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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Five Knots » CHAPTER XVII THE DIAMOND MOTH
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"But you couldn't identify it," Wilfrid said, speaking as coolly as he could. "You don't mean to tell me that it was the same hand? You couldn't swear to it?"
"Perhaps not," Beatrice admitted. "But to all practical purposes it was the same hand, though the arm was hidden in a black sleeve and the whitest of cuffs1. But you can imagine how the incident disturbed me. I pressed forward as eagerly as I could, but at that moment somebody had finished singing on the stage and there was a rush of men into the refreshment-room, so that I was prevented from pursuing my investigations2. But I am frightened, Wilfrid. The thing seems to have taken my courage out of me. I wish you would try to find out if there is a man here like the one I have described."
Wilfrid muttered something in the way of a promise, though he knew that he had not very far to go to find the man that Beatrice spoke3 of. Then there was a tramping of feet overhead, the orchestra was playing the audience out of the theatre, and already an army of sweepers and cleaners had taken possession of it. There was a swift scattering4 of guests, and then, as if by magic, the stage was transformed into a huge supper-room and the guests were being ushered5 in by the stewards6.
"Let me take you in," Wilfrid pleaded. "That is, of course, if you have no other partner."
Beatrice made no demur7; indeed, she was thankful to have Wilfrid by her side. Already most of the guests had assembled on the stage. There were scores of little tables, flower-decked and shaded with pink lamps, which formed an exceedingly pretty picture. Towards one side, under a box, Wilfrid could see a table still unoccupied, and to this he piloted his companion.
"This is a slice of luck," he said. "Let us hope we can have this to ourselves so that we may have a long, cosy8 chat that will disperse9 all your fears. A glass of champagne10 will make a different girl of you."
A waiter bustled11 up to the table and Wilfrid gave his orders. A moment later and two guests came across the stage towards the table. One was a tall woman whom Wilfrid recognized at a glance as a well-known actress, the other was no less a person than the little yellow man in evening dress who had so startled Russell earlier in the evening. All the colour left Beatrice's face. She grasped her companion's arm helplessly.
"They are coming here," she whispered. "Oh, I am sure they are coming here. What shall we do?"
"Courage," Wilfrid said coolly. "We can't prevent them from sitting at the same table, seeing that they are the guests of the management as well as ourselves. So that is the man you were speaking about? He looks harmless enough. Don't be silly, Beatrice. Try to behave as if nothing had happened."
The girl recovered herself with a powerful effort. She even smiled as the handsome actress made a half-apology for intruding12 at the table.
"I think we know one another," she said. "Of course we do. I recollect13 some friends bringing me to your delightful14 place, Maldon Grange. You are Miss Galloway?"
"You are Miss Marcombe," Beatrice said a little coldly. "I recollect you now."
"That's all right," the actress laughed. "Let me introduce my friend, Mr. Uzali. Mr. Uzali calls himself a Borneo chief or something of that kind, though how he manages to look after his duties there and spend six months of the year in England is beyond my comprehension. I daresay you will tell me it is no business of mine."
Uzali bowed with the utmost self-possession. Disturbed as she was Beatrice did not fail to notice this. She was struck with the charm and grace of the Malay's manner.
"You see, I was brought up in this country," he said, speaking perfect English. "My country is more or less of an unfortunate one, and my father was an enlightened man. That is why he sent me to school and college in England. No doubt he had dreams, poor man, that some day or other I should come into my own again. But that time has passed for ever."
To Beatrice's surprise she found herself at the end of ten minutes chatting gaily15 and freely with the stranger. She noticed from time to time how his dark eyes were turned upon an ornament16 which she wore about her neck. It was a diamond pendant, consisting of a moth17, in dark enamel18, the wing set in diamonds. The other wing was gone, as indeed was part of the body. Beatrice was bound to notice Uzali's curiosity.
"Do you admire my moth?" she asked.
"It would be impossible to do anything else," Uzali said gravely. "The workmanship is unique. You see, I am interested in that kind of thing; indeed, I have made a study of them all my lifetime. Perhaps you are acquainted with the history of that moth? Do you know where it came from?"
"Indeed, no," Beatrice confessed. "It conveys nothing to me, but it has a fascination19 for me and I wear it frequently."
"And you don't know where it came from?"
"No, except that my uncle gave it to me."
Uzali's eyes flashed and he looked down at his plate which he appeared to be studying gravely.
"You are fortunate in the possession of such an uncle," he said. "I wonder if I have the honour of his acquaintance."
