字体设置:

Chapter 4

WHEN I had been about three weeks in the line a contingent of twenty or thirty men, sent out from England by the I.L.P., arrived at Alcubierre, and in order to keep the English on this front together Williams and I were sent to join them. Our new position was at Monte Oscuro, several miles farther west and within sight of Zaragoza.

The position was perched on a sort of razor-back of limestone with dug-outs driven horizontally into the cliff like sand-martins' nests. They went into the ground for prodigious distances, and inside they were pitch dark and so low that you could not even kneel in them, let alone stand. On the peaks to the left of us there were two more P.O.U.M. positions, one of them an object of fascination to every man in the line, because there were three militiawomen there who did the cooking. These women were not exactly beautiful, but it was found necessary to put the position out of bounds to men of other companies. Five hundred yards to our right there was a P.S.U.C. post at the bend of the Alcubierre road. It was just here that the road changed hands. At night you could watch the lamps of our supply-lorries winding out from Alcubierre and, simultaneously, those of the Fascists coming from Zaragoza. You could see Zaragoza itself, a thin string of lights like the lighted portholes of a ship, twelve miles south-westward. The Government troops had gazed at it from that distance since August 1936, and they are gazing at it still.

There were about thirty of ourselves, including one Spaniard (Ramon, Williams's brother-in-law), and there were a dozen Spanish machine--gunners. Apart from the one or two inevitable nuisances--for, as everyone knows, war attracts riff-raff--the English were an exceptionally good crowd, both physically and mentally. Perhaps the best of the bunch was Bob Smillie--the grandson of the famous miners' leader--who afterwards died such an evil and meaningless death in Valencia. It says a lot for the Spanish character that the English and the Spaniards always got on well together, in spite of the language difficulty. All Spaniards, we discovered, knew two English expressions. One was 'O.K., baby', the other was a word used by the Barcelona whores in their dealings with English sailors, and I am afraid the compositors would not print it.

Once again there was nothing happening all along the line: only the random crack of bullets and, very rarely, the crash of a Fascist mortar that sent everyone running to the top trench to see which hill the shells were bursting on. The enemy was somewhat closer to us here, perhaps three or four hundred yards away. Their nearest position was exactly opposite ours, with a machine-gun nest whose loopholes constantly tempted one to waste cartridges. The Fascists seldom bothered with rifle-shots, but sent bursts of accurate machine-gun fire at anyone who exposed himself. Nevertheless it was ten days or more before we had our first casualty. The troops opposite us were Spaniards, but according to the deserters there were a few German N.C.O.S. among them. At some time in the past there had also been Moors there--poor devils, how they must have felt the cold!--for out in no man's land there was a dead Moor who was one of the sights of the locality. A mile or two to the left of us the line ceased to be continuous and there was a tract of country, lower-lying and thickly wooded, which belonged neither to the Fascists nor ourselves. Both we and they used to make daylight patrols there. It was not bad fun in a Boy Scoutish way, though I never saw a Fascist patrol nearer than several hundred yards. By a lot of crawling on your belly you could work your way partly through the Fascist lines and could even see the farm-house flying the monarchist flag, which was the local Fascist headquarters. Occasionally we gave it a rifle-volley and then slipped into cover before the machine-guns could locate us. I hope we broke a few windows, but it was a good eight hundred metres away, and with our rifles you could not make sure of hitting even a house at that range.

The weather was mostly clear and cold; sometimes sunny at midday, but always cold. Here and there in the soil of the hill-sides you found the green beaks of wild crocuses or irises poking through; evidently spring was coming, but coming very slowly. The nights were colder than ever. Coming off guard in the small hours we used to rake together what was left of the cook-house fire and then stand in the red-hot embers. It was bad for your boots, but it was very good for your feet. But there were mornings when the sight of the dawn among the mountain--tops made it almost worth while to be out of bed at godless hours. I hate mountains, even from a spectacular point of view. But sometimes the dawn breaking behind the hill-tops in our rear, the first narrow streaks of gold, like swords slitting the darkness, and then the growing light and the seas of carmine cloud stretching away into inconceivable distances, were worth watching even when you had been up all night, when your legs were numb from the knees down, and you were sullenly reflecting that there was no hope of food for another three hours. I saw the dawn oftener during this campaign than during the rest of my life put together--or during the part that is to come, I hope.

