Колесо крутится. Леди исчезает / The Wheel Spins. The Lady Vanishe. Этель Лина Уайт. Читать онлайн. Newlib. NEWLIB.NET

Автор: Этель Лина Уайт
Издательство: КАРО
Серия: Detective story
Жанр произведения: Классические детективы
Год издания: 0
isbn: 978-5-9925-1492-6
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next to the engine?” she asked.

      “Oh, no,” the tweed lady assured her. “There are ordinary coaches in between. It’s an extra long train, because of the end of the season rush. They had to pack them in with a shoe-horn.”

      Apparently she was the type that collected information, for she began to broadcast almost immediately.

      “Just glance at the next carriage to ours as you go by – and I’ll tell you something.”

      Although Iris felt no curiosity, she obeyed. Afterwards she was sorry, because she could not forget what she saw.

      A rigid figure, covered with rugs, lay stretched on the length of one seat. It was impossible to tell whether it were a man or a woman, for head, eyes and forehead were bandaged, and the features concealed by a criss-cross of plaster strips. Apparently the face had been gashed to mutilation-point.

      Iris recoiled in horror, which was increased when she realised that the pallid man with the spade beard was in charge of the invalid. Beside him was a nun, whose expression was so callous that it was difficult to connect her with any act of mercy.

      While they chatted together, the patient feebly raised one hand. Although they saw the movement, they ignored it. They might have been porters, responsible for the transport of a bit of lumber, instead of a suffering human being.

      The fluttering fingers affected Iris with a rush of acute sympathy. She shrank from the thought that – had the cards fallen otherwise – she, too, might be lying, neglected by some indifferent stranger.

      “That nun looks a criminal,” she whispered.

      “She’s not a nun,” the tweed lady informed her, “she’s a nursing-sister.”

      “Then I pity her patient. Ghastly to be ill on a journey. And she’s not a spectacle. Why can’t they pull down the blind?”

      “It would be dull for them.”

      “Poor devil. I suppose it’s a man?”

      Iris was so foolishly anxious to break the parallel between the motionless figure and herself, that she was disappointed when her companion shook her head.

      “No, a woman. They got in at our station, higher up. The doctor was telling the baroness about it. She’s just been terribly injured in a motor smash, and there’s risk of serious brain injury. So the doctor’s rushing her to Trieste, for tricky operation. It’s a desperate chance to save her reason and her life.”

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