`So,' said Thorndyke, looking at me reflectively, `you are a full blown medical practitioner with a practice of your own. How the years slip by! It seems but the other day that you were a student, gaping at me from the front bench of the lecture theatre.' `Did I gape?' I asked incredulously. `I use the word metaphorically,' said he, `to denote ostentatious attention. You always took my lectures very seriously. May I ask if you have ever found them of use in your practice?' `I can't say that I have ever had any very thrilling medicolegal experiences since that extraordinary cremation case that you investigatedthe case of Septimus Maddock, you know. But that reminds me that there is a little matter that I meant to speak to you about. It is of no interest, but I just wanted your advice, though it isn't even my business, strictly speaking. It concerns a patient of mine, a man named Crofton, who has disappeared rather unaccountably.' `And do you call that a case of no medicolegal interest?' demanded Thorndyke. `Oh, there's nothing in it. He just went away for a holiday and he hasn't communicated with his friends very recently. That is all. What makes me a little uneasy is that there is a departure from his usual habitshe is generally a fairly regular correspondentthat seems a little significant in view of his personality. He is markedly neurotic and his family history is by no means what one would wish.' `That is an admirable thumbnail sketch, Jardine,' said Thorndyke; `but it lacks detail. Let us have a fullsize picture.' Very well,' said I, `but you mustn't let me bore you. To begin with Crofton: he is a neryous, anxious, worrying sort of fellow, everlastingly fussing about money affairs, and latterly this tendency has been getting worse. He fairly got the jumps about his financial position; felt that he was steadily drifting into bankruptcy and couldn't get the subject out of his mind. It was all bunkum. I am more or less a friend of the family, and I know that there was nothing to worry about. Mrs Crofton assured me that, although they were a trifle hard up, they could rub along quite safely. `As he seemed to be getting the hump worse and worse, I advised him to go away for a change and stay in a boardinghouse where he would see some fresh faces. Instead of that, he elected to go down to a bungalow that he has at Seasalter, near Whitstable, and lets out in the season. He proposed to stay by himself and spend his time in sea bathing and country walks. I wasn't very keen on this, for solitude was the last thing that he wanted. There was a strong family history of melancholia and some unpleasant rumours of suicide. I didn't like his being alone at all. However, another friend of the family, Mrs Crofton's brother, in fact, a chap named Ambrose, offered to go down and spend a weekend with him to give him a start, and afterwards to run down for an afternoon whenever he was able. So off he went with Ambrose on Friday, the sixteenth of June, and for a time all went well. He seemed to be improving in health and spirits and wrote to his wife regularly two or three times a week. Ambrose went down as often as he could to cheer him up, and the last time brought back the news that Crofton thought of moving on to Margate for a further change. So, of course, he didn't go down to the bungalow again. `Well, in due course, a letter came from Margate; it had been written at the bungalow, but the postmark was Margate and bore the same datethe sixteenth of Julyas the letter itself. I have it with me. Mrs Crofton sent it for me to see and I haven't returned it yet. But there is nothing of interest in it beyond the statement that he was going on to Margate by the next train and would write again when he had found rooms there. That was the last that was heard of him. He never wrote and nothing is known of his movements excepting that he left Seasalter and arrived at Margate. This is the letter.'
Editore Library Of Alexandria
Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM
EAN-13 9781465627452 9781465627452
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