三幕悲剧 24
文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2023-09-12 06:02 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
At once an excited discussion sprang up. An ABC was produced. It was decided1 that an early train would be better than going by car.
“At last,” said Sir Charles, “we’re going to get that particular part of the mystery cleared up.”
“What do you think of the mystery is?” asked Egg.
“I can’t imagine. But it can’t fail to throw some light on the Babbington affair. If Tollie got those people together on purpose, as I feel pretty sure he did, then the ‘surprise’ he talked of springing on them had something to do with this Rushbridger woman. I think we can assume that, don’t you, M. Poirot?”
Poirot shook his head in a perplexed2 manner.
“This telegram complicates3 the affair,” he murmured. “But we must be quick - extremely quick.”
Mr. Satterthwaite did not see the need for extreme haste, but he agreed politely.
“Certainly, we will go by the first train in the morning. Er - that is to say, is it necessary for us all to go?”
“Sir Charles and I had arranged to go down to Gilling,” said Egg.
“We can postpone4 that,” said Sir Charles.
“I don’t think we ought to postpone anything,” said Egg. “There is no need for all of us to go to Yorkshire. It’s absurd. Mass formation. M. Poirot and Mr. Satterthwaite go to Yorkshire and Sir Charles and I go to Gilling.”
“I’d rather like to look into this Rushbridger business,” said Sir Charles with a trace of wistfulness. “You see, I - er - talked to the Matron before - got my foot in, so to speak.”
“That’s just why you’d better keep away,” said Egg. “You involved yourself in a lot of lies, and now this Rushbridger woman has come to herself you’ll be exposed as a thorough-paced liar5. It’s far far more important that you should come to Gilling. If we want to see Miss Milray’s mother she’ll open out to you much more than she would to anyone else. You’re her daughter’s employer, and she’ll have confidence in you.”
Sir Charles looked into Egg’s glowing, earnest face.
“I’ll come to Gilling,” he said. “I think you’re quite right.”
“I know I’m right,” said Egg.
“In my opinion an excellent arrangement,” said Poirot briskly. “As mademoiselle says, Sir Charles is pre-eminently the person to interview this Mrs. Milray. Who knows, you may learn from her facts of much more importance than those we shall learn in Yorkshire.”
Matters were arranged on this basis, and the following morning Sir Charles picked up Egg in his car at a quarter to ten. Poirot and Mr. Satterthwaite had already left London by train.
It was a lovely crisp morning with just a touch of frost in the air. Egg felt her spirits rising as they turned and twisted through the various short cuts which Sir Charles’s experience had discovered south of the Thames.
At last, however, they were flying smoothly6 along the Folkestone road. After passing through Maidstone, Sir Charles consulted a map, and they turned off from the main road and were shortly winding7 through country lanes. It was about a quarter to twelve when they at last reached their objective.
Gilling was a village which the world had left behind. It had an old church, a vicarage, two or three shops, a row of cottages, three or four new council houses and a very attractive village green. Miss Milray’s mother lived in a tiny house on the other side of the green to the church.
As the car drew up Egg asked:
“Does Miss Milray know you are going to see her mother?”
“Oh, yes. She wrote to prepare the old lady.”
“Do you think that was a good thing?”
“My dear child, why not?”
“Oh, I don’t know ... You didn’t bring her down with you, though.”
“As a matter of fact, I thought she might cramp8 my style. She’s so much more efficient than I am - she’d probably try to prompt me.”
Egg laughed.
Mrs. Milray turned out to be almost ludicrously unlike her daughter. Where Miss Milray was hard, she was soft, where Miss Milray was angular, she was round. Mrs. Milray was an immense dumpling of a woman immovably fixed9 in an armchair conveniently placed so that she could, from the window, observe all that went on in the world outside.
She seemed pleasurably excited by the arrival of her visitors.
“This is very nice of you, I’m sure, Sir Charles. I’ve heard so much about you from my Violet. (Violet! Singularly incongruous name for Miss Milray.) You don’t know how much she admires you. It’s been almost interesting for her working with you all these years. Won’t you sit down, Miss Lytton Gore10? You’ll excuse my not getting up. I’ve lost the use of my limbs for many years now. The Lord’s will, and I don’t complain, and what I say is one can get used to anything. Perhaps you’d like a little refreshment11 after your drive down?”
Both Sir Charles and Egg disclaimed12 the need of refreshment, but Mrs. Milray paid no attention. She clapped her hands in an Oriental manner, and tea and biscuits made their appearance. As they nibbled13 and sipped14, Sir Charles came to the object of their visit.
