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    Тексты для домашнего чтения(по уровням).
    книга по английскому языку по теме

    Домрачева Елена Павловна

    Общеизвестно, что в жизни человека чтение занимает значительное место. Оно не только обогащает человека духовно, но и позволяет ему глубже понять окружающий мир. Обучение чтению на иностранном языке не является в этом плане исключением, потому что оно имеет практически такое же значение для изучающего этот язык. Домашнее чтение как самостоятельный аспект учебного предмета «иностранный язык» способно, с одной стороны, обеспечить более прочное формирование всех видов коммуникативной компетенции, другой стороны, решить в процессе обучения иностранному языку задачи, которые требуют специального учебного и содержательного контекста. Ведущая обучающая функция домашнего чтения заключается в развитии коммуникативных умений чтения не только, как одного из видов речевой деятельности, но и как особого вида человеческой деятельности, а также в формировании умений так называемого «интеллектуального и коммуникативного чтения», которое, затрагивая личность обучаемого, его интеллектуальную и эмоциональную сферы, предполагает интерпретацию прочитанного, соотнесение содержания произведения со своим личным опытом и умение изложить свое понимание проблем, затронутых в художественном произведении, в соответствии с  уровнем развития детского мышления.

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    Introduction

    This time the Cheshire Cat vanished quite slowly. First its body went, then its legs. Then all of it vanished, and there was only its smile.

    'There are a lot of cats without a smile, but a smile without a cat! Sow that's very strange! 'Alice said.

    One hot summer day, Alice and her sister are sitting under a tree. Alice sees a white rabbit and runs after it. The rabbit goes down a rabbit-hole and Alice follows it.

    Down the rabbit-hole, everything is different. Alice is in 'Wonderland'. Her size changes all the time. Caterpillars can talk and rabbits have watches. The Queen wants to cut off everybody's head. When the Queen sees the Cheshire Cat, she wants to cut off the Cat's head too. But there's a problem. The Cheshire Cat hasn't got a body ... What strange things happen to Alice, in Wonderland ? And how will she get back home again ?

    Charles Dodgson was born in 1838. He went to Oxford University and then he was a teacher there. He was a quiet man and did not talk to people easily.

    He wrote Alice in Wonderland in 1865. For him, Alice in Wonderland was not an important book, so he did not use his name for the book. He used the name Lewis Carroll. But the book sold very well and it was quickly very famous. At that time, children's books always tried to teach something. Lewis Carroll did not try to teach anything. He only wanted to tell a wonderful story.

    Carroll wrote a second story about Alice in 1871. He died in 1898. Today, Alice in Wonderland is one of the most famous children's stories in the world.

    Chapter 1    Down the Rabbit-hole

    Alice and her big sister sat under a tree one sunny day. Alice's sister had a book, but Alice had nothing with her. She looked at her sister's book. There were no pictures or conversations in it.

    'Why is she reading a book without pictures or conversations?' she thought. 'I'm bored. I know! I'll look for some flowers.' Then she thought,' No, it's too hot for that and I feel sleepy'

    Suddenly, a white rabbit ran past her. It took a watch from its jacket and looked at it.' Oh! Oh ! I'm going to be late!' it said.

    ' That's strange! A rabbit with a watch!' said Alice.

    She jumped up and ran after the animal. It ran down a large rabbit-hole, so Alice went down the hole too. She didn't stop and ask,' How am I going to get out again ?'

    Alice fell down and down. But she fell very slowly and didn't feel afraid. 'What's going to happen next?' she wondered.

    She looked round. There were cupboards in the walls of the rabbit-hole. Some of the cupboards were open, and there were books in them. Sometimes she saw pictures. She looked down, but she couldn't see any light.

    Down, down, down. 'When will the hole end?' she wondered. Perhaps I'm going to come out in Australia! I'll have to ask the name of the country. " Please, madam, is this Australia or New Zealand?" No, I can't do that. They'll think I'm stupid.'

    She thought about her cat, Dinah. 'What's Dinah doing? Will they remember her milk tonight? Oh, Dinah! Why aren't you here with me ? Perhaps there's a mouse here and you can eat it!'

    Suddenly, Alice was at the bottom of the hole. ' That didn't hurt' she said and sat up quickly. She could see the White Rabbit and she ran after him again. They were in a different rabbit-hole now.

    ' Oh, my ears and nose!' the White Rabbit cried.' It's getting

    very late!'

    He ran faster and vanished through another hole. Alice followed him through the hole. Now she was in a very long room. She looked round for the White Rabbit, but she couldn't see him anywhere.

    There were four doors in the room, but Alice couldn't open them. Also, she couldn't see the hole anywhere.' How am I going to get out ?' she wondered.

    Then she saw a little table. It had a very small key on it.

    'Perhaps it will open one of the doors,' she thought. She took the key and tried to open each door with it. But it was no good. The key was too small.

    ' This key has to open something,' she thought.

    Then she saw a very small door about 40 centimeters high. The little key opened it. She put her head down and looked through the door into a beautiful garden. She tried to walk through it, but she was too big. Sadly, she shut the door again and put the key back on the table.

    'Why can't I get smaller?' thought Alice.' This is a very strange place - so perhaps I can.'

    She looked at the table. There was a little bottle on it.

    ' That bottle was not on the table before,' thought Alice.

    The bottle had ' DRINK ME' on it in large letters. Alice looked at it carefully.

    ' Is it all right to drink ?' she wondered.

    ' I'll drink a little,' she thought. She had some and it was very nice. So she had some more.' This feels strange,' said Alice.' I'm getting smaller and smaller!' - After a short time, she was only 25 centimetres high.

    ' Now I can go through that door,' she thought. She went to the door, but could not open it. The key was on the table. She went back to the table. But Alice was too short and she couldn't get the key. She tried to climb the table legs, but it was too difficult. The little girl sat down and cried.

    'Alice! Alice!' she said after some minutes. 'Don't cry. It isn't going to help you. Stop now!'

    Then she saw a little box under the table. She opened it. There was a cake inside. On it, she saw the words,' EAT ME'.

    'Yes, I will eat it,'Alice said. 'Perhaps I'll get bigger and then I can get the key. Or perhaps I'll get smaller. Then I can get under the door into the garden.'

    She ate some cake.

    'Will I go up or down?' she wondered. She felt the top of her head with her hand. But nothing happened — she stayed the same size. So she finished the cake.

    Chapter 2   Alice's Tears

    'Oh! What's happening?' cried Alice. 'I'm getting taller and taller!' She looked down. 'Goodbye, feet! Who will put your shoes on for you now? I can't do it! I'll give you some new shoes for Christmas. I'll have to send them to you!'

    In a short time, Alice was more than three metres high.

    ' I want to go into that garden!' she thought. She took the little key from the table. Then she went to the door and opened it. But she was too big and couldn't go through it.

    She sat down and began to cry again. Because she was very big, her tears were very big too.

    ' Alice, stop it this minute! Don't cry!' she said.

    But she couldn't stop the big tears and after a time there was water everywhere.

    She heard the sound of small feet. She looked down and there was the White Rabbit again. He had his best clothes on, and in one hand he had a white hat.

    ' Oh, the Duchess, the Duchess!' he said.' She'll be angry with me because I'm late!'

    Alice wanted to ask him for help.' Please, sir — ' she said very politely.

    The White Rabbit jumped. He ran out of the room and his hat fell from his hands. Alice took the hat.

    'Am I different?' she wondered. 'I was Alice yesterday, but everything is different today. Perhaps I'm not me now. So who am I? That's the question.'

    She began to think about her friends. 'Perhaps I'm one of them,' she thought.' I'm not Ada because her hair is different to mine. I don't want to be my friend Mabel, because she doesn't know very much. I know more than she does.' Then she thought, ' Do I know more ? Let me see. What's four and four ? Eight. Eight and eight is sixteen. Sixteen and sixteen is .. . Oh! I can't remember!' And she started to cry again.

    But this time her tears were small tears — she was small again! ' Why ?' she wondered. Then she understood. She had the White Rabbit's hat in her hand.

    ' I'm smaller because I've got the hat in my hand!' she thought.

    She put the hat on. It was the right size for her head.

    Am I smaller than the table now ?' she wondered. She went to the table and stood next to it. She was smaller than the table.' I'm getting smaller all the time!' she cried.' I'm going to vanish!' She quickly took the hat off.

    ' Now I can go into the garden!' thought Alice, and she started to run to the little door. But before she got there, she fell into some water. She tried to put her feet on the ground but she couldn't. She had to swim.

    'I'm in the sea!' she thought. But it wasn't the sea.The water was her tears.

    Something was in the water — Alice could hear it.' Perhaps it's a big fish or sea animal,' she thought. She looked round. There, very near her, was a mouse.

    'I'll speak to it,' thought Alice. 'Everything is strange here. Perhaps it can speak and understand me.'

    ' Oh Mouse,' she said. ' Do you know the way out of this room?' The Mouse didn't answer.

    'Perhaps it doesn't understand English. Perhaps it's a French mouse,' Alice thought. She remembered some words from her schoolbook, so she spoke to the mouse in French.

    ' Where is my cat ?' she asked.

    The Mouse moved quickly away from her.

    'Oh, I'm sorry,' said Alice. 'I forgot. You're a mouse, so you don't like cats.'

    'Don't like cats!' cried the mouse. 'I'm a mouse. Of course I don't like cats!'

    'No,'Alice said. 'No. But I think you will like Dinah. She is a nice, dear thing. She's very quiet and good. She catches a mouse every day - Oh! You're angry again! We won't talk about Dinah any more - '

    ' We!' cried the Mouse.' I never speak about cats! Our family hates cats! I don't want to hear any more about them.'

    ' No, no,' said Alice quickly.' Perhaps — perhaps you like dogs ? There's a very nice little dog near our house. It likes playing with children but it works too. It kills all the m — Oh! I'm sorry!'

    The Mouse looked angrily at her and swam quickly away.  ' Dear Mouse!' said Alice softly. ' Come back again and we won't talk about cats or dogs.'

    When the Mouse heard this, it turned round. It swam slowly back. 'All right,' it said. 'I'll talk to you, but let's get out of the

    water.'

    They climbed out and Alice looked round. There were a lot of animals and birds in the water. When they saw her, they got out of the water too.

    Chapter 3    A Race

    Alice and the birds and animals felt cold and wet. The largest bird spoke to Alice.

    ' Good afternoon,' it said loudly.' I am the Dodo.'

    'What is a Dodo?' thought Alice, but she smiled politely. ' Hello, Dodo. I'm Alice,' she said.

    ' I have an idea,' said the Dodo.' We all want to get warm. So let's have a race — a Caucus race.'

    'What is a Caucus race?'Alice asked.

    ' I can tell you,' said the Dodo,'but I won't. I'll show you! That will be easier.'

    He put the animals and birds in different places in the room. In a race, somebody usually says,' One, two, three, go!' But the Dodo didn't do that. Everybody started to run at different times and stopped at different times too. After half an hour, the Dodo cried,' Everybody stop!' All the birds and animals stopped. Then they all came to the Dodo and stood round it. 'Who was first? Who was first?' they shouted.

    The Dodo had to think about it. He sat for a long time with his finger in his mouth. Then he said, 'Everybody was first. So everybody can have a chocolate.'

    ' But who will give us the chocolates ?' the Mouse asked.

    ' She will,' the Dodo said and looked at Alice. The birds and animals came and stood round Alice.

    ' Chocolates, chocolates!' they cried.

    ' What am I going to do ?' thought Alice.' I haven't got any chocolates.' But then she saw a box of chocolates near her feet.

    ' Here we are,' she said, and opened the box. There was one chocolate for each bird and animal.

    ' But Alice has to have something, you know,' said the Mouse.

    ' Of course,' the Dodo answered. He turned to Alice.' What can you have ?' he asked.

    ' I can have the box,' said Alice sadly.

    ' Give it to me,' said the Dodo and Alice gave it to him.

    They all stood round Alice again, and the Dodo gave her the box.

    ' Please take this beautiful box,' he said.

    ' This is very stupid,' thought Alice and she wanted to laugh. But she didn't. She took the box and smiled politely.

    The animals and birds ate their chocolates noisily. Some of them cried. The big animals and birds wanted more. But the chocolates were too big for the small birds, and they had to eat them very slowly. When they finished their chocolates, they sat and looked at Alice.

    ' Oh, where is Dinah ?' said Alice.' I want her with me.'

    'And who is Dinah?' the Dodo asked.

    Alice loved to talk about her cat.' Dinah's our cat. She's very nice. And very clever and fast. She can catch a mouse in the morning for her breakfast and a little bird in the evening for her dinner - Oh! I'm sorry!'

    It was too late. The birds and animals started leaving.

    One old bird said, 'I really have to go home. It gets so cold at night!'

    Another bird called to her children,' Come away, my dears! It's time for bed!'

        They all spoke politely to Alice and left the room.     ' Oh, why did I talk about Dinah ?' cried Alice.' Nobody likes Dinah down here, but she's the best cat in the world. Perhaps I'll never see her again!'

    She sat down and started to cry again. After a time, she heard the sound of small feet and looked up.

    ' Perhaps it's the Mouse,' she thought.

    Chapter 4   The White Rabbit's House

    It was not the Mouse. It was the White Rabbit. He came slowly into the room.

    ' Oh, my ears and nose!' he said quietly.' The Duchess! The Duchess! She'll be angry! They'll cut off my head, I know! Oh, where is it ? Where did it fall ?'

    'He's looking for his hat,' thought Alice.

    She wanted to help him, but she couldn't see the hat anywhere. She looked round. Everything was different now. She wasn't in the long room any more, and there was no table or water. She was outside again, in the country.

    The White Rabbit saw her. 'What are you doing out here, Mary Ann ?' he asked angrily.' Run home this minute and bring me a hat. Quick, now!'

    Alice didn't say,' I'm not Mary Ann.' She felt too afraid. She ran fast and after a short time, she came to a pretty little house. Above the door were the words 'w. RABBIT'. She went in and ran up the stairs. ' This is very strange,' she thought.' I hope I don't meet Mary Ann. Why am I bringing a rabbit his hat ? Perhaps when I get home, I'll do things for Dinah. Perhaps I'll watch mouse-holes for her!'

    She went into a small room. There, on a table, was a hat and a little bottle. Alice took the hat and looked at the bottle. It didn't have the words' DRINK ME' on it, but she drank from it.

    'I know something interesting will happen,' she thought. 'When I eat or drink something here, it always does. I hope I get bigger this time. I don't like being small.'

    She drank half the bottle. 'Oh, I'm getting much taller!' she cried.' Oh!' Her head hit the top of the house and she put the bottle down quickly.

    ' Oh no!' she thought.' I hope I don't get taller!'

    She sat down. But after a very short time she was too big for the room. She had to put one arm out of the window and one foot in the fireplace.

    ' I can't do any more,' she thought.' What will happen to me ?'

    She waited for some time, but she didn't get bigger.

    'Well, that's good,' she thought. But then she tried to move and couldn't. She didn't feel well and she was very unhappy.

    ' I'm never going to get out of here,' she thought.' It was much nicer at home. First I get larger, then I get smaller, then larger ... Oh, why did I go down the rabbit-hole? But it is interesting here. Perhaps somebody will write a book about this place — and about me! Perhaps I will, when I'm bigger.' Then she remembered.' But I'm bigger now!'

    She heard somebody outside.' Mary Ann, Mary Ann! Where are you ? Bring me my hat!' The words came from the garden, outside the window. It was the White Rabbit.

    He came inside and ran up the stairs to the room. He tried to open the door. But he couldn't because Alice's back was next to it.

    ' I'll climb in through the window,' the Rabbit said.

    'Oh no, you won't,' thought Alice. She waited and listened. One of her arms was outside the window. When she could hear the Rabbit outside the window, she moved her arm up and down. There was a little cry.

    ' Pat, Pat, where are you ? Come here!' shouted the Rabbit.

    ' Coming, sir,' somebody — or something — answered.

    ' What's that in the window ?' asked the Rabbit.

    ' It's an arm, sir,' Pat answered.

    'Don't be stupid! How can it be an arm? It's too big!'

    ' It is very big, but it is an arm, sir.'

    ' Well, what's it doing up there ? Take it away!' said the Rabbit angrily.

    Alice moved her arm again. Now there were two little cries. Everything was quiet for a short time, then something hard hit her arm.

    ' That hurt!' said Alice.

    Something came through the window and fell on the floor. Alice looked down. It was a little cake.

    'A cake ? Why did they throw a cake ?' she wondered.

    Then she thought,' I'll eat it and perhaps I'll get smaller again. I can't get bigger!' So she ate the cake and two or three minutes later she was small again. She ran out of the house as quickly as she could.

    The White Rabbit saw her. He ran after her but Alice ran too fast for him. After some time, she came to a wood. She was tired because she was very small now.

    ' I have to get bigger again,' said Alice.' But how ? I have to eat or drink something, but the question is — what ?'

    That was the question. She looked all round her, but she couldn't see anything with 'eat me' or 'drink me' on it. There were some mushrooms near her. Some were white and some were brown.'I eat mushrooms for dinner,' she thought. 'I'll eat some mushroom and perhaps I'll get bigger again.'

    One white mushroom was as big as Alice. She stood up tall and looked over the top. There, on top of the mushroom, was a large green caterpillar.

    Chapter 5   The Caterpillar

    The Caterpillar looked at Alice for some time before it spoke. Then it said slowly,' Who are you ?'

    It was a difficult question. 'I ... I don't really know, sir,' Alice said. 'I was Alice when I got up this morning. But then I changed — and then I changed again — and again.'

    ' What do you mean ?' the Caterpillar asked.

    'I don't know,'Alice answered.' You see, I'm not me now.'

    ' I don't understand,' said the Caterpillar.

    'I'll try and tell you,' said Alice.'You see, I change all the time. It's very difficult for me.'

    ' Why ? I can change very easily.'

    'Well, perhaps it's not difficult for you, but it is for me,' . said Alice.

    ' For you ? Who are you ?' said the Caterpillar and laughed. ■Alice   felt  angry.   'It   asked  me   that   question  before,'  she thought. She stood very tall and said,' I will tell you, but first, you tell me. Who are you ?'

    ' Why do I have to tell you ?' asked the Caterpillar.

    This was another difficult question and Alice could not answer it.

    'This caterpillar isn't very friendly,' she thought. So she walked away.

    'Gome back!' the Caterpillar called. 'I want to tell you something important.' Alice turned and came back again.

    ' Don't get angry,' said the Caterpillar.

    ' Is that all? 'Alice asked. She felt very angry with the Caterpillar.

    ' No,' said the Caterpillar.

    It did not speak for some minutes, then it said, 'So you're different, are you ?'

    'Yes, I am, sir,' said Alice.' I can't remember things, and my size changes all the time. Sometimes I get bigger and then I get smaller again.'

    'So you can't remember things,' said the Caterpillar.'Try this. Repeat, "You are old, Father William."'

    Alice put her hands behind her back and repeated:

    ' You are old, Father William,' the young man said,

    'And your hair is now very white;

    So why do you often stand on your head —

    Do you think at your age it is right ?'

    ' You are old, Father William,' the young man said, 'You are old and really quite fat; But you jump up and down and turn round and round, Now what is the answer to that ?'

    ' That is not right,' said the Caterpillar.

    ' I know. Some of the words are different,' said Alice.

    ' It's wrong from beginning to end,' said the Caterpillar. It was quiet for a time. Then it asked,' What size would you like to be ?'

    ' I'd like to be taller,' said Alice.' Seven centimetres is too small.'

    'Seven centimetres is a very good size,' said the Caterpillar angrily It stood up very tall.    

    ' It's a good size for you, but not for me,' said Alice. And she thought,'Why does it get angry all the time?'

    The Caterpillar was quiet for some minutes. Then it climbed down the mushroom. 'Eat from my mushroom and you'll get bigger. Eat from that brown mushroom there and you'll get smaller,' it said. It started to move away. A minute later, it vanished behind a flower and Alice never saw it again.

         ♦

    Alice looked at the two mushrooms and thought for a minute. Then she went to the Caterpillar's mushroom and broke off some of it with her right hand. She went to the brown mushroom and did the same with her left hand.

    She ate some of the brown mushroom. Suddenly, her head hit her foot.

    ' Oh!' she cried.' I'm really small!'

    She quickly ate a little from the white mushroom in her left hand. She started to get bigger. She ate some more, and got very tall. Then she ate some from one hand and some from the other. In a short time, she was her right size again.

    She felt quite strange.' What shall I do now ?' she wondered.' I know! I'll look for that beautiful garden.'

    She began to walk through the wood. After some time, she came to a little house. It was about one metre high.

    ' I can't go inside, I'm too big,' Alice thought.' The people in the house will be afraid of me. I know! I'll eat some of the brown mushroom.'

    When she was 18 centimetres high, she walked to the house. She opened the door and went in.

    Chapter 6    The Duchess and the Cheshire Cat

    Inside, a large, ugly woman sat with a baby in her arms. There was a cook by the fire and there was food on the table. Near the fire, there was a large cat with a big smile. This smile went from ear to ear on its face.

    'I think that woman is the Duchess,' thought Alice.' Can girls speak to Duchesses ?' she wondered.

    But the Duchess did not say anything to her, so Alice asked, ' Please, why is your cat smiling ?'

    ' Because it's a Cheshire Cat, that's why,' said the Duchess.

    ' So Cheshire Cats can smile. I didn't know that,' said Alice.

    ' You don't know much,' said the Duchess.

    ' That's not very polite,' thought Alice.

    She started to say something. Suddenly, the cook threw a plate at the Duchess. The Duchess didn't move. The cook threw more things - plates, cups, spoons. Some of them hit the Duchess and the baby. The Duchess did nothing, but the baby started to cry. ' Oh, don't throw things at the baby!' cried Alice.' You'll hit its pretty nose!'

    ' You be quiet, it isn't your baby!' the Duchess shouted. She began to sing to it. These were the words of the song:

    Be angry with your little boy, And hit him when he cries: He has to know that he's a child, He's really not your size!

    The cook sang the song too. When they finished, they sang it again. The Duchess started to throw the baby up and down. At the end of the song, she threw the baby to Alice.

    'Here, you can have it now,' she said. 'I have to get ready. I'm going to see the Queen.'

    The cook threw another plate at the Duchess. It didn't hit her, but she left the room quickly.

    Alice looked at the baby. It was a strange little thing and not very pretty. She took it outside.' I'll have to take this child away from here, or they'll kill it!' she thought. The baby made a strange little sound and she looked at it again.

    ' Its nose is changing!' she cried. She looked at it very carefully. ' Its face is changing, everything is changing! Oh! It's not a baby any more, it's a pig!'

    It was very strange, but the baby was now a pig.        

    ' What am I going to do with it ?' Alice thought. The pig made another, louder sound. Alice put the little animal down and it ran happily away into the wood.        

    'It wasn't a pretty baby, but it's quite a pretty pig,' thought Alice.        

            

    She looked round her and jumped. The Cheshire Cat was up in one of the trees. The Cat smiled at Alice.

    ' It looks kind, but perhaps it will get angry. They all get angry in this place,' thought Alice. So she spoke to it very politely. ' Cheshire Cat, dear,' she said.        

    The Cat's smile got bigger.

    'Please, can you help me? I want to go somewhere new,' said Alice.

    'Where do you want to go ?' asked the Cat.

    ' Somewhere different,' Alice said.

    'Somewhere different,' repeated the Cat. It thought for a minute or two. Then it said, 'Walk that way and you'll come to a house. A man lives there. He makes hats and he's very strange. We call him the "Mad Hatter".'

    ' But I don't want to meet a strange man,' said Alice.

    The cat didn't answer her. It said,' Walk this way and you'll find the March Hare. He's strange too.'

    'But I told you, I don't want to meet strange animals.'

    'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all strange here. I'm strange. You're strange.'

    ' How do you know I'm strange ?' asked Alice.

    ' Of course you are,' the Cat said. 'Everybody's strange here. I'm very strange. I laugh when I'm sad, and I cry when I'm happy. That's strange. Are you going to see the Queen today?She's quite strange too.'

    'I'd like to see the Queen,'Alice said, 'but I haven't got an invitation.'

    'You'll see me in the Queen's garden,' said the Cheshire Cat, and vanished.

    'That's strange, but not very strange,' thought Alice. She waited for two minutes, and the Cat came back again.

    ' What happened to the baby ?' it asked.

    ' It changed into a pig,' Alice said.

    ' I knew it!' said the Cat and vanished again.

    Alice stayed under the tree for a short time. ' Perhaps it will come back again,' she thought. But it didn't.

    ' I think I'll go and visit the March Hare,' said Alice. She started to walk to his home. After some minutes, she heard a sound. She looked up, and there was the Cheshire Cat in a tree — a different tree.

    ' Did you say " pig " ?' asked the Cat.

    'Yes,' Alice answered. Then she said, 'Cheshire Cat, one minute you vanish and the next minute you're there again. I don't like it.'

    ' I know,' said the cat. And this time it vanished quite slowly. First its body went, then its legs. Then all of it vanished, and there was only its smile.

    ' There are a lot of cats without a smile, but a smile without a cat! Now that's very strange!'Alice said. Slowly, the Cheshire Cat's smile vanished too, and Alice began to walk again. She saw the March Hare's house through the trees. It was bigger than the Duchess's house.

    Alice ate some of the white mushrooms. She got bigger again. In a short time she was about 60 centimetres high. She felt afraid, but walked to the house.

    ' I hope the March Hare isn't too strange,' she thought.

    Chapter 7    A Tea Party

    There was a tree in front of the house. Under the tree was a big table with a lot of chairs round it. But there were only three at the table: the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and a large brown mouse. The Mouse sat between the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. It was asleep, so they talked over its head.

    When they saw Alice, they cried,' No, no, you can't sit here! There isn't a place for you!'

    'There are a lot of places,'Alice said. She sat down in a chair at one end of the table.

    ' Have some wine,' the Mad Hatter said politely.

    Alice looked round the table but there was only tea.

    ' I don't see any wine,' she answered.

    ' There isn't any,' said the March Hare.

    'Then why did you say, "Have some wine"? It wasn't very polite of you,' Alice said angrily.

    ' We didn't invite you to tea, but you came. That wasn't very polite of you,' said the March Hare.

    'No, it wasn't. Cut your hair!' said the Mad Hatter.

    ' Oh, be quiet,' said Alice.

    The Mad Hatter opened his eyes very wide, but he said nothing. Then he took out his watch and looked at it. 'What day is it?'he asked.

    Alice thought for a little.' Wednesday, I think,' she said.

    ' My watch says Monday,' the Mad Hatter said.' You see, I was right. Butter isn't good for a watch.' He looked angrily at the March Hare.

    ' But it was the best butter,' answered the March Hare.        

    'Yes, but you put it in with the bread knife. Perhaps some bread got in.'

    The March Hare took the watch from the Mad Hatter and looked at it sadly. Then he put it in his tea. He took it out and    looked at it again.' It was the best butter, you know,' he repeated.

    Alice looked at the watch.' It's a strange watch!' she said.' It
    tells you the day, but it doesn't tell you the time.'
            '

    ' So ? Does your watch tell you the year ?' asked the Mad Hatter.

    ' No,'Alice answered,' but it's the same year for a very long time.'

    'And my watch doesn't tell the time because it's always
    tea-time.'Alice thought about that.' I don't really understand you,' she said politely. She looked round the table. There were a lot of teacups on the table.

    'We move from place to place,' said the Mad Hatter.

    ' Don't you wash the cups ?' asked Alice.

    ' No, we don't have time,' said the Mad Hatter.

    ' Why not ?' asked Alice.

    ' It's a long story,' said the Mad Hatter.' Time was my friend, you see. But he and I aren't friends now. So he doesn't do anything for me. And I don't have time for anything.'

    'I see,' said Alice and smiled politely. But she didn't really understand.

    ' Oh, look! The Mouse is asleep again,' said the Mad Hatter. He took his teacup and put a little hot tea on the Mouse's nose. It woke up and started to sing.

    ' Be quiet!' the Mad Hatter said very loudly, and the Mouse stopped singing.

    ' Have some more tea,' the March Hare said to Alice.

    ' Thank you, but I haven't got any tea. So how can I have some more ?'

    ' You can have more,' the Mad Hatter said.' You can have more than nothing.'

    ' I don't think — ' Alice began.

    ' Then don't speak,' the Mad Hatter said.

    Alice got up angrily and walked away from the table into the woods.

    ' Perhaps they'll call me back,' she thought. 'And then they'll be nice to me and give me some tea and bread-and-butter.'

    But they didn't say anything.

    When she looked back, the Mouse was asleep with its head on its plate.

    'I'll  never  go   there  again,' Alice  said. 'That  was  a  stupid - tea party!'

    She looked round and saw a door in one of the trees. 'A door in a tree ? That's strange!' she thought. And she opened the door and went inside.

    ' Oh, good!' she cried. She was back in the long room, near the little table! 'I'm small now. I can get through the little door into the garden.'

    The key was on the table. She took it and opened the little door. Then she ate some of the brown mushroom. She started to get smaller. When she was about 30 centimetres high, she walked through the door into the garden.

    Chapter 8    Inside the Garden

    Near Alice was a small tree with flowers on it. There were three gardeners by the tree.

    ' Be careful, Five!' one of them said.

    ' I'm always careful, Seven,' answered Five.

    Alice went to them.' What are you doing ?' she asked.

    ' We're making the flowers red,' one of the gardeners said.

    ' That's strange!' thought Alice.' Why ?' she asked.

    The three men looked unhappy.

    ' You tell her, Seven,' Five said.

    ' No,' said Seven,' You tell her,Two.'

    'Well, Miss, the Queen wanted trees with red flowers on them. But this tree's got white flowers! We don't want the Queen to see it. She'll be very angry and cut off our heads. So we're making the flowers red before she sees them.'

    ' Oh no!' Five shouted suddenly.' The Queen! The Queen!'

    The three gardeners fell to the ground, with their faces down. Alice heard the sound of many feet and turned round. ' Oh good!' she thought.' Now I'll see the Queen.'

    First, ten men with clubs in their hands came into the garden. Next came the King's men. There were ten of them, and they had red diamonds on their clothes. The children of the King and Queen came next, all with red hearts. After them there were a lot more people. Most of them were Kings and Queens. The White Rabbit was there, but he didn't see Alice. The Knave of Hearts came next. Last of all were the King and Queen of Hearts.

    When these people saw Alice, they all stopped. The Queen said to the Knave of Hearts,'Who is this?'

    The Knave of Hearts didn't know. So he smiled and said nothing.

    ' Stupid man!' shouted the Queen. She turned to Alice and said,' What's your name, child ?'

    ' My name is Alice, Madam,' Alice answered.

    She didn't feel very afraid of the Queen.' They're only cards', she thought.

    The Queen looked at the gardeners. They were on the ground and she couldn't see their faces.'Who are these men?' she asked.

    'Don't ask me\ I don't know,' answered Alice, not very politely.

    The Queen's face got redder and redder. She looked at Alice and shouted,' Cut off her head! Cut -'

    ' Oh, be quiet!' said Alice.

    The Queen stopped shouting. The King put his hand on her arm. He said quietly,'Don't be angry, my dear. She's only a child.'

    The Queen turned away from him angrily.' Turn those men over!' she said to the Knave of Hearts. The Knave did this very carefully, with one foot.

    ' Get up!' the Queen shouted.

    The three gardeners jumped up. The Queen turned to the little tree and looked at it carefully. 'What's wrong with these flowers ?' she asked the gardeners.

    ' Well, you see, M — M — Madam,' said Two.' They were white, and — and —'

    The Queen looked from the flowers to the men.' I see,' she said.' Cut off their heads!'

       Everybody started walking again. The gardeners ran to Alice. 'Help us!' they cried. Alice put them behind some trees.

    'Don't be afraid,' she said. 'They're not going to cut off your heads.'

    The King's men looked for the gardeners but couldn't find them.' Are their heads off?' shouted the Queen.

    'Yes, Madam,' shouted the King's men.

    ' Good!' shouted the Queen.

    Everybody started walking again and Alice walked with them.

    ' It's a very fine day,' somebody said. Alice turned round and there was the White Rabbit next to her.

    ' Very,' said Alice.' Where's the Duchess ?'

    ' Quiet!' said the Rabbit and looked all round him. Then he put his mouth near to Alice's ear. 'They're going to cut off her head!' he said.

    ' Why ?' asked Alice.

    ' Did you say," Oh no!" ?' asked the White Rabbit.

    ' No, I didn't. I said," Why ? "'

    ' She hit the Queen,' the Rabbit said. Alice started to laugh.

    ' Quiet!' said the Rabbit again. ' The Queen will hear you, she hears everything. You see, the Duchess came late. When she arrived, the Queen said —'

    Suddenly, the Queen shouted very loudly' Cut off their heads!'

    'Who's going to lose their head now?'Alice wondered. She began to feel afraid.' The Queen isn't angry with me now,' she thought.' But it will happen. I would like to speak to somebody about it.'

    She looked round. The White Rabbit wasn't there. She looked up. There was something above her head.

    ' What is it ?' she wondered. She watched for a minute or two. It was a smile! ' It's the Cheshire Cat,' she thought.' Now I can talk to somebody.'

    ' How are you ?' the Cheshire Cat asked.

    Alice waited. She thought,' I won't speak to it before it has its ears - or perhaps one ear.'

    In another minute, she could see its ears and eyes.

    ' Do you like the Queen ?' the Cat asked.

    ' I don't,' said Alice. But then she saw the Queen. She was very near Alice.' She's wonderful,' said Alice. The Queen smiled and moved away. But the King saw the Cat's head and came to Alice.

    ' Who are you talking to ?' he asked.

    ' It's a friend — a Cheshire Cat,' answered Alice.

    The King looked carefully at the Cat.' I don't like it,' said the King.

    'Well, I don't like you' said the Cat.

    ' That's not polite,' said the King and got behind Alice.

    Alice said, 'A cat can look at a King. I read that in a book, I think.'

    'Well, this cat has to go,' said the King. He called to the Queen,' My dear, I don't like this cat.'

    The Queen had only one answer to problems.' Cut off its head!' she shouted loudly. She didn't look at the Cat. The King smiled happily

    After a short time, there were a lot of people round the Cat. There was the King and Queen, and a man with a very long knife in his hand.

    'How can I cut off its head?' asked the man with the knife. 'I can't do it and I'm not going to.'

    ' Oh yes you are,' said the King.' It's got a head, so you can cut it off.'

    'Do something now, or I'll cut off everybody's head!' said the Queen angrily.

    ' What do you think ?' the King asked Alice.        

    Alice thought for a minute. Then she said,' It's the Duchess's Cat. Ask her about it.'

    ' Bring the Duchess here,' the Queen said.

    Then the Cheshire Cat's head started to vanish. Somebody came back with the Duchess. But now there was nothing above Alice's head — not an eye or an ear or a smile. The King looked for the Cat for some time, but he couldn't find it anywhere.

    ' Come for a walk, you dear thing,' the Duchess said to Alice. She put her arm through Alice's and they walked through the garden.

    ' She's very friendly to me,' thought Alice.' Perhaps when the cook isn't there, she's nice. When I'm a Duchess, I'm going to be kind to my children.'

    'Are you thinking?' asked the Duchess. 'You have to talk to me, you know.'

    'All right,' said Alice. She could hear the Queen at the other end of the garden. ' Cut off her head! Cut off his head!' she shouted, every two or three minutes.

    'Will they cut off your head?'Alice asked the Duchess.

    ' Oh no, they never cut off anybody's head. The Queen likes saying it, but she never does it.'

    Alice wanted to ask more questions but they heard a cry: ' The trial is beginning!'

    ' What trial is it ?' Alice asked. The Duchess didn't answer and started to run. Her arm was in Alice's, so Alice ran too.

    Chapter 9   Who Took the Tarts?

    Alice and the Duchess followed everybody into a house with one very large room. The King and Queen were there. They sat on big chairs above all the animals and birds. All the cards were there too. Near the King was the White Rabbit. He had a paper in his hand and looked very important. The Knave of Hearts stood in front of the King and Queen. He stood between two men and his head was down. It was his trial. In the middle of the room was a table with a large plate of tarts on it.

    Alice found a place and sat down. She looked round.

    ' I know a lot of the animals and birds here,' she thought. She looked hungrily at the tarts.

    ' I hope they finish the trial quickly' she thought.' Then we can eat the tarts.'

    Suddenly, the White Rabbit cried,' Quiet please!'

    The King looked round the room.' Read the paper!' he said. The White Rabbit stood up and read from a very long paper:

    The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, One lovely sunny day; The Knave of Hearts, he took those tarts, He took them all away.

    'Cut off his head!' cried the Queen.

    'No, no,' said the Rabbit. 'We have to call people into the room, and ask them questions.'

    'All right then. Call the Mad Hatter!' said the King.

    The Mad Hatter came into the room. He had a teacup in one hand, and some bread-and-butter in the other hand.

    ' Why did you call me ? I wanted to finish my tea,' he said.

    ' When did you begin your tea ?' asked the King.

    The Mad Hatter thought for a minute. The March Hare and the Mouse were quite near him and he looked at them for ideas. Then he said,' March the fourteenth - I think.'

    ' Fifteenth,' said the March Hare.

    ' Sixteenth,' said the Mouse.

    ' Write that down,' said the King to the White Rabbit. Then he said to the Mad Hatter,'Take off your hat.'

    ' It isn't mine,' said the Mad Hatter.

    ' Oh, so you took it from somebody, you bad man,' said the King.

    ' No, no! I sell hats. I'm a Hatter,' answered the Mad Hatter. He looked very afraid.

    'Don't be afraid or I'll cut off your head!' said the King.

    ' I'm not a bad man!' the Mad Hatter cried.' But the March Hare told me —'

    ' I didn't!' the March Hare said quickly.

    'Well, the Mouse said ...' The Mad Hatter stopped and looked at the Mouse. But the Mouse didn't say anything, because he was asleep.

    'After that,' said the Mad Hatter,' I cut some more bread-and-butter.'

    ' But what did the Mouse say ?' asked the King.

    ' I can't remember,' the Mad Hatter said.

    'You have to remember,' the King said, 'or I'll cut off your head.'

    ' I'm a good man, Sir ...' the unhappy Mad Hatter began. But the King wasn't interested now.

    ' You can go,' he said to the Mad Hatter.

    The Mad Hatter ran out of the room.

    'Take his head off outside!' shouted the Queen. Two men ran after him. But the Mad Hatter ran very fast and they could not catch him.

    Alice did not feel very well. 'What's wrong with me?' she wondered. And then she understood.' I'm getting bigger again,' she thought.

    She was between the Duchess and the Mouse.' You're hurting me,' the Duchess said.

    ' I can't do anything,' said Alice.' I'm getting bigger.'

    ' You can't get bigger here', said the Mouse.

    'Yes, I can,' said Alice. 'You're getting bigger too.'

    'Yes, but not as fast as you,' said the Mouse. He got up and sat
    in a different place.
            

    ' Call the next person!' said the King.        

    The next person came in. It was the Duchess's cook.

    The King looked at her. 'What do you know about these tarts ?' he asked. The cook didn't answer.

    ' Speak!' said the King.

    ' No!' said the cook.

    'Ask her some questions,' the White Rabbit said to the King.

    'All right, all right,' said the King.' What was in those tarts ?'

    ' Fish,' said the cook.

    ' Don't be stupid,' said the King.' Call the next person !'

    Alice looked round. 'Who can it be?' she wondered.

    The White Rabbit looked at his paper and read the next     name: 'Alice!'

    Chapter 10    The End of the Trial

    ' Here!' cried Alice and stood up quickly. But she was tall now, and chairs, tables and people fell here, there and everywhere.

    ' Put everything and everybody back!' said the King loudly. Alice put them all back in their places. Then the King asked, ' What do you know about these tarts ?'

    ' Nothing,' answered Alice.

    ' That's very important,' said the King.

    ' You mean, unimportant, Sir,' said the White Rabbit.

    ' Unimportant — of course,' said the King. ' Important — unimportant — important — unimportant,' he repeated.

    He looked at Alice carefully. He took a book and read from it. 'Alice is more than a kilometre high. So she has to leave the room!' he said.

    ' I'm not more than a kilometre high —'Alice began.

    ' You are,' said the King.

    ' More than two kilometres high,' said the Queen.

    'Well, I'm not leaving this room,' said Alice.

    The King's face went white.

    'Cut off her head!' shouted the Queen. Nobody moved.

    ' You stupid woman,' said Alice. She was very large now and she wasn't afraid of anybody.

    ' Cut off her head!' shouted the Queen.

    'Don't be stupid!' Alice said. 'Who's afraid of you? I'm not. You're only cards!'

    The cards — all fifty-two of them — came down on top of Alice. She felt afraid and angry and started to fight them. Then she opened her eyes ...

    She saw a tree, a big old tree. She was under it, next to her sister. Her sister's hand was on her hair.

    'Wake up, Alice dear,' her sister said. 'You slept for a long time!'

    ' Oh!' said Alice, and then she understood. She sat up and told her sister about the White Rabbit and the rabbit-hole. When she finished her story, her sister laughed.

    ' Let's go home to tea,' she said.' It's getting late.'

    'Oh yes! I'd like some tea!' cried Alice. And she got up and ran home.



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    Introduction

    Listen, Paul,' Harry said. 'We have a problem. That volcano's getting ready to explode.'

    Dreyfus stopped smiling. 'I know it was hard for you up there, Harry,' he said, 'but you mustn't get excited. Nothing much happened.'

    'Nothing much happened? said Harry. 'Paul, I was there. That was a big earthquake.'

    Harry Dalton is a scientist. He knows a lot about volcanoes. His boss, Paul Dreyfus, sends him to the small town of Dante's Peak on a mountain in the north of the USA. Harry thinks that the town has problems: he thinks that the volcano above the town is going to explode. Paul thinks that Harry is wrong. But is he wrong? Is the mountain going to explode? How many people have to die before Paul Dreyfus knows that Harry is right?

    Dante's Peak first came to cinemas in America in February 1997. In the film, Pierce Brosnan is Harry Dalton and Linda Hamilton is Rachel Wando. Perhaps you know Pierce Brosnan from Goldeneye? In that film he was James Bond, 007. In Terminator and Terminator 2, Linda Hamilton was Sarah Conner. Roger Donaldson made the film Dante's Peak. His first big film was The Bounty (1984) with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson.

    Leslie Bohem wrote the story for the film. He also wrote the story A Nightmare on Elm Street IV and other big Hollywood films. He started to write films a few years ago. Before that, he played music with Sparks. They were famous in the 1970s and 1980s. Dewey Gram wrote the book of the film. He also wrote books of the films True Lies and Sneakers.

    Chapter 1    A Dangerous Job

    Harry Dalton loved volcanoes. He had the most dangerous and exciting job in the world. He was a scientist, and he wanted to understand volcanoes. 'Volcanoes kill people,' he said. 'When we understand volcanoes, we can tell people: "This mountain is going to explode", and then they can move away'. He flew round the world. Was a volcano ready to explode? Harry Dalton was there.

    His girlfriend Marianne loved volcanoes too. Then one day in South America they stayed too long near an exploding volcano. The mountain sent rock and ash up into the sky. A small rock came down on to their car, hit Marianne, and she died.

    Harry was never the same again. He worked harder - too hard. He wanted to understand everything about volcanoes before a volcano killed anybody again. Marianne was dead: no others must die.

    Some months later, his boss, Paul Dreyfus, called him into his office. 'Harry,' he said, 'you must take a holiday. You're tired. You're not twenty now, you're thirty-six. I'm sorry about Marianne, but volcanoes are going to explode. You can't stop them.'

    Harry took a holiday. He went round the world — but there are volcanoes all round the world. So he always found work. After a year, he came back to the office. His friends — Terry Furlong, Stan Tzima, Nancy Field and Greg Esmail - all smiled when Harry came back. 'We knew it,' they said. 'You love your work. "Harry will come back soon", we said. And here you are.'

    'Harry,' said Paul Dreyfus two or three days later, 'something is happening up in the Cascades. Our equipment shows that one of the mountains there is moving, but not much. Nobody there knows it, but our equipment is good.'

    'In the Cascades?' Harry said. 'Here in the United States ... in Washington?'

    'That's right. Dante's Peak, near Mount Washington. We all remember 1980 when Mount St Helen's exploded. Can you go?'

    'I'm leaving now, 'said Harry.

    He put some equipment in the back of his off-road car, and drove to Washington. There were tall trees thick on the mountains. 'It's very beautiful here.' Harry thought. He saw the morning sun on mountain lakes to the left of the road.

    The mountain stood tall over the small town of Dante's Peak. Only seven thousand people lived there. It was quiet.

    Harry drove to the centre of the town and found the hotel. Mr Cluster showed him to his room. Then Harry asked, 'Where's Mayor Wando? Do you know?'

    'Yeah,' said Cluster. 'She's speaking to the people of the town today at the school. A newspaper called Dante's Peak "The Second Best Town in America" and they're giving the newspaper photograph of the town to the people.'

    Chapter 2    The Best Town in America

    'I'm going to be late,' Rachel Wando said. She ran round her room at home. 'Where's my other shoe?' she said.

    'You're always late, Mom,' said Lauren, Rachel's ten-year-old daughter. Rachel was thirty-five. 'And your shoe is under the bed.'

    'What am I going to say?' Rachel said. '"I want to say thank you to Karen from the newspaper. She came here ..."' Rachel stopped. 'Is it Karen or Kathy from the newspaper? 'she asked.

    'For the tenth time, Mom,' said Lauren, 'she's Karen.'

    'Where's my good jacket.'

    'You don't have a good jacket.'

    'The blue jacket.'

    'It's on the back of the chair down in the kitchen.'

    Rachel ran down to the kitchen. She put on her jacket and then called through the door of her son's bedroom: 'Graham, let's go!'

    'He's not in,' said Lauren. 'He'll meet us there. He told me. Come on!'

    Harry stood quietly in a corner of the room. Most of the people from the town were there. Les Worrell, the most important businessman in the town, sat with Karen Narlington from the newspaper. He looked at the chair next to him. Where was that woman?

    Rachel ran into the room and then slowed to a walk. Les stood up and said,'And here's the mayor, Rachel Wando.'

    Harry watched Rachel. 'Wow!' he thought. 'The mayor is a woman ... and she's beautiful!'

    Rachel came up to the front of the room, smiled at Les and Karen, and sat down in her chair. First Karen spoke. Then Rachel stood up, and said: 'I want to say thank you to Kathy from the newspaper

    'It's Karen,' Lauren called from the back of the room. Everybody laughed.

    Rachel smiled. 'We like our town. Now Karen's newspaper likes it too. And people read her newspaper all round America. This is important for the town of Dante's Peak. So we thank you, Karen. She thinks that Dante's Peak is the second best town in America. We know better. It's the first, the best place to live. And next year, with the help of Elliot Blair, we'll show America. Karen's newspaper will say: "Dante's Peak - the best town in all America.'"

    She stopped talking and sat down. The people in the room jumped to their feet, with smiles on their faces. Harry turned to the man next to him. 'Who's Elliot Blair?' he asked.

    'He's a big businessman,' the man said. 'He wants to bring a lot of money to Dante's Peak. He wants to make the town a centre for people's winter holidays. There'll be a lot of work for people here.'

    Chapter 3    Two Swimmers

    Behind the town, up in the mountain, was a famous warm lake. Swimmers often went there. That day, two visitors, a young man and a young woman, walked up to the lake for a swim. The trees were green, the sun was in the sky. It was quiet and beautiful.

    The woman put her foot in the water. 'Ow!' she said. 'It's hot!'

    'Yes,' said her friend,'I know. The lake is famous.'

    They laughed, and walked into the water. They played and swam. 'This is good,' said the young woman. 'Do you want to come and live here?'

    'No, it's too quiet,' said the man. 'Nothing exciting happens.'

    Suddenly birds flew up from the trees, and they heard the sound of animals. 'Why are the animals running away?' she asked.

    'I don't know,' he answered. He pulled her under the water, and she laughed.

    Suddenly, there was a small earthquake. Now the woman was afraid. She swam over to the man. Under the lake rocks moved and the ground opened. Hot gas exploded into the lake. She screamed. 'The water!' she cried. 'It's too hot! It's .. . 'They were her last words.

    Soon the lake was quiet again.

    From the school, Rachel went to find her daughter. A tall, dark-eyed man walked up to her and said, 'Hi! I'm Harry Dalton, from the United States Volcano Office, and ...'

    But Les Worrell and Elliot Blair came up to Rachel with smiles on their faces. 'Well done, Rachel!' Les said, before Harry could say anything more.

    'You're a good speaker,' Blair said.

    'Thank you,' Rachel said. But she didn't want Dalton and Blair to meet. Blair wanted to make Dante's Peak a holiday town, Dalton was from the Volcano Office. No, she didn't want them to meet.

    Harry tried again. 'I'm Harry Dalton, from ...'

    'From Portland,' Rachel said quickly. 'Yes, your boss spoke to me on the phone. He asked me to show you round. Let's go.'

    She took him by the arm and moved him away from Worrell and Blair. Lauren came up to them. 'Where's your brother?' Rachel asked.

    'I don't know, 'Lauren said.

    'I think I do,' Rachel said. They went over to her car. 'Get in,' Rachel said to Harry.' I must find my thirteen-year-old son first.'

    They took the road up the mountain. Rachel told Harry about Blair. 'He's going to be very good for the town,' she said.

    'Where are we going?' Harry asked. He wanted to start work.

    Rachel stopped the car outside an old mine. She got out of the car and went over to it. 'Graham!' she called. 'Graham, are you in there?'

    A minute later, three boys came out of the mine. They were dirty. 'You two go home,' Rachel said angrily to the other two boys. 'And you - get in the car!'

    Graham looked at Harry. 'Who are you?' he asked.

    'I'm ...' Harry began, but Rachel said: 'That mine is dangerous. Rocks can fall. You mustn't go in there. How many times do I have to tell you?'

    'Mom, not now, OK?' Graham said. He looked at Harry. Harry smiled at him.

    Chapter 4    Dead Fish on the Water

    They drove up the mountain. 'Hey, Mom,' said Graham. 'Why don't you leave me at Ruth's?'

    'Yeah, me too,' said Lauren.

    'There's no time,' Rachel said. 'Mr Dalton wants to start working now.'

    'Oh, please, Mom,' said the children.

    'It's OK with me,' said Harry.

    'Ruth is my husband's mother,' Rachel said, 'but my husband left me.'

    Ruth lived by a cold, clean mountain lake. They drove up to her small house. A dog ran out of the house and jumped up at the car.

    'Hi, Roughy!' Lauren said through the window.

    They all got out of the car. Graham took an old shoe and threw it for Roughy. The dog ran into the trees after it.

    Lauren ran over to the house. 'Hello, where are you?' she called.

    An older woman came out of the house with a big smile on her face. She wore a shirt and jeans. 'Hi!' she said. The children ran over to her, but Rachel walked slowly. 'Hello, Ruth,' she said.

    Ruth looked at Harry. 'Is this your boyfriend?' she asked.

    Harry answered. 'No,' he said. 'I'm from the United States Volcano Office. I want to look at your mountain.'

    'Yeah, people came here in 1980, after Mount St Helen's,' said Ruth. 'There wasn't a problem with this mountain then, and there isn't now.'

    Harry looked round at the lake. There were brown, dead trees by the water. 'When did those trees die?' he asked.

    'Trees are always dying, 'Ruth said. 'Then new trees come. We had a bad winter.'

    Harry took some equipment out of his bag and went over to the lake. Graham followed him. 'What are you doing?' he asked.

    Harry said: 'This equipment will answer the question: How much acid is there in the lake?' He looked at the equipment. There was too much acid. He put his finger into the water. Not good. He went back to the car.

    'I'm going to take Mr Dalton up to the warm lake,' Rachel said to Ruth. 'Can the children stay here?'

    'Yes, but why don't we all go?' said Ruth.

    'Yeah,' said Graham. 'We can go for a swim.'

    The children ran over to the car. Rachel looked angrily at Ruth. Harry smiled. 'These two women don't like being together,' he thought.

    In the car, Rachel asked about the acid in the water. 'It's not good,' Harry said.

    'Do we have a problem?' she asked. 'Will the mountain explode?'

    'I don't know,' he answered. 'Often nothing happens. People hear sounds under the ground, there are earthquakes, trees die, there's acid in the water - and then nothing happens.'

    Rachel stopped the car near the warm lake. The children jumped out of the car. 'Come on!' they cried. 'Let's go!'

    'Wait for me!' Rachel called.

    'Oh, they'll be OK,' Ruth said. She followed the children.

    Harry started getting equipment out of the car. Suddenly Lauren screamed. Rachel ran through the trees. Harry followed.

    'Look!' Lauren cried. On the ground at her feet were two dead animals.

    'There are a lot of those round here this year,' Ruth said. 'Do you think they're ill?'

    The children went over to the lake. Graham stood on a rock.

    He wanted to jump in. Suddenly Harry called, 'Stop. ''There was a lot of gas. 'There are some dead fish on the water,' he said, 'and there's something bigger too. What is it?'

    Children can see things better. Lauren screamed again. 'A man and a woman. There, face down, in the water!'

    Chapter 5    Sleeping, not Dead

    Some men from the hospital carried the swimmers away. Harry was on the phone to Paul Dreyfus. 'Yes, there is a problem here,' he said. 'Send everyone — and the robot.'

    He listened to Paul's answer. 'Yes, I know about the money' he said, 'but we're talking about people here. Two people are dead.' He put his phone away.

    'Are you OK?' he asked the children.

    'Yes,' they said.

    'Who were those swimmers? 'Harry asked. 'Do you know?'

    'They weren't from the town,' Rachel said. 'I think they were visitors. Do we have a big problem here, Harry?'

    'I don't know. I must talk to the most important people in the town.'

    'OK,' Rachel said. 'I'm the mayor. I'll tell them you want to meet them.'

    They met that evening. Eight people were in the room — Harry, Rachel, Les Worrell, and five other men and women from the town. Harry and Rachel told the others about the swimmers and the acid in the lake.

    'But this volcano is dead,' said Sheriff Turner. 'The last explosion was seven thousand years ago.'

    'No, it's sleeping, not dead,' Harry said. 'And I think it's starting to be dangerous again now, 'thousand people from their homes. They aren't going to like that.'

    'That's right, 'said two or three of the others.

    'Do you want people to die?' Harry asked.

    'Do you know that people will die?' Les said.

    'No, I don't know. But I want people to be ready to move out.'

    'And what about Elliot Blair?' Les said. 'What will we say when he asks, "Why are people leaving? Is there a problem with the town?" Mr Dalton, do you think that he'll put money into the town after that?'

    Everybody in the room started talking at the same time. Suddenly, Paul Dreyfus walked into the room.

    'Paul!' said Harry. 'You're here. Did you bring ...?'

    'Yes,' Paul said, 'I brought everything. We're staying at the hotel and our office will be there. Now, what's happening here?'

    'Everybody,' called Harry, 'this is my boss, Paul Dreyfus. Paul, I want the people in the town to be ready to leave. We're talking
    about it now.'        

    Paul looked at the others. He said, 'Harry come with me.'        

    He took Harry outside. 'This isn't right,' he said. 'You're ascientist. You don't know that the volcano will explode.'        

    'Two people are dead,' Harry said. 'How many more people must die?'        

                    

    'There's some acid in the water, there are some dead trees and animals. Why do you think "Volcano!"? There are earthquakes, and you get acid in the water. You know that. I think that there was one earthquake, and that's all. I don't think the volcano is going to explode.'        

    'But, Paul...'        

    'No,' Paul said. 'I'm the boss. I think you're wrong. He turned and went back into the room. When Harry was there too, Paul said, 'Everybody, Harry Dalton is a good man. He only wanted to help, but I don't think the volcano will explode.

    Don't say anything to other people in the town. We don't want them to be afraid. The other scientists and I will stay here for a week or two. We'll take our equipment up into the mountain.

    When we know anything, I'll tell you. But I don't think we'll find any danger. 'The businessmen were very happy. Then they turned angrily to Rachel. 'That was a mistake, Rachel,' they said.' Why did you get us all in here? We don't want Blair to hear about it.' Rachel looked at Dreyfus and Harry. Which of them was right?

    Chapter 6    The Mountain Waits

            

    Dreyfus and Harry walked over to Stein's Bar. 'I want you out of here,' Dreyfus said. 'Take a holiday ... now! Goodbye. I'll see you in two weeks.

    ''No,' said Harry. 'I won't go. I'm your best man, and this town has problems.'

    'Yes,' said Paul, 'you are my best man. But you must understand something. After we go, the people here in Dante's Peak will stay. They have their shops and their businesses. You think only about volcanoes, but this is about money too.'

    'OK,' Harry said with a smile. 'I understand.'

    'OK,' said Paul. 'Tomorrow we'll get a helicopter. I want you to fly round the peak with your equipment. What's happening? Why? You find the answers, and then you come and tell me.'

    'Right,' Harry said, 'I'll do that. 'Then he turned away and had a drink with Terry Furlong and the others.

    The next morning Harry went into the Blue Moon Cafe for breakfast. This was Rachel's cafe.

    She smiled at him. 'Coffee?' she asked.

    'Yes, please,' he said. 'I'm sorry about yesterday. I only wanted to help. I'm better with volcanoes than I am with business people.'

    'I know you wanted to help.' Rachel put the coffee back on the warmer, turned and said: 'Do you want to come to dinner tonight? I want to say thank you.'

    'Thank you? What for?'

    'You stopped Graham jumping into that water.'

    'OK. Yes, please. I do want to have dinner with you.'

    Later in the morning, Harry and Terry went out in the helicopter. They took a lot of equipment and flew round the peak. Terry watched, the equipment. 'There's some gas,' he said.' But not a lot.'

    They couldn't see under the helicopter, so they didn't see it: the ground suddenly gave a strong push. Big rocks fell down the mountain. Then everything was quiet again. The mountain waited.

    After dinner that evening at Rachel's house, Harry and Rachel sat outside. They looked at the lights of the town.

    'I know it's a little town,' she said. 'I know it's not important. But I love it here. It's my home.'

    'Were you born here?' Harry asked.

    'Yes.'

    'And ... um ... you lived with your husband here?'

    'Yes.' She was quiet for a moment. 'Brian and I were too young when we met. That was the problem. He left about six years ago. He never writes or anything. The children don't remember him. I don't think he writes to Ruth.'

    'But you're OK,' he said.

    'Yeah, I am ... now. What about you? No wife?'

    'No. I move round the world all the time. There was somebody at one time, but ...' He told her about Marianne.

    'I'm sorry' Rachel said.

    'Volcanoes are dangerous,' said Harry. 'People must know that.'

    'Perhaps you're wrong about our volcano,' said Rachel. 'But I'm happy that you're here to help.'

    Chapter 7    Terry's Robot

    The next day Harry, Stan and Terry went up the mountain. They left equipment here and there, near the peak. 'Now we'll know when the ground moves,' Stan said. 'We can see it on our equipment in the office at the hotel.'

    'Yeah,' said Terry, 'when a bird jumps on to the ground, we'll know it. How was dinner last night, Harry?'

    Harry didn't say anything.

    'For a mayor, she's very beautiful,' said Terry.

    Harry didn't say anything. Terry smiled.

    Terry Furlong built robots. 'We can't get inside volcanoes,' he said, 'but my little robots can. They can see for us, find gases and smoke for us. How hot is it? How dangerous is it? My robots can tell us. We can sit in the office, turn on our equipment, and see with the robot's eyes.'

