en-de  The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Chapter VII Easy
POIROT BEZAHLT SEINE SCHULDEN

Als wir aus den Stylites Arms kamen, zog mich Poirot mit einem behutsamen Druck des Arms beiseite.

Ich verstand sein Ziel. Er wartete auf die Männer von Scotland Yard.

Nach kurzer Zeit tauchten sie auf und Poirot trat sofort nach vorne und sprach den kleineren der beiden an.

"Ich fürchte, Sie erinnern sich nicht an mich, Inspektor Japp."

"Mensch, wenn das nicht Mr. Poirot ist!" rief der Inspektor.

Er wandte sich zu dem anderen Mann. "Haben Sie mich über Mr. Poirot sprechen gehört? Es war 1904, als er und ich zusammengearbeitet haben - der Abercrombie Fälschungsfall - Sie erinnern sich, er wurde in Brüssel zur Strecke gebracht.

Ah, das waren großartige Tage, Monsieur.

Dann erinnern Sie sich an "Baron" Altara? Da hatten Sie es mit einem schönen Schurken zu tun!

Er ist den Fängen der halben Polizei in Europa entwischt.

Aber wir nagelten ihn in Antwerpen fest - dank Mr. Poirot hier."

Während man sich diesen angenehmen Erinnerungen hingab, nähert ich mich und wurde Detective-Inspector Japp vorgestellt, der uns beide wiederrum seinem Kollegen, Superintendent Summerhaye vorstellte.

"Ich brauche kaum zu fragen, was Sie hier tun, meine Herren", bemerkte Poirot.

Japp zwinkerte wissend mit einem Auge.

"Nein, allerdings. Ziemlich klarer Fall, würde ich sagen."

Aber Poirot antwortete ernst: "Da sind wir verschiedener Meinung."

"Ach, kommen Sie!" sagte Sumerhaye und machte zum ersten Mal den Mund auf.

"Die ganze Sache ist ja glasklar.

Der Mann wurde in flagranti geschnappt.

Keinen Schimmer, wie er so ein Trottel sein konnte!"

Aber Japp sah aufmerksam zu Poirot.

"Feuer einstellen, Summerhaye", bemerkte er scherzhaft.

"Ich und der Monsieur hier sind uns schon vorher begegnet - und es gibt keine Beurteilung, die ich seiner vorziehen würde.

Wenn ich nicht überaus daneben liege, hat er ein Ass im Ärmel.

Nicht wahr, Monsieur?"

Poirot lächelte.

"Ich habe einige Schlussfolgerungen gezogen - ja."

Summerhaye sah immer noch ziemlich skeptisch aus, aber Japp guckte Poirot weiter prüfend an.

"Es ist so", sagte er, "bisher haben wir den Fall nur von außen gesehen.

An dieser Stelle ist der Yard im Nachteil, in einem solchen Fall, wo der Mord sich sozusagen erst nach der Untersuchung herausstellt.

Es hängt viel davon ab, als Erster am Tatort zu sein, und da war Mr. Poirot vor uns da.

Wir wären auch nicht so schnell hier gewesen, wenn der Umstand nicht gewesen wäre, dass ein schlauer Arzt zur Stelle war, der uns durch den Untersuchungsrichter den Tipp gab.

Aber Sie sind von Anfang an hier gewesen und Sie haben vielleicht ein paar kleine Hinweise aufgelesen.

Auf Grund der Beweise bei der amtlichen Untersuchung des Todesfalls ergibt sich, so sicher wie ich hier stehe, dass Mr. Inglethorp seine Frau ermordet hat, und wenn irgendjemand außer Ihnen das Gegenteil angedeutet hätte, hätte ich ihn verlacht.

Ich muss sagen, ich bin überrascht, dass die Jury ihn nicht sofort wegen Mord verurteilt hat.

Ich denke, sie hätten es getan, wenn der Untersuchungsrichte nicht gewesen wäre - er schien sie zurückzuhalten."

"Vielleicht haben Sie nun aber einen Haftbefehl in Ihrer Tasche", deutete Poirot an.

Eine Art hölzerne Rollade der Beamtenhaftigkeit ging bei Japps vielsagender Miene herunter.

"Velleicht habe ich das und vielleicht auch nicht", bemerkte er trocken.

Poirot schaute ihn nachdenklich an.

"Ich bin sehr darauf bedacht, Messieurs, dass er nicht verhaftet werden sollte."

"Wahrscheinlich", bemerkte Summerhaye sarkastisch.

Japp betrachtete Poirot mit drolliger Ratlosigkeit.

"Können Sie nicht etwas mehr sagen, Mr. Poirot? Ein Hinweis ist genauso gut wie ein Augenzwinkern - von Ihnen. Sie sind vor Ort gewesen - und sie wissen, Scotland Yard will keine Fehler machen.

Poirot nickte ernst.

"Das dachte ich mir schon. Gut, ich werde Ihnen dies sagen.

Benutzen Sie Ihren Haftbefehl: Nehmen Sie Mr. Inglethorp fest.

Aber es wird Ihnen keinen Ruhm einbringen - das Verfahren gegen ihn wird sofort eingestellt werden! Comme ca !" (So!) Und er schnalzte ausdrucksstark mit den Fingern.

Japps Gesicht wurde ernst, während Summerhaye ein ungläubiges Schnauben von sich gab.

Was mich betraf, ich war wortwörtlich stumm vor Erstaunen.

Ich konnte nur schlussfolgern, dass Poirot verrückt war.

Japp hatte ein Taschentuch herausgeholt und tupfte sachte seine Stirn.

"Ich wage es nicht, Mr. Poirot.

Ich nehme Sie beim Wort, aber es gibt andere über mir, die sich fragen werden, was zum Teufel ich damit beabsichtige.

Können Sie mir nicht ein wenig mehr geben, um weiterzumachen?"

Poirot dachte einen Augenblick nach.

"Das kann gemacht werden", sagte er schließlich.

"Ich gebe zu, mir wäre es anders lieber.

Es bringt mich in Zugzwang.

Ich hätte es vorgezogen, vorläufig im Dunkeln zu arbeiten, aber was Sie sagen ist ganz richtig - das Wort eines belgischen Polizeibeamten, dessen Tage vorüber sind, ist nicht genug! Und Alfred Inglethorp muss verhaftet werden.

Das habe ich geschworen, wie mein Freund Hastings hier weiß.

Bis dann, mein guter Japp, gehen Sie sofort nach Styles?"

"Nun, in einer halben Stunde etwa. Wir besuchen zunächst den Untersuchungsrichter und den Arzt."

"Gut. Holen Sie mich ab, wenn Sie vorbeikommen - das letzte Haus im Dorf.

Ich werde mit Ihnen gehen. Auf Styles wird Ihnen Mr. Inglethorp - oder wenn er es verweigert, was wahrscheinlich ist - werde ich Ihnen solche Beweise geben, die Sie überzeugen werden, dass die Anklage gegen ihn wahrscheinlich nicht aufrecht erhalten werden könnte.

Ist das ein Deal?"

"Das ist ein Deal", sagte Japp herzlich.

"Und im Namen von Scotland Yard bin ich Ihnen sehr zu Dank verpflichtet, obwohl ich zugeben muss, dass ich momentan bei den Indizien nicht das leiseste mögliche Schlupfloch sehe, aber Sie waren immer ein Genie! Bis dann also, Messieurs."

Die beiden Detektive schritten davon, Summerhaye mit einem skeptischen Grinsen auf seinem Gesicht.

