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The Adverntures of Tom Sawyer Chapter1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Conscience Racks Tom
(Chapter 11)

CLOSE upon the hour of noon the whole village was suddenly electrified with the ghastly news. No need of the as yet undreamed-of telegraph; the tale flew from man to man, from group to group, from house to house, with little less than telegraphic speed. Of course the schoolmaster gave holiday for that afternoon; the town would have thought strangely of him if he had not.

A gory knife had been found close to the murdered man, and it had been recognized by somebody as belonging to Muff Potter -- so the story ran. And it was said that a belated citizen had come upon Potter washing himself in the "branch" about one or two o'clock in the morning, and that Potter had at once sneaked off -- suspicious circumstances, especially the washing which was not a habit with Potter. It was also said that the town had been ransacked for this "murderer" (the public are not slow in the matter of sifting evidence and arriving at a verdict), but that he could not be found. Horsemen had departed down all the roads in every direction, and the Sheriff "was confident" that he would be captured before night.

All the town was drifting toward the graveyard. Tom's heartbreak vanished and he joined the procession, not because he would not a thousand times rather go anywhere else, but because an awful, unaccountable fascination drew him on. Arrived at the dreadful place, he wormed his small body through the crowd and saw the dismal spectacle. It seemed to him an age since he was there before. Somebody pinched his arm. He turned, and his eyes met Huckleberry's. Then both looked elsewhere at once, and wondered if anybody had noticed anything in their mutual glance. But everybody was talking, and intent upon the grisly spectacle before them.

"Poor fellow!" "Poor young fellow!" "This ought to be a lesson to grave robbers!" "Muff Potter'll hang for this if they catch him!" This was the drift of remark; and the minister said, "It was a judgment; His hand is here."

Now Tom shivered from head to heel; for his eye fell upon the stolid face of Injun Joe. At this moment the crowd began to sway and struggle, and voices shouted, "It's him! it's him! he's coming himself!"

"Who? Who?" from twenty voices.

"Muff Potter!"

"Hallo, he's stopped! -- Look out, he's turning! Don't let him get away!"

People in the branches of the trees over Tom's head said he wasn't trying to get away -- he only looked doubtful and perplexed.

"Infernal impudence!" said a bystander; "wanted to come and take a quiet look at his work, I reckon -- didn't expect any company."

The crowd fell apart, now, and the Sheriff came through, ostentatiously leading Potter by the arm. The poor fellow's face was haggard, and his eyes showed the fear that was upon him. When he stood before the murdered man, he shook as with a palsy, and he put his face in his hands and burst into tears.

"I didn't do it, friends," he sobbed; "'pon my word and honor I never done it."

"Who's accused you?" shouted a voice.

This shot seemed to carry home. Potter lifted his face and looked around him with a pathetic hopelessness in his eyes. He saw Injun Joe, and exclaimed:

"Oh, Injun Joe, you promised me you'd never --"

"Is that your knife?" and it was thrust before him by the Sheriff.

Potter would have fallen if they had not caught him and eased him to the ground. Then he said:

"Something told me 't if I didn't come back and get --" He shuddered; then waved his nerveless hand with a vanquished gesture and said, "Tell 'em, Joe, tell 'em -- it ain't any use any more."

Then Huckleberry and Tom stood dumb and staring, and heard the stony-hearted liar reel off his serene statement, they expecting every moment that the clear sky would deliver God's lightnings upon his head, and wondering to see how long the stroke was delayed. And when he had finished and still stood alive and whole, their wavering impulse to break their oath and save the poor betrayed prisoner's life faded and vanished away, for plainly this miscreant had sold himself to Satan and it would be fatal to meddle with the property of such a power as that.

"Why didn't you leave? What did you want to come here for?" somebody said.

"I couldn't help it -- I couldn't help it," Potter moaned. "I wanted to run away, but I couldn't seem to come anywhere but here." And he fell to sobbing again.

