The Haunted Hotel - Wilkie Collins - Страница 1 из 233
THE HAUNTED HOTEL
A Mystery of Modern Venice
Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)
(after the edition of Chatto & Windus, London, 1879)
THE FIRST PART
In the year 1860, the reputation of Doctor Wybrow as a London physician
reached its highest point. It was reported on good authority that he
was in receipt of one of the largest incomes derived from the practice
of medicine in modern times.
One afternoon, towards the close of the London season, the Doctor had
just taken his luncheon after a specially hard morning's work in his
consulting-room, and with a formidable list of visits to patients at
their own houses to fill up the rest of his day--when the servant
announced that a lady wished to speak to him.
'Who is she?' the Doctor asked. 'A stranger?'
'I see no strangers out of consulting-hours. Tell her what the hours
are, and send her away.'
'I have told her, sir.'
'And she won't go.'
'Won't go?' The Doctor smiled as he repeated the words. He was a
humourist in his way; and there was an absurd side to the situation
which rather amused him. 'Has this obstinate lady given you her name?'
'No, sir. She refused to give any name--she said she wouldn't keep you
five minutes, and the matter was too important to wait till to-morrow.
There she is in the consulting-room; and how to get her out again is
more than I know.'
Doctor Wybrow considered for a moment. His knowledge of women
(professionally speaking) rested on the ripe experience of more than
thirty years; he had met with them in all their varieties--especially
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