Сетевая библиотекаСетевая библиотека

Dumb Witness / Безмолвный свидетель. Книга для чтения на английском языке

Dumb Witness / Безмолвный свидетель. Книга для чтения на английском языке
Dumb Witness / Безмолвный свидетель. Книга для чтения на английском языке Agatha Christie Чтение в оригинале (Каро)Detective story Детективный роман Агаты Кристи «Безмолвный свидетель» (1937) входит в серию книг о бельгийском сыщике Эркюле Пуаро. Повествование ведется от лица помощника Пуаро, капитана Гастингса. На этот раз друзей ожидает весьма необычное дело, ведь первый вопрос, на который им предстоит ответить, – а было ли совершено убийство? Неадаптированный текст на языке оригинала снабжен постраничными комментариями и словарем. Agatha Christie Dumb Witness Dumb Witness Copyright © 1937 Agatha Christie Limited. All rights reserved. AGATHA CHRISTIE, POIROT аnd the Agatha Christie Signature аre registered trade marks of Agatha Christie Limited in the UK and elsewhere. All rights reserved. © КАРО, 2018 Все права защищены Dumb Witness To Dear Peter, most faithful of friends and dearest of companions, a dog in a thousand CHAPTER 1. The Mistress of Littlegreen House Miss Arundell died on May 1st. Though her illness was short her death did not occasion much surprise in the little country town of Market Basing where she had lived since she was a girl of sixteen. For[1 - For – (зд.) Так как] Emily Arundell was well over seventy, the last of a family of five, and she had been known to be in delicate health for many years and had indeed nearly died of a similar attack to the one that killed her some eighteen months before. But though Miss Arundell’s death surprised no one, something else did. The provisions of her will gave rise[2 - to give rise – вызывать] to varying emotions, astonishment, pleasurable excitement, deep condemnation, fury, despair, anger and general gossip. For weeks and even months Market Basing was to talk of nothing else! Everyone had their own contribution to make to the subject from Mr Jones the grocer, who held that ‘blood was thicker than water[3 - blood is thicker than water – (пословица) кровь гуще воды (т. е. узы кровного родства сильнее других уз)]’, to Mrs Lamphrey at the post office, who repeated ad nauseam[4 - ad nauseam – (лат., букв.) «до тошноты»; навязчиво, однообразно] that ‘there’s something behind it, depend upon it! You mark my words.’ What added zest to the speculations on the subject was the fact that the will had been made as lately as April 21st. Add to this the further fact that Emily Arundell’s near relations had been staying with her just before that date over Easter Bank Holiday[5 - Bank Holyday – Банковские каникулы, общественные праздники в Великобритании, во время которых не работают государственные учреждения] and it will be realized that the most scandalous theories could be propounded, pleasurably relieving the monotony of everyday life in Market Basing. There was one person who was shrewdly suspected of knowing more about the matter than she was willing to admit. That was Miss Wilhelmina Lawson, Miss Arundell’s companion. Miss Lawson, however, professed herself just as much in the dark as everyone else. She, too, she declared, had been dumbfounded when the will was read out. A lot of people, of course, did not believe this. Nevertheless, whether Miss Lawson was or was not as ignorant as she declared herself to be, only one person really knew the true facts. That person was the dead woman herself. Emily Arundell had kept her own counsel[6 - to keep one’s own counsel – помалкивать, держать в секрете] as she was in the habit of doing. Even to her lawyer she had said nothing of the motives underlying her action. She was content with making her wishes clear. In that reticence could be found the keynote of Emily Arundell’s character. She was, in every respect[7 - in every respect – во всех отношениях], a typical product of her generation. She had both its virtues and its vices[8 - virtues and vices – достоинства и недостатки]. She was autocratic and often overbearing, but she was also intensely warm-hearted. Her tongue was sharp but her actions were kind. She was outwardly sentimental but inwardly shrewd. She had a succession of companions whom she bullied unmercifully, but treated with great generosity. She had a great sense of family obligation. On the Friday before Easter Emily Arundell was standing in the hall of Littlegreen House giving various directions to Miss Lawson. Emily Arundell had been a handsome girl and she was now a well-preserved handsome old lady with a straight back and a brisk manner. A faint yellowness in her skin was a warning that she could not eat rich[9 - rich – (зд.) жирный] food with impunity[10 - with impunity – безнаказанно, без вреда для себя]. Miss Arundell was saying: ‘Now then, Minnie, where have you put them all?’ ‘Well, I thought—I hope I’ve done right—Dr and Mrs Tanios in the Oak room and Theresa in the Blue room and Mr Charles in the Old Nursery—’ Miss Arundell interrupted: ‘Theresa can have the Old Nursery and Charles will have the Blue room.’ ‘Oh, yes—I’m sorry—I thought the Old Nursery being rather more inconvenient—’ ‘It will do very nicely for Theresa.’ In Miss Arundell’s day, women took second place. Men were the important members of society. ‘I’m so sorry the dear little children aren’t coming,’ murmured Miss Lawson, sentimentally. She loved children and was quite incapable of managing them. ‘Four visitors will be quite enough,’ said Miss Arundell. ‘In any case Bella spoils her children abominably. They never dream of doing what they are told.’ Minnie Lawson murmured: ‘Mrs Tanios is a very devoted mother.’ Miss Arundell said with grave approval: ‘Bella is a good woman.’ Miss Lawson sighed and said: ‘It must be very hard for her sometimes—living in an outlandish place like Smyrna[11 - Smyrna – Смирна, один из старейших древнегреческих городов в Малой Азии. Современное название – Измир].’ Emily Arundell replied: ‘She has made her bed and she must lie on it[12 - to make one’s bed and lie on it – (пословица) что посеешь, то и пожнешь].’ And having uttered this final Victorian[13 - Victorian – викторианский (относящийся к эпохе королевы Виктории, 1837–1901 гг.)] pronouncement she went on: ‘I am going to the village now to speak about the orders for the weekend.’ ‘Oh, Miss Arundell, do let me. I mean—’ ‘Nonsense. I prefer to go myself. Rogers needs a sharp word. The trouble with you is, Minnie, that you’re not emphatic enough. Bob! Bob! Where is the dog?’ A wire-haired terrier came tearing down the stairs. He circled round and round his mistress uttering short staccato[14 - staccato – (итал.) стаккато, музыкальный термин, характеризующий короткий, отрывистый звук] barks of delight and expectation. Together mistress and dog passed out of the front door and down the short path to the gate. Miss Lawson stood in the doorway smiling rather foolishly after them, her mouth a little open. Behind her a voice said tartly: ‘Them[15 - Them = The] pillowcases you gave me, miss, isn’t a pair.’ ‘What? How stupid of me…’ Minnie Lawson plunged once more into household routine. Emily Arundell, attended by Bob, made a royal progress[16 - progress – (зд., устар.) путешествие короля по стране] down the main street of Market Basing. It was very much of a royal progress. In each shop she entered the proprietor always hurried forward to attend to her. She was Miss Arundell of Littlegreen House. She was ‘one of our oldest customers’. She was ‘one of the old school. Not many about like her nowadays’. ‘Good morning, miss. What can I have the pleasure of doing for you—Not tender? Well, I’m sorry to hear that. I thought myself it was as nice a little saddle—Yes, of course, Miss Arundell. If you say so, it is so—No, indeed I wouldn’t think of sending Canterbury[17 - Canterbury – резная этажерка. Получила свое название от английского города Кентербери. Считается, что первая такая этажерка была выполнена по заказу архиепископа Кентерберийского] to you, Miss Arundell—Yes, I’ll see to it myself, Miss Arundell.’ Bob and Spot, the butcher’s dog, circled slowly round each other, hackles raised[18 - hackles raised – готовые влезть в драку], growling gently. Spot was a stout dog of nondescript breed. He knew that he must not fight with customers’ dogs, but he permitted himself to tell them, by subtle indication, just exactly what mincemeat he would make of them[19 - to make mincemeat of smb – превратить в котлету; уничтожить (противника)] were he free to do so. Bob, a dog of spirit, replied in kind. Emily Arundell said ‘Bob!’ sharply and passed on. In the greengrocer’s there was a meeting of heavenly bodies. Another old lady, spherical in outline, but equally distinguished by that air of royalty, said: ‘Mornin’, Emily.’ ‘Good morning, Caroline.’ Caroline Peabody said: ‘Expecting any of your young people down[20 - down – (зд.) движение от центра к периферии, из столицы в провинцию]?’ ‘Yes, all of them. Theresa, Charles and Bella.’ ‘So Bella’s home, is she? Husband too?’ ‘Yes.’ It was a simple monosyllable, but underlying it was knowledge common to both ladies. For Bella Biggs, Emily Arundell’s niece, had married a Greek. And Emily Arundell’s people, who were what is known as ‘all service people’, simply did not marry Greeks. By way of being obscurely comforting (for of course such a matter could not be referred to openly) Miss Peabody said: Bella’s husband’s got brains. And charming manners!’ ‘His manners are delightful,’ agreed Miss Arundell. Moving out into the street Miss Peabody asked: ‘What’s this about Theresa being engaged to young Donaldson?’ Miss Arundell shrugged her shoulders. ‘Young people are so casual nowadays. I’m afraid it will have to be a rather long engagement—that is, if anything comes of it. He has no money.’ Of course Theresa has her own money,’ said Miss Peabody. Miss Arundell said stiffly: ‘A man could not possibly wish to live on his wife’s money.’ Miss Peabody gave a rich, throaty chuckle. ‘They don’t seem to mind doing it, nowadays. You and I are out of date[21 - out of date – устаревший], Emily. What I can’t understand is what the child sees in him. Of all the namby-pamby[22 - namby-pamby – жеманный] young men!’ ‘He’s a clever doctor, I believe.’ ‘Those pince-nez[23 - pince-nez – (фр.) пенсне]—and that stiff way of talking! In my young days we’d have called him a poor stick!’ There was a pause while Miss Peabody’s memory, diving into the past, conjured up visions of dashing, bewhiskered young men… She said with a sigh: ‘Send that young dog Charles along to see me—if he’ll come.’ ‘Of course. I’ll tell him.’ The two ladies parted. They had known each other for considerably over fifty years. Miss Peabody knew of certain regrettable lapses in the life of General Arundell, Emily’s father. She knew just precisely what a shock Thomas Arundell’s marriage had been to his sisters. She had a very shrewd idea of certain troubles connected with the younger generation. But no word had ever passed between the two ladies on any of these subjects. They were both upholders of family dignity, family solidarity, and complete reticence on family matters. Miss Arundell walked home, Bob trotting sedately at her heels. To herself, Emily Arundell admitted what she would never have admitted to another human being, her dissatisfaction with the younger generation of her family. Theresa, for instance. She had no control over Theresa since the latter had come into her own money at the age of twenty-one. Since then the girl had achieved a certain notoriety. Her picture was often in the papers. She belonged to a young, bright, go-ahead set in London—a set that had freak parties and occasionally ended up in the police courts. It was not the kind of notoriety that Emily Arundell approved of for an Arundell. In fact, she disapproved very much of Theresa’s way of living. As regards[24 - As regards – Что касается] the girl’s engagement, her feelings were slightly confused. On the one hand[25 - On the one hand – С одной стороны] she did not consider an upstart Dr Donaldson good enough for an Arundell. On the other[26 - On the other hand – С другой (стороны)] she was uneasily conscious that Theresa was a most unsuitable wife for a quiet country doctor. With a sigh her thoughts passed on to Bella. There was no fault to find with Bella[27 - to find fault with smb – придираться к к.-л.]. She was a good woman—a devoted wife and mother, quite exemplary in behaviour— and extremely dull! But even Bella could not be regarded with complete approval. For Bella had married a oreigner— and not only a foreigner—but a Greek. In Miss Arundell’s prejudiced mind a Greek was almost as bad as an Argentine or a Turk. The fact that Dr Tanios had a charming manner and was said to be extremely able in his profession only prejudiced the old lady slightly more against him. She distrusted charm and easy compliments. For this reason, too, she found it difficult to be fond of the two children. They had both taken after[28 - to take after smb – походить на к.-л.] their father in looks—there was really nothing English about them. And then Charles… Yes, Charles… It was no use blinding one’s eyes to facts. Charles, charming though he was, was not to be trusted… Emily Arundell sighed. She felt suddenly tired, old, depressed… She supposed that she couldn’t last much longer… Her mind reverted to the will she had made some years ago. Legacies to the servants—to charities—and the main bulk of her considerable fortune to be divided equally between these, her three surviving relations… It still seemed to her that she had done the right and equitable thing. It just crossed her mind to wonder whether there might not be some way of securing Bella’s share of the money so that her husband could not touch it… She must ask Mr Purvis. She turned in at the gate of Littlegreen House. Charles and Theresa Arundell arrived by car—the Tanioses, by train. The brother and sister arrived first. Charles, tall and good-looking, with his slightly mocking manner, said: ‘Hullo[29 - Hullo = Hello], Aunt Emily, how’s the girl? You look fine.’ And he kissed her. Theresa put an indifferent young cheek against her withered one. ‘How are you, Aunt Emily?’ Theresa, her aunt thought, was looking far from well. Her face, beneath its plentiful make-up, was slightly haggard and there were lines round her eyes. They had tea in the drawing-room. Bella Tanios, her hair inclined to straggle in wisps from below the fashionable hat that she wore at the wrong angle, stared at her cousin Theresa with a pathetic eagerness to assimilate and memorize her clothes. It was poor Bella’s fate in life to be passionately fond of clothes without having any clothes sense. Theresa’s clothes were expensive, slightly bizarre, and she herself had an exquisite figure. Bella, when she arrived in England from Smyrna, had tried earnestly to copy Theresa’s elegance at an inferior price and cut. Dr Tanios, who was a big bearded jolly looking man, was talking to Miss Arundell. His voice was warm and full—an attractive voice that charmed a listener almost against his or her will. Almost in spite of herself, it charmed Miss Arundell. Miss Lawson was fidgeting a good deal. She jumped up and down, handing plates, fussing over the tea-table. Charles, whose manners were excellent, rose more than once to help her, but she expressed no gratitude. When, after tea, the party went out to make a tour of the garden Charles murmured to his sister: ‘Lawson doesn’t like me. Odd, isn’t it?’ Theresa said, mockingly: ‘Very odd. So there is one person who can withstand your fatal fascination?’ Charles grinned—an engaging grin—and said: ‘Lucky it’s only Lawson…’ In the garden Miss Lawson walked with Mrs Tanios and asked her questions about the children. Bella Tanios’ rather drab face lighted up. She forgot to watch Theresa. She talked eagerly and animatedly. Mary had said such a quaint thing on the boat. She found Minnie Lawson a most sympathetic listener. Presently a fair-haired young man with a solemn face and pince-nez was shown into the garden from the house. He looked rather embarrassed. Miss Arundell greeted him politely. Theresa said: ‘Hullo, Rex!’ She slipped an arm through his. They wandered away. Charles made a face[30 - to make a face – скорчить гримасу]. He slipped away to have a word with the gardener, an ally of his from old days. When Miss Arundell re-entered the house Charles was playing with Bob. The dog stood at the top of the stairs, his ball in his mouth, his tail gently wagging. ‘Come on, old man,’ said Charles. Bob sank down on his haunches, nosed his ball slowly and slowly nearer the edge. As he finally bunted it over he sprang to his feet in great excitement. The ball bumped slowly down the stairs. Charles caught it and tossed it up to him. Bob caught it neatly in his mouth. The performance was repeated. ‘Regular game of his, this,’ said Charles. Emily Arundell smiled. ‘He’ll go on for hours,’ she said. She turned into the drawing-room and Charles followed her. Bob gave a disappointed bark. Glancing through the window Charles said: ‘Look at Theresa and her young man. They are an odd couple!’ ‘You think Theresa is really serious over[31 - over – (зд.) относительно, касательно] this?’ ‘Oh, she’s crazy about him!’ said Charles with confidence. ‘Odd taste, but there it is. I think it must be the way he looks at her as though she were a scientific specimen and not a live woman. That’s rather a novelty for Theresa. Pity the fellow’s so poor. Theresa’s got expensive tastes.’ Miss Arundell said drily: ‘I’ve no doubt she can change her way of living—if she wants to! And after all she has her own income.’ ‘Eh? Oh yes, yes, of course.’ Charles shot an almost guilty look at her. That evening, as the others were assembled in the drawing-room waiting to go in to dinner, there was a scurry and a burst of profanity on the stairs. Charles entered with his face rather red. ‘Sorry, Aunt Emily, am I late? That dog of yours nearly made me take the most frightful toss. He’d left that ball of his on the top of the stairs.’ ‘Careless little doggie,’ cried Miss Lawson, bending down to Bob. Bob looked at her contemptuously and turned his head away. ‘I know,’ said Miss Arundell. ‘It’s most dangerous. Minnie, fetch the ball and put it away.’ Miss Lawson hurried out. Dr Tanios monopolized the conversation at the dinner-table most of the time. He told amusing stories of his life in Smyrna. The party went to bed early. Miss Lawson carrying wool, spectacles, a large velvet bag and a book accompanied her employer to her bedroom chattering happily. ‘Really most amusing, Dr Tanios. He is such good company! Not that I should care for that kind of life myself… One would have to[32 - One would have to – Кому-то все же пришлось бы] boil the water, I expect… And goat’s milk, perhaps—such a disagreeable taste—’ Miss Arundell snapped: ‘Don’t be a fool, Minnie. You told Ellen to call me at half-past six?’ ‘Oh, yes, Miss Arundell. I said no tea, but don’t you think it might be wiser—You know, the vicar at Southbridge—a most conscientious man, told me distinctly that there was no obligation to come fasting—’ Once more Miss Arundell cut her short[33 - to cut short – прерывать]. ‘I’ve never yet taken anything before Early Service and I’m not going to begin now. You can do as you like.’ ‘Oh, no—I didn’t mean—I’m sure—’ Miss Lawson was flustered and upset. ‘Take Bob’s collar off,’ said Miss Arundell. The slave hastened to obey. Still trying to please she said: ‘Such a pleasant evening. They all seem so pleased to be here.’ ‘Hmph,’ said Emily Arundell. ‘All here for what they can get.’ ‘Oh, dear Miss Arundell—’ ‘My good Minnie, I’m not a fool whatever else I am! I just wonder which of them will open the subject first.’ She was not long left in doubt on that point. She and Miss Lawson returned from attending Early Service just after nine. Dr and Mrs Tanios were in the dining-room, but there were no signs of the two Arundells. After breakfast, when the others had left, Miss Arundell sat on, entering up some accounts in a little book. Charles entered the room about ten. ‘Sorry I’m late, Aunt Emily. But Theresa’s worse. She’s not unclosed an eyelid yet.’ ‘At half-past ten breakfast will be cleared away,’ said Miss Arundell. ‘I know it is the fashion not to consider servants nowadays, but that is not the case in my house.’ ‘Good. That’s the true diehard spirit!’ Charles helped himself to kidneys and sat down beside her. His grin, as always, was very attractive. Emily Arundell soon found herself smiling indulgently at him. Emboldened by this sign of favour, Charles plunged. ‘Look here, Aunt Emily, sorry to bother you, but I’m in the devil of a hole[34 - in a hole – (перен.) в трудном положении]. Can you possibly help me out? A hundred would do it.’ His aunt’s face was not encouraging. A certain grimness showed itself in her expression. Emily Arundell was not afraid of speaking her mind[35 - to speak one’s mind – говорить откровенно]. She spoke it. Miss Lawson hustling across the hall almost collided with Charles as he left the dining-room. She glanced at him curiously. She entered the dining-room to find Miss Arundell sitting very upright with a flushed face. CHAPTER 2. The Relations Charles ran lightly up the stairs and tapped on his sister’s door. Her answering ‘Come in’ came promptly and he entered. Theresa was sitting up in bed yawning. Charles took a seat on the bed. ‘What a decorative female you are, Theresa,’ he remarked appreciatively. Theresa said sharply: ‘What’s the matter?’ Charles grinned. ‘Sharp, aren’t you? Well, I stole a march on you[36 - to steal a march on smb – опередить к.-л. (в ч.-л.)], my girl! Thought I’d make my touch before you got to work.’ ‘Well?’ Charles spread his hands downwards in negation. ‘Nothing doing[37 - Nothing doing – Ничего не выйдет, номер не пройдет]! Aunt Emily ticked me off[38 - to tick off – (разг.) отделать] good and proper[39 - good and proper – подчистую]. She intimated that she was under no illusions as to why her affectionate family had gathered round her! And she also intimated that the said affectionate family would be disappointed. Nothing being handed out but affection—and not so much of that.’ ‘You might have waited a bit,’ said Theresa drily. Charles grinned again. ‘I was afraid you or Tanios might get in ahead of me. I’m sadly afraid, Theresa my sweet, that there’ll be nothing doing this time. Old Emily is by no means[40 - by no means – отнюдь не] a fool.’ ‘I never thought she was.’ ‘I even tried to put the wind up[41 - to put the wind up smb – (сленг) напугать к.-л.] her.’ ‘What d’you mean?’ asked his sister sharply. ‘Told her she was going about it the right way to get bumped off[42 - bump off – (сленг) устранить силой, убить]. After all she can’t take the dibs to heaven with her. Why not loosen up a bit?’ ‘Charles, you are a fool!’ ‘No, I’m not. I’m a bit of a psychologist in my way. It’s never a bit of good sucking up to the old girl[43 - old girl – (разг.) старушка]. She much prefers you to stand up to her[44 - to stand up to smb – прекословить к.-л.]. And after all, I was only talking sense[45 - to talk sense – говорить дельно]. We get the money when she dies—she might just as well part with a little beforehand! Otherwise the temptation to help her out of the way might become overwhelming.’ ‘Did she see your point[46 - to see the point – понимать, в чем смысл]?’ asked Theresa, her delicate mouth curling up scornfully. ‘I’m not sure. She didn’t admit it. Just thanked me rather nastily for my advice and said she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. “Well,” I said, “I’ve warned you.” “I’ll remember it,” she said.’ Theresa said angrily: ‘Really, Charles, you are an utter fool.’ ‘Damn it all, Theresa, I was a bit ratty myself! The old girl’s rolling[47 - The old girl’s rolling – Старушка купается в деньгах]—simply rolling. I bet she doesn’t spend a tenth part of her income—what has she got to spend it on, anyway? And here we are—young, able to enjoy life—and to spite us she’s capable of living to a hundred… I want my fun now… So do you…’ Theresa nodded. She said in a low, breathless voice: ‘They don’t understand—old people don’t.they can’t. They don’t know what it is to live!’ Brother and sister were silent for some minutes. Charles got up. ‘Well, my love, I wish you better success than I’ve had. But I rather doubt it.’ Theresa said: ‘I’m rather counting on Rex to do the trick. If I can make old Emily realize how brilliant he is, and how it matters terrifically that he should have his chance and not have to sink into a rut as a general practitioner…[48 - general practitioner – практикующий врач (врач широкого профиля, принимающий на дому)] Oh, Charles, a few thousand of capital just at this minute would make all the difference in the world to our lives!’ ‘Hope you get it, but I don’t think you will. You’ve got through a bit too much capital in riotous living in your time. I say, Theresa, you don’t think the dreary Bella or the dubious Tanios will get anything, do you?’ ‘I don’t see that money would be any good to Bella. She goes about looking like a rag-bag and her tastes are purely domestic.’ ‘Oh, well,’ said Charles, vaguely. ‘I expect she wants things for those unprepossessing children of hers, schools, and plates for their front teeth and music lessons. And anyway it isn’t Bella—it’s Tanios. I bet he’s got a nose for money all right! Trust a Greek for that. You know he’s got through most of Bella’s? Speculated with it and lost it all.’ ‘Do you think he’ll get something out of old Emily?’ ‘He won’t if I can prevent him,’ said Charles, grimly. He left the room and wandered downstairs. Bob was in the hall. He fussed up to Charles agreeably. Dogs liked Charles. He ran towards the drawing-room door and looked back at Charles. ‘What’s the matter?’ said Charles, strolling after him. Bob hurried into the drawing-room and sat down expectantly by a small bureau. Charles strolled over to him. ‘What’s it all about?’ Bob wagged his tail, looked hard at the drawers of the bureau and uttered an appealing squeak. ‘Want something that’s in here?’ Charles pulled open the top drawer. His eyebrows rose. ‘Dear, dear,’ he said. At one side of the drawer was a little pile of treasury notes[49 - treasury note – казначейский билет (ценная бумага)]. Charles picked up the bundle and counted them. With a grin he removed three one pound notes and two ten shilling ones and put them in his pocket. He replaced the rest of the notes carefully in the drawer where he had found them. ‘That was a good idea, Bob,’ he said. ‘Your Uncle Charles will be able at any rate[50 - at any rate – по меньшей мере] to cover expenses. A little ready cash always comes in handy[51 - to come in handy – быть кстати].’ Bob uttered a faint reproachful bark as Charles shut the drawer. ‘Sorry old man,’ Charles apologized. He opened the next drawer. Bob’s ball was in the corner of it. He took it out. ‘Here you are. Enjoy yourself with it.’ Bob caught the ball, trotted out of the room and presently bump, bump, bump, was heard down the stairs. Charles strolled out into the garden. It was a fine sunny morning with a scent of lilac. Miss Arundell had Dr Tanios by her side. He was speaking of the advantage of an English education—a good education—for children and how deeply he regretted that he could not afford such a luxury for his own children. Charles smiled with satisfied malice. He joined in the conversation in a light-hearted manner, turning it adroitly into entirely different channels. Emily Arundell smiled at him quite amiably. He even fancied that she was amused by his tactics and was subtly encouraging them. Charles’ spirits rose. Perhaps, after all, before he left— Charles was an incurable optimist. Dr Donaldson called for Theresa in his car that afternoon and drove her to Worthem Abbey, one of the local beauty spots. They wandered away from the Abbey itself into the woods. There Rex Donaldson told Theresa at length about his theories and some of his recent experiments. She understood very little but listened in a spellbound manner, thinking to herself: ‘How clever Rex is—and how absolutely adorable!’ Her fiancé paused once and said rather doubtfully: ‘I’m afraid this is dull stuff for you, Theresa.’ ‘Darling, it’s too thrilling,’ said Theresa, firmly. ‘Go on. You take some of the blood of the infected rabbit—?’ Presently Theresa said with a sigh: ‘Your work means a terrible lot to you, my sweet.’ ‘Naturally,’ said Dr Donaldson. It did not seem at all natural to Theresa. Very few of her friends did any work at all, and if they did they made extremely heavy weather about it[52 - to make heavy weather about smth – находить ч.-л. трудным, утомительным]. She thought as she had thought once or twice before, how singularly unsuitable it was that she should have fallen in love with Rex Donaldson. Why did these things, these ludicrous and amazing madnesses, happen to one? A profitless question. This had happened to her. She frowned, wondered at herself. Her crowd had been so gay—so cynical. Love affairs were necessary to life, of course, but why take them seriously? One loved and passed on. But this feeling of hers for Rex Donaldson was different, it went deeper. She felt instinctively that here there would be no passing on… Her need of him was simple and profound. Everything about him fascinated her. His calmness and detachment, so different from her own hectic, grasping life, the clear, logical coldness of his scientific mind, and something else, imperfectly understood, a secret force in the man masked by his unassuming slightly pedantic manner, but which she nevertheless felt and sensed instinctively. In Rex Donaldson there was genius—and the fact that his profession was the main preoccupation of his life and that she was only a part—though a necessary part—of existence to him only heightened his attraction for her. She found herself for the first time in her selfish pleasure-loving life content to take second place. The prospect fascinated her. For Rex she would do anything—anything! ‘What a damned nuisance money is,’ she said, petulantly. ‘If only Aunt Emily were to die we could get married at once, and you could come to London and have a laboratory full of test tubes[53 - test tube – пробирка] and guinea pigs, and never bother any more about children with mumps and old ladies with livers.’ Donaldson said: ‘There’s no reason why your aunt shouldn’t live for many years to come—if she’s careful.’ Theresa said despondently: ‘I know that…’ In the big double-bedded room with the old-fashioned oak furniture, Dr Tanios said to his wife: ‘I think that I have prepared the ground sufficiently. It is now your turn, my dear.’ He was pouring water from the old-fashioned copper can into the rose-patterned china basin. Bella Tanios sat in front of the dressing-table wondering why, when she combed her hair as Theresa did, it should not look like Theresa’s! There was a moment before she replied. Then she said: ‘I don’t think I want—to ask Aunt Emily for money.’ ‘It’s not for yourself, Bella, it’s for the sake of the children. Our investments have been so unlucky.’ His back was turned, he did not see the swift glance she gave him—a furtive, shrinking glance. She said with mild obstinacy: ‘All the same, I think I’d rather not… Aunt Emily is rather difficult. She can be generous but she doesn’t like being asked.’ Drying his hands, Tanios came across from the washstand. ‘Really, Bella, it isn’t like you to be so obstinate. After all, what have we come down here for?’ She murmured: ‘I didn’t—I never meant—it wasn’t to ask for money…’ ‘Yet you agreed that the only hope if we are to educate the children properly is for your aunt to come to the rescue.’ Bella Tanios did not answer. She moved uneasily. But her face bore the mild mulish look that many clever husbands of stupid wives know to their cost[54 - to know to one’s cost – знать по горькому опыту]. She said: ‘Perhaps Aunt Emily herself may suggest—’ ‘It is possible, but I’ve seen no signs of it so far.’ Bella said: ‘If we could have brought the children with us. Aunt Emily couldn’t have helped loving Mary. And Edward is so intelligent.’ Tanios said, drily: ‘I don’t think your aunt is a great child lover. It is probably just as well the children aren’t here.’ ‘Oh, Jacob, but—’ ‘Yes, yes, my dear. I know your feelings. But these desiccated English spinsters—bah, they are not human. We want to do the best we can, do we not, for our Mary and our Edward? To help us a little would involve no hardship to Miss Arundell.’ Mrs Tanios turned, there was a flush in her cheeks. ‘Oh, please, please, Jacob, not this time. I’m sure it would be unwise. I would so very very much rather not.’ Tanios stood close behind her, his arm encircled her shoulders. She trembled a little and then was still—almost rigid. He said and his voice was still pleasant: ‘All the same[55 - All the same – Тем не менее], Bella, I think—I think you will do what I ask… You usually do, you know—in the end… Yes, I think you will do what I say…’ CHAPTER 3. The Accident It was Tuesday afternoon. The side door to the garden was open. Miss Arundell stood on the threshold and threw Bob’s ball the length of the garden path. The terrier rushed after it. ‘Just once more, Bob,’ said Emily Arundell. ‘A good one.’ Once again the ball sped along the ground with Bob racing at full speed in pursuit. Miss Arundell stooped down, picked up the ball from where Bob laid it at her feet and went into the house, Bob following her closely. She shut the side door, went into the drawing-room, Bob still at her heels[56 - at one’s heels – по пятам, следом за к.-л.], and put the ball away in the drawer. She glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece. It was halfpast six. ‘A little rest before dinner, I think, Bob.’ She ascended the stairs to her bedroom. Bob accompanied her. Lying on the big chintz-covered[57 - chintz-covered – обтянутый ситцем (хлопчатобумажная набивная ткань)] couch with Bob at her feet, Miss Arundell sighed. She was glad that it was Tuesday and that her guests would be going tomorrow. It was not that this weekend had disclosed anything to her that she had not known before. It was more the fact that it had not permitted her to forget her own knowledge. She said to herself: ‘I’m getting old, I suppose…’ And then, with a little shock of surprise: ‘I am old…’ She lay with her eyes closed for half an hour, then the elderly house-parlourmaid, Ellen, brought hot water and she rose and prepared for dinner. Dr Donaldson was to dine with them that night. Emily Arundell wished to have an opportunity of studying him at close quarters[58 - at close quarters – в непосредственном соприкосновении]. It still seemed to her a little incredible that the exotic Theresa should want to marry this rather stiff and pedantic young man. It also seemed a little odd that this stiff and pedantic young man should want to marry Theresa. She did not feel as the evening progressed that she was getting to know Dr Donaldson any better. He was very polite, very formal and, to her mind, intensely boring. In her own mind she agreed with Miss Peabody’s judgement. The thought flashed across her brain, ‘Better stuff in our young days.’ Dr Donaldson did not stay late. He rose to go at ten o’clock. After he had taken his departure Emily Arundell herself announced that she was going to bed. She went upstairs and her young relations went up also. They all seemed somewhat subdued tonight. Miss Lawson remained downstairs performing her final duties, letting Bob out for his run, poking down the fire, putting the guard[59 - guard – (зд.) каминная решетка] up and rolling back the hearthrug in case of fire. She arrived rather breathless in her employer’s room about five minutes later. ‘I think I’ve got everything,’ she said, putting down wool, work-bag, and a library book. ‘I do hope the book will be all right. She hadn’t got any of the ones on your list but she said she was sure you’d like this one.’ ‘That girl’s a fool,’ said Emily Arundell. ‘Her taste in books is the worst I’ve ever come across[60 - to come across – сталкиваться].’ ‘Oh, dear. I’m so sorry—Perhaps I ought—’ ‘Nonsense, it’s not your fault.’ Emily Arundell added kindly, ‘I hope you enjoyed yourself[61 - to enjoy oneself – хорошо проводить время] this afternoon.’ Miss Lawson’s face lighted up. She looked eager and almost youthful. ‘Oh, yes, thank you very much. So kind of you to spare me. I had the most interesting time. We had the Planchette[62 - the Planchette – дощечка, использовавшаяся для проведения спиритических сеансов] and really—it wrote the most interesting things. There were several messages… Of course it’s not quite the same thing as the sittings[63 - sitting – (зд.) спиритический сеанс]… Julia Tripp has been having a lot of success with the automatic writing. Several messages from Those who have Passed Over[64 - to pass over – умереть]. It—it really makes one feel so grateful—that such things should be permitted…’ Miss Arundell said with a slight smile: ‘Better not let the vicar hear you.’ ‘Oh, but indeed, dear Miss Arundell, I am convinced— quite convinced—there can be nothing wrong about it. I only wish dear Mr Lonsdale would examine the subject. It seems to me so narrow-minded to condemn a thing that you have not even investigated. Both Julia and Isabel Tripp are such truly spiritual women.’ ‘Almost too spiritual to be alive,’ said Miss Arundell. She did not care much for Julia and Isabel Tripp. She thought their clothes ridiculous, their vegetarian and uncooked fruit meals absurd, and their manner affected. They were women of no traditions, no roots—in fact—no breeding! But she got a certain amount of amusement out of their earnestness and she was at bottom kind-hearted enough not to grudge the pleasure that their friendship obviously gave to poor Minnie. Poor Minnie! Emily Arundell looked at her companion with mingled affection and contempt. She had had so many of these foolish, middle-aged women to minister to her—all much the same, kind, fussy, subservient and almost entirely mindless. Really poor Minnie was looking quite excited tonight. Her eyes were shining. She fussed about the room vaguely touching things here and there without the least idea of what she was doing, her eyes all bright and shining. She stammered out rather nervously: ‘I—I do wish you’d been there… I feel, you know, that you’re not quite a believer yet. But tonight there was a message—for E.A., the initials came quite definitely. It was from a man who had passed over many years ago—a very good-looking military man—Isabel saw him quite distinctly. It must have been dear General Arundell. Such a beautiful message, so full of love and comfort, and how through patience all could be attained.’ ‘Those sentiments sound very unlike papa,’ said Miss Arundell. ‘Oh, but our Dear Ones change so—on the other side. Everything is love and understanding. And then the Planchette spelt out something about a key—I think it was the key of the Boule cabinet[65 - the Boule cabinet – шкаф с выдвижными ящиками, выполненный в стиле буль (с инкрустацией слоновой костью, перламутром, металлом)]—could that be it?’ ‘The key of the Boule cabinet?’ Emily Arundell’s voice sounded sharp and interested. ‘I think that was it. I thought perhaps it might be important papers—something of the kind. There was a well- authenticated case where a message came to look in a certain piece of furniture and actually a will was discovered there.’ ‘There wasn’t a will in the Boule cabinet,’ said Miss Arundell. She added abruptly: ‘Go to bed, Minnie. You’re tired. So am I. We’ll ask the Tripps in for an evening soon.’ ‘Oh, that will be nice! Good night, dear. Sure you’ve got everything? I hope you haven’t been tired with so many people here. I must tell Ellen to air the drawing-room very well tomorrow, and shake out the curtains—all this smoking leaves such a smell. I must say I think it’s very good of you to let them all smoke in the drawing-room!’ ‘I must make some concessions to modernity,’ said Emily Arundell. ‘Good night, Minnie.’ As the other woman left the room, Emily Arundell wondered if this spiritualistic business was really good for Minnie. Her eyes had been popping out of her head, and she had looked so restless and excited. Odd about the Boule cabinet, thought Emily Arundell as she got into bed. She smiled grimly as she remembered the scene of long ago. The key that had come to light after papa’s death, and the cascade of empty brandy bottles that had tumbled out when the cabinet had been unlocked! It was little things like that, things that surely neither Minnie Lawson nor Isabel and Julia Tripp could possibly know, which made one wonder whether, after all, there wasn’t something in this spiritualistic business… She felt wakeful lying on her big four-poster bed[66 - four-poster bed – кровать с пологом на четырех столбиках]. Nowadays she found it increasingly difficult to sleep. But she scorned Dr Grainger’s tentative suggestion of a sleeping draught[67 - sleeping draught – снотворное средство]. Sleeping draughts were for weaklings, for people who couldn’t bear a finger-ache, or a little toothache, or the tedium of a sleepless night. Often she would get up and wander noiselessly round the house, picking up a book, fingering an ornament, rearranging a vase of flowers, writing a letter or two. In those midnight hours she had a feeling of the equal liveliness of the house through which she wandered. They were not disagreeable, those nocturnal wanderings. It was as though ghosts walked beside her, the ghosts of her sisters, Arabella, Matilda and Agnes, the ghost of her brother Thomas, the dear fellow as he was before That Woman got hold of him[68 - to get hold of smb / smth – вцепиться в к.-л. / ч.-л.]! Even the ghost of General Charles Laverton Arundell, that domestic tyrant with the charming manners who shouted and bullied his daughters but who nevertheless was an object of pride to them with his experiences in the Indian Mutiny[69 - Indian Mutiny – Восстание сипаев (восстание индийских солдат против жесткой колониальной политики англичан, 1857–1859 гг.)] and his knowledge of the world. What if there were days when he was ‘not quite so well’ as his daughters put it evasively? Her mind reverting to her niece’s fiance, Miss Arundell thought, ‘I don’t suppose he’ll ever take to drink[70 - to take to drink – стать пьяницей]! Calls himself a man and drank barley water[71 - barley water – ячменный отвар (сладкий напиток, приготовленный из ячменного отвара и фруктового сока)] this evening! Barley water! And I opened papa’s special port.’ Charles had done justice[72 - to do justice – отдать справедливость] to the port all right. Oh! if only Charles were to be trusted. If only one didn’t know that with him— Her thoughts broke off… Her mind ranged over the events of the weekend… Everything seemed vaguely disquieting… She tried to put worrying thoughts out of her mind. It was no good. She raised herself on her elbow and by the light of the night-light that always burned in a little saucer she looked at the time. One o’clock and she had never felt less like sleep. She got out of bed and put on her slippers and her warm dressing-gown. She would go downstairs and just check over the weekly books ready for the paying of them the following morning. Like a shadow she slipped from her room and along the corridor where one small electric bulb was allowed to burn all night. She came to the head of the stairs, stretched out one hand to the baluster rail and then, unaccountably, she stumbled, tried to recover her balance, failed and went headlong down the stairs. The sound of her fall, the cry she gave, stirred the sleeping house to wakefulness. Doors opened, lights flashed on. Miss Lawson popped out of her room at the head of the staircase. Uttering little cries of distress she pattered down the stairs. One by one the others arrived—Charles, yawning, in a resplendent dressing-gown. Theresa, wrapped in dark silk. Bella in a navy-blue kimono, her hair bristling with[73 - to bristle with – изобиловать ч.-л.] combs to ‘set the wave’. Dazed and confused Emily Arundell lay in a crushed heap. Her shoulder hurt her and her ankle—her whole body was a confused mass of pain. She was conscious of people standing over her, of that fool Minnie Lawson crying and making ineffectual gestures with her hands, of Theresa with a startled look in her dark eyes, of Bella standing with her mouth open looking expectant, of the voice of Charles saying from somewhere—very far away so it seemed— ‘It’s that damned dog’s ball! He must have left it here and she tripped over it. See? Here it is!’ And then she was conscious of authority, putting the others aside, kneeling beside her, touching her with hands that did not fumble but knew. A feeling of relief swept over her. It would be all right now. Dr Tanios was saying in firm, reassuring tones: ‘No, it’s all right. No bones broken… Just badly shaken and bruised—and of course she’s had a bad shock. But she’s been very lucky that it’s no worse.’ Then he cleared the others off a little and picked her up quite easily and carried her up to her bedroom, where he had held her wrist for a minute, counting, then nodded his head, sent Minnie (who was still crying and being generally a nuisance) out of the room to fetch brandy and to heat water for a hot bottle. Confused, shaken, and racked with pain, she felt acutely grateful to Jacob Tanios in that moment. The relief of feeling oneself in capable hands. He gave you just that feeling of assurance—of confidence—that a doctor ought to give. There was something—something she couldn’t quite get hold of—something vaguely disquieting—but she wouldn’t think of it now. She would drink this and go to sleep as they told her. But surely there was something missing—someone. Oh well, she wouldn’t think… Her shoulder hurt her— She drank down what she was given. She heard Dr Tanios say—and in what a comfortable assured voice—‘She’ll be all right, now.’ She closed her eyes. She awoke to a sound that she knew—a soft, muffled bark. She was wide awake in a minute. Bob—naughty Bob! He was barking outside the front door—his own particular ‘out all night very ashamed of himself’ bark, pitched in a subdued key but repeated hopefully. Miss Arundell strained her ears. Ah, yes, that was all right. She could hear Minnie going down to let him in. She heard the creak of the opening front door, a confused low murmur—Minnie’s futile reproaches—‘Oh, you naughty little doggie—a very naughty little Bobsie—’ She heard the pantry door open. Bob’s bed was under the pantry table. And at that moment Emily realized what it was she had subconsciously missed at the moment of her accident. It was Bob. All that commotion—her fall, people running—normally Bob would have responded by a crescendo of barking from inside the pantry. So that was what had been worrying her at the back of her mind. But it was explained now—Bob, when he had been let out last night, had shamelessly and deliberately gone off on pleasure bent[74 - on pleasure bent – жаждущий наслаждаться жизнью]. From time to time he had these lapses from virtue[75 - lapse from virtue – грехопадение]—though his apologies afterwards were always all that could be desired. So that was all right. But was it? What else was there worrying her, nagging at the back of her head? Her accident—something to do with her accident. Ah, yes, somebody had said—Charles—that she had slipped on Bob’s ball which he had left on the top of the stairs… The ball had been there—he had held it up in his hand… Emily Arundell’s head ached. Her shoulder throbbed. Her bruised body suffered… But in the midst of her suffering her mind was clear and lucid. She was no longer confused by shock. Her memory was perfectly clear. She went over in her mind all the events from six o’clock yesterday evening… She retraced every step.. .till she came to the moment when she arrived at the stairhead and started to descend the stairs… A thrill of incredulous horror shot through her… Surely—surely, she must be mistaken… One often had queer fancies after an event had happened. She tried— earnestly she tried—to recall the slippery roundness of Bob’s ball under her foot… But she could recall nothing of the kind[76 - nothing of the kind – ничего подобного]. Instead— ‘Sheer nerves,’ said Emily Arundell. ‘Ridiculous fancies.’ But her sensible, shrewd, Victorian mind would not admit that for a moment. There was no foolish optimism about the Victorians. They could believe the worst with the utmost ease. Emily Arundell believed the worst. CHAPTER 4. Miss Arundell Writes a Letter It was Friday. The relations had left. They left on the Wednesday as originally planned. One and all[77 - One and all – Все без исключения], they had offered to stay on. One and all they had been steadfastly refused. Miss Arundell explained that she preferred to be ‘quite quiet’. During the two days that had elapsed since their departure, Emily Arundell had been alarmingly meditative. Often she did not hear what Minnie Lawson said to her. She would stare at her and curtly order her to begin all over again. ‘It’s the shock, poor dear,’ said Miss Lawson. And she added with the kind of gloomy relish in disaster which brightens so many otherwise drab lives: ‘I dare say she’ll never be quite herself again.’ Dr Grainger, on the other hand, rallied her heartily. He told her that she’d be downstairs again by the end of the week, that it was a positive disgrace she had no bones broken, and what kind of patient was she for a struggling medical man? If all his patients were like her, he might as well take down his plate straight away. Emily Arundell replied with spirit[78 - with spirit – с жаром]—she and old Dr Grainger were allies of long standing[79 - of long standing – давнишний]. He bullied and she defied—they always got a good deal of pleasure out of each other’s company! But now, after the doctor had stumped away, the old lady lay with a frown on her face, thinking—thinking— responding absent-mindedly to Minnie Lawson’s well-meant fussing—and then suddenly coming back to consciousness and rending her with a vitriolic tongue. ‘Poor little Bobsie,’ twittered Miss Lawson, bending over Bob who had a rug spread on the corner of his mistress’s bed. ‘Wouldn’t little Bobsie be unhappy if he knew what he’d done to his poor, poor Missus?’ Miss Arundell snapped: ‘Don’t be idiotic, Minnie. And where’s your English sense of justice? Don’t you know that everyone in this country is accounted innocent until he or she is proved guilty?’ ‘Oh, but we do know—’ Emily snapped: ‘We don’t know anything at all. Do stop fidgeting, Minnie. Pulling this and pulling that. Haven’t you any idea how to behave in a sick-room? Go away and send Ellen to me.’ Meekly Miss Lawson crept away. Emily Arundell looked after her with a slight feeling of self-reproach. Maddening as Minnie was, she did her best. Then the frown settled down again on her face. She was desperately unhappy. She had all a vigorous strong-minded old lady’s dislike of inaction in any given situation. But in this particular situation she could not decide upon her line of action. There were moments when she distrusted her own faculties, her own memory of events. And there was no-one, absolutely no-one in whom she could confide. Half an hour later, when Miss Lawson tiptoed creakingly into the room, carrying a cup of beef-tea, and then paused irresolute at the view of her employer lying with closed eyes, Emily Arundell suddenly spoke two words with such force and decision that Miss Lawson nearly dropped the cup. ‘Mary Fox,’ said Miss Arundell. ‘A box, dear?’ said Miss Lawson. ‘Did you say you wanted a box?’ ‘You’re getting deaf, Minnie. I didn’t say anything about a box. I said Mary Fox. The woman I met at Cheltenham last year. She was the sister of one of the Canons[80 - Canon – каноник (духовное лицо в католической и англиканской церквях)] of Exeter Cathedral. Give me that cup. You’ve spilt it into the saucer. And don’t tiptoe when you come into a room. You don’t know how irritating it is. Now go downstairs and get me the London telephone book.’ ‘Can I find the number for you, dear? Or the address?’ ‘If I’d wanted you to do that I’d have told you so. Do what I tell you. Bring it here, and put my writing things by the bed.’ Miss Lawson obeyed orders. As she was going out of the room after having done everything required of her, Emily Arundell said unexpectedly: ‘You’re a good, faithful creature, Minnie. Don’t mind my bark. It’s a good deal worse than my bite. You’re very patient and good to me.’ Miss Lawson went out of the room with her face pink and incoherent words burbling from her lips. Sitting up in bed, Miss Arundell wrote a letter. She wrote it slowly and carefully, with numerous pauses for thought and copious underlining. She crossed and recrossed the page—for she had been brought up in a school that was taught never to waste notepaper. Finally, with a sigh of satisfaction, she signed her name and put it into an envelope. She wrote a name upon the envelope. Then she took a fresh sheet of paper. This time she made a rough draft and after having reread it and made certain alterations and erasures, she wrote out a fair copy. She read the whole thing through very carefully, then satisfied that she had expressed her meaning she enclosed it in an envelope and addressed it to William Purvis, Esq[81 - Esq. = esqire – эсквайр (данное понятие возникло в XV в. и относилось к молодому человеку знатного происхождения; с середины XVI в. это слово стало обычным вежливым обращением к любому совершеннолетнему мужчине в письмах)]., Messrs[82 - Messrs = Messieurs – господа (ставится перед фамилиями владельцев фирмы)] Purvis, Purvis, Charlesworth and Purvis, Solicitors, Harchester. She took up the first envelope again, which was addressed to M. Hercule Poirot, and opened the telephone directory[83 - telephone directory – телефонная книга]. Having found the address she added it. A tap sounded at the door. Miss Arundell hastily thrust the letter she had just finished addressing—the letter to Hercule Poirot—inside the flap of her writing-case[84 - writing-case – несессер для письменных принадлежностей]. She had no intention of rousing Minnie’s curiosity. Minnie was a great deal too inquisitive. She called ‘Come in’ and lay back on her pillows with a sigh of relief. She had taken steps to deal with the situation. CHAPTER 5. Hercule Poirot Receives a Letter The events which I have just narrated were not, of course, known to me until a long time afterwards. But by questioning various members of the family in detail, I have, I think, set them down[85 - to set down – письменно излагать] accurately enough. Poirot and I were only drawn into[86 - to draw in / into – вовлекать] the affair when we received Miss Arundell’s letter. I remember the day well. It was a hot, airless morning towards the end of June. Poirot had a particular routine when opening his morning correspondence. He picked up each letter, scrutinized it carefully and neatly slit the envelope open[87 - to slit an envelope open – вскрыть конверт] with his paper-cutter[88 - paper-cutter – нож для бумаги]. Its contents were perused and then placed in one of four piles beyond the chocolate-pot. (Poirot always drank chocolate for breakfast—a revolting habit.) All this with a machine-like regularity! So much was this the case that the least interruption of the rhythm attracted one’s attention. I was sitting by the window, looking out at the passing traffic. I had recently returned from the Argentine and there was something particularly exciting to me in being once more in the roar of London. Turning my head, I said with a smile: ‘Poirot, I—the humble Watson—am going to hazard a deduction.’ ‘Enchanted, my friend. What is it?’ I struck an attitude[89 - to strike an attitude – принимать (театральную) позу] and said pompously: ‘You have received this morning one letter of particular interest!’ ‘You are indeed the Sherlock Holmes! Yes, you are perfectly right.’ I laughed. ‘You see, I know your methods, Poirot. If you read a letter through twice it must mean that it is of special interest.’ ‘You shall judge for yourself[90 - judge for yourself – судите сами], Hastings.’ With a smile my friend tendered me the letter in question. I took it with no little interest, but immediately made a slight grimace. It was written in one of those old-fashioned spidery handwritings, and it was, moreover, crossed on two pages. ‘Must I read this, Poirot?’ I complained. ‘Ah, no, there is no compulsion. Assuredly not.’ ‘Can’t you tell me what it says?’ ‘I would prefer you to form your own judgement. But do not trouble if it bores you.’ ‘No, no, I want to know what it’s all about,’ I protested. My friend remarked drily: ‘You can hardly do that. In effect[91 - In effect – В сущности], the letter says nothing at all.’ Taking this as an exaggeration I plunged without more ado[92 - without more ado – без дальнейших церемоний] into the letter. ‘M. Hercule Poirot. Dear Sir, After much doubt and indecision, I am writing (the last word was crossed out and the letter went on) I am emboldened to write to you in the hope that you may be able to assist me in a matter of a strictly private nature. (The words strictly private were underlined three times.)I may say that your name is not unknown to me. It was mentioned to me by a Miss Fox of Exeter, and although Miss Fox was not herself acquainted with you, she mentioned that her brother-in-law’s sister (whose name I cannot, I am sorry to say, recall) had spoken of your kindness and discretion in the highest terms[93 - to speak of smth in high terms – очень хорошо отзываться о ч.-л.](highest terms underlined once). I did not inquire, of course, as to the nature (nature underlined) of the inquiry you had conducted on her behalf[94 - on smb’s behalf – в чьих-то интересах], but I understood from Miss Fox that it was of a painful and confidential nature (last four words underlined heavily).’ I broke off my difficult task of spelling out the spidery words. ‘Poirot,’ I said. ‘Must I go on? Does she ever get to the point[95 - to get to the point – дойти до сути дела]?’ ‘Continue, my friend. Patience.’ ‘Patience!’ I grumbled. ‘It’s exactly as though a spider had got into an inkpot and was walking over a sheet of notepaper! I remember my Great-Aunt[96 - Great-Aunt – двоюродная бабушка] Mary’s writing used to be much the same!’ Once more I plunged into the epistle. ‘In my present dilemma, it occurs to me that you might undertake the necessary investigations on my behalf. The matter is such, as you will readily understand, as calls for[97 - to call for – требовать]the utmost discretion and I may, in fact—and I need hardly say how sincerely I hope and pray (pray underlined twice) that this may be the case—I may, in fact, be completely mistaken. One is apt sometimes to attribute too much significance to facts capable of a natural explanation.’ ‘I haven’t left out a sheet?’ I murmured in some perplexity. Poirot chuckled. ‘No, no.’ ‘Because this doesn’t seem to make sense. What is it she is talking about?’ ‘Continuez toujours.[98 - Continuez toujours– (фр.) Все же продолжайте] ‘The matter is such, as you will readily understand—No, I’d got past that. Oh! here we are. In the circumstances as I am sure you will be the first to appreciate, it is quite impossible for me to consult anyone in Market Basing (I glanced back at the heading of the letter. Littlegreen House, Market Basing, Berks), but at the same time you will naturally understand that I feel uneasy (uneasy underlined). During the last few days I have reproached myself with being unduly fanciful (fanciful underlined three times) but have only felt increasingly perturbed. I may be attaching undue importance to what is, after all, a trifle (trifle underlined twice) but my uneasiness remains. I feel definitely that my mind must be set at rest on the matter. It is actually preying on my mind[99 - to prey on one’s mind – угнетать, не давать покоя]and affecting my health, and naturally I am in a difficult position as I can say nothing to anyone (nothing to anyone underlined with heavy lines). In your wisdom you may say, of course, that the whole thing is nothing but a mare’s nest[100 - mare’s nest – иллюзия]. The facts may be capable of a perfectly innocent explanation (innocent underlined). Nevertheless, however trivial it may seem, ever since the incident of the dog’s ball, I have felt increasingly doubtful and alarmed. I should therefore welcome your views and counsel on the matter. It would, I feel sure, take a great weight off my mind. Perhaps you would kindly let me know what your fees are and what you advise me to do in the matter? ‘I must impress on you again that nobody here knows anything at all. The facts are, I know, very trivial and unimportant, but my health is not too good and my nerves (nerves underlined three times) are not what they used to be. Worry of this kind, I am convinced, is very bad for me, and the more I think over the matter, the more I am convinced that I was quite right and no mistake was possible. Of course, I shall not dream of saying anything (underlined) to anyone (underlined). Hoping to have your advice in the matter at an early date. I remain, Yours faithfully, Emily Arundell.’ I turned the letter over and scanned each page closely. ‘But, Poirot,’ I expostulated, ‘what is it all about?’ My friend shrugged his shoulders. ‘What indeed?’ I tapped the sheets with some impatience. ‘What a woman! Why can’t Mrs—or Miss Arundell—’ ‘Miss, I think. It is typically the letter of a spinster.’ ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘A real, fussy old maid. Why can’t she say what she’s talking about?’ Poirot sighed. ‘As you say—a regrettable failure to employ order and method in the mental processes, and without order and method, Hastings—’ ‘Quite so,’ I interrupted hastily. ‘Little grey cells practically non-existent.’ ‘I would not say that, my friend.’ ‘I would. What’s the sense of writing a letter like that?’ ‘Very little—that is true,’ Poirot admitted. ‘A long rigmarole all about nothing,’ I went on. ‘Probably some upset to her fat lapdog—an asthmatic pug or a yapping Pekinese[101 - pug, Pekinese – мопс, пекинес (породы собак)]!’ I looked at my friend curiously. ‘And yet you read that letter through twice. I do not understand you, Poirot.’ Poirot smiled. ‘You, Hastings, you would have put it straight in the waste-paper basket?’ ‘I’m afraid I should.’ I frowned down on the letter. ‘I suppose I’m being dense, as usual, but I can’t see anything of interest in this letter!’ ‘Yet there is one point in it of great interest—a point that struck me at once.’ ‘Wait,’ I cried. ‘Don’t tell me. Let me see if I can’t discover it for myself.’ It was childish of me, perhaps. I examined the letter very thoroughly. Then I shook my head. ‘No, I don’t see it. The old lady’s got the wind up[102 - to get the wind up – испугаться], I realize that—but then, old ladies often do! It may be about nothing—it may conceivably be about something, but I don’t see that you can tell that that is so. Unless your instinct—’ Poirot raised an offended hand. ‘Instinct! You know how I dislike that word. “Something seems to tell me”—that is what you infer. Jamais de la vie![103 - Jamais de la vie!– (фр.) Никогда в жизни!] Me, I reason. I employ the little grey cells. There is one interesting point about that letter which you have overlooked utterly, Hastings.’ ‘Oh, well,’ I said wearily. ‘I’ll buy it.’ ‘Buy it? Buy what?’ ‘An expression. Meaning that I will permit you to enjoy yourself by telling me just where I have been a fool.’ ‘Not a fool, Hastings, merely unobservant.’ ‘Well, out with it[104 - out with it – выкладывайте]. What’s the interesting point? I suppose, like the “incident of the dog’s ball,” the point is that there is no interesting point!’ Poirot disregarded this sally on my part. He said quietly and calmly: ‘The interesting point is the date.’ ‘The date?’ I picked up the letter. On the top left-hand corner was written April 17th. ‘Yes,’ I said slowly. ‘That is odd. April 17th.’ ‘And we are today June 28th. C’est curieux, n’est ce pas?[105 - C’est curieux, n’est ce pas?– (фр.) Любопытно, не правда ли?] Over two months ago.’ I shook my head doubtfully. ‘It probably doesn’t mean anything. A slip. She meant to put June and wrote April instead.’ ‘Even then it would be ten or eleven days old—an odd fact. But actually you are in error. Look at the colour of the ink. That letter was written more than ten or eleven days ago. No, April 17th is the date assuredly. But why was the letter not sent?’ I shrugged my shoulders. ‘That’s easy. The old pussy changed her mind[106 - to change one’s mind – передумать].’ ‘Then why did she not destroy the letter? Why keep it over two months and post it now?’ I had to admit that that was harder to answer. In fact I couldn’t think of a really satisfactory answer. I merely shook my head and said nothing. Poirot nodded. ‘You see—it is a point! Yes, decidedly a curious point.’ ‘You are answering the letter?’ I asked. ‘Oui, mon ami.’[107 - Oui, mon ami.– (фр.) Да, мой друг.] The room was silent except for the scratching of Poirot’s pen. It was a hot, airless morning. A smell of dust and tar came in through the window. Poirot rose from his desk, the completed letter in his hand. He opened a drawer and drew out a little square box. From this he took out a stamp. Moistening this with a little sponge he prepared to affix it to the letter. Then suddenly he paused, stamp in hand, shaking his head with vigour. ‘Non!’[108 - Non! – (фр.) Нет!] he exclaimed. ‘That is the wrong thing I do.’ He tore the letter across and threw it into the waste-paper basket. ‘Not so must we tackle this matter! We will go, my friend.’ ‘You mean to go down to Market Basing?’ ‘Precisely. Why not? Does not one stifle in London today? Would not the country air be agreeable?’ ‘Well, if you put it like that,’ I said. ‘Shall we go in the car?’ I had acquired a second-hand Austin[109 - Austin – Остин (марка легкового автомобиля)]. ‘Excellent. A very pleasant day for motoring. One will hardly need the muffler. A light overcoat, a silk scarf—’ ‘My dear fellow, you’re not going to the North Pole!’ I protested. ‘One must be careful of catching the chill,’ said Poirot sententiously. ‘On a day like this?’ Disregarding my protests, Poirot proceeded to don a fawn-coloured overcoat and wrap his neck up with a white silk handkerchief. Having carefully placed the wetted stamp face downwards on the blotting-paper[110 - blotted-paper – промокательная бумага] to dry, we left the room together. CHAPTER 6. We Go to Littlegreen House I don’t know what Poirot felt like in his coat and muffler but I myself felt roasted before we got out of London. An open car in traffic is far from being a refreshing place on a hot summer’s day. Once we were outside London, however, and getting a bit of pace on the Great West Road my spirits rose[111 - one’s spirit rises – чье-либо настроение улучшается]. Our drive took us about an hour and a half, and it was close upon twelve o’clock when we came into the little town of Market Basing. Originally on the main road, a modern by-pass now left it some three miles to the north of the main stream of traffic and in consequence it had kept an air of old-fashioned dignity and quietude about it. Its one wide street and ample market square seemed to say, ‘I was a place of importance once and to any person of sense and breeding I am still the same. Let this modern speeding world dash along their new-fangled road; I was built to endure in a day when solidarity and beauty went hand in hand.’ There was a parking area in the middle of the big square, though there were only a few cars occupying it. I duly parked the Austin, Poirot divested himself of his superfluous garments, assured himself that his moustaches were in their proper condition of symmetrical flamboyance and we were then ready to proceed. For once in a way our first tentative inquiry did not meet with the usual response, ‘Sorry, but I’m a stranger in these parts.’ It would seem indeed probable that there were no strangers in Market Basing! It had that effect! Already, I felt, Poirot and myself (and especially Poirot) were somewhat noticeable. We tended to stick out from the mellow background of an English market town secure in its traditions. ‘Littlegreen House?’ The man, a burly, ox-eyed fellow, looked us over thoughtfully. ‘You go straight up the High Street and you can’t miss it. On your left. There’s no name on the gate, but it’s the first big house after the bank.’ He repeated again, ‘You can’t miss it.’ His eyes followed us as we started on our course. ‘Dear me[112 - Dear me – Боже мой],’ I complained. ‘There is something about this place that makes me feel extremely conspicuous. As for you, Poirot, you look positively exotic.’ ‘You think it is noticed that I am a foreigner—yes?’ ‘The fact cries aloud to heaven,’ I assured him. ‘And yet my clothes are made by an English tailor,’ mused Poirot. ‘Clothes are not everything,’ I said. ‘It cannot be denied, Poirot, that you have a noticeable personality. I have often wondered that it has not hindered you in your career.’ Poirot sighed. ‘That is because you have the mistaken idea implanted in your head that a detective is necessarily a man who puts on a false beard and hides behind a pillar! The false beard, it is vieux jeu[113 - vieux jeu– (фр.) старая игра], and shadowing is only done by the lowest branch of my profession. The Hercule Poirots, my friend, need only to sit back in a chair and think.’ ‘Which explains why we are walking along this exceedingly hot street on an exceedingly hot morning.’ ‘That is very neatly replied, Hastings. For once, I admit, you have made the score off me.[114 - you have made the score off me – вам удалось меня уязвить]’ We found Littlegreen House easily enough, but a shock awaited us—a house-agent’s board. As we were staring at it, a dog’s bark attracted my attention. The bushes were thin at that point and the dog could be easily seen. He was a wire-haired terrier, somewhat shaggy as to coat. His feet were planted wide apart, slightly to one side, and he barked with an obvious enjoyment of his own performance that showed him to be actuated by the most amiable motives. ‘Good watchdog, aren’t I?’ he seemed to be saying. ‘Don’t mind me![115 - Don’t mind me! – Не обращайте на меня внимания!] This is just my fun! My duty too, of course. Just have to let ’em[116 - let ’em = let them] know there’s a dog about the place! Deadly dull morning. Quite a blessing to have something to do. Coming into our place? Hope so. It’s darned dull. I could do with[117 - I could do with – Мне было бы кстати] a little conversation.’ ‘Hallo[118 - Hallo = Hello], old man,’ I said and shoved forward a fist. Craning his neck through the railings he sniffed suspiciously, then gently wagged his tail, uttering a few short staccato barks. ‘Not been properly introduced, of course, have to keep this up! But I see you know the proper advances to make.’ ‘Good old boy,’ I said. ‘Wuff,’ said the terrier amiably. ‘Well, Poirot?’ I said, desisting from this conversation and turning to my friend. There was an odd expression on his face—one that I could not quite fathom. A kind of deliberately suppressed excitement seems to describe it best. ‘The Incident of the Dog’s Ball,’ he murmured. ‘Well, at least, we have here a dog.’ ‘Wuff,’ observed our new friend. Then he sat down, yawned widely and looked at us hopefully. ‘What next?’ I asked. The dog seemed to be asking the same question. ‘Parbleu[119 - Parbleu – (фр.) Черт возьми], to Messrs—what is it—Messrs Gabler and Stretcher.’ ‘That does seem indicated,’ I agreed. We turned and retraced our steps, our canine acquaintance sending a few disgusted barks after us. The premises of Messrs Gabler and Stretcher were situated in the Market Square. We entered a dim outer office where we were received by a young woman with adenoids and a lack-lustre eye[120 - a lack-lustre eye – с безразличным взглядом]. ‘Good morning,’ said Poirot politely. The young woman was at the moment speaking into a telephone but she indicated a chair and Poirot sat down. I found another and brought it forward. ‘I couldn’t say, I’m sure,’ said the young woman into the telephone vacantly. ‘No, I don’t know what the rates would be… Pardon? Oh, main water, I think, but, of course, I couldn’t be certain… I’m very sorry, I’m sure… No, he’s out… No, I couldn’t say… Yes, of course I’ll ask him… Yes…8135? I’m afraid I haven’t quite got it[121 - to get – (зд.) понимать]. Oh…8935…39… Oh, 5135… Yes, I’ll ask him to ring you…after six… Oh, pardon, before six… Thank you so much.’ She replaced the receiver, scribbled 5319 on the blotting-pad and turned a mildly inquiring but uninterested gaze on Poirot. Poirot began briskly. ‘I observe that there is a house to be sold just on the outskirts of this town. Littlegreen House, I think is the name.’ ‘Pardon?’ ‘A house to be let or sold,’ said Poirot slowly and distinctly. ‘Littlegreen House.’ ‘Oh, Littlegreen House,’ said the young woman vaguely. ‘Littlegreen House, did you say?’ ‘That is what I said.’ ‘Littlegreen House,’ said the young woman, making a tremendous mental effort. ‘Oh, well, I expect Mr Gabler would know about that.’ ‘Can I see Mr Gabler?’ ‘He’s out,’ said the young woman with a kind of faint, anaemic satisfaction as of one who says, ‘A point to me.’ ‘Do you know when he will be in?’ ‘I couldn’t say, I’m sure,’ said the young woman. ‘You comprehend, I am looking for a house in this neighbourhood,’ said Poirot. ‘Oh, yes,’ said the young woman, uninterested. ‘And Littlegreen House seems to me just what I am looking for. Can you give me particulars?’ ‘Particulars?’ The young woman seemed startled. ‘Particulars of Littlegreen House.’ Unwillingly she opened a drawer and took out an untidy file of papers. Then she called, ‘John.’ A lanky youth sitting in a corner looked up. ‘Yes, miss.’ ‘Have we got any particulars of—what did you say?’ ‘Littlegreen House,’ said Poirot distinctly. ‘You’ve got a large bill of it here,’ I remarked, pointing to the wall. She looked at me coldly. Two to one, she seemed to think, was an unfair way of playing the game. She called up her own reinforcements. ‘You don’t know anything about Littlegreen House, do you, John?’ ‘No, miss. Should be in the file.’ ‘I’m sorry,’ said the young woman without looking so in the least[122 - not in the least – ни в малейшей степени]. ‘I rather fancy we must have sent all the particulars out.’ ‘C’est dommage.’[123 - C’est dommage.– (фр.) Жаль.] ‘Pardon?’ ‘A pity.’ ‘We’ve a nice bungalow at Hemel End, two bed., one sitt.’[124 - two bed., one sitt. = two bedrooms, one sitting-room] She spoke without enthusiasm, but with the air of one willing to do her duty by her employer. ‘I thank you, no.’ ‘And a semi-detached[125 - semi-detached (house) – сблокированный дом (дом на одну семью, имеющий общую стену с соседним домом)] with small conservatory. I could give you particulars of that.’ ‘No, thank you. I desired to know what rent you were asking for Littlegreen House.’ ‘It’s not to be rented,’ said the young woman, abandoning her position of complete ignorance of anything to do with Littlegreen House in the pleasure of scoring a point. ‘Only to be sold outright.’ ‘The board says, “To be Let or Sold.”’ ‘I couldn’t say as to that, but it’s for sale only.’ At this stage in the battle the door opened and a greyhaired, middle-aged man entered with a rush. His eye, a militant one, swept over us with a gleam. His eyebrows asked a question of his employee. ‘This is Mr Gabler,’ said the young woman. Mr Gabler opened the door of an inner sanctum with a flourish[126 - with a flourish – широким жестом]. ‘Step in here, gentlemen.’ He ushered us in, an ample gesture swept us into chairs and he himself was facing us across a flat-topped desk. ‘And now what can I do for you?’ Poirot began again perseveringly. ‘I desired a few particulars of Littlegreen House—’ He got no further. Mr Gabler took command[127 - to take command – (зд.) перенять инициативу]. ‘Ah! Littlegreen House—there’s a property! An absolute bargain. Only just come into the market. I can tell you gentlemen, we don’t often get a house of that class going at the price. Taste’s swinging round. People are fed up with[128 - to be fed up with smth – пресытиться ч.-л.] jerry-building[129 - jerry-building – возведение непрочных построек из плохого материала]. They want sound stuff. Good, honest building. A beautiful property—character—feeling—Georgian[130 - Georgian – георгианский стиль (английский архитектурный стиль XVIII – начала XIX вв.)] throughout. That’s what people want nowadays—there’s a feeling for period houses[131 - period house – старинный дом] if you understand what I mean. Ah, yes, Littlegreen House won’t be long in the market. It’ll be snapped up[132 - to snap up – перехватить]. Snapped up! A member of Parliament came to look at it only last Saturday. Liked it so much he’s coming down again this weekend. And there’s a stock exchange[133 - stock exchange – фондовая биржа] gentleman after it too. People want quiet nowadays when they come to the country, want to be well away from main roads. That’s all very well for some people, but we attract class here. And that’s what that house has got. Class! You’ve got to admit, they knew how to build for gentlemen in those days. Yes, we shan’t have Littlegreen long on our books.’ Mr Gabler, who, it occurred to me, lived up to his name[134 - lived up to his name — был достоин своего имени (gabler – врун)] very happily, paused for breath. ‘Has it changed hands often in the last few years?’ inquired Poirot. ‘On the contrary. Been in one family over fifty years. Name of Arundell. Very much respected in the town. Ladies of the old school.’ He shot up, opened the door and called: ‘Particulars of Littlegreen House, Miss Jenkins. Quickly now.’ He returned to the desk. ‘I require a house about this distance from London,’ said Poirot. ‘In the country, but not in the dead country, if you understand me—’ ‘Perfectly—perfectly. Too much in the country doesn’t do. Servants don’t like it for one thing. Here, you have the advantages of the country but not the disadvantages.’ Miss Jenkins flitted in with a typewritten sheet of paper which she placed in front of her employer who dismissed her with a nod. ‘Here we are,’ said Mr Gabler, reading with practised rapidity. ‘Period House of character: four recep.[135 - four recep. = four receptions – четыре гостиных], eight bed and dressing, usual offices, commodious kitchen premises, ample outbuildings, stables, etc. Main water, old-world gardens, inexpensive upkeep[136 - Main water, old-world gardens, inexpensive upkeep – Водопровод, старинный сад, недорогой в эксплуатации], amounting in all to three acres[137 - acre — акр (земельная мера); 1 акр = 4046,86 м2], two summer-houses, etc., etc. Pricse £2,850 or near offer[138 - or near offer – торг уместен].’ ‘You can give me an order to view?’ ‘Certainly, my dear sir.’ Mr Gabler began writing in a flourishing fashion. ‘Your name and address?’ Slightly to my surprise, Poirot gave his name as Mr Parotti. ‘We have one or two other properties on our books which might interest you,’ Mr Gabler went on. Poirot allowed him to add two further additions. ‘Littlegreen House can be viewed any time?’ he inquired. ‘Certainly, my dear sir. There are servants in residence. I might perhaps ring up to make certain. You will be going there immediately? Or after lunch?’ ‘Perhaps after lunch would be better.’ ‘Certainly—certainly. I’ll ring up and tell them to expect you about two o’clock—eh? Is that right?’ ‘Thank you. Did you say the owner of the house—a Miss Arundell, I think you said?’ ‘Lawson. Miss Lawson. That is the name of the present owner. Miss Arundell, I am sorry to say, died a short time ago. That is how the place has come into the market. And I can assure you it will be snapped up. Not a doubt of it. Between you and me, just in confidence, if you do think of making an offer[139 - to make an offer – предлагать цену] I should make it quickly. As I’ve told you, there are two gentlemen after it already, and I shouldn’t be surprised to get an offer for it any day from one or other of them. Each of them knows the other’s after it, you see. And there’s no doubt that competition spurs a man on[140 - to spur on – подгонять]. Ha, ha! I shouldn’t like you to be disappointed.’ ‘Miss Lawson is anxious to sell, I gather.’ Mr Gabler lowered his voice confidentially. ‘That’s just it. The place is larger than she wants—one middle-aged lady living by herself. She wants to get rid of[141 - to get rid of smth – избавиться от ч.-л.] this and take a house in London. Quite understandable. That’s why the place is going so ridiculously cheap.’ ‘She would be open, perhaps, to an offer?’ ‘That’s the idea, sir. Make an offer and set the ball rolling[142 - to set the ball rolling – начинать]. But you can take it from me that there will be no difficulty in getting a price very near the figure named. Why, it’s ridiculous! To build a house like that nowadays would cost every penny of six thousand, let alone[143 - let alone – не говоря уже о] the land value and the valuable frontages.’ ‘Miss Arundell died very suddenly, didn’t she?’ ‘Oh, I wouldn’t say that. Anno domini—anno domini[144 - anno domini – (лат., зд.) старость, годы]. She had passed her three-score and ten[145 - three-score and ten – (библ.) семьдесят лет] some time ago. And she’d been ailing for a long time. The last of her family—you know something about the family, perhaps?’ ‘I know some people of the same name who have relations in this part of the world. I fancy it must be the same family.’ ‘Very likely. Four sisters there were. One married fairly late in life and the other three lived on here. Ladies of the old school. Miss Emily was the last of them. Very highly thought of in the town.’ He leant forward and handed Poirot the orders. ‘You’ll drop in[146 - to drop in – зайти] again and let me know what you think of it, eh? Of course, it may need a little modernizing here and there. That’s only to be expected. But I always say, “What’s a bathroom or two? That’s easily done.”’ We took our leave and the last thing we heard was the vacant voice of Miss Jenkins saying: ‘Mrs Samuels rang up, sir. She’d like you to ring her— Holland 5391.’ As far as I could remember that was neither the number Miss Jenkins had scribbled on her pad nor the number finally arrived at through the telephone. I felt convinced that Miss Jenkins was having her revenge for having been forced to find the particulars of Littlegreen House. CHAPTER 7. Lunch at the George As we emerged into the market square, I remarked that Mr Gabler lived up to his name! Poirot assented with a smile. ‘He’ll be rather disappointed when you don’t return,’ I said. ‘I think he feels he has as good as[147 - as good as – почти] sold you that house already.’ ‘Indeed, yes, I fear there is a deception in store[148 - to be in store – предстоять] for him.’ ‘I suppose we might as well have lunch here before returning to London, or shall we lunch at some more likely spot on our way back?’ ‘My dear Hastings, I am not proposing to leave Market Basing so quickly. We have not yet accomplished that which we came to do.’ I stared. ‘Do you mean—but, my dear fellow, that’s all a washout. The old lady is dead.’ ‘Exactly.’ The tone of that one word made me stare at him harder than ever. It was evident that he had some bee in his bonnet[149 - to have a bee in one’s bonnet – (разг.) помешаться] over this incoherent letter. ‘But if she’s dead, Poirot,’ I said gently, ‘what’s the use? She can’t tell you anything now. Whatever the trouble was, it’s over and finished with.’ ‘How lightly and easily you put the matter aside[150 - to put the matter aside – отмахиваться от решения вопроса]! Let me tell you that no matter is finished with until Hercule Poirot ceases to concern himself with it!’ I should have known from experience that to argue with Poirot is quite useless. Unwarily I proceeded. ‘But since she is dead—’ ‘Exactly, Hastings. Exactly—exactly—exactly… You keep repeating the significant point with a magnificently obtuse disregard of its significance. Do you not see the importance of the point? Miss Arundell is dead.’’ ‘But my dear Poirot, her death was perfectly natural and ordinary! There wasn’t anything odd or unexplained about it. We have old Gabler’s word for that.’ ‘We have his word that Littlegreen House is a bargain at £2,850. Do you accept that as gospel[151 - to accept as gospel – принимать за абсолютную истину] also?’ ‘No, indeed. It struck me that Gabler was all out[152 - all out – изо всех сил] to get the place sold—it probably needs modernizing from top to toe[153 - from top to toe – с головы до ног]. I’d swear he—or rather his client—will be willing to accept a very much lower figure than that. These large Georgian houses fronting right on the street must be the devil to get rid of.’ ‘Eh bien[154 - Eh bien– (фр.) хорошо], then,’ said Poirot. ‘Do not say, “But Gabler says so!” as though he were an inspired prophet who could not lie.’ I was about to protest further, but at this minute we passed the threshold of the George and with an emphatic ‘Chut!’[155 - Chut! – Да ну же! (выражает нетерпение)] Poirot put a damper on[156 - to put a damper on – отбивать охоту] further conversation. We were directed to the coffee-room, a room of fine proportions, tightly-shut windows and an odour of stale food. An elderly waiter attended to us, a slow, heavybreathing man. We appeared to be the only lunchers. We had some excellent mutton, large slabs of watery cabbage and some dispirited potatoes. Some rather tasteless stewed fruit and custard followed. After gorgonzola and biscuits the waiter brought us two cups of a doubtful fluid called coffee. At this point Poirot produced his orders to view and invited the waiter’s aid. ‘Yes, sir. I know where most of these are. Hemel Down is three miles away—on the Much Benham road—quite a little place. Naylor’s Farm is about a mile away. There’s a kind of lane goes off to it not long after the King’s Head. Bisset Grange? No, I’ve never heard of that. Littlegreen House is just close by, not more than a few minutes’ walk.’ ‘Ah, I think I have already seen it from the outside. That is the most possible one, I think. It is in good repair[157 - in good repair – в хорошем состоянии]—yes?’ ‘Oh, yes, sir. It’s in good condition—roof and drains and all that. Old-fashioned, of course. It’s never been modernized in any way. The gardens are a picture. Very fond of her garden Miss Arundell was.’ ‘It belongs, I see, to a Miss Lawson.’ ‘That’s right, sir. Miss Lawson, she was Miss Arundell’s companion and when the old lady died everything was left to her—house and all.’ ‘Indeed? I suppose she had no relations to whom to leave it?’ ‘Well, it was not quite like that, sir. She had nieces and nephews living. But, of course, Miss Lawson was with her all the time. And, of course, she was an old lady and— well—that’s how it was.’ ‘In any case I suppose there was just the house and not much money?’ I have often had occasion to notice how, where a direct question would fail to elicit a response, a false assumption brings instant information in the form of a contradiction. ‘Very far from that, sir. Very far indeed. Everyone was surprised at the amount the old lady left. The will was in the paper and the amount and everything. It seems she hadn’t lived up to her income[158 - to live up to income – жить по средствам] for many a long year. Something like three or four hundred thousand pounds she left.’ ‘You astonish me,’ cried Poirot. ‘It is like a fairy tale— eh? The poor companion suddenly becomes unbelievably wealthy. Is she still young, this Miss Lawson? Can she enjoy her newfound wealth?’ ‘Oh, no, sir, she’s a middle-aged person, sir.’ His enunciation of the word person was quite an artistic performance. It was clear that Miss Lawson, ex-companion, had cut no kind of a figure[159 - to cut no figure – не производить никакого впечатления] in Market Basing. ‘It must have been disappointing for the nephews and nieces,’ mused Poirot. ‘Yes, sir, I believe it came as somewhat of a shock to them. Very unexpected. There’s been feeling over it here in Market Basing. There are those who hold it isn’t right to leave things away from your own flesh and blood[160 - one’s own flesh and blood – собственные дети]. But, of course, there’s others as hold that everyone’s got a right to do as they like with their own. There’s something to be said for both points of view, of course.’ ‘Miss Arundell had lived for many years here, had she not?’ ‘Yes, sir. She and her sisters and old General Arundell, their father, before them. Not that I remember him, naturally, but I believe he was quite a character[161 - quite a character – большой оригинал]. Was in the Indian Mutiny.’ ‘There were several daughters?’ ‘Three of them that I remember, and I believe there was one that married. Yes, Miss Matilda, Miss Agnes, and Miss Emily. Miss Matilda, she died first, and then Miss Agnes, and finally Miss Emily.’ ‘That was quite recently?’ ‘Beginning of May—or it may have been the end of April.’ ‘Had she been ill some time?’ ‘On and off[162 - On and off – Время от времени]—on and off. She was on the sickly side[163 - to be on the sickly side – быть хилым]. Nearly went off[164 - to go off – умирать] a year ago with that there jaundice. Yellow as an orange she was for some time after. Yes, she’d had poor health for the last five years of her life.’ ‘I suppose you have some good doctors down here?’ ‘Well, there’s Dr Grainger. Been here close on forty years, he has, and folks mostly go to him. He’s a bit crotchety and he has his fancies but he’s a good doctor, none better. He’s got a young partner, Dr Donaldson. He’s more the new-fangled kind. Some folk prefer him. Then, of course, there’s Dr Harding, but he doesn’t do much.’ ‘Dr Grainger was Miss Arundell’s doctor, I suppose?’ ‘Oh, yes. He’s pulled her through[165 - to pull through – (разг.) вылечивать] many a bad turn. He’s the kind that fair bullies you into[166 - to bully into – силой заставить] living whether you want to or not.’ Poirot nodded. ‘One should learn a little about a place before one comes to settle in it,’ he remarked. ‘A good doctor is one of the most important people.’ ‘That’s very true, sir.’ Poirot then asked for his bill to which he added a substantial tip. ‘Thank you, sir. Thank you very much, sir. I’m sure I hope you’ll settle here, sir.’ ‘I hope so, too,’ said Poirot mendaciously. We set forth from the George. ‘Satisfied yet, Poirot?’ I asked as we emerged into the street. ‘Not in the least, my friend.’ He turned in an unexpected direction. ‘Where are you off to now[167 - Where are you off to now – Куда вы направляетесь теперь], Poirot?’ ‘The church, my friend. It may be interesting. Some brasses—an old monument.’ I shook my head doubtfully. Poirot’s scrutiny of the interior of the church was brief. Though an attractive specimen of what the guidebook calls Early Perp.[168 - Early Perp. = Early Perpendecular architecture – ранний перпендикулярный (вертикальный) стиль (один из британских готических архитектурных стилей, преобладавший с середины XIV по XVI в.)], it had been so conscientiously restored in Victorian vandal days that little of interest remained. Poirot next wandered seemingly aimlessly about the churchyard reading some of the epitaphs, commenting on the number of deaths in certain families, occasionally exclaiming over the quaintness of a name. I was not surprised, however, when he finally halted before what I was pretty sure had been his objective from the beginning. An imposing marble slab bore a partly-effaced[169 - partly-effaced – полустертый] inscription: SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF JOHN LAVERTON ARUNDELL GENERAL 24TH SIKHS WHO FELL ASLEEP IN CHRIST MAY 19TH 1888 AGED 69 ‘FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT[170 - to fight the good fight – бороться за правое дело] WITH ALL THY[171 - thy = your]MIGHT’ ALSO OF MATILDA ANN ARUNDELL DIED MARCH 10TH 1912 ‘I WILL ARISE AND GO TO MY FATHER’ ALSO OF AGNES GEORGINA MARY ARUNDELL DIED NOVEMBER 20TH 1921 ‘ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE[172 - Ask and ye (= you) shall receive – Просите, и дано будет вам]’ Then came a brand new piece of lettering, evidently just done: ALSO OF EMILY HARRIET LAVERTON ARUNDELL DIED MAY 1ST 1936 ‘THY WILL BE DONE’ Poirot stood looking for some time. He murmured softly: ‘May 1st… May 1st… And today, June 28th, I receive her letter. You see, do you not, Hastings, that that fact has got to be explained?’ I saw that it had. That is to say, I saw that Poirot was determined that it should be explained. CHAPTER 8. Interior of Littlegreen House On leaving the churchyard, Poirot led the way briskly in the direction of Littlegreen House. I gathered that his role was still that of the prospective purchaser. Carefully holding the various orders to view in his hand, with the Littlegreen House one uppermost, he pushed open the gate and walked up the path to the front door. On this occasion our friend the terrier was not to be seen, but the sound of barking could be heard inside the house, though at some distance—I guessed in the kitchen quarters. Presently we heard footsteps crossing the hall and the door was opened by a pleasant-faced woman of between fifty and sixty, clearly the old-fashioned type of servant seldom seen nowadays. Poirot presented his credentials. ‘Yes, sir, the house-agent telephoned. Will you step this way, sir?’ The shutters which I had noticed were closed on our first visit to spy out the land, were now all thrown open in preparation for our visit. Everything, I observed, was spotlessly clean and well kept. Clearly our guide was a thoroughly conscientious woman. ‘This is the morning-room[173 - morning-room – маленькая столовая, примыкающая к кухне], sir.’ I glanced round approvingly. A pleasant room with its long windows giving on the street. It was furnished with good, solid, old-fashioned furniture, mostly Victorian, but there was a Chippendale[174 - Chippendale – чиппендейл (стиль английской мебели в XVIII в., рококо с обилием тонкой резьбы)] bookcase and a set of attractive Hepplewhite[175 - Hepplewhite – хеппелуайт (стиль английской мебели XVIII в.; мебель из красного дерева, отличающаяся овальными, изогнутыми формами и тонкой отделкой)] chairs. Poirot and I behaved in the customary fashion of people being shown over houses. We stood stock still[176 - to stand stock still – стоять не двигаясь], looking a little ill at ease[177 - ill at ease – сконфуженный], murmuring remarks such as ‘very nice.’ ‘A very pleasant room.’ ‘The morning-room, you say?’ The maid conducted us across the hall and into the corresponding room on the other side. This was much larger. ‘The dining-room, sir.’ This room was definitely Victorian. A heavy mahogany dining-table, a massive sideboard of almost purplish mahogany with great clusters of carved fruit, solid leather-covered diningroom chairs. On the wall hung what were obviously family portraits. The terrier had continued to bark in some sequestered spot. Now the sound suddenly increased in volume. With a crescendo of barking he could be heard galloping across the hall. ‘Who’s come into the house? I’ll tear him limb from limb[178 - to tear limb from limb – разорвать (человека) на части],’ was clearly the ‘burden of his song’. He arrived in the doorway, sniffing violently. ‘Oh, Bob, you naughty dog,’ exclaimed our conductress. ‘Don’t mind him, sir. He won’t do you no harm.’ Bob, indeed, having discovered the intruders, completely changed his manner. He fussed in and introduced himself to us in an agreeable manner. ‘Pleased to meet you, I’m sure,’ he observed as he sniffed round our ankles. ‘Excuse the noise, won’t you, but I have my job to do. Got to be careful who we let in, you know. But it’s a dull life and I’m really quite pleased to see a visitor. Dogs of your own, I fancy?’ This last was addressed to me as I stooped and patted him. ‘Nice little fellow,’ I said to the woman. ‘Needs plucking a bit, though.’ ‘Yes, sir, he’s usually plucked three times a year.’ ‘Is he an old dog?’ Oh, no, sir. Bob’s not more than six. And sometimes he behaves just like a puppy. Gets hold of cook’s slippers and prances about with them. And he’s very gentle though you wouldn’t believe it to hear the noise he makes sometimes. The only person he goes for[179 - to go for – (разг.) наброситься] is the postman. Downright scared of him the postman is.’ Bob was now investigating the legs of Poirot’s trousers. Having learned all he could he gave vent to a prolonged sniff (‘H’m, not too bad, but not really a doggy person’) and returned to me cocking his head on one side and looking at me expectantly. ‘I don’t know why dogs always go for postmen, I’m sure,’ continued our guide. ‘It’s a matter of reasoning,’ said Poirot. ‘The dog, he argues from reason. He is intelligent, he makes his deductions according to his point of view. There are people who may enter a house and there are people who may not—that a dog soon learns. Eh bien, who is the person who most persistently tries to gain admission, rattling on the door twice or three times a day—and who is never by any chance admitted? The postman. Clearly, then, an undesirable guest from the point of view of the master of the house. He is always sent about his business[180 - to send about his business – прогнать], but he persistently returns and tries again. Then a dog’s duty is clear, to aid in driving this undesirable man away[181 - to drive away – отгонять], and to bite him if possible. A most reasonable proceeding.’ He beamed on Bob. ‘And a most intelligent person, I fancy.’ ‘Oh, he is, sir. He’s almost human, Bob is.’ She flung open another door. ‘The drawing-room, sir.’ The drawing-room conjured up memories of the past. A faint fragrance of potpourri[182 - potpourri – попурри (здесь – ароматная смесь из сухих цветочных лепестков)] hung about it. The chintzes were worn, their pattern faded garlands of roses. On the walls were prints and water-colour drawings. There was a good deal of china—fragile shepherds and shepherdesses. There were cushions worked in crewel stitch[183 - crewel stitch – вышивание шерстью]. There were faded photographs in handsome silver frames. There were many inlaid work-boxes and tea caddies[184 - tea caddy – чайница (коробочка для хранения чая)]. Most fascinating of all to me were two exquisitely cut tissue-paper ladies under glass stands. One with a spinning-wheel, one with a cat on her knee. The atmosphere of a bygone day, a day of leisure, of refinement, of ‘ladies and gentlemen’ closed round me. This was indeed a ‘withdrawing-room’. Here ladies sat and did their fancy-work, and if a cigarette was ever smoked by a favoured member of the male sex, what a shaking out of curtains and general airing of the room there would be afterwards! My attention was drawn[185 - to draw attention – привлекать внимание] by Bob. He was sitting in an attitude of rapt attention close beside an elegant little table with two drawers in it. As he saw that I was noticing him, he gave a short, plaintive yelp, looking from me to the table. ‘What does he want?’ I asked. Our interest in Bob was clearly pleasing to the maid, who obviously was very fond of him. ‘It’s his ball, sir. It was always kept in that drawer. That’s why he sits there and asks.’ Her voice changed. She addressed Bob in a high falsetto. ‘It isn’t there any longer, beautiful. Bob’s ball is in the kitchen. In the kitchen, Bobsie.’ Bob shifted his gaze impatiently to Poirot. ‘This woman’s a fool,’ he seemed to be saying. ‘You look a brainy sort of chap. Balls are kept in certain places—this drawer is one of those places. There always has been a ball here. Therefore there should be a ball there now. That’s obvious dog-logic, isn’t it?’ ‘It’s not there now, boy,’ I said. He looked at me doubtfully. then, as we went out of the room he followed slowly in an unconvinced manner. We were shown various cupboards, a downstairs cloakroom, and a small pantry place, ‘where the mistress used to do the flowers, sir’. ‘You were with your mistress a long time?’ asked Poirot. ‘Twenty-two years, sir.’ ‘You are alone here caretaking?’ ‘Me and cook, sir.’ ‘She was also a long time with Miss Arundell?’ ‘Four years, sir. The old cook died.’ ‘Supposing I were to buy the house, would you be prepared to stay on?’ She blushed a little. ‘It’s very kind of you, sir, I’m sure, but I’m going to retire from service. The mistress left me a nice little sum, you see, and I’m going to my brother. I’m only remaining here as a convenience to Miss Lawson until the place is sold—to look after everything.’ Poirot nodded. In the momentary silence a new sound was heard. ‘Bump, bump, BUMP.’ A monotonous sound increasing in volume and seeming to descend from above. ‘It’s Bob, sir.’ She was smiling. ‘He’s got hold of his ball and he’s bumping it down the stairs. It’s a little game of his.’ As we reached the bottom of the stairs a black rubber ball arrived with a thud on the last step. I caught it and looked up. Bob was lying on the top step, his paws splayed out, his tail gently wagging. I threw it up to him. He caught it neatly, chewed it for a minute or two with evident relish, then laid it between his paws and gently edged it forward with his nose till he finally bunted it over and it bumped once more down the stairs, Bob wagging his tail furiously as he watched its progress. ‘He’ll stay like that for hours, sir. Regular game of his. He’d go on all day at it. That’ll do[186 - That’ll do – Довольно] now, Bob. The gentlemen have got something else to do than play with you.’ A dog is a great promoter of friendly intercourse. Our interest and liking for Bob had quite broken down the natural stiffness of the good servant. As we went up to the bedroom floors, our guide was talking quite garrulously as she gave us accounts of[187 - to give an account of smth – давать отчет о ч.-л.] Bob’s wonderful sagacity. The ball had been left at the foot of the stairs. As we passed him, Bob gave us a look of deep disgust and stalked down in a dignified fashion to retrieve it. As we turned to the right I saw him slowly coming up again with it in his mouth, his gait that of an extremely old man forced by unthinking persons to exert himself unduly. As we went round the bedrooms, Poirot began gradually to draw our conductress out[188 - to draw out – вызывать на разговор, откровенность]. ‘There were four Miss Arundells lived here, did they not?’ he asked. ‘Originally, yes, sir, but that was before my time. There was only Miss Agnes and Miss Emily when I came and Miss Agnes died soon afterwards. She was the youngest of the family. It seemed odd she should go before her sister.’ ‘I suppose she was not so strong as her sister?’ ‘No, sir, it’s odd that. My Miss Arundell, Miss Emily, she was always the delicate one. She’d had a lot to do with doctors all her life. Miss Agnes was always strong and robust and yet she went first and Miss Emily who’d been delicate from a child outlived all the family. Very odd the way things happen.’ ‘Astonishing how often that is the case.’ Poirot plunged into (I feel sure) a wholly mendacious story of an invalid uncle which I will not trouble to repeat here. It suffices to say that it had its effect. Discussions of death and such matters do more to unlock the human tongue than any other subject. Poirot was in a position to ask questions that would have been regarded with suspicious hostility twenty minutes earlier. ‘Was Miss Arundell’s illness a long and painful one?’ ‘No, I wouldn’t say that, sir. She’d been ailing, if you know what I mean, for a long time—ever since two winters before. Very bad she was then—this here jaundice. Yellow in the face they go and the whites of their eyes—’ ‘Ah, yes, indeed—’ (Anecdote of Poirot’s cousin who appeared to have been the Yellow Peril[189 - the Yellow Peril – «Желтая угроза». Данное выражение появилось впервые в 1900 г., обозначало опасность, которую якобы представляла начавшаяся иммиграция из Японии и Китая для уровня жизни белого населения] in person.) ‘That’s right—just as you say, sir. Terribly ill she was, poor dear. Couldn’t keep anything down.[190 - Couldn’t keep anything down. – Не могла пошевелиться.] If you ask me, Dr Grainger hardly thought she’d pull through. But he’d a wonderful way with her—bullying, you know. “Made up your mind[191 - to make up one’s mind – решить] to lie back and order your tombstone?” he’d say. And she’d say, “I’ve a bit of fight in me still, doctor,” and he’d say, “That’s right—that’s what I like to hear.” A hospital nurse we had, and she made up her mind that it was all over—even said to the doctor once that she supposed she’d better not worry the old lady too much by forcing her to take food—but the doctor rounded on[192 - to round on – резко критиковать] her. “Nonsense,” he said, “Worry her? You’ve got to bully her into taking nourishment.” Valentine’s beef juice at such and such a time, Brand’s essence—teaspoonfuls of brandy. And at the end he said something that I’ve never forgotten. “You’re young, my girl,” he said to her, “you don’t realize what fine fighting material there is in age. It’s young people who turn up their toes[193 - to turn up one’s toes – протянуть ноги] and die because they’re not interested enough to live. You show me anyone who’s lived to over seventy and you show me a fighter—someone who’s got the will to live.” And it’s true, sir—we’re always saying how wonderful old people are—their vitality and the way they’ve kept their faculties—but as the doctor put it that’s just why they’ve lived so long and got to be so old.’ ‘But it is profound what you say there—very profound! And Miss Ar undell was like that? Very alive. Very interested in life?’ ‘Oh, yes, indeed, sir. Her health was poor, but her brain was as keen as anything. And as I was saying, she got over that illness of hers—surprised the nurse, it did. A stuck-up young thing she was, all starched collars and cuffs and the waiting on she had to have and tea at all hours.’ ‘A fine recovery.’ ‘Yes, indeed, sir. Of course, the mistress had to be very careful as to diet at first, everything boiled and steamed, no grease in the cooking, and she wasn’t allowed to eat eggs either. Very monotonous it was for her.’ ‘Still the main thing is she got well.’ ‘Yes, sir. Of course, she had her little turns[194 - turn – (зд.) приступ]. What I’d call bilious attacks[195 - bilious attack – приступ разлития желчи]. She wasn’t always very careful about her food after a time—but still they weren’t very serious until the last attack.’ ‘Was it like her illness of two years before?’ ‘Yes, just the same sort of thing, sir. That nasty jaundice—an awful yellow colour again—and the terrible sickness and all the rest of it. Brought it on[196 - to bring on – навлекать] herself I’m afraid she did, poor dear. Ate a lot of things she shouldn’t have done. That very evening she was took bad[197 - to be taken bad – заболеть] she’d had curry for supper and as you know, sir, curry’s rich and a bit oily.’ ‘Her illness came on suddenly, did it?’ ‘Well, it seemed so, sir, but Dr Grainger he said it had been working up for some time. A chill—the weather had been very changeable—and too rich feeding.’ ‘Surely her companion—Miss Lawson was her companion was she not—could have dissuaded her from rich dishes?’ ‘Oh, I don’t think Miss Lawson would have much say. Miss Arundell wasn’t one to take orders from anyone.’ ‘Had Miss Lawson been with her during her previous illness?’ ‘No, she came after that. She’d been with her about a year.’ ‘I suppose she’d had companions before that?’ ‘Oh, quite a number, sir.’ ‘Her companions didn’t stay as long as her servants,’ said Poirot, smiling. The woman flushed. ‘Well, you see, sir, it was different. Miss Arundell didn’t get out much and what with one thing and another—’ she paused. Poirot eyed her for a minute then he said: ‘I understand a little the mentality of elderly ladies. They crave, do they not, for novelty. They get, perhaps, to the end of a person.’ ‘Well, now, that’s very clever of you, sir. You’ve hit it exactly. When a new lady came Miss Arundell was always interested to start with—about her life and her childhood and where she’d been and what she thought about things, and then, when she knew all about her, well, she’d get— well, I suppose bored is the real word.’ ‘Exactly. And between you and me, these ladies who go as companions, they are not usually very interesting—very amusing, eh?’ ‘No, indeed, sir. They’re poor-spirited creatures, most of them. Downright foolish, now and then. Miss Arundell soon got through with them, so to speak. And then she’d make a change and have someone else.’ ‘She must have been unusually attached to Miss Lawson, though.’ ‘Oh, I don’t think so, sir.’ ‘Miss Lawson was not in any way a remarkable woman?’ ‘I shouldn’t have said so, sir. Quite an ordinary person.’ ‘You liked her, yes?’ The woman shrugged her shoulders slightly. ‘There wasn’t anything to like or dislike. Fussy she was—a regular old maid and full of this nonsense about spirits.’ ‘Spirits?’’ Poirot looked alert. ‘Yes, sir, spirits. Sitting in the dark round a table and dead people came back and spoke to you. Downright irreligious I call it—as if we didn’t know departed souls had their rightful place and aren’t likely to leave it.’ ‘So Miss Lawson was a spiritualist! Was Miss Arundell a believer too?’ ‘Miss Lawson would have liked her to be!’ snapped the other. There was a spice of satisfied malice in her tone. ‘But she wasn’t?’ Poirot persisted. ‘The mistress had too much sense.’ She snorted. ‘Mind you, I don’t say it didn’t amuse her. “I’m willing to be convinced,” she’d say. But she’d often look at Miss Lawson as much as to say[198 - as much as to say – все равно что сказать], “My poor dear, what a fool you are to be so taken in[199 - to be taken in – быть обманутым]!”’ ‘I comprehend. She did not believe in it, but it was a source of amusement to her.’ ‘That’s right, sir. I sometimes wondered if she didn’t—well have a bit of quiet fun, so to speak, pushing the table and that sort of thing. And the others all as serious as death.’ ‘The others?’ ‘Miss Lawson and the two Miss Tripps.’ ‘Miss Lawson was a very convinced spiritualist?’ ‘Took it all for gospel, sir.’ ‘And Miss Arundell was very attached to Miss Lawson, of course.’ It was the second time Poirot had made this certain remark and he got the same response. ‘Well, hardly that, sir.’ ‘But surely,’ said Poirot. ‘If she left her everything. She did, did she not?’ The change was immediate. The human being vanished. The correct maid-servant returned. The woman drew herself up and said in a colourless voice that held reproof for familiarity in it: ‘The way the mistress left her money is hardly my business, sir.’ I felt that Poirot had bungled the job. Having got the woman in a friendly mood, he was now proceeding to throw away his advantage. He was wise enough to make no immediate attempt to recover lost ground[200 - to recover lost ground – возвратить утраченные позиции]. After a commonplace remark about the size and number of the bedrooms he went towards the head of the stairs. Bob had disappeared, but as I came to the stair-head, I stumbled and nearly fell. Catching at the baluster to steady myself I looked down and saw that I had inadvertently placed my foot on Bob’s ball which he had left lying on the top of the stairs. The woman apologized quickly. ‘I’m sorry, sir. It’s Bob’s fault. He leaves his ball there. And you can’t see it against the dark carpet. Death of someone some day it’ll be. The poor mistress had a nasty fall through it. Might easily have been the death of her.’ Poirot stopped suddenly on the stairs. ‘She had an accident you say?’ ‘Yes, sir. Bob left his ball there, as he often did, and the mistress came out of her room and fell over it and went right down the stairs. Might have been killed.’ ‘Was she much hurt?’ ‘Not as much as you’d think. Very lucky she was, Dr Grainger said. Cut her head a little, and strained her back, and of course there were bruises and it was a nasty shock. She was in bed for about a week, but it wasn’t serious.’ ‘Was this long ago?’ ‘Just a week or two before she died.’ Poirot stooped to recover something he had dropped. ‘Pardon—my fountain pen[201 - fountain pen – авторучка]—ah, yes, there it is.’ He stood up again. ‘He is careless, this Master Bob,’ he observed. ‘Ah well, he don’t know no better, sir,’ said the woman in an indulgent voice. ‘Nearly human he may be, but you can’t have everything. The mistress, you see, usedn’t to sleep well at night and often she’d get up and wander downstairs and round and about the house.’ ‘She did that often?’ ‘Most nights. But she wouldn’t have Miss Lawson or anyone fussing after her.’ Poirot had turned into the drawing-room again. ‘A beautiful room this,’ he observed. ‘I wonder, would there be space in this recess for my bookcase? What do you think, Hastings?’ Quite fogged I remarked cautiously that it would be difficult to say. ‘Yes, sizes are so deceptive. Take, I pray you, my little rule and measure the width of it and I will write it down.’ Obediently I took the folding rule that Poirot handed me and took various measurements under his direction whilst he wrote on the back of an envelope. I was just wondering why he adopted such an untidy and uncharacteristic method instead of making a neat entry in his little pocket-book when he handed the envelope to me, saying: ‘That is right, is it not? Perhaps you had better verify it.’ There were no figures on the envelope. Instead was written: ‘When we go upstairs again, pretend to remember an appointment and ask if you can telephone. Let the woman come with you and delay her as long as you can.’ ‘That’s all right,’ I said, pocketing the envelope. ‘I should say both bookcases would go in perfectly.’ ‘It is as well to be sure though. I think, if it is not too much trouble, I would like to look at the principal bedroom again. I am not quite sure of the wall space there.’ ‘Certainly, sir. It’s no trouble.’ We went up again. Poirot measured a portion of wall, and was just commenting aloud on the respective possible positions of bed, wardrobe and writing table, when I looked at my watch, gave a somewhat exaggerated start and exclaimed: ‘By Jove[202 - By Jove – Боже милостивый (букв. Клянусь Юпитером)], do you know it’s three o’clock already? What will Anderson think? I ought to telephone to him.’ I turned to the woman. ‘I wonder if I might use your telephone if you have one.’ ‘Why, certainly, sir. It’s in the little room off the hall. I’ll show you.’ She bustled down with me, indicating the instrument, and then I got her to help me in finding a number in the telephone directory. In the end I made a call—to a Mr Anderson in the neighbouring town of Harchester. Fortunately he was out and I was able to leave a message saying it was unimportant and that I would ring up later! When I emerged Poirot had descended the staircase and was standing in the hall. His eyes had a slightly green tinge. I had no clue to his excitement but I realized that he was excited. Poirot said: ‘That fall from the top of the stairs must have given your mistress a great shock. Did she seem perturbed about Bob and his ball after it?’ ‘It’s funny your saying that, sir. It worried her a lot. Why, just as she was dying, she was delirious and she rambled on a lot about Bob and his ball and something about a picture that was ajar.’ ‘A picture that was ajar,’ said Poirot thoughtfully. ‘Of course, it didn’t make sense, sir, but she was rambling, you see.’ ‘One moment—I must just go into the drawing-room once more.’ He wandered round the room examining the ornaments. In especial, one big jar with a lid on it seemed to attract him. It was not, I fancy, a particularly good bit of china. A piece of Victorian humour—it had on it a rather crude picture of a bulldog sitting outside a front door with a mournful expression on its face. Below was written: Out all night and no key. Poirot, whose taste I have always been convinced, is hopelessly Bourgeois[203 - Bourgeois – буржуазный, мещанский], seemed lost in admiration[204 - to be lost in admiration – заглядеться]. ‘Out all night and no key,’ he murmured. ‘It is amusing, that! Is that true of our Master Bob? Does he sometimes stay out all night?’ ‘Very occasional, sir. Oh, very occasional. He’s a very good dog, Bob is.’ ‘I am sure he is. But even the best of dogs—’ ‘Oh, it’s quite true, sir. Once or twice he’s gone off and come home perhaps at four in the morning. Then he sits down on the step and barks till he’s let in.’ ‘Who lets him in—Miss Lawson?’ ‘Well, anyone who hears him, sir. It was Miss Lawson, sir, last time. It was the night of the mistress’s accident. And Bob came home about five. Miss Lawson hurried down to let him in before he could make a noise. She was afraid of waking up the mistress and hadn’t told her Bob was missing for fear of worrying her.’ ‘I see. She thought it was better Miss Arundell shouldn’t be told?’ ‘That’s what she said, sir. She said, “He’s sure to come back. He always does, but she might worry and that would never do[205 - that will never do – это не сгодится].” So we didn’t say anything.’ ‘Was Bob fond of Miss Lawson?’ ‘Well, he was rather contemptuous of her if you know what I mean, sir. Dogs can be. She was kind to him. Called him a good doggie and a nice doggie, but he used to look at her kind of scornful like and he didn’t pay any attention at all to what she told him to do.’ Poirot nodded. ‘I see,’ he said. Suddenly he did something which startled me. He pulled a letter from his pocket—the letter he had received this morning. ‘Ellen,’ he said, ‘do you know anything about this?’ The change that came over Ellen’s face was remarkable. Her jaw dropped and she stared at Poirot with an almost comical expression of bewilderment. ‘Well,’ she ejaculated. ‘I never did!’ The observation lacked coherency, perhaps, but it left no doubt of Ellen’s meaning. Gathering her wits[206 - to gather one’s wits – собраться с мыслями] about her she said slowly: ‘Are you the gentleman that letter was written to then?’ ‘I am. I am Hercule Poirot.’ Like most people, Ellen had not glanced at the name on the order Poirot had held out to her on his arrival. She nodded her head slowly. ‘That was it,’ she said. ‘Hercules Poirot.’ She added an S to the Christian name and sounded the T of the surname. ‘My word!’[207 - My word! – Подумать только!] she exclaimed. ‘Cook will be surprised.’ Poirot said, quickly: ‘Would it not be advisable, perhaps, for us to go to the kitchen and there in company with your friend, we could talk this matter over?’ ‘Well—if you don’t mind, sir.’ Ellen sounded just a little doubtful. This particular social dilemma was clearly new to her. But Poirot’s matter of fact manner[208 - matter of fact manner – прозаичность, обыденность] reassured her and we departed forthwith to the kitchen, Ellen elucidating the situation to a large, pleasantfaced woman who was just lifting a kettle from a gas ring[209 - gas ring – горелка, конфорка]. ‘You’ll never believe it, Annie. This is actually the gentleman that letter was to. You know, the one I found in the blotter.’ ‘You must remember I am in the dark[210 - to be in the dark – быть в неведении],’ said Poirot. ‘Perhaps you will tell me how the letter came to be posted so late in the day?’ ‘Well, sir, to tell the truth I didn’t know what to do. Neither of us did, did we?’ ‘Indeed, we didn’t,’ the cook confirmed. ‘You see, sir, when Miss Lawson was turning out things after the mistress’s death a good lot of things were given away or thrown away. Among them was a little papier- mache, I think they call it, blotter. Very pretty it was, with a lily of the valley on it. The mistress always used it when she wrote in bed. Well, Miss Lawson didn’t want it so she gave it to me along with a lot of other little odds and ends[211 - odds and ends – мелочовка] that had belonged to the mistress. I put it away in a drawer, and it wasn’t till yesterday that I took it out. I was going to put some new blotting-paper in it so that it was ready for me to use. There was a sort of pocket inside and I just slipped my hand in it when what should I find but a letter in the mistress’s handwriting, tucked away. ‘Well, as I say I didn’t know rightly what to do about it. It was the mistress’s hand all right, and I saw as she’d written it and slipped it in there waiting to post it the next day and then she’d forgot, which is the kind of thing she did many a time, poor dear. Once it was a dividend warrant[212 - dividend warrant – свидетельство на получение дивиденда] to her bank and no one could think where it had got to, and at last it was found pushed right back in the pigeon-holes[213 - pigeon-hole – отделение для бумаг] of the desk.’ ‘Was she untidy?’ ‘Oh, no, sir, just the opposite. She was always putting things away and clearing them up. That was half the trouble. If she’d left things about it would really have been better. It was their being tidied away and then forgotten that was always happening.’ ‘Things like Bob’s ball, for instance?’ asked Poirot with a smile. The sagacious terrier had just trotted in from outdoors and greeted us anew in a very friendly manner. ‘Yes, indeed, sir. As soon as Bob finished playing with his ball she’d put it away. But that was all right because it had its own place—in the drawer I showed you.’ ‘I see. But I interrupted you. Pray go on. You discovered the letter in the blotter?’ ‘Yes, sir, that was the way of it, and I asked Annie what she thought I’d better do. I didn’t like to put it in the fire— and of course, I couldn’t take upon myself[214 - to take upon oneself – брать на себя] to open it, and neither Annie nor I could see that it was any business of Miss Lawson’s so after we’d talked it over a bit, I just put a stamp on it and ran out to the post box and posted it.’ Poirot turned slightly to me. ‘Voilà’[215 - Voilà– (фр.) Вот так], he murmured. I could not help saying, maliciously: ‘Amazing how simple an explanation can be!’ I thought he looked a little crestfallen, and rather wished I hadn’t been so quick to try and rub it in. He turned again to Ellen. ‘As my friend says: How simple an explanation can be! You understand, when I received a letter dated over two months ago, I was somewhat surprised.’ ‘Yes, I suppose you must have been, sir. We didn’t think of that.’ ‘Also—’ Poirot coughed. ‘I am in a little dilemma. That letter, you see—it was a commission with which Miss Arundell wished to entrust me. A matter of a somewhat private character.’ He cleared his throat importantly. ‘Now that Miss Arundell is dead I am in some doubt how to act. Would Miss Arundell have wished me to undertake the commission in these circumstances or not? It is difficult—very difficult.’ Both women were looking at him respectfully. ‘I shall have, I think, to consult Miss Arundell’s lawyer. She had a lawyer, did she not?’ Ellen answered, quickly. ‘Oh, yes, sir. Mr Purvis from Harchester.’ ‘He knew all her affairs?’ ‘I think so, sir. He’s done everything for her ever since I can remember. It was him she sent for after the fall she had.’ ‘The fall down the stairs?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Now let me see when was that exactly?’ The cook broke in. ‘Day after Bank Holiday it was. I remember that well. I stayed in to oblige on Bank Holiday seeing she had all those people staying and I had the day on Wednesday instead.’ Poirot whipped out his pocket almanac. ‘Precisely—precisely. Easter Bank Holiday, I see, fell on the thirteenth this year. Then Miss Arundell had her accident on the fourteenth. This letter to me was written three days later. A pity it was never sent. However, it may still not be too late—’ he paused. ‘I rather fancy that the—er—commission she wished me to perform was connected with one of the— er—guests you mentioned just now.’ Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/pages/biblio_book/?art=42342274&lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. Безопасно оплатить книгу можно банковской картой Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, со счета мобильного телефона, с платежного терминала, в салоне МТС или Связной, через PayPal, WebMoney, Яндекс.Деньги, QIWI Кошелек, бонусными картами или другим удобным Вам способом. notes Примечания 1 For – (зд.) Так как 2 to give rise – вызывать 3 blood is thicker than water – (пословица) кровь гуще воды (т. е. узы кровного родства сильнее других уз) 4 ad nauseam – (лат., букв.) «до тошноты»; навязчиво, однообразно 5 Bank Holyday – Банковские каникулы, общественные праздники в Великобритании, во время которых не работают государственные учреждения 6 to keep one’s own counsel – помалкивать, держать в секрете 7 in every respect – во всех отношениях 8 virtues and vices – достоинства и недостатки 9 rich – (зд.) жирный 10 with impunity – безнаказанно, без вреда для себя 11 Smyrna – Смирна, один из старейших древнегреческих городов в Малой Азии. Современное название – Измир 12 to make one’s bed and lie on it – (пословица) что посеешь, то и пожнешь 13 Victorian – викторианский (относящийся к эпохе королевы Виктории, 1837–1901 гг.) 14 staccato – (итал.) стаккато, музыкальный термин, характеризующий короткий, отрывистый звук 15 Them = The 16 progress – (зд., устар.) путешествие короля по стране 17 Canterbury – резная этажерка. Получила свое название от английского города Кентербери. Считается, что первая такая этажерка была выполнена по заказу архиепископа Кентерберийского 18 hackles raised – готовые влезть в драку 19 to make mincemeat of smb – превратить в котлету; уничтожить (противника) 20 down – (зд.) движение от центра к периферии, из столицы в провинцию 21 out of date – устаревший 22 namby-pamby – жеманный 23 pince-nez – (фр.) пенсне 24 As regards – Что касается 25 On the one hand – С одной стороны 26 On the other hand – С другой (стороны) 27 to find fault with smb – придираться к к.-л. 28 to take after smb – походить на к.-л. 29 Hullo = Hello 30 to make a face – скорчить гримасу 31 over – (зд.) относительно, касательно 32 One would have to – Кому-то все же пришлось бы 33 to cut short – прерывать 34 in a hole – (перен.) в трудном положении 35 to speak one’s mind – говорить откровенно 36 to steal a march on smb – опередить к.-л. (в ч.-л.) 37 Nothing doing – Ничего не выйдет, номер не пройдет 38 to tick off – (разг.) отделать 39 good and proper – подчистую 40 by no means – отнюдь не 41 to put the wind up smb – (сленг) напугать к.-л. 42 bump off – (сленг) устранить силой, убить 43 old girl – (разг.) старушка 44 to stand up to smb – прекословить к.-л. 45 to talk sense – говорить дельно 46 to see the point – понимать, в чем смысл 47 The old girl’s rolling – Старушка купается в деньгах 48 general practitioner – практикующий врач (врач широкого профиля, принимающий на дому) 49 treasury note – казначейский билет (ценная бумага) 50 at any rate – по меньшей мере 51 to come in handy – быть кстати 52 to make heavy weather about smth – находить ч.-л. трудным, утомительным 53 test tube – пробирка 54 to know to one’s cost – знать по горькому опыту 55 All the same – Тем не менее 56 at one’s heels – по пятам, следом за к.-л. 57 chintz-covered – обтянутый ситцем (хлопчатобумажная набивная ткань) 58 at close quarters – в непосредственном соприкосновении 59 guard – (зд.) каминная решетка 60 to come across – сталкиваться 61 to enjoy oneself – хорошо проводить время 62 the Planchette – дощечка, использовавшаяся для проведения спиритических сеансов 63 sitting – (зд.) спиритический сеанс 64 to pass over – умереть 65 the Boule cabinet – шкаф с выдвижными ящиками, выполненный в стиле буль (с инкрустацией слоновой костью, перламутром, металлом) 66 four-poster bed – кровать с пологом на четырех столбиках 67 sleeping draught – снотворное средство 68 to get hold of smb / smth – вцепиться в к.-л. / ч.-л. 69 Indian Mutiny – Восстание сипаев (восстание индийских солдат против жесткой колониальной политики англичан, 1857–1859 гг.) 70 to take to drink – стать пьяницей 71 barley water – ячменный отвар (сладкий напиток, приготовленный из ячменного отвара и фруктового сока) 72 to do justice – отдать справедливость 73 to bristle with – изобиловать ч.-л. 74 on pleasure bent – жаждущий наслаждаться жизнью 75 lapse from virtue – грехопадение 76 nothing of the kind – ничего подобного 77 One and all – Все без исключения 78 with spirit – с жаром 79 of long standing – давнишний 80 Canon – каноник (духовное лицо в католической и англиканской церквях) 81 Esq. = esqire – эсквайр (данное понятие возникло в XV в. и относилось к молодому человеку знатного происхождения; с середины XVI в. это слово стало обычным вежливым обращением к любому совершеннолетнему мужчине в письмах) 82 Messrs = Messieurs – господа (ставится перед фамилиями владельцев фирмы) 83 telephone directory – телефонная книга 84 writing-case – несессер для письменных принадлежностей 85 to set down – письменно излагать 86 to draw in / into – вовлекать 87 to slit an envelope open – вскрыть конверт 88 paper-cutter – нож для бумаги 89 to strike an attitude – принимать (театральную) позу 90 judge for yourself – судите сами 91 In effect – В сущности 92 without more ado – без дальнейших церемоний 93 to speak of smth in high terms – очень хорошо отзываться о ч.-л. 94 on smb’s behalf – в чьих-то интересах 95 to get to the point – дойти до сути дела 96 Great-Aunt – двоюродная бабушка 97 to call for – требовать 98 Continuez toujours– (фр.) Все же продолжайте 99 to prey on one’s mind – угнетать, не давать покоя 100 mare’s nest – иллюзия 101 pug, Pekinese – мопс, пекинес (породы собак) 102 to get the wind up – испугаться 103 Jamais de la vie!– (фр.) Никогда в жизни! 104 out with it – выкладывайте 105 C’est curieux, n’est ce pas?– (фр.) Любопытно, не правда ли? 106 to change one’s mind – передумать 107 Oui, mon ami.– (фр.) Да, мой друг. 108 Non! – (фр.) Нет! 109 Austin – Остин (марка легкового автомобиля) 110 blotted-paper – промокательная бумага 111 one’s spirit rises – чье-либо настроение улучшается 112 Dear me – Боже мой 113 vieux jeu– (фр.) старая игра 114 you have made the score off me – вам удалось меня уязвить 115 Don’t mind me! – Не обращайте на меня внимания! 116 let ’em = let them 117 I could do with – Мне было бы кстати 118 Hallo = Hello 119 Parbleu – (фр.) Черт возьми 120 a lack-lustre eye – с безразличным взглядом 121 to get – (зд.) понимать 122 not in the least – ни в малейшей степени 123 C’est dommage.– (фр.) Жаль. 124 two bed., one sitt. = two bedrooms, one sitting-room 125 semi-detached (house) – сблокированный дом (дом на одну семью, имеющий общую стену с соседним домом) 126 with a flourish – широким жестом 127 to take command – (зд.) перенять инициативу 128 to be fed up with smth – пресытиться ч.-л. 129 jerry-building – возведение непрочных построек из плохого материала 130 Georgian – георгианский стиль (английский архитектурный стиль XVIII – начала XIX вв.) 131 period house – старинный дом 132 to snap up – перехватить 133 stock exchange – фондовая биржа 134 lived up to his name — был достоин своего имени (gabler – врун) 135 four recep. = four receptions – четыре гостиных 136 Main water, old-world gardens, inexpensive upkeep – Водопровод, старинный сад, недорогой в эксплуатации 137 acre — акр (земельная мера); 1 акр = 4046,86 м2 138 or near offer – торг уместен 139 to make an offer – предлагать цену 140 to spur on – подгонять 141 to get rid of smth – избавиться от ч.-л. 142 to set the ball rolling – начинать 143 let alone – не говоря уже о 144 anno domini – (лат., зд.) старость, годы 145 three-score and ten – (библ.) семьдесят лет 146 to drop in – зайти 147 as good as – почти 148 to be in store – предстоять 149 to have a bee in one’s bonnet – (разг.) помешаться 150 to put the matter aside – отмахиваться от решения вопроса 151 to accept as gospel – принимать за абсолютную истину 152 all out – изо всех сил 153 from top to toe – с головы до ног 154 Eh bien– (фр.) хорошо 155 Chut! – Да ну же! (выражает нетерпение) 156 to put a damper on – отбивать охоту 157 in good repair – в хорошем состоянии 158 to live up to income – жить по средствам 159 to cut no figure – не производить никакого впечатления 160 one’s own flesh and blood – собственные дети 161 quite a character – большой оригинал 162 On and off – Время от времени 163 to be on the sickly side – быть хилым 164 to go off – умирать 165 to pull through – (разг.) вылечивать 166 to bully into – силой заставить 167 Where are you off to now – Куда вы направляетесь теперь 168 Early Perp. = Early Perpendecular architecture – ранний перпендикулярный (вертикальный) стиль (один из британских готических архитектурных стилей, преобладавший с середины XIV по XVI в.) 169 partly-effaced – полустертый 170 to fight the good fight – бороться за правое дело 171 thy = your 172 Ask and ye (= you) shall receive – Просите, и дано будет вам 173 morning-room – маленькая столовая, примыкающая к кухне 174 Chippendale – чиппендейл (стиль английской мебели в XVIII в., рококо с обилием тонкой резьбы) 175 Hepplewhite – хеппелуайт (стиль английской мебели XVIII в.; мебель из красного дерева, отличающаяся овальными, изогнутыми формами и тонкой отделкой) 176 to stand stock still – стоять не двигаясь 177 ill at ease – сконфуженный 178 to tear limb from limb – разорвать (человека) на части 179 to go for – (разг.) наброситься 180 to send about his business – прогнать 181 to drive away – отгонять 182 potpourri – попурри (здесь – ароматная смесь из сухих цветочных лепестков) 183 crewel stitch – вышивание шерстью 184 tea caddy – чайница (коробочка для хранения чая) 185 to draw attention – привлекать внимание 186 That’ll do – Довольно 187 to give an account of smth – давать отчет о ч.-л. 188 to draw out – вызывать на разговор, откровенность 189 the Yellow Peril – «Желтая угроза». Данное выражение появилось впервые в 1900 г., обозначало опасность, которую якобы представляла начавшаяся иммиграция из Японии и Китая для уровня жизни белого населения 190 Couldn’t keep anything down. – Не могла пошевелиться. 191 to make up one’s mind – решить 192 to round on – резко критиковать 193 to turn up one’s toes – протянуть ноги 194 turn – (зд.) приступ 195 bilious attack – приступ разлития желчи 196 to bring on – навлекать 197 to be taken bad – заболеть 198 as much as to say – все равно что сказать 199 to be taken in – быть обманутым 200 to recover lost ground – возвратить утраченные позиции 201 fountain pen – авторучка 202 By Jove – Боже милостивый (букв. Клянусь Юпитером) 203 Bourgeois – буржуазный, мещанский 204 to be lost in admiration – заглядеться 205 that will never do – это не сгодится 206 to gather one’s wits – собраться с мыслями 207 My word! – Подумать только! 208 matter of fact manner – прозаичность, обыденность 209 gas ring – горелка, конфорка 210 to be in the dark – быть в неведении 211 odds and ends – мелочовка 212 dividend warrant – свидетельство на получение дивиденда 213 pigeon-hole – отделение для бумаг 214 to take upon oneself – брать на себя 215 Voilà– (фр.) Вот так
КУПИТЬ И СКАЧАТЬ ЗА: 179.00 руб.