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Why did Tarleton get the nickname Gentleman John?

2 Do you think it was necessary for Alice Schoolman to kill her husband?

3 Why didn't she get rid of the sheet of paper in the typewriter?

4 Suppose Harold Schoolman had opened the safe just before his wife returned. What would be the end of the story then?

5 Do you think that the way Tarleton used to get the information is very complicated? If so, why did he choose it?

g Write down all the facts related to the crime, in chronological order.


h Write down all the questions you would ask Mis. Shayne at the interrogation. Act out this interrogation.

i Work in pairs.


Imagine one of you is a lawyer and the other is Tarleton. Act out their talk after Tarleton has been arrested.

«For you, darling Patricia»


after Ruth Rendell


– Six chests and one trunk will be enough, he said. If you deliver them tomorrow, I'll pack up the things and your people will be able to take them on Wednesday.

He made a note on a bit of paper.

– Fine, round about lunchtime tomorrow.

She was still sitting in the big arm-chair at the far end of the room. He made himself look at her and grinned pretending all was well.

– I couldn't believe, she said, that you'd really do it. Not until I heard you on the phone. You'll really pack up all those things and have them sent off to her.

He wasn't going to argue or make long defensive speeches. He lit a cigarette, thinking that the pubs would be opening soon and he could go out then and get a drink.

– I don't understand why you came here at all, she said. He didn't answer. She went white.

– Just to get your things? Maurice, did you come back just format?

- They are my things, he said evenly.

– You could have sent someone else. You could have written to me and asked me to do it...

– I never write letters, he said.

– As if I didn't know! You were in Australia for a year, and you never wrote to me once.

– I phoned.

- Yes, twice. The first time to say that you loved me and missed me and the second time, a week ago, to say you'd be here by Saturday and could I put you up. My God, I lived with you for two years, we were practically married, and then you phone and ask if I could put you up!

– Words, he. said. How would you have put it?

– For one thing, I would have mentioned Patricia. I would not have the decency for that.

– I did tell you about Patricia.

– Not until after you'd made love to me fisrt.

He thought that it had been a mistake. Of course he hadn't meant to touch her beyond the requisite greeting kiss. But she was very attractive and she seemed to expect it. Women never could understand about men and sex. And there was only one bed, wasn't there?

– You made love to me, she said. You were so passionate, and the next morning you told me that you'd got a resident's permit to stay in Australia, that you'd got a job, and that you'd met a girl you wanted to marry.

She got up and began slowly to pace the room. By a small table she stopped. There was a china figurine on it, a bronze paperknife, an onyx pen jar that matched the ashtray.

– All those things, she said. I looked after them for you. And now you are going to have them all shipped to her. The things we lived with. I can't believe it!

She picked up the china figurine and hurled it at him. It didn't hit him because he ducked and let it smash against the wall.

She flung herself onto the sofa and burst into sobs. He wasn't going to be moved by that – he wasn't going to be moved at all. Once he'd packed those things, he'd spend the next three months in Europe. A free man, free for the fun and the girls. After that, back to Patricia and a home and a job and responsibility. It was a glowing future which this hysterical woman wasn't going to mess up.

– Shut up, Betsy, for God's sake, he said. Then he went out because it was now eleven and he could get a drink.

In the night she had got up, found his wallet, taken out the photographs of Patricia, and torn them up. But she remembered her face, pretty and greedy, and she thought of those bright eyes widening as Patricia unpacked the chests and the trunk.

He would marry Patricia, of course, Betsy thought. That would be a nice wedding present to give her, along with all the pretty things in the trunk.

Well, why not? Why not rock their marriage before it had even begun? A letter. A letter to be concealed in, say, that blue-and-white jar. She sat down to write. Dear Patricia – what a stupid way to begin a letter even to your enemy.

Dear Patricia: I don't know what Maurice has told you about me, but we have been living here as lovers ever since he arrived. I mean we have made love, have slept together. Maurice is incapable of being faithful to anyone. If you don't believe me, ask yourself why, if he didn't want me, he didn't stay in a hotel. That's all. Yours – and she signed her name and felt a little better.

Six chests and a trunk arrived on the following day. The trunk was made of silver-coloured metal and had clasps of gold-coloured metal. It was rather big, and the lid fitted so securely that it seemed hermetic.

Maurice began to pack at two o'clock. He filled the chests with kitchen equipment and cups and plates, with books and clothes.

