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Chapter 13

      “Put my bag in the front bedroom, Calpurnia,” was the first thing Aunt Alexandra said.

  “Jean Louise, stop scratching your head,” was the second thing she said.

  Calpurnia picked up Aunty’s heavy suitcase and opened the door. “I’ll take it,” saidJem, and took it. I heard the suitcase hit the bedroom floor with a thump. The sound hada dull permanence about it. “Have you come for a visit, Aunty?” I asked. AuntAlexandra’s visits from the Landing were rare, and she traveled in state. She owned abright green square Buick and a black chauffeur, both kept in an unhealthy state oftidiness, but today they were nowhere to be seen.

  “Didn’t your father tell you?” she asked.

  Jem and I shook our heads.

  “Probably he forgot. He’s not in yet, is he?”

  “Nome, he doesn’t usually get back till late afternoon,” said Jem.

  “Well, your father and I decided it was time I came to stay with you for a while.”

  “For a while” in Maycomb meant anything from three days to thirty years. Jem and Iexchanged glances.

  “Jem’s growing up now and you are too,” she said to me. “We decided that it would bebest for you to have some feminine influence. It won’t be many years, Jean Louise,before you become interested in clothes and boys—”

  I could have made several answers to this: Cal’s a girl, it would be many years beforeI would be interested in boys, I would never be interested in clothes… but I kept quiet.

  “What about Uncle Jimmy?” asked Jem. “Is he comin‘, too?”

  “Oh no, he’s staying at the Landing. He’ll keep the place going.”

  The moment I said, “Won’t you miss him?” I realized that this was not a tactfulquestion. Uncle Jimmy present or Uncle Jimmy absent made not much difference, henever said anything. Aunt Alexandra ignored my question.

  I could think of nothing else to say to her. In fact I could never think of anything to sayto her, and I sat thinking of past painful conversations between us: How are you, JeanLouise? Fine, thank you ma’am, how are you? Very well, thank you, what have youbeen doing with yourself? Nothin‘. Don’t you do anything? Nome. Certainly you havefriends? Yessum. Well what do you all do? Nothin’.

  It was plain that Aunty thought me dull in the extreme, because I once heard her tellAtticus that I was sluggish.

  There was a story behind all this, but I had no desire to extract it from her then. Todaywas Sunday, and Aunt Alexandra was positively irritable on the Lord’s Day. I guess itwas her Sunday corset. She was not fat, but solid, and she chose protective garmentsthat drew up her bosom to giddy heights, pinched in her waist, flared out her rear, andmanaged to suggest that Aunt Alexandra’s was once an hour-glass figure. From anyangle, it was formidable.

  The remainder of the afternoon went by in the gentle gloom that descends whenrelatives appear, but was dispelled when we heard a car turn in the driveway. It wasAtticus, home from Montgomery. Jem, forgetting his dignity, ran with me to meet him.

  Jem seized his briefcase and bag, I jumped into his arms, felt his vague dry kiss andsaid, “‘d you bring me a book? ’d you know Aunty’s here?”

  Atticus answered both questions in the affirmative. “How’d you like for her to come livewith us?”

  I said I would like it very much, which was a lie, but one must lie under certaincircumstances and at all times when one can’t do anything about them.

  “We felt it was time you children needed—well, it’s like this, Scout,” Atticus said. “Youraunt’s doing me a favor as well as you all. I can’t stay here all day with you, and thesummer’s going to be a hot one.”

  “Yes sir,” I said, not understanding a word he said. I had an idea, however, that AuntAlexandra’s appearance on the scene was not so much Atticus’s doing as hers. Auntyhad a way of declaring What Is Best For The Family, and I suppose her coming to livewith us was in that category.

  Maycomb welcomed her. Miss Maudie Atkinson baked a Lane cake so loaded withshinny it made me tight; Miss Stephanie Crawford had long visits with Aunt Alexandra,consisting mostly of Miss Stephanie shaking her head and saying, “Uh, uh, uh.” MissRachel next door had Aunty over for coffee in the afternoons, and Mr. Nathan Radleywent so far as to come up in the front yard and say he was glad to see her.

