This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
1. A new start
'Mr. Duncan? Come in please. Mr. Wilson will see you now.' 'Thank you.' John Duncan stood up and walked nervously towards the door. He was a tall, thin man, about forty-five years old, in an old grey suit. It was his best suit, but it was ten years old now. He had grey hair and glasses. His face looked sad and tired. Inside the room, a man stood up to welcom him. 'Mr. Duncan? Pleased to meet you. My e name's David Wilson. This is one of our chemists, Mary Carter.' John Duncan shook hands with both of them, and sat down. It was a big office, with a thick carpet on the floor and beautiful pictures on the walls. David Wilson was a young man, in an expensive black suit. He had a big gold ring on one finger. He smiled at John. 'I asked Miss Carter to come because she's one of our best chemists. She discovered our wonderful new paint, in fact. When . . . I mean, if you come to work here, you will work with her.' 'Oh, I see.' John looked at Mary. She was older than Wilson - about thirty-five, perhaps - with short brown hair, and a pretty, friendly face. She was wearing a white coat with a lot of pens in the top pocket. She smiled at him kindly, but John felt miserable. I'll never get this job, he thought. I'm too old! Employers want younger people these days.
'Mr. Duncan? Pleased to meet you.
'You need it a lot. Duncan.' He looked at John's old grey suit. We borrowed too much money. Duncan?' David Wilson said.' said John.' he said quietly. You'll have your own office. Well. But we need a biologist to make sure that everything in this factory is safe.' continued John.. and a company car. Why was that ' 'I've always had two interests in my life. . "When can you start?". but he didn't say anything. the world of business. 'I closed the business. That's fine. I think I could do that. hard smile.' John said. and he wished he hadn't come. 'We made small boats together. Will Monday be OK?' 'You mean I've got the job?' 'Of course. 'I remember her. 'I see that you are a very good biologist. Then he smiled. of course. and it made John feel uncomfortable. ..' 'And if something's not safe. . . We want someone to tell the government that it's safe to work here. Both men were silent for a moment.Davi il as l i at some papers. yes. better boats. this is a chemical company. Duncan. and then for two very famous companies.. then of course we'll change it. David Wilson looked at her. My wife was a famous sailor . She sailed around the world alone in a small boat. I hate people like you. I mean. after my wife died. 'Yes. David Wilson listened. 'When can you start?' 'What?' John was very surprised. and that it's safe to have a paint factory near the town. the Sevens Race.' said David Wilson. Then we wanted to build bigger. 'So now you want a job as a biologist. . I do. . Wilson remembered the newspaper reports of the storm and the lives lost at sea. He remembered his old suit and grey hair. Rachel Horsley . of course.' he sai . He looked at the man who sat sadly in front of him. Mr. I see. Congratulations!' Wilson shook John's hand. 'What did you say?' 'I said. 'You really need this job. . don't you. Wilson. He stood up. Mr.' said David Wilson. You worked at a university .' 'Yes. 'Well. You like making people feel small. 'biology and boats. 'My secretary will tell you about your pay. 'Yes.' 'Yes. That's important to us. Mr. That was five years ago.' said David Wilson.' John stopped speaking. I'd like you to start work with Mary on Monday. 'OK. thank you very much. Wilson's smile grew bigger. when I worked for Harper Chemicals in London I . But .' 'And did the business go well ' asked Wilson. 'So.' he said. . and sold them.' 'So we started a business. but he didn't say anything. Yes.' He talked for two or three minutes about his work. 'It's a hard world. and held out his hand. Duncan. Thank you. Mr.' John began nervously. And then my wife .' 'I see. We need you in our factory as soon as possible. I remember now. 'Very well at first. You're enjoying this. Is that OK?' 'I. It was a cold. you stopped working as a biologist nine years ago.' . But he thought: I hate you. . 'Now. . . We make paint. Perhaps you remember her.' Mary Carter said.
and he had lost all his money. 'Thanks. Your supper's in the kitchen. When Rachel had died. But he didn't say anything about that. and an unlucky .just the lights from hundreds of other flats. And then he had started the boat-building company. and newspapers on the floor. His wife had been a good cook.2.' Christine gave him a quick smile. Is everything OK?' 'Fine. He had had a good job. 'I'm sorry I'm late. A beautiful big house in the country. and he could see no trees or gardens from the windows . Christine. His son Andrew. with a large garden. clothes. The rooms were all small.' John said. John had had to sell his beautiful house in the country. John tried to eat the terrible supper and looked around the small.' John's sixteen-year-old daughter. was sitting at the table doing her homework. And there were books. The furniture was twenty years old. miserable flat. miserable flat. the wallpaper and carpets were cheap and dirty. A few months later his company had closed. Fried fish and chips. John was not a good cook himself and his children were no better. John looked around the small. He was a poor man. they hadn't needed to think about money. They had had lots of new furniture. Once. John got his food from the kitchen. Dad. two cars. Christine. John had been terribly unhappy ² much too unhappy to think about business. and move to this miserable flat. he hadn't had a job at all. he had had a fine house. when his wife had been alive. he remembered. who was thirteen. and his luck had ended. The food was dry and didn't taste very good. thanks. expensive holidays everything they needed. was watching television. then continued with her work. And for the last two years. At home 'Hi.