"Also, mein Freund", rief Poirot, noch ehe ich zu Wort kommen konnte, " was meinen Sie? Mon Dieu ! (Mein Gott!) Mir wurde in diesem Gericht ein paarmal ganz anders; ich habe nicht vorausgesehen, dass der Mann so starrsinnig sein würde, zu verweigern, überhaupt irgendwas zu sagen.

Es war eindeutig die Taktik eines Schwachsinnigen."

"Hm! Es gibt andere Erklärungen außer Schwachsinn", bemerkte ich.

"Wie, falls der Vorwurf gegen ihn richtig ist, könnte er sich verteidigen außer mit Schweigen?"

"Ach, auf tausend raffinierte Arten", sagte Poirot.

"Sehen Sie, sagen wir, dass ich diesen Mord begangen hätte, dann könnte ich mir mehr als sieben plausible Geschichten ausdenken! Weit überzeugender als Mr. Inglethorps starres Leugnen!"

Ich konnte nicht anders und musste lachen.

"Mein lieber Poirot, ich bin sicher, dass Sie fähig sind, sich siebzig auszudenken! Aber, ernsthaft, trotz allem, was Sie den beiden Kriminalbeamten gesagt haben, können Sie doch bestimmt nicht an die Möglichkeit von Alfred Inglethorps Unschuld glauben?"

"Warum nicht, genauso wie vorher? Nichts hat sich verändert."

"Aber die Beweise sind so schlüssig."

"Ja, zu schlüssig."

Wir bogen am Tor von Leastways Cottage ein und schritten die nun vertraute Treppe hinauf.

"Ja, ja, zu schlüssig", fuhr Poirot fort, fast zu sich selbst.

"Richtige Beweise sind gewöhnlich vage und unbefriedigend.

Sie müssen genau durchgesehen werden - gesichtet werden. Aber hier ist die ganze Sache eindeutig.
Nein, mein Freund, diese Beweise sind sehr schlau erfunden worden - so schlau, dass sie sich ins eigene Fleisch schneiden."

"Wie kommen sie darauf?"

"Weil die Beweise gegen ihn, solange sie ungenau und nicht greifbar waren, sehr schwer zu widerlegen waren. Aber in seinem ängstlichen Bestreben hat der Verbrecher das Netz so eng zugezogen, dass ein Schnitt Inglethorp befreien wird."

Ich war still. Und nach ein oder zwei Minuten fuhr Poirot fort: "Lassen Sie uns die Sache so betrachten.

Hier ist ein Mann, lassen Sie uns sagen, der seine Frau vergiften will.

Er hat sich so durchgeschlagen, wie es heißt.

Vermutlich hat er also einigen Verstand.

Er ist kein völliger Narr. Also, wie hat er es angefangen? Er geht kühn zur Dorfapotheke und kauft Strychnin unter seinem eigenen Namen, mit einer erfundenen Geschichte über einen Hund, die sich zwangsläufig als absurd erweisen wird.

Er benutzt das Gift in dieser Nacht nicht. Nein, er wartet, bis er einen heftigen Krach mit ihr hat, den der ganze Haushalt mitbekommt und der natürlich den Verdacht auf ihn lenkt.

Er bereitet keine Verteidigung vor - nicht den Schatten eines Alibis, doch er weiß, dass der Apothekergehilfe sich notwendigerweise mit den Fakten melden muss.

Pah! Verlangen Sie nicht zu glauben, dass irgendjemand so idiotisch sein könnte! Nur ein Wahnsinniger, der Selbstmord begehen möchte, indem er veranlasst, dass er gehängt wird, würde so handeln!"

"Nur - ich sehe nicht - ", begann ich.

"Ich sehe es auch nicht. Ich sage Ihnen, mon ami, es verwirrt mich. Mich - Hercule Poirot!"

"Aber wenn Sie glauben, er sei unschuldig, wie erklären Sie seinen Kauf des Strychnins?"

"Sehr einfach. Er kaufte es nicht."

"Aber Mace hat ihn erkannt!"

"Ich bitte um Entschuldigung, er sah einen Mann mit einem schwarzen Bart, wie der von Mr. Inglethorp und der Augengläser trug wie Mr. Inglethorp und der in Mr. Inglethorps ziemlich auffälliger Kleidung angezogen war.

Er konnte keinen Mann wiedererkennen, den er wahrscheinlich nur aus der Entfernung gesehen hatte, da er, Sie erinnern sich, erst vierzehn Tage im Dorf gewesen war und Mrs. Inglethorp grundsätzlich die Geschäfte mit Coots in Tadminster tätigte."

"Dann glauben Sie ----" " Mon ami, erinnern Sie sich an die beiden Punkte, die ich besonders hervorgehoben habe?

Legen wir den ersten für einen Moment beiseite, was war der zweite?"

"Die wichtige Tatsache, dass Alfred Inglethorp besondere Kleidung trägt, einen schwarzen Bart hat und Augengläser benutzt.", zitierte ich.


"Genau. Nun angenommen, irgendjemand wollte sich als John oder Lawrence Cavendish ausgeben.
Würde das leicht sein?"

"Nein", sagte ich nachdenklich. "Natürlich ein Schauspieler ---."

Aber Poirot unterbrach mich schonungslos.

"Und warum würde es nicht leicht sein? Ich werde es Ihnen sagen, mein Freund: Weil beide glattrasierte Männer sind.

Um sich erfolgreich als einen der beiden im deutlichen Tageslicht zurechtzumachen, würde ein genialer Schauspieler gebraucht und eine gewisse erste Gesichtsähnlichkeit.

Aber im Fall von Alfred Inglethorp ist all das anders.

Seine Kleidung, sein Bart, die Augengläser, die seine Augen verbergen - das sind die hervorspringenden Punkte bei seinem persönlichen Erscheinungsbild.

Nun, was ist der erste Antrieb eines Verbrechers?

Verdacht von sich abzulenken, ist es nicht so?

Und wie kann er das am besten tun? Indem er es jemandem anderen zuschiebt.

In diesem Beispiel war ein Mann für ihn griffbereit.

Jeder tendierte dazu, an Mr. Ingelthorps Schuld zu glauben.

Es war eine ausgemachte Sache, dass er verdächtigt werden würde; aber um es zu einer sicheren Sache zu machen, musste es greifbare Beweise geben - wie das tatsächliche Kaufen des Giftes, und das war nicht schwierig, mit einem Mann des eigenartigen Äußeren von Mr. Inglethorp.

Erinnern Sie sich, dieser junge Mace hatte niemals wirklich mit Mr. Inglethorp gesprochen.

Wie sollte er bezweifeln, dass der Mann in seinen Kleidern, mit seinem Bart und seiner Brille, Alfred Inglethorp war?"

"Es mag so sein", sagte ich, fasziniert durch Poirots Eloquenz.

"Aber, wenn dies der Fall wäre, warum sagt er nicht, wo er um sechs Uhr am Montagabend war?"

"Ach so, warum?", sagte Poirot und beruhigte sich.

"Wenn er eingesperrt wäre, würde er wahrscheinlich sprechen, aber ich möchte es nicht dazu kommen lassen.

Ich muss ihm den Ernst seiner Lage klar machen.

Es gibt da selbstverständlich etwas Anrüchiges hinter seinem Schweigen.

Wenn er seine Frau nicht umbrachte, ist er trotzdem ein Halunke und hat etwas von sich zu verbergen, ganz abseits des Mordes."

"Was kann es sein?" Ich dachte nach und ließ mich für den Moment von Poirots Ansicht überzeugen, obwohl ich immer noch eine schwache Überzeugung hatte, dass die offensichtliche Folgerung die richtige war.

"Haben Sie keine Vermutung?", fragte Poirot lächelnd.

