三幕悲剧 25
文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2023-09-12 06:03 字体: [ ]  进入论坛
Before catching1 their train Hercule Poirot and Mr. Satterthwaite had had a brief interview with Miss Lyndon, the late Sir Bartholomew Strange’s secretary. Miss Lyndon had been very willing to help, but had had nothing of important to tell them. Mrs. de Rushbridger was only mentioned in Sir Bartholomew’s casebook in a purely2 professional fashion. Sir Bartholomew had never spoken of her save in medical terms.
The two men arrived at the Sanatorium about twelve o’clock. The maid who opened the door looked excited and flushed. Mr. Satterthwaite asked first for the Matron.
“I don’t know whether she can see you this morning,” said the girl doubtfully.
Mr. Satterthwaite extracted a card and wrote a few words on it.
“Please take her this.”
They were shown into a small waiting room. In about five minutes the door opened and the Matron came in. she was looking quite unlike her usual brisk efficient self.
Mr. Satterthwaite rose.
“I hope you remember me,” he said. “I came here with Sir Charles Cartwright just after the death of Sir Bartholomew Strange.”
“Yes, indeed, Mr. Satterthwaite, of course I remember; and Sir Charles asked for poor Mrs. de Rushbridger the, and it seems such a coincidence.”
“Let me introduce M. Hercule Poirot.”
Poirot bowed and the Matron responded absently. She went on:
“I can’t understand how you can have had a telegram as you say. The whole thing seems most mysterious. Surely it can’t be connected with the poor doctor’s death in any way? There must be some madman about - that’s the only way I can account for it. Having the police here and everything. It’s really been terrible.”
“The police?” said Mr. Satterthwaite, surprised.
“Yes, since ten o’clock they’ve been here.”
“The police?” said Hercule Poirot.
“Perhaps we could see Mrs. de Rushbridger now,” suggested Mr. Satterthwaite. “Since she asked us to come - ”
The Matron interrupted him.
“Oh, Mr. Satterthwaite, then you don’t know!”
“Know what?” demanded Poirot sharply.
“Poor Mrs. de Rushbridger. She’s dead.”
“Dead?” cried Poirot. “Mille tonnerres! That explains it. Yes, that explains it. I should have seen - ” He broke off. “How did she die?”
“It’s most mysterious. A box of chocolates came for her - liqueur chocolates - by post. She ate one - it must have tasted horrible, but she was taken by surprise, I suppose, and she swallowed it. One doesn’t like spitting a thing out.”
“Oui, oui, and if a liquid runs suddenly down your throat, it is difficult.”
“So she swallowed it and called out and Nurse came rushing, but we couldn’t do anything. She died in about two minutes. Then doctor sent for the police, and they came and examined the chocolates. And the top layer had been tampered4 with, the underneath5 ones were all right.”
“And the poison employed?”
“They think it’s nicotine6.”
“Yes,” said Poirot. “Again nicotine. What a stroke! What an audacious stroke!”
“We are too late,” said Mr. Satterthwaite. “We shall never know now what she had to tell us. Unless - unless - she confided7 in someone?”
He glanced interrogatively at the Matron.
Poirot shook his head.
“There will have been no confidences, you will find.”
“We can ask,” said Mr. Satterthwaite. “One of the nurses, perhaps?”
“By all means ask,” said Poirot; but he did not sound hopeful. Mr. Satterthwaite turned to the Matron who immediately sent for the two nurses, on day and night duty respectively, who had been in attendance on Mrs. de Rushbridger, but neither of them could add any information to that already given. Mrs. de Rushbridger had never mentioned Sir Bartholomew’s death, and they did not even know of the despatching of the telegram.
On a request from Poirot, the two men were taken to the dead woman’s room. They found Superintendent8 Crossfield in charge, and Mr. Satterthwaite introduced him to Poirot.
Then the two men moved over to the bed and stood looking down on the dead woman. She was about forty, dark-haired and pale. Her face was not peaceful - it still showed the agony of her death. Mr. Satterthwaite said slowly:
“Poor soul ... ”
He looked across at Hercule Poirot. There was a strange expression on the little Belgian’s face.
Something about it made Mr. Satterthwaite shiver ...
Mr. Satterthwaite said:
“Someone knew she was going to speak, and killed her ... She was killed in order to prevent her speaking ... ”
Poirot nodded.
