三幕悲剧 18
文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2023-09-12 06:00 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
The showrooms of Ambrosine, Ltd., were very pure in appearance. The walls were a shade just off white - the thick pile carpet was son neutral as to be almost colourless - so was the upholstery. Chromium gleamed here and there, and on one wall was a gigantic geometric design in vivid blue and lemon yellow. The room had been designed by Mr. Sydney Sandford - the newest and youngest decorator of the moment.
Egg Lytton Gore1 sat in an armchair of modern design - faintly reminiscent of a dentist’s chair, and watched exquisite2 snake-like young women with beautiful bored faces pass sinuously3 before her. Egg was principally concerned with endeavouring to appear as though fifty or sixty pounds was a mere4 bagatelle5 to pay for a dress. Mrs. Dacres, looking as usual marvellously unreal, was (as Egg put it to herself) doing her stuff.
“Now, do you like this? Those shoulder knots - rather amusing, don’t you think? And the waistline’s rather penetrating6. I shouldn’t have the red lead colour, though - I should have it in the new colour
-Espanol - most attractive - like mustard, with a dash of cayenne in it. How do you like Vin Ordinaire? Rather absurd, isn’t it? Quite penetrating and ridiculous. Clothes simply must not be serious nowadays.”
“It’s very difficult to decide,” said Egg. “You see” - she became confidential7 - “I’ve never been able to afford any clothes before. We were always so dreadfully poor. I remembered how simply marvellous you looked that night at Crow's Nest, and I thought, Now that I’ve got money to spend, I shall go to Mrs. Dacres and ask her to advise me. I did admire you so much that night.”
“My dear, how charming of you. I simply adore dressing8 a young girl. It’s so important that girls shouldn’t look raw - if you know what I mean.”
“Nothing raw about you,” thought Egg ungratefully. “Cooked to a turn, you are.”
“You’ve got so much personality,” continued Mrs. Dacres. “You mustn’t have anything at all ordinary. Your clothes must be simple and penetrating - and just faintly visible. You understand? Do you want several things?”
“I thought about four evening frocks, and a couple of day things and a sports suit or two - that sort of thing.”
The honey of Mrs. Dacres’s manner became sweeter. It was fortunate that she did not know that at that moment Egg’s bank balance was exactly fifteen pound twelve shillings, and that the said balance had got to last her until December.
More girls in gowns filed past Egg. In the intervals9 of technical conversation, Egg interspersed10 other matters.
“I suppose you’ve never been to Crow's Nest since?” she said.
“No. My dear, I couldn’t. It was so upsetting - and, anyway, I always think Cornwall is rather terribly artisty ... I simply cannot bear artists. Their bodies are always such a curious shape.”
“It was a shattering business, wasn’t it?” said Egg. “Old Mr. Babbington was rather a pet, too.”
“Quite a period piece, I should imagine,” said Mrs. Dacres.
“You’d met him before somewhere, hadn’t you?”
“That dear old dug-out? Had I? I don’t remember.”
“I think I remember his saying so,” said Egg. “Not in Cornwall, though. I think it was at a place called Gilling.”
“Was it?” Mrs. Dacres’s eyes were vague. “No, Marcelle - Petite
Scandale is what I want - the Jenny model - and after that blue Patou.”
“Wasn’t it extraordinary,” said Egg, “about Sir Bartholomew being poisoned?”
“My dear, it was too penetrating for words! It’s done me a world of good. All sort of dreadful women come and order frocks from me just for the sensation. Now this Patou model would be perfect for you. Look at that perfectly11 useless and ridiculous frill -it makes the whole thing adorable. Young without being tiresome12. Yes, poor Sir Bartholomew’s death has been rather a godsend to me. There’s just an off chance, you see, that I might have murdered him. I’ve rather played up to that. Extraordinary fat women come and positively13 goggle14 at me. Too penetrating. And then, you see - ”
But she was interrupted by the advent15 of a monumental American, evidently a valued client.
While the American was unburdening herself of her requirements, which sounded comprehensive and expensive, Egg managed to make an unobtrusive exit, telling the young lady who had succeeded Mrs. Dacres that she would think it over before making a final choice.
As she emerged into Bruton Street, Egg glanced at her watch. It was twenty minutes to one. Before very long she might be able to put her second plan into operation.
She walked as far as Berkeley Square, and then slowly back again. At one o’clock she had her nose glued to a window displaying Chinese objects d’art.
Miss Doris Sims came rapidly out into Bruton Street and turned in the direction of Berkeley Square. Just before she got there a voice spoke16 at her elbow.
“Excuse me,” said Egg, “but can I speak to you a minute?”
The girl turned, surprised.
“You’re one of the mannequins at Ambrosine’s, aren’t you? I noticed you this morning. I hope you won’t be frightfully offended if I say I think you’ve got simply the most perfect figure I’ve ever seen.”
Doris Sims was not offended. She was merely slightly confused.
“It’s very kind of you, I’m sure, madam,” she said.
