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Chapter 27

      Things did settle down, after a fashion, as Atticus said they would. By the middle ofOctober, only two small things out of the ordinary happened to two Maycomb citizens.

  No, there were three things, and they did not directly concern us—the Finches—but in away they did.

  The first thing was that Mr. Bob Ewell acquired and lost a job in a matter of days andprobably made himself unique in the annals of the nineteen-thirties: he was the onlyman I ever heard of who was fired from the WPA for laziness. I suppose his brief burstof fame brought on a briefer burst of industry, but his job lasted only as long as hisnotoriety: Mr. Ewell found himself as forgotten as Tom Robinson. Thereafter, heresumed his regular weekly appearances at the welfare office for his check, andreceived it with no grace amid obscure mutterings that the bastards who thought theyran this town wouldn’t permit an honest man to make a living. Ruth Jones, the welfarelady, said Mr. Ewell openly accused Atticus of getting his job. She was upset enough towalk down to Atticus’s office and tell him about it. Atticus told Miss Ruth not to fret, that ifBob Ewell wanted to discuss Atticus’s “getting” his job, he knew the way to the office.

  The second thing happened to Judge Taylor. Judge Taylor was not a Sunday-nightchurchgoer: Mrs. Taylor was. Judge Taylor savored his Sunday night hour alone in hisbig house, and churchtime found him holed up in his study reading the writings of BobTaylor (no kin, but the judge would have been proud to claim it). One Sunday night, lostin fruity metaphors and florid diction, Judge Taylor’s attention was wrenched from thepage by an irritating scratching noise. “Hush,” he said to Ann Taylor, his fat nondescriptdog. Then he realized he was speaking to an empty room; the scratching noise wascoming from the rear of the house. Judge Taylor clumped to the back porch to let Annout and found the screen door swinging open. A shadow on the corner of the housecaught his eye, and that was all he saw of his visitor. Mrs. Taylor came home fromchurch to find her husband in his chair, lost in the writings of Bob Taylor, with a shotgunacross his lap.

  The third thing happened to Helen Robinson, Tom’s widow. If Mr. Ewell was asforgotten as Tom Robinson, Tom Robinson was as forgotten as Boo Radley. But Tomwas not forgotten by his employer, Mr. Link Deas. Mr. Link Deas made a job for Helen.

  He didn’t really need her, but he said he felt right bad about the way things turned out. Inever knew who took care of her children while Helen was away. Calpurnia said it washard on Helen, because she had to walk nearly a mile out of her way to avoid theEwells, who, according to Helen, “chunked at her” the first time she tried to use thepublic road. Mr. Link Deas eventually received the impression that Helen was coming towork each morning from the wrong direction, and dragged the reason out of her. “Justlet it be, Mr. Link, please suh,” Helen begged. “The hell I will,” said Mr. Link. He told herto come by his store that afternoon before she left. She did, and Mr. Link closed hisstore, put his hat firmly on his head, and walked Helen home. He walked her the shortway, by the Ewells‘. On his way back, Mr. Link stopped at the crazy gate.

  “Ewell?” he called. “I say Ewell!”

  The windows, normally packed with children, were empty.

  “I know every last one of you’s in there a-layin‘ on the floor! Now hear me, Bob Ewell:

  if I hear one more peep outa my girl Helen about not bein’ able to walk this road I’ll haveyou in jail before sundown!” Mr. Link spat in the dust and walked home.

  Helen went to work next morning and used the public road. Nobody chunked at her,but when she was a few yards beyond the Ewell house, she looked around and saw Mr.

  Ewell walking behind her. She turned and walked on, and Mr. Ewell kept the samedistance behind her until she reached Mr. Link Deas’s house. All the way to the house,Helen said, she heard a soft voice behind her, crooning foul words. Thoroughlyfrightened, she telephoned Mr. Link at his store, which was not too far from his house.

