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英文阅读:查尔斯爵士是如何死的-巴斯克维尔猎犬-名著缩写

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    3  查尔斯爵士是如何死的  How Sir Charles Died

    When Dr Mortimer had finished reading this strange story,he looked across at Sherlock Holmes.Holmes looked bored.

    'Did you find the story interesting?'asked Dr Mortimer.

    'It may interest a collector of stories to frighten children,' said Holmes.

    Dr Mortimer took a newspaper from another pocket.

    'Now,Mr Holmes,let me read you something which was written only three months ago.It is from the Devonshire County Newspaper,and it is about the death of Sir Charles Baskerville.'

    Holmes looked more interested.Dr Mortimer began to read:

    The sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville has caused great sadness in the county.Although he had lived at Baskerville Hall for only two years,everyone liked him.Sir Charles had lived abroad and made his money there.He came back to spend his fortune on repairing Baskerville Hall and its farms and villages,as the buildings and lands were in very poor condition.He was a friendly and generous man,who gave freely to the poor.

    The official report of his death does not explain every thing that happened.However,it does show that there was no question of murder.Sir Charles died from natural causes,and the strange stories people are telling about his death are not true.His friend and doctor,Dr James Mor timer,said that Sir Charles'heart had been weak for some time.

    The facts are simple.Every night before going to bed,Sir Charles went for a walk in the gardens of Baskerville Hall.His favourite walk was down a path between two hedges of yew trees,the famous Yew Alley of Baskerville Hall.On the night of 4th June he went out for his walk to think and to smoke his usual cigar.

    Sir Charles was going to London on the next day,and Barrymore,his butler,was packing his suitcases.By mid night Barrymore was worried that Sir Charles had not re turned,so he went to look for him.He found the door of the Hall open.The day had been rainy and wet so Barry more saw the prints left by Sir Charles'shoes as he had walked down the Alley.Half way down the Alley is a gate,which leads to the moor.There were signs that Sir Charles had stood there for some time.Barrymore fol lowed the footprints to the far end of the Alley.And there he found Sir Charles'body.

    Barrymore reported something interesting about the footprints.He said that they changed between the moor gate and the end of the Alley.As far as the moor gate there was a whole footprint for each of Sir Charles'steps.After he passed the gate,only toe prints could be seen.Barrymore thought that Sir Charles had walked on his toes.

    A man called Murphy,who buys and sells horses,was not far away at the time of Sir Charles'death.He had been drinking a lot of beer,but he says he heard cries.He is not sure where they came from.

    Dr Mortimer was called to look at Sir Charles'body.There were no signs that Sir Charles had been murdered,but Dr Mortimer did not recognize his friend's face.The whole shape of it was changed.However,this often hap pens with deaths which are caused by weak hearts.When Dr Mortimer looked at the body,he found that this was,in fact,what had happened.Sir Charles'weak heart had failed,and this had caused his death.

    Everyone hopes that the new head of the Baskerville family will move quickly into the Hall.Sir Charles good work must go on.

    The new head of the Baskerville family will be Sir Hen ry Baskerville,if he is still alive and if the lawyers can find him.He is the son of Sir Charles Baskerville's younger brother,who died some years ago.The young man has been living in the USA.The Baskerville lawyers are trying to contact him to tell him about his good fortune.

    Dr Mortimer put the newspaper back into his pocket.

    'Those are the official facts about the death of Sir Charles.They are the facts that everyone knows,Mr Holmes,'he said.

    'Thank you for informing me about this interesting case,'Holmes said.'I read about it at the time,but I heard none of the details.The newspaper gives the facts that everybody knows.Now I want you to tell me all the other facts that you know.What do you know about the strange stories?'

    'I haven't told anyone these other facts,'said Dr Mortimer.'I am a man of science,as you know.I have always believed that there are sensible explanations for everything.I didn't want to say anything that could stop Sir Henry from coming to live at the Hall.But I will tell you tile details that were not in the report.'

