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chapter 3
When they reached the house Mrs. Carey had died in—it was in a dreary, respectable street between Notting Hill Gate and High Street, Kensington—Emma led Philip into the drawing-room. His uncle was writing letters of thanks for the wreaths which had been sent. One of them, which had arrived too late for the funeral, lay in its cardboard box on the hall-table.

‘Here’s Master Philip,’ said Emma.

Mr. Carey stood up slowly and shook hands with the little boy. Then on second thoughts he bent down and kissed his forehead. He was a man of somewhat less than average height, inclined to corpulence, with his hair, worn long, arranged over the scalp so as to conceal his baldness. He was clean-shaven. His features were regular, and it was possible to imagine that in his youth he had been good-looking. On his watch-chain he wore a gold cross.

‘You’re going to live with me now, Philip,’ said Mr. Carey. ‘Shall you like that?’

Two years before Philip had been sent down to stay at the vicarage after an attack of chicken-pox; but there remained with him a recollection of an attic and a large garden rather than of his uncle and aunt.

‘Yes.’

‘You must look upon me and your Aunt Louisa as your father and mother.’

The child’s mouth trembled a little, he reddened, but did not answer.

‘Your dear mother left you in my charge.’

Mr. Carey had no great ease in expressing himself. When the news came that his sister-in-law was dying, he set off at once for London, but on the way thought of nothing but the disturbance in his life that would be caused if her death forced him to undertake the care of her son. He was well over fifty, and his wife, to whom he had been married for thirty years, was childless; he did not look forward with any pleasure to the presence of a small boy who might be noisy and rough. He had never much liked his sister-in-law.

‘I’m going to take you down to Blackstable tomorrow,’ he said.

‘With Emma?’

The child put his hand in hers, and she pressed it.

‘I’m afraid Emma must go away,’ said Mr. Carey.

‘But I want Emma to come with me.’

Philip began to cry, and the nurse could not help crying too. Mr. Carey looked at them helplessly.

‘I think you’d better leave me alone with Master Philip for a moment.’

‘Very good, sir.’

Though Philip clung to her, she released herself gently. Mr. Carey took the boy on his knee and put his arm round him.

‘You mustn’t cry,’ he said. ‘You’re too old to have a nurse now. We must see about sending you to school.’

‘I want Emma to come with me,’ the child repeated.

‘It costs too much money, Philip. Your father didn’t leave very much, and I don’t know what’s become of it. You must look at every penny you spend.’

Mr. Carey had called the day before on the family solicitor. Philip’s father was a surgeon in good practice, and his hospital appointments suggested an established position; so that it was a surprise on his sudden death from blood-poisoning to find that he had left his widow little more than his life insurance and what could be got for the lease of their house in Bruton Street. This was six months ago; and Mrs. Carey, already in delicate health, finding herself with child, had lost her head and accepted for the lease the first offer that was made. She stored her furniture, and, at a rent which the parson thought outrageous, took a furnished house for a year, so that she might suffer from no inconvenience till her child was born. But she had never been used to the management of money, and was unable to adapt her expenditure to her altered circumstances. The little she had slipped through her fingers in one way and another, so that now, when all expenses were paid, not much more than two thousand pounds remained to support the boy till he was able to earn his own living. It was impossible to explain all this to Philip and he was sobbing still.

‘You’d better go to Emma,’ Mr. Carey said, feeling that she could console the child better than anyone.

Without a word Philip slipped off his uncle’s knee, but Mr. Carey stopped him.

‘We must go tomorrow, because on Saturday I’ve got to prepare my sermon, and you must tell Emma to get your things ready today. You can bring all your toys. And if you want anything to remember your father and mother by you can take one thing for each of them. Everything else is going to be sold.’

The boy slipped out of the room. Mr. Carey was unused to work, and he turned to his correspondence with resentment. On one side of the desk was a bundle of bills, and these filled him with irritation. One especially seemed preposterous. Immediately after Mrs. Carey’s death Emma had ordered from the florist masses of white flowers for the room in which the dead woman lay. It was sheer waste of money. Emma took far too much upon herself. Even if there had been no financial necessity, he would have dismissed her.