. if you want to. One of the teachers was taking the children on a skiing holiday to the mountains in Switzerland.' she said. Jane.!' . He went into the kitchen and got himself a drink. 'I've got a letter for you. She was a clever. good at sports.' he said. 'Are your friends going?' he asked her.' John smiled. 'I've got an exciting story. Put your home work away. Dad. 'But something interesting happened today. But now that was all going to change. you know. Dad? Have you robbed a bank or something?' John stood up.' 'Oh.the rich ones. 'But I can't. 'Oh. 'This is an exciting story. too. She looked at him strangely. He had tried for lots of jobs. 'No. can I? We haven't got £400.' She pushed the letter across the table.' 'No. 'What's happened.' 'We're going to be rich . Why not?' Christine laughed. too. But she had never been skiing. 'Of course I do. don't do that. Throw the letter awa y.good at her schoolwork. Andrew. and he opened it. Dad. and felt his heart beating quickly. There were too many bright young biologists. But they often go skiing. He looked at his daughter and smiled. . I've got something to tell you. Christine ² and turn that TV off. Christine?' he asked. John's smile grew bigger.' he said. 'No. Christine?' he asked her. 'Some of them. Andrew. Dad!' said Andrew. Nigel . strong girl . Miranda.' John looked at her. not now. 'Did you have a good day at school. Come and listen. 'Perhaps you can go. and got none of them. I know I can't go. when he came back. it's easy for them. Parents who wanted their children to go had to send the money to the school before February 25th. I suppose. John hadn't had enough money.one. Christine. yes. She didn't look very happy. It cost £400 for ten days. It was from her school. 'Do you want to go on this holiday. I suppose not.' she said. all right.' He looked at her carefully through his thick glasses.
So Andrew turned off the TV. which would not go away.' he added quickly. No.' 'I'm very pleased to hear it. He had to meet someone important in ten minutes. Doctor. I told you. I suppose. John spilt some of the waste products on his leg. after all.' said John.' said John. or not?' 'Oh yes. I was looking at them in my office. It kept him awake at night. It was a very strong.' John was in a hurry. His fingers moved quietly on his desk. 'Where do these waste products go. of course. 'But it's all right. But they could still talk to their father. Neither acid nor salt water could damage it. painful place on his skin. Duncan?' 'Yes?' John looked back. . all the time. and the pain will go in a day or two. which nothing could damage. They're nasty chemicals.' The doctor looked out of the window thoughtfully. 'Mr. And we're only two kilometres from the sea. and it had brought four hundred new jobs to the town. I'm going to have my own office.' The doctor began to write something on a piece of paper. untidy flat. lots of money ² in fact.' said the doctor.' 'I see. can you give me something to put on it. and Mary Carter showed him round the factory. They gave me a job there.' said the doctor. 'But don't worry.' 'Yes. No one can go near them without special safe clothing. The company was beginning to make a lot of money from this paint. 'So these chemicals had something to do with the new paint.' John said. we're going to be rich . that's all. Mr. you know. Paint factories can be very exciting. The story didn't sound very exciting at first.' John smiled at him. 'I went to a factory today. One day. Mary and her chemists had developed it. hard paint. 'Look. 'I wouldn't want anyone to drink those waste products. a big car. you know. He cleaned it off quickly. It's a big river. Rich man John Duncan started work on Monday. . 'It's very carefully checked. and sat down in a big armchair beside his father and Christine.!' 3. and they had tested it all over the world. they had no money. 'Thank you. of course. and we only produce a few hundred litres of the waste products a day. He told his doctor what he had spilt on it. I know. 'That paint factory by the river. It was a bottle of the waste products. did they?' the doctor asked carefully. and cars came back from both the Arctic and the Sahara looking like new. Put this on night and morning.John Duncan's children lived in an old. wait. when he was working with the paint. He gave the piece of paper to John. Duncan. yes. surprised. You can come and see if you like. But I'm afraid the skin there will stay red for a year or two. 'Good.' 'Yes. we're very careful with them in the factory.' . Andrew. The most important thing that the company produced was a new paint for cars. but it left a red. and the doctor looked at him strangely. 'And your company is producing a lot of these waste products now. He went towards the door. when the factory has finished with them? Into the river?' 'Well. 'Yes. and they often ate awful food.
He could not give them back their mother. I can certainly afford a small boat. 'I mean. The house was half a kilometre from the sea.' he said happily. They're nasty chemicals. So it's not dangerous and we're not doing anything wrong. you know that. John laughed. of course. But now he could buy them anything they wanted.' 'I'm afraid the skin there will stay red for a year or two. He was also busy buying a big. you know. and after half an hour he had forgotten the conversation. Rachel. We'll go fishing every week.when you've finished paying for the house. His children had been poor for so long. Mr. doctor. He only wished his wife.' He went out of the door. and our company lawyers know all about it. Who's going to drink salt water from the river mouth.' said John. He was a very busy man now.' He could not believe how lucky he was. perhaps?' . my son. and make sure they were safe. There was an empty boathouse there. comfortable house for his family. 'Can we have a boat. He had a good job at last. if you want. you know. I've alwa ys wanted to do that. not now. where Christine could keep a horse. 'All the drinking water comes out of the river five kilometres upstream. Duncan. and his children had everything they wanted. too. was alive to enjoy it with him. 'If I can afford a big house like this. a fine home. Don't worry about it.'They won't. for heaven's sake? Chemists from London have checked it. and its gardens went down to the river. . but one day . Dad?' Andrew asked. All day he had to test different types of paints. 'You can have a boat now. with a large field beside it. There was only one thing that he could not give his children now. shall we? And I'll teach you both to sail in the evenings.
Both the children went to bed early. He felt proud of them. 4. so the children had to tell her what to do. They sailed down to the mouth of the river. 'Haven't you seen them before?' . white-topped waves. Mary didn't know how to sail. and thought about their mother. The new house was very untidy. sunny day in the middle of May. and John took them all out in their new boat. John invited Mary to a meal in the new house. That was much better. But the chicken was tasteless and the rice was too soft. The boat sailed fast. 'Seals. and seemed to be happy. John sat at the back of the boat. and its gardens went down to the river. comfortable house. John felt a big smile come onto his face. He and Christine cooked a chicken because they thought it was easy. and John was nervous about the food. He had never invited anyone to their old flat. and the sailing was fun.' said John. on a Sunday. and he thought they were proud of him too. and Andrew was angry with her because she didn't want to watch TV. quick! Over there! What are they?' Andrew pointed excitedly to one of the long. where there were lots of small islands and sandbanks. The first time Mary and the children laughed together. She did what she was told. Mary smiled. 'Look. Dad. over small. But the evening went badly. low sandbanks. and watched his children quietly. Christine was angry with her because she tidied up the kitchen. There was a good wind. It was a difficult evening. The sky was blue and clear. It was a beautiful. and pretended not to notice. But Mary came again. and the children's friends never came for meals.It was a big. The seals A few months later.
