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首页 » 经典英文小说 » That Affair Next Door » XXVII. FOUND.
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 I gave a low cry and rushed down the steps.
"Don't go!" I called out to the driver. "I shall want you in ten minutes." And hurrying back, I ran up-stairs in a condition of mind such as I have no reason to be proud of. Happily Mr. Gryce was not there to see me.
"Gone? Miss Oliver gone?" I cried to the maid whom I found trembling in a corner of the hall.
"Yes, ma'am; it was my fault, ma'am. She was in bed so quiet, I thought I might step out for a minute, but when I came back her clothes were missing and she was gone. She must have slipped out at the front door while Dan was in the back hall. I don't see how ever she had the strength to do it."
Nor did I. But I did not stop to reason about it; there was too much to be done. Rushing on, I entered the room I had left in such high hopes a few hours before. Emptiness was before me, and I realized what it was to be baffled at the moment of success. But I did not waste an instant in inactivity. I searched the closets and pulled open the drawers; found her coat and hat gone, but not Mrs. Van Burnam's brown skirt, though the purse had been taken out of the pocket.
"Is her bag here?" I asked.[Pg 267]
Yes, it was in its old place under the table; and on the wash-stand and bureau were the simple toilet articles I had been told she had brought there. In what haste she must have fled to leave these necessities behind her!
But the greatest shock I received was the sight of the knitting-work, with which I had so inconsiderately meddled1 the evening before, lying in ravelled heaps on the table, as if torn to bits in a frenzy2. This was a proof that the fever was yet on her; and as I contemplated3 this fact I took courage, thinking that one in her condition would not be allowed to run the streets long, but would be picked up and put in some hospital.
In this hope I began my search. Miss Althorpe, who came in just as I was about to leave the house, consented to telephone to Police Headquarters a description of the girl, with a request to be notified if such a person should be found in the streets or on the docks or at any of the station-houses that night. "Not," I assured her, as we left the telephone and I prepared to say good-bye for the day, "that you need expect her to be brought back to this house, for I do not mean that she shall ever darken your doors again. So let me know if they find her, and I will relieve you of all further responsibility in the matter."
Then I started out.
To name the streets I traversed or the places I visited that day, would take more space than I would like to devote to the subject. Dusk came, and I had failed in obtaining the least clue to her whereabouts; evening followed, and still no trace of the fugitive4. What was I to do? Take Mr. Gryce into my confidence after all? That would be galling5 to my pride,[Pg 268] but I began to fear I should have to submit to this humiliation6 when I happened to think of the Chinaman. To think of him once was to think of him twice, and to think of him twice was to be conscious of an irresistible7 desire to visit his place and find out if any one but myself had been there to inquire after the lost one's clothes.
Accompanied by Lena, I hurried away to Third Avenue. The laundry was near Twenty-seventh Street. As we approached I grew troubled and unaccountably expectant. When we reached it I understood my excitement and instantly became calm. For there stood Miss Oliver, gazing like one under a spell through the lighted window-panes into the narrow shop where the owner bent8 over his ironing. She had evidently stood there some time, for a small group of half-grown lads were watching her with every symptom of being about to break into a mischievous9 display of curiosity. Her hands, which were without gloves, were pressed against the glass, and her whole attitude showed an intensity10 of fatigue11 which would have laid her on the ground had she not been sustained by an equal intensity of purpose.
Sending Lena for a carriage, I approached the poor creature and drew her forcibly from the window.
"Do you want anything here?" I asked. "I will go in with you if you do."
She surveyed me with strange apathy12, and yet with a certain sort of relief too. Then she slowly shook her head.
"I don't know anything about it. My head swims and everything looks queer, but some one or something sent me to this place."[Pg 269]
"Come in," I urged, "come in for a minute." And half supporting her, half dragging her, I managed to get her across the threshold and into the Chinaman's shop.
Immediately a dozen faces were pressed where hers had been.
The Chinaman, a stolid13 being, turned as he heard the little bell tinkle14 which announced a customer.