We were short-handed here, which meant longer guards and more fatigues. I was beginning to suffer a little from the lack of sleep which is inevitable even in the quietest kind of war. Apart from guard-duties and patrols there were constant night-alarms and stand--to's, and in any case you can't sleep properly in a beastly hole in the ground with your feet aching with the cold. In my first three or four months in the line I do not suppose I had more than a dozen periods of twenty-four hours that were completely without sleep; on the other hand I certainly did not have a dozen nights of full sleep. Twenty or thirty hours' sleep in a week was quite a normal amount. The effects of this were not so bad as might be expected; one grew very stupid, and the job of climbing up and down the hills grew harder instead of easier, but one felt well and one was constantly hungry--heavens, how hungry! All food seemed good, even the eternal haricot beans which everyone in Spain finally learned to hate the sight of. Our water, what there was of it, came from miles away, on the backs of mules or little persecuted donkeys. For some reason the Aragon peasants treated their mules well but their donkeys abominably. If a donkey refused to go it was quite usual to kick him in the testicles. The issue of candles had ceased, and matches were running short. The Spaniards taught us how to make olive oil lamps out of a condensed milk tin, a cartridge-clip, and a bit of rag. When you had any olive oil, which was not often, these things would burn with a smoky flicker, about a quarter candle power, just enough to find your rifle by.

There seemed no hope of any real fighting. When we left Monte Pocero I had counted my cartridges and found that in nearly three weeks I had fired just three shots at the enemy. They say it takes a thousand bullets to kill a man, and at this rate it would be twenty years before I killed my first Fascist. At Monte Oscuro the lines were closer and one fired oftener, but I am reasonably certain that I never hit anyone. As a matter of fact, on this front and at this period of the war the real weapon was not the rifle but the megaphone. Being unable to kill your enemy you shouted at him instead. This method of warfare is so extraordinary that it needs explaining.

Wherever the lines were within hailing distance of one another there was always a good deal of shouting from trench to trench. From ourselves: 'Fascistas --maricones!' From the Fascists: ''Viva Espana! Viva Franco!'--or, when they knew that there were English opposite them: 'Go home, you English! We don't want foreigners here!' On the Government side, in the party militias, the shouting of propaganda to undermine the enemy morale had been developed into a regular technique. In every suitable position men, usually machine-gunners, were told off for shouting-duty and provided with megaphones. Generally they shouted a set-piece, full of revolutionary sentiments which explained to the Fascist soldiers that they were merely the hirelings of international capitalism, that they were fighting against their own class, etc., etc., and urged them to come over to our side. This was repeated over and over by relays of men; sometimes it continued almost the whole night. There is very little doubt that it had its effect; everyone agreed that the trickle of Fascist deserters was partly caused by it. If one comes to think of it, when some poor devil of a sentry--very likely a Socialist or Anarchist trade union member who has been conscripted against his will--is freezing at his post, the slogan 'Don't fight against your own class!' ringing again and again through the darkness is bound to make an impression on him. It might make just the difference between deserting and not deserting. Of course such a proceeding does not fit in with the English conception of war. I admit I was amazed and scandalized when I first saw it done. The idea of trying to convert your enemy instead of shooting him! I now think that from any point of view it was a legitimate manoeuvre. In ordinary trench warfare, when there is no artillery, it is extremely difficult to inflict casualties on the enemy without receiving an equal number yourself. If you can immobilize a certain number of men by making them desert, so much the better; deserters are actually more useful to you than corpses, because they can give information. But at the beginning it dismayed all of us; it made us fed that the Spaniards were not taking this war of theirs sufficiently seriously. The man who did the shouting at the P.S.U.C. post down on our right was an artist at the job. Sometimes, instead of shouting revolutionary slogans he simply told the Fascists how much better we were fed than they were. His account of the Government rations was apt to be a little imaginative.' Buttered toast!'--you could hear his voice echoing across the lonely valley--'We're just sitting down to buttered toast over here! Lovely slices of buttered toast!' I do not doubt that, like the rest of us, he had not seen butter for weeks or months past, but in the icy night the news of buttered toast probably set many a Fascist mouth watering. It even made mine water, though I knew he was lying.

