en-de  The Mysterious Affair at Styles/Chapter XIII Easy
POIROT ERKLÄRT

"Poirot, Sie alter Schurke", sagte ich, "ich hätte gute Lust, Sie zu erwürgen!

Was fällt Ihnen ein, mich so, wie Sie es getan haben, zu täuschen?"

Wir saßen gerade in der Bibliothek.

Es lagen etliche hektische Tage hinter uns.

Im Zimmer darunter waren John und Mary erneut zusammen, während Alfred Inglethorp und Miss Howard in Untersuchungshaft waren.

Endlich hatte ich Poirot für mich, und konnte meine immer noch brennende Neugier befriedigen.

Poirot antwortete mir einen Moment lang nicht, aber letztendlich sagte er: "Ich habe Sie nicht getäuscht, mon ami.

Bestenfalls habe ich Ihnen gestattet, sich selbst zu beschwindeln."

"Ja, aber warum?"

"Nun, es ist schwer zu erklären.

Sehen Sie, mein Freund, Sie haben eine so ehrliche Art und eine so durchschaubare Miene, dass - genauer gesagt - es unmöglich ist, Ihre Gefühle zu verbergen!

Wenn ich Ihnen meine Ideen erzählt hätte, als Sie Herrn Alfred Inglethorp das erste Mal sahen, hätte dieser gerissene Herr - in Ihrem so ausdruckskräftigen Idiom - "den Braten gerochen"!

Und dann wäre es mit unseren Chancen, ihn zu erwischen, vorbei gewesen!"

"Ich denke, ich bin diplomatishcer, als Sie mir zugestehen."

"Mein Freund", bat Poirot flehentlich, ich beschwöre Sie, versetzen Sie sich nicht in Wut!

Ihre Hilfe war unbezahlbar.

Es ist nur die überaus wunderbare Art, die Sie haben, die mich zum Innehalten brachte."

"Nun," murrte ich, ein wenig besänftigt.

"Ich denke immer noch, Sie hätten mir einen Hinweis geben können."

"Aber das tat ich, mein Freund.

Verschiedene Hinweise.

Sie wollten sie nicht annehmen.

Denken Sie nach, habe ich Ihnen jemals gesagt, dass ich glauben würde, dass John Cavendish schuldig wäre?

Habe ich Ihnen nicht vielmehr gesagt, dass er nahezu sicher freigesprochen wird?"

"Ja, aber --".

"Und sprach ich nicht sofort danach von der Schwierigkeit, den Mörder vor Gericht zu bringen?

War es für Sie nicht klar, dass ich von zwei völlig verschiedenen Personen sprach?"

"Nein", sagte ich, "es war mir nicht klar!"

"Dann wieder", fuhr Poirot fort, " am Anfang, habe ich nicht Ihnen gegenüber verschiedene Male wiederholt, dass ich Mr. Inglethorp jetzt nicht einsperren wollte?

Das sollte Ihnen etwas übermittelt haben."

"Wollen Sie damit sagen, dass Sie ihn schon damals verdächtigt haben?"

"Ja. Zunächst, wer auch immer von Mrs.Inglethorps Tod profitieren könnte, ihrem Ehemann würde das meiste zugutekommen.

Darüber darf man sich keine Illusionen machen.

Als ich an jenem ersten Tag mit Ihnen nach Styles ging, hatte ich keine Ahnung, wie die Straftat begangen worden war, aber nach dem, was ich von Mr. Inglethorp wusste, habe ich gemeint, dass es sehr schwer sein würde, etwas zu finden, was ihn damit in Verbindung bringen könnte.

Als ich im Schloss ankam, stellte ich sofort fest, dass es Mrs. Inglethorp war, die das Testament verbrannt hatte; und da, nebenbei bemerkt, können Sie sich nicht beschweren, mein Freund, denn ich gab mein Bestes, um Ihnen die Bedeutsamkeit dieses Schlafzimmerfeuers im Mittsommer aufzudrängen".

"Ja, ja", sagte ich ungeduldig. "Fahren Sie fort".

"Nun, mein Freund, wie gesagt, meine Ansichten, was Mr. Inglethorps Schuld angeht, waren sehr ins Wanken geraten.

Tatsächlich gab es so viele Beweise gegen ihn, dass ich geneigt war zu glauben, dass er es nicht getan hatte."

"Wann haben Sie Ihre Meinung geändert?"

"Als ich herausfand, dass er sich um so mehr anstrengte, verhaftet zu werden, je mehr ich mich bemühte, ihn zu entlasten.

Als ich dann entdeckte, dass Inglethorp nichts mit Mrs. Raikes zu tun hatte und dass es in Wirklichkeit John Cavendish war, der sich für jenes Viertel interessierte, war ich mir recht sicher".

"Aber warum?"

"Einfach das hier. Wenn es Inglethorp gewesen wäre, der eine Intrige mit Mrs. Raikes betrieben hätte, wäre sein Schweigen völlig verständlich gewesen.

Aber, als ich herausfand, dass jeder im Dorf wusste, dass es John war, der sich von der hübschen Frau des Farmers angezogen fühlte, stützte sein Schweigen eine ganz andere Interpretation.

Es war Unfug, so zu tun, als ob er Angst vor dem Skandal hätte, da ihm kein etwaiger Skandal etwas zufügen konnte.

Dieses Verhalten gab mir heftig zu denken und ich wurde langsam zu dem Schluss gezwungen, dass Alfred Inglethorp verhaftet werden wollte.

Eh bien ! (Also gut!) Seit diesem Moment, war ich ebenso entschlossen, ihn nicht verhaften zu lassen."

"Moment mal. Ich verstehe nicht, warum er verhaftet werden wollte?"

"Weil, mon ami, das Gesetz Ihres Landes sagt, dass wenn jemand einmal freigesprochen worden ist, er nicht noch einmal für das gleiche Verbrechen angeklagt werden kann.

Aha! Aber sie war klug - seine Idee!

Sicher, er ist ein Mann mit Methode.

Sehen Sie, er wusste, dass er in seiner Position zwangsläufig verdächtigt würde, so ersann er die überaus kluge Idee, eine Menge angefertigter Beweise gegen sich selbst herzustellen.

