بخش 16

مجموعه: مجموعه بدبیاری ها / کتاب: شروع ناگوار / فصل 16

بخش 16

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

It will be of no interest to you if I describe the action of this insipid—the word “insipid” here means “dull and foolish”—play by Al Funcoot, because it was a dreadful play and of no real importance to our story. Various actors and actresses performed very dull dialogue and moved around the set, as Klaus tried to make eye contact with them and see if they would help. He soon realized that this play must have been chosen merely as an excuse for Olaf’s evil plan, and not for its entertainment value, as he sensed the audience losing interest and moving around in their seats. Klaus turned his attention to the audience to see whether any of them would notice that something was afoot, but the way the wart-faced man had arranged the lights prevented Klaus from seeing the faces in the auditorium, and he could only make out the dim outlines of the people in the audience. Count Olaf had a great number of very long speeches, which he performed with elaborate gestures and facial expressions. No one seemed to notice that he held a walkie-talkie the entire time.

Finally, Justice Strauss began speaking, and Klaus saw that she was reading directly from the legal book. Her eyes were sparkling and her face flushed as she performed onstage for the first time, too stagestruck to realize she was a part of Olaf’s plan. She spoke on and on about Olaf and Violet caring for each other in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, and all of those things that are said to many people who decide, for one reason or another, to get married.

When she finished her speech, Justice Strauss turned to Count Olaf and asked, “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do,” Count Olaf said, smiling. Klaus saw Violet shudder.

“Do you,” Justice Strauss said, turning to Violet, “take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

“I do,” Violet said. Klaus clenched his fists. His sister had said “I do” in the presence of a judge. Once she signed the official document, the wedding was legally valid. And now, Klaus could see that Justice Strauss was taking the document from one of the other actors and holding it out to Violet to sign.

“Don’t move an inch,” the bald man muttered to Klaus, and Klaus thought of poor Sunny, dangling at the top of the tower, and stood still as he watched Violet take a long quill pen from Count Olaf. Violet’s eyes were wide as she looked down at the document, and her face was pale, and her left hand was trembling as she signed her name.

CHAPTER Thirteen

“And now, ladies and gentlemen,” Count Olaf said, stepping forward to address the audience, “I have an announcement. There is no reason to continue tonight’s performance, for its purpose has been served. This has not been a scene of fiction. My marriage to Violet Baudelaire is perfectly legal, and now I am in control of her entire fortune.”

There were gasps from the audience, and some of the actors looked at one another in shock. Not everyone, apparently, had known about Olaf’s plan. “That can’t be!” Justice Strauss cried.

“The marriage laws in this community are quite simple,” Count Olaf said. “The bride must say ‘I do’ in the presence of a judge like yourself, and sign an explanatory document. And all of you”—here Count Olaf gestured out to the audience—“are witnesses.”

“But Violet is only a child!” one of the actors said. “She’s not old enough to marry.”

“She is if her legal guardian agrees,” Count Olaf said, “and in addition to being her husband, I am her legal guardian.”

“But that piece of paper is not an official document!” Justice Strauss said. “That’s just a stage prop!”

Count Olaf took the paper from Violet’s hand and gave it to Justice Strauss. “I think if you look at it closely you will see it is an official document from City Hall.”

Justice Strauss took the document in her hand and read it quickly. Then, closing her eyes, she sighed deeply and furrowed her brow, thinking hard. Klaus watched her and wondered if this were the expression Justice Strauss had on her face whenever she was serving on the High Court. “You’re right,” she said finally, to Count Olaf, “this marriage, unfortunately, is completely legal. Violet said ‘I do,’ and signed her name here on this paper. Count Olaf, you are Violet’s husband, and therefore in complete control of her estate.”

“That can’t be!” said a voice from the audience, and Klaus recognized it as the voice of Mr. Poe. He ran up the stairs to the stage and took the document from Justice Strauss. “This is dreadful nonsense.”

“I’m afraid this dreadful nonsense is the law,” Justice Strauss said. Her eyes were filling up with tears. “I can’t believe how easily I was tricked,” she said. “I would never do anything to harm you children. Never.”