    Two days later, they put Terry's robot in the car park and turned it on. It walked for a few metres. 'Yeah, come on, robot!' called Terry. The robot stopped.

    'Is there a problem?' asked Paul.

    'No,' said Terry. He went over to the robot and kicked it. The robot started again. 'It will be OK on the peak,' said Terry.

    They went to Rachel's cafe for coffee. She knew them all well now. 'One black coffee,' she said, 'two with only milk, and two with sugar too.'

    She gave them their coffees. Then she asked, 'What's happening ? What are you finding?'

    'Our equipment shows that every day there are between twenty-five and seventy-five earthquakes,' Nancy said.

    'What?' cried Rachel.

    Harry laughed. 'It's OK,' he said. 'Nothing dangerous is happening. There are always small earthquakes. We can see them with our equipment, but they're not dangerous.'

    The next day Terry and Harry took the robot to the peak and sent it inside the old volcano. The robot's 'eyes' sent pictures back to their equipment, and back to the equipment in the hotel too.

    The robot walked on. Suddenly it stopped. 'Oh, no!' said Terry. He started to go after it.

    'Be careful! 'Harry said.

    Terry climbed down into the old volcano. He put his feet down carefully on the ground. Good! It was hard. He walked on.

    Back at the hotel, everybody watched the robot's pictures. They didn't look at their other equipment.

    Terry found the robot and kicked it. The robot started moving again. 'OK, Terry, come back now,' Harry said on his radio.

    Terry didn't listen. He followed the robot down inside the mountain.

    Back in the hotel, Nancy stood up. She turned round. 'Oh, no!' she said. 'Look at this equipment!'

    The others turned round. 'A strong earthquake is happening,' she said.

    Paul called Harry on the radio. 'Come back now,' he said.

    'What did you say?' asked Harry. 'I couldn't hear you.'

    'I said, "Come back now, '"Paul said. 'Earthquake!'

    But it was too late. Ten metres above Terry, a large rock broke away and fell on Terry and the robot.

    Harry screamed into his radio: 'Terry! Terry!' But no answer came.

    The rocks broke two of the robot's 'eyes'. Back in the hotel they couldn't see very well. Paul said, 'Harry, what's happening?'

    'Get that helicopter up here now!' Harry said.

    He started to climb down into the volcano. Some more rocks fell near him. There were rocks all round, but where was Terry? Then he saw the colours of Terry's shirt. He pulled some rocks away. Terry looked up at him and smiled.

    'There's something wrong with my leg,' he said.

    Harry looked. 'The rocks broke Terry's leg,' he said into the radio. 'Tell the helicopter man, Hutcherson, to bring some help.'

    Before long, Harry could hear the helicopter. He spoke to Hutcherson on the radio.

    'Nearer! Nearer! 'he called.

    But now there was smoke coming out of the old volcano. Hutcherson was afraid. 'I'm not coming any nearer than that!' he said.

    'You must!' Harry said. 'Only fifteen more metres! Down! Down!'

    Slowly the helicopter came nearer. It pulled Terry and Harry inside and flew off down the mountain.

    Chapter 8    Bad for Business

    The helicopter came down near the town. 'Look, 'Terry said to Harry. 'A lot of people are waiting for us. We're famous!'

    Harry smiled but said nothing. Doctors took Terry to hospital. Rachel pushed through the people and came up to Harry. 'Are you OK?' she said.

    'Yeah, I'm OK,' he said.

    Paul Dreyfus drove up in his car. 'I must go and talk to Paul,' Harry said to Rachel.

    'How's Terry?' Paul asked.

    'He'll be OK,' Harry said. 'But listen, Paul. We have a problem. That volcano's getting ready to explode.'

    Dreyfus stopped smiling, ' know it was hard for you up there, Harry,' he said, 'but you mustn't get excited. Not a lot happened.'

    'Not a lot happened?' said Harry. 'Paul, I was there. That was a big earthquake.'

    'But the mountain didn't explode,' Paul said. 'Terry was unlucky, that's all. Those rocks were weak.'

    'No, Paul, listen,' Harry said. 'I think the lava is moving up nearer to the ground. The ground is too warm up there.'

    'No, you listen, Harry,' said Paul angrily. 'You lost Marianne. Now you're always afraid. Well, I'm sorry about Marianne, but I don't want people in Dante's Peak to be afraid because you lost her.'

    The two men started to fight, but Greg pulled Harry away. 'Careful, Harry,' he said.

    Dreyfus walked away. 'Two more days,' he told them. 'We'll stay only two more days. There's nothing more for us to do here.'

    Three days later, they were ready to leave. In the evening, Harry went to Stein's Bar. Terry was back from the hospital. He was in the bar with Nancy, Greg and Stan. Harry met Rachel there, and they went to a quiet table in a corner with their drinks.

    'Perhaps you'll come down to Pordand one day, and we'll meet again,' he said.

    'I usually have a lot of things to do,' said Rachel.

    'Don't you take holidays?' he asked.

    'Holidays? Oh, yes, I remember holidays. You have holidays when you don't have two children and a cafe, and aren't mayor of a town.'

    Paul Dreyfus came over to their table. 'Can I sit down?' he said.

    'Yes,' they answered.

    'Before we leave,' Paul said to Rachel, 'I want to say thank you, Mayor Wando. You'll be happy to see us go.'

    'Yes,' said Harry. He looked at Elliot Blair and Les Worrell. They sat together at a table. 'Our visit here was bad for business, I think.'

    Worrell and Blair came over too. Les said, 'I told Mr Blair, "Look, the volcano people are leaving. There can't be any danger here. "Am I right?'

    Elliot Blair said, 'Yeah. I want to put eighteen million dollars into Dante's Peak, not Pompeii.'*

    Paul laughed. 'No, there's no danger.' Then he turned to Harry. 'You're a scientist, Harry. Can you say that it's dangerous here?'

    Dreyfus waited. Blair and Worrell looked at Harry. Then Harry said, 'No, I can't.'

    Dreyfus smiled. 'Come over to the bar,' he said to Blair and Worrell. 'I'll buy you two a drink.'

    A minute later Rachel said, 'It's getting late. I must go home to the children.'

    'I'll walk with you,' Harry said. They got up and left.

    The lake near Ruth's home was quiet and dark. But under the ground a lot of acid flowed into it. Fish died. First one fish, then ten, twenty, a hundred ...

    Chapter 9    Dark Smoke

    It was a beautiful night. Rachel and Harry walked down the street through the centre of town.

    'What time are you going tomorrow?' she asked.

    'Six o'clock in the morning,' he said.

    'I'm sorry you're leaving,' she said.

    'It's OK,' he said. 'Our equipment is here. We can sit in Portland and answer the question: "What's happening in Dante's Peak?" No problem.'

    'I know,' she said. 'But I'm sorry you have to go.'

    Harry turned to Rachel, and she turned to him. He put his arms round her. Then a car drove down the street. The driver slowed the car near them. 'Good evening, Rachel,' a woman said. Then she drove away.

    'Jeannie Lane,' Rachel said. 'She'll talk about this for the next two weeks.'

    They walked to her house. When they were there she said,'Do you want to come in for coffee or something?'

    'Yes,' he said.

    Inside, she fell into his arms, but suddenly Lauren called from her bedroom. 'Mommy, is that you? I'm thirsty.'

    'I'll bring you a glass of water,' Rachel said.

    She went into the kitchen. 'Oh, look,' she called. 'The water is coming out all brown.'

    Harry ran into the kitchen. He looked at the water. 'Where does the town's water come from?' he asked.

    'About eight kilometres away, up the mountain,' said Rachel.

    'We have to go there, now,' Harry said. 'Get the children.'

    They drove fast up the mountain road. The sleepy children were in the back of the car. 'Here we are,' said Rachel, and stopped the car.

    Harry got out. He and Rachel went over to the water. It was all brown. Harry walked round. 'There's gas all round here,' he said.

    They drove quickly back to town. It was midnight. Harry hit the door of Paul's hotel room. When he opened the door, Harry went inside.


    'What's happening?' said Paul.

    'Look,' said Harry. He turned on the water in Paul's bathroom. An hour later, all the scientists were back in their office hard at work.

    'The earthquakes are stronger now,' Harry said early the next morning.'2.3 or 2.4 every time.'

    'There's a lot of gas too,' Stan said.

    'This mountain is ready to explode,' said Nancy.

    Paul Dreyfus put down the phone. 'More police are coming,' he said. 'They'll be here by midnight.'

    Stan called over to Harry, 'How much time do you think we've got?'

    'I don't know,' Harry said. He looked at Dreyfus.

    Dreyfus said, 'Ask Mayor Wando to tell the people of the town to be ready to leave.'

    At six in the evening, Rachel, Harry and the two children were in the cafe. Rachel was on the phone. 'Ruth,' she said for the fifth time, 'you must come down to the town now. It's dangerous. We're going to leave. You must come with us.'

    'I'm not leaving,' Ruth said. She looked out of the window at the trees and the lake. 'This is my home.' She put down the phone.

    Rachel went to the school. The townspeople waited there for her.

    'You must leave your homes,' she said. 'Some of you will find it hard, but you must.'

    Elliot Blair got up and left the room. Les Worrell watched him go. He could do nothing.

    'Must we wait, Rachel?' a young woman asked. 'Can we leave now?'

    'Yes,' Rachel said. 'Leave now.'

    Ten or twelve other people stood up and left the room. Harry Dalton got up to speak. 'We're asking you to be ready to leave,' he said, 'because we don't want to see anything bad happen. But we don't want you to be afraid.'

    But then the school building moved. People jumped up out of their chairs. Somebody screamed. Everybody ran for the doors.

    Out on the street they looked up at the mountain. The volcano threw ash and smoke and gases up into the sky. People ran through the town. Children screamed for their mothers and fathers.

    At Rachel's house Graham saw the mountain through the  window. 'Lauren!' he called. 'Let's go! We're leaving now!'

    At the hotel Dreyfus looked at the equipment. 'The lava is starting to move,' he said.

    'Don't look at the equipment,' Nancy said. 'Look out of the window.'

    The smoke from the peak was dark. It was lava ash. 'Dante's Peak is going to be more dangerous than Mount St Helen's,' Paul said. 'And the explosion will come soon.'

    Chapter 10    A Letter from Graham

    Outside, Rachel and Harry looked at the mountain. 'You were right,' she said.

    A building fell on to the school bus. 'I must go home. I must get the children,' Rachel said.

    'Let's take my car,' said Harry. They ran over to his off-road car. They had to push through a lot of people.

    There were earthquakes all the time now. Buildings fell, windows broke. The road broke open and a car drove into it.

    Harry spoke on the radio. 'Paul, are you there?'

    'Yes,' said Paul. 'We're at the hotel. We're taking the equipment and leaving. Where are you?'

    'I'm with Rachel. We're going to get her children.'

    'Harry,' said Paul, 'I'm sorry. You were right and I was wrong.'

    'Forget it, Paul,' Harry said. 'See you soon!' He turned off the radio.

    But when they came to Rachel's house, she screamed. 'My car!'she said.'It's not here!'

    She ran into the house. 'Here's a letter from Graham,' she cried. 'He says he wants to get Ruth! He's driving up the mountain!'

    Harry fought through the other cars. He couldn't drive across the river by the road, because there were too many cars. The water in the river flowed strongly. 'We can do it in this car,' he said. He drove into the river. The water pulled at them, but Harry's car got through. Other cars began to follow, but were not as lucky. The water turned them over.

    Behind them, the garage exploded in the town, and fires started.

    In the hotel Greg looked at his equipment. 'The lava is coming up,' he said. 'It's very near the ground now.'

    Some people waited outside the hotel. 'Why are these people here?' asked Nancy.

    'The helicopter's coming for them, 'Paul said.

    Now the people could hear the sound of the helicopter in the night sky. Hutcherson brought the helicopter down by the hotel. He opened the door and looked at all the people. 'Eleven people only, 'he said. 'No more than eleven.'

    Elliot Blair, Les Worrell and some others took out a lot of money. They paid Hutcherson, and smiled. 'We'll get out of here,' Les said to Blair.

    In the hotel, Paul said, 'Why is Hutcherson flying out? It's too dangerous.'

    He ran outside, but it was too late. The helicopter left the ground. 'They paid him fifteen thousand dollars each,' somebody said.

    'Stop! Stop!' called Paul. 'There's too much ash. You can't fly in all that ash.' But nobody in the helicopter heard him.

    He watched the helicopter. It flew over the town. With twelve people in it, it flew slowly. It was heavy. It flew into a lot of ash. The ash got inside the engine, and suddenly the engine stopped.

    Harry drove the car past the last buildings of the town. Suddenly he stopped the car. The helicopter hit the mountain on their right, fell across the road in front of them, and exploded.

    Harry spoke into his radio. 'A helicopter is down on Exeter Street. Send help.'

    'OK, Harry,' said Stan. 'What are you doing? Where are you?'

    'We're driving up the mountain,' Harry said. 'We must get Rachel's children.' He turned off the radio.

    'Harry, listen to me,' Stan said. 'There's no time, Harry. Come back. The lava ...' But there was no answer from the radio.

    Chapter 11    River of Red

    The lights were on in Ruth's house. Graham stopped the car in front of it. The children jumped out and ran to the house.

    Ruth came out of the front door with Roughy. 'What are you doing here?' she asked.

    'We came to get you and Roughy out,' they said.

    'What? 'she said.

    'Get in the car,' Graham said. He pulled her hand.

    A sudden strong earthquake moved the ground. Roughy ran into the trees. Lauren ran after her. 'Roughy! Roughy!' she called.

    Harry and Rachel drove up the road. 'Not far now,' Rachel said. Then the strong earthquake hit them too. Big rocks fell into the road behind them. Rachel looked at Harry. 'Now we can't come back down this road,' she said.

    In the dark trees Ruth and the children called for Roughy. Ruth got tired. She stopped calling. She heard the children. They were young. 'I must get them out of here,' she thought.

    'Ruth, can you see Roughy?' said Lauren.

    'No, I can't,' Ruth said. 'And it's too late now. We must go. Now.'

    'But we can't leave her!'

    The children looked at Ruth. She was different, stronger. 'I said now,' she said.

    Harry stopped the car outside Ruth's house. They saw Rachel's car there. Rachel jumped out and ran into the house. 'Ruth! Graham! Lauren!' she called. There was no answer.

    'Where are they?' said Harry. 'The lights are on.'

    Then Ruth and the children came out of the trees. Rachel ran over to them. She put her arms round them. 'Where were you?' she said. 'I'm angry and happy at the same time.'

    'I'm sorry, Mom,' said Graham. 'We had to get Ruth.' 'There's no time for this now,' said Ruth. 'Get the children into the car and get out of here.'

    'We can't do that,' Harry said. 'There are rocks all over the road behind us. And you're coming with us.'

    'OK,' said Ruth. 'Give me five minutes. I must get some things.'

    Harry spoke on the radio to the scientists at the hotel. 'Is anybody there? 'he asked.

    'Harry, where are you?' said Dreyfus.

    'Up at the lake,' Harry said. 'We're OK, but there's no road for us to come back down the mountain.'

    'Harry,' Paul said, 'this mountain is going to explode ... and soon. I'll send a helicopter up to get you.'

    'No, get out of there,' Harry said, 'before it's too late. Don't wait for us. 'The radio started to die. 'Harry, can you hear me?' Paul said.

    'Can you hear me?' He looked at the others. 'The radio's dead,' he said.

    Rachel and Ruth threw things in some bags. Ruth wanted to take everything. 'This is my home,' she said. 'All my things are here.'

    Rachel wanted to cry: 'Let's go! Leave all that! Let's go!' Up on the mountain above Ruth's house a river of red lava began to flow down the mountain. Fire suddenly caught on the trees. The river of lava left everything dead behind it. The lava came to Ruth's house. It flowed round to the left and to the right. It flowed round to the front of the house. The cars stood there. Fire started to climb up the outside of the house.

    Harry looked out of the back window of the house and saw the lava. Then the lava broke the window and flowed into the house. Fire ate chairs, tables, everything. Harry and Rachel pushed the children to the front door. Ruth followed with her bags.

    Rachel screamed: 'Look! The cars!'

    Red hot lava flowed under the cars. Lava flowed from the left and right into the lake. 'There's only the lake,' Harry said. 'Let's go!'

    They ran down to the lake and jumped into Ruth's small boat. 'Now we'll be OK,' Graham said to Lauren.

    Then they saw the fish. Hundreds of dead fish on the water.

    Harry tried to start the boat's engine. He couldn't do it. Ruth said, 'I know this boat. I'll do it.' She started the boat and they moved out across the water.

    They looked back at Ruth's house. There was fire everywhere. 'That was my home,' Ruth said. 'I always lived there.'

    Everybody was very quiet. One of the cars exploded. 'Where's Roughy?' the children thought.

    'This boat is slow,' Harry said, 'but it'll get us there.'

    Then he heard a different noise. 'Where's that noise coming from?' he thought. 'Ah, yes, under the boat...' He looked down.

    'Don't put your hands in the water,' he said.

    'Why?' Rachel asked.

    'The water's acid.'

    Graham said, 'The acid is eating into the boat. Will it get us there?'

    Harry didn't answer.

    Chapter 12    Line of Fire

    Soon the acid ate through, into the boat. Acid water began to flow into the boat. 'Put your feet up, out of the water,' Harry said. 'We only have a hundred metres to go.'

    Then he heard a different noise, much worse. 'The engine is stopping,' he said. He tried not to be afraid. 'The acid ate into the engine. There are only thirty or forty metres to go. Perhaps we'll get there.'

    The boat moved slowly on. Thirty metres, twenty, ten ... 'Graham, give me your coat,' Harry said.

    He put the coat round his hand and used his hand to move the boat in the water. But the acid quickly ate through the coat, and then the boat stopped. 'Only five metres to go,' Harry said. 'That tree is near — perhaps I can get to it and pull us in.' He tried, but he couldn't. He tried again.

    'Forget it, Harry,' Ruth said. 'You can't do it.' She looked down at the water.' I can stand here,' she said.

    Harry turned round. 'Ruth, no!' he said.

    But Ruth started to get out of the boat. Harry moved to stop her but she pulled away. She stood in the water and pushed the boat. The acid ate at her legs.

    Rachel, Harry and the children jumped out of the boat, on to the ground. Then Ruth screamed. She tried to walk to them, but she fell on the ground. 'Don't come near,' she said. 'The acid

    They sat and watched her die. 'Oh, Ruth,' Rachel cried. 'I love you.' Ruth smiled up at her.

    'My son didn't know you, Rachel,' she said. 'You're good. I want you to be happy.' She looked at Harry and closed her eyes. She never spoke again. Rachel and the children cried.

    The sky was thick with ash and gases. Harry, Rachel and the children walked down the mountain. They were tired, and wet with dirty, black rain. Now they could see the town. Suddenly they heard a big noise to their right. 'What's that?' asked Rachel.

    'Water, trees, rocks, buildings — all coming fast down the mountain,' Harry said. 'They're going to hit the river — the river through Dante's Peak.'

    In Dante's Peak Paul Dreyfus and the other scientists were at the radio. 'Harry, can you hear me?' said Paul. 'Harry, we must leave now. It's too dangerous for us to stay. Sorry.'

    They put their equipment in their cars. Dreyfus drove the car with all the equipment, and the others all went in the first car. The first car got across the river. Dreyfus, in the second car, looked up. The river was now much bigger than usual. It was flowing fast, and there were rocks and trees in it. It flowed on to the road and carried his car away. He only had time for one scream before he died. Harry found an old car. Luckily, the engine started. They got into it and began to drive. Small rocks hit the car; large rocks hit the ground near them. Harry thought of Marianne. 'Not again, please,' he thought.

    Round the corner they came to a river of lava. 'Can we drive across that?' Rachel asked.

    'I don't know,' Harry said. 'But we must try.' He drove as fast as he could at the lava. A line of fire followed them across the lava. Suddenly Lauren cried, 'Look! There's Roughy!' Roughy waited for them across the lava. 'How did she get here?' Harry said.

    'Look!' Graham said. 'More lava is coming up behind Roughy' 'We can't stop,' Harry said. 'Roughy will have one try only' They drove along slowly. Roughy ran up to the car. Rachel opened her door. 'Come on, Roughy!' she called. 'Jump!' The children screamed,'You can do it, Roughy!' Roughy jumped. Rachel caught her and pulled her into the car. The children threw their arms round the dog. They laughed.

    Harry and Rachel laughed too.

    Chapter 13    The Old Mine

    They drove into Dante's Peak, but it was not the same town. 'Fire and earthquakes did their worst here,' Rachel said sadly. 'It was a beautiful town. I was happy to be the mayor.'

    They came to the river. 'We can't get across that,' Harry said, 'and there's more lava coming.'

    'What can we do?' Rachel asked.

    'We must get under the ground,' Harry said. 'But how?'

    Graham looked at him. 'I know,' he said. 'The mine.'

    Nancy, Terry, Stan and Greg climbed out of the car and turned to look back at the mountain. A big earthquake hit, and the peak of the volcano exploded. New, red-hot lava flowed down the mountain. 'Goodbye, Harry,' said Terry angrily. Nancy started to cry.

    In the car Harry, Rachel and the children heard the sounds of the explosion. They were near the mine. They looked up at the mountain. Something dark moved down the mountain very, very fast.

    'Hot ash and rocks,' Harry said. 'When it hits us, we're dead. No mistakes, now! I have only one try.

    The car engine screamed. Harry drove fast into the mouth of the mine. Behind them, rocks fell thick and fast. The lava couldn't get in ... but they couldn't get out.

    'Is everybody OK?' asked Harry, when the car stopped. He kicked out the front window of the car and helped the others out.

    'Graham,' Harry said, 'can we get out of the mine?'

    'No we can't,' Graham said. 'I know these mines. We must wait. But it's OK. My friends and I left some food and drink here. Come with me.'

    They followed Graham down into the mine. He showed them the food and drink. There were lights there too. They sat and ate some food.

    Earthquakes moved the ground. Rocks fell in the mine. 'We're going to die here,' Lauren cried.

    'The radio!' Harry suddenly remembered. 'I left the radio in the car. I must go back and get it.'

    'No, I'll go,' Graham said.

    'No, you stay,' Harry said.

    'We're going to die,' cried Lauren.

    'No, we're not,' Harry said. 'Hey, I know. When we get out, we'll all go to the sea and catch fish. I don't usually take holidays, but with you it will be good. OK? We'll do that?'

    Rachel looked at Harry and smiled. 'Yeah,' she said. 'We'll do that together. We'll be a family'

    'OK, 'said Harry. 'But now I must go.'

    He walked back through the mine. Suddenly he heard a sound above him. He ran for the car. Behind him, rocks fell. He couldn't go back. More and more rocks fell. He was near the car when a rock hit his left arm and broke it. Other rocks hit his head and his legs.

    He climbed inside the car, found the radio and turned it on. 'Help,' he said. 'Please send help.'

    Two days later, the earthquakes stopped. The volcano went quiet. A big helicopter came down outside the mine. Inside, when they pulled away hundreds of rocks, they found Harry first, with the radio in his hands.

    He stood by the helicopter, and a doctor looked at his arm. Then the men brought Rachel and the children out of the mine. Harry walked over to them.

    'Wait!' the doctor said. 'Your arm

    But Harry had his arms round Rachel. The children ran up and he took them in his arms too. Nobody said a word - they were too happy.



    Предварительный просмотр:

    Introduction

    I said, 'Hi! Donna, this is Jack. Jack, this is Donna.'

    Donna gave him a big smile. Her smile usually makes men weak in the legs.

    Susie has freckles, and she hates them! 'When I'm older they'll be one BIG freckle, all over me!' she thinks. And Susie has problems with boys. 'Great legs, but I don't like the freckles,' one boy says about her. Her best friend, Donna, never has problems with boys. Donna has pretty hair, nice teeth and blue eyes — and she hasn't got freckles! Boys fall at her feet. But now there's a new boy at the school, and Donna wants him too!

    Will Jack fall at Donna's feet? Will he laugh at Susie's freckles? In this story, Susie and Donna learn an important lesson about life.

    Andrew Matthews was born in Wales in 1948. He taught English for many years, but he also wrote more than forty books for children and young people. Two of his books for teenagers are Writing in Martian and Seeing in Moonlight. He wrote this story for Penguin Readers.

    Andrew Matthews now lives in Reading, England, with his wife and their cats. The cats sit on his books and push his pens on to the floor.

    Chapter 1    My Big Teenage Problem

    I hated my freckles when I was young. Every day I looked in the mirror and thought, 'Look at them! They're getting bigger! When I'm older they'll be one BIG freckle, all over me!'

    At school, the other little children in my class laughed at me and my freckles. 'Hello, Freckle-face!' they shouted.

    But when I was a teenager, it all got worse. My freckles were my Big Teenage Problem.

    Why did I think that? Because one lunch-time, I went to the school library and started to look for a book. Suddenly, I heard a conversation between two boys.

    'So who do you think is pretty?' one said.

    'Donna Marshall?' said the other boy.

    My ears went - DING! - because Donna's my best friend.

    'Yes!' said the first boy.

    'Susie Carpenter?'

    My ears went — DING! — again, because that's me.

    'Great legs . ..' began the first boy.

    I thought, 'That's a good start, but don't talk about the freckles! Please don't talk about the freckles.'

    '... but I don't like the freckles.'

    'Oh, no!' I thought. I wanted to run away and cry. 'Perhaps that will wash my freckles away,' I thought.

    Donna is pretty, of course. She has it all: pretty hair, blue eyes, nice teeth — and no freckles! Boys fall down at her feet when she walks past them. She can go out with any boy — and she goes out with a lot of them! When she gets bored with somebody, she says goodbye to him. Then she turns to the next boy.

    That was Donna's life. A lot of young men, and they happily did everything for her. I only had freckles! I was very unhappy in those days.

    But not now. Now I'm quite happy with my freckles. So what changed things? I'll tell you ...

    It was lunch-time in the Dining Room, and I was with Donna. Suddenly, Donna said, 'A boy over there is looking at us.'

    'Looking at you, you mean,' I said. 'What boy?'

    'I don't know,' she said. 'I never saw him before now.'

    I started to turn my head.

    'Don't look!' Donna said quickly. 'He'll see you! Look at him when he's not looking.'

     'Donna, I have to look at him,' I said. 'Or how will I know when he's not looking? What's wrong? Will he run away when he sees me?'

    'OK, look at him,' said Donna. 'But be careful. We don't want him to think, "So they're interested in me!" Go and get a glass of water.'

    'I've got some water,' I said.

    'Go and get another glass!' she said. 'You can look at him on the way. He's sitting alone, near the door.'

    I went for some more water and looked at the boy. He smiled at me. I smiled back and he blushed.

     When I got back to the table, Donna nearly pulled me down into my chair. 'Do you know him?' she asked.  'His  name's Jack,'  I   said. 'He   came  to  the  school  at  the beginning of term. We're in the same class for History.'  'He's got a nice face!' said Donna. Her eyes were excited.

    Did he? Did Jack have a nice face? I thought about it. I said, 'But he's not handsome. Is he?'

    'No,' said Donna. 'But he isn't handsome in a really nice way. Do you know him well?'

    'Not very well,' I said. 'I say hello to him.'

    'Who's he going out with?' asked Donna.

    'Nobody!' I said. 'He only came here at the beginning of term!'

    Donna's brain started to work — fast. 'You've got History last lesson today,' she said. 'Talk to him after the lesson. Give me time, and I'll find you.'

    I said, 'Wait a minute! Excuse me? Aren't you Donna Marshall? Aren't you going out with Steve Bridges?'

    'Not really,' said Donna.

    I said, 'Last week you said, "Steve's wonderful, Susie!'"

    'That was last week,' said Donna. 'I like Steve, of course, but ...'

    I knew two things: Donna was bored with Steve ('Goodbye, Steve!'). And Jack was next, because ... well ... Donna always got her man.

    So after the history lesson, I put my books in my bag slowly. And when Jack went past my table on his way out, I went after him. I said, 'Jack?'

    He turned and saw me. He blushed again.

    I thought, 'He's very shy.' l said, 'Hi, I'm Susie!'

    'I know you are,' said Jack. 'Did you want something?'

    'Do you like it here?' I asked, because I couldn't think of anything more interesting. 'Is it difficult at a big school when you don't know anybody?'

    'It's OK,' he said. 'Everybody's friendly. And it smells right.'

    'What?' I said.

    Jack smiled — a nice smile! He said, 'My last school was near a farm. The smell was bad! We had to shut the windows, summer and winter.'

    'So you're a country boy?'  I said.

    'No,' he said. 'My school was in Basingstoke.'

    'Oh, Basingstoke!' I said.

    'You know it?' he said.

    'No, ' I said. 'Is it a nice place?'

    'It's OK. ' He looked at me strangely, but I couldn't stop now. Where was Donna?

    I said, 'Are there any cinemas in Basingstoke?'

    'Er, yes,' he said.

    'Did you see the film -?' I began.

    Then I saw Donna. She came to us and smiled. She said, 'Hi, Susie!'

    I said, 'Hi! Donna, this is Jack. Jack, this is Donna.'

    Donna gave him a big smile. Her smile usually makes men weak in the legs.

    Jack put out his hand and said, 'Hello, Donna. Nice to meet you.'

    Usually makes men weak in the legs. But not this time!

    After a minute, Donna tried again. She gave another smile and put her hand in Jack's hand. I thought, 'Why isn't he falling at her feet?'

    I left them. She could do the work now.

    Donna phoned me at six o'clock. She wasn't happy. She said, 'That Jack - really!'

    'What's wrong with him?' I asked.

    'I could only get about six words out of him!' she said.

    'He was all right when he talked to me,' I said. 'Perhaps he was shy.'

    'He's slow,' she said. 'I want to go out with him but he didn't ask me.'

    I thought, 'Donna was alone with a boy for more than five minutes, and he didn't ask her out! What's wrong with her!'

    I said, 'I think he's shy. He blushes easily.'

    'I'll try something different next time,' said Donna. 'What does he like to do? What doesn't he like?'

    'I don't think he likes farms,' I said.

    'Farms?' said Donna. 'Who wants to talk about farms? Does he I like dancing? Does he like the cinema? You'll have to ask him.'

    'Why don't you ask him?' I said.

    Donna did this big sigh down the phone. She said, 'Oh, Susie! You don't know anything about boys.'

    She was right, I didn't. And it was because of the freckles.

    Chapter 2    Cats and Poems

    Next day, when we had lunch in the 'Dining Room, Donna watched Jack all the time. When he was ready to leave, Donna said, 'Now, Susie! Go after him, quickly!'

    'But I'm having my lunch, ' I said.

    'Forget lunch!' she said. 'Food makes you fat.'

    I said,'OK, OK! I'm going!'

    Can you think of a better friend than me? Do your friends go without their lunch for you?

    I found Jack near the tennis courts. I said, 'Jack! Hi!'

    'Hi, Susie,' said Jack, and he blushed again.

    I said, 'So what do you like, Jack?'

    'Pardon?' he said.

    'Do you like sports? Tennis?' I said.

    Jack laughed — a nice laugh! He said, 'No, I'm not very good at sports. I like reading, or computer games.'

    'Do you like dancing?' I asked.

    'Sometimes,' he answered. 'When I'm dancing with the right girl.'

    We didn't speak for a minute. Jack looked at me. 'His eyes aren't brown, they're green,' I thought.

    After a time, I said, 'What other things do you like?'

    'Cats,' said Jack. 'We've got three. They're good for stress.'

    I didn't understand. I said, 'Cats give you stress?'

    A nice laugh again. Jack said, 'No. They stop it.' He smiled at me for a minute. 'And what does Susie like?'

    I wasn't ready for this. I had to ask Jack questions. I said,'Oh, you know. Reading, music. I write poems —'

    'You write poems?'

    'Yes,' I said. 'When I was young, my school teacher told me, "That's a good poem, Susie!". After that, I never stopped writing them.'

    Jack's eyes were open wide. He said, 'That's strange! I write poems too!'

    'A lot of people do, Jack,' I said. 'The library's got a lot of books of poems in it.'

    Nice laugh Number Three. Jack said, 'You'll have to show me yours one day.'

    Conversation with Jack was easy, so I talked. And talked. Then I saw the time and said, 'Sorry, are you bored?'

    'No, I'm not bored,' he said. 'I enjoyed listening.' His face went red again. He looked at the floor and said, 'Can we do it again some day?'

    I said, 'Yes, of course! I'll see you.'

    'See you,' he said.

    I was nearly late for my class. Donna wasn't happy. She said, 'Where were you?'

    'With Jack,' I said.

    'All this time?'

    'It was a long conversation,' I said. 'He's interesting.'

    But Donna didn't want to know that. She said, 'Tell me about him. What does he like?'

    'He doesn't like sports,' I said. 'He likes cats, he writes poems —'

    'Poems?' said Donna.

    'Yes,' I said. 'You know — poems — a lot of words ...'

    'OK, OK! I know about poems!' said Donna.

    'And he likes dancing,' I told her.

    Donna smiled. It wasn't a pretty smile. Cats and poems weren't very useful to her, but dancing ...

    'Does he?' she said. 'Now that's interesting!'

    Next day, Donna wanted to look for Jack. She took me with her. We found him outside the English classroom.

    Donna said, 'Hello, Jack!'

    Jack said, 'Hello ... er ...?'

    'Donna,' said Donna.

    'Sorry!' he said. 'I can never remember names!'

    Strange — Jack didn't blush when Donna talked to him.

    Donna said, 'Susie tells me you like dancing.'

    'Er ... well ..." said Jack.

    'There's a disco at school on Friday night,' said Donna. 'Are you going to it?'

    'Er -'

    'I'll be there,' said Donna.

    'Will you?' said Jack.

    'I love dancing,' said Donna.

    'Oh?' said Jack.

    This wasn't easy for Donna. 'Perhaps I'll dance with you. Ask me nicely,' she said.

    'That's very kind of you,' said Jack. 'But I think my parents are planning something for Friday.'

    Was Donna angry on the walk home? She was! She said, 'Is it Jack, or is it me? Am I suddenly ugly?'

    'No,' I answered. 'Donna, he's shy.'

    'He's not shy with you!' she said.

    'I'm not the beautiful, famous Donna!' I said. 'Listen, give him some time.'

    'I can't,' she said.

    'Why not?' I asked.

    'I finished with Steve last night. Who am I going to go to the disco with? I can't stay at home when my friends are having a good time.You have to help me.'

    'I do?' I said.

    'Yes, you do,' she said. 'Tomorrow, Jack will have to ask me to the disco. Say that to him. And you think I'll say yes.'

    I said, 'Why don't you ask him? It's easier.'

    'No!' cried Donna. 'That's no good. Perhaps he'll say no!'

    'So what's the problem?' I asked.

    'Well, then I'll be unhappy and 'he'll think, "Oh, she likes me!'" she said.

    'But you do like him!' I said.

    'Yes, but I don't want him to know that,' she said. 'Please, Susie!'

    'All right,' I said.

    You can't say no to Donna. When you say no, she's angry and unhappy for days! It's easier to say yes, OK.

    I said, 'You don't usually try as hard as this, Donna. Why this time? Why with Jack?'

    Donna sighed and said, 'I like to win.'

    Chapter 3    The Phone Call

    When I got home, I went up to my room. I started my homework. After five minutes, I heard the phone. I thought, 'Donna! What is it now? Doesn't she like Jack now? Are the colour of his eyes wrong?'

    But when I answered the phone, it wasn't Donna.

    Somebody said, 'Can I talk to Susie, please?'

    'You're talking to her,' I said.

    'Oh, hi, Susie! It's Jack.'

    Really? What did Jack want?        

    Jack said, 'I hope you aren't angry. I found your number in the
    phone book.'        -

    'That's fine,' I said. 'Do you want to talk to me about something?'

    Then I thought, 'Of course he wants to talk to me! He's on the phone! Why did I say that?'

    Jack said, 'Yes. Er, I'd like your advice.'

    This was new. People didn't usually ask for my advice.

    I said, 'OK, what is it?'

    He didn't speak for a minute. Then he said, 'There's a girl at school. I like her very much, but I can't tell her. I talked to her two or three times. I think she likes me. But am I right? How do I know?'

    I thought, 'Donna! It has to be Donna. He does like her.'

    I said, 'Do I know this person?'

    'Er, yes,' said Jack.

    I said, 'What's the problem? Tell her.'

    'I tried,' he said. 'I can't say the words. I wrote some poems about her, but I didn't give them to her.'

    'Give Donna a poem and she'll put it on her bedroom wall. Then she'll laugh at it,' I thought.

    I said, 'Jack, don't be shy. The girl likes you very much. I know it. See her and tell her.'

    'Can't I do it on the phone?' he said.

    'No!' I said. 'You have to see her and tell her. Don't be afraid.'

    'OK,' he said.

    Jack wasn't happy about the idea. I could hear that, so I tried to help. I said, 'That disco — can't you go?'

    Jack sighed. 'Yes, I can. I said all that about my parents because —'

    I said, 'Ask her to go with you. Tomorrow. She'll say yes. I know she will.'

    'Susie, I -'

    'Sorry I have to go now,' I said. 'I'm really busy. See you tomorrow, and don't be afraid. OK?'

    'OK,' he said. 'Thank you for your help. Goodbye!'

    'Goodbye!' I said.

    I put the phone down quickly, before I started to cry. 'Oh, Jack!' I thought. 'Why Donna? Why is it always Donna? Why does she always get the boys?'

    I didn't phone Donna then. I didn't tell her about Jack and the disco. I didn't want to talk to her.

    Suddenly, I understood something.

    When I went out with Donna, boys didn't see me. They looked at Donna and they talked to Donna. They smiled at Donna. And me? They didn't see me.

    And Donna always wanted me to do things for her. Get this, Susie. Get that. Tell somebody this, Susie. Tell somebody that. Say sorry to him for me, Susie. And I did it! I did it because Donna was beautiful, and I ...

    ... And I had freckles. It wasn't Donna, it was the freckles. Nobody looked past my freckles and saw the person under them.

    I went back to my room and did my homework. You don't have to think about anything when you're doing homework.

    Chapter 4    Freckles are Great!

    Next morning I didn't tell Donna about Jack's phone call. I was quiet all morning, and I tried to stay away from everybody. I had History, but I left quickly after the lesson. I didn't want to talk to Jack.

    At lunch-time, I went for a walk. I was unhappy. Why? I didn't really know. I bought some fruit from a shop. Then I sat down and ate it.

    When I finished it, I looked at my watch. I had to go back. 'Donna will be happy now, because she's going to the disco with Jack,' I thought. 'She'll tell me every little thing about it. She'll be so happy, and she won't see my unhappy face.'

    I walked back to school slowly.

    And I saw Jack! He ran across the road and stopped in front of me. His face was red, and he was hot.

    He said,'Susie! I couldn't find you! I looked —'

    'Well, I'm here now,'  I said. 'Was everything all right?'

    'What?' he said.

    'With Donna,' I said.

    Jack looked at me strangely. 'Donna?' he said.

    'You asked her to the disco,' I said. 'And she said yes. Right?'

    Jack opened and closed his mouth. Then he started laughing.

    I said,'What's funny?'

    'You thought — I mean, when I spoke to you on the phone yesterday, you — and I —' Jack stopped, then started again. He said, 'Susie, can I take you to the disco, please?'

    'Are my ears playing games with me?' I thought. 'Did I hear him right?'

    'Pardon?' I said.

    Jack spoke slowly. 'Will you come to the disco with me?'

    'But ... Donna wants to go with you!' I said.

    'And I want to go with you,' he said.

    'W-wait!' I said. 'Is this right? Donna wants to go to the disco with you, but you want to go with me?'

    'Yes,' he said.

    'Why?' I said.

    And Jack said, 'Because I like you very much. You're pretty ... and funny. And you don't think I'm strange.You write poems too. And — and I love your freckles!'

    'You do?' I said.

    'Yes,' he said. 'They're lovely!'

    'And you really want to go out with me?' I said.

    'I really do,' he said.

    'Can I think about it?' I asked.

    'Of course! How much time do you want?' he said.

    'Half a minute. Yes!' I said.

    He laughed, and I laughed with him.

    Did I walk to the classroom? Were my feet on the ground? Perhaps they were. Or did I fly? I don't know.

    I thought, 'He likes me! He likes me! I'm wonderful, I'm beautiful, I'm great!'

    And then I saw Donna.

    I thought,'Oh, no! What am I going to tell her? How? When?'

    In the end, it was easy. When we 'walked home after school, Donna said,'It's strange. Jack didn't ask me out. Did you tell him?'

    She was angry with me. She didn't say, 'It was your job, and you didn't do it'. But she thought it.

    And now I was angry. I said, 'No, Donna, I didn't tell him.'

    Donna made an ugly face. 'Right!' she said. I’ll never do anything for you! So don't ask me!'

    'I didn't ask him because he's taking a girl to the disco,' I said.

    'Who?' she asked.

    'Me,' I said.        

    Donna stopped. She looked at me, and her mouth fell open.
    'Pardon?'        

    And I enjoyed telling her. 'Yes,' I said. 'He liked me, but he didn't tell me. He was too shy.' I smiled. 'He likes freckles.'

    Donna said, 'But-but-but-!' Then she stopped and started again. 'There was something strange about that boy. I knew it!' she said.

    'Why?' I said. 'Because he wants to take me to the disco, and not you?'

    'Oh, that's not important to me!' she said. 'I didn't really want to go with him. It was only a game. I like playing games with boys.'

    'Wrong!' I shouted. 'You wanted Jack!'

    'No, I didn't!' she shouted.

    'Yes, you did!'

    Donna made an ugly face again. 'Well, go out with Jack!' she said. 'I hope you have a nice time.'

    She said, 'nice time'. But she meant, 'I hope you break your
    legs'.        

    I said, 'Tell me, Donna. You're jealous! Right?'

    'No, I'm not jealous!' she said.But she turned and walked away.

    'Donna wants me to feel bad,' I thought. 'But I won't! Donna's not going to do that to me now. She knows something important, and I know it too. A beautiful face isn't everything! And I can't feel sorry for her because — because it's funny!'

    I started laughing. And I laughed and laughed.

    I did go to the disco with Jack, and we had a wonderful time. Now we're great friends. And he doesn't blush when he looks at me!

    And Donna? Donna doesn't speak to me.When I try to talk to her, she walks away. But she'll talk to me again one day, because we are good friends, really. But things will be different then.

    Oh, yes ... and freckles are great!



    Предварительный просмотр:

    Introduction

    Hercules! Half man, half god! Stronger than any man in the world! He fights for the weak and is always ready to help others when they are in danger.

    It is festival time in the city of Themon, and Hercules and his friend Iolaus must choose a beautiful girl to be the festival queen. But there were other beautiful young women before, and they all died after becoming the festival queen. Why did they die? And is Hera — the lover of Zeus, Hercules' father — behind it all? Why does Hera want to kill Hercules? Before all these and other questions can be answered, Hercules must fight the terrible Sea Serpent of Themon.

    Hercules:Tlie Legendary Journeys is a Studios USA television series, starring Kevin Sorbo as the famous half man, half god, Hercules. People watch each one-hour show in countries all over the world - Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Ukraine,Venezuela, and many, many more.

    Chapter 1   Serpent's Teeth

    Holix sat on a rock above the beach and watched the white sea birds. He always came here when he could get away from his work with the horses. He looked at the rocks on the beach, near the water. Dangerous rocks.

    'A serpent's teeth,' he thought.

    It was not a nice thought, but Holix knew there was something out there. Everybody knew it, but nobody talked about it. Holix turned round and looked at Jax, and at the red-haired sisters, Cire and Sana.

    'Be happy, Holix,' said Cire.

    'Yes, don't sit there and be sad,' said Sana.

    Jax was tall with black hair. 'Holix isn't sad,' he said. 'He's thinking important thoughts.'

    Cire looked out at the sea. 'There's nothing out there, Holix,' she said.'Only water.'

    Holix looked at Jax, and Jax smiled.

    'He's thinking about the festival,' said Cire.

    'Must we talk about that?' said Jax.'After tonight, we'll not get time to think about anything but the festival.'

    'He's right,' thought Holix. 'For the next week I must work hard with the horses. They must be good to look at, and work well.'

    He saw a small fishing boat, far away across the water. 'Is it exciting out there?' he said.

    Jax laughed.'More questions!'

    'I like to know things,' said Holix. 'Tell me, what happens to the queen of the festival after everything finishes?'

    Nobody answered him.

    'She — she goes away,' Jax said, after a minute. 'She usually doesn't want to stay here after something as important as that.

    She usually goes off to see the world.'

    'Why?' said Holix. 'It's beautiful here.'        

    'That's a country boy speaking,' said Sana.

    Holix said nothing. He was a country boy, but he was good with horses. His boss knew that.

    And suddenly he knew something. 'The people Cire and Sana work for talk to the men on the council,' he thought. 'They want one of the two girls to be Summer Queen!'

    He looked across the sea again. 'Something moved out there!' he said suddenly. 'Not the boat, but

    Cire looked out across the sea.'I don't see anything.'

    Holix looked again — and the boat was not there now.

    Hercules worked in his mother's garden. Alcmena watched him. 'Is anything wrong, Hercules?' she said.

    'Why do you ask?' he said.

    'Because you're my son, and I know you,' she said. 'You're ready to move on.'

    He smiled at her.'You're right, but ...' He stopped.

    'You're thinking about Hera,' she said.

    'I'm waiting for Hera to try and kill me again,' he thought. 'She tried a long time ago and —'

    'Forget Hera,' said his mother. But she thought, 'Hera killed his wife and children. He can never forget that. And now he doesn't speak to his father because Zeus was with a woman at the time, and did nothing to stop Hera.'

    Hercules looked up and saw Iolaus come into the garden.

    Iolaus said hello to Alcmena and smiled at Hercules. 'I'm going to make you a happy man, Hercules,' he said.

    'Are you? How?' asked Hercules.

    'Women,' said Iolaus. 'Beautiful women! We're going to be judges and choose a queen at a festival!'

    Chapter 2 The Green Eyes in the Cave

    The city of Themon was a kilometre from the beach, and the council offices were in a building in the city square. There were nine men on the council, and their leader was Titus Perical. But Titus wasn't in the council building today. He was in a cave behind the rocks on the beach. The cave was big and dark. Inside it were two big green eyes in the rock at the back. Titus sat in the cave and said in a tired voice, 'It's getting more and more difficult.' He waited. He could hear the sea. 'Years ago they all wanted to be the queen. Now they only want to have a good time.'

    'This will be the last time,' a voice said.

    Titus jumped. 'The last time?'

    'The festival can go on, but the other thing finishes,' said the voice. 'But you must do the things I tell you.'

    'I always do,' said Titus.

    'Yes,' said the voice. 'But what about the rebels?'        

    'Rebels!' said Titus. 'They write words on buildings, that's all. They're nothing!'

    'And the ... others?' asked the voice.

    'They'll be here in a day or two,' said Titus.

    ' Good,' said the voice.

    Titus asked, 'What about Klothon?'

    'Klothon? He always does the same thing.'

    'But can he do it in a different place?' asked Titus. 'Can you help me to —?'

    Suddenly there was a strong wind inside the cave — and then everything was quiet again. Titus had his answer.

    'No, you can't,' he thought.

    He went out and began to walk along the beach. 'So who's going to die next week?' he thought. 'Who am I going to choose?' And then he saw the two beautiful young women on the beach. Two beautiful young queenly women.

    He stopped and looked up at the sky. 'Thank you!' he said. 'Now, I must say the right words, and perhaps give them something nice.' He smiled. 'The judges can't say "we don't like your new queen", because they aren't going to live to say it.'

    'No,' Hercules told Iolaus.

    'Themon's a nice place,' said Iolaus.

    'Why don't you go, Hercules?' said Alcmena.

    Hercules didn't answer.

    'We can judge the beautiful girls, choose a queen, and be out of there before you know it,' said Iolaus.

    'Oh, OK,' Hercules said after a minute.

    But he wasn't happy. 'Is somebody watching me?' he thought. 'Is there some danger waiting for me there?'

    The two of them walked all the next day. Iolaus talked a lot. And that night, under the trees, Hercules couldn't sleep.

    'Why did they ask Iolaus?' he thought. And when he closed his eyes, he thought he heard far-away voices.

    By the next afternoon Hercules was happier. But Iolaus was very quiet. Are you OK?' Hercules asked him.

    'I slept badly,' said Iolaus,'and I thought I heard voices.'

    Hercules stopped.'What voices?' he said.

    Iolaus turned round and looked past Hercules. His hand moved to his sword. 'Their voices?' he said.

    Hercules didn't turn to look at the men behind him because now there were men behind Iolaus, too.

    And there was no time to talk.

    Chapter 3   Bandits on the Road

    The bandits had something round their heads. Hercules could only see their eyes. They wore shirts with red squares on them, and they had swords in their hands.

    Hercules spoke quietly to Iolaus.'What do you think?'

    'Let's cut off some heads,' said Iolaus.

    The bandits made noises, and their leader looked at Hercules. 'There are ten of us and only two of you.'

    'Listen, we have an important job to do in Themon,' said Iolaus.'Why don't you move out of the road?'

    One of the bandits laughed and said,'You're afraid!'

    Iolaus looked at him. 'It was a mistake to say that,' he said quietly. Then he ran at the five in front of him. He hit two of them with his sword, and they fell.

    At the same time, Hercules ran at the leader and the other bandits. The leader jumped away, and one of the other bandits tried to cut off Hercules' head. Hercules moved quickly, took the bandit's sword away from him and hit him on the head.

    'Get them!' the leader cried.

    lolaus had one bandit in front of him and one behind. They ran at him with swords in their hands, but lolaus pushed their swords down and they hit their heads together and fell.

    'Get them!'the leader cried again.

    But the other bandits ran away, and the leader soon followed them.

    'They weren't very good,' said Hercules.

    Every day more and more people arrived in the city for the festival. Holix was very tired. He worked with the horses day and night — he wanted them to be ready.

    'Take an hour off and go for a walk,' his boss told him.

    'Thanks,' said Holix. 'Cire and Sana want to be Summer Queen. I'm happy for them, but ... people say, "Every seventh queen went away and never came back."Why?'

    'Don't ask questions!' his boss told him.

    So Holix walked down to the beach. He saw Cire sitting on a rock with her face in her hands. She looked up. 'Holix,' she said. 'Help me. I don't want to die!'And she put her arms round him and started crying.

    Jax walked quickly through the north of the city. The streets were quiet here. He looked round, but could see nobody behind him. Then he went into a house. A woman sat in the far corner of a dark room. Jax could not see her face.'Did Rotus and his men do the job?'he asked.

    'No,' said the woman.

    'But there were ten of them!' he said angrily.

    'They had to fight two very unusual men,' she said.

    'What do we do now?' he said.

    'We try again,' she said. 'There's lots of time.'

    'Can we stop them?' said Jax.

    She laughed.'No, we can't stop them, Jax.'

    'So Hercules and Iolaus will get here, and they'll choose a Summer Queen,' said Jax. 'Then the people aren't going to tell Titus, "You're finished! Get out of Themon!" But that was the plan. Right?' He was angry. 'We write clever words on buildings, and we tell people, "Titus isn't a god. Why can't we have a new council leader?" But half the people can't read and the other half don't listen ...'

    'You listen,Jax,' she said,'and then leave everything to me.'And for the next two hours they talked about their plans.

    Cire stopped crying, but did not move her arms from Holix.

    ' Why are you going to die?' he asked.

    'I got out of bed and heard them talking last night,' she said. Them — the people she worked for. She did not like them, or any of their eight children. 'They said something about a past queen. They found her the day after Titus crowned her. Well — some of her. Her foot and her leg.'

    Holix found it difficult to speak. 'Perhaps ... she ...' He stopped.

    'You were right,' Cire said. 'Every seven years, one festival queen goes away and she doesn't come back.'

    What could he say? This was the seventh year. 'Perhaps they aren't going to choose you. No — well — yes! You're the most beautiful, and —' He stopped. His face was red.

    She laughed, and put her face next to his. They sat quietly. 'There was a visitor with them,' said Cire. 'It was Titus. They didn't want Sana to be queen, so Titus said, "Money to the gods can do that." They gave him some money.' She looked at Holix. 'They want me to die, I know it! I'm going to be Summer Queen, and I'm going to die!'

    Chapter 4 The Freedom Fighters

    Hercules and Iolaus walked together.

    'We can stop for the night soon, then start again early tomorrow,' said Hercules. 'We can be in Themon by early afternoon.'

    'You talked in your sleep last night,' said Iolaus.

    'I had a bad dream,'said Hercules.

    'About Hera?' said Iolaus.

    'Yes,' said Hercules. 'About her green eyes. They watched me from the darkness. I wanted to run away, but I couldn't. And I could hear her laughing.'

    'Are we going to have problems at this festival because of her?' said lolaus.

    'No ... I don't know,' said Hercules. 'It was only a dream.'        

    And then somebody hit him on the head and everything went .
    black.                

    Minutes later, he opened his eyes. He turned his head and saw his friend on the floor near him. lolaus made a noise and Hercules tried to move across to him.

    A voice said, 'Don't move.Your friend's OK.'

    Hercules sat up. They were in a big cave, and he saw the bandits on rocks near them. He could see some of their faces now. 'They're very young,' he thought.

    'Who are you?' lolaus asked them.

    'TheThemon Freedom Fighters,' said one bandit.

    'You're ... rebels?' said lolaus.

    'We want freedom for the people of Themon,' said the bandit. 'Freedom from Councillor Titus Perical.'

    'That's right!' and 'Yes!' said the rebels.

    'You tell them, Rotus!' called a small voice.

    Rotus said, 'The people can't ... do things! Titus stops them. He makes things . . . difficult. It's time for him to go! Twenty years is too long to be council leader.'

    'Yes!' said the rebels. 'Right! Too long!'

    'You're the best, Rotus!' called the small voice.

    Hercules looked at lolaus.'Are you OK?' he asked.

    'Not too bad,' said lolaus,'But these people —!'

    'Be careful!'cried the small voice.'I can hear you!'

    'Who is that?' said lolaus.

    Rotus looked at Hercules and lolaus. 'Titus wants you at the Summer Festival. But we don't, you see. So you'll stay here and leave when the festival's finished.'

    'You can't do that!' cried lolaus.

    'You're here and the festival starts in the morning,' called the small voice.

    'Be quiet!' said lolaus.'You talk too much!'

    Somebody ran across and stopped in front of lolaus. 'You be quiet!' It was a young woman.

    Iolaus's mouth fell open. 'I-I'm sorry. I didn't know —'

    The rebel's face went red and she walked away.

    'Venitia gets angry sometimes,' said Rotus.

    'Listen,' Hercules said to Rotus.'We're only going to choose a Summer Queen. But perhaps we can help you.'

    'We don't want your help,' said Venitia.

    'Why don't the people of Themon choose a different leader?' Hercules asked Rotus.

    'Because things are quite good,' said the rebel.'And people are afraid they'll get somebody worse.'

    'Things aren't very good, Rotus,' said Venitia.

    'No, they're not!' cried the other rebels.

    lolaus moved nearer to Hercules.'We must get out of here,' he said quietly. 'I've got a plan. We take two of their horses, and go.'

    'How do we get out of here?' said Hercules.

    'That's your job. I thought of the horses,' said lolaus. Then he laughed and said, 'No, I've got a plan for that, too. When I tell you, run for the door.'

    ' OK,'said Hercules. 'When?'

    'NOW!' cried lolaus. He jumped up and ran.

    Hercules followed him, and the rebels suddenly saw them.

    'Get them!' cried Rotus.

    Chapter 5  Titus Perical

    Six or seven horses were near the trees outside the cave. Hercules and lolaus jumped on to the backs of two of them, then they hit the others, and the animals ran away into the trees.

    Some of the rebels tried to catch their horses, but the others
    watched Hercules and his friend get away.        

    'Great!' laughed Iolaus.

    'I thought you had a plan,' said Hercules.

    'That was the plan,' said Iolaus.

    '"Run!" was the plan?'

    'It worked,' said Iolaus, and laughed. 'Come on, Hercules. There are only two hours before it gets dark, and those women are waiting for us in Themon!'

    They had to find the council offices and meet with Councillor Titus.

    'We don't want these horses now,' said Hercules. 'Let's give them to somebody.'

    He saw a young man working with some horses in a building near the road, and he went across. The young man came out, and Hercules got off his horse.

    'You can have my horse,' Hercules told him.

    The young man's mouth fell open.'You ... I ...?'

    'You can have him, yes,' said Hercules.

    Iolaus gave the young man his horse. 'My horse, too. Tell me, how do we get to the council offices?'

    The young man said something about turning right and then left, then asked suddenly, 'Are you ... Hercules?'

    'You see?' Iolaus said to his friend. 'You're famous.'

    'Are you going to choose the Summer Queen?' asked the young man.

    'Yes,' said Iolaus. 'Now we must —'

    'You're going to kill her!' the young man said angrily. And he started to hit Iolaus.

    Hercules pulled him off and sat him on the floor. 'Who are you? Why did you do that?' he asked.

    'My name is Holix,' said the young man. 'I'm in love with a young woman and you're going to kill her.'

    Hercules and Iolaus listened to Holix's story, then walked through the streets to the council offices. It was nearly dark, but they saw ten men outside the building.

    'The men of the council,' said Iolaus.

    Hercules said nothing. After hearing Holix's story, he thought, 'Hera's going to do something bad to me at the Themon festival. What? Does she want me to try to help Holix's girlfriend, and then kill me? But how?'

    One of the councillors turned and spoke to them. 'What do you want?' he said.

    'I'm Iolaus,' said Iolaus,'your festival judge.'

    Titus Perical came to meet them. 'You're late.'

    'We had ... problems with some rebels,' said Iolaus.

    The councillors laughed, and Titus said, 'They try to be difficult, but I don't think they are dangerous.' He began to tell | them about the festival. 'You must sit with the council for dinner tomorrow evening, and then judge the young women later. Tonight you'll stay at the White Horse Hotel, but be careful, Hercules. Those rebels will know that you're in town. I don't want anything to happen to you or your friend.'

    Hercules and Iolaus walked to the White Horse Hotel. When they were outside, Hercules said, 'You go on in. I must see somebody.'

    Iolaus looked at his friend. 'Are you going to see Hera?'

    'No, not Hera,' said Hercules. He walked down the road to the sea and waited on the rocks.

     Titus  did not answer the  other councillors when they said, 'Goodnight'. He watched Hercules and lolaus walk away and thought,'Did I make a mistake?'

    Somebody came up quietly behind him, and he smiled.

    'Your people couldn't stop them,' he said.

    A woman laughed. 'It's not important,' she said. 'I only wanted them to be late. I didn't want them to have too much time to think.' She laughed again. 'You're not very good at this, my dear.'

    He tried to sound important. 'I've done it for twenty years.'

    'No, my love,' she said. You did all the talking. I did all the other things.'

    He put his arms round her.'Is it finished? Will she ...?'

    Jocasta Perical looked up into her husband's eyes.'We must get out of here before Hera kills us,' she said quietly.

    Chapter 6   Klothon

    Hercules walked down through the rocks to the beach.

    'Why am I doing this?' he thought. 'Because I must have help, or Hera will kill me this time.'

    He walked into the sea, and suddenly it began to move round him — and then up ... up, into a mountain of water, fifteen metres above him. He waited. Now the water had a 'head','arms' and 'legs'.

    'Hello, Uncle Poseidon,' said Hercules.