Er wollte verhaftet werden.

Er würde dann sein einwandfreies Alibi hervorholen - und, hey presto, er wäre ein Leben lang sicher!"

"Aber ich verstehe noch nicht, wie er es geschafft hat, sein Alibi zu beweisen und dennoch in die Apotheke zu gehen?"

Poirot schaute mich überrascht an.

"Ist es möglich? Mein armer Freund! Sie haben noch nicht begriffen, dass es Miss Howard war, die in die Apotheke ging?"

"Miss Howard?"

"Aber gewiss doch. Wer sonst? Es war höchst einfach für sie. Sie hat die passende Größe, ihre Stimme ist tief und männlich; darüberhinaus, erinnern Sie sich, sind sie und Inglethorp Cousine und Cousin und es gibt eine deutliche Ähnlichkeit zwischen ihnen, insbesondere in deren Gang und Körperhaltung.

Es war sehr einfach.

Sie sind ein cleveres Paar!"

"Mir ist immer noch nicht ganz klar, wie die Sache mit dem Schlafmittel genau bewerkstelligt wurde", bemerkte ich.

"Bon! (Gut) Ich werde es für Sie so weit wie möglich rekonstruieren.

Ich tendiere zu der Ansicht, dass Miss Howard, der führende Kopf in dieser Angelegenheit war.

Erinnern Sie sich, dass sie einmal erwähnt hat, dass ihr Vater Arzt war?

Möglicherweise hat sie die Medizin für ihn nach Rezept angefertigt oder sie hat die Idee aus einem der vielen Bücher, die herumlagen, als Mademoiselle Cynthia für ihre Prüfung lernte.

Auf jeden Fall war sie mit der Tatsache vertraut, dass die Zugabe von Bromid zu einer Mischung, die Strychnin enthält, die Ausfällung des letzteren bewirkt.

Wahrscheinlich ist ihr die Idee ganz plötzlich eingefallen.

Mrs. Inglethorp hatte eine Kiste mit Bromidpulver, das sie gelegentlich nachts einnahm.

Was konnte leichter sein, als unbemerkt ein oder mehrere dieser Pulver in Mrs. Inglethorps großformatige Medizinflasche aufzulösen, als sie von der Coot-Apotheke kam.

Das Risiko ist praktisch gleich Null.

Die Tragödie wird sich erst zwei Wochen später ereignen.

Wenn einer gesehen hat, dass einer von ihnen die Medizin berührt hat, wird er es bis dahin vergessen haben.

Miss Howard wird ihren Streit in die Wege geleitet und das Haus verlassen haben.

Der Ablauf der Zeit und ihre Abwesenheit wird jeden Verdacht vertreiben.

Ja, es war eine schlaue Idee! Wenn sie es dabei belassen hätten, wären sie möglicherweise nie mit dem Verbrechen in Verbindung gebracht worden.

Aber sie waren nicht zufrieden.

Sie haben versucht, zu schlau zu sein - und das war ihr Verderben."

Poirot paffte an seiner winzigen Zigarette, seine Augen auf die Zimmerdecke gerichtet.

" Um den Verdacht auf John Cavendish zu lenken, bereiteten sie einen Plan vor, indem sie Strychnin beim Dorfapotheker kauften und das Verzeichnis mit seiner Handschrift unterzeichneten.

"Am Montag wird Mrs. Inglethorp die letzte Dosis ihres Medikaments einnehmen.

Daher sorgt Alfred Inglethorp am Montag um sechs Uhr dafür, dass er von mehreren Menschen an einer Stelle weit entfernt vom Dorf gesehen wird.

Miss Howard hatte schon zuvor eine Lügengeschichte über ihn und Mrs. Raikes erfunden, um sein späteres Stillschweigen zu erklären.

Um sechs Uhr geht Miss Howard, verkleidet als Alfred Inglethorp, mit ihrer Geschichte über einen Hund in die Apotheke, erhält das Strychnin und unterschreibt mit dem Namen von Alfred Inglethorp in Johns Handschrift, welche sie im Vorfeld sorgfältig geübt hatte.

"Aber da es niemals funktionieren wird, falls John ebenfalls ein Alibi vorweisen kann, schreibt sie ihm eine anonyme Mitteilung - noch immer macht sie seine Handschrift nach - die ihn zu einem entlegenen Ort führt, wo es höchst unwahrscheinlich ist, dass jemand ihn sehen wird.

"Bislang läuft alles nach Plan.

Miss Howard kehrt nach Middlingham zurück.

Alfred Inglethorp kehrt nach Styles zurück.

Es gibt nichts, was ihn in irgendeiner Weise kompromittieren kann, weil es Miss Howard ist, die das Strychnin hat, was im Grunde nur als Blendwerk dient, um den Verdacht auf John Cavendish zu werfen.

"Aber nun hat die Sache einen Haken.

In dieser Nacht nimmt Mrs. Inglethorp ihr Medikament nicht.

Die zerbrochene Glocke, Cynthias Abwesenheit - arrangiert von Inglethorp durch seine Frau - all das war vergeblich.

Und dann - er macht einen Fehler.

"Mrs. Inglethorp ist nicht da und er setzt sich hin, um seiner Komplizin zu schreiben, die, so fürchtet er, vielleicht wegen des Fehlschlags ihres Planes in Panik geraten ist.
Es ist wahrscheinlich, dass Mrs. Inglethorp früher als erwartet zurückkehrt.

Auf frischer Tat ertappt und etwas aufgeregt schließt er seinen Schreibtisch.

Er befürchtet, dass er ihn wieder öffnen muss, wenn er im Zimmer bleibt und Mrs. Inglethorp den Brief zu Gesicht bekommt, bevor er ihn sich schnappen kann.

So geht er hinaus in den Wald, und denkt nicht im Traum daran, dass Mrs. Inglethorp den Schreibtisch öffnet und das belastende Dokument entdeckt.

"Aber das ist, wie wir wissen, wass passiert ist.

Mrs. Inglethorp liest ihn und wird sich der Bösartigkeit ihres Mannes und Evelyn Howards bewusst, obwohl sie der Satz über das Bromid unglücklicherweise nicht warnt.

