en-de  The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Chapter VI Easy
DIE UNTERSUCHUNG - Im Zeitraum vor der Untersuchung war Poirot unermüdlich in seinen Aktivitäten.

Zweimal hatte er eine vertrauliche Besprechung mit Mr. Wells.

Er machte auch lange Spaziergänge aufs Land. Ich verübelte ihm ziemlich, mich nicht ins Vertrauen zu ziehen, um somehr, als ich nicht im Geringsten ahnen konnte, worauf er hinaus wollte.

Es fiel mir ein, dass er Nachforschungen auf Raikers Farm angestellt haben könnte, also ging ich, als ich ihn Mittwochabend im Leastways Häuschen besuchte und nicht vorfand, über die Felder hinüber und hoffte, ihn zu treffen.

Aber da war keine Spur von ihm und ich zögerte, bis zur Farm selbst zu gehen.

Als ich wegging, traf ich ein altes Landei, das mich listig anschielte.

"Sie sind aus dem Gutshaus, nicht wahr?" fragte er.

"Ja. Ich suche nach einem Freund von mir, von dem ich glaubte, dass er diesen Weg gegangen sein könnte."

"Ein kleiner Kerl? Der mit den Händen fuchtelt, wenn er redet? Einer der Belgier aus dem Dorf?"

"Ja", sagte ich ungeduldig. "Ist er denn hier gewesen?"

"Oh, ja, er ist hier gewesen, stimmt. Auch mehr als einmal. Ein Freund von Ihnen, ja? Ah, Ihr Herren vom Gutshaus - Ihr seid ein ganz schöner Haufen!"

Und er schielte drolliger als je zuvor.

"Ach, die Herren vom Gutshaus kommen oft hierher?" fragte ich so harmlos, wie ich konnte.

Er zwinkerte mir wissend zu.

"Einer tut es, Mister. Nenne keinen Namen, wohlgemerkt. Und auch ein sehr großzügiger Gentleman! Oh, danke, Sir, ich bin sicher."

Ich ging schnell weiter. Evelyn Howard hatte also recht gehabt und ich fühlte einen scharfen Stich der Entrüstung, als ich an Alfreds Großzügigkeit mit dem Geld einer anderen Frau dachte.

War das faszinierende Zigeunergesicht die Ursache des Verbrechens gewesen oder war es die niedere treibende Kraft des Geldes? Wahrscheinlich eine vernünftige Mischung von beidem.

In einem Punkt schien Poirot eine eigentümliche Besessenheit zu haben.

Er bemerkte ein- oder zweimal mir gegenüber, dass er glaube, Dorcas müsse einen Fehler beim Festlegen des Zeitpunktes des Streites gemacht haben.

Er schlug wiederholt vor, ob es 4.30 und nicht 4 Uhr war, als sie die Stimmen gehört hatte.

Aber Dorcas war unerschütterlich. Zwischen der Zeit, als sie Stimmen gehört hatte, und 5.00 Uhr, als sie den Tee zu ihrer Herrin gebracht hatte, war eine ganze Stunde oder mehr vergangen.

Die Untersuchung fand am Freitag in den Stylites Arms im Dorf statt. Poirot und ich saßen zusammen und mussten nicht aussagen.

Die Vorbereitungen wurden durchgegangen. Die Jury sah sich die Leiche an, und John Cavendish identifizierte sie.

Weiter befragt, beschrieb er sein Erwachen in den frühen Morgenstunden und die Umstände des Todes seiner Mutter.

Die medizinischen Beweise wurden als nächstes aufgenommen.

Es herrschte atemlose Stille und jedes Auge war auf den berühmten Londoner Spezialisten gerichtet, der als einer der größten Autoritäten seiner Zeit im Fachgebiet Toxikologie bekannt war.

In einigen kurzen Worten fasste er das Ergebnis der Obduktion zusammen.

Seiner medizinischen Ausdrucksweise und Formsachen beraubt, lief es auf die Tatsache hinaus, dass Mrs. Inglethorp als Ergebnis einer Strychninvergiftung umgekommen war.

Der wiedergefundenen Menge nach zu schließen, hatte sie nicht weniger als dreiviertel Gran Strychnin zu sich genommen, aber wahrscheinlich ein Gran oder geringfügig mehr.

" Ist es möglich, dass sie das Gift zufällig geschluckt haben könnte?" fragte der Untersuchungsrichter.

" Ich würde es als sehr unwahrscheinlich betrachten. Strychnin wird nicht, wie andere Gifte, für häusliche Zwecke verwendet, und es gibt Einschränkungen beim Verkauf."

"Führt irgendetwas in Ihrer Untersuchung dazu, festzustellen, wie das Gift verabreicht wurde?"

"Nein."

"Sie kamen vor Wilkins auf Styles an, glaube ich?"

"Das ist so. Das Auto traf mich vor den Toren des Pförtnerhauses und ich lief so schnell ich konnte."

"Werden Sie uns genau sagen, was als nächstes passierte?"

" Ich betrat Mrs. Inglethorps Zimmer. In jenem Moment war sie in einem typischen tetanischen Krampf. Sie drehte sich zu mir und keuchte: 'Alfred - Alfred - ' ." "Konnte das Strychnin in Mrs. Inglethorps Verdauungskaffee verabreicht worden sein, den ihr Mann ihr brachte?"

"Möglich, aber Strychnin wirkt ziemlich schnell.

Die Symptome treten ein bis zwei Stunden, nachdem es geschluckt wurde, auf. Unter bestimmten Bedingungen ist es verzögert, allerdings scheint keine davon in diesem Fall vorzuliegen. Ich nehme an, Mrs. Inglethorp trank ihren Kaffee nach dem Abendessen gegen acht Uhr, wohingegen sich die Symptome nicht vor den frühen Morgenstunden zeigten, was angesichts dessen darauf hinweist, dass die Droge viel später am Abend genommen wurde."

"Mrs. Inglethorp hatte die Angewohnheit, mitten in der Nacht eine Tasse Kakao zu trinken.

Konnte das Strychnin darin verabreicht worden sein?"

"Nein, ich selbst habe eine Probe des Kakaos, der im Stieltopf übrig war, genommen und habe sie analysiert.

Es war kein Strychnin vorhanden."

Ich hörte Poirot leise neben mir kichern.

"Woher wussten Sie das?" flüsterte ich.

"Hören Sie zu."

"Ich würde sagen" - fuhr der Doktor fort - "dass ich über jedes andere Ergebnis sehr überrascht gewesen wäre."

"Warum?"

"Einfach, weil Strychnin einen ungewöhnlich bitteren Geschmack hat.

Es kann in einer Lösung von 1 zu 70.000 entdeckt und nur durch einige stark aromatisierte Substanzen kaschiert werden. Kakao wäre völlig ungeeignet, es zu verbergen."

Einer aus der Jury wollte wissen, ob derselbe Einwand Kaffee betrifft.

"Nein. Kaffee hat selber einen bitteren Geschmack, der möglicherweise den Geschmack von Strychnin verdeckt."

"Dann halten Sie es für wahrscheinlicher, dass die Droge im Kaffee verabreicht worden war, aber dass sich aus unbekannten Gründen die Wirkung verzögerte."

"Ja, aber da die Tasse komplett zertrümmert ist, gibt es keine Möglichkeit, ihren Inhalt zu analysieren."

Das beendete die Zeugenaussage von Dr. Bauerstein. Dr. Wilkins bekräftigte sie in allen Punkten.

Dass es ein Selbstmord sein könnte, lehnte er vollkommen ab.

