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Chapter 21

       She stopped shyly at the railing and waited to get Judge Taylor’s attention. She was ina fresh apron and she carried an envelope in her hand.

  Judge Taylor saw her and said, “It’s Calpurnia, isn’t it?”

  “Yes sir,” she said. “Could I just pass this note to Mr. Finch, please sir? It hasn’t gotanything to do with—with the trial.”

  Judge Taylor nodded and Atticus took the envelope from Calpurnia. He opened it,read its contents and said, “Judge, I—this note is from my sister. She says my childrenare missing, haven’t turned up since noon… I… could you—”

  “I know where they are, Atticus.” Mr. Underwood spoke up. “They’re right up yonder inthe colored balcony—been there since precisely one-eighteen P.M.”

  Our father turned around and looked up. “Jem, come down from there,” he called.

  Then he said something to the Judge we didn’t hear. We climbed across ReverendSykes and made our way to the staircase.

  Atticus and Calpurnia met us downstairs. Calpurnia looked peeved, but Atticus lookedexhausted.

  Jem was jumping in excitement. “We’ve won, haven’t we?”

  “I’ve no idea,” said Atticus shortly. “You’ve been here all afternoon? Go home withCalpurnia and get your supper—and stay home.”

  “Aw, Atticus, let us come back,” pleaded Jem. “Please let us hear the verdict, pleasesir.”

  “The jury might be out and back in a minute, we don’t know—” but we could tell Atticuswas relenting. “Well, you’ve heard it all, so you might as well hear the rest. Tell youwhat, you all can come back when you’ve eaten your supper—eat slowly, now, youwon’t miss anything important—and if the jury’s still out, you can wait with us. But Iexpect it’ll be over before you get back.”

  “You think they’ll acquit him that fast?” asked Jem.

  Atticus opened his mouth to answer, but shut it and left us.

  I prayed that Reverend Sykes would save our seats for us, but stopped praying when Iremembered that people got up and left in droves when the jury was out—tonight, they’doverrun the drugstore, the O.K. Café and the hotel, that is, unless they had brought theirsuppers too.

  Calpurnia marched us home: “—skin every one of you alive, the very idea, youchildren listenin‘ to all that! Mister Jem, don’t you know better’n to take your little sister tothat trial? Miss Alexandra’ll absolutely have a stroke of paralysis when she finds out!

  Ain’t fittin’ for children to hear…”

  The streetlights were on, and we glimpsed Calpurnia’s indignant profile as we passedbeneath them. “Mister Jem, I thought you was gettin‘ some kinda head on yourshoulders—the very idea, she’s your little sister! The very idea, sir! You oughta beperfectly ashamed of yourself—ain’t you got any sense at all?”

  I was exhilarated. So many things had happened so fast I felt it would take years tosort them out, and now here was Calpurnia giving her precious Jem down the country—what new marvels would the evening bring?

  Jem was chuckling. “Don’t you want to hear about it, Cal?”

  “Hush your mouth, sir! When you oughta be hangin‘ your head in shame you go alonglaughin’—” Calpurnia revived a series of rusty threats that moved Jem to little remorse,and she sailed up the front steps with her classic, “If Mr. Finch don’t wear you out, Iwill—get in that house, sir!”

  Jem went in grinning, and Calpurnia nodded tacit consent to having Dill in to supper.

  “You all call Miss Rachel right now and tell her where you are,” she told him. “She’s rundistracted lookin‘ for you—you watch out she don’t ship you back to Meridian first thingin the mornin’.”

  Aunt Alexandra met us and nearly fainted when Calpurnia told her where we were. Iguess it hurt her when we told her Atticus said we could go back, because she didn’tsay a word during supper. She just rearranged food on her plate, looking at it sadlywhile Calpurnia served Jem, Dill and me with a vengeance. Calpurnia poured milk,dished out potato salad and ham, muttering, “‘shamed of yourselves,” in varyingdegrees of intensity. “Now you all eat slow,” was her final command.

