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Chapter 19

      Thomas Robinson reached around, ran his fingers under his left arm and lifted it. Heguided his arm to the Bible and his rubber-like left hand sought contact with the blackbinding. As he raised his right hand, the useless one slipped off the Bible and hit theclerk’s table. He was trying again when Judge Taylor growled, “That’ll do, Tom.” Tomtook the oath and stepped into the witness chair. Atticus very quickly induced him to tellus:

  Tom was twenty-five years of age; he was married with three children; he had been introuble with the law before: he once received thirty days for disorderly conduct.

  “It must have been disorderly,” said Atticus. “What did it consist of?”

  “Got in a fight with another man, he tried to cut me.”

  “Did he succeed?”

  “Yes suh, a little, not enough to hurt. You see, I—” Tom moved his left shoulder.

  “Yes,” said Atticus. “You were both convicted?”

  “Yes suh, I had to serve ‘cause I couldn’t pay the fine. Other fellow paid his’n.”

  Dill leaned across me and asked Jem what Atticus was doing. Jem said Atticus wasshowing the jury that Tom had nothing to hide.

  “Were you acquainted with Mayella Violet Ewell?” asked Atticus.

  “Yes suh, I had to pass her place goin‘ to and from the field every day.”

  “Whose field?”

  “I picks for Mr. Link Deas.”

  “Were you picking cotton in November?”

  “No suh, I works in his yard fall an‘ wintertime. I works pretty steady for him all yearround, he’s got a lot of pecan trees’n things.”

  “You say you had to pass the Ewell place to get to and from work. Is there any otherway to go?”

  “No suh, none’s I know of.”

  “Tom, did she ever speak to you?”

  “Why, yes suh, I’d tip m’hat when I’d go by, and one day she asked me to come insidethe fence and bust up a chiffarobe for her.”

  “When did she ask you to chop up the—the chiffarobe?”

  “Mr. Finch, it was way last spring. I remember it because it was choppin‘ time and Ihad my hoe with me. I said I didn’t have nothin’ but this hoe, but she said she had ahatchet. She give me the hatchet and I broke up the chiffarobe. She said, ‘I reckon I’llhafta give you a nickel, won’t I?’ an‘ I said, ’No ma’am, there ain’t no charge.‘ Then Iwent home. Mr. Finch, that was way last spring, way over a year ago.”

  “Did you ever go on the place again?”

  “Yes suh.”

  “When?”

  “Well, I went lots of times.”

  Judge Taylor instinctively reached for his gavel, but let his hand fall. The murmurbelow us died without his help.

  “Under what circumstances?”

  “Please, suh?”

  “Why did you go inside the fence lots of times?”

  Tom Robinson’s forehead relaxed. “She’d call me in, suh. Seemed like every time Ipassed by yonder she’d have some little somethin‘ for me to do—choppin’ kindlin‘, totin’

  water for her. She watered them red flowers every day—”

  “Were you paid for your services?”

  “No suh, not after she offered me a nickel the first time. I was glad to do it, Mr. Ewelldidn’t seem to help her none, and neither did the chillun, and I knowed she didn’t haveno nickels to spare.”

  “Where were the other children?”

  “They was always around, all over the place. They’d watch me work, some of ‘em,some of ’em’d set in the window.”

  “Would Miss Mayella talk to you?”

  “Yes sir, she talked to me.”

  As Tom Robinson gave his testimony, it came to me that Mayella Ewell must havebeen the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo Radley, who hadnot been out of the house in twenty-five years. When Atticus asked had she any friends,she seemed not to know what he meant, then she thought he was making fun of her.

  She was as sad, I thought, as what Jem called a mixed child: white people wouldn’thave anything to do with her because she lived among pigs; Negroes wouldn’t haveanything to do with her because she was white. She couldn’t live like Mr. DolphusRaymond, who preferred the company of Negroes, because she didn’t own a riverbankand she wasn’t from a fine old family. Nobody said, “That’s just their way,” about theEwells. Maycomb gave them Christmas baskets, welfare money, and the back of itshand. Tom Robinson was probably the only person who was ever decent to her. But shesaid he took advantage of her, and when she stood up she looked at him as if he weredirt beneath her feet.

  “Did you ever,” Atticus interrupted my meditations, “at any time, go on the Ewellproperty—did you ever set foot on the Ewell property without an express invitation fromone of them?”

  “No suh, Mr. Finch, I never did. I wouldn’t do that, suh.”

  Atticus sometimes said that one way to tell whether a witness was lying or telling thetruth was to listen rather than watch: I applied his test—Tom denied it three times in onebreath, but quietly, with no hint of whining in his voice, and I found myself believing himin spite of his protesting too much. He seemed to be a respectable Negro, and arespectable Negro would never go up into somebody’s yard of his own volition.

  “Tom, what happened to you on the evening of November twenty-first of last year?”

