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متن انگلیسی فصل
BEHIND THE GYM
IT WAS A DULL AUTUMN DAY AND JILL Pole was crying behind the gym.
She was crying because they had been bullying her. This is not going to be a school story, so I shall say as little as possible about Jill’s school, which is not a pleasant subject. It was “Co-educational,” a school for both boys and girls, what used to be called a “mixed” school; some said it was not nearly so mixed as the minds of the people who ran it. These people had the idea that boys and girls should be allowed to do what they liked. And unfortunately what ten or fifteen of the biggest boys and girls liked best was bullying the others. All sorts of things, horrid things, went on which at an ordinary school would have been found out and stopped in half a term; but at this school they weren’t. Or even if they were, the people who did them were not expelled or punished. The Head said they were interesting psychological cases and sent for them and talked to them for hours. And if you knew the right sort of things to say to the Head, the main result was that you became rather a favorite than otherwise.
That was why Jill Pole was crying on that dull autumn day on the damp little path which runs between the back of the gym and the shrubbery. And she hadn’t nearly finished her cry when a boy came round the corner of the gym whistling, with his hands in his pockets. He nearly ran into her.
“Can’t you look where you’re going?” said Jill Pole.
“All right,” said the boy, “you needn’t start—” and then he noticed her face. “I say, Pole,” he said, “what’s up?”
Jill only made faces; the sort you make when you’re trying to say something but find that if you speak you’ll start crying again.
“It’s Them, I suppose—as usual,” said the boy grimly, digging his hands farther into his pockets.
Jill nodded. There was no need for her to say anything, even if she could have said it. They both knew.
“Now, look here,” said the boy, “there’s no good us all—”
He meant well, but he did talk rather like someone beginning a lecture. Jill suddenly flew into a temper (which is quite a likely thing to happen if you have been interrupted in a cry).
“Oh, go away and mind your own business,”she said. “Nobody asked you to come barging in, did they? And you’re a nice person to start telling us what we all ought to do, aren’t you? I suppose you mean we ought to spend all our time sucking up to Them, and currying favor, and dancing attendance on Them like you do.” “Oh, Lor!” said the boy, sitting down on the grassy bank at the edge of the shrubbery and very quickly getting up again because the grass was soaking wet. His name unfortunately was Eustace Scrubb, but he wasn’t a bad sort.
“Pole!” he said. “Is that fair? Have I been doing anything of the sort this term? Didn’t I stand up to Carter about the rabbit? And didn’t I keep the secret about Spivvins—under torture too? And didn’t I—” “I d-don’t know and I don’t care,” sobbed Jill.
Scrubb saw that she wasn’t quite herself yet and very sensibly offered her a peppermint. He had one too. Presently Jill began to see things in a clearer light.
“I’m sorry, Scrubb,” she said presently. “I wasn’t fair. You have done all that—this term.”
“Then wash out last term if you can,” said Eustace. “I was a different chap then. I was—gosh! what a little tick I was.”
“Well, honestly, you were,” said Jill.
“You think there has been a change, then?” said Eustace.
“It’s not only me,” said Jill. “Everyone’s been saying so. They’ve noticed it. Eleanor Blakiston heard Adela Pennyfather talking about it in our changing room yesterday. She said, ‘Someone’s got hold of that Scrubb kid. He’s quite unmanageable this term. We shall have to attend to him next.’” Eustace gave a shudder. Everyone at Experiment House knew what it was like being “attended to” by Them.
Both children were quiet for a moment. The drops dripped off the laurel leaves.
“Why were you so different last term?” said Jill presently.
“A lot of queer things happened to me in the hols,” said Eustace mysteriously.
“What sort of things?” asked Jill.
Eustace didn’t say anything for quite a long time. Then he said:
“Look here, Pole, you and I hate this place about as much as anybody can hate anything, don’t we?”
“I know I do,” said Jill.
“Then I really think I can trust you.”
“Dam’ good of you,” said Jill.
“Yes, but this is a really terrific secret. Pole, I say, are you good at believing things? I mean things that everyone here would laugh at?”
“I’ve never had the chance,” said Jill, “but I think I would be.”
“Could you believe me if I said I’d been right out of the world—outside this world—last hols?”
“I wouldn’t know what you meant.”
“Well, don’t let’s bother about worlds then. Supposing I told you I’d been in a place where animals can talk and where there are—er—enchantments and dragons—and—well, all the sorts of things you have in fairy-tales.” Scrubb felt terribly awkward as he said this and got red in the face.
“How did you get there?” said Jill. She also felt curiously shy.
“The only way you can—by Magic,” said Eustace almost in a whisper. “I was with two cousins of mine. We were just—whisked away. They’d been there before.”
Now that they were talking in whispers Jill somehow felt it easier to believe. Then suddenly a horrible suspicion came over her and she said (so fiercely that for the moment she looked like a tigress): “If I find you’ve been pulling my leg I’ll never speak to you again; never, never, never.”
“I’m not,” said Eustace. “I swear I’m not. I swear by—by everything.”
(When I was at school one would have said, “I swear by the Bible.” But Bibles were not encouraged at Experiment House.)
