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Chapter 22

       It was Jem’s turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our waythrough the cheerful crowd. “It ain’t right,” he muttered, all the way to the corner of thesquare where we found Atticus waiting. Atticus was standing under the street lightlooking as though nothing had happened: his vest was buttoned, his collar and tie wereneatly in place, his watch-chain glistened, he was his impassive self again.

  “It ain’t right, Atticus,” said Jem.

  “No son, it’s not right.”

  We walked home.

  Aunt Alexandra was waiting up. She was in her dressing gown, and I could havesworn she had on her corset underneath it. “I’m sorry, brother,” she murmured. Havingnever heard her call Atticus “brother” before, I stole a glance at Jem, but he was notlistening. He would look up at Atticus, then down at the floor, and I wondered if hethought Atticus somehow responsible for Tom Robinson’s conviction.

  “Is he all right?” Aunty asked, indicating Jem.

  “He’ll be so presently,” said Atticus. “It was a little too strong for him.” Our fathersighed. “I’m going to bed,” he said. “If I don’t wake up in the morning, don’t call me.”

  “I didn’t think it wise in the first place to let them—”

  “This is their home, sister,” said Atticus. “We’ve made it this way for them, they mightas well learn to cope with it.”

  “But they don’t have to go to the courthouse and wallow in it—”

  “It’s just as much Maycomb County as missionary teas.”

  “Atticus—” Aunt Alexandra’s eyes were anxious. “You are the last person I thoughtwould turn bitter over this.”

  “I’m not bitter, just tired. I’m going to bed.”

  “Atticus—” said Jem bleakly.

  He turned in the doorway. “What, son?”

  “How could they do it, how could they?”

  “I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’lldo it again and when they do it—seems that only children weep. Good night.”

  But things are always better in the morning. Atticus rose at his usual ungodly hour andwas in the livingroom behind the Mobile Register when we stumbled in. Jem’s morningface posed the question his sleepy lips struggled to ask.

  “It’s not time to worry yet,” Atticus reassured him, as we went to the diningroom.

  “We’re not through yet. There’ll be an appeal, you can count on that. Gracious alive,Cal, what’s all this?” He was staring at his breakfast plate.

  Calpurnia said, “Tom Robinson’s daddy sent you along this chicken this morning. Ifixed it.”

  “You tell him I’m proud to get it—bet they don’t have chicken for breakfast at the WhiteHouse. What are these?”

  “Rolls,” said Calpurnia. “Estelle down at the hotel sent ‘em.”

  Atticus looked up at her, puzzled, and she said, “You better step out here and seewhat’s in the kitchen, Mr. Finch.”

  We followed him. The kitchen table was loaded with enough food to bury the family:

  hunks of salt pork, tomatoes, beans, even scuppernongs. Atticus grinned when he founda jar of pickled pigs’ knuckles. “Reckon Aunty’ll let me eat these in the diningroom?”

  Calpurnia said, “This was all ‘round the back steps when I got here this morning.

  They—they ’preciate what you did, Mr. Finch. They—they aren’t oversteppin‘themselves, are they?”

  Atticus’s eyes filled with tears. He did not speak for a moment. “Tell them I’m verygrateful,” he said. “Tell them—tell them they must never do this again. Times are toohard…”

  He left the kitchen, went in the diningroom and excused himself to Aunt Alexandra, puton his hat and went to town.

  We heard Dill’s step in the hall, so Calpurnia left Atticus’s uneaten breakfast on thetable. Between rabbit-bites Dill told us of Miss Rachel’s reaction to last night, which was:

  if a man like Atticus Finch wants to butt his head against a stone wall it’s his head.

  “I’da got her told,” growled Dill, gnawing a chicken leg, “but she didn’t look much liketellin‘ this morning. Said she was up half the night wonderin’ where I was, said she’dahad the sheriff after me but he was at the hearing.”

  “Dill, you’ve got to stop goin‘ off without tellin’ her,” said Jem. “It just aggravates her.”

  Dill sighed patiently. “I told her till I was blue in the face where I was goin‘—she’s justseein’ too many snakes in the closet. Bet that woman drinks a pint for breakfast everymorning—know she drinks two glasses full. Seen her.”

  “Don’t talk like that, Dill,” said Aunt Alexandra. “It’s not becoming to a child. It’s—cynical.”