The baby seals were drinking milk from their mothers. if they can live here.' They sailed closer to the sandbank.' . It's a group of seal families.' His face was shining. happy. It makes me feel really happy. Wet. 'Only in films. all by themselves. excited. The mothers come here every year to have their babies. Not in real life. He thought the world was a good place.' said Christine. Then a big father seal lifted his head and stared angrily at them. 'I never knew they lived here. Look! Did you see that little one. with no one looking after them.' 'Yes.' said Mary. as he watched Mary and his children laughing and talking together. doesn't it. too. too. John smiled. shiny seal mothers lifted their heads and looked at them with their blue eyes. just to see them. climbing over them.'No.' said Mary. until they were only about twenty metres away from the seals. 'And they're really beautiful. The mothers come here every year to have their babies. 'I think they're beautiful.' 'Yes. and playing in the shallow water. playing on his mother's back? I wish I could do that!' . so close to the town. 'Do they really live here?' 'Yes. 'It's a group of seal families.' said Andrew. it does. 'I think nothing can be really wrong with the world.
He took her into a long. 'Some of these rats have had the waste products in their food and drinking water. 'It's awful. He opened a box by the window. much more than we're putting in the river. 'So what do you want to show me?' she asked. She didn't like this kind of experiment. 'What an awful thing to do!' 'I know. but she knew it was necessary.5. don't think we need to do that now. The new experiment A few days later. to comfort her. 'Baby rats with no eyes.' She turned. no ears. we've got nothing to worry about. 'I. John.' She turned round to face him. Mary. quiet room at the back of the factory. I gave them a lot . won't they?' She remembered her long years of work. 'Some of them have been born already!' He lifted some of the baby rats out of the box and looked at them through a magnifying glass. This. She remembered the beautiful afternoon that they had spent with John's children.' John put his hand on her arm. then away.' He gave her a sheet of paper. John asked Mary to look at another experiment. John? Perhaps it'll take years to build those machines. We're putting very little into the river at the moment. I know.' Mary looked away from the rats. of course. 'Of course we'll stop it. but not many. and not very many were ill. There was a long silence. The room was full of the noises of small animals. But he wasn't listening.' he said. .five parts per million. six legs! Oh John! John! What have you done?' He looked at her strangely. She began to feel ill.' she said.' 'Oh. look at this. Look!' Mary looked through the magnifying glass. They're going to have babies today. 'I really hope so. There's no real problem yet. and went quickly out of the room. and we're putting the chemicals into the river right now!' A shadow crossed his face. 'I've been testing the waste products.' Mary read the results carefully. 'Don't you think we should stop making the paint now. 'We've got to stop putting them in the river!' 'Of course. these waste products are dangerous!' she said.' he said at last.. There certainly is a problem!' Mary's voice sounded loud and high in the quiet room.' he said. the hundreds of unsuccessful experiments. And the company will build those machines. Mary ² their mothers have had five parts per million of these chemicals in their drinking water for two weeks. She stared at the small animals under the magnifying glass.' she said.' 'But .' he said. John. if we need to. 'Look. One or two have become ill.' he said excitedly. 'John. sailing on the clear blue water. And remember. . out of the window. His eyes looked at hers. These ten rats have had the waste products in their drinking water for two weeks now. Mary. no rats had died.. 'Perhaps there is a problem. His hand fell from her arm. There's nothing very serious. I'll start my report for David Wilson next week. 'Here. . 'I hope so. isn't it? But I had to know. That's a lot ² much. The company can build machines to clean the waste products. She touched his hand. But it was the same hand ² the hand that had held the rats. and smiled. And John was right. 'Oh dear. sadly. If the babies are OK.
'Look. and done your job well. and one had six. It was nearly six weeks later when he went to discuss the results with David Wilson.' he said. is it?' 'What?' John stared at him in surprise. 'No. Mr.' said Wilson. Wilson wasn't a scientist. He took a drink of water. He was a businessman. No. and lit a cigarette. the paint will have to cost more.I don't mean the report is bad. with a thick carpet and beautiful pictures on the walls. He felt comfortable. and John felt cold and sick in his stomach.' David Wilson came out from behind his desk and shook hands with John. So why is it dangerous? Nobody is ever going to drink it. And your report also says that on most days we put less than two parts per million into the river. 'Not very good.' The two men stared at each other for a moment. I don't like the ideas at the end of the report. don't we? And in two kilometres the river goes out into the sea.we've got to do it.' John's mouth was dry. Wilson smiled. John.6. 'Your report says that we should build some new machines to clean up the waste products before they go into the river. John could see the river. What I mean is. no. Wilson smiled. right? And those machines will cost two million pounds! Where do you think we can find all that? Money doesn't grow on trees. John. He knew how to run a business. comfortable armchairs by the window. They sat in two big. 'But if we spend two million pounds to build these new machines. These waste products are much more dangerous than I'd thought. John! We don't need to build these new machines!' . 'Thanks for coming.' 'Of course I read that. and we won't sell so much. 'I've read your report. John.' 'What's. From the window. The report John's report took longer than he had thought. And some were born without legs when they drank only two pa per rts million.' Wilson began. wait. aren't we?' 'We're doing very well. of course not. some of the baby rats were born without eyes and ears.' 'But . 'But we're selling a lot of the new paint. listen to me for a minute! We both know that no drinking water comes out of this part of the river. I read your report very carefully indeed. David Wilson's office was large. wrong with them?' 'They're too expensive. don't worry . happy. yes. We're making millions of pounds every month from that. but it wasn't the kind of smile that John liked. Then he stopped. safe. and the woods and fields on the other side.' said John. Didn't you read that in my report? When I put the chemicals in rats' drinking water. and moved his hand through the clouds of smoke. of course not. One didn't have any legs. and felt his hand shaking. you know!' 'No.' He shivered. We can't put those chemicals in the river. how to make money. You've worked very hard.