"That is probable," Beatrice said frankly20. She had lost all her fears. "So many people know my uncle. He is Mr. Samuel Flower, the shipper."
Uzali said nothing. Sitting close by him, watching him carefully, Wilfrid noticed a sudden flush across the Malay's cheek and how the dark eyes turned to purple.
"The name is familiar to me," Uzali said, "but then there are so many people whom I know. So it never struck you to ask your uncle the history of that pendant? Now what should you say if I could produce the missing half?"
Beatrice looked up eagerly, her lips parted.
"How very curious!" she said. "But you are joking."
Uzali bowed gravely, then produced a small green packet from an inside pocket, from which he drew a small folded piece of wash-leather; and this being undone21 disclosed what appeared to be an engraved22 diamond in the shape of an insect's wing.
"We do strange things in my country," he said with a queer smile. "We have priests and learned men whose philosophy is far beyond anything that one knows of in the West. Not that I claim these powers myself, oh, no. That is quite another matter. But I think you will be satisfied if I prove to you that this is the missing portion of your pendant. Mr. Mercer shall be umpire if you like, and we will leave him to judge. Perhaps you would not mind removing your pendant for a moment."
Beatrice complied. She was quite excited now. All her strange fears had fallen from her. With trembling fingers she removed the pendant from its slender gold chain and laid it on the tablecloth23. Wilfrid reached over and fitted the broken pieces together. He could see that they matched to a nicety.
"Not the slightest doubt about it," he exclaimed. "These two pieces once formed one jewel. Now whom does it belong to? Mr. Uzali, do you claim the whole thing? Are you going to hand over your half to Miss Galloway?"
"I wasn't thinking of doing either for the moment," Uzali said coolly. "But I am going to ask Miss Galloway to trust her portion into my hands so that I can get the ornament mended, when I hope she will allow me to send her the jewel intact. All I ask in return is that Miss Galloway will inquire of her uncle how the moth found its way into his hands."
"Perhaps you know already," Beatrice smiled. But Uzali was not to be drawn24. He shook his head.
"I do not claim any occult powers," he said. "I merely said that there are wise men in my country who possess them. And now, if you will be good enough to give your portion of the moth to me I will let you have it in a few days restored to its original beauty."
Beatrice hesitated. Yet, why not comply? The request had been made tastefully and in good faith. It was a graceful25 thing to do and her moth had always fascinated her. She handed her portion to Uzali with a smile.
"It is exceedingly good of you," she said, "and I am obliged by your kindness. I am equally justified26 in handing my half of the treasure over to you——"
"But I don't wear that kind of thing," Uzali protested. "Now give me your address so that I may carry out my promise. Miss Marcombe, are you ready? I think the next dance is ours."
The Malay had vanished before Beatrice could say more. Her excitement had passed away. She looked at Wilfrid with troubled eyes. Had she done wrong?
"Leave it to Providence," Wilfrid said answering her unspoken thoughts. "The Malay, at least, meant well."


1 cuffs 4f67c64175ca73d89c78d4bd6a85e3ed     
n.袖口( cuff的名词复数 )v.掌打,拳打( cuff的第三人称单数 )
  • a collar and cuffs of white lace 带白色蕾丝花边的衣领和袖口
  • The cuffs of his shirt were fraying. 他衬衣的袖口磨破了。
2 investigations 02de25420938593f7db7bd4052010b32     
(正式的)调查( investigation的名词复数 ); 侦查; 科学研究; 学术研究
  • His investigations were intensive and thorough but revealed nothing. 他进行了深入彻底的调查,但没有发现什么。
  • He often sent them out to make investigations. 他常常派他们出去作调查。
3 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
4 scattering 91b52389e84f945a976e96cd577a4e0c     
