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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

The Salvation of Muff Potter
(Chapter 23)

AT last the sleepy atmosphere was stirred -- and vigorously: the murder trial came on in the court. It became the absorbing topic of village talk immediately. Tom could not get away from it. Every reference to the murder sent a shudder to his heart, for his troubled conscience and fears almost persuaded him that these remarks were put forth in his hearing as "feelers"; he did not see how he could be suspected of knowing anything about the murder, but still he could not be comfortable in the midst of this gossip. It kept him in a cold shiver all the time. He took Huck to a lonely place to have a talk with him. It would be some relief to unseal his tongue for a little while; to divide his burden of distress with another sufferer. Moreover, he wanted to assure himself that Huck had remained discreet.

"Huck, have you ever told anybody about -- that?"

"'Bout what?"

"You know what."

"Oh -- 'course I haven't."

"Never a word?"

"Never a solitary word, so help me. What makes you ask?"

"Well, I was afeard."

"Why, Tom Sawyer, we wouldn't be alive two days if that got found out. You know that."

Tom felt more comfortable. After a pause:

"Huck, they couldn't anybody get you to tell, could they?"

"Get me to tell? Why, if I wanted that half-breed devil to drownd me they could get me to tell. They ain't no different way."

"Well, that's all right, then. I reckon we're safe as long as we keep mum. But let's swear again, anyway. It's more surer."

"I'm agreed."

So they swore again with dread solemnities.

"What is the talk around, Huck? I've heard a power of it."

"Talk? Well, it's just Muff Potter, Muff Potter, Muff Potter all the time. It keeps me in a sweat, constant, so's I want to hide som'ers."

"That's just the same way they go on round me. I reckon he's a goner. Don't you feel sorry for him, sometimes?"

"Most always -- most always. He ain't no account; but then he hain't ever done anything to hurt anybody. Just fishes a little, to get money to get drunk on -- and loafs around considerable; but lord, we all do that -- leastways most of us -- preachers and such like. But he's kind of good -- he give me half a fish, once, when there warn't enough for two; and lots of times he's kind of stood by me when I was out of luck."

"Well, he's mended kites for me, Huck, and knitted hooks on to my line. I wish we could get him out of there."

"My! we couldn't get him out, Tom. And besides, 'twouldn't do any good; they'd ketch him again."

"Yes -- so they would. But I hate to hear 'em abuse him so like the dickens when he never done -- that."

"I do too, Tom. Lord, I hear 'em say he's the bloodiest looking villain in this country, and they wonder he wasn't ever hung before."

"Yes, they talk like that, all the time. I've heard 'em say that if he was to get free they'd lynch him."

"And they'd do it, too."

The boys had a long talk, but it brought them little comfort. As the twilight drew on, they found themselves hanging about the neighborhood of the little isolated jail, perhaps with an undefined hope that something would happen that might clear away their difficulties. But nothing happened; there seemed to be no angels or fairies interested in this luckless captive.

The boys did as they had often done before -- went to the cell grating and gave Potter some tobacco and matches. He was on the ground floor and there were no guards.

His gratitude for their gifts had always smote their consciences before -- it cut deeper than ever, this time. They felt cowardly and treacherous to the last degree when Potter said:

"You've been mighty good to me, boys -- better'n anybody else in this town. And I don't forget it, I don't. Often I says to myself, says I, 'I used to mend all the boys' kites and things, and show 'em where the good fishin' places was, and befriend 'em what I could, and now they've all forgot old Muff when he's in trouble; but Tom don't, and Huck don't -- they don't forget him, says I, 'and I don't forget them.' Well, boys, I done an awful thing -- drunk and crazy at the time -- that's the only way I account for it – and now I got to swing for it, and it's right. Right, and best, too, I reckon -- hope so, anyway. Well, we won't talk about that. I don't want to make you feel bad; you've befriended me. But what I want to say, is, don't you ever get drunk -- then you won't ever get here. Stand a litter furder west -- so -- that's it; it's a prime comfort to see faces that's friendly when a body's in such a muck of trouble, and there don't none come here but yourn. Good friendly faces -- good friendly faces. Git up on one another's backs and let me touch 'em. That's it. Shake hands -- yourn'll come through the bars, but mine's too big. Little hands, and weak -- but they've helped Muff Potter a power, and they'd help him more if they could."

