No secret sphinx

  One afternoon, I was sitting outside the Café de la Peace, drinking vermouth, watching the bustling pedestrians, seeing the incomparable glory and penniless bleakness intertwined in front of my eyes, which made me marvel at this strange picture of Parisians from time to time . Suddenly I heard someone calling my name, I turned my head and saw that it was Lord Matheson, my college classmate. I haven’t seen each other for ten years after graduation. I’m so happy to meet here. The two shook hands warmly. We were very good friends at Oxford. I like him very much, he is handsome, imposing, and outspoken. People always say he’d be the nicest guy in the world if he didn’t tell the truth all the time, but I think they admire him all the more because of his candor. This time I met him, I found that he had changed a lot, and he was flustered, as if something made him suspicious. I don’t think it could be the skepticism of the modern age, because Matheson was a hard-core Tory and believed in the Torah of the Old Testament as firmly as he believed in the House of Lords. So I concluded that the matter had something to do with women, so I asked him if he was married.
  ”I don’t know enough about women,” he answered.
  ”My dear Gerald,” said I, “women are to be loved, not understood.” ”
  If I cannot be trusted, I cannot love,” he answered.
  ”I think you’ve run into some unsolvable mystery, Gerald,” I said aloud, “tell me what it is.” “Let’s go for a drive,”
  he suggested, “there are too many people here Too much. No, no yellow car, any other color will do—here, the dark green one will do.” After a while, our carriage trotted down the boulevard towards Madeleine.
  ”Where are we going?” I asked.
  ”Oh, go wherever you like!” he replied–“then go to the restaurant in Forest Park, we’ll eat there, and tell me all about how you’ve been all these years.” “I want to hear you
  first Yes,” I said, “tell me the mystery that’s in your mind.”
  He took a small Moroccan sheepskin box with a silver clasp from his pocket and handed it to me. I opened it and saw a picture of a woman inside. Slender and slender, with a pair of unpredictable big eyes, coupled with loose hair, it is very strange and looks very photogenic. The whole demeanor looks like a god’s eye, and the body is wrapped in luxurious fur.
  ”What do you think of that face?” He asked, “Is it reliable?”
  I looked at it carefully, and that face looked like a person with a secret in his heart. As for whether the secret is good or bad, I can’t say. That beauty is molded by a series of enigmas—that kind of beauty, to be honest, is in the mind rather than in the shape—the faint smile on the lips is too subtle to be called sweet .
  ”Hey,” he called impatiently, “what do you think?”
  ”She’s the Mona Lisa in sable,” I replied, “tell me all about her.”
  ”Not now,” he said, “eat first.” Then he changed the subject.
  As the waiter brought coffee and cigarettes, I reminded Gerald of what he had just promised me. He got up from his seat, walked up and down the room two or three times, sat down in an arm-chair, and told me this story:
  ”One evening,” he said, “I was walking in Bond Street, about five o’clock, and the road was so crowded with carriages that the traffic was almost at a standstill. Why did it catch my attention. As I walked by there was a face peeking out of it, the same face I showed you this afternoon. I fell in love with that face right away. Been thinking about it all night, second Still thinking about it all day long. I wandered up and down the poor riding track in Hyde Park, peeking into every carriage, waiting for the yellow one, but I didn’t see my nameless beauty Son. At last I began to think that she was only a dream. After about a week, I went to dinner at Mrs. Rastar’s. The time said eight o’clock, but we were still waiting in the living room at half past eight. Finally, when the servant pushed I opened the door and announced that Mrs. Aloy had arrived. I saw that it was the person I was looking for. I saw her step into the living room like a moonlight trimmed with gray lace. I was overjoyed that the master invited I showed her a seat. When I was seated, I said in a bold, ‘I think I’ve seen you in Bond Street before, Mrs. Aloy’. She turned pale and whispered to me,’ Please don’t be so loud, be heard’. I was so annoyed that I was so spot on at first, so I talked desperately about the French theater. She talked very little, her voice was like music, and she always said She spoke softly, as if she was afraid that someone would be listening. I fell in love with her obsessively, and there was an indescribable mysterious aura about her, which aroused my curiosity. She was leaving At that time, just a little after dinner, I asked if I could visit her. She hesitated, glanced around to see if anyone else was around, and said, “Okay, tomorrow at a quarter past four in the afternoon.” I Begged Mrs. Rastar to tell me about her life, and all I heard was that she was a widow with a nice house in Park Lane. And then some lousy scientific bastard began to talk about widows, telling them As an example of the survival of the fittest in a marriage, I said goodbye and went home.
