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chapter 6
One day was very like another at the vicarage.

Soon after breakfast Mary Ann brought in The Times. Mr. Carey shared it with two neighbours. He had it from ten till one, when the gardener took it over to Mr. Ellis at the Limes, with whom it remained till seven; then it was taken to Miss Brooks at the Manor House, who, since she got it late, had the advantage of keeping it. In summer Mrs. Carey, when she was making jam, often asked her for a copy to cover the pots with. When the Vicar settled down to his paper his wife put on her bonnet and went out to do the shopping. Philip accompanied her. Blackstable was a fishing village. It consisted of a high street in which were the shops, the bank, the doctor’s house, and the houses of two or three coalship owners; round the little harbor were shabby streets in which lived fishermen and poor people; but since they went to chapel they were of no account. When Mrs. Carey passed the dissenting ministers in the street she stepped over to the other side to avoid meeting them, but if there was not time for this fixed her eyes on the pavement. It was a scandal to which the Vicar had never resigned himself that there were three chapels in the High Street: he could not help feeling that the law should have stepped in to prevent their erection. Shopping in Blackstable was not a simple matter; for dissent, helped by the fact that the parish church was two miles from the town, was very common; and it was necessary to deal only with churchgoers; Mrs. Carey knew perfectly that the vicarage custom might make all the difference to a tradesman’s faith. There were two butchers who went to church, and they would not understand that the Vicar could not deal with both of them at once; nor were they satisfied with his simple plan of going for six months to one and for six months to the other. The butcher who was not sending meat to the vicarage constantly threatened not to come to church, and the Vicar was sometimes obliged to make a threat: it was very wrong of him not to come to church, but if he carried iniquity further and actually went to chapel, then of course, excellent as his meat was, Mr. Carey would be forced to leave him for ever. Mrs. Carey often stopped at the bank to deliver a message to Josiah Graves, the manager, who was choir-master, treasurer, and churchwarden. He was a tall, thin man with a sallow face and a long nose; his hair was very white, and to Philip he seemed extremely old. He kept the parish accounts, arranged the treats for the choir and the schools; though there was no organ in the parish church, it was generally considered (in Blackstable) that the choir he led was the best in Kent; and when there was any ceremony, such as a visit from the Bishop for confirmation or from the Rural Dean to preach at the Harvest Thanksgiving, he made the necessary preparations. But he had no hesitation in doing all manner of things without more than a perfunctory consultation with the Vicar, and the Vicar, though always ready to be saved trouble, much resented the churchwarden’s managing ways. He really seemed to look upon himself as the most important person in the parish. Mr. Carey constantly told his wife that if Josiah Graves did not take care he would give him a good rap over the knuckles one day; but Mrs. Carey advised him to bear with Josiah Graves: he meant well, and it was not his fault if he was not quite a gentleman. The Vicar, finding his comfort in the practice of a Christian virtue, exercised forbearance; but he revenged himself by calling the churchwarden Bismarck behind his back.

Once there had been a serious quarrel between the pair, and Mrs. Carey still thought of that anxious time with dismay. The Conservative candidate had announced his intention of addressing a meeting at Blackstable; and Josiah Graves, having arranged that it should take place in the Mission Hall, went to Mr. Carey and told him that he hoped he would say a few words. It appeared that the candidate had asked Josiah Graves to take the chair. This was more than Mr. Carey could put up with. He had firm views upon the respect which was due to the cloth, and it was ridiculous for a churchwarden to take the chair at a meeting when the Vicar was there. He reminded Josiah Graves that parson meant person, that is, the vicar was the person of the parish. Josiah Graves answered that he was the first to recognise the dignity of the church, but this was a matter of politics, and in his turn he reminded the Vicar that their Blessed Saviour had enjoined upon them to render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s. To this Mr. Carey replied that the devil could quote scripture to his purpose, himself had sole authority over the Mission Hall, and if he were not asked to be chairman he would refuse the use of it for a political meeting. Josiah Graves told Mr. Carey that he might do as he chose, and for his part he thought the Wesleyan Chapel would be an equally suitable place. Then Mr. Carey said that if Josiah Graves set foot in what was little better than a heathen temple he was not fit to be churchwarden in a Christian parish. Josiah Graves thereupon resigned all his offices, and that very evening sent to the church for his cassock and surplice. His sister, Miss Graves, who kept house for him, gave up her secretaryship of the Maternity Club, which provided the pregnant poor with flannel, baby linen, coals, and five shillings. Mr. Carey said he was at last master in his own house. But soon he found that he was obliged to see to all sorts of things that he knew nothing about; and Josiah Graves, after the first moment of irritation, discovered that he had lost his chief interest in life. Mrs. Carey and Miss Graves were much distressed by the quarrel; they met after a discreet exchange of letters, and made up their minds to put the matter right: they talked, one to her husband, the other to her brother, from morning till night; and since they were persuading these gentlemen to do what in their hearts they wanted, after three weeks of anxiety a reconciliation was effected. It was to both their interests, but they ascribed it to a common love for their Redeemer. The meeting was held at the Mission Hall, and the doctor was asked to be chairman. Mr. Carey and Josiah Graves both made speeches.