  When she settled in with us and life resumed its daily pace, Aunt Alexandra seemedas if she had always lived with us. Her Missionary Society refreshments added to herreputation as a hostess (she did not permit Calpurnia to make the delicacies required tosustain the Society through long reports on Rice Christians); she joined and becameSecretary of the Maycomb Amanuensis Club. To all parties present and participating inthe life of the county, Aunt Alexandra was one of the last of her kind: she had river-boat,boarding-school manners; let any moral come along and she would uphold it; she wasborn in the objective case; she was an incurable gossip. When Aunt Alexandra went toschool, self-doubt could not be found in any textbook, so she knew not its meaning. Shewas never bored, and given the slightest chance she would exercise her royalprerogative: she would arrange, advise, caution, and warn.

  She never let a chance escape her to point out the shortcomings of other tribal groupsto the greater glory of our own, a habit that amused Jem rather than annoyed him:

  “Aunty better watch how she talks—scratch most folks in Maycomb and they’re kin tous.”

  Aunt Alexandra, in underlining the moral of young Sam Merriweather’s suicide, said itwas caused by a morbid streak in the family. Let a sixteen-year-old girl giggle in thechoir and Aunty would say, “It just goes to show you, all the Penfield women are flighty.”

  Everybody in Maycomb, it seemed, had a Streak: a Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak,a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak.

  Once, when Aunty assured us that Miss Stephanie Crawford’s tendency to mind otherpeople’s business was hereditary, Atticus said, “Sister, when you stop to think about it,our generation’s practically the first in the Finch family not to marry its cousins. Wouldyou say the Finches have an Incestuous Streak?”

  Aunty said no, that’s where we got our small hands and feet.

  I never understood her preoccupation with heredity. Somewhere, I had received theimpression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense theyhad, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer afamily had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was.

  “That makes the Ewells fine folks, then,” said Jem. The tribe of which Burris Ewell andhis brethren consisted had lived on the same plot of earth behind the Maycomb dump,and had thrived on county welfare money for three generations.

  Aunt Alexandra’s theory had something behind it, though. Maycomb was an ancienttown. It was twenty miles east of Finch’s Landing, awkwardly inland for such an oldtown. But Maycomb would have been closer to the river had it not been for the nimble-wittedness of one Sinkfield, who in the dawn of history operated an inn where two pig-trails met, the only tavern in the territory. Sinkfield, no patriot, served and suppliedammunition to Indians and settlers alike, neither knowing or caring whether he was apart of the Alabama Territory or the Creek Nation so long as business was good.

  Business was excellent when Governor William Wyatt Bibb, with a view to promoting thenewly created county’s domestic tranquility, dispatched a team of surveyors to locate itsexact center and there establish its seat of government. The surveyors, Sinkfield’sguests, told their host that he was in the territorial confines of Maycomb County, andshowed him the probable spot where the county seat would be built. Had not Sinkfieldmade a bold stroke to preserve his holdings, Maycomb would have sat in the middle ofWinston Swamp, a place totally devoid of interest. Instead, Maycomb grew andsprawled out from its hub, Sinkfield’s Tavern, because Sinkfield reduced his guests tomyopic drunkenness one evening, induced them to bring forward their maps and charts,lop off a little here, add a bit there, and adjust the center of the county to meet hisrequirements. He sent them packing next day armed with their charts and five quarts ofshinny in their saddlebags—two apiece and one for the Governor.

  Because its primary reason for existence was government, Maycomb was spared thegrubbiness that distinguished most Alabama towns its size. In the beginning its buildingswere solid, its courthouse proud, its streets graciously wide. Maycomb’s proportion ofprofessional people ran high: one went there to have his teeth pulled, his wagon fixed,his heart listened to, his money deposited, his soul saved, his mules vetted. But theultimate wisdom of Sinkfield’s maneuver is open to question. He placed the young towntoo far away from the only kind of public transportation in those days—river-boat—and ittook a man from the north end of the county two days to travel to Maycomb for store-bought goods. As a result the town remained the same size for a hundred years, anisland in a patchwork sea of cottonfields and timberland.