Betsy didn't help him. She watched, chain-smoking. He nailed the lids on the chests and on each lid he wrote his address in Australia. But he didn't write his own name. He wrote Patricia's. This wasn't done to needle Betsy but he was glad to see it was needling her.

He hadn't come back to the flat till one that morning, and of course he didn't have a key. Betsy had refused to let him in, and he had to sit in the car he had hired till seven.

– Don't forget your jar, said Betsy. I don't want it.

– That's for the trunk. All the pretty things are going in the trunk as a special present for Patricia.

He wrapped the onyx ashtray and the pen jar, the alabaster bowl, the bronze paperknife, the tiny Chinese cups, the tall glasses. He opened the lid of the trunk.

– I wish the customs to open it and confiscate things! Betsy shouted at him.

– As for the customs, he said, Patricia is a customs officer – didn't I tell you? I very much doubt if they'll even glance inside.

He wrote a label and pasted it on the side of the trunk.

Miss Patricia Gordon, 23 Burwood Park Avenue, Kew...

– And now I'll have to go out and get a padlock. If you try to keep me out this time, I'll call the police.

When he had gone she put her letter in the blue-and-white jar. She expected him to close the trunk at once, but he didn't. He left it open, the lid thrown back, the new padlock dangling from the clasp.

– Is there anything to eat? he said.

– Go and find some other woman to feed you!

He liked her to be angry; it was her love he feared. He came back at midnight to find the flat in darkness, and he lay down on the sofa with the chests standing about him like barricades.

Suddenly Betsy came in. She didn't put on the light. She made her way between the chests, carrying a candle in a saucer which she set down on the trunk.

– Maurice.

– Go away, Betsy, I'm tired.

– Maurice, please. I'm sorry I said all those things. I'm sorry I locked you out.

– OK, I'm sorry too. Maybe I shouldn't have done it the way I did. But the best way for me is just to go. And now will you go away and let me get some sleep?

What happened next he hadn't expected. It hadn't crossed his mind. Men don't understand about women and sex. She threw herself on him and began kissing his neck, his mouth.

He gave her a savage push. She fell and struck her head on the side of the trunk. The candle fell off and died. He put on the light and she got up, holding her head where there was a little blood.

– Oh, get out, for God's sake, he said, and he manhandled her out, slamming the door after her.

In the morning, when she came into the room, with a blue bruise of her forehead, he was asleep. She shuddered at the sight of him. She began to get breakfast but she couldn't eat anything. When she went back to him he was sitting up on the sofa, looking at his plane ticket to Paris.

– The men are coming for the things at ten, he said as if nothing had happened, and they'd better not be late. I have to be at the airport at noon.

–You'd better close the trunk, she said absent-mindedly.

– All in good time. I've got a letter to put in yet.

– You never write letters.

– Just a note. One can't send a present without a note to accompany it, can one?

He pulled the jar out of the trunk, pulled out her letter without even glancing at it, and threw it on the floor. Making sure that Betsy could see, he wrote across a sheet of paper: All this is for you, darling Patricia, for ever and ever.

– Now I hate you, she said.

He took a large angle lamp out of the trunk and set it on the floor. He put the note into the jar and tucked it in between the towels and cushions. Then he turned round for the lamp. It wasn't there. She was holding it in both hands.

– I want you to give it to me, he said.

Suddenly she raised the lamp and struck him with it on the forehead. He staggered and she struck him again, and again, and again, raining blows on his face and his head. He screamed, covering his face with bloody hands. Then with all her strength she gave him a great blow and he fell to his-knees, rolled over and at last was stilled and silenced.

There was quite a lot of blood, though it quickly stopped flowing. She stood there looking at him and sobbing. She was covered with blood. She tore off her clothes and dropped them in a heap around her. For a moment she knelt beside him, naked and weeping, speaking his name, biting her fingers.

But self-preservation is the primal instinct, more powerful than love and sorrow, hatred or regret. The time was nine o'clock, and in an hour those men would come. Betsy fetched water in a bucket, detergent and a sponge. She thought of nothing, working hard.

When the carpet was clean, the lamp washed and dried and polished, she threw her clothes into the basket in the bathroom and had a bath. She dressed carefully and brushed her hair. Fifteen minutes to ten. Everything was clean, but the dead thing still lay there on a pile of reddened newspapers.

She opened the trunk, took out almost every thing Maurice had put in, drew the dead body closer to the trunk............... Soon the dead was inside and the reddened newspapers covered him.

– I loved him, she said aloud. I hated him.


