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Chapter 2

BARBASTRO, though a long way from the front line, looked bleak and chipped. Swarms of militiamen in shabby uniforms wandered up and down the streets, trying to keep warm. On a ruinous wall I came upon a poster dating from the previous year and announcing that 'six handsome bulls' would be killed in the arena on such and such a date. How forlorn its faded colours looked! Where were the handsome bulls and the handsome bull-fighters now? It appeared that even in Barcelona there were hardly any bullfights nowadays; for some reason all the best matadors were Fascists.

They sent my company by lorry to Sietamo, then westward to Alcubierre, which was just behind the line fronting Zaragoza. Sietamo had been fought over three times before the Anarchists finally took it in October, and parts of it were smashed to pieces by shell-fire and most of the houses pockmarked by rifle-bullets. We were 1500 feet above sea-level now. It was beastly cold, with dense mists that came swirling up from nowhere. Between Sietamo and Alcubierre the lorry--driver lost his way (this was one of the regular features of the war) and we were wandering for hours in the mist. It was late at night when we reached Alcubierre. Somebody shepherded us through morasses of mud into a mule-stable where we dug ourselves down into the chaff and promptly fell asleep. Chaff is not bad to sleep in when it is clean, not so good as hay but better than straw. It was only in the morning light that I discovered that the chaff was full of breadcrusts, torn newspapers, bones, dead rats, and jagged milk tins.

We were near the front line now, near enough to smell the characteristic smell of war--in my experience a smell of excrement and decaying food. Alcubierre had never been shelled and was in a better state than most of the villages immediately behind the line. Yet I believe that even in peacetime you could not travel in that part of Spain without being struck by the peculiar squalid misery of the Aragonese villages. They are built like fortresses, a mass of mean little houses of mud and stone huddling round the church, and even in spring you see hardly a flower anywhere; the houses have no gardens, only back-yards where ragged fowls skate over the beds of mule-dung. It was vile weather, with alternate mist and rain. The narrow earth roads had been churned into a sea of mud, in places two feet deep, through which the lorries struggled with racing wheels and the peasants led their clumsy carts which were pulled by strings of mules, sometimes as many as six in a string, always pulling tandem. The constant come-and-go of troops had reduced the village to a state of unspeakable filth. It did not possess and never had possessed such a thing as a lavatory or a drain of any kind, and there was not a square yard anywhere where you could tread without watching your step. The church had long been used as a latrine; so had all the fields for a quarter of a mile round. I never think of my first two months at war without thinking of wintry stubble fields whose edges are crusted with dung.

Two days passed and no rifles were issued to us. When you had been to the Comite de Guerra and inspected the row of holes in the wall--holes made by rifle-volleys, various Fascists having been executed there--you had seen all the sights that Alcubierre contained. Up in the front line things were obviously quiet; very few wounded were coming in. The chief excitement was the arrival of Fascist deserters, who were brought under guard from the front line. Many of the troops opposite us on this part of the line were not Fascists at all, merely wretched conscripts who had been doing their military service at the time when war broke out and were only too anxious to escape. Occasionally small batches of them took the risk of slipping across to our lines. No doubt more would have done so if their relatives had not been in Fascist territory. These deserters were the first 'real' Fascists I had ever seen. It struck me that they were indistinguishable from ourselves, except that they wore khaki overalls. They were always ravenously hungry when they arrived--natural enough after a day or two of dodging about in no man's land, but it was always triumphantly pointed to as a proof that the Fascist troops were starving. I watched one of them being fed in a peasant's house. It was somehow rather a pitiful sight. A tall boy of twenty, deeply windburnt, with his clothes in rags, crouched over the fire shovelling a pannikinful of stew into himself at desperate speed; and all the while his eyes flitted nervously round the ring of militiamen who stood watching him. I think he still half-believed that we were bloodthirsty 'Reds' and were going to shoot him as soon as he had finished his meal; the armed man who guarded him kept stroking his shoulder and making reassuring noises. On one memorable day fifteen deserters arrived in a single batch. They were led through the village in triumph with a man riding in front of them on a white horse. I managed to take a rather blurry photograph which was stolen from me later.