    Poseidon, god of the sea, got smaller. 'Oh, it's you, Hercules. When did I last see you? A long time ago. Come on.'

    He started to move east, and Hercules followed him through the sea. 'Is Alcmena well?' asked Poseidon.

    'Very well, thank you,' said Hercules.

    'And your friend lolaus?'

    'Well, too, thank you,' said Hercules.

    'So?' said Poseidon.'What's wrong?'

    'It's Hera,' said Hercules. 'And Themon's Summer Festival.The council asked Iolaus to be a judge, and I came with him.' Then Hercules told Poseidon about Holix, and about the Summer Queens. 'These young women go away and don't come back,' he said.

    'Klothon,' said his uncle.

    'What?'

    'There's a serpent called Klothon,' said Poseidon. 'It moves in the sea. I see it every three or four years. We fight, but Klothon gets away. It's bad, Hercules.' He looked up at the rocks above the beach. 'They put some child up there, and she thinks, "I'm a queen!". But by morning, she's the serpent's breakfast.'

    'Can't you stop it?' asked Hercules.

    'No, I can't,' said Poseidon. 'And that's Hera's plan. She knows that you'll try to help the woman. But you can't, and she knows that too, but she wants you to try — and then you'll die.'

    'Can I kill this serpent?' asked Hercules.

    'Perhaps,' said Poseidon. 'It has a weak place under its head, \ remember that. But first you must catch it. I can't.'

    'Thanks,' said Hercules.

    After a minute Poseidon went back under the sea, and Hercules walked back to the beach ... Something big and dark watched him from under the water.

    Iolaus sat in the White Horse Hotel with a drink in his hand. Suddenly he saw three women at another table, and walked across to them. 'Good evening,' he said, and smiled.

    The women looked up. They did not smile.

    'Can I sit down with you,Venitia?' he said. He did not wait for an answer, he pulled a chair across to their table.

    Venitia wore a pretty dress. The woman on his left had short dark hair. The woman across the table from him had long, black hair and green eyes. She was angry.        

    'What do you want?' asked Venitia.

    'The answers to some questions,' he said. 'What are you three doing in here? Half the city police are looking for you, but you aren't afraid.'

    'We don't want to talk to you,' said the short-haired woman.

    'Be quiet, Bea,' said Venitia. 'I think he knows.'

    'We could kill him,' said the green-eyed woman.

    'No, we can't, Zarel,' said Venitia.'He's a judge.'

    Iolaus looked at them.'So you're not rebels,' he said.'You don't want to throw out the council.'

    'That's right,' said Bea.

    'Bea!' cried Zarel.

    'But he knows,' said Bea.

    Venitia looked into Iolaus's eyes. 'Do you have a wife?' she asked suddenly.

    'Venitia!' cried Zarel, and she jumped up from her chair and walked out of the hotel.

    Bea got up more slowly. 'Sorry,' she said, 'but I must go after her or she'll kill somebody again.'

    Iolaus waited for her to go, then looked at Venitia.'"Again"?' he said.'Did she kill somebody before?'

    'You do have a wife,' Venitia said sadly.

    'Is this a dream?' thought Iolaus. He put his hand on Venitia's hand — and she smiled.

    'Sorry,' she said. 'Why did I say that? I don't know. 'Then she said, 'Yes, she killed somebody before. But her father is rich and ... and ... and you're right about us.'

    'Something's not right in this city,' said Iolaus. 'Hercules and I know that. Perhaps we can help you.'

    She smiled. 'You're nice,' she said. He started to speak but she said quickly,'OK, I'll tell you about Klothon.'

    'Who's that?' asked Iolaus. 'Not who — what.' 'OK, what's that?' said Iolaus.

    'You must leave before they crown the festival queen, or Klothon's going to kill you,' said Venitia.

    Chapter 7  Holix in Danger

    Next morning, Iolaus spoke to Hercules at the hotel.

    'When you went out last night, I saw three women from the bandit's cave in here and talked to them,' he said. 'They're not rebels, but somebody pays them to be rebels.'

    'Who?' said Hercules.

    'They don't know, but perhaps Rotus does,' said Iolaus. 'He gives the money to them.'

    'Perhaps it's Titus Perical,' said Hercules. 'Perhaps it's his plan to stay leader.'

    'Venitia thinks that, too,' said Iolaus. 'And she says that there's a serpent. It kills people.'

    'Klothon,' said Hercules.

    'You know?' said Iolaus.

    'Poseidon told me,' said Hercules.

    'She said something more,' said Iolaus. 'What was it? I can't remember.'

    'I want to go and talk to Holix again,' said Hercules. 'Come on.'

    But when they arrived, Holix had some people with him -Rotus and eight of his bandits! They hit Holix and threw him out into the road. Hercules and Iolaus saw this happen.

    'Now I remember,' said ,Iolaus. 'Venitia said, "Some of the bandits aren't playing games this year.'"

    'Holix?' called Hercules.

    'Hercules,' Holix said weakly. He could not move.

    Rotus's men turned to face Hercules and lolaus, their swords ready, but stopped when they saw that Hercules and his friend did not run away Rotus cried 'Get them!' from the back. Hercules hit one of the rebels on the head, then threw him into the others. Three of them went down. A big man pushed his sword at lolaus, but lolaus moved away quickly and hit the big man on the head. The big man fell on the road. Then lolaus moved away from a smaller rebel and pushed him to the road. Then he hit him on the head.

    'There's only two of them!' cried Rotus. 'Get them!'

    'Why don't you help?' called one of the rebels. Then Hercules put his hands round the rebel's face and pushed and pulled — pushed and pulled. 'Stop!' cried the rebel. And Hercules said, 'OK' and hit him on the head.

    lolaus laughed and took the rebel's sword. He turned to see three others run at him. With a sword in each hand, lolaus fought hard. One rebel ran away, but the other two pushed lolaus down on the road.

    'Hercules!' cried lolaus.

    Hercules pulled a long-haired rebel to him, then threw the rebel on to the two near lolaus. The three rebels fell together — and lolaus got up.

    Hercules started to move to him — but Rotus hit him on the head with something hard — a rock, perhaps — and he went down. For a minute he couldn't hear anything. He waited for Rotus to hit him again, but nothing happened.

    Then somebody put an arm round him and helped him to sit up. He looked and saw a dark-haired young woman.

    'I'm Bea,' she said.

    'Thank you, Bea,' he said. 'Where's lolaus?'

    lolaus sat a metre or two away, and a young woman was with him. 'I'm here, Hercules,' he said. 'This is Venitia.'

    'Where are the rebels?' asked Hercules.

    'Some people saw the fight and called for help,' said Venitia. 'Rotus heard them and he and his men ran.'

    Some minutes later, Hercules carried Holix to their hotel. 'He can sleep in my room for an hour or two,' he said.

    'I'll stay with him,' said Bea. 'And I'll send somebody to tell his girlfriend.'

    'OK,' said lolaus. He turned to Hercules. 'Now what?'

    'Now we go to the crowning place,' said Hercules.

    'I'll come with you,' said Venitia. 'I know the quickest road.'

    Chapter 8   Cire is Afraid

    'Is this the place?' asked lolaus.

    It was a few metres of grass above the rocks and the beach. Nothing more. It was early in the afternoon and a cold wind came in from the sea. Hercules looked down at the beach. lolaus stood next to him.

    'Hera,' Hercules said after a minute. 'She's near.'

    lolaus looked at the sky. 'It's getting darker,' he said. 'Is something going to ...?'

    'Yes ... something ...' Hercules turned and looked at Venitia. Then, suddenly, he put a hand on her arm. 'You're Titus's daughter. Am I right?'

    'What?' cried lolaus.

    'Look at her eyes, and her mouth,' said Hercules. 'They're Titus's eyes and mouth. She's his daughter.'

    'Yes, and I'm not a good rebel,' she said.

    'Does he know?' said lolaus.

    'No,' said Venitia.

    'You helped us back there,' said Hercules. 'What happened between you and your friends, and Rotus?'

    She did not speak for a minute or two, but then she said, 'It was OK at the beginning, then something happened and it was all different. There's a man — Jax. He's Holix's friend. He tells us, "Do this, do that." But somebody tells him first.'

    'Your father?' said Iolaus.

    'Yes, I think so,' said Venitia. 'But then Rotus wanted us to fight people. I didn't like it, but he said, "Do it, or I'll kill you!'"

    Hercules was quiet for a minute. He looked down at the rocks. 'What brings Hera here?' he said. 'There must be something. Perhaps a place ... Iolaus, stay here and look.' He looked at Venitia. 'What's Rotus's plan for the festival? Something bad, I know. But what? We must know.'

    'I'll go back and talk to the others,' she said.

    Hercules went back to the White Horse with her, and went quickly to his room. He pushed open the door — and stopped. A woman stood next to the bed. She had a knife in her hand.

    'Hercules, no!' Holix cried from the bed, before Hercules could jump at her. 'It's OK.'

    'Hercules?' said the woman. She put down the knife.

    'Yes,' said Holix. 'This is Hercules.' He sat up in the bed. 'This is Cire,' he told Hercules.

    'I ran away from my boss and his family,' she said. 'I was afraid.' She told Hercules her story, then began to cry.

    'You aren't going to die,' Hercules told her. 'But you must go back.'

    'What?' cried Cire. 'Go back? Why?'

    'Because then I can help you,' said Hercules. 'Listen, this isn't about you, it's about me. The plan is for me to die, not you. But it's not going to happen.'

    lolaus walked along the beach to the tallest of the dangerous rocks. Suddenly, he looked up and saw a large sea bird fly down at him! lolaus moved quickly and hit the bird with his sword. Then two more came at him — and two more! He fought them with his sword, but more flew at him. He started to run to the rocks ... and found a cave!

    lolaus ran inside. It was dark, but the birds didn't follow him into the cave. 'So this is Hera's place!' he thought. 'I must go and tell Hercules.'

    '... and that's my plan.' Hercules stopped talking and looked at Holix and Cire.

    'It's not going to work,' said Cire. 'We'll all die.' 'I don't think I can walk, Hercules,' said Holix. He looked lovingly at Cire. 'But for her, I can do anything.' Cire started to cry.

    The door opened suddenly and lolaus ran in. 'Hercules, I found it!' he cried.

    Rotus looked at the dead man on the grass outside the rebels' cave. It was Jax. 'He was too friendly with Titus,' said Rotus. 'I had to kill him.'

    'Hercules will be angry,' said one of the rebels.

    'Hercules is no problem,' said Rotus.

    The other rebels didn't answer.

    'Remember the plan,' Rotus said when they were all on their horses.They followed him away from the cave.

    Cire's boss was angry with her, and his wife wanted to kill her. But Sana said to them, 'The council are waiting.' And the two sisters went to their room and started to get ready.

    'Where were you?' Sana asked Cire.

    Cire didn't answer.

    Venitia couldn't find the rebels, and there was nobody to talk to. Her mother was at the festival, her father was with the council, and lolaus was with Hercules.

    She put on her festival dress. 'Everything is going wrong!' she thought. 'I don't want to be a rebel, and lolaus is always talking about serpents and bad gods! He doesn't look at me! And I'm late for the festival, too.'

    Chapter 9 Titus Tells All

    There were hundreds of people in the square. The rich people sat nearest the council building. Hercules and Iolaus sat at a big table outside the doors of the council rooms.

    Everybody's looking at us,' said Iolaus.

    'Eat your food,' said Hercules. Jocasta Perical sat near him, but did not speak to him. Venitia sat next to Iolaus.

    'How much time before ...?' Iolaus asked him.

    'I don't know,' said Hercules. He saw somebody come and say something in Jocasta's ear, and her face went white. She got up quickly and took Titus with her.

    Hercules waited for Titus and Jocasta to get to the council office doors, then he jumped up and followed them. He heard Jocasta say,'They found him by the cave. The other men weren't there.'

    Titus saw Hercules and put a hand on Jocasta's arm. 'Hercules!' he said, and smiled. 'Let's sit down and —'

    'What did Hera say to you?' asked Hercules.

    'What — what are you talking about?' said Titus.

    Jocasta tried to leave, but Hercules stopped her. 'You know,' he said.

    Suddenly,Titus was tired and old. He spoke quietly. 'Hera said, "I'm going to tell you to do things. Do them, or I'll kill your wife and daughter, and everybody in the city.'"

    'Don't be angry with him, Hercules,' said Jocasta. 'Titus is a good man. He's good for Themon.'

    'And the rebels?' asked Hercules.

    'I started them,' said Jocasta. 'Titus didn't know about them before this year.'

    Hercules looked at them. 'Now I understand! You,' he told Titus, 'couldn't stop. But you —' to Jocasta, 'you wanted him to stop. You don't want him to be council leader next year. Right?'

    Jocasta smiled. 'That's right. We planned to leave tomorrow night.'

    'We have a small place,' said Titus, sadly. 'Near the mountains. No sea birds. Nobody to ask me to do things.' He looked at Hercules. 'What happens now? Hera ...?'        

    'She wants me,Titus,' said Hercules. 'She told you to ask lolaus to come here because she knows I usually go to places with him. She'll do anything to get me. She'll kill everybody in this city'

    'But we can't stop the festival,' said Titus. 'All these people ... the gods will be ... What are you doing about it? You're here, but you're doing nothing!'

    'We've got a plan,' said Hercules.

    'How can we help?' asked Jocasta.

    'Do the usual things,' he said. 'Nothing more.'

    He went back to the table, and they followed him.

    'I'm right,' he thought. 'I know I'm right. But am I ready?'

    Chapter 10 The New Summer Queen

    It was time. Titus Perical got up from his chair and began to speak to the people of Themon. In front of him was a line of five young women, and Titus smiled at them.

    Hercules looked at them. It was easy to see Cire and her sister, with their red hair. They were in the centre of the line.

    Titus talked about the women's beauty, and about the important job of Summer Queen. Then he stood in front of each young woman, and talked about her and her family.

    Hercules heard a noise behind him and looked round. He saw one of the doors of the council rooms begin to open.

    'Who's that behind the doors?' he thought. 'All the councillors are out here.' He put a hand on his friend's arm. 'lolaus,' he said quietly, and stood up.

    'Now?' said lolaus. 'But the women aren't —'

    Hercules moved quickly back to the doors. Now lolaus saw them opening slowly. He smiled at Hercules and said,'OK!' very quietly.

    Hercules pushed the doors — hard!

    There were cries of 'Aaagh!' and 'Oooh!' when the doors closed, and more cries when Hercules pulled them open again, and he and lolaus went inside.

    They saw three rebels on the floor, and Rotus with his mouth open saying, 'What — who —?' lolaus ran at the rebels with his sword and Hercules jumped on Rotus, and the rebel leader fell. Then somebody hit Hercules on the back, and he turned and saw an angry woman with long black hair. It was Zarel. He put a hand on her head and pushed her down on the floor. 'Don't move, my friend,' he told her, 'or I'll kill you!' She did not move.

    lolaus fought two rebels with his sword. 'Hercules!' he called. But Hercules walked across to Rotus and put a foot on the rebel leader's back.

    lolaus moved quickly and one of the rebel's swords went into the door. lolaus kicked him to the floor. The other rebel started to move away, but saw Hercules. He turned again — and lolaus hit him hard, and he went down.

    lolaus went across to Hercules. 'Why didn't you help me?' he said.

    Hercules smiled and looked down at Rotus. 'I didn't want him to get away,' he said.

    'Why must I do all the hard work, and you get the easy jobs?' said lolaus.

    Hercules laughed, then said, 'Get some of the police to take Rotus and the others away. Then we can go back to the festival.'

    Jocasta came in. She looked at Rotus. 'You killed Jax!' she said, angrily.

    'He was bad,' said Rotus. 'And you're bad, too.'

    Titus came in. He looked at his wife, and at the rebels on the floor. 'What - ?' he began.

    'The rebels are finished,' said Hercules.        

    'But this is only the beginning,' said lolaus.

    Some minutes later, Titus's men arrived and took Rotus and the other rebels away. Hercules and lolaus went back to their table with Titus and Jocasta.

    'Tell me,' Hercules said to Titus. 'Why did you say, "Yes" to Hera - that she could take the festival queen?'

    'Jocasta and I have nothing, Hercules,'said Titus. 'The city pays for our house, for everything. I knew this was the last time, and I looked at the things we had, all the things we didn't have ... and I was afraid. We had very little.'

    'Hercules, we haven't got much time,' said lolaus.

    'Your plan?'said Titus.

    'Yes,' said Hercules. 'Titus, you must not choose a new queen. Do you understand? Don't choose a queen!'

    Titus walked away. He asked the five young women to stand in a line and look out at the people. Everybody started to get excited. Then Titus asked lolaus and Hercules to come and stand next to him. The people got more excited than before.

    Hercules looked at the sky. It was black.

    lolaus walked slowly up and down the line. He looked at each of the young women. The wind was strong now, and Hercules pushed his hair back off his face. He looked across at lolaus and said the word 'Now' with his mouth, but made no sound.

    lolaus smiled and put a hand on Cire's arm. She began to move away from him, but Hercules put his hand in hers. 'Don't be afraid,' he said. 'Everything will be OK.'

    Everybody was excited, and there was noise of voices all round the square. Titus put the festival crown on Cire's head, then Iolaus took her hand and together they walked into the centre of the square. Hercules followed them, and people threw flowers and began to sing happily.

    'Come on, Holix!' thought Hercules. 'It's time —'

    Then he heard a noise at the south of the square, and a big white horse pushed through the people. A man in black from head to foot was on the horse's back.

    Suddenly, everybody was quiet and afraid. They saw the man in black pull Cire up on to the back of the horse and turn the animal round.

    'Be quick, Holix!' thought Hercules.

    Holix gave a cry, and the horse pushed through the people again. Holix got across the square, but his horse suddenly stopped, kicked out its front legs, stood up on its back legs — and Holix fell off.

    The police ran across to Holix before he could get up. Two policemen got the horse, and one helped Cire to get off the animal. There was nothing Hercules could do.

    The people thought all this was something new and exciting for the festival. Something planned by Titus. Titus smiled, turned to Jocasta and said something, so that they thought they were right.

    Soon after, Cire was back on the horse, and Titus told the judges and some of his men, 'Take the queen to her place above the rocks.' But before they went, he asked Hercules, 'What happened to your plan?'

    'The boy fell off the horse,' said Hercules.

    'Hera will get me for this!' cried Titus. 'Her place —'

    'I know!' said Hercules. 'Iolaus found it this morning.'

    Titus was tired, and he walked sadly away.

    Hercules was angry. 'Klothon is waiting,' he thought. 'Before the sun comes up tomorrow, one of us will be dead.'

    Chapter 11   Fight to the Finish

    The wind was very strong now. People in the city went quickly into shops or back to their houses. The sky was dark, and it started to rain.        

    Hercules could hear the noise of the sea. He saw it move up across the beach, on to the grass, and over to the road.

    'The city's in danger!' thought Hercules.

    He walked on, and saw three of Titus's men — they had Cire. 'Help!' she cried. She tried to get away from them but they were too strong.

    'Hercules!' called Iolaus. 'They won't listen!'

    Hercules pulled one man off her. 'Let her go!'

    'I can't!' said the man. 'They'll kill me!'

    But suddenly, all three men turned and ran.

    'Hercules, look!' cried Iolaus.

    Hercules turned ... and saw the green eyes of Klothon.

    He ran and stood by Cire, and Iolaus came and stood next to him. They were only three metres from the rocks, and the serpent's head was above them.

    Iolaus had his sword in his hand.

    'Don't move!' Hercules told Iolaus and Cire.

    He could see the teeth in the serpent's mouth, and the white place under it.'Its weak place!' thought Hercules.Then he looked down and saw the serpent's feet on the beach.

    'Get back!' cried Iolaus.

    Hercules moved back quickly — and the serpent's head came down past him — fast!

    Next Klothon went for Iolaus, and Iolaus hit it with his sword. The serpent made an angry noise.

    'Iolaus!' called Hercules.'Get it to come after you!'

    Iolaus started to call the serpent, and to dance about in front of it. Klothon angrily tried to get him, but Iolaus fell down on the grass and put his arms over his head.

    Hercules quickly ran across to the serpent, jumped on to its ear — and pulled! He stayed on the ear for half a minute, then jumped off and cried, 'lolaus, run for the trees!' He ran to the trees, and pulled Cire with him. lolaus followed.

    'Why doesn't it come up from the beach?' said lolaus.

    'The sea is pulling it back,' said Cire. She looked at them.'Wait a minute. Hercules, you can't...!' She didn't finish.

    'Follow me,' Hercules told his friend.Then he turned to Cire and told her his plan.

    'But I can't —!' she began.

    'You can,' said Hercules, quietly.

    lolaus was tired of waiting.'Let's go,' he said.

    Cire walked away to their left.

    Klothon tried to get her, but she was too far from the beach. She didn't jump or run back. Suddenly she ran to the serpent, and under its mouth. The serpent's head went up, and she cried out to it.'Come on! Come on!'

    Hercules and lolaus moved in. It was now or never! The sea came angrily over the rocks ... Klothon's head went up ... Hercules and lolaus ran in and jumped on the serpent's ear ... and pulled! Down .. . down ...

    Hercules could see its big green eye. But he and lolaus were too heavy for it. Its head went down — on to a tall, thin rock — and the rock cut through the serpent's weak place. Klothon cried out. 'Aaaaaagh!'

    Then Hercules fell... down ... down ... and hit his head. His eyes closed.

    lolaus fell on the beach, but was quickly up again.

    He ran to the cave. He saw the green eyes inside.

    Five minutes later, he was back outside again ... and saw a small 'mountain' of sea in front of him.

    Chapter 12 Time to Go Home

    A voice said, 'Open your eyes, Hercules.'

    Hercules opened them. Everything was quiet on the beach, and the sky was blue again. He looked up ... and saw Poseidon. He remembered everything then, and looked round for lolaus. He saw his friend sleeping on the beach near him.

    'lolaus is a good man,' said Poseidon. 'He broke up everything in Hera's cave, and that stopped the wind and rain.'

    Hercules looked at the rocks. Klothon was not there.

    'I left its head,' said Poseidon. 'So people will know.'

    Hercules saw the people then, above him on the grass. 'Where's Cire?' he asked.

    'Sleeping under the trees,' said Poseidon.

    Hercules looked at his uncle, 'low stopped Klothon. Right? It couldn't get up the rocks because you stopped it. Then I fell and you caught me. What did I hit my head on?'

    'On my head,'said Poseidon, and smiled.

    'Hera will be angry with you,' said Hercules.        

    'She doesn't like me,' said Poseidon.'But she'll be angrier with you — you got away from her again.'

    Hercules smiled. 'Thank you, uncle,' he said.

    Hercules, Iolaus and Cire walked back to Themon later. There were no windows in some of the houses, and trees were down across the road. 'Hera's wind,' thought Hercules.

    Jocasta was happy to see them at Titus's house. She put her arms round them, then took them to a room at the back. Titus was in bed, his eyes shut.

    He opened them. 'Wh—what happened?' he asked.

    'Everything's OK,' said Hercules. 'It's finished.'

    Titus tried to laugh, but couldn't. 'Sorry,' he said. 'I —'

    'It was Hera from the beginning,' said Hercules.'You couldn't fight her.'

    Titus shut his eyes again and went to sleep.

    They followed Jocasta past one of the other rooms, and saw Holix and Cire. 'They're going to live with us,' said Jocasta. 'They'll have a little house. Holix is good with horses.'

    'But he can't stay on them!' said Iolaus.

    Hercules laughed, and Jocasta thanked them again at the door. 'We'll come back when Titus is better,' said Hercules. He and Iolaus started to walk away down the street.

    'Let's get something to eat and get out of this place,' said Iolaus.

    'What about all those beautiful women?' asked Hercules. 'They're all waiting to hear your stories.' He smiled.

    'Hercules, I want to —'

    But then a voice from inside the Pericals' house called his name. A nice voice. A loving voice. A small voice.'lolaus

    'I - er - I'll catch up with you later,' said lolaus, and ran off. Hercules laughed and walked on. It was time to go home.



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    Introduction

    The boy stopped, and the shark swam below him. Then it turned again. The shark swam up fast. Its mouth opened...

    Amity is a quiet town near New York. Nothing happens there.

    One night a young woman goes for a swim in the sea. She doesn't come back. The next morning the police find her dead on the beach.

    Brody is a good policeman, and he thinks there's a shark near Amity. Young Matt Hooper says it's a Great White shark - the fish they call the 'man-eater'.

    Brody tries to close the beaches, but the important people in Amity won't listen to him.

    Then, on a sunny afternoon, a young boy goes into the sea...

    Peter Benchley was born in 1940. In the 1960s he had many different jobs. He worked for the newspaper the Washington Post and for Newsweek magazine. From 1967 to 1969 he worked at the White House for President Johnson. After working in television for three years, he started writing.

    He wrote Jaws in 1974. The next year, Steven Spielberg made a very exciting film from the book. The film made Spielberg world-famous. People of all ages went to see the film, and cried out in the cinema because they were so afraid! Peter Benchley helped to write the story for the film, and you can see him in it. He is the man from the newspaper on the beach.

    After Jaws, Peter Benchley wrote many more books. The most famous are The Deep (1976) and The Island (1979). He also wrote the films of these books. Twenty years later, he wrote about sharks again - he wrote White Shark in 1994.

    PART ONE

    Chapter 1    Night Swim

    The shark moved through the night water without a sound. It swam towards the shore, with its eyes and mouth open.

    Between the sea and the shore was a long beach. Behind that each there was a house, with lights in its windows.

    The front door of the house opened, and a man and woman came out. They stood for a short time and looked at the sea. Then they ran down to the beach.

    The man sat down and closed his eyes. The woman smiled at him and said, 'Do you want to go for a swim?' 'You go on. I'll wait for you here.'

    She began walking out towards the sea. The water came up round her feet. It was a warm June night, but the water felt cold. The woman called back. 'Come and have a swim with me!' But there was no answer from the man.

    She ran into the sea, and soon the water was up to her head. She began to swim.

    The shark was a hundred metres from the beach. It could not see the woman — it could not see anything in the dark water — but it felt the sea move. It turned towards the shore.

    The woman swam away from the beach. After about a hundred metres she began to feel tired and stopped for a short time. Then she turned and began swimming back to the shore.

    The shark moved closer to the woman. For the first time she felt afraid, but she did not know why. She looked up and saw the lights in the house. She was about seventy metres from the shore. She began to swim faster.

    The shark was now above the water, about fifteen metres from the woman. Suddenly it dropped down to the left.

    The woman felt something hit her right leg. She put her hand into the water and tried to find her foot. Then she cried out.

    The shark turned and then turned again. This time it attacked the woman from below. It swam up fast and pushed her out of the water.

    The shark carried the woman away in its mouth. It came up out of the water and then went under again. A short time later it began swimming away from the shore.

    The man opened his eyes. It was dark and he felt cold. He stood up and began to dress. It was then he saw the woman's shoes on the beach. He picked up the shoes and walked back to the house.

    The door to the woman's room was open, and the light was on. But she was not there.

    There were two more rooms in the house. The man opened the door of the first bedroom and went across to the bed.

    'Jack.'

    The man in the bed opened his eyes. 'What?'

    'It's me. Tom. I think there's something wrong. Where's Chrissie?'

    'I thought she was with you.'

    'No, she isn't. I can't find her. She's not in the house and she's not on the beach.'

    Jack sat up and turned on a light. He looked at his watch. It was five in the morning. 'I'll phone the police,' he said.

    Chapter 2    Body on the Beach

    'Mr Brody, this is Hendricks. We've got a problem. We had a call from a house on Old Mill Road a few minutes ago. A girl went out on the beach there last night and she didn't come back. They -'

    'What time is it?'

    'Five-thirty. Sorry!'

    'No, you were right to call. Tell me everything you know.'

    It was nearly six-thirty when Brody drove his police car along Old Mill Road. He looked all along the beach but did not see anything unusual. At eight o'clock Hendricks arrived, and the two policemen called at Jack Foote's house.

    A young man opened the door. 'I'm Tom Cassidy,' he said.

    'No, Mr Cassidy, we didn't find her,' said Brody. 'We're going to look on the beach now.'

    'I want to come, too,' said Cassidy.

    The three men walked down to the beach. 'I went to sleep here,' said Cassidy. 'And I found the shoes here.'

    Brody looked up and down the beach. 'Let's walk,' he said. 'Come with me, Mr Cassidy. Leonard, can you walk back towards Mr Foote's house?'

    Hendricks took his shoes off and began to walk. The beach felt cold and wet under his feet. After about fifteen minutes he turned and looked back. Brody and Cassidy were now a half kilometre down the beach so he began to walk towards them.

    Suddenly Hendricks saw something in front of him. He walked quickly towards it and then stopped. For a short time he did not move. Then he cried out.

         In front of him was a woman's head and some of her arm.

    Brody and Cassidy ran down the beach to Hendricks. Brody arrived first. He looked down and saw the woman. Then he closed his eyes. 'Mr Cassidy, is this her?'

    Cassidy was very afraid. His eyes moved from Hendricks to Brody. Then he looked down.

    'Oh no!' he cried, and he put his hand to his mouth.

    'Is it her?'

    He turned away. 'Yes,' he said. 'What happened?'

    'I' don't know,' said Brody. 'But I think a shark attacked her.'

    That night Brody met his friend Harry Meadows. Harry wrote for the town's newspaper, The Amity Leader.

    'I think it was a shark attack,' said Brody.

    'You're right,' said Meadows. 'This afternoon I talked to a young man called Matt Hooper. He knows everything about sharks.'

    'What did he say?'

    'He thinks it's a Great White Shark. They call the Great White the "man-eater". Other sharks don't usually attack people.'

    'Does he think it will attack again?'

    'No. Hooper thinks this was an accident. He thinks the shark is now far away'. Meadows looked at Brody. 'It's not going to happen again,' he said. 'And I'm not going to write about the accident in The Amity Leader!

    'But it's a big story for your newspaper.'

    'I know, Martin. But it's summer and this town must have visitors in the summer. People are afraid of sharks.'

    'That's true, Harry,' said Brody. 'But I want to close the beaches for one or two days. And I want you to write the story.'

    Meadows sat back in his chair. 'I can't do that, Harry' he said. 'My bosses don't want me to. And I don't want to lose my job.'

    Ten minutes later, Lawrence P. Vaughan came into Brody's office.

    Larry Vaughan was an old friend of Brody's. He bought and sold houses, and made a lot of money. He was one of the most important people in the town.

    Vaughan sat down. 'Please don't close the beaches,' he said. 'It will soon be the Fourth of July. That's our best weekend every summer.'

    'I don't want any more shark attacks,' said Brody.

    'There won't be any more shark attacks! But people will read about sharks in Amity, and they won't come here!'

    Brody looked at his old friend. He liked Larry, but he did not see him much these days. 'OK, 'he said. 'I' don't like it, but I won't close the beaches.'

    Vaughan smiled for the first time. 'Thanks, Martin,' he said.

    Brody arrived home two or three minutes before five. His wife, Ellen, was in the living-room.

    'Hello,' she  said. 'What's  wrong?  Did  something happen

    today?'

    He went and sat next to her.

    'A shark killed a girl near Old Mill Beach.'

    She looked at him. 'What are you going to do?'

    'Nothing. Larry Vaughan doesn't want me to do anything. He

    wants the beaches to stay open.'

    Chapter 3    No Time to Cry

    The next few days were hot, and summer visitors from New York began arriving in Amity.

    Sunday was the twentieth of June. By twelve in the afternoon there were many people on Old Mill Beach. Children played near the water.

    A boy of six walked up the beach. He sat down next to his mother. *

    'Can I go swimming?' he asked.

    His mother turned to look at him. 'No. It's too cold.'

    'Can I go out on my boat? I won't go far. And I won't go swimming. I'll just sit on my boat.'

    His mother sat up. She looked up and down the beach. Fifty metres away a man stood in the water. He had a child on his back.

    'Yes. But don't go too far out. And don't swim.'

    'OK,' he said. He pulled the little boat out into the water and climbed on to it.

    The shark swam under the water. It was sixty metres from the shore.

    The boy sat on his boat and looked back towards the beach. His mother was about fifty metres away. He put his feet into the water and kicked towards the shore.

    The shark saw nothing, but it felt the sea move. It knew there was something near, and began to swim up towards the surface. It moved slowly first, then faster.

    The boy stopped, and the shark swam below him. Then it turned again.

    The shark swam up fast. Its mouth opened.

    The boy could not cry out - he had no time. The shark's head hit the boat and pushed it out of the water. Nearly half of the fish — with the boy and most of the boat in its mouth — came above the surface. Its jaws closed together and cut off the boy's legs. They dropped slowly down into the water.

    On the beach the man with the child turned to his son and pointed at the sea. 'Did you see that?'

    'What, Daddy?' His child looked up at him.

    'Out there! A shark or something! Something very big!' The boy's mother opened her eyes. She looked over at the

    man, and saw him point at the water. People were running away from the sea.

    She sat up. Suddenly she remembered. 'Alex,' she said.

    The phone rang. Brody got up from his lunch and answered it. When he came back he looked afraid and angry.

    'What is it?' asked Ellen.

    'A shark attack. On a child.'

    'Oh no!' And you didn't close the beaches .. .'She stopped.

    'Yes, I know,' he said. 'I didn't do my job.'

    Twenty minutes later Brody arrived at the police station. The boy's mother was in the office.

    'I'm sorry,' said Brody.

    The woman began to cry.

    Suddenly the door opened and Hendricks ran into the room. 'Shark attack!' he cried.

    'We know, Leonard,' said Brody. 'This is the boy's mother.' 'Boy?' said Hendricks. 'What boy? This was a man, an old man. Five minutes ago.'

    On Monday morning, Brody arrived at the police station soon after seven. He went into his office and found a newspaper on his desk. On the front of the newspaper it said, SHARK ATTACK KILLS TWO IN AMITY.

    Brody sat down and began to read the story.

    'Is that from New York?'

    Brody looked up and saw Meadows at the door. 'Yes. Did you write about it, too?'

    'I did,' said Meadows. 'And I spoke to Matt Hooper last night.'

    'Does he think that one fish is doing all this?'

    'He doesn't know, but he thinks it is. He thinks it's a Great White.'

    'I do, too. I don't know a white shark from a green shark. But I think it's one fish. Can we do anything ...?'

    'Yes, there's one thing,' said Meadows. 'We can put food in the water for the shark. That'll bring him to us.'

    'But then what do we do?'

    'We catch him. With a harpoon.'

    'Harry, I don't have a police boat! And I don't have harpoons.'

    'There are fishermen here. They have ...'A noise outside the office stopped Meadows.

    Suddenly the door opened, and a woman ran into the room with a newspaper in her hand. It was the mother of Alex Kintner.

    Hendricks came up behind her and said,'I'm sorry, Mr Brody, I tried to stop her.'

    'That's OK, Leonard,' said Brody. 'Come in, Mrs Kintner.'

    She walked up to Brody.

    'What can I do ...?'

    The woman hit him in the face with the newspaper. Brody jumped back. The newspaper fell to the floor. 'You knew it was dangerous!' she cried. 'You knew that the shark killed somebody on Thursday. But you didn't do anything.'

    Brody did not answer for a second. Then he said,'Yes, it's true, but it's - Mrs Kintner ...'

    The woman looked into Brody's eyes and began to cry. 'You killed Alex!' she said. 'Why?'

    'It's ...' Brody did not have the words. 'It's a long story,' he said.

    Chapter 4    Flicka

    Brody sat on the beach and looked at the sea.

    'Hello, Mr Brody,' Hendricks said. He walked up to Brody. 'What are you doing here?'

    'Ben Gardner went out there this morning. He's looking for the shark. But I can't see him on his boat.'

    'Was there anybody with him?' 'I' don't know.'

    'Do you want to go and see? It'll be light for two more hours. I can get a fast boat.'

    Brody felt afraid. He was a very bad swimmer. 'OK,' he said. 'You get the boat. I'll call his wife.'

    Twenty minutes later Brody climbed into the Hendricks' boat.

    'What did she say?' asked Hendricks.

    'Nothing. She called him on his radio, but there was no answer. Perhaps he turned it off. And there was nobody with him?'

    'No.'

    'I' don't understand,' said Hendricks. 'Why did he turn his radio off? People don't usually do that.'

    Hendricks started the boat, and they moved out to sea. Gardner's boat was more than a kilometre from the shore. As they got nearer, Brody read its name: Flicka.

    When  they were fifty metres from the Flicka, Hendricks slowed the boat down.

    Brody stood up and called out, 'Ben! 'There was no answer.

    The two men climbed on to the fishing boat. 'Are you here, Ben?' Again, there was no answer.

    There was a sudden noise and Brody jumped. It was from the radio.

    Brody looked at Hendricks. 'He didn't turn off his radio

    'I don't understand it, Mr Brody. Did Ben fall overboard? But he's not in the water  and he swims very well.'

    Brody looked down into the water and saw four holes in the boat. 'Look at these, Leonard. Can you see what made them?'

    Hendricks went down into the sea and looked at the holes. After a few seconds he looked up and said, 'Have you got a knife ?'

    Brody gave Hendricks a knife. 'What can you see?' he asked.

    'I don't know. Something white in one of the holes.'

    Hendricks put his head back down into the water. After a short time, he came up and said, 'OK. I've got it.'

    Brody helped Hendricks back on to the boat and Hendricks dropped something big and white into Brody's hand.

    'It's a tooth!' said Hendricks. 'Oh no! Do you think the shark got Ben?'

    Brody did not answer. He looked at the tooth again. Then he put it in his bag. 'We can't do anything here now,' he said.

    It was nearly dark when they got back. Harry Meadows met them. He had a young man with him.

    'This is Matt Hooper, Martin. What did you find out there?'

    Brody told them about the boat. Then he took out the tooth and handed it to Hooper.

    'What is it Matt?' said Meadows.

    Hooper looked at the tooth. 'It's from a very big Great White Shark.'

    'What do you think happened?'

    'I think this fish killed Mr Gardner.'

    'How?' said Brody.

    'Perhaps he fell overboard. Perhaps the fish pulled him over.'

    'What about the tooth in the boat?'

    'The fish attacked the boat.'

    'What for?'

    'Sharks are not very clever, Mr Brody. They try to eat everything.'

    'But a boat...!'

    'A shark doesn't think. To him it wasn't a boat. It was something big in the water. Remember that sharks are afraid of nothing in the sea. They attack anything.'

    'And why is he staying around here for so long?'

    'I don't know. It's unusual, but sharks are unusual. We don't understand much about them. But I can try and find this shark. Can I have a boat?'

    'Yes, I'm sorry to say,' said Brody. 'Ben Gardner's. We'll get you out to it tomorrow. Do you think you can catch that fish?'

    'I'm not going to catch it.'

    'Then what are you going to do?'

    'I don't know. I'll see.'

    Brody looked into Hooper's eyes and said, 'I want somebody to kill that fish.'

    Hooper laughed. 'Who are you going to get to do the job?'

    'There's a fisherman called Quint,' said Meadows. 'But I don't know much about him. He works somewhere near Promised Land Beach.

    Hooper said, 'Look, Mr Brody, this is only a shark!'

    Brody began to feel angry. Hooper did not understand!

    The next day Larry Vaughan met Brody and Hooper. 'Hello, Martin. I heard about Ben Gardner. What are you going to do?

    'We closed the beaches down.'

    'I know that! Nobody is coming to Amity now.'

    'So what do you want me to do?' said Brody.

    'I thought... Can we open the beaches for the Fourth of July weekend?'

    'No, we cannot.'

    'Now listen ...'

    'No, you listen, Larry. I listened to you before, and two people died. We're going to catch that fish. Then we'll open the beaches.'

    'But this town is dying!'

    'I' know, Larry,' said Brody. 'But we can do nothing about it.'

    Chapter 5    Shark!

    The next weekend Amity was very quiet. The beaches did not open.

    Hooper went up and down the shore in Ben Gardner's boat.' I don't think that shark is here,' he told Brody on Sunday night. ' There are other fish near the beaches. And other fish don't stay in the water near Great White Sharks.'

    'Perhaps you are right,' said Brody. 'But I want the beaches to stay closed.'

    On Thursday morning Larry Vaughan called Brody into his office. Hooper was there, and there were some other important men from the town.

    Everybody sat around a table. Then Vaughan said, 'Martin, we want you to open the beaches. The town is dying. People are losing their jobs.'

    'And what do we do about the shark?' said Brody.

    Vaughan said,'Mr Hooper will tell us about that.'

    'I don't think the shark will come back,' said Hooper.

    'I'm sorry' said Brody. 'I'm not opening the beaches.'

    Larry Vaughan was very angry. 'The people of this town gave you your job. You work for us.'

    Brody said,'You can have my job any time you want it.'

    The phone rang on Vaughan's desk. He looked very angry but he picked it up. 'It's for you, Martin,' he said.

    Brody went outside to take the call. It was from Harry Meadows.

    'What's happening?' said Harry.

    'They want me to open the beaches,' said Brody. 'What shall I do, Harry?'

    'Open them.'

    'But why!'

    'I' think Hooper is right. And Vaughan is going to open the beaches. You can't stop him.'

    'OK,' said Brody. 'I'll think about it. Thanks for the call.' He put down the phone and went back into Vaughan's office.

    Brody looked at his old friend. 'I'll open the beaches,' he said.

    'Thanks, Martin.'

    'I'm not finished. I'll open the beaches, but Hooper will go up and down in the boat. I want everybody to know the danger.'

    'You can't do that!' Vaughan said.

    'I' can do it, Larry, and I will.'

    On Saturday morning Brody stood on the Scotch Road Beach.

    About a kilometre out to sea Hooper was in Ben Gardner's old boat. Brody watched it move slowly to the east.

    Brody took out his radio and said, 'Hooper, this is Brody. Is there anything out there?' There was no answer. 'Hooper, this is Brody. Can you hear me?'

    A short time later Hooper answered. 'Sorry,' he said. 'I' thought I saw something. The light is very strong out here.'

    It was a sunny day. Most of the people on the beach were young. Nobody was in the sea.

    A man and woman came over to Brody. They were very fat. Behind them were two children.

    'Can I help you?' Brody said.

    'Is this the beach with the shark?' said the man. 'I' saw it on TV.'

    'There was a shark here,' said Brody. 'But it isn't here now. And with any luck, it won't come back.'

    The family went away. They were not happy. Brody looked at his watch. It was 12.15.

    By 2.30 there were not many people on the beach. Brody walked down towards the water. A boy walked past.

    'What are you doing?' said Brody to the boy.

    'I'm going swimming.'

    'Don't stay in too long.'        

    'I won't.' The boy ran into the water and began to swim.

    Brody watched him swim out a hundred metres.

    Suddenly the Flicka began to move faster. Brody put his radio      

    to his mouth and said, 'Can you see something, Hooper?'        

    The  boat  slowed  and  then  stopped. Another  of Brody's       policemen heard him speak. 'What's happening?' he asked.

    'I' don't know said Brody. Again he said into the radio, 'Can      

    you see anything, Hooper?'        

    'Yes. I can see something,' Hooper answered.        

    'What is it?'        

    'I' don't know ... Perhaps my eyes are tired.'        

    'There's a boy swimming out there,' said Brody. 'Where?' said Hooper. 'About fifty metres out. I'll tell him to come in.' Brody turned

    the radio off. Then he put his hands to his mouth and called out,

    'Come in!'

    The boy did not hear. Brody turned on the radio. 'Hooper, he

    can't hear me. Can you tell him to come in?'        

    'OK, 'said Hooper. 'I'll be there in a minute.'              

    The boat moved towards the boy. Below the water the shark      

    felt something move in the sea. It turned and followed the boat.        

    The boy stopped swimming. He looked back to the shore.

    Brody called, 'Come in!' Now the boy heard him and he began

    to swim for the shore.

    Hooper followed the boy. The boy looked back. 'What's

    wrong?' he said.

    'Nothing,' said Hooper. 'Go back to the beach.'

    The boy swam for twenty metres and then stood up in the

    water. He began to walk towards the shore.

    Suddenly Hooper cried out, 'Shark! Get the boy out! Quick!' The boy heard Hooper and tried to run. He fell into the water.      Brody ran into the water, but the sea pushed him back.

    The boy moved fast now. He did not see the shark behind him.

    'Quick!' said Brody. He ran into the water and pulled the boy out.

    The shark went under again and swam away from the shore.

    The boy lay on the beach. 'Are you OK?' Brody asked.

    'I want to go home,' said the boy.

    A man from the TV ran up to Brody and the boy. 'Can you do that again?' he said. 'We didn't get very good pictures.'

    Brody was very angry. 'Go away!' he said. 'Everybody go home! I want nobody to go near the water. This beach is closed.'

    Chapter 6    Quint

    'What do you think, Harry?' said Brody. 'Can this man Quint help us?'

    'We can try him,' said Meadows. 'We don't have anything to lose.'

    'I' don't think he can help,' said Hooper. 'This shark

    'Do you have a better plan?' asked Brody. When Hooper did not answer, Brody picked up a phone book. 'Here it is. There's only one "Quint". And he doesn't have a first name.'

    Brody phoned the number.

    'Mr Quint, this is Martin Brody from Amity Police. We have a problem.'

    'I know.'

    'The shark was here again today'.

    'Did it kill anybody?'

    'No, but it nearly took a boy'.

    'It's a big fish. It eats a lot of food.'

    'Can you help us?' said Brody. 'This fish is killing people.'

    'I'll try to kill it for you,' said Quint. 'But it'll be four hundred dollars a day'.

    'That's a lot of money!' said Brody. 'There are other fishermen, you know.'

    Quint laughed. 'Yes, you sent somebody out last week. And he's dead.'

    'Can you start tomorrow?'

    'I must have two men to help me.'

    Brody did not want to help. He did not want to go in a boat again. But he said,'I'll be there.'

    Quint laughed again. 'Can you swim?'

    'Yes. Why?'

    'People sometimes fall overboard. And I want a second man.'

    Brody turned to Hooper. 'Do you want to come?'

    'Yes,' said Hooper. 'I want to see that fish.'

    PART TWO

    Chapter 7   Meat in the Water

    They left at six in the morning. It was a very hot day and they sat out in the sun. Brody slept in a chair with a hat over his face. Hooper dropped food for the shark into the water. Quint sat next to a fishing line and watched the sea.

    Suddenly Quint said,'We've got a visitor.'

    The three men stood up. 'Help me pull the line in, 'said Quint.

    They pulled the line out of the water. There was nothing on it. 'I think that was your friend,' said Quint. 'He broke our line.'

    'What do we do now?' said Brody.

    'We wait. Perhaps he'll take the other line.'

    They waited. Nothing moved on the surface of the water. Then something pulled the second line.

     The line stopped moving.

    'He did it again,' said Quint. 'We'll try a stronger line.'

    Quint dropped a thicker line into the water. 'Come on!' he cried. 'I want to see you.'

    'Will he break this line, too?' asked Brody.

    'Yes, I think so,' said Quint. 'We can't stop him. I'm trying to bring him to the surface.'

    The three men watched the line. Hooper dropped more meat into the water. Suddenly he saw something to his left. 'Look!' he cried.

    The head of the shark was above the surface. It was three metres behind the boat and a metre out of the water. The three men saw its two black eyes and its half-open mouth. And they saw its teeth ...

    'Get a harpoon!' cried Quint.

    He moved quickly to get the harpoon. At the same time the shark went back under the water.

    'What a fish!' cried Hooper. 'His head was two metres across. How big was he?'

    'It's hard to say,' said Quint. 'Perhaps eight metres. Perhaps more.'

    'I hope he comes back!' said Hooper.

    'Did he smile at us?' said Brody.

    'No! His mouth was open,' said Quint. 'Remember, he's only a fish.'

    'What do we do now?' asked Brody. 'Do we drop in more fish food for him?'

    'No,' said Quint. 'We got him to the surface once. He'll be back.'

    Suddenly a noise in the water made Hooper turn.

    'Look,' said Quint.

    The shark was ten metres from the boat.

    'It's attacking the boat!' cried Brody.

    'Hand me the harpoon,' said Quint.

    The shark came very near. It looked at Hooper with one of its black eyes. Then it swam past below the boat. Quint picked up the harpoon.

    'Behind you!' cried Hooper. 'He went under the boat.'

    Quint turned and pointed the harpoon. The shark moved away from the boat and began to swim down. Quint sat down and laughed.

    'That was lucky,' he said. 'He didn't attack the boat.' He looked at Brody. 'Are you OK?'

    'I' don't understand it,' said Brody. He thought about the young woman, Chrissie, and the boy, Alex Kintner. 'That thing isn't a fish.'

    'It 15 a fish!' said Hooper. There was a smile on his face — he was very happy. 'And what a fish! It's beautiful!'

    'Do you think he'll come back?' said Brody.

    'I don't know,' said Quint. 'You never know what a shark is going to do.'

    They waited for three hours, but the fish didn't come back. At five o'clock Quint said, 'Let's finish for today. I don't like to be out in this boat at night.'

    Brody smiled. 'Yes, my wife doesn't like me to work at night!' he said.

    'I' don't have a wife,' said Quint.

    Chapter 8    Black Eyes

    'You're not putting that thing on my boat,' said Quint.

    The boat was ready to go. Quint had his back to it. In front of him Brody and Hooper stood next to a big cage. The cage was over two metres tall and two metres across.

    'Why not?' said Hooper.

    'It's too big,' said Quint. 'What is it?'

    'It's a shark-cage,' said Hooper. 'I want to go down into the water in it. I want to take some pictures of that fish.'

    'No,' said Quint. 'Not on my boat.'

    'Why not?'

    'Because it's too dangerous. The fish will eat that cage for breakfast.'

    'I don't think he will. And I want those pictures.'

    'He says you can't,' said Brody. 'Forget it. We're going out there to kill that fish.'

    'You can't stop me,' said Hooper.

    'Oh yes, I can. The town of Amity is paying for this.'

    Hooper said to Quint. 'I'll pay you.'

    Quint smiled. 'How much?'

    'I said no!' said Brody.

    But Hooper did not listen to Brody. He said to Quint. 'A hundred dollars.'

    Hooper gave Quint the money. Brody was very angry, but he did not want to lose more time. He said to Quint,'Let's go.'

    Quint took the boat out into the sea. Brody sat next to him. 'Are we going back to the same place?' he asked Quint.

    'Yes. We'll be there soon.'

    'Will the fish be there?'

    'Who knows?' But it's the only thing we can do. Sharks are not clever.'

    Brody remembered the face of the shark. 'I' don't know,' he said. 'That fish was clever yesterday'.

    'No. He doesn't know what he's doing. Fish do different things sometimes. But I know everything they can do.'

    'Can you catch every fish?'

    'No. But not because they're clever. Sometimes they're not hungry. Or you can give them the wrong fish food.'

    Quint was quiet for a time. Then he spoke again. 'Once,' he said,'a shark nearly caught me. It was about twenty years ago. I had a blue shark on the line and he pulled me overboard with him.'

    'What did you do?'

    'I' came up fast. I was lucky'.

    Quint slowed the boat down. Suddenly it was quiet. 'OK, Hooper,' he said. 'Start throwing the fish food overboard.'

    By ten o'clock there was a light wind. The men sat and watched the sea. They said nothing. Hooper dropped meat into the sea.

    Brody got up to get a drink. Suddenly Quint said, 'There he is.'

    Hooper jumped up and said, 'Yes! There he is!'

    'Where?' said Brody.

    'There,' said Quint. 'Behind you.'

    Brody looked out to sea. The shark was forty metres away. 'What are we going to do?'

    'Nothing,' said Quint. 'We'll wait. Hooper, drop more fish food in the sea. Let's bring him in here.'

    Quint picked up a harpoon. The fish swam round the boat. Then it moved nearer.

    'Come here, fish,' said Quint. 'Come here.'

    But the fish did not come nearer.

    'I don't understand,' said Quint. 'Throw some food into the water. And throw some bottles, too.'

    'Why bottles?' asked Brody.

    'Perhaps he'll swim towards them. We want him to come nearer.'

    They threw things into the water. The shark moved nearer. Ten metres from the boat it stopped. Suddenly its head came up above the surface.

    'Fish!' Quint called. 'Come here. We've got something for you!'

    For a short time the shark watched them with its black eyes. Then its head went back below the water.

    'Where did he go?' said Brody.

    'I think he's coming now,' said Quint. 'Come on, fish!' he said. 'Come and get your dinner!' He pointed the harpoon down at the water.

    Suddenly the boat moved below them. The three men fell over.

    They got up and looked overboard. But there was nothing there.

    'Where is he now?' said Brody.

    'I don't know,' said Quint. 'But he'll come back.'

    'Let's put the cage overboard,' said Hooper.

    'No!'said Brody.

    'It might bring him out. And I won't go down in it,' said Hooper. 'What do you say, Quint?'

    'OK,' said Quint. 'You paid for it.' He put down the harpoon, and he and Hooper pushed the cage overboard. The three men looked into the water.

    'Do you think the fish will come up?' said Brody.

    'I think he'll come and look at the cage,' said Hooper.

    But the shark did not come up. After fifteen minutes, Hooper said, 'I'm going down there. Perhaps that'll bring him up.'

    'Wait for the fish,' said Quint. 'He'll come up.'

    'I don't want to wait ten years for him, Quint! I don't think you understand this fish.'

    Quint looked at Hooper. 'Are you saying I don't know my job?'

    'No. But I think I can kill the fish.'

    'OK. Go and do it then.'

    Brody said, 'We can't let him go down in that thing.'

    But Quint did not listen. 'Go on,' he said to Hooper. 'Get in the cage.'

    Hooper got into the cage and they dropped it overboard. It stopped two metres below the surface.

    Quint picked up the harpoon.

    'Will he be OK?' said Brody.

    'I don't think he'll live for ten minutes down there.'

    'Perhaps you're right. But you never know what these fish will do.'

    'I know, but this is different. This is like putting your hand into a fire.'

    Chapter 9    Cage

    Below the surface Hooper looked for the shark. He knew that Quint was wrong. The shark was not below the boat. It did not 'sit' in any one place. Sharks never stopped moving.

    Hooper turned slowly in the cage. He looked but saw nothing. A small fish swam towards his face. He pushed it out of the cage.

    He looked down and started to look away. Then suddenly he saw something. The shark swam slowly towards him. Hooper watched it. What a beautiful fish!

    It came nearer, and Hooper moved back. The shark's head was now only about a metre from the cage. It turned and began to swim in front of Hooper's eyes.

    Hooper put his hand out and touched it. It felt cold and hard.

    The shark began to move away from the cage.

    'What's he doing down there?' Brody asked.

    Quint did not answer. He stood with his harpoon in his hand. He looked down at the water. 'Come up, fish,' he said. 'Come to Quint.'

    'Do you see it?' said Brody. 'What's it doing?'

    'Nothing.'

    Hooper began taking photographs. He watched the shark turn towards him. It moved fast with its mouth open. He waited for the shark to turn again.

    But the shark did not turn. It hit the cage and made a hole in it. Hooper fell back.

    'It's attacking!' cried Brody. He tried to pull the cage out of the water. 'Throw the harpoon!'

    'I' can't throw it! I must get him to the surface first. Come up! Come up!'

    The shark moved back out of the cage. Hooper tried to get to the surface. He saw the hole in the cage.

    The shark pushed its head through the hole again. Hooper moved to the back of the cage. The shark pushed again, and Hooper saw its teeth.

    The jaws of the shark closed around him. Hooper pushed his hand into the black eye and thought 'I'm going to die ...'

    'He's got him!' cried Brody. 'Do something!'

    'The man is dead,' Quint said.

    'How do you know?'

    'He's dead.'

    The shark left the cage, and dropped down a metre. Then it swam up towards the surface.

    'He's coming up!' said Brody.

    The shark hit the surface five metres from the boat. It carried Hooper in its mouth. Quint threw the harpoon. But the shark began to swim down into the water, and the harpoon went over it. The shark dropped below the surface.

    'What do we do now?' said Brody.

    'We'll go back,' said Quint. 'For now.'

    'But why do you want to come back? That fish is too strong for us!'

    'I'm going to kill that thing,' said Quint.

    'I' don't think I can get more money for you.'

    'This is not about money'.

    'What are you saying?' Brody looked at Quint.

    'I'm going to kill that fish. Do you want to come with me?'

    Brody looked into Quint's eyes. They were as dark as the eyes of the shark. 'I'll come,' said Brody.

    Brody arrived home late that night. He told Ellen about Hooper. She was very sad.

    'It's over now,' she said.

    Brody did not answer for a time. Then he said, 'We're going out tomorrow. At six o'clock.'

    'Why?' cried Ellen. 'What can you do?'

    'We're going to catch the fish, and kill it.'

    'Do you think you can?'

    'I don't know. But Quint thinks we can. And it's my job to help him.'

    'But it's not your job!' She was very angry and very afraid. She began to cry.

    Brody said nothing. Then he said,'No, you're right.'

    'Then why?'

    'I don't think I can tell you,' said Brody. 'I don't think I know.'

    Chapter 10    Fight to the Finish

    The next morning it rained. Brody met Quint at the boat.

    'Is it only me and you this time?' said Brody.

    'Yes,' said Quint. 'You know the fish as well as any man. Nobody can help us now.'

    Quint turned the boat out to sea. After ten minutes he slowed it down. Brody looked back towards the shore. 'We're not out as far today,' he said. 'We can't be more than three kilometres from the shore.'

    'That's right.'

    'So why are you stopping?'

    Quint pointed to the shore. 'I don't think he'll go out far today,' he said. 'I think he'll be somewhere between here and Amity.'

    Quint stopped the boat and Brody began dropping meat into the sea. Quint threw a line overboard. Then he put a barrel on a harpoon line.

    'OK,' said Quint. 'Now we wait.'

    An hour went by. Nothing happened. Brody stood up and looked overboard.

    Suddenly he saw the head of the shark, with its black eyes and open jaws. It was less than two metres away! 'Oh no!' Brody said. 'He's here!'

    Quint jumped up. The shark's head dropped back into the water. A minute later it hit the boat. The boat moved up and down. Then the shark went under again and the boat stopped moving.

    'He waited for us!' cried Brody. 'How did he ... ?'

    'I don't know,' said Quint. 'We've got him now.'

    ' We've got him'? Did you see what he did to the boat? He's got us, I say!'

    The line moved, and there were noises from under the boat.

    Quint stood and picked up a harpoon-gun. 'He'll be back soon.'

    The boat moved again.

    Quint put his head overboard, and cried, 'Come out from under there!'

    'What's he doing?' Brody asked.

    'He's making a hole in the boat. Look, the water's coming in ... Come out and I'll kill you!'

    The shark came to the surface, and began to move towards the boat.

    'Come to me,' said Quint. 'Come to me.' He stood and watched the shark. When it was a metre from the boat, he used the gun.

    The harpoon hit the shark. And then the shark hit the boat, hard. Quint fell back and his head hit a chair. He jumped to his feet again and cried, 'I got you!"

    The harpoon line went overboard. It pulled the barrel into the water with it.

    ‘He took it down with him!' said Brody.

    'Not for long,' said Quint. 'He'll be back! When he comes, we'll throw harpoons at him again and again and again. And then we'll have him!'

    Quint watched the water. 'Get another barrel,' he said. 'Bring it back here.'

    Brody ran to the front of the boat and got a barrel. He carried it over to Quint.

    'Here he comes!' said Quint. He pointed down to the left. The barrel came to the surface and moved in the water. Quint picked up a harpoon. 'He's coming up!'

    The shark jumped out of the water. It was less than three metres from the boat.

