فصل 06

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 06

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CHAPTER six

An Unexpected Encounter

After Mr Jarvie’s house, I directed my steps to the college grounds. While I was walking, my attention was attracted by three men who appeared at the end of the garden. I looked again and recognized Rashleigh with Mr Morris and Mr MacVittie! I did not want to be seen, so I hid behind some trees and came out only when the men separated.

I followed Rashleigh and took his arm to stop him. I was determined to demand reparation for the wrongs done to my father.

“I am glad to meet you at last!” were my first words.

“Oh, I am easily found by my friends and more easily still by my enemies,” replied Rashleigh coolly. “Which of the two are you, Mr Francis?”

“I will be an enemy, if you do not immediately render justice to your benefactor, my father,” I said.

“Why should I justify my actions to a young gentleman who has no inclination for business matters? Go, young man, and amuse yourself in the world of your poetical imagination!” replied my cousin insolently.

“This is no answer for the wrongs done to my father! You must come with me to the magistrate and give me full satisfaction!” I exclaimed, angrily.

“You insulted me once before, remember!” hissed Rashleigh. “Your insolence merits personal punishment. Now, follow me to a place where we cannot be interrupted!”

I followed him, watching him attentively because I knew that he was treacherous. In fact I had no time to take off my cloak and take out my sword before he was on me. He attacked me without warning and I only saved my life by springing back. Rashleigh fought furiously. After the first impulse of passion, I reflected that Rashleigh was my cousin, the son of my uncle, and decided to try and disarm him only. But I soon realized that I had met my match - the combat seemed destined to have a tragic end. I slipped, Rashleigh’s sword passed through my waistcoat, grazed my ribs and ran through my coat behind. I thought that I was fatally wounded and assaulted my opponent, ready now to kill him. At that moment a man stepped between us and separated us, exclaiming, “What? The sons of two brothers doing this! I will break your heads if you continue!”

I looked up in surprise. The speaker was Mr Campbell.

“Are you hurt, lad?” he asked me. Then, turning to Rashleigh: “Do you think men will trust their lives and fortunes to one who goes around quarrelling like a drunk man?”

After a few more quiet words he sent Rashleigh away and again invited me to be prudent and to stay at home. Then he disappeared and left me to reflect upon the singular events of the morning.

I tried to adjust my dress and to hide the blood which was flowing down my right side. On the way to Mr Jarvie’s house I stopped at a little shop, an apothecary’s, where a lively, elderly man treated my wound and laughed at the excuse which I gave him for it.

“Ah! Young blood! Young blood!” he repeated.

“What made you so late?” asked Mr Jarvie when I returned. I made my apologies but did not tell him what had happened. Soon we were seated at table where the Bailie entertained me with great hospitality and good humour.

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