  “I ain’t cynical, Miss Alexandra. Tellin‘ the truth’s not cynical, is it?”

  “The way you tell it, it is.”

  Jem’s eyes flashed at her, but he said to Dill, “Let’s go. You can take that runner withyou.”

  When we went to the front porch, Miss Stephanie Crawford was busy telling it to MissMaudie Atkinson and Mr. Avery. They looked around at us and went on talking. Jemmade a feral noise in his throat. I wished for a weapon.

  “I hate grown folks lookin‘ at you,” said Dill. “Makes you feel like you’ve donesomething.”

  Miss Maudie yelled for Jem Finch to come there.

  Jem groaned and heaved himself up from the swing. “We’ll go with you,” Dill said.

  Miss Stephanie’s nose quivered with curiosity. She wanted to know who all gave uspermission to go to court—she didn’t see us but it was all over town this morning that wewere in the Colored balcony. Did Atticus put us up there as a sort of—? Wasn’t it rightclose up there with all those—? Did Scout understand all the—? Didn’t it make us madto see our daddy beat?

  “Hush, Stephanie.” Miss Maudie’s diction was deadly. “I’ve not got all the morning topass on the porch—Jem Finch, I called to find out if you and your colleagues can eatsome cake. Got up at five to make it, so you better say yes. Excuse us, Stephanie.

  Good morning, Mr. Avery.”

  There was a big cake and two little ones on Miss Maudie’s kitchen table. There shouldhave been three little ones. It was not like Miss Maudie to forget Dill, and we must haveshown it. But we understood when she cut from the big cake and gave the slice to Jem.

  As we ate, we sensed that this was Miss Maudie’s way of saying that as far as shewas concerned, nothing had changed. She sat quietly in a kitchen chair, watching us.

  Suddenly she spoke: “Don’t fret, Jem. Things are never as bad as they seem.”

  Indoors, when Miss Maudie wanted to say something lengthy she spread her fingerson her knees and settled her bridgework. This she did, and we waited.

  “I simply want to tell you that there are some men in this world who were born to doour unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them.”

  “Oh,” said Jem. “Well.”

  “Don’t you oh well me, sir,” Miss Maudie replied, recognizing Jem’s fatalistic noises,“you are not old enough to appreciate what I said.”

  Jem was staring at his half-eaten cake. “It’s like bein‘ a caterpillar in a cocoon, that’swhat it is,” he said. “Like somethin’ asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always thoughtMaycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that’s what they seemed like.”

  “We’re the safest folks in the world,” said Miss Maudie. “We’re so rarely called on tobe Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us.”

  Jem grinned ruefully. “Wish the rest of the county thought that.”

  “You’d be surprised how many of us do.”

  “Who?” Jem’s voice rose. “Who in this town did one thing to help Tom Robinson, justwho?”

  “His colored friends for one thing, and people like us. People like Judge Taylor. Peoplelike Mr. Heck Tate. Stop eating and start thinking, Jem. Did it ever strike you that JudgeTaylor naming Atticus to defend that boy was no accident? That Judge Taylor mighthave had his reasons for naming him?”

  This was a thought. Court-appointed defenses were usually given to Maxwell Green,Maycomb’s latest addition to the bar, who needed the experience. Maxwell Greenshould have had Tom Robinson’s case.

  “You think about that,” Miss Maudie was saying. “It was no accident. I was sittin‘ thereon the porch last night, waiting. I waited and waited to see you all come down thesidewalk, and as I waited I thought, Atticus Finch won’t win, he can’t win, but he’s theonly man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that. And Ithought to myself, well, we’re making a step—it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step.”

  “‘t’s all right to talk like that—can’t any Christian judges an’ lawyers make up forheathen juries,” Jem muttered. “Soon’s I get grown—”

  “That’s something you’ll have to take up with your father,” Miss Maudie said.

  We went down Miss Maudie’s cool new steps into the sunshine and found Mr. Averyand Miss Stephanie Crawford still at it. They had moved down the sidewalk and werestanding in front of Miss Stephanie’s house. Miss Rachel was walking toward them.

  “I think I’ll be a clown when I get grown,” said Dill.

  Jem and I stopped in our tracks.

  “Yes sir, a clown,” he said. “There ain’t one thing in this world I can do about folksexcept laugh, so I’m gonna join the circus and laugh my head off.”

