三幕悲剧 19
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Egg had not yet finished her programme for the day. Her next move was to St. John’s House, in which building the Dacres had a flat. There were sumptuous1 window boxes and uniformed porters of such magnificence that they looked like foreign generals.
Egg did not enter the building. She strolled up and down on the opposite side of the street. After about an hour of this she calculated that she must have walked several miles. It was half-past five.
Then a taxi drew up at the Mansions2, and Captain Dacres alighted from it. Egg allowed three minutes to elapse, then she crossed the road and entered the building.
Egg pressed the doorbell of No. 3. Dacres himself opened the door. He was still engaged in taking off his overcoat.
“Oh,” said Egg. “How do you do? You do remember me, don’t you?
We met in Cornwall, and again in Yorkshire.”
“Of course - of course. In at the death both times, weren’t we?
Come in, Miss Lytton Gore3.”
“I wanted to see your wife. Is she in?”
“She’s round in Bruton Street - at her dressmaking place.”
“I know. I was there today. I thought perhaps she’d be back by now, and that she wouldn’t mind, perhaps, if I came here - only, of course, I suppose I’m being a frightful4 bother - ”
Egg paused appealingly.
Freddie Dacres said to himself:
“Nice looking filly. Damned pretty girl, in fact.”
Aloud he said:
“Cynthia won’t be back till well after six. I’ve just come back from Newbury. Had a rotten day and left early. Come round to the Seventy-Two Club and have a cocktail5?”
Egg accepted, though she had a shrewd suspicion that Dacres had already had quite as much alcohol as was good for him.
Sitting in the underground dimness of the Seventy-Two Club, and sipping6 a Martini, Egg said: “This is great fun. I’ve never been here before.”
Freddie Dacres smiled indulgently. He liked a young and pretty girl. Not perhaps as much as he liked some other things - but well enough.
“Upsettin’ sort of time, wasn’t it?” he said. “Up in Yorkshire, I mean. Something rather amusin’ about a doctor being poisoned - you see what I mean - wrong way about. A doctor’s a chap who poisons other people.”
He laughed uproariously at his own remark and ordered another pink gin.
“That’s rather clever of you,” said Egg. “I never thought of it that way before.”
“Only a joke, of course,” said Freddie Dacres.
“It’s odd, isn’t it,” said Egg, “that when we meet it’s always at a death.”
“Bit odd,” admitted Captain Dacres. “You mean the old clergyman chap at what’s him name’s - the actor fellow’s place?”
“Yes. It was very queer the way he died so suddenly.”
“Damn’ disturbin’,” said Dacres. “Makes you feel a bit gruey, fellows popping off all over the place. You know, you think ‘my turn next,’ and it gives you the shivers.”
“You knew Mr. Babbington before, didn’t you, at Gilling?”
“Don’t know the place. No, I never set eyes on the old chap before. Funny thing is he popped off just the same way as old Strange did. Bit odd, that. Can’t have been bumped off, too, I suppose?”
“Well, what do you think?”
Dacres shook his head.
“Can’t have been,” he said decisively. “Nobody murders parsons. Doctors are different.”
“Yes,” said Egg. “I suppose doctors are different.”
“Course they are. Stands to reason. Doctors are interfering7 devils.”
He slurred8 the words a little. He leant forward. “Won’t let well alone. Understand?”
“No,” said Egg.
“They monkey about with fellows’ lives. They’ve got a damned sight too much power. Oughtn’t to be allowed.”
“I don’t quite see what you mean.”
“M’ dear girl, I’m telling you. Get a fellow shut up - that’s what I mean - put him in hell. God, they’re cruel. Shut him up and keep the stuff from him - and however much you beg and pray they won’t give it you. Don’t care a damn what torture you’re in. that’s doctors for you. I’m telling you - and I know.”
His face twitched9 painfully. His little pinpoint10 pupils stared past her.
“It’s hell, I tell you - hell. And they call it curing you! Pretend they’re doing a decent action. Swine!”
“Did Sir Bartholomew Strange - ?” began Egg cautiously.
He took the words out of her mouth.
“Sir Bartholomew Strange. Sir Bartholomew Humbug11. I’d like to know what goes on in that precious Sanatorium of his. Nerve cases. That’s what they say. You’re in there and you can’t get out. And they say you’ve gone of your own free will. Free will! Just because they get hold of you when you’ve got the horrors.”
He was shaking now. His mouth drooped12 suddenly.
“I’m all to pieces,” he said apologetically. “All to pieces.” He called to the waiter, pressed Egg to have another drink, and when she refused, ordered one himself.
“That’s better,” he said as he drained the glass. “Got my nerve back now. Nasty business losing your nerve. Mustn’t make Cynthia angry. She told me not to talk.” He nodded his head once or twice.