“All right,” said Jill, “I’ll believe you.”
“And tell nobody?”
“What do you take me for?”
They were very excited as they said this. But when they had said it and Jill looked round and saw the dull autumn sky and heard the drip off the leaves and thought of all the hopelessness of Experiment House (it was a thirteen-week term and there were still eleven weeks to come) she said: “But after all, what’s the good? We’re not there: we’re here. And we jolly well can’t get there. Or can we?”
“That’s what I’ve been wondering,” said Eustace. “When we came back from That Place, Someone said that the two Pevensie kids (that’s my two cousins) could never go there again. It was their third time, you see. I suppose they’ve had their share. But he never said I couldn’t. Surely he would have said so, unless he meant that I was to get back? And I can’t help wondering, can we—could we—?” “Do you mean, do something to make it happen?”
“You mean we might draw a circle on the ground—and write in queer letters in it—and stand inside it—and recite charms and spells?”
“Well,” said Eustace after he had thought hard for a bit. “I believe that was the sort of thing I was thinking of, though I never did it. But now that it comes to the point, I’ve an idea that all those circles and things are rather rot. I don’t think he’d like them. It would look as if we thought we could make him do things. But really, we can only ask him.” “Who is this person you keep on talking about?”
“They call him Aslan in That Place,” said Eustace.
“What a curious name!”
“Not half so curious as himself,” said Eustace solemnly. “But let’s get on. It can’t do any harm, just asking. Let’s stand side by side, like this. And we’ll hold out our arms in front of us with the palms down: like they did in Ramandu’s island—”
“I’ll tell you about that another time. And he might like us to face the east. Let’s see, where is the east?”
“I don’t know,” said Jill.
“It’s an extraordinary thing about girls that they never know the points of the compass,” said Eustace.
“You don’t know either,” said Jill indignantly.
“Yes I do, if only you didn’t keep on interrupting. I’ve got it now. That’s the east, facing up into the laurels. Now, will you say the words after me?”
“What words?” asked Jill.
“The words I’m going to say, of course,” answered Eustace. “Now—”
And he began, “Aslan. Aslan, Aslan!”
“Aslan, Aslan, Aslan,” repeated Jill.
“Please let us two go into—”
At that moment a voice from the other side of the gym was heard shouting out, “Pole? Yes. I know where she is. She’s blubbing behind the gym. Shall I fetch her out?”
Jill and Eustace gave one glance at each other, dived under the laurels, and began scrambling up the steep, earthy-slope” of the shrubbery at a speed which did them great credit. (Owing to the curious methods of teaching at Experiment House, one did not learn much French or Maths or Latin or things of that sort; but one did learn a lot about getting away quickly and quietly when They were looking for one.) After about a minute’s scramble they stopped to listen, and knew by the noises they heard that they were being followed.
“If only the door was open again!” said Scrubb as they went on, and Jill nodded. For at the top of the shrubbery was a high stone wall and in that wall a door by which you could get out on to open moor. This door was nearly always locked. But there had been times when people had found it open; or perhaps there had been only one time. But you may imagine how the memory of even one time kept people hoping, and trying the door; for if it should happen to be unlocked it would be a splendid way of getting outside the school grounds without being seen.
Jill and Eustace, now both very hot and very grubby from going along bent almost double under the laurels, panted up to the wall. And there was the door, shut as usual.
“It’s sure to be no good,” said Eustace with his hand on the handle; and then, “O-o-oh. By Gum!!” For the handle turned and the door opened.
A moment before, both of them had meant to get through that doorway in double quick time, if by any chance the door was not locked. But when the door actually opened, they both stood stock still. For what they saw was quite different from what they had expected.
They had expected to see the gray, heathery slope of the moor going up and up to join the dull autumn sky. Instead, a blaze of sunshine met them. It poured through the doorway as the light of a June day pours into a garage when you open the door. It made the drops of water on the grass glitter like beads and showed up the dirtiness of Jill’s tear-stained face. And the sunlight was coming from what certainly did look like a different world—what they could see of it. They saw smooth turf, smoother and brighter than Jill had ever seen before, and blue sky, and, darting to and fro, things so bright that they might have been jewels or huge butterflies.
Although she had been longing for something like this, Jill felt frightened. She looked at Scrubb’s face and saw that he was frightened too.
“Come on, Pole,” he said in a breathless voice.
“Can we get back? Is it safe?” asked Jill.
At that moment a voice shouted from behind, a mean, spiteful little voice. “Now then, Pole,” it squeaked. “Everyone knows you’re there. Down you come.” It was the voice of Edith Jackle, not one of Them herself but one of their hangers-on and tale-bearers.
“Quick!” said Scrubb. “Here. Hold hands. We mustn’t get separated.” And before she quite knew what was happening, he had grabbed her hand and pulled her through the door, out of the school grounds, out of England, out of our whole world into That Place.
