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a dragon napping was not as easy as it sounded, and the attempt to stick
one or prod one asleep was more likely to end in disaster than a bold
frontal attack. All the while they talked the thrush listened, till at last when
the stars began to peep forth, it silently spread its wings and flew away.
And all the while they talked and the shadows lengthened Bilbo became
more and more unhappy and his foreboding
At last he interrupted them.  I am sure we are very unsafe here, he
said,  and I don t see the point of sitting here. The dragon has withered
all the pleasant green, and anyway the night has come and it is cold. But
I feel it in my bones that this place will be attacked again. Smaug knows
now how I came down to his hall, and you can trust him to guess where
the other end of the tunnel is. He will break all this side of the Mountain to
bits, if necessary, to stop up our entrance, and if we are smashed with it
the better he will like it.
 You are very gloomy, Mr. Baggins! said Thorin.  Why has not
Smaug blocked the lower end, then, if he is so eager to keep us out? He
has not, or we should have heard him.
 I don t know, I don t know-because at first he wanted to try and
lure me in again, I suppose, and now perhaps because he is waiting till
after tonight s hunt, or because he does not want to damage his bedroom
if he can help it  but I wish you would not argue. Smaug will be coming
out at any minute now, and our only hope is to get well in the tunnel and
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shut the door.
He seemed so much in earnest that the dwarves at last did as he
said, though they delayed shutting the door-it seemed a desperate plan,
for no one knew whether or how they could get it open again from the
inside, and the thought of being shut in a place from which the only way
out led through the dragon s lair was not one they liked. Also everything
seemed quite quiet, both outside and down the tunnel. So for a longish
while they sat inside not far down from the half-open door and went on
talking. The talk turned to the dragon s wicked words about the dwarves.
Bilbo wished he had never heard them, or at least that he could feel quite
certain that the dwarves now were absolutely honest when they declared
that they had never thought at all about what would happen after the
treasure had been won.
 We knew it would be a desperate venture, said Thorin,  and we
know that still; and I still think that when we have won it will be time
enough to think what to do about it. As for your share, Mr. Baggins, I
assure you we are more than grateful and you shall choose you own
fourteenth, as soon as we have anything to divide, am sorry if you are
worried about transport, and I admit the difficulties are great-the lands
have not become less wild with the passing of time, rather the reverse-but
we will do whatever we can for you, and take our share of the cost when
the time comes. Believe me or not as you like!
From that the talk turned to the great hoard itself and to the things
that Thorin and Balin remembered. They wondered if they were still lying
there unharmed in the hall below: the spears that were made for the
armies of the great King Bladorthin (long since dead), each had a thrice-
forged head and their shafts were inlaid with cunning gold, but they were
never delivered or paid for; shields made for warriors long dead; the
great golden cup of Thror, two-handed, hammered and carven with birds
and flowers whose eyes and petals were of jewels; coats of mail gilded
and silvered and impenetrable; the necklace of Girion, Lord of Dale, made
of five hundred emeralds green as grass, which he gave for the arming of
his eldest son in a coat of dwarf-linked rings the like of which had never
been made before, for it was wrought of pure silver to the power and
strength of triple steel. But fairest of all was the great white gem, which
the dwarves had found beneath the roots of the Mountain, the Heart of
the Mountain, the Arkenstone of Thrain.
 The Arkenstone! The Arkenstone! murmured Thorin in the dark,
half dreaming with his chin upon his knees.  It was like a globe with a
thousand facets; it shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun,
like snow under the stars, like rain upon the Moon!
But the enchanted desire of the hoard had fallen from Bilbo. All
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through their talk he was only half listening to them. He sat nearest to the
door with one ear cocked for any beginnings of a sound without, his other
was alert or echoes beyond the murmurs of the dwarves, for any whisper
of a movement from far below.
Darkness grew deeper and he grew ever more uneasy.  Shut the
door! he begged them.  I fear that dragon in my marrow. I like this
silence far less than the uproar of last night. Shut the door before it is too
late!
Something in his voice gave the dwarves an uncomfortable feeling.
Slowly Thorin shook off his dreams and getting up he kicked away the
stone that wedged the door. Then they thrust upon it, and it closed with
a snap and a clang. No trace of a keyhole was there left on the inside.
They were shut in the Mountain!
And not a moment too soon. They had hardly gone any distance
down the tunnel when a blow smote the side of the Mountain like the
crash of battering-rams made of forest oaks and swung by giants. The
rock boomed, the walls cracked and stones fell from the roof on their
heads. What would have happened if the door had still been open I don t
like to think. They fled further down the tunnel glad to be still alive, while
behind them outside they heard the roar and rumble of Smaug s fury. He
was breaking rocks to pieces, smashing wall and cliff with the lashings of
his huge tail, till their little lofty camping ground, the scorched grass, the
thrush s stone, the snail-covered walls, the narrow ledge, and all
disappeared in a jumble of smithereens, and an avalanche of splintered
stones fell over the cliff into the valley below.
Smaug had left his lair in silent stealth, quietly soared into the air,
and then floated heavy and slow in the dark like a monstrous crow, down
the wind towards the west of the Mountain, in the hopes of catching
unawares something or somebody there, and of spying the outlet to the
passage which the thief had used. This was the outburst of his wrath
when he could find nobody and see nothing, even where he guessed the
outlet must actually be.
After he had let off his rage in this way he felt better and he thought
in his heart that he would not be troubled again from that direction. In-
the meanwhile he had further vengeance to take.  Barrel-rider! he snorted.
 Your fee came from the waterside and up the water you came with out a
doubt. I don t know your smell, but if you are not one of those men of the
Lake, you had their help. They shall see me and remember who is the real
King under the Mountain!
He rose in fire and went away south towards the Running River.
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CHAPTER 13. NOT AT HOME
In the meanwhile, the dwarves sat in darkness, and utter silence
fell about them. Little they ate and little they spoke. They could not count
the passing of time; and they scarcely dared to move, for the whisper of
their voices echoed and rustled in the tunnel. If they dozed, they woke
still to darkness and to silence going on unbroken. At last after days and
days of waiting, as it seemed, when they were becoming choked and
dazed for want of air, they could bear it no longer. They would almost
have welcomed sounds from below of the dragon s return. In the silence
they feared some cunning devilry of his, but they could not sit there for
ever.
Thorin spoke:  Let us try the door! he said.  I must feel the wind
on my face soon or die. I think I would rather be smashed by Smaug in
the open than suffocate in here!
So several of the dwarves got up and groped back to where the
door had been. But they found that the upper end of the tunnel had been
shattered and blocked with broken rock. Neither key nor the magic it had
once obeyed would ever open that door again. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]