“You look frightfully good-natured, too,” said Egg. “That’s why I’m going to ask you a favour. Will you have lunch with me at the Berkeley or the Ritz and let me tell you about it?”
After a moment’s hesitation18 Doris Sims agreed. She was curious and she liked good food.
Once established at a table and lunch ordered, Egg plunged19 into explanation.
“I hope you’ll keep this to yourself, she said. You see, I’ve got a job - writing up various professions for women. I want you to tell me all about the dressmaking business.”
Doris looked slightly disappointed, but she complied amiably20 enough, giving bald statements as to hours, rates of pay, conveniences and inconveniences of her employment. Egg entered particulars in a little note-book.
“It’s awfully21 kind of you,” she said. “I’m very stupid at this. It’s quite new to me. You see I’ve frightfully badly off, and this little bit of journalistic work will make all the difference.”
She went on confidentially22.
“It was rather nerve on my part, walking into Ambrosine’s and pretending I could buy lots of your models. Really, I’ve got just a few pounds of my dress allowance to last me till Christmas. I expect Mrs. Dacres would be simply wild if she knew.”
Doris giggled23.
“I should say she would.”
“Did I do it well?” asked Egg. “Did I look as though I had money?”
“You did it splendid, Miss Lytton Gore. Madam thinks you’re going to get quite a lot of things.”
“I’m afraid she’ll be disappointed,” said Egg.
Doris giggled more. She was enjoying her lunch, and she felt attracted to Egg. “She may be a Society young lady,” she thought to herself, “but she doesn’t put on airs. She’s as natural as can be.”
These pleasant relations once established, Egg found no difficulty in inducing her companion to talk freely on the subject of her employer.
“I always think,” said Egg, “that Mrs. Dacres looks a frightful17 cat. Is she?”
“None of us like her, Miss Lytton gore, and that’s a fact. But she’s clever, of course, and she’s got a rare head for business. Not like some Society ladies who take up the dressmaking business and go bankrupt because their friends get clothes and don’t’ pay. She’s as hard as nails, Madam is - though I will say she’s fair enough - and she’s got real taste - she knows what’s what, and she’s clever at getting people to have the style that suits them.”
“I suppose she makes a lot of money?”
A queer knowing look came into Doris’s eye.
“It’s not for me to say anything - or to gossip.”
“Of course not,” said Egg. “Go on.”
“But if you ask me - the firm’s not far off Queer Street. There was a Jewish gentleman came to see Madam, and there have been one or two things - it’s my belief she’s been borrowing to keep going in the hope that trade would revive, and that she’s got in deep. Really, Miss Lytton Gore, she looks terrible sometimes. Quite desperate. I don’t know what she’d look like without her make-up. I don’t believe she sleeps of nights.”
“What’s her husband like?”
“He’s a queer fish. Bit of a bad lot, if you ask me. Not that we ever see much of him. None of the other girls agree with me, but I believe she’s very keen on him still. Of course a lot of nasty things have been said - ”
“Such as?” asked Egg.
“Well, I don’t like to repeat things. I never have been one for that.”
“Of course not. Go on, you were saying - ”
“Well, there’s been a lot of talk among the girls. About a young fellow - very rich and very soft. Not exactly balmy, if you know what I mean - sort of betwixt and between. Madam’s been running him for all she was worth. He might have put things right - he was soft enough for anything - but then he was ordered on a sea voyage - suddenly.”
“Ordered by whom - a doctor?”
“Yes, someone in Harley Street. I believe now that it was the same doctor who was murdered up in Yorkshire - poisoned, so they said.”
“Sir Bartholomew Strange?”
“That was the name. Madam was at the house-party, and we girls said among ourselves - just laughing, you know - well, we said, supposing Madame did him in - out of revenge, you know! Of course it was fun -”
“Naturally,” said Egg. “Girlish fun. I quite understand. You know, Mrs. Dacres is quite my idea of a murderess - so hard and remorseless.”
“She’s ever so hard - and she’s got a wicked temper! When she lets go, there’s not one of us dares to come near her. They say her husband’s frightened of her - and no wonder.”
“Have you ever heard her speak of anyone called Babbington or of a place in Kent - Gilling?”
“Really, now, I can’t call to mind that I have.”
Doris looked at her watch and uttered an exclamation24.
“Oh, dear, I must hurry. I shall be late.”
“Good-bye, and thanks so much for coming.”
“It’s been a pleasure, I’m sure. Good-bye, Miss Lytton Gore, and I hope the article will be a great success. I shall look out for it.”
“You’ll look in vain, my girl,” thought Egg, as she asked for her bill. Then, drawing a line through the supposed jottings for the article, she wrote in her little notebook:
“Cynthia Dacres. Believed to be in financial difficulties. Described
as having a ‘wicked temper.’ Young man (rich) with whom she was
believed to be having an affair was ordered on sea voyage by Sir
Bartholomew Strange. Showed no reaction at mention of Gilling or
at statement that Babbington knew her.”
“There doesn’t seem much there,” said Egg to herself. “A possible motive25 for the murder of Sir Bartholomew, but very thin. M. Poirot may be able to make something of that. I can’t.”