  “You got it backwards, Dill,” said Jem. “Clowns are sad, it’s folks that laugh at them.”

  “Well I’m gonna be a new kind of clown. I’m gonna stand in the middle of the ring andlaugh at the folks. Just looka yonder,” he pointed. “Every one of ‘em oughta be ridin’

  broomsticks. Aunt Rachel already does.”

  Miss Stephanie and Miss Rachel were waving wildly at us, in a way that did not givethe lie to Dill’s observation.

  “Oh gosh,” breathed Jem. “I reckon it’d be ugly not to see ‘em.”

  Something was wrong. Mr. Avery was red in the face from a sneezing spell and nearlyblew us off the sidewalk when we came up. Miss Stephanie was trembling withexcitement, and Miss Rachel caught Dill’s shoulder. “You get on in the back yard andstay there,” she said. “There’s danger a’comin‘.”

  “‘s matter?” I asked.

  “Ain’t you heard yet? It’s all over town—”

  At that moment Aunt Alexandra came to the door and called us, but she was too late.

  It was Miss Stephanie’s pleasure to tell us: this morning Mr. Bob Ewell stopped Atticuson the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him he’d get him if it took the rest ofhis life.

这回轮到杰姆哭了。我们穿过欢乐的人群时,他脸上布满了一道道义愤的泪水。“这不合理,”他一路上不断地嘟哝,直到来到广场拐角,在那儿我们发现阿迪克斯在等我们。阿迪克斯站在街灯下,神色自若,好象没发生什么事情一样。他的内衣扣得十分齐整,衣领和领带有条不紊,表链闪闪发光,完全恢复了他冷静的常态。
“这不台理,阿迪克斯。”杰姆说。
“孩子,是不合理。”
我们走回家去。
亚历山德拉姑妈没睡,在等我们。她穿着睡衣。我敢发哲,里面还穿了件紧身胸衣。。我感到遗憾,哥哥。”她轻声地说。我从来没听过她称呼阿迪克斯为哥哥,于是偷偷地瞟了杰姆一眼。但是杰姆心不在焉。他一会儿抬头瞧着阿迪克斯,一会儿又低头盯着地板。我心想,莫非他认为阿迪克新对汤姆?鲁宾逊判罪负有什么责任。
。他怎么了?”姑妈指着杰姆问道。
“一会儿就会好的。”阿迪克斯说,“对他来说,这件事他有点受不了。”爸爸叹了口气说:“我睡觉去了。明天早上如果我没醒来,就别叫我。”
“首先,让他们去就不明智。”
“这是他们的家,妹妹。”阿迪克斯说,“这个家就是这样,就是这样为他们安排的。最好还是让他们学会应付这样的事。”
“但是,他们犯不着去法院迷在那个里头啊!”
“法院就象传教团体的茶会一样,也是梅科姆镇的一部分。”
