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chapter 13
Two years passed, and Philip was nearly twelve. He was in the first form, within two or three places of the top, and after Christmas when several boys would be leaving for the senior school he would be head boy. He had already quite a collection of prizes, worthless books on bad paper, but in gorgeous bindings decorated with the arms of the school: his position had freed him from bullying, and he was not unhappy. His fellows forgave him his success because of his deformity.

‘After all, it’s jolly easy for him to get prizes,’ they said, ‘there’s nothing he CAN do but swat.’

He had lost his early terror of Mr. Watson. He had grown used to the loud voice, and when the headmaster’s heavy hand was laid on his shoulder Philip discerned vaguely the intention of a caress. He had the good memory which is more useful for scholastic achievements than mental power, and he knew Mr. Watson expected him to leave the preparatory school with a scholarship.

But he had grown very self-conscious. The new-born child does not realise that his body is more a part of himself than surrounding objects, and will play with his toes without any feeling that they belong to him more than the rattle by his side; and it is only by degrees, through pain, that he understands the fact of the body. And experiences of the same kind are necessary for the individual to become conscious of himself; but here there is the difference that, although everyone becomes equally conscious of his body as a separate and complete organism, everyone does not become equally conscious of himself as a complete and separate personality. The feeling of apartness from others comes to most with puberty, but it is not always developed to such a degree as to make the difference between the individual and his fellows noticeable to the individual. It is such as he, as little conscious of himself as the bee in a hive, who are the lucky in life, for they have the best chance of happiness: their activities are shared by all, and their pleasures are only pleasures because they are enjoyed in common; you will see them on Whit-Monday dancing on Hampstead Heath, shouting at a football match, or from club windows in Pall Mall cheering a royal procession. It is because of them that man has been called a social animal.

Philip passed from the innocence of childhood to bitter consciousness of himself by the ridicule which his club-foot had excited. The circumstances of his case were so peculiar that he could not apply to them the ready-made rules which acted well enough in ordinary affairs, and he was forced to think for himself. The many books he had read filled his mind with ideas which, because he only half understood them, gave more scope to his imagination. Beneath his painful shyness something was growing up within him, and obscurely he realised his personality. But at times it gave him odd surprises; he did things, he knew not why, and afterwards when he thought of them found himself all at sea.

There was a boy called Luard between whom and Philip a friendship had arisen, and one day, when they were playing together in the school-room, Luard began to perform some trick with an ebony pen-holder of Philip’s.

‘Don’t play the giddy ox,’ said Philip. ‘You’ll only break it.’

‘I shan’t.’

But no sooner were the words out of the boy’s mouth than the pen-holder snapped in two. Luard looked at Philip with dismay.

‘Oh, I say, I’m awfully sorry.’

The tears rolled down Philip’s cheeks, but he did not answer.

‘I say, what’s the matter?’ said Luard, with surprise. ‘I’ll get you another one exactly the same.’

‘It’s not about the pen-holder I care,’ said Philip, in a trembling voice, ‘only it was given me by my mater, just before she died.’

‘I say, I’m awfully sorry, Carey.’

‘It doesn’t matter. It wasn’t your fault.’

Philip took the two pieces of the pen-holder and looked at them. He tried to restrain his sobs. He felt utterly miserable. And yet he could not tell why, for he knew quite well that he had bought the pen-holder during his last holidays at Blackstable for one and twopence. He did not know in the least what had made him invent that pathetic story, but he was quite as unhappy as though it had been true. The pious atmosphere of the vicarage and the religious tone of the school had made Philip’s conscience very sensitive; he absorbed insensibly the feeling about him that the Tempter was ever on the watch to gain his immortal soul; and though he was not more truthful than most boys he never told a lie without suffering from remorse. When he thought over this incident he was very much distressed, and made up his mind that he must go to Luard and tell him that the story was an invention. Though he dreaded humiliation more than anything in the world, he hugged himself for two or three days at the thought of the agonising joy of humiliating himself to the Glory of God. But he never got any further. He satisfied his conscience by the more comfortable method of expressing his repentance only to the Almighty. But he could not understand why he should have been so genuinely affected by the story he was making up. The tears that flowed down his grubby cheeks were real tears. Then by some accident of association there occurred to him that scene when Emma had told him of his mother’s death, and, though he could not speak for crying, he had insisted on going in to say good-bye to the Misses Watkin so that they might see his grief and pity him.

 

第十三章

一晃两年过去了,菲利普已快十二岁。现在他已升入预科高班,在班里是名列前茅的优等生。圣诞节以后有几个学生要升到中学部去念书,到那时,菲利普就是班里的尖子顶儿了。他已获得了一大堆奖品,尽是些没什么价值的图书,纸张质地很差,装潢倒挺考究,封面上还镌有学校的徽志。菲利普成了优等生以后,再没有人敢来欺负他,而他也不再那么郁郁寡欢了。由于他生理有缺陷,同学们并不怎么忌妒他的成就。

"对他来说,要到手件把奖品还不容易,"他们说,"他除了死啃书本,还能干什么呢!"

