"Chess masters aren't exactly humble people, are they?" she said.
"When he asked me, I had not had your letter. If I had, it would have made no difference in the answer I made to Mr. Creswell, but it deepens the pain with which I now write to you, showing me as it does, to an extent which I did not before quite realise, the store which you set by what is now lost to us for ever. I do not say this in excuse of myself or my deeds; I have no excuse to make. I have tried, and tried hard, to live in the position of life in which I have been placed. I have struggled with poverty, and tried to face the future--which would have been worse than poverty, penury, misery, want perhaps--with calmness. I have failed. I cannot help it, it is my nature to love money and all that money brings, to love comforts and luxuries, to shrink from privation. Had I gone straight from my father's deathbed to your house as your wife, I might perhaps have battled on; but we came here, and--I cannot go back. You will be far happier without me when your first shock is over. I should have been an impossible wife for a poor man, I know I should--complaining, peevish, irritable; ever repining at my poverty, ever envying the wealth of others. You are better without me, Walter, you are indeed! Our ways of life will be very different, and we shall never come across each other in any probability. If we should, I hope we shall meet as friends. I am sure it will not be very long before you recognise the wisdom of the course I am now taking, and are grateful to me for having taken it. You are full of talent, which you will now doubtless turn to good account, and of worthy aspirations, which you will find some one to sympathise with, and share the upward career which I am sure is before you. I thought I could have done as much at one time, but I know now that I could not, and I should be only acting basely and wickedly towards you, though you will not think it more basely and wickedly than I am now acting with you, if I had gone on pretending that I could, and had burdened you for life with a soured and discontented woman. I have no more to say.
"I spoke of the Axenite Brotherhood," Hartford said. "These men are a group of our leaders—Colonel Nef is one; he invited me to join him—who have decided that Stinker humanity must go. They're dedicated men, prepared to extinguish all the rest of mankind, to sterilize Earth and reseed it as a gnotobiotopic Paradise. Nef has, I fear, already killed three people to this end.
"Yes, I know that; but Maude and Gertrude went to Helmingham too, didn't they? And I'm sure I've heard their voices about the house this half-hour!"
thought. His manner was so courteous and charming, and he listened with such deferential respect to anything she had to say. Evidently he felt it a privilege to be in her company. Once or twice he just touched on his loneliness as a bachelor, which drove him, he hinted, to seek undesirable distractions--distractions of which, in his heart, he was weary and sometimes ashamed. It was all very subtly conveyed, and Rafella felt more than ever convinced that he needed most sorely the friendship and help of a high-minded woman, and that she was the woman to provide what was wanted. He must have been "guided" to come to her, and she prayed for him hard that night.
In the mine which I visited the work of getting the ore to the surface was performed in a modern and comparatively humane way.
The radio was a clutter of undisciplined Damn's, cries of "I've been hit!" One trooper, quicker than the rest, caught sight of a Kansan. He raised his rifle and purred out a stream of Dardick-pellets. Yoritomo, apprentice to the paper-maker, tumbled over the lip of the ledge, his blowpipe falling with him like a jack-straw. There was a babble on the radio. Nef overrode all other circuits to command: "At ease! Rake the ledges with sustained fire."
The next morning, hearing nothing from Poirot, I went out for a stroll, met some old friends, and lunched with them at their hotel. In the afternoon we went for a spin. A punctured tyre delayed us, and it was past eight when I got back to the Grand Metropolitan.详情 ➢
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