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Kenelm Jerton entered the dining-hall of the Golden Galleon Hotel in the full crush of the luncheon hour. Nearly every seat was occupied, and small additional tables had been brought in to accommodate latecomers. Jerton was beckoned by a waiter to the only vacant table and took his seat with the uncomfortable and wholly groundless idea that nearly everyone in the room was staring at him. He was a youngish man of ordinary appearance, quiet of dress and unobtrusive of manner, and he could never wholly rid himself of the idea that a fierce light of public scrutiny beat on him as though he had been a notability or a hard nut. After he had ordered his lunch, there came the unavoidable interval of waiting, with nothing to do but to stare at the flower-vase on his table.

‘What is the name of these roses?’ he asked the waiter. The waiter was frankly ignorant as to the specific name of the roses.

‘Amy Sylvester Partinglon said a voice at Jerton’s elbow.

The voice came from a pleasant-faced, well-dressed young woman who was sitting at a table that almost touched Jerton’s. ‘It is a curious thing,’ said the young woman, ‘I am able to tell you the name of those roses without an effort of memory, and if you ask me my name, I will be utterly unable to give it to you.’

Jerton had not harboured the least intention of extending his thirst for name-labels to his neighbour. After her rather remarkable announcement, however, he was obliged to say something in the way of polite inquiry.

‘Yes,’ answered the lady, ‘I suppose it is a case of partial loss of memory. I was in the train coming down here; my ticket told me that I had come from Victoria and was bound for this place. I had a couple of five-pound notes and a sovereign on me, no visiting cards or any other means of identification, and no idea as to who I am. I can only hazily recollect that I have a title; I am Lady Somebody and beyond that my mind is a blank.’

‘Didn’t you have any luggage with you?’ asked Jerton.

‘That is what I didn’t know. I knew the name of this hotel and made up my mind to come here, and when the hotel porter asked if I had any luggage, I had to invent a dressing-bag and a dress-basket. I could always pretend that they had gone astray. I gave him the name of Smith, and presently he emerged from a confused pile of luggage and passengers with a dressing-bag and a dress-basket labelled Kestrel-Smith. I had to take them. I don’t see what else I could have done.’

Jerton said nothing, but he rather wondered what the lawful owner of the baggage would do.

‘Of course it was dreadful arriving at a strange hotel with the name of Kestrel-Smith, but it would have been worse to have arrived without luggage. Anyhow, I hate causing trouble.’

Jerton had visions of harassed railway officials and distraught Kestrel-Smiths, but he made no attempt to clothe his mental picture in words. The lady continued her story.

‘Naturally, none of my keys would fit the things, but I told an intelligent page boy that I had lost my key-ring, and he had the locks forced in a twinkling. The Kestrel-Smith toilet tools aren’t up to much, but they are better than nothing.’

‘If you feel sure that you have a title,’ said Jerton, ‘why not get hold of a peerage and go right through it?’

‘I tried that. I skimmed through the list of the House of Lords in ‘Whitaker/ but a mere printed string of names conveys awfully little to one, you know. If you were an army officer and had lost your identity, you might pore over the Army List for months without finding out who you were. I’m going on another tack. I’m trying to find out by various little tests who I am not. That will narrow the range of uncertainty down a bit. You may have noticed, for instance, that I’m having lobster Newburg.’

Jerton had not ventured to notice anything of the sort.

‘It’s an extravagance, because it’s one of the most expensive dishes on the menu, but at any rate it proves that I’m not Lady Starping because she never touches shell-fish, and poor Lady Braddleshrub has no digestion at all. Lady Knewford can’t tell one rose from another and Lady Mousehilton flirts with every man she meets. I haven’t flirted with you, have I?’

Jerton hastily gave the required assurance.

‘Well, you see,’ continued the lady, ‘that knocks four off the list at once.’

‘It’ll be rather a lengthy process bringing the list down to one,’ said Jerton.

‘Oh, but, of course, there are heaps of them that I couldn’t possibly be — women who’ve got grandchildren or sons old enough to have celebrated their coming of age. I’ve only got to consider the ones about my own age. I tell you how you might help me this afternoon, if you don’t mind; go through any of the back numbers of Country Life and those sort of papers that you can find in the smoking room, and see if you come across my portrait with infant son or anything of that sort. It won’t take you ten minutes. I’ll meet you in the lounge about tea-time. Thanks awfully.’

And the Fair Unknown, having graciously pressed Jerton into the search for her lost identity, rose and left the room.

At five o’clock Jerton made his way to the hotel lounge. He had spent a diligent but fruitless quarter of an hour among the illustrated weeklies in the smoking room. His new acquaintance was seated at a small tea table.

‘Have you discovered anything?’ asked Jerton.

‘Only negative information. I’m not Lady Befnal. She disapproves dreadfully of any form of gambling, so when I recognised a well-known bookmaker in the hotel lobby, I went and put a tenner on an unnamed filly for the three-fifteen race.

‘It seems to me that the knowledge was rather dearly bought,’ commented Jerton. ‘Well, yes, it has rather cleared me out,’ admitted the identity-seeker. ‘I’ve got rather a useful idea, though. I feel certain that I belong to the Pivot Club. I’ll go back to town and ask the hall porter there if there are any letters for me. He knows all the members by sight, and if there are any letters or telephone messages waiting for me of course that will solve the problem. If he says there aren’t any, I’ll say: ‘You know who I am, don’t you?’ so I’ll find out anyway.’

This plan seemed a sound one.

ВОПРОС 1 Kenelm Jerton
1) was always under public scrutiny.
2) was considered to be a hard nut.
3) was a notable young man.
4) had an unremarkable appearance.

ВОПРОС 2 The woman, sitting next to Jerton,
1) had complete memory loss.
2) was an expert in roses.
3) was of noble blood.
4) had quite a lot of money on her.

ВОПРОС 3 The woman took a dressing-bag and a dress-basket labelled Kestrel-Smith because
1) it was her luggage.
2) hers had gone astray
3) she had no choice.
4) she hated causing troubles.

ВОПРОС 4 The lady was going to find out who she was by
1) doing simple experiments.
2) eating the most expensive dishes on the menu.
3) talking about roses.
4) flirting with young men.

ВОПРОС 5 When the woman told Jerton about her plan, he felt
1) enthusiastic.
2) sceptical.
3) worried..
4) anxious.

ВОПРОС 6 The lady asked Jerton to
1) wait for her in the smoking room.
2) go and buy a copy of Country Life.
3) find out whether she had an infant son.
4) look for some information concerning her.

ВОПРОС 7 The lady was sure she would find out her name in the Pivot Club because
1) she had an appointment there.
2) there were some letters or telephone messages waiting for her.
3) she had lots of friends in the club.
4) the hall porter would recognize her.

ВОПРОС 1: – 4
ВОПРОС 2: – 3
ВОПРОС 3: – 3
ВОПРОС 4: – 1
ВОПРОС 5: – 2
ВОПРОС 6: – 4
ВОПРОС 7: – 4