    'In the months before his death,'Dr Mortimer went on,'Sir Charles was a very worried man.He was near to breaking down.He believed the story of the Hound of the Baskervilles.He refused to go out at night.He often asked me whether I had seen any strange animal or heard the cry of a hound on the moor at night.He always got very excited when he asked this question.

    'I remember driving up to the Hall one evening about three weeks before he died.He was standing at the door.I went up to him,and saw him staring at something behind me.There was a look of horror on his face.I turned quickly and saw something moving between the trees.It looked like a small black cow.He was so frightened that I went to look for the animal.It had disappeared but Sir Charles was very worried.I stayed with him all the evening.It was then he gave me the old papers I have read to you.What I saw that evening may be im portant when you consider what happened on the night of his death.

    'When Barrymore,the butler,found Sir Charles'body,he sent someone to fetch me.I checked all the facts.I have just read them to you,and they are all true.

    'But Barrymore said one thing that was not true.He said that there were no other prints on the ground around the body.He did not notice any.But I did.They were not close to the body,but they were fresh and clear.'

    'Footprints?'asked Holmes.

    'Yes.Footprints,'said Mortimer.

    'A man's or a woman's?'asked Holmes.

    Dr Mortimer looked at us strangely for a moment.His voice became a whisper as he answered:

    'Mr Holmes,they were the footprints of a huge hound!'

    摩梯末医生读完这个奇怪的故事后望着对面的歇洛克·福尔摩斯。福尔摩斯看上去显得很不耐烦。

    “你没觉得这个故事有趣吗?”摩梯末医生问道。

    “它可能会让那些收集吓唬孩子们的故事的人感兴趣,”福尔摩斯讲道。

    摩梯末医生从另一个衣袋里掏出一张报纸。

    “福尔摩斯先生,现在让我来读给您听听就在三个月之前撰写的东西吧。它刊登在《德文郡纪事报》上,并与查尔斯·巴斯克维尔爵士的死有关。”

    福尔摩斯看上去更专注些了。摩梯末医生开始读了起来:

    查尔斯·巴斯克维尔爵士之暴卒,使本郡不胜哀悼。尽管他来巴斯克维尔庄园不过两年时间,但是大家都非常喜爱他。查尔斯爵士曾旅居国外,并在那里发了财。他致富后还乡,想把自己的资产用来修复巴斯克维尔庄园及其农场和村庄,因为这些建筑和土地都已处于潦倒不堪的境地了。他待人友善而又慷慨大方,还毫无吝啬之意地资助捐送穷人。

    官方对他死亡的报告没有说明所发生的一切事情。然而,它的确表明其中并没有谋杀的成分。查尔斯爵士死于自然原因;人们讲述的关于他的死亡的种种故事都是不真实的。他的朋友兼医生詹姆斯·摩梯末医生说查尔斯爵士的心脏虚弱已颇有一段时日了。

    实情甚为简单。查尔斯爵士在每晚就寝前,总要在巴斯克维尔庄园的公园里散步。他喜欢沿着夹在水松树篱之间的那条小路即巴斯克维尔庄园里那条出名的水松小道散步。6月4日晚,他出去散步来思考些问题并抽根他惯常抽的雪茄。

    查尔斯爵士次日将去伦敦,他的总管白瑞摩当时正在为他准备行装。午夜时分,白瑞摩因查尔斯爵士还未回来而焦虑不安,因此便去找他。他发现庄园的门还开着。那天的天气很潮湿,因此白瑞摩看到了查尔斯爵士沿着那条小道走时留下的脚印。在小道的中途有一个栅门,它通向沼地。有种种迹象说明查尔斯爵士曾在此站过一会儿。白瑞摩循着足迹走到了小道的尽头。而且就在那儿他发现了查尔斯爵士的尸体。

    白瑞摩报告了一件有关脚印的有趣的事情。他说,脚印在栅门和小道的尽头之间变样了。到栅门为止,查尔斯爵士的每个脚印都是完整的。但过了栅门之后,则只能看到他脚趾的印记了。白瑞摩以为查尔斯爵士曾用脚尖走过。