On our third morning in Alcubierre the rifles arrived. A sergeant with a coarse dark-yellow face was handing them out in the mule-stable. I got a shock of dismay when I saw the thing they gave me. It was a German Mauser dated 1896-- more than forty years old! It was rusty, the bolt was stiff, the wooden barrel-guard was split; one glance down the muzzle showed that it was corroded and past praying for. Most of the rifles were equally bad, some of them even worse, and no attempt was made to give the best weapons to the men who knew how to use them. The best rifle of the lot, only ten years old, was given to a half-- witted little beast of fifteen, known to everyone as the maricoon (Nancy-boy). The sergeant gave us five minutes' 'instruction', which consisted in explaining how you loaded a rifle and how you took the bolt to pieces. Many of the militiamen had never had a gun in their hands before, and very few, I imagine, knew what the sights were for. Cartridges were handed out, fifty to a man, and then the ranks were formed and we strapped our kits on our backs and set out for the front line, about three miles away.

The centuria, eighty men and several dogs, wound raggedly up the road. Every militia column had at least one dog attached to it as a mascot. One wretched brute that marched with us had had P.O.U.M. branded on it in huge letters and slunk along as though conscious that there was something wrong with its appearance. At the head of the column, beside the red flag, Georges Kopp, the stout Belgian commandante, was riding a black horse; a little way ahead a youth from the brigand-like militia cavalry pranced to and fro, galloping up every piece of rising ground and posing himself in picturesque attitudes at the summit. The splendid horses of the Spanish cavalry had been captured in large numbers during the revolution and handed over to the militia, who, of course, were busy riding them to death.

The road wound between yellow infertile fields, untouched since last year's harvest. Ahead of us was the low sierra that lies between Alcubierre and Zaragoza. We were getting near the front line now, near the bombs, the machine-guns, and the mud. In secret I was frightened. I knew the line was quiet at present, but unlike most of the men about me I was old enough to remember the Great War, though not old enough to have fought in it. War, to me, meant roaring projectiles and skipping shards of steel; above all it meant mud, lice, hunger, and cold. It is curious, but I dreaded the cold much more than I dreaded the enemy. The thought of it had been haunting me all the time I was in Barcelona; I had even lain awake at nights thinking of the cold in the trenches, the stand-to's in the grisly dawns, the long hours on sentry-go with a frosted rifle, the icy mud that would slop over my boot-tops. I admit, too, that I felt a kind of horror as I looked at the people I was marching among. You cannot possibly conceive what a rabble we looked. We straggled along with far less cohesion than a flock of sheep; before we had gone two miles the rear of the column was out of sight. And quite half of the so-called men were children--but I mean literally children, of sixteen years old at the very most. Yet they were all happy and excited at the prospect of getting to the front at last. As we neared the line the boys round the red flag in front began to utter shouts of 'Visca P.O.U.M.!' 'Fascistas--maricones!' and so forth--shouts which were meant to be war-like and menacing, but which, from those childish throats, sounded as pathetic as the cries of kittens. It seemed dreadful that the defenders of the Republic should be this mob of ragged children carrying worn-out rifles which they did not know how to use. I remember wondering what would happen if a Fascist aeroplane passed our way whether the airman would even bother to dive down and give us a burst from his machine--gun. Surely even from the air he could see that we were not real soldiers?