  Although Maycomb was ignored during the War Between the States, Reconstructionrule and economic ruin forced the town to grow. It grew inward. New people so rarelysettled there, the same families married the same families until the members of thecommunity looked faintly alike. Occasionally someone would return from Montgomery orMobile with an outsider, but the result caused only a ripple in the quiet stream of familyresemblance. Things were more or less the same during my early years.

  There was indeed a caste system in Maycomb, but to my mind it worked this way: theolder citizens, the present generation of people who had lived side by side for years andyears, were utterly predictable to one another: they took for granted attitudes, charactershadings, even gestures, as having been repeated in each generation and refined bytime. Thus the dicta No Crawford Minds His Own Business, Every Third Merriweather IsMorbid, The Truth Is Not in the Delafields, All the Bufords Walk Like That, were simplyguides to daily living: never take a check from a Delafield without a discreet call to thebank; Miss Maudie Atkinson’s shoulder stoops because she was a Buford; if Mrs. GraceMerriweather sips gin out of Lydia E. Pinkham bottles it’s nothing unusual—her motherdid the same.

  Aunt Alexandra fitted into the world of Maycomb like a hand into a glove, but neverinto the world of Jem and me. I so often wondered how she could be Atticus’s and UncleJack’s sister that I revived half-remembered tales of changelings and mandrake rootsthat Jem had spun long ago.

  These were abstract speculations for the first month of her stay, as she had little tosay to Jem or me, and we saw her only at mealtimes and at night before we went tobed. It was summer and we were outdoors. Of course some afternoons when I wouldrun inside for a drink of water, I would find the livingroom overrun with Maycomb ladies,sipping, whispering, fanning, and I would be called: “Jean Louise, come speak to theseladies.”

  When I appeared in the doorway, Aunty would look as if she regretted her request; Iwas usually mud-splashed or covered with sand.

  “Speak to your Cousin Lily,” she said one afternoon, when she had trapped me in thehall.

  “Who?” I said.

  “Your Cousin Lily Brooke,” said Aunt Alexandra.

  “She our cousin? I didn’t know that.”

  Aunt Alexandra managed to smile in a way that conveyed a gentle apology to CousinLily and firm disapproval to me. When Cousin Lily Brooke left I knew I was in for it.

  It was a sad thing that my father had neglected to tell me about the Finch Family, or toinstall any pride into his children. She summoned Jem, who sat warily on the sofabeside me. She left the room and returned with a purple-covered book on whichMeditations of Joshua S. St. Clair was stamped in gold.

  “Your cousin wrote this,” said Aunt Alexandra. “He was a beautiful character.”

  Jem examined the small volume. “Is this the Cousin Joshua who was locked up for solong?”

  Aunt Alexandra said, “How did you know that?”

  “Why, Atticus said he went round the bend at the University. Said he tried to shoot thepresident. Said Cousin Joshua said he wasn’t anything but a sewer-inspector and triedto shoot him with an old flintlock pistol, only it just blew up in his hand. Atticus said itcost the family five hundred dollars to get him out of that one—”

  Aunt Alexandra was standing stiff as a stork. “That’s all,” she said. “We’ll see aboutthis.”

  Before bedtime I was in Jem’s room trying to borrow a book, when Atticus knockedand entered. He sat on the side of Jem’s bed, looked at us soberly, then he grinned.

  “Er—h’rm,” he said. He was beginning to preface some things he said with a throatynoise, and I thought he must at last be getting old, but he looked the same. ”I don’texactly know how to say this,“ he began.

  “Well, just say it,” said Jem. “Have we done something?”

  Our father was actually fidgeting. “No, I just want to explain to you that—your AuntAlexandra asked me… son, you know you’re a Finch, don’t you?”