The sound of Edith Jackle’s voice stopped as suddenly as the voice on the radio when it is switched off. Instantly there was a quite different sound all about them. It came from those bright things overhead, which now turned out to be birds. They were making a riotous noise, but it was much more like music—rather advanced music which you don’t quite take in at the first hearing—than birds’ songs ever are in our world. Yet, in spite of the singing, there was a sort of background of immense silence. That silence, combined with the freshness of the air, made Jill think they must be on the top of a very high mountain.
Scrubb still had her by the hand and they were walking forward, staring about them on every side. Jill saw that huge trees, rather like cedars but bigger, grew in every direction. But as they did not grow close together, and as there was no undergrowth, this did not prevent one from seeing a long way into the forest to left and right. And as far as Jill’s eye could reach, it was all the same— level turf, darting birds with yellow, or dragonfly blue, or rainbow plumage, blue shadows, and emptiness. There was not a breath of wind in that cool, bright air. It was a very lonely forest.
Right ahead there were no trees: only blue sky. They went straight on without speaking till suddenly Jill heard Scrubb say, “Look out!” and felt herself jerked back. They were at the very edge of a cliff.
Jill was one of those lucky people who have a good head for heights. She didn’t mind in the least standing on the edge of a precipice. She was rather annoyed with Scrubb for pulling her back—“just as if I was a kid,” she said—and she wrenched her hand out of his. When she saw how very white he had turned, she despised him.
“What’s the matter?” she said. And to show that she was not afraid, she stood very near the edge indeed; in fact, a good deal nearer than even she liked. Then she looked down.
She now realized that Scrubb had some excuse for looking white, for no cliff in our world is to be compared with this. Imagine yourself at the top of the very highest cliff you know. And imagine yourself looking down to the very bottom. And then imagine that the precipice goes on below that, as far again, ten times as far, twenty times as far. And when you’ve looked down all that distance imagine little white things that might, at first glance, be mistaken for sheep, but presently you realize that they are clouds—not little wreaths of mist but the enormous white, puffy clouds which are themselves as big as most mountains. And at last, in between those clouds, you get your first glimpse of the real bottom, so far away that you can’t make out whether it’s field or wood, or land or water: farther below those clouds than you are above them.
Jill stared at it. Then she thought that perhaps, after all, she would step back a foot or so from the edge; but she didn’t like to for fear of what Scrubb would think. Then she suddenly decided that she didn’t care what he thought, and that she would jolly well get away from that horrible edge and never laugh at anyone for not liking heights again. But when she tried to move, she found she couldn’t. Her legs seemed to have turned into putty. Everything was swimming before her eyes.
“What are you doing, Pole? Come back—blithering little idiot!” shouted Scrubb. But his voice seemed to be coming from a long way off. She felt him grabbing at her. But by now she had no control over her own arms and legs. There was a moment’s struggling on the cliff edge. Jill was too frightened and dizzy to know quite what she was doing, but two things she remembered as long as she lived (they often came back to her in dreams). One was that she had wrenched herself free of Scrubb’s clutches; the other was that, at the same moment, Scrubb himself, with a terrified scream, had lost his balance and gone hurtling to the depths.
Fortunately, she was given no time to think over what she had done. Some huge, brightly colored animal had rushed to the edge of the cliff. It was lying down, leaning over; and (this was the odd thing) blowing. Not roaring or snorting, but just blowing from its wide-opened mouth; blowing out as steadily as a vacuum cleaner sucks in. Jill was lying so close to the creature that she could feel the breath vibrating steadily through its body. She was lying still because she couldn’t get up. She was nearly fainting: indeed, she wished she could really faint, but faints don’t come for the asking. At last she saw, far away below her, a tiny black speck floating away from the cliff and slightly upward. As it rose, it also got farther away. By the time it was nearly on a level with the cliff-top it was so far off that she lost sight of it. It was obviously moving away from them at a great speed. Jill couldn’t help thinking that the creature at her side was blowing it away.
So she turned and looked at the creature. It was a lion.
JILL IS GIVEN A TASK
WITHOUT A GLANCE AT JILL THE LION rose to its feet and gave one last blow. Then, as if satisfied with its work, it turned and stalked slowly away, back into the forest.
“It must be a dream, it must, it must,” said Jill to herself. “I’ll wake up in a moment.” But it wasn’t, and she didn’t.
“I do wish we’d never come to this dreadful place,” said Jill. “I don’t believe Scrubb knew any more about it than I do. Or if he did, he had no business to bring me here without warning me what it was like. It’s not my fault he fell over that cliff. If he’d left me alone we should both be all right.” Then she remembered again the scream that Scrubb had given when he fell, and burst into tears.
Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do. When Jill stopped, she found she was dreadfully thirsty. She had been lying face downward, and now she sat up. The birds had ceased singing and there was perfect silence except for one small, persistent sound, which seemed to come from a good distance away. She listened carefully, and felt almost sure it was the sound of running water.
Jill got up and looked round her very carefully. There was no sign of the lion; but there were so many trees about that it might easily be quite close without her seeing it. For all she knew, there might be several lions. But her thirst was very bad now, and she plucked up her courage to go and look for that running water. She went on tiptoes, stealing cautiously from tree to tree, and stopping to peer round her at every step.
