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Chapter 13
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      “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 thump1. 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 chauffeur2, 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 decided3 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 sluggish5.

  There was a story behind all this, but I had no desire to extract it from her then. Todaywas Sunday, and Aunt Alexandra was positively6 irritable7 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 bosom8 to giddy heights, pinched in her waist, flared9 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 descends10 whenrelatives appear, but was dispelled11 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 briefcase12 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 Missionary14 Society refreshments15 added to herreputation as a hostess (she did not permit Calpurnia to make the delicacies16 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 incurable17 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 tribal18 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 kin4 tous.”

  Aunt Alexandra, in underlining the moral of young Sam Merriweather’s suicide, said itwas caused by a morbid19 streak20 in the family. Let a sixteen-year-old girl giggle21 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 Gambling22 Streak,a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak.

  Once, when Aunty assured us that Miss Stephanie Crawford’s tendency to mind otherpeople’s business was hereditary23, Atticus said, “Sister, when you stop to think about it,our generation’s practically the first in the Finch24 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, obliquely25 expressed, that the longer afamily had been squatting26 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 tavern27 in the territory. Sinkfield, no patriot28, served and suppliedammunition to Indians and settlers alike, neither knowing or caring whether he was apart of the Alabama Territory or the Creek29 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 territorial30 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 devoid31 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 distinguished32 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 wagon33 fixed,his heart listened to, his money deposited, his soul saved, his mules34 vetted35. But theultimate wisdom of Sinkfield’s maneuver36 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 patchwork37 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 ripple38 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 utterly39 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 discreet40 call to thebank; Miss Maudie Atkinson’s shoulder stoops because she was a Buford; if Mrs. GraceMerriweather sips41 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 spun42 long ago.

  These were abstract speculations43 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 doorway44, 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 disapproval45 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 warily46 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 standing13 stiff as a stork47. “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 elusive48 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 persevered49 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 gallop50.

  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 curtness51 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 spoke52 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 starched53 shirt, the soft sound of hisbreathing.

  “Your stomach’s growling,” I said.

  “I know it,” he said.

  “You better take some soda54.”

  “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 eyebrows55 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。