“Wouldn’t do to tell the police all this,” he said. “They might think I’d bumped old Strange off. Eh? You realise, don’t you, that someone must have done it? One of us must have killed him. That’s a funny thought. Which of us? That’s the question.”
“Perhaps you know which,” said Egg.
“What d’you say that for? Why should I know?”
He looked at her angrily and suspiciously.
“I don’t know anything about it, I tell you. I wasn’t going to take that damnable ‘cure’ of his. No matter what Cynthia said - I wasn’t going to take it. He was up to something - they were both up to something. But they couldn’t fool me.”
He drew himself up.
“I’m a strong man, Miss Lytton Gore.”
“I’m sure you are,” said Egg. “Tell me, do you know anything of a Mrs. de Rushbridger who is at the Sanatorium?”
“Rushbridger? Rushbridger? Old Strange said something about her. Now what was it? Can’t remember anything.”
He sighed, shook his head.
“Memory’s going, that’s what it is. And I’ve got enemies - a lot of enemies. They may be spying on me now.”
He looked round uneasily. Then he leant across the table to Egg.
“What was that woman doing in my room that day?”
“What woman?”
“Rabbit-faced woman. Writes plays. It was the morning after - after he died. I’d just come up from breakfast. She came out of my room and went through the baize door at the end of the passage - went through into the servants’ quarter. Odd, eh? Why did she go into my room? What did she think she’d find there? What did she want to go nosing about for, anyway? What’s it got to do with her? He leaned forward confidentially13. Or do you think it’s true what Cynthia says?”
“What does Mrs. Dacres say?”
“Says I imagined it. Says I was ‘seeing things.’” He laughed uncertainly. “I do see things now and again. Pink mice - snakes - all that sort of thing. But seein’ a woman’s different ... I did see her. She’s a queer fish, that woman. Nasty sort of eye she’s got. Goes through you.”
He leaned back on the soft couch. He seemed to be dropping asleep.
Egg got up.
“I must be going. Thank you very much, Captain Dacres.”
“Don’t thank me. Delighted. Absolutely delighted ... ”
His voice tailed off.
“I’d better go before he passes out altogether,” thought Egg. She emerged from the smoky atmosphere of the Seventy-Two Club into the cool evening air.
Beatrice, the housemaid, had said that Miss Wills poked14 and pried15. Now came this story from Freddie Dacres. What had Miss Wills been looking for? What had she found? Was it possible that Miss Wills knew something?
Was there anything in this rather muddled16 story about Sir Bartholomew Strange? Had Freddie Dacres secretly feared and hated him?
It seemed possible.
But in all this no hint of any guilty knowledge in the Babbington case.
“How odd it would be,” said Egg to herself, “if he wasn’t murdered after all.”
And then she caught her breath sharply as she caught sight of the words on a newspaper placard a few feet away: “CORNISH
Hastily she held out a penny and snatched a paper. As she did so she collided with another woman doing the same thing. As Egg apologised she recognised Sir Charles’s secretary, the efficient Miss Milray.
Standing18 side by side, they both sought the stop-press news. Yes, there it was.
“RESULT OF CORNISH EXHUMATION.” The words danced before Egg’s eyes. “Analysis of the organs ... Nicotine19 ... ”
“So he was murdered,” said Egg.
“Oh, dear,” said Miss Milray. “This is terrible - terrible - ”
Her rugged20 countenance21 was distorted with emotion. Egg looked at her in surprise. She had always regarded Miss Milray as something less than human.
“It upsets me,” said Miss Milray, “in explanation. You see, I’ve known him all my life.”
“Mr. Babbington?”
“Yes. You see, my mother lives at Gilling, where he used to be vicar. Naturally it’s upsetting.”
“Oh, of course.”
“In fact,” said Miss Milray, “I don’t know what to do.”
She flushed a little before Egg’s look of astonishment22.
“I’d like to write to Mrs. Babbington,” she said quickly. “Only it doesn’t seem quite - well, quite ... I don’t know what I had better do about it.”
Somehow, to Egg, the explanation was not quite satisfying.