  “That’s what I’ve been told.” Jem looked out of the corners of his eyes. His voice roseuncontrollably, “Atticus, what’s the matter?”

  Atticus crossed his knees and folded his arms. “I’m trying to tell you the facts of life.”

  Jem’s disgust deepened. “I know all that stuff,” he said.

  Atticus suddenly grew serious. In his lawyer’s voice, without a shade of inflection, hesaid: “Your aunt has asked me to try and impress upon you and Jean Louise that youare not from run-of-the-mill people, that you are the product of several generations’

  gentle breeding—” Atticus paused, watching me locate an elusive redbug on my leg.

  “Gentle breeding,” he continued, when I had found and scratched it, “and that youshould try to live up to your name—” Atticus persevered in spite of us: “She asked me totell you you must try to behave like the little lady and gentleman that you are. She wantsto talk to you about the family and what it’s meant to Maycomb County through theyears, so you’ll have some idea of who you are, so you might be moved to behaveaccordingly,” he concluded at a gallop.

  Stunned, Jem and I looked at each other, then at Atticus, whose collar seemed toworry him. We did not speak to him.

  Presently I picked up a comb from Jem’s dresser and ran its teeth along the edge.

  “Stop that noise,” Atticus said.

  His curtness stung me. The comb was midway in its journey, and I banged it down.

  For no reason I felt myself beginning to cry, but I could not stop. This was not my father.

  My father never thought these thoughts. My father never spoke so. Aunt Alexandra hadput him up to this, somehow. Through my tears I saw Jem standing in a similar pool ofisolation, his head cocked to one side.

  There was nowhere to go, but I turned to go and met Atticus’s vest front. I buried myhead in it and listened to the small internal noises that went on behind the light bluecloth: his watch ticking, the faint crackle of his starched shirt, the soft sound of hisbreathing.

  “Your stomach’s growling,” I said.

  “I know it,” he said.

  “You better take some soda.”

  “I will,” he said.

  “Atticus, is all this behavin‘ an’ stuff gonna make things different? I mean are you—?”

  I felt his hand on the back of my head. “Don’t you worry about anything,” he said. “It’snot time to worry.” When I heard that, I knew he had come back to us. The blood in mylegs began to flow again, and I raised my head. “You really want us to do all that? I can’tremember everything Finches are supposed to do…”

  “I don’t want you to remember it. Forget it.”

  He went to the door and out of the room, shutting the door behind him. He nearlyslammed it, but caught himself at the last minute and closed it softly. As Jem and Istared, the door opened again and Atticus peered around. His eyebrows were raised,his glasses had slipped. “Get more like Cousin Joshua every day, don’t I? Do you thinkI’ll end up costing the family five hundred dollars?”

  I know now what he was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman todo that kind of work.