When Mrs. Carey had finished her business with the banker, she generally went upstairs to have a little chat with his sister; and while the ladies talked of parish matters, the curate or the new bonnet of Mrs. Wilson—Mr. Wilson was the richest man in Blackstable, he was thought to have at least five hundred a year, and he had married his cook—Philip sat demurely in the stiff parlour, used only to receive visitors, and busied himself with the restless movements of goldfish in a bowl. The windows were never opened except to air the room for a few minutes in the morning, and it had a stuffy smell which seemed to Philip to have a mysterious connection with banking.

Then Mrs. Carey remembered that she had to go to the grocer, and they continued their way. When the shopping was done they often went down a side street of little houses, mostly of wood, in which fishermen dwelt (and here and there a fisherman sat on his doorstep mending his nets, and nets hung to dry upon the doors), till they came to a small beach, shut in on each side by warehouses, but with a view of the sea. Mrs. Carey stood for a few minutes and looked at it, it was turbid and yellow, [and who knows what thoughts passed through her mind?] while Philip searched for flat stones to play ducks and drakes. Then they walked slowly back. They looked into the post office to get the right time, nodded to Mrs. Wigram the doctor’s wife, who sat at her window sewing, and so got home.

Dinner was at one o’clock; and on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday it consisted of beef, roast, hashed, and minced, and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of mutton. On Sunday they ate one of their own chickens. In the afternoon Philip did his lessons, He was taught Latin and mathematics by his uncle who knew neither, and French and the piano by his aunt. Of French she was ignorant, but she knew the piano well enough to accompany the old-fashioned songs she had sung for thirty years. Uncle William used to tell Philip that when he was a curate his wife had known twelve songs by heart, which she could sing at a moment’s notice whenever she was asked. She often sang still when there was a tea-party at the vicarage. There were few people whom the Careys cared to ask there, and their parties consisted always of the curate, Josiah Graves with his sister, Dr. Wigram and his wife. After tea Miss Graves played one or two of Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words, and Mrs. Carey sang When the Swallows Homeward Fly, or Trot, Trot, My Pony.

But the Careys did not give tea-parties often; the preparations upset them, and when their guests were gone they felt themselves exhausted. They preferred to have tea by themselves, and after tea they played backgammon. Mrs. Carey arranged that her husband should win, because he did not like losing. They had cold supper at eight. It was a scrappy meal because Mary Ann resented getting anything ready after tea, and Mrs. Carey helped to clear away. Mrs. Carey seldom ate more than bread and butter, with a little stewed fruit to follow, but the Vicar had a slice of cold meat. Immediately after supper Mrs. Carey rang the bell for prayers, and then Philip went to bed. He rebelled against being undressed by Mary Ann and after a while succeeded in establishing his right to dress and undress himself. At nine o’clock Mary Ann brought in the eggs and the plate. Mrs. Carey wrote the date on each egg and put the number down in a book. She then took the plate-basket on her arm and went upstairs. Mr. Carey continued to read one of his old books, but as the clock struck ten he got up, put out the lamps, and followed his wife to bed.

