Это одна из наиболее ярких сцен в романе, и одновременно она понятна в отрыве от всего остального. Главный герой, психолог W.H.R.Rivers, лечит своих пациентов с помощью длинных терапевтических бесед, иногда еще с помощью гипноза. Он посещает другую больницу, где психиатр по фамилии Yealland (исторический персонаж, как и сам Риверс) вылечивает солдат от невротических расстройств с помощью электрического шока, по сути дела пытая их. Риверс видит демонстрацию этого метода на примере солдата, который прошел сквозь все самые страшные битвы французского фронта, и потерял способность говорить (мутизм).
Обратите внимание на язык, которым описана сцена: будничный, почти скупой. Автор предпочитает показать, а не рассказать эмоциональную реакцию персонажей - посредством их движений, взглядов, слов. Всего несколько раз за всю длинную сцену сказано что-то о том, что думает или чувствует Риверс, и ни разу - об остальных персонажах. Но из их действий и слов все прочитывается однозначно. Автор всегда предпочитает недоговорить, а не переговорить. Описывая пациента, врач-ассистент упоминает, что методы, которыми его уже пытались лечить, включали в себя прикладываные зажженных сигарет к языку. Автор не говорит прямо, что это шокирует Риверса; все, что читатель получает - это что Риверс в этом месте переспрашивает: "I’m sorry?" Rivers said. "What was that?" - но этого достаточно.
Во время сцены с электрическим током Риверс не может не ощущать сильнейший конфликт. С одной стороны, применяемые Йилэндом методы вызывают у него отвращение. С другой стороны, он не может не признать, что с их помощью Йилэнд добился результата, там где, возможно, терапия посредством беседы ни к чему бы не привела. С третьей стороны, "результат" Йилэнда означает, что солдат отправляется обратно в Францию на бойню, о чем Риверс всегда помнит и в применении к своим собственным пациентам. Все это не сказано прямо в тексте, кроме отдельных указаний на сильнейшее волнение Риверса, которое при этом почти никак внешне не проявляется.
Yealland stopped in some triumph by the last bed. ‘Now this is interesting.’
Rivers had been aware of this patient ever since they entered the ward. He sat up very straight in bed, and followed their progress with an air of brooding antagonism.
‘Callan,’ Yealland said. ‘Mons, the Marne, Aisne, first and second Ypres, Hill 60, Neuve-Chapelle, Loos, Armentières, the Somme and Arras.’ He looked at Callan. ‘Have I missed any?’
Callan obviously heard the question, but made no response. His eyes flicked from Yealland to Rivers, whom he looked up and down dispassionately. Yealland leant closer to Rivers and murmured, ‘Very negative attitude.’ He nodded to the junior doctor to begin.
Callan had broken down in April. He’d been employed behind the lines on transport at the time, perhaps because his nervous state was already giving cause for concern. While feeding the horses, he had suddenly fallen down, and had remained unconscious for a period of five hours. When he came round, he was shaking all over and was unable to speak. He hadn’t spoken at all since then. He attributed his loss of speech to heatstroke.
‘Methods of treatment?’ Yealland asked.
The patient had been strapped to a chair for periods of twenty minutes at a time, and very strong electric current applied to his neck and throat. Hot plates had been applied repeatedly to the back of the throat, and lighted cigarettes to the tongue.
‘I’m sorry?’ Rivers said. ‘What was that?’
‘Lighted cigarettes to the tongue. Sir.’
‘None of it persevered with,’ Yealland said. ‘It’s the worst possible basis for treatment because the electricity’s been tried and he knows — or thinks he knows - that it doesn’t work.’ He walked to the head of the bed. ‘Do you wish to be cured? Nod if you do.’
‘You appear to me to be very indifferent to your condition, but indifference will not do in such times as these. I have seen many patients suffering from similar conditions, and not a few in whom the disorder has existed for a much longer time. It has been my experience with these cases to find two kinds of patients, those who want to recover and those who do not want to recover. I understand your condition thoroughly and it makes no difference to me which group you belong to. You must recover your speech at once.’
As they were leaving the ward, Yealland drew him aside. ‘Do you have time to witness a treatment?’
‘Yes. I’d very much like to.’ Apart from anything else he was curious to know how strong ‘strong’ was when describing an electric current. It was a matter on which published papers were apt to be reticent. ‘Would it be possible for me to see the man we’ve just left?’
‘Yes. Though it won’t be quick. And I can’t interrupt the treatment.’
‘That’s all right. I’ve no afternoon appointments. I’d like to see him because of the the previous failed treatments.’
‘Oh, quite right. He’s the interesting one. The others are just routine.’
