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chapter 11
Next morning when the clanging of a bell awoke Philip he looked round his cubicle in astonishment. Then a voice sang out, and he remembered where he was.

‘Are you awake, Singer?’

The partitions of the cubicle were of polished pitch-pine, and there was a green curtain in front. In those days there was little thought of ventilation, and the windows were closed except when the dormitory was aired in the morning.

Philip got up and knelt down to say his prayers. It was a cold morning, and he shivered a little; but he had been taught by his uncle that his prayers were more acceptable to God if he said them in his nightshirt than if he waited till he was dressed. This did not surprise him, for he was beginning to realise that he was the creature of a God who appreciated the discomfort of his worshippers. Then he washed. There were two baths for the fifty boarders, and each boy had a bath once a week. The rest of his washing was done in a small basin on a wash-stand, which with the bed and a chair, made up the furniture of each cubicle. The boys chatted gaily while they dressed. Philip was all ears. Then another bell sounded, and they ran downstairs. They took their seats on the forms on each side of the two long tables in the school-room; and Mr. Watson, followed by his wife and the servants, came in and sat down. Mr. Watson read prayers in an impressive manner, and the supplications thundered out in his loud voice as though they were threats personally addressed to each boy. Philip listened with anxiety. Then Mr. Watson read a chapter from the Bible, and the servants trooped out. In a moment the untidy youth brought in two large pots of tea and on a second journey immense dishes of bread and butter.

Philip had a squeamish appetite, and the thick slabs of poor butter on the bread turned his stomach, but he saw other boys scraping it off and followed their example. They all had potted meats and such like, which they had brought in their play-boxes; and some had ‘extras,’ eggs or bacon, upon which Mr. Watson made a profit. When he had asked Mr. Carey whether Philip was to have these, Mr. Carey replied that he did not think boys should be spoilt. Mr. Watson quite agreed with him—he considered nothing was better than bread and butter for growing lads—but some parents, unduly pampering their offspring, insisted on it.

Philip noticed that ‘extras’ gave boys a certain consideration and made up his mind, when he wrote to Aunt Louisa, to ask for them.

After breakfast the boys wandered out into the play-ground. Here the day-boys were gradually assembling. They were sons of the local clergy, of the officers at the Depot, and of such manufacturers or men of business as the old town possessed. Presently a bell rang, and they all trooped into school. This consisted of a large, long room at opposite ends of which two under-masters conducted the second and third forms, and of a smaller one, leading out of it, used by Mr. Watson, who taught the first form. To attach the preparatory to the senior school these three classes were known officially, on speech days and in reports, as upper, middle, and lower second. Philip was put in the last. The master, a red-faced man with a pleasant voice, was called Rice; he had a jolly manner with boys, and the time passed quickly. Philip was surprised when it was a quarter to eleven and they were let out for ten minutes’ rest.

The whole school rushed noisily into the play-ground. The new boys were told to go into the middle, while the others stationed themselves along opposite walls. They began to play Pig in the Middle. The old boys ran from wall to wall while the new boys tried to catch them: when one was seized and the mystic words said—one, two, three, and a pig for me—he became a prisoner and, turning sides, helped to catch those who were still free. Philip saw a boy running past and tried to catch him, but his limp gave him no chance; and the runners, taking their opportunity, made straight for the ground he covered. Then one of them had the brilliant idea of imitating Philip’s clumsy run. Other boys saw it and began to laugh; then they all copied the first; and they ran round Philip, limping grotesquely, screaming in their treble voices with shrill laughter. They lost their heads with the delight of their new amusement, and choked with helpless merriment. One of them tripped Philip up and he fell, heavily as he always fell, and cut his knee. They laughed all the louder when he got up. A boy pushed him from behind, and he would have fallen again if another had not caught him. The game was forgotten in the entertainment of Philip’s deformity. One of them invented an odd, rolling limp that struck the rest as supremely ridiculous, and several of the boys lay down on the ground and rolled about in laughter: Philip was completely scared. He could not make out why they were laughing at him. His heart beat so that he could hardly breathe, and he was more frightened than he had ever been in his life. He stood still stupidly while the boys ran round him, mimicking and laughing; they shouted to him to try and catch them; but he did not move. He did not want them to see him run any more. He was using all his strength to prevent himself from crying.