As the road struck into the sierra we branched off to the right and climbed a narrow mule-track that wound round the mountain-side. The hills in that part of Spain are of a queer formation, horseshoe-shaped with flattish tops and very steep sides running down into immense ravines. On the higher slopes nothing grows except stunted shrubs and heath, with the white bones of the limestone sticking out everywhere. The front line here was not a continuous line of trenches, which would have been impossible in such mountainous country; it was simply a chain of fortified posts, always known as 'positions', perched on each hill-top. In the distance you could see our 'position' at the crown of the horseshoe; a ragged barricade of sand-bags, a red flag fluttering, the smoke of dug-out fires. A little nearer, and you could smell a sickening sweetish stink that lived in my nostrils for weeks afterwards. Into the cleft immediately behind the position all the refuse of months had been tipped--a deep festering bed of breadcrusts, excrement, and rusty tins.

The company we were relieving were getting their kits together. They had been three months in the line; their uniforms were caked with mud, their boots falling to pieces, their faces mostly bearded. The captain commanding the position, Levinski by name, but known to everyone as Benjamin, and by birth a Polish Jew, but speaking French as his native language, crawled out of his dug-out and greeted us. He was a short youth of about twenty-five, with stiff black hair and a pale eager face which at this period of the war was always very dirty. A few stray bullets were cracking high overhead. The position was a semi-- circular enclosure about fifty yards across, with a parapet that was partly sand-bags and partly lumps of limestone. There were thirty or forty dug-outs running into the ground like rat-holes. Williams, myself, and Williams's Spanish brother-in-law made a swift dive for the nearest unoccupied dug-out that looked habitable. Somewhere in front an occasional rifle banged, making queer rolling echoes among the stony hills. We had just dumped our kits and were crawling out of the dug-out when there was another bang and one of the children of our company rushed back from the parapet with his face pouring blood. He had fired his rifle and had somehow managed to blow out the bolt; his scalp was torn to ribbons by the splinters of the burst cartridge--case. It was our first casualty, and, characteristically, self--inflicted.

In the afternoon we did our first guard and Benjamin showed us round the position. In front of the parapet there ran a system of narrow trenches hewn out of the rock, with extremely primitive loopholes made of piles of limestone. There were twelve sentries, placed at various points in the trench and behind the inner parapet. In front of the trench was the barbed wire, and then the hillside slid down into a seemingly bottomless ravine; opposite were naked hills, in places mere cliffs of rock, all grey and wintry, with no life anywhere, not even a bird. I peered cautiously through a loophole, trying to find the Fascist trench.

'Where are the enemy?'

Benjamin waved his hand expansively. 'Over zere.' (Benjamin spoke English-- terrible English.)

'But where?'

According to my ideas of trench warfare the Fascists would be fifty or a hundred yards away. I could see nothing--seemingly their trenches were very well concealed. Then with a shock of dismay I saw where Benjamin was pointing; on the opposite hill-top, beyond the ravine, seven hundred metres away at the very least, the tiny outline of a parapet and a red-and-yellow flag--the Fascist position. I was indescribably disappointed. We were nowhere near them! At that range our rifles were completely useless. But at this moment there was a shout of excitement. Two Fascists, greyish figurines in the distance, were scrambling up the naked hill-side opposite. Benjamin grabbed the nearest man's rifle, took aim, and pulled the trigger. Click! A dud cartridge; I thought it a bad omen.

The new sentries were no sooner in the trench than they began firing a terrific fusillade at nothing in particular. I could see the Fascists, tiny as ants, dodging to and fro behind their parapet, and sometimes a black dot which was a head would pause for a moment, impudently exposed. It was obviously no use firing. But presently the sentry on my left, leaving his post in the typical Spanish fashion, sidled up to me and began urging me to fire. I tried to explain that at that range and with these rifles you could not hit a man except by accident. But he was only a child, and he kept motioning with his rifle towards one of the dots, grinning as eagerly as a dog that expects a pebble to be thrown. Finally I put my sights up to seven hundred and let fly. The dot disappeared. I hope it went near enough to make him jump. It was the first time in my life that I had fired a gun at a human being.

Now that I had seen the front I was profoundly disgusted. They called this war! And we were hardly even in touch with the enemy! I made no attempt to keep my head below the level of the trench. A little while later, however, a bullet shot past my ear with a vicious crack and banged into the parados behind. Alas! I ducked. All my life I had sworn that I would not duck the first time a bullet passed over me; but the movement appears to be instinctive, and almost everybody does it at least once.