When Philip arrived there was some difficulty in deciding on which evening he should have his bath. It was never easy to get plenty of hot water, since the kitchen boiler did not work, and it was impossible for two persons to have a bath on the same day. The only man who had a bathroom in Blackstable was Mr. Wilson, and it was thought ostentatious of him. Mary Ann had her bath in the kitchen on Monday night, because she liked to begin the week clean. Uncle William could not have his on Saturday, because he had a heavy day before him and he was always a little tired after a bath, so he had it on Friday. Mrs. Carey had hers on Thursday for the same reason. It looked as though Saturday were naturally indicated for Philip, but Mary Ann said she couldn’t keep the fire up on Saturday night: what with all the cooking on Sunday, having to make pastry and she didn’t know what all, she did not feel up to giving the boy his bath on Saturday night; and it was quite clear that he could not bath himself. Mrs. Carey was shy about bathing a boy, and of course the Vicar had his sermon. But the Vicar insisted that Philip should be clean and sweet for the lord’s Day. Mary Ann said she would rather go than be put upon—and after eighteen years she didn’t expect to have more work given her, and they might show some consideration—and Philip said he didn’t want anyone to bath him, but could very well bath himself. This settled it. Mary Ann said she was quite sure he wouldn’t bath himself properly, and rather than he should go dirty—and not because he was going into the presence of the Lord, but because she couldn’t abide a boy who wasn’t properly washed—she’d work herself to the bone even if it was Saturday night.

 

第六章

牧师公馆里的生活,千篇一律,日复一日,无甚变化。

吃过早餐不久,玛丽·安把《泰晤士报》拿进来。这份报纸是凯里先生同两位邻居合订的。十时至一时归凯里先生看,到时间花匠就拿去给莱姆斯庄的埃利斯先生,一下午报纸留在他那儿,到七时再送交梅诺庄园的布鲁克斯小姐。她最后拿到手,也有个好处,报纸随后便留在她那儿啦。凯里太太夏天制作果酱时,常从她那儿讨张报纸来包果酱罐。每天凯里先生坐下来专心看报的时候,凯里太太就戴上无边帽,由菲利普陪着上街买东西。布莱克斯泰勃是个渔村,镇上只有一条大街,店铺、银行全设在那儿,医生以及两三个煤船主也住在这条街上。小渔港的周围是些窄街陋巷,住着渔民和穷苦村民;既然他们只上非教区教堂做礼拜,那当然是些微不足道的角色罗。凯里太太在街上一见到非国教教会的牧师,总是忙不迭问到街对面去,免得同他们打照面;实在规避不及,就目不斜视地盯着人行道。在这样一条大街上,竞然设立着三座非教区教堂,这种丑事实在叫牧师无法容忍:他总觉得法律该出面干预,明文禁止设立这类教堂。小镇离教区礼堂有两英里,这也是造成镇上人普遍不从国教的原因之一。在布莱克斯泰勃买东西可大有学问,必须同国教派教友打交道,凯里太太心里雪亮,牧师家人光顾哪家店铺,对店主的信仰有举足轻重的影响。镇上有两个肉铺掌柜,向来是上教区教堂做礼拜的,他们不明白牧师为什么不能同时光顾他们两家铺子;牧师的解决办法很简单,这半年在这家肉铺买肉,那半年再照顾另一家的生意,但他们对这个办法就是不满意。一旦哪家轮空,不定时向牧师家送肉,掌柜的就口口声声扬言以后不再涉足教区教堂了;牧师有时候不得已也要回敬一下:不上教区教堂做礼拜,已是大错特错,如果竟敢错上加错,真的跑到非国教教堂去做礼拜,那么即使他铺子里的肉再好,他凯里先生迫于无奈,当然只好永远不上门问津了。凯里太太路过银行,常常进去替丈夫捎口信给经理乔赛亚·格雷夫斯。格雷夫斯是教区教堂的唱诗班领班,同时兼任司库和执事。他个儿又瘦又高,蜡黄的脸上长着个长鼻子,满头白发,在菲利普心目中,没有再比他老的人了。教堂帐目归他管,款待唱诗班歌童、安排主日学校学生远足之类的事儿,也由他负责。虽说教区教堂连架风琴也没有,但是格雷夫斯主持的唱诗班,在布莱克斯泰勃却一致公认是全肯特郡首屈一指的。凡要举行什么仪式,比如主教大人来施坚信礼啦,教区长在收获感恩节来讲道啦,所有必不可少的准备工作全由他格雷夫斯一手张罗。他处理起教区事务来,无论巨细,都独断独行,从来不同牧师认真磋商。而牧师呢,尽管生性怕麻烦,主张多一事不如少一事,但对这位教会执事的专断作风,也很不以为然。看来,他俨然以全教区首要人物自居了。牧师几次三番在凯里太太面前扬言,如果乔赛亚·格雷夫斯不有所收敛,迟早要给他点厉害瞧瞧。不过,凯里太太总是劝他忍耐着点:格雷夫斯用心还是好的,要是他缺少君子之风,那也不能苛求于他嘛。牧师采取了克制态度,以恪守基督徒的美德自慰;不过有时免不了要在背地里骂这位教会执事是"俾斯麦",出出肚子里的怨气。