“把我的手提箱放到前头卧室里,卡尔珀尼亚。”这是亚历山德拉姑妈的第一句话。“琼?路易斯,别再搔脑袋了。”这是她的第二句话。
卡尔珀尼亚提起那个沉重的箱子,开了门。“我来提。”杰姆说着,接过箱子。箱子在卧室的地板上撞得咚的一声,这声音是低沉的,但在找耳里持续了好一阵子。
“您是来看望我们的吧,姑妈?”我问她。亚历山德拉姑妈很少从庄园出来探亲访友,但一旦出门,总是十分气派。她有一辆闪闪发亮的,方形的、绿色的布依克牌汽车和一个黑人司机,汽车和司机都不正常地整洁。这回,汽车和司机都没在。
“你们的爸爸没说过吗?”
杰姆和我摇摇头。
“也许他忘了。他还没回来?”
“没有,他常常要下午才回来。”杰姆说。
“听着,他和我都认为我该来跟你们一起住上一阵子,是时候了。”
在梅科姆,“一阵子”意味着三两天劲三十年不等的时间。杰姆和我不由互相看了一眼。
“杰姆快成人了,你也一样。。她对我说,“我们决定,让你们也受点女人的影响。琼?路易斯,过不了几年你就会对穿戴和男孩子注意起来的……”
对这话我能有好几种回答:卡尔也是个女的;还要好几年我才会对男孩子注意起来;我永远也不会注意穿戴……但是我什么也没说。
“吉米姑父呢?”杰姆问,“他也来吗?”
“啊,不,他留在庄园里,那儿有事要他料理。”
我刚说出“您不想他吗?”就意识到这话问得不得体。吉米姑父在不在都无所谓,反正他什么话也不说。亚历山德拉姑妈没有理会我的问题。
我想不出什么别的事好说,实际上我根本就没话可说。于是我坐了下来,同想着从前那些毫无意义的对话;你好吗,琼?路易斯?好!谢谢姑妈。您也好吗?很好,谢谢你}你这向于些什么?没千什么。你不干点什么?不。你当然有不少小朋友?是的。那么你们都干些什么呢?什么也投干。
错不了,姑妈一定认为我笨极了,因为有一回我听到她对阿迪克斯说我缺乏生气。
所有这一切是有其原因的,可是我眼下一点也不想从她那儿打听什么。今天是星期日,每逢星期日,亚历山德拉姑妈就很容易发火。我猜原因就是她那件星期日穿的紧身胸衣。她不很胖,但很壮实。她却偏挑裹得很紧的衣服。胸脯鼓出达到令人晕眩的高度,腰围绷紧,屁股向两边展开,把自己着意安排得仿佛在说:亚历山德拉姑妈从前也曾经有过细腰溜肩的好身段。不管从哪个角度看,她都使人害怕。
平时亲戚们凑到一块儿,阴郁的气氛也随之而来。下午剩下的时间就是在这种气氛中打发过去的,直到传来一辆汽车从车道上拐进来的声音,这种阴郁才消失。原来是阿迪克斯从蒙哥马利回来了。这时,杰姆早已把自己的庄重丢到了脑后,和我一起跑着去接他。杰姆抓过他的公文包和袋子,我跳进他白勺怀里,让他轻轻地随便吻一吻,接着便问:“给我买书了吗?知道姑妈来了吗?”
对这两个问题,他的回答都是肯定的。“你喜欢她来跟我们住在一起吗?”
我说很喜欢,可这是撒谎。在有些情况下,一个人不得不撒点谎。而且在不得已的情况下,即使老是撒谎也不算什么。
“我们觉得是时候了,你们这些孩子需要……该这么讲,斯备特,”阿迪克斯说,“你姑妈来是帮我的忙,也是帮你们的忙。我不能成天和你们一起在这儿,而且今年夏天会使人受不了。”
“是的,爸爸。”我这样说了一声,他的话我一句也不懂。不过我想,亚历山德拉姑妈到这儿来,与其说是阿迪克斯的主意,还不如说是她自己的主意。她总爱对人宣称“怎样才对家里最有好处”。我估计,她来这儿跟我们一起住,是属于这种范畴的。