Die Verstorbene, so sagte er, litt unter Herzschwäche, erfreute sich aber andererseits vollkommener Gesundheit und war fröhlich und ausgeglichen.

Sie wäre eine der letzten, die sich das Leben nehmen würde.

Lawrence Cavendish wurde als nächster gerufen.

Seine Aussage war ziemlich unwichtig, da sie eine bloße Wiederholung von der seines Bruders war.

Gerade als er zurücktreten wollte, hielt er inne und sagte etwas zögerlich: " Ich möchte einen Vorschlag machen, wenn ich darf?"

Er schaute missbilligend auf den Untersuchungsrichter, der munter antwortete: "Sicher, Mr. Cavendish, wir sind hier, um zur Wahrheit dieser Sache zu gelangen und begrüßen alles, was zu einer weiteren Aufklärung führen kann."

"Es ist nur eine Idee von mir", erklärte Lawrence. "Natürlich kann ich mich irren, aber es erscheint mir immer noch, dass der Tod meiner Mutter auf natürliche Weise erklärt werden könnte."

"Wie stellen Sie das fest, Mr. Cavendish?"

"Meine Mutter nahm zum Zeitpunkt ihres Todes und einige Zeit vorher ein Tonikum, das Strychnin enthielt."

"Ah!" sagte der Untersuchungsrichter.

Die Jury schaute interessiert auf.

"Ich glaube", fuhr Lawrence fort," dass es Fälle gegeben hat, wo der anwachsende Effekt einer Droge für einige Zeit letztendlich den Tod bewirkt hat.

Außerdem, ist es nicht möglich, dass sie aus Versehen eine Überdosis ihrer Medizin genommen haben kann?"

"Das ist das erste Mal, dass wir gehört haben, dass die Verstorbene zum Zeitpunkt ihres Todes Strychnin einnahm.

Wir sind Ihnen sehr dankbar, Mr. Cavendish."

Dr. Wilkins wurde wieder aufgerufen und verspottete die Idee.

"Was Mr. Cavendish andeutet, ist völlig unmöglich. Jeder Arzt würde Ihnen dasselbe sagen. Strychnin ist, in einem gewissen Sinn, ein sich anhäufendes Gift, aber es wäre völlig unmöglich, dadurch einen plötzlichen Tod auf diese Art auszulösen.

Es wären über einen langen Zeitraum chronische Symptome entstanden, die sofort meine Aufmerksamkeit erregt hätten. Die ganze Sache ist absurd."

"Und die zweite Anregung? Dass Mrs. Inglethorp versehentlich eine Überdosis genommen haben kann?"

"Drei, oder sogar vier Gaben würden keinen Tod verursacht haben. Mrs. Inglethorp ließ sich immer eine besonders große Menge an Medizin auf einmal herstellen, weil sie mit Coots handelte, dem Apotheker in Tadminster.

Sie hätte fast die ganze Flasche nehmen müssen, um die Strychninmenge bei der Obduktion zu berücksichtigen."

"Dann sind Sie der Meinung, dass wir das Tonikum in keiner Weise für ihren Tod verantwortlich machen können?"

"Sicherlich. Die Vermutung ist absurd."

Derselbe Geschworene, der zuvor hier unterbrochen hatte, schlug vor, dass der Chemiker , der das Medikament hergestellt hatte, einen Fehler begangen haben könnte.

"Das ist natürlich immer möglich", antwortete der Arzt.

Aber Dorcas, die als nächste Zeugin aufgerufen wurde, zerstreute selbst diese Möglichkeit. Die Medizin war nicht frisch zubereitet worden.

Im Gegenteil, Mrs. Inglethorp hatte die letzte Dosis am Tag ihres Todes eingenommen.

So wurde die Frage nach dem Tonikum schließlich aufgegeben und der Untersuchungsrichter fuhr mit seiner Aufgabe fort. Nachdem er von Dorcas erfahren hatte, wie sie durch das heftige Läuten der Glocke ihrer Herrin geweckt worden war und sie anschließend die Hausgemeinschaft geweckt hatte, ging er zu dem Streit am Nachmittag zuvor über.

Die Aussage von Dorcas zu diesem Punkt war im wesentlichen was Poirot und ich schon gehört hatten, deshalb werde ich es hier nicht wiederholen.

Die nächste Zeugin war Mary Cavendish.

Sie stand ganz aufrecht und sprach mit einer tiefen, klaren und gelassenen Stimme.

Als Antwort auf die Frage des Untersuchungsrichters erzählte sie, dass, als sie ihr Wecker wie üblich um halb fünf geweckt hatte, sie sich gerade anzog, als sie vom Geräusch von etwas Schwerem, das umgefallen war, erschreckt wurde.

"Das wäre der Tisch am Bett gewesen?" kommentierte der Untersuchungsrichter.

"Ich öffnete meine Tür", fuhr Mary fort, "und horchte.

Innerhalb weniger Minuten klingelte heftig eine Glocke. Dorcas lief herunter und weckte meinen Ehemann, und wir gingen alle zum Zimmer meiner Schwiegermutter, aber es war verschlossen -".

Der Untersuchungsrichter unterbrach sie.

" Ich glaube wirklich nicht, dass wir Sie in diesem Punkt weiter belästigen müssen. Wir wissen alles, was man über die nachfolgenden Ereignisse wissen kann. Aber ich wäre Ihnen dankbar, wenn Sie uns alles erzählen würden, was Sie zufällig von dem Streit am vorherigen Tag gehört haben.

"Ich?" Da gab es eine schwache Anmaßung in ihrer Stimme.

Sie hob ihre Hand und richtete die Spitzenrüschen an ihrem Genick, und wendete etwas ihren Kopf als sie es tat.

Und ziemlich spontan schoss mir der Gedanke durch den Kopf: "Sie schindet Zeit heraus!"

"Ja. Ich habe gehört", fuhr der Untersuchungsricher bedächtig fort, "dass sie gerade auf der Bank genau außerhalb des bis zum Boden reichenden Fensters des Boudoirs saßen und lasen. Das ist so, nicht wahr?"

Dies war mir neu und ein seitlicher Blick auf Poirot ließ mich ahnen, dass es auch für ihn neu war.

Es gab eine geringfügige Pause, das bloße Zögern eines Augenblicks, bevor sie antwortete: " Ja, das ist so."

"Und das Fenster des Boidoirs war offen, nicht wahr?"

Tatsächlich wurde ihr Gesicht ein wenig blasser als sie antwortete: "Ja."

"Dann kann Ihnen nicht entgangen sein, was innen gesprochen wurde, besonders wenn mit erhobener Stimme gesprochen worden ist. Tatsache ist, sie wären besser für Sie hörbar gewesen, als wenn sie im Flur gewesen wären."

"Möglich."

"Werden Sie für uns wiedergeben, was Sie von dem Streit mitangehört haben?"

"Ich kann mich wirklich nicht erinnern, irgendetwas gehört zu haben."

"Möchten Sie damit sagen, Sie haben keine Stimmen gehört?"

"Oh, ja ich hörte die Stimmen, aber ich habe nicht gehört, was sie sagten." Ihre Wangen röteten sich leicht. "Es ist nicht meine Angewohnheit, privaten Gesprächen zu lauschen."

Der Untersuchungsrichter ließ nicht locker.

"Und Sie erinnern sich tatsächlich an nichts? Nichts, Mrs. Cavendish? Kein einzelnes Wort oder ein Satz, der Ihnen klar gemacht hat, dass es sich um eine private Unterhaltung handelte?"


