فصل 04

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 04

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  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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CHAPTER FOUR

The Hole

John stood looking at Mr Braddock Washington in the full sunlight. Braddock was about forty. He had a proud face, intelligent eyes and a strong body. He carried a walking stick with a single precious stone. He and Percy were showing John their property, live here,” he said, pointing at some marble houses. “They are the descendants of the ones my father brought with him from Virginia. Now there are two hundred and fifty of them. They have lived away from the world for so long that they have developed another language.”

“This is the golf course,” he continued, as they walked over the beautiful green grass. He smiled pleasantly at John.

“Are there many men in the cage, father?” asked Percy suddenly.

“One less than there should be,” Braddock Washington replied angrily. “We’ve had some difficulties.”

“Mother told me,” said Percy, “that Italian teacher…”

“A terrible mistake,” said Braddock Washington. “But of course there’s a good chance that we got him. Perhaps he fell over a cliff. But even if he is free now, who will believe his story? However, I have two dozen men looking for him in different towns around here.”

“Any luck?” asked Percy.

“Some. Fourteen of them reported that they each killed a man who looked like him, but they were probably after the reward.”

He stopped talking. They came to a large hole in the ground covered by strong iron bars. Braddock Washington pointed to the hole with his walking stick. John stopped at the edge and looked down. He immediately heard shouting from below.

“Come on down to Hell!”

“Hello, boy! How’s the air up there?

“Hey! Throw us a rope!”

“Do you have an old sandwich for us?”

It was too dark to see clearly into the hole below, but John could tell from their voices and comments that they were middle-class Americans. Then Mr Washington touched a button in the grass with his walking stick and suddenly there was light.

“These are some men who had the misfortune of discovering the mountain,” Braddock Washington said.

Below them there appeared a large hole in the earth that looked like the inside of a bowl. The sides were steep and made of glass. At the bottom there were about twenty men in uniforms of airplane pilots. They all seemed to be healthy.

Braddock Washington went to the edge of the hole and asked in a friendly voice.

“Well, how are you, boys?”

Angry voices came from the huge hole.

A tall man held up his hand and said, “Let me ask you a few questions. You think you’re a fair man.”

“How could a man of my position be fair towards you?” Braddock Washington asked.

“All right!” the tall man cried. “We’ve talked about this before. You’re not fair but you’re human. Put yourself in our place for once. Why don’t you trust us to keep your secret?”

“Are you serious? I trusted one man to teach my daughter Italian, and last week he escaped.”

The prisoners suddenly cheered with happiness. Braddock Washington was silent.

“You see,” he continued, “I have nothing against you. I like to see you enjoying yourselves. That’s why I didn’t tell you the whole story at once. The man - what was his name? - was shot by some of my men in fourteen different places.” The pilots were suddenly silent.

Mr Washington took his walking stick and pushed the button in the grass. The light below went out and the hole was dark again.

Mr Washington, followed by the two boys, walked away on his green golf course.

July on the diamond mountain was a month of cool nights and warm, sunny days. John and Kismine were in love. Late one afternoon, when the music room was not in use, they spent an hour there together. He held her hand and she gave him such a look that he whispered her name aloud. She moved towards him. “Did you say ‘Kismine’”? she asked softly, “or…” She wanted to be sure. Neither one of them had ever kissed anyone before, but during the next hour it seemed to make little difference.

They decided to get married as soon as possible.

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