"Nein, haben Sie eine?"

"Oh ja, ich hatte vor einiger Zeit eine kleine Idee - und sie stellte sich als zutreffend heraus."

"Das haben Sie mir gar nicht gesagt", sagte ich vorwurfsvoll.

Poirot breitete entschuldigend die Hände aus.

"Verzeihen Sie mir, mon Ami, Sie waren nicht wirklich sympathique." Er wendete sich ernsthaft zu mir um. "Sagen Sie mir - sehen Sie jetzt, dass er nicht eingesperrt werden darf?"

"Vielleicht", sagte ich zweifelnd, weil mir das Schicksal von Alfred Inglethorp wirklich ziemlich egal war und ich dachte, dass ein schöner Schreck ihm nicht schaden würde.

Poirot, der mich genau beobachtete, seufzte auf.

"Kommen Sie mein Freund", sagte er und wechselte das Thema, "abgesehen von Mr. Inglethorp, wie kamen Ihnen die Beweise bei der Untersuchung vor?"

"Ach, ziemlich genau, was ich erwartet hatte."

"Kam Ihnen nichts davon merkwürdig vor?"

Meine Gedanken flogen zu Mary Cavendish und ich wich aus: "In welcher Weise?"

"Nun, Mr. Lawrence Cavendishs Hinweis zum Beispiel?"

Ich war erleichtert.

"Ach so, Lawrence! Nein, ich glaube nicht. Er ist immer ein nervöses Huhn".

"Sein Vorschlag, dass seine Mutter versehentlich durch das Tonikum, das sie genommen hat, vergiftet worden ist, das erschien Ihnen nicht eigenartig - hein (hm)?"

"Nein, kann ich nicht behaupten.

Die Ärzte belächelten es selbstverständlich.

Aber für einen Laien war es ein ganz natürlicher Vorschlag."

"Aber Monsieur Lawrence ist kein Laie.

Sie selbst erzählten mir, dass er anfangs Medizin studiert hatte und dass er seinen Doktor machte."

"Ja, das stimmt. Das habe ich nicht bedacht." Ich war ziemlich verwirrt. "Es ist seltsam."

Poirot nickte.

"Von Anfang an war sein Benehmen merkwürdig.

Von dem ganzen Haushalt war er der einzige, der die Symptome einer Strychninvergiftung erkennen könnte und doch sehen wir ihn als das einzige Mitglied der Familie, das energisch für die Theorie eines natürlichen Todes eintritt.

Wenn das Monsieur John gewesen wäre, hätte ich es verstehen können.

Er hat kein technisches Verständnis und von Natur aus keine Vorstellungskraft.

Aber Monsieur Lawrence - nein! Und nun stellt er heute einen Vorschlag in den Raum, von dem er selbst wissen musste, dass er lächerlich war.

Das birgt Stoff zum Nachdenken, mon ami!"

"Es ist sehr verwirrend", stimmte ich zu.

"Dann ist da Mrs. Cavendish", fuhr Poirot fort.

"Das ist noch jemand, der nicht alles sagt, was er weiß! Was halten Sie von ihrer Einstellung?"

"Ich weiß nicht, was man davon halten soll. Es scheint unvorstellbar, dass sie Alfred Inglethorp decken würde. Dennoch sieht es so aus."

Poirot nickte nachdenklich.

"Ja, es ist eigenartig. Eins ist sicher, sie belauschte eine ganze Menge mehr von der "privaten Unterhaltung", als sie zugeben wollte."

"Und dennoch ist sie die letzte Person, die man beschuldigen würde, sich dazu herzugeben zu lauschen!"

"Genau. Eine Sache hat mir ihre Aussage gezeigt. Ich habe einen Fehler gemacht. Dorcas hatte wirklich recht. Der Streit fand früher am Nachmittag statt, gegen vier Uhr, wie sie sagte."

Ich sah ihn neugierig an. Ich hatte sein Beharren auf diesem Punkt nie verstanden.

"Ja, heute kam einiges heraus, das merkwürdig war", fuhr Poirot fort.

"Dr. Bauerstein, nun, wie war er zu dieser Morgenstunde zurechtgemacht und gekleidet? Es erstaunt mich, dass niemand zu diesem Umstand seine Meinung gesagt hat."

"Er hat Schlafstörungen, glaube ich", sagte ich skeptisch.

"Was eine sehr gute oder eine sehr schlechte Erklärung ist", bemerkte Poirot. "Es verdeckt alles und erklärt nichts. Ich werde unseren schlauen Dr. Bauerstein im Auge behalten."

"Gibt es noch mehr Fehler bei den Beweisen zu finden?", erkundigte ich mich ironisch.

"Mon ami", erwiderte Poirot würdevoll, "wenn Sie bemerken, dass Leute Ihnen nicht die Wahrheit sagen - aufgepasst!

Nun, falls ich mich nicht sehr vertue, haben heute bei der Untersuchung nur eine - höchstens zwei Personen ohne Vorbehalt oder Ausflucht die Wahrheit gesagt."


"Och, nun machen Sie aber halblang, Poirot! Ich werde nicht Lawrence oder Mrs. Cavendish benennen.

Aber da ist John - und Miss Howard, sagen sie wirklich die Wahrheit?"

"Alle beide, mein Freund? Einen, gestehe ich Ihnen zu, aber beide---!"

Seine Worte machten mich betroffen.

Miss Howards Zeugenaussage, so unwichtig sie war, war in solch ausgesprochen unumwundener Weise gegeben worden, dass mir nie in den Sinn gekommen wäre, ihre Aufrichtigkeit anzuzweifeln.

Dennoch hatte ich großen Respekt vor Poirots Scharfsinn - außer zu den Gelegenheiten, wenn er so war, wie ich ihn für mich als töricht starrsinnig beschrieb.

"Glauben Sie das wirklich?" , fragte ich.

"Miss Howard erschien mir immer so grundsätzlich ehrlich - fast schon unbehaglich."

Poirot warf mir einen neugierigen Blick zu, den ich nicht recht ergründen konnte.

Er schien zu sprechen und überprüfte sich dann selbst.

"Miss Murdoch auch", fuhr ich fort, "es gibt nichts unwahrhaftiges über sie."

"Nein. Aber es war seltsam, dass sie nicht mal ein Geräusch hörte, da sie nebenan schlief; während Mrs. Cavendish im anderen Flügel des Hauses, genau den Tisch fallen hörte."

"Nun, sie ist jung. Und sie schläft tief und fest."

"Ach so, ja wirklich!" Das muss eine berühmte Schläferin sein!"

Ich mochte den Ton seiner Stimme gar nicht, aber in diesem Moment kam uns ein leichtes Klopfen zu Ohren und als wir aus dem Fenster sahen, bemerkten wir die beiden Detektive, die unten auf uns warteten.

Poirot griff nach seinem Hut, gab seinem Schnurrbart eine wilde Wendung und wischte vorsichtig ein imaginäres Staubkorn von seinem Ärmel und er bedeutete mir, vor ihm die Treppe hinunter zu gehen. Dort schlossen wir uns den Detektiven an und machten uns auf den Weg nach Styles.

Ich denke, das Erscheinen von zwei Scotland-Yard-Männern war ein ziemlicher Schock - speziell für John, obwohl ihm nach dem Urteil selbstverständlich klar geworden war, dass es nur eine Frage der Zeit wäre.

Doch die Anwesenheit der Detektive brachte die Wahrheit zu ihm nach Hause - mehr als irgendetwas anderes es gekonnt hätte.