Injun Joe repeated his statement, just as calmly, a few minutes afterward on the inquest, under oath; and the boys, seeing that the lightnings were still withheld, were confirmed in their belief that Joe had sold himself to the devil. He was now become, to them, the most balefully interesting object they had ever looked upon, and they could not take their fascinated eyes from his face.

They inwardly resolved to watch him nights, when opportunity should offer, in the hope of getting a glimpse of his dread master.

Injun Joe helped to raise the body of the murdered man and put it in a wagon for removal; and it was whispered through the shuddering crowd that the wound bled a little! The boys thought that this happy circumstance would turn suspicion in the right direction; but they were disappointed, for more than one villager remarked:

"It was within three feet of Muff Potter when it done it."

Tom's fearful secret and gnawing conscience disturbed his sleep for as much as a week after this; and at breakfast one morning Sid said:

"Tom, you pitch around and talk in your sleep so much that you keep me awake half the time."

Tom blanched and dropped his eyes.

"It's a bad sign," said Aunt Polly, gravely. "What you got on your mind, Tom?"

"Nothing. Nothing 't I know of." But the boy's hand shook so that he spilled his coffee.

"And you do talk such stuff," Sid said. "Last night you said, 'It's blood, it's blood, that's what it is!' You said that over and over. And you said, 'Don't torment me so -- I'll tell!' Tell what? What is it you'll tell?"

Everything was swimming before Tom. There is no telling what might have happened, now, but luckily the concern passed out of Aunt Polly's face and she came to Tom's relief without knowing it. She said:

"Sho! It's that dreadful murder. I dream about it most every night myself. Sometimes I dream it's me that done it."

Mary said she had been affected much the same way. Sid seemed satisfied. Tom got out of the presence as quick as he plausibly could, and after that he complained of toothache for a week, and tied up his jaws every night. He never knew that Sid lay nightly watching, and frequently slipped the bandage free and then leaned on his elbow listening a good while at a time, and afterward slipped the bandage back to its place again. Tom's distress of mind wore off gradually and the toothache grew irksome and was discarded. If Sid really managed to make anything out of Tom's disjointed mutterings, he kept it to himself.

It seemed to Tom that his schoolmates never would get done holding inquests on dead cats, and thus keeping his trouble present to his mind. Sid noticed that Tom never was coroner at one of these inquiries, though it had been his habit to take the lead in all new enterprises; he noticed, too, that Tom never acted as a witness -- and that was strange; and Sid did not overlook the fact that Tom even showed a marked aversion to these inquests, and always avoided them when he could. Sid marvelled, but said nothing. However, even inquests went out of vogue at last, and ceased to torture Tom's conscience.

Every day or two, during this time of sorrow, Tom watched his opportunity and went to the little grated jail-window and smuggled such small comforts through to the "murderer" as he could get hold of. The jail was a trifling little brick den that stood in a marsh at the edge of the village, and no guards were afforded for it; indeed, it was seldom occupied. These offerings greatly helped to ease Tom's conscience.

The villagers had a strong desire to tar-and-feather Injun Joe and ride him on a rail, for body-snatching, but so formidable was his character that nobody could be found who was willing to take the lead in the matter, so it was dropped. He had been careful to begin both of his inquest-statements with the fight, without confessing the grave-robbery that preceded it; therefore it was deemed wisest not to try the case in the courts at present.

明明白白读英语 轻轻松松记单词

You can memorize words in an efficient way if you pronounce them reasonably. Say words correctly, and you will learn them easily. Correct pronunciation means correct spelling of the words. English spelling is not good to guide its pronunciation. But spelling and pronunciation have closed relationship. They match each other perfectly. Sometimes we can pronounce a word according to its spelling. English pronunciation can also guide its spelling. This is a two-way communication.
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第11章 波特有口难辩,汤姆良心受谴