Sie zögerte und schien nachzudenken, nach außen immer noch so ruhig wie immer.

"Ja; ich erinnere mich. Mrs. Inglethorpe sagte etwas - ich erinnere micht nicht genau was - über Skandal zwischen Mann und Frau auslösen."

"Ah!" der Untersuchungsrichter lehnte sich zufrieden zurück. "Das passt zu dem, was Dorcas gehört hat.

Aber entschuldigen Sie, Mrs. Cavendish, obwohl Sie gemerkt haben, dass es eine private Unterhaltung war, haben Sie sich nicht entfernt?

Sie sind geblieben, wo Sie waren?

Ich fing den flüchtigen Schimmer ihrer bernsteinfarbenen Augen auf, als sie sie erhob.

Ich war mir sicher, dass sie den kleinen Anwalt mit seinen Andeutungen in diesem Moment gern in Stücke gerissen hätte, aber sie antwortete durchaus ruhig: "Nein. Ich fühlte mich sehr wohl, wo ich war. Ich konzentrierte mich auf mein Buch."

"Und das ist alles, was Sie uns sagen können?"

"Das ist alles."

Die Vernehmung war vorbei, obwohl ich bezweifelte, dass der Untersuchungsrichter vollkommen zufrieden damit war.

Ich glaube, er vermutete, dass Mary Cavendish mehr erzählen konnte, wenn sie wollte.

Amy Hill, Verkäuferin, wurde als nächstes aufgerufen und gab zu Protokoll, am Nachmittag des 17ten an William Earl, Hilfsgärtner auf Styles, einen Testamentsvordruck verkauft zu haben.

William Earl und Manning folgten ihr und bezeugten ein Dokument beglaubigt zu haben. Manning gab die Zeit mit etwa halb fünf an, William war der Meinung, es wäre eher etwas früher gewesen.

Als nächstes kam Cynthia Murdoch. Sie hatte allerdings wenig zu erzählen. Sie hatte nichts von der Tragödie gewusst, bis sie von Mrs. Cavendish geweckt wurde.

" Sie hörten nicht den Tisch fallen?"

"Nein. Ich war schnell eingeschlafen."

Der Untersuchungsrichter lächelte.

"Ein gutes Gewissen ist ein sanftes Ruhekissen", bemerkte er. "Danke, Miss Murdoch, das ist alles."

"Miss Howard."

Miss Howard wies den Brief vor, den ihr Mrs. Inglethorp am Abend des 17. geschrieben hatte. Poirot und ich hatten ihn natürlich schon gesehen. Er fügte nichts zu unserem Wissenstand über die Tragödie hinzu.

Er wurde der Jury übergeben, die ihn sorgfältig prüfte.

"Ich fürchte, er hilft uns nicht viel", sagte der Untersuchungsrichter seufzend.

"Es werden keinerlei Vorfälle dieses Nachmittags erwähnt."

"Für mich klar wie Kloßbrühe", sagte Miss Howard knapp.

"Er zeigt deutlich genug, dass meine arme alte Freundin gerade herausgefunden hat, dass man Sie zum Narren gehalten hat!"

"Davon steht überhaupt nichts in dem Brief", hob der Untersuchungsrichte hervor.

"Nein, weil Emily niemals ertragen konnte, im Unrecht zu sein. Aber ich kenne sie. Sie wollte, dass ich zurückkommen sollte. Aber sie wollte mir nicht zugestehen, dass ich Recht gehabt hatte.

Darum ging sie um den heißen Brei herum. Die meisten Leute tun das. Glaube selbst nicht daran."

Mr. Wells lächelte schwach. So, wie es auch etliche der Jury taten, wie ich bemerkte. Miss Howard war offensichtlich eine ziemlich bekannte Persönlichkeit.

"Wie auch immer, all dieser Blödsinn ist eine große Zeitverschwendung", fuhr die Lady fort und musterte die Jury mit einem kurzen, geringschätzenden Blick.


"Alles nur Gequatsche! Während der ganzen Zeit wissen wir alle ganz genau ---" Der Untersuchungsrichter unterbrach sie in einer Qual der Vorahnung: "Vielen Dank, Miss Howard, das ist alles."

Ich stelle mir vor, er stieß einen Seufzer der Erleichterung aus, als sie sich fügte.

Dann kam die Sensation des Tages.

Der Untersuchungsrichter rief Albert Mace auf, der Gehilfe des Apothekers.

Es war unser aufgeregter junger Mann mit dem bleichen Gesicht.

Als Antwort auf die Fragen des Untersuchungsrichers erklärte er, dass er ein approbierter Apotheker wäre, aber dass er erst vor kurzem in dieses spezielle Geschäft gekommen war, da der Angestellte, der früher dort war, gerade in die Armee einberufen worden war.

Nachdem diese vorbereitende Maßnahmen abgeschlossen waren, ging der Untersuchungsrichter zum Geschäft über.

"Mr. Mace, haben Sie kürzlich Strychnin an eine unbefugte Person verkauft?"

"Ja, Sir."

"Wann war das?"

" Letzten Montagabend."

" Montag? Nicht Dienstag?"

" Nein, Sir, Montag, den 16ten."

"Werden Sie uns erzählen, an wen Sie es verkauft haben?"

Man hätte eine Nadel fallen hören.

"Ja, Sir. Es war an Mr. Inglethorp."

Alle Augen wandten sich gleichzeitig dorthin, wo Alfred Inglethorp saß, teilnahmslos und hölzern.

Er zuckte geringfügig, als die vernichtenden Worte von den Lippen des jungen Mannes kamen.

Ich dachte halb, dass er sich vom Stuhl erheben wollte, aber er blieb sitzen, obwohl ein bemerkenswert gut dargestellter Ausdruck des Erstaunens auf seinem Gesicht zunahm.

"Sind Sie sicher bei dem, was Sie sagen?" fragte der Untersuchungsrichter ernst.

"Ganz sicher, Sir."

"Verkaufen Sie üblicherweise Strychnin unbedacht ohne Rezept?"

Der arme junge Mann schrumpfte sichtlich unter dem Stirnrunzeln des Untersuchungsrichters.

"Oh nein, Sir - natürlich nicht. Aber als ich sah, dass es Mr. Inglethorpe vom Herrenhaus war, dachte ich mir nichts dabei. Er sagte, es wäre, um einen Hund zu vergiften."

Im Stillen hatte ich Mitleid. Es war menschlich nur natürlich, sich zu bemühen, dem Herrenhaus gefällig zu sein, besonders, wenn es dazu führen könnte, Kundschaft zu gewinnen, die bisher bei Coots einkaufte.

"Ist es nicht für jeden üblich, der Gift erwirbt, in einem Buch zu unterschreiben?"

"Ja, Sir, Mr. Inglethorpe machte es."

"Haben Sie das Buch hier?"

"Ja, Sir"

Es wurde vorgelegt und mit einigen Worten strengen Tadels entließ der Untersuchungsrichter den bemitleidenswerten Mr. Mace.

Dann, inmitten atemloser Stille, wurde Alfred Inglethorpe aufgerufen.

Ob er wohl begriff, fragte ich mich, wie sehr sich der Strick um seinen Hals zuzog?

Der Untersuchungsrichter kam geradewegs zum Punkt.

"Haben Sie am letzten Montagabend Strychnin zum Vergiften eines Hundes erworben?"

Inglethorpe erwiderte mit perfekter Ruhe: "Nein, das tat ich nicht. Es gibt keinen Hund auf Styles, außer einem Hütehund, der draußen lebt, der vollkommen gesund ist."