    'I'll get you!' cried Quint, and he threw the second harpoon. The harpoon hit the shark and it fell back into the sea. Water came over the boat.

    The second line went overboard. 'We've got him!' said Quint.

    The boat moved once and then again. They heard the sound of something breaking.

    'Do you want to attack again?' said Quint. 'You won't take any man with you!'

    Quint started the boat, and they began moving away.

    'Is the boat OK?' said Brody.

    'He made a hole under us,' said Quint. 'But we'll be OK.'

    'That's it then,' Brody said happily. 'The fish is dead.'

    'No,' said Quint. 'Look.'

    Brody looked back and saw the two red barrels in the sea behind them.

    'Why is he coming after us? Does he think we're food?'

    'No. He wants to fight us.'        

    For the first time, Quint was afraid.        

    'Do sharks usually do this?'        

    'No,' said Quint. 'They sometimes attack the boat. But they     i stop after you hit them with a harpoon. But this one wants to fight. So we'll fight him!'

     Quint drove the boat faster. The barrels came after them. He slowed the boat and picked up a third harpoon. 'OK!' he called. 'Come and get it!'

    The barrels came through the water. They were forty metres away, then thirty, then twenty. Brody saw the shark swim past the boat below the water. It was two metres from the surface. 'He's here! 'he cried.

    The shark swam past the boat. After forty metres it turned. Its head came out of the water, and then dropped back in. 'Here he comes!'said Quint.

    The shark hit the boat and Quint threw his harpoon. It hit the shark in the head, over the right eye. The line went slowly overboard.

    'I got him in the head!' said Quint.

    But the barrels moved on across the surface of the water. Then they went under.

    'What's he doing?' said Quint. 'No fish can attack with three harpoons in him! But he can't live for much longer. And we can wait!'

    For three hours they waited. They watched the barrels move slowly across the surface of the sea.

    At eleven o'clock the rain stopped. Then for nearly an hour the barrels did not move.

    'What do you think?' said Brody. 'Is he dead?'

    'I don't think so. But perhaps we can pull him in with a strong line.'

    They began to pull him in. The shark was very heavy. The barrels did not move.

    Then suddenly the line started coming at them fast.

    'Did the line break?' said Brody.

    'No!' said Quint. Brody saw he was afraid. 'He's coming up.'

    Quint started the boat. But it was too late.

    The shark came up above the surface. Brody watched it jump, and cried out.

    The shark dropped down on to the back of the boat, and pushed it below the surface. The water came up their legs.

    The shark was now only a metre from Brody's head. He looked into its big black eye and thought, 'I'm going to die ...'

    'Look what you did to my boat!' cried Quint. He picked up a harpoon and pushed it hard into the shark's head.

    The boat started going down. The shark fell back into the sea, but the line from the harpoon began pulling Quint into the water.

    Brody tried to help him, but it was too late. The big fisherman went slowly down, under the dark water.

    For a short time there was no sound. The water was up to Brody's mouth now. Twenty metres away the shark came back up above the surface. 'Go away!' cried Brody.

    The big fish came nearer and nearer. Brody cried out. Then he closed his eyes and waited.

    Nothing happened. When Brody opened his eyes he saw the shark there next to him. For a short time it did not move. Then it slowly fell back below the surface of the water, down and down, out of the light. It pulled Quint's body behind it.

    Brody watched the dead shark fall down and down into the sea. Then he began to swim towards the shore.



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    Introduction

    There was a sound above my head. I jumped and looked up at an old gun, at one of the windows.

    'I — I'm here with a letter,' I said. 'A letter for Mr Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws. Is he here?'

    'Put it down outside the door, and go away,' said the man with the gun.

    After his parents die, young David Balfour starts his journey to the strange House of Shaws. He is going to live with his uncle. But people look strangely at him when he talks about the place. ' Stay away from there. Stay away!' a man on the road tells him.

    Ebenezer Balfour is an old man, but he is dangerous. He puts David on a ship to America, and a difficult time begins. Can the man in expensive French clothes help David? Or is life more dangerous with him than without him ?

    At the time of this story, King George was the king of England, Scotland and Ireland, but there were a lot of unhappy people in Scotland and Ireland. They wanted another Catholic king from the Stuart family (Stewart in this story).They fought the king's soldiers, but they lost. After the fight at Culloden, in 1746, Charles Edward Stuart had to leave Scotland. This story begins five years later.

    Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in Scotland in 1850. He was a weak child and he was ill for most of his life. He went on long journeys and in 1888 he moved to Samoa, a warm country, with his American wife. He died there in 1894. His most famous books are Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped. They are all Penguin Readers.

    Chapter 1   The House of Shaws

    Early one morning in June 1751 I left my father's house in Essendean for the last time. I walked down the road, and met that good man Mr Campbell near his church.

    'Did you have some breakfast, David Balfour, my boy?' he asked.

    'Yes, Mr Campbell. Thank you,' I answered.

    'Then I'll walk with you to the river,' he said.

    We walked quietly for a time. Then Mr Campbell said,' Now, Davie, I've got something for you. It's a letter from your father. He gave it to me after your mother died. Before he died. He said, " Give it to David after they sell the house. Then he has to take it to the house of Shaws, near Cramond. Please tell him that." Here's the letter, David.'

    ' The house of Shaws ?' I said.' Why did he want me to go there ?'

    ' I don't know,' said Mr Campbell.' I think your father came from there. It's the home of the family Balfour of Shaws. Perhaps your father came from that family. He never spoke about it. He was a clever man. Cleverer than most village school teachers.'

    Mr Campbell put the letter into my hand, and I read on it:' To Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws. My son, David Balfour, will give this letter to him.'

    I was seventeen years old, and the son of a country teacher. I planned to go to Edinburgh. I wanted to be a student in one of the great schools there.

    ' Mr Campbell,' I said,' do I have to go ?'

    'Cramond isn't a long way from Edinburgh,' he answered. ' You can walk there in two days.'

    At the river, Mr Campbell took my hand in his hands. He suddenly looked very sad. 'Goodbye, Davie,' he said. And he turned and went quickly away.

    I carried my little bag across the river, then started to climb the hill. At the top, I turned and looked back at Essendean village for the last time.

    Two days later, in the morning, I came to the top of a hill. I could see the city of Edinburgh, and ships on the sea.

    I started to walk down the hill. After a time I saw a man, and I asked him the way to Cramond.' It's to the west of the city,' he said. On my way down, I asked two or three more people. Then I came to the Edinburgh to Glasgow road.

    When I was near Cramond, I began to ask the way to the house of Shaws. People looked at me strangely. 'Is it because of my clothes?' I thought. 'I'm a country boy and I'm going to a great house. Do they think that's strange ? Or is there something strange about the house?'

    I changed my question when I spoke to the next man.

    ' Do you know the house of Shaws ?' I asked.

    ' Yes,' he said.' Why ?'

    ' Is it a big house ?' I asked.

    ' Oh yes. It's big,' he said.

    ' And the people in it ?' I said.

    ' People ?' he said.' What's wrong with you ? There aren't any people.'

    ' Oh!' I said.' Not Mr Ebenezer ?'

    ' Oh yes,' he said.' He's there. What do you want from him?'

    ' Perhaps I can get work,' I said.

    ' What!' He moved nearer me. ' Listen!' he said. ' Stay away from there. Stay away!'

    It was nearly dark when I found the house. I stood and looked at it.' I don't like it,' I thought.' There are walls, but no glass in the windows!' I could see the light of a little fire in one of the rooms. I went to the thick, heavy door and hit it.

    No answer. Everything was quiet.

    'Is somebody listening to me in there?' I thought. I could hear a clock when I put my ear to the door. I nearly ran away, but suddenly I was angry. I kicked the door and shouted for Mr Balfour.

    There was a sound above my head. I jumped and looked up — at an old gun, at one of the windows.

    'I — I'm here with a letter,' I said. 'A letter for Mr Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws. Is he here?'

    ' Put it down outside the door, and go away,' said the man with the gun.

    ' I will not!' I said, angrily.' I'll put it into Mr Balfour's hand. It's a letter about me.'

    ' And who are you ?' was the next question.

    ' My name is David Balfour,' I said.

    The man was quiet for a minute. Then he said,' Is your father dead ? Yes, of course he's dead — you're here.' He stopped and thought.' Wait there and I'll come down.'

    Chapter 2    My Uncle

    After a time, somebody turned a key in the door. Then the door opened a little. I moved inside — and it shut quickly after me.

    ' Go into the kitchen,' said the man.

    And he turned the key in the door again.

    I found the kitchen. There was light from a small fire, but no other light. There was a table, with a plate of food and a drink on it. It was a big room, and there were large boxes near one wall.

    A small, grey man came into the kitchen. He was about sixty years old. He watched me but never looked at my face.

    ' Who is he ?' I thought.' What is his work here ?'

    'Are you hungry?' he asked. 'You can have that food.'

    ' But it's your dinner,' I said.

    'That's all right,' he said. 'I'll have the drink.' He drank, then put out his hand.' Give me the letter.'

    ' The letter isn't for you,' I said.' It's for Mr Balfour.'

    ' And who do you think I am ?' he said.' Give me Alexander's letter.'

    ' You know my father's name ?' I said.

    'Of course,' he said. 'He was my brother. I'm your uncle, Davie. So give me the letter. Then sit down and eat.'

    I gave him the letter, then ate some food.

    'So your father is dead,' he said suddenly. 'Did he tell you anything about me ?'

    ' No,' I said.' He never said anything about a brother.'

    ' Ah!' he said.' And did he say anything about Shaws ?'

    ' I never heard the name,' I said.

    ' That's strange,' he said. But he smiled.' Now it's time for bed. I'll show you the way.'

    He took me up some stairs without a light. Then he opened a door. The room inside was dark too.

    ' I want a light,' I told him.,

    'No lights in this house,' he said. 'I'm afraid of fire. Good night. 'And he pushed me into the room.

    Then he turned the key in the door.

    The room was cold. And the bed — when I found it - was not dry. That night, I slept on the floor.

    The next morning, breakfast was small. In the room next to the kitchen I found a lot of books. Inside one of them were some words in my father's writing: To my younger brother Ebenezer on his birthday.

    I couldn't understand it. The writing was my father's, but it was not the writing of a child. So Ebenezer was the younger brother. Then why did he have the family house ? Before my father died, he had very little money.What did it mean?

    I looked at the books, then cleaned the room. It was a hot day, and I thought,' There'll be rain and lightning later.'

    That evening at dinner, my uncle spoke very kindly to me.

    ' You can help me with the house and garden, Davie,' he said. 'And I'll help you. But I'll want some papers before I can do that. They're in a box at the top of the stairs at the other end of the house. You can only get to the stairs from the outside. Here's the key' And he pulled a big old key out of his coat.' Go in, and up the stairs, and bring down the box.'

    I asked,' Can I have a light, sir?'

    ' No,' he said.' No lights in this house.'

    He opened the big door, and I went out into the night. I put my hands on the walls and found my way to the door at the end. The key turned in the door, but not easily. Then I found the stairs inside. I started to climb — higher and higher.

    I climbed about 120 feet, then the rain began. Suddenly, lightning moved quickly across the sky. And I saw something! I stopped and cried out! There were no more stairs! And it was a long way down! Then everything was dark again.

    'My uncle sent me up here ...' I thought. 'He ... wants to kill me!'

    I came down the stairs very carefully. Sometimes lightning lit the stairs, but most of the time it was dark. And dangerous.

    I came out of the door. Suddenly, lightning showed me my uncle at the other door. He didn't see me. He was afraid of the lightning, and he ran into the house.

    When I walked into the kitchen, his face went white.

    ' You — you're all right ?' he said.

    ' Yes, thank you!' I said angrily.

    I wanted to ask questions but he said,'I'll tell you about it in the morning. I want to go to bed now. I'm ill — very ill.'

    I shut him in his room and turned the key in his door. Then I went back to the kitchen and made a big fire. That night I slept on the boxes.

    Chapter 3    The Ship

    Next morning, I opened the door of my uncle's room. But before he could tell me anything, we heard somebody at the door.

    I opened it and found a boy outside.' I'm here with a letter,' he said.' And I'm very hungry.'

    ' Come into the house,' I said.' I'll give you some food.' When the boy started eating, my uncle read the letter. Then he gave it to me. It said:

    Sir,

    I am now at the Howes Hotel, and my ship is ready for sea. Do you want to speak to me again ? Tell me today.

    I talked to your lawyer, Mr Rankeillor. Perhaps we will lose money because of this.

    Elias Hoseason

    After I read it, my uncle said,' Hoseason is the captain of a ship, the Covenant. You and I can go with this boy and see the captain at the Hawes Hotel. I will put my name to some papers. Then we can visit Mr Rankeillor, the lawyer. He knew your father.'

    So we went. My uncle never said a word all the way. But the boy talked. His name was Ransome.

    ' I first went to sea when I was nine,' he told me.

    I asked him about the Covenant.' There isn't a finer ship on the sea,' he said. And about Captain Hoseason, he said, 'He's a fine captain. He isn't afraid of anything or anybody. But he isn't a seaman. Mr Shuan, the first officer, is. He can take the ship anywhere in the world. The other people really do have a bad time.'

    He talked more. These 'other people', I understood, were murderers and other bad men on their way to work in North America. Then there were children — kidnapped children. The captain sold them when the ship arrived in America.

    At the Hawes Hotel, my uncle went in to see Captain Hoseason. They began a long talk with a lot of papers.

    I went across the road and down to the sea. The ship's boat was there and some men from the Covenant stood near it. Then a man from the hotel came and spoke to me.

    'Did you come with Ebenezer?' he asked. 'When I look at you, I remember Mr Alexander. He was a good man.'

    ' Isn't Ebenezer good?' I asked.

    ' No,' said the man from the hotel.' He was a fine young man. But he's a bad old man now.'

    I saw Captain Hoseason go down to the ship's boat and speak to the men. He was a tall man and not the hard man of Ransome's stories. Then he came across to me.

    ' Sir,' he said, ' Mr Balfour spoke about you. You're a fine young man. Come to my ship with your uncle. We'll have a drink.'

    I wanted to see the inside of the ship. But was it dangerous?

    ' My uncle and I have to see a lawyer this afternoon,' I said.

    'He told me about that,' said the captain. 'But we'll go very near the town. The ship's boat can take you there later. You'll be very near Rankeillor's place. 'And when my uncle came to us, the captain suddenly spoke very quietly in my ear.' Be careful of the old man,' he said.' He's planning something bad for you. Come on to the ship. I'll tell you about it.'

    So I got into the boat with him. My uncle got in and sat next to me. When we arrived at the ship, the captain climbed quickly up. Then he called me and I followed him. He showed me the interesting things on the ship.

    ' Where is my uncle ?' I said suddenly.

    ' That's a good question,' said Hoseason. He was not friendly now.

    I was suddenly afraid. I ran and looked at the sea. Yes! There was the ship's boat! It was nearly at the town again! And my uncle was in it!

    I cried,' Help! Help!'

    My uncle turned round. His face was hard and cold ... and afraid.

    Then strong hands pulled me away. There was a CRASH! I saw a great light — and then everything went black.

    Chapter 4   To Sea

    I woke up. It was dark, but I could hear the sounds of a ship in strong winds. And then I knew. I was somewhere near the bottom of a ship, and we were at sea.

    I hated my uncle! He was a bad, dangerous man — I knew that now.

    ' I was stupid!' I thought.' What is going to happen to me now?'

    After some time, I fell asleep.

    A light woke me. A small man with green eyes looked down at me.' How are you ?' he said.

    I couldn't answer. The back of my head hurt, and he looked at it. Then he began to wash it.

    ' It'll hurt for a long time,' he said.'Did you have any food?'

    ' I can't eat anything,' I said.

    He gave me a drink from a cup, and then went away.

    When the man came again, the captain came with him.

    ' Why did you bring me here, Mr Riach ?' the captain asked.

    'You can see, sir,' said Riach. 'He's very ill. He can't eat. And there's no light in here. We've got to put him in the seamen's room.'

    ' He will stay here,' said the captain. He turned away.

    Riach put a hand on his arm and said,' I'm the second officer on this old ship. Nobody pays me to murder—'

    'What!' shouted Hoseason. 'You know me! I'm a hard man, but I'm not a murderer. Are you saying the boy will die ?'

    ' Yes, he will,' said Riach.

    ' All right,' said Hoseason.' Move him.'

    Five minutes later, a man carried me up to the seamen's room. There they put me down on a small bed. Then I knew nothing for hours — or days.

    The men tried to be kind to me. They gave me back my money

    — most of it.

    'You'll want it,' they said.'The ship is going to the Carolinas.' At that time — when I was young — people sold men for work.

    Black men and white men. That was my uncle's plan for me. The ship's boy, Ransome, came in from the roundhouse

    sometimes. Mr Shuan, the first officer, often hit him and hurt him badly. But to the men, Shuan was a fine man. 'The only good seaman on the ship,' they said. 'And not a bad man when he isn't drinking.'

    Day after day and night after night the ship fought its way north in strong winds. I got better and stronger, but I could not leave the room.

    One night, at about twelve o'clock, a seaman came down for his coat. After some time, the men there began talking.

    ' Shuan hit him too hard this time,' they said.

    Who did Shuan hit? We all knew. We did not have to ask the name. Suddenly, Captain Hoseason came into the room. He looked round, and came to me.

    He spoke quite kindly. 'We want you to work in the roundhouse,' he said.' Go now.'

    I ran up from the seamen's room. The strong sea came up across the ship and nearly pushed me into the water. Then a kind seaman helped me. He showed me the roundhouse.

    On my way there I went past two other seamen. They carried Ransome down to my old room.

    Chapter 5    The Roundhouse

    The roundhouse wasn't round. It was square. (It was the 'roundhouse' because you could walk round it.) It had a table and two small beds. There was a room under the roundhouse. Here were the best food and drink, and the small guns. There were one or two seamen's swords, but most of the swords were outside.

    When I arrived, Mr Shuan sat at the table with a bottle in front of him. Captain Hoseason came in. He stood and looked at Shuan. He said nothing. After a time, Mr Riach came in.

    ' The boy's dead,' he told the captain.

    Mr Shuan said nothing. He put out his hand to the bottle. Mr Riach quickly took the bottle away. Shuan jumped up. He wanted to kill Riach, but the captain stopped him.

    ' Shuan!' Hoseason shouted.' You murdered the boy!'

    Shuan put his head in his hands.' He brought me a dirty cup,' he said.

    Hoseason took him to his bed.' Go to sleep,' he said quietly.

    The murderer cried a little, then he fell asleep.

    I had to bring the food to the captain and the first and second officers. And I had to take them a drink when they wanted one. My bed was on the floor of the roundhouse.

    For ten more days the Covenant fought her way north and then west in strong winds. Then the captain turned south and looked for a way round the south of Ireland. The wind got weaker after a time. Then there was heavy rain, and we could not see anything.

    It was about ten o'clock at night when the ship hit something. The captain and Mr Riach were in the roundhouse. The two men jumped up.

    ' We hit a boat!' said Hoseason.

    The captain was right. And the other boat broke and went down to the bottom of the sea. Only one man on it did not die. The other men went down with the boat.

    We got the man on to our ship. Then Hoseason brought him into the roundhouse. He was a small man, but strong. His face was dark from the sun, and he smiled a lot. When he took off his coat, he put two very fine guns on the table. And he had a long sword.

    The captain looked at the man's clothes. They were very fine clothes for the roundhouse of the Covenant.

    'A beautiful French coat,' said Hoseason.

    'Oh!' said the man. 'You mean-' And he put his hands quickly on his guns.

    ' Wait!' said the captain.

    ' Oh,' said the man.' Are you one of us ?'

    ' Am I fighting the king's soldiers ?' said Hoseason.' No. But you have problems because you are. That isn't right, and I'm sorry about that.'

    ' Are you really ?' asked the man.' I don't want to get into the hands of the soldiers with red coats. Now, sir, I am trying to get to France. There was a French ship near here, but we didn't see it in the dark and the rain. I have some money. It is my chieftain's, but I can use some of it. Will you take me to France, captain?'

    ' I can't do that,' said Hoseason.' But perhaps I can put you on land near here. I want to see the money first, of course.'

    He sent me away — I had to get food for the man. I was very quick. When I came back, the stranger paid sixty pounds out of a heavy money bag. Hoseason said, ' I'll take you to the Linnhe Loch* for your sixty pounds.' Then he left the roundhouse.

    I knew about the people of the Highlands'''. They paid the king or the chieftain for the use of their land. But many of the Highlanders' chieftains lived in France. Good men, I knew, took the money from the clans to the chieftains. And here was one of them.

    I put the food in front of him.

    'Bring me a bottle,' he said. 'I want a drink for my sixty pounds.'

    I went out for the captain's key. I saw him with the two officers. Mr Riach said, 'Can't we move him out of the roundhouse ?'

    ' He's better there,' answered Hoseason.' He can't use his sword in there.'

    I wanted to turn away from these murderers. But I said, ' Captain, the man wants a drink. Can I have the key ?'

    They all turned round.

    ' He can get the guns!' said Riach. And then to me:' Can you find the guns, David ?'

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    * Loch: a name, in Scotland, for water with land round it.

    ' Yes, David can bring them to us,' said Hoseason.' He's a good boy. David, that Highlander is dangerous, and no friend of King George.You'll help us —Yes? We'll give you some of the man's money'

    They told me their plan. Then they sent me with the keys to the drinks and gun room.

    The man looked up from his food when I went into the roundhouse. I put my hand on his arm and said,' Do you want them to kill you ?'

    Highlands: the mountains of Scotland. The people there are Highlanders.

    He stood up quickly.' What do you mean ?' he asked.

    ' They're all murderers on this ship,' I said.' They murdered a boy. Now it's you.'

    ' Will you help me ?' he asked.

    'Yes,' I said.' I'm not a murderer.'

    ' Good,' he said.' What's your name ?'

    ' David Balfour,' I said.' David Balfour of Shaws.'

    ' My name is Stewart — a king's name,' he said.' But they call me Alan Breck.'

    We looked at the roundhouse. I shut one of the strong doors. Before I shut the other door, he said, 'No, David. When the door is open, most of the men will be in front of me. And I want them to be in front of me when we fight.'Then he asked me about the guns.' How many are there ?'

    ' Fifteen,' I said.

    ' Oh!' said Alan. He was quiet for a minute. Then he said,' I'll be at this door. You watch the other door. When the guns are ready, stand on that bed near the window. Be ready for them.'

    I was afraid. But I did it.

    Chapter 6   The Fight

    The men outside waited for me, but then the captain came to the open door.

    ' Stop!' said Alan. He had his sword in his hand.

    The captain said nothing. He turned and looked at me with an angry face. Then he went away.

    It came suddenly. There was a shout, and then Mr Shuan was at the door. He fought Alan.

    ' Watch your window!' said Alan. And before I turned, his sword went through the first officer's stomach.

    I looked quickly through my window. Five men ran to the other door with some heavy wood. I started shooting at them with my first gun. One of them shouted when I hit him. I shot again, but it went over their heads. But they threw down the wood and ran away.

    I couldn't see across the room because of the smoke from my gun. Alan was all right, but Mr Shuan was on the floor.

    ' They'll be back, David, 'Alan said.' Watch from your window.'

    I got my guns ready again. Then I waited.

    Suddenly some men with swords ran to the open door. Then the window above my head broke and a man jumped through. His sword fell from his hand. Before he could take it again, I put a gun to his back.

    But I couldn't shoot. He turned quickly, and put his hands on me. Then I was really afraid, so I shot him in the stomach. He fell to the floor.

    Then the leg of a second man hit me on the head. I looked up when he came through the window. I quickly took another gun and shot him in the leg.

    ' David!' shouted Alan. A seaman had his arms round Alan.

    I took the sword of a dead man and ran to Alan. But before I could do anything, Alan jumped away from the man. He shouted and used his sword fast and angrily. The seaman and his friends turned and ran.

    There were four dead men inside the roundhouse. Alan and I threw them outside.

    Nothing happened for a long time. One of us sat at the door and watched. The other slept.

    At about six o'clock in the morning we sat down and had breakfast. Alan ate fast, but I was not very hungry. This was my first fight.

    Alan cut a shiny button from his coat. 'My father, Duncan Stewart, gave me these buttons,' he said. 'Now I'm giving you one so you will remember last night's work. Show the button anywhere, and Alan Breck's friends will be your friends.'

    Mr Riach called from outside. The captain wanted to talk to Alan.

    ' What will he do ?' I said.

    ' He won't try anything,' Riach answered.' He can't. The men won't help him. And I'm afraid, Davie. We want to see the man off this ship. We'll take him to Linnhe Loch.'

    Chapter 7   The 'Red Fox'

    The nearest way to Linnhe Loch was to the north of the island of Mull. But the captain didn't know that way. So we went down the west of Mull, and came round the south of the island.

    Alan and I sat and told our stories. First I told him my story.

    He listened kindly. But he was angry when I spoke about that good friend of mine in Essendean, Mr Campbell. Then he shouted,' I hate everybody with that name!'

    'Why?' I asked. 'Mr Campbell's a good man. What's wrong with the Campbells?'

    ' I'm a Stewart from Appin,' said Alan.' The Campbells hate us. They want our lands and houses, and they try everything. They use lawyers - but never a sword. The Campbells make life dangerous for me and my friends.'

    ' But you are going home ?' I said.

    ' Oh yes!' said Alan.' I come home every year. I have to see my friends and my country. France is a fine place, of course, but I have to see Scotland. And then there's my chieftain, Ardshiel. All his life he was a great man, David. He had a king's name, and 400 swordsmen. And now he has to live in a French town. Now, the people of Appin have to pay King George of England so they can use their land. But they love their chieftain, and they find money for Ardshiel, too. So, David, I carry that money' And he hit the money bag hard with his hand. 'Ardshiel's brother,James Stewart, gets it from people. I carry it.'

    I thought about the clansmen's love of their chieftain. 'I understand,' I said. 'I'm not fighting the king's men, but I understand.'

    ' Yes,' he said.' You're a good man and you understand. But the Campbells don't. And the Red Fox—' He stopped, and there was hate in his eyes.

    ' The Red Fox ?' I said.' Who is he ?'

    'I'll tell you,' said Alan.'Ardshiel had to run with his wife and their children after the fight with the English at Culloden. It was difficult, but they got to France. And the English took away all Ardshiel's land; they took the swords and guns from his clansmen. But they could not kill the clansmen's love for their chieftain.'

    ' The money in your bag shows that,' I said.

    ' Yes,' said Alan.' But there is a man with red hair, a Campbell -Colin of Glenure—'

    ' The Red Fox ?' I said.

    'Yes,' said Alan.' He got papers from King George.The papers made him the king's man in the lands of Appin. The clansmen had to pay him for their land. But of course they sent money to Ardshiel, too. He was very angry about that. He sent for lawyers and papers and soldiers. He sent all Ardshiel's people away from their homes and their lands. The soldiers are there now. Hundreds of them. But the money gets through to Ardshiel. The soldiers can't stop it.'

    'But I don't understand,' I said. 'There are soldiers in the Highlands. But they don't catch you. How do you do it?'

    ' It's not difficult,' said Alan.' A soldier is in one place, so you go a different way. And everywhere you find friends." Where are the soldiers ?" you ask them. And they tell you. They are good people, and you can stay in their houses. They give you food, and a bed for the night. And the soldiers don't watch very well because the clansmen have no guns or swords.' He smiled.' Or they think that. But there are some, under floors and in other places. The soldiers don't know about them.'

    Chapter 8    In the Water

    We got nearer to the island of Mull, and now there were more and more rocks in the sea. The sea began to move more quickly. The captain sent a man high up on the ship. Suddenly, this man called,' Rocks! Stay away from the land!'

    But then the wind changed. The sea turned the ship — right on to the rocks! There was a CRASH!

    Mr Riach and some seamen ran to the ship's boat. It was in the middle of the ship. I ran and helped them.

    Suddenly somebody shouted something, and the sea threw the ship right, then left. The sea came over the ship. It pulled me out of the ship and into the water!

    I went down in the water and fought my way up again, many times. And the sea pushed me away from the ship.

    After a time I found some wood from the ship and put my hands round it. Then, suddenly, I was in quieter water. I looked for the ship. It was a long way away. I could see it, but I couldn't see the boat in the water.

    I saw land. I am not a good swimmer. But I stayed with the wood and kicked with my legs. After about an hour, I could put my feet on the bottom and walk to the land.

    I was wet, very tired, cold and hungry. I started to walk away from the sea. I wanted to find a house.' In a house I can get dry and warm,' I thought.' And they can tell me about the ship and the men on it.'

    It was difficult ground. I walked across the rocks and came to more water. There was land across the water. I turned and climbed over more rocks. But after a time, I understood. I was on a small island, with no houses and no people. The big island of Mull was across the water.

    I walked across the small island again and looked for my wood. I carried it across the island and then put it into the water at the nearest place to Mull. I swam across with it. When I climbed up the rocks on Mull, some money fell from my coat. Most of my money was with the seamen at the bottom of the sea! I left Essendean with more than fifty pounds. Now I only had about three pounds.

    Chapter 9   The Shiny Button

    I was tired, wet, weak and cold, so I found a place between two rocks. I think I slept. The sun woke me, and I found a very small river. I drank, and then I went to sleep again in the sun, next to the river. It was afternoon when I climbed a hill. I looked at the country from the top.

    There was smoke to the north-east — smoke from a house. I was very tired, but I started walking to it.

    I arrived at the house at about six o'clock in the evening. It was long and low. An old man sat outside in the evening sun. He didn't speak English well. But I understood a little. The men from the ship were on the island.

    ' Was there one man in expensive clothes ?' I asked.

    ' Yes,' he said.' Oh! You're the boy with the shiny button!'

    'Yes,' I said.And I showed him the button.

    ' He will meet you in his country,' said the man.' He told me that. Go through Torosay.' And he took me into his little house.

    His wife could speak no English. She smiled and put their best food in front of me. The old man made a wonderful drink. After that, I slept well. It was nearly twelve o'clock when I woke up next day. Then the old woman made me breakfast.

    I tried to pay them, but they didn't want any money.

    The old man came to the door with me.

    ' That's the way to Torosay,' he said.' There are no roads. You'll have to ask.'

    I did ask. There were many people at work on the hills, and with their animals. Their clothes were strange. They could not wear their Highland clothes. Highland clothes showed a man's clan, and the English king wanted to end the clans.

    Not many people could speak English. I said, 'Torosay?', but they did not show me the way. They spoke words, but I could not understand the language. So my journey was slow and long.

    There is a boat every day from Torosay to Kinlochaline. Torosay and Kinlochaline are in the country of the Maclean clan. But Neil Roy Macrob took me on the boat. Macrob was one of the names of Alan's clansmen, so I wanted to talk to Neil Roy. But I couldn't do it with other people in the boat.

    At Kinlochaline, I talked to him. ' You're one of the Appin men?' I said.

    ' Yes,' he answered.' Why ?'

    I said, 'I'm looking for somebody. His name is Alan Breck Stewart.'

    He was suddenly not very friendly. 'He's in France,' he said.

    I showed him the button.

    'Why didn't you show me that first?' he said.'You're the boy with the button. I have to help you on your way. Stay in Kinlochaline tonight. Then tomorrow you can go across Morven to Corran on the Linnhe Loch. You'll find my brother Alec there, and he'll take you to another place in his boat.'

    I said,' Thank you.'

    ' Listen to me,' he said.' Never say the name of Alan Breck. And don't speak to anybody on the way. Stay away from Campbells and the red soldiers. When you see soldiers, leave the road. Go behind a tree.'

    Chapter 10    The End of Red Fox

    Neil Roy Macrob's brother took me in his boat to a place in Alan's country of Appin. I got out of the boat somewhere near the trees. Behind and above the trees I could see high mountains. There was a small road. I sat down near it and looked round. After a time, I heard men and horses. Two men came along the road. The first man was big with red hair. He was very hot and red in the face. The second man was in black clothes.'A lawyer,' I thought. They stopped when they saw me. There were other men behind them.

    'What are you doing here?' asked the man with red hair.

    ' I'm looking for James of Aucharn,' I said.

    'James of Aucharn?' he said. He turned to the lawyer. 'Is he going to fight, do you think ?'

    'I don't know, Glenure,' said the lawyer. 'But I'll say this again. Why don't we wait here for the soldiers ?'

    I knew then. The man with red hair was Colin of Glenure — the Red Fox.

    ' You don't have to be afraid of me,' I said,' I'm not one of James Stewart's men, and I'm not one of yours. I'm nobody's man, only King George's.'

    ' Good boy!' said Glenure.' But I am an important man here, and- '

    Suddenly, there was the sound of a gun from somewhere up on the hill. At the same time, Glenure fell down on the road.

    ' I'm dying!' he said.' Be careful! I'm dying.'

    The lawyer went down and took Glenure in his arms. But he could do nothing for the man with red hair.

    For a minute I did nothing. Then I shouted, 'The murderer!' I started to run through the trees and up the hill behind them.

    When I came to the top, I saw the murderer. He was a big man in a black coat. He had a long gun.

    ' Here!' I shouted down to the men on the road.' I can see him!'

    The murderer looked round. Then he ran through some trees and out on to the mountain above them. I followed quickly. I was near the higher trees when somebody cried,' Stop!'

    I looked round. The lawyer shouted,' Come down!' to me. Soldiers with red coats started to come through the trees below me. They carried guns, and they climbed fast.

    ' Come down, boy!' shouted the lawyer.

    ' No!' I called down to him.' You come up! We can catch him.'

    ' I'll give you ten pounds when you take that boy!' the lawyer called to the soldiers.' He's with them! They sent him here and he stopped Glenure. Get him! Kill him!'

    He shouted to the soldiers, but I heard him. I suddenly understood. 'They think I'm working with the murderer!' I thought.

    Some of the soldiers began to move up to me. Other soldiers put up their guns. I couldn't move.

    ' Quickly!' said somebody near me.' In here! In the trees!'

    I ran into the trees.Then I heard the guns.

    Alan Breck stood under the trees. He said,' Come with me!' and started running. I followed him.

    We ran through the trees and round rocks on the mountain. We ran fast. I could't think and I couldn't speak. But sometimes Alan stood and looked at the soldiers. Then I understood. He wanted the soldiers to see him! Every time, we heard excited shouts from the soldiers behind us.

    After quarter of an hour, Alan stopped. He sat down on the ground and turned to me.

    ' Now,' he said,' this is important. Follow me — for your life!'

    We moved fast, but more carefully. We turned and ran back across the hill.Then Alan suddenly sat down under the trees. I fell down next to him.

    Chapter 11   James Stewart

    Alan got up first. He looked out from the trees.

    ' The soldiers are going away,' he said, when he came back to me.

    'Alan,' I said, 'we have to go different ways.'

    'Why? 'he said.

    'That Campbell man is dead in the road,' I said. 'It was murder, and I don't want- '

    ' Murder!' cried Alan.' Listen, Mr Balfour of Shaws. When I want to kill a man, I won't do it in my country. It makes things difficult for my clan. I didn't kill him.'

    I was very happy about that.

    ' But they'll look for us for the murder,' he said.' And you'll have to stay with me because you don't know the country.'

    ' I don't have to run away,' I said.' I'm not afraid of the law. I didn't do anything wrong. But I want to go to Stirling. I want to talk to my uncle's lawyer. He has some papers for me.'

    'You're in the Highlands,' he said. 'The "law" here is the law of the Campbells. The dead man is a Campbell. So somebody will have to die for his murder. And you, Mr Balfour of Shaws, will be the right person.'

    ' Oh,' I said.

    ' We'll have to run,' said Alan.' It will be hard in the sun and rain and wind. But I'm not going to die. And I will take you to Stirling.'

    We walked over the hills and mountains. Sometimes we had to move on our stomachs. Then it was dark. After a time, we saw a light.

    'That's James's house,' said Alan. 'It's late for a light. Something's wrong.'

    He was right. James Stewart knew about the murder.

    Men and women moved quickly.' The soldiers are coming,' they said. They took guns and swords from under the floor of the house. They carried them outside and put them into the ground. James's wife looked at a large number of papers and put some of them into the fire.

    ' It's dangerous for you here, 'James said to Alan.' You can leave Ardshiel's money. My son will take it tonight. You two have to go away now — and fast! A long way away.'

    One of James's sons gave me some clothes and some good Highland shoes. He gave me a sword and guns and food.

    Alan and I ate quickly, and then James Stewart said,' Now go. It will be light in an hour or two, and the soldiers will come.'

    Sometimes we walked; sometimes we ran. When it was light, we ran faster. We were between the mountains, but there were not many trees.

    ' That rock!' said Alan.' Over there!' The big rock was about half a mile away. 'We'll have to run.'

    We ran to it. I was very tired and I nearly fell. I call it' a rock', but it was really two big rocks.

    ' Help me up,' said Alan. And I pushed him on top of the rocks. Then he put his coat down and pulled me up.

    It was a good place. We could sleep between the tops of the two rocks. Nobody on the ground could see us.

    ' I was stupid,' said Alan suddenly.' First I took the wrong road, so we are in a really bad place. And worse, we're going to be here on a long hot summer day without a water-bottle.'

    Chapter 12    Alan Breck, Murderer

    At about nine in the morning, I woke up. Alan's hand was across my mouth.' Don't speak!' he said very quietly. ' You talked in your sleep.'

    ' Oh ?' I said.' But why did you wake me ?'

    He looked over the rock with one eye, and I did the same. It was a sunny day and the sky was blue. A river ran between the mountains. Less than half a mile up the river there were a lot of soldiers. They stood and sat round a fire. Near them there was another rock. It was as high as ours. On the top was a man with a gun. There were more soldiers next to the river. Some were on horses.

    Alan said, very quietly,' They're watching the river. We're all right up here, but we don't want them to come up the hill. They'll see us. There are not many of them at the widest place on the river. So when night comes, we'll try to get past them there.'

    ' And what are we going to do all day ?' I asked.

    ' We stay here and the sun will cook us,' he said.

    The rock got hotter and hotter. At about two o'clock we couldn't stay there. There was now a place out of the sun at the back of the rock.

    'We have to move,' said Alan. He jumped down to the ground, and I followed him. We sat out of the sun for an hour or two. We were very weak and very thirsty. No soldier came or saw us.

    Out of the sun, we felt a little stronger. So we began to move, very carefully. We went from rock to rock across the hill. I followed Alan. Sometimes we went on our stomachs, sometimes we had to run.

    When the sun started to go down, we came to a small river. It ran down into the bigger river. It was wonderful. We drank, and we put our heads under the cold water. We stayed there and waited for night.

    When night came, we moved again. We were very careful. Then we went very fast, and left the soldiers behind us.

    For three days, we walked at night and slept in the day. We only spoke to one man. Alan knew him. He showed us a paper, and we read about the murderer of Colin of Glenure. 'Alan Breck, the murderer,' it said,'wore a blue French coat, with shiny buttons ...'

    My name wasn't there, because nobody knew my name. I was 'his helper: a tall strong boy of about eighteen in an old blue coat . . .' (and my clothes and shoes before I got other clothes from James's son).

    After four days, we were very tired. We could not see anybody below us. So we came down from the mountains and on to the open ground below. At about twelve o'clock, we were near the middle of the open ground. We stopped.

    'You sleep first,' said Alan.

    I was tired when he woke me. Alan went to sleep and I began to watch. Perhaps it was the hot sun, but I slept again.

    I woke up and looked round me.

    Soldiers!

    I saw them on their horses and woke Alan. He looked at the soldiers, and then at me. He didn't say,' You were asleep,' but he knew it.

    ' Do you see that mountain ?' he said.' It's Ben Alder. There are a lot of good places up there. Let's go.'

    He started to move across the ground on his stomach, very quickly. I followed him. We did it for hour after hour.

    When it started to get dark, I said,' I'm nearly dead. Can't we stop ?'

    ' No,' said Alan.' Before day comes, you and I have to find a place on Ben Alder.'

    Chapter 13    The Lawyer

    We saw other soldiers after that, but they were not dangerously near us. Then we arrived at the River Forth in Stirling. There were a lot of soldiers there, and we couldn't use the bridge over the river.

    'We'll have to get a boat,' said Alan.

    We walked through a village, and Alan said,' Did you see the pretty girl in the bread shop ?'

    ' Yes,' I said.' A very pretty girl.'

    'Right,' he said. 'She'll look at you and think, "He's tired and ill." Now, listen

    And he told me his plan.

    We went into the little shop. Alan nearly carried me. He put me in a chair and gave me some bread and water.

    ' He's very ill,' he told the girl.' I have to take him across the river to the doctor.'

    She took us across the river in her father's boat, but she did not tell her father.

    I was in the street early. I wanted to find Mr Rankeillor, the lawyer.' Will he look at my dirty clothes and send me away ?' I thought.' What can I do ?'

    I stood outside a fine house and made a plan. Alan was in the trees outside the town.

    A man came out of the house. He looked at me.

    ' What are you doing ?' he asked.

    ' I'm looking for Mr Rankeillor,' I said.

    ' I am Mr Rankeillor,' he said.' But I don't know your name, or your face.'

    ' My name is David Balfour,' I said.

    His eyes opened wide. 'Where did you come from, Mr Balfour ?' he said.

    ' From many strange places, sir,' I said.' Can I tell you about it in the house ?'

    ' Yes,' he said.' Come in.'

    We went into the house, and into a room with many books and papers. Mr Rankeillor asked me a lot of questions.

    ' Where were you born ... ? Who was your father ... ? Who was your mother ... ? Do you have any uncles ... ?'

    After a time, he took a small book out of a cupboard and looked at it.'Did you know a man with the name of Hoseason?' he asked.

    ' He kidnapped me,' I said. And I told him about it. He listened carefully.' The ship went on the rocks.'

    ' Where ?' he asked.

    'South of the island of Mull,' I said.

    ' Yes,' Mr Rankeillor said.' But the ship went down ... ' (he looked at his notebook)'... on 27th June. We are now in August. Your friends are not very happy. What can you tell me about those two months ?'

    ' I can tell you everything,' I said. 'But am I talking to a friend?'

    He smiled. 'You are thinking, "This man was my uncle's lawyer." But "was" is the right word. Your friend Mr Campbell was here, and I learned many things about Mr Ebenezer Balfour. I do not work for him now.'

    ' Sir,' I said,' I will put a friend's life into your hands when I tell you my story'

    ' It will be all right,' he said.' But we will call your friend " Mr Thomson", please. I can't remember Highland names.'

    I told him my story.

    At the end of it, he said,' Your friend Mr Thomson is a very interesting man. But perhaps a difficult man. Our lives will be easier when he leaves us. For Holland, perhaps. Now I have to think. You can wash, and then I'll find some of my son's clothes for you.'

    He gave me a wonderful lunch. It was my first good food for many weeks. And he told me the story of my father and my uncle.

    'Ebenezer was the younger brother,' he said. 'He was a beautiful boy. His mother and father gave him everything and did everything for him. Your father helped him too. When the two boys fell in love with the same girl, Ebenezer thought, " She'll want to marry me."

    ' But your mother, David, did not want Ebenezer. He was very angry. He did and said bad things. Your grandmother and grandfather were very sad, and later ill. Then they died. Your father was a kind man, but he was weak. In the end, he and the girl went away. They left the house of Shaws to the bad younger brother.'

    Chapter 14    Shaws Again

    'Hoseason kidnapped you because your uncle asked him,' said Rankeillor.' We have to hear him say that. Then we do not have to use the law. We can take the house and the other things. They are yours. And we won't have to ask Mr Thomson for his story'.

    Mr Rankeillor called the man in the next office. The man worked for Mr Rankeillor. Then we went to Shaws. On the way, I ran into the trees and told Alan our plan. He laughed and came with me.

    ' Mr Thomson, this is nice,' said Rankeillor.' But I forgot my glasses, so I won't know you again. Perhaps we won't meet again. I know a ship's captain, and he'll take you to Holland tomorrow.'

    It was dark when we came to the house of Shaws. We looked, but we could see no lights anywhere in the house.

    ' My uncle is in bed,' I said quietly.

    Mr Rankeillor and his man and I went across to the house and stood near the wall. Alan waited, then he went to the front door. He hit it hard.

    After some minutes, I heard a noise. Ebenezer opened a window. He had his gun.

    ' Who is it ?' he called down.' I have my gun! And I'll shoot!'

    But Alan was not afraid of the gun.' Is that you, Mr Balfour?' he shouted. Then he smiled.' Be careful with that gun. They are dangerous things.'

    ' What do you want ?' called Ebenezer.' Who are you ?'

    ' I'm here about David,' shouted Alan.

    'Be quiet!' said Ebenezer. 'Don't shout. Which David are you talking about ?'

    Alan stopped shouting, but he said, loudly, 'David Balfour. Now come down, and we will talk.'

    Ebenezer came down slowly and opened the front door of the house. Then he spoke.

    'Yes? 'he said.

    ' David Balfour,' Alan said again.' We've got him. Now, do you like the boy? You can pay us and we'll bring him home again. Or don't you want him?You can pay us and we'll lose him for you. What do you think ?'

    My uncle did not speak.

    ' Answer, before I take my sword to you!' shouted Alan.

    'Wh-what!' said my uncle. 'What's wrong with you? I'm trying to think.'

    ' Then try quickly!' said Alan.

    ' What do you want me to pay ?' my uncle asked.

    'What did you pay Hoseason?' asked Alan.

    ' What do you mean ?' said Ebenezer.

    'When he kidnapped David,' said Alan.

    ' How do you know about Hoseason ?' said my uncle.

    ' I work with Hoseason,' said Alan.' We're friends.  You'll pay us a hundred pounds and we'll lose the boy for you. Is that right?'

    ' No, that's not right!' said Ebenezer.' I only gave Hoseason twenty pounds. Not a penny more. He can get more when he sells the boy in the Carolinas, but not a penny more from me. No. I can't give him more than twenty pounds.'

    'Thank you, Mr Balfour,' said Rankeillor. He moved away from the wall, and now Ebeneezer could see him.

    ' What- !' began my uncle.

    'We know everything now,' said Rankeillor. 'I have some papers here. You will put your name to them. My man will put his name to them, too, because he heard everything.'

    Rankeillor's man moved away from the wall.

    'And Mr David Balfour is here, too,' Rankeillor told my uncle.

    I came out from my place by the wall of the house.

    My uncle could not speak. He looked at me, and his eyes opened wide. Some minutes later, Mr Rankeillor had to help him into the kitchen. We followed them and Mr Rankeillor put the old man down on a chair.

    ' Now, Mr Ebenezer,' said Rankeillor.' We will not be difficult. Give us the key to your wine cupboard and we'll get a bottle of wine. This is a happy day'.

    Now Mr Rankeillor turned to me.

    ' Mr David,' he said.' I hope you will be happy here, in your house. In your house.'

    ' In my house,' I said happily.


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    Round the World in Eighty Days, Level 2

    ROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS

    Jules Verne

    CHAPTER 1 PHILEAS FOGG AND PASSEPARTOUT        

    CHAPTER 2 THE BET        

    CHAPTER 3 DETECTIVE FIX        

    CHAPTER 4 INDIA        

    CHAPTER 5 AOUDA        

    CHAPTER 6 CALCUTTA        

    CHAPTER 7 HONG KONG        

    CHAPTER 8 TO JAPAN?        

    CHAPTER 9 TO SAN FRANCISCO        

    CHAPTER 10 ACROSS AMERICA        

    CHAPTER 11 ACROSS THE ATLANTIC        

    CHAPTER 12 THE END OF THE JOURNEY        

    CHAPTER 1 PHILEAS FOGG AND PASSEPARTOUT

    In 1872, the Reform Club in London's Pall Mall was a club for men only. Phileas Fogg went to the Preform Club every day. He left his house at 7 Savile Row at 11.30 in the morning and walked to the club. He had his lunch and his dinner there. He read the papers at the club, and he played cards. He left late in the evening and walked back to Savile Row. He went to bed at midnight.

    Phileas Fogg was a cold man. He didn't talk much, and nobody knew much about him. But everything in his life had to be right. His washing water had to be at 31°C — not 30°C and not 32°C.

    At 9.37 on the morning of 2nd October 1872 his servant, James Forster, brought him water at 30°C, not 31°C. So this servant had to go. Phileas Fogg sat at home in his Savile Row house. He waited for his new servant.

    The new servant came. He was about thirty years old.

    'You are French,' said Phileas Fogg,'and your name is John?'

    'No,' said the new servant.' My name is Jean, Mr Fogg. They call me Jean Passepartout, because in French a " passepartout" can open every door. When things are bad, I can always get out. I can get out of anything!'

    'Tell me about your work,' said Phileas Fogg.

    'I am a good man and I can do a lot of different jobs,' said Jean Passepartout. 'I was a fireman in Paris. And ... look!' Passepartout did a high jump, then put his left leg and then his right leg on his head. He was a strong man.

    'But I left France in 1867,' said Passepartout,'and I came to England. I want to be a servant. I am looking for a quiet life. People say that you are the quietest man in Britain. So I want to work for you. I want to live quietly now. I want to forget the name " Passepartout".'

    'I'll call you Passepartout,' said Phileas Fogg.' What time is it?'

    Passepartout pulled out a big watch and looked at it.

    'It is 11.29, Mr. Fogg,' he said.

    'All right. From now, 11.29 on 2nd October 1872, you are my servant.'

    With those words, Phileas Fogg put on his hat and went out. There was nobody in the house, then, only Passepartout.

    'Here I am,' the Frenchman thought.' But what do I do?'

    He went into every room in the house. He found his room, and in it there was a timetable. Everything was there, starting from 8 o'clock. Phileas Fogg got up at that time.

    8.23 Bring tea.

    9.37 Bring washing water (31°C).

    11.30 PF goes to the Reform Club.

    Then, from 11.30 in the morning to midnight, everything was on the timetable. Mr. Fogg always went to bed at midnight.

    Passepartout smiled. 'This is right for me,' he thought. 'Mr. Fogg is the man for me!'

    CHAPTER 2 THE BET

    It was 6.10 in the evening at the Reform Club. Phileas Fogg was in the card room. He was at a card table with the same five men as yesterday and the day before and the day before that.

    Phileas Fogg and the five men didn't usually talk when they played cards. But this evening, before the game started, the men talked about a newspaper story. A thief walked into the Bank of England and took fifty-five thousand pounds. Then he walked out again. One of the men at the card table, Ralph, had a very good job at the Bank of England.

    'They'll catch the man,' Ralph said.' The best detectives are at every port. They know that the man is tall. He wears expensive clothes. They'11 find him.'

    'Oh, I don't know,' said Stuart, another man at the table.' The world is a very big place.'

    'It was a big place,' said Phileas Fogg.

    'What do you mean – “was”? Is it smaller now?' said Stuart.

    'Yes,' said Ralph. 'I think Mr. Fogg is right. You can go round the world more quickly now.'

    'All right,' said Stuart. 'You can go round the world in about three months, but that doesn't mean. .'

    'Not three months,' said Phileas Fogg. 'Eighty days.'

    'Fogg's right,' said Ralph.' The Rothal to Allahabad railway, in India, is open now. Look — today's Times has a timetable for a journey round the world.' And he showed them, on the centre page of the paper.

    London to Suez — railway and ship                        7 days

    Suez to Bombay — ship                                        13        "

    Bombay to Calcutta — railway                                3        "

    Calcutta to Hong Kong — ship                                13        "

    Hong Kong to Yokohama — ship                        6        "

    Yokohama to San Francisco — ship                        22        "

    San Francisco to New York — railway                        7        "

    New York to London — ship and railway                9        "

    80 days

    'Yes,' said Stuart,' eighty days. It's all right on paper. But a lot of things can happen in eighty days. They can stop you on the way.'

    'No, they can't, Mr. Stuart,' said Phileas Fogg.

    'Well, why don't you try, Mr. Fogg?'

    'Go round the world in eighty days?' said Phileas Fogg. 'All right. I have twenty thousand pounds in Baring's Bank. I'll bet all of it.'

    'Twenty thousand pounds!' cried Ralph. ' Something will happen on the journey, and you'll lose all your money.' 'Nothing will stop me,' Phileas Fogg said. In the end, Phileas Fogg's five friends took the bet. 'Each person will pay you four thousand pounds — that's twenty thousand pounds — when we see you again here in the Reform Club in eighty days at the end of your journey round the world,' said Ralph.' Or you have to pay us twenty thousand pounds. That's the bet.'

    Phileas Fogg thought for a minute. ' Today is Wednesday, 2nd October. So I have to be back here, in this room in the Reform Club, on Saturday, 21st December at 8.45 in the evening.'

    At 7.25, Phileas Fogg said good night to his friends and left the Reform Club. At 7.50, he opened the door of his house in Savile Row and went in.

    'Mr. Fogg? Is that you?' said Passepartout. He looked at the timetable. This was not on the timetable.

    'We are leaving in ten minutes for Dover and Calais,' said Phileas Fogg.' We are going round the world.'

    Passepartout's eyes opened wide — very wide. He opened his arms then jumped on one leg.

    'Round the world!' he said.

    'In eighty days,' said Phileas Fogg.' We have to go now. Now!'

    'But your bags?'

    'I'm not taking any bags. Well, one small bag. We can buy things on the way. Bring down my coat. Wear strong shoes. Move!'

    At 8 o'clock, Passepartout was ready with a small bag. ‘A quiet life,' he thought. 'Where is my quiet life?'

    Phileas Fogg was ready. He had a book under his arm — Bradshaw's, a railway and ship timetable. He took the bag from Passepartout and put a lot of money into it. Then he gave the bag to Passepartout.

    'Look after it,' he said.' There's twenty thousand pounds in it.'

    At the station, Phileas Fogg saw his five friends from the Reform Club.

    'You're here to say goodbye? That's kind,' he said. ' I'll have stamps in my passport for each country. You can see them when I come back.'

    'We won't look at your passport,' said Ralph. 'You're an Englishman.'

    At 8.40, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout took their places in the train, and at 8.45 the train started.

    Some days later, the police at Scotland Yard had a letter from their detective, Detective Fix.

    Suez, 9th October

    To Scotland Yard, London

    I am following the bank thief, Phileas Fogg. Send a warrant to Bombay now.

    Fix (detective)

    CHAPTER 3 DETECTIVE FIX

    On Wednesday, 9th October a small thin man waited for a ship at Suez, Egypt. The ship, a fast ship, was the Mongolia. The man was Detective Fix. He was at the port because he wanted to find the Bank of England thief.

    Fix looked at everybody. He wanted a tall man in expensive clothes. When the Mongolia arrived at the port, Phileas Fogg left the ship. He had to get a stamp in his passport. He went back to the ship. Fix watched him,

    Then the detective found Passepartout out in the town.

    'Can I help you?' asked Fix.

    'You are very kind,' said Passepartout.' This is Suez ?'

    'Yes,' said Fix.' Suez, in Egypt, in Africa.'

    Passepartout looked at Fix with wide eyes.

    'Africa!' he said.' This morning I saw Paris again, from 7.20 to 8.15 in the morning, through the windows of a train, between two railway stations. And now I am here in Africa.'

    'You haven't got much time, then?' asked the detective.

    ' No, Mr. Fogg hasn't got much time. Oh, and I have to buy some clothes. We came away with only one small bag for the journey.'

    'I'll show you the way to the shops.'

    'Thank you,' said Passepartout. And the two men walked through Suez. ' I have to be careful about the time. The ship leaves again in a short time.'

    'You've got time for shopping,' Fix answered. 'And you've got time for lunch.'

    Passepartout pulled out his big watch.

    ‘Lunch?' he said.' It's 9.52 in the morning!'

    'No, it's 11.52,' said Fix. 'You've got London time on your watch. That's two hours behind Suez time. When you go round the -world, time changes. On your journey you'll have to change the time on your watch for each new country.'

    'What! Change the time on my watch ? Never!' said Passepartout.

    Fix smiled. Five minutes later he said,' Here are the shops. You can buy everything here. I think you left London quickly.'

    'Oh yes! Last Wednesday, Mr. Fogg came back from his club at 7.50 in the evening. He usually comes back at midnight. And then we started our journey.'

    Fix thought about that. Then he asked, ‘But where is Mr. Fogg going?'

    'Round the world.'

    'Round the world ?'

    'Yes, in eighty days. He says it is for a bet.'

    ' Is he rich ?' Fix asked.

    'I think he is,' said Passepartout. The Frenchman was always ready to talk. 'He has a lot of new banknotes with him, and he buys things all the time. He gave the captain of the Mongolia a lot of money because he wanted to get to Bombay early.'

    So the detective wrote to London and asked for a warrant in Bombay. Phileas Fogg was tall and wore expensive clothes. He left London quickly. He had a lot of money in new banknotes. Phileas Fogg was, Fix thought, the Bank of England thief.

    Ten minutes before the Mongolia left Suez, Fix was on the ship with a light bag and some money. He was on his way to Bombay.

    CHAPTER 4 INDIA

    Phileas Fogg looked at the timetable. 'The Mongolia will arrive in Bombay on 22nd October' he wrote in his little black book.

    But she arrived two days early because there was a north-west wind behind her. He wrote 'two days early' in the little black book, but he did not smile.

    At 4.30 in the afternoon of 20th October, everybody left the ship and went into Bombay.

    'The train from Bombay to Calcutta leaves at 8 o'clock,' Phileas Fogg told Passepartout.' Be at the railway station before then/Then he went to the passport office and had dinner at the railway station.

    Fix went to the police in Bombay and asked about the warrant. He could not take Phileas Fogg back to England without a warrant. But the warrant was not there. It was in the post from England, so Fix could do nothing.

    Passepartout looked at Bombay. Everything was interesting to the young man. He stood outside the fine temple at Malabar. He liked it, so he went inside.

    But Passepartout didn't know that you can't go into a temple in India in your shoes.

    'This temple is really lovely,' thought Passepartout. He looked at the beautiful things in there. Suddenly three men in orange clothes started to hit him. Then they threw him to the floor and took his shoes. They were very angry. They shouted something, but Passepartout didn't understand the language. But the Frenchman was young and strong. He pushed the men away and ran out of the temple into the street.

    At 7.55, five minutes before the train left, Passepartout arrived at the station without his shoes, without a hat, and without the bag of new clothes. He found Phileas Fogg at the dinner table.

    Fix was at the station restaurant too. He sat behind Phileas Fogg and watched him. He listened to Passepartout and Phileas Fogg. Passepartout moved his arms up and down when he told Phileas Fogg about the temple.

    The detective smiled.' So the servant did something wrong in this country,' he thought.' I can use that. The thief will have to stay in India. And I can wait for the warrant from England.'

    Phileas Fogg and Passepartout sat on the train through the night, the next day and the next night. Everything was different outside from one minute to the next minute. Passepartout watched the many changes through the window. They were very interesting to him. Phileas Fogg was not interested.

    At 8 o'clock in the morning, on 22nd October, the train stopped near the station at Rothal. A man from the railway came to the train window.

    'Everybody, get out of the train please,' he called. ' Why do we have to get out ?' asked Phileas Fogg. 'Because there is no more railway after this. It begins again at Allahabad, about fifty miles from here.'

    'But it's in The Times', said Phileas Fogg. He had the centre page of the newspaper with him. 'Look. The paper says " The railway between Rothal and Allahabad is open now."'

    'The paper is wrong.'

    'But your company sells tickets from Bombay to Calcutta,' the Englishman said.

    'Oh, yes,' the railway man answered.' But everybody knows that they have to go from Rothal to Allahabad on foot or on a horse.'

    He was right. The other people in the train knew about the railway. They left the train quickly and went to the village. They took all the horses.