Poirot hatte sich auf dem Weg hinauf in leisem Ton mit Japp unterhalten und es war dieser Beamte, der verlangte, dass der Haushalt, mit Ausnahme der Diener, im Wohnzimmer versammelt werden sollte.

Mir wurde die Bedeutung dessen klar. Es war an Poirot seinem Ruhm zu genügen.

Ich persönlich war nicht optimistisch. Poirot mochte exzellente Gründe für seinen Glauben an Inglethorps Unschuld haben, aber ein Mann wie Summerhaye würde greifbare Beweise verlangen und ich bezweifelte, dass Poirot diese beibringen konnte.

Nach nicht allzu langer Zeit hatten wir alle im Wohnzimmer versammelt, dessen Tür Japp schloss.

Poirot rückte freundlich für alle Stühle zurecht.

Die Männer von Scotland Yard waren der Anziehungspunkt aller Augen.

Ich denke, dass wir zum ersten Mal begriffen, dass dies kein schlechter Traum war, sondern greifbare Wirklichkeit.

Wir hatten von solchen Dingen gelesen - jetzt waren wir selbst die Darsteller in dem Drama.

Morgen würden die Tageszeitungen in ganz England sich mit den Nachrichten in grellen Schlagzeilen schmücken: "GEHEIMNISVOLLE TRAGÖDIE IN ESSEX", "REICHE LADY VERGIFTET".


Dort würden Bilder von Styles erscheinen, Schnappschüsse von "Die Familie verlässt die Untersuchung" - der Fotograf des Dorfes war nicht untätig geblieben.

Alle diese Dinge, die man hundertmal gelesen hatte - Dinge, die anderen Leuten passieren, nicht einem selbst.

Und jetzt war in diesem Haus ein Mord verübt worden. Vor uns waren "die für den Fall verantwortlichen Detektive".

Die wohlbekannte, glatte Phrase ging mir rasch durch den Kopf, bevor Poirot den Vorgang eröffnete.

Ich glaube, jeder war ein bisschen überrascht, dass er es sein sollte, und nicht einer der offiziellen Detektive, der die Initiative ergriff.

"Mesdames und Messieurs", sagte Poirot und verbeugte sich, als ob er ein Star wäre, im Begriff, einen Vortrag zu halten, "ich habe Sie wegen eines bestimmten Zweckes gebeten, gemeinsam hierherzukommen.

Dieser Zweck, er betrifft Mr. Alfred Inglethorp."

Inglethorp saß ein bisschen abseits - ich denke, unbewusst hatte jeder seinen Stuhl ein wenig von ihm weggerückt - und er zuckte leicht zusammen, als Poirot seinen Namen aussprach.

"Mr. Inglethorp", sagte Poirot und sprach ihn direkt an, " ein sehr dunkler Schatten liegt über diesem Haus - der Schatten eines Mordes."

Inglethorp schüttelte traurig den Kopf.

"Meine arme Frau", murmelte er. "Arme Emily! Es ist schrecklich."

"Ich denke nicht, Monsieur,", sagte Poirot spitz, "dass Sie wirklich begreifen, wie schrecklich es vielleicht ist - für Sie."

Und als Inglethorp nicht zu verstehen schien, fügte er hinzu: "Mr. Inglethorp, Sie befinden sich in sehr ernster Gefahr."

Die zwei Kriminalbeamten wurden unruhig. Ich sah, dass die offizielle Rechtsbelehrung "Alles, was Sie sagen, kann als Beweis gegen Sie verwendet werden", tatsächlich auf Summerhayes Lippen lag.

Poirot fuhr fort.

"Verstehen Sie jetzt, Monsieur?"

"Nein, was meinen Sie?"

"Ich meine,", sagte Poirot ausdrücklich, "dass Sie verdächtigt werden, Ihre Frau vergiftet zu haben."

Ein kleines hörbares Einatmen lief durch die Runde bei dieser klaren Ansprache.

"Um Gottes willen!" rief Inglethorp und sprang auf. "Was für ein ungeheuerlicher Einfall! Ich - meine liebste Emily vergiften!"

"Ich denke nicht," - Poirot beobachtete ihn genau - "dass Sie ganz begreifen, wie unvorteilhaft die Natur Ihrer Zeugenaussage beim Untersuchungsgericht war.

Mr. Inglethorp, wissend, was ich Ihnen jetzt gesagt habe, weigern Sie sich immer noch zu sagen, wo Sie um sechs Uhr am Montagnachmittag waren?"

Mit einem Aufstöhnen sank Alfred Inglethorp wieder zusammen udn vergrub sein Gesicht in den Händen.

Poirot näherte sich und stand über ihm.

"Reden Sie!" rief er drohend.

Mit Anstrengung erhob Inglethorp sein Gesicht aus den Händen.

Dann schüttelte er langsam und bedächtig seinen Kopf.

"Sie werden nicht reden?"

"Nein. Ich glaube nicht, dass irgendjemand so ungeheuerlich sein könnte, mich dessen zu beschuldigen, was Sie sagen."

Poirot nickte gedankenvoll wie ein Mann, der zu einer Entscheidung gekommen ist.

"Soit!",(Also gut!) sagte er. "Dann muss ich für Sie sprechen."

Alfred Inglethorp sprang wieder auf.

"Sie? Wie können Sie sprechen? Sie wissen nicht ---", er brach schlagartig ab.

Poirot wendete sich uns zu. "Mesdames und Messieurs! Ich spreche! Hören Sie! Ich, Hercule Poirot, bestätige, dass der Mann, der die Apotheke betrat und am letzten Montag um sechs Uhr Strychnin kaufte, nicht Mr. Inglethorp war, weil Mr. Inglethorp an diesem Tag um sechs Uhr Mrs. Raikes von einer Nachbarfarm zurück nach Hause begleitete.

Ich kann nicht weniger als fünf Zeugen beibringen, die schwören, sie zusammen gesehen zu haben, entweder um sechs oder kurz danach. Wie Sie sicherlich wissen, ist die Abbey-Farm, Mrs. Raikes Zuhause, mindestens zweieinhalb Meilen vom Dorf entfernt.

