Hướng tới tương lai mà chỉ dựa vào quá khứ, chẳng khác nào lái xe mà cứ chằm chằm nhìn vào kính chiếu hậu.

Herb Brody

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Ebook "A Caribbean Mystery"
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Tác giả: Agatha Christie
Thể loại: Trinh Thám
Biên tập: Yen
Language: English
Số chương: 37
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Cập nhật: 2015-01-24 12:31:11 +0700
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Chapter 4 - MISS MARPLE SEEKS MEDICAL ATTENTION
r. Graham was a kindly elderly man of about sixty-five. He had practised in the West Indies for many years, but was now semi-retired, and left most of his work to his West Indian partners. He greeted Miss Marple pleasantly and asked her what the trouble was. Fortunately at Miss Marple's age, there was always some ailment that could be discussed with slight exaggerations on the patient's part. Miss Marple hesitated between “her shoulder” and “her knee”, but finally decided upon the knee. Miss Marple's knee, as she would have put it to herself, was always with her.
Dr. Graham was exceedingly kindly but he refrained from putting into words the fact that at her time of life such troubles were only to be expected. He prescribed for her one of the brands of useful little pills that form the basis of a doctor's prescriptions. Since he knew by experience that many elderly people could be lonely when they first came to St. Honorй, he remained for a while gently chatting. “A very nice man,” thought Miss Marple to herself, “and I really feel rather ashamed of having to tell him lies. But I don't quite see what else I can do.”
Miss Marple had been brought up to have a proper regard for truth and was indeed by nature a very truthful person. But on certain occasions, when she considered it her duty so to do, she could tell lies with a really astonishing verisimilitude.
She cleared her throat, uttered an apologetic little cough, and said, in an old-ladyish and slightly twittering manner: “There is something. Dr. Graham, I would like to ask you. I don't really like mentioning it-but I don't quite see what else I am to do-although of course it's quite unimportant really. But you see, it's important to me. And I hope you will understand and not think what I am asking is tiresome or-or unpardonable in any way.”
To this opening Dr. Graham replied kindly. “Something is worrying you? Do let me help.”
“It's connected with Major Palgrave. So sad about his dying. It was quite a shock when I heard it this morning.”
“Yes,” said Dr. Graham, “it was very sudden, I'm afraid. He seemed in such good spirits yesterday.” He spoke kindly, but conventionally. To him, clearly, Major Palgrave's death was nothing out of the way. Miss Marple wondered whether she was really making something out of nothing. Was this suspicious habit of mind growing on her? Perhaps she could no longer trust her own judgement. Not that it was judgement really, only suspicion. Anyway she was in for it now! She must go ahead.
“We were sitting talking together yesterday afternoon,” she said. “He was telling me about his very varied and interesting life. So many strange parts of the globe.”
“Yes indeed,” said Dr. Graham, who had been bored many times by the Major's reminiscences.
“And then he spoke of his family, boyhood rather, and I told him a little about my own nephews and nieces and he listened very sympathetically. And I showed him a snapshot I had with me of one of my nephews. Such a dear boy-at least not exactly a boy now, but always a boy to me if you understand.”
“Quite so,” said Dr. Graham, wondering how long it would be before the old lady was going to come to the point. “I had handed it to him and he was examining it when quite suddenly those people-those very nice people-who collect wild flowers and butterflies, Colonel and Mrs. Hillingdon I think the name is-”
“Oh yes? The Hillingdons and the Dysons.”
“Yes, that's right. They came suddenly along laughing and talking. They sat down and ordered drinks and we all talked together. Very pleasant it was. But without thinking Major Palgrave must have put back my snapshot into his wallet and returned it to his pocket. I wasn't paying very much attention at the time but I remembered afterward and I said to myself: 'I mustn't forget to ask the Major to give me back my picture of Denzil.' I did think of it last night while the dancing and the band was going on, but I didn't like to interrupt him just then, because they were having such a merry party together and I thought: 'I will remember to ask him for it in the morning'. Only this morning-” Miss Marple paused out of breath.
“Yes, yes,” said Dr. Graham, “I quite understand. And you-well, naturally you want the snapshot back. Is that it?”
Miss Marple nodded her head in eager agreement. “Yes. That's it. You see, it is the only one I have got and I haven't got the negative. And I would hate to lose that snapshot, because poor Denzil died some five or six years ago and he was my favourite nephew. This is the only picture I have to remind me of him. I wondered-I hoped-it is rather tiresome of me to ask-whether you could possibly manage to get hold of it for me? I don't really know who else to ask, you see. I don't know who'll attend to all his belongings and things like that. It is all so difficult. They would think it such a nuisance of me. You see, they don't understand. Nobody could quite understand what this snapshot means to me.”
“Of course, of course,” said Dr. Graham. “I quite understand. A most natural feeling on your part. Actually, I am meeting the local authorities shortly-the funeral is tomorrow, and someone will be coming from the Administrator's office to look over his papers and effects before communicating with the next of kin-all that sort of thing. If you could describe this snapshot.”
“It was just the front of a house,” said Miss Marple. “And someone-Denzil, I mean-was just coming out of the front door. As I say it was taken by one of my other nephews who is very keen on flower shows-and he was photographing a hibiscus, I think, or one of those beautiful-something like antipasto-lilies. Denzil just happened to come out of the front door at that time. It wasn't a very good photograph of him-just a trifle blurred-but I liked it and have always kept it.”
“Well,” said Dr. Graham, “that seems clear enough. I think we'll have no difficulty in getting back your picture for you, Miss Marple.”
He rose from his chair. Miss Marple smiled up at him.
“You are very kind. Dr. Graham, very kind indeed. You do understand, don't you?”
“Of course I do, of course I do,” said Dr. Graham, shaking her warmly by the hand. “Now don't you worry. Exercise that knee every day gently but not too much, and I'll send you round these tablets. Take one three times a day.”
A Caribbean Mystery A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie A Caribbean Mystery