A Double Barrelled Detective Story  案中案

Stop here in the road a moment, uncle, said Fetlock, while I run to my cabin; I wont be gone a minute.

“在路上等一会儿,叔叔,”菲特洛克说,“我到我的木屋去一下,用不了一分钟就回来。”

He asked for something;the uncle furnished it;then he disappeared in the darkness, but soon returned, and the talking-walk was resumed. By nine oclock they had wandered back to the tavern. They worked their way through the billiard-room, where a crowd had gathered in the hope of getting a glimpse of the Extraordinary Man. A royal cheer was raised. Mr. Holmes acknowledged the compliment with a series of courtly bows, and as he was passing out his nephew said to the assemblage,

他问了几件事,他叔叔一一作答后,菲特洛克的身影就消失在黑暗中。很快,他又回来了,两个人边走边谈。九点钟的时候,他们回到了酒店。他们穿过台球室时,那儿还聚著一群希望一睹奇才风采的人。人群中响起了一阵仰慕的欢呼声。福尔摩斯先生频频点头示意,等福尔摩斯离开台球室后,他的侄子对众人说:

Uncle Sherlocks got some work to do, gentlemen, that ll keep him till twelve or one; but hell be down again then, or earlier if he can, and hopes some of youll be left to take a drink with him.

“诸位,夏洛克叔叔还有一些事情,要干到十二点到一点钟的样子;完事以后他会尽早下来,他希望诸位当中能有人留下来和他干一杯。”

By George, hes just a duke, boys! Three cheers for Sherlock Holmes, the greatest man that ever lived! shouted Ferguson. Hip, hip hip;

“老天爷,他可真仗义,伙计们!”弗格森大声嚷著。咱们为古往今来最了不起的夏洛克·福尔摩斯三呼万岁。嘿,嘿,嘿——”

Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! Tiger!

“万岁!万岁!万岁!嗷——”

The uproar shook the building, so hearty was the feeling the boys put into their welcome. Upstairs the uncle reproached the nephew gently, saying,

欢呼声在酒店里回荡,这呼声包含了他们对福尔摩斯的衷心爱戴。上楼时,叔叔轻声责备侄子:

What did you get me into the engagement for?

“你干吗要把我拖进来?”

I reckon you dont want to be unpopular, do you, uncle? Well, then, dont you put on any exclusiveness in a mining-camp, thats all. The boys admire you; but if you was to leave without taking a drink with them, theyd set you down for a snob. And besides, you said you had home talk enough in stock to keep us up and at it half the night.

“我想,您不愿默默无闻吧,是不是,叔叔?好,那么,在一个开矿的屯子里也不能例外呀,我就是为了这个才说那句话的。别看那些家伙称赞您,可是只要你不干一杯就这么走了,他们就会骂你是势利眼。再说,您说过有好多家常话要跟我聊,这也得聊到半夜呀。”

The boy was right, and wise;the uncle acknowledged it. The boy was wise in another detail which he did not mention,;except to himself: Uncle and the others will come handy;in the way of nailing an alibi where it cant be budged.

这小伙子做得不错,而且做得很聪明——叔叔承认这一点。这小伙子还有一件事也做得聪明,但他除了自己知道,没有和别人说过——“叔叔和别人就在一旁——这可是一个‘不在现场’的有力旁证,铁证如山。”

He and his uncle talked diligently about three hours. Then, about midnight, Fetlock stepped downstairs and took a position in the dark a dozen steps from the tavern, and waited. Five minutes later Flint Buckner came rocking out of the billiard-room and almost brushed him as he passed.

他和他的叔叔畅叙了约摸有三个小时。快到午夜的时候,菲特洛克·琼斯走下楼来,在离酒店十来步远的黑影里找了一个地方等著。五分钟以后,弗林特·布克纳摇摇摆摆地出了台球室,几乎擦著他走了过去。

Ive got him! muttered the boy. He continued to himself, looking after the shadowy form:Good-by;good-by for good, Flint Buckner; you called my mother a;well, never mind what: its all right, now; youre taking your last walk, friend.

“我摆平他了!”小伙子自言自语地说。他继续目送著弗林特·布克纳的身影,“再见——再见——妥了,弗林特·布克纳。你骂我母亲是个——好吧,我不在乎。现在都了结了;朋友,再散最后一次步吧。”

He went musing back into the tavern. From now till one is an hour. Well spend it with the boys: its good for the alibi.

他沉思著回到酒店。“从现在到一点钟是一个小时。我们要跟这些家伙一块儿呆著:这可是‘不在现场’的好证据。”

He brought Sherlock Holmes to the billiard-room, which was jammed with eager and admiring miners; the guest called the drinks, and the fun began. Everybody was happy; everybody was complimentary; the ice was soon broken, songs, anecdotes, and more drinks followed, and the pregnant minutes flew. At six minutes to one, when the jollity was at its highest;

他领著夏洛克·福尔摩斯到了台球室,那里挤满了迫不及待的拥戴者。贵客请大家举杯畅饮,室内一片欢腾。人人喜笑颜开,恭维声不绝于耳;气氛马上活跃了起来。有的引吭高歌,有的开讲趣闻轶事,一杯接著一杯,欢饮只恨夜短,酒宴达到了高潮。差六分钟不到一点的时候,只听得一声巨响——

Boom!