  ”The next day, I arrived at Park Lane on time, exactly as scheduled, but the housekeeper said that Mrs. Aloy had just left the house. I went to the club, feeling very unhappy and confused, and wrote her a letter after thinking about it for a long time. A letter asking if I would still be allowed to come back another afternoon to try my luck. There was no reply for a few days, but I eventually got a note that she would be home at four o’clock on Sunday afternoon, with an unusual postscript : ‘Please do not write here again, explain why.’ She received me on Sunday and was very hospitable, but when I was leaving she begged me to write to her again as ‘Green Street Whittaker Library For Mrs. Knox’. ‘I can’t receive mail in my own home,’ she said, ‘for a reason.’ ”
  I saw her many times that season, but the air of mystery lingered. . Sometimes I feel that she is under the control of a certain man, but seeing her stern look, I don’t believe this is the case. It’s really hard for me to tell why, she is like those strange crystals I saw in the museum, clear for a while, hazy for a while. I finally made up my mind to propose to her: I was fed up with her endless attempts to make every visit mystical, and not even write a few letters. I sent her a letter to the library and asked if she could meet me next Monday at six o’clock in the evening. She said yes, and I was as happy as heaven. I was fascinated by her: though she was elusive, I thought then – just because she was elusive, I know now. No, I love her herself. That mystery bothers me and drives me crazy. Why should such a thing happen to me? ”
  ”So, what did you find? ” cried I. “I
  ’m afraid so,” he answered, “you judge for yourself.” ”
  ”By Monday I went to have lunch with my uncle and at about four o’clock I found myself in Marylebone Road. My uncle, you know, lives in Regent’s Park. I wanted to go to Piccadilly, so I took a short cut through some shabby Suddenly I saw Mrs. Aloy in front of me, wrapped in a thick veil, walking very fast. When she reached the last house at the end of the street, she immediately went up the steps, took out a key, and opened the door. “That’s the secret.” I said to myself, and hurried over to look at the house. It looked like a house for rent. On the steps was her handkerchief, which had just fallen. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. Then I wondered what to do now. I decided I had no right to pry into her privacy, so I drove to the club. I came to see her at six o’clock. She was lying on a sofa, wearing a silver tulle Tea dress with the weird moonstones she always wears around her body. It’s a lovely look. ‘Nice to meet you,’ she said, ‘I’ve been at home all day.’ I was amazed Staring at her intently, I took the handkerchief out of my pocket and handed it to her. ‘You fell on Camna Street this afternoon, Mrs. Aloy,’ I said calmly. She looked at me in horror, but did not Reaching for the handkerchief. ‘What are you doing there?’ I asked. ‘What right do you have to question me?’ she replied. ‘The right of a man who loves you,’ I replied, ‘I came to beg you to be my ‘ She covered her face with her hands, tears streaming down her face. ‘You must tell me,’ I went on. She stood up, looked me straight in the face, and said, ‘Lord Matheson, there is nothing to tell you.’ ‘—’You go to see a man,’ I exclaimed, ‘this is your secret.’ She turned pale, and said: ‘I went to see no one.’—’Can’t you say The truth?’ I yelled. ‘I told the truth.’ She replied. I was crazy and exploded, I don’t know what I said, I must have said something terrible to her. Finally, I rushed out house. She sent me a letter the next day, and I returned it unopened, and went to Norway with Alan Colwell. I came back a month later, and read it in the Morning Post The first news that came was that Mrs. Alloy was dead. She caught a cold at the Opera and died five days later of pulmonary hemorrhage. I shut myself in my room and saw no one. I loved her so much, so much. How crazy. My God, I love that woman so much!”
  ”You went to that street, that house afterwards?” I asked.
  ”That’s right,” he replied.
  ”I went to Kamna Street one day. I couldn’t help it. My mind was full of doubts. I knocked on the door, and a decent-looking woman opened the door. I asked her if she had a room to rent. ‘Well, sir,’ she answered, ‘those sitting-rooms are supposed to be let, but I haven’t seen the lady for three months, and the rent is still in arrears, and you can take these if you want.’— ‘Is that the lady?’ I said, taking out the photograph. ‘She was right,’ she cried, ‘when will she be back, sir?’—’The lady died,’ I answered. ‘Why, sir, no!’ said the woman, ‘she’s my best tenant. She pays me three ducats a week just to come now and then to my parlors.’—’She comes here Seeing someone?’ I asked, but the woman assured me that there was no such thing. Said she came alone every time and never saw anyone. ‘Then what the hell is she doing here?’ I asked aloud. ‘She just Sitting in the living room, sir, reading a book and sometimes drinking tea.’ The woman replied. I didn’t know what to say, so I gave her a gold pound and left. Now, what do you think is sold in this gourd? Drugs? You don’t believe this woman is telling the truth to me?”
  ”I do.” ”
  Then why is Mrs. Aloy going there?”
  ”My dear Gerald,” I replied, “Aloy The Madame is only a woman with a penchant for mystery. She rents these rooms just for fun, to go there veiled, and imagine herself to be the heroine of some story. She has a passion for secrets, but she I am nothing more than a sphinx without a secret.”
  ”You really think so?”
  ”Surely so,” I replied.
  He took out the Moroccan sheepskin box, opened it, and looked at the photo. “Could it be?” He pondered for a long time before saying.

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