"Sie leugnen in jedem Fall, dass Sie letzten Montag Strychnin von Albert Mace gekauft haben?"

"Ja."

" Bestreiten Sie das auch?"

Der Untersuchungsrichter reichte ihm das Verzeichnis, in dem seine Unterschrift eingetragen war.

"Sicher. Die Handschrift ist ganz unterschiedlich von meiner. Ich werde es Ihnen zeigen."

Er nahm einen alten Umschlag aus seiner Tasche, schrieb seinen Namen darauf und reichte ihn den Geschworenen. Sie war allerdings völlig unterschiedlich.

"Wie lautet folglich Ihre Erklärung für die Aussage von Mr. Mace?"

Alfred Inglethorp antwortete unerschütterlich: "Mr. Mace muss sich geirrt haben."

Der Untersuchungsrichter zögerte für einen Moment und sagte dann:" Mr. Inglethorp, als eine reine Formsache, würden Sie uns bitte sagen, wo Sie am Montagabend, dem 16. Juli waren?"

"Wirklich - ich kann mich nicht erinnern."

"Das ist lächerlich, Mr. Inglethorp", sagte der Untersuchungsrichter scharf. "Überlegen Sie nochmals."

Inglethorp schüttelte seinen Kopf.

"Ich kann es Ihnen nicht sagen. Ich habe die Vermutung, dass ich draußen spazieren war."

"In welche Richtung?"

"Ich kann mich wirklich nicht erinnern."

Die Miene des Untersuchungsrichters verfinsterte sich.

" Begleitete Sie jemand?"

"Nein."

"Haben Sie jemanden auf Ihrem Spaziergang getroffen?"

"Nein."

"Das ist schade", sagte der Untersuchungsrichter trocken.

"Ich muss dann also annehmen, dass Sie sich weigern zu sagen, wo Sie zu dem Zeitpunkt waren, als Mr. Mace Sie eindeutig erkannt hat, als Sie in das Geschäft traten, um Strychnin zu kaufen?"

"Wenn Sie das so verstehen wollen, ja."

"Seien Sie vorsichtig, Mr. Inglethorp."

Poirot zappelte nervös herum.

" Sacre!" murmelte er. " Möchte dieser Schwachkopf von Mann verhaftet werden?"

Inglethorp machte tatsächlich einen schlechten Eindruck.

Sein zweckloses Bestreiten würde nicht mal ein Kind überzeugt haben.

Der Untersuchungsrichter ging jedoch schnell zum nächsten Punkt weiter und Poirot atmete erleichtert auf.

"Sie hatten am Dienstag Nachmittag ein Streitgespräch mit Ihrer Frau?"

"Entschuldigen Sie", unterbrach ihn Alfred Inglethorp, "Sie sind falsch informiert worden.

Ich hatte keinen Streit mit meiner lieben Frau. Die ganzs Geschichte stimmt überhaupt nicht.

Ich war den ganzen Nachmittag nicht im Haus."

"Haben Sie irgendjemand, der das bezeugen kann?"

"Sie haben mein Wort", sagte Inglethorp arrogant.

Der Untersuchungsrichter machte sich nicht die Mühe zu antworten.

"Es gibt zwei Zeugen, die schwören werden, dass sie ihre Meinungsverschiedenheit mit Mrs. Inglethorp gehört haben." Inglethorp."

"Diese Zeugen haben sich geirrt."

Ich war verwirrt. Der Mann sprach mit solch einer ruhigen Sicherheit, dass ich verblüfft war.

Ich guckte zu Poirot. Es war ein Ausdruck von Jubel in seiner Miene, den ich nicht verstehen konnte.

War er endlich von Alfred Inglethorps Schuld überzeugt?

"Mr. Inglethorp", sagte der Untersuchungsrichter, "Sie haben gehört, dass die letzten Worte Ihrer Frau hier wiederholt wurden.

Können Sie sie auf irgendeine Art erklären?"

"Gewiss kann ich das." "Sie können?"

"Es scheint mir sehr einfach zu sein.

Das Zimmer war schwach erleuchtet.

Dr. Bauerstein hat so ziemlich meine Größe und meine Figur, und er trägt wie ich einen Bart.

Im Halbdunkel, und so leidend, wie sie war, verwechselte meine arme Frau ihn mit mir.

"Ah!" murmelte Poirot zu sich. "But it is an idea, that!".

"Sie glauben, dass es wahr ist?" flüsterte ich.

Das habe ich nicht gesagt. Aber es ist wirklich eine geschickte Hypothese."

"You read my wife's last words as an accusation"—Inglethorp was continuing—"they were, on the contrary, an appeal to me.".

Der Untersuchungsrichter dachte einen Moment nach, dann sagte er: "Ich glaube, Mr. Inglethorp, dass Sie selbst den Kaffee ausgeschenkt haben und ihn an diesem Abend ihrer Frau gebracht haben?"

"Ich habe ihn ausgeschenkt, ja.

Aber ich habe ihn ihr nicht gebracht.

Ich hatte vor, es zu tun, aber mir wurde gesagt, dass ein Freund an der Tür der Halle war, deshalb setzte ich den Kaffee auf dem Tisch der Halle ab.

Als ich einige Minuten später wieder durch den Korridor kam, war er verschwunden."

Diese Aussage könnte oder könnte nicht wahr sein, aber es schien mir die Sache für Inglethorp nicht viel besser zu machen.

In jedem Fall hatte er reichlich Zeit gehabt, das Gift zuzuführen.

An dieser Stelle stieß Poirot mich leicht an und zeigte auf zwei Männer, die zusammen neben der Tür saßen.

Der Eine war ein kleiner, pfiffiger, dunkler, frettchengesichtiger Mann, der Andere war groß und blond.

Ich befragte Poirot stumm.

Er legte die Lippen an mein Ohr.

"Wissen Sie, wer der kleine Mann ist?"

Ich schüttelte meinen Kopf.

"Das ist Polizeikommissar James Japp von Scotland Yard - Jimmy Japp.

Der andere Mann ist ebenfalls von Scotland Yard.

Die Dinge entwickeln sich schnell, mein Freund."

Ich starrte die beiden Männer gespannt an.

Bei ihnen erinnerte sicherlich nichts an einen Polizisten.

Ich hätte nie vermutet, dass sie Amtspersonen sind.