临近中午时分,那个可怕的消息使全村人一下子惊呆了。根本用不着什么电报(当时人们连做梦都想不到这玩意),这消息一传十,十传百,以电报的速度就传开了,弄得家喻户晓,人人皆知。因此校长决定当天下午放半天假,否则非遭镇上人白眼不可。

据传闻,人们在死人的附近发现了一把带血的刀,经人辨认说它是莫夫·波特的。另外,一个晚上赶路的人,在凌晨一两点钟左右碰巧看见波特在小河里冲洗自己,见有人来,他马上溜掉。这确实令人怀疑,尤其是冲洗这件事根本不符合波特的习惯。还有,他们说镇上的人已经开始搜寻这个“杀人犯”了(在细查证据并以此定罪方面,人们从不怠慢),可是却没有找到。骑马的人沿着四面八方的路去追捕他,镇上的司法官“深信”:天黑之前就会逮到他。

全镇的人潮水般涌向坟地,汤姆突然不伤心了,也跟在后面。实际上,他很想到别的地方去,但是却被一种可怕的、不可言状的魔力吸引到这里。到了这个可怕的地方后,他矮小的身体在人群中拱来拱去挤到了前场,看见了悲凉的场面。他觉得头一天晚上到这里来过后,好像过了许多年似的。这时有人在他胳膊上拧了一下,他转过身来发现是哈克贝利。他俩目光刚一对视就立即转向别的地方,生怕旁人从中看出什么破绽来。可是大家都在谈话,一心关注的是眼前的这个惨状。

“可怜的人呀!”“不幸的年青人呀!”“这对盗墓者来说该是个教训!”“莫夫·波特要是给逮住了,一定会被绞死!”人群中时不时地传出这样的话语。牧师却说:“这是他应得的惩罚。”

这时,汤姆的目光落到了印第安·乔的脸上,发现他无动于衷。汤姆从头到尾,吓得直打冷颤。人群开始骚动起来,有人大呼:“就是他!就是他!他自己竟来了!”

“是谁?是谁?”有一二十人问道。

“是莫夫·波特!”

“啊呀,他停下了!注意,他转身了!别让他给跑了!”

“他不是要跑,只是有点迟疑和慌张。”汤姆抬起头,看见这是爬在树上的人在说话。

“该死的!”一个旁观者说,“干了坏事,还想偷偷来看热闹,真不要脸。没想到会来这么多人吧。”

人群闪开,让出了一条路。司法官揪着波特的胳膊,炫耀似地走过来。这个可怜的家伙脸色憔悴,眼中流露出恐惧的神色。到了死人面前,他像中了风,手捂着脸,突然哭起来。

“这不是我干的,乡亲们,”他抽咽着说,“我敢赌咒发誓,我从没有杀人。”

“谁控告你杀人了?”有人大声喊道。

这一喊让波特有了转机。他抬起头,绝望而可怜地向周围环视了一下。他看到印第安·乔后大声呼道:

“哦,印第安·乔,你保证过决不……”他话还没说完,司法官就将一把刀扔到他面前说:

“是你的刀吗?”

听到这话,波特要不是被人们扶着慢慢放到地上,他差点一头栽下去。

“不知怎么,我身不由己要来拿走……”他哆哆嗦嗦地说着,然后像泄了汽的球一样,无力地挥挥手说:

“告诉大伙,乔。跟他们说,反正瞒也没有用了。”

于是哈克贝利和汤姆目瞪口呆地站在那里,听着那个铁石心肠的家伙滔滔不绝对大家编了一通谎言。他俩希望老天有眼,立即当头一雷劈死这个骗子。可是恰恰相反,那个骗子却神气活现,安然无恙。他们原打算把誓言抛到一边,去救那个遭陷害的可怜人,见此情景,却更加犹豫不决了。再加上那个坏蛋一定卖身投靠了魔鬼撒旦,很显然同他们斗无异于螳臂当车,不自量力。

