فصل 02

مجموعه: شرلوک هولمز / کتاب: انجمن موسرخ ها / فصل 2

فصل 02

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER TWO

An unusual job

I decided to ask Spaulding to come with me to the Red-Headed League’s offices,’ said Mr Wilson. ‘I closed the shop for the day and we went to Fleet Street. Spaulding was happy to have a holiday.

‘Fleet Street was full of red-haired men, and Pope’s Court looked like a basket of oranges. But few men had bright red hair like mine. Spaulding pushed through all the people and we got to the office. There was little furniture - two uncomfortable chairs, a kitchen table and a bookcase. A small man with bright red hair sat at the table and spoke to lots of red-headed men. He said “No” to all of them, and then he talked to me. He was friendly and closed the door of the office behind us.

‘“This is Mr Jabez Wilson,” said my assistant, “and he would like the job in the League.”

“‘His hair looks fine,” the man said, “but is it real? We must be careful.

‘He suddenly took my hair in his hands and pulled it. I cried out because he hurt me. “You have real tears in your eyes - this means your hair is real. Congratulations - the job is yours!”

‘He shook my hand I warmly and said, “My name is Duncan Ross and I am the Secretary of the League. When can you begin?”

‘“Well, I have a business already,” I said.

‘“Oh, don’t worry about that, Mr Wilson!” said my assistant. “I can look after the shop for you.”

‘“What are the working hours?” I asked Mr Ross.

‘“From ten o’clock in the morning until two o’clock in the afternoon.”

‘You see, Mr Holmes, I do most of my work in the evening. I could easily work for Mr Ross in the morning. And I knew Spaulding could look after the business in the morning.

‘“Those hours are fine,” I said happily. “What must I do?”

‘“Your job is to copy the Encyclopaedia Britannica. You must bring your own pen, ink and paper. And you must never leave the office until two o’clock. Can you start tomorrow?”

‘“Certainly!” I answered.

‘The next morning I bought some paper and started working at Pope’s Court. Mr Ross showed me the beginning of the letter “A” in the encyclopaedia and then he left. Every day I finished work at two o’clock. Each week Mr Ross gave me four pounds in gold. This continued for about eight weeks and I nearly finished copying the letter “A”. Then, suddenly, everything ended.’

‘Ended?’ asked Holmes.

‘Yes, it happened this morning. I went to work at ten o’clock but the door was locked. There was a notice on the door that said: THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE

DOES NOT EXIST ANY MORE

9 October, 1890

Sherlock Holmes and I started laughing.

‘I can’t see anything funny!’ said Mr Wilson angrily. ‘If you think this is funny, I’ll leave!’

‘No, no!’ cried Holmes. ‘Your case is very unusual, but there is something a bit funny about it. Please, Mr Wilson, continue.’

‘I asked the people in the building but no one knew about Mr Duncan Ross or the Red-Headed League. I was angry and confused.’

‘What did you do then?’ asked Holmes.

‘I went home to Saxe-Coburg Square and told Spaulding. He was surprised and did not know what to say. So I decided to come to you, Mr Holmes, because I don’t want to lose four pounds a week!’

‘This is possibly a very serious case,’ said Holmes.

‘Of course it’s a serious case, I’m losing four pounds a week!’

‘You can’t be too angry, Mr Wilson, the League paid you thirty-two pounds for eight weeks’ work. And you learnt many things about the letter “A” in the encyclopaedia. Now, I’d like to ask you some questions. When did Vincent Spaulding start working for you?’

‘About three months ago.’

‘What is he like?’

‘He’s small but not thin, and he moves quickly. He’s about thirty years old and has a white mark just above his eyes.’

Holmes was suddenly excited.

‘A white mark!’ he cried. ‘And does he have little holes in his ears for earrings?’

‘Yes, he does.’

‘Hmmm,’ said Holmes, sitting back in his chair. ‘Well, Mr Wilson, I want to think about this case. Today is Saturday - on Monday I’ll have an answer.’

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