Ich starrte immer noch, als ich durch das gegebene Urteil aufgeschreckt und zurückgerufen wurde: " Vorsätzlicher Mord durch eine oder mehrere unbekannte Personen."
unit 1
THE INQUEST In the interval before the inquest, Poirot was unfailing in his activity.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 2
Twice he was closeted with Mr. Wells.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 3
He also took long walks into the country.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 6
But there was no sign of him, and I hesitated to go right up to the farm itself.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 7
As I walked away, I met an aged rustic, who leered at me cunningly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 8
"You'm from the Hall, bain't you?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 9
he asked.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 10
"Yes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 11
I'm looking for a friend of mine whom I thought might have walked this way."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 12
"A little chap?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 13
As waves his hands when he talks?
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 14
One of them Belgies from the village?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 15
"Yes," I said eagerly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 16
"He has been here, then?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 17
"Oh, ay, he's been here, right enough.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 18
More'n once too.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 19
Friend of yours, is he?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 20
Ah, you gentlemen from the Hall—you'n a pretty lot!".
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 21
And he leered more jocosely than ever.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 22
"Why, do the gentlemen from the Hall come here often?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 23
I asked, as carelessly as I could.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 24
He winked at me knowingly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 25
"One does, mister.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 26
Naming no names, mind.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 27
And a very liberal gentleman too!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 28
Oh, thank you, sir, I'm sure."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 29
I walked on sharply.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 32
Probably a judicious mixture of both.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 33
On one point, Poirot seemed to have a curious obsession.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 36
But Dorcas was unshaken.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 38
The inquest was held on Friday at the Stylites Arms in the village.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 39
Poirot and I sat together, not being required to give evidence.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 40
The preliminaries were gone through.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 41
The jury viewed the body, and John Cavendish gave evidence of identification.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 43
The medical evidence was next taken.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 45
In a few brief words, he summed up the result of the post-mortem.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 48
"Is it possible that she could have swallowed the poison by accident?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 49
asked the Coroner.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 50
"I should consider it very unlikely.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 52
unit 53
"No."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 54
"You arrived at Styles before Dr.Wilkins, I believe?".
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 55
"That is so.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 56
unit 57
"Will you relate to us exactly what happened next?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 58
"I entered Mrs. Inglethorp's room.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 59
She was at that moment in a typical tetanic convulsion.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 61
"Possibly, but strychnine is a fairly rapid drug in its action.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 62
The symptoms appear from one to two hours after it has been swallowed.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 65
unit 66
Could the strychnine have been administered in that?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 67
unit 68
There was no strychnine present."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 69
I heard Poirot chuckle softly beside me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 70
"How did you know?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 71
I whispered.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 72
"Listen."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 74
"Why?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 75
"Simply because strychnine has an unusually bitter taste.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 77
Coco would be quite powerless to mask it."
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 78
One of the jury wanted to know if the same objection applied to coffee.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 79
"No.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 80
unit 83
This concluded Dr.Bauerstein's evidence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 84
Dr.Wilkins corroborated it on all points.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 85
Sounded as to the possibility of suicide, he repudiated it utterly.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 87
She would be one of the last people to take her own life.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 88
Lawrence Cavendish was next called.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 89
His evidence was quite unimportant, being a mere repetition of that of his brother.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 92
"It is just an idea of mine," explained Lawrence.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 94
"How do you make that out, Mr.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 95
Cavendish?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 97
"Ah!"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 98
said the Coroner.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 99
The jury looked up, interested.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 101
unit 103
We are much obliged to you, Mr.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 104
Cavendish."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 105
Dr. Wilkins was recalled and ridiculed the idea.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 106
"What Mr. Cavendish suggests is quite impossible.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 107
Any doctor would tell you the same.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 110
The whole thing is absurd."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 111
"And the second suggestion?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 112
That Mrs. Inglethorp may have inadvertently taken an overdose?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 113
"Three, or even four doses, would not have resulted in death.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 117
"Certainly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 118
The supposition is ridiculous."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 120
"That, of course, is always possible," replied the doctor.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 121
But Dorcas, who was the next witness called, dispelled even that possibility.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 122
The medicine had not been newly made up.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 123
On the contrary, Mrs. Inglethorp had taken the last dose on the day of her death.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 127
The next witness was Mary Cavendish.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 128
She stood very upright, and spoke in a low, clear, and perfectly composed voice.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 130
"That would have been the table by the bed?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 131
commented the Coroner.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 132
"I opened my door," continued Mary, "and listened.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 133
In a few minutes a bell rang violently.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 135
The Coroner interrupted her.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 136
"I really do not think we need trouble you further on that point.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 137
We know all that can be known of the subsequent happenings.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 139
"I?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 140
There was a faint insolence in her voice.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 142
And quite spontaneously the thought flashed across my mind: "She is gaining time!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 143
"Yes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 145
That is so, is it not?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 148
"And the boudoir window was open, was it not?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 149
Surely her face grew a little paler as she answered: "Yes."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 151
In fact, they would be more audible where you were than in the hall."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 152
"Possibly."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 153
"Will you repeat to us what you overheard of the quarrel?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 154
"I really do not remember hearing anything."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 155
"Do you mean to say you did not hear voices?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 156
"Oh, yes, I heard the voices, but I did not hear what they said."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 157
A faint spot of colour came into her cheek.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 158
"I am not in the habit of listening to private conversations."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 159
The Coroner persisted.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 160
"And you remember nothing at all?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 161
Nothing, Mrs. Cavendish?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 162
unit 163
She paused, and seemed to reflect, still outwardly as calm as ever.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 164
"Yes; I remember.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 166
"Ah!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 167
the Coroner leant back satisfied.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 168
"That corresponds with what Dorcas heard.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 170
You remained where you were?"
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 171
I caught the momentary gleam of her tawny eyes as she raised them.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 173
I was very comfortable where I was.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 174
I fixed my mind on my book."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 175
"And that is all you can tell us?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 176
"That is all."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 177
unit 178
I think he suspected that Mary Cavendish could tell more if she chose.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 180
William Earl and Manning succeeded her, and testified to witnessing a document.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 182
Cynthia Murdoch came next.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 183
She had, however, little to tell.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 184
She had known nothing of the tragedy, until awakened by Mrs. Cavendish.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 185
"You did not hear the table fall?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 186
"No.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 187
I was fast asleep."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 188
The Coroner smiled.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 189
"A good conscience makes a sound sleeper," he observed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 190
"Thank you, Miss Murdoch, that is all."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 191
"Miss Howard."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 193
Poirot and I had, of course already seen it.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 194
It added nothing to our knowledge of the tragedy.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 195
It was handed to the jury who scrutinized it attentively.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 196
"I fear it does not help us much," said the Coroner, with a sigh.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 197
"There is no mention of any of the events of that afternoon."
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 198
"Plain as a pikestaff to me," said Miss Howard shortly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 200
"It says nothing of the kind in the letter," the Coroner pointed out.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 201
"No, because Emily never could bear to put herself in the wrong.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 202
But I know her.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 203
She wanted me back.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 204
But she wasn't going to own that I'd been right.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 205
She went round about.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 206
Most people do.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 207
Don't believe in it myself."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 208
Mr. Wells smiled faintly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 209
So, I noticed, did several of the jury.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 210
Miss Howard was obviously quite a public character.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 212
"Talk—talk—talk!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 214
I fancy he breathed a sigh of relief when she complied.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 215
Then came the sensation of the day.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 216
The Coroner called Albert Mace, chemist's assistant.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 217
It was our agitated young man of the pale face.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 219
These preliminaries completed, the Coroner proceeded to business.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 220
"Mr. Mace, have you lately sold strychnine to any unauthorized person?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 221
"Yes, sir."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 222
"When was this?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 223
"Last Monday night."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 224
"Monday?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 225
Not Tuesday?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 226
"No, sir, Monday, the 16th."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 227
"Will you tell us to whom you sold it?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 228
You could have heard a pin drop.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 229
"Yes, sir.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 230
It was to Mr.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 231
Inglethorp."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 233
He started slightly, as the damning words fell from the young man's lips.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 235
"You are sure of what you say?"
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 236
asked the Coroner sternly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 237
"Quite sure, sir."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 238
"Are you in the habit of selling strychnine indiscriminately over the counter?"
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 239
The wretched young man wilted visibly under the Coroner's frown.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 240
"Oh, no, sir—of course not.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 241
But, seeing it was Mr. Inglethorp of the Hall, I thought there was no harm in it.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 242
He said it was to poison a dog."
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 243
Inwardly I sympathized.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 245
"Is it not customary for anyone purchasing poison to sign a book?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 246
"Yes, sir, Mr. Inglethorp did so."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 247
"Have you got the book here?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 248
"Yes, sir."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 250
Then, amidst a breathless silence, Alfred Inglethorp was called.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 251
Did he realize, I wondered, how closely the halter was being drawn around his neck?.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 252
The Coroner went straight to the point.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 253
unit 254
Inglethorp replied with perfect calmness: "No, I did not.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 255
There is no dog at Styles, except an outdoor sheepdog, which is in perfect health.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 256
"You deny absolutely having purchased strychnine from Albert Mace on Monday last?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 257
"I do."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 258
"Do you also deny this?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 259
The Coroner handed him the register in which his signature was inscribed.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 260
"Certainly I do.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 261
The hand-writing is quite different from mine.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 262
I will show you."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 264
It was certainly utterly dissimilar.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 265
"Then what is your explanation of Mr. Mace's statement?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 266
Alfred Inglethorp replied imperturbably: "Mr. Mace must have been mistaken."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 268
"Really—I can't remember."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 269
"That is absurd, Mr. Inglethorp," said the Coroner sharply.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 270
"Think again."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 271
Inglethorp shook his head.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 272
"I cannot tell you.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 273
I have an idea that I was out walking."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 274
"In what direction?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 275
"I really can't remember."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 276
The Coroner's face grew graver.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 277
"Were you in company with anyone?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 278
"No."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 279
"Did you meet anyone on your walk?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 280
"No."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 281
"That is a pity," said the Coroner dryly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 283
"If you like to take it that way, yes."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 284
"Be careful, Mr.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 285
Inglethorp."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 286
Poirot was fidgeting nervously.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 287
"Sacre!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 288
he murmured.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 289
"Does this imbecile of a man want to be arrested?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 290
Inglethorp was indeed creating a bad impression.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 291
His futile denials would not have convinced a child.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 293
"You had a discussion with your wife on Tuesday afternoon?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 294
"Pardon me," interrupted Alfred Inglethorp, "you have been misinformed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 295
I had no quarrel with my dear wife.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 296
The whole story is absolutely untrue.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 297
I was absent from the house the entire afternoon."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 298
"Have you anyone who can testify to that?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 299
"You have my word," said Inglethorp haughtily.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 300
The Coroner did not trouble to reply.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 301
"There are two witnesses who will swear to having heard your disagreement with Mrs.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 302
Inglethorp.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 303
"Those witnesses were mistaken.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 304
I was puzzled.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 305
The man spoke with such quiet assurance that I was staggered.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 306
I looked at Poirot.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 307
There was an expression of exultation on his face which I could not understand.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 308
Was he at last convinced of Alfred Inglethorp's guilt?.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 309
unit 310
Can you explain them in any way?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 311
"Certainly I can."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 312
"You can?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 313
"It seems to me very simple.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 314
The room was dimly lighted.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 315
Dr. Bauerstein is much of my height and build, and, like me, wears a beard.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 316
In the dim light, and suffering as she was, my poor wife mistook him for me."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 317
"Ah!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 318
murmured Poirot to himself.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 319
"But it is an idea, that!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 320
"You think it is true?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 321
I whispered.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 322
"I do not say that.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 323
But it is truly an ingenious supposition.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 326
"I poured it out, yes.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 327
But I did not take it to her.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 329
When I came through the hall again a few minutes later, it was gone."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 331
In any case, he had had ample time to introduce the poison.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 333
One was a little, sharp, dark, ferret-faced man, the other was tall and fair.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 334
I questioned Poirot mutely.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 335
He put his lips to my ear.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 336
"Do you know who that little man is?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 337
I shook my head.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 338
"That is Detective Inspector James Japp of Scotland Yard—Jimmy Japp.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 339
The other man is from Scotland Yard too.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 340
Things are moving quickly, my friend."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 341
I stared at the two men intently.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 342
There was certainly nothing of the policeman about them.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
unit 343
I should never have suspected them of being official personages.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months ago
bf2010 • 10873  commented on  unit 127  5 months, 1 week ago
bf2010 • 10873  commented on  unit 120  5 months, 1 week ago
Maria-Helene • 13548  translated  unit 97  5 months, 1 week ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 79  5 months, 1 week ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 74  5 months, 1 week ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 10  5 months, 1 week ago
kardaMom • 11758  translated  unit 9  5 months, 1 week ago