Es gibt absolut keine Frage bezüglich des Alibis! ".
unit 1
POIROT PAYS HIS DEBTS.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 2
As we came out of the Stylites Arms, Poirot drew me aside by a gentle pressure of the arm.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 3
I understood his object.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 4
He was waiting for the Scotland Yard men.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 6
"I fear you do not remember me, Inspector Japp.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 7
"Why, if it isn't Mr.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 8
Poirot!"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 9
cried the Inspector.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 10
He turned to the other man.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 11
"You've heard me speak of Mr. Poirot?
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 13
Ah, those were great days, moosier.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 14
Then, do you remember 'Baron' Altara?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 15
There was a pretty rogue for you!.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 16
He eluded the clutches of half the police in Europe.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 17
But we nailed him in Antwerp—thanks to Mr. Poirot here.".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 19
"I need hardly ask what you are doing here, gentlemen," remarked Poirot.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 20
Japp closed one eye knowingly.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 21
"No, indeed.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 22
Pretty clear case I should say.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 23
But Poirot answered gravely: "There I differ from you.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 24
"Oh, come!"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 25
said Summerhaye, opening his lips for the first time.
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unit 26
"Surely the whole thing is clear as daylight.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 27
The man's caught red-handed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 28
How he could be such a fool beats me!".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 29
But Japp was looking attentively at Poirot.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 30
"Hold your fire, Summerhaye," he remarked jocularly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 31
"Me and Moosier here have met before—and there's no man's judgment I'd sooner take than his.
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unit 32
If I'm not greatly mistaken, he's got something up his sleeve.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 33
Isn't that so, moosier?".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 34
Poirot smiled.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 35
"I have drawn certain conclusions—yes.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 36
Summerhaye was still looking rather sceptical, but Japp continued his scrutiny of Poirot.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 37
"It's this way," he said, "so far, we've only seen the case from the outside.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 39
A lot depends on being on the spot first thing, and that's where Mr.Poirot's had the start of us.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 41
But you've been on the spot from the first, and you may have picked up some little hints.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 43
I must say I was surprised the jury didn't bring it in Wilful Murder against him right off.
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unit 44
I think they would have, if it hadn't been for the Coroner—he seemed to be holding them back."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 45
"Perhaps, though, you have a warrant for his arrest in your pocket now," suggested Poirot.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 46
A kind of wooden shutter of officialdom came down from Japp's expressive countenance.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 47
"Perhaps I have, and perhaps I haven't," he remarked dryly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 48
Poirot looked at him thoughtfully.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 49
"I am very anxious, Messieurs, that he should not be arrested."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 50
"I dare say," observed Summerhaye sarcastically.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 51
Japp was regarding Poirot with comical perplexity.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 52
"Can't you go a little further, Mr.Poirot?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 53
A wink's as good as a nod—from you.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 54
You've been on the spot—and the Yard doesn't want to make any mistakes, you know."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 55
Poirot nodded gravely.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 56
"That is exactly what I thought.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 57
Well, I will tell you this.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 58
Use your warrant: Arrest Mr.Inglethorp.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 59
But it will bring you no kudos—the case against him will be dismissed at once!
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 60
Comme ca!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 61
And he snapped his fingers expressively.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 62
Japp's face grew grave, though Summerhaye gave an incredulous snort.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 63
As for me, I was literally dumb with astonishment.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 64
I could only conclude that Poirot was mad.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 65
Japp had taken out a handkerchief, and was gently dabbing hisbrow.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 66
"I daren't do it, Mr.Poirot.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 67
I'd take your word, but there's others over me who'll be asking what the devil I mean by it.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 68
Can't you give me a little more to go on?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 69
Poirot reflected a moment.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 70
"It can be done," he said at last.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 71
"I admit I do not wish it.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 72
It forces my hand.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 74
And Alfred Inglethorp must not be arrested.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 75
That I have sworn, as my friend Hastings here knows.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 76
See, then, my good Japp, you go at once to Styles?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 77
"Well, in about half an hour.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 78
We're seeing the Coroner and the doctor first."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 79
"Good.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 80
Call for me in passing—the last house in the village.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 81
I will go with you.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 83
Is that a bargain?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 84
"That's a bargain," said Japp heartily.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 86
So long, then, moosier.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 87
The two detectives strode away, Summerhaye with an incredulous grin on his face.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 88
"Well, my friend," cried Poirot, before I could get in a word, "what do you think?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 89
Mon Dieu!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 91
Decidedly, it was the policy of an imbecile.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 92
"H'm!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 93
There are other explanations besides that of imbecility," I remarked.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 94
"For, if the case against him is true, how could he defend himself except by silence?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 95
"Why, in a thousand ingenious ways," cried Poirot.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 96
"See; say that it is I who have committed this murder, I can think of seven most plausible stories!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 97
Far more convincing than Mr. Inglethorp's stony denials!".
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 98
I could not help laughing.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 99
"My dear Poirot, I am sure you are capable of thinking of seventy!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 101
"Why not now as much as before?
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 102
Nothing has changed.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 103
"But the evidence is so conclusive."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 104
"Yes, too conclusive.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 105
We turned in at the gate of Leastways Cottage, and proceeded up the now familiar stairs.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 106
"Yes, yes, too conclusive," continued Poirot, almost to himself.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 107
"Real evidence is usually vague and unsatisfactory.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 108
It has to be examined—sifted.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 109
But here the whole thing is cut and dried.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 111
"How do you make that out?".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 112
unit 113
unit 114
I was silent.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 115
And in a minute or two, Poirot continued: "Let us look at the matter like this.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 116
Here is a man, let us say, who sets out to poison his wife.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 117
He has lived by his wits as the saying goes.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 118
Presumably, therefore, he has some wits.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 119
He is not altogether a fool.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 120
Well, how does he set about it?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 122
He does not employ the poison that night.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 125
Bah!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 126
do not ask me to believe that any man could be so idiotic!
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 127
Only a lunatic, who wished to commit suicide by causing himself to be hanged, would act so!".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 128
"Still—I do not see—" I began.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 129
"Neither do I see.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 130
I tell you, mon ami, it puzzles me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 131
Me—Hercule Poirot!".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 132
"But if you believe him innocent, how do you explain his buying the strychnine?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 133
"Very simply.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 134
He did not buy it.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 135
"But Mace recognized him!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 138
"Then you think——" "Mon ami, do you remember the two points I laid stress upon?.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 139
Leave the first one for the moment, what was the second?".
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unit 141
"Exactly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 142
Now suppose anyone wished to pass himself off as John or Lawrence Cavendish.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 143
Would it be easy?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 144
"No," I said thoughtfully.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 145
"Of course an actor——".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 146
But Poirot cut me short ruthlessly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 147
"And why would it not be easy?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 148
I will tell you, my friend: Because they are both clean-shaven men.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 150
But in the case of Alfred Inglethorp, all that is changed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 152
Now, what is the first instinct of the criminal?.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 153
To divert suspicion from himself, is it not so?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 154
And how can he best do that?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 155
By throwing it on some one else.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 156
In this instance, there was a man ready to his hand.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 157
Everybody was predisposed to believe in Mr. Inglethorp's guilt.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 159
Remember, this young Mace had never actually spoken to Mr. Inglethorp.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 161
"It may be so," I said, fascinated by Poirot's eloquence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 162
"But, if that was the case, why does he not say where he was at six o'clock on Monday evening?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 163
"Ah, why indeed?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 164
said Poirot, calming down.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 165
"If he were arrested, he probably would speak, but I do not want it to come to that.
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unit 166
I must make him see the gravity of his position.
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unit 167
There is, of course, something discreditable behind his silence.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 169
"What can it be?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 171
"Can you not guess?"
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 172
asked Poirot, smiling.
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unit 173
"No, can you?"
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 174
"Oh, yes, I had a little idea sometime ago—and it has turned out to be correct.".
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unit 175
"You never told me," I said reproachfully.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 176
Poirot spread out his hands apologetically.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 177
"Pardon me, mon ami, you were not precisely sympathique. "
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 178
He turned to me earnestly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 179
"Tell me—you see now that he must not be arrested?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 181
Poirot, who was watching me intently, gave a sigh.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 183
"Oh, pretty much what I expected.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 184
"Did nothing strike you as peculiar about it?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 185
My thoughts flew to Mary Cavendish, and I hedged: "In what way?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 186
"Well, Mr. Lawrence Cavendish's evidence for instance?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 187
I was relieved.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 188
"Oh, Lawrence!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 189
No, I don't think so.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 190
He's always a nervous chap.".
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unit 192
"No, I can't say it did.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 193
The doctors ridiculed it of course.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 194
But it was quite a natural suggestion for a layman to make.".
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unit 195
"But Monsieur Lawrence is not a layman.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 196
You told me yourself that he had started by studying medicine, and that he had taken his degree.".
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unit 197
"Yes, that's true.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 198
I never thought of that."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 199
I was rather startled.
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unit 200
"It is odd.".
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unit 201
Poirot nodded.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 202
"From the first, his behaviour has been peculiar.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 204
If it had been Monsieur John, I could have understood it.
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unit 205
He has no technical knowledge, and is by nature unimaginative.
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unit 206
But Monsieur Lawrence—no!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 207
And now, to-day, he puts forward a suggestion that he himself must have known was ridiculous.
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unit 208
There is food for thought in this, mon ami!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 209
"It's very confusing," I agreed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 210
"Then there is Mrs. Cavendish," continued Poirot.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 211
"That's another who is not telling all she knows!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 212
What do you make of her attitude?".
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unit 213
"I don't know what to make of it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 214
It seems inconceivable that she should be shielding Alfred Inglethorp.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 215
Yet that is what it looks like."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 216
Poirot nodded reflectively.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 217
"Yes, it is queer.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 219
"And yet she is the last person one would accuse of stooping to eavesdrop!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 220
"Exactly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 221
One thing her evidence has shown me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 222
I made a mistake.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 223
Dorcas was quite right.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 224
The quarrel did take place earlier in the afternoon, about four o'clock, as she said."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 225
I looked at him curiously.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 226
I had never understood his insistence on that point.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 227
"Yes, a good deal that was peculiar came out to-day," continued Poirot.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 228
"Dr.Bauerstein, now, what was he doing up and dressed at that hour in the morning?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 229
It is astonishing to me that no one commented on the fact.".
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unit 230
"He has insomnia, I believe," I said doubtfully.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 231
"Which is a very good, or a very bad explanation," remarked Poirot.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 232
"It covers everything, and explains nothing.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 233
I shall keep my eye on our clever Dr.Bauerstein.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 234
"Any more faults to find with the evidence?"
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unit 235
I inquired satirically.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 236
unit 238
"Oh, come now, Poirot!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 239
I won't cite Lawrence, or Mrs.Cavendish.
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unit 240
But there's John—and Miss Howard, surely they were speaking the truth?"
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"Both of them, my friend?
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One, I grant you, but both——!".
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His words gave me an unpleasant shock.
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"Do you really think so?"
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I asked.
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"Miss Howard had always seemed to me so essentially honest—almost uncomfortably so.".
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Poirot gave me a curious look, which I could not quite fathom.
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He seemed to speak, and then checked himself.
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"Miss Murdoch too," I continued, "there's nothing untruthful about her."
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"No.
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"Well, she's young.
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And she sleeps soundly.".
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"Ah, yes, indeed!
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She must be a famous sleeper, that one!".
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I realized the significance of this.
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It was up to Poirot to make his boast good.
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Personally, I was not sanguine.
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Before very long we had all trooped into the drawing-room, the door of which Japp closed.
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Poirot politely set chairs for every one.
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The Scotland Yard men were the cynosure of all eyes.
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unit 271
We had read of such things—now we ourselves were actors in the drama.
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unit 275
And now, in this house, a murder had been committed.
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In front of us were "the detectives in charge of the case.".
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That object, it concerns Mr. Alfred Inglethorp.".
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Inglethorp shook his head sadly.
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"My poor wife," he murmured.
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"Poor Emily!
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It is terrible.".
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The two detectives fidgeted.
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Poirot went on.
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"Do you understand now, monsieur?"
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"No; What do you mean?"
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"I mean," said Poirot deliberately, "that you are suspected of poisoning your wife."
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A little gasp ran round the circle at this plain speaking.
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"Good heavens!"
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cried Inglethorp, starting up.
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"What a monstrous idea!
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I—poison my dearest Emily!".
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With a groan, Alfred Inglethorp sank down again and buried his face in his hands.
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Poirot approached and stood over him.
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"Speak!"
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he cried menacingly.
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With an effort, Inglethorp raised his face from his hands.
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Then, slowly and deliberately, he shook his head.
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"You will not speak?"
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"No.
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I do not believe that anyone could be so monstrous as to accuse me of what you say."
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Poirot nodded thoughtfully, like a man whose mind is made up.
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"Soit!"
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unit 313
he said.
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"Then I must speak for you."
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unit 315
Alfred Inglethorp sprang up again.
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"You?
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How can you speak?
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You do not know——" he broke off abruptly.
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Poirot turned to face us.
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"Mesdames and messieurs!
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I speak!
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Listen!
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There is absolutely no question as to the alibi!
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".
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bf2010 • 10821  commented on  unit 17  4 months, 3 weeks ago