Sie weiß, dass sie in Gefahr ist - weiß sich aber nicht wo die Gefahr befindet.

Sie entschließt sich, ihrem Ehemann nichts zu sagen, setzt sich aber hin, schreibt ihrem Notar und bittet ihn, am nächsten Tag zu kommen und sie entscheidet sich ebenfalls, das Testament, das sie eben gemacht hat, zu zerstören.

Sie behält den verhängnisvollen Brief."

"Dann ging es darum, diesen Brief zu finden, dass ihr Ehemann das Schloss der Aktentasche aufgebrochen hat?"

"Ja, und wegen des enormen Risikos, das er einging, können wir sehen, wie sehr er seine Wichtigkeit begriffen hat.

Wenn man von diesem Brief absieht, gab es absolut nichts, was ihn mit dem Verbrechen in Zusammenhang bringen könnte."

"Die einzige Sache, die ich nicht verstehe, warum hat er ihn nicht sofort vernichtet, als er ihn in die Hand bekam? "

"Weil er nicht wagte, das größte Risiko von allen einzugehen - ihn bei sich zu behalten. "

"Ich verstehe das nicht."

"Betrachten Sie es aus seiner Sicht.

Ich habe herausgefunden, dass es nur fünf kurze Minuten gab, in denen er es genommen haben konnte- die fünf Minuten unmittelbar vor unserer eigenen Ankunft am Tatort, denn vor dieser Zeit bürstete Annie die Treppe und hätte jeden gesehen, der vorbeiging, um zum rechten Flügel zu gelangen.

Stellen Sie sich den Tatort vor!

Er betritt das Zimmer und öffnet die Tür mit Hilfe eines der anderen Türschlüssel- sie waren sich alle sehr ähnlich.

Er eilt zu der Versandschachtel- sie ist verschlossen, und die Schlüssel waren nirgends zu sehen.

Das ist für ihn ein schrecklicher Schlag, denn es bedeutet, dass seine Anwesenheit im Zimmer nicht, wie er gehofft hatte, verheimlicht werden kann.

Aber ihm ist klar, dass alles für dieses vernichtende Beweisstück riskiert werden muss.

Schnell bricht er das Schloss mit einem Taschenmesser auf und blättert in den Papieren, bis er das Gesuchte gefunden hat.

"Aber jetzt entsteht ein neues Dilemma: er wagt es nämlich nicht, das Stück Papier bei sich zu behalten

Er könnte gesehen werden, wie er den Raum verlässt - er könnte durchsucht werden.

Wenn das Papier bei ihm gefunden wird, dann ist es ganz sicher sein Verhängnis.

Wahrscheinlich hört er in dieser Minute auch unten die Geräusche von Mr. Wells und John, die das Boudoir verlassen.

Er muss schnell handeln.

Wo kann er dieses schreckliche Stück Papier verstecken? Der Inhalt des Papierkorbs wird aufbewahrt und sowieso mit Sicherheit untersucht.

Es gibt keine Möglichkeiten, um es zu zerstören; und er wagt es nicht, es behalten. Er schaut sich um und er sieht - was denken Sie, mon ami?"

Ich schüttelte den Kopf.

"Im nächsten Moment hat er den Brief in drei lange dünne Streifen gerissen, sie zu Fidibussen aufgerollt und sie hastig zwischen die anderen Fidibusse ins Gefäß auf dem Kaminsims gesteckt."

Ich stieß einen Ausruf aus.

"Es würde niemandem in den Sinn kommen, dort nachzuschauen," fuhr Poirot fort. Und er wird imstande sein, in seiner Freizeit zurückzukommen und dieses einzige Beweisstück gegen ihn zu vernichten".

Dann war er die ganze Zeit in dem Fidibus-Gefäß in Mrs. Inglethorps Schlafzimmer vor unserer Nase?", rief ich.

Poirot nickte.

"Ja, mein Freund. Dort war es, wo ich das 'letzte Verbindungsstück' entdeckte und ich verdanke Ihnen diese überaus glückliche Entdeckung."

"Mir?"

"Ja. Erinnern Sie sich, dass Sie mir gesagt haben, meine Hand hätte gezittert, als ich den Zierrat auf dem Kaminsims geordnet habe?"

"Ja, aber ich sehe nicht - ."

"Nein, aber ich habe gesehen.

Sehen Sie, mein Freund, ich erinnerte mich, dass ich früher am Morgen, als wir zusammen dort waren, alle Gegenstände auf dem Kaminsims geordnet hatte.

Und weil ich sie schon geordnet hatte, gab es keine Notwendigkeit, sie erneut zu ordnen, außer jemand hätte sie in der Zwischenzeit berührt."

"Oje", murmelte ich, "das ist die Erklärung für Ihr ungewöhnliches Verhalten.

Sie eilten hinunter nach Styles und fanden ihn genau dort? "

"Ja, und es war ein Wettlauf mit der Zeit."

"Aber ich kann immer noch nicht verstehen, warum Inglethorp solch ein Narr war, ihn dort zu lassen, wenn er genügend Gelegenheit hatte, ihn zu vernichten."

"Ah, aber er hatte keine Gelegenheit.

Dafür habe ich gesorgt."

"Sie?"

"Ja. Erinnern Sie sich daran, mich dafür getadelt haben, dass ich den Haushalt zu dem Thema ins Vertrauen zog?"

"Ja."

"Also mein Freund, ich sah, dass es nur eine einzige Chance gab.

Ich war da nicht sicher, ob Inglethorp der Verbrecher war oder nicht, aber falls er es wäre, überlegte ich, dass er das Papier nicht bei sich haben würde, sondern es irgendwo versteckt hätte und indem ich die Sympathie des Haushalts erwarb, konnte ich ihn wirksam an der Zerstörung hindern.

Er war schon unter Verdacht und durch Offenlegung der Angelegenheit sicherte ich die Dienste von ungefähr 10 Amateur-Detektiven, die ihn unaufhörlich beobachten würden und er selbst würde - sich ihrer Aufmerksamkeit bewusst - nicht wagen, das Dokument zu vernichten.

