- زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
- سطح متوسط
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
George sighed with relief. They were all here drinking cocktails in the Luxembourg, safe in his trap. Stephen Farraday, tall and stiff. Sandra Farraday in a black velvet gown, and an emerald necklace. Ruth, also wearing black, her dark hair smooth and shining. Iris, pale and silent, in a simple green dress. And Anthony Browne, the last to arrive. Now, the play could begin…
They finished their drinks and Charles, the head waiter, led them to a group of three tables in the far corner of the room. There was a large one in the middle and a small one on each side. A foreign-looking man and a fair-haired woman were sitting at one of the small tables. Another couple, a young man and his girlfriend, sat at the other. The large table was reserved for Barton’s party.
George organized their seats. ‘Sandra, you sit here, on my right. Browne, next to Sandra. Iris on my left, then Farraday, then Ruth.’ Between Ruth and Anthony was an empty chair. The table had been laid for seven. ‘Colonel Race may be late. He said we shouldn’t wait for him.’
Iris was sure George had deliberately separated her from Anthony. Clearly, he still didn’t trust him. She looked across the table, and saw that Anthony was frowning at the empty chair beside him. ‘I’m glad you’ve got another man, Barton,’ he said. ‘I may have to leave early. I’ve seen a man here that I know.’
George smiled. ‘Mixing business with pleasure, Browne? Not that I’ve ever known exactly what your business is?’
Anthony replied coolly. ‘Organized crime, Barton. Robberies arranged. Families visited at their private addresses.’
Sandra Farraday laughed. ‘No, you’re something to do with armaments, aren’t you?’
Anthony glanced at her in surprise. ‘You mustn’t betray my secrets, Lady Alexandra. There are spies everywhere!’
As the waiter removed their oyster plates, Stephen asked Iris to dance. Soon, everyone was dancing, and the party became more lively.
At last, it was Iris’s turn to dance with Anthony. ‘It’s mean of George not to let us sit together,’ she said.
‘Not at all. This way I can gaze at you across the table.’
‘Do you really have to go early? ‘
‘I’m afraid so.’
When they returned to the table, there was a change in the atmosphere. All the guests seemed to feel the nervous tension in the air. Iris saw George glance at his watch.
Suddenly, the band started to play, and the cabaret show began. As the restaurant lights were turned off, three pairs of professional dancers entered and performed on the lighted stage in the centre of the room. Then a comedian did an act, and after that there was a display by a pair of acrobats.
As the restaurant lights were switched back on at the end, a wave of relief passed over the Barton table, as though they had been expecting something to happen, which had not. A year ago, the lights had turned back on to show Rosemary lying dead across the table. Now, at last, the shadow of tragedy had lifted.
Cheerful conversations began all around the table. Only George sat staring blankly at the empty place opposite him.
Iris nudged him. ‘Come and dance with me, George.’
He shook himself and, smiling, raised his glass. ‘Let’s drink a toast to the young lady whose birthday we’re celebrating. Iris Marle!’
They raised their glasses and drank, and then they got up to dance, George and Iris, Stephen and Ruth, Anthony and Sandra. When the dance ended, they all returned, laughing and talking.
Suddenly, George leaned forward. ‘A year ago, we were here on an evening that ended in tragedy. I don’t want to recall past sadness, but I don’t want to feel that Rosemary is completely forgotten, so I’ll ask you to drink to her memory.’ He lifted his glass. ‘To Rosemary.’
They all raised their glasses and drank the toast. There was a moment’s pause, and then George fell sideways in his chair, his hands at his throat, fighting for breath.
It took him a minute and a half to die.
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