'Listen to me. We just can't do it!' John stood up. 'We borrowed ten million pounds last year. and 1 am. 'But. Look at this. when he spoke. The newspapers will never know about it. John. and people fishing.' He picked up a sheet of paper. 'We've got to build them!' he said. 'And what happens if people get ill because of this? Have you thought of that? What will the newspapers say then?' 'No one will get ill. If we build these cleaning machines of yours. John. David Wilson looked at him carefully.Where do you think we can find two million pounds? John thought of his children. and we employed four hundred more people.. and we're lucky to have y in this company.' . You're a very good scientist. was very quiet and hard. It showed how much money the company had.. ou But you're not a businessman.' 'Just a minute. Listen to me. people will lose their jobs ² a lot of people! This company can't afford to borrow any more money. John. He thought of the seals.' 'They will if I tell them. and held it across the table for John to see. because no one drinks that water. and little children playing on the beach and swimming. Think how much that means to a small town like this!' 'I know. His voice. sailing on the river in their boat.' said John.
7. and she had come to his house several times over the last year and a half. 'And it's all because of you. 'But if you stay with us. and held out his hand. 'You don't have to go. But for the last eighteen months he had been much quieter. and go back to living in a nasty little flat. He had enjoyed working with her. He stood for a long time. Mary and John had lunch in the factory restaurant together. You should leave.' He got up from his desk. his eyes were cold and grey. you will be paid twice as much next year. Your new paint has meant four hundred new jobs -all because of your discovery! This isn't a poor town any more . and it's growing all the time. Then he shook hands. but he would not listen to her. like stones from the beach. On her last day. There were two big. Christine and Simon Mary talked to Mr. She knew that the cleaning machines would never be built. Wilson too. John was sad to see her go. For many months she argued with David Wilson about the danger of the waste products. and get a job in another company. She looked at him quietly.' she said. John.' . and sat down behind his desk. You'll just be an old man. which was built with money from the paint company. Mary. and I don't like to think about it. Is that what you want?' John didn't answer. because no one will ever drink that water. For the first six months after he had got the job. and a lot of new houses. John stood sti ll for a long moment. eighteen months after John's report. Mary. His children liked her now. He walked past John Duncan. And so. but he didn't sing or laugh and he didn't often look Mary in the eyes. You'll never get another job. He had changed a lot since he had first started working at the factory. Then David Wilson stood up. 'Think about it. 'It's wonderful. you know. he had been really happy and lively. and didn't say a word.' John said. After nearly two minutes. 'I know what's going into the river. She came out looking tired and very sad. John. but that wasn't the reason she was going. She was pleased. When he looked up. She took her hand away from his. walking the streets without friends or money. I shall say you're a liar. came round to the front. and took her hand in his.' He talked about the new sports centre at Andrew's school. and a new theatre. and you'll never have a house or any money again. And when he was alone. And no one will ever be hurt. don't you think?' He smiled at her across the table. Mary decided to move to another company. or singing to himself. Wilson smiled ² a thin quiet smile. She had always known where he was in the factory.it's becoming successful. and walked slowly towards the door. µ This company is very successful. and stared at David Wilson. because he was always laughing. You'll lose your job. but it was no good. You'll have to sell your house. without looking at him. gently. he looked tired and sad. John. new shops in the town as well. 'If you do that. since their mother had died.There was a long silence. 'You know why I'm going.' he said.' said David Wilson. too. because it was a more important job. They had never been so friendly with any woman. He was always busy. rich! People will want to move here from other places. John Duncan turned.
But Mary. she had wanted to marry him. of course. . and she hasn't got a mother to discuss things with.' 'What do you mean. and he was beginning to look like an old man. But you're a woman. Now. 'Only you. I just meant your leg. I don't always know what to say. how can I help? I don't know your children very well.' John still had a painful red place on his leg. Then she said.'I'm too old. have they?' Mary didn't answer for a moment. I wonder if you could help me. But that wasn't what Mary meant. . you know.' 'No. it's sometimes difficult for me. well. before you go .' 'I see. . John smiled. . 'It isn't easy for me to get a new job. and no one's been hurt. and sometimes he walked badly because of it. I'd almost forgotten about it.' John stared at her angrily. And Mary. It's a family matter. .' 'I'm too old to get a job in another company said John angrily. Christine's a young woman now. 'My leg's nearly better. Once. His head was bald now. as a father on my own. and . she was pleased that he hadn't asked her. 'Oh. Well. the company has been making the paint for more than two years now. of course not. only me?' She looked at him sadly.