The wood was so still that it was not difficult to decide where the sound was coming from. It grew clearer every moment and, sooner than she expected, she came to an open glade and saw the stream, bright as glass, running across the turf a stone’s throw away from her. But although the sight of the water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn’t rush forward and drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned into stone, with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason; just on this side of the stream lay the lion.
It lay with its head raised and its two fore-paws out in front of it, like the lions in Trafalgar Square. She knew at once that it had seen her, for its eyes looked straight into hers for a moment and then turned away—as if it knew her quite well and didn’t think much of her.
“If I run away, it’ll be after me in a moment,” thought Jill. “And if I go on, I shall run straight into its mouth.” Anyway, she couldn’t have moved if she had tried, and she couldn’t take her eyes off it. How long this lasted, she could not be sure; it seemed like hours. And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first.
“If you’re thirsty, you may drink.”
They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff. For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, “If you are thirsty, come and drink,” and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realized that it was the lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.
“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.
It never occurred to Jill to disbelieve the Lion—no one who had seen his stern face could do that—and her mind suddenly made itself up. It was the worst thing she had ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream, knelt down, and began scooping up water in her hand. It was the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted. You didn’t need to drink much of it, for it quenched your thirst at once. Before she tasted it she had been intending to make a dash away from the Lion the moment she had finished. Now, she realized that this would be on the whole the most dangerous thing of all. She got up and stood there with her lips still wet from drinking.
“Come here,” said the Lion. And she had to. She was almost between its front paws now, looking straight into its face. But she couldn’t stand that for long; she dropped her eyes.
“Human Child,” said the Lion. “Where is the Boy?”
“He fell over the cliff,” said Jill, and added, “Sir.” She didn’t know what else to call him, and it sounded cheek to call him nothing.
“How did he come to do that, Human Child?”
“He was trying to stop me from falling, Sir.”
“Why were you so near the edge, Human Child?”
“I was showing off, Sir.”
“That is a very good answer, Human Child. Do so no more. And now” (here for the first time the Lion’s face became a little less stern) “the Boy is safe. I have blown him to Narnia. But your task will be the harder because of what you have done.” “Please, what task, Sir?” said Jill.
“The task for which I called you and him here out of your own world.”
This puzzled Jill very much. “It’s mistaking me for someone else,” she thought. She didn’t dare to tell the Lion this, though she felt things would get into a dreadful muddle unless she did.
“Speak your thought, Human Child,” said the Lion.
“I was wondering—I mean—could there be some mistake? Because nobody called me and Scrubb, you know. It was we who asked to come here. Scrubb said we were to call to—to Somebody—it was a name I wouldn’t know—and perhaps the Somebody would let us in. And we did, and then we found the door open.” “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.
“Then you are Somebody, Sir?” said Jill.
“I am. And now hear your task. Far from here in the land of Narnia there lives an aged king who is sad because he has no prince of his blood to be king after him. He has no heir because his only son was stolen from him many years ago, and no one in Narnia knows where that prince went or whether he is still alive. But he is. I lay on you this command, that you seek this lost prince until either you have found him and brought him to his father’s house, or else died in the attempt, or else gone back to your own world.” “How, please?” said Jill.
“I will tell you, Child,” said the Lion. “These are the signs by which I will guide you in your quest. First; as soon as the Boy Eustace sets foot in Narnia, he will meet an old and dear friend. He must greet that friend at once; if he does, you will both have good help. Second; you must journey out of Narnia to the north till you come to the ruined city of the ancient giants. Third; you shall find a writing on a stone in that ruined city, and you must do what the writing tells you. Fourth; you will know the lost prince (if you find him) by this, that he will be the first person you have met in your travels who will ask you to do something in my name, in the name of Aslan.” As the Lion seemed to have finished, Jill thought she should say something. So she said, “Thank you very much. I see.”
“Child,” said Aslan, in a gentler voice than he had yet used, “perhaps you do not see quite as well as you think. But the first step is to remember. Repeat to me, in order, the four signs.” Jill tried, and didn’t get them quite right. So the Lion corrected her, and made her repeat them again and again till she could say them perfectly. He was very patient over this, so that, when it was done, Jill plucked up courage to ask: “Please, how am I to get to Narnia?”
“On my breath,” said the Lion. “I will blow you into the west of the world as I blew Eustace.”
“Shall I catch him in time to tell him the first sign? But I suppose it won’t matter. If he sees an old friend, he’s sure to go and speak to him, isn’t he?”
“You will have no time to spare,” said the Lion. “That is why I must send you at once. Come. Walk before me to the edge of the cliff.”
Jill remembered very well that if there was no time to spare, that was her own fault. “If I hadn’t made such a fool of myself, Scrubb and I would have been going together. And he’d have heard all the instructions as well as me,” she thought. So she did as she was told. It was very alarming walking back to the edge of the cliff, especially as the Lion did not walk with her but behind her—making no noise on his soft paws.