  Below us, the spectators drew a collective breath and leaned forward. Behind us, theNegroes did the same.

  Tom was a black-velvet Negro, not shiny, but soft black velvet. The whites of his eyesshone in his face, and when he spoke we saw flashes of his teeth. If he had been whole,he would have been a fine specimen of a man.

  “Mr. Finch,” he said, “I was goin‘ home as usual that evenin’, an‘ when I passed theEwell place Miss Mayella were on the porch, like she said she were. It seemed realquiet like, an’ I didn’t quite know why. I was studyin‘ why, just passin’ by, when she saysfor me to come there and help her a minute. Well, I went inside the fence an‘ lookedaround for some kindlin’ to work on, but I didn’t see none, and she says, ‘Naw, I gotsomethin’ for you to do in the house. Th‘ old door’s off its hinges an’ fall’s comin‘ onpretty fast.’ I said you got a screwdriver, Miss Mayella? She said she sho‘ had. Well, Iwent up the steps an’ she motioned me to come inside, and I went in the front room an‘looked at the door. I said Miss Mayella, this door look all right. I pulled it back’n forth andthose hinges was all right. Then she shet the door in my face. Mr. Finch, I was wonderin’

  why it was so quiet like, an‘ it come to me that there weren’t a chile on the place, not aone of ’em, and I said Miss Mayella, where the chillun?”

  Tom’s black velvet skin had begun to shine, and he ran his hand over his face.

  “I say where the chillun?” he continued, “an‘ she says—she was laughin’, sort of—shesays they all gone to town to get ice creams. She says, ‘took me a slap year to saveseb’m nickels, but I done it. They all gone to town.’”

  Tom’s discomfort was not from the humidity. “What did you say then, Tom?” askedAtticus.

  “I said somethin‘ like, why Miss Mayella, that’s right smart o’you to treat ’em. An‘ shesaid, ’You think so?‘ I don’t think she understood what I was thinkin’—I meant it wassmart of her to save like that, an‘ nice of her to treat em.”

  “I understand you, Tom. Go on,” said Atticus.

  “Well, I said I best be goin‘, I couldn’t do nothin’ for her, an‘ she says oh yes I could,an’ I ask her what, and she says to just step on that chair yonder an‘ git that box downfrom on top of the chiffarobe.”

  “Not the same chiffarobe you busted up?” asked Atticus.

  The witness smiled. “Naw suh, another one. Most as tall as the room. So I done whatshe told me, an‘ I was just reachin’ when the next thing I knows she—she’d grabbed meround the legs, grabbed me round th‘ legs, Mr. Finch. She scared me so bad I hoppeddown an’ turned the chair over—that was the only thing, only furniture, ‘sturbed in thatroom, Mr. Finch, when I left it. I swear ’fore God.”

  “What happened after you turned the chair over?”

  Tom Robinson had come to a dead stop. He glanced at Atticus, then at the jury, thenat Mr. Underwood sitting across the room.

  “Tom, you’re sworn to tell the whole truth. Will you tell it?”

  Tom ran his hand nervously over his mouth.

  “What happened after that?”

  “Answer the question,” said Judge Taylor. One-third of his cigar had vanished.

  “Mr. Finch, I got down offa that chair an‘ turned around an’ she sorta jumped on me.”

  “Jumped on you? Violently?”

  “No suh, she—she hugged me. She hugged me round the waist.”

  This time Judge Taylor’s gavel came down with a bang, and as it did the overheadlights went on in the courtroom. Darkness had not come, but the afternoon sun had leftthe windows. Judge Taylor quickly restored order.

  “Then what did she do?”

  The witness swallowed hard. “She reached up an‘ kissed me ’side of th‘ face. Shesays she never kissed a grown man before an’ she might as well kiss a nigger. Shesays what her papa do to her don’t count. She says, ‘Kiss me back, nigger.’ I say MissMayella lemme outa here an‘ tried to run but she got her back to the door an’ I’da had topush her. I didn’t wanta harm her, Mr. Finch, an‘ I say lemme pass, but just when I say itMr. Ewell yonder hollered through th’ window.”

  “What did he say?”

  Tom Robinson swallowed again, and his eyes widened. “Somethin‘ not fittin’ to say—not fittin‘ for these folks’n chillun to hear—”

  “What did he say, Tom? You must tell the jury what he said.”

  Tom Robinson shut his eyes tight. “He says you goddamn whore, I’ll kill ya.”

  “Then what happened?”

  “Mr. Finch, I was runnin‘ so fast I didn’t know what happened.”

  “Tom, did you rape Mayella Ewell?”

  “I did not, suh.”

  “Did you harm her in any way?”

  “I did not, suh.”

  “Did you resist her advances?”

  “Mr. Finch, I tried. I tried to ‘thout bein’ ugly to her. I didn’t wanta be ugly, I didn’t wantapush her or nothin‘.”