In the field.' So Mary went to John's house. and listened to her talk about Simon.' 'Who's the young man?' 'He's called Simon MacDonald. like an adult.' And so for a long time Mary stood in the quiet. . really angry. Mary! But I'm eighteen! I want to get married!' Tell me more about Simon . . "How old is Christine now?' 'Eighteen. better place. Simon. really. Mary?' Christine asked. John? I' m not a mother and I've never been married. I suppose. not a child any more. do you? That's not the best way to start your life with Simon. . isn't she?' John looked unhappy. But she gets so angry with me.he works for the local newspaper. Mary. .' 'What do you. He's very clever and kind. really. Mary went with Christine to look at her horse. . I want Dad to like Simon. my dear. but he's always nasty to him. you see. 'He's a fine young man. But every time I speak to him. And then Christine always agrees with him. He makes me think of your father. and he's probably very worried about it. He thinks only young people are right.' 'Oh. Mary began to talk about Simon. very hard-working. I think . I don't want to.'No.' 'No. too. and Simon stayed with John. And she wants to get married. Mary put her hand on the horse's neck. She often wondered why he didn't ask her to his house more often. Stupid things. Mary. I don't know.' .' 'My father! He's nothing like my father! And Dad hates him!' 'I'm sure he doesn't. would you.' 'I'll do my best. and everyone over twenty-five is always wrong!' Mary looked at John thoughtfully.' 'No. argue about?' 'Oh. They had a meal and talked about horses and sailing. intelligent. but I will if I have to!' 'Would you like me to talk to him? Perhaps he'll listen to me. and he wanted to make the world a cleaner. that's what I say. but I do. He liked sailing and riding. and I get angry with her. what do you want me to do.' 'He does! He says he's too old for me. . She liked him and his children. It's difficult for him . was kind. . He belongs to one of these environmental groups Greenworld. Tin not sure. He's a nice young man. "Well.you're his only daughter. Mary? Please. but you don't want to make your father angry. and they liked her a lot. we argue. and there were no arguments. Christine said. you could talk to Christine perhaps? If you came to our house for Sunday lunch . I feel I'm losing her.and he's always talking about it. but . She had met his parents. It was only her father .' Mary looked at him sadly. Later. 'I think you should marry him. and I mustn't see him! He thinks I'm still a little girl. 'So what should I do. Christine. but I don't know if it'll work.' 'Already? She's rather young. She helped Christine give food to her horse. He made her feel important. Everyone was polite. He's a journalist . 'Well. .' she said. lonely field. Simon was there too. and she thought he liked her.
secret present to thank her. before she moved to Scotland for her new job. 'Mr. but I'm going to try to be that man. and sometimes they had a cup of coffee together in town. Duncan. Christine was very happy. sir. and I . and he was very happy when she smiled at him. but happ y too. I spoke to my employer.' he said. and thanked Mary. John seemed a little nervous. 'Oh really? Why is that?' . She kissed Mary when she arrived. and how grateful he seemed for her help. He used to talk to his children a lot. Christine and I won't have a lot of money at first. I love her too. He's really a very lonel y man. You've been worried about me because you want her to have the best husband possible.'I'm eighteen! 1 want to get married!' said Christine Mary did try.' He smiled at Christine. Mr. but I hope we'll manage. Duncan. At the meal. she thought. Mr. She spoke to John on the phone. At last John agreed to the marriage. and he's going to pay me a little more than before!' John looked surprised. 'And yesterday. but he doesn't now. Duncan. It was a pair of pretty ear-rings. Mary was invited to a special supper because of the good news. and believe me. He seemed to be afraid that he would never see her again. very hard. You're a rich man. I know how much you love your daughter. It must be hard for him with two children and no wife. and of course. I can't promise anything. Then Simon stood up to say something.well. He watched Christine all through the meal. He tried hard to smile. although he didn't think of giving her a present. She was surprised how carefully John listened to her. 'I'll always remember this night. and gave her a small.
There was a sewage works near the river too. Three more baby seals died. and some people said that it was the paint factory near the river. The headline read: SEALS AT RIVER MOUTH HAVE STRANGE DISEASE Four baby seals found dead 8. Look here!' He pulled a page of newspaper out of his pocket. The sewage from another small town came .'I'm writing a full-page article every week on the environment. but no one was sure what the reasons were. There were pictures of water. The wedding day The disease among the seals got worse. He's asked me to write about the environment for our newspaper. because he's given me a new job. Some people said that it was a disease that was always in the water. some people said the seals were eating diseased fish. and some seals. and there were long articles in the newspapers. sandbanks. Scientists came from London to look at them. And this is the first one. I have to write a full-page article every week on the environment. and one was born without a tail.' 'Well. and held it up in front of them.
' said the young man. near the sewage works. The young man smiled. and talked to them a lot. When they came back from the church. you know. he listened for the sound of quiet laughter behind him. One day. surprised. Mr. 'That sewage works is putting a lot of nasty things into the river. 'Y ou have a beautiful house with a lovely river at the end of the garden. Duncan. Everyone seemed very happy. proud of himself. John liked Simon's parents. 'David Wilson asked us to do it himself.' one of them answered. 'What are the results?' he asked. 'It's a special experiment. if we can. I think the newspapers will be very interested. Didn't he tell you. John Duncan found two young chemists testing samples of water from the river. He watched them quietl y for several minutes. in the factory. 'Why are you doing that?' he asked. Duncan.to it.' Christine and Simon were married on a fine day in June. 'Yes. We want to help those poor seals. . they had a party in the garden at John's house.' 'The newspapers?' John asked. 'You're very lucky. doesn't it? That's why we're doing this. Perhaps the young man really believed what he said. Mr. of course. But he heard nothing. sir?' John didn't answer. Our company Cares about the environment. But he didn't look worried. The water came from two kilometres upstream. Christine and Simon were married on a fine day in June. They're bad.' Simon's father said.' As John walked awa y. he looked pleased. sir.
