فصل 08

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 08

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CHAPTER EIGHT

The wedding day

The disease among the seals got worse. Three more baby seals died, and one was born without a tail. Scientists came from London to look at them, and there were long articles in the newspapers, but no one was sure what the reasons were. Some people said that it was a disease that was always in the water; some people said the seals were eating diseased fish; and some people said that it was the paint factory near the river.

There was a sewage works near the river too. The sewage from another small town came to it. One day, in the factory, John Duncan found two young chemists testing samples of water from the river. The water came from two kilometres upstream, near the sewage works.

‘Why are you doing that?’ he asked, surprised.

‘It’s a special experiment,’ one of them answered.

‘David Wilson asked us to do it himself. Didn’t he tell you, sir?’

John didn’t answer. He watched them quietly for several minutes. ‘What are the results?’ he asked.

‘They’re bad, sir,’ said the young man. But he didn’t look worried; he looked pleased, proud of himself. ‘That sewage works is putting a lot of nasty things into the river, you know. I think the newspapers will be very interested.’

‘The newspapers?’ John asked. The young man smiled.

‘Yes, Mr Duncan, of course. Our company cares about the environment, doesn’t it? That’s why we’re doing this. We want to help those poor seals, if we can.’

As John walked away, he listened for the sound of quiet laughter behind him. But he heard nothing. Perhaps the young man really believed what he said.

Christine and Simon were married on a fine day in June. When they came back from the church, they had a party in the garden at John’s house. Everyone seemed very happy. John liked Simon’s parents, and talked to them a lot.

‘You’re very lucky, Mr Duncan,’ Simon’s father said. ‘You have a beautiful house with a lovely river at the end of the garden.’

‘I haven’t always been lucky,’ John answered. ‘People used to say I was a very unlucky man.’ He stood still, thinking. He remembered how unhappy he had been in the little flat in the middle of the town. He had been unemployed then, with no money to buy good things for his children. But he had always been able to talk to them. Now he was a rich man, a success, and his children didn’t want to talk to him.

He smiled at Mr and Mrs MacDonald. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I’m a very lucky man. I have Simon for my son-in-law. I’m very pleased for my daughter.’

Mrs MacDonald was pleased. ‘We’re very pleased to have Christine for our daughter-in-law, too,’ she said. And I’m sure Simon will help you with this river, Mr Duncan. I understand there’s a disease in it, which is making the seals ill. Simon told me he’s going to work very hard to find the reason for that, and clean up the river. I’m sure you’re pleased about that, Mr Duncan.’

‘Yes, of course.’ John had seen Simon’s article in the newspaper last night, about the diseases that came from the sewage works. David Wilson had shown it to him. John didn’t want to talk about it.

He saw his daughter laughing with Simon, Andrew and some friends. He had never seen her look so happy. He remembered his own wedding, and the hopes he and Rachel had had.

‘Let me get you another drink, Mrs MacDonald,’ he said. ‘We must drink to our children’s future, and wish them luck.’

At the bar in the house he met Mary. She came back to the town sometimes, and twice he had visited her in Scotland.

‘This day’s been a great success, John,’ she said. ‘You must be a happy man.’

He touched her arm thoughtfully. ‘I’d like to be, Mary,’ he said. ‘I’ve tried, you know. I’ve done my best. But it’s their world now. They must do what they can with it.’

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