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 thump sq2yM     
v.重击,砰然地响;n.重击,重击声
参考例句:
  • The thief hit him a thump on the head.贼在他的头上重击一下。
  • The excitement made her heart thump.她兴奋得心怦怦地跳。
2 chauffeur HrGzL     
n.(受雇于私人或公司的)司机;v.为…开车
参考例句:
  • The chauffeur handed the old lady from the car.这个司机搀扶这个老太太下汽车。
  • She went out herself and spoke to the chauffeur.她亲自走出去跟汽车司机说话。
3 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
4 kin 22Zxv     
n.家族,亲属,血缘关系;adj.亲属关系的,同类的
参考例句:
  • He comes of good kin.他出身好。
  • She has gone to live with her husband's kin.她住到丈夫的亲戚家里去了。
5 sluggish VEgzS     
adj.懒惰的,迟钝的,无精打采的
参考例句:
  • This humid heat makes you feel rather sluggish.这种湿热的天气使人感到懒洋洋的。
  • Circulation is much more sluggish in the feet than in the hands.脚部的循环比手部的循环缓慢得多。
6 positively vPTxw     
adv.明确地,断然,坚决地;实在,确实
参考例句:
  • She was positively glowing with happiness.她满脸幸福。
  • The weather was positively poisonous.这天气着实讨厌。
7 irritable LRuzn     
adj.急躁的;过敏的;易怒的
参考例句:
  • He gets irritable when he's got toothache.他牙一疼就很容易发脾气。
  • Our teacher is an irritable old lady.She gets angry easily.我们的老师是位脾气急躁的老太太。她很容易生气。
8 bosom Lt9zW     
n.胸,胸部;胸怀;内心;adj.亲密的
参考例句:
  • She drew a little book from her bosom.她从怀里取出一本小册子。
  • A dark jealousy stirred in his bosom.他内心生出一阵恶毒的嫉妒。
9 Flared Flared     
adj. 端部张开的, 爆发的, 加宽的, 漏斗式的 动词flare的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • The match flared and went out. 火柴闪亮了一下就熄了。
  • The fire flared up when we thought it was out. 我们以为火已经熄灭,但它突然又燃烧起来。
10 descends e9fd61c3161a390a0db3b45b3a992bee     
v.下来( descend的第三人称单数 );下去;下降;下斜
参考例句:
  • This festival descends from a religious rite. 这个节日起源于宗教仪式。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The path descends steeply to the village. 小路陡直而下直到村子。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 dispelled 7e96c70e1d822dbda8e7a89ae71a8e9a     
v.驱散,赶跑( dispel的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • His speech dispelled any fears about his health. 他的发言消除了人们对他身体健康的担心。
  • The sun soon dispelled the thick fog. 太阳很快驱散了浓雾。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 briefcase lxdz6A     
n.手提箱,公事皮包
参考例句:
  • He packed a briefcase with what might be required.他把所有可能需要的东西都装进公文包。
  • He requested the old man to look after the briefcase.他请求那位老人照看这个公事包。
13 standing 2hCzgo     
n.持续,地位;adj.永久的,不动的,直立的,不流动的
参考例句:
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
14 missionary ID8xX     
adj.教会的,传教(士)的;n.传教士
参考例句:
  • She taught in a missionary school for a couple of years.她在一所教会学校教了两年书。
  • I hope every member understands the value of missionary work. 我希望教友都了解传教工作的价值。
15 refreshments KkqzPc     
n.点心,便餐;(会议后的)简单茶点招 待
参考例句:
  • We have to make a small charge for refreshments. 我们得收取少量茶点费。
  • Light refreshments will be served during the break. 中间休息时有点心供应。
16 delicacies 0a6e87ce402f44558508deee2deb0287     
n.棘手( delicacy的名词复数 );精致;精美的食物;周到
参考例句:
  • Its flesh has exceptional delicacies. 它的肉异常鲜美。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • After these delicacies, the trappers were ready for their feast. 在享用了这些美食之后,狩猎者开始其大餐。 来自英汉非文学 - 民俗
17 incurable incurable     
adj.不能医治的,不能矫正的,无救的;n.不治的病人,无救的人
参考例句:
  • All three babies were born with an incurable heart condition.三个婴儿都有不可治瘉的先天性心脏病。
  • He has an incurable and widespread nepotism.他们有不可救药的,到处蔓延的裙带主义。
18 tribal ifwzzw     
adj.部族的,种族的
参考例句:
  • He became skilled in several tribal lingoes.他精通几种部族的语言。
  • The country was torn apart by fierce tribal hostilities.那个国家被部落间的激烈冲突弄得四分五裂。
19 morbid u6qz3     
adj.病的;致病的;病态的;可怕的
参考例句:
  • Some people have a morbid fascination with crime.一些人对犯罪有一种病态的痴迷。
  • It's morbid to dwell on cemeteries and such like.不厌其烦地谈论墓地以及诸如此类的事是一种病态。
20 streak UGgzL     
n.条理,斑纹,倾向,少许,痕迹;v.加条纹,变成条纹,奔驰,快速移动