“Yes, that is so.”
“She was murdered to prevent her telling us what she knew.”
“Or what she did not know ... But let us not waste time ... There is much to be done. There must be no more deaths. We must see to that.”
Mr. Satterthwaite asked curiously9:
“Does this fit in with your idea of the murderer’s identity?”
“Yes, it fits ... But I realise one thing: The murderer is more dangerous than I thought ... We must be careful.”
Superintendent Crossfield followed them out of the room and learnt from them of the telegram which had been received by them. The telegram had been handed it at Melfort Post Office, and on inquiry10 there it was elicited11 that it had been handed in by a small boy. The young lady in charge remembered it, because the message had excited her very much, mentioning, as it did, Sir Bartholomew Strange’s death.
After six o’clock that evening the small boy who had handed in the telegram was found. He told his story promptly12. He had been given the telegram by a man dressed in shabby clothes. The man told him that the telegram had been given him by a “loony lady” in the
“House in the Park.” She had dropped it out of the window wrapped round two half-crowns. The man was afraid to be mixed up in some funny business, and was tramping in the other direction, so he had given the boy two and six and told him to keep the change.
A search would be instituted for the man. In the meantime there seemed nothing more to be done, and Poirot and Mr. Satterthwaite returned to London.
It was close on midnight when the two men arrived back in town. Egg had gone back to her mother, but Sir Charles met them, and the three men discussed the situation.
“Mon ami,” said Poirot, “be guided by me. Only one thing will solve this case - the little grey cells of the brain. To rush up and down England, to hope that this person and that will tell us what we want to know - all such methods are amateurish13 and absurd. The truth can only be seen from within.”
Sir Charles looked slightly sceptical.
“What do you want to do, then?”
“I want to think. I ask of you twenty-four house - in which to think.”
Sir Charles shook his head with a slight smile.
“Will thinking tell you what it was this woman could have said if she lived?”
“I believe so.”
“It hardly seems possible. However, M. Poirot, you must have it your own way. If you can see through this mystery, it’s more than I can. I’m beaten, and I confess it. In any case, I’ve other fish to fry.”
Perhaps he hoped to be questioned, but if so his expectation was disappointed. Mr. Satterthwaite did indeed look up alertly, but Poirot remained lost in thought.
“Well, I must be off,” said the actor. “Oh, just one thing. I’m rather worried about - Miss Wills.”
“What about her?”
“She’s gone.”
Poirot stared at him.
“Gone? Gone where?”
“Nobody knows... I was thinking things over after I got your telegram. As I told you at the time, I felt convinced that that woman knew something she hadn’t told us. I thought I’d have a last shot at getting it out of her. I drove out to her house - it was about half-past nine when I got there - and asked for her. It appears she left home this morning - went up to London for the day - that’s what she said. Her people got a telegram in the evening saying she wasn’t returning for a day or so and not to worry.”
“And were they worrying?”
“I gather they were, rather. You see, she hadn’t taken any luggage with her.”
“Odd,” murmured Poirot.
“I know. It seems as though - I don’t know. I feel uneasy.”
“I warned her,” said Poirot. “I warned everyone. You remember I said to them, ‘Speak now.’”
“Yes, yes. Do you think that she, too - ?”
“I have my ideas,” said Poirot. “For the moment I prefer not to discuss them.”
“Fist, the butler - Ellis - then Miss Wills. Where is Ellis? It’s incredible that the police have never been able to lay hands on him.”
“They have not looked for his body in the right place,” said Poirot.
“Then you agree with Egg. You think he is dead?”
“Ellis will never be seen alive again.”
“My God,” burst out Sir Charles. “It’s a nightmare - the whole thing is utterly14 incomprehensible.”
“No, no. It is sane15 and logical, on the contrary.”
Sir Charles stared at him.
“You say that?”
“Certainly. You see, I have the orderly mind.”
“I don’t understand you.”
Mr. Satterthwaite, too, looked curiously at the little detective.
“What kind of mind have I?” demanded Sir Charles, slightly hurt.
“You have the actor’s mind, Sir Charles, creative, original, seeing always dramatic values. Mr. Satterthwaite, he has the playgoer’s mind, he observes the characters, he has the sense of atmosphere. But me, I have the prosaic16 mind. I see only the facts without any dramatic trappings or footlights.”