Suddenly the bell rang, and they all trooped back to school. Philip’s knee was bleeding, and he was dusty and dishevelled. For some minutes Mr. Rice could not control his form. They were excited still by the strange novelty, and Philip saw one or two of them furtively looking down at his feet. He tucked them under the bench.

In the afternoon they went up to play football, but Mr. Watson stopped Philip on the way out after dinner.

‘I suppose you can’t play football, Carey?’ he asked him.

Philip blushed self-consciously.

‘No, sir.’

‘Very well. You’d better go up to the field. You can walk as far as that, can’t you? ‘

Philip had no idea where the field was, but he answered all the same.

‘Yes, sir.’

The boys went in charge of Mr. Rice, who glanced at Philip and seeing he had not changed, asked why he was not going to play.

‘Mr. Watson said I needn’t, sir,’ said Philip.

‘Why?’

There were boys all round him, looking at him curiously, and a feeling of shame came over Philip. He looked down without answering. Others gave the reply.

‘He’s got a club-foot, sir.’

‘Oh, I see.’

Mr. Rice was quite young; he had only taken his degree a year before; and he was suddenly embarrassed. His instinct was to beg the boy’s pardon, but he was too shy to do so. He made his voice gruff and loud.

‘Now then, you boys, what are you waiting about for? Get on with you.’

Some of them had already started and those that were left now set off, in groups of two or three.

‘You’d better come along with me, Carey,’ said the master ‘You don’t know the way, do you?’

Philip guessed the kindness, and a sob came to his throat.

‘I can’t go very fast, sir.’

‘Then I’ll go very slow,’ said the master, with a smile.

Philip’s heart went out to the red-faced, commonplace young man who said a gentle word to him. He suddenly felt less unhappy.

But at night when they went up to bed and were undressing, the boy who was called Singer came out of his cubicle and put his head in Philip’s.

‘I say, let’s look at your foot,’ he said.

‘No,’ answered Philip.

He jumped into bed quickly.

‘Don’t say no to me,’ said Singer. ‘Come on, Mason.’

The boy in the next cubicle was looking round the corner, and at the words he slipped in. They made for Philip and tried to tear the bed-clothes off him, but he held them tightly.

‘Why can’t you leave me alone?’ he cried.

Singer seized a brush and with the back of it beat Philip’s hands clenched on the blanket. Philip cried out.

‘Why don’t you show us your foot quietly?’

‘I won’t.’

In desperation Philip clenched his fist and hit the boy who tormented him, but he was at a disadvantage, and the boy seized his arm. He began to turn it.

‘Oh, don’t, don’t,’ said Philip. ‘You’ll break my arm.’

‘Stop still then and put out your foot.’

Philip gave a sob and a gasp. The boy gave the arm another wrench. The pain was unendurable.

‘All right. I’ll do it,’ said Philip.

He put out his foot. Singer still kept his hand on Philip’s wrist. He looked curiously at the deformity.

‘Isn’t it beastly?’ said Mason.

Another came in and looked too.

‘Ugh,’ he said, in disgust.

‘My word, it is rum,’ said Singer, making a face. ‘Is it hard?’

He touched it with the tip of his forefinger, cautiously, as though it were something that had a life of its own. Suddenly they heard Mr. Watson’s heavy tread on the stairs. They threw the clothes back on Philip and dashed like rabbits into their cubicles. Mr. Watson came into the dormitory. Raising himself on tiptoe he could see over the rod that bore the green curtain, and he looked into two or three of the cubicles. The little boys were safely in bed. He put out the light and went out.

Singer called out to Philip, but he did not answer. He had got his teeth in the pillow so that his sobbing should be inaudible. He was not crying for the pain they had caused him, nor for the humiliation he had suffered when they looked at his foot, but with rage at himself because, unable to stand the torture, he had put out his foot of his own accord.