But long before she had got anywhere near the edge, the voice behind her said, “Stand still. In a moment I will blow. But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters. And now, daughter of Eve, farewell—” The voice had been growing softer toward the end of this speech and now it faded away altogether. Jill looked behind her. To her astonishment she saw the cliff already more than a hundred yards behind her, and the Lion himself a speck of bright gold on the edge of it. She had been setting her teeth and clenching her fists for a terrible blast of lion’s breath; but the breath had really been so gentle that she had not even noticed the moment at which she left the earth. And now, there was nothing but air for thousands upon thousands of feet below her.
She felt frightened only for a second. For one thing, the world beneath her was so very far away that it seemed to have nothing to do with her. For another, floating on the breath of the Lion was so extremely comfortable. She found she could lie on her back or on her face and twist any way she pleased, just as you can in water (if you’ve learned to float really well). And because she was moving at the same pace as the breath, there was no wind, and the air seemed beautifully warm. It was not in the least like being in an airplane, because there was no noise and no vibration. If Jill had ever been in a balloon she might have thought it more like that; only better.
When she looked back now she could take in for the first time the real size of the mountain she was leaving. She wondered why a mountain so huge as that was not covered with snow and ice—“but I suppose all that sort of thing is different in this world,” thought Jill. Then she looked below her; but she was so high that she couldn’t make out whether she was floating over land or sea, nor what speed she was going at.
“By Jove! The signs!” said Jill suddenly. “I’d better repeat them.” She was in a panic for a second or two, but she found she could still say them all correctly. “So that’s all right,” she said, and lay back on the air as if it was a sofa, with a sigh of contentment.
“Well, I do declare,” said Jill to herself some hours later, “I’ve been asleep. Fancy sleeping on air. I wonder if anyone’s done it before. I don’t suppose they have. Oh bother—Scrubb probably has! On this same journey, a little bit before me. Let’s see what it looks like down below.” What it looked like was an enormous, very dark blue plain. There were no hills to be seen, but there were biggish white things moving slowly across it. “Those must be clouds,” she thought. “But far bigger than the ones we saw from the cliff. I suppose they’re bigger because they’re nearer. I must be getting lower. Bother this sun.” The sun which had been high overhead when she began her journey was now getting into her eyes. This meant that it was getting lower, ahead of her. Scrubb was quite right in saying that Jill (I don’t know about girls in general) didn’t think much about points of the compass. Otherwise she would have known, when the sun began getting in her eyes, that she was traveling pretty nearly due west.
Staring at the blue plain below her, she presently noticed that there were little dots of brighter, paler color in it here and there. “It’s the sea!” thought Jill. “I do believe those are islands.” And so they were. She might have felt rather jealous if she had known that some of them were islands which Scrubb had seen from a ship’s deck and even landed on; but she didn’t know this. Then, later on, she began to see that there were little wrinkles on the blue flatness: little wrinkles which must be quite big ocean waves if you were down among them. And now, all along the horizon there was a thick dark line which grew thicker and darker so quickly that you could see it growing. That was the first sign she had had of the great speed at which she was traveling. And she knew that the thickening line must be land.
Suddenly from her left (for the wind was in the south) a great white cloud came rushing toward her, this time on the same level as herself. And before she knew where she was, she had shot right into the middle of its cold, wet fogginess. That took her breath away, but she was in it only for a moment. She came out blinking in the sunlight and found her clothes wet. (She had on a blazer and sweater and shorts and stockings and pretty thick shoes; it had been a muddy sort of day in England.) She came out lower than she had gone in; and as soon as she did so she noticed something which, I suppose, she ought to have been expecting, but which came as a surprise and a shock. It was Noises. Up till then she had traveled in total silence. Now, for the first time, she heard the noise of waves and the crying of seagulls. And now, too, she smelled the smell of the sea. There was no mistake about her speed now. She saw two waves meet with a smack and a spout of foam go up between them; but she had hardly seen it before it was a hundred yards behind her. The land was getting nearer at a great pace. She could see mountains far inland, and other nearer mountains on her left. She could see bays and headlands, woods and fields, stretches of sandy beach. The sound of waves breaking on the shore was growing louder every second and drowning the other sea noises.
Suddenly the land opened right ahead of her. She was coming to the mouth of a river. She was very low now, only a few feet above the water. A wave-top came against her toe and a great splash of foam spurted up, drenching her nearly to the waist. Now she was losing speed. Instead of being carried up the river she was gliding in to the river bank on her left. There were so many things to notice that she could hardly take them all in; a smooth, green lawn, a ship so brightly colored that it looked like an enormous piece of jewelry, towers and battlements, banners fluttering in the air, a crowd, gay clothes, armor, gold, swords, a sound of music. But this was all jumbled. The first thing that she knew clearly was that she had alighted and was standing under a thicket of trees close by the river side, and there, only a few feet away from her, was Scrubb.
The first thing she thought was how very grubby and untidy and generally unimpressive he looked. And the second was “How wet I am!”
THE SAILING OF THE KING
WHAT MADE SCRUBB LOOK SO DINGY (and Jill too, if she could only have seen herself) was the splendor of their surroundings. I had better describe them at once.
