小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 双语小说 » 杀死一只知更鸟 To Kill a Mockingbird » Chapter 12
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 12

      Jem was twelve. He was difficult to live with, inconsistent, moody. His appetite wasappalling, and he told me so many times to stop pestering him I consulted Atticus:

  “Reckon he’s got a tapeworm?” Atticus said no, Jem was growing. I must be patient withhim and disturb him as little as possible.

  This change in Jem had come about in a matter of weeks. Mrs. Dubose was not coldin her grave—Jem had seemed grateful enough for my company when he went to readto her. Overnight, it seemed, Jem had acquired an alien set of values and was trying toimpose them on me: several times he went so far as to tell me what to do. After onealtercation when Jem hollered, “It’s time you started bein‘ a girl and acting right!” I burstinto tears and fled to Calpurnia.

  “Don’t you fret too much over Mister Jem—” she began.

  “Mister Jem?”

  “Yeah, he’s just about Mister Jem now.”

  “He ain’t that old,” I said. “All he needs is somebody to beat him up, and I ain’t bigenough.”

  “Baby,” said Calpurnia, “I just can’t help it if Mister Jem’s growin‘ up. He’s gonna wantto be off to himself a lot now, doin’ whatever boys do, so you just come right on in thekitchen when you feel lonesome. We’ll find lots of things to do in here.”

  The beginning of that summer boded well: Jem could do as he pleased; Calpurniawould do until Dill came. She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen,and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl.

  But summer came and Dill was not there. I received a letter and a snapshot from him.

  The letter said he had a new father whose picture was enclosed, and he would have tostay in Meridian because they planned to build a fishing boat. His father was a lawyerlike Atticus, only much younger. Dill’s new father had a pleasant face, which made meglad Dill had captured him, but I was crushed. Dill concluded by saying he would loveme forever and not to worry, he would come get me and marry me as soon as he gotenough money together, so please write.

  The fact that I had a permanent fiancé was little compensation for his absence: I hadnever thought about it, but summer was Dill by the fishpool smoking string, Dill’s eyesalive with complicated plans to make Boo Radley emerge; summer was the swiftnesswith which Dill would reach up and kiss me when Jem was not looking, the longings wesometimes felt each other feel. With him, life was routine; without him, life wasunbearable. I stayed miserable for two days.

  As if that were not enough, the state legislature was called into emergency sessionand Atticus left us for two weeks. The Governor was eager to scrape a few barnacles offthe ship of state; there were sit-down strikes in Birmingham; bread lines in the citiesgrew longer, people in the country grew poorer. But these were events remote from theworld of Jem and me.

  We were surprised one morning to see a cartoon in the Montgomery Advertiser abovethe caption, “Maycomb’s Finch.” It showed Atticus barefooted and in short pants,chained to a desk: he was diligently writing on a slate while some frivolous-looking girlsyelled, “Yoo-hoo!” at him.

  “That’s a compliment,” explained Jem. “He spends his time doin‘ things that wouldn’tget done if nobody did ’em.”

  “Huh?”

  In addition to Jem’s newly developed characteristics, he had acquired a maddening airof wisdom.

  “Oh, Scout, it’s like reorganizing the tax systems of the counties and things. That kindof thing’s pretty dry to most men.”

  “How do you know?”

  “Oh, go on and leave me alone. I’m readin‘ the paper.”

  Jem got his wish. I departed for the kitchen.

  While she was shelling peas, Calpurnia suddenly said, “What am I gonna do aboutyou all’s church this Sunday?”

  “Nothing, I reckon. Atticus left us collection.”

  Calpurnia’s eyes narrowed and I could tell what was going through her mind. “Cal,” Isaid, “you know we’ll behave. We haven’t done anything in church in years.”

  Calpurnia evidently remembered a rainy Sunday when we were both fatherless andteacherless. Left to its own devices, the class tied Eunice Ann Simpson to a chair andplaced her in the furnace room. We forgot her, trooped upstairs to church, and werelistening quietly to the sermon when a dreadful banging issued from the radiator pipes,persisting until someone investigated and brought forth Eunice Ann saying she didn’twant to play Shadrach any more—Jem Finch said she wouldn’t get burnt if she hadenough faith, but it was hot down there.

  “Besides, Cal, this isn’t the first time Atticus has left us,” I protested.

  “Yeah, but he makes certain your teacher’s gonna be there. I didn’t hear him say thistime—reckon he forgot it.” Calpurnia scratched her head. Suddenly she smiled. “How’dyou and Mister Jem like to come to church with me tomorrow?”

  “Really?”

  “How ‘bout it?” grinned Calpurnia.

  If Calpurnia had ever bathed me roughly before, it was nothing compared to hersupervision of that Saturday night’s routine. She made me soap all over twice, drewfresh water in the tub for each rinse; she stuck my head in the basin and washed it withOctagon soap and castile. She had trusted Jem for years, but that night she invaded hisprivacy and provoked an outburst: “Can’t anybody take a bath in this house without thewhole family lookin‘?”

  Next morning she began earlier than usual, to “go over our clothes.” When Calpurniastayed overnight with us she slept on a folding cot in the kitchen; that morning it wascovered with our Sunday habiliments. She had put so much starch in my dress it cameup like a tent when I sat down. She made me wear a petticoat and she wrapped a pinksash tightly around my waist. She went over my patent-leather shoes with a cold biscuituntil she saw her face in them.

  “It’s like we were goin‘ to Mardi Gras,” said Jem. “What’s all this for, Cal?”

  “I don’t want anybody sayin‘ I don’t look after my children,” she muttered. “Mister Jem,you absolutely can’t wear that tie with that suit. It’s green.”

  “‘Smatter with that?”

  “Suit’s blue. Can’t you tell?”

  “Hee hee,” I howled, “Jem’s color blind.”

  His face flushed angrily, but Calpurnia said, “Now you all quit that. You’re gonna go toFirst Purchase with smiles on your faces.”