  Reverend Sykes had saved our places. We were surprised to find that we had beengone nearly an hour, and were equally surprised to find the courtroom exactly as we hadleft it, with minor changes: the jury box was empty, the defendant was gone; JudgeTaylor had been gone, but he reappeared as we were seating ourselves.

  “Nobody’s moved, hardly,” said Jem.

  “They moved around some when the jury went out,” said Reverend Sykes. “Themenfolk down there got the womenfolk their suppers, and they fed their babies.”

  “How long have they been out?” asked Jem.

  “‘bout thirty minutes. Mr. Finch and Mr. Gilmer did some more talkin’, and JudgeTaylor charged the jury.”

  “How was he?” asked Jem.

  “What say? Oh, he did right well. I ain’t complainin‘ one bit—he was mighty fair-minded. He sorta said if you believe this, then you’ll have to return one verdict, but if youbelieve this, you’ll have to return another one. I thought he was leanin’ a little to ourside—” Reverend Sykes scratched his head.

  Jem smiled. “He’s not supposed to lean, Reverend, but don’t fret, we’ve won it,” hesaid wisely. “Don’t see how any jury could convict on what we heard—”

  “Now don’t you be so confident, Mr. Jem, I ain’t ever seen any jury decide in favor of acolored man over a white man…” But Jem took exception to Reverend Sykes, and wewere subjected to a lengthy review of the evidence with Jem’s ideas on the lawregarding rape: it wasn’t rape if she let you, but she had to be eighteen—in Alabama,that is—and Mayella was nineteen. Apparently you had to kick and holler, you had to beoverpowered and stomped on, preferably knocked stone cold. If you were undereighteen, you didn’t have to go through all this.

  “Mr. Jem,” Reverend Sykes demurred, “this ain’t a polite thing for little ladies tohear…”

  “Aw, she doesn’t know what we’re talkin‘ about,” said Jem. “Scout, this is too old foryou, ain’t it?”

  “It most certainly is not, I know every word you’re saying.” Perhaps I was tooconvincing, because Jem hushed and never discussed the subject again.

  “What time is it, Reverend?” he asked.

  “Gettin‘ on toward eight.”

  I looked down and saw Atticus strolling around with his hands in his pockets: he madea tour of the windows, then walked by the railing over to the jury box. He looked in it,inspected Judge Taylor on his throne, then went back to where he started. I caught hiseye and waved to him. He acknowledged my salute with a nod, and resumed his tour.

  Mr. Gilmer was standing at the windows talking to Mr. Underwood. Bert, the courtreporter, was chain-smoking: he sat back with his feet on the table.

  But the officers of the court, the ones present—Atticus, Mr. Gilmer, Judge Taylorsound asleep, and Bert, were the only ones whose behavior seemed normal. I hadnever seen a packed courtroom so still. Sometimes a baby would cry out fretfully, and achild would scurry out, but the grown people sat as if they were in church. In thebalcony, the Negroes sat and stood around us with biblical patience.

  The old courthouse clock suffered its preliminary strain and struck the hour, eightdeafening bongs that shook our bones.

  When it bonged eleven times I was past feeling: tired from fighting sleep, I allowedmyself a short nap against Reverend Sykes’s comfortable arm and shoulder. I jerkedawake and made an honest effort to remain so, by looking down and concentrating onthe heads below: there were sixteen bald ones, fourteen men that could pass forredheads, forty heads varying between brown and black, and—I rememberedsomething Jem had once explained to me when he went through a brief period ofpsychical research: he said if enough people—a stadium full, maybe—were toconcentrate on one thing, such as setting a tree afire in the woods, that the tree wouldignite of its own accord. I toyed with the idea of asking everyone below to concentrateon setting Tom Robinson free, but thought if they were as tired as I, it wouldn’t work.

  Dill was sound asleep, his head on Jem’s shoulder, and Jem was quiet.