菲利普已不像早先那么害怕沃森先生,并习惯了他那种粗声粗气的嗓门;每当校长先生的手掌沉沉地按在菲利普的肩头上,他依稀辨觉出这实在是一种爱抚的表示。菲利普记性很好,而记忆力往往比智力更有助于学业上的长进。他知道沃森先生希望他在预科毕业时能获得一笔奖学金。

可是菲利普在这两年里,自我意识变得十分强烈。一般来说,婴儿意识不到自己的躯体有异于周围物体,乃是自身的一部分;他要弄自己的脚趾,就像耍弄身边的拨浪鼓一样,并不觉得这些脚趾是属于他自身的。只是通过日积月累的疼痛感觉,他才逐渐理解到自己肉体的存在。而对个人来说,他也非得经历这类切肤之痛,才逐渐意识到自我的存在;不过这里也有不同的地方:尽管我们每个人都同样感觉到自己的身躯是个独立而完整的机体,但并非所有的人都同样感觉到自己是以完整而独立的个性存在于世的。大多数人随着青春期的到来,会产生一种落落寡合的感觉,但是这种感觉并不总是发展到明显地同他人格格不入的程度。只有像蜂群里的蜜蜂那样很少感觉到自身存在的人,才是生活的幸运儿,因力他们最有可能获得幸福:他们群集群起,融成一片,而他们的生活乐趣之所以成为生活乐趣,就在于他们是同游同行,欢乐与共的。我们可以在圣灵节那天,看到人们在汉普斯特德·希斯公园翩翩起舞,在足球比赛中呐喊助威,或是从蓓尔美尔大街的俱乐部窗口挥手向庄严的宗教队列连声欢呼。正因为有他们这些人,人类才被称作社会动物。

菲利普由于自己的跛足不断遭人嘲弄,逐渐失却了孩提的天真,进而痛苦地意识到自身的存在。对他来说,个人情况相当特殊,无法沿用现成的处世法则来应付周围环境,尽管这些法则在通常情况下还是行之有效的。他不得不另谋别法。菲利普看了好多书,脑子里塞满了各种各样的念头,正由于他对书里讲的事理只是一知半解,这反倒为他的想象力开阔了驰骋的天地。在他痛苦的羞态背后,在他的心灵深处,某种东西却在逐渐成形,他迷迷糊糊地意识到了自己的个性。不过有时候,这也会让他感到不胜惊讶;他的行为举上有时连自己也莫名其妙,事后回想起来,也茫然如堕大海,讲不出个所以然来。

班里有个叫卢亚德的男孩,和菲利普交上了朋友。有一天,他们在教室里一块儿玩着,卢亚德随手拿过菲利普的乌木笔杆耍起戏法来。

"别来这套无聊把戏,"菲利普说,"你不把笔杆折断才怪呢。"

"不会的。"

那小孩话音未落,笔杆已"啪"地一声折成两段。卢亚德狼狈地望着菲利普。

"哎呀,实在对不起。"

泪珠沿着菲利普的面颊扑籁而下,但他没有吱声。

"咦,怎么啦?"卢亚德委实吃了一惊,"一模一样的赔你一根就是啦。"

"笔杆本身我倒不在乎,"菲利普语声颤抖地说,"只是这支笔杆是我妈临终时留给我的。"

"噢,凯里,真是太遗憾了。"

"算了,我不怪你。"

菲利普把折成两段的笔杆拿在手里,出神地看着。他强忍着不发出呜咽,心里悲不自胜。然而他说不上自己为何这般伤心,因为他明明知道,这支笔杆是他上回在布莱克斯泰勃度假时花了一两个便士买来的。他一点也不明白自己为什么无端编造出这么个伤感动人的故事来,可是他却动了真情,无限伤感,好像确有其事似的。牧师家的虔诚气氛,还有学校里的宗教色彩,使得菲利普十分注意良心的清白无暇;他耳濡口染,不知不觉形成了这样一种意识:魔鬼每时每刻都在窥探,一心想攫取他的永生不灭的灵魂。虽说菲利普不见得比大多数孩子更为诚实,但是他每回撒了谎,事后总追悔不迭。这会儿,他把刚才的事前前后后思量了一番,感到很痛心,打定主意要去找卢亚德,说清楚那故事是自己信口杜撰的。尽管在他眼里,世上再没有比蒙羞受辱更可怕的了,然而有两三天的时间,他想到自己能以卑躬的忏悔来增添上帝的荣耀,想到痛苦悔罪之余的喜悦心情,还暗自庆幸呢。但是他并没有把自己的决心付诸行动,而是选取了比较轻松的办法来安抚自己的良心,只向全能的上帝表示忏悔之意。然而有一点他还是想不通,他怎么会真的被自己虚构的故事打动了呢。那两行沿着邋遢的面颊滚落的泪珠,确实是饱含真情的热泪。后来,他又偶然联想到埃玛向自己透露母亲去世消息时的那番情景。当时,他虽然泣不成声,还是执意要进屋去同两位沃特金小姐道别,好让她们看到自己在哀恸悲伤,从而产生怜悯之情。


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