POIROT PAYS HIS DEBTS.

As we came out of the Stylites Arms, Poirot drew me aside by a gentle pressure of the arm.

I understood his object. He was waiting for the Scotland Yard men.

In a few moments, they emerged, and Poirot at once stepped forward, and accosted the shorter of the two.

"I fear you do not remember me, Inspector Japp.".

"Why, if it isn't Mr. Poirot!" cried the Inspector.

He turned to the other man. "You've heard me speak of Mr. Poirot? It was in 1904 he and I worked together—the Abercrombie forgery case—you remember, he was run down in Brussels.

Ah, those were great days, moosier.

Then, do you remember 'Baron' Altara? There was a pretty rogue for you!.

He eluded the clutches of half the police in Europe.

But we nailed him in Antwerp—thanks to Mr. Poirot here.".

As these friendly reminiscences were being indulged in, I drew nearer, and was introduced to Detective-Inspector Japp, who, in his turn, introduced us both to his companion, Superintendent Summerhaye.

"I need hardly ask what you are doing here, gentlemen," remarked Poirot.

Japp closed one eye knowingly.

"No, indeed. Pretty clear case I should say.".

But Poirot answered gravely:

"There I differ from you.".

"Oh, come!" said Summerhaye, opening his lips for the first time.

"Surely the whole thing is clear as daylight.

The man's caught red-handed.

How he could be such a fool beats me!".

But Japp was looking attentively at Poirot.

"Hold your fire, Summerhaye," he remarked jocularly.

"Me and Moosier here have met before—and there's no man's judgment I'd sooner take than his.

If I'm not greatly mistaken, he's got something up his sleeve.

Isn't that so, moosier?".

Poirot smiled.

"I have drawn certain conclusions—yes.".

Summerhaye was still looking rather sceptical, but Japp continued his scrutiny of Poirot.

"It's this way," he said, "so far, we've only seen the case from the outside.

That's where the Yard's at a disadvantage in a case of this kind, where the murder's only out, so to speak, after the inquest.

A lot depends on being on the spot first thing, and that's where Mr.Poirot's had the start of us.

We shouldn't have been here as soon as this even, if it hadn't been for the fact that there was a smart doctor on the spot, who gave us the tip through the Coroner.

But you've been on the spot from the first, and you may have picked up some little hints.

From the evidence at the inquest, Mr.Inglethorp murdered his wife as sure as I stand here, and if anyone but you hinted the contrary I'd laugh in his face.

I must say I was surprised the jury didn't bring it in Wilful Murder against him right off.

I think they would have, if it hadn't been for the Coroner—he seemed to be holding them back."

"Perhaps, though, you have a warrant for his arrest in your pocket now," suggested Poirot.

A kind of wooden shutter of officialdom came down from Japp's expressive countenance.

"Perhaps I have, and perhaps I haven't," he remarked dryly.

Poirot looked at him thoughtfully.

"I am very anxious, Messieurs, that he should not be arrested."

"I dare say," observed Summerhaye sarcastically.

Japp was regarding Poirot with comical perplexity.

"Can't you go a little further, Mr.Poirot? A wink's as good as a nod—from you. You've been on the spot—and the Yard doesn't want to make any mistakes, you know."

Poirot nodded gravely.

"That is exactly what I thought. Well, I will tell you this.

Use your warrant: Arrest Mr.Inglethorp.

But it will bring you no kudos—the case against him will be dismissed at once! Comme ca!" And he snapped his fingers expressively.