    'We'll walk,' said Phileas Fogg.

    Passepartout looked down at his feet. He didn't have any shoes. His shoes were in the Malabar temple in Bombay.

    'There's an elephant over there,' he said.

    The man with the elephant smiled a wide smile. A man with an elephant is a rich man when there isn't a railway. Phileas Fogg started at ten pounds an hour. No? Twenty? No? Forty? No.

    In the end, the man sold the elephant to Phileas Fogg for two thousand pounds.

    'Elephant meat is expensive,' Passepartout thought.

    Next, they had to find a guide. They didn't know the way to Allahabad. That was easier. A young Indian from the village saw them with the elephant.

    'Do you want a guide?' he asked. He spoke English, too.

    Every two hours, the guide stopped the elephant. It ate and drank some water. Phileas Fogg, Passepartout and the guide sat under a tree, out of the sun. Then they started again. They moved quickly, and climbed higher.

    By 8 o'clock in the evening, they were over the Vindhia mountains. They were half-way to Allahabad. The guide stopped for the night.

    They started again at 6 o'clock the next morning, and at 4 o'clock in the afternoon they were near Allahabad.

    They were in some trees when suddenly the elephant stopped. They heard the sound of singing and loud music. The guide drove the elephant into the thickest trees.

    'It is a dead man,' said the guide, quietly.' They are taking a dead man to a temple. Tomorrow they will start a fire and put the dead man on the fire.'

    Through the trees, they saw a lot of people. Some men wore the same orange clothes as the three men at the Malabar temple. Some men played music. Some women and children walked behind them. Then they saw a young woman. Some men pushed her in front of them. She was very beautiful, but she was very weak. She couldn't walk very well. Men at the back carried a dead man in fine clothes.

    'The dead man was important,' said the guide. ' The young woman was his wife, and they will put her on the fire tomorrow with her dead husband.'

    'What?' said Phileas Fogg. 'Are you saying that this woman wants to die with her husband ?'

    'Sometimes a wife wants to die when her husband dies,' answered the guide. 'But this young woman does not want to die. Those people, the people in the orange clothes, say she has to do it.'

    'No!' said Passepartout.' But can't she get away from them?'

    'They put something in her food,' the guide said.' Look — she is very tired. Then she will sleep.'

    'We'll get her out of here,' said Phileas Fogg.

    'Please think before you try that,' said the guide. 'These people are dangerous.'

    'But, Mr. Fogg, the bet ...' said Passepartout.

    Phileas Fogg looked at the timetable. ‘I am one day early. We can use the day well, and get the young woman away from here.'

    'Well,' said the guide. 'We can follow them, but we cannot go too near. They are going to a temple about two miles from here. I know about the young wife, too. Her name is Aouda. Her father had a big company in Bombay. But her father and mother died and she had to marry that old man. We cannot do anything now. But I will help you when it gets dark.'

    CHAPTER 5 AOUDA

    People sang and shouted. The noise came through the trees. The guide stopped the elephant and they walked. They could see the temple, white in the dark night. Some men with guns sat round it and watched.

    'The young woman is inside the temple,' said the guide, quietly. The dead man was on top of some wood, to the right. ' When the sun comes up, they will put the woman next to her husband. Then they will start the fire.'

    'We'll have to think of something. We have to set the young woman out of there,' said Phileas Fogg.

    But Phileas Fogg and the guide did not have any ideas. And the men with guns round the temple did not go to sleep. They watched. They watched very carefully.

    After an hour or two the guide said, 'Mr. Fogg, where is your servant ?'

    Phileas Fogg could not answer that. Passepartout was not there.

    The sun came up in the east. The people woke and went noisily to the wood with the dead man on top. Then some men brought Aouda out of the temple. She did not move when they put her down on top of the wood, next to her dead husband. There was something in her food again that morning.

    Some men brought fire to the wood. Phileas Fogg stood up and opened his mouth. He wanted to shout,' Stop!'

    'Get down!' said the guide.' They will kill us!'

    But suddenly everything changed. The people gave a great shout, and they fell down on their faces with their eyes to the ground.

    The old man was not dead. He stood up and took the young woman in his arms. Then he came down through the fire. He walked over the people on the ground. Then he carried the woman easily in strong arms to Phileas Fogg and the guide.

    'Let's go!' he said.' Quickly!'

    It was Passepartout.

    A minute later, the three men and the young woman were on the elephant. Aouda slept and knew nothing about it.

    The sun was high and hot in the sky. It was nearly 10 o'clock in the morning.

    The young guide said,' There, that is Allahabad. The railway starts again there. The train journey to Calcutta is about a day and a night.'

    Phileas Fogg took a room at the railway station for Aouda. He sent Passepartout into the town for clothes and other things for the young woman. When the train was ready, Aouda was better.

    Before they got in the train, Phileas Fogg paid the guide.

    'That's your money, because you were our guide,' he said.' But you helped us in other ways. Would you like the elephant?'

    The young guide gave a big smile. That was his only answer.

    On the journey to Calcutta, Aouda learned about her night in the temple and about Passepartout and the fire. She said' Thank you' again and again, but she was afraid of her husband's family. She didn't want them to catch her again.

    'I'll take you to Hong Kong,' Phileas Fogg said, 'and you can stay there.'

    It was kind, but he spoke quite coldly.

    She happily said, ' Oh, thank you! I have an uncle in Hong Kong. He will look after me.'

    The train got to Calcutta at 7 o'clock in the morning. Phileas Fogg had five hours before the ship left for Hong Kong.

    CHAPTER 6 CALCUTTA

    Phileas Fogg, Passepartout and Aouda left the station at Calcutta. They wanted to go to the passport office and then to the ship. But a policeman came to them and said: 'Are you Mr. Phileas Fogg, and is this your servant ?'

    'Yes.'

    'Please follow me.'

    Phileas Fogg's face did not change. He didn't feel anything, or he didn't show it.

    'Can this young woman come with us ?' he asked.

    The policeman said, 'Yes.'

    At the police station, the policeman took them to a large room with a big cupboard in it. Then the three men in orange clothes from the Malabar temple in Bombay came in. One man carried Passepartout's shoes.

    'The temple in Bombay!' said Passepartout.

    The men from the temple were in Calcutta because Fix brought them from Bombay. Fix told the Calcutta police about the Malabar temple. Now, he was in the big cupboard in the room, and he listened to everything.

    The policeman said, 'People from other countries cannot come to India and wear their shoes in a temple. It is not right. You will have to stay in prison. You can tell your story next week. Then perhaps you will have to stay in prison.'

    Fix was very happy about that. 'The warrant will arrive before then,' he thought.

    Passepartout felt bad. He was not afraid of prison, but he thought of Phileas Fogg and his bet. 'A bet of twenty thousand pounds,' he thought. 'And we will lose it, because I went into a temple in shoes!'

    Phileas Fogg's face did not change. He said:' I want bail.'

    'Yes, you can have bail,' said the policeman.

    Fix, in the cupboard, was angry.

    'But,' the policeman said, 'because you do not live in this country, bail will be one thousand pounds each. You -will have to come back here in a week, and then you will get your money back. You can tell your story then.'

    Fix was happy about that. He thought, 'Fogg won't pay two thousand pounds of bail money. He'll stay in prison and wait.' To Fix, Phileas Fogg was a bank thief, not a man with a twenty thousand pound bet.

    'I'll pay,' said Phileas Fogg.

    'You will get this money back,' said the policeman, ‘when you come back next week. But now you can go, on bail.'

    Passepartout turned to the three men from the temple. ' Please,' he said,' give me my shoes back.'

    The Frenchman put on his shoes again. Then Fogg, Aouda and Passepartout went to the port as quickly as they could. Fix followed. He was very angry. 'That's two thousand pounds of the Bank of England's money,' he thought. 'I'll have to take Fogg back to England quickly.'

    CHAPTER 7 HONG KONG

    On the ship to Hong Kong, the Rangoon, Aouda learned a little about Phileas Fogg. She liked him.

    Fix was on the ship too. He thought about the warrant. Was it now on its way from Bombay to Hong Kong?

    On the first day, Passepartout did not know that Fix was on the ship too. But then he saw the detective.

    'What is Mr. Fix doing on this ship? 'the Frenchman thought. 'We saw him in Suez and now here he is again. Is he following us ? Why ?' Passepartout thought about it, and then he had an idea.' He is following Mr. Fogg. He is working for the five men at the Reform Club. He is watching Mr. Fogg because of the bet.'

    Passepartout was angry with the five men, but he didn't tell Phileas Fogg about Fix. The five men were Mr. Fogg's friends. Passepartout didn't want Mr. Fogg to think badly of them. He really liked Mr. Phileas Fogg now. He wanted him to win his bet. It was important to him.

    The weather was bad and the Rangoon arrived at Hong Kong twenty-four hours late. Phileas Fogg, Passepartout and Aouda went to the office of the ship company.

    'Are we too late for the CarnaticJ' Phileas Fogg asked. 'The timetable says she left Hong Kong for Yokohama yesterday.'

    'No,' said the man at the office.' The Camatic had a problem with one engine. She's here. She'll leave tomorrow.'

    'Thank you,' said Phileas Fogg.

    Phileas Fogg took Aouda to the best hotel in Hong Kong. Then he went out and looked for her uncle. An hour later, he came back. Aouda's uncle did not live in Hong Kong now. He was in Holland.

    Aouda did not speak for a minute. She sat with her head in her hands. Then, very quietly, she asked, 'What do I do now, Mr. Fogg ?'

    'That's easy,' said Phileas Fogg.' Come to Europe.'

    'But I will be one more problem for you ...'

    'You're not a problem. And you won't change our timetable. Passepartout?'

    'Yes, MrFogg?'

    'Go to the Camatk, Passepartout, and get three tickets to Yokohama.'

    Passepartout left the hotel with a smile on his face. He wanted to have Aouda with them on the journey. She always spoke kindly to him. To her, he was a friend and not a servant.

    When Passepartout arrived at the port, he saw a very unhappy Fix by the Camatic.

    Fix was unhappy because the warrant was in the post from Bombay and not in Hong Kong. The Camatic could take Phileas Fogg away from Hong Kong before the warrant arrived. Passepartout smiled at Fix's face.

    'The fine, rich men of the Reform Club are going to lose their money,' the Frenchman thought, 'and Mr. Fix is unhappy about that.'

    'Are you going to buy a ticket for the Camatic'?' asked Passepartout. He laughed, but Fix said nothing.

    The Frenchman went onto the Camatic, and paid for three tickets to Yokohama. The Camatics captain spoke to him.

    'The engine is fine now,' he said.' The problem was smaller than we thought. The ship will leave at 8 o'clock this evening. Not tomorrow.'

    'Good,' said Passepartout. ' I will tell my Mr. Fogg. He will be happy.'

    When he left the ship. Fix came to him.

    'Before you see Mr. Fogg,' said Fix, 'won't you have a drink with me in this bar ?'

    There was a bar at the port, near the ships.

    'Well, yes, thank you. I am quite thirsty,' the Frenchman said.

    In the bar, Fix asked Passepartout,' Who do you think I am ?'

    'You are working for those five men from the Reform Club,' smiled Passepartout. 'You are watching Mr. Fogg.'

    Fix thought for a minute. He didn't have the -warrant, and he had to stop Fogg.

    'Yes, I am watching Fogg,' said Fix.' But I'm not working for the men from the club. I'm a policeman. I'm following Fogg because he's a bank thief. You have to help me, or I'll get a warrant for you too. I'll put you in prison with him. Now, are you with me or are you with him ?'

    Passepartout was angry. 'With him,' he said, and he started to leave the bar.

    Passepartout was on his way back to Phileas Fogg. Fix had to stop him. Passepartout knew about the ship's new timetable, and Phileas Fogg didn't. So Fix put something in Passepartout's drink.

    'Wait!' called Fix. He smiled.' Why don't you finish your drink before you go ? It's hot out there.' Fix smiled again.

    Passepartout stopped. He looked angrily at Fix but he took the drink. He sat down and finished it. Then he quietly went to sleep in his chair.

    Fix left him in the bar.

    CHAPTER 8 TO JAPAN?

    Phileas Fogg took Aouda to the best shops in Hong Kong. They went from one shop to another shop. He pulled money out of his bag and bought her dresses and other clothes. Then they went back to the hotel.

    Night came and there was no Passepartout. In the morning, too, Passepartout was not there. Phileas Fogg and Aouda went to the port. Perhaps Passepartout was at the ship. But the servant was not there and the Camatic was also not there.

    An Englishman spoke to Phileas Fogg.' Did you have tickets for the Camatic? 'The man was Fix.' I wanted to go to Yokohama on the Camatic too,' the detective said. ' She left yesterday evening. We’ll have to wait a week for the next ship.'

    Fix smiled. But the detective's smile left him when Phileas Fogg said:' But there are other ships in the port of Hong Kong. The Camatic is not the only ship. Let's go and find one.'

    Phileas Fogg looked for a ship for a long time. Ships arrived and stayed. Ships left before he could speak to anybody on them.

    'Are you looking for a boat?' asked a seaman.

    'Is your boat ready to leave ?'

    'Yes. It's a small boat. Number 43. Do you know these small boats? They help the big ships when they arrive at the port. And this boat is the best in Hong Kong.'

    'Is she fast?

    'Oh yes! Eight or nine miles an hour.'

    'Will you take me to Yokohama? I had tickets for the Camatic but she left early. I have to be in Yokohama on 14th November. I have to catch the ship for San Francisco there. I can give you a hundred pounds a day, and two hundred pounds more in Yokohama on or before 14th November.'

    'But why Yokohama?' said the seaman. 'We can go to Shanghai, only 800 miles from Hong Kong. The ship for San Francisco starts from Shanghai. Then it goes to Yokohama before it goes to America.'

    This was very interesting to Phileas Fogg. 'That's not in my Bradshau's he said. ' Shanghai ? And when does the ship for San Francisco leave Shanghai ?'

    'On 11th November, at seven in the evening. So we have four days. With the wind in the south-east, we can get to Shanghai in four days.'

    'When can we start ?' asked Phileas Fogg.

    'In an hour. We'll get food and water first.'

    'Is she your boat? Or a company's ?'

    'Oh, she's my boat. My name's Bunsby, and the Tankadere is mine.'

    'Here's two hundred pounds,' said Phileas Fogg. Then he turned to Fix.' Do you want to come with us ?'

    'Er, well, I er ...'

    'In half an hour then,' said Phileas Fogg.

    'But "what about ...' Aouda said. And then she stopped. She was very unhappy about Passepartout but she understood about the bet.

    'I'm going to do everything possible for Passepartout,' said Phileas Fogg.

    He went with Aouda to the police in Hong Kong. He left a letter about Passepartout and money for his ticket back to Europe.

    At 3 o'clock, Phileas Fogg, Aouda and Fix were on the Tankadere, and the little boat started her journey to Shanghai. The wind helped, and the boat moved fast, to the north-east. With the wind behind them, they cut through the sea, very near China.

    But in the early morning of the second day, the seaman, Bunsby, came to Phileas Fogg.

    'There's too much wind now,' he said.' We get these very high winds near China. They're dangerous.'

    Then it started to rain, too.

    The weather was very bad. The Tankadere started to go high up and then down in the sea. Then left and right, up and down in the wind, under a black sky. With the wind behind them and the heavy rain, it was difficult for Bunsby. But the boat did not go down.

    Fix was afraid and very unhappy. Aouda watched Phileas Fogg. His face didn't change.

    It was night. The wind was worse and the rain was worse. Aouda fell before Phileas Fogg could catch her.

    'I'm fine,' cried Aouda.' Forget about me.'

    Bunsby talked to his seamen, and then came to Phileas Fogg.

    'Mr. Fogg,' he shouted above the noise of the wind and the rain. The seaman's face was wet with rain.' Mr. Fogg, I think that we'll have to find a port in China. We’ll have to stop there.'

    'Yes,' said Phileas Fogg.

    'But which port?' said the seaman.

    'I only know one port,' said Phileas Fogg. He spoke quietly, but Bunsby could hear him above the wind and rain. 'Shanghai.'

    The next day was better. The sky was blue again. The boat went through the sea faster. At 7 o'clock they were three miles from Shanghai. They saw a big American ship coming a little way out of the port.

    'Too late!' cried the seaman. 'Your ship is leaving.' Phileas Fogg said, 'Use your radio. Say there's a problem. We want their help.'

    When the Carnatic left Hong Kong for Japan on 7th November. Passepartout was on the ship.

    When Fix walked out of the bar in Hong Kong, Passepartout was asleep in his chair. But then a waiter saw him and gave him some water. His head hurt very badly, and he couldn't think. But one word went round and round in his head,' Carnatic! Carnatic!"

    He walked very very slowly out of the bar. He could see the Carnatic from the bar door, and he walked to it. Then he fell down for the last time. The next morning he woke up and he was on the ship.

    It was a sunny day, and Passepartout watched the blue sea. He felt better. He went to the ship's office and asked for Phileas Fogg.

    But Phileas Fogg was not on the ship. Aouda was not on the ship. Passepartout sat down. 'What happened?' he thought.

    And then he remembered. Mr. Fogg didn't know the ship'--new timetable.

    Passepartout thought, 'He will lose the bet because of me!

    And because of Fix, too.' Passepartout remembered the bar in Hong Kong. ‘I will kill Fix!' he thought.

    Passepartout was on his way to Japan. He could not change that. 'What can I do when I arrive?' he thought. 'I have no money. I have a ticket, so I can eat on the ship — but after that ? I'll eat a lot now,' he thought,' then I won't have to eat in Japan.' So he ate Phileas Fogg's food, Aouda's food and his food, too.

    On the morning of 13th November, the Carnatic arrived in the port of Yokohama.

    CHAPTER 9 TO SAN FRANCISCO

    Near Shanghai, the captain of the General Grant listened to the radio. A smaller boat, Tankedere, wanted his help. The American ship stopped next to the Tankedere. Phileas Fogg gave Bunsby five hundred and fifty pounds and climbed onto the General Grant. He paid for three tickets to San Francisco, and then Aouda and Fix got onto the American ship too.

    The first stop was Yokohama. When the General Grant arrived there on the morning of 14th November, Fogg and Aouda went to the Carnatic. But Passepartout was not there. Phileas Fogg and Aouda looked for Passepartout in the town. They asked questions everywhere. They only had one day before the General Grant left for San Francisco. Phileas Fogg and Aouda walked through the streets of Yokohama — north, south, east and west. But they couldn't find Passepartout.

    On their way back to the port, they looked in the gardens. There were a lot of gardens in Yokohama. And in the last garden before the port, they saw Passepartout on a chair in the sun. The servant was very happy, and they all went quickly to the General Grant.

    In Yokohama, Fix went to the police. The warrant was there from Hong Kong but it was too late. Fix couldn't use the warrant in Japan or America.

    Passepartout saw Fix on the ship the next day, and the Frenchman hit the detective. Fix fell down on his back.

    'Do you feel better ?' asked Fix. He got up slowly.

    'Yes, for now.'

    'Let's talk.'

    'Talk?'

    'Yes. I want to help your Mr. Fogg now.'

    'Oh!' said Passepartout.' So now you know that Mr. Fogg is not a thief.'

    'No. He's a thief and I have a warrant for him.' Passepartout started to hit him again, so Fix said quickly,' Wait! I can't use the warrant here. But Mr. Fogg is going to England. I can use the warrant there. So I want to help him. He wants to get to England quickly, and I want him to get there too. So I can help you now, and you can help me. We can be friends.'

    'Friends ? Never!' said Passepartout. ' But you can help Mr. Fogg. That's fine:

    'I'll help him. A Scotland Yard detective can do a lot of things. But don't tell him about the bar in Hong Kong. And don't say I'm a detective. Then I'll help him:

    Passepartout thought hard but said nothing.

    The General Grant had the wind behind her and a good engine, too. On 3rd December, she went through the Golden Gate and into San Francisco.

    CHAPTER 10 ACROSS AMERICA

    They had to wait for the train from San Francisco to New York. It left at 6 o'clock in the evening.

    Phileas Fogg went with Aouda and got a stamp in his passport. Passepartout bought guns for the railway journey. The Sioux Indians were dangerous.

    At 5.45, Phileas Fogg, Aouda and Passepartout were at the station. The train was ready. And there was Fix again! Phileas Fogg couldn't understand it.

    They all got on the train. The journey time was seven days. Phileas Fogg wanted to catch a ship from New York to Liverpool on 11th December.

    On the first day, at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Passepartout looked out of the window and saw some buffaloes. He saw hundreds of the big animals, and then thousands of them. They walked in front of the train and the train had to stop.

    Some people on the train were angry because the train had to stop on a hot day. They had to sit there and wait. But Phileas Fogg wasn't angry. He didn't look at his watch. He sat quietly and waited. In three hours, the thousands of buffaloes moved slowly across the railway, and then the train could start again.

    The next morning, everybody on the train heard the Sioux Indians. They heard guns and shouts. Passepartout looked out of the window. The Indians were on fast horses. They wanted to get on the train and take everybody's money. But a lot of people on the train had guns and they fought.

    A Sioux Indian killed the train driver. The Sioux wanted to stop the train but he did not understand the engine. The train went faster, not slower.

    They were very near the station at Fort Kearney, and there were soldiers there. The people on the train wanted to stop the train at the station. Then the soldiers could help them. BIK somebody had to get to the engine and stop the train.

    Passepartout called, ' I will go!'

    He climbed out of the window and then climbed under the train to the engine. The Indians didn't see him. Then Passepartout stopped the engine quite near Fort Kearney.

    Other people from the train walked to Fort Kearney and talked to the soldiers. The soldiers came back to the train. The Sioux ran away, but they took three people from the train -with them. Passepartout was one of the three.

    Aouda started to cry, but Phileas Fogg said to her, ‘I’ll get him back.'

    The captain gave Phileas Fogg thirty soldiers, and they went after the Indians. Fix wanted to go with Phileas Fogg, but Phileas Fogg said, 'Please stay here and look after Aouda.'

    He walked away, and Aouda watched him. It started to snow.

    More and more snow fell out of a dark sky. Phileas Fogg and the thirty soldiers did not come back that day or the next night. Fix and Aouda waited at Fort Kearney, but the train left without them.

    The next morning, Fix, Aouda and the soldiers at Fort Kearney heard a shout. The thirty soldiers were back with Phileas Fogg, Passepartout and the two other people from the train.

    'The train left without us,' Fix told Phileas Fogg.' The next train is this evening.'

    But that was too late. Phileas Fogg was now twenty hours behind his timetable. They could not arrive in New York by train before their ship, the China, left.

    CHAPTER 11 ACROSS THE ATLANTIC

    How could Phileas Fogg win his bet now? No ship in his book of ship and train timetables could get him to London by 21st December.

    In New York, Phileas Fogg looked round the port for a fast ship. He wanted to buy one. He saw the Henrietta, and spoke to the captain.

    'Are you leaving New York, Captain?'

    'In an hour,' said the captain. He was a hard man, and his answer was unfriendly.

    'Where are you going ?'

    'To Bordeaux.'

    'Can you take us with you ?'

    'No, I don't take people. Look in Bradshaw for a nice ship. I take things from port to port.'

    'Fast ?' asked Phileas Fogg.' Do you take things fast ?'

    'Yes. Very fast. The Henrietta does twelve miles an hour.'

    'Will you take me, and three other people, to Liverpool, Captain . . .What's your name ?'

    'My name's Speedy and the answer's no!'

    'Then I'll buy the ship from you.'

    'No!'

    Phileas Fogg thought for a minute. Then he said, ' Will you take us to Bordeaux? I can give you two thousand dollars.'

    'For each person?'

    'Yes.'

    Captain Speedy thought about it. Eight thousand dollars!

    'We're leaving at nine,' he said.

    Phileas Fogg, Aouda, Passepartout and Fix were on the ship when she left New York at 9 o'clock.

    The next day, 13th December, Phileas Fogg was captain of the ship. Captain Speedy was in his room, and two seamen watched him carefully. He couldn't leave the room. He shouted, but he couldn't get out.

    What happened on that day was this: Phileas Fogg wanted to go to Liverpool. The captain didn't want to go there, but the seamen hated their captain. And Phileas Fogg gave them some money, so they were happy about the new plan.

    Now the captain had to stay in his room. Aouda was not very happy about it, but Passepartout enjoyed it.

    Phileas Fogg was a very good ship's captain. Perhaps he was a seaman when he was younger. With her fast engine, and the wind behind her, the Henrietta moved quickly over the water.

    But one of the seamen said, 'Mr Fogg, this engine can take us faster. We have to put more wood on the fire.'

    'And where do we get more wood?'

    'From the ship. They built everything on it from wood.'

    'Thank you,' said Phileas Fogg.' I'll have to think about it.' He walked round the ship looking at the wood. Then he called Passepartout.' Bring Captain Speedy to me.'

    Captain Speedy ran to Phileas Fogg. He wanted to kill him.

    'Thief!' he shouted. 'You took my ship! Where are we ?'

    'Seven hundred and seventy miles from Liverpool,' said Fogg. 'But I sent for you, Captain, because I want to buy your ship.'

    'No! No! No!'

    'I'm going to put some of it on the fire, so the engine can take us to Liverpool faster.'

    'My ship ! This ship cost fifty thousand dollars!'

    'Here's sixty thousand,' said Phileas Fogg, and he gave the captain the money. Twelve thousand pounds.

    'Oh!' Captain Speedy was suddenly a different man. The Henrietta cost fifty thousand dollars, but she was twenty years old.

    'You er .. .You only want the wood. I'll have the engine, the .. .'

    'Oh yes. I'm only buying the wood.'

    'Thank you,' said the captain.

    And so, at 11.40 on 21st December, Phileas Fogg put his for on the ground in Liverpool. And at 11.41, Fix said,' Phileas Fogg. I'm a Scotland Yard detective. Please come with me to the nearest police station.'

    CHAPTER 12 THE END OF THE JOURNEY

    Phileas Fogg was in a police station in Liverpool. He looked at his watch. Two o'clock. He had to be at the Reform Club before 8.45.

    At 2.33, there was a lot of noise in the police station. The door opened, and Fix ran in. He was red in the face.

    'Mr. Fogg!' he cried. ‘I’m sorry. I'm very sorry. A mistake ... My mistake. We have the Bank of England thief in prison. I was on the ship, so I didn't know.'

    Then Phileas Fogg moved quickly for the first and last time in his life. He hit Fix very hard. Fix fell on the floor and stayed there.

    Passepartout and Aouda came in and they all went quickly to Liverpool railway station. The London train wasn't there. They were too late.

    Phileas Fogg paid for a train. They were the only people on it. But when the train arrived in London, the clock showed 8.50. Phileas Fogg was five minutes late.

    Aouda and Passepartout were unhappier about the bet than Phileas Fogg. This fine man had twenty thousand pounds with him at the start of the journey. And now he had one thousand pounds. He also had twenty thousand pounds in Baring's Bank, but he had to pay it to his five friends in the Reform Club.

    At home in Savile Row, Phileas Fogg stayed in his room all day. He thought about money and made plans.

    At half past seven in the evening, he came down and spoke to Aouda. He was not sad and he was not excited. He looked at Aouda and smiled.

    'Aouda,' he said,' I'm sorry. I brought you to England and now I have these money problems. Are you unhappy now?'

    'Unhappy!' said Aouda. She couldn't tell him.

    'I was rich before the bet,' said Phileas Fogg.' I brought you here to a good life, away from your dangerous life in India. But now I don't have much money. But, Aouda, can I give this money to you ? Please.'

    Aouda stood up. 'I don't want any money, but I want to be with you. I want to be your wife. Please ask me.' She gave him her hand.

    Phileas Fogg looked into her beautiful eyes. There was love in them.

    'You know ?' he asked.' Do you know that I love you ?'

    'Yes,' she said.

    Phileas Fogg called Passepartout, and he came quickly. Mr. Fogg had Aoudas hand in his hand. Passepartout saw that and he was very, very happy.

    'Do you think, Passepartout,' Phileas Fogg said,' that you can speak to Mr Wilson, at my church? Is it too late in the day?'

    Passepartout smiled. 'It is never too late,' he said. It was 8.05. ' For tomorrow, Monday ?' he asked.

    'For tomorrow, Monday,' said Phileas Fogg and Aouda.

    Passepartout ran out. At 8.35 he was back. He was red in the face. and he couldn't speak.

    'What is it ?' asked Phileas Fogg.

    'Mr. Fogg . .. Please ... Mr. Fogg, tomorrow ... You and Aouda. Not possible ...'

    'Not possible ? Why ?' asked Phileas Fogg.

    'Because tomorrow is Sunday ...'

    'Monday,' said Fogg.

    'No ... today is Saturday ...'

    'No, it isn't.'

    'Yes, it is!' cried Passepartout. 'We made a mistake. We arrived in England a day early. But you only have ten minutes. Lets go, Mr. Fogg! You will have to run to the Reform Club. You do it in twenty-five minutes every day, but today you have only ten minutes. Run, Mr. Fogg, run!'

    He pulled Phileas Fogg to the door. Phileas Fogg ran, and he thought about his mistake. Of course! The time changes in every country. When you go round the world to the west, you lose one day. But when you go round the world to the east, you have one more day. But now, was he too late? Phileas Fogg ran through London.

    Phileas Fogg's friends were at the card table in the Reform Club that evening. When the clock said 8.25, Stuart said, 'In twenty minutes he'll be too late. The last train from Liverpool arrived at 7.23, and the next one arrives at 12.10.We're going to win our bet!'

    Nobody said anything. They weren't really happy. They didn't really want to win the bet. They liked Phileas Fogg. So they played cards and said nothing.

    'Eight forty-three,' said Stuart.

    Two more minutes. The five men looked sadder and sadder. They watched the door and waited.

    A moment - a very short moment - before 8.45, Phileas Fogg opened the door and said quietly, 'Here I am, my friends.'

    'Now I am a rich man again,' said Phileas Fogg,' so I'll ask you again. Do you want to be my wife?'

    'Yes,' said Aouda. 'But you were a poor man when you asked me. And now you're a rich man again, so do you want to be my husband ?'

    Passepartout did not wait for the answer. He ran to the church and told Mr. Wilson.



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    Introduction

    And Buck really was crazy now. He had fire in his eyes, and he wanted to kill . . . In the end, Buck couldn't stand up. He couldn't see or hear. He was almost dead.

    In this way, Buck's new life in the cold north of Canada begins. He has to learn many new things, and the lessons are hard. But Buck is a strong, intelligent dog and he wants to live.

    Buck meets dangerous men—and dogs—in this difficult, snowy country. He changes because he has to change. But can he really be happy there?

    The life of Jack London (1876—1916) was as interesting as his books. His family didn't have any money, and he wasn't happy with life in Pennsylvania. His great love, when he was a child, was reading.

    London left school when he was fifteen years old and he visited other places in the United States. He had many different jobs, but he never had much money. In 1896, he heard about the gold in northwest Canada. He went there because he wanted a new life, and he wanted to find gold.

    He met many interesting people and animals. He left the Yukon three years later without any gold, but with the idea for a good story. This was The Call of the Wild.

    Two of his other books about the cold north are White Fang and The Son of the Wolf. London was very famous, and he made a lot of money from his books. But he always had money problems, and he drank. He died at the age of forty.

    People around the world love his stories about the lives of the people and animals of the north.

    Chapter 1    To the North

    Buck was a strong dog with a thick coat. He lived in a big house, Mr. Miller's place, in sunny California. There were tall trees around the house, and there was a pool, too. Buck was four years old, and the Millers were his family. He swam with the boys and walked with the women. He carried the babies on his back, and at night Buck sat at Mr. Miller's feet. There were other dogs at Mr. Miller's house, but Buck was the most important. He was the boss there, and he was very happy.

    That year, 1897, was an exciting year. Some men found gold in the cold Arctic north of Canada, and a lot of people followed them there. Everybody wanted gold. And they wanted dogs— strong dogs with thick coats. The dogs had to pull the gold through the snow to towns and rivers.

    But Buck didn't know about the cold north, or gold—and he didn't know about Manuel.

    Manuel worked for Mr. Miller, but he always wanted more money.

    "I can sell Buck," he thought. "He's strong. Somebody will pay a lot of money for him."

    One day, Mr. Miller was at work and the children were busy. Manuel put a rope around Buck's neck and left the house quietly. He met a man at a train station, and the man gave him money for the dog.

    Buck didn't like this new man, and he started to bark. So the man pulled the rope around his neck very hard. This hurt Buck, and it made him angrier. He tried to fight the man, but the man pulled the rope again. The pain was very bad. Buck fell to the ground and his eves closed.

    He opened his eyes when a loud noise woke him. He was on a train! And there was that man again.

    Buck was very hungry and thirsty, and he hated the rope around his neck. He jumped up and tried to attack the man. But the man was quick, and pulled the rope. Buck's neck hurt very badly. Then the man put him in a box.

    "Crazy animal!" he said.

    When they arrived in San Francisco, the man left Buck, in his box, at a bar.

    The next morning, four other men arrived and put Buck in a car. He barked angrily at them, but they only laughed. He was in the box in the car for two days and two nights without food or water. He hated his box, and he hated the men. He wanted to kill somebody.

    After a long time, they arrived in Seattle. Four men carried the box to a house and gave it to a man in a red shirt. This man had a club in his hand, and he looked at Buck.

    "OK, I'll get you out of that box now," he said. He started to open the box carefully. Buck jumped up and barked. "Now, you crazy dog ..." the man said.

    And Buck really was crazy now. He had fire in his eyes, and he wanted to kill. He jumped at the man: one hundred and forty pounds of angry, crazy dog. But the man suddenly hit him very hard with the club. Buck fell to the ground, and barked. Then he attacked again. Again the man hit him, and again Buck fell to the ground. The pain was very bad.

    Twelve times he attacked, 'and twelve times the man hit him. In the end, Buck couldn't stand up. He couldn't see or hear. He was almost dead.

    "That will teach him!" shouted one of the men.

    Buck slowly woke up and looked at the man with the red shirt. The man read from a paper on Buck's box.

    "So your name's Buck. Buck, my boy," he said quietly, "we had a little fight and now we can forget about it. You know that I'm the boss. Be a good dog, and we'll be friends. I kill bad dogs. Do you understand?"

    He brought Buck some food and water. Buck ate and drank quickly. He learned a lesson that day. He learned the lesson of the club, and he never forgot it.

    One day, a small French-Canadian man came and looked at Buck. His name was Perrault.

    "Wow! He's a big, strong dog. How much do you want for him?"

    "Three hundred dollars," answered the man in the red shirt.

    "This is a wonderful dog for the cold North," Perrault thought. "He's strong and his coat is thick and warm." He bought Buck and another dog, Curly, and he took the two dogs to a boat. Buck never saw the man in the red shirt or the warm South again.

    On the boat, the two dogs met Francois, another French-Canadian. He and Perrault were kind and intelligent, and they understood dogs. Buck and Curly also met two other dogs, Spitz and Dave. Spitz took Buck's food, so Buck didn't like him. Dave was sad and unfriendly, and wasn't interested in anything. He only wanted to eat and sleep.

    Day after day, the weather got colder. Then they arrived in Alaska, and Francois took the dogs off the boat. Buck walked on snow for the first time in his life.

    Chapter 2    The Laws of the Wild

    Buck's first day in this new, cold country was very bad. There were a lot of dangerous men and dogs everywhere.

    This wasn't a sunny, easy life. Here, there was no rest. Buck had to be careful and he had to learn quickly.

    These dogs and men weren't from the South. They were wild, and they followed the law of the club.

    Buck's first new lesson, in this cold place, came quickly. Buck and Curly stood near a store, in one of the camps. A new dog walked past them. Curly wanted to be friendly, so she barked quietly. Suddenly, the other dog turned around and attacked her. He hurt her face very badly. Many other dogs saw the attack and ran quickly to the two dogs. They stood and watched quietly. They all looked excited and interested, and Buck didn't understand.

    Curly was very angry, so she jumped at this strange, unfriendly dog. But the dog attacked her again and jumped away quickly. Curly couldn't attack the other dog because he was very fast. Suddenly, he pushed Curly over and she fell on the ground. The other dogs ran at her, and Curly barked with pain. But she couldn't stand up and the other dogs attacked her again and again.

    Buck couldn't move. Dogs in California never fought in this way. He looked at Spitz, and Spitz laughed. Then Francois jumped into the center of the crazy dogs and hit them with his club. He and three other men with clubs quickly moved the dogs away.

    It all happened very fast, but in those two minutes Curly was dead.

    Buck never forgot this attack. Spitz looked at Buck and he laughed again. From that time, Buck hated Spitz more than anything in life.

    But then Buck had another surprise. Francois put a harness on him.

    "I know you don't like this, .Buck," said Francois. "I know it's new and strange for you. But you have to wear it. Then you can pull the sledge."

    Buck didn't like this new thing around his neck, and he didn't like pulling the sledge. But Francois hit him when he did something wrong. And Spitz attacked him when he didn't run very fast. Francois shouted, "Mush!" and Buck had to run quickly.

    He then shouted, "Ho!" and Buck had to stop. In this way, Buck learned to pull the sledge.

    "These are very good dogs," Francois said to Perrault, "Buck pulls very hard and he learns very quickly."

    In the afternoon, Perrault bought three more dogs—Billie, Joe, and Sol-leks. Billie was a very friendly dog, but Joe was unfriendly. Sol-leks was the same - he wasn't interested in anybody or anything.

    That night, Buck had another new problem. He wanted to sleep in a warm, dry place, so he tried to sleep with the men. But Perrault and Francois were surprised and angry, and they threw plates and cups at him. Buck ran away from them, and went back into the cold.

    He was very unhappy; he didn't want to sleep outside. The snow was wet and cold, and the wind hurt him. He looked for the other dogs, but he couldn't see them anywhere! Suddenly, the snow moved under his feet and he jumped back. He started to bark angrily, but then he heard a friendly bark. Buck looked down and saw Billie.

    Billie was a little ball under the snow and he was happy and warm. Then Buck understood. He quickly made a little bed under the snow, and he slept very well.

    In the morning, Perrault and Francois bought three more dogs. Now they had nine dogs and they had to begin their trip. Buck was ready, and he was surprised by the excitement of the dogs. But he was most surprised by Sol-leks and Dave.

    They were different dogs; suddenly they were happy, excited, and interested. They only loved two things—the harness and the work.

    The days were very long and hard. They went past woods and across many large, icy rivers. It was difficult, but Buck worked hard. And at the end of every day he made his bed in the snow and fell asleep very quickly.

    Buck was bigger than the other dogs and he was always hungry. Francois gave him a pound and a half of fish every night, but Buck always wanted more food. Also, Buck didn't eat as quickly as the other dogs, so they often took his fish away from him. After many days, Buck started to eat as fast as the others. And then he started to take other dogs' fish, too. One day, another dog, Pike, took some fish from the food box. Perrault didn't see him, but Buck watched carefully. The next day, Buck did the same thing.

    Buck quickly learned the ways of the wild. And now he could live in this cold, unfriendly place. He wasn't the same dog—he was quicker, smarter, and stronger.

    He was there, in the North, because Manuel wanted money. And men wanted gold. Now a new life began for Buck. He was a different dog—a wilder dog. On the cold, quiet nights, Buck looked up and howled at the dark sky.

    Chapter 3    A Bad Fight

    This new, wild animal in Buck was strong, but Buck's new life was very dangerous.

    He never fought with the other dogs, but Spitz hated him.

    Spitz was the most important dog. He knew the sledge best. He always taught the new dogs to work hard. And the other dogs were afraid of him. He was the strongest, the most intelligent and the most dangerous. He wanted to fight with Buck because every day Buck got stronger and more dangerous. But Spitz had to be the best, so he had to kill Buck.

    One cold, windy evening, they stopped next to a river. Buck was very tired and he quickly made a warm bed in the snow. He wasn't happy when Francois shouted, "Buck, come eat your fish!" He didn't want to leave his warm bed, but he was very hungry. So he ran to the food box and quickly ate his dinner.

    But when he turned around, he saw Spitz. The other dog was in Buck's bed. He looked at Buck and laughed. Buck barked at him, and the wild animal inside him went crazy.

    He quickly jumped at Spitz. Spitz was very surprised because Buck was never angry.

    Francois was also surprised when the two dogs started fighting.

    "Fight him, Buck! You can win!" shouted Francois. "Get him, get Spitz, that bad dog!"

    But the fight never finished, because Perrault shouted. Everybody heard the noise of Perrault's club and the cry of a dog. The camp was suddenly full of strange, thin dogs. There were eighty or a hundred of them, and they wanted food. The two men hit the dogs with their clubs, but the dogs didn't leave.

    They found the food box, and they went crazy. The noise was very loud and the sledge dogs were afraid.

    The strange dogs finished the food and then attacked the sledge dogs. They hurt them very badly. They hurt Dolly's neck and cut Dub's leg. They took out Joe's eye and almost cut off Billies ear.

    Billie cried in pain and ran away, over the icy river. The other sledge dogs followed Billie, and they all looked for a quiet place to sleep.

    In the morning, the dogs walked slowly back to the camp.

    "Oh, my friends," said Francois sadly.

    The dogs were in a lot of pain, and they looked very bad.

    "Maybe you'll go crazy. Because those dogs attacked you, maybe you're crazy now. What do you think, Perrault?"

    "No! They'll be fine," said Perrault. "We have many days of work so the dogs have to be all right!"

    But the dogs weren't all right, and one morning, Dolly went crazy. She stopped in front of her harness and sat down. She howled loudly. Then she looked at Buck and jumped at him.

    Buck was afraid! He didn't know any crazy dogs. And he liked Dolly—he didn't want to see this. He quickly ran away from Dolly, but she was only one jump behind him. He ran through the trees, across some ice and back to the river. Dolly barked crazily behind him, but she couldn't catch him.

    "Buck, come here, boy. Come to me!" shouted Francois. Buck turned and ran back to the camp. He was very tired now and had a lot of pain in his legs.

    "I'll have to help Buck," thought Francois, and he found his club. Buck ran past him and Francois's club came down very hard on Dolly's head.

    Buck stopped and fell near the sledge. Spitz saw Buck and quickly attacked him. But Francois saw this and he hit Spitz with his club, many, many times.

    "Spitz is a dangerous dog," said Perrault. "He really hates Buck. One day he's going to kill him!"

    "But Buck's more dangerous," answered Francois. "I always watch him, and I know. One day he'll get very angry and he'll eat Spitz for dinner. He'll kill him easily. I know it."

    The weather got warmer and the trip got very difficult. The dogs couldn't fight—there was no time. The ice got very thin in some places and the sledge broke through it many times.

    One time, when the ice broke, Buck and Dave fell into the icy water. They were almost dead when the two men pulled them out. The men made a fire, and the dogs had to run around it very quickly. They had to get the thick ice off their coats.

    Another time, Spitz went through the ice and pulled the other dogs in too. Then the ice broke behind the sledge. Perrault had to climb up a high rock next to the river very quickly. He took the rope from the dogs' harnesses with him. Then he pulled the dogs out of the river, and onto the rock. With the dogs' help, Perrault then pulled the sledge onto the rock. Francois climbed up after him.

    Everybody was very cold and very tired. But they couldn't stay up on the rock; they had to get back down to the river. So they walked to the end of the rock and, slowly and carefully, Francois and Perrault took the dogs back down. They only went a half of a kilometer that day.

    Perrault wasn't happy, because this trip was too slow.

    So on the good days, the dogs had to work long hours. But Buck's feet weren't as hard as the other dogs' feet. In sunny California, he never had to walk on cold, hard ice and snow. So now he walked with a lot of pain. One night, he couldn't get up and eat his fish.

    Francois looked at Buck's tired feet. He wanted to help him, so he cut off the tops of his boots. He made Buck four little dog-boots.

    "Here, Buck," Francois said kindly. "These will help you."

    Buck loved his new little boots and he was happier after that. One morning, Francois forgot about Buck's boots. He harnessed the other dogs and then called Buck. But Buck didn't go to his harness and he didn't get up. Perrault and Francois found Buck and they laughed. Buck was on his back with his four feet up. Francois put Buck's boots on. Then the dog happily got up and walked to his harness.

    "He really is a crazy dog," Perrault laughed.

    After many more days on the river, they arrived in Dawson. It was a gray day, and everybody was very tired. There were men and dogs and sledges everywhere. Every day the dogs ran up and down the streets and pulled wood and gold for the men. The dogs worked very hard. They did the same work as horses. And every night, at twelve and at three the dogs howled at the night sky.

    They sang their strange song, and Buck loved to sing with them. It was a very old song—a song from a younger world. And when Buck howled, he howled with the pain of his wild fathers.

    Seven days later, they left Dawson. The dogs were strong now, and the fighting quickly began again.

    Buck had small fights with Spitz every day, and he always fought him in front of the other dogs. Now Buck was stronger and more dangerous than Spitz, and the other dogs could see this. They stopped liking Spitz. Other dogs began to fight with Spitz, too. They weren't afraid of him and they didn't listen to him. So the dogs began to work badly and they didn't pull the sledge well.

    Francois got very angry at his dogs.

    "You stupid dogs!" he shouted, and he hit them again and again. But nothing helped. The dogs didn't stop fighting.

    One night, after dinner, a dog found a small animal. The animal jumped up and ran away very quickly. The sledge dogs saw it and they quickly ran after it. Buck was in front of the other dogs. He was very excited. He wanted to catch the animal and kill it. He ran and ran. But the animal was always one jump in front. Buck was very happy.

    Spitz quietly left the dogs and ran a different way. Buck didn't see him.

    Suddenly Spitz jumped out in front of the animal. It couldn't turn around, and Spitz's big teeth killed it quickly. The other dogs howled and barked. But Buck didn't bark and he didn't stop. He ran at the white dog, and Buck and Spitz began their last, dangerous fight.

    Spitz fought very well, and he attacked Buck again and again. Buck tried to push him onto the ground, but Spitz always jumped away very quickly. After some minutes, Buck was in a lot of pain. He had many cuts, but Spitz was fine. Buck was very tired, and the other dogs watched him carefully. Then Buck jumped at Spitz again. His teeth closed around Spitz's leg, and Spitz cried loudly. With a quick jump, Buck broke Spitz's leg.

    Spitz was now in a lot of pain, but he tried hard to stand up. Then Buck started the last attack. He could see and feel the other dogs. They waited and watched. They wanted one of the two dogs to fall. Buck jumped up and hit Spitz hard. Spitz cried and fell. The other dogs quickly attacked him. Buck sat down and watched. He was very tired. But he felt good, because now he was the most important dog.

    Chapter 4    The New Boss

    "Hey, what did I say? I was right. Buck is a very dangerous dog," Francois said the next morning. He couldn't find Spitz anywhere, and Buck had many cuts on him.

    Perrault looked at Buck's cuts and said, "Yes, but Spitz fought hard."

    "And Buck fought harder," answered Francois. "Now the sledge will go faster. Without Spitz, there will be no more problems. I know I'm right."

    Then Perrault put the bags onto the sledge and Francois put the dogs into their harnesses. Buck walked to Spitz's harness and waited. But Francois didn't see him and brought Sol-leks to the same place. Buck jumped at SoUeks angrily, and Sol-leks had to move away.

    "Ha!" Francois laughed. "Look at Buck! He killed Spitz, and now he wants his job! Go away, Buck!" he shouted, but Buck didn't move. Then Francois pulled Buck by his neck and put Sol-leks in Spitz's harness. Buck barked angrily, but he moved. Sol-leks was afraid of Buck and he didn't want to make Buck angry.

    So, when Francois turned around, Buck easily pushed Sol-leks

    away again.

    Francois was angry now. "Buck—you bad dog! You move away now!" he shouted, and he took his club. Buck remembered the man in the red shirt and he walked away.

    When Francois brought Sol-leks back, Buck didn't bark.

    "OK, now you, Buck. Come here and get into your harness," Francois said.

    But Buck walked away from him. Francois followed, but Buck didn't stop.

    Francois looked down at the club in his hand. "Oh, I understand. You're afraid of this. All right, I'll put it on the ground—look. Now, come to me."

    But Buck wasn't afraid of the club and he didn't go to Francois. He wanted to be in Spitz's harness. He was the best dog now and he didn't want to go back to his old harness. He walked away again. He didn't leave the camp, but Francois couldn't get near him.

    After an hour, Francois sat down. He looked at Perrault and smiled. Then he looked back at Buck.

    "OK Buck, you win!" And he took Sol-leks out of Spitz's place.

    Buck laughed and walked to the sledge. Francois put him in his new harness.

    "Mush!" Francois shouted, and the sledge started to move. Francois watched Buck carefully. "I don't think Buck can do Spitz's job." Francois thought. But he was wrong.

    After some kilometers, Francois thought, "Wow! Buck is better than Spitz! He's faster, stronger, and more intelligent than Spitz. Spitz was the best dog, but now Buck is better!"

    Buck quickly stopped the fighting between the other dogs.

    He was the new boss now, and the other dogs were afraid of him. They listened to him and worked hard for him. Francois and Perrault were surprised and very happy.

    "Buck is the best sledge dog in the North." Francois said. "Somebody will pay a thousand dollars for him! What do you think, Perrault?"

    "Yes, you're right," he said. Perrault was very happy with Buck's work, too.

    Perrault was also very happy with this trip. The ice was hard, and there was no new snow. It wasn't too cold. Every day, for fourteen days, they ran 20 kilometers. And at the end of the second week, they could see Skaguay.

    But when they arrived at Skaguay, Francois and Perrault's plans changed. They had to leave Skaguay and the Yukon.

    They had to sell the dogs quickly. Francois put his arms around Buck's neck and he cried. Buck never saw the two men again.

    A Scottish man bought the sledge dogs. He and some other men worked for the Canadian Mail Company. They carried people's letters to them. The next day, they took the sledge back to Dawson, and it was hard work for the dogs. The sledge was very heavy and the snow was very thick. Buck didn't like this new job, but he always worked hard. And the other dogs had to work hard, too.

    On this trip, Buck only liked one thing. He liked to sit by the fire at night, before he went to bed. He often thought about Curly and his fight with Spitz. Sometimes he remembered Mr. Miller's house in California. But he wasn't sad. He didn't want to go back to Mr. Miller's big house and the warm sun. He had a new home now, and a new life. This life was hard, but good.

    After many more days and nights, they arrived in Dawson. Now the dogs were very tired. They were very thin, and they wanted a long rest.

    But they only had two days' rest, and then they had to start again. The dogs couldn't run fast, and the men weren't happy. And it snowed every day, so the sledge got heavier and heavier. It was the dogs' third trip back to Skaguay. And day after day, they got weaker and weaker.

    Dave had the biggest problem. Sometimes the sledge stopped suddenly, and Dave cried with pain. The men looked at him carefully, but they couldn't find the problem. Something was wrong inside Dave, but they couldn't help him.

    After three days, Dave was very weak, and he fell to the ground in his harness many times. The Scottish man stopped the sledge and took him out of his harness. He wanted to give Dave a rest, but this made the dog angry. Dave was in a lot of pain, but he had a job. It was his work, and Dave hated to see another dog in his harness. The sledge started to move again, and Dave ran next to the other dogs. Running was very difficult in the thick snow. He cried and barked with pain.

    He was also very weak, and he fell down in the snow. He howled sadly, and started to walk slowly behind the sledge.

    The dogs had to have a short rest, so the men stopped. They watched Dave. He walked slowly and carefully to the sledge. He stopped next to Sol-leks and didn't move away.

    One man said, "Some dogs die because they can't work. Sledge dogs love their work. And when they can't pull the sledge, they don't want to live."

    The Scottish man listened and then said, "I think Dave is going to die. But he can die in his harness. Then he'll die happy."

    So the men put Dave back into his harness, and the sledge started again. Dave was happy in his harness, but the pain was very bad. He fell many times, and one time, the sledge went over his legs. But he stayed in his harness and night came. The men stopped and made their camp. Dave fell down in the snow next to the sledge. They gave the dogs their fish, but Dave couldn't eat.

    In the morning, Dave couldn't get up. He tried to go to his harness, but he couldn't move his legs. The men waited for a short time, but then they had to leave. The sledge moved away from the camp and Dave howled sadly.

    The sledge went behind some trees, and the Scottish man stopped the dogs. "I have to help Dave," he thought. "He'll die slowly in the cold snow, and I don't want that. He was a good dog."

    He walked back to Dave, and the other men stopped talking. Then they heard the sound of a gun. The Scottish man came back quickly and shouted, "Mush!" The sledge moved away fast. But Buck knew, and every other dog knew. They understood the sound of the gun. And now Dave had no more pain.

    Chapter 5    A Bad Trip

    The Canadian Mail sledge, with Buck and the other dogs, arrived in Skaguay. They looked and felt very tired. Buck was very thin. The dogs' feet had cuts on them and they couldn't run. After thirty days without a rest, they were very weak.

    "Come, my friends," said the driver. "This is the end. Now we'll have a long rest—a very long rest."

    But there were letters in Skaguay for the men in the North, and the mail sledge had to leave again. The dogs only had a three-day rest. They were tired and weak, and now they couldn't pull the heavy sledge. The men had to buy new, strong dogs, so the Scottish man sold Buck and the other dogs. He didn't ask for a lot of money because the dogs couldn't work very hard.

    Two American men, Charles and Hal, bought the tired dogs and their harnesses. Charles was forty-five years old and he had weak, watery eyes. Hal was a younger man of about twenty. He wasn't a kind man. He always carried a gun and a big knife with him. The two men looked strange in the North, and they didn't understand life there.

    Hal and Charles took Buck and the other dogs to their new camp. Buck saw a woman, Mercedes, there, and a very large sledge. Hal put the dogs into their harnesses and the dogs waited. The men put a lot of bags and boxes onto the sledge, and it got heavier and heavier.

    A man walked past and looked at their sledge.

    "You have a very big, heavy sledge there," he said to Hal. "It's too heavy. Do you really think it will move?"

    "Of course—now go away!" shouted Hal, and he took out his club. "Mush! Go! Move!" he shouted to the dogs. The dogs jumped and tried to move the sledge. But it was too heavy and they couldn't move it.

    "You stupid dogs! You aren't pulling hard!" shouted Hal. "I'll kill you!" And Hal started to hit the weak dogs with his club.

    Some men came and watched Hal.

    "Those dogs are tired. They want a rest," said one man.

    "Be quiet!" shouted Hal, and he started to hit the dogs again.

    Another man watched angrily. "Those poor dogs," he thought. "That man is very stupid, but I have to help those dogs." So he shouted to Hal, "Break the ice under the sledge. The dogs want to work hard, so don't hit them. Help them, and your sledge will move."

    Hal didn't want to listen to the man, but his dogs couldn't move. So he broke the ice, and the sledge slowly moved down the street. But the road suddenly, turned left and the large sledge fell over. Bags and boxes went everywhere. Then the harnesses broke from the sledge, and the dogs ran away.

    Many nice people came and helped Hal, Charles, and Mercedes. They found their things and brought the dogs back.

    One man said, "You'll have to buy more dogs. Your sledge is very heavy."

    So Charles bought more dogs, and now they had fourteen animals. They started again, and the men felt happy and important.

    The heavy sledge moved slowly down the street. The dogs worked as hard as they could.

    The trip back to Dawson was very bad. Hal, Charles, and Mercedes fought every day. They didn't have any plans and they didn't know about this cold country. They started late in the morning and finished early in the afternoon. So they didn't go many kilometers in a day. They hated the cold, the snow, and the Yukon.

    They also didn't know about dogs, so they didn't bring much food for them. The dogs began to die because they were tired, weak, and very hungry. In one week, six dogs died, and the other dogs were almost dead.

    It was beautiful spring weather. The sun came up early and went down late every day. The birds sang, and the trees were green again. The ice on the river started to break. But through these wonderful days, with new life everywhere, the two men, the woman, and the dogs walked. They didn't enjoy the spring. They thought only of the hard work and the pain.

    Buck and the other dogs had no life in them when they arrived, one evening, at John Thornton's camp. When the sledge stopped, every dog fell down in the snow. They looked dead.

    "What's the best way to Dawson?" Hal asked Thornton.

    Thornton looked at the sledge and thought, "I know these people. They're stupid. I know they won't listen to me. But I want to help those dogs."

    "The weather is warmer now," he said to Hal, "and the ice is very thin. Don't walk across this river to Dawson now."

    "Some people in Skaguay said the same thing, and we're here.

    You're wrong—the ice is thick. We're going to finish our trip. We will get to Dawson," Hal answered.

    Thornton didn't stop them. They didn't want to hear his words. They didn't understand the North.

    Hal shouted to his dogs, "Get up, you stupid animals! Move! Get up, Buck!"

    But Buck didn't get up. So Hal took his club and hit him hard. Buck stayed on the ground. Hal hit him again and again. Buck didn't want to get up.

    On this trip the ice felt dangerous under his feet. It felt different, and many times on the last river, he was afraid. He was very, very tired and he couldn't get up. The club didn't hurt very much now and Buck started to die. He could hear the club, but now he couldn't feel it.

    Suddenly, Thornton attacked Hal. Hal fell to the ground. Thornton stood over Buck and said angrily, "You hit that dog again, and I'll kill you!"

    "It's my dog," answered Hal. "Get out of my way or I'll kill you. We're going to Dawson and you aren't going to stop us!"

    Thornton stood between Hal and Buck. He didn't move. Then Hal took out his long knife. But Thornton quickly hit Hal on the hand and the knife fell to the ground. Thornton hit Hal again. Then he took the knife and quickly cut Buck's harness.

    Hal couldn't fight Thornton. He was tired, and Buck was almost dead. He didn't want him now.

    Minutes later, the heavy sledge, with five tired dogs, Hal, Charles and Mercedes, went down to the river. Buck watched them, and Thornton sat down next to Buck. He felt Buck's legs and his back.

    "This animal will have to have a lot of food and rest," he thought. "I hope he doesn't die."

    The sledge moved slowly across the river. Suddenly, the thin ice broke and the sledge fell into the cold water. The dogs barked and Mercedes shouted. Then the dogs and the people quickly went under the ice. Buck never saw them again. Thornton looked at Buck, and Buck looked back at him.

    "Oh, Buck, "Thornton said quietly.        

    Chapter 6    For the Love of a Man

    John Thornton had bad feet from an accident in the winter before Buck came. So his friends made a camp for him, and they left him by the river.

    "We're going to Dawson. But we'll be back for you when the weather's warmer. Have a long rest here and get better," they said.

    In the camp, Buck sat and watched the river. He listened to the songs of the birds, and he slowly got stronger and stronger. They all got stronger—Buck, Thornton, and his other dogs, Nig and Skeet—and they waited for Thornton's friends. Skeet was a small, friendly dog, and she was a little doctor to Buck. Every morning, after breakfast, she carefully washed Buck's cuts. Nig was a very large, black dog and he was also friendly. They were good friends and they played games every day.

    And Buck slowly learned a new lesson. He learned about love. For the first time in his life, he felt strong love—for Thornton. This wonderful man took him away from Hal, and he helped him. He was kind and friendly, and he never hit him. Thornton's dogs were his children and he talked to them every day. Buck loved Thornton's talks with him. He barked at him.

    "Wow, Buck, "Thornton laughed. "I think you can speak!"

    Buck's love for Thornton got stronger and stronger. He loved Thornton more than anything in life.

    Thornton's friends, Hans and Pete, arrived in the camp with their boat.

    In the beginning, Buck didn't like these strange men, but then he saw Thornton's love for his friends.

    So Buck walked to them when they called him. And he didn't bark angrily at them. But Buck's love was only for Thornton, and Hans and Pete could see this.