Deshalb musste er das Haus verlassen und es in einem Fidibus Behälter lassen.

"Aber sicher hat Miss Howard reichlich Gelegenheit gehabt, ihm zu helfen".

"Ja, aber Miss Howard wusste nichts von der Existenz des Papiers.

In Übereinstimmung mit ihrem vorbereiteten Plan, sprach sie niemals zu Alfred Inglethorp.

Sie wurden als Todfeinde angesehen und bis John Cavendish sicher verurteilt wäre, wagte keiner von beiden ein Treffen zu riskieren.

Selbstverständlich hatte ich ein Auge auf Mr. Inglethorp behalten, in der Hoffnung, dass er mich früher oder später zum Versteck führen würde.

Aber er war zu schlau, um ein Risiko einzugehen.

Das Papier war sicher, wo es war, weil keiner daran gedacht hatte, dort in der ersten Woche nachzusehen, so wäre es nicht wahrscheinlich, dass sie es danach noch tun würden.

Aber ohne Ihre glücklichen Bemerkung, wäre es uns vielleicht nicht möglich gewesen, ihn vor Gericht zu bringen."

"Ich verstehe das jetzt, aber wann begannen Sie erstmals, Miss Howard zu verdächtigen?"

"Als ich entdeckte, dass sie bei dem Verhör eine Lüge über den Brief erzählt hatte, den sie von Mrs. Inglethorp erhalten hatte."

"Nun, was gab es da zu lügen?"

"Sie haben den Brief gesehen? Können Sie sich an sein allgemeines Aussehen erinnern?"

"Ja - mehr oder weniger".

"Dann werden Sie sich erinnern, dass Mrs. Inglethorp eine sehr eigene Handschrift hatte, und große Zwischenräume zwischen ihren Wörtern ließ.

Aber wenn Sie auf das Datum oben auf dem Brief schauen, werden Sie bemerken, dass "17.Juli" ganz anders in dieser Hinsicht ist.

Verstehen Sie, was ich meine?"

"Nein," gab ich zu, "kann ich nicht".

"Sie sehen nicht, dass der Brief nicht am 17. geschrieben wurde, sondern am 7. - dem Tag nach Miss Howards Dahinscheiden?

Die "1" wurde vor die "7" geschrieben, um sie in den "17." zu verwandeln."

"Aber warum?"

"Genau das ist es, was ich mich gefragt habe.

Warum unterdrückt Miss Howard den Brief, der am 17. geschrieben wurde und produziert diesen gefälschten statt dessen?

Weil sie den Brief vom 17. nicht zeigen wollte.

Noch mal, warum?

Und sofort kam mir ein Verdacht.

Sie werden sich daran erinnern, dass ich sagte, es sei weise, sich vor Menschen in Acht zu nehmen, die Ihnen nicht die Wahrheit sagen."

"Und dennoch", rief ich entrüstet, "haben Sie mir zwei Gründe gegeben, warum Miss Howard das Verbrechen nicht begangen haben konnte!"

"Und auch sehr gute Gründe", wiederholte Poirot. "Für einen langen Zeitraum stand ich mir selbst im Weg, bis ich mich an eine sehr wichtige Tatsache erinnerte: dass sie und Alfred Inglethorp Cousin und Cousine waren.

Sie konnte das Verbrechen nicht alleine begangen haben, aber die Gründe dagegen schließen sie nicht als Komplizin aus.

Und dann gab es noch diesen ziemlich übertriebenen heftigen Hass ihrerseites.

Es kaschierte ein ganz entgegengesetztes Gefühl.

Es gab unzweifelhaft ein Band der Leidenschaft zwischen ihnen, lange bevor er nach Styles kam.

Sie hatten ihre niederträchtige Verschwörung schon vorbereitet - dass er diese reiche, aber ziemlich dumme alte Dame heiraten sollte, sie veranlassen, ein Testament zu verfassen, in dem ihr Geld ihm vermacht wird und dann ihre Ziele durch ein sehr schlau ausgeklügeltes Verbrechen zu erreichen.

Falls alles, was sie geplant hatten, geklappt hätte, hätten sie wahrscheinlich England verlassen und mit Hilfe des Geldes ihres armen Opfers zusammengelebt.

"Sie sind ein sehr scharfsinniges und skrupelloses Paar.

Während sich der Verdacht gegen ihn richten würde, würde sie in Ruhe Vorbereitungen für einen anderen dénouement (Ausgang) treffen.

Sie kam aus Middlingham mit all den belastenden Gegenständen in ihrem Besitz.

Kein Verdacht fällt auf sie.

Keiner nimmt Notiz von ihrem Kommen und Gehen im Haus.

Sie versteckt das Strychnin und die Brille in Johns Zimmer.

Sie bringt den Bart auf den Dachboden. Sie wird dafür sorgen, dass sie früher oder später entdeckt werden."

"Ich sehe nicht so recht, warum sie versuchten, John die Schuld zuzuschieben", bemerkte ich.

" Es wäre für sie viel leichter gewesen, das Verbrechen zu Hause Lawrence anzuhängen."

" Ja, aber das war pures Glück.

Alle die Beweise gegen ihn entstanden aus purem Zufall.

Es muss, in der Tat, für das Intrigantenpaar eindeutig ärgerlich gewesen sein."

" Sein Handeln war unglücklich ", bemerkte ich nachdenklich.

"Ja. Sie begreifen natürlich den Hintergrund davon?"

"Nein."

"Sie haben nicht verstanden, dass er glaubte, Mademoiselle Cynthia sei schuldig an dem Verbrechen?"

"Nein," rief ich erstaunt aus. "Unmöglich!"

"Überhaupt nicht. Ich selbst hatte fast die gleich Idee. Ich war der Ansicht, seit Mr. Wells diese erste Frage über das Testament stellte.

Dann gab es die Bromidpulver, die sie hergestellt hatte und ihre geschickten Imitationen von Männern, von denen Dorcas uns erzählt hat.

Es gab wirklich mehr Hinweise gegen sie als gegen irgendjemand sonst"

"Sie scherzen, Poirot!"

"Nein. Soll ich Ihnen sagen, was Monsieur Lawrence so erblassen ließ, als er zum ersten Mal das Zimmer seiner Mutter in der verhängnisvollen Nacht betrat?