  It occurred to me that in their own way, Tom Robinson’s manners were as good asAtticus’s. Until my father explained it to me later, I did not understand the subtlety ofTom’s predicament: he would not have dared strike a white woman under anycircumstances and expect to live long, so he took the first opportunity to run—a suresign of guilt.

  “Tom, go back once more to Mr. Ewell,” said Atticus. “Did he say anything to you?”

  “Not anything, suh. He mighta said somethin‘, but I weren’t there—”

  “That’ll do,” Atticus cut in sharply. “What you did hear, who was he talking to?”

  “Mr. Finch, he were talkin‘ and lookin’ at Miss Mayella.”

  “Then you ran?”

  “I sho‘ did, suh.”

  “Why did you run?”

  “I was scared, suh.”

  “Why were you scared?”

  “Mr. Finch, if you was a nigger like me, you’d be scared, too.”

  Atticus sat down. Mr. Gilmer was making his way to the witness stand, but before hegot there Mr. Link Deas rose from the audience and announced:

  “I just want the whole lot of you to know one thing right now. That boy’s worked for meeight years an‘ I ain’t had a speck o’trouble outa him. Not a speck.”

  “Shut your mouth, sir!” Judge Taylor was wide awake and roaring. He was also pink inthe face. His speech was miraculously unimpaired by his cigar. “Link Deas,” he yelled,“if you have anything you want to say you can say it under oath and at the proper time,but until then you get out of this room, you hear me? Get out of this room, sir, you hearme? I’ll be damned if I’ll listen to this case again!”

  Judge Taylor looked daggers at Atticus, as if daring him to speak, but Atticus hadducked his head and was laughing into his lap. I remembered something he had saidabout Judge Taylor’s ex cathedra remarks sometimes exceeding his duty, but that fewlawyers ever did anything about them. I looked at Jem, but Jem shook his head. “It ain’tlike one of the jurymen got up and started talking,” he said. “I think it’d be different then.

  Mr. Link was just disturbin‘ the peace or something.”

  Judge Taylor told the reporter to expunge anything he happened to have written downafter Mr. Finch if you were a nigger like me you’d be scared too, and told the jury todisregard the interruption. He looked suspiciously down the middle aisle and waited, Isuppose, for Mr. Link Deas to effect total departure. Then he said, “Go ahead, Mr.

  Gilmer.”

  “You were given thirty days once for disorderly conduct, Robinson?” asked Mr. Gilmer.

  “Yes suh.”

  “What’d the nigger look like when you got through with him?”

  “He beat me, Mr. Gilmer.”

  “Yes, but you were convicted, weren’t you?”

  Atticus raised his head. “It was a misdemeanor and it’s in the record, Judge.” I thoughthe sounded tired.

  “Witness’ll answer, though,” said Judge Taylor, just as wearily.

  “Yes suh, I got thirty days.”

  I knew that Mr. Gilmer would sincerely tell the jury that anyone who was convicted ofdisorderly conduct could easily have had it in his heart to take advantage of MayellaEwell, that was the only reason he cared. Reasons like that helped.

  “Robinson, you’re pretty good at busting up chiffarobes and kindling with one hand,aren’t you?”

  “Yes, suh, I reckon so.”

  “Strong enough to choke the breath out of a woman and sling her to the floor?”

  “I never done that, suh.”

  “But you are strong enough to?”

  “I reckon so, suh.”

  “Had your eye on her a long time, hadn’t you, boy?”

  “No suh, I never looked at her.”

  “Then you were mighty polite to do all that chopping and hauling for her, weren’t you,boy?”

  “I was just tryin‘ to help her out, suh.”

  “That was mighty generous of you, you had chores at home after your regular work,didn’t you?”

  “Yes suh.”

  “Why didn’t you do them instead of Miss Ewell’s?”

  “I done ‘em both, suh.”

  “You must have been pretty busy. Why?”

  “Why what, suh?”

  “Why were you so anxious to do that woman’s chores?”

  Tom Robinson hesitated, searching for an answer. “Looked like she didn’t havenobody to help her, like I says—”

  “With Mr. Ewell and seven children on the place, boy?”

  “Well, I says it looked like they never help her none—”

  “You did all this chopping and work from sheer goodness, boy?”

  “Tried to help her, I says.”

  Mr. Gilmer smiled grimly at the jury. “You’re a mighty good fellow, it seems—did allthis for not one penny?”

  “Yes, suh. I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more’n the rest of ‘em—”

  “You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for he?” Mr. Gilmer seemed ready to rise to theceiling.

  The witness realized his mistake and shifted uncomfortably in the chair. But thedamage was done. Below us, nobody liked Tom Robinson’s answer. Mr. Gilmer pauseda long time to let it sink in.