“阿迪克斯……”亚历山德拉姑妈显出焦虑的眼神,“我想你一点也不会对这种裁决感到难受。”
“我并不感到难受,只是疲倦了,我要去睡觉。”
“阿迪克斯……”杰姆的声音凄楚。
阿迪克斯在门口转身问:“什么,孩子?”
“他们怎么能这样搞?怎么能?”
。我不知道。但是他们终究这样搞了。他们过去这样搞,今天晚上这样搞,将来还会这样搞的。问题是他们这样搞,似乎只有孩子才会流泪。晚安。”
早上,情况总要好些。阿迪克斯同往常一样一大早就起来了。我们踉踉跄跄地走进客厅时,他已在那里阅读“奠比尔纪事报》了。杰姆早晨起来之后睡眼惺忪,困倦地开口提出问题。
“还没到担心的时候。”一道去餐室时阿迪克斯安慰他说,“我们不会罢休。我们将会提出上诉,还有指望。天啊【卡尔,这是什么,”他目光停在盘子上。
卡尔珀尼亚说:“汤姆?鲁宾逊的爸爸早上捎来这些鸡肉。我弄好了。”
“你告诉他,我为此感到自豪——即使在白宫,早餐也没有鸡肉吃。嗯,这些是什么?”
“蛋卷。”卡尔珀尼亚说,“埃斯特尔打发人从饭馆送来的。”
阿迪克斯抬头瞅着她,迷惑不解。她说:“到厨房去看看吧,芬奇先生,看看还有些什么。”
我们跟着他来列厨房。嗬,桌上堆满了食品,真能把全家人埋在中间。有大块大块的咸肉,有成堆的番茄和豆子,甚至有葡萄。阿迪克斯发现还有一坛腌猪脚时,真是笑得合不拢嘴。“你认为姑妈会让我在餐室里吃这些东西吗?”
卡尔珀尼亚说:“我早上来这儿时,看见后面台阶上堆满了这些东西。芬奇先生,您昨天做了好事,他们非常感激您。他们进来的东西太多了,是不是?”
阿迪克斯热泪盈眶,好一会儿说不出话来。“告诉他们,就说我非常感谢他们。”他最后说,“要他们以后别再这样做了。这年头日子不好过啊……”
他走出厨房,到餐室里向亚历山德拉姑妈告辞,戴上帽子到镇上去了。
我们听见过厅里响起了迪尔的脚步声。卡尔珀尼亚把阿迪克斯没有碰过的早餐留在桌上给迪尔吃。迪尔一边慢慢地吃着,一边把雷切尔小姐对昨晚的事的反应告诉我们。雷切尔小姐说,阿迪克斯这种人要用自己的脑袋去碰壁,那不关别人的事,反正是他自己的脑袋。
“我本来要告诉她的,”迪尔一边啃着鸡腿,一边忿忿不平地说,“但是今天早晨她好象不怎么爱听。她说她昨晚一直到半夜还没有睡,为我担心,不知我到哪儿去了。还说,她本来想叫司法官来找我,可是司法官到法庭参加审判去了。”
“迪尔,你以后别再不跟她说就出去,”杰姆说,“免得她气恼。”
迪尔耐着性子叹了口气,说:“我告诉过她我到哪儿去,我说了又说,直到精疲力竭说不出话来。她总是这样前怕狼后怕虎的。我想她这个女人每天早上一定要喝一品脱酒,我知道她总是喝满满两杯,我亲眼看她喝的。”
“别那么说,迪尔,”亚历山德拉姑妈说,“这话不该小孩说,太挖苦人了。”
“我这不是挖苦她,亚历山德拉小姐,是什么就说什么,这不算挖苦人,对不对?”
“你那么说话就是挖苦。”
杰姆的目光朝亚历山德拉姑妈闳了一闪,但他对迪尔说,“咱们走吧,你可以把那根鸡腿带走。”
我们走到前廊上,看见斯蒂芬尼?克劳福德小姐正忙着把我们昨天去法庭的事情告诉莫迪?阿特金森小姐和艾弗里先生。他们转身看了看我们,又继续说下去。杰姆从喉咙里发出一个粗野的声响。我恨不得手里有件武器。
“我最不喜欢大人看我,”追尔说,“使人觉得好象自己作了什么坏事似的。”
莫迪小姐大声叫杰姆过去。
杰姆哼了一声,从悬椅上站了起来。
“我们跟你一道去.”迪尔说。
斯蒂芬尼小姐由于好奇,鼻子微微颤抖着。她要知道到底是谁允许我们到法院去的——她昨天并没看见我们,但是今天早晨满城都知道我们昨天在黑人看台上。人们纷纷猜测,难道是阿迪克斯有意让我们呆在那上面,以表示一种……?那地方有那么多黑人,不闷得难受吗……?斯各特对昨天那种事都懂吗……?看见爸爸输了,我们气愤吗?
“别说了,斯蒂芬尼。”寞迪小姐果断地说,“我可不打算整个上午就在这儿闲扯。杰姆-芬奇,我叫你来是想问你,你和你的伙伴们是不是能吃点饼子,我五点就起床来做,所以你们最好不要推却。失陪了,斯蒂芬尼;再见,艾弗里先生。”