One day in February we saw a Fascist aeroplane approaching. As usual, a machine-gun was dragged into the open and its barrel cocked up, and everyone lay on his back to get a good aim. Our isolated positions were not worth bombing, and as a rule the few Fascist aeroplanes that passed our way circled round to avoid machine-gun fire. This time the aeroplane came straight over, too high up to be worth shooting at, and out of it came tumbling not bombs but white glittering things that turned over and over in the air. A few fluttered down into the position. They were copies of a Fascist newspaper, the Heraldo de Aragon, announcing the fall of Malaga.

That night the Fascists made a sort of abortive attack. I was just getting down into kip, half dead with sleep, when there was a heavy stream of bullets overhead and someone shouted into the dug-out: 'They're attacking!' I grabbed my rifle and slithered up to my post, which was at the top of the position, beside the machine-gun. There was utter darkness and diabolical noise. The fire of, I think five machine-guns was pouring upon us, and there was a series of heavy crashes caused by the Fascists flinging bombs over their own parapet in the most idiotic manner. It was intensely dark. Down in the valley to the left of us I could see the greenish flash of rifles where a small party of Fascists, probably a patrol, were chipping in. The bullets were flying round us in the darkness, crack-zip-crack. A few shells came whistling over, but they fell nowhere near us and (as usual in this war) most of them failed to explode. I had a bad moment when yet another machine-gun opened fire from the hill-top in our rear-- actually a gun that had been brought up to support us, but at the time it looked as though we were surrounded. .Presently our own machine-gun jammed, as it always did jam with those vile cartridges, and the ramrod was lost in the impenetrable darkness. Apparently there was nothing that one could do except stand still and be shot at. The Spanish machine-gunners disdained to take cover, in fact exposed themselves deliberately, so I had to do likewise. Petty though it was, the whole experience was very interesting. It was the first time that I had been properly speaking under fire, and to my humiliation I found that I was horribly frightened. You always, I notice, feel the same when you are under heavy fire--not so much afraid of being hit as afraid because you don't know where you will be hit. You are wondering all the while just where the bullet will nip you, and it gives your whole body a most unpleasant sensitiveness.

After an hour or two the firing slowed down and died away. Meanwhile we had had only one casualty. The Fascists had advanced a couple of machine-guns into no man's land, but they had kept a safe distance and made no attempt to storm our parapet. They were in fact not attacking, merely wasting cartridges and making a cheerful noise to celebrate the fall of Malaga. The chief importance of the affair was that it taught me to read the war news in the papers with a more disbelieving eye. A day or two later the newspapers and the radio published reports of a tremendous attack with cavalry and tanks (up a perpendicular hill-- side!) which had been beaten off by the heroic English.

When the Fascists told us that Malaga had fallen we set it down as a lie, but next day there were more convincing rumours, and it must have been a day or two later that it was admitted officially. By degrees the whole disgraceful story leaked out--how the town had been evacuated without firing a shot, and how the fury of the Italians had fallen not upon the troops, who were gone, but upon the wretched civilian population, some of whom were pursued and machine-gunned for a hundred miles. The news sent a sort of chill all along the line, for, whatever the truth may have been, every man in the militia believed that the loss of Malaga was due to treachery. It was the first talk I had heard of treachery or divided aims. It set up in my mind the first vague doubts about this war in which, hitherto, the rights and wrongs had seemed so beautifully simple.

In mid February we left Monte Oscuro and were sent, together with all the P.O.U.M. troops in this sector, to make a part of the army besieging Huesca. It was a fifty-mile lorry journey across the wintry plain, where the clipped vines were not yet budding and the blades of the winter barley were just poking through the lumpy soil. Four kilometres from our new trenches Huesca glittered small and clear like a city of dolls' houses. Months earlier, when Sietamo was taken, the general commanding the Government troops had said gaily: 'Tomorrow we'll have coffee in Huesca.' It turned out that he was mistaken. There had been bloody attacks, but the town did not fall, and 'Tomorrow we'll have coffee in Huesca' had become a standing joke throughout the army. If I ever go back to Spain I shall make a point of having a cup of coffee in Huesca.