亚历山德拉姑妈在梅科姆很受欢迎。莫迪?阿特金森小姐给她烤了个。莱思”饼,里头放了那么多酒,吃得我都要醉了。斯蒂芬尼?克劳福德小姐来看了她好几次,呆得很久,不停地摇着头说:“啊,啊,啊。”隔壁的雷切尔小姐有好几个下午把她请过去喝咖啡。而内森?拉德利先生甚至特意走到前院来说,见到她很高兴。
哑历山德拉姑妈住了下来,生活恢复了正常。她就象一直和我们住在一起似的。而她给传道会举行的茶会更使她作为女主人的名声远扬(在传道会作攻击吃教会饭的教徒的冗长报告时,她不让卡尔珀尼亚准备点心来招待会里的成员)。她还参加了梅科姆的誊写俱乐部,并当上了秘书。象她这样无论什么集会和活动都参加的人,县里很难再找到第二个了!她从河船上和寄宿学校里学来一些举止,不管什么道德问题,她都予以支持。她是个天生喜欢谈论别人的人,是个不可救药的爱讲闲话的人。从前她念书的时候,课本里还找不到“缺乏自信心”这个词,因此她头脑里根本没有这一概念。她从不厌烦,只要有一点点机会她就神气十足地行使她的权力,帮人出主意、想办法,又是提醒这个,又是告诫那个。
她从不放过任何机会来挑别的宗族的毛病,给自己的宗族添光彩。这种习惯使杰姆感到好笑而不是讨厌:“姑妈最好说话小心点,梅科姆的人她大半都看不顺眼,都要碰一碰,可那些都是咱家的亲戚。”
亚历山德拉姑妈在强调小萨姆?梅里韦瑟自杀的教训时指出,这是她家族里一种病态的气质引起的。如果j个只有十六岁的小姑娘在合唱队里格格发笑,姑妈就会说,“这正好商你表明彭菲尔德家的所有女性都轻佻。”梅科姆的每个人似乎都有一种什么气质:酗洒的气质啦,赌博的气质啦,吝啬的气质啦,滑稽的气质啦。
有一次,姑妈满有把握地向我们指出,斯蒂芬尼?克劳福德小姐爱管别人闲事的毛病是遗传的,这时阿迪克斯说:“妹妹,你仔细想想,我们家几乎到我们这一辈才开始不跟表姐妹结婚,你是不是要说芬奇家族有乱伦的气质呢?”
姑妈说不是的,可这就是为什么我们手和脚长得都很小的原因。
我无法理解她对遗传的偏见。我自己不知从哪儿得到了这样的印象:杰出的人都是些凭自己的头脑尽自己的能力把事办得很好的人。但亚历山德拉姑妈却隐隐约约地同意这样一种观点:一个家族在同一个地方住得越久,门第越是高贵。
“这么说,尤厄尔家里的人就变成门第高贵的人了。”杰姆说。这个由伯利斯和他的兄弟们组成曲宗族一直住在梅科姆垃圾场后面的同一块地皮上,靠县里的救济金繁盛起来,已经有三代之久了。
不过,亚历山德拉姑妈的理论还是有点事实根据的。梅科姆是个古老的镇子,在芬奇庄园以东二十英里的地方。就这样一个建立很早的镇子说,离河边太远了。要不是因为那个叫辛格菲尔德的机灵人,梅科姆是会靠河边近一点的。很久很久以前,这人在两条小道的交叉处开了个客店,是当时这地方唯一的小旅馆。这人不爱国,不管是印第安人还是殖民者,他都一样接待,一样做军火生意。双方谁也不管他是属于亚拉巴马州还是属于克里克部落,只要买卖做成了就行,生意兴旺着呢。州长威廉?怀亚特-比布为了促进这个新建县的经济稳定,派出一支勘测队,去确定县的确切中心,并在那儿建立政府所在地。
这些勘测队员住在辛格菲尔德的客店里,他们告诉店主,他的客店在梅科姆县的地界内,并指给他看了初步选定的县政府的地址。要不是辛格菲尔德那时采取了大胆行动来保存自己的店产,梅科姆镇就会坐落在温斯顿沼泽的中心了,那是个设有任何好处的地方。结果没有那样,梅科姆从自己的中心——辛格菲尔德的小旅店——向外扩展开来。因为辛格菲尔德在一天晚上把他这两个客人灌迷糊了,让他们掏出了地图和测量图。他这儿删掉一点,那儿补上一块,按他自己的需要把县的中心位置挪动了。第二天,他打发这两个人上了路,鞍袋里既装着地图和图表,也装着五夸脱酒,每人两夸脱,另外一夸脱是给州长的。
