فصل 10

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 10

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CHAPTER TEN

Too Many People

Grace looked quickly behind her, and saw the people on the rock. They were waving, shouting, laughing, but there were eight, nine, perhaps ten of them! Too many for this small boat.

She looked back at the waves and pulled hard and carefully with her oars. It was more than a kilometre around the islands from the lighthouse to the ship, and every wave, every rock was different and dangerous. She was tired now, but the job was not finished. The wrecked ship on Harker’s Rock was still fifty metres away.

‘How many can you see, Grace?’ her father shunted.

She looked again. ‘Ten… twelve perhaps,’ she said. ‘It’s too many, father. We’ll all drown, if they try to get in.’

‘Yes. Put me on the rock, lass, and then take the boat out again,’ shouted William, ‘I’ll talk to them. We can’t take more than five, the first time.’

It was very dangerous near the rock. In the best place, the waves went up and down two or three metres every minute. ‘If we make one mistake,’ Grace thought, ‘the boat will break into fifty small pieces, and we’ll he on the rock with the others.’

Carefully, slowly, Grace and her father tried to get the boat near the rock, but three times they had to pull away at the last minute. Then, the fourth time, William Darling jumped. The passengers pulled him onto the rock.

Grace quickly rowed the boat out to sea again. She was alone in the boat now, and the boat moved differently. She was tired, and her arms and back were hurting. But she knew about boats. ‘Watch the sea all the time,’ she told herself. ‘The waves must meet the Front of the boat first, or the boat will turn over. Forger the cold, and the rain, and the wet, God will help me.’

On the rock, William Darling spoke quickly. ‘I’m going to take the woman back with me,’ he said. ‘And that man there, with the broken leg. Then I need three strong men, to help me row the boat.’ He looked at Daniel Donovan, and two others. ‘You, man, and you, and you. The others must wait here. We’ll come back for you later.’

‘No, by God! Why me? shouted James Kelly. ‘I want to come now!’

‘You’re going to stay here, sir!’ shouted William angrily. ‘Don’t you understand? If you get in the boat, we’ll all drown!’

‘And my children,’ cried Mrs Dawson, ‘don’t forget my children!’

William looked at her unhappily. He held out his arms. ‘Give the children to me, mother,’ he said.

Carefully, he took the boy and the girl from her, and put the little bodies on the rock, near the sea. They were dead and cold. ‘They are in God’s hands, mother,’ he said. Then he spoke quickly and quietly to Daniel Donovan. ‘When the boat comes, help me get the woman in. We can’t take her children.’

Daniel agreed. William put his arm around Mrs Dawson, and waved to Grace.

Carefully, slowly, she rowed the boat in to the rock. It was harder without her father. The wind and the waves moved the boat more quickly, and Grace was very tired now. One mistake meant death for them all. She came closer - twenty metres, ten, seven, five… A big wave lifted the boat, then a smaller one behind it. She pulled hard on the oars, and threw a rope to a man on the rock. Then her father got into the boat, with a woman in his arms. She was screaming.

‘My children! Bring the children, please!’

‘No, mother.’ William Darling took the oars. ‘Help her, Grace.’

Grace went to the back of the boat with the woman, and held her. Daniel Donovan and two other men got in. They were carrying the man with the broken leg. The front of the boat was very near the rock now - too near.

Grace looked behind her, and saw a big wave.

‘Pull, father!’ she shouted. ‘Pull hard!’ She stood up, and pushed against the rock with an oar. The boat was very heavy now, with all these people in it.

William pulled hard with his oars. The big wave came in, and broke into white water all around them. But the boat did not hit the rock. William pulled again, and shouted, ‘You men help me! Take the oars. One each!’ The little boat was very full. The sides were only just above the water, and often the water came in. Grace threw it out with her hat. The wind and waves were against them now, and the four men had to row hard. But slowly, very slowly, the lighthouse came nearer. At last, from the top of the waves, they could see Thomasin Darling. She was standing in front of the lighthouse, and waving to them.

They were very tired when they got to the lighthouse, William and Daniel carried the man with the broken leg into the kitchen, and Grace and her mother helped Mrs Dawson.

Inside the kitchen, William smiled at his daughter. ‘You did a good job, lass,’ he said. Thank you.’

‘I’ll come back again with you, father,’ she said.

‘No,’ he said. ‘You’re too tired. I’ll take two of these.’ He looked at Daniel and the other two men. ‘Which are the strongest?’ he asked.

Daniel was very tired. There was a fire in the kitchen - a warm, beautiful fire. He wanted to lie down in front of the fire and go to sleep for a long, long time. But William Darling’s quiet brown eyes were looking at him.

‘I’ll come with yon,’ Daniel said.

‘I’ll come too,’ said Thomas Buchanan.

William Darling smiled. ‘Good men,’ he said. ‘Can you two men row as well as my daughter?’

Daniel looked at Grace, who was busy helping Mrs Dawson. She looked very small, here, in the kitchen like any young woman. ‘I’ll try,’ he said.

‘Right,’ said William. ‘Come on then.’

So Daniel and Thomas Buchanan followed the old lighthouse man away from the warm kitchen fire, out into the rain and wind again. Daniel looked at the angry sea with its terrible waves, and he felt cold and frightened. He remembered the small young woman alone in the boat by Harker’s Rock. ‘Great God,’ he thought. ‘You made that girl strong, like an angel. Make me strong, too, like her.’

The Times London, 19th September 1838

Mr Darling and his young daughter saved nine people from the wreck of the Forfarshire. The storm lasted for three days, and they stayed all that time with the Darlings in the lighthouse.

Queen Victoria thinks that Grace Darling is one of the finest young women in this country, and she is writing to thank her. One hundred years from now, people will remember this day.

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