Tom went home miserable, and his dreams that night were full of horrors. The next day and the day after, he hung about the court-room, drawn by an almost irresistible impulse to go in, but forcing himself to stay out. Huck was having the same experience. They studiously avoided each other. Each wandered away, from time to time, but the same dismal fascination always brought them back presently. Tom kept his ears open when idlers sauntered out of the courtroom, but invariably heard distressing news -- the toils were closing more and more relentlessly around poor Potter. At the end of the second day the village talk was to the effect that Injun Joe's evidence stood firm and unshaken, and that there was not the slightest question as to what the jury's verdict would be.

Tom was out late, that night, and came to bed through the window. He was in a tremendous state of excitement. It was hours before he got to sleep. All the village flocked to the court-house the next morning, for this was to be the great day. Both sexes were about equally represented in the packed audience. After a long wait the jury filed in and took their places; shortly afterward, Potter, pale and haggard, timid and hopeless, was brought in, with chains upon him, and seated where all the curious eyes could stare at him; no less conspicuous was Injun Joe, stolid as ever. There was another pause, and then the judge arrived and the sheriff proclaimed the opening of the court. The usual whisperings among the lawyers and gathering together of papers followed. These details and accompanying delays worked up an atmosphere of preparation that was as impressive as it was fascinating.

Now a witness was called who testified that he found Muff Potter washing in the brook, at an early hour of the morning that the murder was discovered, and that he immediately sneaked away. After some further questioning, counsel for the prosecution said:

"Take the witness."

The prisoner raised his eyes for a moment, but dropped them again when his own counsel said:

"I have no questions to ask him."

The next witness proved the finding of the knife near the corpse. Counsel for the prosecution said:

"Take the witness."

"I have no questions to ask him," Potter's lawyer replied.

A third witness swore he had often seen the knife in Potter's possession.

"Take the witness."

Counsel for Potter declined to question him. The faces of the audience began to betray annoyance. Did this attorney mean to throw away his client's life without an effort?

Several witnesses deposed concerning Potter's guilty behavior when brought to the scene of the murder. They were allowed to leave the stand without being cross-questioned.

Every detail of the damaging circumstances that occurred in the graveyard upon that morning which all present remembered so well was brought out by credible witnesses, but none of them were crossexamined by Potter's lawyer. The perplexity and dissatisfaction of the house expressed itself in murmurs and provoked a reproof from the bench. Counsel for the prosecution now said:

"By the oaths of citizens whose simple word is above suspicion, we have fastened this awful crime, beyond all possibility of question, upon the unhappy prisoner at the bar. We rest our case here."

A groan escaped from poor Potter, and he put his face in his hands and rocked his body softly to and fro, while a painful silence reigned in the court-room. Many men were moved, and many women's compassion testified itself in tears. Counsel for the defence rose and said:

"Your honor, in our remarks at the opening of this trial, we foreshadowed our purpose to prove that our client did this fearful deed while under the influence of a blind and irresponsible delirium produced by drink. We have changed our mind. We shall not offer that plea." [Then to the clerk:] "Call Thomas Sawyer!"

A puzzled amazement awoke in every face in the house, not even excepting Potter's. Every eye fastened itself with wondering interest upon Tom as he rose and took his place upon the stand. The boy looked wild enough, for he was badly scared. The oath was administered.

"Thomas Sawyer, where were you on the seventeenth of June, about the hour of midnight?"

Tom glanced at Injun Joe's iron face and his tongue failed him. The audience listened breathless, but the words refused to come. After a few moments, however, the boy got a little of his strength back, and managed to put enough of it into his voice to make part of the house hear:

"In the graveyard!"

"A little bit louder, please. Don't be afraid. You were --"

"In the graveyard."

A contemptuous smile flitted across Injun Joe's face.

"Were you anywhere near Horse Williams' grave?"

"Yes, sir."

