Arthur Conan Doyle（阿瑟·柯南·道尔，1859—1930）英国杰出的侦探小说家、剧作家，被誉为英国“侦探小说之父”。 1876年至1881年间，他在爱丁堡大学学习医学，毕业后作为一名随船医生前往西非海岸，1882年回国后在普利茅斯开业行医，在此期间道尔开始写作。他的第一部重要作品是发表在Beeton’s Christmas Annual for 1887（《1887年比顿圣诞年刊》）上的侦探小说A Study in Scarlet（《血字的研究》），这部小说的主角就是之后名声大噪的夏洛克·福尔摩斯。道尔一生一共写了56篇短篇侦探小说以及4部中篇侦探小说，包括《冒险史》系列、《新探案》系列、《四签名》等，全部以福尔摩斯为主角。除此之外，他还曾写过多部其他类型的小说，如科幻小说、爱情小说、戏剧、诗歌等。与同时代的很多作家不同，道尔的短篇小说画面感非常强，冲突设置集中，情节跌宕，引人入胜，使读者仿佛在读电影故事。本文节选自其短篇小说《波西米亚丑闻》，因篇幅所限，有删节。 ——Maisie
A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height, with the chest and limbs of a 2)Hercules. His dress was rich with a richness which would, in England, be looked upon as akin to bad taste. Boots which extended halfway up his calves, and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur, completed the impression of3)barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand, while he wore across the upper part of his face, extending down past the cheekbones, a black 4)vizard mask, which he had apparently adjusted that very moment, for his hand was still raised to it as he entered.
“You had my note?” he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked German accent. “I told you that I would call.” He looked from one to the other of us, as if uncertain which to address.
“5)Pray take a seat,” said Holmes. “This is my friend and colleague, Dr. Watson, who is occasionally good enough to help me in my cases. Whom have I the honor to address?”
“You may address me as the 6)Count Von Kramm, a Bohemian nobleman. I understand that this gentleman, your friend, is a man of honor and7)discretion, whom I may trust with a matter of the most extreme importance. If not, I should much prefer to communicate with you alone.”
I rose to go, but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair. “It is both, or none,” said he. “You may say before this gentleman anything which you may say to me.”
The Count shrugged his broad shoulders. “Then I must begin,” said he, “by 8)binding you both to absolute secrecy for two years; at the end of that time the matter will be of no importance. At present it is not too much to say that it is of such weight it may have an influence upon European history.”
“I promise,” said Holmes.
“You will excuse this mask,” continued our strange visitor. “The 9)august person who employs me wishes his agent to be unknown to you, and I may confess at once that the title by which I have just called myself is not exactly my own.”
“I was aware of it,” said Holmes 10)dryly.
“The circumstances are of great 11)delicacy, and every precaution has to be taken to quench what might grow to be an immense scandal and seriously 12)compromise one of the reigning families of Europe. To speak plainly, the matter implicates the great House of Ormstein, 13)hereditary kings of Bohemia.”
“I was also aware of that,” murmured Holmes, settling himself down in his armchair and closing his eyes.
Our visitor glanced with some apparent surprise at the 14)languid, 15)lounging figure of the man who had been no doubt depicted to him as the most 16)incisive reasoner and most energetic 17)agent in Europe. Holmes slowly reopened his eyes and looked impatiently at his gigantic client. “If your 18)Majesty would 19)condescend to state your case,” he remarked, “I should be better able to advise you.”
The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable 20)agitation. Then, with a gesture of desperation, he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground. “You are right,” he cried; “I am the King. Why should I attempt to conceal it?”
“Why, indeed?” murmured Holmes. “Your Majesty had not spoken before I was aware that I was addressing Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein, and hereditary King of Bohemia.”
“But you can understand,” said our strange visitor, sitting down once more and passing his hand over his high white forehead, “you can understand that I am not accustomed to doing such business in my own person. Yet the matter was so delicate that I could not21)confide it to an agent without putting myself in his power. I have come 22)incognito from 23)Prague for the purpose of consulting you.”