三幕悲剧 14
文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2023-09-12 05:59 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
Mr. Satterthwaite had come down to Crow's Nest with Sir Charles. Whilst his host and Egg Lytton Gore1 were visiting Mrs. Babbington, Mr. Satterthwaite was having tea with Lady Mary.
Lady Mary liked Mr. Satterthwaite. For all her gentleness of manner, she was a woman who had very definite views on the subject of whom she did or did not like.
Mr. Satterthwaite sipped2 China tea from a Dresden cup, and ate a microscopic3 sandwich and chatted. On his last visit they had found many friends and acquaintances in common. Their talk today began on the same subject, but gradually drifted into more intimate channels. Mr. Satterthwaite was a sympathetic person - he listened to the troubles of other people and did not intrude4 his own. Even on his last visit it had seemed natural to Lady Mary to speak to him of her preoccupation with her daughter’s future. She talked now as she would have talked to a friend of many years’ standing5.
“Egg is so headstrong,” she said. “She flings herself into a thing heart and soul. You know, Mr. Satterthwaite, I do not like the way she is - well, mixing herself up in this distressing7 business. It - Egg would laughed at me, I know - but it doesn’t seem to be ladylike.”
She flushed as she spoke8. Her brown eyes, gentle and ingenuous9, looked with childish appeal at Mr. Satterthwaite.
“I know what you mean,” he said. “I confess that I don’t quite like it myself. I know that it’s simply an old-fashioned prejudice, but there it is. All the same,” he twinkled at her, “we can’t expect young ladies to sit at home and sew and shudder10 at the idea of crimes of violence in these enlightened days.”
“I don’t like to think of murder,” said Lady Mary. “I never, never dreamed that I should be mixed up in anything of that kind. It was dreadful.” She shivered. “Poor Sir Bartholomew.”
“You didn’t know him very well?” hazarded Mr. Satterthwaite.
“I think I’d only met him twice. The first time about a year ago, when he came down to stay with Sir Charles for a weekend, and the second time was on that dreadful evening when poor Mr. Babbington died. I was really most surprised when his invitation arrived. I accepted because I thought Egg would enjoy it. She hasn’t many treats, poor child, and - well, she had seemed a little down in the mouth, as though she didn’t take any interest in anything. I thought a big house-party might cheer her up.”
“Tell me something about Oliver Manders,” he said. “The young fellow rather interests me.”
“I think he’s clever,” said Lady Mary. “Of course, things have been difficult for him … ”
She flushed, and then in answer to the plain inquiry11 of Mr. Satterthwaite’s glance she went on.
“You see, his father wasn’t married to his mother ... ”
“Really? I had no idea of that.”
“Everyone knows about it down here, otherwise I wouldn’t have said anything about it. Old Mrs. Manders, Oliver’s grandmother, lives at Dunboyne, that biggish house on the Plymouth road. Her husband was a lawyer down here. Her son went into a city firm and did very well. He’s quite a rich man. The daughter was a good- looking girl, and she became absolutely infatuated with a married man. I blame him very much indeed. Anyway, in the end, after a lot of scandal, they went off together. His wife wouldn’t divorce him. The girl died not long after Oliver was born. His uncle in London took charge of him. He and his wife had no children of their own. The boy divided his time between them and his grandmother. He always came down here for his summer holidays.”
She paused and then went on:
“I always felt sorry for him. I still do. I think that terribly conceited12 manner of his is a good deal put on.”
“I shouldn’t be surprised,” said Mr. Satterthwaite. “It’s a very common phenomenon. If I ever see
anyone who appears to think a lot of themselves and boats unceasingly, I always know that there’s a secret sense of inferiority somewhere.”
“It seems very odd.”
“An inferiority complex is a very peculiar13 thing. Crippen, for instance, undoubtedly14 suffered from it. It’s at the back of a lot of crimes. The desire to assert one’s personality.”
“It seems very strange to me,” murmured Lady Mary.
She seemed to shrink a little. Mr. Satterthwaite looked at her with an almost sentimental15 eye. He liked her graceful16 figure with the sloping shoulders, the soft brown of her eyes, her complete absence of make-up. He thought:
“She must have been a beauty when she was young ... ”
Not a flaunting17 beauty, not a rose - no, a modest, charming violet, hiding its sweetness ...
His thoughts ran serenely18 in the idiom of his young days ... He remembered incidents in his own youth.