THE INQUEST

In the interval before the inquest, Poirot was unfailing in his activity.

Twice he was closeted with Mr. Wells.

He also took long walks into the country. I rather resented his not taking me into his confidence, the more so as I could not in the least guess what he was driving at.

It occurred to me that he might have been making inquiries at Raikes's farm; so, finding him out when I called at Leastways Cottage on Wednesday evening, I walked over there by the fields, hoping to meet him.

But there was no sign of him, and I hesitated to go right up to the farm itself.

As I walked away, I met an aged rustic, who leered at me cunningly.

"You'm from the Hall, bain't you?" he asked.

"Yes. I'm looking for a friend of mine whom I thought might have walked this way."

"A little chap? As waves his hands when he talks? One of them Belgies from the village?"

"Yes," I said eagerly. "He has been here, then?"

"Oh, ay, he's been here, right enough. More'n once too. Friend of yours, is he? Ah, you gentlemen from the Hall—you'n a pretty lot!".

And he leered more jocosely than ever.

"Why, do the gentlemen from the Hall come here often?" I asked, as carelessly as I could.

He winked at me knowingly.

"One does, mister. Naming no names, mind. And a very liberal gentleman too! Oh, thank you, sir, I'm sure."

I walked on sharply. Evelyn Howard had been right then, and I experienced a sharp twinge of disgust, as I thought of Alfred Inglethorp's liberality with another woman's money.

Had that piquant gipsy face been at the bottom of the crime, or was it the baser mainspring of money? Probably a judicious mixture of both.

On one point, Poirot seemed to have a curious obsession.

He once or twice observed to me that he thought Dorcas must have made an error in fixing the time of the quarrel.

He suggested to her repeatedly that it was 4.30, and not 4 o'clock when she had heard the voices.

But Dorcas was unshaken. Quite an hour, or even more, had elapsed between the time when she had heard the voices and 5 o'clock, when she had taken tea to her mistress.

The inquest was held on Friday at the Stylites Arms in the village. Poirot and I sat together, not being required to give evidence.

The preliminaries were gone through. The jury viewed the body, and John Cavendish gave evidence of identification.

Further questioned, he described his awakening in the early hours of the morning, and the circumstances of his mother's death.

The medical evidence was next taken.

There was a breathless hush, and every eye was fixed on the famous London specialist, who was known to be one of the greatest authorities of the day on the subject of toxicology.

In a few brief words, he summed up the result of the post-mortem.

Shorn of its medical phraseology and technicalities, it amounted to the fact that Mrs. Inglethorp had met her death as the result of strychnine poisoning.

Judging from the quantity recovered, she must have taken not less than three-quarters of a grain of strychnine, but probably one grain or slightly over.

"Is it possible that she could have swallowed the poison by accident?" asked the Coroner.

"I should consider it very unlikely. Strychnine is not used for domestic purposes, as some poisons are, and there are restrictions placed on its sale."

"Does anything in your examination lead you to determine how the poison was administered?"

"No."

"You arrived at Styles before Dr.Wilkins, I believe?".

"That is so. The motor met me just outside the lodge gates, and I hurried there as fast as I could."

"Will you relate to us exactly what happened next?"

