- زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
Extracts from the diary of Sir Eustace Pedler, MP
It is an extraordinary thing that I never seem to get any peace. I am a man who likes a quiet life. I like England in the summer, and the Riviera in the winter. My desire in life is to be thoroughly comfortable. But despite myself, I become involved. I hate being involved.
All this because Guy Pagett came into my bedroom this morning with a telegram, looking extremely upset. Guy Pagett is my secretary, a hardworking, admirable man. No one annoys me more. For a long time I have been wondering how to get rid of him. But you cannot dismiss a secretary because he prefers work to play, likes getting up early in the morning, and has no bad habits. I wouldn’t mind, if Pagett didn’t make me work, too. The only amusing thing about the fellow is his face. He has the face of a fourteenth-century poisoner - the sort of man a king might send out to murder his enemies.
Last week I had the brilliant idea of sending him to Florence. He had talked about Florence and how much he wanted to go there.
‘My dear fellow,’ I cried, ‘You will go tomorrow. I will pay all your expenses.’
It seemed a small price to pay for a week of freedom. It has been a wonderful week. But when I opened my eyes and saw Pagett standing between me and the light, at the terrible hour of nine this morning, I realized that freedom was over.
‘My dear fellow,’ I said, ‘has the funeral already taken place?’
Pagett does not approve of humour.
‘So you know, Sir Eustace?’
‘Know what?’ I said crossly. ‘From your expression I thought one of your relatives must have died.’
Pagett held up the telegram. ‘It’s a telegram from the police at Marlow. A woman has been murdered in your house.’
‘How rude!’ I exclaimed. ‘Why in my house? Who murdered her?’
‘They don’t say. I suppose we will go back to England at once, Sir Eustace?’
It is incredible that anyone who can get away from England in winter does not do so! It is a horrible climate.
Several very surprising things have occurred. To begin with, I met Augustus Milray, who is a perfect example of the kind of fool produced by the present government. He took me into a quiet corner, speaking in a way that suggested dark, important secrets. He talked for a long time about South Africa and the industrial situation there. About rumours of unrest and trouble so bad that the workers in the diamond mines might dare to lay down their tools and stop work. Finally, his voice a whisper, he explained that documents had been found which must be placed in the hands of General Smuts, the Prime Minister of South Africa.
‘Drop them in the nearest letter-box, then.’ I said cheerfully.
He seemed shocked.
‘My dear Pedler! This is a time for great care.’ He shook his head. ‘Is it true that you intend to visit South Africa soon? You have substantial businesses in Rhodesia, I know.’
‘Well, I had thought of going in about a month.’
‘Could you possibly make it sooner? You would be doing the government a very great service.’
‘Well,’ I said slowly, ‘I am anxious to leave England again.’
‘I am very grateful to you, Pedler. I will send the package to you. To be placed in General Smuts’s own hands, you understand? The Kilmorden Castle sails on Saturday.’
It was the following evening that Jarvis, my butler, informed me that a gentleman wished to see me.
‘The gentleman asked me to tell you that he comes from Mr Milray.’
My visitor was a well-built young fellow with a suntan and a scar from the corner of his eye to the jaw.
‘Sir Eustace. Mr Milray wishes me to go with you to South Africa as a second secretary.’
He was a young man who would not take no for an answer.
‘You will say nothing to anyone about this.’
‘Very well,’ I said weakly. I was getting into trouble, just when I thought I was at peace!
‘And what is my new secretary’s name?’ I asked.
He thought for a minute.
‘Harry Rayburn seems suitable,’ he said.
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