  “Now you went by the house as usual, last November twenty-first,” he said, “and sheasked you to come in and bust up a chiffarobe?”

  “No suh.”

  “Do you deny that you went by the house?”

  “No suh—she said she had somethin‘ for me to do inside the house—”

  “She says she asked you to bust up a chiffarobe, is that right?”

  “No suh, it ain’t.”

  “Then you say she’s lying, boy?”

  Atticus was on his feet, but Tom Robinson didn’t need him. “I don’t say she’s lyin‘, Mr.

  Gilmer, I say she’s mistaken in her mind.”

  To the next ten questions, as Mr. Gilmer reviewed Mayella’s version of events, thewitness’s steady answer was that she was mistaken in her mind.

  “Didn’t Mr. Ewell run you off the place, boy?”

  “No suh, I don’t think he did.”

  “Don’t think, what do you mean?”

  “I mean I didn’t stay long enough for him to run me off.”

  “You’re very candid about this, why did you run so fast?”

  “I says I was scared, suh.”

  “If you had a clear conscience, why were you scared?”

  “Like I says before, it weren’t safe for any nigger to be in a—fix like that.”

  “But you weren’t in a fix—you testified that you were resisting Miss Ewell. Were you soscared that she’d hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?”

  “No suh, I’s scared I’d be in court, just like I am now.”

  “Scared of arrest, scared you’d have to face up to what you did?”

  “No suh, scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.”

  “Are you being impudent to me, boy?”

  “No suh, I didn’t go to be.”

  This was as much as I heard of Mr. Gilmer’s cross-examination, because Jem mademe take Dill out. For some reason Dill had started crying and couldn’t stop; quietly atfirst, then his sobs were heard by several people in the balcony. Jem said if I didn’t gowith him he’d make me, and Reverend Sykes said I’d better go, so I went. Dill hadseemed to be all right that day, nothing wrong with him, but I guessed he hadn’t fullyrecovered from running away.

  “Ain’t you feeling good?” I asked, when we reached the bottom of the stairs.

  Dill tried to pull himself together as we ran down the south steps. Mr. Link Deas was alonely figure on the top step. “Anything happenin‘, Scout?” he asked as we went by. “Nosir,” I answered over my shoulder. “Dill here, he’s sick.”

  “Come on out under the trees,” I said. “Heat got you, I expect.” We chose the fattestlive oak and we sat under it.

  “It was just him I couldn’t stand,” Dill said.

  “Who, Tom?”

  “That old Mr. Gilmer doin‘ him thataway, talking so hateful to him—”

  “Dill, that’s his job. Why, if we didn’t have prosecutors—well, we couldn’t have defenseattorneys, I reckon.”

  Dill exhaled patiently. “I know all that, Scout. It was the way he said it made me sick,plain sick.”

  “He’s supposed to act that way, Dill, he was cross—”

  “He didn’t act that way when—”

  “Dill, those were his own witnesses.”

  “Well, Mr. Finch didn’t act that way to Mayella and old man Ewell when he cross-examined them. The way that man called him ‘boy’ all the time an‘ sneered at him, an’

  looked around at the jury every time he answered—”

  “Well, Dill, after all he’s just a Negro.”

  “I don’t care one speck. It ain’t right, somehow it ain’t right to do ‘em that way. Hasn’tanybody got any business talkin’ like that—it just makes me sick.”

  “That’s just Mr. Gilmer’s way, Dill, he does ‘em all that way. You’ve never seen him getgood’n down on one yet. Why, when—well, today Mr. Gilmer seemed to me like hewasn’t half trying. They do ’em all that way, most lawyers, I mean.”

  “Mr. Finch doesn’t.”

  “He’s not an example, Dill, he’s—” I was trying to grope in my memory for a sharpphrase of Miss Maudie Atkinson’s. I had it: “He’s the same in the courtroom as he is onthe public streets.”

  “That’s not what I mean,” said Dill.

  “I know what you mean, boy,” said a voice behind us. We thought it came from thetree-trunk, but it belonged to Mr. Dolphus Raymond. He peered around the trunk at us.

  “You aren’t thin-hided, it just makes you sick, doesn’t it?”

