- زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
- سطح متوسط
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
Teatime in Barnes: London, June 1990
It was not difficult to arrange to meet Barbara Lennox. She remembered him, of course, and agreed to see him again to hear news of her good friends, the Visvanathans. Keith was away on a business trip to Thailand. She invited di@k to tea in Barnes on Saturday afternoon.
London was enjoying fine summer weather, so di@k decided to take the underground to Hammersmith, then walk across the bridge to Barnes. He passed pubs smelling of warm beer, full of afternoon customers. There was a feeling of relaxation in the air, with young couples strolling hand-in-hand, men with their shirts off mowing their lawns, red-legged women slumped in deckchairs in their front gardens, children playing half-naked in the park. It was Britain at its most casual, happy to forget, in this temporary sunshine, the miseries of unemployment and recession.
The Lennox’s had a large Victorian house overlooking the pond in Barnes. Barnes was the territory of the successful - business executives, bankers, computer whizz-kids, retired diplomats - all those who had made it, and kept it!
Barbara answered the door herself and led di@k into a large, sun-filled room which looked out directly onto the large garden behind the house. It was a comfortable room with large armchairs and tables covered with family photographs and souvenirs. di@k noticed a picture of John Verghese standing with Keith and Barbara at a school prize-giving. There were also pictures of the Lennox’s daughter Jane, an attractive red-head.
Barbara had prepared a tray with tea and small home-made cakes. di@k recalled that she had always been proud of her home and her cooking skills. She poured the tea.
‘So, how is everyone over there?’ she asked, with a slight Scottish accent.
di@k spoke in general terms about the Visvanathans, about Ramu, about Nagarajan… He was careful not to betray his feelings about any of them.
‘Oh yes, Nagarajan. Such a nice man. I believe he took early retirement. Such a pity about his wife. I heard that his daughter had lost her husband too. So sad.’
di@k had a sharp feeling of loss as she said this. It was strange to hear Lakshmi referred to in the third person, like a stranger.
As the conversation went on, di@k gently tried to discover just how much Barbara knew about John Verghese, and about Keith’s relationship with him. He decided that, unless she was a superb actress, she knew nothing. She talked about how they had taken care of him during school holidays.
‘The poor child had lost both his parents in a car accident,’ she explained. ‘It was the least we could do. And somehow we felt we kept in touch with India through him. He became part of the family in a way. There was even a time when he and Jane were in love, at least they said they were. I would have liked them to get married. It sort of felt right in a way, if you know what I mean. But Keith was absolutely against it. I’ve never seen him so upset. I could never understand why. After all, he’s not colour-prejudiced or anything like that. But there was no way I could talk him round. Funny really. Anyway, Jane married Nigel last year. He’s a diplomat and they’re in Senegal now. I’m afraid they’re not very happy though. Still, you can’t have everything in a marriage, can you?’
She sounded suddenly old and tired. It was as if a worrying thought had crossed her mind.
Then she smiled and went on to talk about Keith. He was now Chief Executive. He had even been contacted unofficially to find out whether he would accept a knighthood and become Sir Keith Lennox. She thought it would be lovely if he would.
‘Then he could retire and we’d maybe see a bit more of each other.’
di@k left, feeling that Barbara was a nice, homely woman, who had no idea of the web of deceit which surrounded her. She would be totally shocked if she ever discovered the truth. He was glad to know that. It would be a weapon he could use in his meeting with Lennox.
Barbara kissed him on the cheek as he left. She smelt faintly of old lavander. It reminded him of his childhood. He almost regretted what he was about to do to her.
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