Presently he found himself telling Lady Mary about his own love affair - the only love affair he had ever had. Rather a poor love affair by the standards of today, but very dear to Mr. Satterthwaite. He told her about the Girl, and how pretty she was, and of how they had gone together to see the bluebells19 at Kew. He had meant to propose to her that day. He had imagined (so he put it) that she reciprocated20 his sentiments. And then, as they were standing looking at the bluebells, she had confided21 in him ... He had discovered that she loved another. And he had hidden the thoughts surging in his breast and had taken up the r?le of the faithful Friend. It was not, perhaps, a very full-blooded romance, but it sounded well in the dim-faded chintz and eggshell china atmosphere of Lady Mary’s drawing-room.
Afterwards Lady Mary spoke of her own life, of her married life, which had not been very happy.
“I was such a foolish girl - girls are foolish, Mr. Satterthwaite. They are so sure of themselves, so convinced they know best. People write and talk a lot of a ‘woman’s instinct.’ I don’t believe, Mr. Satterthwaite, that there is any such thing. There doesn’t seem to be anything that warns girls against a certain type of man. Nothing in themselves, I mean. Their parents warn them, but that’s no good
-one doesn’t believe. It seems dreadful to say so, but there is something attractive to a girl in being told anyone is a bad man. She thinks at once that her love will reform him.”
Mr. Satterthwaite nodded gently.
“One knows so little. When one knows more, it is too late.”
She sighed.
“It was all my own fault. My people didn’t want me to marry Ronald. He was well born, but he had a bad reputation. My father told me straight out that he was a wrong’un. I didn’t believe it. I believed that, for my sake, he would turn over a new leaf ... ”
She was silent a moment or two, dwelling22 on the past.
“Ronald was a very fascinating man. My father was quite right about him. I soon found that out. It’s an old-fashioned thing to say - but he broke my heart. Yes, he broke my heart. I was always afraid - of what might come out next.”
Mr. Satterthwaite, always intensely interested in other people’s lives, made a cautious sympathetic noise.
“It may seem a very wicked thing to say, Mr. Satterthwaite, but it was a relief when got pneumonia23 and died ... Not that I didn’t care for him - I loved him up to the end - but I had no illusions about him any longer. And there was Egg - ”
Her voice softened24.
“Such a funny little thing she was. A regular little roly-poly, trying to stand up and falling over - just like an egg; that’s how that ridiculous nickname started ... ”
She paused again.
“Some books that I’ve read these last few years have brought a lot of comfort to me. Books on psychology25. It seems to show that in many ways people can’t help themselves. A kind of kink. Sometimes, in the most carefully brought-up families you get it. As a boy Ronald stole money at school - money that he didn’t need. I can feel now that he couldn’t help himself ... He was born with a kink ... ”
Very gently, with a small handkerchief, Lady Mary wiped her eyes.
“It wasn’t what I was brought up to believe,” she said apologetically. “I was taught that everyone knew the difference between right and wrong. But somehow - I don’t always think that is so.”
“The human mind is a great mystery,” said Mr. Satterthwaite gently.
“As yet, we are going groping our way to understanding. Without acute mania26 it may nevertheless occur that certain natures lack what I should describe as braking power. If you or I were to say, ‘I hate someone - I wish he were dead,’ the idea would pass from our minds as soon as the words were uttered. The brakes would work automatically. But, in some people the idea, or obsession27, holds. They see nothing but the immediate28 gratification of the idea formed.”
“I’m afraid,” said Lady Mary, “that that’s rather too clever for me.”
“I apologise. I was talking rather bookishly.”
“Did you mean that young people have too little restraint nowadays? It sometimes worries me.”
“No, no, I didn’t mean that at all. Less restraint is, I think, a good thing - wholesome29. I suppose you are thinking of Miss - er - Egg.”
“I think you’d better call her Egg,” said Lady Mary, smiling.
“Thank you. Miss Egg does sound rather ridiculous.”
“Egg’s very impulsive30, and once she has set her mind on a thing nothing will stop her. As I said before, I hate her mixing herself up in all this, but she won’t listen to me.”
Mr. Satterthwaite smiled at the distress6 in Lady Mary’s tone. He thought to himself:
“I wonder if she realise for one minute that Egg’s absorption in crime is neither more nor less than a new variant31 of that old, old game - the pursuit of the male by the female? No, she’d be horrified32 at the thought.”
“Egg says that Mr. Babbington was poisoned also. Do you think that is true, Mr. Satterthwaite? Or do you think it is just one of Egg’s sweeping33 statements?”
“We shall know for certain after the exhumation34.”
“There is to be an exhumation, then?” Lady Mary shivered. “How terrible for poor Mrs. Babbington. I can imagine nothing more awful for any woman.”
