三幕悲剧 21
文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2023-09-12 06:01 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
Five Upper Cathcart Road, Tooting, seemed an incongruous home for a satiric1 playwright2. The room into which Sir Charles was shown had walls of a rather drab oatmeal colour with a frieze3 of laburnum round the top. The curtains were of rose-coloured velvet4, there were a lot of photographs and china dogs, the telephone was coyly hidden by a lady with ruffled5 skirts, there were a great many little tables and some suspicious-looking brasswork from Birmingham via the Far East.
Miss Wills entered the room so noiselessly that Sir Charles, who was at the moment examining a ridiculously elongated7 pierrot doll lying across the sofa, did not hear her. Her thin voice saying, “How d’you do, Sir Charles. This is really a great pleasure,” made him spin round.
Miss Wills was dressed in a limp jumper suit which hung disconsolately8 on her angular form. Her stockings were slightly wrinkled, and she had on very high-heeled patent leather slippers9.
“Fancy you finding me out here,” said Miss Wills. “My mother will be ever so excited. She just adores the theatre - especially anything romantic. That play where you were a Prince at a University - she’s often talked of it. She goes to matinees, you know, and eats chocolates - she’s one of that kind. And she does love it.”
“How delightful,” said Sir Charles. “You don’t know how charming it is to be remembered. The public memory is short!” He sighed.
“She’ll be thrilled at meeting you,” said Miss Wills. “Miss Sutcliffe came the other day, and Mother was thrilled at meeting her.”
“Angela was here?”
“Yes. She’s putting on a play of mine, you know: Little Dog
“Of course,” said Sir Charles. “I’ve read about it. Rather intriguing10 title.”
“I’m so glad you think so. Miss Sutcliffe likes it, too. It’s a kind of modern version of the nursery rhyme - a lot of froth and nonsense - Hey diddle diddle and the dish and the spoon scandal. Of course, it all revolves11 round Miss Sutcliffe’s part - everyone dances to her fiddling12 - that’s the idea.”
Sir Charles said:
“Not bad. The world nowadays is rather like a mad nursery rhyme. And the little dog laughed to see such sport, eh?” And he thought suddenly: “Of course this woman’s the Little Dog. She looks on and laughs.”
The light shifted from Mrs. Wills’s pince-nez, and he saw her pale- blue eyes regarding him intelligently through them.
“This woman,” thought Sir Charles, “has a fiendish sense of humour.”
Aloud he said:
“I wonder if you can guess what errand has brought me here?”
“Well,” said Miss Wills archly, “I don’t suppose it was only to see poor little me.”
Sir Charles registered for a moment the difference between the spoken and the written word. On paper Miss Wills was witty13 and cynical14, in speech she was arch.
“It was really Satterthwaite put the idea into my head,” said Sir Charles. “He fancies himself as being a good judge of character.”
“He’s very clever about people,” said Miss Wills. “It’s rather his hobby, I should say.”
“And he is strongly of opinion that it there were anything worth noticing that night at Melfort Abbey you would have noticed it.”
“Is that what he said?”
“I was very interested, I must admit,” said Miss Wills slowly. “You see, I’d never seen a murder at close hand before. A writer’s got to take everything as copy, hasn’t she?”
“I believe that’s a well-known axiom.”
“So naturally,” said Miss Wills, “I tried to notice everything I could.”
This was obviously Miss Wills’s version of Beatrice’s “poking and prying15.”
“About the guests?”
“About the guests.”
“And what exactly did you notice?”
The pince-nez shifted.
“I didn’t really find out anything - if I had I’d have told the police, of course,” she added virtuously16.
“But you noticed things.”
“I always do notice things. I can’t help it. I’m funny that way.” She giggled17.
“And you noticed - what?”
“Oh, nothing - that is - nothing that you’d call anything, Sir Charles. Just little odds18 and ends about people’s characters. I find people so very interesting. So typical, if you know what I mean.”
“Typical of what?”
“Of themselve. Oh, I can’t explain. I’m ever so silly at saying things.”
She giggled again.