  First Purchase African M.E. Church was in the Quarters outside the southern townlimits, across the old sawmill tracks. It was an ancient paint-peeled frame building, theonly church in Maycomb with a steeple and bell, called First Purchase because it waspaid for from the first earnings of freed slaves. Negroes worshiped in it on Sundays andwhite men gambled in it on weekdays.

  The churchyard was brick-hard clay, as was the cemetery beside it. If someone diedduring a dry spell, the body was covered with chunks of ice until rain softened the earth.

  A few graves in the cemetery were marked with crumbling tombstones; newer oneswere outlined with brightly colored glass and broken Coca-Cola bottles. Lightning rodsguarding some graves denoted dead who rested uneasily; stumps of burned-outcandles stood at the heads of infant graves. It was a happy cemetery.

  The warm bittersweet smell of clean Negro welcomed us as we entered thechurchyard—Hearts of Love hairdressing mingled with asafoetida, snuff, Hoyt’sCologne, Brown’s Mule, peppermint, and lilac talcum.

  When they saw Jem and me with Calpurnia, the men stepped back and took off theirhats; the women crossed their arms at their waists, weekday gestures of respectfulattention. They parted and made a small pathway to the church door for us. Calpurniawalked between Jem and me, responding to the greetings of her brightly clad neighbors.

  “What you up to, Miss Cal?” said a voice behind us.

  Calpurnia’s hands went to our shoulders and we stopped and looked around: standingin the path behind us was a tall Negro woman. Her weight was on one leg; she restedher left elbow in the curve of her hip, pointing at us with upturned palm. She was bullet-headed with strange almond-shaped eyes, straight nose, and an Indian-bow mouth. Sheseemed seven feet high.

  I felt Calpurnia’s hand dig into my shoulder. “What you want, Lula?” she asked, intones I had never heard her use. She spoke quietly, contemptuously.

  “I wants to know why you bringin‘ white chillun to nigger church.”

  “They’s my comp’ny,” said Calpurnia. Again I thought her voice strange: she wastalking like the rest of them.

  “Yeah, an‘ I reckon you’s comp’ny at the Finch house durin’ the week.”

  A murmur ran through the crowd. “Don’t you fret,” Calpurnia whispered to me, but theroses on her hat trembled indignantly.

  When Lula came up the pathway toward us Calpurnia said, “Stop right there, nigger.”

  Lula stopped, but she said, “You ain’t got no business bringin‘ white chillun here—theygot their church, we got our’n. It is our church, ain’t it, Miss Cal?”

  Calpurnia said, “It’s the same God, ain’t it?”

  Jem said, “Let’s go home, Cal, they don’t want us here—”

  I agreed: they did not want us here. I sensed, rather than saw, that we were beingadvanced upon. They seemed to be drawing closer to us, but when I looked up atCalpurnia there was amusement in her eyes. When I looked down the pathway again,Lula was gone. In her place was a solid mass of colored people.

  One of them stepped from the crowd. It was Zeebo, the garbage collector. “MisterJem,” he said, “we’re mighty glad to have you all here. Don’t pay no ‘tention to Lula,she’s contentious because Reverend Sykes threatened to church her. She’s atroublemaker from way back, got fancy ideas an’ haughty ways—we’re mighty glad tohave you all.”

  With that, Calpurnia led us to the church door where we were greeted by ReverendSykes, who led us to the front pew.

  First Purchase was unceiled and unpainted within. Along its walls unlighted kerosenelamps hung on brass brackets; pine benches served as pews. Behind the rough oakpulpit a faded pink silk banner proclaimed God Is Love, the church’s only decorationexcept a rotogravure print of Hunt’s The Light of the World. There was no sign of piano,organ, hymn-books, church programs—the familiar ecclesiastical impedimenta we sawevery Sunday. It was dim inside, with a damp coolness slowly dispelled by the gatheringcongregation. At each seat was a cheap cardboard fan bearing a garish Garden ofGethsemane, courtesy Tyndal’s Hardware Co. (You-Name-It-We-Sell-It).

  Calpurnia motioned Jem and me to the end of the row and placed herself between us.

  She fished in her purse, drew out her handkerchief, and untied the hard wad of changein its corner. She gave a dime to me and a dime to Jem. “We’ve got ours,” hewhispered. “You keep it,” Calpurnia said, “you’re my company.” Jem’s face showed briefindecision on the ethics of withholding his own dime, but his innate courtesy won and heshifted his dime to his pocket. I did likewise with no qualms.

  “Cal,” I whispered, “where are the hymn-books?”

  “We don’t have any,” she said.

  “Well how—?”

  “Sh-h,” she said. Reverend Sykes was standing behind the pulpit staring thecongregation to silence. He was a short, stocky man in a black suit, black tie, white shirt,and a gold watch-chain that glinted in the light from the frosted windows.

  He said, “Brethren and sisters, we are particularly glad to have company with us thismorning. Mister and Miss Finch. You all know their father. Before I begin I will readsome announcements.”

  Reverend Sykes shuffled some papers, chose one and held it at arm’s length. “TheMissionary Society meets in the home of Sister Annette Reeves next Tuesday. Bringyour sewing.”

  He read from another paper. “You all know of Brother Tom Robinson’s trouble. He hasbeen a faithful member of First Purchase since he was a boy. The collection taken uptoday and for the next three Sundays will go to Helen—his wife, to help her out athome.”

  I punched Jem. “That’s the Tom Atticus’s de—”

  “Sh-h!”

  I turned to Calpurnia but was hushed before I opened my mouth. Subdued, I fixed myattention upon Reverend Sykes, who seemed to be waiting for me to settle down. “Willthe music superintendent lead us in the first hymn,” he said.

  Zeebo rose from his pew and walked down the center aisle, stopping in front of us andfacing the congregation. He was carrying a battered hymn-book. He opened it and said,“We’ll sing number two seventy-three.”