“You knew the Babbingtons fairly intimately, I suppose, Lady Mary?”
“Yes, indeed. They are - were - very dear friends of ours.”
“Do you know of anyone who could possibly have had a grudge35 against the vicar?”
“No, indeed.”
“He never spoke of such a person?”
“And they got on well together?”
“They were perfectly36 mated - happy in each other and in their children. They were hardly off, of course, and Mr. Babbington suffered from rheumatoid arthritis37. Those were their only troubles.”
“How did Oliver Manders get on with the vicar?”
“Well - ” Lady Mary hesitated, “they didn’t hit it off very well. The Babbingtons were sorry for Oliver, and he used to go to the vicarage a good deal in the holidays to play with the Babbington boys - though I don’t think he got on very well with them. Oliver wasn’t exactly a popular boy. He boasted too much of the money he had and the tuck he took back to school, and all the fun he had in London. Boys are rather merciless about that sort of thing.”
“Yes, but later - since he’s been grown up?”
“I don’t think he and the vicarage people have been much of each other. As a matter of fact Oliver was rather rude to Mr. Babbington one day here, in my house. It was about two years ago.”
“What happened?”
“Oliver made a rather ill-bred attack on Christianity. Mr. Babbington was very patient and courteous38 with him. That only seemed to make Oliver worse. He said, ‘All you religious people look down your noses because my father and mother weren’t married. I suppose you’d call me the child of sin. Well, I admire people who have the courage of their convictions and don’t care what a lot of hypocrites and parsons think.’ Mr. Babbington didn’t answer, but Oliver went on: ‘You won’t answer that. It’s ecclesiasticism and superstition39 that’s got the whole world into the mess it’s in. I’d like to sweep away the churches all over the world.’ Mr. Babbington smiled and said, ‘And the clergy40, too?’ I think it was his smile that annoyed Oliver. He felt he was not being taken seriously. He said, ‘I hate everything the Church stands for. Smugness, security and hypocrisy41. Get rid of the whole canting tribe, I say!’ and Mr. Babbington smiled - he had a very sweet smile - and he said, ‘My dear boy, if you were to sweep away all the churches ever built or planned, you would still have to reckon with God.’”
“What did young Manders say to that?”
“He seemed taken aback, and then he recovered his temper and went back to his usual sneering42 tired manner.”
“He said, ‘I’m afraid the things I’ve been saying are rather bad form, padre, and not very easily assimilated by your generation.’”
“You don’t like young Manders, do you, Lady Mary?”
“I’m sorry for him,” said Lady Mary defensively.
“But you wouldn’t like him to marry Egg.”
“Oh, no.”
“I wonder why, exactly?”
“Because - because, he isn’t kind ... and because - ”
“Because there’s something in him, somewhere, that I don’t understand. Something cold -”
Mr. Satterthwaite looked at her thoughtfully for a minute or two, then he said:
“What did Sir Bartholomew Strange think of him? Did he ever mention him?”
“He said, I remember, that he found young Manders an interesting study. He said that he reminded him of a case he was treating at the moment in his nursing home. I said that I thought Oliver looked particularly strong and healthy, and he said, ‘Yes, his health’s all right, but he’s riding for a fall.’”
She paused and then said:
“I suppose Sir Bartholomew was a very clever nerve specialist.”
“I believe he was very highly thought of by his own colleagues.”
“I liked him,” said Lady Mary.
“Did he ever say anything to you about Babbington’s death?”
“He never mentioned it at all?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Do you think - it’s difficult for you to tell, not knowing him well - but do you think he had anything on his mind?”
“He seemed in very good spirits - even amused by something - some private joke of his own. He told me at dinner that night that he was going to spring a surprise on me.”
“Oh, he did, did he?”
On his way home, Mr. Satterthwaite pondered that statement. What had been the surprise Sir Bartholomew had intended to spring on his guests?
Would it, when it came, have been as amusing as he pretended?
Or did that gay manner mask a quiet but indomitable purpose?
Would anyone ever know?


