فصل 11

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فصل 11

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER ELEVEN

‘So you’ve turned up again!’ said Miss Ramsbottom.

Lance grinned at her. ‘Just as you say, Aunt Effie.’

Miss Ramsbottom looked disapproving. ‘Have you got your wife with you?’

‘No. I left Pat in London.’

‘That shows some sense. You never know what might happen here.’

‘To Pat?’

‘To anybody,’ said Miss Ramsbottom.

Lance Fortescue looked at her thoughtfully. ‘What’s been going on here? What gives the police the idea that Father was killed in this house?’

‘Adultery is one thing and murder is another,’ said Miss Ramsbottom. ‘I would hate to think that she could kill someone.’

Lance looked alert. ‘Adele?’

‘I’m not saying anything else,’ said Miss Ramsbottom, ‘but I’ll tell you one thing. I believe that girl knows something about it.’

‘Which girl?’

‘The one that never looks completely clean,’ said Miss Ramsbottom. ‘The one that should have brought up my tea this afternoon, but didn’t. She’s gone out without permission, so Ellen told me. I wouldn’t be surprised if she has gone to the police. Who let you in?’

‘Someone called Mary Dove. Is she the one who’s gone to the police?’

‘Mary Dove wouldn’t go to the police,’ said Miss Ramsbottom. ‘No - I mean that silly little parlour maid. She’s been looking frightened all day. “What’s the matter with you?” I said to her.

“Have you got a guilty conscience?” She said, “I never did anything - I wouldn’t do a thing like that.” Then she began to cry and said she didn’t want to get anybody into trouble, she was sure it must all be a mistake. I said to her, “Now, my girl, you go to the police and tell them anything you know, because bad things happen when you hide the truth.” Then she said she couldn’t go to the police and said that anyway she didn’t know anything at all.’

‘You don’t think that she was just making herself important?’

‘No, I don’t. She was scared. I think she saw something or heard something that’s given her some idea about the whole thing. It may be important, or it may not.’

‘The whole thing seems so strange. Like a detective story,’ Lance said.

‘Percival’s wife used to be a hospital nurse,’ said Miss Ramsbottom. ‘Hospital nurses are used to handling drugs.’ Lance looked doubtful.

‘Family affection is one thing,’ said Miss Ramsbottom, ‘and I hope I’ve got as much of it as anyone. But I won’t have wickedness. Wickedness has to be destroyed.’

‘Gladys went out without a word to me,’ said Mrs Crump to Mary Dove. ‘The master’s dead, Mr Lance is coming home, and I said to Crump, “Day off or no day off, I know my duty. There’s not going to be cold supper tonight as is usual on a Thursday, but a proper dinner.” You know me, Miss, you know I like to do good work.’

Mary Dove nodded her head gently as Mrs Crump continued. ‘And what did Crump say? “It’s my day off and I’m going out,” that’s what he said. So out he went and I told Gladys she’d have to manage alone tonight. She just said, “All right, Mrs Crump,” then she went out, without telling anyone.’

‘We shall manage, Mrs Crump,’ Mary’s voice was comforting. ‘I shall serve at table if Gladys doesn’t come back in time.’

‘She won’t come back,’ said Mrs Crump. ‘She’s got a young man, Miss, though you wouldn’t think any man would be attracted to her with all those spots on her face! Albert his name is. They’re going to get married next spring, so she tells me.’ She sighed. ‘What about tea things, Miss. Who’s going to clear them away and wash them up?’

‘I’ll do that,’ said Mary.

The lights had not been turned on in the library, though Adele Fortescue was still sitting on the sofa behind the tea tray.

‘Shall I switch the lights on, Mrs Fortescue?’ Mary asked.

Adele did not answer. Mary switched on the lights and it was only when she turned her head, that she saw the half-eaten scone spread with honey beside Adele, and her teacup still half full. Death had come to Adele Fortescue suddenly.

‘Well?’ demanded Inspector Neele.

The doctor said, ‘Cyanide - potassium cyanide probably - in the tea.’

Neele was angry. Poisoned! While he was in the house. Elaine had been the last to leave the library. According to her, Adele had been pouring herself a last cup of tea. And after that, it was twenty minutes until Mary Dove came into the room and discovered the body. Inspector Neele swore to himself and went out into the kitchen where Mrs Crump hardly moved as he came in. ‘Where’s that girl? Has she come back yet?’

‘Gladys? No.’

‘She made the tea, you say, and took it in.’

‘Inspector Neele, I don’t believe Gladys would do a thing like that - not Gladys. She’s a bit silly, that’s all - not wicked.’

No, Neele did not think that Gladys was wicked. And the cyanide had not been in the teapot. ‘But what made her go out suddenly - it wasn’t her day off, you say.’

‘No, Sir, tomorrow’s her day off. But she had her best nylons on,’ said Mrs Crump. ‘So she was going to do something that wasn’t connected with her work. Oh yes, she was up to something. I’ll give her a good telling-off when she comes back.’ When she comes back - Neele felt uneasy suddenly and couldn’t think why. He went upstairs to Adele Fortescue’s sitting room. He had searched it carefully the day before and found the secret drawer in the desk. Now he made a small exclamation. On the centre of the carpet was a small piece of mud. Neele went over and picked it up. It was still damp. He looked round - there were no footprints - only this one bit of mud.

Inspector Neele looked round the bedroom that belonged to Gladys Martin. It was past eleven o’clock but there was still no sign of Gladys. Ellen, the housemaid, whose help he had wanted, had not been helpful. She didn’t know what clothes Gladys owned, so she couldn’t say what, if anything, was missing. He turned to the drawers where Gladys kept her treasures. There were postcards and bits cut out of newspapers with hints on beauty, dressmaking and fashion advice.

Inspector Neele sorted them into groups. The postcards were mainly of views of places where he guessed Gladys had spent her holidays, but there were three from someone named ‘Albert.’ The first postcard said - in uneducated handwriting: All the best. Missing you a lot. Yours ever, Albert.

The second one said:

Lots of nice-looking girls here, but not one that’s as lovely as you. Be seeing you soon. Don’t forget our date. And remember after that - we’ll be living happy ever after.

The third just said:

Don’t forget. I trust you. Love, B.

Next, Neele looked through the pieces of newspaper and sorted them into three piles. There were the fashion and beauty hints, there were items about cinema stars, and she had also been interested in science. There were articles about secret weapons and about truth drugs used by Russians to make people confess to crimes. But there was nothing to give him a clue to her disappearance. She had kept no diary. Neele left the room, and as he went down the stairs he heard the noise of running feet. Then Sergeant Hay’s worried face looked up at him from the bottom of the stairs.

‘Sir,’ he said urgently. ‘Sir! We’ve found the parlour maid! The housemaid, Ellen, remembered that she hadn’t brought the clothes in from the washing line. So she went out with a torch and she almost fell over the girl’s body - strangled, she was, with a stocking round her throat - she’s been dead for hours, I’d say. And, Sir, it’s a wicked kind of joke - there was a clothes peg on her nose…’

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