参考例句:
  • The Indians used to streak their faces with paint.印第安人过去常用颜料在脸上涂条纹。
  • Why did you streak the tree?你为什么在树上刻条纹?
21 giggle 4eNzz     
n.痴笑,咯咯地笑;v.咯咯地笑着说
参考例句:
  • Both girls began to giggle.两个女孩都咯咯地笑了起来。
  • All that giggle and whisper is too much for me.我受不了那些咯咯的笑声和交头接耳的样子。
22 gambling ch4xH     
n.赌博;投机
参考例句:
  • They have won a lot of money through gambling.他们赌博赢了很多钱。
  • The men have been gambling away all night.那些人赌了整整一夜。
23 hereditary fQJzF     
adj.遗传的,遗传性的,可继承的,世袭的
参考例句:
  • The Queen of England is a hereditary ruler.英国女王是世袭的统治者。
  • In men,hair loss is hereditary.男性脱发属于遗传。
24 finch TkRxS     
n.雀科鸣禽(如燕雀,金丝雀等)
参考例句:
  • This behaviour is commonly observed among several species of finch.这种行为常常可以在几种雀科鸣禽中看到。
  • In Australia,it is predominantly called the Gouldian Finch.在澳大利亚,它主要还是被称之为胡锦雀。
25 obliquely ad073d5d92dfca025ebd4a198e291bdc     
adv.斜; 倾斜; 间接; 不光明正大
参考例句:
  • From the gateway two paths led obliquely across the court. 从门口那儿,有两条小路斜越过院子。 来自辞典例句
  • He was receding obliquely with a curious hurrying gait. 他歪着身子,古怪而急促地迈着步子,往后退去。 来自辞典例句
26 squatting 3b8211561352d6f8fafb6c7eeabd0288     
v.像动物一样蹲下( squat的现在分词 );非法擅自占用(土地或房屋);为获得其所有权;而占用某片公共用地。
参考例句:
  • They ended up squatting in the empty houses on Oxford Road. 他们落得在牛津路偷住空房的境地。
  • They've been squatting in an apartment for the past two years. 他们过去两年来一直擅自占用一套公寓。 来自《简明英汉词典》
27 tavern wGpyl     
n.小旅馆,客栈;小酒店
参考例句:
  • There is a tavern at the corner of the street.街道的拐角处有一家酒馆。
  • Philip always went to the tavern,with a sense of pleasure.菲利浦总是心情愉快地来到这家酒菜馆。
28 patriot a3kzu     
n.爱国者,爱国主义者
参考例句:
  • He avowed himself a patriot.他自称自己是爱国者。
  • He is a patriot who has won the admiration of the French already.他是一个已经赢得法国人敬仰的爱国者。
29 creek 3orzL     
n.小溪,小河,小湾
参考例句:
  • He sprang through the creek.他跳过小河。
  • People sunbathe in the nude on the rocks above the creek.人们在露出小溪的岩石上裸体晒日光浴。
30 territorial LImz4     
adj.领土的,领地的
参考例句:
  • The country is fighting to preserve its territorial integrity.该国在为保持领土的完整而进行斗争。
  • They were not allowed to fish in our territorial waters.不允许他们在我国领海捕鱼。
31 devoid dZzzx     
adj.全无的,缺乏的
参考例句:
  • He is completely devoid of humour.他十分缺乏幽默。
  • The house is totally devoid of furniture.这所房子里什么家具都没有。
32 distinguished wu9z3v     
adj.卓越的,杰出的,著名的
参考例句:
  • Elephants are distinguished from other animals by their long noses.大象以其长长的鼻子显示出与其他动物的不同。
  • A banquet was given in honor of the distinguished guests.宴会是为了向贵宾们致敬而举行的。
33 wagon XhUwP     
n.四轮马车,手推车,面包车;无盖运货列车
参考例句:
  • We have to fork the hay into the wagon.我们得把干草用叉子挑进马车里去。
  • The muddy road bemired the wagon.马车陷入了泥泞的道路。
34 mules be18bf53ebe6a97854771cdc8bfe67e6     
骡( mule的名词复数 ); 拖鞋; 顽固的人; 越境运毒者
参考例句:
  • The cart was pulled by two mules. 两匹骡子拉这辆大车。
  • She wore tight trousers and high-heeled mules. 她穿紧身裤和拖鞋式高跟鞋。
35 vetted c6c2d39ddfb9a855b4c87b24b49b3d60     
v.审查(某人过去的记录、资格等)( vet的过去式和过去分词 );调查;检查;诊疗
参考例句:
  • The recruits were thoroughly vetted before they were allowed into the secret service. 情报机关招募的新成员要经过严格的审查。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • All staff are vetted for links with extremist groups before being employed. 所有职员录用前均须审查是否与极端分子团体有关。 来自辞典例句
36 maneuver Q7szu     
n.策略[pl.]演习;v.(巧妙)控制;用策略
参考例句:
  • All the fighters landed safely on the airport after the military maneuver.在军事演习后,所有战斗机都安全降落在机场上。
  • I did get her attention with this maneuver.我用这个策略确实引起了她的注意。
37 patchwork yLsx6     
n.混杂物;拼缝物
参考例句:
  • That proposal is nothing else other than a patchwork.那个建议只是一个大杂烩而已。
  • She patched new cloth to the old coat,so It'seemed mere patchwork. 她把新布初到那件旧上衣上,所以那件衣服看上去就象拼凑起来的东西。
38 ripple isLyh     
n.涟波,涟漪,波纹,粗钢梳;vt.使...起涟漪,使起波纹; vi.呈波浪状,起伏前进
参考例句:
  • The pebble made a ripple on the surface of the lake.石子在湖面上激起一个涟漪。
