三幕悲剧 26
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
Poirot did not have quite the uninterrupted twenty-four hours for which he had stipulated1.
At twenty minutes past eleven on the following morning Egg walked in unannounced. To her amazement2 she found the great detective engaged in building card houses. Her face showed such lively scorn that Poirot was impelled3 to defend himself.
“It is not, mademoiselle, that I have become childish in my old age. No. But the building of card houses, I have always found it most stimulating4 to the mind. It is an old habit of mine. This morning, first thing, I go out and buy the pack of cards. Unfortunately I make an error, they are not real cards. But they do just as well.”
Egg looked more closely at the erection on the table.
She laughed.
“Good heavens, they’ve sold you Happy Families.”
“What is that you say, the Happy Families?”
“Yes, it’s a game. Children play it in the nursery.”
“Ah, well, one can compose the houses just in the same manner.”
Egg had picked up some of the cards from the table and was looking at them affectionately.
“Master Bun, the baker’s son - I always loved him. And here’s Mrs. Mug, the milkman’s wife. Oh, dear, I suppose that’s me.”
“Why is that funny picture you, mademoiselle?”
“Because of the name.”
Egg laughed at his bewildered face and then began explaining. When she had finished he said:
“Ah, it was that that Sir Charles meant last night. I wondered ... Mugg - ah, yes, one says in slang, does one not, you are a mug -a fool? Naturally you would change your name. You would not like to be Lady Mugg, eh?”
Egg laughed. She said:
“Well, wish me happiness.”
“I do wish you happiness, mademoiselle. Not the brief happiness of youth, but the happiness that endures - the happiness that is built upon a rock.”
“I’ll tell Charles you call him a rock,” said Egg. “And now for what I came to see you about. I’ve been worrying and worrying about that cutting from the paper that Oliver dropped from his wallet. You know, the one Miss Wills picked up and handed back to him. It seems to me that either Oliver is telling a downright lie when he says he doesn’t remember its being there, or else it never was
there. He dropped some odd bit of paper, and that woman pretended it was the nicotine5 cutting.”
“Why should she have done that, mademoiselle?”
“Because she wanted to get rid of it. She planted it one Oliver.”
“You mean she is a criminal?”
“What was her motive6?”
“It’s no good asking me that. I can only suggest that she’s a lunatic. Clever people often are rather mad. I can’t see any other reason - in fact I can’t see any motive anywhere.”
“Decidedly, that is the impasse7. I should not ask you to guess at a motive. It is of myself that I ask that question without ceasing. What
was the motive behind Mr. Babbington’s death? When I can answer that the case will be solved.”
“You don’t think just madness - ?” suggested Egg.
“No, mademoiselle - not madness in the sense you mean. There is a
reason. I must find that reason.”
“Well, good-bye,” said Egg. “I’m sorry to have disturbed you, but the idea just occurred to me. I must hurry. I’m going with Charles to the dress rehearsal8 of Little Dog Laughed -you know, the play Miss Wills has written for Angela Sutcliffe. It’s the first night tomorrow.”
“Mon dieu! ” cried Poirot.
“What is it? Has anything happened?”
“Yes, indeed something has happened. An idea. A superb idea. Oh, but I have been blind - blind - ”
Egg stared at him. As though realising his eccentricity9, Poirot took a hold on himself. He patted Egg on the shoulder.
“You think I am mad. Not at all. I heard what you said. You go to see
The Little Dog Laughed, and Miss Sutcliffe acts in it. Go then, and pay no attention to what I have said.”
Rather doubtfully Egg departed. Left to himself, Poirot strode up and down the room muttering under his breath. His eyes hone green as any cat’s.
“Mais oui -that explains everything. A curious motive - a very curious motive - such a motive as I have never come across before, and yet it is reasonable, and, given the circumstances, natural. Altogether a very curious case.”
He passed the table where his card house still reposed10. With a sweep of his hands he swept the cards from the table.
“The happy family, I need it no longer,” he said. “The problem is solved. It only remains11 to act.”
He caught up his had and put on his overcoat. Then he went downstairs and the commissionaire called him a taxi. Poirot gave the address of Sir Charles’s flat.
Arrived there, he paid off the taxi, and stepped into the hall. The porter was absent taking up the lift. Poirot walked up the stairs. Just as he arrived on the second floor the door of Sir Charles’s flat opened and Miss Milray came out.
She started when she saw Poirot.
Poirot smiled.
“Me! Or is it I? Enfin, moi! ”
Miss Milray said:
“I’m afraid you won’t find Sir Charles. He’s gone to the Babylon Theatre with Miss Lytton Gore12.”
“It is not Sir Charles I seek. It is my stick that I think I have left behind one day.”
“Oh, I see. Well, if you’ll ring, Temple will find it for you. I’m sorry I can’t stop. I’m on my way to catch a train. I’m going down to Kent - to my mother.”
“I comprehend. Do not let me delay you, mademoiselle.”
He stood aside and Miss Milray passed rapidly down the stairs. She was carrying a small attaché case.
But when she had gone Poirot seemed to forget the purpose for which he had come. Instead of going on up to the landing, he turned and made his way downstairs again. He arrived at the front door just in time to see Miss Milray getting into a taxi. Another taxi was coming slowly along the kerb. Poirot raised a hand and it came to rest. He got in and directed the driver to follow the other taxi. No surprise showed on his face when the first taxi went north and finally drew up at Paddington Station, though Paddington is an odd station from which to proceed to Kent. Poirot went to the first-class booking window and demanded a return ticket to Loomouth. The train was due to depart in five minutes. Pulling up his overcoat well about his ears, for the day was cold, Poirot ensconced himself in the corner of a first-class carriage.
