فصل 22

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فصل 22

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO

‘I’m so sorry, Olive,’ said Andy Peters. ‘You must believe that. Because of you, I would have given Betterton another chance. I warned you that he would be safer if he stayed in the Unit - even though I’ve come halfway across the world to make him pay for what he did to Elsa.’

‘I don’t understand,’ said Hilary. ‘Who are you?’

‘I thought you knew,’ said Peters. ‘My real name is Boris Andrei Pavlov Glydr - I’m Elsa’s cousin, from Poland. I went to university in America and became an American citizen called Andrew Peters. When the war began, I went back to Europe and helped Elsa and my uncle escape from Germany. Elsa - I’ve told you about Elsa. She was a brilliant scientist. It was Elsa who really discovered ZE Fission. Tom Betterton was working as an assistant to my uncle, Dr Mannheim, and he married Elsa on purpose because he realized how important her work was. When Elsa discovered ZE Fission, he poisoned her.’

‘Oh, no, no.’

‘No one suspected him then,’ said Peters. ‘Betterton pretended to be heartbroken by Elsa’s death, and worked very hard. Then he announced that he had discovered ZE Fission. He got what he wanted - fame and importance. Then he came to England and worked at Harwell.

‘I was uneasy about the last letter I had received from Elsa. Her illness and later her death seemed very mysterious. When I finally got back to America I started asking questions, and I had medical tests done on her body, which proved that Elsa was poisoned. One of Betterton’s friends, Walter Griffiths, heard about this, and must have told Betterton when he visited him in England. Betterton became nervous, and when he was approached by Aristides’ agent - a woman called Carol Speeder - he decided to disappear, rather than be arrested for murder. He asked for plastic surgery to change his face. He was never a brilliant scientist - that’s why he couldn’t work properly at the Unit.’

‘So you followed him?’ asked Hilary.

‘Yes. I was so determined to find Betterton that I followed him to the Unit. One of my scientist friends had also been approached by Carol Speeder. When I came to England I pretended that I was disappointed with my life, and that I wanted to share my scientific knowledge - and soon she approached me, too.’ His face looked grim. ‘Elsa was an important scientist and a beautiful and gentle woman. She was killed by the man she loved and trusted, who then took credit for her brilliant work.’

‘I see now,’ said Hilary, ‘I understand.’

‘I wrote to you when I got to England,’ said Peters, ‘using my Polish name. I told you the facts.’ He looked at her. ‘I suppose you didn’t believe me. You never answered. Then I went to the British Secret Service. I didn’t trust anyone, but eventually Jessop and I made a plan together.’ He paused. ‘And now it’s over. Betterton will be taken back to America where he will go on trial for Elsa’s murder.’

He stared down over the sunlit gardens towards the sea.

‘And in the Unit,’ he said slowly, ‘I met you, Olive, and fell in love with you. But I’m the man responsible for sending your husband to prison - and perhaps death. I know you’ll never forgive me for that. But I wanted to tell you everything myself before I go.’ He stood up.

‘Wait!’ said Hilary, stretching out her hand. ‘Wait. There’s something you don’t know. I’m not Betterton’s wife. Olive Betterton died in the plane crash, and Jessop asked me to take her place.’

Peters stared at her in astonishment. ‘You’re not Olive Betterton?’

‘No.’

‘I don’t believe it!’ he said, sitting down heavily. ‘Olive, my darling.’

‘Don’t call me Olive. My name’s Hilary. Hilary Craven.’

‘Hilary? I’ll have to get used to that.’ He put his hand over hers.

At the other end of the terrace, Jessop and Leblanc were talking. ‘I’m afraid,’ said the Frenchman, ‘that we will not be able to arrest Aristides.’

‘No,’ said Jessop, looking over Leblanc’s shoulder. ‘He’s too rich and powerful. But he’s lost a lot of money, and he’s old - he can’t live forever.’

‘What are you looking at, my friend?’

‘Those two,’ said Jessop. ‘I sent Hilary Craven on a journey to an unknown destination. But it seems that her journey’s end is the usual one after all. As Shakespeare says, “Journeys end in lovers meeting.’”

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