  As Mr. Link came out of his store he saw Mr. Ewell leaning on the fence. Mr. Ewell said,“Don’t you look at me, Link Deas, like I was dirt. I ain’t jumped your—”

  “First thing you can do, Ewell, is get your stinkin‘ carcass off my property. You’releanin’ on it an‘ I can’t afford fresh paint for it. Second thing you can do is stay awayfrom my cook or I’ll have you up for assault—”

  “I ain’t touched her, Link Deas, and ain’t about to go with no nigger!”

  “You don’t have to touch her, all you have to do is make her afraid, an‘ if assault ain’tenough to keep you locked up awhile, I’ll get you in on the Ladies’ Law, so get outa mysight! If you don’t think I mean it, just bother that girl again!”

  Mr. Ewell evidently thought he meant it, for Helen reported no further trouble.

  “I don’t like it, Atticus, I don’t like it at all,” was Aunt Alexandra’s assessment of theseevents. “That man seems to have a permanent running grudge against everybodyconnected with that case. I know how that kind are about paying off grudges, but I don’tunderstand why he should harbor one—he had his way in court, didn’t he?”

  “I think I understand,” said Atticus. “It might be because he knows in his heart that veryfew people in Maycomb really believed his and Mayella’s yarns. He thought he’d be ahero, but all he got for his pain was… was, okay, we’ll convict this Negro but get back toyour dump. He’s had his fling with about everybody now, so he ought to be satisfied.

  He’ll settle down when the weather changes.”

  “But why should he try to burgle John Taylor’s house? He obviously didn’t know Johnwas home or he wouldn’t‘ve tried. Only lights John shows on Sunday nights are on thefront porch and back in his den…”

  “You don’t know if Bob Ewell cut that screen, you don’t know who did it,” said Atticus.

  “But I can guess. I proved him a liar but John made him look like a fool. All the timeEwell was on the stand I couldn’t dare look at John and keep a straight face. Johnlooked at him as if he were a three-legged chicken or a square egg. Don’t tell me judgesdon’t try to prejudice juries,” Atticus chuckled.

  By the end of October, our lives had become the familiar routine of school, play, study.

  Jem seemed to have put out of his mind whatever it was he wanted to forget, and ourclassmates mercifully let us forget our father’s eccentricities. Cecil Jacobs asked meone time if Atticus was a Radical. When I asked Atticus, Atticus was so amused I wasrather annoyed, but he said he wasn’t laughing at me. He said, “You tell Cecil I’m aboutas radical as Cotton Tom Heflin.”

  Aunt Alexandra was thriving. Miss Maudie must have silenced the whole missionarysociety at one blow, for Aunty again ruled that roost. Her refreshments grew even moredelicious. I learned more about the poor Mrunas’ social life from listening to Mrs.

  Merriweather: they had so little sense of family that the whole tribe was one big family. Achild had as many fathers as there were men in the community, as many mothers asthere were women. J. Grimes Everett was doing his utmost to change this state ofaffairs, and desperately needed our prayers.

  Maycomb was itself again. Precisely the same as last year and the year before that,with only two minor changes. Firstly, people had removed from their store windows andautomobiles the stickers that said NRA—WE DO OUR PART. I asked Atticus why, andhe said it was because the National Recovery Act was dead. I asked who killed it: hesaid nine old men.

  The second change in Maycomb since last year was not one of national significance.

  Until then, Halloween in Maycomb was a completely unorganized affair. Each child didwhat he wanted to do, with assistance from other children if there was anything to bemoved, such as placing a light buggy on top of the livery stable. But parents thoughtthings went too far last year, when the peace of Miss Tutti and Miss Frutti wasshattered.

  Misses Tutti and Frutti Barber were maiden ladies, sisters, who lived together in theonly Maycomb residence boasting a cellar. The Barber ladies were rumored to beRepublicans, having migrated from Clanton, Alabama, in 1911. Their ways were strangeto us, and why they wanted a cellar nobody knew, but they wanted one and they dugone, and they spent the rest of their lives chasing generations of children out of it.