“I expect you’ve heard, Mrs. Milray, all about the tragic15 death of Mr. Babbington who used to be vicar here?”
The dumpling nodded its head in vigorous assent16.
“Yes, indeed. I’ve read all about the exhumation17 in the paper. And whoever can have poisoned him I can’t imagine. A very nice man, he was, everyone liked him here - and her, too. And their little children and all.”
“It is indeed a great mystery,” said Sir Charles. “We’re all in despair about it. In fact, we wondered if you could possibly throw any light upon the matter.”
“Me? But I haven’t seen the Babbingtons - let me see - it must be over fifteen years.”
“I know, but some of us have the idea that there might be something in the past to account for his death.”
“I’m sure I don’t know what there could be. They led very quiet lives
-very badly off, poor things, with all those children.”
Mrs. Milray was willing enough to reminisce, but her reminiscences seemed to shed little light on the problem they had set out to solve. Sir Charles showed her the enlargement of a snapshot which included the Dacres, also an early portrait of Angela Sutcliffe and a somewhat blurred18 reproduction of Miss Wills cut from a newspaper. Mrs. Milray surveyed them all with great interest, but with no signs of recognition.
“I can’t say I remember any of them - of course it’s a long time ago. But this is a small place. There’s not much coming and going. The Agnew girls, the doctor’s daughters - they’re all married and out in the world, and our present doctor’s a bachelor - he’s got a new young partner. Then there were the old Miss Cayleys - sat in the big pew - they’re all dead many years back. And the Richardsons - he died and she went to Wales. And the village people, of course. But there’s not much change there. Violet, I expect, could tell you as much as I could. She was a young girl hen and often over at the Vicarage.”
Sir Charles tried to envisage19 Miss Milray as a young girl and failed. He asked Mrs. Milray if she remembered anyone of the name of Rushbridger, but the name failed to evoke20 any response.
Finally they took their leave.
Their next move was a scratch lunch in the baker’s shop. Sir Charles had hankerings for fleshpots elsewhere, but Egg pointed21 out that they might get hold of some local gossip.
“And boiled eggs and scones22 will do you no harm for once,” she said severely23. “Men are so fussy24 about their food.”
“I always find eggs so depressing,” said Sir Charles meekly25. The woman who served them was communicative enough. She, too, had read of the exhumation in the paper and had been proportionately thrilled by its being “old vicar.” “I were a child at the time,” she explained. “But I remember him.”
She could not, however, tell them much about him.
After lunch they went to the church and looked through the register of births, marriages and deaths. Here again there seemed nothing hopeful or suggestive.
They came out into the churchyard and lingered. Egg read the names on the tombstones.
“What queer names there are,” she said. “Listen, here’s a whole family of Stavepennys and here’s a Mary Ann Sticklepath.”
“None of them so queer as mine,” murmured Sir Charles.
“Cartwright? I don’t think that’s a queer name at all.”
“I didn’t mean Cartwright. Cartwright’s my acting26 name, and I finally adopted it legally.”
“What’s your real name?”
“I couldn’t possibly tell you. It’s my guilty secret.”
“Is it as terrible as all that?”
“It’s not so much terrible as humorous.”
“Oh - tell it me.”
“Certainly not,” said Sir Charles firmly.
“Why not?”
“You’d laugh.”
“I wouldn’t.”
“You wouldn’t be able to help laughing.”
“Oh, please tell me. Please, please, please.”
“What a persistence27 creature you are, Egg. Why do you want to know?”
“Because you won’t tell me.”
“You adorable child,” said Sir Charles a little unsteadily.
“I’m not a child.”
“Aren’t you? I wonder.”
“Tell me,” whispered Egg softly.
A humorous and rueful smile twisted Sir Charles’s mouth.
“Very well, here goes. My father’s name was Mugg.”
“Not really?”
“Really and truly.”
“H’m,” said Egg. “That is a bit catastrophic. To go through life as Mugg - ”
“Wouldn’t have taken me far in my career. I agree. I remember, went on Sir Charles dreamily, I played with the idea (I was young then) of calling myself Ludovic Castiglione - but I eventually compromised on British alliteration28 as Charles Cartwright.”
“Are you really Charles?”
“Yes, my godfathers and godmothers saw to that.” He hesitated, then said, “Why don’t you say Charles - and drop the Sir?”
“I might.”
“You did yesterday. When - when - you thought I was dead.”
“Oh, then.” Egg tried to make her voice nonchalant.