Es war, weil er über Ihre Schulter sah, während seine Mutter dort lag, offensichtlich vergiftet, dass die Tür zu Mademoiselle Cynthias Zimmer unverriegelt war."

"Aber er erklärte, dass er sie verriegelt sah!", rief ich.

"Genau," sagte Poirot trocken. "Und genau das hat mein Verdacht bestätigt, dass es nicht war.

Er beschützte Mademoiselle Cynthia."

"Aber warum sollte er sie beschützen?"

"Weil er in sie verliebt ist."

Ich lachte.

"Damit, Poirot, liegen sie völlig falsch! Zufällig weiß ich genau, dass er weit davon entfernt ist, sie zu lieben, er kann sie nicht leiden."

"Wer erzählte Ihnen das, mon ami?"

"Cynthia selbst."

"La pauvre petite! ("Die arme Kleine!) Und sie war überzeugt davon?"

"Sie sagte, dass es ihr nichts ausmachen würde."

"Dann machte es ihr sehr viel aus", bemerkte Poirot. "So sind sie - les femmes (die Frauen)!"

"Was Sie über Lawrence sagen, ist eine große Überraschung für mich", sagte ich.

"Aber warum? Es war ganz offensichtlich.

Machte nicht Monsieur Lawrence jedes Mal ein saures Gesicht, wenn Mademoiselle Cynthia mit ihrem Bruder sprach?

Er hatte es sich in seinen großen Kopf gesetzt, dass Mademoiselle Cynthia in Monsieur John verliebt wäre.

Als er das Zimmer seiner Mutter betrat und sah, dass sie offensichtlich vergiftet worden war, kam er voreilig zu dem Schluss, Mademoiselle Cynthia wüsste etwas über die Angelegenheit.

Er war nahezu verzweifelt.

Erst zerstieß der die Kaffeetasse unter seinen Füßen zu Pulver, weil er sich daran erinnerte, dass sie mit seiner Mutter die Nacht zuvor hinaufgegangen war und er beschloss, dass es kein Risiko geben sollte, seine Inhalte zu prüfen.

Von nun an hielt er die Theorie des 'Todes aus natürlichen Ursachen' energisch und ganz nutzlos aufrecht."

"Und was ist mit der zusätzlichen Kaffeetasse?"

"Ich war ziemlich sicher, dass es Mrs. Cavendish war, die sie versteckt hatte, aber ich musste mich vergewissern.

Monsieur Lawrence wusste überhaupt nicht, was ich meinte; aber beim Nachdenken kam er zu dem Schluss, dass seine Dame vom Verdacht befreit würde, falls er die zusätzliche Kaffeetasse irgendwo finden könnte.

Und er hatte völlig reicht."

"Noch eine Sache. Was meinte Mrs. Inglethorp mit ihren letzten Worten?"

Natürlich waren sie eine Anschuldigung gegen ihren Ehemann."

"Mein Gott, Poirot", sagte ich mit einem Seufzen, "ich denke, sie haben alles erklärt.

Ich bin froh, das Alles zu einem glücklichen Ende gekommen ist.

Sogar John und seine Frau haben sich versöhnt."

„Dank mir.“

"Wie meinen Sie das, 'dank Ihnen'?"

"Mein lieber Freund, merken Sie nicht, dass es einfach und allein die Gerichtsverhandlung war, das sie wieder zusammengebracht hat?

ich war überzeugt, dass John Cavendish seine Frau immer noch liebte.

Auch, dass sie ihn genauso liebte. Aber sie waren weit auseinandergedriftet.

Aber alles ergab sich nur durch ein Missverständnis.

Sie heiratete ihn, ohne ihn zu lieben.

Er wusste es. Er ist auf seine Art ein sensibler Mann, er würde sich ihr nicht aufzwingen, wenn sie ihn nicht wollte.

Und als er sich zurückzog, erwachte ihre Liebe.

Aber sie sind beide ungewöhnlich stolz und ihr Stolz hielt sie erbarmungslos getrennt.

Ihn trieb es in ein Techtelmechtel mit Mrs. Raikes und sie kultivierte geflissentlich die Freundschaft mit Dr. Bauerstein.

Erinnern Sie sich an den Tag von John Cavendishs Verhaftung, als Sie mich über eine große Entscheidung grübelnd antrafen?

"Ja, ich verstand Ihre Bedrängnis völlig."

"Entschuldigen Sie, mon ami, aber sie haben es überhaupt nicht verstanden.

Ich versuchte, mich zu entscheiden, ob ich John Cavendish sofort entlasten würde oder nicht.

Ich hätte ihn entlasten können - doch hätte es ein Fehler sein können, die wirklichen Verbrecher zu beschuldigen.

Sie waren über meine Einstellung bis zum letzten Moment völlig im Unklaren - was teilweise zu meinem Erfolg führte.

"Meinen Sie, Sie hätten John Cavendish ersparen können, vor Gericht gestellt zu werden?"

"Ja, mein Freund. Aber ich entschied letztendlich zu Gunsten "des Glücks einer Frau".

Nicht anderes als die große Gefahr, durch die sie gegangen waren, hätte diese beiden stolzen Seelen wieder zusammen bringen können."

Ich schaute Poirot in stiller Verblüffung an. Die ungeheure Dreistigkeit des kleinen Mannes! Wer außer Poirot hätte daran gedacht, einen Mordprozess zu benutzen, um ein eheliches Glück wieder herzustellen!

"Ich erkenne Ihre Gedanken, mon ami", sagte Poirot, und lächelte mir zu.

"Niemand, außer Hercule Poirot, hätte eine solche Sache versucht! Und Sie liegen falsch, es zu verurteilen.

Das Glück eines Mannes und einer Frau ist die großartigste Sache auf der Welt."

Seine Worte führten mich zurück zu früheren Ereignissen.

Ich erinnerte mich an Mary, wie sie blass und übermüdet auf dem Sofa lag und lauschte, lauschte. Dann kam der Klang der Glocke von unten.

Sie war aufgeschreckt. Poirot hatte die Tür geöffnet, und als sein Blick ihre gequälten Augen traf, hatte sanft genickt.