  Misses Tutti and Frutti (their names were Sarah and Frances), aside from theirYankee ways, were both deaf. Miss Tutti denied it and lived in a world of silence, butMiss Frutti, not about to miss anything, employed an ear trumpet so enormous that Jemdeclared it was a loudspeaker from one of those dog Victrolas.

  With these facts in mind and Halloween at hand, some wicked children had waiteduntil the Misses Barber were thoroughly asleep, slipped into their livingroom (nobody butthe Radleys locked up at night), stealthily made away with every stick of furnituretherein, and hid it in the cellar. I deny having taken part in such a thing.

  “I heard ‘em!” was the cry that awoke the Misses Barber’s neighbors at dawn nextmorning. “Heard ’em drive a truck up to the door! Stomped around like horses. They’rein New Orleans by now!”

  Miss Tutti was sure those traveling fur sellers who came through town two days agohad purloined their furniture. “Da-rk they were,” she said. “Syrians.”

  Mr. Heck Tate was summoned. He surveyed the area and said he thought it was alocal job. Miss Frutti said she’d know a Maycomb voice anywhere, and there were noMaycomb voices in that parlor last night—rolling their r’s all over her premises, theywere. Nothing less than the bloodhounds must be used to locate their furniture, MissTutti insisted, so Mr. Tate was obliged to go ten miles out the road, round up the countyhounds, and put them on the trail.

  Mr. Tate started them off at the Misses Barber’s front steps, but all they did was runaround to the back of the house and howl at the cellar door. When Mr. Tate set them inmotion three times, he finally guessed the truth. By noontime that day, there was not abarefooted child to be seen in Maycomb and nobody took off his shoes until the houndswere returned.

  So the Maycomb ladies said things would be different this year. The high-schoolauditorium would be open, there would be a pageant for the grown-ups; apple-bobbing,taffy-pulling, pinning the tail on the donkey for the children. There would also be a prizeof twenty-five cents for the best Halloween costume, created by the wearer.

  Jem and I both groaned. Not that we’d ever done anything, it was the principle of thething. Jem considered himself too old for Halloween anyway; he said he wouldn’t becaught anywhere near the high school at something like that. Oh well, I thought, Atticuswould take me.

  I soon learned, however, that my services would be required on stage that evening.

  Mrs. Grace Merriweather had composed an original pageant entitled Maycomb County:

  Ad Astra Per Aspera, and I was to be a ham. She thought it would be adorable if someof the children were costumed to represent the county’s agricultural products: CecilJacobs would be dressed up to look like a cow; Agnes Boone would make a lovelybutterbean, another child would be a peanut, and on down the line until Mrs.

  Merriweather’s imagination and the supply of children were exhausted.

  Our only duties, as far as I could gather from our two rehearsals, were to enter fromstage left as Mrs. Merriweather (not only the author, but the narrator) identified us.

  When she called out, “Pork,” that was my cue. Then the assembled company wouldsing, “Maycomb County, Maycomb County, we will aye be true to thee,” as the grandfinale, and Mrs. Merriweather would mount the stage with the state flag.

  My costume was not much of a problem. Mrs. Crenshaw, the local seamstress, had asmuch imagination as Mrs. Merriweather. Mrs. Crenshaw took some chicken wire andbent it into the shape of a cured ham. This she covered with brown cloth, and painted itto resemble the original. I could duck under and someone would pull the contraptiondown over my head. It came almost to my knees. Mrs. Crenshaw thoughtfully left twopeepholes for me. She did a fine job. Jem said I looked exactly like a ham with legs.

  There were several discomforts, though: it was hot, it was a close fit; if my nose itched Icouldn’t scratch, and once inside I could not get out of it alone.

  When Halloween came, I assumed that the whole family would be present to watchme perform, but I was disappointed. Atticus said as tactfully as he could that he justdidn’t think he could stand a pageant tonight, he was all in. He had been in Montgomeryfor a week and had come home late that afternoon. He thought Jem might escort me if Iasked him.

  Aunt Alexandra said she just had to get to bed early, she’d been decorating the stageall afternoon and was worn out—she stopped short in the middle of her sentence. Sheclosed her mouth, then opened it to say something, but no words came.