在我来到前线大约三个星期的时候,一支由英国独立工党派遣的二三十人的民兵志愿者小队,从英国的本土出发,来到了阿尔库维耶雷。为了把前线上的所有英国志愿者集中编队,我和威廉也参与其中。我们在奥斯库罗山的新阵地,西去数十英里就是萨拉戈萨,近得甚至能够看到萨拉戈萨。

在我们的这个阵地上,石灰岩像剃刀背一般突出地面,防空壕以水平状态一直延伸至悬崖峭壁,有如崖沙燕的巢穴。防空壕建在地面以下很深的地方,壕内漆黑一片,而且非常低矮,人们根本无法站立起来,只能弯腰屈膝地跪在里面。在我们左面的山顶上还有两个马统工党的阵地,其中一个是前线每一个男兵都梦寐以求的地方,因为那里有三位负责烧饭的女民兵。这些女人其实算不上漂亮,但我们发现她们已使这个阵地在清一色男性驻守的众多阵地中非同寻常。在我们右面五百码左右的阿尔库维耶雷要道的转弯处,有一个加联社党的哨所。道路就是在那儿出现拐弯的。每到夜晚,你就能够看到给我们运送给养的车队的串串光柱在阿尔库维耶雷蜿蜒而行。与此同时,法西斯分子阵地的给养来自萨拉戈萨。你能看到西南方向十二英里处的萨拉戈萨,城内建筑物的灯光形成了一条条细长光带,宛如一艘夜航巨轮舷窗中透出的一排排光亮。政府军队从1936年8月起就在虎视着萨拉戈萨,直到现在依然如此。

我们这支民兵分队约有三十人,其中包括一个西班牙人(雷蒙?威廉的连襟),还有一打西班牙机枪手。其中也难免有个把讨厌鬼——因为,人人都知道,战争本身就在吸引着乌合之众。这里的英国人则与那些西班牙人不同,无论在体质上还是在精神上,都算得上是一个优秀的群体。其中最优秀的也许就是鲍勃?斯迈利了——一个著名矿工领袖的孙子——他后来非常无辜和不幸地死在巴伦西亚。关于西班牙人的民族特质,说法很多,但英国人和他们总是能够融洽相处,尽管存在着语言障碍。我们发现,所有的西班牙人都熟知两个英语词汇的意义。一个是“O.K.,宝贝”,另一个是巴塞罗那妓女在与英国水手交易时使用的单词,我即使把这个单词写出来,恐怕排字工也不会把它排印出来。

日复一日,整条战线什么事情也没有发生:只有偶然的子弹啸叫声,或者更为偶然的法西斯分子发射的迫击炮弹爆炸声,这会吸引我们每一个人爬上堑壕顶部,仔细看看炮弹究竟是落在哪座山上爆炸的。在这里,双方阵地相距稍近一些,大约有三四百码远。他们最近的那个阵地就直冲着我们,阵地上有个配置机枪的碉堡,碉堡上的射弹孔经常引诱人们浪费弹药。法西斯分子通常懒得使用来复枪射击,而是用机枪猛烈扫射任何可疑目标。然而,在首起伤亡迄今的十天或更长的时间里,我们无一伤亡。与我们对峙的是西班牙法西斯分子的部队,但据叛逃者说,其中也有一些德国N.C.O.的成员。在前些时候,那里还有摩尔人——可怜的坏蛋,他们从热带来到这里该感到多么的冷啊!——有一具摩尔人的尸体躺在军事无人区的那边,这是我们能够隐约看到的东西之一。在我们左边的一两英里处,战线不再延续,那里是乡村开阔地带,地势低洼,树木茂盛,既没有法西斯分子控制,也没为我方控制。白天双方都会在那里巡逻。对于我们的那些大男孩来说,到这种地方巡逻,倒是一种不坏的娱乐。不过,我从未看到法西斯分子在靠近我们数百码的地方巡逻。通过匍匐爬行,你可以穿过法西斯分子的防线接近敌人后方,甚至能够看到农庄上飘扬着的君主制旗帜,那里是当地法西斯分子的司令部。我们偶尔也会对那里来一次来复枪齐射,并在敌人的机枪瞄准我们之前溜进掩体。我希望我们击碎了那里的一些窗户,但她距离我们至少八百米,用我们的这种来复枪那么远的目标,只怕是连老大的房子都未必能够击中。