They arrived at Loomouth about five o’clock. It was already growing dark. Standing13 back a little, Poirot heard Miss Milray being greeted by the friendly porter at the little station.
“Well, now, miss, we didn’t expect you. Is Sir Charles coming down?”
Miss Milray replied:
“I’ve come down here unexpectedly. I shall be going back tomorrow morning. I’ve just come to fetch some things. No, I don’t want a cab, thank you. I’ll walk up by the cliff path.”
The dusk had deepened. Miss Milray walked briskly up the steep zigzag14 path. A good way behind came Hercule Poirot. He trod softly like a cat. Miss Milray, on arrival at Crow's Nest, produced a key from her bag and passed through the side door, leaving it ajar. She reappeared a minute or two later. She had a rusty15 door key and an electric torch in her hand. Poirot drew back a little behind a convenient bush.
Miss Milray passed round behind the house and up a scrambling16 overgrown path. Hercule Poirot followed. Up and up went Miss Milray until she came suddenly to an old stone tower such as is found often on that coast. This one was of humble17 and dilapidated appearance. There was, however, a curtain over the dirty window, and Miss Milray inserted her key in the big wooden door.
The key turned with a protesting creak. The door swung with a groan18 on its hinges. Miss Milray and her torch passed inside. With an increase of pace Poirot caught up. He passed, in his turn, noiselessly through the door. The light of Miss Milray’s torch gleamed fitfully on glass retorts, a bunsen burner - various apparatus19.
Miss Milray had picked up a cowbar. She had raised it and was holding it over the glass apparatus when a hand caught her by the arm. She gasped20 and turned.
The green, catlike eyes of Poirot looked into hers.
“You cannot do that, mademoiselle,” he said. “For what you seek to destroy is evidence.”


1 stipulated 5203a115be4ee8baf068f04729d1e207     
vt.& vi.规定;约定adj.[法]合同规定的
  • A delivery date is stipulated in the contract. 合同中规定了交货日期。
  • Yes, I think that's what we stipulated. 对呀,我想那是我们所订定的。 来自辞典例句
2 amazement 7zlzBK     
  • All those around him looked at him with amazement.周围的人都对他投射出惊异的眼光。
  • He looked at me in blank amazement.他带着迷茫惊诧的神情望着我。
3 impelled 8b9a928e37b947d87712c1a46c607ee7     
v.推动、推进或敦促某人做某事( impel的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He felt impelled to investigate further. 他觉得有必要作进一步调查。
  • I feel impelled to express grave doubts about the project. 我觉得不得不对这项计划深表怀疑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 stimulating ShBz7A     
  • shower gel containing plant extracts that have a stimulating effect on the skin 含有对皮肤有益的植物精华的沐浴凝胶
  • This is a drug for stimulating nerves. 这是一种兴奋剂。
5 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。
6 motive GFzxz     
  • The police could not find a motive for the murder.警察不能找到谋杀的动机。
  • He had some motive in telling this fable.他讲这寓言故事是有用意的。
7 impasse xcJz1     
  • The government had reached an impasse.政府陷入绝境。
  • Negotiations seemed to have reached an impasse.谈判似乎已经陷入僵局。
8 rehearsal AVaxu     
  • I want to play you a recording of the rehearsal.我想给你放一下彩排的录像。
  • You can sharpen your skills with rehearsal.排练可以让技巧更加纯熟。
9 eccentricity hrOxT     
  • I can't understand the eccentricity of Henry's behavior.我不理解亨利的古怪举止。
  • His eccentricity had become legendary long before he died.在他去世之前他的古怪脾气就早已闻名遐尔了。
10 reposed ba178145bbf66ddeebaf9daf618f04cb     
v.将(手臂等)靠在某人(某物)上( repose的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Mr. Cruncher reposed under a patchwork counterpane, like a Harlequin at home. 克朗彻先生盖了一床白衲衣图案的花哨被子,像是呆在家里的丑角。 来自英汉文学 - 双城记
  • An old man reposed on a bench in the park. 一位老人躺在公园的长凳上。 来自辞典例句
11 remains 1kMzTy     
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
12 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。
13 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。
14 zigzag Hf6wW     
  • The lightning made a zigzag in the sky.闪电在天空划出一道Z字形。
  • The path runs zigzag up the hill.小径向山顶蜿蜒盘旋。
15 rusty hYlxq     
  • The lock on the door is rusty and won't open.门上的锁锈住了。
  • I haven't practiced my French for months and it's getting rusty.几个月不用,我的法语又荒疏了。
16 scrambling cfea7454c3a8813b07de2178a1025138     
v.快速爬行( scramble的现在分词 );攀登;争夺;(军事飞机)紧急起飞
  • Scrambling up her hair, she darted out of the house. 她匆忙扎起头发,冲出房去。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • She is scrambling eggs. 她正在炒蛋。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 humble ddjzU     
  • In my humble opinion,he will win the election.依我拙见,他将在选举中获胜。
  • Defeat and failure make people humble.挫折与失败会使人谦卑。
18 groan LfXxU     
  • The wounded man uttered a groan.那个受伤的人发出呻吟。
  • The people groan under the burden of taxes.人民在重税下痛苦呻吟。
19 apparatus ivTzx     
  • The school's audio apparatus includes films and records.学校的视听设备包括放映机和录音机。
  • They had a very refined apparatus.他们有一套非常精良的设备。
20 gasped e6af294d8a7477229d6749fa9e8f5b80     
v.喘气( gasp的过去式和过去分词 );喘息;倒抽气;很想要
  • She gasped at the wonderful view. 如此美景使她惊讶得屏住了呼吸。
  • People gasped with admiration at the superb skill of the gymnasts. 体操运动员的高超技艺令人赞叹。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
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