  “‘s matter, Aunty?” I asked.

  “Oh nothing, nothing,” she said, “somebody just walked over my grave.” She put awayfrom her whatever it was that gave her a pinprick of apprehension, and suggested that Igive the family a preview in the livingroom. So Jem squeezed me into my costume,stood at the livingroom door, called out “Po-ork,” exactly as Mrs. Merriweather wouldhave done, and I marched in. Atticus and Aunt Alexandra were delighted.

  I repeated my part for Calpurnia in the kitchen and she said I was wonderful. I wantedto go across the street to show Miss Maudie, but Jem said she’d probably be at thepageant anyway.

  After that, it didn’t matter whether they went or not. Jem said he would take me. Thusbegan our longest journey together.

象阿迪克斯说过的那样,事情总算多多少少平息下来了。到十月中旬止,梅科姆镇只发生了两件异乎寻常的小事。不,应该说是三件。这些事情与我们芬奇家的人没有直接的关系,但是多少又与我们有点牵连。
第一件事:鲍勃?尤厄尔找到了一个工作,但又丢了,前后只有几天时间。这件事很可能在二十世纪三十年代的历史记载中是独一无二的:由于懒惰,他被解雇出工程规划署。我想是他那昙花一现的声誉给他带来比昙花一现还短的勤奋,但是他的工作与他的臭名也一样迅速地不复存在了;尤厄尔先生发现自己与汤姆?鲁宾逊一样被人遗忘了。于是,他跟从前一样,仍旧每周去福利办公室领取他的福利费。他总是毫不客气地取过钱来,含混不清地说,那些自以为他们掌管着这个镇子命运的杂种简直不让一个老实人活下去。福利办公室的工作人员鲁恩?琼斯小姐说,尤厄尔先生公开指控阿迪克斯打破了他的饭碗。鲁思小姐听了又气又恼,跑到阿迪克斯的办公室告诉阿迪克斯。阿迪克斯要鲁思小姐别发愁,他说,如果鲍勃?尤厄尔说他打破了他的饭碗要来找麻烦,他知道怎么到他办公室来。
第二件事是冲着泰勒法官来的。泰勒法官星期天晚上从不上教堂做礼拜,但泰勒太太却是做礼拜的。于是每逢星期天晚上,人家在教堂做礼拜,泰勒法官就津津有味地独个儿守着他那栋太屋子,关在书房里专心阅读鲍勃?泰勒的著作(鲍勃?泰勒不是法官的亲戚,不过法官会以认他做亲戚而感到自豪的)。有个星期天晚上,法官正专心读那些妙趣横生的比喻和绚烂多彩的词藻,忽然听见一种惹人心烦的塞牢声,他不由自主地从书本上抬起头来。“别做声!”他对安?泰勒一一他那只臃肿得难以名状的狗吆喝道。但是他很快便意识到自己是在与空荡荡的房子说话。塞寒牢牢的声音来自屋后。泰勒法官踏着沉重的步子走到屋后走廊上,让狗出去。他发现纱门被打开了,屋角边有个人影在他眼前一闪就无影无踪了。泰勒太太从教堂回来,看见丈夫在椅子上潜心阅读鲍勃?泰勒的著作,一枝猜枪横搁在膝上。