巴巴斯特罗虽然离前线很远,但看起来也是凄凉和破败不堪。蜂拥而至、身着破旧制服的士兵,在大街上四处游荡,试图让自己暖和一点。在一面几乎就要倒塌的破围墙上,我偶然看到一张还是去年贴上的去的海报,上面写着,“六头英俊的公牛”将于某月某日在竞技场上被杀死。海报上那种褪去的颜色看起来是怎样一种遭人遗弃的感觉啊!这些英俊的公牛和英俊的斗牛士现在都到哪里去了?说起来,如今即使在巴塞罗那也基本上看不到任何斗牛表演了,不知什么缘故,所有最好的斗牛士都是法西斯主义者。

他们用卡车把我们连队送到谢塔莫,接着向西前往阿尔库维耶雷,驻扎在萨拉戈萨前线之后。谢塔莫在无政府主义者十月最终占领之前,经过了三次争夺,其中一部分已经被战火碾成碎片,大部分房屋上都有来复枪打出的弹痕。我们现在已经处于海拔一千五百英尺的高地了。这里奇冷无比,不知从哪儿来的浓雾涡旋而上。在谢塔莫和阿尔库维耶雷之间,卡车司机迷路了(这是战争期间常有的事)。有好几个小时,我们一直在浓雾中兜圈子。当我们到达阿尔库维耶雷时,已经是深夜了。有人带领我们穿过泥泞的沼泽,来到一个骡厩,在那里,我们一头倒在谷壳堆上,迅速地睡着了。谷壳要是干净的,睡上去感觉倒也不那么坏,没有干草那么好,但比麦秆要好多了。直到旭日东升,我才发现谷壳上满是干面包皮、旧报纸、骨头、死老鼠和被撕得乱糟糟的牛奶盒子。

我们离战线已经很近了,近得能闻到战争特有的气味——我的经验是:排泄物和腐烂食物的气味。阿尔库维耶雷从未被炮轰过,所以它的情况要比大多数直接成为战场的城镇好得多。但是,我相信,即使在和平时期,只要你在西班牙的这些地区旅行,就免不了会为阿拉贡众多村庄特有的肮脏而苦恼。这些地方建造得就像是一个要塞,大批质量低劣,用泥巴和石头建造的小房子簇拥在教堂周围。即使在春天,也到处看不见一朵鲜花;这些房子都没有花园,只有后院。在那里驴粪成堆,不时有家禽从上面跑过。气候恶劣,不是雾就是雨。狭窄的泥土路被搅成一望无际的烂泥沟,有的地方竟达到了两英尺深。在这样的道路上,卡车与自己的轮子较劲,农民们的那些笨重的大车由一群骡子拉着,有时候竟达到六头之多,且总是一前一后纵列成行地牵拉着大车,接踵往来的人流使得整个村庄变得难以言状的肮脏。这里没有而且也从未有过一个厕所,或任何形式的排污沟。这里没有哪怕只是一平方码的地方,你可以不用仔细察看一下就能落脚。长期以来,教堂被当作厕所使用,教堂周围四分之一英里内的所有地方,也被派上了同样的用场。在我参与战争的头两个月里,我满脑子想的都是,在冬季里,留茬地的边缘竟然还有粪便结成的硬壳。