  This was too much for me. “How’re we gonna sing it if there ain’t any hymn-books?”

  Calpurnia smiled. “Hush baby,” she whispered, “you’ll see in a minute.”

  Zeebo cleared his throat and read in a voice like the rumble of distant artillery:

  “There’s a land beyond the river.”

  Miraculously on pitch, a hundred voices sang out Zeebo’s words. The last syllable,held to a husky hum, was followed by Zeebo saying, “That we call the sweet forever.”

  Music again swelled around us; the last note lingered and Zeebo met it with the nextline: “And we only reach that shore by faith’s decree.”

  The congregation hesitated, Zeebo repeated the line carefully, and it was sung. At thechorus Zeebo closed the book, a signal for the congregation to proceed without his help.

  On the dying notes of “Jubilee,” Zeebo said, “In that far-off sweet forever, just beyondthe shining river.”

  Line for line, voices followed in simple harmony until the hymn ended in a melancholymurmur.

  I looked at Jem, who was looking at Zeebo from the corners of his eyes. I didn’tbelieve it either, but we had both heard it.

  Reverend Sykes then called on the Lord to bless the sick and the suffering, aprocedure no different from our church practice, except Reverend Sykes directed theDeity’s attention to several specific cases.

  His sermon was a forthright denunciation of sin, an austere declaration of the motto onthe wall behind him: he warned his flock against the evils of heady brews, gambling, andstrange women. Bootleggers caused enough trouble in the Quarters, but women wereworse. Again, as I had often met it in my own church, I was confronted with the Impurityof Women doctrine that seemed to preoccupy all clergymen.

  Jem and I had heard the same sermon Sunday after Sunday, with only one exception.

  Reverend Sykes used his pulpit more freely to express his views on individual lapsesfrom grace: Jim Hardy had been absent from church for five Sundays and he wasn’tsick; Constance Jackson had better watch her ways—she was in grave danger forquarreling with her neighbors; she had erected the only spite fence in the history of theQuarters.

  Reverend Sykes closed his sermon. He stood beside a table in front of the pulpit andrequested the morning offering, a proceeding that was strange to Jem and me. One byone, the congregation came forward and dropped nickels and dimes into a blackenameled coffee can. Jem and I followed suit, and received a soft, “Thank you, thankyou,” as our dimes clinked.

  To our amazement, Reverend Sykes emptied the can onto the table and raked thecoins into his hand. He straightened up and said, “This is not enough, we must have tendollars.”

  The congregation stirred. “You all know what it’s for—Helen can’t leave those childrento work while Tom’s in jail. If everybody gives one more dime, we’ll have it—” ReverendSykes waved his hand and called to someone in the back of the church. “Alec, shut thedoors. Nobody leaves here till we have ten dollars.”

  Calpurnia scratched in her handbag and brought forth a battered leather coin purse.

  “Naw Cal,” Jem whispered, when she handed him a shiny quarter, “we can put ours in.

  Gimme your dime, Scout.”

  The church was becoming stuffy, and it occurred to me that Reverend Sykes intendedto sweat the amount due out of his flock. Fans crackled, feet shuffled, tobacco-chewerswere in agony.

  Reverend Sykes startled me by saying sternly, “Carlow Richardson, I haven’t seenyou up this aisle yet.”

  A thin man in khaki pants came up the aisle and deposited a coin. The congregationmurmured approval.

  Reverend Sykes then said, “I want all of you with no children to make a sacrifice andgive one more dime apiece. Then we’ll have it.”

  Slowly, painfully, the ten dollars was collected. The door was opened, and the gust ofwarm air revived us. Zeebo lined On Jordan’s Stormy Banks, and church was over.

  I wanted to stay and explore, but Calpurnia propelled me up the aisle ahead of her. Atthe church door, while she paused to talk with Zeebo and his family, Jem and I chattedwith Reverend Sykes. I was bursting with questions, but decided I would wait and letCalpurnia answer them.

  “We were ‘specially glad to have you all here,” said Reverend Sykes. “This church hasno better friend than your daddy.”

  My curiosity burst: “Why were you all takin‘ up collection for Tom Robinson’s wife?”

  “Didn’t you hear why?” asked Reverend Sykes. “Helen’s got three little’uns and shecan’t go out to work—”

  “Why can’t she take ‘em with her, Reverend?” I asked. It was customary for fieldNegroes with tiny children to deposit them in whatever shade there was while theirparents worked—usually the babies sat in the shade between two rows of cotton. Thoseunable to sit were strapped papoose-style on their mothers’ backs, or resided in extracotton bags.

  Reverend Sykes hesitated. “To tell you the truth, Miss Jean Louise, Helen’s finding ithard to get work these days… when it’s picking time, I think Mr. Link Deas’ll take her.”

  “Why not, Reverend?”

  Before he could answer, I felt Calpurnia’s hand on my shoulder. At its pressure I said,“We thank you for lettin‘ us come.” Jem echoed me, and we made our way homeward.

  “Cal, I know Tom Robinson’s in jail an‘ he’s done somethin’ awful, but why won’t folkshire Helen?” I asked.

  Calpurnia, in her navy voile dress and tub of a hat, walked between Jem and me. “It’sbecause of what folks say Tom’s done,” she said. “Folks aren’t anxious to—to haveanything to do with any of his family.”

  “Just what did he do, Cal?”

  Calpurnia sighed. “Old Mr. Bob Ewell accused him of rapin‘ his girl an’ had himarrested an‘ put in jail—”

  “Mr. Ewell?” My memory stirred. “Does he have anything to do with those Ewells thatcome every first day of school an‘ then go home? Why, Atticus said they were absolutetrash—I never heard Atticus talk about folks the way he talked about the Ewells. Hesaid-”

  “Yeah, those are the ones.”

  “Well, if everybody in Maycomb knows what kind of folks the Ewells are they’d be gladto hire Helen… what’s rape, Cal?”

