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Тринадцать гостей

Книга для чтения на английском языке
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Джозеф Джефферсон Фарджон — известный британский писатель, автор более 60 книг в жанре детективного романа и триллеров, сценарист. В центре детектива «Тринадцать гостей» — загадочная смерть незнакомца в одной из комнат загородного имения лорда Эйвлинга. Инспектору Кендаллу предстоит выяснить, кто из тринадцати гостей лорда является убийцей. В книге представлен полный неадаптированный текст произведения на языке оригинала.
Джефферсон Фарджон, Д. Тринадцать гостей : книга для чтения на английском языке : художественная литература / Д. Джефферсон Фарджон. - Санкт-Петербург : КАРО, 2020. - 320 с. - (Detective Story). - ISBN 978-5-9925-1495-7. - Текст : электронный. - URL: https://znanium.com/catalog/product/1864348 (дата обращения: 21.07.2024). – Режим доступа: по подписке.
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Joseph Jefferson FARJEON

THIRTEEN GUESTS

DETECTIVE STORY

УДК 821.111
ББК 81.2 Англ-93 
 
Д40

ISBN 978-5-9925-1495-7

Джефферсон Фарджон, Джозеф.

Д40     Тринадцать гостей : Книга для чтения на англий
ском языке / Д. Джефферсон Фарджон. — СанктПетербург : КАРО, 2020. — 320 с. — (Detective Story).

ISBN 978-5-9925-1495-7.

Джозеф Джефферсон Фарджон — известный 

британский писатель, автор более 60 книг в жанре 
детективного романа и триллеров, сценарист.

В центре детектива «Тринадцать гостей» — за
гадочная смерть незнакомца в одной из комнат 
загородного имения лорда Эйвлинга. Инспектору 
Кендаллу предстоит выяснить, кто из тринадцати 
гостей лорда является убийцей.

В книге представлен полный неадаптированный 

текст произведения на языке оригинала.

УДК 821.111

ББК 81.2 Англ-93 

© Каро, 2020
Все права защищены

Chapter I

Completion of the Number

Every station has its special voice. Some are of grit. 

Some are of sand. Some are of milk cans. Some are of rock 
muffled by tunnel smoke. Whatever the voice, it speaks to 
those who know it, sounding a name without pronouncing 
it; but those who do not know it drowse on, for to them it 
brings no message, and is merely a noise unilluminated by 
personal tradition.

The voice of Flensham station is gravelly. The queer 

softness of it is accentuated by the tunnel and the curve 
that precede it. The tunnel throbs blackly and the curve 
grinds metallically, but Flensham follows with a gravelly 
whisper that is as arresting as a shout. With eyes still 
closed the familiar traveller sees the neat little platform 
gliding closer and closer. He sees the lines of equally 
neat bushes that assist a wooden partition to separate 
the platform from the road. A notice, warning passengers 
not to cross the track when a train is standing in the station. A signal, arm slanting downwards. A station-master, 
large and depressed, fighting the tragedy of Cosmos with 
a time-table.

Of the two passengers who alighted at Flensham from 

the 3.28 one Friday afternoon in autumn, only one had 

an advance vision of these things. She was a lady of about 
thirty, and Puritans and Victorians would have called her 
too attractive. Her hair was tinged with bronze. Her nose 
delighted your thoughts and defied your theories. Her 
complexion was too perfect. Her frankly ridiculous lips annoyed you because by all the rules of sanity they should 
have disgusted you, yet they did not.

She had been described by her husband, now lying 

peacefully in his grave, as one of life’s most glorious 
risks, and he had consciously taken the risk when he had 
married her. “Let her tear me to pieces,” he said on his 
wedding-day. She had done so. She had jolted him from 
heaven to hell. And he had never reproached her. He had 
loved her without her make-up, and three hours before 
he died, during one of her rare moments of repentance—
even the worst of us are softened as we watch the sands 
run out—he had waved her regrets aside. “How can you 
alter what God made?” he had said. “Some one has to suffer.”

The other passenger was a young man. To him the grav
elly music of Flensham station told no story, and for this 
reason he almost ignored it. The lady was already on the 
platform, interviewing a liveried chauffeur, before the man 
realised that the train had stopped.