在大多数时候天气总是晴朗和寒冷的,有时太阳也会在中午露一下面,但仍然很冷。在向阳的山坡上,到处都能看到野番红花的绿色苞芽和鸢尾属植物从泥土中探出头来,很显然春天已经来了,只是来得非常慢。夜晚比以往任何时候都冷。我们从岗上下来,都会去伙房里掏点尚在燃烧的炉烬,然后站在滚烫的余烬上焐脚。这对自己的靴子来说很糟糕,但对自己的双脚来说却很有好处。不过也有很多早晨,黎明的曙光会从群山的顶部照射过来,在这些不敬神的日子里,早点起床也似乎有些值得了。我恨山,尽管景色很壮观。有时候,晨曦为我们身后的群山阻挡,一道道奇长无比的金光,如同宝剑劈向黑暗,接下来,逐渐增强的光芒和火红色的云海渐渐地向远处延伸,直至无限。为了观赏这样的景色,即使你得熬个通宵,即使你站得双脚发麻失去知觉,即使你明知还得继续饿上三个小时,所有这些全都是值得的。在那次战役期间,我观赏晨曦的次数,比有生以来其他时候观赏的总数还要多——也许还得包括未来岁月,我想。

我们这里编制不足,这意味着要站更长时间的岗和更加疲惫不堪。我那时已在相当程度上受到睡眠不足的困扰,因为即使在这种最平静的战线上,此类情况也是无可避免的。除了站岗和巡逻之外,无论如何你都无法在一个兽穴般的地方安然入睡,况且你的脚正被冻得有如针刺。在前线的最初三至四个月里,我记得自己连续二十四小时不睡觉的次数不会超过十二次,可我得到充分睡眠的次数同样也不会超过十二次。每个星期只睡二十至三十个小时,这是家常便饭。长期睡眠不足的后果,其实并非如人们想象的那么糟。只不过是人会变得愚笨木讷,上下山执行任务变得更艰难,但自己的自我感觉还算好。我们总是经常感到饥饿——上帝呀,真饿啊!所有的食物看上去都不错,哪怕是没完没了的蔬菜炖扁豆也很好。这些都是每个在西班牙待过的人,临走时看都不想看的东西。至于我们的生活用水,,水源距我们这里有数英里远,完全是靠骡子或矮小而又经常遭到虐待的毛驴驮来的。不知道究竟为什么,阿拉贡的农民待他们的骡子疼爱有加,而待他们的小毛驴简直是太残忍了。如果哪一头毛驴不想往前走,农民们的通常做发是狠狠地踢它的睾丸。蜡烛已经停止供给,火柴配给也日渐减少。西班牙人教会我们用牛奶罐、弹药桶和破布制作橄榄油灯,只要有一点橄榄油(通常很难弄到),这种灯就能被点起来,摇曳的灯火上方直冒黑烟,亮度只有烛光的四分之一,只够勉强看得见自己的来复枪的所在位置。

看来已经无望进行任何真正的战斗了。在我们的部队离开波切洛山时,我清点了一下自己的子弹匣,发现在最近三个星期里,我只对敌人开过三次枪。有人说,打死一个敌人至少要耗费一千颗子弹,按照这个说法计算,如果我要消灭第一个法西斯分子,至少也得花上二十年的时间。在奥斯库罗山,双方的阵地更靠近,开枪的频率也更高,但我非常有理由相信,我从未击中过任何人。事实上,在这儿的前沿阵地和战争的这个阶段,真正有用的武器并非来复枪,而是扩音器。因为既然用来复枪无法杀死远在射程之外的敌人,那就改用冲着对面阵地大喊大叫的办法来整敌人。这种作战方法是十分特别,以至于需要对其稍加解释。

