حملهمجموعه: کتاب های فوق متوسط / کتاب: لورنا دون / فصل 8
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متن انگلیسی فصل
Soon everybody in our part of Exmoor knew that Lorna Doone was at Plover’s Barrows farm. So I knew the Doones would come looking for Lorna as soon as they could. But, for now, the weather saved us. They could not move in the snow, and when the rains came in spring, they had even bigger problems. The rains were heavy, and when the snow also turned to water, the rivers became very high. In Doone valley the robbers’ homes were almost under water. They needed most of their men to take care of their village. If they attacked us, we knew it could not be with as many men as they would like.
Spring also brought a visitor for Annie. The snows had kept Tom Faggus away from the farm all winter, but now he came to see her, and he had something to tell her.
‘Before the snows came,’ he said, ‘I went to London. And I have something to show for it.’ Then out of his pocket, he took a letter. It looked very important, and had the King’s sign on it. ‘What do you think it is?’
“We all looked at it, but it was full of long lawyers’ words and no one could understand what it meant.
‘I’ll tell you what it means,’ laughed Tom. ‘It means that I am not a criminal any more. This letter says that the King is ready to forget all my years as a robber, and I am a free man.’
We all wondered how this could be, but then Tom explained. ‘I spoke to Judge Jeffreys. He knows me. He said, ‘“If you promise never to rob again, you can go free. There’s enough for the King to worry about in this country already, with all his enemies. So if we can forget about you, that’s good enough for us.”’
Everyone felt proud of Tom. We thought it had been very brave of him to go to Judge Jeffreys. But now he had something even better to tell us. With the money he still had, Tom had bought some land. He was going to live an honest life, and be a farmer again.
So we were not surprised when Tom asked Mother if he could marry Annie. Mother was not very sure of the new ‘farmer Faggus’. She was afraid that he would get bored with farming and go back to being a robber. But she could see that he loved Annie very much, and between us, Annie and I managed to persuade her.
Now we began to prepare for the Doones’ attack. Though the rivers were still high, people had begun to see a few of the robbers out on the roads, and we knew it would not be long before we would have to fight them.
As we were preparing, we received another visitor: my old friend Jeremy Stickles. This time, though, he had not been sent to find me. To our surprise, he told us that he had been spying in Exmoor for many months. He had been sent down this way again by Judge Jeffreys and the King.
‘You must not tell anyone what I’m doing,’ he said. ‘But I have been sent to do important work. The King has many enemies, and now I have been given some soldiers -though only a few - to help me look for them. But I have to ask you: can my soldiers and I stay here for a while?’
I agreed immediately. When the Doones attacked, it would be a great help to have soldiers staying in the house. I told Jeremy all about Lorna, and he promised to help defend our farmhouse against any Doone attack.
The next day Stickles came with his men. There were only six of them, but even to have these was a help. All we could do now was wait, and be ready each night for an attack.
One day I came home late from the fields, and found all the women trembling with fear. Lorna had seen Carver Doone!
She had gone out in the evening to look at some flowers by our stream. There were thick bushes on the other side, and when Lorna looked up, she saw two cruel black eyes staring at her. She was too frightened to move. Carver could not cross the stream because the water was too high, but he lifted his gun and fired at the ground by Lorna’s feet.
‘Unless you come back tomorrow, he said, and tell me how to destroy that farmer, Ridd, who will soon be a dead man because of you, this will be the place of your death.’
Lorna told us this, trembling. We knew that Carver would not wait until tomorrow, and we got ready for an attack that night.
When the Doones attacked a farm, they always started fires in the hay ricks first - to frighten everyone and show what they could do. So when darkness came, I went with my best gun and a heavy stick to one of the hay ricks, and waited beside it.
I had made sure that Lorna stayed in the house, but little Gwenny climbed a tree near the river. From there she could see up the river to the only place where it was possible to cross. Soon the moon came up, and before very long, Gwenny came running towards me.
‘Ten of them, coming across the river,’ she said. ‘They’ll be here in a minute.’
‘Go into the house and tell Mr. Stickles and his men. I’ll stay here and watch,’ I said.
The robbers broke down our gate, and rode towards the house. I could see the soldiers hiding in the shadows, waiting for the order to fire, but the Doones then turned towards the hay ricks.
‘Kill every man and every child, and burn the farm,’ came the deep voice of Carver Doone. ‘Start over there.’ He was pointing to the hay rick where I was, though he could not see me. ‘But remember, Lorna is mine, and I will kill any man who touches her.’
As Carver spoke, I pointed my gun at him, but - will you believe me? - I didn’t shoot. I had never killed a man, nor even badly hurt one. I did not think it was an easy thing to do. Now, I can say that I wish I had killed him. But I put my gun down, and picked up my stick - a more honest weapon than a gun, I thought.
Two young Doones came towards me, with burning sticks. The first put his stick to the hay rick I was standing near, and it started to burn. I hit him on the arm, and heard his bone break as he fell over with a shout of pain. The other man ran to see what had happened, and I took his fire stick and broke it. Then he jumped at me, but I caught him, broke his arm, and threw him on top of his friend.
I could still see Carver and wanted to jump at him - but I knew he would simply shoot me. While I was thinking about it, there came a loud noise and six tongues of flame from near the farmhouse. Stickles had ordered his men to fire at the Doones as they came towards the house. Two fell and the others ran back. They had something to think about now; no one had ever fought the Doones as we were doing that night.
Now my moment had come. I came out from my place near the burning rick. I knew Carver Doone by his size even in the shadowy moonlight, and I took hold of him by the beard. ‘Do you call yourself a man?’ I said.
For a second he was too surprised to do anything. No one had ever looked at him the way I did now. He lifted his gun, but I was too quick for him and knocked it out of his hand.
‘Now, Carver Doone, take warning,’ I said. ‘You think you are so much better than everyone else, but you are no more than an evil robber. Lie low in the dirt from which you came.’
Then I kicked his feet from under him and knocked him down. When they saw that he was down, the other Doones ran, but Carver simply got up and walked away, shouting at me and everyone.
We wondered whether to chase the Doones, but Mr. Stickles said it would be too dangerous on the moor in the dark. One thing was certain: the robbers had known defeat that night on our farm - something they had never experienced since the day they came to Exmoor. And they went home without four of their men. Two were dead, shot by the soldiers, and the other two were the men whose arms I had broken by the hay ricks. We buried the dead men in the fields, and Jeremy Stickles sent the two wounded men to the prison in Taunton.
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