“Hallo—Flensham!” he exclaimed suddenly.
The train began to move on again. The young man 

jumped to his feet. On the rack above him was a suitcase. 
He seized it with one hand, while the other groped for the 
door-handle. A moment later the suitcase shot out on to 
the platform. The sight amused the lady, to whom every 
sensation was meat, but it insulted the large and depressed 

station-master, to whom every sensation was a menace to 
routine.

Worse followed. The owner of the suitcase shot out 

after his belonging, and as he shot out his foot caught in the 
framework of the door. Now the lady’s amusement changed 
swiftly to anxiety, and the station-master’s indignation to 
alarm.

“Quick! Help him!” cried the lady.
The station-master, the chauffeur, and a porter ran for
ward. The train chugged on. Its late passenger sat on the 
ground, holding his foot. He had been pale before; he was 
considerably paler now.

“Hurt, sir?” asked the station-master.
“Of course I’m hurt!” he retorted unreasonably. “Why 

the hell don’t you show the name of your station in larger 
letters?” Then he noticed Nadine, and apologised.

“Quite unnecessary,” Nadine answered graciously. This 

young man was immensely good-looking. He had a smooth, 
boyish face, and his eyes, though drawn with pain at the 
moment, held possibilities. “Swear as much as is good for 
you—and that’s probably a lot.”

He forgot his twinges for a moment. Nadine had the 

beauty that drugs. Her commanding ease, also, was a consolation, dissolving the oppressions of an unimaginative 
station-master, a staring porter, and a rather too superior 
chauffeur.

“Thanks—I’m all right,” he said, and fainted.
“Coo, ’e’s gorn off!” reported the porter.
“Looks like a case for a doctor,” muttered the station
master.

“Definitely,” nodded Nadine.

The chauffeur glanced at her, and read his own thought 

in her eyes. There was a faint green light in them. It generally came when she was intensely interested. Her husband 
had called it, anomalously, the red signal.

“Could you get him into the car, Arthur?” she asked.
“Easy,” replied the chauffeur.
“Then, if you don’t mind, I think we’ll stop at a doctor’s 

on the way.”

“Dr. Pudrow, madam—the same as attends Mrs. Morris. 

He’s the one.” He turned to the porter. “Give us a hand, Bill. 
And remember he’s not a trunk.”

The station-master interposed. He himself had been 

the first to suggest a doctor—he was glad of that—but a 
certain procedure had to be observed. This was his platform.

“You’d better wait till he comes to,” he said.
“Of course,” agreed Nadine. “We’re not going to abduct 

him.”

In a few seconds the young man opened his eyes. He 

now fought humiliation as well as pain.

“Did I go off?” he gasped, momentarily red.
“We all do silly ass things when we can’t help it,” smiled 

Nadine. “Don’t worry. But I think you ought to see a doctor.”

“She thinks,” reflected the station-master. “Taking it all 

to herself!”

“Believe you’re right,” murmured the young man. 

“Something or other seems to have gone wrong with my 
foot. Could you—send one along?”

“I’m glad you’re keeping your sense of humour.”
“Eh?”
“Why send one along when I can take you along?”

“That’s really frightfully decent of you.”
“Say when you’re ready.”
“Well, if it’s not too much trouble—sooner the better.”
She made a sign to the chauffeur, then turned back to 

him.

“Grit on to yourself. It mayn’t be nice when they lift you. 

I know what it’s like—I hunt.”

He closed his eyes, and kept them closed for two very 

unpleasant minutes. Then he found himself gliding through 
a land of gentle undulations and russet October hues. 
Above him the sky was crisp and clear. The tang of autumn 
was in his nostrils. The sounds of autumn came to him, too. 
Dogs bayed in the distance. He recognised the quality, and 
pictured red coats among them. From an opposite direction 
cracked the report of a gun. Now he pictured a pheasant 
flashing downwards from the blue dome, to end its short 
uneasy life in fulfilment of its destiny. Closer at hand were 
branches as gold as the pheasant’s breast. Closer still was 
a bronze curl.... His eyes, as they opened, focused on the 
bronze curl.

But pain intruded. Stags and pheasants were not suf
fering alone.

“How are you feeling?”
“Not too bad.”
“I expect I’d say the same.” Nadine’s voice was appre
ciative and sympathetic. “We’ll soon be at the doctor’s.”

