فصل 01

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 01

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  • زمان مطالعه 9 دقیقه
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CHAPTER ONE

Mr Murdstone

I disliked Mr Murdstone the first time I met him. Perhaps I was just jealous or perhaps it was more than that. Certainly he was a handsome gentleman with dark hair and dark whiskers but there was something in his eyes that made me feel uneasy. He began to call at our house and then my mother started putting on her prettiest dresses and going out in the evenings.

One such evening my nurse, Peggotty, suggested that I go with her to visit her brother in Yarmouth for a fortnight. I agreed immediately, happy at the thought of an adventure. I did not realize how different things would be on my return.

The day of our departure soon arrived and Peggotty and I climbed into the carrier’s cart that was to take us to Yarmouth. My mother and I kissed each other and we both cried. When the cart started off she ran after it to ask for another kiss. As we rode away I saw Mr Murdstone speak to her disapprovingly and she lowered her head submissively.

I shall never forget that holiday. Peggotty’s nephew, Ham, was waiting for us when the cart set us down. He swung me on his broad shoulders and took us to their home. The Peggottys lived in a boat that had been taken from the water and made into a small cosy home. For a young boy like me it was magical. My nurse’s brother, Mr Peggotty, greeted us warmly and introduced Little Emily, his niece. Both she and Ham were orphans. She was about my age with blue eyes and curls and I quickly became devoted to her. When it was time for me to leave we were both inconsolable.

As we approached home, however, I became excited about seeing my mother again. She was not at the gate to greet me and Peggotty led me into the kitchen. Now I was worried.

‘Where is Mama, Peggotty? What has happened? She isn’t dead, is she, like Papa?’ Tears filled my eyes.

‘Good gracious, no, Master Davy!’ she replied shocked. ‘But there is something I must tell you. You have a new pa! Come and see him. And your mama.’

We went into the best parlour. My mother was sitting on one side of the fireplace and Mr Murdstone sat on the other side. As soon as she saw me, my mother smiled and hugged me timidly.

‘Now, Clara, control yourself,’ Mr Murdstone said. She kissed me avoiding looking at me under Mr Murdstone’s watchful eye. As soon as I could, I went to my room. Miserable, I thought of how different things used to be, how loving and affectionate my mother had been under Peggotty’s indulgent eye. I knew that happy life was over and I cried myself to sleep.

I was awoken by my mother and Peggotty who had been looking for me.

‘Davy, what is the matter?’ my mother asked. She tried to put her arms around me but I pushed her away. ‘Oh, this is your fault, Peggotty!’ she cried. ‘You have turned my boy against me!’

I heard other footsteps and Mr Murdstone entered. ‘Clara, my dear, remember yourself!’

‘Oh, it is too much!’ my mother exclaimed. ‘Can I not have some peace and happiness?’ Mr Murdstone calmed her with a kiss and I saw immediately that she would do whatever he said. ‘Go downstairs while David and I talk. We’ll join you shortly,’ he said with a smile. When we were alone he asked me, ‘Do you know what I do with a disobedient dog? I beat it.’ He gave me a hard look and I understood all too well. ‘Now, come downstairs and do not displease your mother or me again.’

After dinner that evening Mr Murdstone’s sister arrived. She was dark like him, with the same stern look, but had a large nose and thick eyebrows which almost met in the middle. She had come to help my mother, and started the next morning by rearranging all our store cupboards. From then on she took control of everything. On the one occasion that my mother asked to be consulted occasionally Mr Murdstone accused her of being ungrateful and expressed his disappointment. It was enough. My mother never protested again.

I resumed my lessons with my mother but these were no longer the happy times they had been before. Mr and Miss Murdstone were always present, always ready to criticize my mother for her lack of firmness with me and myself for every mistake. Mr Murdstone made me nervous and forgetful. My mother in turn became anxious. When she thought no-one was looking she tried to help me but was immediately rebuked by Miss Murdstone. My poor mother suffered as much as I did, if not more.

This continued for several months until one morning I entered the parlour for my lessons and saw my mother looking more nervous than usual. Mr Murdstone was holding a cane in his hand.

‘Now, David, you must be very careful over your lessons today,’ he said. The effect was, of course, that I became particularly forgetful and things went from worse to worse. Finally my mother burst into tears.

‘David, you and I will go upstairs,’ Mr Murdstone said, taking my arm. My mother ran after us but Miss Murdstone stopped her. My mother’s crying accompanied me up the stairs. When we got to my room Mr Murdstone suddenly pinned my head under his arm and raised the cane in his other hand.

‘Please, sir! Don’t beat me! I’ll do better!’

‘Really?’ he replied and hit me hard. The hand holding me was near my mouth and I bit it. He beat me then again and again with renewed fury. I heard my mother and Peggotty crying outside the door and then it was over. He left me and locked the door behind him.

I was kept in my room for five days. The only person I saw was Miss Murdstone who brought me food but never spoke to me. On the fifth evening I heard whispering at my door.

‘Davy, my darling?’ It was Peggotty.

‘Oh, Peggotty!’ I cried.

‘Hush or they will hear us, my lovely. Listen! You are going away to school tomorrow.’

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