  • The child felle into a rage and began scattering its toys about. 这孩子突发狂怒,把玩具扔得满地都是。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The farmers are scattering seed. 农夫们在播种。 来自《简明英汉词典》
5 ushered d337b3442ea0cc4312a5950ae8911282     
v.引,领,陪同( usher的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The secretary ushered me into his office. 秘书把我领进他的办公室。
  • A round of parties ushered in the New Year. 一系列的晚会迎来了新年。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 stewards 5967fcba18eb6c2dacaa4540a2a7c61f     
(轮船、飞机等的)乘务员( steward的名词复数 ); (俱乐部、旅馆、工会等的)管理员; (大型活动的)组织者; (私人家中的)管家
  • The stewards all wore armbands. 乘务员都戴了臂章。
  • The stewards will inspect the course to see if racing is possible. 那些干事将检视赛马场看是否适宜比赛。
7 demur xmfzb     
  • Without demur, they joined the party in my rooms. 他们没有推辞就到我的屋里一起聚餐了。
  • He accepted the criticism without demur. 他毫无异议地接受了批评。
8 cosy dvnzc5     
  • We spent a cosy evening chatting by the fire.我们在炉火旁聊天度过了一个舒适的晚上。
  • It was so warm and cosy in bed that Simon didn't want to get out.床上温暖而又舒适,西蒙简直不想下床了。
9 disperse ulxzL     
  • The cattle were swinging their tails to disperse the flies.那些牛甩动着尾巴驱赶苍蝇。
  • The children disperse for the holidays.孩子们放假了。
10 champagne iwBzh3     
  • There were two glasses of champagne on the tray.托盘里有两杯香槟酒。
  • They sat there swilling champagne.他们坐在那里大喝香槟酒。
11 bustled 9467abd9ace0cff070d56f0196327c70     
闹哄哄地忙乱,奔忙( bustle的过去式和过去分词 ); 催促
  • She bustled around in the kitchen. 她在厨房里忙得团团转。
  • The hostress bustled about with an assumption of authority. 女主人摆出一副权威的样子忙来忙去。
12 intruding b3cc8c3083aff94e34af3912721bddd7     
v.侵入,侵扰,打扰( intrude的现在分词);把…强加于
  • Does he find his new celebrity intruding on his private life? 他是否感觉到他最近的成名侵扰了他的私生活?
  • After a few hours of fierce fighting,we saw the intruding bandits off. 经过几小时的激烈战斗,我们赶走了入侵的匪徒。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 recollect eUOxl     
  • He tried to recollect things and drown himself in them.他极力回想过去的事情而沉浸于回忆之中。
  • She could not recollect being there.她回想不起曾经到过那儿。
14 delightful 6xzxT     
  • We had a delightful time by the seashore last Sunday.上星期天我们在海滨玩得真痛快。
  • Peter played a delightful melody on his flute.彼得用笛子吹奏了一支欢快的曲子。
15 gaily lfPzC     
  • The children sing gaily.孩子们欢唱着。
  • She waved goodbye very gaily.她欢快地挥手告别。
16 ornament u4czn     
  • The flowers were put on the table for ornament.花放在桌子上做装饰用。
  • She wears a crystal ornament on her chest.她的前胸戴了一个水晶饰品。
17 moth a10y1     
  • A moth was fluttering round the lamp.有一只蛾子扑打着翅膀绕着灯飞。
  • The sweater is moth-eaten.毛衣让蛀虫咬坏了。
18 enamel jZ4zF     
  • I chipped the enamel on my front tooth when I fell over.我跌倒时门牙的珐琅质碰碎了。
  • He collected coloured enamel bowls from Yugoslavia.他藏有来自南斯拉夫的彩色搪瓷碗。
19 fascination FlHxO     
  • He had a deep fascination with all forms of transport.他对所有的运输工具都很着迷。
  • His letters have been a source of fascination to a wide audience.广大观众一直迷恋于他的来信。
20 frankly fsXzcf     
  • To speak frankly, I don't like the idea at all.老实说,我一点也不赞成这个主意。
  • Frankly speaking, I'm not opposed to reform.坦率地说,我不反对改革。
21 undone JfJz6l     
  • He left nothing undone that needed attention.所有需要注意的事他都注意到了。
22 engraved be672d34fc347de7d97da3537d2c3c95     
v.在(硬物)上雕刻(字,画等)( engrave的过去式和过去分词 );将某事物深深印在(记忆或头脑中)
  • The silver cup was engraved with his name. 银杯上刻有他的名字。
  • It was prettily engraved with flowers on the back. 此件雕刻精美,背面有花饰图案。 来自《简明英汉词典》
23 tablecloth lqSwh     
  • He sat there ruminating and picking at the tablecloth.他坐在那儿沉思,轻轻地抚弄着桌布。
  • She smoothed down a wrinkled tablecloth.她把起皱的桌布熨平了。
24 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
25 graceful deHza     
  • His movements on the parallel bars were very graceful.他的双杠动作可帅了!
  • The ballet dancer is so graceful.芭蕾舞演员的姿态是如此的优美。
26 justified 7pSzrk     
  • She felt fully justified in asking for her money back. 她认为有充分的理由要求退款。
  • The prisoner has certainly justified his claims by his actions. 那个囚犯确实已用自己的行动表明他的要求是正当的。


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