But Philip went to her, and hid his face in her bosom, and wept as though his heart would break. And she, feeling that he was almost her own son—she had taken him when he was a month old—consoled him with soft words. She promised that she would come and see him sometimes, and that she would never forget him; and she told him about the country he was going to and about her own home in Devonshire—her father kept a turnpike on the high-road that led to Exeter, and there were pigs in the sty, and there was a cow, and the cow had just had a calf—till Philip forgot his tears and grew excited at the thought of his approaching journey. Presently she put him down, for there was much to be done, and he helped her to lay out his clothes on the bed. She sent him into the nursery to gather up his toys, and in a little while he was playing happily.

But at last he grew tired of being alone and went back to the bed-room, in which Emma was now putting his things into a big tin box; he remembered then that his uncle had said he might take something to remember his father and mother by. He told Emma and asked her what he should take.

‘You’d better go into the drawing-room and see what you fancy.’

‘Uncle William’s there.’

‘Never mind that. They’re your own things now.’

Philip went downstairs slowly and found the door open. Mr. Carey had left the room. Philip walked slowly round. They had been in the house so short a time that there was little in it that had a particular interest to him. It was a stranger’s room, and Philip saw nothing that struck his fancy. But he knew which were his mother’s things and which belonged to the landlord, and presently fixed on a little clock that he had once heard his mother say she liked. With this he walked again rather disconsolately upstairs. Outside the door of his mother’s bed-room he stopped and listened. Though no one had told him not to go in, he had a feeling that it would be wrong to do so; he was a little frightened, and his heart beat uncomfortably; but at the same time something impelled him to turn the handle. He turned it very gently, as if to prevent anyone within from hearing, and then slowly pushed the door open. He stood on the threshold for a moment before he had the courage to enter. He was not frightened now, but it seemed strange. He closed the door behind him. The blinds were drawn, and the room, in the cold light of a January afternoon, was dark. On the dressing-table were Mrs. Carey’s brushes and the hand mirror. In a little tray were hairpins. There was a photograph of himself on the chimney-piece and one of his father. He had often been in the room when his mother was not in it, but now it seemed different. There was something curious in the look of the chairs. The bed was made as though someone were going to sleep in it that night, and in a case on the pillow was a night-dress.

Philip opened a large cupboard filled with dresses and, stepping in, took as many of them as he could in his arms and buried his face in them. They smelt of the scent his mother used. Then he pulled open the drawers, filled with his mother’s things, and looked at them: there were lavender bags among the linen, and their scent was fresh and pleasant. The strangeness of the room left it, and it seemed to him that his mother had just gone out for a walk. She would be in presently and would come upstairs to have nursery tea with him. And he seemed to feel her kiss on his lips.

It was not true that he would never see her again. It was not true simply because it was impossible. He climbed up on the bed and put his head on the pillow. He lay there quite still.

 

第三章

凯里太太去世时住的那所房子,坐落在肯辛顿区一条沉闷却颇体面的大街上,地处诺丁希尔门和高街之间。马车到了那儿以后,埃玛就把菲利普领进客厅。他伯父正在给赠送花圈的亲友写信致谢。有一只送来迟了,没赶上葬礼,这会儿仍装在纸盒里,搁在门厅桌子上。

"菲利普少爷来了,"埃玛说。

凯里先生慢腾腾地站起身来同小孩握手,一转念,又弯下腰在孩子额头上亲了亲。凯里先生的个头中等偏下,身子开始发福。他蓄着长发,有意让它盖住光秃的头顶。胡子刮得光光的,五官端正,不难想象,他年轻时相貌一定很帅。他的表链上挂着一枚金质十字架。

"打现在起你要跟我一起过日子了,菲利普,"凯里先生说,"你愿意吗?"