汤姆?鲁宾逊把右手绕到左边,伸着指头把左臂扶起,移向《圣经》。那橡皮般的左手好不容易挨到了《圣经》的黑色封皮。接着,他举起右手宣誓,可是不听话的左手却又从《圣经》上滑开,跌在书记员的桌子上。他想再扶起左臂,泰勒法官大声招呼说:“汤姆,就这样行了。”汤姆宣誓完毕,走入证人席。阿迪克斯很快从他嘴里问出了这些情况:
汤姆,二十五岁,已婚,有兰个小孩;犯有前科,因扰乱治安被拘留过三十天。
“想必是件违法的事。”阿迪克斯说,“具体是什么事呢?”
“跟别人打架。那家伙用刀子捅我。”
“捅到了没有?”
“捅到了,先生。不过不厉害,伤不重。您看,我……”汤姆晃了晃左肩。
“嗯,”阿迪克斯说,“两人都判了罪?”
“都判了,先生。我付不起罚款,只好遭监禁,那家伙付了罚款。
迪尔俯身过来,越过我问杰姆,阿迪克斯在干什么。杰姆说,阿迪克斯在设法让陪审团明白,汤姆什么也不隐瞒。
“你认识梅耶拉?维奥莱特?尤厄尔吗?”阿迪克斯问。
“认识,先生。我每天到地里去,从地里回来,都要打她家门口过。”
“到谁的地里去?”
“林克?迪斯先生的,我给他干活。”
“你只是十一月替他摘棉花吗?”
“不,先生,我秋天冬天都在他农场里干活。一年到头,工作比较稳定。他有很多山核桃树和其他庄稼。”
“你说你每天干活来去都得经过尤厄尔家,有别的路可走吗?”
“没有,先生,至少我不知道有别的路。”
“汤姆,梅耶拉跟你说过话吗?”
“呃,说过,先生。我经过时总是摸摸帽檐向她表示敬意。有一天,她叫我进她家的院子,帮她劈碎一个旧农柜当引火柴用。”
“什么时候?”
“芬奇先生,那还是去年春上的事。我记得这个时间,因为那时正是锄草季节,我带着把锄头。我对她说,除了锄头我什么工具也没有。她说,她有一把斧头。于是,她把斧头给我,我就帮她把那衣柜给劈碎了。她说:‘我想我应该给你五分钱,是吗?’我说:‘不用,小姐,不用给钱。’然后我就回家了。芬奇先生,那还是去年春上的事,到现在有一年多了。”
“你后来又到她院子里去过没有?”
“去过,先生。”
“什么时候。”
“哦,去了很多次。”
泰勒法官本能地伸手去拿他的小木槌,但又把手放下了。底下人群中嗡嗡的嘈杂声用不着他费神就自动平息了。
“是在什么情况下进去的?”
“您说什么,先生?”
“你为什么多次进入她家的院子?”
汤姆?鲁宾逊的前额松弛下来。“她常叫我进去,先生。每次我打那儿过,她好象总有点什么小事叫我做——劈引火柴啦,打水啦。她每天都浇那些红花。”
“你帮她做这些事情,她给报酬吗?”
。没有,先生。从她第一次提出要给我五分钱被推辞后,她再也没有说过给报酬了。我高兴帮她的忙。尤厄尔先生好象不帮她一点儿忙,她的弟弟妹妹也不帮她的忙;我知道她没有多余的钱。”.
“她弟弟妹妹在哪儿?”
“总是在四周,在院子里到处玩耍。有的看着我干活,有的坐在窗予上。”
“你帮着千活时,梅耶拉小姐跟你说话吗?”
“说,先生。她常跟我说话。”
汤姆?鲁宾逊提供证词时,我突然感到,梅耶拉?尤厄尔一定是世界上最感寂寞的人,比二十五年未出房门的布?拉德利还要感到寂寞些。阿迪克斯问她有没有朋友时,她开始仿佛不懂他问的是什么,后来又以为他在奚落她。我想,她一定很不快乐,就象杰姆说的那混血儿一样:自人不想与她打交道,因为她与猪猡一般的人住在一起}黑人不敢与她打交道,因为她是白人。她不能象多尔佛斯?雷蒙德先生——一个喜欢与黑人交往的人那样生活,因为她既不拥有一条河岸的家产,也不是出身于名门望族。谈到尤厄尔家时,人们不屑于捉及他们家的生活方式。梅科姆镇给他们家提供福利费以及其他的帮助,圣诞节时还用篮子给他们送食品。可能只有汤姆?鲁宾逊一个人对梅耶拉小姐彬彬有礼。但是,她说他欺侮她,她站起来看着他时,好象是看着脚下的一堆尘土。
“你是否曾经进入尤厄尔家的院子……”阿迪克斯打断了我的沉思,“是否曾经在没有她家任何人明确邀请的情况下进了她家的院子?”
“没有,芬奇先生,从来没有。我不会那样的,先生。”