  • The small ripple split upon the beach.小小的涟漪卷来,碎在沙滩上。
39 utterly ZfpzM1     
adv.完全地,绝对地
参考例句:
  • Utterly devoted to the people,he gave his life in saving his patients.他忠于人民,把毕生精力用于挽救患者的生命。
  • I was utterly ravished by the way she smiled.她的微笑使我完全陶醉了。
40 discreet xZezn     
adj.(言行)谨慎的;慎重的;有判断力的
参考例句:
  • He is very discreet in giving his opinions.发表意见他十分慎重。
  • It wasn't discreet of you to ring me up at the office.你打电话到我办公室真是太鲁莽了。
41 sips 17376ee985672e924e683c143c5a5756     
n.小口喝,一小口的量( sip的名词复数 )v.小口喝,呷,抿( sip的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
  • You must administer them slowly, allowing the child to swallow between sips. 你应慢慢给药,使小儿在吸吮之间有充分的时间吞咽。 来自辞典例句
  • Emission standards applicable to preexisting stationary sources appear in state implementation plans (SIPs). 在《州实施计划》中出现了固定污染的排放标准。 来自英汉非文学 - 环境法 - 环境法
42 spun kvjwT     
v.纺,杜撰,急转身
参考例句:
  • His grandmother spun him a yarn at the fire.他奶奶在火炉边给他讲故事。
  • Her skilful fingers spun the wool out to a fine thread.她那灵巧的手指把羊毛纺成了细毛线。
43 speculations da17a00acfa088f5ac0adab7a30990eb     
n.投机买卖( speculation的名词复数 );思考;投机活动;推断
参考例句:
  • Your speculations were all quite close to the truth. 你的揣测都很接近于事实。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • This possibility gives rise to interesting speculations. 这种可能性引起了有趣的推测。 来自《用法词典》
44 doorway 2s0xK     
n.门口,(喻)入门;门路,途径
参考例句:
  • They huddled in the shop doorway to shelter from the rain.他们挤在商店门口躲雨。
  • Mary suddenly appeared in the doorway.玛丽突然出现在门口。
45 disapproval VuTx4     
n.反对,不赞成
参考例句:
  • The teacher made an outward show of disapproval.老师表面上表示不同意。
  • They shouted their disapproval.他们喊叫表示反对。
46 warily 5gvwz     
adv.留心地
参考例句:
  • He looked warily around him,pretending to look after Carrie.他小心地看了一下四周,假装是在照顾嘉莉。
  • They were heading warily to a point in the enemy line.他们正小心翼翼地向着敌人封锁线的某一处前进。
47 stork hGWzF     
n.鹳
参考例句:
  • A Fox invited a long-beaked Stork to have dinner with him.狐狸请长嘴鹳同他一起吃饭。
  • He is very glad that his wife's going to get a visit from the stork.他为她的妻子将获得参观鹳鸟的机会感到非常高兴。
48 elusive d8vyH     
adj.难以表达(捉摸)的;令人困惑的;逃避的
参考例句:
  • Try to catch the elusive charm of the original in translation.翻译时设法把握住原文中难以捉摸的风韵。
  • Interpol have searched all the corners of the earth for the elusive hijackers.国际刑警组织已在世界各地搜查在逃的飞机劫持者。
49 persevered b3246393c709e55e93de64dc63360d37     
v.坚忍,坚持( persevere的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • She persevered with her violin lessons. 她孜孜不倦地学习小提琴。
  • Hard as the conditions were, he persevered in his studies. 虽然条件艰苦,但他仍坚持学习。 来自辞典例句
50 gallop MQdzn     
v./n.(马或骑马等)飞奔;飞速发展
参考例句:
  • They are coming at a gallop towards us.他们正朝着我们飞跑过来。
  • The horse slowed to a walk after its long gallop.那匹马跑了一大阵后慢下来缓步而行。
51 curtness ec924fc27ebd572bd88a88049b53215d     
n.简短;草率;简略
参考例句:
  • He answered with typical curtness. 他像往常一样,回答时唐突无礼。 来自辞典例句
  • His cavelier curtness of manner was exasperating. 他粗鲁轻率的举止让人恼怒。 来自互联网
52 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
53 starched 1adcdf50723145c17c3fb6015bbe818c     
adj.浆硬的,硬挺的,拘泥刻板的v.把(衣服、床单等)浆一浆( starch的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • My clothes are not starched enough. 我的衣服浆得不够硬。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • The ruffles on his white shirt were starched and clean. 白衬衫的褶边浆过了,很干净。 来自辞典例句
54 soda cr3ye     
n.苏打水;汽水
参考例句:
  • She doesn't enjoy drinking chocolate soda.她不喜欢喝巧克力汽水。
  • I will freshen your drink with more soda and ice cubes.我给你的饮料重加一些苏打水和冰块。
55 eyebrows a0e6fb1330e9cfecfd1c7a4d00030ed5     
眉毛( eyebrow的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Eyebrows stop sweat from coming down into the eyes. 眉毛挡住汗水使其不能流进眼睛。
  • His eyebrows project noticeably. 他的眉毛特别突出。


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