They were walking down to the MOs’ dining room for lunch.
‘You do only one session?’ Rivers asked.
‘Yes. The patient has to know when he enters the electrical room that there’s no way out except by a full recovery.’ Yealland hesitated. ‘I normally do treatments alone.’
‘I’ll be as unobtrusive as I can.’
Yealland nodded. ‘Good. The last thing these patients need is a sympathetic audience.’
After lunch they went straight to the electrical room. Rivers sat on a hard chair in the corner, prepared to stay as long as necessary. The only other furniture was a small desk under the tall window, with a stack of buff-coloured files on it, the battery and the patient’s chair, rather like a dentist’s chair, except for the straps on the arms and around the foot rest. Yealland, who’d been emptying his bladder in preparation for a long session, came in, rubbing his hands. He nodded cheerfully to Rivers, but didn’t speak. Then, rather to Rivers’s surprise, he began pulling down the blinds. The blinds were the thick, efficient blinds of wartime, and after he’d finished not a chink of light from the dank, November day could get into the room. Rivers now expected him to turn on the overhead lights, but he didn’t. Instead, he left the room in darkness, except for a small circle of light round the battery. This light was reflected off his white coat and up on to his face.
Callan was brought in. He looked indifferent, or defiant, though once he was settled in the chair his eyes shifted from side to side in a way that suggested fear.
‘I am going to lock the door,’ Yealland said. He returned to stand before the patient, ostentatiously dropping the key into his top pocket. ‘You must talk before you leave me.’
All very well, Rivers thought. But Yealland had locked himself in as well as the patient. There could be no backing down.
Yealland put the pad electrode on the lumbar spines and began attaching the long pharyngeal electrode. ‘You will not leave me,’ he said, ‘until you are talking as well as you ever did. No, not a minute before.’
The straps on the chair were left unfastened. Yealland inserted a tongue depressor. Callan neither co-operated nor struggled, but simply sat with his mouth wide open and his head thrown back. Then the electrode was applied to the back of his throat. He was thrown back with such force that the leads were ripped out of the battery. Yealland removed the electrode. ‘Remember you must behave as becomes the hero I expect you to be,’ Yealland said. ‘A man who has been through so many battles should have a better control of himself.’ He fastened the straps round Callan’s wrists and feet. ‘Remember you must talk before you leave me.’
Callan was white and shaking, but it was impossible to tell how much pain he was in, since obviously he could no more scream than he could speak. Yealland applied the electrode again, continuously, but evidently with a weaker current since Callan was not thrown back. ‘Nod to me when you are ready to attempt to speak.’
It took an hour. Rivers during all that time scarcely moved. His empathy with the man in the chair kept him still, since Callan himself never moved, except once to flex the fingers of his strapped hands. At last he nodded. Immediately the electrode was removed, and after a great deal of effort Callan managed to say ‘ah’ in a sort of breathy whisper.
Yealland said, ‘Do you realize that there is already an improvement? Do you appreciate that a result has already been achieved? Small as it may seem to you, if you will consider rationally for yourself, you will believe me when I tell you that you will be talking before long.’
The electrode was applied again. Yealland started going through the sounds of the alphabet: ah, bah, cah, dah, etc., encouraging Callan to repeat the sounds after him, though only ‘ah’ was repeated. Whenever Callan said ‘ah’ on request, the electrode was momentarily removed. Whenever he substituted ‘ah’ for other sounds, the current was reapplied.
They had now been in the room an hour and a half. Callan was obviously exhausted. Despite the almost continuous application of the electric current he was actually beginning to drop off to sleep. Yealland evidently sensed he was losing his patient’s attention and unstrapped him. ‘Walk up and down,’ he said.
Callan did as he was bid, and Yealland walked beside him, encouraging him to repeat the sounds of the alphabet, though, again, only ‘ah’ was produced and that in a hoarse whisper, very far back in the throat. Callan stumbled as he walked, and Yealland supported him. Up and down they went, up and down, in and out of the circle of light around the battery.
Rebellion came at last. Callan wrenched his arm out of Yealland’s grasp and ran to the door. Evidently he’d forgotten it was locked, though he remembered at once and turned on Yealland.
Yealland said, ‘Such an idea as leaving me now is most ridiculous. You cannot leave the room. The door is locked and the key is in my pocket. You will leave me when you are cured, remember, not before. I have no doubt you are tired and discouraged, but that is not my fault; the reason is that you do not understand your condition as I do, and the time you have already spent with me is not long in comparison with the time I am prepared to stay with you. Do you understand me?’
Callan looked at Yealland. For a second the thought of striking him was clearly visible, but then Callan seemed to admit defeat. He pointed to the battery and then to his mouth, miming: Get on with it.
