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    Captain Corelli's Mandolin

    Автор книги Louis De Bernieres

    Время прослушивания 04:26, Дата публикации

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    Dr Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse. He had removed a tooth, attended the surprisingly easy birth of a lamb, and had performed a successful, though minor, operation. He had been called to the house of old man Stamatis, who was suffering from earache. After gazing into the dark, hairy hole of the old man's ear, the doctor had cleaned up the inside of the ear using a matchstick, cotton wool and alcohol. He was aware that old man Stamatis had been deaf in that ear since childhood, but was nevertheless surprised when the tip of the matchstick touched something hard, something that had no excuse for its presence there. He took the old man to the window, where the light was better, and stared down into the ear again; then with his long matchstick he pushed the grey hairs to one side. There was something round inside. He scratched its surface and saw a pea. It was undoubtedly a pea; it was light green and slightly lined. Dr Iannis considered the problem for some moments, then requested a small fishhook and a light hammer. The old man and his wife looked at each other with the single thought that the doctor must have lost his mind. 'What does this have to do with my earache?' asked Stamatis suspiciously. But the hook and hammer were fetched, and the doctor carefully placed the straightened hook into the hairy hole and raised the hammer. There was a terrible scream. 'Oh, oh, the fishhook will enter his brain. May God protect us!' cried the old wife, hiding her head in her hands. This speech caused the doctor to pause and consider the possibility that the hammer might only drive the pea further into the ear. 'Change of plan,' he announced, and gave instructions that Stamatis should lie on his side till evening with his ear filled with warm water. He returned at six o'clock, hooked the softened pea successfully without the aid of a hammer, small or otherwise, and pulled it out. Stamatis clapped his hand to his ear and exclaimed, 'It's cold in there. My God, it's loud. I mean everything is loud!' 'Your deafness is cured,' announced Dr Iannis. 'A very satisfactory operation, I think.' Shortly afterwards he walked home with a fat chicken under each arm, and an ancient pea wrapped up in his handkerchief. The doctor was now left with an entire evening in which to write his 'New History of Cephallonia', a project which he had begun at least a dozen times. He seemed unable to achieve objectivity and so had never been satisfied with the result. He sat down and wrote: 'The ancient, half-forgotten island of Cephallonia rises from the Ionian Sea, its rocks and red earth heavy with the heat of the sun and the weight of memory. In the stories of ancient Greece, the island played its part and had its gods - among them Poseidon, the god of the Sea and Apollo, the god of the Sun. Yes, once this island, with its brilliant light, its transparent waters, was an island filled with gods. But today Cephallonia has become a factory that breeds babies for export. There are more Cephallonians abroad or at sea than there are at home. There is no industry here that keeps families together, there is not enough agricultural land, there are not enough fish in the ocean. Our men go abroad and return here to die. The only good thing about it is that only the beautiful women find husbands among the men who are left, and consequently we have the most beautiful women in all of Greece...'