داستان کوتاه انگلیسی: W. Somerset Maugham - A String of Beads
Miss Robinson had always been poor.
When her father died, she had nomoney.
She got a job at the house of Mrs. Livingstone – a rich woman withtwo young daughters.
Miss Robinson’s job was teaching Mrs. Livingstone’sdaughters at home.
She was their governess.
Miss Robinson lived in the house of Mrs. Livingstone like a servant.
But shewas intelligent and well-educated.
And sometimes she was asked to dinnerwhen the Livingstones had visitors.
One evening, Mrs. Livingstone invited some friends to dinner.
She askedfourteen people.
At the last moment, one of the guests was unable to come.
Mrs. Livingstone now had thirteen guests.
But thirteen is an unlucky numberand so she invited Miss Robinson.
The people at the dinner were all rich and important.
Miss Robinson satquietly and did not say anything.
She was wearing an old dress of Mrs. Livingstone’s and she looked pretty.
She was also wearing a string of pearls.
One of the guests at the dinner was Count Borselli – a rich and famous man.
He knew everything about pearls and diamonds and other precious stones.
There was a young lady at dinner called Miss Lyngate.
She, also, was wearinga string of pearls.
She was very proud of her pearls and she asked CountBorselli to look at them.
‘They’re quite nice pearls,’ said the Count.
This did not please Miss Lyngate.
‘Quite nice’ was not good enough for her.
She had wanted the Count to say ‘very nice’ – ‘very, very nice’.
‘This string of pearls cost eight thousand pounds,’ said Miss Lyngate.
‘Yes, that’s the correct price,’ said Count Borselli.
He spoke in an ordinaryvoice.
But Miss Lyngate understood.
The count did not think that eightthousand pounds was a lot of money.
At that moment, Count Borselli pointed to Miss Robinson.
‘That is a very nice string of pearls,’ he said.
‘Miss Robinson’s pearls?’
said Miss Lyngate.
‘But she is Mrs. Livingstone’sgoverness!’
Miss Lyngate was now angry.
Governesses were not rich people.
A governessdid not wear a valuable string of pearls.
‘We’re not talking about governesses,’ replied the Count.
‘We’re talking aboutpearls.
That string of pearls is worth more than fifty thousand pounds.’
Miss Lyngate was surprised and angry.
She did not believe Count Borselli.
Governesses did not wear strings of pearls worth more thanfifty thousand pounds.
‘Miss Robinson,’ she said in a loud voice
‘Do you know that you are wearing avery valuable string of pearls?’
Everyone stopped talking.
They all listened to Miss Robinson’s reply.
‘I paid fifteen shillings for these beads,’ said Miss Robinson quietly.
Miss Lyngate laughed.
‘I knew that Count Borselli was wrong,’ she said.
‘He says that your pearls areworth fifty thousand pounds.’
Now everyone in the room was silent.
Fifty thousand pounds!
A governesswith a string of pearls worth fifty thousand pounds!
That was not possible.
A woman with fifty thousand pounds was a very rich woman.
Count Borselli pointed to Miss Robinson.
‘That is a very nice string of pearls,’he said.
‘But I bought these beads for fifteen shillings,’ said Miss Robinson again.
‘Count Borselli made a mistake.’
‘I do not make mistakes,’ said the Count quietly.
‘I know the value of pearls.’
At that moment something unusual happened.
A servant came up to thetable and spoke quietly to Miss Robinson.
The governess looked surprisedand her face went white.
‘Excuse me, Mrs. Livingstone,’ she said.
‘I must leave the table.
Two men are waiting in the hall.
They want to speak to me.’
Miss Robinson got up and left the table.
When she was out of the room,everyone began to talk excitedly.
‘She’s a thief,’ said someone.
‘The two men are policemen.
Miss Robinson hasstolen the pearls.
She will go to prison.’
‘A thief in my house,’ cried Mrs. Livingstone.
What shall I do?
What has she been teaching my daughters?’
Everyone started to talk at the same time.
Suddenly there was silence.
MissRobinson had come back into the room.
She looked much happier.
She didnot look like a thief.
Miss Robinson was not wearing her pearls.
InStead, she had a string of pearlsin her hand.
She sat down at the table and passed the string of pearls over toCount Borselli.
‘How much are these pearls worth?’
Count Borselli looked at the pearls for a few moments.
‘Fifteen shillings,’ he said.
‘That’s correct,’ replied Miss Robinson.
‘My beads were broken and I tookthem to a shop a few days ago.
When I went to get them, there was amistake.
The shop gave me the wrong string of pearls.
That other string of pearls was worth fifty thousand pounds.’
It had all been a mistake.
‘The men from the shop were very pleased to get the pearls back,’ said MissRobinson.
‘They’ve given me a present of three hundred pounds.’
Again, everyone talked at the same time.
Three hundred pounds was a lot ofmoney for a governess.
Mrs. Livingstone stopped everyone talking.
‘What are you going to do with the tree hundred pounds?’
she asked loudly.
But she did not wait for a reply.
‘You must put the money in a bank,’ she said.
‘You must keep it safely.
Youmay need it one day.’
‘I’m not going to put the money in a bank,’ replied Miss Robinson proudly.
‘Allmy life I’ve never had a holiday.
Now I’m going to the South of France.’
Mrs. Livingstone looked at her angrily.
A governess was a servant.
Servantsdid not go on holiday to the South of France.
And, also, governesses acceptedthe advice of their masters and mistresses.
‘You can leave at the end of the month,’ said Mrs. Livingstone in an angryvoice.
‘But you need not to come back again.
There will be no job for youhere.’
‘I don’t want to come back here,’ replied Miss Robinson.
And she got upquietly and left the room.
‘She’s a thief,’ said someone.
‘The two men are policemen.
Miss Robinson hasstolen the pearls.’
At the end of the month, Miss Robinson went on a holiday to the South ofFrance.
Mrs. Livingstone was not pleased.
She hoped to hear bad news aboutMiss Robinson.
Six months later, Mrs. Livingstone gave another dinner.
Miss Lyngate, CountBorselli and other friends were there.
They all remembered Miss Robinson.
Someone started to talk about her.
‘Miss Robinson will never come back here again,’ said Mrs. Livingstone in aloud voice.
‘Miss Robinson will not want to come back,’ said Count Borselli.
‘Haven’t you heard the news?’
someone asked excitedly.
‘I’ve just come from the South of France,’ replied the Count.
‘Everyone there istalking about Miss Robinson.
But that’s not her name now.
She’s a countess.
She met a count in her hotel and married him soon afterwards.
The count is amillionaire and she now lives with him in Paris.
‘A cheap string of beads hasmade her a countess and a millionaire.’
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