' He stood still.' He touched her arm thoughtfully. 'People used to say I was a very unlucky man. and twice he had visited her in Scotland. 'He's not a scientist.' John had seen Simon's article in the newspaper last night. Duncan. MacDonald was pleased.'I haven't always been lucky. I've done my best. I'm very pleased for my daughter. Scientists and lawyers would speak on both sides of the argument.' John answered. 'I'd like to be.' 'I don't believe you. John. He had never seen her look so happy. 'I've tried. 'And I'm sure Simon will help you with this river.' Mrs.' he said. frightening moment for them both. He remembered how unhappy he had been in the little flat in the middle of the town. 'Why did David Wilson write to the paper.' she said.' . I understand there's a disease in it. He remembered his own wedding. thinking.' John and Christine stared at each other angrily. Simon had written an article in the newspaper. And next week in the town there would be a Public Enquiry. and his children didn't want to talk to him. Now he was a rich man. Andrew and some friends. Mrs. I have Simon for my son-in-law. They must do what they can with it. Duncan. 'We're very pleased to have Christine for our daughter-in-law. 'Let me get you another drink.and about Simon's newspaper article.' she said. He smiled at Mr. but then Christine had begun to talk about Simon's new job. 'Yes. Simon had found some information about the waste products from the paint factory. He had been unemployed then. John didn't want to talk about it.' 9.' 'Yes. I don't believe you 'It's not true. about the diseases that came from the sewage works: David Wilson had shown it to him. I'm sure you're pleased about that. Father?' Christine asked. 'You'll probably read my letter tomorrow. This day's been a great success. Everyone in the town was talking about the Enquiry . too. It was a miserable. and wish them luck. and Mrs. David Wilson had written to the newspaper immediately. She had come to tell her father that she was going to have a baby . John had k n o w n f o r a l o n g t i m e t h a t t h e y w o u l d have this argument.' At the bar in the house he met Mary. Christine and her father had argued all evening. Why didn't you write to the paper?' 'I have written to the paper. Mr. 'I'm a very lucky man. Simon told me he's going to work very hard to find the reason for that. But it's their world now. a success. She came back to the town sometimes. MacDonald. And so instead of talking happily about the baby.' he said. MacDonald. Mary. you know. Simon's information is wrong. Father. 'We must drink to our children's future. sadly. and Christine had come with some happy news. But he had always been able to talk to them. and the hopes he and Rachel had had. when government officials would try to discover the truth. saying that waste products from the paint factory could be killing the baby seals. he's just a businessman. of course.his first grandchild! for a white they had talked about that. 'You must be a happy man. and clean up the river. He saw his daughter laughing with Simon. which is making the seals ill. It was a night three months after the wedding.' he said. saying that Simon's article was completely untrue.' said John. Christine. with no money to buy good things for his children. Mr. His information was dangerous for the company.
that's all. Greenworld Two days later Christine and Simon arrived at John's house. But in the end he had agreed. He had agreed to hide many bad things before. Christine. I want to believe you. 'It's important for everyone. 10. Try to remember that.' she said slowly. and I don't want to sit here listening to my daughter telling me I'm a liar. and in about half an hour. I wrote that in my letter. It's given a lot to you. 'And I've told you . Christine. not at her. and to the people of this town. Two photographers stood by the river.five o'clock in the morning -and they didn't knock at the door. What are they going to live on. 'OK. and me. He looked up. But the paint factory's important too. 'It's important. Their friends were wearing white clothes. towards the paint factory. or try to wake anyone up. Simon. I'm going to bed!' She got up slowly. and I'll say the same thing at the Enquiry next week.' Christine was watching him carefully as he spoke. 'Don't then!' he said angrily.'Oh. Father? What if they drink the river water? What then?' 'Nobody drinks water from that part of the river. 'I said that our waste products don't make the river water dangerous. and opened it. 'Father. so one more didn't make any difference. after all -I'm only a biologist. they put the boat in the water. She saw how tired and sad his face was. He was looking at his hands most of the time. can't you?' There are more important things than money. Go home to Simon.' he said. He and David Wilson had had a big argument about it. taking photos of them. I'm tired. John felt sad. 'And what about children who play by the river. when the factory's closed because of Simon's stupid articles? Can they give their children photographs of baby seals to eat?' Christine looked at him for a long moment before she went out of the door. There are usually only one and a half parts per million in the river water. Father. They're out at sea. 'I'm sorry. 'You believe Simon. He hadn't wanted to write the letter. In fact John wasn't there. Father. and sailed away across the river. they reached the factory. and forget about the seals for a while. And the seals aren't in the river. It was very early . Why should you believe me?' He stood up angrily. Christine knew he had gone to Scotland to see Mary. But I can't. It was a windy morning.' 'I know it is. Without talking.it isn't dangerous to children. with Greenworld written on them. if you want to! He's a journalist. We've tested them very carefully for many years. and your father. I've had a hard day. On the other side of the river they met two friends. and the waves on the river were quite big. walked to the door. they are not dangerous at all. Christine and Simon walked quietly down to the boathouse by the river. . where is it?' shouted Christine.' 'Are there? You tell that to all the people who work in the company.' Christine closed the door quietly behind her. But Christine was a good sailor. and live in this town. Then they all got into the boat and sailed upstream.' she said softly. He was coming back on the morning of the Enquiry. Peter and Susan. What did you say?' Christine asked. and if they are diluted in water. Simon and Christine also put on white clothes.
It was the pipe that took the waste products out of the factory. and Susan caught hold of the post. Simon came up out of the water for the last time.in front of that post!' he said. The bags were small but very heavy. Then Simon stood up in the boat with Christine. and they had to hold onto the pipe and the boat. Peter then took several strong paper bags out of the boat. On the sheet was written: GREENWORLD This pipe kills seals! At that moment two things happened. Christine sailed the boat towards the post. Then Simon and Peter climbed out of the boat into the water. 'OK. look . and sailed away across the river. and held up a long white sheet. 'It's OK!' he shouted. they could see under the water. 'We've done it! The cement is wet already. Nothing can come out of that pipe now!' The two men climbed back into the boat and smiled at the photo graphers. It caught the sail and sent it quickly from one side of the boat . because they were filled with building cement. The water was moving fast here. shouting angrily.'Over there. And the wind suddenly became stronger. and Simon went down under the water and pushed each bag into the pipe. When they were near it. A few minutes later the mouth of the pipe was full of bags of cement. Peter passed the bags one at a time to Simon. here!' shouted Simon. They put the boat in the water. Christine turned the boat towards the wind. A man ran out of the factory. and in a few hours it'll be as hard as a rock.