  “Ain’t it a long time?” I asked him.

  “Sure is, Scout,” he said happily.

  “Well, from the way you put it, it’d just take five minutes.”

  Jem raised his eyebrows. “There are things you don’t understand,” he said, and I wastoo weary to argue.

  But I must have been reasonably awake, or I would not have received the impressionthat was creeping into me. It was not unlike one I had last winter, and I shivered, thoughthe night was hot. The feeling grew until the atmosphere in the courtroom was exactlythe same as a cold February morning, when the mockingbirds were still, and thecarpenters had stopped hammering on Miss Maudie’s new house, and every wood doorin the neighborhood was shut as tight as the doors of the Radley Place. A deserted,waiting, empty street, and the courtroom was packed with people. A steaming summernight was no different from a winter morning. Mr. Heck Tate, who had entered thecourtroom and was talking to Atticus, might have been wearing his high boots andlumber jacket. Atticus had stopped his tranquil journey and had put his foot onto thebottom rung of a chair; as he listened to what Mr. Tate was saying, he ran his handslowly up and down his thigh. I expected Mr. Tate to say any minute, “Take him, Mr.

  Finch…”

  But Mr. Tate said, “This court will come to order,” in a voice that rang with authority,and the heads below us jerked up. Mr. Tate left the room and returned with TomRobinson. He steered Tom to his place beside Atticus, and stood there. Judge Taylorhad roused himself to sudden alertness and was sitting up straight, looking at the emptyjury box.

  What happened after that had a dreamlike quality: in a dream I saw the jury return,moving like underwater swimmers, and Judge Taylor’s voice came from far away andwas tiny. I saw something only a lawyer’s child could be expected to see, could beexpected to watch for, and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle tohis shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun wasempty.

  A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not oneof them looked at Tom Robinson. The foreman handed a piece of paper to Mr. Tate whohanded it to the clerk who handed it to the judge…I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: “Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty…” Ipeeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shouldersjerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.

  Judge Taylor was saying something. His gavel was in his fist, but he wasn’t using it.

  Dimly, I saw Atticus pushing papers from the table into his briefcase. He snapped itshut, went to the court reporter and said something, nodded to Mr. Gilmer, and thenwent to Tom Robinson and whispered something to him. Atticus put his hand on Tom’sshoulder as he whispered. Atticus took his coat off the back of his chair and pulled itover his shoulder. Then he left the courtroom, but not by his usual exit. He must havewanted to go home the short way, because he walked quickly down the middle aisletoward the south exit. I followed the top of his head as he made his way to the door. Hedid not look up.

  Someone was punching me, but I was reluctant to take my eyes from the peoplebelow us, and from the image of Atticus’s lonely walk down the aisle.

  “Miss Jean Louise?”

  I looked around. They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the oppositewall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes’s voice was as distant asJudge Taylor’s:

  “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.”