“Then we’re to leave you to it?”
“That is my idea. For twenty-four hours.”
“Good luck to you, then. Good-night.”
As they went away together Sir Charles said to Mr. Satterthwaite:
“That chap thinks a lot of himself.”
He spoke3 rather coldly.
Mr. Satterthwaite smiled. That star part! So that was it. He said:
“What did you mean by saying you had other fish to fry, Sir Charles?”
On Sir Charles’s face appeared the sheepish expression that Mr. Satterthwaite knew so well from attending weddings in Hanover Square.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I - er - well, Egg and I - ”
“I’m delighted to hear it,” said Mr. Satterthwaite. “My best congratulations.”
“Of course I’m years too old for her.”
“She doesn’t think so - and she’s the best judge.”
“That’s very nice of you, Satterthwaite. You know, I’d got it into my head she was fond of young Manders.”
“I wonder what made you think that,” said Mr. Satterthwaite innocently.
“Anyway,” said Sir Charles firmly, “she isn’t ... ”


1 catching cwVztY     
  • There are those who think eczema is catching.有人就是认为湿疹会传染。
  • Enthusiasm is very catching.热情非常富有感染力。
2 purely 8Sqxf     
  • I helped him purely and simply out of friendship.我帮他纯粹是出于友情。
  • This disproves the theory that children are purely imitative.这证明认为儿童只会单纯地模仿的理论是站不住脚的。
3 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。
4 tampered 07b218b924120d49a725c36b06556000     
v.窜改( tamper的过去式 );篡改;(用不正当手段)影响;瞎摆弄
  • The records of the meeting had been tampered with. 会议记录已被人擅自改动。 来自辞典例句
  • The old man's will has been tampered with. 老人的遗嘱已被窜改。 来自辞典例句
5 underneath VKRz2     
  • Working underneath the car is always a messy job.在汽车底下工作是件脏活。
  • She wore a coat with a dress underneath.她穿着一件大衣,里面套着一条连衣裙。
6 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。
7 confided 724f3f12e93e38bec4dda1e47c06c3b1     
v.吐露(秘密,心事等)( confide的过去式和过去分词 );(向某人)吐露(隐私、秘密等)
  • She confided all her secrets to her best friend. 她向她最要好的朋友倾吐了自己所有的秘密。
  • He confided to me that he had spent five years in prison. 他私下向我透露,他蹲过五年监狱。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 superintendent vsTwV     
  • He was soon promoted to the post of superintendent of Foreign Trade.他很快就被擢升为对外贸易总监。
  • He decided to call the superintendent of the building.他决定给楼房管理员打电话。
9 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。
10 inquiry nbgzF     
  • Many parents have been pressing for an inquiry into the problem.许多家长迫切要求调查这个问题。
  • The field of inquiry has narrowed down to five persons.调查的范围已经缩小到只剩5个人了。
11 elicited 65993d006d16046aa01b07b96e6edfc2     
引出,探出( elicit的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Threats to reinstate the tax elicited jeer from the Opposition. 恢复此项征税的威胁引起了反对党的嘲笑。
  • The comedian's joke elicited applause and laughter from the audience. 那位滑稽演员的笑话博得观众的掌声和笑声。
12 promptly LRMxm     
  • He paid the money back promptly.他立即还了钱。
  • She promptly seized the opportunity his absence gave her.她立即抓住了因他不在场给她创造的机会。
13 amateurish AoSy6     
  • The concert was rather an amateurish affair.这场音乐会颇有些外行客串的味道。
  • The paintings looked amateurish.这些画作看起来只具备业余水准。
14 utterly ZfpzM1     
  • Utterly devoted to the people,he gave his life in saving his patients.他忠于人民,把毕生精力用于挽救患者的生命。
  • I was utterly ravished by the way she smiled.她的微笑使我完全陶醉了。
15 sane 9YZxB     
  • He was sane at the time of the murder.在凶杀案发生时他的神志是清醒的。
  • He is a very sane person.他是一个很有头脑的人。
16 prosaic i0szo     
  • The truth is more prosaic.真相更加乏味。
  • It was a prosaic description of the scene.这是对场景没有想象力的一个描述。
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