"I entered Mrs. Inglethorp's room. She was at that moment in a typical tetanic convulsion. She turned towards me, and gasped out: 'Alfred—Alfred——' "

"Could the strychnine have been administered in Mrs. Inglethorp's after-dinner coffee which was taken to her by her husband?"

"Possibly, but strychnine is a fairly rapid drug in its action.

The symptoms appear from one to two hours after it has been swallowed. It is retarded under certain conditions, none of which, however, appear to have been present in this case. I presume Mrs. Inglethorp took the coffee after dinner about eight o'clock, whereas the symptoms did not manifest themselves until the early hours of the morning, which, on the face of it, points to the drug having been taken much later in the evening.".

"Mrs. Inglethorp was in the habit of drinking a cup of coco in the middle of the night.

Could the strychnine have been administered in that?"

"No, I myself took a sample of the coco remaining in the saucepan and had it analysed.

There was no strychnine present."

I heard Poirot chuckle softly beside me.

"How did you know?" I whispered.

"Listen."

"I should say"—the doctor was continuing—"that I would have been considerably surprised at any other result."

"Why?"

"Simply because strychnine has an unusually bitter taste.

It can be detected in a solution of 1 in 70,000, and can only be disguised by some strongly flavoured substance. Coco would be quite powerless to mask it."

One of the jury wanted to know if the same objection applied to coffee.

"No. Coffee has a bitter taste of its own which would probably cover the taste of strychnine."

"Then you consider it more likely that the drug was administered in the coffee, but that for some unknown reason its action was delayed."

"Yes, but, the cup being completely smashed, there is no possibility of analyzing its contents."

This concluded Dr.Bauerstein's evidence. Dr.Wilkins corroborated it on all points.

Sounded as to the possibility of suicide, he repudiated it utterly.

The deceased, he said, suffered from a weak heart, but otherwise enjoyed perfect health, and was of a cheerful and well-balanced disposition.

She would be one of the last people to take her own life.

Lawrence Cavendish was next called.

His evidence was quite unimportant, being a mere repetition of that of his brother.

Just as he was about to step down, he paused, and said rather hesitatingly:

"I should like to make a suggestion if I may?"

He glanced deprecatingly at the Coroner, who replied briskly:

"Certainly, Mr. Cavendish, we are here to arrive at the truth of this matter, and welcome anything that may lead to further elucidation."

"It is just an idea of mine," explained Lawrence. "Of course I may be quite wrong, but it still seems to me that my mother's death might be accounted for by natural means."

"How do you make that out, Mr. Cavendish?"

"My mother, at the time of her death, and for some time before it, was taking a tonic containing strychnine."

"Ah!" said the Coroner.

The jury looked up, interested.

"I believe," continued Lawrence, "that there have been cases where the cumulative effect of a drug, administered for some time, has ended by causing death.

Also, is it not possible that she may have taken an overdose of her medicine by accident?"

"This is the first we have heard of the deceased taking strychnine at the time of her death.

We are much obliged to you, Mr. Cavendish."

Dr. Wilkins was recalled and ridiculed the idea.

"What Mr. Cavendish suggests is quite impossible. Any doctor would tell you the same. Strychnine is, in a certain sense, a cumulative poison, but it would be quite impossible for it to result in sudden death in this way.

There would have to be a long period of chronic symptoms which would at once have attracted my attention. The whole thing is absurd."

"And the second suggestion? That Mrs. Inglethorp may have inadvertently taken an overdose?"

"Three, or even four doses, would not have resulted in death. Mrs. Inglethorp always had an extra large amount of medicine made up at a time, as she dealt with Coot's, the Cash Chemists in Tadminster.

She would have had to take very nearly the whole bottle to account for the amount of strychnine found at the post-mortem."

"Then you consider that we may dismiss the tonic as not being in any way instrumental in causing her death?"

"Certainly. The supposition is ridiculous."

The same juryman who had interrupted before here suggested that the chemist who made up the medicine might have committed an error.

"That, of course, is always possible," replied the doctor.

But Dorcas, who was the next witness called, dispelled even that possibility. The medicine had not been newly made up.

On the contrary, Mrs. Inglethorp had taken the last dose on the day of her death.

So the question of the tonic was finally abandoned, and the Coroner proceeded with his task. Having elicited from Dorcas how she had been awakened by the violent ringing of her mistress's bell, and had subsequently roused the household, he passed to the subject of the quarrel on the preceding afternoon.

Dorcas's evidence on this point was substantially what Poirot and I had already heard, so I will not repeat it here.

The next witness was Mary Cavendish.

She stood very upright, and spoke in a low, clear, and perfectly composed voice.

In answer to the Coroner's question, she told how, her alarm clock having aroused her at 4.30 as usual, she was dressing, when she was startled by the sound of something heavy falling.

"That would have been the table by the bed?" commented the Coroner.

"I opened my door," continued Mary, "and listened.

In a few minutes a bell rang violently. Dorcas came running down and woke my husband, and we all went to my mother-in-law's room, but it was locked——".

The Coroner interrupted her.

"I really do not think we need trouble you further on that point. We know all that can be known of the subsequent happenings. But I should be obliged if you would tell us all you overheard of the quarrel the day before."

"I?" There was a faint insolence in her voice.

She raised her hand and adjusted the ruffle of lace at her neck, turning her head a little as she did so.

And quite spontaneously the thought flashed across my mind: "She is gaining time!".

"Yes. I understand," continued the Coroner deliberately, "that you were sitting reading on the bench just outside the long window of the boudoir. That is so, is it not?"

This was news to me and glancing sideways at Poirot, I fancied that it was news to him as well.

There was the faintest pause, the mere hesitation of a moment, before she answered:

"Yes, that is so."

"And the boudoir window was open, was it not?"

Surely her face grew a little paler as she answered:

"Yes."

"Then you cannot have failed to hear the voices inside, especially as they were raised in anger. In fact, they would be more audible where you were than in the hall."

"Possibly."

"Will you repeat to us what you overheard of the quarrel?"

"I really do not remember hearing anything."

"Do you mean to say you did not hear voices?"

"Oh, yes, I heard the voices, but I did not hear what they said." A faint spot of colour came into her cheek. "I am not in the habit of listening to private conversations."

The Coroner persisted.

"And you remember nothing at all? Nothing, Mrs. Cavendish? Not one stray word or phrase to make you realize that it was a private conversation?".

She paused, and seemed to reflect, still outwardly as calm as ever.

"Yes; I remember. Mrs. Inglethorp said something—I do not remember exactly what—about causing scandal between husband and wife.".

"Ah!" the Coroner leant back satisfied. "That corresponds with what Dorcas heard.

But excuse me, Mrs. Cavendish, although you realized it was a private conversation, you did not move away?.

You remained where you were?"

I caught the momentary gleam of her tawny eyes as she raised them.

I felt certain that at that moment she would willingly have torn the little lawyer, with his insinuations, into pieces, but she replied quietly enough:

"No. I was very comfortable where I was. I fixed my mind on my book."

"And that is all you can tell us?"

"That is all."

The examination was over, though I doubted if the Coroner was entirely satisfied with it.

I think he suspected that Mary Cavendish could tell more if she chose.

Amy Hill, shop assistant, was next called, and deposed to having sold a will form on the afternoon of the 17th to William Earl, under-gardener at Styles.

William Earl and Manning succeeded her, and testified to witnessing a document. Manning fixed the time at about 4.30, William was of the opinion that it was rather earlier.

Cynthia Murdoch came next. She had, however, little to tell. She had known nothing of the tragedy, until awakened by Mrs. Cavendish.

