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فصل 02

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  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
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Chapter two

Mental Excitement

‘I hope you don’t mind the open window,’ said Mrs Sappleton quickly. ‘My husband and my brothers will be back from hunting soon. They always come into the house through that window.

Today they went to the bogs to hunt for snipe. When they come home I am sure they will make a mess of everything. You know what men are like!’

Mrs Sappleton continued to talk about hunting. She told Framton that there were not many snipes that year. She said that she hoped there would be a lot of ducks in November. To Framton it was all completely horrible. While he tried desperately to change the topic of conversation, he was conscious that Mrs Sappleton only gave him part of her attention. She continued to look past him out the window.

‘Obviously she’s looking for her dead husband and brothers,’ Framton thought. ‘What a terrible time to visit her, today, the anniversary of their death.’

To change the topic of conversation he started talking about his bad health.

‘The doctors,’ he said, ‘told me to rest. I should avoid mental excitement, and I should avoid all physical activity. They did not, however, tell me what I should eat.’

‘Oh? That is very interesting,’ said Mrs Sappleton, who was obviously not really interested at all. In fact, she almost yawned. Then she became very interested - but not in what Framton was saying.

‘Here they are!’ she cried. ‘They are just in time for tea. Look, they are covered with mud up to their eyes!’

Framton shivered and looked at Vera. His look seemed to say, ‘Oh, I am really sorry for your poor aunt!’ But the girl was looking out the window, and she looked horrified. Framton became terrified. He turned around and looked out the window too.

It was almost dark, but Framton could see three men walking across the lawn towards the window. They all carried guns. One of the three men had a white raincoat over his arm. There was also a small dog. They did not say a word. When they were near the window one of them began to sing, ‘Bertie, why do you bound?’

Framton jumped up from his chair. He picked up his coat, and ran out of the house, to the road and was never seen again.

‘Here we are, my dear,’ said the man who was carrying the white raincoat over his arm. ‘I’m sorry we are a little muddy. Who was that man who ran away?’

‘A very strange man. His name is Framton Nuttel,’ said Mrs Sappleton. ‘He only wanted to talk about his bad health, and then he ran away without saying goodbye and without apologising, as if he had seen a ghost.’

‘I think he ran away because he saw the dog,’ said Mrs Sappleton’s niece calmly. ‘He told me that he was very afraid of dogs. When he was in India many years ago, he was attacked by a pack of wild dogs. He ran into a cemetery, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave. The dogs growled and snarled above him for the entire night. So you can understand why he is so afraid of dogs.’

Inventing fantastic stories was Vera’s speciality.

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