莫迪小姐厨房餐桌上有一个大饼和两个小饼。应该有三个小的才是,莫迪小姐是不会把迪尔忘记的。我们脸上一定表露了疑惑,不过看到莫迪小姐切开大饼.给杰姆一块时,我们明白过来了。
我们吃着吃着终于明白了,莫迪小姐是要以这种方式来表明,就她来说,对我们的看法丝毫没有改变。她坐在一张小靠椅上,默默地望着我们。
她突然说t“别烦恼,杰姆。事情总不象看上去的那么糟。”
在屋子里,每当莫迪小姐想详细谈点什么,她就张开指头把手放在膝盖上,把她的假牙在口中固定下来。她这会儿正这样做,我们也就静侯着。
“我只是想告诉你们,世界上有的人哪,生来就是要替我们去敞那些不愉快的工作的。你父亲就是这样的人。”
“噢,”杰姆叫了声,“嗯。”
“别对我噢呀嗯的,先生。”莫迪小姐轻轻叱责道,她听出杰姆这种无可奈何的哼声。“你太年轻,品不出我的话的味道。”
杰姆盯着他那吃了一半的饼子。“我们就象一条包在茧里面的幼虫,就是这么回事,”他说,“就象一个给裹在一个温暖的地方睡大觉的什么东西。我总觉得梅科姆的人是世界上最好的人,至少他们看上去很象。”
“我们是世界上最安全的人。”莫迪小姐说,“很少有人向我们请求帮助,即使碰上了这种情况,我们总是可以叫阿迪克斯这样的人为我们代劳。”
杰姆苦笑了一下,说:“但愿其他的人也这么想。”
“我们很多人是这么想的,这一定使你吃惊。”
“哪些人?”杰姆提高了嗓门,“这个镇上有谁给汤姆i鲁宾逊帮了点忙?谁?”
“一有他的黑人朋友;二有我们这砦人,三有泰勒法官那样的人,四有赫克?塔特先生那样的人。杰姆,j;!j吃了,停下来好好想想,难道你从没想到,泰勒法官指定阿迪克斯做辩护律师并不是偶然的吗?难道你从没想到,泰勒法官这一举动有他一定的用意?”
这倒真是个值得思考的问题。法庭通常是指定马克斯韦尔-格林先生充当辩护人,因为他是梅科姆堆近取得律师资格的人,需要充实这方面的经验。按理应该让他来负责汤姆?鲁宾逊的案子。
“你想一想这个吧,”莫迪小姐说,“这不是偶然的。昨晚我坐在走廊上等待。等啊等啊,等你们从人行道上走来。我一边等一边想,阿迪克斯?芬奇赢不了。他没法儿赢,但是,在这么个案件中,他却是这里唯一能使陪审团在外面踌躇那么久的人。我暗自想,好,我们进了一步,尽管象幼儿的步予一样小,但总算进了一步。”
“话尽管这么说,但是信仲基督教的法官和律师都不可能弥补异教的陪审团的缺陷。”杰姆嘀咕道,“等我一艮大……”
“这个问题你得去跟你爸爸讨论。”莫迪小姐说。
我们走下莫迪小姐那崭新的凉快的台阶,来到屋外酌阳光下,发现艾弗里先生和斯蒂芬尼?克劳福德小姐仍在闲聊。他们已经沿着人行道走过去一些,站在斯蒂芬尼小姐的屋前,雷切尔小姐正朝他们走去。
“我想,我长大了会是个小丑。”迪尔说。
我和杰姆停下脚步。
“是的,先生,会是个小丑。”迪尔说,“在这个世界上,除了发笑.我不能对人们做任何事,所以我干脆去马戏团,痛痛快快笑他个够。”
“迪尔,你弄反了。”杰姆说,“小丑是痛苦的,总是当别人的笑料。”
“那么,我去做一个新型的小丑,站在人群中间去笑周围的人。瞧那一边,”他用手指着,“他们每个人都应该骑上扫帚柄儿,雷切尔姑妈已经骑上了。”
斯蒂芬尼小姐和雷切尔小妞在拼命地向我们招手,那样子真象肯定了迪尔说的并不荒谬。
“噢,天哪,”杰姆低声哺哝道,“我想,不去见他们可不礼貌。”
有什么事情不对头了。艾弗里先生一连打了好几个喷嚏,直打得浦脸绯红。我们走上前去时差点被他的喷嚏吹下人行逋。斯蒂芬尼小姐激动得浑身颤抖,雷切尔小姐抓住迪尔的肩膀。“你快去后院,呆在那里。”她说,“要出事了。”
“什么事?”我问道。
。没听说吗?已经满城风雨了……”
这时,亚历山德拉姑妈从屋里出来nq我们,不过,她晚了一步。斯蒂芬尼小姐已抢先告诉了我们;早上鲍勃?尤厄尔先生在邮局拐角处挡住阿迪克斯,朝他脸上吐唾沫,并且对他说,哪怕要花一辈子工夫,也要干掉他。



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