"Speak up -- just a trifle louder. How near were you?"

"Near as I am to you."

"Were you hidden, or not?"

"I was hid."

"Where?"

"Behind the elms that's on the edge of the grave."

Injun Joe gave a barely perceptible start.

"Any one with you?"

"Yes, sir. I went there with --"

"Wait -- wait a moment. Never mind mentioning your companion's name. We will produce him at the proper time. Did you carry anything there with you."

Tom hesitated and looked confused.

"Speak out, my boy -- don't be diffident. The truth is always respectable. What did you take there?"

"Only a -- a -- dead cat."

There was a ripple of mirth, which the court checked.

"We will produce the skeleton of that cat. Now, my boy, tell us everything that occurred -- tell it in your own way -- don't skip anything, and don't be afraid."

Tom began -- hesitatingly at first, but as he warmed to his subject his words flowed more and more easily; in a little while every sound ceased but his own voice; every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. The strain upon pent emotion reached its climax when the boy said:

"-- and as the doctor fetched the board around and Muff Potter fell, Injun Joe jumped with the knife and --"

Crash! Quick as lightning the half-breed sprang for a window, tore his way through all opposers, and was gone!

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23章 波特无罪,乔逃亡在外

最后,昏昏然的气氛被打破了——而且打破得很彻底:那起谋杀案在法庭上公开审理了。这事立即成了全镇人谈论的热门话题。汤姆无法摆脱这件事。每逢有人提及这起谋杀案,他就心为之悸,因为他那不安的良心和极度的恐惧几乎使他相信,人家是故意说给他听,探探他的“口风”;他不明白,别人怎么会怀疑自己了解这个案情,但听了这些议论,他总是不能够泰然处之。这些话让他不停地打寒噤。他把哈克拉到一个僻静处,同他谈了这件事。能暂时地倾吐一下心结,和另一个同样受折磨的人共同分担一下忧愁,这对汤姆来说,多少算是点安慰。而且,他想搞清楚,哈克是否始终没把这个秘密泄露出去。

“哈克,你曾经跟什么人说起过——那件事吗?”

“什么事情?”

“明知故问。”

“哦——当然没说过。”

“一句也没说过吗?”

“一个字也没说过,我发誓。你问这个干吗?”

“唉,我很害怕。”

“嘿,汤姆·索亚,一旦秘密泄露,我们连两天也活不成。这你知道。”

汤姆觉得心里踏实多了。停了一会,他说:

“哈克,要是他们逼你招供,你怎么办?”

“逼我招供?嘿,除非我想被那个混帐王八蛋活活淹死,我才会招供。否则,他们绝办不到。”

“好吧,这样就没事了。我想只要咱们守口如瓶,就可保安然无恙。但是,让咱们再发一回誓吧。这样更牢靠些。”

“我赞成。”

于是他们又非常严肃认真地发了一回誓。

“大家都在议论些什么事,哈克?我听到的多得一塌糊涂呀!”

“什么事?嗐,还不是莫夫·波特、莫夫·波特、莫夫·波特,没完没了。这些话让人直冒冷汗,我想找个地方躲一躲。”

“我也有同感。我想他算是完了。你是不是有时候也为他感到难过?”

“差不多经常为他难过——经常是这样。他不算什么人物;但他从来没做过什么伤天害理的事情。不过是钓钓鱼,去卖钱来换酒大喝一通——常到处闲逛;可是,老天,咱们也没少干这些事啊——起码咱们多半都是这样——连布道的人也不例外。但是他心眼好——有一次,我钓的鱼不够两个人分,他还给了我半条鱼;还有好多次,我运气不佳的时候,他都没少帮忙。”

“哎,哈克,他帮我修过风筝,还帮我把鱼钩系在竿子上。

我希望我们能把他救出来。”

“哎呀!汤姆,那可使不得。况且,救出来也不济于事;

他们还会再把他抓回去。”

“是呀——他们会再把他抓回去。可是,我讨厌听到他们骂他是魔鬼,其实他根本没干——那件事。”

“我也一样,汤姆。老天爷,我听到他们骂他是全国头一号恶棍,他们还说他为什么从前没被绞死呢。”