梅科姆最初就是为县政府建立的,因此,不象亚拉巴马州里其他一些和它一样大的镇子那样肮脏。它一开始就修得房屋结实,法院堂皇,街道宽阔而雅致。梅科姆镇上有专业技术的人多起来了。拔牙的、修马车的、看病的、存钱酌.做礼拜的、给骡子诊病的,都得上梅科姆来。可惜的是,辛格菲尔德的谋略尽管聪明已极,仍然是有问题的。船是当时唯一的公共交通工具,而他让这个新镇子离河太远了。住在县北端的人们到梅科姆镇的商店买东西,要花上两夭工夫。结果一百年过去了,这个镇还只这么大,孤岛一样处在左一块右一块的棉花地和树林子的包围之中。
尽管内战时这个镇没有人注意,但是经济恢复法和经济衰退促使它发展,不过是向内部发展。极少有外来人在这儿安家。老是几个旧家族互相联姻,以至这块地方的人看起来都多少有点相象了。偶尔有人从蒙哥马利或莫比尔带进一个外乡人,但只在这平静的家族同化流程中引起一点小小的浪花。在我的童年时代里,这里的情况几乎没有什么变化。
梅科姆镇确实存在着一种种姓等级制度。在我看来,它是这么一回事:多年住在一起的老一辈的和现在这辈人,谁都可以对谁断言:各种态度,各种性格差异,连各种姿势都被人们认为理所当然地一代一代传下去,而且越来越纯粹。因而下边这些名言简直成了日常生活的指导;克劳福德家族专爱管别人酌事;梅里韦瑟家族里三个人中有一个是病态的;德拉菲尔德家族不讲真话,布福德家里的人走路都那样,一定得记住先给银行通个电话才能从一个德拉菲尔德家的人手上接过一张银行支票,莫迪?阿特金森小姐老是佝偻着肩,是由于她的布福蓥血统,如果格雷斯?梅里韦瑟太太从莉迪亚?平克姆的瓶子里吸杜松子酒,这算不上一回事,因为她妈就是这样的。
亚历山德拉姑妈适应梅科姆的生活就象手指适应手套一样,可是跟我和杰姆的生活格格不入。我常常感到奇怪,她怎么会是阿迪克斯和杰克叔叔的姊妹,因而不由得想到了那些只记住了一半的故事。那是杰姆很早以前编的,里面说到了被掉包的小孩和用于麻醉的曼陀罗草根等等。
这些只是她住下来头一个月里我们主观的想法,她跟杰姆或我没有多少话说,我们也只在吃饭时和上床前见到她。那正是夏天,我们总在外面,当然,有时在下午我跑进屋喝点水,看到客厅里满是梅科姆的太太小姐们,一边喝着,一边叽叽咕咕说着,一边摇扇子。我常常被她喊住:“琼?路易斯,过来和这些太太小姐们说话。”
我一旦在门口出现,姑妈却又常常好象后悔不该叫我进来。我总是身上溅上了泥或一身的砂子。
“去和你们的莉莉表姐说话。”一天下午她把我拦在过厅里说。
“谁?”
“你的表姐,莉莉?布鲁克。”
“她是我们的表姐?我可不知道。。
亚历山德托姑妈做了一个难看的笑脸,这对莉莉表姐是表示歉意,对我却是一种非难。莉莉表姐走了以后,我知道有瞧的了。
爸爸没有给我们说过芬奇家族的事,也没有给他的小孩灌输自豪感,这实在是糟糕的事。姑妈叫来了杰姆,杰姆在我身边的沙发上小心地坐下。姑妈离开房间,又带着一本紫色封面的书进来了,上面套金印着几个凹版字:《乔舒亚?斯?圣克莱尔沉思录》。
“你们的表哥写的,他是个了不起的人物。”
杰姆细看了看那本小书。“是那个被关了很长时间的乔舒亚表哥吗?”
亚历山德拉姑妈说:“你怎么知道那件事?”