"Ja, Madame", sagte er. "Ich habe ihn Ihnen zurückgebracht." .
Er war zur Seite getreten, und als ich hinausging, hatte ich den Blick in Marys Augen gesehen, als John Cavendish seine Frau in seine Arme schloss.

"Vielleicht haben Sie recht, Poirot", sagte ich freundlich. "Ja, es ist die großartigste Sache der Welt."

Plötzlich klopfte es an der Tür, und Cynthia schaute verstohlen herein.

"Ich...ich wollte nur...".

"Kommen Sie herein", sagte ich und sprang auf.

Sie kam herein, aber sie setzte sich nicht.

"Ich - wollte Ihnen nur etwas erzählen --."

"Ja?"

Cynthia spielte für kurze Zeit mit einer kleinen Quaste herum, und rief dann plötzlich aus: "Ihr Schätzchen!" küsste erst mich und dann Poirot, und eilte wieder aus dem Zimmer.

"Was um alles in der Welt bedeutet das?", fragte ich überrascht.

Es war sehr nett, von Cynthia geküsst zu werden, aber die Öffentlichkeit dieser Zuneigungsbezeugung minderte das Vergnügen.

"Es bedeutet, dass sie herausgefunden hat, dass Monsieur Lawrence sie weniger ablehnt, als sie dachte", erwiderte Poirot philosophisch.

"Aber --."

"Hier ist er."

Lawrence kam in diesem Augenblick durch die Tür herein.

"Ah! Monsieur Lawrence", rief Poirot. "Wir dürfen Ihnen gratulieren, nicht wahr?"

Lawrence wurde rot und lächelte dann verlegen.

Ein verliebter Mann gibt ein trauriges Schauspiel ab. Jetzt hatte Cynthia reizend ausgesehen.

Ich seufzte.

"Was ist mit Ihnen, mon ami?"

"Nichts", sagte ich traurig. "Es sind zwei reizende Frauen!"

"Und keine von beiden ist für Sie?", endete Poirot.

"Das macht nichts. Trösten Sie sich, mein Freund. Wir werden vielleicht wieder zusammen jagen, wer weiß? Und dann --."

