- زمان مطالعه 12 دقیقه
- سطح متوسط
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
The next day in the sitting room after lunch Lucy said to Emma, ‘Will it be all right if I just practise a few golf shots in the park?’
‘Oh, yes, certainly. How clever of you to play golf.’
‘I’m not much good, but it’s a pleasanter form of exercise than just going for a walk.’
‘There’s nowhere to walk outside this place,’ said Mr Crackenthorpe. ‘Nothing but pavements and miserable little box houses. They’d like to buy my land and build more of them. But they won’t until I’m dead. And I’m not going to die to please anybody. I can tell you that! I know what they’re waiting for. Cedric, and Harold, and Alfred… I’m surprised he hasn’t tried to get rid of me already. And perhaps he did, at Christmas-time. That was a very strange stomach upset I had. Dr Quimper asked me a lot of questions about it.’
‘Everyone gets stomach upsets sometimes, Father,’ said Emma.
‘All right, all right, say that I ate too much! That’s what you mean. And why did I eat too much? Because there was too much food on the table. And that reminds me - you, young woman, you sent in five potatoes for lunch. Two potatoes are enough for anybody. So don’t send in more than four in future. The extra one was wasted today.’
‘It wasn’t wasted, Mr Crackenthorpe. I am going to use it in a Spanish omelette tonight.’
As Lucy went out of the room she heard him say, ‘She’s always got an answer! She cooks well, though - and she’s a good- looking girl.’
Lucy Eyelesbarrow took a golf club out of the set she had brought with her, and walked out into the park. She hit the ball a few times until it landed on the railway embankment, then went up and began to look about for it. During the afternoon she searched about a third of the embankment. Nothing.
Then, on the next day, she did find something. A rose bush growing about halfway up the bank had been broken. Caught on it was a small piece of pale brown fur. Lucy took some scissors out of her pocket and cut it in half. The half she had cut off she put in an envelope.
As she came down the steep slope, she looked carefully at the long grass and at the bottom of the embankment just below the broken rose bush she found a powder compact. She put it in her pocket.
On the following afternoon, Lucy got into her car and went to see her ‘aunt’. Number 4 Madison Road was a small, grey house in a small, grey street, but it had a very clean doorstep. The door was opened by a tall woman dressed in black who took her to Miss Marple, who was in the sitting room by the fire.
‘Well!’ Lucy said. ‘It looks as though you were right.’ She showed Miss Marple what she had found and told her how she had found them.
Miss Marple felt the small piece of fur. ‘Elspeth said the woman was wearing a light-coloured fur coat. I suppose the compact was in the pocket of the coat and fell out as the body rolled down the slope. You didn’t take all the fur?’
‘No, I left half of it on the bush.’
‘Very good. The police will want to check it.’
‘You are going to the police - with these things?’
‘Well - not yet… It would be better, I think, to find the body first.’
‘But won’t that be very difficult? I mean, the murderer may have taken it anywhere.’
‘Not anywhere,’ said Miss Marple. ‘Because then he might much more easily have killed the girl in some remote place and driven the body away from there. You haven’t understood…’
Lucy interrupted. ‘Do you mean - that this crime was planned?’
‘I didn’t think so at first,’ said Miss Marple. ‘But isn’t it hard to believe that a man suddenly killed a woman, then looked out of the window and saw the train going round a curve exactly at a place where he could push the body out, and where he could go later and remove it! If he had just thrown her out there by chance, he wouldn’t have done anything else and the body would have been found. I think that he must have known all about Rutherford Hall, its geographical position, I mean - an island surrounded by railway lines.’
‘It is exactly like that,’ said Lucy.
‘So if the murderer came to Rutherford Hall that night, before anyone could discover the body the next day, how would he come?’
Lucy thought. ‘There’s a rough path, beside a factory wall. He would probably come that way, turn in under the railway arch and along the back drive. Then he could go to the bottom of the embankment, find the body, and carry it back to the car.’
‘And then,’ continued Miss Marple, ‘he took it to some place he had already chosen near Rutherford Hall. The obvious thing, I suppose, would be to bury it somewhere.’
‘It wouldn’t be easy,’ said Lucy. ‘He couldn’t bury it in the park, because someone would notice it.’
‘Then in some farm building?’
‘That would be simpler… There are a lot of old buildings that nobody ever goes near.’