Sir Charles said abruptly29: “Egg, somehow or other this murder business doesn’t seem real any more. Today especially, it seems fantastic. I meant to clear the thing up before - before anything else. I’ve been superstitious30 about it. I’ve associated success in solving problems with - with another kind of success. Oh, damn, why do I beat about the bush? I’ve made love on the stage so often that I’m diffident about it in real life ... Is it me or is it young Manders, Egg? I must know. Yesterday I thought it was me ... ”
“You thought right ... ”
“You incredible angel,” cried Sir Charles.
“Charles, Charles, you can’t kiss me in a churchyard ... ”
“I shall kiss you anywhere I please ... ”
“We’ve found out nothing,” said Egg later, as they were speeding back to London.
“Nonsense, we’ve found out the only thing worth finding out ... What do I care about dead clergymen or dead doctors? You’re the only thing that matters ... You know, my dear, I’m thirty years older than you - are you sure it doesn’t matter?”
Egg pinched his arm gently.
“Don’t be silly ... I wonder if the others have found out anything!”
“They’re welcome to it,” said Sir Charles generously.
“Charles - you used to be so keen.”
But Sir Charles was no longer playing the part of the great detective.
“Well, it was my own show. Now I’ve handed over to Moustachios. It’s his business.”
“Do you think he really knows who committed the crimes? He said he did.”
“Probably hasn’t the faintest idea, but he’s got to keep up his professional reputation.”
Egg was silent. Sir Charles said:
“What are you thinking about, darling?”
“I was thinking about Miss Milray. She was so odd in her manner that evening I told you about. She had just bought the paper about the exhumation, and she said she didn’t know what to do.”
“Nonsense,” said Sir Charles cheerfully. “That woman always knows what to do.”
“Do be serious, Charles. She sounded - worried.”
“Egg, my sweet, what do I care for Miss Milray’s worries? What do I care for anything but you and me?”
“You’d better pay some attention to the trams!” said Egg. “I don’t want to be widowed before I’m a wife.”
They arrived back at Sir Charles’s flat for tea. Miss Milray came out to meet them.
“There is a telegram for you, Sir Charles.”
“Thank you, Miss Milray.” He laughed, a nervous boyish laugh.
“Look here, I must tell you our news. Miss Lytton Gore and I are going to get married.”
There was a moment’s pause, and then Miss Milray said:
“Oh! I’m sure - I’m sure you’ll be very happy.”
There was a queer note in her voice. Egg noticed it, but before she could formulate31 her impression Charles Cartwright had swung round to her with a quick exclamation32.
“My God, Egg, look at this. It’s from Satterthwaite.”
He shoved the telegram into her hands. Egg read it, and her eyes opened wide.


1 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
2 perplexed A3Rz0     
  • The farmer felt the cow,went away,returned,sorely perplexed,always afraid of being cheated.那农民摸摸那头牛,走了又回来,犹豫不决,总怕上当受骗。
  • The child was perplexed by the intricate plot of the story.这孩子被那头绪纷繁的故事弄得迷惑不解。
3 complicates 5877af381de63ddbd027e178c8d214f1     
使复杂化( complicate的第三人称单数 )
  • What complicates the issue is the burden of history. 历史的重负使问题复杂化了。
  • Russia as a great and ambitious power gravely complicates the situation. 俄国作为一个强大而有野心的国家,使得局势异常复杂。
4 postpone rP0xq     
  • I shall postpone making a decision till I learn full particulars.在未获悉详情之前我得从缓作出决定。
  • She decided to postpone the converastion for that evening.她决定当天晚上把谈话搁一搁。
5 liar V1ixD     
  • I know you for a thief and a liar!我算认识你了,一个又偷又骗的家伙!
