A Bear called Paddington

július 12, 2009 § 1 hozzászólás

Chapter Two

A Bear In Hot Water

bond_bearcalledpaddingtonPaddington wasn’t quite sure what to expect when Mrs Bird opened the door. He was pleasantly surprised when they were greeted by a stout, motherly lady with grey hair and a kindly twinkle in her eyes. When she saw Judy she raised her hands above her head. „Goodness gracious, you’ve arrived already,” she said, in horror. „And me hardly finished the washing up. I suppose you’ll be wanting tea?”

„Hallo, Mrs Bird,” said Judy. „It’s nice to see you again. How’s the rheumatism?”

„Worse than it’s ever been,” began Mrs Bird – the she stopped speaking and stared at Paddington. „Whatever have you got there?” she asked. „What is it?”

„It’s not a what,” said Judy. „It’s a bear. His name’s Paddington.”

Paddington raised his hat.

„A bear,” said Mrs Bird, doubtfully. „Well, he has good manners, I’ll say that for him.”

„He’s going to stay with us,” announced Judy. „He’s emigrated from South America and he’s all alone with nowhere to go.”

„Going to stay with us?” Mrs Bird raised her arms again. „How long for?”

Judy looked round misteriously before replying. „I don’t know,” she said. „It depends on things.”

„Mercy me,” exclaimed Mrs Bird. „I wish you’d told me. I haven’t put clean sheets in the spare room or anything.” She looked down at Paddington.

„Though judging by the state he’s in perhaps that’s as well.”

„It’s all right, Mrs Bird,” said Paddington. „I think I’m going to have a bath. I had an accident with a bun.”

„Oh!” Mrs Bird held the door open. „Oh, well in that case you’d best come in. Only mind the carpet. It’s just been done.”

Judy took hold of Paddington’s paw and squeezed. „She doesn’t mind really,” she whispered. „I think she rather likes you.”

Paddington watched the retreating figure of Mrs Bird. „She seems a bit fierce,” he said.

Mrs Bird turned. „What was that you said?”

Paddington jumped. „I… I…” he began.

„Where was it you said you’d come from? Peru?”

„That’s right,” said Paddington. „Darkest Peru.”

„Humph!” Mrs Bird looked thoughtful for a moment. „Then I expect you like marmalade. I’d better get some more from the grocer.”

„There you are! What did I tell you?” cried Judy, as the door shut behind Mrs Bird. „She does like you.”

„Fancy her knowing I like marmalade,” said Paddington.

„Mrs Bird knows everything about everything,” said Judy. „Now, you’d better come upstairs with me and I’ll show you your room. It used to be mine when I was small and it has lots of pictures of bears round the wall so I expect you’ll feel at home.” She led the way up a long flight of stairs, chattering all the time. Paddington followed closely behind, keeping carefully to the side so that he didn’t have to tread on the carpet.

„That’s the bathroom,” said Judy. „And that’s my room. And that’s Jonathan’s – he’s my brother, and you’ll meet him soon. And that’s Mummy and Daddy’s.” She opened a door. „And this is going to be yours!”

Paddington nearly fell over with surprise when he followed her into the room. He’d never seen such a big one. There was a large bed with white sheets against one wall and several big boxes, one with a mirror on it. Judy pulled open a drawer in one of the boxes. „This is called a chest of drawers,” she said. „You’ll be able to keep all your things in here.”

Paddington looked at the drawer and then at his suitcase. „I don’t seem to have very much. That’s the trouble with being small – no one ever expects you to want things.”

„Then we shall have to see what we can do,” said Judy, misteriously. „I’ll try and get Mummy to take you on one of her shopping expeditions.” She knelt down beside him. „Let me help you to unpack.”

„It’s very kind of you.” Paddington fumbled with the lock. „But I don’t think there’s much to help me with. There’s a jar of marmalade – only there’s hardly any left now and what there is tastes of seaweed. And my scrapbook. And some centavos – they’re a sort of South American penny.”

„Gosh!” said Judy. „I’ve never seen any of those before. Aren’t they bright!”

„Oh, I keep them polished,” said Paddington. „I don’t spend them.” He pulled out a tattered photograph. „And that’s a picture of my Aunt Lucy. She had it taken just before she went into the home for retired bears in Lima.”

„She looks very nice,” said Judy. „And very wise.” Seeing that Paddington had a sad, far-away look in his eyes, she added hastily, „Well, I’m going to leave you now, so that you can have your bath and come down nice and clean. You’ll find two taps, one marked hot and one marked cold. There’s plenty of soap and a clean towel. Oh, and a brush so that you can scrub your back.”

„It sounds very complicated,” said Paddington. „Can’t I just sit in a puddle or something?”

Judy laughed. „Somehow I don’t think Mrs Bird would approve of that! And don’t forget to wash your ears. They look awfully black.”

„They’re meant to be black,” Paddington called indignantly, as Judy shut the door.

/Michael Bond: A Bear Called Paddington/

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