无论在何处,只要敌我双方阵地之间的距离近到了叫一声对方就能听得到的程度,每一方都会日夜不断地向对方进行高声咒骂。我方高呼:“法西斯分子——同性恋!”法西斯分子则高呼:“西班牙万岁!佛朗哥万岁!”——或者,当他们知道对面是英国人时便高喊:“滚回老家去,你们这些英国佬!我们这里不需要外国佬!”在民兵中,特别是那些站在政府一边的党派成员,他们力图破坏敌人士气的宣传性喊话,已经发展成为一种驾轻就熟的常规技巧。每一个占有前沿位置的人,通常是机枪手,都被赋予了喊话任务,并且都发了扩音器。他们的喊叫通常都有固定的程式,他们充满革命激情地向法西斯士兵们解释,你们都是国际资本(主义)的雇佣兵,你们是在与自己的阶级作战,等等,等等,并敦促对方赶紧弃暗投明往我们这边跑。这些话语由轮番替换的人一遍又一遍地重复广播,甚至持续通宵。这种喊话是有作用的,人们对此几乎不存争议;每个人都认为法西斯逃兵逐渐增多,与这种宣传性喊话有很大关系。完全可以想象,站在敌方某个哨位的某个可怜的家伙——很可能是违背自己意愿而被强征入伍的社会主义者或无政府主义工会成员,他在自己的哨位上都快冻僵了,听到“不要与你自己的阶级作战!”的口号在黑暗中反复响起,他不可能不留下深刻的印象。这就有可能促使他决定是否应该叛逃。当然,这样的做法不适合英国人的战争观念。我承认,在我第一次见到这种做法时,我感到非常吃惊,也非常反感。天下竟然会有试图转变敌人的观念而非对敌人开火这样的离奇古怪的事情!不过,现在我认为,无论从哪方面来看,这都是一种合理的策略。在普通的阵地战中,如果没有火炮,那就很难避免在重创敌人的同时己方也要付出同样的伤亡代价。如果你能以策动叛逃的方法削弱敌方群体,那是再好不过了。叛逃者实际上比敌人尸体更有意义,因为他们能够提供有用的情报。但在刚开始时,我们都曾为此深感不安,觉得这些西班牙人对待这场战争的态度太不严肃。在我们右边地势稍低的那个地方,有个加联社党的哨所,那里有个该党男子在从事策反工作方面简直像个艺术家。通常,他不是高喊革命口号,而只是心平气和地告诉法西斯分子,我们这边吃的食品比他们那边好多了。他所列举的政府配给,带有相当多的想象的成分。“奶油土司!”——谁都能够听到他的洪亮嗓音在寂静的山谷里回响——“就在这儿,我们正坐下来吃奶油土司!多么可爱的奶油土司切片啊!”其实,我丝毫也不怀疑,他和我们一样,已经有好几个星期或者好几个月没见到过奶油了。但在如此寒冷的夜晚,关于奶油土司的消息,大概一定会使许多法西斯分子流口水了。这甚至也让我流了口水,尽管我明明知道他在撒谎。

二月的一天,我们发现一架法西斯分子的飞机正在向我们的阵地逼近。像往常一样,机关枪被拖到空旷处,枪管竖起,每个机枪手都仰卧操作,力求瞄得更准。一般地说,我们这些孤立的阵地根本不值得轰炸,少数经过我们上空的法西斯分子的飞机通常会绕飞,以比开机枪火力。这一次敌机倒是直接飞了过来,可是飞得太高,超出了机枪的射程;不一会,飞机不是投下炸弹,而是投下白色闪光的东西,并在空中不停地翻滚。有一些落到了我们的阵地上。原来是法西斯主义者报纸《阿拉贡先驱报》的复印件,报纸宣称我们的在马拉加失守了。

