Alien at School
往期回听 | 经典侦探故事
有声书 | 经典侦探故事 1.1
有声书 | 经典侦探故事 1.2
有声书 | 经典侦探故事 1.3
有声书 | 经典侦探故事 2.1
有声书 | 经典侦探故事 2.2
Classic Detective Stories
Hunted Down ( Part One )
by Charles Dickens
It was November before I saw Mr. Slinkton again, this time in London. I had a very important appointment① at Middle Temple. I arrived at the Temple and went up some stairs. There were two doors at the top of the stairs. The name BECKWITH was painted on one door. The name SLINKTON was painted on the other.
I went in the door marked Beckwith. The room was dirty and there were empty bottles everywhere. A young man got up when I entered. He walked very unsteadily② and he seemed drunk.
'Slinkton's not in yet,' he said loudly. 'I'll call him.'
He went into the corridor and began to shout loudly.
'Hey! Julius! Come in here and have a drink!' he called. Mr. Slinkton came into the room. He was very surprised to see me.
'Julius, this is Mr. Sampson!' Beckwith introduced us. 'Boil the brandy, Julius!' he said.
He gave Mr. Slinkton a filthy③ saucepan④. 'Come on, boil the brandy the way you usually do!'
Mr. Slinkton was embarrassed at my presence in the room, I could see.
'How is your niece, Mr. Slinkton?' I asked him quietly.
'I am sorry to say my niece has left me,' he replied. 'She went away without a word of explanation.'
Beckwith held out the saucepan once more
'Boil the brandy, Julius,' he repeated. 'Give me what you always give me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Boil the brandy, I tell you!'
Now Mr. Slinkton looked even more embarrassed. This was not a pleasant situation for him. He thought for a moment and then he spoke to me.
'You're a man of the world⑤, Mr. Sampson,' he began. 'I'll tell you the truth.'
'No, Mr. Slinkton,' I said firmly⑥. 'You'll never tell the truth. I know all about you.'
'You want to save your insurance company some money,' he said calmly. 'You will try to argue that I was responsible for Beckwith's condition — and for his eventual⑦ death. But you won't be able to prove that, you know. You won't be able to prove anything!'
Beckwith suddenly picked up his brandy-glass and threw it at Mr. Slinkton. The glass cut his forehead⑧ and blood began to flow down his face. Mr. Slinkton took out his handkerchief and dried his face. As he was doing this, another man came into the room — a man with grey hair who walked with a slight limp.
Mr. Slinkton looked at this man in surprise.
'Look very carefully at me,' Beckwith cried out. 'You're a rogue⑨, Slinkton, and I've caught you! I took these rooms on purpose⑩, just to catch you. I pretended to be a drunkard⑪ in order to catch YOU and I've done it. You'll never escape now. YOU see, the last time you went to see Mr. Sampson, I had already been to see him myself — I went to his house very early that morning. We know everything. We know what you were planning. You thought you could kill me for the two thousand pounds of the insurance policy, didn't you? You wanted to kill me with brandy, didn't you? But you wanted me to die quickly. That's why you also gave me small amounts of poison⑫.'
Mr. Slinkton was surprised by Beckwith's behaviour. The young man did not seem at all drunk now. At first Mr. Slinkton did not know how to react. Then he found his courage. He was very pale, but he looked coldly at Beckwith. He did not say a word.
'I took these rooms on purpose,' Beckwith went on. 'I knew what kind of man you are, you see. You're the man who's already killed one innocent⑬ girl for her money. And now you're slowly killing another one.'
'Think how stupid you really are!' Beckwith continued.
'You thought I was drinking brandy all day — but I threw most of it away. You never knew that I came into your room at night when you were asleep. I took all your papers, Slinkton. I read your journal⑭, too. It's got all the information about the poisons that you use. It explains everything. I know where the journal is now!'
Slinkton looked at Beckwith questioningly⑮.
'It's not in your desk,' Beckwith told him.
'Then you're a thief,' Slinkton told him calmly. He spoke calmly, but his face was white.
'I'm your niece's shadow,' Beckwith said quietly.
Suddenly Slinkton lost his calm and his courage. He looked frightened now. Still he said nothing.
'I've watched you all the time,' Beckwith said. '1 knew that you were poisoning Miss Niner. I went to Mr. Sampson and told him everything. That man standing at the door is Mr. Sampson's servant. The three of us have saved your niece's life! '
Beckwith paused for a moment to look at Slinkton. Then he went on.
'You don't even know my real name,' he said very quietly. 'You asked Mr. Sampson several times if he had any news about Meltham. I can give you news about him — I am Meltham!' he announced triumphantly⑯.
'1 loved your niece Margaret. I could not save her — but I promised to pursue⑰ you to the end. And I've done it!' he cried. 'I've hunted you down, Slinkton.'
Slinkton now looked in horror at the man who was accusing him. He was unable to speak for fear.
'You never knew my real name,' Meltham told him. 'You are seeing me under my real name now for the first time. You will see me again when you answer the charge⑱ of murder in court. And I hope you see me in your imagination — when they put the rope around your neck and the crowd cries out for your death!'
Slinkton turned quickly away from us for a second and put his hand to his mouth. The room suddenly filled with the smell of some chemical. Slinkton gasped⑲, ran a few steps and fell to the floor. He was dead.
Meltham and I made sure that Slinkton was dead. Then we left the room together.
'I have done what I promised do,' Meltham said sadly to me. 'My life is ended now.'
I did everything that 1 could to help him, but the poor man died a few months later.
⑤ man of the world：阅历丰富。
⑩ on purpose：故意。
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