It occurred to him that he ought to thank her, but when 

he began the bronze curl moved a little nearer to him and 
she placed her hand over his mouth. He rebelled against 
the pleasure of that momentary contact with her fingers. 
They were cool, while they warmed. He rebelled because 

he knew that she was conscious of his pleasure, that she 
had deliberately produced it. But he did not know that she 
was conscious, also, of his rebellion. She took her hand 
away. She had the sporting instinct. She did not fight a man 
who was down.

“But stags and foxes, eh?” her husband had once taxed 

her, when she had been forced to point out this virtue to 
him.

“They’re different,” she had retorted.
“Of course they are,” he agreed. “They don’t start fifty
fifty—and they can never get up again and smack you.”

The conversation had preceded one of their biggest 

rows.

The Rolls glided on. A small vine-covered house 

peeped over one of the brown hedges on their left. The 
sun, nearing the end of its shortened day, sent a low arrow of light into the vines and picked out a brilliant little 
plate-inscribed: “Dr. L. G. Pudrow, M.D.” The house was 
less pretentious than the plate, and therefore needed 
the plate to dignify it. But for the useful illness of a rich 
old lady and the daily visits this illness imposed, the 
house might have been even less pretentious. No doctor, 
however, could visit Bragley Court every morning, and 
sometimes every afternoon as well, without comfort to 
his bank-balance, and Dr. Pudrow had found Mrs. Morris 
a godsend. That was not why he had devoted so much 
earnest thought and care to the business of keeping the 
suffering old lady alive.

When the Rolls stopped outside the house, Dr. Pudrow 

was actually engaged in that rather unchristian occupation. 
A maid informed the chauffeur that her master was out.

“He’s at your place,” she said. “If you hurries you’ll 

catch him.”

“Is he coming straight back?” inquired Arthur, with the 

practical sense of one who has to deal with grit in carburettors.

“No, he’s not,” answered the maid, and added pertly, 

“he’s got a baby coming at six.”

Arthur considered. It was now eleven minutes to four. 

He pointed out that the baby was not due for over two 
hours, but the maid retorted that you never knew, and 
that the doctor was going right on anyway. “This’ll be 
No. 8—it’s that Mrs. Trump again,” the maid observed, 
“I call it disgusting!” She believed in good looks and Marie 
Stopes.

The chauffeur returned to the car and reported. Nadine 

looked at the young man. The green glint in her eyes was 
dancing once more.

“There’s only one way to catch the doctor,” she said. 

“And there’s only one doctor to catch. He’s attending a patient at Bragley Court—where I happen to be going myself. 
Shall I take you on there?”

“Why not deposit me here till he returns?” asked the 

young man. “I mustn’t go on being your responsibility like 
this.”

Nadine explained the situation. The doctor might be 

hours before he got back. Some babies were optimistic, 
and hurried; others showed less anxiety to enter a troubled world.

“Then—would you take me—?” began the young man, 

and paused.

“Yes? Where?” inquired Nadine.
Obviously, even a man who fell out of a train had some 

destination beyond the platform. For the sake of the adventure she had delayed referring to it.

“Not sure,” said the young man, and the reply pleased 

Nadine. The autumn sun was in a very generous mood, 
and she had no wish to end the adventure. “Isn’t there an 
inn somewhere?”

Nadine turned to the chauffeur, who was still awaiting 

instructions.

“Bragley Court, Arthur,” she said, “and don’t worry 

about speed limits.”

There was always something vaguely personal in her 

use of the word “Arthur.” It implied no social unbending 
on her part, and permitted no familiarity on his, but it recognised his existence; almost, his male existence. Now it 
added two miles to the speedometer.

“Bragley Court doesn’t sound like an inn,” commented 

the young man wearily. He found he couldn’t fight.

“It certainly isn’t an inn,” answered Nadine. “The only 

two inns within reasonable distance—as far as I know—
are the Black Stag and the Cricketers’ Arms. The Black 
Stag is by the station. No stag has ever been known there, 
although I think there is a rumour that years ago one hid 
behind the bar, but there’s plenty of blackness. It comes 
from the tunnel. I believe the inn puts up one traveller a 
year, and never the same traveller. The Cricketers’ Arms 
is much more lively. That’s why it is even less desirable. 
All sorts of company. And I’m told the bed, like Venice, is 
built round seven lumps. I really think, if you went to the 
Cricketers’ Arms, you might die of it.”

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