两天过去了,仍然没有来复枪发放给我们。要是你去过,并且看到过墙上成排的弹痕——弹痕是来复枪齐射造成的,各类的法西斯分子在那里被处决——你也就看到了阿尔库维耶雷所包含的一切。前线,局势一直很平静,受伤的人很少。最叫人兴奋的就是法西斯阵地的逃兵,他们是被从前线带回来的。在战线的这一部分,很多与我们作战的敌军士兵根本不是法西斯分子,他们只是被可怜地强征入伍的,战斗刚打响时,他们极为害怕和紧张,根本不敢逃跑,就一直在里面服役。他们中的一小部分人以为战事已经缓和,常常冒着风险接近我们的阵地。如果不是他们的亲属还在法西斯的地盘上的话,毫无疑问,会有更多的人这么做。这些逃亡者是我所见过的第一批“真正的”法西斯主义者。使我感到震惊的是,他们与我们之间并无多大的差别,除了他们穿着卡其布的外套。他们刚来时总是一副饿死鬼的模样,拼命地吃东西——这相当自然,因为他们已经在战线间的无人地带躲躲藏藏地走上了一两天。但人们总是乐于把这作为一个证据,得意洋洋地指出,法西斯分子正处于饥饿之中。我见到过一个法西斯分子被安排在一个农民的家中吃饭。不知何故,看了以后还有点让自己产生了某些同情的感觉。这是一个大约二十岁的高个子男孩,风吹得面色发暗,衣服破破烂烂,蜷缩在火堆旁,端起一盘炖肉,不顾一切地快速吃了下去。而他的眼睛则自始至终都在来回扫视围在他身边的那些民兵。我想,他仍然对眼前这一切半信半疑,即,我们是嗜血的“革命者”,一等他吃完饭就会对他开枪射击。负责监督他的那个武装军人不停地轻拍他的肩膀,并发出令人感到宽慰的声音。有一天特别值得纪念,一次就押来了十五个逃兵。有个人在他们的前面,以胜利者的姿态骑着一匹白马,领着他们穿过村庄。我设法拍摄了一张不算清晰的照片,但不久以后,这张照片就不知被谁从我身边偷走了。

在我们到达阿尔库维耶雷的第三天早晨,来复枪运到了。一位脸色深黄的中士把它们放在马厩里。当我看了他们发给我的家伙时,我顿觉遭到巨大打击并感到沮丧。这是一支德国长毛瑟枪,制造日期是1896年,已经四十多年了!外表锈迹斑斑,扳机很涩,从枪口往里看,枪膛也已锈蚀,完全没有继续使用的指望。大部分来复枪也很糟糕,其中一些甚至更糟,兴许根本就没想过要让会用来复枪的人用上最好的枪支。这堆枪中最好的一支也有十年了,但却被发给一个有点弱智且鸡胸的十五岁男孩,大家都公认,他是个女人气的男人。教官给我们做了五分钟的“指导”,其中包括如何给来复枪上子弹,以及如何把弹膛中的子弹取出来。大多数民兵在此前从未摸过枪。我猜想,其中只有极少数的人知道瞄准器是干什么用的。子弹是按每人五十发配给的,接下来就开始排队,我们把背包扎好背上,然后出发,开赴三英里以外的前线。

我们这个百人队,只有八十个人和几条狗,大家疲惫不堪地沿着曲折的小道向前走。每一个民兵纵队都至少有一条狗,人们把它作为吉祥物。有一条与我们一起行军的可怜的畜牲,身上都烙上了P.O.U.M.几个大写字母,走起路来也是偷偷摸摸的,似乎意识到了自己的尊容有问题。乔治?柯普,这个结实的来自比利时的指挥官,骑着一匹黑马,行进在队伍最前面的红旗下;在他前面不远的地方,一个年纪轻轻的民兵(来自民兵的骑兵队,他们的样子活像一帮土匪),在欢快地骑着马前奔后跑,每逢高坡都要急驰而上,然后在最高点上摆个奇特的造型。西班牙骑兵的这些良好的马匹,都是革命期间四处征集,并转交给这些骑兵的,而这些骑兵呢,其实,就知道忙着把这些马匹骑到累死为止。