"You did not hear the table fall?"

"No. I was fast asleep."

The Coroner smiled.

"A good conscience makes a sound sleeper," he observed. "Thank you, Miss Murdoch, that is all."

"Miss Howard."

Miss Howard produced the letter written to her by Mrs. Inglethorp on the evening of the 17th. Poirot and I had, of course already seen it. It added nothing to our knowledge of the tragedy.

It was handed to the jury who scrutinized it attentively.

"I fear it does not help us much," said the Coroner, with a sigh.

"There is no mention of any of the events of that afternoon."

"Plain as a pikestaff to me," said Miss Howard shortly.

"It shows clearly enough that my poor old friend had just found out she'd been made a fool of!"

"It says nothing of the kind in the letter," the Coroner pointed out.

"No, because Emily never could bear to put herself in the wrong. But I know her. She wanted me back. But she wasn't going to own that I'd been right.

She went round about. Most people do. Don't believe in it myself."

Mr. Wells smiled faintly. So, I noticed, did several of the jury. Miss Howard was obviously quite a public character.

"Anyway, all this tomfoolery is a great waste of time," continued the lady, glancing up and down the jury disparagingly.

"Talk—talk—talk! When all the time we know perfectly well——"

The Coroner interrupted her in an agony of apprehension:

"Thank you, Miss Howard, that is all."

I fancy he breathed a sigh of relief when she complied.

Then came the sensation of the day.

The Coroner called Albert Mace, chemist's assistant.

It was our agitated young man of the pale face.

In answer to the Coroner's questions, he explained that he was a qualified pharmacist, but had only recently come to this particular shop, as the assistant formerly there had just been called up for the army.

These preliminaries completed, the Coroner proceeded to business.

"Mr. Mace, have you lately sold strychnine to any unauthorized person?"

"Yes, sir."

"When was this?"

"Last Monday night."

"Monday? Not Tuesday?"

"No, sir, Monday, the 16th."

"Will you tell us to whom you sold it?"

You could have heard a pin drop.

"Yes, sir. It was to Mr. Inglethorp."

Every eye turned simultaneously to where Alfred Inglethorp was sitting, impassive and wooden.

He started slightly, as the damning words fell from the young man's lips.

I half thought he was going to rise from his chair, but he remained seated, although a remarkably well acted expression of astonishment rose on his face.

"You are sure of what you say?" asked the Coroner sternly.

"Quite sure, sir."

"Are you in the habit of selling strychnine indiscriminately over the counter?"

The wretched young man wilted visibly under the Coroner's frown.

"Oh, no, sir—of course not. But, seeing it was Mr. Inglethorp of the Hall, I thought there was no harm in it. He said it was to poison a dog."

Inwardly I sympathized. It was only human nature to endeavour to please "The Hall"—especially when it might result in custom being transferred from Coot's to the local establishment.

"Is it not customary for anyone purchasing poison to sign a book?"

"Yes, sir, Mr. Inglethorp did so."

"Have you got the book here?"

"Yes, sir."

It was produced; and, with a few words of stern censure, the Coroner dismissed the wretched Mr. Mace.

Then, amidst a breathless silence, Alfred Inglethorp was called.

Did he realize, I wondered, how closely the halter was being drawn around his neck?.

The Coroner went straight to the point.

"On Monday evening last, did you purchase strychnine for the purpose of poisoning a dog?".

Inglethorp replied with perfect calmness:

"No, I did not. There is no dog at Styles, except an outdoor sheepdog, which is in perfect health.".

"You deny absolutely having purchased strychnine from Albert Mace on Monday last?"

"I do."

"Do you also deny this?"

The Coroner handed him the register in which his signature was inscribed.

"Certainly I do. The hand-writing is quite different from mine. I will show you."

He took an old envelope out of his pocket, and wrote his name on it, handing it to the jury. It was certainly utterly dissimilar.

"Then what is your explanation of Mr. Mace's statement?"

Alfred Inglethorp replied imperturbably:

"Mr. Mace must have been mistaken."

The Coroner hesitated for a moment, and then said:

"Mr. Inglethorp, as a mere matter of form, would you mind telling us where you were on the evening of Monday, July 16th?"

"Really—I can't remember."

"That is absurd, Mr. Inglethorp," said the Coroner sharply. "Think again."

Inglethorp shook his head.

"I cannot tell you. I have an idea that I was out walking."

"In what direction?"

"I really can't remember."

The Coroner's face grew graver.

"Were you in company with anyone?"

"No."

"Did you meet anyone on your walk?"

"No."

"That is a pity," said the Coroner dryly.

"I am to take it then that you decline to say where you were at the time that Mr. Mace positively recognized you as entering the shop to purchase strychnine?".

"If you like to take it that way, yes."

"Be careful, Mr. Inglethorp."

Poirot was fidgeting nervously.

"Sacre!" he murmured. "Does this imbecile of a man want to be arrested?".

Inglethorp was indeed creating a bad impression.

His futile denials would not have convinced a child.

The Coroner, however, passed briskly to the next point, and Poirot drew a deep breath of relief.

"You had a discussion with your wife on Tuesday afternoon?".

"Pardon me," interrupted Alfred Inglethorp, "you have been misinformed.

I had no quarrel with my dear wife. The whole story is absolutely untrue.

I was absent from the house the entire afternoon."

"Have you anyone who can testify to that?".

"You have my word," said Inglethorp haughtily.

The Coroner did not trouble to reply.

"There are two witnesses who will swear to having heard your disagreement with Mrs. Inglethorp.".

"Those witnesses were mistaken.".

I was puzzled. The man spoke with such quiet assurance that I was staggered.

I looked at Poirot. There was an expression of exultation on his face which I could not understand.

Was he at last convinced of Alfred Inglethorp's guilt?.

"Mr. Inglethorp," said the Coroner, "you have heard your wife's dying words repeated here.

Can you explain them in any way?".

"Certainly I can." "You can?".

"It seems to me very simple.

The room was dimly lighted.

Dr. Bauerstein is much of my height and build, and, like me, wears a beard.

In the dim light, and suffering as she was, my poor wife mistook him for me."

"Ah!" murmured Poirot to himself. "But it is an idea, that!".

"You think it is true?" I whispered.

"I do not say that. But it is truly an ingenious supposition.".

"You read my wife's last words as an accusation"—Inglethorp was continuing—"they were, on the contrary, an appeal to me.".

The Coroner reflected a moment, then he said:
"I believe, Mr. Inglethorp, that you yourself poured out the coffee, and took it to your wife that evening?".

"I poured it out, yes.

But I did not take it to her.

I meant to do so, but I was told that a friend was at the hall door, so I laid down the coffee on the hall table.

When I came through the hall again a few minutes later, it was gone."

This statement might, or might not, be true, but it did not seem to me to improve matters much for Inglethorp.

In any case, he had had ample time to introduce the poison.

At that point, Poirot nudged me gently, indicating two men who were sitting together near the door.

One was a little, sharp, dark, ferret-faced man, the other was tall and fair.

I questioned Poirot mutely.

He put his lips to my ear.

"Do you know who that little man is?"

I shook my head.

"That is Detective Inspector James Japp of Scotland Yard—Jimmy Japp.

The other man is from Scotland Yard too.

Things are moving quickly, my friend."

I stared at the two men intently.

There was certainly nothing of the policeman about them.

I should never have suspected them of being official personages.

I was still staring, when I was startled and recalled by the verdict being given:

"Wilful Murder against some person or persons unknown."