The men were punctual. They came at ten sharp. They carried the chests and the trunk downstairs.

When they had gone, Betsy sat down on the sofa. She looked at the angle lamp, the onyx pen jar and ashtray, the blue-and-white jar, the alabaster bowl, the glasses, the bronze paperknife and the little Chinese cups. She was quite calm now. She thought of the future, of the three months hence, and laughed. Miss Patricia Gordon, 23 Burwood Park Avenue, Kew, Victoria, Australia 3101. The pretty, greedy face, the hands so eager to undo that padlock to find the treasure within...

And how interesting that treasure would be in three months' time, like nothing Miss Patricia Gordon had seen in all her life! It was as well, so that she would recognize it, that it carried on top of it a note in a familiar hand: All this is for you, darling Patricia, far ever and ever.


  trunk дорожный сундук
  to put smb up принимать кого-либо, давать кому- либо приют
  decency порядочность
  Of course he hadn't meant to touch her beyond the requisite greeting kiss. Конечно же, он не собирался заходить дальше этого необходимого приветственного поцелуя.
  resident 's permit разрешение на постоянное проживание
  to pace the room шагать по комнате, мерять шагами комнату
  china figurine фарфоровая статуэтка
  to fling oneself броситься
  to burst into sobs разразиться рыданиями
  to rock зд. расстроить
  incapable of being faithful неспособный хранить верность
  clasp застежка
  the lid fitted so securely that it крышка прилегала настолько плотно,
  seemed hermetic что казалась герметичной
  to chainsmoke курить одну сигарету за другой
  bowl кубок, чаша
It hadn't crossed his mind. Это не пришло ему в голову.  
Ha gave her a savage push. Он грубо ее оттолкнул.  
bruise синяк, кровоподтек  
to shudder содрогаться  
absent-mindedly рассеянно  
angle lamp настольная лампа  
to stagger шататься    
blow удар    
self-preservation самосохранение    
the three months hence через три месяца    


Suggested activities


What did Maurice come to Betsy for?   He came to her to borrow money. He came to tell her that he wanted to marry her. He came to take away his things.
To whom did Maurice want to send his things? He wanted to send them to his sister. He wanted to send them to his lover. He wanted to send them to his parents.
Why did Maurice want to go to Paris after leaving Betsy? He had a very important appointment there. He was going to visit his aunt. He just wanted to amuse himself.
How did Betsy happen to get a bruise on her f orehead? She stumbled into one of the chests and fell down. Maurice struck her with the angle lamp. Maurice pushed her and she fell down.
What did Betsy put into the jar? She put her own photograph there. She put her letter there. She put both her photograph and her letter there.
How did Betsy kill Maurice? She killed him with a knife. She struck him with the onyx ashtray. She struck him with the lamp.
What did Betsy do after she had killed Maurice? She escaped from the place at once. She called the police. She put the body into the trunk.


b Say if you agree or disagree and support your point of view:


1 Maurice and Betsy were married.

2 Maurice told Betsy about Patricia on the phone.

3 Maurice came to Betsy to pack his things and have them sent off to Patricia.

4 Betsy wanted to ruin Maurice's marriage.

5 Maurice pulled Betsy's letter out of the jar and read it attentively.

6 Maurice's death was just an accident.


с Paraphrase the following in English:


1 He wasn't going to be moved by that.

2 She watched, chain-smoking.

3 It hadn't crossed his mind.


d Translate the following sentences using these nouns and adjectives: good, way, savage, sight, sharp.


Все в свое время.

Она протиснулась между ящиками.

Он грубо оттолкнул ее.

Она содрогнулась при виде его.

Они пришли ровно в десять.


е Translate the following sentences using these verbs: to go, to put, to match, to make, to burst, to cross, to die.


Она побледнела.

А как бы ты выразилась?

Карандашница составляла пару с пепельницей.

Он не собирался произносить длинных речей.

Она разразилась рыданиями.

Это не пришло ему в голову.

Свеча упала и погасла.


f Translate the following sentences into Russian paying attention to the verb to put.


1 My God, I lived with you for two years, we were practically married, and then you phone and ask if I could put you up!

2 How would you have put it?

3 When he had gone she put her letter in the jar.

4 He put on the light and she got up, holding her head.


g Think and answer:


1 Do you feel sympathy for either of the two main characters? Why?

2 Why was Maurice more attracted to Patricia than to Betsy?

3 What will Betsy do if a murder investigation begins and all the evidence points to her? Will she try to run away or not?


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