    One day, the two men watched Thornton and Buck.

    "Buck really loves Thornton," Pete said. "But I'm afraid. You know the men in the North. Sometimes they get angry easily and some men like to fight. And when somebody hurts Thornton, Buck will go crazy."

    "Yes," answered Hans. "In Thornton's next fight, Buck will kill the other man."

    It was at Circle City, in December, when Pete remembered those words. Thornton and his friends were in a bar. "Black" Barton was in the bar, too. He was a large, angry man. Barton wanted to fight with somebody, so he started to speak angrily to a smaller man. The man was afraid.

    Thornton watched the two men. "Oh, no, there's going to be a fight," he thought. "And this won't be a good fight, because Barton is bigger than that other man. I'll have to do something."

    So Thornton went to Barton and spoke quietly to him. Barton turned around and hit Thornton very hard in the face.

    The people in the bar heard a loud angry bark. Then a large dog quickly jumped up and ran at Barton. Barton put up his arm and Buck attacked it. Buck and Barton fell to the floor. Buck was on top of the man. He was very angry, and he attacked Barton again. This time, he hurt his neck very badly and Barton shouted with pain. Then some men pulled Buck off Barton and they took the dog outside.

    A doctor came and looked at Barton's neck.

    "He's got a very bad cut, but he's going to live," he said.

    A man said, "Yes, but Buck's dangerous. He almost killed that man! We'll have to kill him."

    "No, we can't do that!" said another man. "Buck attacked Barton because Barton hit Thornton. He's a good dog, and he helped his friend."

    So nobody was angry with Buck. But other people in Alaska heard about this wonderful, strange dog and his great love for Thornton.

    At the end of the next summer, Buck showed his love for Thornton again. Hans, Pete, and Thornton wanted to take their boat down a fast river. Hans and Pete stood next to the river when Thornton was in the boat. Buck didn't like this river, and he watched Thornton very carefully.

    Suddenly, the boat moved very quickly through the water and it hit a rock. The boat turned over and Thornton fell into the cold river. He quickly went under the fast water, and the river carried him away.

    Buck jumped into the water and swam to his friend. When he came near, Thornton put his arms around Buck's neck. Then Buck tried to swim to Hans and Pete. They could pull Thornton out. But the water was very fast, and it pushed Thornton and Buck quickly down the river.

    "You can't pull me to Hans and Pete!" Thornton shouted to Buck. He caught a large rock and pushed Buck away. "Go Buck! Go! You have to get out of the river!"

    Buck didn't want to leave his friend, but he slowly swam to Hans and Pete.

    The two men pulled the wet dog out of the river. They had to help Thornton quickly, so they ran fast to a place above Thornton.

    Then they put a rope around Buck and he quickly jumped into the cold water again. But the water was too strong and it carried Buck past Thornton. Hans and Pete had to pull Buck out of the river again fast, before he hit the dangerous rocks. When they got Buck out of the water, he looked dead. There was a lot of water in his nose and mouth. Hans and Pete hit the water out of him, but he couldn't see very well.

    "Help, help! I'm going down," shouted Thornton.

    Buck heard his friend's cry and jumped up. He felt very bad, but he had to help Thornton. Hans, Pete, and Buck quickly ran back to the place above Thornton. They put the rope around Buck's neck again, and he jumped in.

    The water was very strong and very cold, but Buck didn't stop. Buck swam to Thornton, and Thornton caught him around his neck. Hans and Pete pulled the rope very hard, and slowly Buck and Thornton moved nearer to them. But they went under the water many times, and they hit many hard rocks.

    Then, suddenly, they were on the ground next to the river. They looked dead and they had a lot of cuts on them. Buck couldn't move and he couldn't open his eyes.

    When Thornton woke up, he wanted to see Buck. He sat up and saw his beautiful dog on the ground near him.

    "Is he dead?" he quickly asked Pete.

    "No," Pete answered, "but he's in a lot of pain and he can't walk."

    "OK," said Thornton quietly, "we can't go down this river now. We'll stay here. And when Buck's well, we'll take the boat down the river again."

    After many weeks, Buck got better and they all went down the river to Dawson.

    That winter, at Dawson, Buck did another wonderful thing for Thornton.

    Hans, Pete, and Thornton were in a bar, one afternoon, with other men.

    Suddenly, one man said, "I have a very strong dog. I think he can pull a sledge with two hundred kilos of sugar on it!"

    Another man, Matthewson, said, "Ha! That's nothing. My dog can pull a sledge with three hundred kilos of sugar on it."

    "Now that's nothing," said Thornton. "My Buck can pull a sledge with four hundred and fifty kilos of sugar on it!"

    "And walk a hundred meters with it?" asked Matthewson.

    "Yes, and walk a hundred meters," answered Thornton coldly.

    "Let's see this, and I'll give you a thousand dollars. Or you have to give me a thousand dollars. OK?" said Matthewson. He put a; large bag of gold on the table. "And here it is. I have a sledge outside, now, and it has four hundred and fifty kilos of sugar on it."

    Nobody spoke, and Thornton's face went very red.

    "Oh no!" he thought. "Can Buck pull four hundred and fifty kilos of sugar?"

    He looked at the faces around him. And then he saw an old friend, Jim O'Brien.

    "Can you give me a thousand dollars?" he asked quietly.

    "Yes, of course," answered his good friend.

    Everybody walked quickly out of the bar. They were excited. They talked about Buck's test and about the money.

    Thornton brought Buck to Matthewson's sledge, and put on his harness. Buck looked beautiful. He was young and strong. Thornton sat down next to Buck and put his arms around his neck. Then he put his hands on Buck's face and looked into his eyes.

    "Do this for my love, Buck. Do this for me," he said quietly.

    Then Thornton stood up and walked away from his dog.

    "Now, Buck ... GO!" he shouted.

    Buck jumped up and pulled hard, but it was a very difficult job. Buck pulled and pulled. Nobody spoke. Slowly, the sledge began to move. It moved one centimeter, and then two centimeters. And then it started to move across the snow. Thornton walked behind the sledge and shouted, "That's it, Buck. You're a strong dog. You can do it. Go, go!"

    Buck felt tired, but he didn't stop. Slowly, he walked to the end of the hundred meters. Everybody went crazy. They shouted and jumped. They were happy and excited. They talked about Buck, the most wonderful dog in Alaska.

    Thornton sat down next to Buck and put his hands on Buck's head.

    "I love you, you crazy, wonderful dog," he said happily.

    Chapter 7    The Call of the Wild

    When Buck walked past that hundred meter line, he showed his strong love for Thornton. But he also won a thousand dollars. And now the three men could begin a new trip. They wanted to go to new and strange places, in the East. They wanted to leave the towns and cities, and to find some gold.

    When they said goodbye, their friends weren't happy. "Be careful!" their friends said. "You'll be in the wild for months, and it will be dangerous."

    But Thornton, Hans, and Pete weren't afraid. With a sledge, some dogs, and guns, they could live anywhere in the wild. And they could live happily away from other people for a long time.

    Month after month they walked. They went down new rivers and slept on new mountains. They felt strange, new winds. Every day they caught fish or small animals for food, and Buck loved this. He loved catching his food and he loved going to these new and exciting places.

    One day, they found a road through the woods. But it began, nowhere and ended nowhere. Another day, they found an old house in the middle of some trees. They found a gun and an old bed inside, but no people. They saw summer, fall, winter, and then spring again.

    And at the end of their trip, they found a wonderful place between two small mountains. There was a small river, and at the bottom of this river the men could see gold.

    The men worked hard, day after day. They took the gold from the bottom of the river and put it into large bags. And every day, they got richer and richer. But the dogs had no work, so Buck started to take long walks in the woods.

    He didn't understand this new place, but he felt very happy. He started to feel something strange inside, and sometimes he could hear something. It called to him.

    One night, he woke up suddenly. He could hear the call loudly, and it came from the woods. It was a long, sad howl and it didn't come from a dog.

    Buck jumped up and ran through the camp into the woods. He walked slowly through the trees and, in an open place, he saw a wolf.

    He walked slowly and carefully to the wolf. But the wolf was afraid of Buck and it quickly ran away. Buck ran after it and followed it through the trees. After an hour, the wolf understood. Buck didn't want to hurt him.

    They started to play. Then they ran for a long time. Buck followed the wolf. He was very happy with his new wolf-brother.

    They stopped at a river and had a drink. But when he saw the river, Buck remembered Thornton. He couldn't follow his new brother. He had to go back to the camp. So, he turned around and started to run back. But the wolf wasn't happy. For an hour, he cried and ran next to Buck. But Buck didn't stop. The wolf sat down and howled sadly. But Buck had to leave him.

    When Buck saw Thornton in the camp, he quickly jumped on him. He played games with him.

    "Where were you, you crazy dog?" laughed Thornton.

    For two days and two nights, Buck never left the camp, and he was always near Thornton. He followed him everywhere. Buck was next to Thornton when he slept. He stayed with him when he ate. He watched him at work.

    But then he heard the call in the woods again, and it was loud. Buck remembered his wild brother. He couldn't eat or sleep.

    Buck started to walk through the woods again, and he tried to find his new brother. But he didn't hear his sad howl again.

    Then Buck began to sleep in the woods at night, and he stayed away from the camp for two or three days.

    He fished in the river for food, and one day he killed a large, dangerous animal. It was a long and difficult fight but Buck won. He could live in the wild now, and he was strong, young, and intelligent.

    "Buck is the best dog in the world," said John Thornton one day to his friends. "Watch him walk."

    "Yes, he really is a wonderful animal," said Pete.

    "You know, you're right," said Hans.

    Buck walked out of the camp.

    But Thornton and his friends didn't see the new Buck when he got to the trees. In the woods, he wasn't a sledge dog. In the trees, he was a wild animal—quick and careful. He could catch and kill anything. He killed many times and he always ate the meat of the dead animals.

    The weather got colder, and moose started to come into Buck's woods. Buck killed a small moose, but he wanted to kill an older, larger animal. Then Buck found one. He was a very big, strong moose, and he was very angry. He was angry because he had a big arrow in his back. He cried angrily when he saw Buck.

    Buck followed the old moose everywhere. Many younger moose tried to attack Buck, but he was fast. They couldn't catch him. When night came, the younger moose had to move away from the trees. They couldn't help the old moose now, so they left him.

    Hour after hour, and day after day, Buck followed the old moose. And when the moose tried to eat or drink, Buck attacked him. The moose got weaker and weaker because Buck was always there. At the end of the fourth day, Buck pulled the tired moose down to the ground.

    For a day and a night, Buck stayed by the dead animal. He ate and slept. Then he went back to the camp, to his friend, Thornton.

    Three kilometers from the camp, Buck began to feel very strange. Something was different and he didn't like it. So he started to run quickly and he stopped outside the camp. He couldn't hear any birds or the sounds of his friends.

    Suddenly, he found Nig, his little doctor. Nig had a large arrow in his back, and he was dead. Then he found Hans. He was on the ground and he had arrows in his back. He didn't move— he was dead too.

    Buck looked out from the trees. A loud, angry bark came from him, but he didn't hear it. For the last time in his life, he went crazy. He went crazy because of his love for Thornton.

    Strange men danced in the middle of the camp. They heard the strange, loud bark. Then they saw a large, angry animal. It jumped at them from the trees. It was Buck, and he wanted to kill them.

    He quickly killed the first man, but he didn't stop. He attacked them again and again, and the men couldn't stop him. They tried to kill him with their arrows. But he moved very quickly, so they couldn't catch him. They were afraid, and they ran into the woods.

    But Buck hated them more than anything in the world, and he followed them. He killed two more men, but the others ran away.

    Then Buck slowly walked back into the quiet camp and he found Pete. Pete was dead in his bed. Buck walked to the river of gold. It was red now. Skeet had his front legs and his head under the water.

    And Thornton was also there, under the water. Buck couldn't see him, but he knew. John Thornton was dead.

    Buck stayed next to the river all day.

    Now he couldn't play with his friend or look into his eyes with love. Buck couldn't howl or cry. He felt a very bad pain inside, and it didn't go away.

    But sometimes he looked away from the river and saw the dead Indians. They hurt him, and he killed them. Now he wasn't afraid of men, with their clubs and arrows. Buck felt strong and dangerous.

    The sun went down and the sounds of night came to him. He walked to the center of the camp and listened. It was the call, and it was strong and beautiful. And for the first time, he was ready to answer it. Buck only loved one man—Thornton—and now he was dead. Now Buck didn't want the harness or the work of men. He never wanted to live with men again.

    Suddenly, a lot of wolves ran into the camp. They stopped when they saw Buck. Buck was larger and stronger than they were. They were afraid.

    Then one wolf jumped. But Buck attacked him and broke his thin neck easily.

    Three more wolves tried to attack him. But Buck attacked their necks and faces, and they quickly fell back.

    Then the other wolves ran at Buck and attacked him. But Buck was very strong and he fought well. They hurt him, but he didn't fall.

    After half an hour, the wolves got tired and sat down. A thin, gray wolf carefully walked up to Buck, and he was friendly. It was Buck's wild brother from the woods, and Buck looked at him happily.

    Then an old wolf stood in front of Buck and looked at Buck for a long time. He sat down and howled. Buck understood. The call was here, and he had to answer. So, Buck sat down and howled too.

    The other wolves came to Buck and barked at him in a half-friendly way. Then the wolves jumped away and ran into the trees. And Buck ran with them, next to his wild brother. He answered the call of the wild.

    But the story of Buck doesn't end here. The Indians in the East began to talk about a strange dog. The dog lived with the wolves, but he wasn't a wolf. People were afraid of this dangerous dog. It took food from their houses and killed their dogs. Some people went out and never came back.

    Every fall, these people followed the moose into the woods. But they never went to a place between two small mountains, with a river of gold in the middle. That place had a bad name, and people stayed away.

    But there was one visitor to the place every summer. He was a great, beautiful wolf—but not a wolf. He came out of the green woods and went to the open place. He stopped next to the gold river and sat for a long time. Then he howled sadly, and left.

    But in the long winter nights, he wasn't sad. He ran with his wild brothers, and he howled happily. He sang the song of the wild.


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    Introduction

    'As you know, it's a long way to Canterbury. You need to stay happy on the journey. I've got an idea. You must all tell a story on the way. We'll give a free dinner to the person who tells the best story. Now, put up your hands if you agree.'

    The pilgrims all held up their hands and cried out, ' Yes!'

    A group of pilgrims are travelling together for five days from London to Canterbury. On the way, each pilgrim has to tell a story. Some stories are happy, and some are sad. But they all have a message, and we can learn from them.

    The writer of these tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, was born in London in about 1342. We do not know exactly when he was born. His father, John, and his grandfather, Robert, worked in the wine business. They probably also worked for King Edward III. The family earned quite a lot of money and had a comfortable life.

    When he was a young boy, Chaucer went to school in London. He then worked for an important lady in the king's family. It was a very good job and he met some very interesting people.

    In 1359 Chaucer was sent abroad as a soldier. He was fighting for the king against France in part of the Hundred Years'War. He was taken prisoner by the French near Rheims, but after a year the king paid money for his return.

    When he returned to England, Chaucer worked for the king, his family and friends. In about 1367 he married Philippa de Roet, a lady who worked for the Queen.

    Chaucer was a great reader and he had an excellent memory. He learned to read in Latin, French, Anglo-Norman and Italian. He knew a lot about literature, history and science.

    The king often sent him to other countries on important business for him. On two of these journeys Chaucer went to Italy; first to Genoa, in 1372, and then to Milan, in 1378. People think that Chaucer became interested in Italian story-tellers on these journeys. He probably met the Italian writer, Boccaccio, when he was in Italy. We can be sure that he read Boccaccio's book, the Decameron (1348—58).

    Chaucer became a rich man during this time, but in December 1386 he lost his job. John of Gaunt, the king's son and Chaucer's friend, left England to fight in Spain. The Duke of Gloucester took his place and he didn't like Chaucer. He gave Chaucer's job to his friends. So Chaucer had more time for writing, and he began work on The Canterbury Tales.

    In 1389 John of Gaunt returned to England and gave Chaucer an important job again. Chaucer was growing old. He felt that his writing was getting worse. He died on 25 October, 1400, and his body was put in Westminster Abbey.

    We do not know exactly when Chaucer started writing poems. It was probably when he returned from the war in France.

    Chaucer wrote a lot of poems, and some of his great books are The Book of the Duchess (1369—70), The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls (between 1372 and 1382), and Troilius and Criseyde (between 1380 and 1385). His most famous work is The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer worked on this from 1386 or 1387, but he never finished the book.

    Printing was introduced in Germany in about 1450. In 1477 Caxton made the first machine which could print in England. He printed The Canterbury Tales in 1478.

    The Canterbury Tales was not the  first book of short stories. Chaucer's idea — a group of people who each tell a story — wasn't a new idea either. In Boccaccio's Decameron, ten people escape to the country from a terrible illness in Florence. Each person tells a story to pass the time.        

    In The Canterbury Tales, the story-tellers are pilgrims. Their stories are interesting, but the pilgrims also seem very real to us. We feel we know them personally by the end of their stories. They are ordinary people — rich and poor, intelligent and stupid, young and old, from the town and from the country. They do not do the same jobs as we do today. But we all know people like them. The pilgrims' stories help us to understand English life in Chaucer's time.

    The pilgrims' stories are all completely different, and they come from all over Europe. Some of the stories even come from countries in the East. At that time, people in Europe loved stories which taught them something — stories with a message about life or a new idea.

    The stories in The Canterbury Tales are told like poems, and they are written in Chaucer's English. For this Penguin Reader we have chosen seven of the pilgrims' stories, and we have written them in modern English.

    The Prologue

    At the Tabard Inn

    Pilgrims are people who travel to special places because they want to please God. Their journeys are often to places where a saint lived or died. Thomas a Becket was a saint. He was killed in Canterbury, in a great old church. Years ago, pilgrims went to Canterbury to visit this church.

    This book tells the story of some pilgrims who travelled from London to Canterbury together. On the journey each person had to tell a story — a tale.

    The pilgrims met at a place called the Tabard Inn in London. The fat owner of the inn was always happy. He told amusing stories which made the pilgrims laugh. They had a good meal at his inn, with a lot of excellent food and drink.

    After the meal, the fat man stood up and said,' Friends, I'm very pleased to meet you. As you know, it's a long way to Canterbury. You need to stay happy on the journey. I've got an idea. You must all tell a story on the way. We'll give a free dinner to the person who tells the best story. Now, put up your hands if you agree.'

    The pilgrims all held up their hands and cried out,' Yes! Yes! That's a good idea. And you can decide which story is best.'

    The next morning they all got up very early and started on their journey. After a time, they stopped and gave their horses water. Then the fat man said,' Now, who's going to tell the first story ? Sir Knight, will you ?'

    The knight was travelling to Canterbury for a special reason. He wanted to thank God because he was safe after a dangerous war.

    ' Yes, all right,' he said.' I'll begin.'

    And he started to tell his story.

    The Knight's Tale

    Palamon and Arcite

    Many years ago in Greece, there was a great soldier called Duke Theseus. He and his wife, Queen Hippolyta, were the most important people in Athens. The queen's beautiful younger sister, Emily, lived with them.

    One day, a soldier brought the duke some bad news.

    ' Creon has begun a war against you, Duke Theseus. And he has won Thebes already.'

    When he heard this, Theseus and his knights rode to Thebes. There they fought Creon and killed him.

    Two rich young knights in Thebes fought for Creon. Their names were Palamon and Arcite and they were hurt in the fighting. They were taken to see Theseus at the end of the war.

    'Your families will pay a lot of gold if I free you,' the duke said to them. ' But you're my enemies. You fought against me, and you'll never be free again.'

    The two knights were locked in a high tower in Athens. Then the duke rode home to Queen Hippolyta and her sister, Emily.

    Palamon and Arcite were prisoners in the tower for many years.

    One morning, Palamon got up early and looked out of the window at the duke's garden. There he saw the queen's beautiful sister, Emily. She was walking in the garden with flowers in her hair.

    When Palamon saw her, he cried out. She was so beautiful.

    'Dear Palamon, what's the matter?' asked Arcite in a worried voice.' Your face has gone white! Why did you cry out ?'

    ' I've just seen the most beautiful lady in the world,' Palamon answered.' Please God, get me out of this prison. If I can't make her my wife, then I want to die!'

    Arcite jumped up quickly and looked out of the window. When he saw Emily he also fell in love with her.

    ' If she can't love me, I don't want to live,' he cried.

    Palamon was very angry when he heard this.' But you can't steal my lady like that! I fell in love with her first, and I'll love her for ever. You must help me to win her.'

    ' You saw her first, but I love her as much as you do!' answered Arcite angrily. 'And how can you or I win her? We're prisoners in this terrible tower.'

    ' Perhaps we'll be free one day, and then the best man will marry her,' said Palamon sadly. Life seemed very hard to both the young men.

    Duke Theseus had a good friend in Athens called Duke Perotheus. Perotheus knew the young knight, Arcite, and liked him very much. When he heard that Arcite was a prisoner in the tower, he said to Theseus, 'I'm very sorry that Arcites your prisoner. He's not like Creon, you know. He's a good young man. Dear friend, please free him so he can live in the real world again.' Duke Theseus thought hard and then answered, 'Perotheus, you're my good friend, so I'll free Arcite for you. But he must leave Athens, and never return. If he does return, I'll cut off his head!'

    Before Arcite left the tower, he talked to Palamon.' I must leave Athens, but you can stay here and look at my beautiful lady in the garden. You're luckier than me.'

    But Palamon was as sad as Arcite.' You'll be free. Perhaps you'll return to Athens with soldiers one day and fight Theseus. And if you win, my beautiful lady will be yours.'

    Then the two knights said goodbye and Arcite left the tower.

    The young knight went back to Thebes, but he was very sad without his beautiful Emily. He thought about her every day and every night, and soon he became very ill.

    One night, the god Mercury visited him in his sleep and said, ' Go back to Athens, Arcite. Then you'll be happy again.'

    Arcite jumped out of bed and cried, 'Yes, I'll go back immediately! If the duke catches me, he'll cut off my head. But I'm not afraid of death if I can see my beautiful lady again.'

    Then he looked at his face in the mirror. He looked very different because of his illness.

    'Nobody will know me now,' he thought. 'I can go to Athens safely'

    So Arcite went back to Athens. Nobody knew who he was. He became one of Emily's servants - he got her water, cut wood, and worked very hard for her. He stayed in Emily's house for seven years and he was soon very popular. Even Duke Theseus began to notice him.

    All this time, poor Palamon was a prisoner in the tower. He was very unhappy but he couldn't escape. A man watched him all day and all night.

    One day, one of Palamon's friends had an idea. He put some poison into this man's drink. The man fell asleep and Palamon took his key, opened the great door, and was free at last!

    ' I'll return to Thebes now,' he thought. 'But I'll come back to Athens soon with a lot of soldiers and kill Theseus. Then I'll marry Emily.'

    He ran away from the tower as fast as he could. He planned to walk all night and hide during the day. When the sun came up, he rested in a wood.

    That morning, Arcite was riding in the wood, singing in the sunshine. He didn't know that Palamon was hiding there.

    'Emily still doesn't know me,' he said to himself sadly. 'I'm only her servant. She's got no idea who I really am. What can I do to win her love ?'

    Palamon was hiding behind a tree near Arcite. When he heard this, his face went as white as death. 'Arcite!' he shouted. ' I'm going to kill you! You were like a brother to me once, but you still love my lady. You or I must die!'

    Arcite was very surprised, to see Palamon. But he answered quietly, 'Love is free, isn't it? I'll always love Emily, but let's fight for her tomorrow. I'll meet you here. If you win, the lady will be yours.'

    'Good! I'll see you here tomorrow!' answered Palamon, walking away angrily.

    The next morning, Palamon and Arcite met again and the great fight began. Duke Theseus, Queen Hippolyta and Emily were riding in the wood and heard the sound of fighting. Soon they saw the two knights.

    ' Stop !' shouted Theseus.' Why are you fighting like this ?'

    ' Sir, we're two unhappy men,' answered Arcite in a tired voice. 'You're our lord. Kill me first. Then kill my friend.'

    ' This is Arcite,' Palamon said. ' Do you remember him ? He works in Princess Emily's house. But he isn't really a servant. He's worked in her house all these years because he loves her. And I am Palamon. I escaped from your tower. I love Emily too. I'm happy to die now at her feet. Kill me, but kill Arcite too.'

    The duke was very angry. He wanted to kill them both.

    ' Yes! You must both die!' he shouted.

    But the queen, Emily and all their ladies began to cry.' No! No! These two fine young men mustn't die!'

    Then the ladies all fell on their knees in front of the duke. ' Oh, sir! Please don't kill Palamon and Arcite!'

    'All right,' Theseus said. 'You can live. But you must promise me that you'll never make war on my land. You must always be my friends.'        

    ' We promise, sir,' the knights said.' We'll always be your friends.'

    ' Emily can't marry both of you,' continued the duke, ' but I've got a plan. Go home to Thebes and come back in one year. Each of you must bring a hundred knights, ready to fight for you. Emily will marry the winner. Do you agree ?'

    Palamon and Arcite both looked at Emily on her horse. They fell on their knees and thanked Theseus again and again. Then they went home to Thebes and began to get ready for the great fight.

    Duke Theseus was busy too. He built a place outside Athens for the fight. It had stone walls, with white gates on the east and west sides. The duke built three temples - a temple of Venus, the goddess of love; a temple of Diana, the goddess of the moon; and a temple of Mars, the god of war.

    There were beautiful pictures in the temple of Venus, and a garden full of flowers. The temple of Diana had a picture of the moon. The temple of Mars was very different. It was an unhappy place with pictures of wars and burning towns. In the middle was a picture of Mars with a fire in front of him.

    After a year, Palamon and Arcite returned to Athens, and each of them had his hundred knights. When they heard about the temples, they both wanted to visit them.

    Palamon thought, ' I'm going to the temple of Venus. She'll help me. I'll ask her for a quick death if I lose.'

    So he went to Venus s temple and the goddess seemed to move her head.

    When Palamon saw this, he cried out, 'Oh, I'm so happy. Venus has moved her head. That means she's going to help me!'

    Arcite went to the temple of Mars, the god of war.

    ' Mars, please help me to win,' he said in the temple.

    Suddenly the temple doors began to move and the fire in front of Mars burned strongly. Then a low voice said,' You will win, Arcite!'

    Arcite was very happy when he heard this.' Mars is going to help me! I'm going to win!'

    Now, pilgrims, you're going to hear how Mars and Venus kept their promises.

    The next morning everyone in Athens went to see the great fight. There were lords and knights in fine clothes, and beautiful ladies in wonderful dresses. Duke Theseus, Queen Hippolyta and Emily sat and watched it all.

    When everyone was quiet, a soldier cried out,' Duke Theseus doesn't want anyone to die today. If you are hurt, you will become a prisoner. If Palamon or Arcite become prisoners, then the fighting will end. Now, let's begin!'

    Arcite then came onto the field through the west gate, near the temple of Mars. His clothes were all red. Palamon came through the east gate, near the temple of Venus. His clothes were all white.

    Pilgrims, I can't tell you everything about the great fight. Horses fell to the ground, brave men were hurt, servants brought food and drink to the fighters. Then, at the end of the day, Palamon was hurt and the fighting stopped.

    'Arcite can marry Emily now,' said the duke.' He's won her in this long day's fight!'

    'Arcite's the winner!' shouted the people. 'Arcite! Arcite!'

    There was loud music and Arcite rode proudly across the field towards Emily. She looked down at him and thought,' He's so brave and handsome! I'm sure I can love him!'

    But suddenly something frightened Arcite's horse. The horse fell to the ground and Arcite was thrown off. People ran to him and carried him carefully to Theseus's house. They put him on a bed and waited for the doctor.

    ' He's very ill,' said the doctor when he came.' I'm afraid he's going to die.'

    Arcite sent for Palamon and Emily.' I've loved you so much, Emily,' he said sadly.' I've been unhappy and ill because of you. And now I'm going to die for you. If you want a husband, marry Palamon. It will make me happy when I'm dead.'

    Then he closed his eyes. Just before he died he looked up at Emily. He said her name.

    When they heard the news, the people of Athens felt very sad. They cried for many days.

    Months passed. Time makes most things better. The people of Athens were tired of all the fighting and they wanted to be friends with the people of Thebes. So Duke Theseus decided to send for Palamon.

    When Palamon arrived in Athens, he was wearing black clothes for his lost friend, Arcite.' Don't be sad,' the duke said to him. 'You'll never forget your dear friend but you can still be happy. Remember what Arcite said to Emily: " If you want a husband, marry Palamon." Does that make you feel happier?'

    Then the duke called for Emily and took her hand.' Emily, all my people want to be friends with the people of Thebes. If you agree to marry Palamon, then we'll stop being enemies. Take good Palamon, Emily, and marry him. He's loved you for a long time.'

    Then he turned to Palamon,' Sir, take this lady by the hand. She'll be your dear wife.'      

    So Palamon and Emily were married and lived happily together. And the people of Athens and Thebes were never enemies again.

    At the end of the story, all the pilgrims said,' That was a beautiful story, Knight!'

    Some of the other pilgrims told their stories. Then the fat man turned to the Clerk of Oxford.' You haven't said a word since we started our journey, Clerk. Perhaps you're thinking about your books. Well, now think about us. Have you got a good story to

    tell us?'

    The Clerk of Oxford was very poor and his clothes were old.' He and his horse never had enough food. But he loved books and he loved teaching people. He was happy to begin his story.

    The Clerk's Tale

    Patient Griselda

    ' My story is about a patient wife,' the clerk said. All the pilgrims listened carefully as he began his tale.

    Walter, a great lord, lived in a beautiful part of Italy, . He was young, strong and handsome, and kind to all his people.

    Walter wasn't married and this made his people very sad. One day, they went to see him. They asked him to listen to them. A wise old man spoke for all of them.

    ' Sir, we've come to talk to you because you're a good man. We want to tell you what's in our hearts. Don't be angry with us. Please get married, then we'll be happy. Your wife will love you and look after you, and you'll have children. We'll find a wife for you if you want. She'll be beautiful and rich!'

    Walter laughed at the old man's words, but he was pleased.

    ' You know, my dear people, I like being free,' he answered.' I don't want a wife, but perhaps I need one. So, yes, I will get married very soon. But I'll choose my wife! And when I marry her, I want you all to talk to her like a princess.You must do this for me.'

    Walter's people were very happy. 'Yes, of course we'll do that, sir,' they all said. And they went back to their homes and waited for the wedding day.

    A very  poor man lived  near Walter's  house. His  name  was Janicula. He had a beautiful daughter called Griselda. She was a

    kind girl and she looked after her old father well. She worked hard in their little house, and in the fields with their animals. She worked outside in the wind and the rain. Walter often saw her when he was riding in the country.

    'She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen,' he thought to himself.' I'd like to marry her'. But he didn't tell anyone about Griselda and his love for her.

    The day of the wedding arrived. Walter's great house was full of people. Everything was ready for the big day.

    ' Follow me,' Walter said to all the lords and ladies.

    He went out to the fields where some of his people lived. The lords and ladies followed him. 'What's he going to do?' they asked in surprise.

    That morning, Griselda finished her work early because she wanted to see Walter's new wife. She thought,' I'll stand with the other girls and watch Sir Walter with his beautiful lady. But first I must help my dear father to sit in the sun.'

    She opened the door of the little house from inside — and there was Walter! He was standing outside in his rich clothes, like a king.

    ' Griselda,' he said,' where's your father?'

    The old man came slowly out of the house and Walter took his hand.

    'Janicula, I must tell you what's in my heart. I love your daughter, Griselda. I want to marry her if you'll agree.'

    The old man was too surprised to speak at first. After some minutes he answered,' Yes, sir, of course. If Griselda agrees, she can be your wife.'

    ' I'd like to speak to her in your house, please,' Walter said quietly. ' I'll ask her to be my wife. But she must promise me something. She must always do what I ask.'

    The people outside waited. They couldn't understand what was happening!

    Inside the house, Walter spoke softly to Griselda.

    ' My dear Griselda, your father says that we can get married. Please take me as your husband. But first I must ask you this. Will you promise to do what I tell you — always ?'

    'My lord,' Griselda answered,' I'll marry you if I can look after my father in my new life. And I'll always do everything you tell me to do.'

    ' Thank you, my dear Griselda,' said Walter.

    He asked some of the ladies to come inside and dress Griselda in beautiful clothes. Then he kissed her hand and took her outside.

    ' This is my new wife, everybody,' he said proudly.

    When Griselda came out of the house, the people cried out, ' She's the most beautiful girl we've ever seen!'

    Walter was very happy. They were married that day and there was music and dancing all night.

    For a long time all Walter's people lived happily. Griselda helped poor and sick people and everyone loved her. People said,' Our great lord did a wise thing when he married Griselda.'

    Then Walter and Griselda had a little girl and everyone said,' One day this little girl will be as kind and as beautiful as her mother.'

    But from that time things started to go very wrong.

    Every day Walter watched his wife with her baby and thought, ' My wife will change now because she's got a child. If I ask her to do something difficult for me, she won't do it.'

    Then Walter did something very bad. He came to see Griselda one day with a hard look on his face.

    ' Griselda, when I married you, my people were unhappy,' he lied. 'You were a poor man's daughter. Now you've got a child, and it's even worse for them. I'm going to ask someone to take this child away from you. You must give her to him. Remember your words on your wedding day!'

    Griselda was very sad, but she said,' My child is yours, my lord. You can do what you want with her.'

    Walter was happy when he heard this. He quickly sent a man to take the child away. When Griselda saw the man, she said quietly,' I must kiss my daughter before she goes.'

    Then she took her child in her arms and said, ' Goodbye, my dear daughter. I'll never see you again but God will look after you.'

    Then the man took Griselda' s daughter away.

    'Please put her little body in the ground,' she called out to him.' Then it will be safe from all the animals and birds.'

    The man carried the child to Walter.' Take her to my sister in Bologna,' he said.' Tell her to look after her well. But don't tell her that she's my child.'

    Walter watched Griselda closely after this. She seemed to love him in the same way, but she was very quiet and her face often looked sad.

    After some months a little boy was born. Walter's people were very happy.' One day this child will be our prince. One day we shall be his people,' they said.

    But after two years Walter had another plan. He wanted to be sure that his wife loved him. So he decided to test her again.

    He went to Griselda and said,' Griselda, my people don't want Janicula's grandson to be their prince. Once again, you must give your child to my man.'

    'My lord,' she answered, 'I'll always do everything that you want. Take our son. And if you'll be happier without me too, please tell me. I'll die if it will please you. I only want to keep your love.'

    Nothing  could  change   the  feelings  in Walter's  heart.  He sent the same man to take away her little boy. Again, she kissed her child before he left her for ever. And again she said to the man, 'Put his little body in the ground. Then no animal or bird can hurt him. 'Walter sent the little boy to Bologna to live with his sister.

    Walter watched his wife carefully again. He saw that her patience and love for him never changed. But his people were angry with him. They talked about him all over the country.

    ' He's killed his two children!' they said.' He didn't want Lady Griselda to love them. She must only love him! And she never changes. She still loves him and looks after all of us.'

    One day, Walter had another idea. He decided to send Griselda away and get a new wife. When Griselda heard about this, she thought,' This is the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I love my husband more than anything in the world. How can I ever live without him ?' She felt very sad.

    First, Walter wrote a letter to his sister in Bologna. It said:

    Please bring the two children to me. Tell everyone, 'This little girl's going to be Walter's new wife.' But don't tell anyone who sent the children to you years ago.

    When she received this letter, his sister left Bologna with the two children. The little boy and girl were very beautiful. They were dressed in rich clothes and rode on fine horses.

    Walter then called for Griselda and, in a room full of people, said to her,' Griselda, you've been a good wife to me. But now I must change my way of life. My people want me to send you away and marry a new wife — a girl from a rich family. She's on her way here now.'

    Griselda's answer moved the hearts of all the people who heard her. But it didn't move the hard heart of her husband.

    ' I'm not good enough for you, my lord,' she said sadly.' I've always known that. Thank you for the beautiful home that I've lived in for so long. I'll gladly go back to my father now if you and your people want me to do that. I'll always love you and I'll never marry again. I thought you loved me too. But the old words are very true: "As men grow old, love grows cold." I must leave everything behind me here. I'll just take my old clothes.'

    Then she put on her poorest clothes and began the long walk home. Many people followed her with tears in their eyes. They were very sad that Griselda was leaving like this. When her father saw her, he ran out of his house. He took his poor daughter in his arms.

    For a time Griselda lived quietly with her father. It was like the old days. She worked in the little house and looked after the animals in the fields. But one day Walter sent for her.

    ' Griselda,' he said,' I want to make my new wife as happy as possible. You must help me. You know my house and you looked after me well. You must leave your home and work for my new wife. Start now and make everything ready for her.'

    'My lord, I'll be happy to help you and your new wife,' Griselda answered. And she began work immediately. She cleaned all the gold and silver, made the beds and washed the floors. She told the servants in the house to work hard. She worked harder than everyone.

    Later that day, many people came to Walter's house to see his new wife. Griselda met them and led them to their places. Then Walter brought in a beautiful young girl. He turned to Griselda and asked her,' Do you like my new young wife ?'

    'I've never seen anyone who is more beautiful,' she answered. ' I hope you'll be very happy together. I only ask one thing — be kind to her. I was poor when I came here. But she's a lady and it will be harder for her. She'll be very unhappy if you're unkind to her.'

    Walter finally realized that Griselda really loved him. He said to himself, ' I've been very bad. I've hurt Griselda but she still loves me.'

    He turned to her and cried,' Griselda! Griselda! Please forgive me! I'll never hurt you again or make you sad. Now I know that you'll always be true to me.' And he took her in his arms and kissed her again and again.

    Walter told Griselda everything and then he brought the children to her. ' This is your daughter, my dear. I'm not really going to marry her. And this is our son. I sent them both to Bologna, to live with my sister. She looked after them well, and they've been safe and happy all these years.'

    When Griselda saw her children, she cried with happiness. She put her arms round them and kissed them.

    'Oh, thank you, my lord!' she said to Walter, with tears in her eyes. ' I can die happily now. I have both my children and your love!'

    Then her ladies took her to her rooms, took off her old clothes, and dressed her in her beautiful rich clothes. She was Walter's wife again.

    Walter and Griselda lived happily together for many years. Janicula, Griselda's old father, came to live with them. Their daughter married a rich, handsome man. And when Walter died, their son became a lord and was loved by all his people.

    Well, that's the end of my story,' said the clerk. 'But in my opinion,   Griselda   was   too   patient.  Husbands,  don't   test   the patience of your wives like Walter did. I'm sure they won't all be as patient as poor Griselda!

    'And I want to say something to the wives too. Don't be afraid of your husband. Your words will always win a fight, even against a big, strong man!'

    The Wife of Bath's Tale

    What do women want most ?

    Most of the pilgrims on their way to Canterbury were men. There were only a few women. One of them was the Wife of Bath. She was a large woman with a red face. She wore a big hat, and she rode on a very fat horse. She was rich and all her five husbands were dead!

    The Wife of Bath was a happy woman and she loved to talk. This is her story about a knight at the time of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

    Long ago, there was a young knight who did a very bad thing. He broke the law that all the knights had to live by. When King Arthur heard this, he was very angry.

    ' This knight must die!' he shouted.

    But the queen and her ladies were sad because they liked the young knight very much.

    ' Please, please,' they cried to King Arthur, ' don't end this young man's life. He'll never make the same mistake again.'

    The king turned to the queen and said, 'All right, do what you like with him, my dear. But we must punish him because he's broken the law.'

    The queen thought for a short time, and then she said to the knight,' You can live if you tell me the answer to this question: What does a woman want most in all the world? I'll give you a year and a day to find the answer. If you can't find the answer, then you'll die.'

    The knight thanked the queen, but he rode away very sadly.

    ' The queen has asked me a very difficult question. How can I find the answer ?' he thought to himself.

    As he rode through the country, the knight asked a lot of people the queen's question. He was given many different answers.

    One man said, 'Ah, that's easy. Women like money more than anything.'

    A woman answered, ' What do women want most in all the world? They want to be happy, of course.'

    Another woman replied,' Fine clothes. That's what they want.'

    Then the knight asked some children the same question.

    A little girl said,' My mother's happy when she's cooking good food for us.'

    And a little boy replied,' My mother likes having a new baby in the family.'

    ' Our mother's happy when she sees our father come home at night,' said two or three children.

    Many of the answers seemed good, but they were all different. ' Nobody agrees,' thought the knight sadly.' How can I find the right answer to the queen's question ?'

    After a year, the knight had to return to the queen and give her the answer to her question.

    'What can I say?' he thought. 'I've tried so hard to find the right answer! But I know I'm going to die.'

    But then he came to a great wood. In the trees he saw twenty-four beautiful ladies! They were all laughing and singing and dancing on the green grass.

    'I've got enough time to ask these ladies the question,' he said to himself.

    He turned his horse towards the ladies ... but where were they? He could only see one very ugly, old woman! When he came near her, she stood up. She smiled at him.

    'Sir Knight, are you looking for something?' she asked. 'Tell me what it is. Perhaps I can help you. We old people are wise and we know many things.'

    'You're right — perhaps you can help me,' answered the knight. 'I have to find the answer to a question or I'll die. The question is: What does a woman want most in all the world? If you can tell me, I'll give you a lot of money.'

    ' Give me your hand, sir,' replied the old woman.' I'll tell you the right answer if you promise me something. You have to do the first thing that I ask you.'

    That sounded easy to the knight.' I promise,' he answered in an excited voice. Perhaps the old woman could really help him!

    ' Good, then your life's safe,' said the old woman.' Nobody — not even the queen — will say that your answer is wrong.'

    Then she spoke very quietly into the knight's ear.' That's the answer to your question,' she said with a smile.

    The knight smiled back at the old woman and thanked her with all his heart. Then they went together to meet the queen and all the lords and ladies.

    Everyone heard that the young knight was coming. They were very excited, but a lot of people were worried about his answer.

    ' It was a very difficult question,' they said.' It will be terrible if he can't give the queen the right answer. He will die!'

    The queen and her lords and ladies met the knight. The queen started to speak and everyone listened carefully.

    ' Now, Sir Knight, can you answer my question ? What does a woman want most in all the world ?' she asked in a clear voice.

    The knight came up to the queen and fell on his knees in front of her. All the people around them heard his words.

    'My lady, I know the right answer to your question. All women want to be the head of their house. They want their husbands to do what they say!'

    When they heard this, everyone laughed and shouted, 'He must live! He must live! That's the right answer!'

    The queen smiled at the knight. She was very pleased with his answer.

    ' You will be free, Sir Knight,' she said.' You can live!'

    But suddenly the ugly old woman walked towards the queen and said,'Be good to me too, my lady. I said to this knight,"I'll tell you the right answer. But you must promise me something. You have to do the first thing that I ask you." And you agreed, didn't you ?' she said, turning to the knight.

    'Yes, madam,' said the young knight. 'That's what I promised.'

    ' Well, I want you to marry me!' said the old woman. Her face looked very ugly when she said these terrible words.

    The knight replied unhappily,' I made a promise to you, it's true. But I can't marry you!'

    ' I'm old, ugly and poor but I want to be your wife,' cried the old woman.' I want to win your love.'

    ' My love!' laughed the knight.' You can't really hope for that!'

    The queen and all the people around her were laughing.

    ' The knight wants to die now!' they shouted. ' He doesn't want to marry this ugly old woman!'

    But the queen looked at the knight and said,' You must marry her, Sir Knight. You promised.'

    'Yes, I know,' answered the knight unhappily. 'I can't break my promise.'

    There was no dancing or singing at the wedding. There were no fine clothes or good food. At the end of the day, the knight sadly carried away his new wife.

    That night, the ugly old woman turned to the knight and said, 'Come here, my dear husband. Why are you looking so unhappy? What have I done wrong? Tell me, and I'll try to do better. I'll make you happy.'

    ' Do better ? You can't become a young woman and you can't make yourself beautiful!' answered the knight.

    ' Is that the only problem ?' she asked with a smile on her face.

    ' That's enough!' he answered.

    'I'm not beautiful,' said the old woman,'but that's only on the outside. Faces become old but hearts are always young. A person with a good heart is better than someone who does bad things.'

    Then the woman talked quietly to her husband for a long time. He was very surprised when he heard her words.

    'You're very wise and good,' he said at last. 'You've taught me a lot about men and women, and about good and bad.'

    ' Is it better to have a beautiful wife who makes you unhappy ?' she asked.' Or an old and ugly wife who is kind to you ?'

    'My lady, my love, and my dear wife,' said the knight softly, 'you're right. I'll always do what you tell me.'

    She laughed.' Remember the answer to the question! Can I be the head of our home?'

    ' Yes, my love, of course you can,' said the knight.

    Then she kissed him and said, 'Don't be angry. I'll be a good wife to you. And I'll be as beautiful as a queen!'

    The knight started to kiss his wife, but he suddenly jumped back in surprise! There, in front of him, stood the most beautiful girl in the world! His wife wasn't really an ugly old woman. She was a fairy!

    ' I wanted to be sure that you are a true knight,' she said.' Now I know that you're a good person. Now I don't have to be an ugly old woman!'

    The knight kissed his beautiful young wife and then they went to see the queen. Everybody was very surprised when they saw the young woman. They all danced and sang when they heard the story.

    The knight and his wife lived happily together all their lives. And they always remembered the answer to the queen's question.

    ' That's the end of my story,' said the Wife of Bath to the other pilgrims. 'Please God, send us husbands who are young and loving! Men, do what your wives tell you to do! And give them a lot of money to spend!'

    The Pardoner's Tale

    Three Men Look for Death

    The pardoner told his story next. But first, he told the other pilgrims about his job.

    ' I speak to people in churches,' he said.' I always talk about the same thing. I tell people: " Love of money is a real problem. You do bad things, and bad things happen to you, because of it." And I sell pardons. I've got a lot of things that belonged to saints - bits of cloth and other old things. Well, they didn't really belong to saints, but people don't know that! If people buy these things, God will forgive them. And I make a lot of money. I don't like being poor. Oh no! I must have fine clothes and good food! The poor give me money and I have a good life. I sell them pardons and they're happy'

    The pardoner was a very bad man but his story was very good. The pilgrims were surprised that a bad man could tell a good tale.

    This is the story.

    There were three young men who did many bad and stupid things.They drank too much and they did no work.

    One morning, they were drinking when they heard a noise outside. People were carrying the body of a dead man.

    They asked the boy who brought them more drink,' Whose body is that, boy ?'

    'He was your friend,' answered the boy. 'He was killed last night while he was drinking here. He was killed by that quiet thief, Death. Death kills all the people in this country. He killed your friend and then went away. He's killed thousands and thousands of people. You should get ready to meet Death.'

    'I'm not afraid to meet him!' cried one young man, and he quickly jumped up.'I'm going to find him! I'll look for him in every field and wood and town. Listen! Let's hold up our hands and promise to be brothers. Let's find Death and kill him!'

    ' I'll come with you,' said the second man.

    'And me,' said the third. 'We'll kill this dangerous man, Death, before night comes.'

    So the three men went to find Death. They walked a little way and saw an old man with a long white beard. He was wearing a lot of old clothes and carrying a stick. When he saw the three men, he spoke to them kindly.

    ' God be with you, rny young friends.'

    But the men shouted at him,' You stupid old man! Why are you wearing all those clothes ?'

    'Because I'm very old,' answered the man. 'I feel the cold and I can never get warm.'

    'Well, why have you lived for so long then, you ugly old man? You should die more quickly!' they shouted.

    The old man looked at them angrily.' I live like this because Death hasn't taken me. I travel up and down the country, looking for Death. I say to the ground under my feet: "Dear Mother Earth, let me in! Oh, Mother Earth, I want to lie down in you and sleep for ever!" But she isn't kind to me. That's why I'm old, young men.'

    One of the men laughed loudly. The old man turned to him and said quietly,' You've spoken very unkindly to me and now you're laughing at me. But I've done nothing to hurt you. You should speak more kindly to an old man. Now, I've got nothing more to say to you. I'm going to continue on my journey to meet Death.'

    'No, you can't do that!' they shouted. 'He's killed all our friends in this country. We're going to find him and kill him. Quickly, tell us where he is'.

    'If you really want to find Death, I'll tell you,' answered the old man.' Can you see that little road? Go up there. Not long ago I saw him near a great tree in the wood. But you can't save men from Death. He won't be afraid of you. Go now. I hope God will help you to become better men.'

    The three young men went up the road and ran towards the great tree, but there was nobody there. They sat down and looked around them. Then suddenly, on the ground, they saw a lot of money. They all got very excited and forgot about Death. But Death was very near and he was thinking about them.

    Nobody said anything as they started to count the money. At last one of them spoke.

    ' Listen to me,' he said.' This money will bring us happiness for the rest of our lives but we must hide it. One of us must go      back to the town for food and drink. The other two can hide in      the wood. They must guard the money until night comes.'

    This plan sounded sensible. So the youngest man went into      town and his two friends waited in the wood with the money.          'I've got an idea,' said one of the men. 'We're like three brothers, but one  of us  has gone  now. If you take  half the money, I'll take the other half. Then we'll be really rich!'        ' But how can we do that ?' asked the other man.' Our young brother knows about the money.'

    ' I'll tell you how we can do it. There are two of us. Two men are stronger than one. When he comes back, we'll play a game with him. You can start a friendly fight with him. I'll wait      and then kill him with my knife. After that, my dear brother, we can take all the money. Half for you and half for me!' And so they planned their young friend's death.

    But the young friend was bad too. As he walked to the town, his mind was full of the beautiful money. He said to himself,' How can I get all that money? If I think of a good plan, I'll be the happiest, richest man in the world!'

    At last he had an idea.

    ' I know what I'll do. I'll go to a shop and buy some poison. Then I'll kill the other two and take all the money'

    So he went to a shop in the town and said to the shopkeeper, ' The cats on my farm are eating all my plants. Can you give me something to kill them?'

    The shopkeeper showed him a small bottle of poison.

    'This will kill your cats,' he said. 'Put it in their food or drinking water. It's very strong. It will kill a horse!'

    Then the young man went to the next street and bought three bottles of wine. He put the poison into two of the bottles and he kept the third bottle.

    'I'll need a drink after I've killed my two friends. I'll hide their bodies first and then hide the money. I'll need a good bottle of wine after all that!'

    Then he bought some food and walked back to the wood. When the other two men saw him, they said, 'Ha! Here he comes! He's bringing us our supper but he'll never have another meal again!'

    They were hungry and they ate the food immediately. Then the two men asked their young friend to play the fighting game. Their plan went well and they soon killed him.

    ' Let's eat again and drink some of this wine. Then we'll put his body in the ground,' they said.

    One man got a bottle of wine and drank a lot of it. Then he gave the bottle to the other man.

    Both men died slowly in a lot of pain.

    They wanted to find Death and kill him. But when Death found them, they were all dead!

    And Death laughed loudly for a long time!

    'Well, that's the end of my story,' said the pardoner. 'Now, I've got some things here in my bag. They'll bring you forgiveness and save you all. Only a penny! Hurry! Hurry! Come and buy!'

    The Franklin's Tale

    Three Promises

    The franklin was a rich farmer. He had a big house and a lot of land, and he liked good food and wine. His guests always had excellent things to eat and drink when they came to visit him. The franklin told the pilgrims a story about three promises.

    Long ago, in France, there lived a knight called Arveragus. He was in love with a beautiful lady called Dorigen. She wanted to be sure that he was brave and good. So she asked him to do a lot of difficult things.

    ' Do these things for me. Then I'll know that you love me,' she said to him.

    Arveragus went away and had many adventures. He did all the things that Dorigen asked him to do. Then he came back to his love, Dorigen.

    ' Now I know that you aren't afraid of anything,' Dorigen said to him.' I love you as much as you love me. I want to marry you.'

    The knight loved his lady very much.' I want to marry you, too,' he said. ' I'll never ask you to do anything that you don't want to do,' he told her.

    'And when we're married,' she said,' I'll be your loving wife. I'll never do anything that will make you unhappy.'

    Arveragus and Dorigen got married and went to live in Arveragus's home in Brittany. They lived together happily for more than a year. But the knight was a man of war and he

    wanted to fight in England. Even his love for his wife couldn't stop him.

    So he sailed away for two' years.

    poor Dorigen was left at home. She felt very sad without her husband, because she loved him very much. She couldn't sleep or eat when he was away.

    Her friends tried hard to help her.

    'You'll die if you don't sleep and eat more,' they said to her.

    She listened to her friends and slowly got better. She was young and full of hope.

    ' My husband's going to come home soon,' she thought.

    Arveragus sent her long, loving letters. 'All is well,' he wrote. ' I'll be home again very soon, my love.'

    Her friends said to her, ' Now you're feeling better, so come outside with us. Don't sit alone in your house. Come and have fun.'

    So she began to go out with them. One day, as she was walking with her friends, Dorigen saw great black rocks in the sea. She felt very frightened when she saw them. Sometimes, when she was far away from the sea, she thought about those terrible rocks.

    ' I don't like those rocks. If a ship hits them, the men on the ship will die. Will my dear Arveragus be safe ? Oh, why did God make something which can kill men ? He loves everyone!'  Her friends saw that she was becoming ill again. They were worried. They were kind people and they wanted to help her. So they kept her away from the black rocks, and they took her out with them to other places. They danced and played games together.

    One day in spring, they went to a beautiful garden. They sat down on the grass and sang and danced. Only Dorigen was unhappy. АД the men were dancing happily, but her dear husband, Arveragus, was not there.

    One of the dancers in the garden was a man called Aurelius. He was a handsome young man and he loved Dorigen with all his heart. But he never spoke to her about his feelings. Some of his friends knew that he was in love. But they didn't know who the lady was.

    When Aurelius saw Dorigen in the garden on that spring day, he couldn't hide his love.

    ' I know that your heart lies over the sea with Arveragus,' he said to her. 'You're his wife. I know that you can't love me. But I love you very much.'

    'You must never speak to me like that again, Aurelius,' Dorigen answered. 'Arveragus is my husband and I love him with all my heart. I'll never leave him.'

    Then she laughed and said,'Aurelius, I will love you if you take away all the rocks from the sea. Then Arveragus can come home safely in his ship.'

    ' Is there no other way ?' he asked.

    ' No, there's no other way,' said Dorigen.

    Aurelius went away sadly. First he spoke to the Sun God.

    ' Oh, Lord of the Sun, speak to your sister. Ask her to cover the rocks with the sea. Then my lady will love me. She won't break her promise, I'm sure.'

    But nothing happened. The sea stayed the same and Aurelius could still see the black rocks. He got very ill and his brother looked after him. Aurelius told his brother everything.

    ' I must take those rocks away,' he said.' If I can do that, then Dorigen will love me. I'll be a happy man.'

    Aurelius's brother loved him and wanted to help him. He started to read books. He had to find a way to move the rocks.

    After two years, Arveragus came home from the war. Dorigen and all their friends were very happy. But Aurelius didn't know that he was back. He lay at home in bed, very ill. His brother stayed close to him. He read his books and thought about the rocks all the time.

    ' How can I help my dear brother?' he asked himself every day.

    At last he remembered something. He sat down near Aurelius's bed and spoke to him quietly.

    ' One day in Orleans, I saw a book in a friend's house. It was a book about magic. Perhaps that book will help us with the rocks. If we can hide the rocks for a short time, Dorigen will love you.'

    Aurelius listened to his brother and felt much better. He jumped out of his bed and in a day or two they went to Orleans together.

    As they came near Orleans, they met a young man. He was a magician.

    He said to them,' I know why you've come here.'

    And to their great surprise he told them everything about Dorigen and the rocks.

    That night, they went with the young man to his house. Before they ate, he showed them many strange things. They were all done by magic. Forests came in front of their eyes, full of animals. Next they saw a river in the room. Then they saw many knights, and they even saw Aurelius with his love, Dorigen. Aurelius was dancing with her.

    Before they went to bed, Aurelius decided. He said to the young man,'If you hide those rocks, I'll pay you a thousand pounds.'

    The young man agreed, and the next morning they all rode to Brittany. It was December and the weather was very cold. When they arrived, the young man started his magic immediately. The sea began to cover the rocks. At the end of the day, Aurelius and his brother couldn't see one single rock!

    Aurelius was very excited. He found Dorigen and said to her, ' I still love you very much, dear lady. I know that you're married to Arveragus. But remember the promise that you made in the garden on that spring day. I've done what you told me to do. All the black rocks have disappeared!'

    Then he went away and left her. Dorigen ran down to the sea and looked for the rocks.

    ' It's true!' she cried. 'All the rocks have gone - or the sea has hidden them. Aurelius has done what I asked. But what shall I do now ?'

    Arveragus was away from home for a few days, so she couldn't tell him about her problem. She lay on her bed and cried.

    'What can I do? Shall I kill myself? Some women kill themselves because their husbands don't love them. But Arveragus loves me. Other women kill themselves because they love another man. I don't love Aurelius but I've made a promise. I must keep my promise. But I can't! Oh, what shall I do ?'

    She lay on her bed all day and night, and cried and cried.

    After two days, Arveragus came home. He saw that his wife was unhappy. He asked her, 'My love, why are you crying? What's the matter?'

    Dorigen told him the story.

    ' Is that all ?' he said, and looked at her lovingly. ' Is there nothing more ?'

    ' That's enough!' she cried.' Oh, Arveragus, what shall I do ?'

    'A promise is a promise, my dear. You must keep your promise — that's very important. I won't love you if you break your promise.'

    ' Then I must go to the garden where Aurelius told me about his love. I must wait for him there,' answered Dorigen sadly.

    She kissed her husband goodbye and walked slowly towards the garden.

    Aurelius met Dorigen in the street. He looked very happy but Dorigen's eyes were red with tears.

    ' Where are you going ?' he asked her.

    ' I've spoken to my husband. He told me to keep my promise to you. So I'm going to the garden where I first met you,' she replied unhappily.

    Aurelius looked at Dorigen. He saw her sad face and felt sorry for her.

    'I'm doing a very bad thing,' he thought. 'She loves her husband, Arveragus, very much.'

    ' Tell your husband that he's a good man,' he said to Dorigen. 'I don't want to come between a man and his wife. You're the most loving wife I've ever met.'

    When she heard these kind words, Dorigen fell on her knees. She thanked him. Then, with a heart full of happiness, she ran home to her husband.

    For the rest of their long life together, Arveragus looked after her like a queen and she was always his true and loving wife.

    But poor Aurelius didn't feel very happy. He was a worried man. ' How can I  ever pay the magician  all that money ?' he thought.' I'll have to sell everything that I own. And, even then, I won't have enough. Perhaps I can pay him a little every year.'

    He had five hundred pounds, and he went to see the magician with this money.

    ' Here's all my money,' he said.' I'll pay you the rest but, please, give me two or three years.'

    ' But I did what I promised to do. And you promised to pay me a thousand pounds,' shouted the magician angrily.

    ' Yes, I know. You kept your promise but I can't pay you,' Aurelius answered unhappily.

    'Well, have you seen your lady? Does she love you now?' asked the magician when he saw Aurelius's sad face.

    ' No, she doesn't,' said Aurelius. ' Her husband loves her very much but he told her to keep her promise. He sent her to me but I sent her back to him. She loves her husband and she looked so unhappy. I didn't want to hurt her.'