And then he felt the misery of his life. It seemed to his childish mind that this unhappiness must go on for ever. For no particular reason he remembered that cold morning when Emma had taken him out of bed and put him beside his mother. He had not thought of it once since it happened, but now he seemed to feel the warmth of his mother’s body against his and her arms around him. Suddenly it seemed to him that his life was a dream, his mother’s death, and the life at the vicarage, and these two wretched days at school, and he would awake in the morning and be back again at home. His tears dried as he thought of it. He was too unhappy, it must be nothing but a dream, and his mother was alive, and Emma would come up presently and go to bed. He fell asleep.

But when he awoke next morning it was to the clanging of a bell, and the first thing his eyes saw was the green curtain of his cubicle.

 

第十一章

次日清晨,菲利普被一阵丁丁当当的钟声吵醒,他睁开眼,不无惊讶地打量着自己的一方斗室。这时,耳边响起一声叫唤,使他记起自己此刻置身于何处。

"你醒了吗,辛格?"

小卧室是用磨光的油松本隔成的,卧室正面挂着一幅绿色门帘。那时候,人们很少考虑到屋内的通风问题,窗户老是关得严严的,只在早晨打汗一会儿,让宿舍透点新鲜空气。

菲利普从床上爬起,跪在地上做祷告。早晨寒气彻骨,菲利普一阵哆嗦:不过他人伯曾开导过他,穿着睡衣做祷告,比等到穿戴整齐后再做祷告更合上帝的心意。这种说法倒不怎么使菲利普感到意外,因为他自己也开始有所领悟:他足上帝创造出来的生灵,这位造物主对善男信女们的磨难困苦特别欣赏。作完晨祷,菲利普开始梳洗。宿舍里有两只浴盆,供五十名寄宿生轮流使用,每个学生一星期可洗一次澡。平时就用搁在脸盆架上的小脸盆洗脸揩身。这只洗脸架,再加上床铺和一把椅子,就是每问小卧室的全部家什。孩子们一边穿衣服,一边快活地随便闲扯。菲利普竖起耳朵听着。这时,又传来一阵钟声,孩子们飞奔下楼。他们进了教室,在两张长桌旁的条凳上坐定。沃森先生也进来坐下,后面跟着他的太太和几名工友。沃森先生做起祷告来很有点威势,雷鸣般的声声祈祷,似乎是针对每个孩子本人发出的恐吓之间。菲利普忐忑不安地听着。随后,沃森先生念了一章《圣经》,工友们鱼贯而出。不一会儿,那个衣履不整的年轻工友端来了两大壶茶,接着又跑了一趟,捧进来几大盘涂着黄油的面包片。

菲利普怕吃油腻的食物,看到涂在面包上的那厚厚一层劣质黄油,怎不叫他倒胃日?但他看到其他孩子都把那层黄油刮掉,他就如法炮制。他们都有一罐罐炯肉之类的自备食品,是放在日用品箱里带进来的。有些学生还享用一份鸡蛋或成肉"加菜",沃森先生从这上面捞到一笔外快。沃森先生也问过凯里先生,是否让菲利普也来份"加菜",凯里先生一口回绝,说他觉得不该把孩子惯坏了。沃森先生极表赞同--一他认为,对正在发育成长的少年来说,再没有比面包加黄油更好的食物了--一但是有些做爹娘的却过分娇宠子女,坚持要给他们"加菜"。

菲利普注意到"加菜"给某些孩子争得了几分面子,于是他打定主意,等到给路易莎伯母写信时,要求给自己也来一份"加菜"。

早餐后,孩子们都到外面操场上去溜达。走读生也陆续到校。他们的父亲或是当地的牧师,或是兵站的军官,再不就是定居在这座古城里的工厂主和商人。不一会儿,铃声大作,孩子们争先恐后拥向讲堂。讲堂包括一个长长的大房间和一个小套间。大房间的两头,由两位教师分别教中、低班的课;小套间是沃森先生授课用的,他教高班。为了表示这所学校是附属于皇家公学的预备学校,在一年一度的授奖典礼上,在公文报告里,这三个班级一律正式称为预科高班、预科中班和预科低班。菲利普被安排在低班。这个班的老师名叫赖斯,他满脸红光,有一副悦耳动听的嗓子,给孩子们上课时活泼而风趣。时间不知不觉地溜了过去,一会儿已是十点三刻,时间过得如此之快,使菲利普感到惊讶。课间,孩子们被放到教室外面去休息十分钟。