1 gore gevzd     
  • The fox lay dying in a pool of gore.狐狸倒在血泊中奄奄一息。
  • Carruthers had been gored by a rhinoceros.卡拉瑟斯被犀牛顶伤了。
2 sipped 22d1585d494ccee63c7bff47191289f6     
v.小口喝,呷,抿( sip的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He sipped his coffee pleasurably. 他怡然地品味着咖啡。
  • I sipped the hot chocolate she had made. 我小口喝着她调制的巧克力热饮。 来自辞典例句
3 microscopic nDrxq     
  • It's impossible to read his microscopic handwriting.不可能看清他那极小的书写字迹。
  • A plant's lungs are the microscopic pores in its leaves.植物的肺就是其叶片上微细的气孔。
4 intrude Lakzv     
  • I do not want to intrude if you are busy.如果你忙我就不打扰你了。
  • I don't want to intrude on your meeting.我不想打扰你们的会议。
5 standing 2hCzgo     
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
6 distress 3llzX     
  • Nothing could alleviate his distress.什么都不能减轻他的痛苦。
  • Please don't distress yourself.请你不要忧愁了。
7 distressing cuTz30     
  • All who saw the distressing scene revolted against it. 所有看到这种悲惨景象的人都对此感到难过。
  • It is distressing to see food being wasted like this. 这样浪费粮食令人痛心。
8 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
9 ingenuous mbNz0     
  • Only the most ingenuous person would believe such a weak excuse!只有最天真的人才会相信这么一个站不住脚的借口!
  • With ingenuous sincerity,he captivated his audience.他以自己的率真迷住了观众。
10 shudder JEqy8     
  • The sight of the coffin sent a shudder through him.看到那副棺材,他浑身一阵战栗。
  • We all shudder at the thought of the dreadful dirty place.我们一想到那可怕的肮脏地方就浑身战惊。
11 inquiry nbgzF     
  • Many parents have been pressing for an inquiry into the problem.许多家长迫切要求调查这个问题。
  • The field of inquiry has narrowed down to five persons.调查的范围已经缩小到只剩5个人了。
12 conceited Cv0zxi     
  • He could not bear that they should be so conceited.他们这样自高自大他受不了。
  • I'm not as conceited as so many people seem to think.我不像很多人认为的那么自负。
13 peculiar cinyo     
  • He walks in a peculiar fashion.他走路的样子很奇特。
  • He looked at me with a very peculiar expression.他用一种很奇怪的表情看着我。
14 undoubtedly Mfjz6l     
  • It is undoubtedly she who has said that.这话明明是她说的。
  • He is undoubtedly the pride of China.毫无疑问他是中国的骄傲。
15 sentimental dDuzS     
  • She's a sentimental woman who believes marriage comes by destiny.她是多愁善感的人,她相信姻缘命中注定。
  • We were deeply touched by the sentimental movie.我们深深被那感伤的电影所感动。
16 graceful deHza     
  • His movements on the parallel bars were very graceful.他的双杠动作可帅了!
  • The ballet dancer is so graceful.芭蕾舞演员的姿态是如此的优美。
17 flaunting 79043c1d84f3019796ab68f35b7890d1     
adj.招摇的,扬扬得意的,夸耀的v.炫耀,夸耀( flaunt的现在分词 );有什么能耐就施展出来
  • He did not believe in flaunting his wealth. 他不赞成摆阔。
  • She is fond of flaunting her superiority before her friends and schoolmates. 她好在朋友和同学面前逞强。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
18 serenely Bi5zpo     
  • The boat sailed serenely on towards the horizon.小船平稳地向着天水交接处驶去。
  • It was a serenely beautiful night.那是一个宁静美丽的夜晚。
19 bluebells 2aaccf780d4b01be8ef91c7ff0e90896     
n.圆叶风铃草( bluebell的名词复数 )
  • He pressed her down upon the grass, among the fallen bluebells. 他把她压倒在草地上,压倒在掉落满地的风信子花上。 来自英汉文学
  • The bluebells had cascaded on to the ground. 风信子掉到了地上。 来自辞典例句
20 reciprocated 7ece80b4c4ef4a99f6ba196f80ae5fb4     
v.报答,酬答( reciprocate的过去式和过去分词 );(机器的部件)直线往复运动
  • Her passion for him was not reciprocated. 她对他的热情没有得到回应。
  • Their attraction to each other as friends is reciprocated. 作为朋友,他们相互吸引着对方。 来自辞典例句
21 confided 724f3f12e93e38bec4dda1e47c06c3b1     
v.吐露(秘密,心事等)( confide的过去式和过去分词 );(向某人)吐露(隐私、秘密等)
  • She confided all her secrets to her best friend. 她向她最要好的朋友倾吐了自己所有的秘密。
  • He confided to me that he had spent five years in prison. 他私下向我透露,他蹲过五年监狱。 来自《简明英汉词典》