  “It’s somethin‘ you’ll have to ask Mr. Finch about,” she said. “He can explain it betterthan I can. You all hungry? The Reverend took a long time unwindin’ this morning, he’snot usually so tedious.”

  “He’s just like our preacher,” said Jem, “but why do you all sing hymns that way?”

  “Linin‘?” she asked.

  “Is that what it is?”

  “Yeah, it’s called linin‘. They’ve done it that way as long as I can remember.”

  Jem said it looked like they could save the collection money for a year and get somehymn-books.

  Calpurnia laughed. “Wouldn’t do any good,” she said. “They can’t read.”

  “Can’t read?” I asked. “All those folks?”

  “That’s right,” Calpurnia nodded. “Can’t but about four folks in First Purchase read…I’m one of ‘em.”

  “Where’d you go to school, Cal?” asked Jem.

  “Nowhere. Let’s see now, who taught me my letters? It was Miss Maudie Atkinson’saunt, old Miss Buford—”

  “Are you that old?”

  “I’m older than Mr. Finch, even.” Calpurnia grinned. “Not sure how much, though. Westarted rememberin‘ one time, trying to figure out how old I was—I can remember backjust a few years more’n he can, so I’m not much older, when you take off the fact thatmen can’t remember as well as women.”

  “What’s your birthday, Cal?”

  “I just have it on Christmas, it’s easier to remember that way—I don’t have a realbirthday.”

  “But Cal,” Jem protested, “you don’t look even near as old as Atticus.”

  “Colored folks don’t show their ages so fast,” she said.

  “Maybe because they can’t read. Cal, did you teach Zeebo?”

  “Yeah, Mister Jem. There wasn’t a school even when he was a boy. I made him learn,though.”

  Zeebo was Calpurnia’s eldest son. If I had ever thought about it, I would have knownthat Calpurnia was of mature years—Zeebo had half-grown children—but then I hadnever thought about it.

  “Did you teach him out of a primer, like us?” I asked.

  “No, I made him get a page of the Bible every day, and there was a book Miss Bufordtaught me out of—bet you don’t know where I got it,” she said.

  We didn’t know.

  Calpurnia said, “Your Granddaddy Finch gave it to me.”

  “Were you from the Landing?” Jem asked. “You never told us that.”

  “I certainly am, Mister Jem. Grew up down there between the Buford Place and theLandin‘. I’ve spent all my days workin’ for the Finches or the Bufords, an‘ I moved toMaycomb when your daddy and your mamma married.”

  “What was the book, Cal?” I asked.

  “Blackstone’s Commentaries.”

  Jem was thunderstruck. “You mean you taught Zeebo outa that?”

  “Why yes sir, Mister Jem.” Calpurnia timidly put her fingers to her mouth. “They werethe only books I had. Your grandaddy said Mr. Blackstone wrote fine English—”

  “That’s why you don’t talk like the rest of ‘em,” said Jem.

  “The rest of who?”

  “Rest of the colored folks. Cal, but you talked like they did in church…”

  That Calpurnia led a modest double life never dawned on me. The idea that she had aseparate existence outside our household was a novel one, to say nothing of her havingcommand of two languages. “Cal,” I asked, “why do you talk nigger-talk to the—to yourfolks when you know it’s not right?”

  “Well, in the first place I’m black—”

  “That doesn’t mean you hafta talk that way when you know better,” said Jem.

  Calpurnia tilted her hat and scratched her head, then pressed her hat down carefullyover her ears. “It’s right hard to say,” she said. “Suppose you and Scout talked colored-folks’ talk at home it’d be out of place, wouldn’t it? Now what if I talked white-folks’ talk atchurch, and with my neighbors? They’d think I was puttin‘ on airs to beat Moses.”

  “But Cal, you know better,” I said.

  “It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not ladylike—in the second place, folksdon’t like to have somebody around knowin‘ more than they do. It aggravates ’em.

  You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin‘ right, they’ve got to want to learnthemselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep yourmouth shut or talk their language.”

  “Cal, can I come to see you sometimes?”

  She looked down at me. “See me, honey? You see me every day.”

  “Out to your house,” I said. “Sometimes after work? Atticus can get me.”

  “Any time you want to,” she said. “We’d be glad to have you.”

  We were on the sidewalk by the Radley Place.

  “Look on the porch yonder,” Jem said.

  I looked over to the Radley Place, expecting to see its phantom occupant sunninghimself in the swing. The swing was empty.

  “I mean our porch,” said Jem.

  I looked down the street. Enarmored, upright, uncompromising, Aunt Alexandra wassitting in a rocking chair exactly as if she had sat there every day of her life.