The back of the sail hit Christine hard on the back of the head. He was a good swimmer. Then he understood. like a bag of old clothes on the water. This time the boat fell over on its side and lay with its sail under the water. he went down under the water again. But Simon had water in his ears. and then Simon managed to pull them both up. For the rest of his life he would dream about that long. where the man was pointing. and held him back. Simon was under the sail. into the air. Quickly. It was not doing anything. like a bag of potatoes. Simon and Christine held up a long white sheet. He swam as fast as he could. Christine! The river was taking her quickly downstream. far away.to the other. He looked behind him and saw the man from the factory! He was shouting and pointing downstream. Then he heard someone shouting. Then the wind caught the sail again and threw it back across the boat. Someone was moving under the sail. 'Look!' the man said. Simon saw Susan holding onto the back of the boat. breathing deeply. and pulled him under water too. into the air again. frightening fight. so slowly. He saw a foot kicking hard in the water beside him. 'The girl! She's drowning!' Simon looked downstream. and at first he couldn't hear the words very well. Then he came up. She fell into the water. towards the sea. They held onto the side of the boat together. There was a quick. and for several seconds he could see nothing. but the white clothes slowed him down. He saw something white. The sail and the sheet were all around him. Simon began to swim after her. but he seemed to go slowly. Hurriedly. just floating round and round. towards a white body that floated quickly away in front of him. slow swim. floating. The water seemed heavy. and tried to help Peter" But Peter caught hold of Simon. .
caught the branch. and held onto it. unconscious. The river was taking them quickly to the sea. Once. lifeless. He began to swim on his back. and blew strongly into Christine's mouth again. and again. There was a tree near the bank. But the bank was moving past very quickly. then stopped. When they got there. It took him nearly five minutes to pull her on to the bank. Only five metres to go now. The strong wind blew little waves into his face. She was floating with her face down. He swam for half a minute. and then blew into her mouth again. kicking strongly with his legs. . and her arms fell back in the water when he dropped them. The bank was further away there. Simon was tired. and she was not breathing. and blew into it. and there was a lot of water moving downstream to the sea. And this time. but about two hundred metres downstream a second river came in from the left. He rested. He swam harder. and the water moved faster. and afraid. breathed into her mouth again.At last he reached Christine. but it was so difficult. he put her on the ground. He took a deep breath. and blew four times into her mouth. she took a breath by herself. They were in the middle of the river. Nearer ² only five metres to go now. put his mouth over hers. Its branches were low over the water. He caught hold of her face then. but he couldn't be sure. He got her face out of the water but her head fell backwards. Her face was very white. and he had no idea if her heart was beating. and then felt for her heart. He tried to turn her over. moving quickly downstream. It had rained last night. it was about twenty-five metres to the bank. He looked around him. afterwards. Nothing happened. pulling Christine towards the trees on the bank. She was heavy. Simon kicked hard. he thought he saw her breathe. he was sure. Here. The water tried to pull him away.
Simon began to cry.' said the lawyer. 'But what happens outside the factory? Do you really put these very dangerous chemicals into the river?' . Think carefully about what you say. and he caught a taxi from the station. He should tell his own lies. hundreds of people will lose their jobs. Christine was near him.' John answered. until he was sure she could do it by herself. 'Well yes. 'These are very dangerous chemicals. John Duncan. Then ² yes! ² it was beating. He didn't want to speak at the Enquiry. he saw Simon. before Christine was born. John's train was late. We haven't had a single serious accident in three years. David Wilson had asked John to speak for the company. There were a lot of journalists and photographers there. and how much paint the factory produced. John. and saw that Christine's eyes were open. 'Mr. He lay down.' The Enquiry room was crowded. sitting with the journalists. 'You're our chief biologist. grey eyes watching him from the other side of the room. but he knew he had to.' he said. the Enquiry began. he saw David Wilson's cold. please!' He walked to the front of the room. The wind made his wet clothes cold on his body. But his eyes watched John carefully. Before he had gone to Scotland. A lawyer began to ask him questions. 11. But we're very careful with them in our factory. and he smiled sadly to himself.' John said nothing. He remembered how i l l his wife Rachel had been in the mornings. Then he began to Shiver. but very quietly and he could not hear it. John. They'll believe you. As he sat down. Scientists came from London to ask questions about the disease that was killing the seals. aren't they?' the lawyer said. with Andrew and some young people from Greenworld. Or at least. 'Are you all right?' She said something. and put his arms around her. but she didn't smile back. John had been to see David Wilson about the Enquiry. He wondered what to do. 'You're an important man.' 'I'm pleased to hear it. The Public Enquiry Two days later. She looks very white and ill. When he came into the room. At first it was easy. 'Most chemicals are dangerous if people aren't careful with them. and her body breathing under him. Then the lawyer asked about the waste products. It's probably the baby. all the time. John smiled at her. 'Chris.At first he couldn't find it . he thought. I promise you that. John. John explained how long he had worked for the company. If you say the wrong thing next week.his hands were too cold. his mouth smiled. of course.' he said. Everyone wears special clothing. And the first person to lose his job will be you. to keep her warm. That man should be up here instead. he thought. like the cold eyes of a fish. Then he looked down. For another five minutes he helped her breathe. and a lot of people from the town and the factory too. David Wilson smiled. He could feel her heart beating.
