Практический курс английского языка - Камянова Т.
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(after Arthur Conan Doyle)
One day in early spring Sherlock Holmes told me that he was going to relax, and we went for a walk to the Park. It was about five o'clock when we returned to the Backer Street.
«Sorry, sir,» said our page boy as he opened the door; «there has been a gentleman here asking for you.» «Has this gentleman gone, then?» asked Holmes.
«Yes, sir. But he said he would be waiting in the open air, so he will be back soon.»
Some time later our door opened and a tall young man in a good dark-grey suit entered the room.
«Excuse me,» said he. «I didn't knock at the door. But I am a little upset»
«I can see that you haven't slept for a night or two,» said Holmes in his easy way. «May I ask you how I can hetp you?» «I want your advice, sir. I don't know what to do, it seems to me that my life has gone to pieces.» «Do you wish to employ me as a detective?» asked Holmes.
«Not only that. I want your opinion - as a man of the world. I want to know what I ought to do next.» «I am listening to you,» said Holmes, «and I'll do my best to help you.»
«The facts are like this,» started his story the visitor. «I am a married man, and I have been so for three years*. During that time my wife and I have loved each other very much. But now, since last Monday, there has suddenly appeared a barrier between us, and I find that there is something in her life of which \ don't know anything at att.»
«Will you let me know the facts from the beginning,* said Holmes.
«I'll tell you what I know about my wife. Effie was a widow when I first met her. At that time she was only twenty one. Her name then was Mrs Hebron. She went out to America when she was young and lived In the town of Atianta, where she married this Hebron, who was a lawyer with a good practice. They had one child, but both her husband and a child soon fell seriously ill and died of a yellow fever. I have seen his death certificate. After some time she came back to her aunt in England. She could afford it because her husband had left her a capital of more than four thousand pounds. She had only been six month at her aunt when I met her; we fell in love with each other, and we married a few weeks after. When we married my wife made all her property to me -1 was against it. But she herself asked me to do so. Well, about six weeks ago she came to me.»
«Jack,» said she, «when you took my money you promised to give me any if I ask for it.»
«Certainly,» said I, «it's all yours.»
«Well,» said she, «I want a hundred pounds.»
«I thought it was for a new dress or something of the kind. And I asked her only: «What for?»
«0h,» said she, «you said that you were only my banker, and bankers never ask questions, you know.»
«It was the first time there was a secret between us. Then I noticed another thing. I should tell you that there is a cottage not far from our house in Norbury. There is a field between us, but to reach it you have to go along the road and then turn down a lane. The cottage had been empty this eight months, and it was a pity because it is a pretty house.
«Well, last Monday evening I noticed that somebody appeared in the cottage. I came nearer and noticed a strange face at the window upstairs. Then the face suddenly disappeared. I can't tell you even now if the face was that of a man or a woman. But the colour was what impressed me most. It was yellow. I knocked at the door and saw a tall elderly woman who opened the door.»
«What do you want?» she asked me.
«I am your neighbour,)) said I, «I see that you have just moved in. Could I be of any help to you?» «Ah, we'll just ask you when we want you,» said she, and closed the door in my face. «I walked home and all the evening I tried to thinkof other things. Then I went to bed and fell asleep at once. But suddenly I woke up in the night and found that my wife was out.
«Where have you been, Effie?» I asked her as she returned.
«You know,» she cried out, «I felt bad and needed fresh air. I went out and stood at the door for a few minutes and now I am quite myself again.»
«Next day I went to the city, and on the way back I came up to the cottage and met my wife who was just walking out of it
«Oh, Jack!» she said, «I have just been there to see if I can be of any help to our hew neighbours. Why are you looking at me like that, Jack? You are not angry with me, are you?»
«So,» said I, «this is where ypu went during the night?»
«Trust me, Jack!» she cried. «I'll tell you everything one day. But please, trust me now!»
«For two days after this I stayed at home. On the third day, however, I had to go to the city. I returned a bit earlier, but my wife was out. You understand where I went at once. But there was nobody in the cottage. After some time my wife returned home, but she didn't tell me anything again. That was yesterday, dear Holmes. And now my life is in your hands. Please, tell me what I have to do.»
«Teil me, Mr.Grant Munro,» said Holmes after some time, «are you Sure that this was a man's face which you saw at the window?»