BUT there was no hilarity in the little town that same tranquil Saturday afternoon. The Harpers, and Aunt Polly's family, were being put into mourning, with great grief and many tears. An unusual quiet possessed the village, although it was ordinarily quiet enough, in all conscience. The villagers conducted their concerns with an absent air, and talked little; but they sighed often. The Saturday holiday seemed a burden to the children. They had no heart in their sports, and gradually gave them up.

In the afternoon Becky Thatcher found herself moping about the deserted schoolhouse yard, and feeling very melancholy. But she found nothing there to comfort her. She soliloquized:

"Oh, if I only had a brass andiron-knob again! But I haven't got anything now to remember him by." And she choked back a little sob.

Presently she stopped, and said to herself:

"It was right here. Oh, if it was to do over again, I wouldn't say that -- I wouldn't say it for the whole world. But he's gone now; I'll never, never, never see him any more."

This thought broke her down, and she wandered away, with tears rolling down her cheeks. Then quite a group of boys and girls -- playmates of Tom's and Joe's -- came by, and stood looking over the paling fence and talking in reverent tones of how Tom did so-and-so the last time they saw him, and how Joe said this and that small trifle (pregnant with awful prophecy, as they could easily see now!) -- and each speaker pointed out the exact spot where the lost lads stood at the time, and then added something like "and I was a-standing just so -- just as I am now, and as if you was him -- I was as close as that -- and he smiled, just this way -- and then something seemed to go all over me, like -- awful, you know -- and I never thought what it meant, of course, but I can see now!"

Then there was a dispute about who saw the dead boys last in life, and many claimed that dismal distinction, and offered evidences, more or less tampered with by the witness; and when it was ultimately decided who DID see the departed last, and exchanged the last words with them, the lucky parties took upon themselves a sort of sacred importance, and were gaped at and envied by all the rest. One poor chap, who had no other grandeur to offer, said with tolerably manifest pride in the remembrance:

"Well, Tom Sawyer he licked me once."

But that bid for glory was a failure. Most of the boys could say that, and so that cheapened the distinction too much. The group loitered away, still recalling memories of the lost heroes, in awed voices.

When the Sunday-school hour was finished, the next morning, the bell began to toll, instead of ringing in the usual way. It was a very still Sabbath, and the mournful sound seemed in keeping with the musing hush that lay upon nature. The villagers began to gather, loitering a moment in the vestibule to converse in whispers about the sad event. But there was no whispering in the house; only the funereal rustling of dresses as the women gathered to their seats disturbed the silence there. None could remember when the little church had been so full before. There was finally a waiting pause, an expectant dumbness, and then Aunt Polly entered, followed by Sid and Mary, and they by the Harper family, all in deep black, and the whole congregation, the old minister as well, rose reverently and stood until the mourners were seated in the front pew. There was another communing silence, broken at intervals by muffled sobs, and then the minister spread his hands abroad and prayed. A moving hymn was sung, and the text followed: "I am the Resurrection and the Life."

As the service proceeded, the clergyman drew such pictures of the graces, the winning ways, and the rare promise of the lost lads that every soul there, thinking he recognized these pictures, felt a pang in remembering that he had persistently blinded himself to them always before, and had as persistently seen only faults and flaws in the poor boys. The minister related many a touching incident in the lives of the departed, too, which illustrated their sweet, generous natures, and the people could easily see, now, how noble and beautiful those episodes were, and remembered with grief that at the time they occurred they had seemed rank rascalities, well deserving of the cowhide. The congregation became more and more moved, as the pathetic tale went on, till at last the whole company broke down and joined the weeping mourners in a chorus of anguished sobs, the preacher himself giving way to his feelings, and crying in the pulpit.

There was a rustle in the gallery, which nobody noticed; a moment later the church door creaked; the minister raised his streaming eyes above his handkerchief, and stood transfixed! First one and then another pair of eyes followed the minister's, and then almost with one impulse the congregation rose and stared while the three dead boys came marching up the aisle, Tom in the lead, Joe next, and Huck, a ruin of drooping rags, sneaking sheepishly in the rear! They had been hid in the unused gallery listening to their own funeral sermon!

Aunt Polly, Mary, and the Harpers threw themselves upon their restored ones, smothered them with kisses and poured out thanksgivings, while poor Huck stood abashed and uncomfortable, not knowing exactly what to do or where to hide from so many unwelcoming eyes. He wavered, and started to slink away, but Tom seized him and said:

"Aunt Polly, it ain't fair. Somebody's got to be glad to see Huck."

"And so they shall. I'm glad to see him, poor motherless thing!" And the loving attentions Aunt Polly lavished upon him were the one thing capable of making him more uncomfortable than he was before.

Suddenly the minister shouted at the top of his voice: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow -- sing! -- and put your hearts in it!"

And they did. Old Hundred swelled up with a triumphant burst, and while it shook the rafters Tom Sawyer the Pirate looked around upon the envying juveniles about him and confessed in his heart that this was the proudest moment of his life.

As the "sold" congregation trooped out they said they would almost be willing to be made ridiculous again to hear Old Hundred sung like that once more.

Tom got more cuffs and kisses that day -- according to Aunt Polly's varying moods -- than he had earned before in a year; and he hardly knew which expressed the most gratefulness to God and affection for himself.


第十七章 海盗们为自己送葬,教堂现真相











这个星期天,镇上显得十分宁静,报丧的钟声似乎与笼罩着大地的寂静很协调。村里的人开始聚集在一起,在走廊里逗留了一小会儿,低声谈论着这件惨案。可是教堂里除了女人们走向座位时衣服发出凄惨的沙沙声外却没有人窃窃私语。谁也记不起这个小小的教堂从前什么时候也像今天这样座无虚席。后来教堂里鸦雀无声,大家静心等候了一阵才见波莉姨妈走了进来,后面跟着希德和玛丽;过了一会哈帕一家也进来了,他们都穿着深黑色的衣服。这时全场起立,连年迈的牧师也不例外。大家都恭恭敬敬地站着一直等到刚进来的那些人在前排就座后这才坐下来。接着又是一阵默哀,间歇着传来一阵阵哽噎住的抽泣声。然后牧师摊开双手,做了祷告。人们唱了一首震撼人心的圣歌,之后又念了一段颂词:“我是生命,复活是我。”丧礼上,    牧师描述了死者的美德和他们讨人喜欢的行为,以及非凡的前途。在座的人个个都暗自承认他说得对,他们以前真是有眼无珠,居然对这些熟视无睹,反倒死盯着这些可怜孩子的过错和毛病不放,心里不免感到难过。牧师还讲述了这几个孩子生前的一些感人事迹,他们天真可爱,慷慨大方。人们现在一眼就看出他们那时的行为是多么地高尚,令人赞美。可当时这些却被认为是地道的流氓行为,人们恨不得用鞭子抽这些孩子。想到这一切,人们很难过。牧师越说越动情,在场的人也越听越受感动,都呜咽起来。牧师本人也控制不住自己的感情在布道台上哭起来。




波莉姨妈的亲切关怀,反倒使他变得更加不自在。忽然牧师放开嗓音,高唱起来:“赞美上帝,保佑众生——    唱!——大家尽情地唱呀!”