有一回这一对终于闹翻了;至今凯里太太想起那段令人焦虑不安的日子,仍心有余悸。是这么回事:保守党候选人宣布要在布莱克斯泰勃发表竞选演说Z乔赛亚·格雷夫斯把演说地点安排在布道堂内,随后跑去找凯里先生,说自己希望到时候也要在会上讲几句。看来那位候选人已请乔赛亚·格雷夫斯主持会议了。这种越俎代庖的做法,叫凯里先生如何忍受得了。牧师的职权理应受到尊重,在这点上他决不允许有半点含糊。要是一次有牧师出席的会议,竟让教会执事来主持,岂不荒唐透顶。牧师提醒乔赛亚·格雷夫斯,教区牧师乃是教区的至尊人物,也就是说,在教区内该由牧师说了算的。乔赛亚·格雷夫斯回敬说,没有人比他更认从教会的尊严了,但这回纯粹是政治上的事务;他反过来提醒牧师别忘了耶稣基督的训诫,"该撒的物当归给该撒"。对此,牧师反唇相讥:为了自己的目的,魔鬼也会引用《圣经》;不管怎么说,布道堂的支配权只属于他一个人,如果不请他主持,他决不同意动用教堂来召开政治会议。乔赛亚·格雷夫斯冲着凯里先生说了声悉听尊便,接着场言,反正他本人觉得美以美教堂同样是个很合适的开会场所。凯里先生说,如果乔赛亚·格雷夫斯胆敢涉足于一个比异教徒庙宇好不了多少的地方,他就再没有资格担任堂堂国教教区的执事。乔赛亚·格雷夫斯一气之下,便辞去了所有圣职,并于当晚派人到教堂取回黑袈裟和白法衣。替他管家的妹妹格雷夫斯小姐,也辞去了母道会的干事职务。母道会的会务,是向教区内贫苦孕妇发放法兰绒服、婴儿衣、煤以及五先令的救济金。凯里先生说,这回他总算真正当家作主了。但是牧师很快发觉自己对各种要处理的事务一窍不通;而乔赛亚·格雷夫斯呢,愤怒之余也发现自己失去了生活中的主要乐趣。这场争吵使凯里太太和格雷夫斯小姐深为苦恼。她们先是私下通信,继而又碰头商量,决心要把这个疙瘩解开。她们一个劝解自己的丈夫,一个说服自己的哥哥,嘴皮子从早磨到晚。既然她们谆谆规劝的原是这两位正人君子心里巴望做的,所以过了令人不安的三周之后,他俩终于握手言欢了。他们重修旧好,当然对双方部有好处,但他们却归之于对主的共同之爱。演讲会还是在布道堂里举行,不过改由医生来主持,凯里先生和乔赛亚·格雷夫斯两人都在会上讲了话。

凯里太太把口信带给银行家之后,照例要上楼同格雷夫斯小姐拉句把家常,谈谈教区里的事儿,对副牧师,或者对威尔逊太太的新帽子议论一番。威尔逊先生是布莱克斯泰勃的首富,估计每年至少有五百镑的收入。他娶了自己的厨娘做老婆。她们闲聊的时候,菲利普规规矩矩地坐在密不透风的客厅里,目不暇接地看着鱼缸内穿来游去的金鱼。这间客厅只有在接待客人时才使用,窗户整天关着,仅在早晨开几分钟,让房问透透风,客厅里的这股浑浊气味,在菲利普想来,大概跟银行业有着某种神秘的联系吧。

这时,凯里太太想起还得去杂货铺,便又跟菲利普起身上路了。买好东西之后,他们常沿着一条小街一直走到个海滩。小街两边净是些渔民居住的小屋子,大多是小木屋(这儿到处可以看见渔民坐在自己家门口织补鱼网,鱼网就晾挂在门扉上)。海滩边上仓库林立,但从仓库间的空隙处仍可望得见大海。凯里太太在那儿伫立几分钟,眺望浑浊发黄的海面(谁知道她在想些什么呢?);而这时候,菲利普就四下寻找扁石,打水漂取乐。然后,他们慢悠悠地往回走,路经邮局时,朝里望望钟点,走过医生家门前,又朝坐在窗口缝衣服的医生老婆威格拉姆太太点头打了个招呼,随后径直回家去。

