三幕悲剧 20
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
“Now, are you a friend or are you a sleuth? I simply must know.”
Miss Sutcliffe flashed a pair of mocking eyes as she spoke1. She was sitting in a straight-backed chair, her grey hair becomingly arranged, her legs were crossed and Mr. Satterthwaite admired the perfection of her beautifully shod feet and her slender ankles. Miss Sutcliffe was a very fascinating woman, mainly owing to the fact that she seldom took anything seriously.
“Is that quite fair?” asked Mr. Satterthwaite.
“My dear man, of course it’s fair. Have you come here for the sake of my beautiful eyes, as the French say so charmingly, or have you, you nasty man, come just to pump me about murders?”
“Can you doubt that your first alternative is the correct one?” asked Mr. Satterthwaite with a little bow.
“I can and I do,” said the actress with energy. “You are one of those people who look so mild, and really wallow in blood.”
“No, no.”
“Yes, yes. The only thing I can’t make up my mind about is whether it is an insult or a compliment to be considered a potential murderess. On the whole, I think it’s a compliment.”
She cocked her head a little on one side and smiled that slow bewitching smile that never failed.
Mr. Satterthwaite thought to himself:
“Adorable creature.”
Aloud he said, “I will admit, dear lady, that the death of Sir Bartholomew Strange has interested me considerably2. I have, as you perhaps know, dabbled3 in such doings before ... ”
He paused modestly, perhaps hoping that Miss Sutcliffe would show some knowledge of his activities. However, she merely asked:
“Tell me one thing - is there anything in what that girl said?”
“Which girl, and what did she say?”
“The Lytton Gore4 girl. The one who is so fascinated by Charles. (What a wretch5 Charles is - he will do it!) She thinks that that nice old man down in Cornwall was murdered, too.”
“What do you think?”
“Well, it certainly happened just the same way ... She’s an intelligent girl, you know. Tell me - is Charles serious?”
“I expect your views on the subject are likely to be much more valuable than mine,” said Mr. Satterthwaite.
“What a tiresomely6 discreet7 man you are,” cried Miss Sutcliffe.
“Now I - she sighed - am appallingly8 indiscreet ... ”
She fluttered an eyelash at him.
“I know Charles pretty well. I know men pretty well. He seems to me display all the signs of settling down. There’s an air of virtue9 about him. He’ll Bartholomew banding round the plate and founding a family in record time - that’s my view. How dull men are when they decide to settle down! They lose all their charm.”
“I’ve often wondered why Sir Charles has never married,” said Mr. Satterthwaite.
“My dear, he never showed any signs of wanting to marry. He wasn’t what they call a marrying man. But he was a very attractive man ... ” She sighed. A slight twinkle shoed in her eyes as she looked at Mr. Satterthwaite. “He and I were once - well, why deny what everybody knows? It was very pleasant while it lasted … and we’re still the best of friends. I suppose that’s the reason the Lytton Gore child looks at me so fiercely. She suspects I still have a
tendresse for Charles. Have I? Perhaps I have. But at any rate I haven’t yet written my memoirs10 describing all my affairs in detail as most of my friends seem to have done. If I did, you know, the girl wouldn’t like it. She’d be shocked. Modern girls are easily shocked. Her mother wouldn’t be shocked at all. You can’t really shock a sweet mid-Victorian. They say so little, but always think the worst ...

Mr. Satterthwaite contented11 himself with saying:
“I think you are right in suspecting that Egg Lytton Gore mistrusts you.”
Miss Sutcliffe frowned.
“I’m not at all sure that I’m not a little jealous of her ... We women are such cats, aren’t we? Scratch, scratch, miauw, miauw, purr, purr ... ”
She laughed.
“Why didn’t Charles come and catechise me on this business? Too much nice feeling, I suppose. The man must think me guilty ... Am I guilty, Mr. Satterthwaite? What do you think now?”
She stood up and stretched out a hand.
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand - ”
She broke off.
“No, I’m not Lady MacBeth. Comedy’s my line.”
“There seems also a certain lack of motive,” said Mr. Satterthwaite.
“True. I liked Bartholomew Strange. We were friends. I had no reason for wishing him out of the way. Because we were friends I’d rather like to take an active part in hunting down his murderer. Tell me if I can help in any way.”
“I suppose, Miss Sutcliffe, you didn’t see or hear anything that might have a bearing on the crime?”
“Nothing that I haven’t already told the police. The house party had only just arrived, you know. His death occurred on that first evening.”
“The butler?”
“I hardly noticed him.”
“Any peculiar12 behaviour on the part of the guests?”