第三件事发生在海伦?鲁宾逊——汤姆的寡妇身上。如果说尤厄尔先生象汤姆?鲁宾逊一样被人遗忘了,那么,汤姆?鲁宾逊就象布?拉德利一样被人遗忘了。但是,汤姆的雇主林克?迪斯先生却没有忘记汤姆,他雇了海伦。他并非真正需要她,但他说,事情弄到这步田地,他感到十分遗憾。海伦工作时谁照看她的小孩我不知道。卡尔珀尼亚说,海伦上班真困难,因为她为了避开尤厄尔那一家,每天不得不绕道,几乎多走一英里路。海伦说,第一次去上班她想打公路上走,尤厄尔那一家子“大声辱骂她”。久而久之,林克?迪斯先生察觉到海伦每天清晨上班不是从她家的方向走来,于是他想方设法向海伦探明原因。“算了,请您别管这事吧,林克?迪斯先生。”海伦恳求说。“我决不会算了!”林克先生说。他叫她那天下午下班前走过他的商店。她来了,林克先生关好店门,戴好帽子,护送海伦回家。他带着她走近路,经过尤厄尔家。回来的路上,林克先生在那张破门前停了下来。
。尤厄尔!”他大声叫遭,“听着,尤厄尔!”
通常挤满了孩子的窗口,今天一个孩子也没有看见。
“我知道你们一个个都躺在地板上了!你们听着,鲍勃?尤厄尔!要是我再听见海伦说一声不敢走这条路,我就要在日落以前把你们全部关进监狱!”
林克先生朝地上吐了一口唾沫,回家去了。
第二天早上,海伦上班是走的公路,没有谁再犬声辱骂她。但是等她走过尤厄尔家几码远回头看时,只见尤厄尔先生紧紧跟着她,她扭过头去继续向前走,尤厄尔先生老跟着,和她保持一定的距离,直到她到了林克?迪斯先生的房子跟前。海伦说,一路上她听见身后有个低沉的声音,哼哼唧唧地骂着粗话。她吓得心惊胆战,连忙给在店子里的林克先生打了个电话。林克先生的店子离家不远,他立即从店子里出来,看见尤厄尔先生靠在栅栏上。
“不要这样望着我,林克先生,”尤厄尔先生说,“好象我是什么脏东西。我没有侵犯你的……”
。尤厄尔,首先,你那具臭不可闻的尸体得赶快从我的地盘上滚开,别靠在我的栅栏上,我可没钱再刷油漆!其次,不许你碰我的厨子,不然,我就要指控你强奸……”
“我没有碰她,林克?迪斯,我不会跟任何黑鬼走同一条路!”
“别说你不碰她,就是吓唬她,你倒试试看j如果强奸的罪名还不能把你关起来,我就要诉诸妇女法。你滚吧!要是你以为我只是说说而已,你就再惹一惹她看!”
尤厄尔先生显然认为他不是说说而已的,因为海伦没有再说过碰上什么麻烦。
“真讨厌,阿迪克斯,这些事情真讨厌。”亚历山德拉姑妈对这些事情发表自己的看法,“尤厄尔这个人好象对每个与那件案子有关的人都永远怀恨在心。我知道他那种人会发泄怨恨的,但是我不理解他为什么要怀恨得这么深——他的官司不是打赢了吗?”
“我想,我可以理解,”阿迪克斯说,“可能是因为他心里明白,梅科姆几乎没有人真正相信他和梅耶拉的假话。他原融为他会成为一个英雄,可是尽管他煞费苦心,但得到的只是……只是,不错,我们给这个黑人定了罪,但是你还是回你的垃圾场去吧。现在,他几乎对每个人都发泄了一顿怨气,他应该满足了。气候一变,他就会安静下来的。”
“但是,他为什么企图夜间闯进约翰?泰勒家去偷盗呢?显然,他不知道约翰在家,否则他是不会的。星期天晚上约翰只打开前面走廊和他那问屋里的灯……”
