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.If I d known you werewith this one, I d have insisted on the police.Is thisthe modern notion of courting a girl, young man?Skulking around and meeting her on street corners?And bringing her home at all hours, in this condition?What have you two been up to?Dinah began to giggle helplessly; and Jeff, who hadobeyed Mrs.Marks s original suggestion, stretched hislegs straight out and avoided the old lady s gimlet eye. 246 / ELIZABETH PETERS Courtship, he admitted,  was not precisely what Ihad in mind&.Hey! Stop that! Madam whateveryour name is The old lady, moving with the speed of a cat poun-cing on a mouse, had avoided Jeff s flailing hands andsnatched the bandage from his head.Dinah sat downon the bed.Matters had gotten so far out of hand thatshe felt quite calm and detached. He needs a doctor, said Mrs.Marks, stepping backand viewing her victim critically. Oh, no, I don t.I don t want a doctor.It s stoppedbleeding&.At least, he added savagely, as a red trickleslid down over his eyebrow,  it had until you startedpoking at it.Mrs.Marks turned to Dinah. In this part of the world, my dear, infection is al-ways a danger.That s a nasty deep gash.Unlessproper methods of antisepsis are used& She shook her head gravely, and Dinah had a horrif-ic vision of blood poisoning, delirium, tetanic convul-sions&. She s right, she told Jeff. The hotel must have adoctor on call.Jeff shook his head, and went on shaking it, mono-tonously and ineffectively, while the two women talked. THE DEAD SEA CIPHER / 247 No need for an outside doctor, Mrs.Marks saidbriskly. Doctor Kraus will be happy to oblige, I msure. Oh, I don t think  Getting a doctor from the city may take some time.And I don t know what the laws are here, but inmany countries a doctor is expected to report a gunshotwound to the police.Standing there with her hands folded over her redflannel stomach and her gray head poised, she was thequintessence of old-fashioned propriety.She met Di-nah s eyes without so much as blinking; and Dinahsaid slowly,  Who are you? Why are you getting in-volved in this? My dear child, do you suppose a clergyman s wifeleads a sheltered life? No doubt your father would notinvolve you in all his problems; but my husband servedfor some years in an industrial town in the Midlandsand, I assure you, there are few things I haven t seen!Naturally I believe in obeying the laws; but we reall er Anglo-Saxons together, aren t we? Not thatthe new government isn t doing a splendid job; butI m sure you want to avoid delays and questions. Oh, well, Dinah said. Why not? I ll go fetch the doctor, then. She turned at thedoor and gave Dinah a conspiratorial wink. 248 / ELIZABETH PETERS I ll knock three times like this.Rather exciting, isn tit?As soon as she was gone, Jeff shot out of his chairand bolted the door. Don t let her back in, he said nervously. We can t keep her out.You don t know her; if shedoesn t get her way, she ll rouse the whole hotel.Jeff,she may be just what she says she is.The jolly oldAnglo-Saxon attitude is quite in character, and sheobviously has had practice bossing people around. The damage is done, Jeff agreed with a sigh. Everybody in your little group will know all aboutthis by morning.We d better talk, and talk fast.Firstthings first.Take another look at this, and face yourstupidity and ignorance with equanimity.From his pocket he took an object which Dinah re-cognized without difficulty, though it was nowcrumpled and bent.He flattened the garishly coloredfolder out on the table, and they both bent over it. All right, Jeff said. This is what Hank Layard wrotethat night in Beirut, while he was fighting his cowardiceand avarice with the last poor shreds of his conscience.I m not even a biblical scholar, much less an authorityon the scrolls, so I don t know whether these are refer-ences to real manuscripts, or whether Hank inventedthem to suit his purpose.But I don t THE DEAD SEA CIPHER / 249think it matters.I think he was trying to give me a clueas to the nature of what he d found, and also camou-flage the items in the list that really count.I know justenough to recognize some of the symbols and identifythe references.MIC is Micah, of course, and OB isObadiah.Dinah groaned. How stupid can I get? HOS is Hosea, and& Wait.What s this MAM business? The first M, like the Q of Qumran, stands for theplace where this manuscript was found.In this case,the Wadi Murabba at. Oh.Then AM is Amos.All Old Testament books;I should have No, I m stuck again.Number five.CaveOne, Qumran, fine; but MAT? There isn t any bookof the Old Testament& She heard her voice trail off, like a tape recorderswitched off in the middle of the recording.A look atJeff s face showed her that she was on the righttrack impossible though the idea might seem. Matthew, she said, still not believing it. The Gos-pel according to St.Matthew.But I know there wereno New Testament books among the Qumran scrolls.The Qumran people weren t Christians.Jeff settled back in his chair.His face had a blankfaraway look, and when he spoke she 250 / ELIZABETH PETERSknew he was simply repeating a pattern of logic thathe had gone over and over to himself, so often that itsounded like a rehearsed lecture. In the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 A.D., Jerusalem wascaptured by the Roman general Titus [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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