“No. Of course that boy - what’s his name? - Manders turned up rather unexpectedly.”
“Did Sir Bartholomew Strange seem surprised?”
“Yes, I think he was. He said to me just before we went in to dinner that it was an odd business, ‘a new method of gate crashing,’ he called it. ‘Only,’ he said, ‘it’s my wall he’s crashed, not my gate.’”
“Sir Bartholomew was in good spirits?”
“Very good spirits.”
“What about this secret passage you mentioned to the police?”
“I believe it led out of the library. Sir Bartholomew promised to show it to me - but of course the poor man died.”
“How did the subject come up?”
“We were discussing a recent purchase of his - an old walnut13 bureau. I asked if it had a secret drawer in it. I told him I adored secret drawers. It’s a secret passion of mine. And he said, ‘No, there wasn’t a secret drawer that he knew of - but he had got a secret passage in the house.’”
“He didn’t mention a patient of his, a Mrs. de Rushbridger?”
“Do you know a place called Gilling, in Kent?”
“Gilling? Gilling, no, I don’t think I do. Why?”
“Well, you knew Mr. Babbington before, didn’t you?”
“Who is Mr. Babbington?”
“The man who died, or who was killed, at the Crow's Nest.”
“Oh, the clergyman. I’d forgotten his name. No, I’d never seen him before in my life. Who told you I knew him?”
“Someone who ought to know,” said Mr. Satterthwaite boldly. Miss Sutcliffe seemed amused.
“Dear old man, did they think I’d had an affair with him?
Archdeacons are sometimes very naughty, aren’t they? So why not vicars? There’s the man in the barrel, isn’t there? But I must clear the poor mans’ memory. I’d never seen him before in my life.”
And with that statement Mr. Satterthwaite was forced to rest content.


1 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。
2 considerably 0YWyQ     
  • The economic situation has changed considerably.经济形势已发生了相当大的变化。
  • The gap has narrowed considerably.分歧大大缩小了。
3 dabbled 55999aeda1ff87034ef046ec73004cbf     
v.涉猎( dabble的过去式和过去分词 );涉足;浅尝;少量投资
  • He dabbled in business. 他搞过一点生意。 来自辞典例句
  • His vesture was dabbled in blood. 他穿的衣服上溅满了鲜血。 来自辞典例句
4 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。
5 wretch EIPyl     
  • You are really an ungrateful wretch to complain instead of thanking him.你不但不谢他,还埋怨他,真不知好歹。
  • The dead husband is not the dishonoured wretch they fancied him.死去的丈夫不是他们所想象的不光彩的坏蛋。
6 tiresomely 6785d163bb419941412ec29371317af9     
adj. 令人厌倦的,讨厌的
  • The excitement over her arrival was tiresomely predictable –like flashing a shiny object at a child. 她的到来会使人们兴奋,这是稍微可以预见的——就像在一个孩子面前放一个闪闪发光的东西。
  • British chancellors tiresomely wont to lecture finance ministers in mainland Europe about their superior policies. 英国的财政大臣也常常向欧洲大陆的财政部长们演讲他们的优越政策。
7 discreet xZezn     
  • He is very discreet in giving his opinions.发表意见他十分慎重。
  • It wasn't discreet of you to ring me up at the office.你打电话到我办公室真是太鲁莽了。
8 appallingly 395bb74ca9eccab2fb2599b65702b445     
  • His tradecraft was appallingly reckless. 他的经营轻率得令人吃惊。
  • Another damning statistic for South Africa is its appallingly high murder rate. 南非还有一项糟糕的统计,表明它还有着令人毛骨悚然的高谋杀率。
9 virtue BpqyH     
  • He was considered to be a paragon of virtue.他被认为是品德尽善尽美的典范。
  • You need to decorate your mind with virtue.你应该用德行美化心灵。
10 memoirs f752e432fe1fefb99ab15f6983cd506c     
n.回忆录;回忆录传( mem,自oir的名词复数)
  • Her memoirs were ghostwritten. 她的回忆录是由别人代写的。
  • I watched a trailer for the screenplay of his memoirs. 我看过以他的回忆录改编成电影的预告片。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 contented Gvxzof     
  • He won't be contented until he's upset everyone in the office.不把办公室里的每个人弄得心烦意乱他就不会满足。
  • The people are making a good living and are contented,each in his station.人民安居乐业。
12 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。
13 walnut wpTyQ     
  • Walnut is a local specialty here.核桃是此地的土特产。
  • The stool comes in several sizes in walnut or mahogany.凳子有几种尺寸,材质分胡桃木和红木两种。
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