فصل 01

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER ONE

Everybody has told me that I must write this story - and it is true that I was mixed up in the affair from the very beginning. Naturally there are gaps in my knowledge, but they can be filled by Sir Eustace Pedler’s diary, which he has kindly asked me to use. So here goes: Anne Beddingfeld begins her adventures.

I have always wanted to have adventures. You see, my father, Professor Beddingfeld, was one of England’s greatest experts on Primitive Man. His mind lived in Palaeolithic times, but the problem was that his body lived in the modern world. Papa did not care for modern man.

Unfortunately it is difficult to manage without modern men, such as butchers and bakers and greengrocers. Therefore, as Papa spent most of his time thinking about the past and Mamma had died when I was a baby, I had to deal with the practical side of life.

Papa enthusiastically ate what was put before him, but seemed troubled when the question of paying for it came up. And we never seemed to have any money. Papa was famous in the scientific world, and had many letters after his name, but this was not the type of fame that brought in cash.

There were times when I envied Emily, our servant girl. Emily’s boyfriends included a large sailor and several boys who worked in the local shops. She said she wanted to ‘practise’ with different young men - and I thought sadly that I had no one to ‘practise’ with! All Papa’s friends were elderly professors with long beards. What I wanted was adventure, love and romance - and what I had was dullness and boredom.

There was a library in the village - I enjoyed reading the adventures and love affairs in these books, and I went to sleep dreaming of strong, silent men who always ‘knocked down their opponent with a single punch’. There was the cinema too, with a weekly film ‘The Perils of Pamela’. Pamela was a marvellous young woman. Nothing worried her. She fell out of aeroplanes, adventured in submarines and climbed skyscrapers without a moment’s fear. She was not really clever - the Master Criminal caught her each time - but the hero always rescued her at the beginning of the following week. I used to come out full of a desire for adventure.

Most people have never heard of the ancient bones that were found at the Broken Hill Mine in Rhodesia. And yet, one morning, I found Papa full of excitement.

‘Do you understand, Anne? I have always said that the beginning of the human race was in Africa. They travelled…’

‘Don’t put marmalade on kippers, Papa,’ I said quickly, stopping my parent’s absent-minded hand. ‘Yes, you were saying?’

‘They travelled to Europe on…’

Here he choked badly on a mouthful of kipper bones. ‘We must go to Rhodesia at once,’ he said at last, standing up. ‘There will be so many discoveries. The primitive ox, I think, but not the woolly rhinoceros. You will write to the travel agent today.’

‘What about money, Papa?’

He looked at me in a disappointed way.

‘Your point of view always depresses me, my child. We must not let money stand in the way of scientific progress.’

‘I think the travel agent might require money, Papa.’

Papa looked upset. ‘My dear Anne, you will pay them in cash.’

‘I haven’t got any cash.’

Papa looked thoroughly irritated.

‘My child, I really cannot be bothered with these silly details. The bank - I had something yesterday, saying I had twenty-seven pounds.’

‘That’s your overdraft. I believe.’

‘Then you must write to my publishers.’

I agreed, although I was not confident. Papa’s books bring in more fame than money, though I loved the idea of going to Rhodesia.

‘Wait, Papa! You have different boots on,’ I called out. ‘Take off the brown one and put on the other black one. And don’t forget your scarf, Papa. It’s a very cold day.’

Papa left, correctly booted and warmly dressed. He returned late that evening, and I was concerned to see that his scarf and overcoat were missing.

‘Dear me, Anne, you are right. I took them off to go into the cave. One gets so dirty there.’

Our main reason for coming to live in Little Hampsley had been the Hampsley Cave. Papa spent most of his days working underground digging out the bones of prehistoric animals.

Papa coughed badly all evening, and the following morning I sent for the doctor. Poor Papa. It was pneumonia. He died four days later.

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