فصل 14

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 14

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی ساده

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

What is the Truth?

The summer came, but Rachel did not speak of leaving. I became stronger. But sometimes the terrible pain in my head came back and I could not think clearly. But I told Rachel nothing about it.

Then Rachel began to drive into the town - two or three times a week. When I asked her about these visits, she told me that she had a lot of business to do.

One day when Rachel was busy at home, I rode into the town alone. It was Saturday and the streets were full of people. As I walked slowly through the town, a man came out of an inn. He stood in the doorway for a moment, looking up and down the street. It was Rainaldi.

That evening, as Rachel was going up to her room after dinner, I stopped her.

‘How long has Rainaldi been in the town?’ I asked. ‘Why is he here?’

‘Because he is my friend,’ Rachel answered. ‘I know you hate him and do not want him here. Ambrose was jealous of him. Are you too?’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘I hate Rainaldi, because he is in love with you. Send him away.’

‘Certainly not,’ she said. ‘I need him. I will have him here if I wish - the house is mine.’

In my anger, I took a step towards her. ‘Don’t touch me!’ she cried. ‘That is how Ambrose behaved. I can’t suffer it again.’

I turned away. ‘If you want to see Rainaldi, ask him here,’ I said. ‘Don’t go secretly into the town to meet him.’

And so Rainaldi came to stay in the house. He behaved politely but I could not bear to see them together. They always spoke in Italian and she looked at him all the time.

Food seemed to have no taste now. The tisana I drank with them in the evenings tasted bitter. Then the fever returned again. I was sick and too weak to stand. I had to stay in bed for a few days. When I was better again, Rachel told me that Rainaldi had gone back to Italy.

‘When are you going there?’ I asked. Rachel did not reply.

A day or two later, a letter arrived for Rachel in Rainaldi’s handwriting. As I drank tisana with Rachel that evening, I saw the letter on her desk. Was it a love-letter? I had to know.

That night, when Rachel was in bed, I crept into her sitting- room and searched the desk. The letter was not there. But in one small drawer, I found an envelope. Inside it were some small, green seeds. They were laburnum seeds, poisonous to animals and to men.

I put back the envelope and returned to my room. There were two bottles of medicine on the table. I poured the medicines out of the window. Then I went downstairs. The cups from which we had drunk our tisana had not been washed. Did the liquid in my cup have a bitter taste? I could not be sure.

I went to bed and lay there thinking. I was not angry, but I was very unhappy. I remembered Ambrose’s words: Are they trying to poison me?… Rachel has won - I am dying…

The following day was Sunday. Rachel and I went to church as usual. As she sat beside me, her face was calm and happy. I wished I could hate her, but I could not.

After church, Rachel went to speak to Mary Pascoe. A workman came up to me and said, ‘Excuse me, Mr Ashley, but I wanted to warn you. Don’t walk on the new bridge over the sunken garden. It is not finished yet. Anyone walking on it would fall and break their neck!’

‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘I will remember.’

At dinner, Rachel was kinder than she had been for a long time. She talked about Florence. She said she would look for a stone statue there to make a fountain for the sunken garden. She made tisana as usual, but I refused to drink it. I would never again drink anything she gave me.

‘But it is good for you, Philip,’ she said.

‘No,’ I said. ‘You drink it.’

‘I have drunk mine already,’ Rachel said. ‘I will pour this away.’

We talked together for half an hour or so and then Rachel said, ‘I think I shall walk for a little. I want to look at the sunken garden. Will you come with me, Philip?’

I shook my head. ‘Take care, Rachel,’ I said.

‘Of what?’ she answered with a smile. ‘There is no danger here, Philip.’

I sat by the window until it was almost dark. Rachel had not returned. At last, I ran out of the house and down to the sunken garden. The bridge was broken. My cousin Rachel lay on the ground below. I climbed down and held her hands in mine. They were cold.

‘Rachel,’ I said. She opened her eyes and I thought she knew me. But she called me Ambrose. I held her hands until she died.

You know now who killed Rachel. But how did Ambrose die? Did Rachel kill him? I shall go on asking myself that question until the day I die.

I live alone now. I am a young man, but I think only of the past. The two people I loved are dead. I have an empty life in front of me. That is my punishment and it is worse than death.

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