“对,他们一直都是这么骂的。我还听人说,要是他被放出来,他们就偷偷结果掉他。”

“他们真的会那么干。”

两个孩子谈了很久,可并没有得到什么安慰。天色向晚,他俩来到那偏僻的小牢房附近转悠,心里存着不太明确的希望,希望能发生什么意外之事,来帮他们排忧解难。但是,什么事也没发生;似乎没什么天使神仙对这倒霉的囚犯感兴趣。

这两个孩子还是像从前那样——走到牢房的窗户那儿,给波特递进去一点烟叶和火柴。他被关在第一层,没有看守。

他非常感激他俩给他送好东西,这更让他俩的良心不安起来——这一次,像把刀似的深深刺进他们心里。当波特打开话匣时,他俩觉得自己极其胆小怕事,是个十足的叛徒。他说:

“孩子们,你们对我太好了——比镇上任何其他的人都好。我不会忘记的,我忘不了。我常自个儿唸叨着:‘我过去常常给镇上的孩子们修理风筝之类的玩具,告诉他们什么地方钓鱼最好,尽力和他们交朋友。但现在波特老头遭难了,他们就把他给忘了;可是啊,汤姆没有忘,哈克也没有忘——只有他俩没有忘记他。’我说:‘我也不会忘记他们。’啊,孩子们,我干了件可怕的事情——当时我喝醉了,神志不清——我只能这么解释——现在,我要因此事而被吊死,这是应该的。我想,是应该的,也是最好的——我反倒希望被吊死。哦,咱们不谈这事了吧。我不想让你们伤心难过;你们对我这么好,但是,我想对你们说的就是,你们千万不能酗酒啊——这样,你们就不会被关到这里了。你们再往西站一点——对——就这样;一个人遭此不幸,还能看到对他友好的面孔,真是莫大的安慰啊。现在,除了你们,再也没有人来看我了。多么友好的脸蛋——多友好啊。你们俩一个爬到另一个背上,让我摸摸你们的脸吧。好了。咱们握握手吧——你们的手可以从窗户缝中伸进来,我的手太大不行。这么小的手,没多大力气——可就是这小手帮了莫夫·波特很大的忙,要是能帮上更大的忙,也会帮的呀。”

汤姆悲痛地回到家里,当夜做了很多恶梦。第二天和第三天,他在法院外面转来转去,心里有种无法克制的冲动,想闯进去,可他还是强迫自己留在外面。哈克也有同样的经历。他们故意相互回避着。他们时常从那里走开,可是又都被这件惨案吸引回来。每当有旁听的人从法庭出来,汤姆就侧着耳朵细听,但听到的消息都令人忧心忡忡——法网越来越无情地罩向可怜的莫夫·波特身上。第二天快结束的时候,镇上传言,印第安·乔的证据确凿无疑,陪审团如何裁决此案是明摆着的了。

那天夜里,汤姆很晚才回来,他从窗子里爬进来上床睡觉。由于极度兴奋,过了好几个小时他才睡着。次晨,镇上所有的人成群结队地向法院走去,因为今天是个不平常的日子。听众席上挤满了人,男女各占一半。人们等了很久,陪审团才一个接着一个入场就座;不一会,波特带着手铐被押了进来,他面色苍白,一脸憔悴,神情羞怯,一副听天由命的样子。他坐的地方很显眼,全场好奇的人都能看得见。印第安·乔也同样地引人注目,他还是和先前一样不露声色。又过了一会,法官驾到,执法官就宣布开庭。接着,就听见律师们惯例式地低头接耳和收拾文件的声音。这些细节和随后的耽搁给人们一种准备开庭的印象,它既让人印象深刻同时又令人着迷。

现在,一个证人被带上来。他作证说在谋杀案发生的那天清晨,他看见莫夫·波特在河里洗澡,并且很快就溜掉了。

原告律师问了一会,说:

“问讯证人。”

犯人抬眼看了一会,然后又低下了眼睛。这时他的辩护律师说:

“我没有问题要问。”

第二个证人证明,他曾在被害人尸体附近发现了那把刀。

原告律师说:

“问讯证人。”

波特的律师说:“我没有问题要问。”

第三个证人发誓说,他常常看见波特带着那把刀。

“问讯证人。”

波特的律师拒绝向这个证人提问。看得出听众们开始恼火了。难道这个辩护律师不打算作任何努力,就把他的当事人性命给断送掉吗?