道路在贫瘠的黄色田块之间延绵,这些农田自从去年收割之后,就再也无人问津了。我们的前方是阿尔库维耶雷和萨拉戈萨之间的齿状山背。现在,我们离前线越来越近,离手榴弹、机关枪和沼泽地也越来越近了。背地里说一句,我被吓着了。但是,我明白,眼下的战线是平静的,我不像身边大多数人那样,以我的年龄而论,已能记得大战*了,虽然尚且没有大到能够参加大战。对我而言,战争意味着咆哮的炮弹、钢铁被炸成碎片,最重要的是,战争意味着泥泞、虱子、饥饿和寒冷。说来也许有点古怪,我害怕寒冷甚于害怕敌人。在巴塞罗那期间,这种感觉就时时浮现在我的脑海中,夜晚,我甚至常常会突然醒来,想象着在湿冷的战壕里、在可怖的破晓时分作好战斗准备、抱着结霜的来复枪站岗的漫长时光、冰冷的泥浆漫入军靴等所有冰冷的感觉。我也承认,当我仔细看一下与我一起行军的这些人的时候,我也会感到恐怖。你很难相信,我们看起来究竟是怎样的一群乌合之众。我们自由散漫,凝聚力还不如一群绵羊。我们还没走出两英里,后面的队伍就已经看不到了。而且,我们这批男子汉差不多有一半是孩子——我指的是真正意义上的孩子,他们中最大的不过十六岁。但是,他们对终于能够到达前线,全都既高兴又激动。在我们接近战线时,这些摇着红旗、跑在队伍前面的男孩们开始高呼“VisaP.O.U.M.”(马统工党万岁)、“Fascistas—maricones!”(法西斯分子——娘娘腔)以及诸如此类的战争期间常常呼喊的带有威胁性的口号,但是,这些口号从尚带童音的嗓子里喊出,听起来却显得很可怜,宛如小猫的叫声。想想都觉得可怕,共和国的保卫者居然就是这样一群衣着破烂,扛着几乎报废的来复枪的孩子们组成的乌合之众,他们甚至还不知道如何开枪。记得当时我在想,如果有一架法西斯的飞机从我们行进队伍上空经过会怎样,飞行员会否乐意费事俯冲下来用机关枪对我们扫射。我确信,即使在高空中,他也能够看出我们并非真正的军人。

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*这里指第一次世界大战。——译者

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在道路延伸进齿状山脊后,我们拐上了右边的岔路,一条狭窄的骡马小道。小道在山侧坡蜿蜒而上。西班牙这一地区的山脉地形十分奇怪,形状颇像马蹄铁,顶部比较平坦,四周非常陡峭,山下则是无底的峡谷。在高高的山坡上,除了矮小的灌木和石南之外什么都不长,只有巨大的石灰岩从坡体中突兀而出。在这里,前线没有连续的战壕,在这种多山的国家里也是不可能的。前线一般由一连串加强的岗哨组成,这些岗哨通常被称为阵地,多设在每座山的山顶。在老远的地方,你就能看到我们的的阵地设在马蹄铁的顶部,看到用沙袋堆成的简陋的掩体,一面迎风飘扬的红旗,防空洞里飘出来的烟。再靠近一点,你就能闻到令人作呕的略带甜味的恶臭,此后,这种怪臭在我的鼻孔里停留了好几个星期。我们阵地的正后方,几个月来的生活垃圾全都集中在这里——面包皮、大小便、生锈的罐头盒等等全部混杂在一起,形成了一个极度腐臭的大粪堆。