drowning in the storm. or less. Mr. You're not worried about that. too. The lawyer smiled a small. No one drinks the river water. Instead. He was a small. Her husband saved her. But rats are much smaller than people. John thought. It goes straight out to sea. and there is much less downstream.' said John. and waited for the question about the seals. for example. and another picture of her lying in an ambulance. Duncan. if someone falls into the river by accident. Duncan. And his wife. long ago.' John said. drowning. Someone near Christine shouted something angrily. Is that right. and he had to hold the side of the table. 'Yes. in the water near the factory. 'You've been away in Scotland. That's not much. and she hasn't lost her baby. There's no danger in an accident like that . He held his newspaper out towards John. And his head was full of pictures of Christine in the river. he thought.is that right?' John looked at Christine across the room. 'Your daughter is safe.' he said. but we don't put a lot in.' he said. But it didn't come. rat-like smile. but there was something wrong with his eyes.' 'It's all right. and drinks a lot of river water. Duncan. There was a picture of Christine. He shook his head quickly from side to side. John went on. and they were given nearly five parts per million in their drinking water for ten days. with Simon beside her. David Wilson's eyes. at the hundreds of eyes watching him. Duncan?' said the lawyer slowly.' 'Not dangerous. 'I understand'. It must be because of the baby.' There was the sound of voices in the room. Mr.'Yes. There was a noise in the room. I am. 'Have you seen this?' As John read the newspaper. Only two or three hundred litres every day. are you?' . with grey hair and a thin face. The man's eyes were small and bright. It was near the factory. John began to feel afraid of him. But she did drink a lot of river water. his hands began to shake. the lawyer said: 'So you won't be worried. That's not dangerous. He tried to read the newspaper carefully. then rook his glasses off and cleaned them.' said the lawyer softly. He looks like a rat himself. 'Are you sure?' 'Yes.' He looked at the lawyer. There's no danger at all. 'No. And we check the river all the time ² three times every day. we do. Mr. How big her eyes look in that white face. and a policewoman told him to be quiet. Rachel. Mr. The headline said: BIOLOGIST'S DAUGHTER NEARLY DROWNS IN RIVER There was a long silence. 'Of course we put these chemicals in the river. Duncan?' John looked at the lawyer for the first time. 'I haven't read this before. and for some strange reason he had a newspaper in his hand. 'that there has been an experiment with some rats. Some mother rats were given these chemicals in their drinking water. That's right. He looked up. Simon's. and some of their babies were born without legs. There are usually only two parts per million. Your own daughter.' he said in a quiet voice. uninteresting-looking man in grey clothes. standing up in a boat near the factory. That's very different. the lawyer said slowly. 'No.' he said. Christine's eyes. Mr.
The future Six months later. Are you worried. because your daughter has drunk so much river water. W ilson.teddy bears and small animals with blue. His bedroom was full of baby clothes ² little pink coats and trousers for a girl. Mr. Have you seen this?' The lawyer's bright eyes were staring at him. He had lost his job. Mr. Mr. like a rat that has just seen its food. A hundred staring eyes watched him go. 'Yes!' he shouted wildly. John 'Duncan was living in a small flat near the sea. every day. Duncan can go in a minute. He had bought lots of baby clothes to give her.'You've been away in Scotland.' said the lawyer. He couldn't afford the payments on it. . 'You can't ask a man questions like that! Of course he's worried about his daughter! You must stop this Enquiry at once!' 'Just a minute. From a window in his flat. He sat and looked at the cold. and had had to sell his expensive house. 'Mr. There were little soft toys too . Duncan? Are you worried about her bab y?' John Duncan stared at the lawyer with fear in his eyes. blue ones for a boy. Duncan. 'That is a terrible question!' he shouted into the silence. Behind him. into the street. Christine would have her baby soon. He just has to answer one question. empty eyes. out of the door. 12. Suddenly he hated him. grey sea for hours. David Wilson suddenly stood up. He picked up the newspaper and threw it into the little man's rat-like face. he could look at the sea. 'Yes! Yes! Yes! Of course I'm worried about the baby! Of course it's dangerous! Now let me go!' He ran down the room.
afraid to ring the hospital again. before they were born. and rang the number. eight . For two hours John had sat by the telephone. The sea and the sky were grey and miserable. as he sat staring out of the window at the sea. all the time. He could not hear the news from the cold voice of a nurse over the telephone. . three . because she wouldn't talk to him. It was raining out at sea. But he kept them under his bed. too. she closed the door in his face. There was a cold wind outside. . into the winter wind. He read them sometimes at night. and went downstairs. when he wrote. it was no good. to ask if his daughter Christine MacDonald was there. He went into a shop and bought some flowers. Three times he had picked it up.and the shopkeeper put paper around them to keep them safe. That had been four hours ago. There were a lot of books and magazines in his bedroom. . Christine was there. he could not stop his hands shaking. He thought about them all day. He didn't like to think about them. Soon it would be falling on the town. Already the rain was falling on the sandbanks where the seals used to live. When he went to see her. He had to see the baby for himself. afraid to ring the hospital again. He chose them carefully -bright red and yellow colours . five . and the baby was coming. with his bright flowers in his hand. He picked it up again. . nervously. . and turned his coat collar up. along the windy road by the sea. They were about babies. Seven . Today. but he didn't like to see them during the day. and a nurse had said yes. but he couldn't stop. For two hours John had sat by the telephone. she put the phone down. He had rung this morning. she sent the letters back unopened.But he hadn't given any of these things to her. John took them and walked quickly. He got up. and the diseases that babies could get. There were some terrible things in the books. and three times he had put it down again. terrible pictures. John Duncan shivered. put on his coat. . . blowing from the sea. Then. He put the phone down again. Every morning he rang the hospital. . . towards the hospital. when he rang. he walked on.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.