“Your pen is deadlier than your tongue,” said Sir Charles, smiling.
“I don’t think it’s very nice of you to say deadlier, Sir Charles.”
“My dear Miss Wills, admit that with a pen in your hand you’re quite merciless.
I think you’re horrid19, Sir Charles. It’s you who are merciless to me.”
“I must get out of this bog20 of badinage,” said Sir Charles to himself. He said aloud:
“So you didn’t find out anything concrete, Miss Wills?”
“No - not exactly. At least, there was one thing. Something I noticed and ought to have told the police about, only I forgot.”
“What was that?”
“The butler. He had a kind of strawberry mark on his left wrist. I noticed it when he was handing me vegetables. I suppose that’s the sort of thing which might come in useful.”
“I should say very useful indeed. The police are trying hard to track down that man Ellis. Really, Miss Wills, you are a very remarkable21 woman. Not one of the servants or guests mentioned such a mark.”
“Most people don’t use their eyes much, do they?” said Miss Wills.
“Where exactly was the mark? And what size was it?”
“If you’ll just stretch out your own wrist” - Sir Charles extended his arm. “Thank you. It was here. Miss Wills placed an unerring on the spot. It was about the size, roughly, of a sixpence, and rather the shape of Australia.”
“Thank you, that’s very clear,” said Sir Charles, removing his hand and pulling down his cuffs22 again.
“You think I ought to write to the police and tell them?”
“Certainly I do. It might be most valuable in tracing the man. Dash it all,” went on Sir Charles with feeling, “in detective stories there’s always some identifying mark on the villain23. I thought it was a bit hard that real life should prove so lamentably24 behindhand.”
“It’s usually a scar in stories,” said Miss Wills thoughtfully.
“A birthmark’s just as good,” said Sir Charles.
He looked boyishly pleased.
“The trouble is,” he went on, “most people are so indeterminate. There’s nothing about them to take hold of.”
Miss Wills looked inquiringly at him.
“Old Babbington, for instance,” went on Sir Charles, “he had a curiously25 vague personality. Very difficult to lay hold of.”
“His hands were very characteristic,” said Miss Wills. “What I call a scholar’s hands. A little crippled with arthritis26, but very refined fingers and beautiful nails.”
“What an observer you are. Ah, but - of course, you knew him before.”
“Knew Mr. Babbington?”
“Yes, I remember his telling me so - where was it he said he had known you?”
Miss Wills shook her head decisively.
“Not me. You must have been mixing me up with someone else - or he was. I’d never met him before.”
“It must be my mistake. I thought - at Gilling -”
He looked at her keenly. Miss Wills appeared quite composed.
“No,” she said.
“Did it ever occur to you, Miss Wills, that he might have been murdered, too?”
“I know you and Miss Lytton Gore27 think so - or rather you think so.”
“Oh - and - er - what do you think?”
“It doesn’t seem likely,” said Miss Wills.
A little baffled by Miss Wills’s clear lack of interest in the subject Sir Charles started on another tack28.
“Did Sir Bartholomew mention a Mrs. de Rushbridger at all?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“She was a patient in his Home. Suffering from nervous breakdown29 and loss of memory.”
“He mentioned a case of lost memory,” said Miss Wills. “He said you could hypnotise a person and bring their memory back.”
“Did he, now? I wonder - could that be significant?”
Sir Charles frowned and remained lost in thought. Miss Wills said nothing.
“There’s nothing else you could tell me? Nothing about any of the guests?”
It seemed to him there was just the slightest pause before Miss Wills answered.
“About Mrs. Dacres? Or Captain Dacres? Or Miss Sutcliffe? Or Mr. Manders?”
He watched her very intently as he pronounced each name.
Once he thought he saw the pince-nez flicker30, but he could not be sure.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing I can tell you, Sir Charles.”
“Oh, well! He stood up. Satterthwaite will be disappointed.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Miss Wills primly31.
“I’m sorry, too, for disturbing you. I expect you were busy writing.”
“I was, as a matter of fact.”
“Another play?”