阿迪克斯说过,要想辨别一个证人说真话还是说假话,最好是听而不是看。我采用了他的辨别方法。汤姆一口气否认了三次,但是声音很平静,一点也不带抱怨的口吻。我发现尽管他为自己辩护太多,我仍然相信他。他这个黑人似乎值得尊敬,一个值得尊敬的黑人是不会擅自跑到人家院子里去的。
“汤姆,去年11月21日晚上你碰上了什么事?”
我们下面大厅里的听众都不约而同地吸了口气,同时身子向前倾。我们后面的黑人听众也是这样。
汤姆的皮肤黝黑光滑,但并不发亮,而是十分柔和。白眼珠子与黑色的脸庞形成对照,显得格外明朗;说话时,闪闪地露出洁白的牙齿。要是左臂没有残废,他简直是个标准的男子汉。
“芬奇先生,”他说,“那天傍晚我象往常一样干完活回家去,经过尤厄尔家时,梅耶拉小姐象她自己说的那样,站在走廊上。那会儿真静,我不知道为什么会这么静,正在感到奇怪,突然听见她叫我,要我过去帮她一会儿忙。我进了院子,到处看了看,想找点柴火劈,但是没有。她说:‘我有点事要请你到屋里去做。那张旧门的合页脱了,寒冷的天气就要来了。’我说,‘你有没有螺丝起子,梅耶拉小姐?’她说她有一把。于是我走上台阶。她示意要我进去。我进了前屋,转身看了看门。我说,‘梅耶拉小姐,这门挺好的啊。’我把门拉开又关上,那些合页都没有脱落。然后她把门关上了。芬奇先生,我当时感到奇怪,为什么四周那么安静,我发现院子里没有一个小孩,一个都没有。我就问:‘梅耶拉小姐,你的弟弟妹妹哪儿去了?”
汤姆黝黑柔软的皮肤显得光亮起来了,他的手在脸上抹了一下。
“我问她弟弟妹妹都上哪儿去了。”汤姆继续说,“她说——一边说还一边笑出点声来——她说,他们都进城买冰淇淋去了。还说,她攒了整整一年,总算攒了七个五分的硬币,好让他们去吃冰淇淋。他们都去了。”
汤姆感到局促不安,但不是因为屋子里太潮湿。
。你后来怎么说的呢,汤姆?”阿迪克斯问。
“我说的大概是:真的,梅耶拉小姐,您买东西给他们吃,您真好啊。她说。‘你真这样想吗?’我想,她不知道我的意思,我是想说,她这个人好,攒下钱来给弟弟妹妹用。”
“我懂你的意思,汤姆。继续说吧。”阿迪克斯说。
。嗯,我说我最好走吧,因为她没有什么事要我做。她说,哦,有事,我问她什么事,她要我踩到椅子上把搁在衣柜顶上的箱子拿下来。”
“不是你帮她劈碎了的那个衣柜吧?”阿迪克斯问。
证人脸上露出一丝微笑。“不是的,先生,是另外一个,这一个几乎跟天花板一样高。我照她的吩咐,踏上椅子,正要伸手去拿,突然,她……她抱住我的双腿,抱住我的双腿,芬奇先生。我当时吓得要命,从椅子上跳了下来,把椅子给蹬翻了……芬奇先生,那是我离开时房子里唯一被移动过的东西,唯一移动了的家具。我可以在上帝面前发誓。”
“椅子打翻后怎么样?。
汤姆?鲁宾逊闭住嘴不说话了。他望了望阿迪克斯,望了望陪审团,又望了望坐在对面的安德伍德先生。
“汤姆,你发过哲要一五一十说出真情,是吗?’
汤姆紧张地用手捂着嘴巴。
“后来怎么样?”
“请回答!”泰勒法官说。他手中的雪茄己减短了三分之一。
“芬奇先生,我从椅子上下来,转过身,她差不多是向我扑了过来。”
“凶狠地扑过来的吗?”
“不,先生,她……她抱住我。她紧紧抱着我的腰。”
这一次,泰勒法官“砰”地一声敲响了木槌,审判厅顶上的灯随着响声全部亮了起来。夜幕还没有降临,但夕阳的余辉已告别了窗户。泰勒法官迅速地使大家重新安定下来。
“她后来又怎么样?”
证人使劲地咽了一下。“她踮起脚来,吻了我的脸。她说她从来没有吻过一个成年男人,即使吻一个黑鬼也愿意。她说,跟她爸爸接的吻算不得什么吻。她说:‘你也吻我一下吧,黑鬼。’我说:‘梅耶拉小姐,让我出去吧。’我想跑出去,但她死死地用背顶着门,我得把她推开才行。芬奇先生,我不想伤害她,我说,‘让我出去吧。’正在这时,尤厄尔先生在窗外叫了起来。”
“他叫什么来着?”
汤姆?鲁宾逊又使劲咽了一下,睁大了眼睛。“叫了些说不出口的话,不便说给这些大人和小孩昕……”
“他叫了些什么,汤姆?你一定要告诉陪审团,他叫了些什么。”
汤姆?鲁宾逊紧紧闭住双眼。“他说,你这该死的婊子,我宰了你。”
“后来怎样?”
“芬奇先生,我拼命地跑,不知道后来怎样了。。
“汤姆,你奸污了梅耶拉?尤厄尔吗?”
