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n alive. “A fire!” he cried, “A room and a fire!” He shook the snow off himself, and followed Mrs. Hall into her guest room, where he put some sovereigns on the table.

      Mrs. Hall lit the fire and left him there while she went to prepare him a meal. A guest to stop at Iping in the winter time was an unheard-of piece of luck[2], especially a guest who paid in cash.

      When lunch was ready, she carried plates, and glasses into the room. She was surprised to see that her visitor still wore his hat and coat, and stood with his back to her and looking out of the window at the falling snow, with his gloved hands behind him.

      “Can I take your hat and coat, sir,” she said, “and dry them in the kitchen?”

      “No,” he said.

      He turned his head and looked at her over his shoulder. “I’ll keep them on,” he said; and she noticed that he wore big blue spectacles and had whiskers. The spectacles, the whiskers, and his coat collar completely hid his face.

      “Very well, sir,” she said. “As you like. In a moment the room will be warmer.”

      He made no answer, and Mrs. Hall, feeling that it was a bad time for a conversation, quickly laid the table and left the room. When she returned he was still standing there, his collar turned up, his hat hiding his face completely.

      She put down the eggs and bacon, and said to him:

      “Your lunch is served, sir.”

      “Thank you,” he said, and did not turn round until she closed the door.

      As she went to the kitchen she saw her help Millie still making mustard. “That girl!” she said. “She’s so long!” And she herself finished mixing the mustard. She had cooked the ham and eggs, laid the table, and done everything, while Millie had not mixed the mustard! And a new guest wanted to stay! Then she filled the mustard-pot, and carried it into the guest room.

      She knocked and entered at once. She put down the mustard-pot on the table, and then she noticed the coat and hat on a chair in front of the fire. She wanted to take these things to the kitchen. “May take them to dry now?” she asked.

      “Leave the hat,” said her visitor in a muffled voice, and turning, she saw he had raised his head and was looking at her.

      For a moment she stood looking at him, too surprised to speak.

      He held a white napkin, which she had given him, over the lower part of his face, so that his mouth was completely hidden, and that was the reason of his muffled voice. But what surprised Mrs. Hall most was the fact that all the forehead above his blue glasses was covered by a white bandage, and that another bandage covered his ears, so that only his pink nose could be seen. It was bright pink. He wore a jacket with a high collar turned up about his neck. The thick black hair could be seen between the bandages. This muffled and bandaged head was so strange that for a moment she stood speechless. He remained holding the napkin, as she saw now, with a gloved hand. “Leave the hat,” he said, speaking through the napkin.

      She began to recover from the shock she had received. She placed the hat on the chair again by the fire. “I didn’t know, sir,” she began, “that —” And she stopped, not knowing what to say.

      “Thank you,” he said dryly, looking from her to the door, and then at her again.

      “I’ll have them nicely dried, sir, at once,” she said, and carried his clothes out of the room. She shivered a little as she closed the door behind her, and her face showed her surprise.

      The visitor sat and listened to the sound of her feet. He looked at the window before he took away the napkin; then rose and pulled the blind down. He returned to the table and his lunch.

      “The poor man had an accident, or an operation or something,” said Mrs. Hall. “And he held that napkin over his mouth all the time. Talked through it!… Perhaps his mouth was hurt too.”

      When Mrs. Hall went to clear away the stranger’s lunch her idea that his mouth must also have been cut[3] in the accident was confirmed, for he was smoking a pipe, and all the time that she was in the room he held a muffler over the lower part of his face. He sat in an armchair with his back to the window, and spoke now, having eaten and drunk[4], less aggressively than before.

      “I have some luggage,” he said, “at Bramblehurst Station,” and he asked her how he could have it sent[5].

      Her explanation disappointed him.

      “Tomorrow!” he said. “Can’t I have it today?”

      “It’s a bad road, sir,” she said, “There was an accident there a year ago. A gentleman killed. Accidents, sir, happen in a moment, don’t they?”

      But the visitor did not feel like talking.

      “They do,” he said, through his muffler, looking at her quietly from behind his glasses.

      “But they take long enough to get well, sir, don’t they? My sister’s son, Tom, once just cut his arm. He was three months bandaged, sir.”

      “I can quite understand that,” said the visitor.

      “We were afraid, one time, that he’d have to have an operation, he was that bad, sir.”

      The visitor laughed suddenly.

      “Was he?” he said.

      “He was, sir. And it was no laughing matter to them[6], sir —”

      “Will you get me some matches?” said the visitor. “My pipe is out.”

      Mrs. Hall stopped suddenly. It was certainly rude of him after telling him about her family. She stood for a moment, remembered the sovereigns, and went for the matches. Evidently he did not want to speak about operations and bandages.

      The visitor remained in his room until four o’clock. He was quite still during that time: he sat smoking by the fire.

      Chapter II

      Mr. Teddy Henfrey’s First Impressions

      At four o’clock, when it was already dark, and Mrs. Hall wanted to go in and ask her visitor if he would take some tea, Teddy Henfrey, the clock-jobber[7], came into the bar.

      “Lord[8], Mrs. Hall,” said he, “but this is terrible weather!”

      Mrs. Hall agreed, and then noticed he had his bag with him. “Now you’re here,” said she, “I’d be glad if you looked at the clock. The hour hand only points at six.”

      And she led the way to the guest room, knocked and entered.

      As she opened the door, she saw her visitor sitting in the armchair before the fire. The only light in the room was from the fire. It was quite dark. But for a second it seemed to her that the man had an enormous mouth wide open, it took the whole of the lower portion of his face. It was the impression of a moment. Then he put up his hand. She opened the door wide so that the room was lighter, and she saw him more clearly, with the muffler held to his face, just as she had seen him hold the napkin before. The shadows, she thought, had tricked her.

      “Would you mind, sir, this man looking at the clock, sir?” she said.

      “Look at the clock?” he said, speaking through his muffler; and then, “Certainly.”

      Mr. Teddy Henfrey said he was “taken aback” when he saw this bandaged person.

      “Good afternoon,” said the stranger. “I understand,” he said, turning to Mrs. Hall, “that this room is for my private use.”

      “I thought, sir,” said Mrs. Hall, “you’d prefer the clock —”

      “Certainly,” said the stranger, “certainly – but as a rule I like to be alone and undisturbed.”

      Then he asked Mrs. Hall if she had asked anybody to

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an unheard-of piece of luck – неслыханная удача


his mouth must also have been cut – его рот, должно быть, тоже порезан


having eaten and drunk – наевшись и напившись


he asked her how he could have it sent – он спросил, как его можно выслать (оборот have something done означает, что действие выполняется не подлежащим, а третьим лицом)


And it was no laughing matter to them – Им было не до смеха


clock-jobber устар. часовщик


Lord – (восклицание) О Господи!