卡尔珀尼亚在栏杆旁羞涩地停住脚步,期待泰勒法官看到她。她身上困着一条新围裙,手里拿着一个信封。
泰勒法官看见了她,说,“是卡尔珀尼亚吗?”
“是的,先生。”她回答,“我能将这封信交给芬奇先生吗,先生?这与审判毫不相干。”
察勒法官点头表示同意。阿迪克斯从卡尔珀尼亚手中接过信封拆开看了一遍,抬头说:“法官先生,我……这封信是我妹妹写来的,她说我的孩子不见了,中午出去再没回家……我……您能让我……”
“我知道他们在哪儿,阿迪克斯。”安德伍德先生高声说,“他们就在这儿,在黑人看台上。从下午一点十八分起一直在这儿。”
爸爸转身朝我们上面望过来。“杰姆,快下来。”他喊道,叉对法官说了旬什么,诧们没听见。我们爬过赛克斯收师走向楼梯。
阿迪克斯和卡尔珀尼亚在楼下等我们。卡尔珀尼亚怒容满面,阿迪克斯显得精疲力竭。
杰姆兴奋得直蹦,说:“我们赢了,是吗?”
“不知道。”阿迪克斯没好气地说,“你们整个下午都在这儿吗?快跟卡尔珀尼亚回家吃晚饭去,吃了饭就呆在家里。”
“噢,阿迪克斯,让我们再来吧。”杰姆恳求说,“让我们来听陪审团的裁决吧。请求您,爸爸。”
“陪审团可能就要出去了,过一会就会回来,不知道……”看得出来,阿迪克斯心软了,“唉,你们已经听了这么多,就干脆让你们听完吧。这样,你们吃完饭都来吧。慢慢吃,不会漏掉什么重要事情的。来时如果陪审团还在外面,你们就和大伙儿一块等等。不过,我想,事情在你们回来之前就会了结。”
“你想他们会那么快就释放他?”杰姆问。
阿迪克斯张嘴准备回答,可又闭上,转身走了。
我暗暗希望赛克斯牧师替我们保留座位,但我一下又不这么希望了,因为我记得,通常陪审团出去后观众就会蜂拥而去。今天晚上杂货店、O.K.咖啡馆、饭馆都会挤得满满的,除非这些观众把晚餐也带来了。
卡尔珀尼亚押着我们回家。她说:“真想活剥你们的皮【你们小孩子来听那些话,真荒唐!杰姆先生,你怎么这么糊涂,带妹妹来听那样的审判?亚历山德拉小姐知道了一定会气得中风,小孩子不能听那……”
街灯亮着。灯下我们瞥见卡尔珀尼亚怒气冲冲的侧影。“杰姆先生,我想,你脖子上好歹总算还长着个脑袋啊!真荒唐,她是你的小妹妹啊!真荒唐,先生!真不害臊,你,你到底还有脑子吗?”
我可高兴啦!在这么短的时间里发生了这么多事情,我觉得,要将它们理清头绪得好几年时间。你看,现在卡尔珀尼亚在狠狠训斥她心爱的杰姆——今天晚上不知还会出些什么意料不到的新鲜事儿。
杰姆格格地笑着说:“难道你不想听听,卡尔?”
“闭嘴,先生!你现在该羞得耷拉着脑袋,还有脸格格地笑个不停。”卡尔珀尼亚把她惯用的对杰姆不那么能使他懊悔的威胁词句一古脑儿地又都倒了出来。她稳步登上台阶,咕哝着她的老调子,“芬奇先生不打你,我就要打。进屋去吧,先生1”
杰姆咧嘴笑着走进屋子。卡尔珀尼亚默默点头同意让迪尔在我们家吃饭。“你赶快打电话告诉雷切尔小姐,告诉她你们在哪儿。”她对迪尔说,“她到处找你,都把她急坏了。你当心,明天一大早她头件事就是把你送回梅里迪安。”
亚历山德拉姑妈见到了我们。卡尔珀尼亚告诉她我们下午在什么地方时,她差点儿没晕过去。我想,她听说阿迪克斯允许我们饭后再去时她感到痛心,因为吃饭时她一声也没吭,只是在自己盘子里重新放了些食物,愁眉苦脸地望着。卡尔珀尼亚却出乎意料地尽量侍候着我、杰姆、迪尔三个人,她倒出牛奶,用碟子装上土豆色拉和火腿,用强弱不同的腔调嘟哝着“真不害臊”。她最后的命令是:“你们都慢慢吃!”