"Is this the lady who left the clothes here a few nights ago?" I asked.
He stopped and stared, recognizing me slowly, and remembering by degrees what had passed between us at our last interview.
"You tellee me lalee die; how him lalee when lalee die?"
"The lady is not dead; I made a mistake. Is this the lady?"
"Lalee talk; I no see face, I hear speak."
"Have you seen this man before?" I inquired of my nearly insensible companion.
"I think so in a dream," she murmured, trying to recall her poor wandering wits back from some region into which they had strayed.
"Him lalee!" cried the Chinaman, overjoyed at the prospect15 of getting his money. "Pletty speak, I knowee him. Lalee want clo?"
"Not to-night. The lady is sick; see, she can hardly stand." And overjoyed at this seeming evidence that the police had failed to get wind of my interest in this place, I slipped a coin into the Chinaman's hand, and drew Miss Oliver away towards the carriage I now saw drawing up before the shop.
Lena's eyes when she came up to help me were a[Pg 270] sight to see. They seemed to ask who this girl was and what I was going to do with her. I answered the look by a very brief and evidently wholly unexpected explanation.
"This is your cousin who ran away," I remarked. "Don't you recognize her?"
Lena gave me up then and there; but she accepted my explanation, and even lied in her desire to carry out my whim16.
"Yes, ma'am," said she, "and glad I am to see her again." And with a deft17 push here and a gentle pull there, she succeeded in getting the sick woman into the carriage.
The crowd, which had considerably18 increased by this time, was beginning to flock about us with shouts of no little derision. Escaping it as best I could, I took my seat by the poor girl's side, and bade Lena give the order for home. When we left the curb-stone behind, I felt that the last page in my adventures as an amateur detective had closed.
But I counted without my cost. Miss Oliver, who was in an advanced stage of fever, lay like a dead weight on my shoulder during the drive down the avenue, but when we entered the Park and drew near my house, she began to show such signs of violent agitation19 that it was with difficulty that the united efforts of Lena and myself could prevent her from throwing herself out of the carriage door which she had somehow managed to open.
As the carriage stopped she grew worse, and though she made no further efforts to leave it, I found her present impulses even harder to contend with than the former. For now she would not be pushed out or[Pg 271] dragged out, but crouched20 back moaning and struggling, her eyes fixed21 on the stoop, which is not unlike that of the adjoining house; till with a sudden realization22 that the cause of her terror lay in her fear of re-entering the scene of her late terrifying experiences, I bade the coachman drive on, and reluctantly, I own, carried her back to the house she had left in the morning.
And this is how I came to spend a second night in Miss Althorpe's hospitable23 mansion24.


1 meddled 982e90620b7d0b2256cdf4782c24285e     
v.干涉,干预(他人事务)( meddle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Someone has meddled with the photographs I laid out so carefully. 有人把我精心布置的照片弄乱了。 来自辞典例句
  • The gifts of charity meddled with a man's private affair. 慈善团体的帮助实际上是干涉私人的事务。 来自互联网
2 frenzy jQbzs     
  • He was able to work the young students up into a frenzy.他能激起青年学生的狂热。
  • They were singing in a frenzy of joy.他们欣喜若狂地高声歌唱。
3 contemplated d22c67116b8d5696b30f6705862b0688     
adj. 预期的 动词contemplate的过去分词形式
  • The doctor contemplated the difficult operation he had to perform. 医生仔细地考虑他所要做的棘手的手术。
