Книга Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Содержание - 19 The Babies Grow Up

'Of course she does,' said Mr Wonka. 'What's a mere sixty years when you're over three hundred to start with!'

'Are you all right, Mother?' said Mrs Bucket anxiously. 'Talk to me, Mother!'

'Two minutes gone!' called Mr Wonka. 'She's one hundred and twenty years younger!'

And now definite changes were beginning to show in the old woman's face. The skin was quivering all over and some of the deepest wrinkles were becoming less and less deep, the mouth less sunken, the nose more prominent.

'Mother!' cried Mrs Bucket. 'Are you all right? Speak to me, Mother, please!'

Suddenly, with a suddenness that made everyone jump, the old woman sat bolt upright in bed and shouted, 'Did you hear the news! Admiral Nelson has beaten the French at Trafalgar!'

'She's going crazy!' said Mr Bucket.

'Not at all,' said Mr Wonka. 'She's going through the nineteenth century.'

'Three minutes gone!' said Mr Wonka.

Every second now she was growing slightly less and less shrivelled, becoming more and more lively. It was a marvellous thing to watch.

'Gettysburg!' she cried. 'General Lee is on the run!'

And a few seconds later she let out a great wail of anguish and said, 'He's dead, he's dead, he's dead!'

'Who's dead?' said Mr Bucket, craning forward.

'Lincoln!' she wailed. 'There goes the train …'

'She must have seen it!' said Charlie. 'She must have been there!'

'She is there,' said Mr Wonka. 'At least she was a few seconds ago.'

'Will someone please explain to me,' said Mrs Bucket, 'what on earth …'

'Four minutes gone!' said Mr Wonka. 'Only forty seconds left! Only forty more years to lose!'

'Grandma!' cried Charlie, running forward. 'You're looking almost exactly like you used to! Oh, I'm so glad!'

'Just as long as it all stops when it's meant to,' said Mrs Bucket. 'I'll bet it doesn't,' said Mr Bucket. 'Something always goes wrong.'

'Not when I'm in charge of it, sir,' said Mr Wonka. 'Time's up! She is now seventy-eight years old! How do you feel, dear lady? Is everything all right?'

'I feel tolerable,' she said. 'Just tolerable. But that's no thanks to you, you meddling old mackerel!'

There she was again, the same cantankerous grumbling old Grandma Georgina that Charlie had known so well before it all started. Mrs Bucket flung her arms around her and began weeping with joy. The old woman pushed her aside and said, 'What, may I ask, are those two silly babies doing at the other end of the bed?'

'One of them's your husband,' said Mr Bucket.

'Rubbish!' she said. 'Where is George?'

'I'm afraid it's true, Mother,' said Mrs Bucket. 'That's him on the left. The other one's Josephine …'

'You … you chiselling old cheeseburger!' she shouted, pointing a fierce finger at Mr Wonka. 'What in the name of …'

'Now now now now now!' said Mr Wonka. 'Let us not for mercy's sake have another row so late in the day. If everyone will keep their hair on and leave this to Charlie and me, we shall have them exactly where they used to be in the flick of a fly's wing!'


The Babies Grow Up

'Bring on the Vita-Wonk!' said Mr Wonka. 'We'll soon fix these two babies.'

An Oompa-Loompa ran forward with a small bottle and a couple of silver teaspoons.

'Wait just one minute!' snapped Grandma Georgina. 'What sort of devilish dumpery are you up to now?'

'It's all right, Grandma,' said Charlie. 'I promise you it's all right. Vita-Wonk does the opposite to Wonka-Vite. It makes you older. It's what we gave you when you were a Minus. It saved you!'

'You gave me too much!' snapped the old woman. 'We had to, Grandma.'

'And now you want to do the same to Grandpa George!' 'Of course we don't,' said Charlie.

'I finished up three hundred and fifty-eight years old!' she went on. 'What's to stop you making another little mistake and giving him fifty times more than you gave me? Then I'd suddenly have a twenty-thousand-year-old caveman in bed beside me! Imagine that, and him with a big knobby club in one hand and dragging me around by my hair with the other! No, thank you!'

'Grandma,' Charlie said patiently. 'With you we had to use a spray because you were a Minus. You were a ghost. But here Mr Wonka can …'

'Don't talk to me about that man!' she cried. 'He's batty as a bullfrog!'

'No, Grandma, he is not. And here he can measure it out exactly right, drop by drop, and feed it into their mouths. That's true, isn't it, Mr Wonka?'

'Charlie,' said Mr Wonka. 'I can see that the factory is going to be in good hands when I retire. You learn very fast. I am so pleased I chose you, my dear boy, so very pleased. Now then, what's the verdict? Do we leave them as babies or do we grow them up with Vita-Wonk?'

'You go ahead, Mr Wonka,' said Grandpa Joe. 'I'd like you to grow my Josie up so she's just the same as before – eighty years old.'

'Thank you, sir,' said Mr Wonka. 'I appreciate the confidence you place in me. But what about the other one, Grandpa George?'

'Oh, all right, then,' said Grandma Georgina. 'But if he ends up a caveman I don't want him in this bed any more!'

'That's settled then!' said Mr Wonka. 'Come along, Charlie! We'll do them both together. You hold one spoon and I'll hold the other. I shall measure out four drops and four drops only into each spoon and we'll wake them up and pop it into their mouths.'

'Which one shall I do, Mr Wonka?'

'You do Grandma Josephine, the tiny one. I'll do Grandpa George, the one-year-old. Here's your spoon.'

Charlie took the spoon and held it out. Mr Wonka opened the bottle and dripped four drops of oily black liquid into Charlie's spoon. Then he did the same to his own. He handed the bottle back to the Oompa-Loompa.

'Shouldn't someone hold the babies while you give it?' said Grandpa Joe. 'I'll hold Grandma Josephine.'

'Are you mad!' said Mr Wonka. 'Don't you realize that Vita-Wonk acts instantly? It's not one year a second like Wonka-Vite. Vita-Wonk is as quick as lightning! The moment the medicine is swallowed – ping! – and it all happens! The getting bigger and the growing older and everything else all happens in one second! So don't you see, my dear sir,' he said to Grandpa Joe, 'that one moment you'd be holding a tiny baby in your arms and just one second later you'd find yourself staggering about with an eighty-year-old woman and you'd drop her like a ton of bricks on the floor!'

'I see what you mean,' said Grandpa Joe. 'All set, Charlie?'

'All set, Mr Wonka.' Charlie moved around the bed to where the tiny sleeping baby lay. He placed one hand behind her head and lifted it. The baby awoke and started yelling. Mr Wonka was on the other side of the bed doing the same to the one-year-old George. 'Both together now, Charlie!' said Mr Wonka. 'Ready, steady, go! Pop it in!' Charlie pushed his spoon into the open mouth of the baby and tipped the drops down her throat.

'Make sure she swallows it!' cried Mr Wonka. 'It won't work until it gets into their tummies!'

It is difficult to explain what happened next, and whatever it was, it only lasted for one second. A second is about as long as it takes you to say aloud and quickly, 'one-two-three-four-five'. And that is how long it took, with Charlie watching closely, for the tiny baby to grow and swell and wrinkle into the eighty-year-old Grandma Josephine. It was a frightening thing to see. It was like an explosion. A small baby suddenly exploded into an old woman, and Charlie all at once found himself staring straight into the well-known and much-loved wrinkly old face of his Grandma Josephine. 'Hello, my darling,' she said. 'Where have you come from?'

'Josie!' cried Grandpa Joe, rushing forward. 'How marvellous! You're back!' 'I didn't know I'd been away,' she said.

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