Through a cleft in those mountains which Jill had seen far inland as she approached the land, the sunset light was pouring over a level lawn. On the far side of the lawn, its weather-vanes glittering in the light, rose a many-towered and many-turreted castle; the most beautiful castle Jill had ever seen. On the near side was a quay of white marble and, moored to this, the ship: a tall ship with high forecastle and high poop, gilded and crimson, with a great flag at the mast-head, and many banners waving from the decks, and a row of shields, bright as silver, along the bulwarks. The gangplank was laid to her, and at the foot of it, just ready to go on board, stood an old, old man. He wore a rich mantle of scarlet which opened in front to show his silver mail-shirt. There was a thin circlet of gold on his head. His beard, white as wool, fell nearly to his waist. He stood straight enough, leaning one hand on the shoulder of a richly dressed lord who seemed younger than himself: but you could see he was very old and frail. He looked as if a puff of wind could blow him away, and his eyes were watery.
Immediately in front of the King—who had turned round to speak to his people before going on board the ship—there was a little chair on wheels, and, harnessed to it, a little donkey: not much bigger than a big retriever. In this chair sat a fat little dwarf. He was as richly dressed as the King, but because of his fatness and because he was sitting hunched up among cushions, the effect was quite different: it made him look like a shapeless little bundle of fur and silk and velvet. He was as old as the King, but more hale and hearty, with very keen eyes. His bare head, which was bald and extremely large, shone like a gigantic billiard ball in the sunset light.
Farther back, in a half-circle, stood what Jill at once knew to be courtiers. They were well worth looking at for their clothes and armor alone. As far as that went, they looked more like a flower-bed than a crowd. But what really made Jill open her eyes and mouth as wide as they would go, was the people themselves. If “people” was the right word. For only about one in every five was human. The rest were things you never see in our world. Fauns, satyrs, centaurs: Jill could give a name to these, for she had seen pictures of them. Dwarfs too. And there were a lot of animals she knew as well; bears, badgers, moles, leopards, mice, and various birds. But then they were so very different from the animals which one called by the same names in England. Some of them were much bigger—the mice, for instance, stood on their hind legs and were over two feet high. But quite apart from that, they all looked different. You could see by the expression in their faces that they could talk and think just as well as you could.
“Golly!” thought Jill. “So it’s true after all.” But next moment she added, “I wonder are they friendly?” For she had just noticed, on the outskirts of the crowd, one or two giants and some people whom she couldn’t give a name to at all.
At that moment Aslan and the signs rushed back into her mind. She had forgotten all about them for the last half-hour.
“Scrubb!” she whispered, grabbing his arm. “Scrubb, quick! Do you see anyone you know?”
“So you’ve turned up again, have you?” said Scrubb disagreeably (for which he had some reason). “Well, keep quiet, can’t you? I want to listen.”
“Don’t be a fool,” said Jill. “There isn’t a moment to lose. Don’t you see some old friend here? Because you’ve got to go and speak to him at once.”
“What are you talking about?” said Scrubb.
“It’s Aslan—the Lion—says you’ve got to,” said Jill despairingly. “I’ve seen him.”
“Oh, you have, have you? What did he say?”
“He said the very first person you saw in Narnia would be an old friend, and you’d got to speak to him at once.”
“Well, there’s nobody here I’ve ever seen in my life before; and anyway, I don’t know whether this is Narnia.”
“Thought you said you’d been here before,” said
“Well, you thought wrong then.”
“Well, I like that! You told me—”
“For heaven’s sake dry up and let’s hear what they’re saying.”
The King was speaking to the Dwarf, but Jill couldn’t hear what he said. And, as far as she could make out, the Dwarf made no answer, though he nodded and wagged his head a great deal. Then the King raised his voice and addressed the whole court: but his voice was so old and cracked that she could understand very little of his speech—especially since it was all about people and places she had never heard of. When the speech was over, the King stooped down and kissed the Dwarf on both cheeks, straightened himself, raised his right hand as if in blessing, and went, slowly and with feeble steps, up the gangway and on board the ship. The courtiers appeared to be greatly moved by his departure. Handkerchiefs were got out, sounds of sobbing were heard in every direction. The gangway was cast off, trumpets sounded from the poop, and the ship moved away from the quay. (It was being towed by a rowing-boat, but Jill didn’t see that.) “Now—” said Scrubb, but he didn’t get any further because at that very moment a large white object—Jill thought for a second that it was a kite—came gliding through the air and alighted at his feet. It was a white owl, but so big that it stood as high as a good-sized dwarf.
It blinked and peered as if it were shortsighted, and put its head a little to one side, and said in a soft, hooting kind of voice:
“Tu-whoo, tu-whoo! Who are you two?”
“My name’s Scrubb, and this is Pole,” said Eustace. “Would you mind telling us where we are?”
“In the land of Narnia, at the King’s castle of Cair Paravel.”
“Is that the King who’s just taken ship?”
“Too true, too true,” said the Owl sadly, shaking its big head. “But who are you? There’s something magic about you two. I saw you arrive: you flew. Everyone else was so busy seeing the King off that nobody knew. Except me. I happened to notice you, you flew.” “We were sent here by Aslan,” said Eustace in a low voice.
