三幕悲剧 15
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“Frankly,” said Sir Charles, “are we any forrader?”
It was a council of war. Sir Charles, Mr. Satterthwaite and Egg Lytton Gore1 were sitting in the Ship-room. A fire burned in the grate, and outside an equinoctial gale2 was howling.
Mr. Satterthwaite and Egg answered the question simultaneously3.
“No,” said Mr. Satterthwaite.
“Yes,” said Egg.
Sir Charles looked from one to the other of them. Mr. Satterthwaite indicated gracefully4 that the lady should speak first.
Egg was silent a moment or two, collecting her ideas.
“We are further on,” she said at last. “We are further on because we haven’t found out anything. That sounds nonsense, but it isn’t. What I mean is that we had certain vague sketchy5 ideas; we know now that certain of those ideas are definitely washouts.”
“Progress by elimination,” said Sir Charles.
“That’s it.”
Mr. Satterthwaite cleared his throat. He liked to define things.
“The idea of gain we can now put definitely away,” he said. “There does not seem to be anybody who (in detective story parlance) could benefit by Stephen Babbington’s death. Revenge seems equally out of the question. Apart from his naturally amiable6 and peace-loving disposition7, I doubt if he were important enough to make enemies. So we are back at our last rather sketchy idea - fear. By the death of Stephen Babbington, someone gains security.”
“That’s rather well put,” said Egg.
Mr. Satterthwaite looked modestly pleased with himself. Sir Charles looked a little annoyed. His was the star part, not Satterthwaite’s.
“The point is,” said Egg, “what are we going to do next - actually do, I mean. Are we going to sleuth people, or what? Are we going to disguise ourselves and follow them?”
“My dear child,” said Sir Charles, “I always did set my face against playing old men in beards, and I’m not going to begin now.”
“Then what - ?” began Egg.
But she was interrupted. The door opened, and Temple announced:
“Mr. Hercule Poirot.”
M. Poirot walked in with a beaming face and greeted three highly astonished people.
“It is permitted,” he said with a twinkle, “that I assist at this conference? I am right, am I not - it is a conference?”
“My dear fellow, we’re delighted to see you.” Sir Charles, recovering from his surprise, shook his guest warmly by the hand and pushed him into a large armchair. “Where have you sprung from so suddenly?”
“I went to call upon my good friend Mr. Satterthwaite in London. They tell me he is away - in Cornwell. Eh bien, it leaps to the eye where he has gone. I take the first train to Loomouth, and here I am.”
“Yes,” said Egg. “But why have you come?”
“I mean,” she went on, flushing a little as she realised the possible discourtesy of her words, “you have come for some particular reason?”
“I have come,” said Hercule Poirot, “to admit an error.”
With an engaging smile he turned to Sir Charles and spread out his hands in a foreign gesture.
“Monsieur, it was in this very room that you declared yourself not satisfied. And I - I thought it was your dramatic instinct - I said to myself, he is a great actor, at all costs he must have drama. It seemed, I will admit it, incredible that a harmless old gentleman should have died anything but a natural death. Even now I do not see how poison could have been administered to him, nor can I guess at any motive8. It seems absurd - fantastic. And yet - since then, there has been another death, a death under similar circumstances. One cannot attribute it to coincidence. No, there must be a link between the two. And so, Sir Charles, I have come up to you to apologise - to say I, Hercule Poirot, was wrong, and to ask you to admit me to your councils.”
Sir Charles cleared his throat rather nervously9. He looked a little embarrassed.
“That’s extraordinary handsome of you, M. Poirot. I don’t know - taking up a lot of your time - I - ”
He stopped, somewhere at a loss. His eyes consulted Mr. Satterthwaite.
“It is very good of you - ” began Mr. Satterthwaite.
“No, no, it is not good of me. It is the curiosity - and, yes, the hurt to my pride. I must repair my fault. My time - that is nothing - why voyage after all? The language may be different, but everywhere human nature is the same. But of course if I am not welcome, if you feel that I intrude10 - ”
Both men spoke11 at once.
“No, indeed.”
“Rather not.”
Poirot turned his eyes to the girl.
“And Mademoiselle?”
For a minute or two Egg was silent, and on all three men the same impression was produced. Egg did not want the assistance of M.
Poirot ...
Mr. Satterthwaite thought he knew why. This was the private ploy12 of Charles Cartwright and Egg Lytton Gore. Mr. Satterthwaite had been admitted - on sufferance - on the clear understanding that he was a negligible third party. But Hercule Poirot was different. His would be the leading role. Perhaps, even, Sir Charles might retire in his favour. And then Egg’s plans would come to naught13.
He watched the girl, sympathising with her predicament. These men did not understand, but he, with his semi-feminine sensitiveness, realised her dilemma14. Egg was fighting for her happiness ...
What would she say?
After all what could she say? How could she speak the thoughts in her mind? “Go away - go away - your coming may spoil everything -
I don’t want you here ... ”
Egg Lytton Gore said the only thing she could say.
“Of course,” she said with a little smile. “We’d love to have you.”


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 gale Xf3zD     
  • We got our roof blown off in the gale last night.昨夜的大风把我们的房顶给掀掉了。
  • According to the weather forecast,there will be a gale tomorrow.据气象台预报,明天有大风。
3 simultaneously 4iBz1o     
  • The radar beam can track a number of targets almost simultaneously.雷达波几乎可以同时追着多个目标。
  • The Windows allow a computer user to execute multiple programs simultaneously.Windows允许计算机用户同时运行多个程序。
4 gracefully KfYxd     
  • She sank gracefully down onto a cushion at his feet. 她优雅地坐到他脚旁的垫子上。
  • The new coats blouse gracefully above the hip line. 新外套在臀围线上优美地打着褶皱。
5 sketchy ZxJwl     
  • The material he supplied is too sketchy.他提供的材料过于简略。
  • Details of what actually happened are still sketchy.对于已发生事实的详细情况知道的仍然有限。
6 amiable hxAzZ     
  • She was a very kind and amiable old woman.她是个善良和气的老太太。
  • We have a very amiable companionship.我们之间存在一种友好的关系。
7 disposition GljzO     
  • He has made a good disposition of his property.他已对财产作了妥善处理。
  • He has a cheerful disposition.他性情开朗。
8 motive GFzxz     
  • The police could not find a motive for the murder.警察不能找到谋杀的动机。
  • He had some motive in telling this fable.他讲这寓言故事是有用意的。
9 nervously tn6zFp     
  • He bit his lip nervously,trying not to cry.他紧张地咬着唇,努力忍着不哭出来。
  • He paced nervously up and down on the platform.他在站台上情绪不安地走来走去。
10 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。
11 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。
12 ploy FuQyE     
  • I think this is just a government ploy to deceive the public.我认为这只是政府欺骗公众的手段。
  • Christmas should be a time of excitement and wonder,not a cynical marketing ploy.圣诞节应该是兴奋和美妙的时刻,而不该是一种肆无忌惮的营销策略。
13 naught wGLxx     
n.无,零 [=nought]
  • He sets at naught every convention of society.他轻视所有的社会习俗。
  • I hope that all your efforts won't go for naught.我希望你的努力不会毫无结果。
14 dilemma Vlzzf     
  • I am on the horns of a dilemma about the matter.这件事使我进退两难。
  • He was thrown into a dilemma.他陷入困境。
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