杰姆十二岁了。和他相处不容易,他反复无常,郁郁寡欢,胃口大得惊人。他总叫我别老缠着他。于是,我跑去问阿迪克斯:“我想他肚子里有条绦虫吧?”阿迪克斯说不是,杰姆正长身子,我对他要耐着点性子,尽量少去打扰他。
杰姆的这些变化发生在短短的几个星期里。杜博斯太太死了还不久,杰姆对莸当初陪着他上杜博斯太太家给她念书还十分感激。可是,仿佛一夜之间,杰姆便学了一套古里古怪的准则,还想强加给我:有好几次他甚至教训我哪些该千,哪些不该千。有一回吵了嘴后,杰姆吼着说:“你也该象个女孩子,行为该规矩点了1”我的眼泪刷地流了下来,一扭头跑到了卡尔珀尼亚跟前。
“别生杰姆先——生的气。”
。杰姆先——生?”
“是啊,他很快就是杰姆先生了。”
“他的年龄还不够格呢,他需要的就是让人揍上一顿,可惜我太小了点。”
“真是个孩子,”卡尔珀尼亚说,“杰姆先生越长越大,我玎没办法。他不想老让人跟着,要去千男孩子干的事啦。你要是觉得寂寞,就到厨房里来。在这里我们有不少的事可干。”
那年夏天开始时,看来一切都会令人满意。杰姆可以随心所欲;迪尔来到之前我有卡尔珀尼亚陪我,这也不算坏。我在厨房里她很高兴。而我看着她干活,也慢慢觉得要做一个女孩子还真有点什么技巧在里头。
但夏天到了,迪尔却没来。我收到他的一封信和一张照片。信上说他有了个新爸爸,新爸爸的照片也附存信内。迪尔要留在梅里迪安,因为他家决定造一艘渔船。他的这个爸爸同阿迪克斯一样,也是个律师,不过年轻得多,有一张漂亮的脸蛋。迪尔有了爸爸,我很高兴,可我自己却很失望。迪尔在结尾处说,他会爱我一辈子,叫我别担心;他一有了足够的饯就会来接找,和我成家,所以请我给他回信。
迪尔不在身边,这一点,即使有了他这个牢靠的未婚夫也无法弥补。虽然我事实上并没有在头脑里这么去想,但是迪尔便是夏天的一切:同他一起坐在鱼塘边把绳子当烟抽;趁杰姆没注意,他突然探过头来在我脸上飞快地一吻;机灵的眼睛一亮,他便有了逗布?拉德利露面的鬼主意,还有我们都感到的相互间的渴慕。有了他,生活并不怎样出奇;少了他,却无法忍受。一连两天我都很不痛快。
然而这好象还不够似的,阿迪克斯又要去参加州立法机关的紧急会议,两个星期不能回家。州长急于清除州里的一些麻烦事:伯明翰发生了数起静坐罢工,城里等待分发救济食物的队伍越来越长;乡下的人则越来越穷。这些都离着我和杰姆的天地远远的。
一天上午,我们十分惊讶地在《蒙哥马利广告报》上看到一幅漫画,下面的标题是“梅科姆的芬奇”。画中的阿迪克斯光着两脚,只穿着短裤,被铁链锁在一张桌子上,十分认真地在一块石板上写着什么,身旁几个看上去很轻浮的女孩子正对着他叫。喂……!”
“这是称赞他,”杰姆解释说,“他用自己的时间干那些没人干便干不成的事。”
“是吗?”
杰姆身上除了最近出现的怪脾气外,还添上了一副叫人受不了的自作聪明的派头。
“哦,斯各特,这就如同把各县所有的东西的税收法重新制订一样,而大多数人对这类事情都没有兴趣。”
“你怎么知道?”
。哎呀,走开,让我一个人果着,我在看报呢。”
杰姆如愿以偿。我离开他到了厨房里。
卡尔珀尼亚正剥着豆荚,突然对我说:“你们俩星期天做礼拜的事叫我怎么办才好呢?”
“我想没什么太了不得的,阿迪克斯给了我们募捐的钱。”
卡尔珀尼亚的两跟眯了起来,我知道她心里在想什么。“卡尔,你知遭我们会守规矩的。我们已有好几年没在教堂里惹过麻烦了。”
卡尔珀尼亚肯定记起了这么一件事;一个星期日,下着雨,我们既没有家长带着,也没有老师管束。我们班的同学们任意胡来,把尤妮斯?安?辛酱森捆到椅子上,关进了炉子问。过后,我们把她忘了,全班人马开拔到楼上做礼拜去了。正静静地听着布道,忽然顺着暖气管道传来了一阵可怕的砰砰声,一直持续到有人去查看为止。尤妮斯被带了出来,说她再不愿扮演谢德拉克了。杰姆?芬奇说,如果她有足够的诚心就烧不伤。不过,那下面确实热。
“而且,卡尔,阿迪克斯又不是第一次离开我们。”我分辩道。
“我知道不是第一次,可他每次都设法让老师管着你们。这回没听他这么说。嗯……他大概忘了。”卡尔珀尼亚搔了搔头,忽然笑了。“你和杰姆先生明夭跟我去做礼拜,怎么样?”
“真的?”
“满意吧?”卡尔珀尼亚咧嘴笑着说。
不管卡尔珀尼亚以前给我们洗澡洗得多么使劲,跟那个星期六晚上比起来简直不算回事。她两次涂了我满身肥皂,每次清洗时都用大桶提来清水。她把我的脑袋按进水盆里洗了又洗,用了八角牌肥皂,又用了橄榄香皂。杰姆洗澡的事她已多年不过问了。那天晚上却偏要干预他的私事,惹得杰姆发作一通:“难道在这个家里非要所有的人在一旁看着才能洗澡?’
第二天,比平时更早她就开始“检查”我们的衣服了。卡尔珀尼亚在我们家过夜时,就在厨房里支起个帆布床。那天早上,帆布床上堆满了我们札拜天穿的服装。她给我衣服上浆上得太多了,我往下坐时衣服鼓成帐篷一般。她给我穿上衬裙,然后用一根粉红色的腰带紧紧系上,她还把我的漆皮靴用带油脂的面包干擦得照得出她的脸。
“好象我们要去过狂欢节的最后一天似的。”杰姆说,“这是怎么回事儿,卡尔?”