1 sumptuous Rqqyl     
  • The guests turned up dressed in sumptuous evening gowns.客人们身着华丽的夜礼服出现了。
  • We were ushered into a sumptuous dining hall.我们被领进一个豪华的餐厅。
2 mansions 55c599f36b2c0a2058258d6f2310fd20     
n.宅第,公馆,大厦( mansion的名词复数 )
  • Fifth Avenue was boarded up where the rich had deserted their mansions. 第五大道上的富翁们已经出去避暑,空出的宅第都已锁好了门窗,钉上了木板。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
  • Oh, the mansions, the lights, the perfume, the loaded boudoirs and tables! 啊,那些高楼大厦、华灯、香水、藏金收银的闺房还有摆满山珍海味的餐桌! 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
3 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。
4 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。
5 cocktail Jw8zNt     
  • We invited some foreign friends for a cocktail party.我们邀请了一些外国朋友参加鸡尾酒会。
  • At a cocktail party in Hollywood,I was introduced to Charlie Chaplin.在好莱坞的一次鸡尾酒会上,人家把我介绍给查理·卓别林。
6 sipping e7d80fb5edc3b51045def1311858d0ae     
v.小口喝,呷,抿( sip的现在分词 )
  • She sat in the sun, idly sipping a cool drink. 她坐在阳光下懒洋洋地抿着冷饮。
  • She sat there, sipping at her tea. 她坐在那儿抿着茶。
7 interfering interfering     
adj. 妨碍的 动词interfere的现在分词
  • He's an interfering old busybody! 他老爱管闲事!
  • I wish my mother would stop interfering and let me make my own decisions. 我希望我母亲不再干预,让我自己拿主意。
8 slurred 01a941e4c7d84b2a714a07ccb7ad1430     
含糊地说出( slur的过去式和过去分词 ); 含糊地发…的声; 侮辱; 连唱
  • She had drunk too much and her speech was slurred. 她喝得太多了,话都说不利索了。
  • You could tell from his slurred speech that he was drunk. 从他那含糊不清的话语中你就知道他喝醉了。
9 twitched bb3f705fc01629dc121d198d54fa0904     
vt.& vi.(使)抽动,(使)颤动(twitch的过去式与过去分词形式)
  • Her lips twitched with amusement. 她忍俊不禁地颤动着嘴唇。
  • The child's mouth twitched as if she were about to cry. 这小孩的嘴抽动着,像是要哭。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 pinpoint xNExL     
  • It is difficult to pinpoint when water problems of the modern age began.很难准确地指出,现代用水的问题是什么时候出现的。
  • I could pinpoint his precise location on a map.我能在地图上指明他的准确位置。
11 humbug ld8zV     
  • I know my words can seem to him nothing but utter humbug.我知道,我说的话在他看来不过是彻头彻尾的慌言。
  • All their fine words are nothing but humbug.他们的一切花言巧语都是骗人的。
12 drooped ebf637c3f860adcaaf9c11089a322fa5     
弯曲或下垂,发蔫( droop的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Her eyelids drooped as if she were on the verge of sleep. 她眼睑低垂好像快要睡着的样子。
  • The flowers drooped in the heat of the sun. 花儿晒蔫了。
13 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。
14 poked 87f534f05a838d18eb50660766da4122     
v.伸出( poke的过去式和过去分词 );戳出;拨弄;与(某人)性交
  • She poked him in the ribs with her elbow. 她用胳膊肘顶他的肋部。
  • His elbow poked out through his torn shirt sleeve. 他的胳膊从衬衫的破袖子中露了出来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
15 pried 4844fa322f3d4b970a4e0727867b0b7f     
v.打听,刺探(他人的私事)( pry的过去式和过去分词 );撬开
  • We pried open the locked door with an iron bar. 我们用铁棍把锁着的门撬开。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • So Tom pried his mouth open and poured down the Pain-killer. 因此汤姆撬开它的嘴,把止痛药灌下去。 来自英汉文学 - 汤姆历险
16 muddled cb3d0169d47a84e95c0dfa5c4d744221     
adj.混乱的;糊涂的;头脑昏昏然的v.弄乱,弄糟( muddle的过去式);使糊涂;对付,混日子
  • He gets muddled when the teacher starts shouting. 老师一喊叫他就心烦意乱。
  • I got muddled up and took the wrong turning. 我稀里糊涂地拐错了弯。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 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
18 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。
19 nicotine QGoxJ     
  • Many smokers who are chemically addicted to nicotine cannot cut down easily.许多有尼古丁瘾的抽烟人不容易把烟戒掉。
  • Many smokers who are chemically addicted to nicotine cannot cut down easily.许多有尼古丁瘾的抽烟人不容易把烟戒掉。
20 rugged yXVxX     
  • Football players must be rugged.足球运动员必须健壮。
  • The Rocky Mountains have rugged mountains and roads.落基山脉有崇山峻岭和崎岖不平的道路。
21 countenance iztxc     
  • At the sight of this photograph he changed his countenance.他一看见这张照片脸色就变了。
  • I made a fierce countenance as if I would eat him alive.我脸色恶狠狠地,仿佛要把他活生生地吞下去。
22 astonishment VvjzR     
  • They heard him give a loud shout of astonishment.他们听见他惊奇地大叫一声。
  • I was filled with astonishment at her strange action.我对她的奇怪举动不胜惊异。
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