“你怎么不远走高飞,还到这来干什么?”有人问道。“要是能那样就好了。”波特呻吟着说,“我逃过,可不知怎么搞的,除了来这里,别无它处可去。”说完他又呜咽起来。

几分钟后,在验尸的时候,印地安·乔先是发誓,然后又不慌不忙地把那套谎话重复了一遍。天空并没有雷电大作,两个孩子更加深信:乔已确实卖身给魔鬼。这个家伙虽然是个丧门神,可是这两个孩子却觉得十分有趣好奇,迷得他俩目不转睛地盯着他。

他们暗自决定,晚上若有机会的话就盯梢他,看看能否见识一下他那魔鬼主人的真面目。印第安·乔也帮着把尸体抬上马车运走。惊魂未定的人群叽叽咕咕说那死人的伤口出了点血。两个孩子想这一可喜现象将有助于人们作出正确判断,查出真正的凶手。但他们马上又泄了气,因为不只一个村民说道:

“当时,莫夫·波特离死人不到三英尺远呢。”汤姆既不敢说出可怕的事实真相,良心又受到煎熬,因此搅得他事后一周内睡卧不安。一天,吃早饭时,希德说:

“汤姆,你翻来覆去,还说梦话,我给你搞得一夜只睡了半夜的觉。”

汤姆听后脸色煞白,垂下了眼皮。

“这可不是好兆头,”波莉姨妈阴着脸说,“汤姆。你有什么心事吗?”

“没有,我什么都不知道。”可他手在发抖,把咖啡给抖了出来。

“昨晚你的确说了,”希德说,“你说:‘是血,是血,就是血!’你反复说个不停。你还说:‘不要再这样折磨我了——我干脆说出来!’说出来什么?是什么事情呀?”

汤姆只觉得眼前一阵晕眩,后果很难预料。幸运的是,波莉姨妈注意力转移了,这下她无意中给汤姆解了围。

“嗨,没什么事,不就是那个恐怖的谋杀案吗。我经常晚上梦见那起谋杀案。有时还梦见是自己干的呢。”

玛丽说谋杀案这事,她也有同样的感觉。这下希德才不再问东问西了。汤姆的花言巧语使希德感到满意,随后他就溜之大吉。接下来的一周里,他说得了牙疼病,每天晚上睡觉都把嘴扎起来。可是希德夜里总是盯着他,时常解开他扎嘴的带子,然后侧着身子听上好一阵子,再把带子扎上。这一切,汤姆都被蒙在鼓里,渐渐地汤姆的心情平静了许多,对装牙疼也感到没劲,所以就恢复了常态。即使希德从汤姆夜里的支言片语中理出个头绪来,他自己知道就是了。

汤姆觉得,同学们玩起给猫验尸的游戏来,总是没完没了,这时常让他想起那天的验尸场面,感到非常不愉快。希德发现:汤姆以前干什么新鲜事情都喜欢打头阵,可现在验尸游戏时,他再也不扮验尸官了;还有,汤姆也不愿演证人——这确实令人不可思议。希德还清楚地记得在玩验尸游戏时,汤姆明显地表现出厌恶的样子,若有可能的话,总是尽量避免参加这样的玩法。希德感到奇怪,但未作任何流露。

汤姆一直感到很难过,过一两天,他就把能弄到手的小慰问品送到那个“杀人犯”那里,瞅个机会从小栅栏窗户给递进去。牢房很小,是个砖砌的小屋,位于村边的沼泽地上,没派看守,实际上,这里经常空着。汤姆觉得这样做,心灵上得到很大的宽慰。

全村的人强烈要求把那个盗墓贼印第安·乔给赶走,让他身上涂着柏油,插上羽毛骑在杆上被抬走。但由于这个家伙不是轻易就能对付的,所以找不到一个人愿意领这个头,事情也就这样告吹了。印第安·乔在验尸时,两次作证都只谈了打架的事情,没有承认盗墓,所以人们觉得这桩公案目前最好不要对簿公堂。

The Adverntures of Tom Sawyer Chapter1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

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