“You were easily tricked,” Count Olaf said, grinning, and the judge began to cry. “It was child’s play, winning this fortune. Now, if all of you will excuse me, my bride and I need to go home for our wedding night.”

“First let Sunny go!” Klaus burst out. “You promised to let her go!”

“Where is Sunny?” Mr. Poe asked.

“She’s all tied up at the moment,” Count Olaf said, “if you will pardon a little joke.” His eyes shone as he pressed buttons on the walkie-talkie, and waited while the hook-handed man answered. “Hello? Yes, of course it’s me, you idiot. Everything has gone according to plan. Please remove Sunny from her cage and bring her directly to the theater. Klaus and Sunny have some chores to do before they go to bed.” Count Olaf gave Klaus a sharp look. “Are you satisfied now?” he asked.

“Yes,” Klaus said quietly. He wasn’t satisfied at all, of course, but at least his baby sister was no longer dangling from a tower.

“Don’t think you’re so safe,” the bald man whispered to Klaus. “Count Olaf will take care of you and your sisters later. He doesn’t want to do it in front of all these people.” He did not have to explain to Klaus what he meant by the phrase “take care of.”

“Well, I’m not satisfied at all,” Mr. Poe said. “This is absolutely horrendous. This is completely monstrous. This is financially dreadful.”

“I’m afraid, however,” Count Olaf said, “that it is legally binding. Tomorrow, Mr. Poe, I shall come down to the bank and withdraw the complete Baudelaire fortune.”

Mr. Poe opened his mouth as if to say something, but began to cough instead. For several seconds he coughed into a handkerchief while everyone waited for him to speak. “I won’t allow it,” Mr. Poe finally gasped, wiping his mouth. “I absolutely will not allow it.”

“I’m afraid you have to,” Count Olaf replied.

“I’m—I’m afraid Olaf is right,” Justice Strauss said, through her tears. “This marriage is legally binding.”

“Begging your pardon,” Violet said suddenly, “but I think you may be wrong.”

Everyone turned to look at the eldest Baudelaire orphan.

“What did you say, Countess?” Olaf said.

“I’m not your countess,” Violet said testily, a word which here means “in an extremely annoyed tone.” “At least, I don’t think I am.”

“And why is that?” Count Olaf said.

“I did not sign the document in my own hand, as the law states,” Violet said.

“What do you mean? We all saw you!” Count Olaf’s eyebrow was beginning to rise in anger.

“I’m afraid your husband is right, dear,” Justice Strauss said sadly. “There’s no use denying it. There are too many witnesses.”

“Like most people,” Violet said, “I am right-handed. But I signed the document with my left hand.”

“What?” Count Olaf cried. He snatched the paper from Justice Strauss and looked down at it. His eyes were shining very bright. “You are a liar!” he hissed at Violet.

“No she’s not,” Klaus said excitedly. “I remember, because I watched her left hand trembling as she signed her name.”

“It is impossible to prove,” Count Olaf said.

“If you like,” Violet said, “I shall be happy to sign my name again, on a separate sheet of paper, with my right hand and then with my left. Then we can see which signature the one on the document most resembles.”

“A small detail, like which hand you used to sign,” Count Olaf said, “doesn’t matter in the least.”

“If you don’t mind, sir,” Mr. Poe said, “I’d like Justice Strauss to make that decision.”

Everyone looked at Justice Strauss, who was wiping away the last of her tears. “Let me see,” she said quietly, and closed her eyes again. She sighed deeply, and the Baudelaire orphans, and all who liked them, held their breath as Justice Strauss furrowed her brow, thinking hard on the situation. Finally, she smiled. “If Violet is indeed right-handed,” she said carefully, “and she signed the document with her left hand, then it follows that the signature does not fulfill the requirements of the nuptial laws. The law clearly states the document must be signed in the bride’s own hand. Therefore, we can conclude that this marriage is invalid. Violet, you are not a countess, and Count Olaf, you are not in control of the Baudelaire fortune.”

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