    The magician was pleased to hear this. He said, 'My dear brother, you've done the right thing. And now I'll do the right thing too. I won't take your money.'

    And he said goodbye, got on his horse, and rode away.

    The  franklin  finished his  story  and then asked  the pilgrims a question.

    'My friends, now you must tell me something. Which of those three men seemed the best to you ? Aurelius ? Arveragus ? Or the magician ?'

    The Friar's Tale

    The Summoner and the Devil

    There was a summoner and a friar on the pilgrimage to Canterbury.

    Summoners found people who did bad things. They took them to an important person in the church. People often paid summoners a lot of money to forget those bad things. A friar's job was different. He asked people for money for the church.

    The summoner and friar on the pilgrimage were not friends.

    The friar said to the pilgrims,' I'm going to tell you a story about summoners.'

    Then the summoner said, 'And I'm going to tell you a story about friars.'

    'Well, I'm going to tell my story first,' said the friar.

    So the friar began.

    There was an important man in the church who was very bad. He only wanted people's money. A summoner worked for this man. He watched people quietly. Then he caught them when they did bad things. 'You must leave the church,' he told them. 'But if you give me a lot of money, you can come into the church again.'

    One day, the summoner was on his way to see an old woman. He thought that she was a bad woman. He wanted her to give him money.

    On the way he met a man. The man was wearing bright red clothes and riding a brown horse.

    ' Where are you riding to ?' asked the man. Nobody liked the summoner, so he lied.

    'I'm just going to get some money from an old woman. She has to pay the money to my lord.'

    ' Oh, so you're a bailiff,' said the man.

    A bailiff is a man who looks after land for rich lords. He takes money from the farmers who use the land.

    ' Yes, that's right,' answered the summoner.' I'm a bailiff.' ' I've got a farm which I look after for a lord,' said the man. ' Oh, that's interesting,' said the summoner.' Tell me, how do you get your money from people ?'

    ' I get it in many different ways,' said the man.' I like having a lot of money, but my lord doesn't pay me much.'

    ' I've got my ways too,' said the summoner.' I don't mind if people are frightened of me or unhappy. I think we're the same, you and I.What's your name?'

    The man's answer gave the summoner a surprise. ' I'll tell you who I am. I'm a devil, and I live in hell!' he said. ' Oh, I thought you were an ordinary man like me,' said the summoner.' You look like a man.'

    ' Devils can look like anything they want to,' laughed the devil. ' There are good reasons for this. Now, let's continue our journey.'

    So the man and the devil rode along the road. After a short time, they saw a man with some horses. He was hitting the horses and shouting at them.

    ' The devil can take you, you lazy animals!' he cried.

    'Did you hear that?' the summoner asked the devil. 'Go and take his horses. He says that the devil can take them!'

    'You can't believe everything you hear,' answered the devil. 'Wait. Let's see what happens.'

    After a few minutes the tired horses started to walk a little faster.' Good horses!' shouted their owner.' Good Brock! Good old Scottie! God will save you all!'

    ' What did I tell you ?' said the devil.' He said one thing but he meant another thing. There's nothing for me here. Let's continue.'

    When the town was far behind them, the summoner said to the devil,' You didn't do very well with the man and his horses, did you? Now I'm going to get some money from this poor old woman. Watch carefully! You can see how I do it.'

    He went to the old woman's door.' Come out!' he shouted. ' I'm sure you're doing something bad in there!'

    'Who's that?' cried the old woman, coming quickly out of her house.

    When she saw the summoner, she looked very frightened. ' Oh, it's you, sir,' she said.

    ' People are saying some very bad things about you,' said the summoner in a serious voice.' If they're true, you'll have to go to the church. You'll have to pay them a lot of money.'

    When she heard this, the old woman began to cry.

    ' Oh, sir, please be kind to me,' she said.' I'm ill and I can't get to church. Can I pay you the money ?'

    ' Yes, but you must pay me now,' answered the summoner.' It will cost you twelve pennies. Quickly!'

    ' Twelve pennies!' cried the old woman.' Oh, God help me! I haven't got twelve pennies! What can I do ?'

    ' Give me your money!' shouted the summoner angrily.

    ' But I haven't done anything bad,' said the poor woman.

    'Give me your money or I'll take your cooking pot. You were with a man who isn't your husband. You know you were!'

    'No, I always loved my husband,' cried the old woman. 'I hope the blackest devil in hell carries you away! And the cooking pot too!'

    Then the devil spoke to the old woman.' Do you really mean what you're saying, madam ?'

    ' Yes I do!' she answered. ' The devil can carry him away — clothes, cooking pot, everything.'

    The summoner was still shouting at her. He was very angry.

    ' What ? Will I get no money from this stupid old woman ?'

    'Why are you so angry?' asked the devil. 'You and the cooking pot are mine now. She gave you to me. Tonight you'll be in hell with me. You can learn about devils there and about how we do our work!'

    Suddenly the devil jumped on the summoner and caught him. Then he carried him down to hell. There's a place for summoners in hell, and it's always very full!

    The friar finished his story and looked at all the pilgrims.

    'Think hard about my story,' he said. 'We must hope that God will keep us from the devil!'

    Then the summoner told his story about the friar. But it wasn't a very interesting story so I haven't put it in this book.

    The Nun's Priest's Tale

    Chaunticleer and the Fox

    There was a nun on the pilgrimage called Madam Eglantine. A priest was travelling with her to help her on the journey. His name was John.

    The knight said, 'We've had enough sad stories. Let's have a happy story now! You, priest — can you tell us a happy story ?'

    The nun's priest, John, thought for a minute and then answered, 'I'll try.'

    So he told the story of Chaunticleer and Pertelote. Chaunticleer was a cock, and Pertelote was a hen.

    This is the story.

    A long time ago, there was a poor old woman who lived in a small house in the country. Near her house was a wood.

    The old woman was very poor, so she couldn't buy any food. She only ate the things that she grew in her garden, and the eggs from her hens.

    The hens lived in the garden during the day. Chaunticleer, the cock, was the lord of the hens. The name Chaunticleer means 'sing beautifully' and he had a wonderful voice. Every morning he sang when the sun came up. During the day he sang every hour. So the old woman didn't need a clock — she could always tell the time by the cock.

    Chaunticleer was the lord of seven hens. His wife was called Pertelote. She was very wise and she knew her husband very well. He told her everything and they often sang love songs together.

    At night, Chaunticleer and the hens slept on the roof of the old woman's house.

    One morning, just before the sun came up, Chaunticleer was sitting on the roof with Pertelote and the other hens. He was making a terrible noise, like someone who is very frightened. When Pertelote heard him, she felt frightened too.

    'Oh, dear heart! she cried. 'What's the matter? Did you sleep badly?'

    'Don't be angry with me, my love,' answered her husband. 'I've had a very bad dream and I still feel frightened. I thought I was in great danger. Please God, bring me something good and not danger.'

    'What was your dream about, dearest?' asked Pertelote in a worried voice.' Tell me about it.'

    ' I dreamed that I was walking in our garden. Suddenly I saw an animal that looked like a dog. It wanted to kill me! It looked terrible — it was yellow and red with black ears. And it had two burning eyes that were looking straight at me! I've never felt so afraid in all my life. That's why I was crying out in my sleep.'

    'Oh, I thought I had a brave husband!' cried Pertelote. 'But you're not the kind of husband that a woman wants. How can a brave man be afraid of dreams? You're having bad dreams because you eat too much!'

    Pertelote knew a lot about health. She was as good as a doctor.

    ' You're ill, you know. That's why you dreamed about danger. When we fly down to the ground this morning, I'll show you some plants. You must eat them to  get better.'

    Chaunticleer was angry with his wife.

    ' She can't tell me what to do!' he thought.' I haven't eaten too much. And I'm not ill. Dreams mean something.'

    He said to his wife,' Thank you for your lesson, but there are many wise books about dreams. These books say that all dreams mean something. And I know many true stories about dreams.'

    Chaunticleer was a great talker and he read a lot of books He started to tell his wife about three dreams which came true This is the first dream.

    One day, two pilgrims came to a town where there were a lot of people. It was very crowded, so there weren't many places to stay. In the end they had to sleep in different places. One man slept in a comfortable house, and the other man slept in a farmhouse.

    In the night, the man in the comfortable house dreamed that his friend was calling him. His friend was crying,' Help! Help! There are dangerous animals in my room! They're going to kill me! Come quickly!'

    The friend had the same dream three times.

    The third time, the man in the farmhouse cried,' It's too late! I'm already dead! They've killed me and hidden my body. Go to the west gate of the town. You'll find my body there.'

    So the friend went to the west gate, and there he found the body.

    Chaunticleer said, 'You see, dreams have meanings. Now, I'll tell you another story.'

    This was his second story.

    Two men wanted to sail across the sea, but they had to wait for the right wind.

    They went to stay in a city near the sea, and decided to sail early the next day. They went to bed in the same room. They were happy that they could start their journey soon.

    But in the night one of the men dreamed that he saw a man in heir room. This man said to him,' If you sail tomorrow, you'll lie. Stay here, in the city, for one more day. Then you'll be safe.'

    The man woke up and told his friend the story, but his friend laughed at him. He didn't believe that the dream was true.

    'The wind's right today,' he said. 'You stay here if you want to wait. I'm leaving. Dreams mean nothing! Goodbye!'

    He walked away and the man never saw his friend again. The ship sailed onto some rocks, and all the men in it were killed.

    Then Chaunticleer told Pertelote his third story. It was about the King of Mercia's son.

    This little boy was only seven years old. He dreamed that he was in great danger. He told a kind woman about his dream but she didn't believe him. Nobody believed his dream.

    A few days later, the king's sister killed the little boy.

    Chaunticleer finished his stories and said,' My dear Pertelote, I feel better now. I'm not frightened. Let's fly down to the garden.'

    The cock and his wife both flew down from the roof and Chaunticleer called all his hens to him. He felt like a king and he wasn't afraid.

    It was a beautiful morning. When Chaunticleer sang, his voice sounded happy and strong. He happily told the world what time it was.

    'Madam Pertelote,' he said, 'listen to the birds. They sound wonderful! And look at the flowers. They look lovely after their long winter's sleep. My love, my heart is full of happiness.'

    But then a terrible thing happened.

    A fox lived in the little wood near the old woman's house. He came into the garden during the night and hid quietly behind the trees until it was midday.' That's the best time to catch poor Chaunticleer,' he thought to himself.

    'Oh, Chaunticleer,' the nun's priest said, 'it was a bad day for you! You came down from your safe roof into the dangerous garden! You tried to forget your dream - but it was true!

    ' It was a mistake for Chaunticleer to listen to his wife. Women are often wrong. But I'm a nun's priest, so I mustn't say too much against women!'

    Pertelote was sitting happily in the sun with all her sisters round her. Chaunticleer stood near them, singing loudly.

    Then the cock heard a noise and turned quickly. There was the fox! He stopped singing immediately. He felt very, very frightened.

    'Dear sir,' said the fox, 'why have you stopped singing? I'm your friend. I don't want to hurt you. You sing beautifully, like your mother and father. They've both been to my house. They were very kind to come. I was very happy to have them there.

    'I've never heard anyone sing like your father on that morning. He shut his eyes and stood up tall. Now, please sir, can you sing for me like your father?'

    Chaunticleer was very pleased to hear these words. He didn't understand the fox's true meaning. So he stood up tall, shut his eyes, and began to sing.

    The fox suddenly caught Chaunticleer and threw him on his back. Then he ran with him towards the wood.

    The hens saw the fox and made a terrible noise. Pertelote made the loudest noise. The old woman and her two daughters ran out of their house when they heard her.

    ' Fox! Fox!' they cried out, and ran into the wood. The seven hens followed them, then the old woman's three dogs, and the other farm animals. People ran out of their houses and threw things at the fox.

    The women shouted, ' Fox! Fox!' The hens ran — ' Cluck!

    Cluck!' The dogs ran - ' Woof! Woof!' Everyone followed the fox and poor Chaunticleer. -

    ' Now, good people,' said the nun's priest,' you must listen to the end of my story. Then you'll learn something.'

    The fox ran deeper and deeper into the wood with Chaunticleer in his mouth. When he stopped for a rest, the cock spoke to him.

    'Sir Fox, you must turn round and speak to those stupid people. Say to them, "Go back home! I've reached the wood now and I'm going to eat this cock. You can't do anything about it, so stop making that noise. Go home! "'

    ' That's a good idea,' answered the fox.

    Of course, when the fox opened his mouth to speak, he dropped Chaunticleer. The cock quickly flew up into a high tree.

    ' Oh, dear Sir Chaunticleer,' said the fox, as he looked up,' I didn't want to frighten you. I didn't really want to eat you. Come down, and talk to me.'

    ' No,' shouted Chaunticleer,' I'm not coming down. I've been very stupid but now I understand you!'

    'Ah!' replied the fox.' I was the stupid one. I spoke when you were in my mouth. I must learn to keep my mouth shut.'

    ' So,' said the nun's priest,' don't believe everything that people say to you in this world. My story isn't just a simple one about a fox, a cock and seven hens. It can teach you important things. You can learn from it.'

    ' Thank you,' said the pilgrims. ' Thank you, Sir Priest, for a very good story.'


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    Introduction

    That night, Terry would have told me the story of his life if I'd asked him. If I had asked, and if he had told me, it might have saved a couple of lives. It might have.

    Terry Lennox is a drunk. Philip Marlowe, private detective, knows it's always a mistake to try to help drunks. But then, Marlowe is always on the side of losers. Perhaps that's why he decides to help Lennox get away when he's in trouble.

    But then the body of Sylvia Lennox is found. Marlowe can't believe that Lennox killed his wife, but the police certainly do. Suddenly, wherever Marlowe goes, whatever he does, Terry Lennox's strange life seems to follow him around.

    It will stay that way until Marlowe can find some answers. But to find answers, you have to know what the questions are . . .

    Raymond Chandler is one of the greatest of all modern detective writers. He turned the tough American crime story into a kind of art. He was born in 1888 in Chicago, Illinois, but was brought up and educated in England. After fighting in France during the First World War, he returned to the United States and took a managerial job with an oil company. He rose to a high position in the organization until he was sacked in 1932, for not taking his job seriously. It was then that he decided to write for a living. By 1938 he had written sixteen stories. The hero of his first novel, The Big Sleep (1939), was Philip Marlowe. This was a great success, and Marlowe appeared in several other books, including Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1944), and The Long Goodbye (1953).

    In his last few years, Chandler suffered from depression and ill health, and began drinking heavily. He died in 1959.

    Chapter 1    Bus to Las Vegas

    The first time I saw Terry Lennox he was sitting in a Rolls-Royce in front of a fancy restaurant, and he was very drunk. He had a young man's face but his hair was white as snow. You could see he was drunk by looking at his eyes; otherwise he looked like any young man who had been spending too much money in a place that was there to take your money.

    There was a woman beside him. Her hair was a pretty dark red and she had a distant smile on her lips.

    'I have a wonderful idea, darling,' the woman said, trying to be nice. 'Why don't we take a taxi to your place and get your little car out? It's a wonderful night for a ride up the coast.'

    The man said 'Awfully sorry, but I don't have it any more. Had to sell it. 'He spoke clearly.

    'Sold it, darling? What do you mean?' She slid away from him, but her voice slid even further.

    'I had to. Had to eat.'

    'Oh, I see.' A piece of ice wouldn't have melted on her now.

    Right then, the car door seemed to open itself and the young man fell off the seat and landed, sitting, on the ground. So I went over and stuck my nose in their business, although it's always a mistake to interfere with people who are drunk. I picked him up and put him on his feet.

    'Thank you so much,' he said politely. I thought I heard an accent.

    'He is so English when he's drunk,' she said in a hard voice. 'Thanks for catching him.'

    'I'll get him in the back of the car,' I said.

    'Sorry, mister, but I'm late for an appointment.' She started to drive off. 'He's just a lost dog,' she added. 'Perhaps you can find a good home for him.' And then she was gone. And the guy was asleep in my arms.

    I carried him to my car. He was heavy. As I put him in the front seat, he woke up and thanked me again, and went back to sleep. He was the politest drunk I'd ever met. While I drove, I looked at him once in a while. The right side of his face was one big scar that the doctors had worked on. They hadn't failed but they hadn't succeeded either.

    I was living that year in a house on Yucca Avenue in the Laurel Canyon area. The rent was low, partly because the owner didn't want a written agreement, and partly because of the steps. She was getting old and they were too steep for her.

    I got him up them somehow. Inside, I put him on the sofa and let him go back to sleep. He slept for an hour. When he woke up, he looked around and at me, and wanted to know where he was. I told him. He said his name was Terry Lennox and that he lived in Westwood, alone. His voice was steady. He said he could handle a cup of coffee.

    When I brought it, he asked me why he was here. I told him he had passed out outside a restaurant and his girl had driven off and left him. He said he couldn't blame her.

    'You English?' I asked.

    'I lived there once. I wasn't born there.'

    He finished the coffee and I drove him home. He didn't say much on the way, except that he was sorry. He had probably said it so often that it was automatic.

    His apartment was small and empty. There was a little furniture but no personal items at all. It didn't look like a place where anybody lived. He offered me a drink. I said no. When I left, he thanked me again, but not as if I had climbed a mountain for him and not as if it was nothing at all. He was shy but very polite. Whatever he didn't have, he had manners.

    Driving home, I thought about him. I'm supposed to be tough but this one bothered me. I didn't know why, unless it was the white hair and the scar and the clear voice. There was no reason I should see him again, though. He was just a lost dog, like the woman said.

    It was a month later when I did see him again, about three blocks from my office. There was a police car stopped in the middle of the street, and the men inside were staring at something on the kerb. That something was Terry Lennox - or what was left of him. His shirt was dirty and open at the neck. He hadn't shaved for four or five days. His skin was so pale that the scar hardly showed. It was obvious why the policemen were looking at him, so I went over there fast and took hold of his arm.

    'Stand up and walk,' I said. 'Can you do it?'

    He looked at me and nodded slowly. I wasn't even sure he recognized me. 'I'm just a little empty,' he said.

    He made the effort and let me walk him to the street. There was a taxi there. I opened the back door and got him inside. The police car pulled up. A cop with grey hair asked me, 'What have we got here?'

    'He's not drunk,' I said. 'He's a friend.'

    'That's nice,' the cop said sarcastically. He was still looking at Terry. 'What's your friend's name, pal?'

    'Philip Marlowe,' Terry said slowly. 'He lives on Yucca Avenue in Laurel Canyon.'

    The cop stared at us both. He was making a decision. It took him a little while. 'OK. Get him off the street at least.' The police car drove away.

    We went to a place where you could get hamburgers that you could actually eat. I fed Lennox a couple and a bottle of beer and took him to my place. An hour later, he was shaved and clean, and he looked human again. I made two very mild drinks and we talked as we drank.

    'Lucky you remembered my name,' I said.

    'Not only that,' he said. 'I looked up your phone number, too.'

    'So why didn't you call? I live here all the time.'

    'Why should I bother you?'

    'Looks like you ought to have bothered someone.'

    'Asking for help isn't easy,' he said. 'Especially when it's all your own fault.' He looked up with a tired smile. 'Maybe I can stop drinking one of these days. They all say that, don't they?'

    'It takes about three years.'

    'Three years?' He looked shocked.

    He turned and looked at the clock and changed the subject. 'I have a suitcase worth two hundred dollars down at the Hollywood bus station. I could get money for it. Maybe not two hundred dollars, but enough for a bus ticket to Las Vegas, and I could get a job there.'

    I didn't say anything.

    'A man I knew well in the army runs a big club there. His name's Randy Starr.'

    Something must have shown on my face. 'Yes,' he continued, 'he's part gangster but they all are, and the other part of him isn't bad.'

    'I can give you the bus fare and some extra,' I said.

    He shook his head.

    'I want you out of my hair,' I explained. 'I've got a feeling about you.'

    'You have?' He looked down into his glass. 'We've only met twice. What sort of feeling?'

    'A feeling that next time we meet, I'll find you in worse trouble than I can get you out of. I don't know why I have this feeling, but I do.'

    He touched his scar gently. 'Maybe it's this. Makes me look like trouble, I suppose. But I got it honestly.'

    'It's not that,' I said. 'It's this. I'm a private detective and you're a problem that I don't have to solve. But the problem's there. Maybe that girl didn't drive away that time just because you were drunk. Maybe she had a feeling, too.'

    He smiled faintly. 'I was married to her once. Her name is still Lennox. I married her for her money.' When he saw my face, his smile disappeared. 'You're wondering why I didn't ask her for help. Did you ever hear of pride?'

    'You're killing me, Lennox.'

    'My pride is different. It's the pride of a man who has nothing else. Sorry if it bothers you.'

    It bothered me and he bothered me, too, although I couldn't understand exactly why. Any more than I knew why a man would starve and walk the streets before he'd sell a suitcase. Whatever his rules were, though, he played by them.

    I went down to the bus station and got his suitcase for him. When I came back, he said he had called his pal in Las Vegas. 'He was sore at me because I hadn't called him before.'

    'It takes a stranger to help you,' I said, and put a hundred dollars in front of him. 'And take the suitcase with you. You might need to sell it later.'

    'I don't want it,' he said. 'If you like, you can keep it for me.'

    He changed his clothes and we went out for dinner. No drinks. Afterwards, he caught the bus and I drove home thinking about this and that.

    At nine-thirty, the telephone rang and the voice that spoke was one I had heard once before.

    'Is this Mr Philip Marlowe?'

    'It is.'

    'This is Sylvia Lennox, Mr Marlowe. We met for a moment one night last month. I heard afterwards that you had been kind enough to take Terry home.'

    'I did that.'

    'I've been a little worried about him. Nobody seems to know where he is.'

    'I noticed how worried you were the other night,' I said. 'He's on a bus to Las Vegas.'

    'Las Vegas?' This news seemed to cheer her up. 'How sweet of him. That's where we were married.'

    'I guess he forgot that,' I said, 'or he would have gone somewhere else.'

    Instead of hanging up, she laughed. It was a pretty laugh. 'Are you always as rude as this to ladies?'

    'I don't know that you are a lady. The man was living in the streets. He had no money, none at all. You could have found him if you'd really wanted to. He didn't want anything from you then and he probably doesn't want anything from you now.'

    'That,' she said coolly, 'is something you know nothing about, Mr Marlowe. Good-night.'

    She was completely right, of course, and I was all wrong. But I didn't feel wrong then. I just felt angry.

    Chapter 2    An Englishman's Drink

    Three days before Christmas, I got a cheque on a Las Vegas bank for one hundred dollars. A note came with it. He thanked me, wished me a Merry Christmas, and said he hoped to see me soon. The surprise came at the end. 'Sylvia and I were married again. She says not to be angry with her for wanting to try again.' I read the rest of the story on the society page of the newspaper.

    'All are happy with the news that Sylvia and Terry Lennox have remarried at Las Vegas, the darlings. Sylvia is, of course, the youngest daughter of millionaire Harlan Potter. And what does Daddy think of the marriage? One can only guess. Potter is one person who never, ever, gives interviews.'

    Well, I thought, if he wants her money, let him take it. I just didn't want to see him again. But I knew I would - if only because of the suitcase.

    It was five o'clock on a wet March evening when he walked into my little office. He looked changed: older, more serious, but calmer, too. Like a man who had learned a hard lesson.

    'Let's go to some quiet bar,' he said, as if he had seen me ten minutes before. We didn't shake hands. We almost never did. Englishmen don't shake hands all the time like Americans do and, although he wasn't English, he had their manners.

    We went to Victor's. On the way, I said something stupid about his new life and he said that if he wasn't happy, at least he was rich. And he said that he wasn't having any trouble at all handling his drinking these days.

    'Perhaps you were never really drunk,' I said.

    At the bar we drank gin and lime, an Englishman's drink. Lennox said they didn't know the right way to make them here. I wasn't interested in talking about drinks, so I asked him about his pal in Las Vegas. Down my street, I said, Starr was known as a tough customer.

    'Randy? In Las Vegas, he's a straight businessman. You should drop in and see him next time you're there. He'll be your pal.'

    'Not too likely. I don't like gangsters.'

    'That's just a word, Marlowe. We have that kind of world. The wars gave it to us and we're going to keep it. Randy and I and another guy were all in a little danger once together. It's different for the three of us.'

    'So why didn't you ask him for help when you needed it?'

    He finished his drink and signalled for another. 'Because he couldn't refuse. I didn't want to beg from him.'

    'You begged from a stranger.'

    He looked me straight in the eye. 'Strangers can keep going and pretend not to hear.'

    When he finished the second drink, he drove me back to the office.

    From then on, it became his habit to drop in around five o'clock. We usually went to Victor's. I didn't understand why he enjoyed being with me instead of being in his big expensive house. I asked him about that once.

    'Nothing for me at the house,' he said, drinking his usual gin and lime.

    'Am I supposed to understand that?'

    'A big film with no story, as they say in the film business. Sylvia is happy enough. But not with me. In our circle, that's not too important. You see, the rich don't really have a good time. They never want anything very much except maybe someone else's wife, and that's a pale desire compared with the way a butcher's wife wants new curtains for the living room. Mostly, I just kill time. A little tennis, a little swimming.'

    I told him it didn't have to be the way it was. He said I should wonder why she wanted him, not why he wanted to be there.

    'You like having servants and bells to ring,' I said.

    He just smiled. 'Could be. I grew up as an orphan with no money.'

    I began thinking I liked him better drunk, hungry and beaten and proud. That night, he would have told me the story of his life if I'd asked him. If I had asked, and if he had told me, it might have saved a couple of lives. It might have.

    The last time we had drinks together was in May. It was earlier than usual and the bar was nearly empty.

    'I like bars at this hour,' he said. 'I like to watch the man fix the first one of the evening. I like to taste it slowly. Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic.'

    Then he started talking about her. 'I feel sorry for Sylvia. She's so terrible, but I think I like her. One day, she'll need someone, and no one else will be there. And I'll probably make a mess of it.'

    'What's this about?' I asked.

    'She's scared. I don't know of what. Maybe her father. He's a cold man. He doesn't even like her. If she annoys him too much, something might happen to her.'

    'You're her husband,' I pointed out.

    'Officially. Nothing more.' ' I couldn't listen to this. I stood up and dropped some money on the table. 'You talk too much, and it's always about you. See you later,' I walked out.

    Ten minutes later I was sorry, but ten minutes later I was somewhere else. I didn't see him again for a month. When I did, it was early in the morning. The doorbell woke me up. He was standing there, looking like hell. And he had a gun in his hand.

    The gun wasn't pointed at me; he was just holding it.

    'You're driving me to Tijuana to get a plane at ten-fifteen. I have a passport but I don't have transportation. I'll pay you five hundred dollars for the ride.'

    I stood in the door and didn't move to let him in. 'How about five hundred dollars plus the gun?' I asked.

    He looked at it and then dropped it in his pocket.

    'Come on in,' I said, and he came in and fell into a chair.

    'I'm in trouble,' he said.

    'It's going to be a beautiful day. Cool, too. Yeah, I guessed you were in trouble. Let's talk about it after coffee. I always need my morning coffee.'

    He followed me into the kitchen. I poured him a big drink from a bottle off the shelf. He had to use two hands to get it to his mouth.

    'Didn't sleep at all last night,' he said weakly.

    I poured him another drink and he drank this one with one hand. When he finished it, the coffee was ready.

    I sat down across from him. Without warning, his head came down on the table and he was crying. He didn't seem to notice when I took the gun from his pocket. I smelled it. It hadn't been fired.

    He lifted his head and said 'I didn't shoot anybody.'

    I held up my hand. 'Wait a minute. It's like this. Be very careful what you tell me if you want me to help you. I can't be told about a crime you've committed, or a crime you know has been committed. Not if you want me to drive you to Tijuana.'

    He looked straight at me for the first time since he had come in. 'I said I was in trouble.'

    'I heard you. I don't want to know what kind of trouble. It's a matter of law. I can't know.'

    'I could make you drive me. With the gun,' he said.

    I grinned and pushed the gun across the table. He didn't touch it. 'I'm a man who sometimes has business with guns. I'd look stupid trying to tell the police I was so scared I had to do what you told me to.'

    'Listen,' he said, 'they won't even look in the bedroom until midday. She won't be there. The bed will be too neat, so they'll look in the guest house. Servants always know what goes on.'

    'And when they see her,' I said, 'they'll think she's drunk, right? And that's the end of the story. That's all I want to hear.

    You're sick of it all; you've been thinking of leaving for some time.'

    'I called her father last night,' Lennox said, remembering. 'I told him I was leaving.'

    'What did he say?'

    'He was sorry. He wished me luck. Oh yes, he also asked me if I needed money. That's all he ever thinks about.'

    'Did you ever see her with a man in the guest house?' I asked suddenly.

    He looked surprised. 'I never even tried.'

    'OK, so this is how it is. You came to me this morning and wanted a ride to Tijuana. You couldn't bear life with her anymore. Where you went was none of my business. We are friends and I did what you asked me.'

    'How does it sound?' He looked at me hopefully.

    'Depends on who's listening.'

    'I'm sorry,' he said.

    'Your type's always sorry, and always too late. I've still got that suitcase of yours. You need luggage. It'll look better.' I got it from where I'd kept it and put some things in it. Nothing used, nothing marked. Then I got the car out, locked up, and we left.

    We didn't have much to say to each other on the way down. The border people had nothing to say to us either. When we reached the airport, the plane was there but no one was hurrying.

    Terry went to get his ticket and came back. There were only a few people waiting with us.

    'OK. I'm ready,' he said. 'This is where I say goodbye.'

    We shook hands. He looked tired, very tired.

    'I owe you,' he said, 'but you don't owe me. We had a few drinks together and I talked too much about me. I left a five-hundred-dollar bill in your coffee jar.'

    'I wish you hadn't.'

    'I'll never spend half of what I have.'

    'Good luck, Terry. Go, get on the plane. I know you didn't kill her.'

    He stared at me. He turned away, then looked back.

    'I'm sorry,' he said quietly, 'you're wrong about that. I'm going to walk slowly to the plane. You have plenty of time to stop me.'

    He walked. I watched him. He went through a door. He was outside now. He stopped there and looked towards me. He didn't wave. Neither did I. Then he went up the steps into the aircraft. The engines started and that big silver bird began to roll away. The dust rose in clouds behind it. I watched it lift slowly into the air and disappear into the blue sky, going south. Then I left.

    Chapter 3    Simple Justice

    It was two in the afternoon when I got home and they were waiting for me.

    'You Marlowe? We want to talk to you.' This one was grey-blond and looked hard. His partner was tall, handsome and just looked nasty. They both had watching-and-waiting eyes. They showed me their badges.

    'Sergeant Green, Central Homicide.* This is Detective Dayton.'

    I went on up and unlocked the door. You don't shake hands with the police.

    They sat in the living room and Green did the talking.

    'Man named Terry Lennox. You know him, right?'

    'We have a drink together once in a while. He lives in Encino, married money. I've never been there.'

    'When did you last see him?'

    The section of the police department which investigates murders.

    I filled my pipe. 'This is where I ask you what it's all about and you tell me that you ask the questions, right?'

    'That's right. So you just answer them.'

    I don't know, I guess I was tired. Maybe I felt a little guilty. 'I don't have to say anything.'

    Dayton spoke up. 'Answer the questions, Marlowe. Just co-operate. It's healthier.'

    Right away I didn't like him. His voice was a hard don't- fool-with-me voice. I went to the book shelf and took down the big state law book. I held it out to him. 'Find me the part that says I have to answer your questions. There's no such law.'

    'Sit down,' Green said impatiently. 'Lennox's wife has been murdered. Ugly job. Murderer used something blunt. Must have hit her more than a dozen times. Husband is missing. We find your telephone number in his desk, marked with today's date. She'd been seeing other men. We found that out, too.'

    'Terry Lennox wouldn't do anything like that. He's known about the other men for a long time.'

    'He's not going to tell us anything, Sergeant,' Dayton said. 'He's read that law book. He thinks the law lives in the book. Don't you, Marlowe?'

    I said nothing. I wasn't going to help him.

    'Stand up,' he said.

    I started to get up. I was half way up when he hit me. I sat back down and shook my head. Dayton was smiling; Green was looking away.

    'Let's try again,' Dayton suggested. I didn't move or speak. If I stood up, he'd hit me again. But if he hit me again, I'd hurt him. He couldn't hit me hard enough to stop me from hurting him next time.

    'That was stupid,' Green said to Dayton. 'That's just what he wanted. A good reason for not talking.'

    I nodded. 'Terry Lennox is my friend. Maybe you have enough evidence. In court, I'll answer questions. But not here. Not now. You're not a bad guy, Green. Your partner has psychological problems, that's all. And if he hits me again, he'll have medical problems, too.'

    They had no choice. They put the bracelets on me and took me in.

    At the station, I still didn't feel like talking. But now the person I wasn't talking to was a captain.

    'Thinks he's tough,' the Captain said. 'We could change that.' He didn't sound as if he really cared. 'Guess we'd better. You can talk now.'

    I didn't say anything. He reached for the coffee cup on his desk. I was in a chair facing him. The bracelets were on tight. That's the way he wanted them. But when he threw the coffee at me, I was faster than he was. Most of it missed.

    'Doesn't like coffee. Look, pal, you've got some information that I want. Saying nothing at all is no good.'

    'If I tell you what you want,' I asked, 'will you take the bracelets off?'

    'Maybe, maybe not. Tell me first.'

    'If I say I haven't seen Lennox today, would that satisfy you?'

    'It might.' But he was losing patience. 'If I believed you.'

    'I'd like to talk to a lawyer. How about that?'

    The Captain laughed. It was a short, ugly laugh. He leaned across the desk and hit me with a hand of stone. There was thunder inside my head. When he spoke to me again, the words seemed to come from far away.

    'I used to be tough but I'm getting old. You take a good blow, Marlowe, and that's all you'll get from me. We have younger, stronger guys for this work. OK, you won't talk to me but you'll talk to them. I promise you that.'

    The telephone rang. Green handed it to the Captain.

    'Yes, sir,' the Captain said, 'he's here. Really? Is that an order?' His face was red and getting redder. 'Fine, sir.' He put the telephone down with a bang. He was shaking with anger when he turned to speak to me. 'The DA* wants you for himself. You're his headache now.'

    He told Green to get me out of there. Before we reached the door, however, he held up one of those stone hands and we stopped.

    'You've got something to say, right? Your type always does. Say it.'

    'Yes, sir,' I answered him politely. 'You probably didn't intend to, but you've done me a favour. You've solved a problem for me. No man likes to betray a friend but I wouldn't even betray an enemy to you. I might have told you something before you hit me; now I wouldn't tell you what day of the week it is.'

    Green marched me out. I spent the next three days in jail. It wasn't so bad. It was quiet and it was clean. No one bothered me.

    On the third day, a guard unlocked my door in the middle of the morning. 'Your lawyer is here. And don't throw that cigarette on the floor.'

    He took me to the conference room. A tall man with dark hair was standing there looking out of the window. He turned and waited for the door to close. He took out a fancy cigarette case and looked me over.

    'Sit down, Marlowe. Cigarette? My name is Endicott. Sewell Endicott. I've been told to help you. It won't cost you anything. I guess you'd like to get out of here.'

    I sat down and took one of his cigarettes. He lit it for me. I asked him who had sent him. He wouldn't tell me.

    District Attorney: a lawyer who represents the government in court.

    'I guess that means they caught him.'

    He shook his head. 'If you mean Lennox, and of course you do, no, they haven't caught him.'

    'If they haven't got Terry, why are they holding me?'

    He frowned. 'I think I can help you get out of here, so let's work on your problems and not Terry's. Don't you want my help?'

    No, I told him, I didn't. When a clever lawyer gets you out of jail before the police are ready to let you go, people talk. They say unkind things.

    'Listen,' I said, 'I'm not in here for Lennox. I'm in here for me. I'm in a business where people come to me with troubles. Troubles they don't want to share with the police. That's why I'm not talking. You can tell Terry that.'

    'I see your point,' Endicott said, 'but I have to tell you, I'm not in contact with Lennox. If I knew where he was, I'd have to tell the police. I'm a lawyer, and that's the law.'

    'You believe in the law?'

    The question annoyed him. 'The law,' he said, 'is not justice. It's just a half-broken machine. If you push the right buttons and you're lucky at the same time, you might get some justice. Now, do you want my help or not?'

    I still didn't. 'I'll wait a few more days. If they catch Terry, they won't care how he got away. And if they don't get him, they'll want to forget it all fast. By the way, why haven't any reporters been in to see me? I thought the old man, Harlan Potter, owned nine or ten newspapers. With all that money and power, he should be able to make this into a real party.'

    Endicott looked at me coldly. 'You're strange, Marlowe. You know so little. All that money and power can also buy a lot of silence.'

    He opened the door and went out. The guard took me back and locked me in again.

    I had said I would wait a few days, but it turned out I didn't have to. A few hours later, another guard came and took me to see someone in the DA's office.

    We went through the door without knocking. A fat man with a square chin and stupid eyes was pushing something into the drawer of his desk. The guard left, and I pulled a chair over and sat down.

    'I didn't say you could sit down,' the man said sharply.

    I took out a cigarette.

    'And I didn't say you could smoke,' he shouted at me.

    I lit my cigarette.

    'Take another drink from that bottle in the desk,' I said. 'It'll make you feel better.'

    He waited a minute. Then he said, 'A tough guy, huh? Some hard guys come in here, but that's not the way they leave. They leave here small. I want a full statement from you.'

    'I get so tired of it,' I said, looking into those stupid eyes.

    'Tired of what?'

    'Hard little men in hard little offices talking hard little words that don't mean a thing. You think a few days in here is going to make me cry on your shoulder? Forget it. And forget the threats. If you're big enough, you don't need them, and if you need them, you're not big enough to scare me.'

    The fat man played with some papers on his desk. Then he looked up, smiling. 'It doesn't really matter if you don't talk. We've found your friend.'

    I didn't believe him, and I let him know it.

    'Believe me. Believe me, too, that we have people that saw you with him at Tijuana Airport. You want the whole story? Lennox got off the plane in Mazatlan. He disappeared for about an hour. Then a tall man with black hair and dark skin and a scar, maybe a knife scar, booked to Torreon under the name of Silvano Rodriguez. He was too tall to be so dark. The pilot turned in a report on him. The police were too slow in Torreon but they followed him to a little mountain town called Otatoclan. He rented a hotel room there. He was wearing a gun, too, but that's not unusual in Mexico. But the police were right behind him, see? They found him in the hotel.'

    I laughed. 'That's a terrible story. Lennox is too smart to try to be a Mexican in Mexico. You don't know where he is. That's why you want my statement.'

    He took the bottle out then and had a drink. Then he picked up one of the papers from his desk, grabbed a pen, and signed it. 'I've just set you free. Want to know why?'

    I stood up. 'If you want to tell me.'

    'The investigation's finished. Lennox finished it. He wrote a full confession this afternoon in his hotel room in Otatoclan. Then he shot himself

    I stood there looking at nothing. The fat man watched me nervously. I think he thought I might hit him. I didn't. I just walked out and closed the door. I closed it quietly as if on a room where someone had just died.

    I met a friend downstairs on my way out. He wanted to know why I was there, so I told him. Morgan is a reporter, and he gave me a ride home because he is my friend and because he is a reporter.

    'Very neat, don't you think?' he asked, after he had listened to my story.

    'You think this isn't straight?'

    'Two things. Harlan Potter is a very rich man who hates having his name in any newspaper, even his own newspapers. So the trial would have annoyed him. Now Lennox is dead and there's not going to be a trial. Convenient for Potter.'

    He continued after a minute. 'Then, there's a chance that the poor fool had a little help shooting himself.'

    I didn't think he had needed help. He hadn't thought much of himself lately. But maybe Morgan wasn't all wrong.

    Before he dropped me off, he had one more thing to suggest. 'If I were a clever reporter instead of a stupid one, I'd think maybe he didn't kill her at all.'

    It was something to think about, but I was too tired to think. I went in and made some coffee, drank it and took Terry's five-hundred-dollar bill out of the coffee jar. I brought in the newspapers that were on the front steps and read about Lennox. There was even a short story about me.

    One thing bothered me, though — the way she'd been killed. I was still sure Terry couldn't have done that. But no one was going to explain it to me, because no explanation was necessary now. The murderer had confessed and he was dead. It was good work either way. If he had killed her, it was simple justice. If he hadn't, that was fine, too. He couldn't deny it now.

    Chapter 4    Letter from a Dead Man

    The next morning, I was back at the office, business as usual. When I thought about Terry, I tried not to let it hurt, but I still felt I owned a little piece of him, so it did.

    The bell and the telephone rang at the same time. I answered the telephone first.

    'Mr Marlowe? This is Sewell Endicott.'

    'Good morning, Mr Endicott.'

    'Glad to hear you're free. I guess it's over, but if they bother you again about this, call me.'

    'The man's dead,' I said. 'They won't bother me again. They have their confession.'

    'Yes, I know,' he said. 'I'm flying to Mexico today to look at the body for them. But let me give you some advice before I go. Don't be too certain they won't make trouble for you. Private detectives aren't their favourite people. And stubborn private detectives, well. . .' He hung up without finishing the sentence.

    I opened my office door. The man had let himself into the waiting room. He was sitting by the window, reading a magazine. He looked quite comfortable. He had thick, dark hair and was very brown from the sun. His clothes probably cost more than I earned in a couple of months.

    He threw the magazine onto the low table. 'The stuff they write these days.'

    'What can I do for you?'

    He looked at me for a moment and then laughed. 'A hero on a bicycle.'

    'What?'

    'You, Marlowe. A hero on a bicycle. Did they hurt you much?'

    'Why do you care?'

    He didn't answer. Instead he stood up and walked into my office. I followed him.

    'You're a little man. Look at this place. You don't make much money, do you? A cheap little man.'

    I let him talk and sat down behind my desk.

    'That's it. You're a cheap guy. Cheap feelings. Have a few drinks with somebody and suddenly you're his pal. You have nothing. A hero on a bicycle.'

    He leaned over the desk and slapped me. It didn't hurt, and I didn't move.

    'You know who I am, Cheapie?'

    'Your name is Menendez. They call you Mendy.'

    'Yeah, that's right.' He took a gold cigarette case out of his pocket and lit a brown cigarette with a gold lighter.

    'I'm a big bad man, Marlowe. I make a lot of money. I have to


    make a lot of money, so I can pay the men I have to pay so I can make a lot of money. I have a house in Bel Air that cost ninety thousand and that was before I fixed it up. I've got a beautiful wife and my children go to private schools. My wife likes diamonds. I've got six servants. Five cars. What do you have, Marlowe?'

    'Why don't you tell me what you want?'

    He put out his cigarette and lit another.

    'Let me tell you a story. In the war, there were three guys in a hole. It was cold, very cold. It was snowing. Randy Starr, Terry Lennox and me. Something lands right in the hole but it doesn't explode. The Germans had a lot of tricks. Sometimes you think it won't explode and then three seconds later you're wrong. Anyway, Terry grabbed this one and jumped out of the hole. He was quick. Very quick. He threw it and it exploded in the air. A piece got him on the side of the face. Right then, the Germans attacked and we had to run. We left him; we thought he was dead. The Germans found him and had him for a year and a half. They did a good job on his face but they hurt him too much. That's why his hair was white.

    'Randy and I spent money to find him. He'd saved our lives. All he got from his share was half of a new face. And then, when he's really in trouble, he doesn't come to us. He comes to you, Cheapie. That makes us mad, see? I could've helped him. Instead he's dead, and you think you're a hero.'

    I shook my head. 'No, I don't.'

    'Of course you do. The story is over, Marlowe. Even if He stopped in the middle of the sentence.

    'Even if Terry didn't kill her,' I said.

    'If that's the way Terry wanted it, then that's how it stays. See you around, Cheapie.'

    I felt old and tired. I got up slowly and picked up his cigarette case from my desk. 'You forgot this,' I said, going towards him.

    'So what? I've got a dozen,' he said. He didn't even reach for it.

    'How about a dozen of these?' I asked, moving in fast and close, and hitting him as hard as I could in the stomach.

    He fell back against the wall making the sounds a cat makes when it's sick. Then, very slowly, he straightened up. I patted his cheek gently. He didn't push my hand away.

    'I didn't think you had the courage,' he said weakly.

    'Next time bring a gun.'

    'I got a guy to carry the gun,' he said. 'Maybe you'll meet him one of these days.' He walked out slowly.

    After that, nothing happened for three days. Sylvia Lennox was buried. The press was not invited to the funeral, and her father, as usual, gave no public statement.

    In the afternoon of the third day, the telephone rang and I found myself talking to a man named Howard Spencer, a New York publisher who said he had a California problem. We agreed to meet in the bar of his hotel the next morning. I needed the job because I needed the money — or thought I did, until I got home and found a letter.

    The envelope was covered with Mexican stamps. I recognized the handwriting in the address. I was holding a letter from a dead man. I opened it and read.

    It didn't start with my name; it just started.

    I'm sitting in a hotel room in a town called Otatoclan. There's a mailbox just below the window and when the boy comes with the coffee I ordered, he is going to mail this letter for me. I'm going to watch him put it in the box, and then I'll pay him.

    I can't mail it myself because I can't leave my room. They're outside, waiting for me. I want you to have this money because I don't need it and the police would steal it if I kept it.

    Maybe you think I didn't kill her. It doesn't matter, though. Her father and her sister were always good to me. A trial would hurt them. I don't want that. I don't care what happens to me. I'm disgusted with

    my life-

    I've written a confession. You read about this in books, but you don't read the truth. The truth is, I feel sick and very scared. But I'm going to do it anyway. So forget it and me. But first drink a gin and lime for me at Victor's. After that, forget the whole thing. Goodbye.

    That was all. That and a five-thousand-dollar bill. I looked at it carefully. I had never seen one before. Lots of people who work in banks haven't, either. Menendez probably had a dozen.

    I met Mr Howard Spencer at eleven the next morning. I was early and he was late. While I was waiting, I looked at the people who come to a hotel bar at eleven in the morning. There were two young men with a telephone at their table. They took turns making calls and shouting at each other and at the people they called. There was a man sitting at the bar who was telling the story of his life to no one in particular, a long, sad story.

    I had almost become tired of waiting when a dream in a white skirt walked in. There are blondes, and blondes. Different kinds. I know; I've studied the subject. There are blondes who read big, long books and write poetry. There are blondes who like parties and laugh loudly at all the jokes, even the old ones. There are blondes, too, who marry millionaires and live on the south coast of France and kiss their husbands good-night downstairs.

    But this one was not any of these kinds. She was unique. She was quite tall, and had eyes like a summer sky. She smiled gently at the old waiter who pulled out a chair for her. I just held my breath and watched. I was still watching when a man's voice said, close to my shoulder, 'I must apologize for being so late, Mr Marlowe. I'm Howard Spencer.'

    I had trouble tearing my eyes away from the dream to look at him.

    He was about forty-five years old, wearing a suit that was fine for Boston but all wrong for California. He was carrying an old leather case.

    'Two new books in here,' he said, patting the leather. 'I'm sure they are awful. But I don't suppose you care about publishers' problems.'

    'I could,' I said, 'if it has anything to do with the job.' I admired the way Spencer was looking right at me, not giving any attention to the blonde.

    He ordered drinks and explained the job. One of his authors lived out here, a man named Roger Wade. I knew the name but hadn't read the books. Apparently everyone else did, though, because Wade was one of Spencer's biggest writers. Except that Wade had been having a bad period lately. He drank too much, Spencer said, and went a little crazy sometimes. He had hurt his wife. More important to Spencer, however, he had also stopped writing. All that Spencer wanted was for me to save the wife from the writer, the writer from himself, and a half-finished book from the bottle in Wade's desk. That's all.

    It was interesting. It was also impossible. I told him that what he needed was a male nurse, not a detective. I couldn't stop a man from drinking, and if the wife was living with him, I couldn't protect her, either. Not day and night.

    'Your answer is no, then?'

    'I'm sorry, Mr Spencer. I don't think I'd be arty help.'

    Suddenly, a voice that was not Spencer's said, 'You're wrong, Mr Marlowe. I'm sure you could help.' It was a voice like honey.

    I looked up into a pair of violet eyes.

    'He doesn't want to help, Eileen,' Spencer said.

    She smiled. 'I disagree.'

    I stopped staring long enough to answer. 'I didn't say I wasn't interested, Mrs Wade. I just don't think it would work. I'm

    sorry.'

    I thought she would argue but she didn't. She gave me her card in case I changed my mind, thanked me, and left. Just like that. I sat down, grabbed my whisky, and watched her walk out of the hotel. What a walk!

    When she had gone, Spencer turned to me, something new in his eyes.

    'Nice,' I said, 'but you should've looked at her once or twice while we talked. She's much too pretty to ignore.'

    Spencer went red in the face. 'She's married, Mr Marlowe.'

    I smiled. 'That doesn't make her ugly, Mr Spencer.'

    We did not shake hands when he left.

    That night I received a telephone call from Green.

    'Thought you might want to know. They buried Lennox down in Mexico today. Some lawyer took care of it.'

    Endicott, I thought. 'Thanks for telling me, Sergeant. Anything else?'

    'Just this. Lennox is buried and so is the rest of it. Leave it alone.'

    Sweet dreams to you, too, I thought.

    Chapter 5    Dr Verringer's Farm

    Next morning, the bell rang just as I finished shaving. I opened the door and looked into a pair of violet eyes again. She was wearing a brown suit this time.

    'Come in, Mrs Wade. Like a cup of coffee?'

    She came into the living room and sat down. 'Thank you. Black coffee, please.'

    I brought the coffee in my good cups. They were the only two in the kitchen that matched.

    'The last time I had coffee with someone was just before I went to jail,' I said. 'I guess you knew I'd been to jail, Mrs Wade.'

    She nodded. 'They thought you helped him escape, didn't they? He must have been insane.'

    I filled a pipe and lit it. 'Yes, he must have been. He was badly hurt in the war. But I don't think you came here to talk about that.'

    It took a little more conversation and another cup of coffee to find out what the problem was. Roger Wade was missing. Spencer hadn't told me because Spencer didn't know. This was Mrs Wade's little secret. Apparently, Wade did this often. But this time his wife was worried. Something was wrong, she said.

    'Mr Spencer said the same thing, Mrs Wade. He thought it might be some hidden guilt that makes your husband drink so much. What do you think?'

    She said she didn't know. She added that if Wade had a secret, even a bad secret, something criminal, for instance, she wouldn't care. She just wanted him back.

    'Let's say I say yes this time,' I asked her, 'where would I start? Do you have any idea where he is?'

    'Yes and no,' she replied after thinking. 'He's at some doctor's place, I'm sure. He goes to them when he's been drinking heavily, and they help him stop. For a few days, at least. But I don't know these doctors.'

    She did, however, have a note she found in her husband's desk. He had written 'I do not like you, Doctor V, but right now you're the man for me.'

    We had finished all the coffee. 'Please,' she begged, 'find Roger and bring him home.'


    How could I refuse a lady like that twice? I couldn't. I said I would try and she thanked me and left.

    No matter how clever you think you are, you have to have a place to start from; a name, an address, something. All I had was the letter V. So I did what I do when I need help; I called a friend and asked.

    George Peters worked for a big detective agency but he hadn't forgotten the old hard times. Sure, he said, he could give me ten minutes if I came to his office.

    He hadn't changed much with the years. He was still thin, he was still all smiles, and he was still a busy man.

    'What can I do for you?' he asked from behind a desk like a football field.

    'I'd like to see your file on the doctors in the hotel business. You know, the ones where you go when no one knows where you are. I've got a missing man who's probably trying to stop drinking. He's rich and his wife is worried.'

    Peters found the file and we looked at it together. There were three names and addresses under the letter V. I copied them down.

    'Thanks, pal. I'll do the same for you one day.'

    'Forget it,' Peters said. 'By the way, I heard something about your friend Lennox that might interest you. One of our men knew a guy in New York five or six years ago. He's certain it was Lennox, except his name wasn't Lennox then. It was Marston. Of course, he could be wrong.'

    I said I doubted it was the same man.

    'Our man thinks it was. He's in Seattle now, but I can have him call you when he returns, if you want.'

    'Sure. Why not?' And I left to check on the doctors.

    If you are an honest doctor in California, you might get rich or you might get poor; if you are a dishonest doctor, you are going to make money. I had three names: Varley, a bone doctor; Vukanich, ear, nose and throat; and Verringer, who called himself Doctor but didn't say of what.

    I started with Vukanich, an unpleasant character who pretended not to understand that I wanted more than an examination. He did not seem to be my man anyway. He had nothing more than a small office. Not fancy enough.

    Varley was in another class. He ran a private hospital and was very friendly. He smiled when he said he couldn't help me, and he smiled as he asked me why I was looking for Wade here. I explained that the hospital was on a list of places where certain things had happened in the past, things involving the police. Dr Varley became suddenly less friendly. We ended our conversation there, but I had already seen enough of Varley's hospital. He took care of the old and the weak. He wasn't tough enough to handle real trouble. I crossed him off, too, and went to find Dr Verringer.

    His place was out in the hills. I liked that, and not just because the air was cleaner there. I liked a place where people wouldn't bother to look for a man. I got there just as it was getting dark.

    Verringer had a farm, with a circle of small buildings surrounding the main house. This time I decided not to be polite. I drove past the front gate, parked off the road and came back on foot.

    I climbed the fence behind the farm and went slowly towards the lights of the buildings. It was dark and I had a pocket torch but I didn't want to use it. I was carrying a gun, too, and I didn't want to have to use that either.

    I stopped at the edge of an empty swimming-pool. I heard a door open so I hid.

    A light went on outside the main house, a single bright light that made a circle in the dirt between the buildings. Into this circle stepped a cowboy, dressed like a movie cowboy, with an enormous hat, a pair of silver guns at his side, and a rope that he swung over his head. He played with the rope for a few minutes and then practised taking his guns out of his gunbelt as quickly as he could. He was fast. He was also obviously a little crazy. When he'd finished his game, whatever it was, he went back into the house. The light went out as he went in.

    There was another, smaller light on in one of the buildings far from the big house. I walked over, moving as quietly as possible. I didn't want to be in the cowboy's movie tonight, because his guns just might have been loaded.

    I reached a window of the hut. It was now dark enough to look in without being seen. There was one man on a bed and another on a chair. They were talking. The man on the bed was angry but he was so weak that his shout was no louder than a whisper. The other man was speaking calmly and patiently.

    The man on the bed said, 'I already paid you and I paid you well. You got six hundred dollars. And that was too much.'

    The man in the chair didn't disagree. He only said, 'You called me, remember? I came to you in your hour of need. I told you it would be expensive. You insisted. I want another five thousand dollars, Wade.'

    'I was drunk,' Wade said. 'I would've promised you anything.'

    You'll write me a cheque, my friend. Now, at once. Then you'll get dressed and Earl will take you home.'

    Wade laughed. 'A cheque? Sure, I'll give you a cheque.'

    The doctor smiled. 'You think you can call the bank later and tell them not to accept it. But you won't. Earl will drive you home.'

    'No, thanks. That boy's insane. Crazier every time I see him.'

    Verringer shook his head. 'Earl isn't normal, I know, but I have ways of handling him.'

    'That's what you think,' a new voice said, and Earl came through the door in his pretty cowboy suit.

    'Keep that monkey away from me,' Wade shouted, and this time it was not a whisper.


    Earl didn't like the description. He started for Wade. Verringer jumped between them and was pushed roughly aside by the cowboy. I ran for the door and came into the room with my gun out. Earl spun around, forgetting Wade. The doctor was picking himself up off the floor.

    The cowboy came right at me. He didn't touch his guns and he didn't seem to see mine. I fired through the open window over the bed. Earl stopped, looked at the hole in the window screen, and looked back at me, smiling. 'That's a real gun, isn't it? Oh, boy.'

    'Take the gunbelt off. Slowly.'

    Earl kept his smile. 'OK. Only these aren't real guns, you know.' He took the belt off and put it down. Wade grabbed a gun.

    'He's right. They're toys.'

    Earl gave Wade a dirty look but then he noticed the doctor, who was leaning against the wall, rubbing his head.

    'Sorry,' Earl said in a small voice.

    The doctor patted Earl gently on the shoulder and smiled. I pulled Wade out of there while I had the chance. Verringer watched us leave and said nothing until we were almost too far to hear him, and then he called out.

    'You promised me, Wade. Five thousand.'

    I put Wade in my car and we started for home. His home first.

    He wanted to talk. I couldn't stop him.

    'You were great back there. Who are you?'

    I told him. I explained that his wife had hired me.

    'Whatever she's paying you, it isn't enough.'

    'She isn't paying me, Mr Wade,' I told him, 'you are. I'd like the money from you. Seems better that way.'

    Wade agreed. Then his thoughts turned to the doctor. 'You think I should pay him the five thousand? He took good care of me. He's not a bad guy. Tries to keep Earl from killing himself, from killing everybody else. Don't know why he bothers. He let his business go to hell because of that crazy boy. I don't understand that. And I'm the big writer, supposed to understand people. Should I give him the money?'

    I told him I didn't have an opinion either way.

    'You don't like me, do you, Marlowe? Wait a minute. Marlowe. I know you. You were mixed up with Lennox, weren't you?'

    I said I had been. Wade nodded. He knew them, he said, Terry and Sylvia. He knew her better than he knew him, he said. He asked me questions I didn't want to answer. He was just a job and that's what I told him. When we reached his house, he went straight in. I was going to drive off but she came out. To thank me.

    'You found him. I knew you would. Come in and have a drink,' she offered.

    'Some other time.' I lit a cigarette and she smoked a little of it.

    'You knew Sylvia Lennox,' I said. 'Why didn't you tell me?'

    She looked surprised. 'The woman that was murdered? I didn't know her personally. I knew the name, that's all. I should go in, Mr Marlowe, and see if my husband needs anything.'

    'I need something, too,' I said, and I pulled her to me and kissed her. She didn't help me and she didn't fight me. She just let me do the whole job myself.

    'You shouldn't have,' she said when I released her. 'But still, thanks for the other work you've done.' And she walked away and went into her nice house without stopping at the door to wave. I waved, though. I waved at the closed door and then I went home, too.

    Chapter 6    Empty Like a Glass

    The next day was just another day at the office. A giant came in and told me someone was trying to poison his dog. He suspected the lady next door. He wasn't happy when I told him I couldn't help, but at least he didn't hit me with my desk.

    A woman with a face like a sad story came in because she thought the girl she lived with was robbing her. She wanted me to come over and scare the girl. She left as disappointed as the giant.

    Then a man came in with the oldest story in the book; a young wife who had taken the money and run. He didn't want the money. He wanted his wife back. I could help him, and I did. It was easy enough. I didn't get rich on it, but why should I care? I was a man with a five-thousand-dollar piece of government paper in my pocket.

    Three days later, Eileen Wade called to invite me over for drinks the next evening. Foolish curiosity made me say yes. Foolish curiosity also made me re-read Terry Lennox's letter after I hung up. It reminded me that I hadn't had the gin and lime at Victor's he'd asked me to have.

    The bar was almost empty when I got there. Terry would have been pleased. I was surprised to hear the woman in front of me order the same drink. She wasn't English, either. I might have found out more about her if I hadn't noticed I was being watched. I approached the man straight on.

    'You're watching me. If I sit here next to you, it will make your job easier.'

    'Sure, pal, sit where you want.'

    'You' re one of Mendy's boys, right? A little guy with no name.'

    He didn't like the conversation. 'I got a name. And I'm not one of the boys, I'm his number one. More than you can say, Marlowe.'