ENDE
unit 1
POIROT EXPLAINS.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 2
"Poirot, you old villain," I said, "I've half a mind to strangle you!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 3
What do you mean by deceiving me as you have done?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 4
We were sitting in the library.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 5
Several hectic days lay behind us.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 7
Now at last, I had Poirot to myself, and could relieve my still burning curiosity.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 9
At most, I permitted you to deceive yourself.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 10
"Yes, but why?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 11
"Well, it is difficult to explain.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 14
And then, bon jour to our chances of catching him!".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 15
"I think that I have more diplomacy than you give me credit for.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 16
"My friend," besought Poirot, "I implore you, do not enrage yourself!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 17
Your help has been of the most invaluable.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 18
It is but the extremely beautiful nature that you have, which made me pause.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 19
"Well," I grumbled, a little mollified.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 20
"I still think you might have given me a hint.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 21
"But I did, my friend.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 22
Several hints.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 23
You would not take them.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 24
Think now, did I ever say to you that I believed John Cavendish guilty?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 25
Did I not, on the contrary, tell you that he would almost certainly be acquitted?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 26
"Yes, but——".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 27
"And did I not immediately afterwards speak of the difficulty of bringing the murderer to justice?
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 28
Was it not plain to you that I was speaking of two entirely different persons?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 29
"No," I said, "it was not plain to me!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 31
That should have conveyed something to you.".
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 32
"Do you mean to say you suspected him as long ago as that?".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 33
"Yes.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 35
There was no getting away from that.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 38
"Yes, yes," I said impatiently.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 39
"Go on.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 40
unit 42
"When did you change your mind?".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 45
"But why?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 46
"Simply this.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 49
unit 51
Eh bien!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 52
from that moment, I was equally determined that he should not be arrested.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 53
"Wait a minute.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 54
I don't see why he wished to be arrested?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 56
Aha!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 57
but it was clever—his idea!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 58
Assuredly, he is a man of method.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 60
He wished to be arrested.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 61
He would then produce his irreproachable alibi—and, hey presto, he was safe for life!".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 62
"But I still don't see how he managed to prove his alibi, and yet go to the chemist's shop?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 63
Poirot stared at me in surprise.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 64
"Is it possible?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 65
My poor friend!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 66
You have not yet realized that it was Miss Howard who went to the chemist's shop?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 67
"Miss Howard?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 68
"But, certainly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 69
Who else?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 70
It was most easy for her.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 72
It was simplicity itself.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 73
They are a clever pair!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 74
unit 75
"Bon!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 76
I will reconstruct for you as far as possible.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 77
I am inclined to think that Miss Howard was the master mind in that affair.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 78
You remember her once mentioning that her father was a doctor?
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 81
Probably the idea came to her quite suddenly.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 82
Mrs. Inglethorp had a box of bromide powders, which she occasionally took at night.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 84
The risk is practically nil.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 85
The tragedy will not take place until nearly a fortnight later.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 86
If anyone has seen either of them touching the medicine, they will have forgotten it by that time.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 87
Miss Howard will have engineered her quarrel, and departed from the house.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 88
The lapse of time, and her absence, will defeat all suspicion.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 89
Yes, it was a clever idea!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months ago
unit 90
If they had left it alone, it is possible the crime might never have been brought home to them.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 91
But they were not satisfied.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 92
They tried to be too clever—and that was their undoing.".
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 93
Poirot puffed at his tiny cigarette, his eyes fixed on the ceiling.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 95
"On Monday Mrs.Inglethorp will take the last dose of her medicine.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 100
"So far, all goes well.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 101
Miss Howard goes back to Middlingham.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 102
Alfred Inglethorp returns to Styles.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 104
"But now a hitch occurs.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 105
Mrs.Inglethorp does not take her medicine that night.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 106
unit 107
And then—he makes his slip.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 109
It is probable that Mrs.Inglethorp returned earlier than he expected.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 110
Caught in the act, and somewhat flurried he hastily shuts and locks his desk.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 113
"But this, as we know, is what happened.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 115
She knows that she is in danger—but is ignorant of where the danger lies.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 117
She keeps the fatal letter.".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 118
"It was to discover that letter, then, that her husband forced the lock of the despatch-case?".
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 119
"Yes, and from the enormous risk he ran we can see how fully he realized its importance.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 120
That letter excepted, there was absolutely nothing to connect him with the crime.".
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 121
"There's only one thing I can't make out, why didn't he destroy it at once when he got hold of it?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 122
"Because he did not dare take the biggest risk of all—that of keeping it on his own person.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 123
"I don't understand."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 124
"Look at it from his point of view.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 126
Figure to yourself the scene!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 128
He hurries to the despatch-case—it is locked, and the keys are nowhere to be seen.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 130
But he sees clearly that everything must be risked for the sake of that damning piece of evidence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 132
"But now a fresh dilemma arises: he dare not keep that piece of paper on him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 133
He may be seen leaving the room—he may be searched.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 134
If the paper is found on him, it is certain doom.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 135
Probably, at this minute, too, he hears the sounds below of Mr. Wells and John leaving the boudoir.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 136
He must act quickly.
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 137
Where can he hide this terrible slip of paper?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 138
The contents of the waste-paper-basket are kept and in any case, are sure to be examined.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 139
There are no means of destroying it; and he dare not keep it.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 140
He looks round, and he sees—what do you think, mon ami?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 141
I shook my head.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 143
I uttered an exclamation.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 144
"No one would think of looking there," Poirot continued.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 146
"Then, all the time, it was in the spill vase in Mrs.Inglethorp's bedroom, under our very noses?"
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 147
I cried.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 148
Poirot nodded.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 149
"Yes, my friend.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 150
That is where I discovered my 'last link,' and I owe that very fortunate discovery to you.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 151
"To me?".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 152
"Yes.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 153
unit 154
"Yes, but I don't see——".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 155
"No, but I saw.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 158
"Dear me," I murmured, "so that is the explanation of your extraordinary behaviour.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 159
You rushed down to Styles, and found it still there?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 160
"Yes, and it was a race for time.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 162
"Ah, but he had no opportunity.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 163
I saw to that."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 164
"You?".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 165
"Yes.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 166
Do you remember reproving me for taking the household into my confidence on the subject?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 167
"Yes.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 168
"Well, my friend, I saw there was just one chance.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 171
He was therefore forced to depart from the house, leaving it in the spill vase.".
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 172
"But surely Miss Howard had ample opportunities of aiding him."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 173
"Yes, but Miss Howard did not know of the paper's existence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 174
In accordance with their prearranged plan, she never spoke to Alfred Inglethorp.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 177
But he was too clever to take any chances.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 179
But for your lucky remark, we might never have been able to bring him to justice.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 180
"I understand that now; but when did you first begin to suspect Miss Howard?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 182
"Why, what was there to lie about?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 183
"You saw that letter?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 184
Do you recall its general appearance?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 185
"Yes—more or less."
2 Translations, 7 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 188
Do you see what I mean?".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 189
"No," I confessed, "I don't.".
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 191
The '1' was written in before the '7' to turn it into the '17th'."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 192
"But why?".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 193
"That is exactly what I asked myself.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 194
Why does Miss Howard suppress the letter written on the 17th, and produce this faked one instead?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 195
Because she did not wish to show the letter of the 17th.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 196
Why, again?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 197
And at once a suspicion dawned in my mind.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 198
unit 200
"And very good reasons too," replied Poirot.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 203
And, then, there was that rather over-vehement hatred of hers!
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 204
It concealed a very opposite emotion.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 205
There was, undoubtedly, a tie of passion between them long before he came to Styles.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 208
"They are a very astute and unscrupulous pair.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 210
She arrives from Middlingham with all the compromising items in her possession.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 211
No suspicion attaches to her.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 212
No notice is paid to her coming and going in the house.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 213
She hides the strychnine and glasses in John's room.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 214
She puts the beard in the attic.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 215
She will see to it that sooner or later they are duly discovered."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 216
"I don't quite see why they tried to fix the blame on John," I remarked.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 217
"It would have been much easier for them to bring the crime home to Lawrence.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 218
"Yes, but that was mere chance.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 219
All the evidence against him arose out of pure accident.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 220
It must, in fact, have been distinctly annoying to the pair of schemers."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 221
"His manner was unfortunate," I observed thoughtfully.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 222
"Yes.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 223
You realize, of course, what was at the back of that?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 224
"No.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 225
"You did not understand that he believed Mademoiselle Cynthia guilty of the crime?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 226
"No," I exclaimed, astonished.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 227
"Impossible!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 228
"Not at all.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 229
I myself nearly had the same idea.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 230
It was in my mind when I asked Mr.Wells that first question about the will.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 232
There was really more evidence against her than anyone else.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 233
"You are joking, Poirot!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 234
"No.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 237
"But he declared that he saw it bolted!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 238
I cried.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 239
"Exactly," said Poirot dryly.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 240
"And that was just what confirmed my suspicion that it was not.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 241
He was shielding Mademoiselle Cynthia.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 242
"But why should he shield her?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 243
"Because he is in love with her."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 244
I laughed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 245
"There, Poirot, you are quite wrong!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 246
I happen to know for a fact that, far from being in love with her, he positively dislikes her.".
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 247
"Who told you that, mon ami?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 248
"Cynthia herself.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 249
"La pauvre petite!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 250
And she was concerned?".
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 251
"She said that she did not mind at all.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 252
"Then she certainly did mind very much," remarked Poirot.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 253
"They are like that—les femmes!".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 254
"What you say about Lawrence is a great surprise to me," I said.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 255
"But why?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 256
It was most obvious.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 258
He had taken it into his long head that Mademoiselle Cynthia was in love with Monsieur John.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 260
He was nearly driven desperate.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 262
unit 263
"And what about the 'extra coffee-cup'?".
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 264
"I was fairly certain that it was Mrs. Cavendish who had hidden it, but I had to make sure.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 266
And he was perfectly right.".
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 267
"One thing more.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 268
What did Mrs.Inglethorp mean by her dying words?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 269
"They were, of course, an accusation against her husband.".
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 270
"Dear me, Poirot," I said with a sigh, "I think you have explained everything.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 271
I am glad it has all ended so happily.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 272
Even John and his wife are reconciled."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 273
"Thanks to me.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 274
"How do you mean—thanks to you?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 276
That John Cavendish still loved his wife, I was convinced.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 277
Also, that she was equally in love with him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 278
But they had drifted very far apart.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 279
It all arose from a misunderstanding.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 280
She married him without love.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 281
He knew it.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 282
He is a sensitive man in his way, he would not force himself upon her if she did not want him.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 283
And, as he withdrew, her love awoke.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 284
But they are both unusually proud, and their pride held them inexorably apart.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 286
unit 287
"Yes, I quite understood your distress."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 288
"Pardon me, mon ami, but you did not understand it in the least.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 289
I was trying to decide whether or not I would clear John Cavendish at once.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 290
I could have cleared him—though it might have meant a failure to convict the real criminals.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 292
"Do you mean that you could have saved John Cavendish from being brought to trial?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 293
"Yes, my friend.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 294
But I eventually decided in favour of 'a woman's happiness'.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 296
I looked at Poirot in silent amazement.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 297
The colossal cheek of the little man!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 298
unit 299
"I perceive your thoughts, mon ami," said Poirot, smiling at me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 300
"No one but Hercule Poirot would have attempted such a thing!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 301
And you are wrong in condemning it.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 302
The happiness of one man and one woman is the greatest thing in all the world.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 303
His words took me back to earlier events.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 304
I remembered Mary as she lay white and exhausted on the sofa, listening, listening.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 305
There had come the sound of the bell below.
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unit 306
She had started up.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 307
Poirot had opened the door, and meeting her agonized eyes had nodded gently.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 308
"Yes, madame," he said.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 309
"I have brought him back to you."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 310
.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 312
"Perhaps you are right, Poirot," I said gently.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 313
"Yes, it is the greatest thing in the world.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 314
Suddenly, there was a tap at the door, and Cynthia peeped in.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 315
"I—I only——".
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unit 316
"Come in," I said, springing up.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 317
She came in, but did not sit down.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 318
"I—only wanted to tell you something——".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 319
"Yes?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 320
Cynthia fidgeted with a little tassel for some moments, then, suddenly exclaiming: "You dears!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 321
kissed first me and then Poirot, and rushed out of the room again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 322
"What on earth does this mean?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 323
I asked, surprised.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 324
unit 326
"But——".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 327
"Here he is.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 328
Lawrence at that moment passed the door.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 329
"Eh!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 330
Monsieur Lawrence," called Poirot.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 331
"We must congratulate you, is it not so?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 332
Lawrence blushed, and then smiled awkwardly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 333
A man in love is a sorry spectacle.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 334
Now Cynthia had looked charming.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 335
I sighed.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 336
"What is it, mon ami?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 337
"Nothing," I said sadly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 338
"They are two delightful women!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 339
"And neither of them is for you?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 340
finished Poirot.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 341
"Never mind.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 342
Console yourself, my friend.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 343
We may hunt together again, who knows?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 344
And then——".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 345
THE END
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 2 weeks ago
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"."
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Omega-I • 6033  commented on  unit 213  3 months, 4 weeks ago