So the next afternoon Lucy looked around some of the old farm buildings. Suddenly she heard someone cough and turned to see the gardener, looking at her.
‘You should be careful’ he said. ‘That floor is not safe. And you were up those steps just now and they aren’t safe either.’
‘I was just wondering if this place could be used for growing things,’ Lucy said cheerfully. ‘Everything seems to be in ruins.’
‘That’s because the Master won’t spend any money.’
‘But the place could make money - if the buildings were mended.’
‘He doesn’t want to make money. He knows what will happen after he’s dead - the young gentlemen will sell the whole place as fast as they can. They’re going to get a lot of money when he dies.’
‘I suppose he’s a very rich man?’ said Lucy.
‘Crackenthorpe’s Delights, that’s what the business was called. Mr Crackenthorpe’s father started it and made his fortune. His two sons were educated to be gentlemen and they weren’t interested in their father’s business. The younger one was killed in a car accident. The older one went abroad a lot when he was young, and bought a lot of old statues and had them sent home. They didn’t get on well, him and his father.’
‘But after his father died, the older Mr Crackenthorpe came and lived here?’
‘Him and his family, yes, in 1928.’
Lucy went back to the house and found Emma Crackenthorpe standing in the hall, reading a letter. ‘My nephew Alexander will be here tomorrow - with a school friend. Alexander’s room is the first one at the top of the stairs. The one next to it will do for his friend, James Stoddart-West,’ she said.
‘Yes, Miss Crackenthorpe, I’ll prepare both rooms.’
‘They’ll arrive before lunch.’ Emma paused. ‘I expect they’ll be hungry.’
‘Roast chicken, do you think?’ said Lucy. ‘And apple tart?’ Alexander’s very fond of apple tart.’
The two boys arrived the next morning. Alexander Eastley had fair hair and blue eyes, Stoddart-West was dark and wore glasses. During lunch they talked seriously about sport, and occasionally about space travel. The roast chicken was eaten very quickly and every bit of apple tart disappeared.
Mr Crackenthorpe said, ‘You two will soon eat all my money.’ Alexander looked at him. ‘We’ll have bread and cheese if you can’t afford meat, Grandfather.’
‘Of course I can afford it but I don’t like waste.’
‘We haven’t wasted any, sir,’ said Stoddart-West, looking down at his empty plate.
After she had washed up, Lucy went out. She could hear the boys calling to each other on the lawn. She went down the front drive and began to hunt amongst the bushes with the help of her golf club. Suddenly the polite voice of Alexander Eastley made her turn.
Are you looking for something, Miss Eyelesbarrow?’
A golf ball,’ said Lucy. ‘Several golf balls in fact.’
‘We’ll help you,’ said Alexander.
‘That’s very kind of you. I thought you were playing football.’
‘One can’t go on playing football,’ explained Stoddart-West. ‘One gets too hot. Do you play a lot of golf?’
‘I do enjoy it, but I don’t get much opportunity.’
‘There’s a clock golf set in the house,’ Alexander said. ‘We could fix it up on the lawn and have a game.’
Encouraged by Lucy, the boys went off to get it. Later, as she returned to the house, she found them setting it out on the lawn.
‘It’s a pity the set is so old,’ said Stoddart-West. ‘You can hardly see the numbers.’
‘It needs some white paint,’ said Lucy. ‘You could get some tomorrow.’
‘Good idea.’ Alexander said. ‘But I think there are some old pots of paint in the Long Barn. Shall we go and look?’
‘What’s the Long Barn?’ asked Lucy.
Alexander pointed to a long, stone building near the back drive. ‘A lot of grandfather’s statue collection is in there. And it is sometimes used for Women’s Institute events. Come and see it.’
Lucy followed the boys to the barn, which had a big wooden door. Alexander took a key from a nail near the top of the door, then he turned it in the lock. Inside there were three big, ugly statues, and an even bigger sarcophagus. Besides these, there were two folding tables and some piles of chairs. Alexander found two pots of paint and some brushes in a corner, then the boys went off, leaving Lucy alone.
She stood looking at the furniture, at the statues, at the sarcophagus… which had a heavy, close-fitting lid. She looked around and on the floor found a big crowbar.
It was not easy, but she worked with determination and slowly the lid began to rise, enough for Lucy to see what was inside…
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