“没有,先生。”
“你对她有什么伤害吗?”
“没有,先生。”
“对她的主动行为你抵制了吗?”
“芬奇先生,我极力抵制了。我一方面抵制她,一方面叉不想伤害她。我不喜欢对别人无礼。我不想推搡她或怎么的。”
我突然觉得,汤姆?鲁宾逊跟阿迪克斯一样懂礼貌,只不过各有各的做法。要不是后来爸爸向我解释,我还不知道搦姆所处的为难境地:要是他还想活下去,在任何情况下也不能打一个自人妇女,因此,一有机会他撒腿就跑——而这正是犯罪的确证。
“汤姆,再谈尤厄尔先生。”阿迪克斯说,“他对你说了什么没有?”
“没说什么,先生。他后来可能说了什么,可我已经跑了……”
“好了,”阿迪克斯打断他的话说,“就谈你听到的,他当时是对谁说话?”
“芬奇先生,他是对梅耶拉小姐说话,眼睛也是瞪着她的。”
“你立刻跑了吗?”
“当然,先生。”
‘为什么要跑?”
“我害怕了,先生。”
“怕什么?”
“芬奇先生,要是您象我一样是个黑鬼的话,也会害怕的。”
阿迪克斯坐下来。吉尔默先生正走向证人席,但没等他走到,林克?迪斯先生就从人群中站起来大声说:
“现在,我想让这里所有的人都明白一件事:汤姆这孩子给我千了八年活,从米没有惹过一点麻烦,一丁点儿都没有。”
“给我闭嘴,先生!”泰勒法官睁大两眼吼了起来,满面怒容,说话时嘴里的雪茄烟竟然一点也不碍事。“林克?迪斯,”他高声叫道,“有话可以宣誓后再说,该你说的时候再说,现在你给我出去。听见没有?先生,别呆在这里.出去!听见设有?我真不想办理这个案子了!”
泰勒法官向阿迪克斯怒目而视,似乎看他敢不敢说话。可是,阿迪克新只是低下脑袋笑。我记得他说过,有时候泰勒法官的权威性发言超越了他的职责范围,可是律师中间几乎毁有谁在意过他过火的话。我瞅着杰姆,杰姆摇摇头说:“林克先生不象一个陪审员那样,可以起来发言。我想如果是一介陪审员发言,就不会这样。林克先生是扰乱了秩序。或者别的什么。”
泰勒法官吩咐记录把。芬奇先生,要是您象我一样是个黑鬼的话,也会害怕的”之后所有的话都去掉;又对陪审团说,对这个打岔不要理睬。他用疑问的眼光扫向下面中间的过道,挠想,他是要等林克?迪斯真正离开。然后他说:“您说吧,吉尔默先生。”
“你因扰乱治安被监禁过三十天吗,鲁宾逊?”吉尔默先生问。
“是的,先生。”
。你们的案子了结时,那个黑鬼又怎么样?”
“他打了我,吉尔默先生。”
“是的-但是你被判了罪,是吗?”
阿迪克斯抬起头来。“那是个小过失,已经记录在案,法胄。”我觉得他声音带有倦意。
“但是,证人仍该回答。”泰勒法官说,声音听来同样带有倦意。
“是的,先生,我被监禁了三十天。。
我知道,吉尔默先生想使陪审团完全相信,既然汤姆因扰乱治安判过罪,就很可能怀有要欺侮梅耶拉?尤厄尔的坏心眼。他关心的只是这个理由,这类理由是起作用的。
“鲁宾逊,你光用一只手就完全能劈碎衣柜和引火柴,是吗?”
“是的,先生,我想是的。”
“你身强力壮,能够掐住一个女人的脖子并把她摔倒在地,是吗?”
“从来没有千过那样的事儿,先生。”
“但是你力气大得能做到这一步,是吗?”
“我想可以,先生。”
“你早盯住她了,是吗,小伙子?”
“没有,先生,我连看也没有看过她一眼。”
“那么说,你帮她劈柴打水全是出于一片好心,是吗?”
“我只是帮助她一下,先生。”
“你可真有副好心肠。下工后,你家里也有家务事,是吗,小伙子?”
“是的,先生。”
“为什么帮尤厄尔小姐做事,而不做自己家里的事呢?”
“都做,先生。”
“你一定非常忙。为什么?”
“什么事情为什么,先生?”
“你为什么这么急切地替那个女人做家务?”
汤姆?鲁宾逊踌躇了一下,在脑子里寻找答案。“看见她没有人帮忙,就象我蜕的……”
“还有尤厄尔先牛和七个小孩呢,小伙子?”
“嗯,我说过,他们好象从不帮她的忙。”
“你帮助她劈柴、干活,纯粹是出于好心吗,小伙子?”
“只是想帮助她,我已经说过了。”
吉尔默先生朝陪审团冷酷地笑了一下。“这么说,你真是个了不起的好人——干了那么多活,一分钱也没拿吗?”
“是的,先生。我很可怜她。她比她家的其他人多做很多事。”