Japp's face grew grave, though Summerhaye gave an incredulous snort.

As for me, I was literally dumb with astonishment.

I could only conclude that Poirot was mad.

Japp had taken out a handkerchief, and was gently dabbing hisbrow.

"I daren't do it, Mr.Poirot.

I'd take your word, but there's others over me who'll be asking what the devil I mean by it.

Can't you give me a little more to go on?"

Poirot reflected a moment.

"It can be done," he said at last.

"I admit I do not wish it.

It forces my hand.

I would have preferred to work in the dark just for the present, but what you say is very just—the word of a Belgian policeman, whose day is past, is not enough! And Alfred Inglethorp must not be arrested.

That I have sworn, as my friend Hastings here knows.

See, then, my good Japp, you go at once to Styles?"

"Well, in about half an hour. We're seeing the Coroner and the doctor first."

"Good. Call for me in passing—the last house in the village.

I will go with you. At Styles, Mr.Inglethorp will give you, or if he refuses—as is probable—I will give you such proofs that shall satisfy you that the case against him could not possibly be sustained.

Is that a bargain?".

"That's a bargain," said Japp heartily.

"And, on behalf of the Yard, I'm much obliged to you, though I'm bound to confess I can't at present see the faintest possible loop-hole in the evidence, but you always were a marvel! So long, then, moosier.".

The two detectives strode away, Summerhaye with an incredulous grin on his face.

"Well, my friend," cried Poirot, before I could get in a word, "what do you think? Mon Dieu! I had some warm moments in that court; I did not figure to myself that the man would be so pig-headed as to refuse to say anything at all.

Decidedly, it was the policy of an imbecile.".

"H'm! There are other explanations besides that of imbecility," I remarked.

"For, if the case against him is true, how could he defend himself except by silence?".

"Why, in a thousand ingenious ways," cried Poirot.

"See; say that it is I who have committed this murder, I can think of seven most plausible stories! Far more convincing than Mr. Inglethorp's stony denials!".

I could not help laughing.

"My dear Poirot, I am sure you are capable of thinking of seventy! But, seriously, in spite of what I heard you say to the detectives, you surely cannot still believe in the possibility of Alfred Inglethorp's innocence?".

"Why not now as much as before? Nothing has changed.".

"But the evidence is so conclusive."

"Yes, too conclusive.".

We turned in at the gate of Leastways Cottage, and proceeded up the now familiar stairs.

"Yes, yes, too conclusive," continued Poirot, almost to himself.

"Real evidence is usually vague and unsatisfactory.

It has to be examined—sifted. But here the whole thing is cut and dried.
No, my friend, this evidence has been very cleverly manufactured—so cleverly that it has defeated its own ends.".

"How do you make that out?".

"Because, so long as the evidence against him was vague and intangible, it was very hard to disprove. But, in his anxiety, the criminal has drawn the net so closely that one cut will set Inglethorp free."

I was silent. And in a minute or two, Poirot continued:

"Let us look at the matter like this.

Here is a man, let us say, who sets out to poison his wife.

He has lived by his wits as the saying goes.

Presumably, therefore, he has some wits.

He is not altogether a fool. Well, how does he set about it? He goes boldly to the village chemist's and purchases strychnine under his own name, with a trumped up story about a dog which is bound to be proved absurd.

He does not employ the poison that night. No, he waits until he has had a violent quarrel with her, of which the whole household is cognisant, and which naturally directs their suspicions upon him.

He prepares no defence—no shadow of an alibi, yet he knows the chemist's assistant must necessarily come forward with the facts.

Bah! do not ask me to believe that any man could be so idiotic! Only a lunatic, who wished to commit suicide by causing himself to be hanged, would act so!".

"Still—I do not see—" I began.

"Neither do I see. I tell you, mon ami, it puzzles me. Me—Hercule Poirot!".

"But if you believe him innocent, how do you explain his buying the strychnine?"

"Very simply. He did not buy it.".

"But Mace recognized him!"

"I beg your pardon, he saw a man with a black beard like Mr. Inglethorp's, and wearing glasses like Mr. Inglethorp, and dressed in Mr. Inglethorp's rather noticeable clothes.

He could not recognize a man whom he had probably only seen in the distance, since, you remember, he himself had only been in the village a fortnight, and Mrs. Inglethorp dealt principally with Coot's in Tadminster.".

"Then you think——"

"Mon ami, do you remember the two points I laid stress upon?.

Leave the first one for the moment, what was the second?".

"The important fact that Alfred Inglethorp wears peculiar clothes, has a black beard, and uses glasses," I quoted.

"Exactly. Now suppose anyone wished to pass himself off as John or Lawrence Cavendish.
Would it be easy?".

"No," I said thoughtfully. "Of course an actor——".

But Poirot cut me short ruthlessly.

"And why would it not be easy? I will tell you, my friend: Because they are both clean-shaven men.

To make up successfully as one of these two in broad daylight, it would need an actor of genius, and a certain initial facial resemblance.

But in the case of Alfred Inglethorp, all that is changed.

His clothes, his beard, the glasses which hide his eyes—those are the salient points about his personal appearance.

Now, what is the first instinct of the criminal?.

To divert suspicion from himself, is it not so?

And how can he best do that? By throwing it on some one else.

In this instance, there was a man ready to his hand.

Everybody was predisposed to believe in Mr. Inglethorp's guilt.

It was a foregone conclusion that he would be suspected; but, to make it a sure thing there must be tangible proof—such as the actual buying of the poison, and that, with a man of the peculiar appearance of Mr. Inglethorp, was not difficult.

Remember, this young Mace had never actually spoken to Mr. Inglethorp.

How should he doubt that the man in his clothes, with his beard and his glasses, was not Alfred Inglethorp?".

"It may be so," I said, fascinated by Poirot's eloquence.

"But, if that was the case, why does he not say where he was at six o'clock on Monday evening?".

"Ah, why indeed?" said Poirot, calming down.

"If he were arrested, he probably would speak, but I do not want it to come to that.

I must make him see the gravity of his position.

There is, of course, something discreditable behind his silence.

If he did not murder his wife, he is, nevertheless, a scoundrel, and has something of his own to conceal, quite apart from the murder.".

"What can it be?" I mused, won over to Poirot's views for the moment, although still retaining a faint conviction that the obvious deduction was the correct one.

"Can you not guess?" asked Poirot, smiling.

"No, can you?"

"Oh, yes, I had a little idea sometime ago—and it has turned out to be correct.".

"You never told me," I said reproachfully.

Poirot spread out his hands apologetically.

"Pardon me, mon ami, you were not precisely sympathique.

" He turned to me earnestly. "Tell me—you see now that he must not be arrested?".

"Perhaps," I said doubtfully, for I was really quite indifferent to the fate of Alfred Inglethorp, and thought that a good fright would do him no harm.

Poirot, who was watching me intently, gave a sigh.

"Come, my friend," he said, changing the subject, "apart from Mr. Inglethorp, how did the evidence at the inquest strike you?".

"Oh, pretty much what I expected.".

"Did nothing strike you as peculiar about it?".

My thoughts flew to Mary Cavendish, and I hedged:

"In what way?".

"Well, Mr. Lawrence Cavendish's evidence for instance?"

I was relieved.

"Oh, Lawrence! No, I don't think so. He's always a nervous chap.".

"His suggestion that his mother might have been poisoned accidentally by means of the tonic she was taking, that did not strike you as strange—hein?".

"No, I can't say it did.

The doctors ridiculed it of course.

But it was quite a natural suggestion for a layman to make.".

"But Monsieur Lawrence is not a layman.