有几个证人都作证说当波特被带到凶杀现场时,他表现出了畏罪行为。被告的律师没有盘问他们一句,就允许他们退出了证人席。

在场的人对那天早上坟地里发生的悲剧都记忆犹新。现在宣过誓的证人把一个一个的细节都讲了出来,不过他们无一受到波特律师的盘问。全场一片低语声,表达了人们的困惑和不满的情绪,结果引起了法官的一阵申斥。于是,原告律师说:

“诸位公民宣誓作证,言简意赅不容置疑,据此,我们认定这起可怕的谋杀案,毫无疑问,系被告席上这个不幸的犯人所为。本案取证到此结束。”

可怜的莫夫呻吟了一声,他双手捂脸,来回轻轻地摇晃着身子,与此同时法庭上一片寂静,令人痛苦。许多男人都被感动了,女人们也掉下了同情的眼泪。这时,辩护律师站起身来,说:

“法官大人,本庭审讯之初,我们的所言就涵盖了开庭审讯之目的,我们曾力图证明我言外之意:我的当事人喝了酒,所以在神志不清的情况下干了这件可怕的事情。现在我改变了主意,我申请撤回那篇辩护词。”然后他对书记员说:“传汤姆·索亚!”

在场的每一个人都莫名其妙,惊诧不已;连波特也不例外。当汤姆站起来,走到证人席上的时候,人们都怀着极大的兴趣迷惑不解地盯着他。这孩子因为受到过分惊吓,看起来有点不能自制。他宣了誓。

“汤姆·索亚,6月17日大约半夜时分,你在什么地方?”

看见印第安·乔那张冷酷的脸,汤姆舌头僵住了,讲不出话来。听众们屏息敛气静听,可是话还是没有说出来。然而,过了几分钟,这孩子恢复了一点气力,勉强提高了声音,但仍然只有部分人能听清楚他的话:

“在坟地!”

“请你稍微大点声。别害怕。你是在……”

“在坟地。”

印第安·乔的脸上迅速地闪过一丝嘲弄的微笑。

“你是在霍斯·威廉斯的坟墓附近的什么地方吗?”

“是的,先生。”

“大点声——再稍微大点声。距离有多远?”

“就像我离您这么远。”

“你是不是藏起来了?”

“是藏起来了。”

“什么地方?”

“藏在坟边的几棵榆树后面。”

印第安·乔吃了一惊,别人几乎没有察觉到。

“还有别人吗?”

“有,先生。我是和……”

“别忙——等一下。你不要提及你同伴的名字。我们在适当的时候,会传问他的。你到那里去,带着什么东西吗?”

汤姆犹豫着,不知所措。

“说出来吧,孩子——别害怕。说真话总是让人敬佩的。

带了什么去的?”

“就带了一只——呃——一只死猫。”

人们一阵哄笑。法官把他们喝止住了。

“我们会把那只死猫的残骸拿来给大家看的。现在,孩子,你把当时发生的事说出来——照实说——什么也别说漏掉,别害怕。”

汤姆开始说了——起初有些吞吞吐吐,可是渐渐地喜欢这个话题了,于是,就越说越流畅自如;没过多么,除了他在说话外别无其它声音,每双眼睛都在盯着他;人们张着嘴,屏住呼吸,兴致盎然地听他讲述着这个传奇般的经历,一点都没注意到时间,都被这个恐怖而又魅力十足的历险吸引住了。

说到后来,汤姆心中积压的情感一下子迸发出来,他说:

“……医生一挥那木牌,莫夫·波特就应声倒在地上,印第安·乔拿着刀,跳过来,狠狠就是一下……”

“哗啦!”那个混帐闪电一般,朝窗口窜去,冲开所有阻挡他的人,跑了!

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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