下午一时吃午饭。星期一、二、三,吃烤牛肉、牛肉丝、剁牛肉;星期四、五、六,吃羊肉。星期天享用一只自家饲养的鸡。每天下午,规定是菲利普做功课的时间。大伯教他拉丁文和数学,其实他大伯自己对这两门学问一窍不通。伯母教他法文和钢琴,而她对法文也几乎是一无所知。不过钢琴倒还会弹两下,能为自己伴奏几首老掉了牙的歌子,这些歌她已唱了三十年。威廉大伯常常对菲利普说,在他还是副牧师的时候,他太太有十二首歌烂熟于心,不论什么时候请她表演,她都能即席唱它几首。就是现在,牧师公馆举行茶会的时候,她还不时露这么一手。牧师不愿邀请太多的人,有幸出席茶会的不外乎那么几位:副牧师、格雷夫斯兄妹、威格拉姆医生夫妇。用过茶点之后,格雷夫斯小姐演奏一两首门德尔松的《无言歌》,而凯里太太就演唱一首《当燕子飞回家的时候》或者《跑呀,跑呀,我的小马孔

不过凯里先生家并不经常举行茶会,因为张罗起来实在忙得够呛,待到客人告辞,他们已累得筋疲力尽。他们喜欢老两口子对坐品茶。用完了茶点再玩一会十五子棋,凯里太太总设法让凯里先生赢,因为他输了会不高兴的。晚上八时吃晚饭,马马虎虎吃些冷菜残羹。玛丽·安准备了茶点之后,再不高兴做什么菜了,而凯里太太还得帮着收拾餐具。通常,凯里太太只吃点涂牛油的面包片,然后再尝用点水果羹;牧帅则外加一片冷肉。晚饭一结束,凯里太太便打晚祷铃。随后,菲利普就去睡觉了。他执意不让玛丽·安替他脱衣服,反抗了一阵子,终于赢得了自己穿衣、脱衣的权利。九时,玛丽·安把盛着鸡蛋的盘子端进屋来。凯里太太在每只鸡蛋上标上日期,并把鸡蛋的数日登录在本子上。这以后,她挎上餐具篮上楼。凯里先生从经常翻阅的书中抽出一本来,继续看着。钟一敲十点,他便站起身,熄了灯,随妻子睡觉去了。

菲利普刚来时,一度竟决定不了到底安排他在哪天晚上洗澡。由于厨房的锅炉出了毛病,热水供应始终是个人难题,同一天内不可能安排两个人洗澡。在布莱克斯泰勃有浴室的唯独威尔逊先生一家,村里人都认为那是存心摆阔。星期一晚上,玛丽·安在厨房洗澡,因为她喜欢干干净净地开始新的一周。威廉大伯不能在星期六洗澡,因为下一天够他辛苦的,而洗完澡,他总觉得有点倦怠,所以便安排在星期五洗澡。凯里太太出于同样的考虑要在星期四沐浴。看来,菲利普当然只好在星期六洗澡了,但玛丽·安说,星期六她可不能让炉子一直烧到晚上,因为星期大得烧那么多的莱,又要做糕点,还有忙不完的这事那事,再要在星期六晚上替孩子洗澡,她觉得实在吃不消。是嘛,这孩子明摆着不会自己洗澡的。至于凯里太太,觉得给男小孩洗澡怪不好意思;牧师先生不用说,得忙着准备他的布道搞。可牧师执意认为,菲利普一定得梳洗得干干净净、整整齐齐地迎接主日。玛丽·安说,她宁可卷铺盖滚蛋也不愿接受硬逼她干的这差事--在这儿已经干了十八个年头,她可不想再承担额外的活计了,他们也该体谅体谅她嘛。不料菲利普本人却表示,他不需要任何人帮他洗澡,他自己完全对付得了,这一说,难题倒迎刃而解了。玛丽·安说,她敢断定,让孩子自己洗是洗不干净的,与其让孩子脏着身子,还不如让她自己累死的好,哪怕是在星期六晚上也罢--一这倒不是因为怕孩子在主面前出丑,而是因为她看不惯那种身上洗得不干不净的孩子。


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