“我不愿听任何人说我没照顾好我的孩子。”她低声咕哝道,“杰姆先生,你无论如何不能用那条领带配这套衣服,那是绿色的。”
“这有什么要紧?”
“衣服是蓝色曲,难道你分辨不出来?”
“嘻,嘻,”我嚷了起来,“杰姆是色盲。”
他气得满脸通红。卡尔珀尼亚马上说:“你们都别闹了,你们这是去首批房产教堂,脸上该挂着笑才对。”
非洲卫理公会监督派首批房产教堂在本镇的南端以外的黑人住宅区,老锯术厂车道的对面。这是一个古老的木架结构建筑,油漆早已剥落,也是梅科姆唯一有尖顼和大钟的教堂。把它叫做首批房产教堂,是因为它是获得自由的奴隶们用第一次挣来的钱建造的。星期天黑人在里面做礼拜,其他时候白人在里面赌钱。
教堂院子的地面是象砖一样硬的粘土,旁边的公墓也一样。如果天气干燥时死了人,就只好用冰块把尸体盖上,等雨天地皮软了才能下葬。公墓里有些坟上竖着正在碎裂的墓碑,而有些新堆的坟,就只用闪闪发亮的彩色玻璃和打破了的可日可乐瓶子来标出轮廓。有的坟上插着避雷针,告诉人们死者躲在地下还觉不安。婴儿的坟头还留着烧过的残烛。人们都愿死后葬在这里。
进了教堂后,我们闻到了有洁净习惯的黑人发出的那种气味,苦涩中夹着清香——这种气味来自一种头发油,还混合着阿魏胶鼻烟、科隆香水、嚼烟、薄荷和紫丁香爽身粉等的香气。
看到我和杰姆同卡尔珀尼亚在一起,男的边往后退边摘帽子;女人把双手交叉在腰间,这是平日表示敬意的姿势。人群分开来,为我们让出一条窄狭的过道,通到教堂门日。卡尔珀尼亚在我和杰姆中间,边走边回答着那些服饰艳丽的邻居们的问候。、
“你搞什么勾当,卡尔小姐?”从我们身后传来一个人的声音。
卡尔珀尼亚把手放到我们肩上,我们停下来回头一看,只见身后的路上站着一位很高的黑人妇女。她全身的重量全落在一只脚上,左手的肘弯顶在髋关节上,掌心朝上,指着我们。她长着圆脑袋,两只出奇的杏仁状的眼睛,一条笔直的鼻粱和一张象印第安人的弓形的嘴。看上去她有七英尺高。
我感到卡尔珀尼亚的手碰了碰我的肩膀。“你要干啥,卢拉?”她问道,用的是我从未听她用过的语调。她说得很平静,但带着鄙夷的口吻。
“我想知道你为什么把白人娃娃带进黑人教堂。”
“他们陪着我来的。”我又一次觉得她的声音特殊,她这时的语言同另外这些人一个样。
“是的,我想这个星期你都在芬奇家里。”
人群里一阵低低的声音。“别生气,”卡尔珀尼亚小声对我说,可是她自己帽子上的玫瑰花却象在气愤似的抖动。卢拉顺着过道向我们走来,卡尔珀尼亚说,“给我在那儿站住,黑鬼。”
卢拉停下来了,但是嘴里还在说:“你没有理由把自人的娃娃带副这儿来。他们有他们的教堂,我们有我们的。这教堂是我们的,对不对,卡尔小姐?”
卡尔说:“上帝只有同样的一个,对不对?”
杰姆说话了:“回家吧,卡尔。他们不要我们在这儿……”
我同意他的话,他们不要我们在这儿。我感觉到,但不是发现我们在受到攻击。他们好象把我们围得越来越紧。但我一抬头,却在卡尔珀尼亚的眼里看到喜色。我向过道再望望,卢拉不见了,一大群黑人站在她原先站过的地方。
人群里出来一个人,是齐波,他是运垃圾的。“杰姆先生,你们在这儿使我们都十分高兴,别理卢拉。她这么吵是因为赛克斯牧师吓唬她,说耍用教规来管柬她。她一向是个爱捣蛋的人,尽是怪想法,总是目中无人。你们在这儿我们非常高兴。”
于是,卡尔珀尼亚把我们领到教堂门口。赛克斯牧师对我们表示欢迎,并把我JI『1领到了前排座位上。
这个教堂的内部既没有天花板,也没油漆过。墙上突出的铜架上挂着没点燃的煤油灯,松术条凳代替了通常教堂的靠背椅。粗糙的橡木讲坛后面有一面退了色的粉红丝质旗,上面写着“主即仁爱”。除了一张用照相版印刷的亨特的《世界之光》画外,整个教堂再没有其他装饰了。象钢琴、风琴、赞美诗,礼拜程序单等等每个星期日都要在教堂里见到的东西,这几连影子都没有。室内昏暗,直到上教堂的人越聚越多,才慢慢赶走了潮湿阴冷的感觉。每个座位上都有一把廉价的硬纸做的扇子;上面花花绿绿地画着《圣经》里耶稣被出卖和被捕之地——客西马尼花园。这是廷德尔五金公司赠送的,上面印着一旬商品广告:你要什么我们就卖什么。
卡尔珀尼亚示意我和杰姆坐到那排座位的一头去,她自己坐在我们中间。她在钱包里找出手绢,把包在角落里酌零钱打开,给了我和杰姆各一角钱。“我们自己有,”杰姆轻轻地说。“你们留着,”卡尔珀尼亚说,“你们是陪我来的。”从杰姆的脸色看来,他犹豫了一下,不知该不该留下自己的钱。到底还是他的天生礼貌占了上风,他很快把自己的钱放进了口袋。我也痛痛快快地把钱收了起来。
“卡尔,”我小声问,“赞美诗在哪几?”
“我们没有。”她说。
“那怎么……?”
“嘘……”她说。赛克斯牧师正站在布道坛后,盯着下面韵人,等教堂安静下来。他矮小结实,穿着黑衣服、白衬衫,系着黑领带,一根金表链在从毛玻璃窗外射进来的阳光中闪闪发亮。
他开口了:“教友们,今天上午芬奇先生和芬奇小姐跟我们在一起,我们感到特别高兴。大伙都熟悉他们的父亲。我在布道前还有几件事要通知。”