由我们来替换的一队民兵正在收拾他们的背包。他们来前线已经三个月了。他们的制服糊满了泥巴,他们的靴子破成了许多碎片,他们的脸上全都胡子拉碴。指挥这个阵地的指挥官名叫列文斯基,可大家都管他叫本杰明,他生于一个波兰犹太人家庭,但母语是法语。他从防空壕里爬出来,向我们问好。他是一个个子不高的年轻人,二十五岁左右,有一头很硬的黑发,一张带着渴望、苍白的、在战争期间总是难免肮脏的脸。有些流弹在我们上空呼啸而过。这里有一个半圆形的战壕,直径长约五十码。有一堵胸墙,部分是用沙袋、部分是用石块砌成的。大约有三十到四十个防空壕,全都深入地下,有如一个个老鼠洞。我和威廉,还有威廉的西班牙连襟迅速扑向最靠近的防空壕,那儿还未被人占据,看起来尚能容身。在前线的某个地方传来一声来复枪声,并在众多的山谷之间形成了奇怪的、绵延不绝的回声。我们刚刚卸下背包,从防空壕里爬出来,又听到了另一声枪响,我们队伍里的一个孩子从胸墙那里飞快地跑了回来,满脸鲜血。他用自己的来复枪放了一枪,在拉开枪栓试图吹去枪膛残烟时,不知怎么回事,子弹在枪膛里突然爆裂,弹壳碎片把他的头皮炸得残不忍睹。这是我们的第一次伤亡,尤其是,这是自己造成的。

下午我们第一次站岗,本杰明带领我们四处走了一遍。在胸墙前面有一溜狭长的壕沟,这是在岩体上挖出来的,有些石堆上还砌了极其原始的射击孔。这里有十二个哨位,分布在战壕和胸墙后的不同部位。战壕上有带刺的铁丝网,再往后看,山坡向下延伸成一个深不可测的峡谷,在对面,只有光秃秃的群山,尽是飞岩绝壁,显得灰暗而苍凉,全然没有生命的迹象,甚至连一只飞鸟也没有。我全神贯注地从射击孔向外窥视,试图发现法西斯的战壕。

“敌人在哪里?”

本杰明把手一挥,“在腊(那)里。”(本杰明说的是英语——糟透了的英语)

“但是在哪儿呢?”

根据我对堑壕战的概念,法西斯分子应该在五十到一百码之外。我什么也看不到——看起来,他们的战壕隐蔽得很好。后来,当我终于看清本杰明所指的地方时,我感到既沮丧又不安;对面的山顶隔着溪谷,离我们这里至少也有七百米远,只能看到法西斯分子阵地上战壕的轮廓,以及一面红黄相间的旗帜。我感到无可名状的失望。我们连接近他们都还谈不上呢!隔了这么远的距离,我们的来复枪完全不起作用。但就在此时,有人发出了激动的呼叫声。两个法西斯分子,远远看去像是两个灰色的小雕像,正在对面光秃秃的山坡上朝上爬。本杰明从靠近身边的人手里夺过来复枪,瞄准,扣动扳机。咔哒!一颗哑弹。我认为这是个很坏的征兆。

新的哨兵刚刚进入战壕,就漫无目的地开枪,胡乱射击一通。我能看到那些法西斯分子在胸墙后面来回走动,远远望去,他们小得就像蚂蚁,有时也会看到那边胸墙上方有个黑点在有恃无恐地晃悠,这是一颗敌人的脑袋。显然,开枪根本不起作用。可就在不久前,我左边的哨兵,以他那典型的西班牙风格离开了岗位,悄悄地走到我这里,并怂恿我开枪。我试图向他解释,在这样远的距离,用这样的来复枪,除非极其偶然,你根本不可能打到那边的人。但他毕竟还是个孩子,他用自己的来复枪紧紧地瞄准一个来回移动的黑点,他龇着牙,就像狗正等着扔过来的一块小石子那样。终于,我对准七百米远的地方开了一枪。那黑点消失了。我希望子弹打得够靠近,至少能把他吓一跳。这是我生平第一次向人开枪。

现在,我对前线所看到一切深感厌恶。人们竟把这叫做战争!我们还几乎没跟敌人真正接触过!我甚至还从未产生过把头缩进战壕的念头。然而,不大一会儿的功夫,一颗子弹就紧贴我的耳朵飞过,发出令人厌恶的尖啸声,钻入我身后的背墙*里。啊!我急忙蹲下。我曾经发誓,我这辈子都不会在第一颗子弹向我射来的时候蹲下。但这么做似乎又确实是一种本能,而且几乎每个人都至少这样地做过一次。