菲利普两年前出水痘时,曾被送到这位教区牧师的家里呆过一阵子;但今天能回忆起来的,只是那儿的一间顶楼和一个大花园,对于他的伯父和伯母却没有什么印象。

"愿意。"

"你得把我和你的路易莎伯母看作自己的父母。"

孩子的嘴唇微微哆嗦了一下,小脸蛋蓦地红了起来,但是他没吱声。

"你亲爱的妈妈把你托付给我照管了。"

凯里先生不善于辞令,这会儿不知该说些什么是好。他一得到弟媳病危的消息,立即动身前来伦敦。他一路上没想别的,只是在担心要是弟媳果真有什么不测,自己就得负起照管她儿子的责任,这辈子休想再过什么太平日子。他年逾半百,结婚已经三十年,妻子没生过一男半女;到了这把年纪,他可不乐意家里凭空冒出个小男孩来,说不定还是个成天爱大声嚷嚷、举止粗野的小子哩。再说,他对这位弟媳从来没有多少好感。

"我明天就打算带你去布莱克斯泰勃,"他说。

"埃玛也一块儿去?"

孩子将小手伸进埃玛的手掌,埃玛将它紧紧攥住。

"恐怕埃玛得离开你了,"凯里先生说。

"可我要埃玛跟我一块儿去。"

菲利普哇的一声哭开了,保姆也忍不住潜然泪下。凯里先生一筹莫展地望着他们。

"我想,最好让我单独同菲利普少爷谈一下。"

"好的,先生。"

尽管菲利普死命拉住她,但她还是温存地让孩子松开了手。凯里先生把孩子抱到膝头上,用胳臂勾着他。

"你不该哭鼻子哟,"凯里先生说。"你现在大了,不该再用保姆啦。我们得想法子送你去上学。"

"我要埃玛跟我一块儿去,"孩子又嘀咕了一遍。

"这样开销太大了,菲利普。你爸爸本没留下多少钱,不知道现在还剩下几个子儿呢。你得好好算计算计,一个便士也不能随便乱花。"

就在前一天,凯里先生走访了家庭律师。菲利普的父亲是位医术高明的外科医生。他在医院担任的各种职务表明,他在医务界已占得一席之地。所以,当他猝然死于血中毒症,人们看到他留给遗孀的财产只有一笔人寿保险金,以及出赁他们在布鲁顿街的那幢房子所收得的租金时,都感到十分意外。那是六个月以前的情况;当时凯里太太身体已十分虚弱,又发觉自己怀了孩子,于是一有人提出要租那幢房子,就稀里糊涂地同意了。她把自己的家具堆藏起来,另外租住进一幢附带全套家具陈设的房子,赁期一年,而租金呢,在那位牧师大伯看来,简直高得吓人。她之所以这么做,为的是在孩子出世前能顺顺当当地过一段日子。但是她从来不善于当家理财,也不懂得节衣缩食,量人为出,以适应境遇的改变。为数本来很有限的钱财,就这样东花一点,西用一点,差不多全从她的指缝里漏掉了。到现在,一切开销付清之后,剩下的不过两千镑多一些,孩子在独立谋生之前,就得靠这笔钱来维持生活。所有这一切又怎么同菲利普讲呢,而这个孩子还在一个劲儿哭鼻子。

"你还是找埃玛去吧,"凯里先生说,他觉得安慰孩子的本事恐怕埃玛比谁都强。

菲利普不声不响地从大伯的膝盖上溜了下来,但凯里先生随即又将他拦住。

"我们明天就得动身,因为星期六我还要准备布道讲稿。你得关照埃玛今天就把行装收拾停当。你可以把所有的玩具都带上,要是想要点父母的遗物留作纪念,你可以各留下一件。其余的东西全要卖掉。"

孩子悄悄地走进客厅。凯里先生一向不习惯伏案工作,这会儿,他怀着一肚子怨气继续写他的信。书桌的一头,放着一叠帐单,这些玩意儿使他怒火中烧。其中有一张显得特别荒唐。凯里太太刚咽气,埃玛立即向花商订购了大批白花,用来布置死者的房间。这纯粹是浪费钱。埃玛不知分寸,竟敢这么自作主张。即使生活很宽裕,他也要将她辞掉。