赛克斯牧师在几张纸里找出一张来,伸直胳膊举着。“传遭会在教友安妮特?里夫斯家碰头,带针线活来。”
他举起另一张纸。“你们都知道了教友汤姆?鲁宾逊的情况。他从小就是首批房产教堂的忠实成员。今天和下三个星期天的捐款将送刭他妻子海伦手上,帮助她度过难关。”
我把杰姆一捅。。就是这个汤姆,阿迪克斯为他辩……”
“嘘……”
我又把脸转向卡尔珀尼亚,但还没有张嘴就被她制止了r。我没办法,只好把注意力集中到赛克斯牧师身上。他好象正等着我安定下来。“请音乐指挥带我们唱第一首赞美诗。”他说道。
齐波起身,沿中间过道走上前来,在我们前面停下来。他面对教友,手里拿着本翻旧了的赞美诗。他打开书说;“我们唱第二百七十三首。”
我再也忍不住了。“没书我们怎么能唱呢?”
卡尔珀尼亚笑了。“别出声,孩子。”她小声说,“过一会儿你就知道了。”
齐波清了一下嗓子便念了起来,声音象是远处的大炮在轰鸣。
“河的彼岸有一片土地。”
我们大伙儿象奇迹般地用同一个调子唱出了齐波的话,最后一个音节拖成沙哑低沉的嗡嗡声,然后齐波跟_r上去。
“我们称那地方为永恒的乐土。”
歌声又一次在周围晌起,最后一个音符持续了一会儿,齐波用下旬接上:“唯有信心,我们才能达到彼岸。”
教友们在迟疑,齐波认真重复了一遍,大伙便会唱了。齐唱声中,齐波合上书——一个叫教友们不要他帮助而继续唱下去的信号。
在唱到结尾处的。朱比种”时,齐波说道:“在闪烁的大河彼岸,在那遥远的永恒的乐土上。”
一句接一句,歌声再起,简单而和谐,然后结束在沉郁的低音之中。
我看着杰姆,他正斜视齐波。我也不相信能这样唱赞美诗,可是我们俩都亲耳听到了。
赛克斯牧师接着祈祷上帝赐福给病人和受苦的人们。这和我们教堂的做法没有两样,只是他请求上帝特别注意几个具体的事件。
他在布道中直截了当地谴责犯罪,严肃地宣扬他背后墙上的格言。他警告人们谨防私酿烈洒、赌博以及娟妓这些邪恶的东西。违法的酒贩在本区已经够麻烦的了,而女人比这还糟,此外,就象在我们自己的教堂里经常遇到的一样,我在这里又一次听到对于女人不纯洁的指责,仿佛所有的牧师一心想到的就是这种信条。
没有哪个星期天我和杰姆听的布道不是同样的模式,但这回是唯一的例外。赛克斯牧师把布道坛运用得更灵活,说出了他对人的堕落的看法:吉姆?哈迪有五个星期天没有来做礼拜了,而他并没有生病;康斯坦斯?杰克逊最好检查一下自己的行为,她因与邻居争吵正处在严重的危险之中,她第一个在本地区立起了怨恨的篱笆。
赛克斯牧师结束了布道,站在布道坛前的桌旁,要求人们捐献。杰姆和我都不知道有这种做法。人们一个接一个地走到前边,把五分或一角的硬币投进一个装咖啡的黑搪瓷罐里,杰姆和我也照着办。随着两角钱当啷的响声,我们听到人们轻声地说“谢谢你们,谢谢你们”。
使我们大感惊讶的是,赛克斯牧师把钱全部倒在桌上,又一起放在手上,然后直起腰说:“这钱不够,我们需要十块钱。”
教友们有点骚动。“你们都明白这钱做什么用。汤姆在监狱里,海伦不能丢下孩子去工作。每人再给一角钱就够了。”赛克斯牧师又一扬手,然后对后头一个人喊道:“亚历克,把门关上,不捐够十块钱谁也别出去。”
卡尔珀尼亚在手提包里摸了摸,掏出了个磨损了的放硬币的钱包。她递给杰姆一个闪光的二角五分的硬币,但杰姆小声地说:。不,卡尔,我们捐自己的钱。把你那一角钱给我,斯各特。”
教堂里越来越阎,我想赛克斯牧师的用意是让这些人流血汗似的流出所需要的数目来。扇子在噗噗地晌,脚不安地在地板上擦着,有嚼烟叶瘾的人受不了啦。
忽然,赛克斯牧师严厉的声音吓了我一跳:“卡洛?理奄森,我还投见你上来过一回!”
一个穿卡叽布裤的瘦个子走上过遣,投下一枚硬币。人群里传出低声的赞许。
赛克斯牧师接下去说道:“我希望这里没有孩子的人做出点牺牲,每个人再捐一角钱就够了。”
十块钱缓慢而艰难地凑足了。门打开了,一股温暖的空气使我们又振作起来。齐波逐行领唱“在雨骤风狂的约旦河岸。,礼拜便做完了。
我想留在后面到各处看看,可是卡尔珀尼亚把我推上过道,让我走在她的前面。到门口,她停下来同齐波和齐波家里人说话时,我和杰姆也同赛克斯牧师谈了起来。我憋着一肚子问题想问,但还是决定忍着,等卡尔珀尼亚去回答。
“今天你们都在这儿,我们特别高兴,你爸爸是这个教堂再好不过的朋友。”
我的好奇心终于控制不住了。“你仃j为什么都绐汤姆-鲁宾逊的妻子捐钱?”
“你难道没听说为什么吗?”赛克斯牧师问,“海伦有三个孩子,她无法出去工作……”
“那她为什么不能带他们去上班呢,牧师?”我问道。常见干地里活的黑人,哪里有荫凉处就把小孩放在哪里。婴儿一般是坐在两行棉花之间,还不能自己坐稳的便象北美印第安人白勺孩子一样,背在妈妈的身上或用另外一个棉花袋兜着。
赛克斯牧师犹豫了一下。“老实说吧,琼-路易斯小姐,这些日子海伦很难找到活干……到了摘棉花的季节,我想林克?迪斯会雇她。”
“干吗不,牧师?”
他还来不及回答,我感到卡尔珀尼亚的手放到我肩上按了一下,于是我说:“谢谢您允许我们上这儿来。”杰姆也同样说了一句,我们便上路回家了。