“你也不清楚到底是不是鲍勃?尤厄尔把那张纱门弄破了,不知道究竟是谁弄的。”阿迪克斯说,“但是我可以猜得出来。我证实了他惯予说谎,约翰却把他当傻瓜嘲弄了。尤厄尔在证人席上时我一看约翰那神态就想笑,所以我不敢望他。约翰望着尤厄尔好象尤厄尔是一只三只脚的鸡,或者是一只方形的鸡蛋。你别以为法官不会设法使陪审团抱偏见。”阿迪克斯格格地笑了。
到了十月底,我们的生活完全变成了那种一般单调乏味的程序:上学——玩耍——读书。杰姆似乎已经从脑海里驱走了一切他想忘记的东西,同学们也宽厚地让我们忘记了我们父亲的各种怪癖。有一次,塞西尔?雅各布问我,阿迪克斯是不是一个激进分子。我便去问阿迪克斯。阿迪克斯听了开心得哈哈大笑,把我都给惹得有些恼了。但是他说他不是笑我。他说:“你去告诉塞西尔,就说我几乎和棉花汤姆?赫夫林一样激进。”
亚历山德拉姑妈正是春风得意的时候。准是莫迪小姐一下子使整个传教团体都沉默寡言起来,因而姑妈在传教团体里又唱起主角来了。她做的点心也更加香甜可口了。由于常听梅里韦瑟太太讲话,我对可怜的摩路纳人的社会生活了解得更清楚:他们几乎没有家庭观念,因而整个部落是一个大家庭。部落里有多少个男人,一个孩子就有多少个父亲,部落里有多少个女人,一个孩子就有多少个母亲。捷?格兰姆斯?埃弗雷德正为改变这种状态作出最大的努力,极端需要我们为他祈祷。
梅科姆镇恢复了常态。除了两个小小的变化之外,一切与去年和前年一模一样。这两个小小的变化,一个是原来在商店橱窗和汽车上张贴着的“NRA——我们尽奉分”的标语被扯掉了。我问阿迪克斯为什么,他说,这是因为《国家恢复法令*已经取消。我问他是谁取消的,他说,是九个老头取消的。
自去年以来,梅科姆的第二个变化不具有全国性意义。去年和去年以前,万圣节前夕的活动在梅科姆还是一种毫无组织的活动,每个儿童可以为所欲为,如果要搬动什么东西,譬如说要把一辆小马车搬到马车房顶上,就请别的儿童来帮忙。但是自从去年塔蒂小姐和弗鲁蒂小姐宁静的生活被扰乱后,家长们都认为儿童们过于放肆了。
塔蒂?巴伯和弗鲁蒂?巴伯两位小姐是两姊妹,都是未结过婚的老处女。她俩住在一起。整个梅科姆镇只有她们家有地窖。她俩于1911年从亚拉巴马州的克兰顿县迁居到这里,谣传是共和党人,她们的生活方式与众不同。她们为什么想要一个地窖,没有人知道。反正,她们想要,就挖了一个。然后她们不得不在她们的余生里,不断地把一代一代的孩子从地窖里轰出来。
塔蒂、弗鲁蒂两位小姐(她们一个叫萨拉,一个叫弗朗西斯)除具有新英格兰人的特点外,两个人都耳聋。塔蒂小姐不承认自己有这个缺陷,因而生活在一个完全寂静的世界里,但是弗鲁蒂小姐不愿意少听任何一件事情,于是使用一个大得无比的助听器,杰姆说,她的助听器大得象个电唱机的喇叭。
顽童们知道她俩的这些情况。万圣节前夕,他们等到两位巴伯小姐酣睡之后,悄悄溜进她们的客厅(除了拉德利家外,这里的人晚上都不拴门),偷偷地把屋里的家具一件一件搬个一千二净,全藏到地窨里。我否认我自己参加了这种恶作剧。
“我听见有人!”翌日黎明,两位巴伯小姐的邻居被这一叫声惊醒。“听见他们开了一辆卡车来到门前!象马一样在四处跺得咚咚响。现在他们早已到新奥尔良了!”
塔蒂小姐断定是两天前路过这里的流动皮货商人把家具偷走了。“黑心肠的”,她说,“这些叙利亚人。”
有人叫来了赫克?塔特先生。他检查了现场之后说,他认为这是本地人千的。弗鲁蒂小姐说,梅科姆每一个人的声音不管在哪里她都辨得出,但是昨天晚上客厅里没有一个熟悉的声音。满屋予的人都是用舌前颤音发出r这个字母的。塔蒂小姐坚持说,只有使用警犬才能寻出她们的家具。于是,塔特先生不得不沿小道走了十英里到乡下弄来本县的猎狗,’上它们来追寻失物。.