全校学生一下子吵吵嚷嚷地涌到操场上。新来的学生被吩咐站在操场中央,其他学生沿墙分立在左右两侧。他们开始玩起"逮清的游戏。老同学从这一堵墙跑到另一堵墙,中间的新同学这时便设法上去拦截,如果逮住一个,就念声咒语:"一、二、三,猪归咱。"于是,那个被逮住的孩子便成了俘虏,反过来帮新同学去捉那些还在逍遥奔跑的人。菲利普看见一个男孩打身边跑过,想上前将他抓住,可他一瘸一拐,眼睁睁让他溜了;这一下,奔跑着的孩子趁机全朝他管辖的地盘跑来。其中有个男孩灵机一动,模仿起菲利普奔跑的怪样子。其他孩子见状都咧嘴大笑,接着他们也学那男孩的样,在菲利普周围怪模怪样地拐着腿奔跑,尖着嗓门又是叫又是笑。他们陶醉在这种新玩意儿的欢快之中,乐得透不过气来。有一个孩子上前绊了菲利普一交,而菲利普就像平常摔倒时那样,实实地摔个正着,膝盖也跌破了。菲利普挣扎着从地上爬起,孩子们笑得更欢了。一个男孩从背后猛推了菲利普一把,要不是另一个男孩顺手将他拉住,他保准又是扑地一交。大伙儿光顾拿菲利普的残疾取乐,连做游戏也给忘了。其中一个孩子更是别出心裁,做了个怪里怪气的一摇三摆的痛步模样,让人觉得特别滑稽可笑,好几个孩子乐不可支,笑得直在地上打滚:菲利普吓得U瞪口呆,他实在不明白大伙儿干吗要这般嘲弄他。他的心怦怦乱跳,几乎连气也透不过来。菲利普出娘胎以来,还从未受到过这么大的惊吓。他呆若木鸡似地站在那儿,任凭孩子们在他周围大声哄笑,模仿他的步态,奔来跑去。他们冲着他大声喊叫,逗他去抓他们,但是菲利普纹丝不动。菲利普不愿让他们再看到自己奔跑。他使出全身气力,强忍着不哭出来。

突然铃声响了,学生们纷纷涌回讲堂。菲利普的膝盖在淌血,他头发提散,衣衫凌乱,满身是上。有好几分钟,赖斯先生没法控制班上的秩序。刚才那套新奇的玩意儿使孩子们兴奋不已;菲利普看到有一两个同学还在偷偷打量自己的下肢,赶紧把脚缩到板凳下面。

下午,孩子们准备去球场踢足球。菲利普吃过午饭,正往外走,沃森先生把他叫住。

"我想,你不会踢足球吧,凯里?"沃森先生问菲利普。

菲利普窘得涨红了脸。

"不会,先生。"

"那就别踢了。你最好也到场地上去。这点路你总能走吧?"

菲利普并不知道足球场在哪儿,但他还是照先前那样回答了一句:

"能的,先生。"

孩子们在赖斯先生的带领下出发了,他一眼瞥见菲利普没换衣服,便问他为什么不准备去踢球。

"沃森先生说我不必踢了,先生,"菲利普说。

"为什么?"

许多孩子围着菲利普,好奇地望着他。菲利普感到一阵羞愧,垂下眼皮不吭声。别的孩子替他回答了。

"他是个瘸子,先生。"

"噢,我明白了。"

赖斯先生很年轻,一年前刚取得学位。他这时突然感到很困窘。他本能地想对菲利普表示歉意,可又不好意思开口。他粗着嗓子冲着其他孩子嚷了一句:

"喂,孩子们,你们还在等什么呀?还不快走!"