  • The government has contemplated reforming the entire tax system. 政府打算改革整个税收体制。
4 fugitive bhHxh     
  • The police were able to deduce where the fugitive was hiding.警方成功地推断出那逃亡者躲藏的地方。
  • The fugitive is believed to be headed for the border.逃犯被认为在向国境线逃窜。
5 galling galling     
  • It was galling to have to apologize to a man she hated. 令人恼火的是得向她憎恶的男人道歉。
  • The insolence in the fellow's eye was galling. 这家伙的傲慢目光令人恼怒。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
6 humiliation Jd3zW     
  • He suffered the humiliation of being forced to ask for his cards.他蒙受了被迫要求辞职的羞辱。
  • He will wish to revenge his humiliation in last Season's Final.他会为在上个季度的决赛中所受的耻辱而报复的。
7 irresistible n4CxX     
  • The wheel of history rolls forward with an irresistible force.历史车轮滚滚向前,势不可挡。
  • She saw an irresistible skirt in the store window.她看见商店的橱窗里有一条叫人着迷的裙子。
8 bent QQ8yD     
  • He was fully bent upon the project.他一心扑在这项计划上。
  • We bent over backward to help them.我们尽了最大努力帮助他们。
9 mischievous mischievous     
  • He is a mischievous but lovable boy.他是一个淘气但可爱的小孩。
  • A mischievous cur must be tied short.恶狗必须拴得短。
10 intensity 45Ixd     
  • I didn't realize the intensity of people's feelings on this issue.我没有意识到这一问题能引起群情激奋。
  • The strike is growing in intensity.罢工日益加剧。
11 fatigue PhVzV     
  • The old lady can't bear the fatigue of a long journey.这位老妇人不能忍受长途旅行的疲劳。
  • I have got over my weakness and fatigue.我已从虚弱和疲劳中恢复过来了。
12 apathy BMlyA     
  • He was sunk in apathy after his failure.他失败后心恢意冷。
  • She heard the story with apathy.她听了这个故事无动于衷。
13 stolid VGFzC     
  • Her face showed nothing but stolid indifference.她的脸上毫无表情,只有麻木的无动于衷。
  • He conceals his feelings behind a rather stolid manner.他装作无动于衷的样子以掩盖自己的感情。
14 tinkle 1JMzu     
  • The wine glass dropped to the floor with a tinkle.酒杯丁零一声掉在地上。
  • Give me a tinkle and let me know what time the show starts.给我打个电话,告诉我演出什么时候开始。
15 prospect P01zn     
  • This state of things holds out a cheerful prospect.事态呈现出可喜的前景。
  • The prospect became more evident.前景变得更加明朗了。
16 whim 2gywE     
  • I bought the encyclopedia on a whim.我凭一时的兴致买了这本百科全书。
  • He had a sudden whim to go sailing today.今天他突然想要去航海。
17 deft g98yn     
adj.灵巧的,熟练的(a deft hand 能手)
  • The pianist has deft fingers.钢琴家有灵巧的双手。
  • This bird,sharp of eye and deft of beak,can accurately peck the flying insects in the air.这只鸟眼疾嘴快,能准确地把空中的飞虫啄住。
18 considerably 0YWyQ     
  • The economic situation has changed considerably.经济形势已发生了相当大的变化。
  • The gap has narrowed considerably.分歧大大缩小了。
19 agitation TN0zi     
  • Small shopkeepers carried on a long agitation against the big department stores.小店主们长期以来一直在煽动人们反对大型百货商店。
  • These materials require constant agitation to keep them in suspension.这些药剂要经常搅动以保持悬浮状态。
20 crouched 62634c7e8c15b8a61068e36aaed563ab     
v.屈膝,蹲伏( crouch的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He crouched down beside her. 他在她的旁边蹲了下来。
  • The lion crouched ready to pounce. 狮子蹲下身,准备猛扑。
21 fixed JsKzzj     
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
22 realization nTwxS     
  • We shall gladly lend every effort in our power toward its realization.我们将乐意为它的实现而竭尽全力。
  • He came to the realization that he would never make a good teacher.他逐渐认识到自己永远不会成为好老师。
23 hospitable CcHxA     
  • The man is very hospitable.He keeps open house for his friends and fellow-workers.那人十分好客,无论是他的朋友还是同事,他都盛情接待。
  • The locals are hospitable and welcoming.当地人热情好客。
24 mansion 8BYxn     
  • The old mansion was built in 1850.这座古宅建于1850年。
  • The mansion has extensive grounds.这大厦四周的庭园广阔。


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