“怎么,阿迪克斯说的。他躲在大学校园拐角的地方。说他想开枪打死校长。乔舒亚表哥说那校长什么也不是,只是个管下水道的。他想甩一枝旧式燧发手枪打死他,可枪在他手上炸开了。阿迪克斯说他家花了五百块钱才把他们的事了结……”
亚历山德拉姑妈象鹳鸟一样僵直地站着。。够了,”她说,“我们会把这事弄清楚的。”
快上床的时候,我在杰姆的屋里,想借一本书,这时阿迪克斯敲门进来了。他在杰姆的床沿上坐下,先板着脸看着我们,然后又咧嘴笑了。
“呃——晤。”这一段时间,他说话前总要发出点沙哑的声音。我想他一定是老起来了.但看上去还是以前那样。“我不清楚到底该怎么说。”他说了起来。
“说就是了。”杰姆开口了,“是不是我们于了什么不该干的事?”
看上去,爸爸的确有点坐立不安。“不,我只是想解释一下——你们的亚历山德拉姑妈要求我……孩子,你知道你是芬奇家的人,对不对?”
“人们是这样告诉我的。”杰姆斜着眼,然后不由自主地提高了嗓门,。阿迪克斯,到底怎么啦?”
阿迪克斯跷起二郎腿,操起两只胳膊。“我想把一些生活里的事告诉你。”
杰姆更不耐烦了。“我知道,就是那些玩意儿。”
阿迪克斯一下子严厉起来,用他在法庭上的口吻直通通地说;“你姑妈叫我要你和琼?路易斯记住,你们不是出自普通人家,你们是儿代有教养的人的后裔……”阿迪克斯顿了顿,看善我在腿上追踪一只躲躲闪闪的红甲虫。
“是有教养的,”等我找到那甲虫,抓了出来时,他接着往下说,“并且你们该对得起你们的姓……”他没管我们听了没有,又说下去,“她叫我告诉你们,你们的行为应跟你们的身分相称,你们的身分是有教养的小孩。她想跟你们谈谈我们家族和这些年来这个家族在梅科姆有什么样曲地位,好让你们知道自己是什么样的人,懂得要怎样才会不失身分。”他一口气把话说完了。
我们都懵了,对视了一眼,又都朝阿迪克斯看去,他的衣领好象长了刺似的。我们谁也不跟他说话。
过了一阵,我从杰姆的洗脸台上拿起一把梳子,用梳齿在台子边上来回划着。
“别弄出那样的声音。”阿迪克斯说。
他的粗鲁把我刺痛了。梳子正划到半路,我叭地把它放下来。我觉得自己想哭,投一点理由,但又忍不住。这不是我爸爸,我的爸爸从来没有这些想法,我的爸爸从来不这样说话。是亚历山德拉姑妈逼他这样做酌。我透过眼泪看到杰姆也孤单单地站着,脑袋向一边耷拉着。
尽管没哪儿可走,我还是一转身就走,一头碰上了阿迪克斯的胸脯。我把头埋了进去,听着那里面从浅蓝背心里传出的细细的声音:怀表的嘀嗒声,上过浆的衬衣的轻微的塞率声,以及柔和的呼吸声。.
“你的肚子里头直响。”我说。
“知道。”
“你最好吃点小苏打。。
“会吃的。”
“阿迪克斯,你说了那些话,叫我们那样傲,就会使情况发生变化吗?我是说你会不会……?”
我感到他把手放到了我后脑上。“什么事也别担心,还不是担心的时候。”
昕到这话,我明白他又回到了我们一边。我腿上的血液又开始流动了,头也抬起来了。“你真想要我们都那样做?芬奇家的人该怎样,我无法全记下来……。
“我不想叫你们去记,忘了吧。”
他向门口走去,出了屋子,把门关上。他几乎在使劲甩门,但最后还是控制住了,把门轻轻地关上。杰姆和我正在发愣,门又开了,阿迪克斯向四周凝视。他眉毛上扬,眼镜早滑了下来。“我越来越象乔舒亚表哥了,对吗?你们是不是在想我会叫这个家也花上五百块钱才完事呢?。
今天我才明白过来,他那时想干什么,但是阿迪克斯毕竟只是个男人,而他想千的那种事只有女人才干得出来。



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