    一位名叫摩菲的马贩子在查尔斯爵士死时正在距出事地点不远之处。他当时已喝了许多啤酒,但是他说他那时曾听到呼喊声。他不清楚呼喊声来自何方。

    摩梯末医生被叫来查看查尔斯爵士的尸体。没有迹象说明查尔斯爵士是被谋杀的,但是摩梯末医生已认不出他朋友的面容了。整个脸已经变形了。然而,这对因心脏衰竭而导致的死亡来说是常有的。当摩梯末医生察看尸体时,他发现这事实上正是所发生的情况。查尔斯爵士的虚弱的心脏已无力承受重荷,这导致了他的死亡。

    大家都期盼巴斯克维尔家族的新主人能快速入住巴斯克维尔庄园。查尔斯爵士的善行必须继续进行下去。

    巴斯克维尔家族的新主人将是亨利·巴斯克维尔爵士,如果他尚在人世而律师们又能找到他的话。他是查尔斯·巴斯克维尔爵士的弟弟的儿子,他弟弟本人已在数年前故去。这位年轻人一直居住在美国。巴斯克维尔家族的律师们正试图与他联系以将他的好运告诉他。

    摩梯末医生将这份报纸放回了口袋里。

    “那些便是有关查尔斯爵士之死的官方报导。它们是些众所周知的事实,福尔摩斯先生,”他说道。

    “感谢您告知我有关这个饶有趣味的案件的情况,”福尔摩斯说道。“当时我曾看到过有关它的报导,但是我从未听到过相关的细节。报纸提供了那些众所周知的事实。现在我想让您告诉我您所知道的其他事实。你对这些怪诞的故事知道些什么呢?”

    “我从未告诉过任何人这些内幕,”摩梯末医生道。“如您所知,我是一位从事科学工作的人。我从来都认为凡事都有个明智的解释办法。我当时不想说出阻止亨利爵士前来庄园定居的任何话。可是我将告诉您那些从未在报导中写进去的种种细节。”

    “在他去世之前的几个月里,”摩梯末医生接着说道,“查尔斯爵士已是非常焦虑不安。他几乎濒于崩溃的境地。他相信巴斯克维尔猎犬的故事。他拒绝在晚上外出。他常常问我是否在夜间看到过什么奇怪的动物或是听见过一只猎狗在沼地上的嗥叫声。每当他问起这个问题的时候他总是变得非常亢奋。”

    “我记得,在他死之前大约三个星期的一天傍晚,我驾着马车去他的庄园。他正站在门前。我走到他面前,看到他正盯着我背后的什么东西。他的脸上带着恐怖的神情。我赶快转过身去,看到有个东西正在树林之间移动。它看似一头黑色的小牛。他是如此恐惧不安,我便不得不去那儿四下里寻找一番那个东西了。它已经消失了,可是查尔斯爵士非常担心。整个晚上我都陪着他。就是在那时,他将我已读给您听的那篇古老的手稿交给了我。在您考虑他死去的那个晚上所发生的情况时,我在那个傍晚看到的情况也许会是重要的。”

    “当白瑞摩,那个总管,发现了查尔斯爵士的尸体时,他派人叫我去了。我核实了所有的情况。我刚才已把它们念给你们听了,而且这些事实都是确凿的。”

    “但是白瑞摩有一件事没讲真话。他说,在尸体周围的地面上没有别的痕迹。他没有注意到其他痕迹。可是我注意到了。虽没有挨着尸体,可是既痕迹犹新而又清晰可见。”

    “是足迹吗?”福尔摩斯问道。

    “是的。是足迹,”摩梯末说道。

    “是男人的还是女人的?”福尔摩斯问道。

    摩梯末奇怪地望了我们一会儿。他回答时声音变得犹如耳语:

    “福尔摩斯先生,是一个极大的猎犬的一些爪印!”

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