轰隆!

There was silence instantly. The deep sound came rolling and rumbling from peak to peak up the gorge, then died down, and ceased. The spell broke, then, and the men made a rush for the door, saying,Somethings blown up!

霎时间,众人无声无息。只听见那巨大的响声在山谷间久久回荡,越来越弱,终于听不见了。这时,人们哇的一声朝门口冲去:“什么东西炸了!”

Outside, a voice in the darkness said,Its away down the gorge; I saw the flash.

一个声音在门外的黑影里响了起来:“是在山谷那头,我看见闪光了。”

The crowd poured down the canyon;Holmes, Fetlock, Archy Stillman, everybody. They made the mile in a few minutes. By the light of a lantern they found the smooth and solid dirt floor of Flint Buckners cabin; of the cabin itself not a vestige remained, not a rag nor a splinter. Nor any sign of Flint. Search parties sought here and there and yonder, and presently a cry went up.

众人一窝蜂地往山谷里跑——福尔摩斯、菲特洛克、阿其·斯蒂尔曼,所有的人都跑了过去。一英里的路他们几分钟就跑到了。借著提灯的光亮,他们看到弗林特·布克纳木屋坚硬、平滑的地面,木屋却无影无踪,连一条破布和一丝木屑都没有留下。弗林特本人也不见了。人们到处搜寻,突然,有人大吼一声:

Here he is!

“他在这儿!”

It was true. Fifty yards down the gulch they had found him;that is, they had found a crushed and lifeless mass which represented him. Fetlock Jones hurried thither with the others and looked.

千真万确。人们在五十码开外的沟里找到了弗林特·布克纳——不如说找到了一堆七零八落、毫无生气的东西,那就是弗林特·布克纳。菲特洛克·琼斯和其他人赶快跑过去看个究竟。

The inquest was a fifteen-minute affair. Ham Sandwich, foreman of the jury, handed up the verdict, which was phrased with a certain unstudied literary grace, and closed with this finding, to wit: that deceased came to his death by his own act or some other person or persons unknown to this jury not leaving any family or similar effects behind but his cabin which was blown away and God have mercy on his soul amen.

验尸用了十五分钟。陪审团的头头汉姆·桑德韦奇提交了结论性报告。报告在一连串生搬硬套的华丽辞藻之后,最后才说到现场的情况:“死者之死或因自身、或因他人、或因陪审团未知之人所致;死者身后未造家室,也无财物,只剩房屋一间,已被炸光。上帝保佑他的魂灵,阿门。”

Then the impatient jury rejoined the main crowd, for the storm-centre of interest was there;Sherlock Holmes. The miners stood silent and reverent in a half-circle, enclosing a large vacant space which included the front exposure of the site of the late premises. In this considerable space the Extraordinary Man was moving about, attended by his nephew with a lantern. With a tape he took measurements of the cabin site; of the distance from the wall of chaparral to the road; of the height of the chaparral bushes; also various other measurements. He gathered a rag here, a splinter there, and a pinch of earth yonder, inspected them profoundly, and preserved them. He took the lay of the place with a pocket compass, allowing two seconds for magnetic variation. He took the time (Pacific) by his watch, correcting it for local time. He paced off the distance from the cabin site to the corpse, and corrected that for tidal differentiation. He took the altitude with a pocket-aneroid, and the temperature with a pocket-thermometer. Finally he said, with a stately bow:

陪审团草草收场,赶快挤到大队人马中去,因为那里才有大家关注的焦点——夏洛克·福尔摩斯。矿工们一声不响、怀著敬畏之情排成一个半圆,围住了已成废墟的弗林特·布克纳木屋前面的一大片空场。在这片空场上,那奇人正踱来踱去,他的侄子提著灯笼跟在身后。他手持一根带子量木屋的遗址,量遮挡木屋的灌木丛到大路的距离,量灌木丛的高度;又在其他几处量来量去。他搜集了一条碎布,一丝木屑,还把不远处的一点泥土仔仔细细地查看了一番后,然后收了起来。他用一个罗盘定了当地的方位,留出两秒的磁偏角。他看看自己的手表,记录了时间(太平洋沿岸时间),再校正为当地时间。他步量了从木屋遗址到尸体之间的距离,并根据潮汐的影响作了校正。他用一个袖珍气压计测定了海拔高度,又用一个袖珍温度计量了气温。最后,他很有气派地点点头说:

It is finished. Shall we return, gentlemen?

“好了。诸位,咱们回去吧?”

He took up the line of march for the tavern, and the crowd fell into his wake, earnestly discussing and admiring the Extraordinary Man, and interlarding guesses as to the origin of the tragedy and who the author of it might be.

他领著大队人马向酒店走去,众人再也憋不住了,热烈谈论起这位奇人来,对他交口称赞。其间也夹杂著有关这场悲剧的探讨:起因如何,谁是主谋;等等。

My, but its grand luck having him here;hey, boys? said Ferguson.