“卡尔,我知道汤姆?鲁宾逊在监狱里,他干了件不体面的事。但是,人们为什么不雇海伦?”我问道。
卡尔珀尼亚穿着她藏青色的巴里纱衣服,头戴一顶大得象水盆的帽子,走在我和杰姆中间。“这是由于别人说的汤姆千的那件事。人们不太想……跟他家的任何人来往。”
。卡尔,他到底干了什么事?”
卡尔珀尼亚叹了一声。“老鲍勃?尤厄尔先生控告他强奸了他女儿,他被抓起来关进了监狱……”
“尤厄尔先生?”我的记忆开始活动起来。“他与那些只在开学第一天去一下学校然后马上回去的尤厄尔家里人有什么关系吗?对了,阿迪克斯说他们是地道的‘贱种’。我从没昕过阿迪克斯象说他们那样说到过别人。他说……”
“没错,正是那些人。”
“那么,要是梅科姆所有的人都知道尤厄尔家那些人是什么样的人,他们就会雇海伦了……强奸是怎么回事,卡尔?”
“这事你该去问芬奇先生,他会解释得比我好。你俩饿了吧?牧师今天上午收场太晚了点。他平时可没有这么罗嗦。”
“他和我们的牧师一个样,”杰姆说,“可是你们为什么都是那样唱赞美诗?”
“是说逐行领唱?”
“这就叫逐行领唱吗?”
“是,这叫逐行领唱,从我记事起,他们就是那样干的。”
杰姆说他们似乎可以从捐献里省下一年的钱,买些赞美诗。
卡尔珀尼亚笑出了声。“没用处,他们不识字。”
“不识字?”我间,“都不识字?”
“对,”卡尔珀尼亚点点头,“首批房产教堂大约只有四个人识字,我算一个。”
“你住哪儿上的学,卡尔?”杰姆问。
“没在哪儿。我想想是谁教我的字母。是莫迪-阿特金森她姨,老布福德小姐。”
“你有那么大岁数吗?”
“我比芬奇先生岁数还要大。”卡尔珀尼亚咧开嘴笑着说,“不过说不准大多少。有一回我们回忆过去的事,想推算出我的年纪。我能记的事比他还早上几年。如果把男人记事没有女人记得那么牢这一点排除的话,我就比他大不了多少。”
“你生日是哪天,卡尔?”
“我把圣诞节算我的生日,那样好记。我并没有个确定的生日。”
“但是,卡尔,你看来岁数一点也不象有阿迪克斯那么犬。”
“黑人显老没有那么快。”她说。
“大概是他们不识字。卡尔,齐波是你教的吗?”
“是我,杰姆先生。他小的时候还没有学校。不过我叫他学习。”
齐波是卡尔珀尼亚的火儿子,已经有几个半大的孩子了。我要是想到了这点,也就会明白卡尔珀尼亚早就上年纪了。我当时却一点也没想到。
“你是不是也用一本识字课本教他,跟教我们一样?”我问。
“不,我让他每天学一页《圣经》,还有另外一本布福德小姐教我时用过的书。我想你们一定不知道我打哪儿弄来的。”她说。
我们不知道。、
卡尔珀尼亚说:“是你们的祖父芬奇送我的。。
“你是从庄园上来的吗?”杰姆问。“你可从没说过。”
“当然是的,杰姆先生。就是在布福德家和庄园里长大的。我这辈子不是给布福德家千活,就是给芬奇家干活,你爸娶你妈那阵子,我就搬到了梅科姆。”
“是本什么书,卡尔?”我问。
“布莱克斯顿写的《圣经注解》。”
杰姆大吃一惊。“你是说你用那书教齐波?”
“是这样,杰姆先生。”卡尔珀尼亚把手指放在嘴上,有点难为情。“我只有那一本书,你们祖父说布莱克斯顿的英语写得很漂亮。”
“难怪你说话不同别的人一样。”杰姆说。
“别的什么人?”
“别的黑人。卡尔,不过你在教堂照说话跟他们一样。”
我从没想到卡尔珀尼亚过着朴实的双重生活。出了我们家,她还有另一种生活,这点对我来说十分新奇,更别说她还掌握了两种语言。
“卡尔,”我问她,“你为什么用黑人语言跟这些……跟你们的人说话?你明明知道不正确嘛。”
“这个,首先我自己就是黑人……”
“那也不等于你本来能说得好一些,却非那样说不可啊。”杰姆说。
卡尔珀尼亚把帽子推到一边,抓了抓脑袋,然后小心地把帽子压到耳朵上。“真难说清,假如你和斯各特在家里说黑人方言,就不合适,对不对?那么我在教堂里象白人那样说话会怎么样?而且我是对我们黑人邻居们说话呢。他们会认为我摆架子,充贵人。”
“可是卡尔,你能说得好一些啊。”我说。
“没有必要把自己知道的全兜出来。这不合女人的身分。再说,人们都不愿意旁人比自己懂得更多。这样的人使他们恼火。用正确的语言说话并不能改变他们。他们要学习,只能靠自觉。他们自己要是不想学的话,你除了不说话或说他们同样的话外,什么办法也没有。”
“卡尔,我哪天能来看看你吗?”
她低头望着我。“来看我,小宝贝?你天天都看到了我。”
“是到你家去,”我说,“哪天干完了活去,好吗?阿迪克斯可以来接我。”
“什么时候想来就什么时候来吧,”她说,“我们会高兴地欢迎你的。”
这时,我们到了拉德利家附近的路上。
“瞧那边走廊上。”杰姆说。
我向拉德利家望去,心想能看到那个幽灵般的房主在悬椅上晒太阳。可是悬椅上什么人也没有。
“我是说咱们家走廊。”杰姆说。
我向街那头望过去,只见亚历山德拉姑妈一身行装,身子笔挺,显得很神气,坐在一张摇椅上,仿佛她~辈子每天都是在那儿坐着似的。



欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533

鲁ICP备05031204号