赛克斯牧师给我们保留了座位。我们惊奇地发现,我们已离开了差不多一个小时,还惊奇地发现,审判厅跟我们离开时几乎一模一样,只有几个细小的变化:陪审团的席位上没有一个人,被告不知去向,也不见泰勒法官的踪影,不过,我们坐下时他又出现了。
“几乎没有谁动一下。”杰姆说。
“陪审团出去时有人活动了一下。”赛克斯牧师说,“底下的那些男人到外面去帮他们的女人买了晓餐来,女人在这儿给婴儿喂奶。”
“陪审团出去多久了?”杰姆问。
“大概有三十分钟了。芬奇先生和吉尔默先生后来又分别说了些话,然后泰勒法官授权陪审团作出裁决。”
“泰勒法官怎么样?”杰姆问。
“说什么?哦,他很好。我一点意见也没有,他很公正。他大概是说,倘若你们相信这一方,就这样裁决,但是,倘若相信另一方,就作出另一样的裁决。我看他有点偏向我们这一边。”赛克斯牧师搔着脑袋回答。
杰姆脸上泛起了微笑。“他不该偏袒任何一方。牧师,不要担心,我们已经赢了。”他聪颖地说,“没看见哪个陪审团只根据我们昕到的证据给人定罪。”
“可别这么自信,杰姆先生,我还从没见过哪个陪审团作出有利于黑人而不利于白人的裁决。”但是杰姆不同意赛克斯牧师的看法,他根据自己的有关强奸的法律知识,把那些证据对我们进行了详细分析。杰姆所知道的是:女方同意,不算强奸,不过她的年龄必须是十八岁——这是亚拉巴马州的规定——梅耶拉已经十九岁了。很明显,女方必须拳打脚踢,声嘶力竭地叫喊,然后被制服、被践踏、最好被打昏。如果女方不到十八岁,这些就没有必要。
“杰姆先生,”赛克斯牧师反对道,“这些不文雅的事情不要说给小姑娘听……”
“喔,她不知道我们在说什么。”杰姆说,“斯各特,我们说的是大人的事,你年纪太小,听不懂,是吗?”
“谁说的?你说的每个宇我都听懂了。”可能我的话太有说服力,杰姆住了嘴,再没谈论这个话题。
“牧师,几点了?”他问道。
“快八点了。”
我朝下望去,看见阿迪克斯双手揣在口袋里,踱来踱去,先挨次走过几个窗户,又沿着栏杆走到陪审团的座席旁,朝那边瞧着,看见泰勒法官坐在席位上,又往回走到他原来的地方。我的日光和他的相遇了,我向他挥手,他点头作答,又开始踱起步子来。
吉尔默先生在窗前与安德伍德先生说话。法庭记录伯特在椅子上靠着,双脚搭在桌上,一根接一根地抽烟。
但是,举止正常的只有在场的法庭官员:阿迪克斯,吉尔默先生,酣睡着的泰勒先生,还有伯特。我从没看见一个座无虚席的审判厅这么寂静。有时,一个婴儿会烦躁不安地哭一声,一个小孩会匆匆忙忙跑出去,但大人们只是象在教堂里做礼拜一样,静悄悄昀。楼厅看台上,黑人分布在我们周围,站的站着,坐的坐着,都表现出一种敬神似的耐心。
法庭里的那口古老的大钟经历了敲钟前的紧张阶段后,报起时来。“当!当!……”八下震耳欲聋的声音把我们的骨架都震松了。
等到大钟敲十一下时,我失去了感觉。与睡魔搏斗得疲倦不堪,我靠在赛克斯牧师的肩上臂上,美滋滋地打起盹儿来。一会儿,我身子猛地一抖,醒了过来。我赞了很大劲儿想赶走瞌睡。我朝下望着,集中精力注视下面太厅里的脑袋:有十六个光秃秃的,有十四个可以说长着红头发,长着棕色和黑色之间各色头发的有四十个。这时,我记起了杰姆有一段时间在搞心灵研究时对我说过的话,如果很多人——也许要有能挤满一个体育馆那么多的人——把思想集中在某一目标上,比方说,集中在想点燃森林中的某裸树上,那么,这棵树就会自动地燃烧起来。我好玩地想叫下面的每个人都把思想集中在释放汤姆-鲁宾逊这一点上。不过我又想,要是他们都象我一样疲惫不堪,那也起不了什么作用。