“海,有他在这儿真是万幸——是吧,伙计们?”弗格森说。

Its the biggest thing of the century, said Ham Sandwich. It ll go all over the world; you mark my words.

“这可是本世纪头等大事,”汉姆·桑德韦奇说,“淮会传遍全世界;不信,记著我这句话好了。”

You bet! said Jake Parker the blacksmith. It ll boom this camp. Aint it so, Wells-Fargo?

“说得对!”铁匠杰克·帕克说,“咱这屯子可要出名了。是不是啊,威尔斯·法戈?”

Well, as you want my opinion;if its any sign of how I think about it, I can tell you this: yesterday I was holding the Straight Flush claim at two dollars a foot; Id like to see the man that can get it at sixteen to-day.

“嗯,你问我呀——要问我怎么想这件事,这么说吧:昨天我出两块钱一英尺买的那片‘一条龙’矿,今天兴许就有人出十六块一英尺的价!”

Right you are, Wells-Fargo! Its the grandest luck a new camp ever struck. Say, did you see him collar them little rags and dirt and things? What an eye! He just cant overlook a clew;taint in him.

“没错,威尔斯·法戈!哪个新屯子也没有过这么好的运气啊。唉,你看见他搜集碎布片、泥土那些东西了吗?那叫眼力!什么也别想躲过他那双眼睛——全在他手心里攥著呢。”

Thats so. And they wouldnt mean a thing to anybody else; but to him, why, theyre just a book;large print at that.

“是这么回事。在别人眼里,这些东西什么都不是;可在他眼里头,那是书啊,老大的字在上头印著哪。”

Sures youre born! Them odds and ends have got their little old secret, and they think there aint anybody can pull it; but, land! when he sets his grip there theyve got to squeal, and dont you forget it.

“你这个比方绝了!那些零七八碎的玩艺儿里头都有点儿蹊跷,它们还以为只有天知地知呢;可是,露馅啦!这些把柄一攥在他手里,它们都该告密了,没错,你就记著这句话吧。”

Boys, I aint sorry, now, that he wasnt here to roust out the child; this is a bigger thing, by a long sight. Yes, sir, and more tangled up and scientific and intellectual.

“伙计们,如今我不用担心他是来跟那个小伙子阿其斗法的了。这可是件大事,没有长远的眼光不行。对付这一团乱麻,要的是科学性,要的是学问。”

I reckon were all of us glad its turned out this way. Glad? George! it aint any name for it. Dontchuknow, Archy could ve learnt something if hed had the nous to stand by and take notice of how that man works the system. But no; he went poking up into the chaparral and just missed the whole thing.

“我想,事情走到这一步咱们大家都高兴。高兴?老天爷,也找不到更合适的词了。阿其要是有心眼儿,在一边好好看著,看看这人怎么干的,淮能长不少学问。可是他不,他一头钻到树丛里头,什么也没看到。”

Its true as gospel; I seen it myself. Well, Archys young. Hell know better one of these days.

“没错,我也看见了。不过,阿其还年轻。过一阵子他就能多懂点儿事了。”

Say, boys, who do you reckon done it?

这个问题太难了,大家七嘴八舌,谁也说服不了谁。

That was a difficult question, and brought out a world of unsatisfying conjecture. Various men were mentioned as possibilities, but one by one they were discarded as not being eligible. No one but young Hillyer had been intimate with Flint Buckner; no one had really had a quarrel with him; he had affronted every man who had tried to make up to him, although not quite offensively enough to require bloodshed. There was one name that was upon every tongue from the start, but it was the last to get utterance;Fetlock Joness. It was Pat Riley that mentioned it.

提到的几个嫌疑人又一个个因不合格被否定了。除了年轻的希里尔,没人接近弗林特·布克纳,也没人真跟他斗过气;对所有想接近他的人,弗林特·布克纳都没有给过好脸色,不过也没激烈到能动刀子的份儿上。从一开始,一个人的名字就在大家的嘴边上,这就是菲特洛克·琼斯,可直到最后才有人说出来。是帕特·利雷先提起他的。

Oh, well, the boys said, of course weve all thought of him, because he had a million rights to kill Flint Buckner, and it was just his plain duty to do it. But all the same theres two things we cant get around: for one thing, he hasnt got the sand; and for another, he wasnt anywhere near the place when it happened.

“啊,是呀,”众人说,“我们也都想到他了,他倒是有一百个理由杀弗林特·布克纳,再说,他要是那样干也不足为奇。可是,有两件事解释不通:第一件,他没这么大的胆子;第二件,出事的时候他根本不在那儿呀。”

I know it, said Pat. He was there in the billiard-room with us when it happened.

“这我也知道,”帕特说,“出事的时候他跟咱们在一起,在台球室。”

Yes, and was there all the time for an hour before it happened.

“是啊,连出事前一个钟头,他也一直在那儿。”

Its so. And lucky for him, too. Hed have been suspected in a minute if it hadnt been for that.

“这就对了。也算他走运。要不然,头一个怀疑的就是他。”