“Yes. To tell you the truth, I thought of using some of the characters at the house-party at Melfort Abbey.”
“What about libel?”
“That’s quite all right, Sir Charles, I find people never recognise themselves.” She giggled. “Not if, as you said just now, one is really merciless.”
“You mean,” said Sir Charles, “that we all have an exaggerated idea of our own personalities32 and don’t recognise the truth if it’s sufficiently33 brutally34 portrayed35. I was quite right, Miss Wills, you are
a cruel woman.”
Miss Wills tittered.
“You needn’t be afraid, Sir Charles. Women aren’t usually cruel to men - unless it’s some particular man - they’re only cruel to other women.”
“Meaning you’ve got your analytical36 knife into some unfortunate female. Which one? Well, perhaps I can guess. Cynthia’s not beloved by her own sex.”
Miss Wills said nothing. She continued to smile - rather a catlike smile.
“Do you write your stuff or dictate37 it?”
“Oh, I write it and send it to be typed.”
“You ought to have a secretary.”
“Perhaps. Have you still got that clever Miss - Miss Milray, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, I’ve got Miss Milray. She went away for a time to look after her mother in the country, but she’s back again now. Most efficient woman.”
“So I should think. Perhaps a little impulsive38.”
“Impulsive? Miss Milray?”
Sir Charles stared. Never in his wildest flights of fancy had he associated impulse with Miss Milray.
“Only on occasions, perhaps,” said Miss Wills.
Sir Charles shook his head.
“Miss Milray’s the perfect robot. Good-bye, Miss Wills. Forgive me for bothering you, and don’t forget to let the police know about that thingummybob.”
“The mark on the butler’s right wrist? No, I won’t forget.”
“Well, good-bye - half a sec - did you say right wrist? You said left just now.”
“Did I? How stupid of me.”
“Well, which was it?”
Miss Wills frowned and half closed her eyes.
“Let me see. I was sitting so - and he - would you mind, Sir Charles, handing me that brass6 plate as though it was a vegetable dish. Left side.”
Sir Charles presented the beaten brass atrocity39 as directed.
“Cabbage, madam?”
“Thank you,” said Miss Wills. “I’m quite sure now. It was the left wrist, as I said first. Stupid of me.”
“No, no,” said Sir Charles. “Left and right are always puzzling.”
He said good-bye for the third time.
As he closed the door he looked back. Miss Wills was not looking at him. She was standing40 where he had left her. She was gazing at the fire, and on her lips was a smile of satisfied malice41.
Sir Charles was startled.
  1. “That woman knows something,” he said to himself. “I’ll swear she knows something. And she won’t say ... But what the devil is it she knows?”


1 satiric fYNxQ     
  • Looking at her satiric parent she only gave a little laugh.她望着她那挖苦人的父亲,只讪讪地笑了一下。
  • His satiric poem spared neither the politicians nor the merchants.政客们和商人们都未能免于遭受他的诗篇的讽刺。
2 playwright 8Ouxo     
  • Gwyn Thomas was a famous playwright.格温·托马斯是著名的剧作家。
  • The playwright was slaughtered by the press.这位剧作家受到新闻界的无情批判。
3 frieze QhNxy     