‘No,’ Yealland said. ‘The time for more electrical treatment has not yet come; if it had, I should give it to you. Suggestions are not wanted from you; they are not needed. When the time comes for more electricity, you will be given it whether you want it or not.’ He paused. Then added with great emphasis: ‘You must speak, but I shall not listen to anything you have to say.’
They walked up and down again, Callan still repeating ‘ah’, but making no other sound. The ‘ah’ was produced by an almost superhuman effort, the muscles of the neck in spasm, the head raised in a series of jerks. Even the torso and the arms were involved in the immense effort of pushing this sound across his lips. Rivers had to stop himself trying to make the sound for him. He was himself very tense; all the worst memories of his stammer came crowding into his mind.
Yealland said, ‘You are now ready for the next stage of treatment, which consists of the administration of strong shocks to the outside of the neck. These will be transmitted to your voice box and you will soon be able to say anything you like in a whisper.’
Callan was again placed in the chair and again strapped in. The key electrode was applied in short bursts to his neck in the region of the larynx, Yealland repeating ‘ah, bah, cah, dah’, etc. in time with the shocks. On the third repetition of the alphabet, Callan suddenly said ‘ba’. Instead of attempting the next sound, he went on repeating ‘ba’, not loudly, but venomously. ‘Bah, bah’, and then, unmistakably ‘Baaaa! Baaaaa! Baaaaaa!’
Yealland actually looked gratified. He said, ‘Are you not glad you have made such progress?’
Callan started to cry. For a while there was no other sound in the room than his sobbing. Then he wiped his eyes on the back of his hand and mimed a request for water.
‘Yes, you will have water soon. Just as soon as you can utter a word.’
Callan pushed Yealland aside and ran to the door, rattling the handle, beating on the wood with his clenched fists. Rivers couldn’t bear to go on watching. He looked down at the backs of his clasped hands.
Yealland said, ‘You will leave this room when you are speaking normally. I know you do not want the treatment suspended now you are making such progress. You are a noble fellow and these ideas which come into your mind and make you want to leave me do not represent your true self. I know you are anxious to be cured and are happy to have recovered to such an extent; now you are tired and cannot think properly, but you must make every effort to think in the manner characteristic of your true self: a hero of Mons.’
Perhaps Callan remembered, as Yealland apparently did not, that Mons had been a defeat. At any rate he went back to the chair.
‘You must utter a sound,’ Yealland said. ‘I do not care what the nature of the sound is. You will understand me when I say I shall be able to train any sound into the production of vowel sounds, then into letter sounds, and finally into words and sentences. Utter a sound when you take a deep breath, and as soon as I touch your throat.’
Callan, although he appeared to be co-operating, could make no expiratory sound.
Yealland appeared to lose patience. He clamped his hands down on to Callan’s wrists and said, ‘This has gone on long enough. I may have to use a stronger current. I do not want to hurt you, but if necessary I must.’
Rivers couldn’t tell whether the anger was acted or real, but there was no doubt about the strength of the current being applied to the neck in shock after shock. But it worked. Soon Callan was repeating ‘ah’ at a normal pitch, then other sounds, then words. At this point Yealland stopped the use of electricity, and Callan sagged forward in the chair. He looked as if he were going to fall, but the straps held him in place. ‘Go on repeating the days,’ Yealland said.
‘S-s-s-sunday. M-m-m-m-m-monday. T-t-t-t-tuesday ...’
Saturday came at last.
Yealland said, ‘Remember there is no way out, except by the return of your proper voice and by that door. I have one key, you have the other. When you can talk properly, I shall open the door and you can go back to the ward.’
And so it went on, through the alphabet, the days of the week, the months of the year — the shocks sometimes mild, sometimes extremely strong - until he was speaking normally. As soon as he could say words clearly at a normal pitch, he developed a spasm or tremor - not unlike paralysis agitans - in his left arm. Yealland applied a roller electrode to the arm. The tremor then reappeared in the right arm, then the left leg, and finally the right leg, each appearance being treated with the application of the electrode. Finally the cure was pronounced complete. Callan was permitted to stand up. ‘Are you not pleased to be cured?’ Yealland asked.
‘I do not like your smile,’ Yealland said. ‘I find it most objectionable. Sit down.’
‘This will not take a moment,’ Yealland said. ‘Smile.’
Callan smiled and the key electrode was applied to the side of his mouth. When he was finally permitted to stand up again, he no longer smiled.
‘Are you not pleased to be cured?’ Yealland repeated.
A fractional hesitation. Then Callan realized what was required and came smartly to the salute. ‘Thank you, sir.’