但是菲利普却赶紧跑到埃玛身边,一头扑倒在她怀里,哭得好不伤心。菲利普出世后一个月就一直由埃玛照领,而她也差不多把菲利普当亲生儿子看待。她好言哄劝,答应以后有空就来看他,决不会将他忘掉;她给菲利普讲了他所要去的那个地方的风土人情,接着又讲了自己德文郡老家的一些情况---一她父亲在通往埃克塞特的公路上看守税卡;她老家的猪圈里养了好多猪:另外还养了一头母牛,且刚生下一头牛犊--菲利普听着听着,不但忘掉了刚刚还在淌眼泪,而且想到这趟近在眼前的旅行还渐渐兴奋起来。过了一会儿,埃玛把他放到地上,她还有好多事要做呢。菲利普帮着把自己的衣服一件件拿出来,放在床上。她叫他到幼儿室去把玩具收拢来,不多一会儿,他就高高兴兴地玩开了。

最后,他一个人玩腻了,又回到卧室来。埃玛正忙着把他的衣物用品收进大铁皮箱里。这时,菲利普忽然想起伯父说过他可以拿件把父母亲的遗物留作纪念。他把这事对埃玛说了,并问她应该挑选什么。

"你最好上客厅去看看有什么你喜欢的。"

"威廉大伯在那儿呐。"

"没关系,那些东西现在都是属于你的嘛。"

菲利普缓步走到楼下,发现客厅门开着。凯里先生已经走开了。菲利普慢慢悠悠地转了一圈。他们刚来这儿不久,屋里几乎没有什么东西特别使他感兴趣。这是某个陌生人的屋子,里面看不到一件合他心意的东西;不过他还是能分辨出哪些是母亲的遗物,哪些是房东的物品。这时,他的目光停留在一只小钟上,记得有一回曾听到母亲说起她很喜欢它。菲利普拿着小钟,闷闷不乐地上楼来。他走到母亲的卧室门外,霍地停住脚步,侧耳细听。虽然谁也没关照他别进去,但他总有种感觉,似乎自己不该贸然闯入。菲利普有几分畏惧之意,心儿怦怦乱跳不止;同时却又有那么几分好奇,驱使他去扭动门把。他轻轻地旋转门把,似乎生怕被里面的人听见,随后把门一点一点推开。他在门槛上站立了片刻,最后鼓足勇气走了进去。现在他已无惧意,只是觉得眼前有点陌生。他随手把门带上。百叶窗关着,窗缝里透进几缕一月午后清冷的日光,屋里显得很幽暗。梳妆台上放着凯里太太的发刷和一把带柄面镜。一只小盘里有几只发夹。壁炉架上摆着一张他自己的照片,还有一张父亲的照片。过去,他常趁母亲不在的时候上这儿来;可现在,这屋子似乎变了样。那几张椅子的模样,看上去还真有点怪。床铺理得整整齐齐,好像当晚有人要来就寝似的。枕头边有只套袋,里面放着件睡衣。

菲利普打开大衣柜,里面挂满了衣服,他一脚跨进柜子,张开手臂尽可能多地抱了一抱衣服,将脸埋在衣堆里。衣服上温馨犹存,那是母亲生前所用香水散发出的香味。然后,他拉开抽屉,里面放满了母亲的衣饰用品。他细加端详:内衣里夹着几只薰衣草袋,散发着沁人心脾的阵阵清香。屋子里那种陌生气氛顿时消失了,他恍惚觉得母亲只是刚刚外出散步,待会儿就要回来的,而且还要到楼上幼儿室来同他一起用茶点。他的嘴唇甚至依稀感觉到了母亲给他的亲吻。

说他再也见不着妈妈了,这可没说对。见不着妈妈?这怎么可能呢!菲利普爬上床,把头搁在枕头上。他一动不动地躺在那儿。


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