  • The Corinthian painter's primary ornamental device was the animal frieze.科林斯画家最初的装饰图案是动物形象的装饰带。
  • A careful reconstruction of the frieze is a persuasive reason for visiting Liverpool. 这次能让游客走访利物浦展览会,其中一个具有说服力的原因则是壁画得到了精心的重建。
4 velvet 5gqyO     
  • This material feels like velvet.这料子摸起来像丝绒。
  • The new settlers wore the finest silk and velvet clothing.新来的移民穿着最华丽的丝绸和天鹅绒衣服。
5 ruffled e4a3deb720feef0786be7d86b0004e86     
adj. 有褶饰边的, 起皱的 动词ruffle的过去式和过去分词
  • She ruffled his hair affectionately. 她情意绵绵地拨弄着他的头发。
  • All this talk of a strike has clearly ruffled the management's feathers. 所有这些关于罢工的闲言碎语显然让管理层很不高兴。
6 brass DWbzI     
  • Many of the workers play in the factory's brass band.许多工人都在工厂铜管乐队中演奏。
  • Brass is formed by the fusion of copper and zinc.黄铜是通过铜和锌的熔合而成的。
7 elongated 6a3aeff7c3bf903f4176b42850937718     
v.延长,加长( elongate的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Modigliani's women have strangely elongated faces. 莫迪里阿尼画中的妇女都长着奇长无比的脸。
  • A piece of rubber can be elongated by streching. 一块橡皮可以拉长。 来自《用法词典》
8 disconsolately f041141d86c7fb7a4a4b4c23954d68d8     
  • A dilapidated house stands disconsolately amid the rubbles. 一栋破旧的房子凄凉地耸立在断垣残壁中。 来自辞典例句
  • \"I suppose you have to have some friends before you can get in,'she added, disconsolately. “我看得先有些朋友才能进这一行,\"她闷闷不乐地加了一句。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
9 slippers oiPzHV     
n. 拖鞋
  • a pair of slippers 一双拖鞋
  • He kicked his slippers off and dropped on to the bed. 他踢掉了拖鞋,倒在床上。
10 intriguing vqyzM1     
  • These discoveries raise intriguing questions. 这些发现带来了非常有趣的问题。
  • It all sounds very intriguing. 这些听起来都很有趣。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 revolves 63fec560e495199631aad0cc33ccb782     
v.(使)旋转( revolve的第三人称单数 );细想
  • The earth revolves both round the sun and on its own axis. 地球既公转又自转。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • Thus a wheel revolves on its axle. 于是,轮子在轴上旋转。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 fiddling XtWzRz     
  • He was fiddling with his keys while he talked to me. 和我谈话时他不停地摆弄钥匙。
  • All you're going to see is a lot of fiddling around. 你今天要看到的只是大量的胡摆乱弄。 来自英汉文学 - 廊桥遗梦
13 witty GMmz0     
  • Her witty remarks added a little salt to the conversation.她的妙语使谈话增添了一些风趣。
  • He scored a bull's-eye in their argument with that witty retort.在他们的辩论中他那一句机智的反驳击中了要害。
14 cynical Dnbz9     
  • The enormous difficulty makes him cynical about the feasibility of the idea.由于困难很大,他对这个主意是否可行持怀疑态度。
  • He was cynical that any good could come of democracy.他不相信民主会带来什么好处。
15 prying a63afacc70963cb0fda72f623793f578     
adj.爱打听的v.打听,刺探(他人的私事)( pry的现在分词 );撬开
  • I'm sick of you prying into my personal life! 我讨厌你刺探我的私生活!
  • She is always prying into other people's affairs. 她总是打听别人的私事。 来自《简明英汉词典》
16 virtuously a2098b8121e592ae79a9dd81bd9f0548     
  • Pro31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 箴31:29说,才德的女子很多,惟独你超过一切。
17 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》
18 odds n5czT     
  • The odds are 5 to 1 that she will win.她获胜的机会是五比一。
  • Do you know the odds of winning the lottery once?你知道赢得一次彩票的几率多大吗?