“你可怜她?你可怜她?”吉尔默先生象是要冲到天花板上去了。
证人意识到自己说漏了嘴,在椅子上不安地挪动着身子。但是错误却不可挽回了。下面的观众没有人满意汤姆-鲁宾逊这个回答。吉尔默先生停顿了很久,让这印象在大家脑子里扎下根来。
“听着,去年11月21日,你象往常一样经过她家,”他说,“她叫你进屋去劈碎一个衣柜,对吗?”
“不对,先生。”
“你否认那天经过她家吗?”
“不否认,先生……她说她有点事要我到屋里去做……”
“她说要你劈碎一个衣柜,是吗?”
“不是,先生,不是这样。”
“那么,你说她在撒谎,是吗,小伙子?”
阿迪克斯站了起来,但是汤姆?鲁宾逊不需要他帮助,他回答说:“我不是说她撒谎,我是说她弄错了,吉尔默先生。”
吉尔默先生把梅耶拉叙述的情况重复了一遍,提出了十个问题,证人一一回答说,是她弄错了。
“你是被尤厄尔先生撵走的吗,小伙子?”
“不是的,先生。我想不是。”
“你想不是?什么意思?”
“我是说,我没有等到他来撵我就跑了。”
“这一点你倒十分老实,你为什么要跑得那么快?”
“我蜕过我害怕,先生。”
“没做亏心事,怎么会害怕呢?”
“我说过了,任何黑鬼处于那样的困境部不安全,”
“但是,你并没有处于困境——你说你当时在抵制尤厄尔小姐的主动行为。你难道这么害怕,怕她伤害你,于是就跑吗,你这么火的个子?”
“不是,先生,我是怕.E法庭,就象我现在这样。”
“怕被逮捕,怕受到对你犯下的罪行的指控?”
“不,先生,我怕受到对我没有犯过的罪行的指控。”
“你敢这样对我无礼吗,小伙子?”.
“没有,先生,我不打算对您无礼。”
吉尔默先生的盘问,我只听了这些,因为杰姆要我带迪尔出去。不知怎的,迪尔哭起来了。并且哭个不停。开始是小声啜泣,后来啜泣声越来越大,看台上有好几个人都听见了。杰姆说.即使我不愿意也非得带他出去不可。赛克斯牧师也劝我带他出去一会儿,于是我就出去了。那一天,迪尔本来一直显得很好,没有仆么不舒服,不过,我心想,他也许是从家里逃出来后,还没有完全恢复过来。
“不舒服吗?”我们下完楼梯时我问他。
我们飞快地跑F南面的台阶时,迪尔极力使自己平静下来。林克?迪斯孤独的身影伫立在台阶顶上。“发生了什么事吗,斯各特?”我们打他身旁过时他问道。“没有,先生。”我掉过头答道,“迪尔在这儿,他病了。”
“来吧,到这树底下来,”我招呼迪尔,“是受了热了,我想。”我们挑了一棵最粗大繁茂的橡树,坐在下面。
“我就是忍受不了他。”迪尔说。
“谁?汤姆吗?”
“吉尔默那老家伙,那样对待他,那样恶狠狠地问他……”
“迪尔,那是他的工作啊。没有起诉人,我想,我们就不会有辩护律师了。”
迪尔慢慢地呼了口气,说:“这我知道,斯各特,只是他讲话的神气使我感到恶心,实在恶心得很。”
“他理所当然地要用那种神气说话,迪尔,他是在盘问……”.
“他先前怎么不是那种神气?那时他……”
“迪尔,先前那些人是他自己那边的证人啊。”
“哼,芬奇先生盘问梅耶拉和老尤厄尔时可不是那副模样。口口声声叫人家‘小伙子’,可又讥笑人家,每次人家回答,他就转身看着陪审团……”
“唉,迪尔,不管怎么说,汤姆毕竟是黑人啊。”
“我才不管什么黑人自人的。这不合理,这样对待黑人就是不台理。任何人也没有权利用那种神态说话一真使我恶心。。
“吉尔默先生就是那样,迪尔,他总是那样对待黑人。你还从来没见过他真正对谁发脾气。他呀,有时候……唉,今天,在我看来他还不怎么凶呢。他们都是那样对待黑人,我说的是大多数律师。”
“芬奇先生不是那样。”
“不能拿他作例子,迪尔,他……”我极力在记忆里搜索一句莫迫?阿特金森说过的尖刻的话,终于找到了:“他在审判厅里与在大街上都一个样。”
“我不是指这个。”迪尔说。
“我知道你是指什么,孩子。”我们身后传来一个声音。我们以为是从树上来的,但不是,是多尔佛斯?雷蒙德先生在说话。他在树干后面探头看着我们。“你很容易动感情,那神态使你恶心,是吗?”



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