有些学生早已出发,留下来的人也三三两两地走了。

"你最好跟我一块儿走,凯里,"老师说,"你不认得路,是吧?"

菲利普猜到了老师的好意,喉咙口抽噎了一声。

"我走不快的,先生。"

"那我就走慢点,"老师微笑着说。

这位红脸膛的普普通通的年轻人说了句体贴的话,一下子赢得了菲利普的好感。他顿时不再感到那么难过了。

可是晚上孩子们上楼脱衣睡觉的时候,那个叫辛格的男孩却从自己的小卧室里跑出来,把脑袋瓜伸进菲利普的卧室。

"嘿,把你的脚伸出来让我们瞧瞧,"他说。

"不,"菲利普回答道。

他赶紧跳上床钻进毯子。

"别对我说'不,字,"辛格说。"快来,梅森。"

隔壁卧室里的孩子正在门角处探头探脑,一听到叫唤,立即溜了进来。他们朝菲利普走来,伸手想去掀他身上的毯子,但菲利普紧紧揪住不放。

"你们干吗死乞白赖地缠着我?"菲利普叫喊道。

辛格抓起一把刷子,用刷子背敲打菲利普那只紧抓着毛毯的手。菲利普大叫起来。

"你干吗不把脚乖乖地伸出来让咱们看?"

"就不让你们看。"

绝望之余,菲利普捏紧拳头,对准那个折腾自己的孩子揍了一拳,但是,他势孤力单,辛格一把抓住菲利普的胳臂,死劲反扭着。

"哦,别扭别扭,"菲利普说,"胳臂要断的。"

"那么你老老实实躺着别动,把脚伸出来。"

菲利普抽搭一声,吁了口气。辛格又把手臂扭了一下。菲利普疼得没法忍受。

"好吧,我伸,我伸,"菲利普说。

菲利普伸出了脚。辛格仍旧抓住菲利普的手腕不放。他好奇地打量着那只跛足。

"真恶心!"梅森说。

这时又进来一个孩子,也来凑趣看热闹。

"呸,呸,"他不胜厌恶地说。

"哎哟,模样儿真怪,"辛格说着做了个鬼脸。"它硬不硬?"

他心环戒惧地用食指尖碰碰那只脚,好像它是个有生命意识的怪物似的。突然,他们听到楼梯上传来沃森先生沉重的脚步声。他们赶紧把毯子扔还给菲利普,像兔子似地一溜烟钻回自己的卧室。沃森先生走进学生宿舍。他只须踮起脚跟,就可以从挂着绿色帘子的竿子上方看到里面的动静。他察看了两三间学生卧室。孩子们都已安然人睡,他熄了灯,回身出去。

辛格叫唤菲利普,但菲利普没有理会。他用牙紧紧咬着枕头,怕让人听到自己在啜泣。此刻他暗自流泪,倒不是因为挨了揍,身子疼痛,也不是因为让他们看了自己的残足,蒙受了羞屏,而是恼恨自己懦弱,这么经不起折磨,最后竟乖乖地把脚伸了出去。

此时,他感受到了生活道路上的凄风苦雨。在他这个人生才刚开始的小孩看来,今后准是苦海无边的了。不知怎么地,他忽然想起那个寒冷的早晨,埃玛怎么将他从床上抱到妈妈身边。打那以后,他再未回想过那番情景;叶是此刻,他似乎又感受到偎依在母亲怀里的那股暖意。他顿时觉得,自己所经历的一切,他母亲的溘然辞世,牧师公馆里的生活,还有这两天在学校的不幸遭遇,恍若一场幻梦;而明天一早醒来,自己又在家里了。菲利普想着想着,眼泪渐渐干了。他委实太不幸了,这一切想必是场幻梦;他母亲还活着,埃玛一会儿就会上楼来睡觉的。他睡着了。

然而第二天早晨,他依旧在丁丁当当的铃声中愕然醒来,首先跃入眼帘的还是他小卧室里的那幅绿色门帘。


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