“Tu-whoo, tu-whoo!” said the Owl, ruffling out its feathers. “This is almost too much for me, so early in the evening. I’m not quite myself till the sun’s down.”
“And we’ve been sent to find the lost Prince,” said Jill, who had been anxiously waiting to get into the conversation.
“It’s the first I’ve heard about it,” said Eustace. “What prince?”
“You had better come and speak to the Lord Regent at once,” it said. “That’s him, over there in the donkey carriage; Trumpkin the Dwarf.” The bird turned and began leading the way, muttering to itself, “Whoo! Tu-whoo! What a to-do! I can’t think clearly yet. It’s too early.” “What is the King’s name?” asked Eustace.
“Caspian the Tenth,” said the Owl. And Jill wondered why Scrubb had suddenly pulled up short in his walk and turned an extraordinary color. She thought she had never seen him look so sick about anything. But before she had time to ask any questions they had reached the dwarf, who was just gathering up the reins of his donkey and preparing to drive back to the castle. The crowd of courtiers had broken up and were going in the same direction, by ones and twos and little knots, like people coming away from watching a game or a race.
“Tu-whoo! Ahem! Lord Regent,” said the Owl, stooping down a little and holding its beak near the Dwarf’s ear.
“Heh? What’s that?” said the Dwarf.
“Two strangers, my lord,” said the Owl.
“Rangers! What d’ye mean?” said the Dwarf. “I see two uncommonly grubby man-cubs. What do they want?”
“My name’s Jill,” said Jill, pressing forward. She was very eager to explain the important business on which they had come.
“The girl’s called Jill,” said the Owl, as loud as it could.
“What’s that?” said the Dwarf. “The girls are all killed! I don’t believe a word of it. What girls? Who killed ‘em?”
“Only one girl, my lord,” said the Owl. “Her name is Jill.”
“Speak up, speak up,” said the Dwarf. “Don’t stand there buzzing and twittering in my ear. Who’s been killed?”
“Nobody’s been killed,” hooted the Owl.
“All right, all right. You needn’t shout. I’m not so deaf as all that. What do you mean by coming here to tell me that nobody’s been killed? Why should anyone have been killed?” “Better tell him I’m Eustace,” said Scrubb.
“The boy’s Eustace, my lord,” hooted the Owl as loud as it could.
“Useless?” said the Dwarf irritably. “I dare say he is. Is that any reason for bringing him to court? Hey?”
“Not useless,” said the Owl. “EUSTACE.”
“Used to it, is he? I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m sure. I tell you what it is, Master Glimfeather; when I was a young Dwarf there used to be talking beasts and birds in this country who really could talk. There wasn’t all this mumbling and muttering and whispering. It wouldn’t have been tolerated for a moment. Not for a moment, Sir. Urnus, my trumpet please—” A little Faun who had been standing quietly beside the Dwarf’s elbow all this time now handed him a silver ear-trumpet. It was made like the musical instrument called a serpent, so that the tube curled right round the Dwarf’s neck. While he was getting it settled the Owl, Glimfeather, suddenly said to the children in a whisper: “My brain’s a bit clearer now. Don’t say anything about the lost Prince. I’ll explain later. It wouldn’t do, wouldn’t do, Tu-Whoo! Oh what a todo!”
“Now,” said the Dwarf, “if you have anything sensible to say, Master Glimfeather, try and say it. Take a deep breath and don’t attempt to speak too quickly.”
With help from the children, and in spite of a fit of coughing on the part of the Dwarf, Glimfeather explained that the strangers had been sent by Aslan to visit the court of Narnia. The Dwarf glanced quickly up at them with a new expression in his eyes.
“Sent by the Lion Himself, hey?” he said. “And from—m’m—from that other Place—beyond the world’s end, hey?”
“Yes, my lord,” bawled Eustace into the trumpet.
“Son of Adam and Daughter of Eve, hey?” said the Dwarf. But people at Experiment House haven’t heard of Adam and Eve, so Jill and Eustace couldn’t answer this. But the Dwarf didn’t seem to notice.
“Well, my dears,” he said, taking first one and then the other by the hand and bowing his head a little. “You are very heartily welcome. If the good King, my poor Master, had not this very hour set sail for Seven Isles, he would have been glad of your coming. It would have brought back his youth to him for a moment—for a moment. And now, it is high time for supper. You shall tell me your business in full council tomorrow morning. Master Glimfeather, see that bedchambers and suitable clothes and all else are provided for these guests in the most honorable fashion. And—Glimfeather—in your ear—” Here the Dwarf put his mouth close to the Owl’s head and, no doubt, intended to whisper: but, like other deaf people, he wasn’t a very good judge of his own voice, and both children heard him say, “See that they’re properly washed.” After that, the Dwarf touched up his donkey and it set off toward the castle at something between a trot and a waddle (it was a very fat little beast), while the Faun, the Owl, and the children followed at a rather slower pace. The sun had set and the air was growing cool.
