods to the village. These cannibals are always dancing around their fires at night, so we can drop forty or fifty at the first volley. After that the thing will be easy enough. The savages will take to the woods, we’ll grab what we want, up anchor, and away. Give the men a glass or two of rum and warn them to be ready at midnight.”
I’d heard enough. I crept away, awaiting the coming struggle with dread.
At midnight the men were mustered on deck, the cable was cut, and the schooner quietly rowed up into the creek. It took half an hour to reach the spot where the captain wanted us to land. Here a small kedge anchor, attached to a thin line, was let over the stern.
“Now, lads,” whispered the captain, as he walked along the line of men who stood ready, “don’t be in a hurry, aim low, and don’t waste your first shots.”
Within a matter of minutes we were all ashore and lined up beneath the overhanging trees.
“There’s no need to leave a man with the boat,” I heard the mate whisper to the captain. “We shall want all hands. Let Ralph stay.”
The captain ordered me to stand by and guard the boat. Then he glided off among the bushes, followed by the men.
I waited in the darkness, my heart throbbing wildly. For a long time there was no sound, and a feeling of dread slowly crept over me. I was sure that something terrible was about to happen.
And then I heard a shot.
It seemed to come from the village, and was followed at once by a chorus of shrieks and yells. Shot after shot rang out and echoed through the woods; there were more shouts and screams, and then the firing seemed to be going on all over the place, as if parties of men were scattering through the forest.
The noise went on for what seemed a very long time, and then I heard a long-drawn-out yell that could have come only from the savages. It sounded as if they were triumphant, and my blood ran cold at the thought. What should I do if our men were beaten? I could not let myself be taken by the savages; to flee to the mountains would be hopeless; and to take the schooner out of the creek without help was impossible.
I had just made up my mind to get back on board the ship, when my blood was chilled by an appalling shriek. I knew the voice to be that of one of the crew. It was followed by a chorus of loud shouts from at least a hundred savage throats. Then came another shriek of agony, another, and another.
I waited no longer, but seized the boat-hook to push myself from shore. As the boat moved a man came crashing through the bushes, panting and sobbing for breath.
“Stop, Ralph!” cried a voice. “Wait for me!”
It was Bill. He bounded into the boat with a leap that almost upset her.
“Push off !” he gasped, and I did so readily enough.
In a matter of seconds we were on board the ship; the boat was made fast, the line of the anchor cut, and the oars run out. They were great sweeps that it took all my strength to pull, but, between us, we got the schooner under way.
We began to glide down the creek, but before we reached its mouth a yell from a thousand voices on the bank told us that we had been seen. I heard splashes as a number of the savages plunged into the water and swam towards us. One of them managed to grab hold of the cut rope dangling from the stern, and clambered up on to the deck. Bill let the fellow straighten up, then struck him a blow that sent him toppling back overboard.
But now a greater danger awaited us, for the savages had outrun us on the bank and were about to plunge into the water in front of the schooner.
I shouted to Bill. He came to his feet, drew a pistol from his belt, sprang to the brass gun, held the pan of his pistol over the touch-hole, and fired. The flash and the crashing thunder of the gun burst upon the savages with such a deafening roar that it seemed as if the island had been torn asunder.
In that moment of surprise and hesitation we had time to pass the danger point. A breeze, which the woods of the shore had stopped us from feeling, caught and bulged out our sails. The ship bent before it and we were wafted out to sea.
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