那天晚上,法西斯分子发动了一次夭折的进攻。我刚刚躺下睡觉,尚在似睡非睡之间,突然传来一阵猛烈的射击声,随即有人在防空壕里高声大叫:“他们进攻了!”我翻身抓起来复枪,跑向自己的岗位。我的岗位在阵地的最高点,机枪位的旁边。这里伸手不见五指,射击声宛如恶魔一般。关于敌方火力,我推测大概有五挺机枪对我们开火。法西斯分子那边发出了一种可怕的爆炸声,那是他们有人以一种白痴般的方式把手榴弹投在了己方的胸墙上。夜空极度黑暗。在我们左面的山谷中,我看到了来复枪发出的绿色火焰,那里有一小队法西斯分子,很可能是在巡逻,他们从侧面向我们发起攻击。黑暗中,子弹在我们周围飞来飞去。爆炸——尖啸——爆炸。一些炮弹呼啸着飞来,但落地点离我们还远着呢。如同以往常见的那样,敌人扔过来的多数炸弹都没有爆炸。接下来,我们开始了一段糟糕的时光,我们的背后的山顶上又有一挺机枪在射击——实际上是调上来支援我们这一方的,可当时感觉我们似乎已经被包围……不久,我们的机枪又被卡住了,它好象被糟透了的弹药堵惯了似的,更麻烦的是推弹杆也在黑暗中丢失了。显然,大家除了站着挨打什么也做不成了。西班牙机枪手们对于隐蔽持蔑视态度,实际上就是故意暴露自己,所以我也只能这样做。尽管如此,这种经历仍然非常有趣。确切地说,我还是第一次这样暴露在战火之中,让我感到耻辱的是,我发现自己被吓得冷汗直冒。我注意到,当遭遇重火力攻击的时候人们都有同样的感觉——你最害怕的不是被打中,而是不知道什么地方会被打中。长时间地紧绷神经,不知道子弹会击中哪个部位,这会给你的整个身心带来巨大的痛苦。

双方交火一两个小时后,敌方火力渐渐减弱,以至停止。其间我们仅有一人负伤。法西斯分子将一些机枪前移至军事无人区,但留出一段安全距离,也无意于将枪口对准我们的胸墙。事实上,法西斯部队并不是真的发动进攻,主要是为了枪弹齐鸣,制造欢快气氛,庆祝他们夺取马拉加。此事的重要之处在于,教会了我万万不可轻信报纸刊登的战时新闻。一两天之后,许多报纸和广播都同时报道了一则消息:一支拥有大量骑兵和坦克的强大法西斯部队对我方发动了大规模进攻(战场是在一处近乎垂直的山坡上!),但被英勇的英国人击溃了。

在法西斯分子最初宣称我们失守马拉加的时候,我们把这则消息当作一个谎言。但第二天又出现了进一步的谣传,大概又过了好几天,此事方才得到了官方的证实。仅就事件过程而言,整个不光彩的故事——守军如何没放一枪就撤离了马拉加,意大利人的暴怒没能发泄在撤退的对方军队身上,饿是发泄在那些可怜的市民身上,市民们被意大利人用机关枪去看出一百英里远。这则新闻让整个战线都感到扫兴,因为,无论事实真相究竟如何,民兵中的每个人都确信,马拉加的失守应该归咎于背叛行为。这是我第一次听到有关背叛行为或目标分歧的谈论,也使我第一次产生了对这场战争的茫然和疑问,而此前我却认为正确和错误全都是那么简单。

在二月中旬,我们离开了奥斯库罗杀,与在这一战区的其他所有马统工党的民兵部队一起,成为围困韦斯卡的政府军的一部分。这是一段五十英里的行程,我们乘卡车穿过寒冷的平原,道路两旁修剪过的蔓生植物尚未发芽,越冬大麦刚从高低不平的土壤中露出细细的叶尖来。我们的新阵地距韦斯卡大约四公里,从这里可以看到韦斯卡的点点灯火,以及有如玩具般的各种建筑物。几个月以前,在谢塔莫被攻克之后,政府军的总指挥极为乐观地说道:“明天我们将在韦斯卡喝咖啡。”但事实证明他错了。我们虽然发动了惨烈的进攻,却并没能够攻克这座城镇,而“明天我们将在韦斯卡喝咖啡”的豪言壮语则成为全军的笑料。如果日后我能够重游西班牙,我会专程前往韦斯卡喝上一杯咖啡。