    'You're supposed to watch me. OK, watch me leave.'

    I paid for the drink and went out the door. The boy came out right behind me. There might have been trouble if this enormous man hadn't got out of an enormous car and picked the boy up with one huge hand.

    'I keep telling you cheap gangsters. Stay away from my favourite places. You spoil my appetite.'

    The giant threw my watcher against the outer wall of the bar with the one arm that had been holding him, and Mendy's number one boy hit it hard and stayed there until the giant disappeared into Victor's.

    'What was that?' I asked as the boy found his feet.

    'Big Willie Magoon. A policeman. He thinks he's tough.'

    'You mean he isn't sure?' I asked him politely. The boy ignored me and limped away into the Hollywood night.

    When I reached the Wade house the next afternoon, the party had already begun. I parked my old car between two new expensive ones and walked in. A Mexican in a white coat opened the door for me, liked my name, and let me in.

    It was the same party everybody has. People were talking too loud and not listening at all. Everyone had a glass in his hand, and the glasses were all half-empty.

    Eileen Wade came up and said she was very glad I could come. Her husband wanted to see me, she added. He hadn't joined the party because he hated parties. He was in his study, she said. The Mexican took me to see him. He also warned me that Senor* Wade was very busy.

    Wade was busy lying on a sofa. There was a pile of уеllow paper next to the typewriter on his desk.

    The Mexican left and Wade sat up. 'Good of you to come, Marlowe. Did you have a drink or two?'

    I said no and asked him how his work was going.

    'Fine. It just comes out. That's how it is when it's good. If it's hard work, it's bad writing.'

    He said this almost angrily so I was kind enough to disagree. 'It was hard for Flaubert, and his stuff's good.'

    'Oh, God, an intellectual detective. Well, I hate intellectuals. I'm not drinking and I hate everyone. I hate you, too.'

    'I understand,' I said. 'You need somebody to insult. Go ahead. When it begins to hurt, I'll let you know.'

    Wade laughed. 'I hate myself, too. And my terrible books that sell and sell. So how can you help me?'

    'Maybe I don't want to help,' I said.

    'Let's have a drink. Because I like you.' He was laughing again.

    'Not in here, pal. Not you and me alone. I don't want to have to watch you take the first one.'

    'You know, Marlowe, I think you could help. Why don't you come and live              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    * 'Senor': Spanish word for 'Mr' (Mister).

    here and keep me safe from harm and tell me all about Flaubert?'

    I shook my head. 'I couldn't stop you.'

    'Try it. I could finish the miserable book. I have to finish it. If I can't finish things I start, I might as well be dead.'

    I didn't want to listen to this kind of nonsense.

    'You did as much for Lennox,' he said suddenly.

    I walked right up to him and gave him a hard stare. 'I got Lennox killed. That's what I did for Terry.'

    Wade said I was talking like a fool. He cursed at me but without much feeling. I couldn't really help anyway, he said, telling me what I already knew. It was something personal, he said.

    'About your wife?'

    I don't think so. I think it's about me. Forget it, though. Let's go out and have that drink and see all those nice people who do want to watch me have that first one.'

    The party was louder than before. Wade said hello here and there and then headed for the bar. As Candy, the Mexican, mixed our drinks, I saw a face I knew. It was the woman from Victor's, the one who had ordered the gin and lime. Wade gave her a real smile.

    'Hello, Linda. This is Philip Marlowe. Marlowe, this is Linda Loring. You have something in common.'

    If she recognized me from the night before, she didn't show it. She extended her hand. 'Hello, Mr Marlowe. What Roger won't say is that I'm Sylvia Lennox's sister. And I know who you are.'

    Her hand was cool and she didn't let me keep it for long. As she took it back, a thin man with a neat beard and a very white face came up to us. He ignored me and gave Wade an ugly look.

    Linda Loring said 'My husband, Mr Marlowe.'

    He didn't even look at me. He was giving all his poisonous attention to Wade. 'I have something to say to you, Wade. Stay away from my wife.'

    Wade seemed amused. 'You're my guest today, Dr Loring, so all I'll say is that I think you've misunderstood something.'

    Loring found a glove in one of his pockets and slapped Wade across the face with it. The writer didn't move a muscle. 'Very dramatic, Doctor. Next time, why don't you do it when I have a chance to answer the challenge? It would be more interesting. Right now, I think you're looking for the door. Candy will show it to you.' Wade turned back to the bar. 'Candy, the doctor is leaving.'

    Loring grabbed for his wife's hand, but she was too quick. 'I'm not leaving,' she said. 'You are.'

    Loring raised the glove again but Wade stepped between the husband and wife. 'We don't do that here, Doctor.'

    'Don't we?' Loring asked sarcastically, but he put the glove away and left. Candy shut the door behind him. I picked up my drink and looked around for Wade, but he had disappeared. No wonder he didn't like parties. I took a walk out to the terrace and settled into a soft chair facing the lake. A minute later, Eileen Wade was sitting next to me. She wanted to know if I had accepted Roger's offer to stay with them. I told her I hadn't. I said that if she wanted to help her husband, she should find him a good psychiatrist.*

    She looked surprised. 'A psychiatrist? Why?'

    'I'm not an expert, but I think your husband does have a secret, a secret he has buried so deep inside himself that he can't find it. Maybe something he did when he was drunk. So he drinks to find it. Unless he just drinks because he can't write anymore.'

    She frowned. 'It's not that. Roger has a great amount of talent. His best book is still inside him.'

    'Then maybe it's something between the two of you.'

    She answered immediately. 'No. I love my husband. Not the way a young girl loves, perhaps, but I do love him. A woman is only a young girl once. The man I loved then is dead. He died in the war. His initials, strangely enough, were the same as yours. They never even found his body.

    'Sometimes I even think I see him. At a party or in a restaurant. It's silly, I know, but we were very much in love. That crazy love that doesn't happen twice.'

    She wasn't looking at me anymore. She was staring at the lake. I looked back at the house and Wade was there in the doorway.

    I joined him. He had had more than that first drink.

    'How's my wife, Marlowe? Did you give her another kiss?'

    I said I was leaving.

    'Go ahead. But I'll tell you what the doctor told me. Stay away from my wife, Marlowe. Because it isn't any good. She's not there, see? Empty, like a glass. Did she tell you about her old love? The one that died in Norway but they never found? Be careful, Marlowe. People do disappear.'

    I walked away from him. As I passed the bar, Candy called to me.

    'Senor, one drink left. You want it?'

    I told him to drink it but he said he was a beer man. He said that's how the Spanish were. He said that he was very Spanish, and that he had the knife to prove it. He didn't need me to help him take care of his boss.

    'You're doing such a good job, Candy. Who brought him home?'

    I speak enough Spanish to know what he called me. He didn't hold the door for me when I left.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    *A doctor who treats people for mental problems.

    Chapter 7    Pretty Necklace Around a Pretty Neck

    For a week, the Wades left me alone. I did what I do for a living. Then I got a call on a Thursday night from Wade. His voice was bad. He was breathing hard. 'I'm in terrible shape, Marlowe. I'm losing control. Can you come over quickly?'

    I said I would, and then the telephone went dead. I shouted into it but there was no reply. I was in my car a minute later, and drove like a bullet through the streets and up into the hills where they lived. I imagined Wade throwing his wife down the stairs. I imagined him beating on her locked door. I drove even faster. When I got there, Eileen Wade was standing in the open front door in a pretty dress, nice and cool, smoking a cigarette. If there was any excitement around her, I'd brought it with me.

    'Where is he?'

    'He had a fall,' she said calmly. 'He cut his head on something. There was only a little blood.'

    'That's nice,' I said. 'Where is he now?'

    She looked at me quietly and then she pointed out at the darkness towards the lake. 'Out there somewhere. You find him. I've had enough.' And she went into the house.

    He was right where she had pointed, lying on his stomach. The back of his head was sticky. I talked to him but he didn't answer. I tried to lift him, dropped him, tried again and got him across my back. He was as heavy as stone. I made it into the house and dropped him on the sofa. My back screamed as I straightened up.

    Mrs Wade came in and said she'd called her doctor. He hadn't wanted to come, she said. This confused me until she explained that Loring was her doctor.

    He showed up fifteen minutes later, took a glance at Wade's cut, and said there was no danger. He put his hat back on and started to leave.

    'I can't get him upstairs alone, Doctor,' I said.

    'Then leave him where he is,' Loring said coldly. 'You might wash his head, too. He's not my patient.'

    'I'm not asking you to treat him, Doctor. I'm asking for some help in getting him to his bedroom,' I said, beginning to get angry.

    'And just who are you?' he asked sharply.

    'My name's Marlowe. We were introduced last week. All I want is. . .'

    He interrupted me. 'I'm not interested in what you want.' He started for the door but I stepped in front of it.

    'Just a minute. You're a doctor and this man needs help. I can't get him upstairs alone. What do you say?'

    'Get out of my way,' he said through his teeth, 'or I shall call the police. I'm a professional man, and as a professional. . .'


    This time I interrupted him. 'As a professional man, you're a sack of dirt.' I stepped out of his way. He went out like a storm. Perhaps he hadn't brought his glove this time. Instead, his eyes smacked me as he went through the door.

    In the end, Candy came home, and we carried Wade up the stairs together. The Mexican wanted to know what I was doing there. I didn't like his curiosity and told him so. He showed me his knife. Candy didn't like me. I couldn't understand why; I'm very easy to like. He asked me if I had hit Wade. I told him his boss had fallen and that he wasn't hurt badly. The knife disappeared. We undressed Wade and put him to bed. Candy went to change. I washed the cut and Wade opened his eyes.

    'What happened?'

    'I'd say the usual. Except you also fell and cut your head this time. It's not serious. Why don't you get some sleep?'

    'Sleep,' he said, 'what's that?'

    'Maybe a pill would help. Got any?'

    He said there were some in the drawer. They were Mrs Wade's pills, and they were strong. Loring's name was on the plastic bottle. I gave Wade one and he swallowed it dry. He was quiet for a while and then he said slowly, 'I remember something. Do something for me. I wrote some crazy stuff. I don't want Eileen to see it. It's on the typewriter. Tear it up for me.'

    I said I would. Then I thought he had fallen asleep until he opened his eyes again and asked 'Ever kill a man, Marlowe?'

    'Yes.'

    'Nasty feeling, isn't it?'

    'Some people like it,' I said.

    'How could they?' he asked, and then he was asleep for real. I waited a minute and then I turned out the light and left him.

    I went downstairs. Eileen wasn't there, so she must have been up in her room. I wondered about that. Didn't she want to know how her husband was? Or was she just too tired of the trouble he caused? Maybe she didn't love him as much as she said she did. About that I didn't know. No one can see into someone else's heart, not even a good detective.

    I went to his study and found the papers. I began reading them. He was right, it was crazy stuff.

    He wrote about the moon watching him and wanting to scream and Verringer. He wrote bad things about Verringer, but in a kind way. Then he said he was a rose and talked about a woman who was sleeping in complete silence and that was wrong, he wrote, because you always make one sound or another when you sleep. Then he said he had given Candy too much money, he ought to have killed him instead. 'A good man died for me once, why not that insect in his stupid white jacket?'

    Then he began to come out of whatever bad dream he was having and he wrote that he had to call someone, he was in a bad way. And that was the end. That's where he stopped writing.

    I didn't tear the papers up. I folded them and put them in my pocket. I stood there looking out of the window at the calm dark lake. Then I heard a shot.

    Her room was empty so I kept running. She was in his room, and they were struggling. Before I could help her, she had pulled the gun from his hands. She fell against me as she pulled the gun free, and I held her. She was crying.

    'Roger, how could you?'

    'I saw someone. He had a knife. I grabbed the gun from the drawer here,' he pointed to the little table where I'd found the pills, 'and I shot. But it must have been a dream, because no one was there.'

    It was a miserable story from start to finish. The gun hadn't been in the drawer. I had seen the pills, some papers, a set of keys. But no gun. And she just wasn't strong enough to have taken the gun from him unless he wasn't really fighting. It had all been a performance. He wanted sympathy, I guessed. Poor Roger is trying to kill himself, he wanted her to think.

    'Go back to bed,' I told her. 'He won't do it again.' I took the gun. She gave me a hard look and then walked out.

    'You were just playing,' I told him when she had left. 'You don't want to die.'

    'I guess I don't,' he said.

    'What good man died for you?' I asked him.

    At first, he didn't understand, and then he remembered.

    'I told you, it was crazy stuff. I was drunk.'

    'And isn't Candy taking your money because he knows something he shouldn't?'

    He closed his eyes and repeated 'It was just crazy stuff.'

    I closed the door and came back and sat on the bed and said 'You can't keep running. Candy does know something. What is it, a woman?'

    His eyes were still closed. 'Maybe you believe that fool doctor.'

    I took a wild guess. 'No, he's wrong. It wasn't his wife, it was her sister Sylvia.'

    Wade opened his eyes wide.

    'Is that why you're here?' he whispered, and I knew I had guessed right. 'You leave me alone,' he said. 'I'm not the first husband to do what I did.'

    I didn't ask him just what he had done.

    'It's been hell,' he said.

    'That's obvious. The interesting point is why.'

    I gave him another one of his wife's pills and watched him fall asleep again. When he was finally in dreamland, he looked half-dead. He wasn't going to hurt anyone tonight. Maybe he had never hurt anyone at all.

    I went down the hall but at the top of the stairs I stopped because Eileen was standing in the doorway of her room.

    'He's gone back to sleep,' I said.

    'I knew you would return,' she said softly. Her voice was changed. 'Even after ten years, I haven't stopped waiting.'

    Wonderful, I thought. Now she's crazy, too.

    'Come in and shut the door,' she whispered, and went into her room. I followed her in because it seemed like a good idea. She threw herself into my arms. 'It's always been you,' she said, and I knew she wasn't talking to me.

    I might have done the wrong thing but Candy saved me. I heard his footsteps stop at the door and I jumped and opened it and he ran down the stairs. When I came back to the room, all I saw was a crazy woman talking to herself. I closed the door and went down to the study and found Wade's bottle and poured myself a big drink. Then I poured another. I lay down on the sofa there and soon the bottle was empty and I fell asleep, too.

    I woke up with a head like a dead tree, and the first thing I saw was Candy. He wasn't smiling. He asked me if I wanted coffee.

    'Sure. Thanks.'

    'Slept down here? She threw you out?'

    'Whatever you say, pal.'

    He laughed at me. 'You don't look so tough this morning.'

    He brought me my coffee. I drank it, I had more, smoked a cigarette and then I was OK. I mean I was still alive. When Candy came to take the empty cup, I asked him 'How much are you getting for your silence? I bet less than two hundred.'

    He smiled a bad smile. He still didn't like me. 'Maybe you give me two hundred so I don't say what I saw last night.'

    'You didn't see anything. There was nothing to see. Now get out of here, Candy, because I'm waking up.'

    I went to the living room. She was there and she was surprised to see me. 'I didn't know you were here, Mr Marlowe.'

    She was hard to believe. I walked over closer to her. She was wearing something strange on a chain around her neck. It was some kind of army badge. I asked her about it.

    'I had a peculiar dream last night,' she said. 'Someone I used to know came to see me. That's why I'm wearing this.' She touched the badge gently. 'He gave it to me.'

    'I had a peculiar dream, too,' I said, looking right at her, 'but now I'm awake and I don't dream when I'm awake. What I'm saying is I don't think I'll come here again. There's something wrong here. Very wrong.'

    'Oh, Roger will be fine in a day or two. You'll see.'

    'No, he won't,' I said. 'If you want to help him, you'll get him the right kind of doctor - and quick. But,' I added, not caring that it was nasty, 'I don't think you really want to help him.'

    I left her there in her living room, her husband upstairs sleeping a drugged sleep, her pretty necklace around her pretty neck, and her pretty violet eyes full of anger at what I had said. I drove home down a beautiful road and saw nothing beautiful.

    Chapter 8    The Smell of Gunsmoke

    At home, I had a long shower, shaved, changed into fresh clothes and began to feel clean again. I read a story in a magazine that was good but not great. At midday my telephone rang.

    It was the Doctor's wife. She said she had to see me. I told her I'd meet her at my office. I stopped for a sandwich on the way so she was already there when I came in. I never remember to lock up.

    'You don't even have a secretary,' she said.

    'No, I don't. Why, are you looking for a job?'

    'You couldn't pay me enough,' she said.

    'You're wrong. I've got money. I've got a five-thousand-dollar bill.' I took it out of my safe and she looked at it carefully.

    'You got this from Terry Lennox. He used to carry it around. A good luck piece or something. You drove him to Tijuana. You also don't think he killed my sister. Did he give you a list of her special friends, is that it? Is that why you've been at the Wade's, holding Roger's hand? Because you think maybe Roger killed Sylvia when he was, I don't know, drunk and crazy?'

    'I met the Wades because a New York publisher wants a book finished, Mrs Loring. Terry gave me no list, no names. And yes, I was supposed to help Wade but I can't.' That was all the explanation she deserved.

    But there was a question I wanted answered, too.

    'I saw you at Victor's the other night. You were having a rather unusual drink, I noticed. Could it be that you don't think Terry killed your sister?'

    'What I think doesn't matter,' she said. She meant it, too. 'I didn't come here to talk about Terry Lennox in any case. I came to invite you to my house.'

    'Why?'

    'Someone would like to talk with you.'

    I had a strong feeling who that someone would be. 'The old man?'

    She frowned. It was a pretty frown. 'I don't call him that, Mr Marlowe. Will you come?'

    I said yes. Even a cat can look at a king.

    We went in her car. The driver was a black man in his middle fifties who even opened our doors when we stopped in front of her house, which was just about the ugliest piece of architecture I had ever seen. It looked like a sandcastle that a little boy builds when he's mad at his parents. Mrs Loring saw my expression and smiled. 'Horrible, isn't it? My father gave it to me as a wedding present. My husband loves it.'

    We went in. Someone opened the door for us and then vanished. From the hall we entered a room that was at least seventy feet long. At the far end, a man was sitting, waiting. He gave us both the same cold stare.

    Mrs Loring made the introductions and apologized just in case we were late.

    'Tell them to bring the tea,' he said. 'Sit down, Mr Marlowe.'

    I sat down and we looked at each other without talking at all until the tea came.

    'Two cups,' Harlan Potter commanded as his daughter poured. 'You can have your tea in another room, Linda.'

    She smiled weakly and left. I took out a cigarette.

    'Don't smoke, please. It bothers my health.'

    I had to believe him, although he certainly didn't look sick. He was a long way over six feet and nearly as wide as he was tall. His hair was not yet grey. His voice seemed to come from the next room. So this is what a hundred million dollars looks like, I thought.

    He didn't even touch his tea. He just talked. He said he knew who I was, what I was, and what I had done for Terry. He went on to say that my investigation was interfering in his private life. I told him I wasn't investigating anything at the moment. He disagreed.

    'Perhaps you think Roger Wade is involved in my daughter's death. Forget that idea. Forget you even know Roger Wade. I don't read his books myself,' he said, 'but I have been told that they are quite childish. As childish as whatever strange ideas you may have.'

    I explained again how I had come to meet Wade. I told him about Menendez, too, but he said the name meant nothing to him. I asked him what I could do to make him happier.

    'All I want is peace and quiet, Mr Marlowe. I pay good money for it, and I expect it. We live in a dirty world where everyone wants to hear terrible stories about the rich and the powerful. I repeat; I pay money to keep my life private. How much do you want, Marlowe?'

    'Nothing, I don't want your money. If I get rich, I might become like you.'

    He laughed. Then he stood up and I saw just how much over six feet he was. He was very big. When he shook my hand, my fingers cried.

    'Just don't be a hero, young man. It's not a very clever role for a clever man.'

    Mrs boring's driver took me home but wouldn't accept the dollar I tried to give him. So I tried to give him a book of poetry, but he said he already had that book.

    Life left me alone again for another week and then I got two telephone calls in one morning, and I was back into what Harlan Potter had clearly told me to stay away from.

    The first caller was Roger Wade. He wasn't crying for help this time; he was inviting me to lunch. I accepted.

    The second call was from that friend of George Peters. He was back in town. He said he didn't know if it would help now, but he was sure he had seen Terry Lennox in New York a few years back, and that his name then had been Paul Marston. He added that Marston had been wearing a British Army badge.

    With this new information I decided to talk to someone who was supposed to know what was going on. I telephoned Green at Homicide. He wasn't pleased to hear from me.

    'War record? You don't listen, do you, Marlowe? The investigation is over. But if you can't sleep nights worrying about it, I'll tell you. Lennox had no war record.'

    I told him Mendy's story.

    'Mendy is a gangster. He is also a liar. And you're a fool to believe him.'

    He didn't give me a chance to tell him what I thought he was. He just hung up.

    I drove to Wade's house at noon. It was too hot to be a nice day. Even the wind was hot.

    The house was cool, though. Wade took me into his study. A pile of papers next to the typewriter impressed me.

    'The book?' I asked.

    'Yes, and it's rotten. I'm not a writer anymore. I'm someone who used to write. Want a drink?'

    'A soda, please.'

    'Very clever. I think I'll have one, too.' He rang a bell and Candy came.

    'Two sodas, and we'll have lunch in an hour,' he told the Mexican.

    'It's Thursday, boss. My day off, remember?'

    'Then just make us some sandwiches.'

    'I'm not the cook, boss.'

    Wade gave him a narrow look. 'I'm having lunch with my friend. The cook is off today.'

    'You think he's your friend,' Candy said, glancing at me, 'maybe you should ask your wife.'

    'Watch your mouth, little man,' Wade warned, suddenly angry. 'Remember who pays you.'

    Candy smiled. 'OK, boss, I'll get lunch.' He left for the kitchen.

    'But what are you paying him for?' I asked Wade.

    'You're going to start that again?'

    'And the good man that died for you? Let me tell you. Terry Lennox. Candy knows you were seeing Sylvia, so you pay him.'

    Wade asked me, 'You think I killed her?'

    'I'm not looking for her killer. What's driving you insane is that you don't know. You were drunk and you don't remember. That's how it was.'

    He was going to say something but Candy came in carrying the sandwiches and two bottles of beer. Wade looked at the beer and shook his head. 'Get me a real drink, Candy.'

    The Mexican said there was only beer and that he was leaving now; he reminded Wade again that it was his day off.

    'So go. I'll get the stuff myself.'

    They left the room together and then Wade returned a minute later with a bottle of whisky and a glass. He filled it, drank, then filled it again.

    'Where's your wife?' I asked him as he put the bottle and the glass down on his desk.

    'Why? Are you in love?' The whisky was already at work.

    'I ask because I don't want to leave you alone, now that you're going to fall to pieces again. I wouldn't want you to shoot the ceiling again.'

    He looked at me with deep worry in his eyes. 'I really did that, didn't I? You know, I can't remember.'

    'That's your whole trouble,' I told him. 'Is the gun still in the desk?' I had put it there that night. Today, I didn't want him in the same room with it.

    'I don't know where it is, but it's not in the desk,' he said. 'Look for yourself.'

    I did, and it wasn't there. Eileen must have hidden it from him.

    'Now that you've had your look around,' he said, the whisky in charge once more, 'why don't you leave me alone? I'm tired of your face.

    I took my sandwich to a table and some chairs outside. It was a little hotter here, but it was nicer than being with Wade. I watched a boat zip up and down the lake. The people in the boat were laughing. They were talking to each other but I couldn't hear anything except the loud roar of the boat's engine. After I finished my sandwich, I went back and put my head in at the door of the study.

    'Go away,' Wade said, and shook the half-empty whisky bottle at me.

    I went back outside to wait for someone to come home and keep an eye on the fool. The boat continued to roar along the shore of the lake. I walked down to get a closer look. The man behind the wheel waved at me. Maybe he didn't know he was wrecking a nice quiet afternoon and maybe he knew and didn't care. I walked back to the house. The boat moved down the lake and took its awful noise with it. At the top of the garden steps, I heard the doorbell ringing. I went in and opened the door for Eileen Wade.

    'Oh, Mr Marlowe. I thought it was Candy or Roger. I forgot my key.'

    'It's Candy's day off.'

    There must have been something in my voice.

    'Is anything wrong?' she asked.

    'Well, a little drinking is being done. He's in his study. Probably asleep by now. And I must get going.'

    'Oh, don't go. Stay and have some tea.'

    I don't know why I said yes. I didn't want any tea.

    She took off her jacket. 'I'll just look in and see if Roger is all right.'

    I watched her cross to the study door and open it. She looked in for a moment and closed the door and came back.

    'Yes, he's asleep. I have to go upstairs, but I'll be right back down.'

    She went up and I heard her door close. I went to the study. If he was sleeping, he wouldn't need whatever was left in the bottle. I opened the door.

    There was perfect silence and a strong smell of gunsmoke in the room. Before I was half-way to where he lay on the sofa, I knew he was dead.

    Chapter 9    The Kiss of Death

    Beside him on the sofa was the gun. It was bloodstained. The side of his head was more than bloodstained.

    I touched his wrist. It was warm but he was quite dead. I looked around for a note but there wasn't one. They don't always leave notes. I wondered why I hadn't heard the shot and then I remembered the boat. He must have waited until the boat was passing, and then fired the bullet. Why would he wait for the boat? I didn't like that but nobody cared what I liked.

    I went out and closed the door. She was in the kitchen making our tea. I didn't say anything except that I didn't take sugar or milk. She said she'd learned to drink tea in London, during the war. When she met that man - but she stopped the story there and changed the subject.

    She started talking about her husband - something would have to be done to help him. I said it was too late. She didn't understand that remark at first, then she glanced towards the study.

    'Is. . . is there something wrong in there?'

    I nodded. She ran out of the kitchen and by the time I reached her she was kneeling by the sofa.

    I left her there with him and called the police. A cop was at the house within five minutes. When I took him to the study, she was still kneeling by the body.

    'I'm sorry,' he said, 'but you really shouldn't touch anything.'

    'It's my husband,' she said angrily. 'He's been shot.' She looked right at me. 'I think he did it,' she said, pointing.

    It wasn't a nice thing to say, but I got lucky. The police detective who showed up ten minutes later was my friend Bernie Ohls. He was my friend but that didn't mean he didn't have to think about it first.


    'You were here with him alone, right? She says you knew where the gun was. Although it looks more like suicide right now. And you're maybe too clever to be the only person around when you kill someone. Maybe, but I think you would have done it differently.'

    'Thanks, Bernie. You're right, though; I would have.'

    'So it looks good for suicide. Except that Wade was rich, his beautiful wife is upstairs crying for him, and I can't see why he'd want to kill himself. If you know ... if you know anything, you'd better be ready to talk. I'll see you later. Maybe sooner.'

    As it turned out, I had time to go home, change, have a nice dinner out and come home again before Ohls called. The message was simple: come to the sheriff's* office and don't bother stopping to buy flowers.

    The Wade house was in Idle Valley, outside the city border. Idle Valley had its own sheriff, and he was investigating Wade's death. In theory, the sheriff ran his own office, but the sheriff was as stupid as he was honest, and he was very honest. He looked great in photographs and he was almost as big as the horse he rode in the annual Idle Valley Festival, but the horse was cleverer. The sheriff knew it and he let his captain, a man named Hernandez, do the real police work. It was Hernandez and Ohls who threw the questions at me. How did I first meet Wade? When? What work did I do for him? I told them the truth, but I didn't tell everything. Then we reached the part that most interested Hernandez.

    'The night that Wade fired a gun in his bedroom you went into Eileen Wade's room and you were in there together for some time with the door shut. How long would you say you spent in there?'

    'About three minutes.'

    Hernandez shook his head. 'I suggest you were in there for a few hours,' he said coldly.

    I looked at Ohls but Bernie wouldn't look at me.

    'Three minutes,' I repeated.

    'Get that servant in here,' Hernandez said.

    Ohls went out and came back with Candy.

    I knew what was coming. Candy told his story in a low nasty voice. He said he'd seen me go into the bedroom and that he had come up the stairs and listened at the door and heard whispers. He said I didn't come out for a long time.

    When he had finished, he gave me a hard look and I could see hate in his eyes.

    The captain said 'Take him out.'

    'Just a minute,' I said. 'I'd like to ask him a question.'

    Hernandez didn't like that but he let me.

    'Where were you when you saw me go into her bedroom?'

    'I was cleaning up the glasses at the bar.'

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    *A law officer responsible for a rural area.

    'And you saw me go into her bedroom and close the door?'

    Candy said yes.

    'You're lying. You can't see that door from the bar. I'm four inches taller than you and when I stood at the bar at the party, I couldn't see more than the top edge of that door.'

    Candy did not deny this. He said nothing at all. Hernandez asked 'What about how long you were in the room?'

    I said that was my word against Candy's, and I reminded them that Candy had just lied. He could believe either of us, I told him. Hernandez sent Candy out. Then he told me I could go home but that I'd have to come back the next day to sign the statement I'd made. He even shook my hand when I left. I guessed that meant he believed me.

    A few days later, they closed that investigation, too. It was suicide, they said.

    Ohls came over that afternoon. It was over but that didn't mean he had to like the answer.

    'Wade was a writer, Marlowe. That's what bothers me. He wrote books, he wrote notes to himself, he wrote all the time. And then he kills himself and he doesn't even write a goodbye. It seems wrong.'

    I pointed out that Wade had been drunk. That didn't satisfy Bernie.

    'There's the boat, too. Why would you care if anyone heard the last shot you'd ever fire? Or the wife who forgets her keys and has to ring the bell to get in when she could have walked around to the back of the house and come in from the garden? I've been a policeman too long and it just doesn't smell right. I would swear she did it except there's no motive. She could have divorced him and still made a fortune.'

    He talked for an hour about the Wades, and for an hour I talked about them, too, but all my talk couldn't cover up the fact that I wasn't telling him everything. He left angry; angry at everybody, including me.

    I talked to someone else the next day who wasn't any happier about Wade's death than Bernie was, but for different reasons. Howard Spencer called from New York to say he'd been informed of the suicide, and that he'd heard I was somehow involved. I found myself explaining everything again. I was getting tired of apologizing for what Wade had chosen to do. In fact, the more I thought about him, the less I liked this dead man. Spencer said he was going to fly in one day soon; we said we'd talk then, although I had nothing more to say.

    Roger Wade was dead and so was Terry Lennox, but there was a difference; I still cared about Terry. I called Mendy to get some facts straight.


    'Mendy, this is Marlowe.'

    'Hello, Cheapie, how are you.'

    'Haven't you heard? Another friend of mine killed himself. They're going to call me the Kiss of Death from now on. I also have a question. About Paul Marston.'

    'Never heard of him,' Mendy said immediately.

    'No games, Mendy. That was the name Lennox used in New York and probably before there.'

    'So?'

    'There are no army records under either name. That story of yours was all a song.'

    Mendy didn't like being called a liar. 'I never said where it happened. Take my advice and forget the whole thing. You were told. Now stay told.'

    'Some types scare me, Mendy, but you're not one of them. Ever been to England?'

    He ignored my question. Instead he said 'Big Willie Magoon wasn't scared, either. Seen the newspapers? Maybe he's still not scared but I doubt it. He's in the hospital and he's going to be there a long time.'

    'I don't want to talk about Magoon. I want to talk about England and you and Randy Starr and Paul Marston.'

    There was a short silence on his end of the line. Then he made up his mind. 'OK, Cheapie. I tell you the whole story and then your curiosity dies, right? Otherwise you do. We were with the British. It happened in Norway, in November 1942. Now you know it all. Now you can rest your tired brain.'

    He hung up. I went out and bought a newspaper and read about poor Magoon. Of course, Mendy had promised me worse, because Magoon was a policeman, a dirty cop but still one of the boys, and gangsters don't like to kill policemen. They don't care about private detectives, though. Some days it seems no one does.

    Except perhaps another private detective. I called George Peters and asked him to help. He said he would. 'I know a few good people in England. You'll get what you want.'

    He didn't disappoint me. When Howard Spencer called the next Friday, I had it all.

    He was staying at the Ritz-Beverly Hotel, and he suggested we meet in the bar. But I wanted to talk in private, so I went to his room instead.

    He had it nice. The room was big, and the view was good. He ordered our drinks over the telephone.

    'Now, Mr Marlowe, what can you tell me before I see Mrs Wade?'

    'Nothing.'

    He looked at me with surprise. 'I mean concerning Roger Wade's death. I understand you were there.'

    I nodded. 'I'd like to come with you to see Mrs Wade,' I said.

    Spencer shook his head. 'I don't think she wishes to see you. She blames you, in part, for what happened, I think.'

    'She told the police I killed him. I know she doesn't want to see me. That's why I want to go with you. I want a witness to what I have to say to her, too.'

    'What are you going to say?'

    'You hear it in front of her or not at all,' I said.

    'Then not at all. Eileen has suffered enough. I won't take you there to bother her more.'

    That made sense. He wanted the book that Wade had been working on. He wanted to save Eileen Wade from more pain. I said that these were fine aims but I didn't share them. All I wanted was a clearer picture. I told him the details that had bothered Ohls.

    'My God,' he said, 'the police don't think Eileen did it, do they?'

    I didn't tell him the investigation was closed. I just gave him a tired smile and let him do his own thinking.

    'You want to talk to her, and you want a witness. I hope to God you're crazy, but I'll do it,' he said finally.

    Chapter 10    A Big Noise About Small Things

    The drive to Idle Valley was long and hot, as always. I expected the heat but Spencer was shocked.

    'This heat, this dust. I thought California was supposed to have beautiful weather.'

    I told him it would be cooler by the lake.

    'It was a mistake for Roger to move here, you know. Wrong environment entirely. Too many parties, this awful heat, no wonder he didn't feel like writing. A writer needs things to think about; and not just what he's going to wear to the next good time.'

    I didn't have a chance to disagree with him because we had reached the house. Spencer was out of the car as soon as I had parked, and he rang the bell as soon as he got to the door. Candy, wearing his white jacket and his usual frown, let the publisher in and then closed the door as I approached. I rang and he put his head out.

    'Get lost. Or do you want trouble?'

    I pushed right past him. He reached for me but Eileen Wade was standing there and he stopped.

    'Hello, Howard,' she said warmly to Spencer. 'I'm so sorry you missed lunch. And I didn't know you were bringing Mr Marlowe.'

    Spencer said simply 'He wants to talk to you.'

    She was surprised. 'Does he? I can't imagine why but do come in and sit  down.'

    Spencer went at once to the study for the pages Wade had written. I sat in an uncomfortable silence with Eileen Wade until I noticed that she was wearing that badge again. She had just handed it to me when Spencer returned with his pile of papers.

    'It's the badge of an English Army group, the Artists' Rifles they were called. The man who gave it to me was lost right afterwards, in Andalsnes in Norway, in 1940.'

    'And you were in love with him,' I said.

    She admitted it proudly.

    'And he had my initials.'

    'His name was quite different,' she said coldly, 'and he is dead. Dead.'

    I handed the badge to Spencer. He took it without showing interest. 'I've seen it before,' he said.

    'Just help me. The picture on it is a long knife that points down and there's a pair of wings, too. The writing on it says "Who dares wins".'

    Spencer was unimpressed. 'I fail to see what you are trying to say.'

    'This badge she says she was given in London in 1940 didn't exist then. It was created years later. And the Artists' Rifles never fought in Andalsnes.'

    Spencer put the badge down gently on the table and pushed it towards Eileen. He said nothing.

    'I know that,' Eileen said.

    'There must be some mistake,' Spencer offered.

    I gave him a hard stare. 'That's one way of putting it,' I said.

    'Another way is to say I'm a liar,' Eileen said angrily. 'That I never met a man named Paul Marston, that he never existed, that I bought this badge in a shop somewhere. Would that explanation satisfy you, Mr Marlowe?'

    I said the shop would, but not the first part. There had been a Paul Marston once. She had certainly met him. In fact, she had done more than that. I took a folded paper from my pocket.

    'She's forgotten a few dates, years, that's all,' Spencer said. 'I don't see why you're being so tough with her.'

    I smiled, but not from joy. 'She's forgotten a lot more than that.' I waved the paper from my pocket. 'In August 1942, Eileen Victoria Sampsell and Paul Edward Marston were married. In a sense Mrs Wade is right. Marston never existed because that was just a name he used. In the army you have to have permission to get married. In the army, Marston had another name.'

    Spencer was very quiet now. He stared, but not at both of us. He stared at her. She had to say something. 'Howard, he's dead, it doesn't matter. And Roger knew. And he didn't care.'

    Spencer did the right thing as he saw it. He believed her. 'Let's forget it. Marlowe made a big show out of a badge and the marriage. That's all.'

    She had him on her side now. She said 'Mr Marlowe makes a big noise about small things, but when it comes to saving a man's life

    'And you never saw Paul Marston again,' I said.

    'How could I when he was dead?'

    'He was not reported dead. He might have been taken prisoner.'

    'There was an order not to take prisoners,' she said in a cold, sad voice.

    'That's enough, Marlowe,' Spencer interrupted. 'I think it's time we left.' He began packing up the papers into his leather case.

    'If that's what you want, Mr Spencer. But do you think I came here to tell Mrs Wade she was wearing the wrong badge? I began with Marston long before I met Mrs Wade. When I started, my Paul Marston was still alive.'

    'Marston is not such an unusual name,' Spencer said. 'There must be many Paul Marstons.'

    'Maybe. But how many Paul Marstons would you say had big scars on their faces and snow-white hair? How many that saved the lives of two gangsters? Marston wasn't just Marston, Spencer. He was also Terry Lennox.'

    I didn't expect anyone to jump up and scream and nobody did. There is, however, a kind of silence that is almost as loud as a shout and I had it all around me now. I sat in it for a full minute and then I turned to Eileen.

    She sat leaning forward. Her face was pale. When she spoke, her voice was as empty as the voice on the telephone that tells you the time, minute after minute without changing.

    'I saw him once, Howard. We didn't speak. He was terribly changed. When I saw him he was with that awful woman. And I was married to Roger. We were lost to each other. Even if I hadn't been married, I couldn't have forgiven him for marrying her. That horrible woman. I didn't care that Roger went around with her; he was just my husband. Paul was much more than that to me or he was nothing. In the end he was nothing.'

    She wasn't talking to me but I said, 'I wouldn't say he was nothing.'

    'Less than nothing. He knew what kind of woman she was and still he married her. Then he couldn't stand it and he killed her and ran away and killed himself. Nothing.'

    'He didn't kill her,' I said, 'and you know it.'

    She looked at me in surprise. Spencer made a funny sound in his throat.

    'Roger killed her,' I continued, 'and you also know that.'

    'Did he tell you?' she asked quietly.

    'He didn't have to. He would have told me sooner or later. It was driving him crazy.'

    She shook her head. 'No, Mr Marlowe, what was driving him crazy was that he didn't know. He was so drunk when he did it that he couldn't remember afterwards. He tried to remember because he knew something was wrong. Perhaps that memory came back to him at the very end.'

    Spencer couldn't believe a man could kill and forget it. Eileen smiled a very sad smile.

    'I was there, Howard. I saw him do it.'

    She's going to tell us, I thought. She can't stop herself now. And she talked, and we listened. She had followed Roger to Sylvia's guest house. An argument started between Roger and Sylvia. Eileen watched from the shadows. Roger came outside, Sylvia ran after him. She tried to hit him with a small stone vase she was holding. He took it from her and he hit her. Then he hit her again, and she fell down and he kept hitting her. Before Еilееn ran, she saw him pick Sylvia's body up and carry it back inside.

    'When Roger came home that night I was terrified. He was covered in blood and still blind drunk. I took his clothes off him as if he were a child, and put them in an old suitcase. He went right to sleep and I drove to Chatsworth Beach on the other side of the lake and threw the suitcase in. When Roger woke up, he remembered nothing. He never said a word about the clothes. I guess he never even noticed they were missing.'

    Spencer was working on something while he listened and now he had it ready. 'Wait a minute. You knew Roger had killed Sylvia and yet you had me hire Marlowe, or try to hire him, to find out the terrible secret that was bothering your husband. That doesn't make sense. Unless. . .' He gave her a strange look, as if seeing her for the first time, 'Unless the idea was that Marlowe would find the truth and maybe tell Wade that the whole world would have to know. So Roger would take that gun and do just what he did anyway.'

    She looked at Spencer with tears in her eyes. 'That's horrible, Howard. You know I could never

    'I don't know,' Spencer said coolly. 'But you know. Did you?'

    'Did I what?' she asked.

    'Shoot Roger,' he said calmly.

    'You're horrible. He was my husband. I forgot my key, I came in, he was already dead.'

    Spencer shook his head. 'I've stayed here a dozen times, Eileen, and I've never known the front door to be locked.'

    She stood up. 'Howard, take the book and go. Call the police if you think I killed Roger. But don't ever come back here.'

    I wanted one last answer.

    'Wait a minute, Mrs Wade. Let's finish the job. We're all trying to do the right thing. That old suitcase you threw in the lake at Chatsworth Beach — was it heavy?'

    'Yes, it was.'

    'So how did you get it over that high fence? They close the gate there after dark.'

    She thought about it. 'The fence. I had a hard time with the fence but I got it over.'

    'There isn't any fence,' I said.

    'Isn't any fence?' she repeated.

    'And Sylvia Lennox was killed inside the guest house, on the bed. And there are other details you missed.'

    She said nothing, she just walked away. We watched her go up the stairs. We heard her bedroom door close.

    'What was that about the fence?' Spencer asked. He looked like a man who'd just fought a battle. He was tired in that way.

    'A bad joke. I've never been near Chatsworth Beach. It might have a fence and it might not.'

    'I see,' he said unhappily. 'But she didn't know, either.'

    'Of course not. Which means she killed them both.'

    Then something moved behind me and Candy was standing there. He was playing with his knife again but this time he wasn't thinking about giving me the blade.

    'I'm sorry, Senor,' he said to me. 'I was wrong about you. She killed the boss.' He looked at his knife again.

    'No,' I said. I stood up and held out my hand. 'Give me the knife, Candy. To the cops you're just a Mexican servant. They'd arrest you for it and love it. They've made a mess of this from start to finish, and they'd use you to make people forget that. You'd spend the rest of your life in jail.'

    He put the knife in my hand. 'Only for you I do this.'

    I put the knife in my pocket. Candy asked what would happen now. I said we'd do nothing, but Spencer insisted we had to do something. He mentioned calling the police.

    'Tomorrow. Or let them catch her themselves. We don't have enough proof. The truth is not legal proof. If it was, we wouldn't have lawyers.'

    In the end Spencer said he'd do whatever I thought was best. He was OK, he was doing fine, but this wasn't something he knew about. It wasn't books.

    We left. As I walked out, I handed Candy back his knife. 'Don't do a thing. Nobody trusts me but I trust you, Candy.'

    'Thank you, Senor. I trust you, too.'

    I returned Spencer to his hotel and went home. I watched the clock and the hours went slowly. I fell asleep very late and the telephone rang in the middle of my first dream.

    'Yes?'

    'This is Candy, Senor. The lady is dead.' It's a hard word, dead, and when he said it he made it sound like stone. 'She took some pills, I think.'

    'Have you called the police?'

    'Not yet,' he said.

    'Call them. Was there a note?' 'Yes, a letter.'

    'Give it to them when they come. And tell them everything and this time only the truth, right?' 'Yes, Senor. I'll call them right now.'

    Chapter 11    A Little Trap

    I hung up and took a shower and shaved. I dressed quickly because I knew I didn't have much time. I was tying my shoes when my time ran out.

    'Hello, Marlowe,' Bernie Ohls said when I picked up the telephone. 'Come down here and suffer.'

    It was different this time. It was another suicide but this was the real thing. They were not happy with me but there was nothing they could threaten me with. Hernandez listened to my story and this time he didn't make any suggestions as to what else I might want to say. There was Eileen Wade's full confession, too, but the DA didn't want it because he had already believed another confession to the Lennox murder. The sheriff's office, on the other hand, liked the confession. They liked it because they didn't like the DA. Dr Loring showed up because she had been his patient and she had killed herself with his medicine. We were not glad to see each other. After the doctor left, I was told I could go, too. Ohls took me out through another room. He pointed out a small pile of papers on a desk. 'Copies of the confession. It would be terrible if someone took one of them. The DA doesn't want this to become public.'

    Then he went out into the hall to get some air, leaving me alone. He came back a minute later.

    When we were out in the sunlight, I asked him 'You don't like the DA, do you, Bernie?'

    Ohls smiled. 'I like everybody. I even like you. Not everyone does, though, and in a few days fewer people will like you, I think. I hope you still carry a gun.'

    'I do,' I said, 'but it doesn't always help. The newspapers said that Willie Magoon was carrying two of them the night they put him in hospital.'

    'That's right,' Ohls said. 'It would be a good idea to remember that.'

    When I got home, I called Morgan, the reporter who'd given me the ride home from the police station that other time. We had a long conversation. He tried to persuade me not to do it, but he couldn't, and he was still a reporter and he wanted the story. He did warn me, though.

    'When we print this confession, you're going to be the least popular person in town. The DA will know sooner or later where it came from. Potter will be so angry he might forget he's a gentleman. And Mendy will be angry, too, because he told you to leave it alone, and Mendy doesn't even pretend to be a gentleman.'

    It was all true, and his advice was good advice.

    'Print it, Morgan,' I said, and I read the whole letter to him from the copy I'd taken from the Sheriff's office.

    It came out the next day, on the front page. The DA called it lies but the newspaper sold very well.

    Bernie Ohls came over and we had another bad time together. He wondered why I hadn't called him with what I'd had against Eileen Wade. He said maybe I wanted her dead. I said I had just wanted her to take a long look at what she had done to two good men.

    'You think you're a clever monkey, don't you, Marlowe?'

    'What do you want me to say?'

    'Nothing. It's too late. The hard boys will come for you. And it's very quiet here. Dark and quiet.'

    'Why are you even here, Bernie? We were friends once but you can't really be friends with a cop, can you? Not a tough old one like you.'

    He finished his beer and left. The day ended with some good songs on the radio.

    The next day the DA made a full statement attacking Morgan's newspaper and he said a lot of pretty things about poor Mrs Wade and still the newspaper held to its position. I went to my office and did nothing special, nothing that I can remember, until the workday was over. I ate at a restaurant on the way home. I drove up Locust Avenue and it was as empty as usual. I parked and went up all my steps. I would have unlocked the door but it was already a few inches open.

    'Come on in, Cheapie,' a familiar voice said. 'Welcome home.'

    If I had taken my gun out right then I could have shot him. But I stood still a moment too long and someone slipped out of the bushes and pushed me through my own doorway.

    Mendy was wearing another expensive suit and the same nasty smile. I didn't see him at first, though, because I was looking at the other man sitting in the corner of my living room. He had a gun lying across his knees and he was so brown from the sun that there in the half-dark I couldn't see his face at all.

    Mendy wanted my attention. The man that had pushed me reminded me of that in a soft place on my arm. The pain disappeared very quickly but with it went the muscle in my arm. I  looked at him. He was a big Mexican. He was tough. There is nothing tougher than a tough Mexican, just as there is nothing gentler than a gentle Mexican, or more honest than an honest Mexican, or, above all, nothing sadder than a sad Mexican, This guy was one of the hard ones. They don't come any harder anywhere.

    Mendy stood in front of me. I was very interested in the gun in his right hand, and it looked interested in me.

    'You didn't listen, Cheapie.' He hit me with the gun. It hurt.

    'You shouldn't have to do this yourself,' I said, surprised that my mouth still worked. 'You should have some boys do it for you. Like you did to Willie Magoon.'

    He smiled again. 'No, Magoon was business. He tried to push me. He bought that big car of his with my money and then he tried to push me. You, Marlowe, are personal. You embarrassed me professionally. I can't let you do that.'

    I shook my head. 'There's more to it than that. What happened? Your friend Lennox was innocent but you never moved a finger to prove it, and then I came and did the work you should have done. He saved your life and you didn't do anything. Because you're no friend, and you're not big, you're just a loud boy who can't think of anyone but himself.'

    His face froze and he lifted the gun to hit me again. I didn't think; I didn't have a plan. I was just tired of being hit. I kicked him full in the stomach. As he went down, I hit him again, with my knee. Then I waited to be shot, and nothing happened. I looked around. The hard one was standing by the door, watching me. He didn't even bother to look at Mendy, who was now lying on the floor, gasping.

    At last, the man in the chair moved. He stood up, put his gun away, and laughed. 'Don't kill him, Marlowe, we need him alive.'

    That was when Bernie Ohls walked in, whistling.

    'Hello, Marlowe. You've cut your face.' He gestured at Mendy, who was still on the floor. 'Take this soft baby out of here,' he ordered the laughing man.

    'He's not soft,' I said. 'He's hurt. Anybody can be hurt. Was Willie Magoon soft?'

    'No,' Ohls admitted. 'And now we've got the words from Mendy's own mouth about Magoon. Because gangsters can't touch policemen in this town. It's against all the rules. We will remind Mendy of that. It worked well, this little trap. A few cuts on your face, but I'd say you deserved them.'

    They led Mendy away and left me alone in my dark, quiet house. I thought about it for a few minutes and then I made a telephone call.

    'Marlowe? I know that name. Right, a friend of Terry's. How can I help you?' He had a businessman's calm voice.

    'You can tell me about Mexico, Mr Starr. I just had a visit from Mendy and I don't think he was mad at me for . . . something in the newspaper. It was Mexico. Something is wrong here. The confession Lennox wrote was false. How many other lies are there? He wrote me a letter which was mailed by someone. Who?'

    Randy Starr said 'I have no idea, Mr Marlowe.'

    'I think you should find out, Mr Starr. If you don't, someone else will.'

    'You, Marlowe?' He didn't sound like the calm businessman now.

    'Not me. A man so big you could get hurt if he sneezed. So find out, Mr Starr.'

    The next day I went to see the lawyer who had been to Mexico to watch them bury Lennox. He was surprised to see me but was not unfriendly.

    'You're a stubborn one, aren't you, Marlowe? Still digging?'

    'Yes, Mr Endicott, still digging. I wonder if you could give me a few minutes?'

    'Why not?' he said.

    'Can I assume that you were representing Harlan Potter when you came to see me in jail?'

    Endicott nodded.

    'I suppose Potter is very unhappy with me these days,' I continued, but to my surprise the lawyer said he wasn't.

    'Mr Potter blames his son-in-law, Dr Loring. He feels that if that Wade woman hadn't been using those drugs that the doctor gave her, none of this would have happened.'

    'He's wrong. You saw Terry's body in Otatoclan, didn't you?'

    'I did indeed.'

    'He didn't look the same, did he?'

    'You mean the colour? No, he was darker, much darker. His hair was black. But the scar was still there and we took his fingerprints. There's no question it was him.'

    I asked him the next question twice before he understood it. 'A mailbox? No, I don't remember seeing a mailbox.'

    I showed him Terry's letter. He read it slowly.

    'I wonder why he did it,' he said when he had finished reading.

    'Why he sent the letter?'

    'No, of course not. Why he confessed and killed himself. As for the mailbox, perhaps he saw something that looked like one. Otatoclan isn't a modern town.'

    'I know,' I said. 'I looked it up. A population of one thousand, no good roads, a small local airport, one hotel. Not a place you'd find a mailbox.'

    Endicott was trying to understand. 'What do you think it would mean if there wasn't a mailbox?'

    I said I didn't know. What I didn't say was that I was sure I would find out one day.

    Chapter 12    The Long Goodbye

    A month went by in which I learned nothing new. Then I came into the office one day and found a stranger waiting for me. A tall, well-dressed Mexican. He sat by the open window smoking a brown cigarette that smelled strong. He was wearing his black hair longer than we do north of the border. He was also wearing green sunglasses. He stood up politely.

    'Senor Marlowe?'

    'What can I do for you?'

    He handed me a folded piece of paper and told me in Spanish that it was an introduction from Senor Starr of Las Vegas.

    'Let's speak English,' I said, 'if you speak English.'

    'Of course I do,' he said. He didn't have much of an accent, but he spoke in the American Spanish way, stressing every second or third word in his sentences.

    I unfolded the paper and read 'This introduces a friend of mine, Cisco Maioranos. I think he can help you. S.'

    'Let's go into my office, Senor Maioranos,' I said, and held the inner door open for him. I smelled perfume as he went past me. He had a thin, neat moustache. He looked delicate and harmless. Except he probably wasn't as delicate as he looked, because he had knife scars on both cheeks.

    'You wish to know about Senor Lennox,' he said as he sat down. 'I was working at the hotel in Otatoclan.'

    'You don't look the type.'

    'Sometimes life is difficult,' he said.

    'Who mailed the letter to me?'

    'I mailed it,' he said. He took out a cigarette case and offered it to me as he lit another cigarette for himself.

    'I don't like Cuban cigarettes, thank you. You mailed the letter?'

    'That's correct. The boy was afraid to go up to the room because there was a policeman outside the door. A cop, as you say. So I went up and he gave me the letter.'

    'There was a lot of money in that letter, Senor Maioranos. You should have looked inside.'

    'The letter was not open,' he said coldly. 'I am an honest man.'

    'I apologize. Continue please.'

    'I went into his room with the coffee. He was holding a gun. The letter was on the table. He told me to take it and go. He gave me some money. Naturally, I gave it to the boy later.'

    'I was on my way down the stairs when I heard the shot. I hid the letter and came right back. The police were in the room. Senor Lennox was dead.'

    I asked him if the hotel had been full.

    He thought for a moment. He lit another Cuban cigarette.

    'No,' he said, 'it was not full. Perhaps six or seven guests.'

    'Americans?' I asked.

    'Yes, two American hunters. One of them spoke border Spanish, I think.'

    'Did they go near Lennox's room at all?'

    'Why should they?' It wasn't an answer but I couldn't see his eyes because of the sunglasses, so I didn't know why he hadn't answered.

    'Well,' I said, standing up, 'it was nice of you to come here. You can thank Randy for me. And you can tell him, too, that next time he can send somebody that knows what he's talking about.'

    He stared at me hard. I looked at those knife scars again. He had not always been a polite man in a hotel. He did not like being doubted.

    'Let's try this,' I said. 'The two Americans were two men named Menendez and Starr. They did go into Lennox's room. Lennox knew they were there. He knew why. He wrote me that letter because he felt guilty. He had tricked me and a man like Lennox doesn't like tricking his friends. By the way, did you put the letter in the mailbox?'

    Maioranos frowned. 'Mailbox? Otatoclan is not Mexico City, Senor. There is no mailbox.'

    'No, there isn't. And there was no coffee. You did not bring Lennox anything. You did not go into his room. The Americans did. One of them took a gun and shot Lennox. He shot him very carefully, so that the bullet did not go into Lennox. It gave him a nasty wound but it did not kill him. The idea was to fool the lawyer that would come down. So when he came, Lennox was drugged and packed in ice and the lawyer saw him in a dark room. The fingerprints were real enough but Lennox wasn't dead. The Americans paid the Mexican policeman, of course. They must have paid a few people. Isn't all this possible?'

    Maioranos seemed to be thinking it over.

    'Possible, yes. Policemen everywhere have to eat. Otatoclan is far away from the cities and no one asks too many questions there. It is all possible except for one thing, Senor.'

    'What's that?'

    'If it is true, then I am a liar. Then I did not go in and give him his coffee and take his letter.'

    'You were already in there, pal - writing the letter.'

    The tall Mexican took off his sunglasses. Nothing can change the colour of a man's eyes.

    'I suppose it's a bit too early for a gin and lime,' he said.

    They had done a wonderful job on him in Mexico. Why not? Their doctors, painters, architects, are as good as ours, sometimes better. They had changed his nose. They couldn't take the scar off, so they gave him another, on the other cheek. Knife scars are not uncommon south of the border.

    'How close did I come?' I asked.

    'Close enough. A few details wrong, but they are not important. We had to work very quickly. I was supposed to be followed to Otatoclan of course. Mendy didn't want me to write you, but I insisted.'

    'You knew who killed Sylvia?'

    He didn't give me a straight answer. 'It's tough to let a woman be arrested for murder — even if you never really loved her.'

    'It's a tough world,' I said. 'Was Potter in this with you?'

    He smiled. 'I don't think so. I'm not sure, but I think he believes I'm dead. Who would tell him otherwise — unless you did?'

    'Don't worry. We don't have tea together any more. Have you heard that the police have Mendy?'

    He smiled again. 'They had him. He's in Mexico now. He's not as bad as you think. He has a heart.'

    'So does a snake.'

    'How about that gin and lime?'

    I got up without answering him and went to my safe. I opened it and took out the five-thousand-dollar bill. I put it on the desk in front of him. 'I enjoyed playing with it. But it's yours now.'

    He looked at it but he didn't touch it.

    'I've got plenty of money,' he said. 'You could have left things alone.'

    'I know. After she had killed her husband she might have done more wonderful things. He was nothing special, anyway. Just a man. He knew what happened, too, and he tried hard to live with it. He wrote books. You may have heard of him.'

    'I didn't want anyone to get hurt. I was frightened and I ran. If I'd stayed, I wouldn't have had a chance. What should I have done?'

    'I don't know.'

    'She was crazy. She might have killed him anyway.'

    I agreed that she might. He smiled, thinking that fixed things between us. 'So let's go have a drink. Let's go to Victor's.'

    'No time right now, Senor Maioranos.'

    'We were good friends once, weren't we?' he asked unhappily.

    'Were we? I forget. It seems to me it was two other guys who were friends,' I said quietly. 'Take back your money. It has too much blood on it.'

    'You need the money.'

    'How would you know?'

    He picked the bill up and put it in his pocket. He bit his lower lip with the very white teeth you can have when you have brown skin.

    'You remember I gave you a chance to call the police, to have me stopped, don't you?' he said suddenly.

    'I'm not sore at you,' I said. 'You're just that kind of guy. For a long time I tried to understand you. You had good qualities but there was something wrong. You made your own rules. You were a nice guy but that was just luck, I think. You liked your gangsters as much as you liked honest men. Maybe the war did it to you but maybe you were born that way.'

    'Don't you understand?' he said sadly. 'I couldn't have told you more than I did. You wouldn't have stood for it.'

    'That's as nice a thing as was ever said to me.'

    'You call them gangsters. I was in trouble, and they know about trouble. They owed me for the one right thing I did in my life. When I needed them, they were there. And for free. You're not the only one in the world who can't be bought, Marlowe.'

    He took one of my cigarettes and had a little trouble lighting it.

    'I can be bought, Terry. You bought a lot of me. For a smile and a nod and a few drinks in quiet bars here and there. It was nice while it lasted. So long, pal. I won't say goodbye. I said it to you when it meant something, when it was sad and lonely and final.'

    'I came back too late,' he said. 'The doctors took a long time on my face.'

    'You wouldn't have come at all if I hadn't been asking some difficult questions.'

    I saw tears in his eyes. He put his green glasses back on quickly. 'They didn't want me to tell you anything.'

    'I'm not judging you, Terry. I never did. You're a nice guy in many ways. It's just that you're not here any more. You've been gone for a long time. You've got nice clothes and you smell nice and you have a pretty litte moustache.'

    'That's just an act,' he said almost desperately.

    'But you like it.'

    'An act is all there is. There isn't anything eke. I'm hollow inside. I've had it, Marlowe. I had it long ago. Well — I guess that's all we have to say.'

    He put his hand out. I shook it. 'So long, Senor Maioranos.'

    He said, 'Goodbye,' and walked out. I watched the door close. I listened to his footsteps. Did I want him to stop, to come back, to make me change the way I felt? Well, he didn't. That was the last time I saw him.

    I never saw any of them again — except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them.


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