You told me yourself that he had started by studying medicine, and that he had taken his degree.".

"Yes, that's true. I never thought of that." I was rather startled. "It is odd.".

Poirot nodded.

"From the first, his behaviour has been peculiar.

Of all the household, he alone would be likely to recognize the symptoms of strychnine poisoning, and yet we find him the only member of the family to uphold strenuously the theory of death from natural causes.

If it had been Monsieur John, I could have understood it.

He has no technical knowledge, and is by nature unimaginative.

But Monsieur Lawrence—no! And now, to-day, he puts forward a suggestion that he himself must have known was ridiculous.

There is food for thought in this, mon ami!".

"It's very confusing," I agreed.

"Then there is Mrs. Cavendish," continued Poirot.

"That's another who is not telling all she knows! What do you make of her attitude?".

"I don't know what to make of it. It seems inconceivable that she should be shielding Alfred Inglethorp. Yet that is what it looks like."

Poirot nodded reflectively.

"Yes, it is queer. One thing is certain, she overheard a good deal more of that 'private conversation' than she was willing to admit.".

"And yet she is the last person one would accuse of stooping to eavesdrop!".

"Exactly. One thing her evidence has shown me. I made a mistake. Dorcas was quite right. The quarrel did take place earlier in the afternoon, about four o'clock, as she said."

I looked at him curiously. I had never understood his insistence on that point.

"Yes, a good deal that was peculiar came out to-day," continued Poirot.

"Dr.Bauerstein, now, what was he doing up and dressed at that hour in the morning? It is astonishing to me that no one commented on the fact.".

"He has insomnia, I believe," I said doubtfully.

"Which is a very good, or a very bad explanation," remarked Poirot. "It covers everything, and explains nothing. I shall keep my eye on our clever Dr.Bauerstein.".

"Any more faults to find with the evidence?" I inquired satirically.

"Mon ami," replied Poirot gravely, "when you find that people are not telling you the truth—look out!.

Now, unless I am much mistaken, at the inquest to-day only one—at most, two persons were speaking the truth without reservation or subterfuge.".

"Oh, come now, Poirot! I won't cite Lawrence, or Mrs.Cavendish.

But there's John—and Miss Howard, surely they were speaking the truth?"

"Both of them, my friend? One, I grant you, but both——!".

His words gave me an unpleasant shock.

Miss Howard's evidence, unimportant as it was, had been given in such a downright straightforward manner that it had never occurred to me to doubt her sincerity.

Still, I had a great respect for Poirot's sagacity—except on the occasions when he was what I described to myself as "foolishly pig-headed.".

"Do you really think so?" I asked.

"Miss Howard had always seemed to me so essentially honest—almost uncomfortably so.".

Poirot gave me a curious look, which I could not quite fathom.

He seemed to speak, and then checked himself.

"Miss Murdoch too," I continued, "there's nothing untruthful about her."

"No. But it was strange that she never heard a sound, sleeping next door;
whereas Mrs.Cavendish, in the other wing of the building, distinctly heard the table fall.".

"Well, she's young. And she sleeps soundly.".

"Ah, yes, indeed! She must be a famous sleeper, that one!".

I did not quite like the tone of his voice, but at that moment a smart knock reached our ears, and looking out of the window we perceived the two detectives waiting for us below.

Poirot seized his hat, gave a ferocious twist to his moustache, and, carefully brushing an imaginary speck of dust from his sleeve, motioned me to precede him down the stairs; there we joined the detectives and set out for Styles.

I think the appearance of the two Scotland Yard men was rather a shock—especially to John, though of course after the verdict, he had realized that it was only a matter of time.

Still, the presence of the detectives brought the truth home to him more than anything else could have done.

Poirot had conferred with Japp in a low tone on the way up, and it was the latter functionary who requested that the household, with the exception of the servants, should be assembled together in the drawing-room.

I realized the significance of this. It was up to Poirot to make his boast good.

Personally, I was not sanguine. Poirot might have excellent reasons for his belief in Inglethorp's innocence, but a man of the type of Summerhaye would require tangible proofs, and these I doubted if Poirot could supply.

Before very long we had all trooped into the drawing-room, the door of which Japp closed.

Poirot politely set chairs for every one.

The Scotland Yard men were the cynosure of all eyes.

I think that for the first time we realized that the thing was not a bad dream, but a tangible reality.

We had read of such things—now we ourselves were actors in the drama.

To-morrow the daily papers, all over England, would blazon out the news in staring headlines:

"MYSTERIOUS TRAGEDY IN ESSEX"
"WEALTHY LADY POISONED".

There would be pictures of Styles, snap-shots of "The family leaving the Inquest"—the village photographer had not been idle!.

All the things that one had read a hundred times—things that happen to other people, not to oneself.

And now, in this house, a murder had been committed. In front of us were "the detectives in charge of the case.".

The well-known glib phraseology passed rapidly through my mind in the interval before Poirot opened the proceedings.

I think every one was a little surprised that it should be he and not one of the official detectives who took the initiative.

"Mesdames and messieurs," said Poirot, bowing as though he were a celebrity about to deliver a lecture, "I have asked you to come here all together, for a certain object.

That object, it concerns Mr. Alfred Inglethorp.".

Inglethorp was sitting a little by himself—I think, unconsciously, every one had drawn his chair slightly away from him—and he gave a faint start as Poirot pronounced his name.

"Mr.Inglethorp," said Poirot, addressing him directly, "a very dark shadow is resting on this house—the shadow of murder.".

Inglethorp shook his head sadly.

"My poor wife," he murmured. "Poor Emily! It is terrible.".

"I do not think, monsieur," said Poirot pointedly, "that you quite realize how terrible it may be—for you.".

And as Inglethorp did not appear to understand, he added: "Mr.Inglethorp, you are standing in very grave danger."

The two detectives fidgeted. I saw the official caution "Anything you say will be used in evidence against you," actually hovering on Summerhaye's lips.

Poirot went on.

"Do you understand now, monsieur?"

"No; What do you mean?"

"I mean," said Poirot deliberately, "that you are suspected of poisoning your wife."

A little gasp ran round the circle at this plain speaking.

"Good heavens!" cried Inglethorp, starting up. "What a monstrous idea! I—poison my dearest Emily!".

"I do not think"—Poirot watched him narrowly—"that you quite realize the unfavourable nature of your evidence at the inquest.

Mr.Inglethorp, knowing what I have now told you, do you still refuse to say where you were at six o'clock on Monday afternoon?"

With a groan, Alfred Inglethorp sank down again and buried his face in his hands.

Poirot approached and stood over him.

"Speak!" he cried menacingly.

With an effort, Inglethorp raised his face from his hands.

Then, slowly and deliberately, he shook his head.

"You will not speak?"

"No. I do not believe that anyone could be so monstrous as to accuse me of what you say."

Poirot nodded thoughtfully, like a man whose mind is made up.

"Soit!" he said. "Then I must speak for you."

Alfred Inglethorp sprang up again.

"You? How can you speak? You do not know——" he broke off abruptly.

Poirot turned to face us. "Mesdames and messieurs! I speak! Listen! I, Hercule Poirot, affirm that the man who entered the chemist's shop, and purchased strychnine at six o'clock on Monday last was not Mr.Inglethorp, for at six o'clock on that day Mr.Inglethorp was escorting Mrs. Raikes back to her home from a neighbouring farm.

I can produce no less than five witnesses to swear to having seen them together, either at six or just after and, as you may know, the Abbey Farm, Mrs.Raikes's home, is at least two and a half miles distant from the village.

There is absolutely no question as to the alibi!".