They went across the lawn and then through an orchard and so to the North Gate of Cair Paravel, which stood wide open. Inside, they found a grassy courtyard. Lights were already showing from the windows of the great hall on their right and from a more complicated mass of buildings straight ahead. Into these the Owl led them, and there a most delightful person was called to look after Jill. She was not much taller than Jill herself, and a good deal slenderer, but obviously full grown, graceful as a willow, and her hair was willowy too, and there seemed to be moss in it. She brought Jill to a round room in one of the turrets, where there was a little bath sunk in the floor and a fire of sweet-smelling woods burning on the flat hearth and a lamp hanging by a silver chain from the vaulted roof. The window looked west into the strange land of Narnia, and Jill saw the red remains of the sunset still glowing behind distant mountains. It made her long for more adventures and feel sure that this was only the beginning.
When she had had her bath, and brushed her hair, and put on the clothes that had been laid out for her—they were the kind that not only felt nice, but looked nice and smelled nice and made nice sounds when you moved as well—she would have gone back to gaze out of that exciting window, but she was interrupted by a bang on the door.
“Come in,” said Jill. And in came Scrubb, also bathed and splendidly dressed in Narnian clothes. But his face didn’t look as if he were enjoying it.
“Oh, here you are at last,” he said crossly, flinging himself into a chair. “I’ve been trying to find you for ever so long.”
“Well, now you have,” said Jill. “I say, Scrubb, isn’t it all simply too exciting and scrumptious for words.” She had forgotten all about the signs and the lost Prince for the moment.
“Oh! That’s what you think, is it?” said Scrubb: and then, after a pause, “I wish to goodness we’d never come.”
“Why on earth?”
“I can’t bear it,” said Scrubb. “Seeing the King—Caspian—a doddering old man like that. It’s—it’s frightful.”
“Why, what harm does it do you?”
“Oh, you don’t understand. Now that I come to think of it, you couldn’t. I didn’t tell you that this world has a different time from ours.”
“How do you mean?”
“The time you spend here doesn’t take up any of our time. Do you see? I mean, however long we spend here, we shall still get back to Experiment House at the moment we left it—” “That won’t be much fun—”
“Oh, dry up! Don’t keep interrupting. And when you’re back in England—in our world—you can’t tell how time is going here. It might be any number of years in Narnia while we’re having one year at home. The Pevensies explained it all to me, but, like a fool, I forgot about it. And now apparently it’s been about seventy years—Narnian years—since I was here last. Do you see now? And I come back and find Caspian an old, old man.” “Then the King was an old friend of yours!” said Jill. A horrid thought had struck her.
“I should jolly well think he was,” said Scrubb miserably. “About as good a friend as a chap could have. And last time he was only a few years older than me. And to see that old man with a white beard, and to remember Caspian as he was the morning we captured the Lone Islands, or in the fight with the Sea Serpent—oh, it’s frightful. It’s worse than coming back and finding him dead.” “Oh, shut up,” said Jill impatiently. “It’s far worse than you think. We’ve muffed the first Sign.” Of course Scrubb did not understand this. Then Jill told him about her conversation with Aslan and the four signs and the task of finding the lost prince which had been laid upon them.
“So you see,” she wound up, “you did see an old friend, just as Aslan said, and you ought to have gone and spoken to him at once. And now you haven’t, and everything is going wrong from the very beginning.” “But how was I to know?” said Scrubb.
“If you’d only listened to me when I tried to tell you, we’d be all right,” said Jill.
“Yes, and if you hadn’t played the fool on the edge of that cliff and jolly nearly murdered me—all right, I said murder, and I’ll say it again as often as I like, so keep your hair on—we’d have come together and both known what to do.” “I suppose he was the very first person you saw?” said Jill. “You must have been here hours before me. Are you sure you didn’t see anyone else first?”
“I was only here about a minute before you,” said Scrubb. “He must have blown you quicker than me. Making up for lost time: the time you lost.”
“Don’t be a perfect beast, Scrubb,” said Jill. “Hallo! What’s that?”
It was the castle bell ringing for supper, and thus what looked like turning into a first-rate quarrel was happily cut short. Both had a good appetite by this time.
Supper in the great hall of the castle was the most splendid thing either of them had ever seen; for though Eustace had been in that world before, he had spent his whole visit at sea and knew nothing of the glory and courtesy of the Narnians at home in their own land. The banners hung from the roof, and each course came in with trumpeters and kettledrums. There were soups that would make your mouth water to think of, and the lovely fishes called pavenders, and venison and peacock and pies, and ices and jellies and fruit and nuts, and all manner of wines and fruit drinks. Even Eustace cheered up and admitted that it was “something like.” And when all the serious eating and drinking was over, a blind poet came forward and struck up the grand old tale of Prince Cor and Aravis and the horse Bree, which is called The Horse and His Boy and tells of an adventure that happened in Narnia and Calormen and the lands between, in the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Cair Paravel. (I haven’t time to tell it now, though it is well worth hearing.) When they were dragging themselves upstairs to bed, yawning their heads off, Jill said, “I bet we sleep well tonight”; for it had been a full day. Which just shows how little anyone knows what is going to happen to them next.
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