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 exquisite zhez1     
  • I was admiring the exquisite workmanship in the mosaic.我当时正在欣赏镶嵌画的精致做工。
  • I still remember the exquisite pleasure I experienced in Bali.我依然记得在巴厘岛所经历的那种剧烈的快感。
3 sinuously 1fc779b83450c4dcf81225f06cf3814e     
  • the sinuous grace of a cat 猫的灵活优美
  • The river wound its sinuous way across the plain. 这条河蜿蜒曲折地流过平原。
4 mere rC1xE     
  • That is a mere repetition of what you said before.那不过是重复了你以前讲的话。
  • It's a mere waste of time waiting any longer.再等下去纯粹是浪费时间。
5 bagatelle iPzy5     
  • To him money is a bagatelle.金钱对他来说不算一回事。
  • One day, they argued for a bagatelle of their children.一天,夫妻为了孩子的一件小事吵起来。
6 penetrating ImTzZS     
  • He had an extraordinarily penetrating gaze. 他的目光有股异乎寻常的洞察力。
  • He examined the man with a penetrating gaze. 他以锐利的目光仔细观察了那个人。
7 confidential MOKzA     
  • He refused to allow his secretary to handle confidential letters.他不让秘书处理机密文件。
  • We have a confidential exchange of views.我们推心置腹地交换意见。
8 dressing 1uOzJG     
  • Don't spend such a lot of time in dressing yourself.别花那么多时间来打扮自己。
  • The children enjoy dressing up in mother's old clothes.孩子们喜欢穿上妈妈旧时的衣服玩。
9 intervals f46c9d8b430e8c86dea610ec56b7cbef     
n.[军事]间隔( interval的名词复数 );间隔时间;[数学]区间;(戏剧、电影或音乐会的)幕间休息
  • The forecast said there would be sunny intervals and showers. 预报间晴,有阵雨。
  • Meetings take place at fortnightly intervals. 每两周开一次会。
10 interspersed c7b23dadfc0bbd920c645320dfc91f93     
  • Lectures will be interspersed with practical demonstrations. 讲课中将不时插入实际示范。
  • The grass was interspersed with beds of flowers. 草地上点缀着许多花坛。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
11 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。
12 tiresome Kgty9     
  • His doubts and hesitations were tiresome.他的疑惑和犹豫令人厌烦。
  • He was tiresome in contending for the value of his own labors.他老为他自己劳动的价值而争强斗胜,令人生厌。
13 positively vPTxw     
  • She was positively glowing with happiness.她满脸幸福。
  • The weather was positively poisonous.这天气着实讨厌。
14 goggle pedzg     
  • His insincerity is revealed by the quick goggle of his eyes.他眼睛的快速转动泄露了他的不诚实。
  • His eyes seemed to goggle larger than usual behind the heavy lenses.在厚厚的镜片后面,眼睛瞪得比平时大得多。
15 advent iKKyo     
  • Swallows come by groups at the advent of spring. 春天来临时燕子成群飞来。
  • The advent of the Euro will redefine Europe.欧元的出现将重新定义欧洲。
16 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。
17 frightful Ghmxw     
  • How frightful to have a husband who snores!有一个发鼾声的丈夫多讨厌啊!
  • We're having frightful weather these days.这几天天气坏极了。
18 hesitation tdsz5     
  • After a long hesitation, he told the truth at last.踌躇了半天,他终于直说了。
  • There was a certain hesitation in her manner.她的态度有些犹豫不决。
19 plunged 06a599a54b33c9d941718dccc7739582     
v.颠簸( plunge的过去式和过去分词 );暴跌;骤降;突降
  • The train derailed and plunged into the river. 火车脱轨栽进了河里。
  • She lost her balance and plunged 100 feet to her death. 她没有站稳,从100英尺的高处跌下摔死了。
20 amiably amiably     
  • She grinned amiably at us. 她咧着嘴向我们亲切地微笑。
  • Atheists and theists live together peacefully and amiably in this country. 无神论者和有神论者在该国和睦相处。 来自《简明英汉词典》
21 awfully MPkym     
  • Agriculture was awfully neglected in the past.过去农业遭到严重忽视。
  • I've been feeling awfully bad about it.对这我一直感到很难受。
22 confidentially 0vDzuc     
  • She was leaning confidentially across the table. 她神神秘秘地从桌子上靠过来。
  • Kao Sung-nien and Wang Ch'u-hou talked confidentially in low tones. 高松年汪处厚两人低声密谈。
23 giggled 72ecd6e6dbf913b285d28ec3ba1edb12     
v.咯咯地笑( giggle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The girls giggled at the joke. 女孩子们让这笑话逗得咯咯笑。
  • The children giggled hysterically. 孩子们歇斯底里地傻笑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
24 exclamation onBxZ     
  • He could not restrain an exclamation of approval.他禁不住喝一声采。
  • The author used three exclamation marks at the end of the last sentence to wake up the readers.作者在文章的最后一句连用了三个惊叹号,以引起读者的注意。
25 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。
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