迪尔把头枕在杰姆肩上睡得很香。杰姆安静地等待着。
“不是等了很久了吗?”我问道。
“是有很久啦,斯各特。”他高兴地说。
“嗨,按你先头的说法,好象只要五分钟就解决问题了。”
杰姆眉毛一耸,说:“有些事情你不懂。”我太疲倦了,懒得和他争。
fH是,我一定相当清醒。不然,不会有一种印象悄俏地在我的脑海里产生。这种印象象去年冬天给我留下的那样。当天晚上够热的,我却打了个冷战。这种冷的印象不断增强,直到审判厅的气氛寒冷得跟那个二月的早晨一模一样;当时,反舌鸟停止了歌唱,木匠们停止用锤子敲打莫迪小姐的新木房,!埘近人家的木门象拉德利家的门那样关得严严实实。整个街上空荡荡的,而审判厅里却挤得水泄不通。炎热潮湿的夏夜与寒冷刺骨的冬晨毫无二致。赫克?塔特先生不知什么时候进了审判厅,正在与阿迪克斯谈话,他完全可以象打猎那天一样穿着长统靴和伐木工人甲克衫。阿迪克斯已停止了他那悠闲的步子,将一只脚搭在一张椅子最下面的横档上。他一边听着塔特先生说话,一边一只手在大腿上慢慢地一上一下抚摸着。我期待若塔特先生说:“芬奇先生,把他带走……”
但是,塔特先生带着权威性的口吻说:“现在恢复法庭秩序。”
下面的脑袋都蓦然抬起。塔特先生走出去,一会儿,领着汤姆-鲁宾逊进来,把他带到阿迪克斯身旁,让他坐在他原来的座位上,自己在一旁站着。泰勒法官已经醍来,恢复了严肃的神态,直挺挺地坐在那里,瞅着空荡荡的陪审团席位。
后来发生的事情象是一场梦。在梦中,我看见陪审员回来了,一个个象潜水员似的,动作缓慢。传来泰勒法官微小的声音,象是来自遥远的地方。我看见了只有律师的孩于才可能看见也才可能留神的事情,就象望着阿迪克斯走上大街,把一枝步枪端得肩一样平,扣动了扳机,但是虽然我眼睛自始至终望着,心里却明白那枪里没有子弹。
任何陪审员对被他们判了罪的被告都不会看一眼。陪审员进来后,一个个都不朝汤姆?鲁宾逊那边看。陪审长递给塔特先生一张纸,塔特先生交给了书记员,书记员又递给法官……
我闭上了眼睛,泰勒法官在登记陪审团的表决票:“有罪……有罪……有罪……有罪……”我偷偷地瞟了杰姆一眼,见他紧抓着栏杆,直抓得双手发白,双肩猛烈抖动,似乎每一声“有罪”都是一把刺向他肩胛问的利剑。
泰勒法官嘴里在说着什么,手里握着木槌,但并没有敲打。我嚎朦陇陇地看见阿迪克斯把桌上的公文塞进公文包,“啪”地一声关上,走到书记员跟前说了些什么,朝吉尔默先生点点头,又走到汤姆?鲁宾逊身边,把手搭在他肩上,附在他耳旁说了几句。然后,阿迪克斯从椅背上取下上衣披在肩上,朝他平时不走的一个出口走出审判厅。他一定是想抄近路回家,因此快步沿着中间的过道下来,走向南面出口。我眼睛跟着他,盯着他的头顶,可他的头一下都没抬。
有人捅了我一下,可是我的眼睛不愿意离开下面的人群,不愿意离开沿过道走去的阿迪克斯孤独的身影。
“琼?路易斯小姐?”
我环顾四周,啊,他们都站起来了。我们周围的和对面墙边看台里的所有黑人都纷纷站起来。赛克斯牧师的声音象泰勒法官的一样,从远处传来。
“琼?路易斯小姐,站起来吧。你爸爸走了。”



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