塔特先生在巴伯小姐家门前的台阶上放开猎狗,但它们只是全都一个劲地飞跑着绕到屋子后面,朝着地窖门狂吠。一连三次都是这样,塔特先生终于猜蓟了实情。那天中午,梅科姆看不到一个赤脚的孩子,没有谁脱掉鞋子,直到送还了所有的猎狗。
梅科姆的女人们说,今年情况会不同了。中学的大礼堂会开放,并会为成年人举行一次隆重的庆典,孩子们将玩咬苹果、拉太妃糖、给驴子加上尾巴等游戏。还有一项二角五分的奖金将奖给万圣节前夕最好的戏服的制作和穿戴者。
我和杰姆叹息着,倒不是因为我们犯了什么过错,而是因为有个原则。杰姆认为自己已长大了,不管怎么说不应该再参加万圣节前夕的活动了。他说,在中学附近任何地方,无论如何也不会有人看到他挨这种活动的边。不过,我想,阿迪克斯会带我去的。
然而不久又听说,那天晚上我将要上台扮演角色。格雷斯?梅里韦瑟太太为庆典谱写了一支新颖的曲子,题为《梅科姆县:排除万难上天堂"。我将扮演一只火腿。她党得要是让每个孩子都穿着特别的戏服,代表一种本县的农产品,那将十分有趣。塞西尔可以扮演一头奶牛;艾格尼丝?布恩可以扮演一粒可爱的利马豆,另一个小孩扮演一颗花生,还有诸如此类的角色,直到梅里韦瑟太太韵想象力和所有的小孩都用上了为止。
根据两次排练的情况来看,我们仅有的任务是,梅里韦瑟太太(她不仅是作者而且是解说员)一个个叫我们的时候,我们从舞台的左侧出场。她叫到“猪肉”的时候,我就要赶快出场。然后,聚集在台上的所有角色高唱“梅科姆县,梅科姆县,我们永远忠于您”。最后,作为庄严盛大的结尾,梅里韦瑟太太将登上舞台挥舞州旗。
我的戏装不难解决。镇上的裁缝克伦肖太太想象力不亚于梅里韦瑟太太。她找来点做篱笆的铁丝网,把它弯成一只熏火腿的形状,再用棕色的市包裹起来,涂上颜料,做成后很象一只真正的火腿。我俯下身子让别人把这玩意儿从我头上罩下来。几乎可以一直罩到膝头上。克伦肖太太想得真周到,还给我留了两个窥视孔。戏装做得真象,杰姆说,我穿了宛如一只长了双脚的大火腿。可美中不足的是:由于罩得太紧,穿了觉得热;如果鼻子痒起来,我没有办法去抓;一旦钻进去我自己就脱不下来。
万圣节前夕到来的这一天,我暗地里想,全家一定都会去看我演出,但是我失望了。阿迪克斯极为婉转地说,他想他已疲惫不堪,没能耐去参加当晚的庆典了。他到蒙哥马利去了一周,当天下午很晚才回来。他要我邀杰姆,说他可能会陪我去。
亚历山德拉姑妈说,她整个下午都在布置舞台,这会儿够累了,必须早些上床休息。……她话讲了一半突然停住了,闭住嘴,又张开来想说什么,但没说出来。
“怎么啦,姑妈?”我问她。
“哦,没什么,没什么。”她回答说,“我刚才打了个冷颤.怕会要死了。”然后,她驱遗了一切惶恐的心理,建议我在客厅先演一遍给全家人看。于是杰姆把我推进戏装,站在客厅门口,叫了一声“猪肉”,声音跟梅里韦瑟太太一模一样。我走进来,阿迪克斯和亚历山德拉姑妈给拉逗乐了。
我又到厨房里在卡尔珀尼亚面前演了一遍,她说演得好极了。我想过街去演给莫迪小姐看,但杰姆说莫迪小姐可能已去会场了。
这样演了一阵,我想他们去不去也无关紧要了。杰姆说要陪我去。于是我们一道开始了我们最漫长的旅行。



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