  • She was wrongly labelled a liar.她被错误地扣上说谎者的帽子。
6 smoothly iiUzLG     
  • The workmen are very cooperative,so the work goes on smoothly.工人们十分合作,所以工作进展顺利。
  • Just change one or two words and the sentence will read smoothly.这句话只要动一两个字就顺了。
7 winding Ue7z09     
  • A winding lane led down towards the river.一条弯弯曲曲的小路通向河边。
  • The winding trail caused us to lose our orientation.迂回曲折的小道使我们迷失了方向。
8 cramp UoczE     
  • Winston stopped writing,partly because he was suffering from cramp.温斯顿驻了笔,手指也写麻了。
  • The swimmer was seized with a cramp and had to be helped out of the water.那个在游泳的人突然抽起筋来,让别人帮着上了岸。
9 fixed JsKzzj     
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
10 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。
11 refreshment RUIxP     
  • He needs to stop fairly often for refreshment.他须时不时地停下来喘口气。
  • A hot bath is a great refreshment after a day's work.在一天工作之后洗个热水澡真是舒畅。
12 disclaimed 7031e3db75a1841cb1ae9b6493c87661     
v.否认( disclaim的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She disclaimed any knowledge of her husband's whereabouts. 她否认知道丈夫的下落。
  • He disclaimed any interest in the plan. 他否认对该计划有任何兴趣。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 nibbled e053ad3f854d401d3fe8e7fa82dc3325     
v.啃,一点一点地咬(吃)( nibble的过去式和过去分词 );啃出(洞),一点一点咬出(洞);慢慢减少;小口咬
  • She nibbled daintily at her cake. 她优雅地一点一点地吃着自己的蛋糕。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Several companies have nibbled at our offer. 若干公司表示对我们的出价有兴趣。 来自《简明英汉词典》
14 sipped 22d1585d494ccee63c7bff47191289f6     
v.小口喝,呷,抿( sip的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He sipped his coffee pleasurably. 他怡然地品味着咖啡。
  • I sipped the hot chocolate she had made. 我小口喝着她调制的巧克力热饮。 来自辞典例句
15 tragic inaw2     
  • The effect of the pollution on the beaches is absolutely tragic.污染海滩后果可悲。
  • Charles was a man doomed to tragic issues.查理是个注定不得善终的人。
16 assent Hv6zL     
  • I cannot assent to what you ask.我不能应允你的要求。
  • The new bill passed by Parliament has received Royal Assent.议会所通过的新方案已获国王批准。
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 blurred blurred     
v.(使)变模糊( blur的过去式和过去分词 );(使)难以区分;模模糊糊;迷离
  • She suffered from dizziness and blurred vision. 她饱受头晕目眩之苦。
  • Their lazy, blurred voices fell pleasantly on his ears. 他们那种慢吞吞、含糊不清的声音在他听起来却很悦耳。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 envisage AjczV     
  • Nobody can envisage the consequences of total nuclear war.没有人能够想像全面核战争的后果。
  • When do you envisage being able to pay me back?你看你什么时候能还我钱?
20 evoke NnDxB     
  • These images are likely to evoke a strong response in the viewer.这些图像可能会在观众中产生强烈反响。
  • Her only resource was the sympathy she could evoke.她以凭借的唯一力量就是她能从人们心底里激起的同情。
21 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
22 scones 851500ddb2eb42d0ca038d69fbf83f7e     
n.烤饼,烤小圆面包( scone的名词复数 )
  • scones and jam with clotted cream 夹有凝脂奶油和果酱的烤饼
  • She makes scones and cakes for the delectation of visitors. 她烘制了烤饼和蛋糕供客人享用。 来自辞典例句
23 severely SiCzmk     
  • He was severely criticized and removed from his post.他受到了严厉的批评并且被撤了职。
  • He is severely put down for his careless work.他因工作上的粗心大意而受到了严厉的批评。
24 fussy Ff5z3     
  • He is fussy about the way his food's cooked.他过分计较食物的烹调。
  • The little girl dislikes her fussy parents.小女孩讨厌她那过分操心的父母。
25 meekly meekly     
  • He stood aside meekly when the new policy was proposed. 当有人提出新政策时,他唯唯诺诺地站 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He meekly accepted the rebuke. 他顺从地接受了批评。 来自《简明英汉词典》
26 acting czRzoc     
  • Ignore her,she's just acting.别理她,她只是假装的。
  • During the seventies,her acting career was in eclipse.在七十年代,她的表演生涯黯然失色。
27 persistence hSLzh     
  • The persistence of a cough in his daughter puzzled him.他女儿持续的咳嗽把他难住了。
  • He achieved success through dogged persistence.他靠着坚持不懈取得了成功。
28 alliteration ioJy7     
  • We chose alliteration on the theory a little vulgarity enhances memory.在理论上我们选择有点儿粗俗的头韵来帮助记忆。
  • It'seems to me that in prose alliteration should be used only for a special reason.依我看,在散文里,头韵只能在一定的场合使用。
29 abruptly iINyJ     
  • He gestured abruptly for Virginia to get in the car.他粗鲁地示意弗吉尼亚上车。
  • I was abruptly notified that a half-hour speech was expected of me.我突然被通知要讲半个小时的话。
30 superstitious BHEzf     
  • They aim to deliver the people who are in bondage to superstitious belief.他们的目的在于解脱那些受迷信束缚的人。
  • These superstitious practices should be abolished as soon as possible.这些迷信做法应尽早取消。
31 formulate L66yt     
  • He took care to formulate his reply very clearly.他字斟句酌,清楚地做了回答。
  • I was impressed by the way he could formulate his ideas.他陈述观点的方式让我印象深刻。
32 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。
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