22 dwelling auzzQk     
  • Those two men are dwelling with us.那两个人跟我们住在一起。
  • He occupies a three-story dwelling place on the Park Street.他在派克街上有一幢3层楼的寓所。
23 pneumonia s2HzQ     
  • Cage was struck with pneumonia in her youth.凯奇年轻时得过肺炎。
  • Pneumonia carried him off last week.肺炎上星期夺去了他的生命。
24 softened 19151c4e3297eb1618bed6a05d92b4fe     
(使)变软( soften的过去式和过去分词 ); 缓解打击; 缓和; 安慰
  • His smile softened slightly. 他的微笑稍柔和了些。
  • The ice cream softened and began to melt. 冰淇淋开始变软并开始融化。
25 psychology U0Wze     
  • She has a background in child psychology.她受过儿童心理学的教育。
  • He studied philosophy and psychology at Cambridge.他在剑桥大学学习哲学和心理学。
26 mania 9BWxu     
  • Football mania is sweeping the country.足球热正风靡全国。
  • Collecting small items can easily become a mania.收藏零星物品往往容易变成一种癖好。
27 obsession eIdxt     
  • I was suffering from obsession that my career would be ended.那时的我陷入了我的事业有可能就此终止的困扰当中。
  • She would try to forget her obsession with Christopher.她会努力忘记对克里斯托弗的迷恋。
28 immediate aapxh     
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
29 wholesome Uowyz     
  • In actual fact the things I like doing are mostly wholesome.实际上我喜欢做的事大都是有助于增进身体健康的。
  • It is not wholesome to eat without washing your hands.不洗手吃饭是不卫生的。
30 impulsive M9zxc     
  • She is impulsive in her actions.她的行为常出于冲动。
  • He was neither an impulsive nor an emotional man,but a very honest and sincere one.他不是个一冲动就鲁莽行事的人,也不多愁善感.他为人十分正直、诚恳。
31 variant GfuzRt     
  • We give professional suggestions according to variant tanning stages for each customer.我们针对每位顾客不同的日晒阶段,提供强度适合的晒黑建议。
  • In a variant of this approach,the tests are data- driven.这个方法的一个变种,是数据驱动的测试。
32 horrified 8rUzZU     
  • The whole country was horrified by the killings. 全国都对这些凶杀案感到大为震惊。
  • We were horrified at the conditions prevailing in local prisons. 地方监狱的普遍状况让我们震惊。
33 sweeping ihCzZ4     
  • The citizens voted for sweeping reforms.公民投票支持全面的改革。
  • Can you hear the wind sweeping through the branches?你能听到风掠过树枝的声音吗?
34 exhumation 3e3356144992dae3dedaa826df161f8e     
  • The German allowed a forensic commission including prominent neutral experts to supervise part of the exhumation. 德国人让一个包括杰出的中立专家在内的法庭委员会对部分掘墓工作进行监督。 来自辞典例句
  • At any rate, the exhumation was repeated once and again. 无论如何,他曾经把尸体挖出来又埋进去,埋进去又挖出来。 来自互联网
35 grudge hedzG     
  • I grudge paying so much for such inferior goods.我不愿花这么多钱买次品。
  • I do not grudge him his success.我不嫉妒他的成功。
36 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
37 arthritis XeyyE     
  • Rheumatoid arthritis has also been linked with the virus.风湿性关节炎也与这种病毒有关。
  • He spent three months in the hospital with acute rheumatic arthritis.他患急性风湿性关节炎,在医院住了三个月。
38 courteous tooz2     
  • Although she often disagreed with me,she was always courteous.尽管她常常和我意见不一,但她总是很谦恭有礼。
  • He was a kind and courteous man.他为人友善,而且彬彬有礼。
39 superstition VHbzg     
  • It's a common superstition that black cats are unlucky.认为黑猫不吉祥是一种很普遍的迷信。
  • Superstition results from ignorance.迷信产生于无知。
40 clergy SnZy2     
  • I could heartily wish that more of our country clergy would follow this example.我衷心希望,我国有更多的牧师效法这个榜样。
  • All the local clergy attended the ceremony.当地所有的牧师出席了仪式。
41 hypocrisy g4qyt     
  • He railed against hypocrisy and greed.他痛斥伪善和贪婪的行为。
  • He accused newspapers of hypocrisy in their treatment of the story.他指责了报纸在报道该新闻时的虚伪。
42 sneering 929a634cff0de62dfd69331a8e4dcf37     
  • "What are you sneering at?" “你冷笑什么?” 来自子夜部分
  • The old sorceress slunk in with a sneering smile. 老女巫鬼鬼崇崇地走进来,冷冷一笑。
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