19 horrid arozZj     
  • I'm not going to the horrid dinner party.我不打算去参加这次讨厌的宴会。
  • The medicine is horrid and she couldn't get it down.这种药很难吃,她咽不下去。
20 bog QtfzF     
  • We were able to pass him a rope before the bog sucked him under.我们终于得以在沼泽把他吞没前把绳子扔给他。
  • The path goes across an area of bog.这条小路穿过一片沼泽。
21 remarkable 8Vbx6     
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
22 cuffs 4f67c64175ca73d89c78d4bd6a85e3ed     
n.袖口( cuff的名词复数 )v.掌打,拳打( cuff的第三人称单数 )
  • a collar and cuffs of white lace 带白色蕾丝花边的衣领和袖口
  • The cuffs of his shirt were fraying. 他衬衣的袖口磨破了。
23 villain ZL1zA     
  • He was cast as the villain in the play.他在戏里扮演反面角色。
  • The man who played the villain acted very well.扮演恶棍的那个男演员演得很好。
24 lamentably d2f1ae2229e3356deba891ab6ee219ca     
  • Aviation was lamentably weak and primitive. 航空设施极其薄弱简陋。 来自辞典例句
  • Poor Tom lamentably disgraced himself at Sir Charles Mirable's table, by premature inebriation. 可怜的汤姆在查尔斯·米拉贝尔爵士的宴会上,终于入席不久就酩酊大醉,弄得出丑露乖,丢尽了脸皮。 来自辞典例句
25 curiously 3v0zIc     
  • He looked curiously at the people.他好奇地看着那些人。
  • He took long stealthy strides. His hands were curiously cold.他迈着悄没声息的大步。他的双手出奇地冷。
26 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。
27 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。
28 tack Jq1yb     
  • He is hammering a tack into the wall to hang a picture.他正往墙上钉一枚平头钉用来挂画。
  • We are going to tack the map on the wall.我们打算把这张地图钉在墙上。
29 breakdown cS0yx     
  • She suffered a nervous breakdown.她患神经衰弱。
  • The plane had a breakdown in the air,but it was fortunately removed by the ace pilot.飞机在空中发生了故障,但幸运的是被王牌驾驶员排除了。
30 flicker Gjxxb     
  • There was a flicker of lights coming from the abandoned house.这所废弃的房屋中有灯光闪烁。
  • At first,the flame may be a small flicker,barely shining.开始时,光辉可能是微弱地忽隐忽现,几乎并不灿烂。
31 primly b3917c4e7c2256e99d2f93609f8d0c55     
  • He didn't reply, but just smiled primly. 他没回答,只是拘谨地笑了笑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He wore prim suits with neckties set primly against the collar buttons of his white shirts. 他穿着整洁的外套,领结紧贴着白色衬衫领口的钮扣。 来自互联网
32 personalities ylOzsg     
n. 诽谤,(对某人容貌、性格等所进行的)人身攻击; 人身攻击;人格, 个性, 名人( personality的名词复数 )
  • There seemed to be a degree of personalities in her remarks.她话里有些人身攻击的成分。
  • Personalities are not in good taste in general conversation.在一般的谈话中诽谤他人是不高尚的。
33 sufficiently 0htzMB     
  • It turned out he had not insured the house sufficiently.原来他没有给房屋投足保险。
  • The new policy was sufficiently elastic to accommodate both views.新政策充分灵活地适用两种观点。
34 brutally jSRya     
  • The uprising was brutally put down.起义被残酷地镇压下去了。
  • A pro-democracy uprising was brutally suppressed.一场争取民主的起义被残酷镇压了。
35 portrayed a75f5b1487928c9f7f165b2773c13036     
v.画像( portray的过去式和过去分词 );描述;描绘;描画
  • Throughout the trial, he portrayed himself as the victim. 在审讯过程中,他始终把自己说成是受害者。
  • The author portrayed his father as a vicious drunkard. 作者把他父亲描绘成一个可恶的酒鬼。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
36 analytical lLMyS     
  • I have an analytical approach to every survey.对每项调查我都采用分析方法。
  • As a result,analytical data obtained by analysts were often in disagreement.结果各个分析家所得的分析数据常常不一致。
37 dictate fvGxN     
  • It took him a long time to dictate this letter.口述这封信花了他很长时间。
  • What right have you to dictate to others?你有什么资格向别人发号施令?
38 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。
39 atrocity HvdzW     
  • These people are guilty of acts of great atrocity.这些人犯有令人发指的暴行。
  • I am shocked by the atrocity of this man's crimes.这个人行凶手段残忍狠毒使我震惊。
40 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。
41 malice P8LzW     
  • I detected a suggestion of malice in his remarks.我觉察出他说的话略带恶意。
  • There was a strong current of malice in many of his portraits.他的许多肖像画中都透着一股强烈的怨恨。
上一篇:三幕悲剧 20 下一篇:三幕悲剧 22