POIROT EXPLAINS.

"Poirot, you old villain," I said, "I've half a mind to strangle you!

What do you mean by deceiving me as you have done?".

We were sitting in the library.

Several hectic days lay behind us.

In the room below, John and Mary were together once more, while Alfred Inglethorp and Miss Howard were in custody.

Now at last, I had Poirot to myself, and could relieve my still burning curiosity.

Poirot did not answer me for a moment, but at last he said:

"I did not deceive you, mon ami.

At most, I permitted you to deceive yourself.".

"Yes, but why?"

"Well, it is difficult to explain.

You see, my friend, you have a nature so honest, and a countenance so transparent, that—enfin, to conceal your feelings is impossible!

If I had told you my ideas, the very first time you saw Mr.Alfred Inglethorp that astute gentleman would have—in your so expressive idiom—'smelt a rat'!

And then, bon jour to our chances of catching him!".

"I think that I have more diplomacy than you give me credit for.".

"My friend," besought Poirot, "I implore you, do not enrage yourself!

Your help has been of the most invaluable.

It is but the extremely beautiful nature that you have, which made me pause.".

"Well," I grumbled, a little mollified.

"I still think you might have given me a hint.".

"But I did, my friend.

Several hints.

You would not take them.

Think now, did I ever say to you that I believed John Cavendish guilty?

Did I not, on the contrary, tell you that he would almost certainly be acquitted?"

"Yes, but——".

"And did I not immediately afterwards speak of the difficulty of bringing the murderer to justice?

Was it not plain to you that I was speaking of two entirely different persons?".

"No," I said, "it was not plain to me!"

"Then again," continued Poirot, "at the beginning, did I not repeat to you several times that I didn't want Mr.Inglethorp arrested now?

That should have conveyed something to you.".

"Do you mean to say you suspected him as long ago as that?".

"Yes. To begin with, whoever else might benefit by Mrs.Inglethorp's death, her husband would benefit the most.

There was no getting away from that.

When I went up to Styles with you that first day, I had no idea as to how the crime had been committed, but from what I knew of Mr.Inglethorp I fancied that it would be very hard to find anything to connect him with it.

When I arrived at the château, I realized at once that it was Mrs.Inglethorp who had burnt the will; and there, by the way, you cannot complain, my friend, for I tried my best to force on you the significance of that bedroom fire in midsummer.".

"Yes, yes," I said impatiently."Go on.".

"Well, my friend, as I say, my views as to Mr.Inglethorp's guilt were very much shaken.

There was, in fact, so much evidence against him that I was inclined to believe that he had not done it.".

"When did you change your mind?".

"When I found that the more efforts I made to clear him, the more efforts he made to get himself arrested.

Then, when I discovered that Inglethorp had nothing to do with Mrs.Raikes and that in fact it was John Cavendish who was interested in that quarter, I was quite sure.".

"But why?".

"Simply this. If it had been Inglethorp who was carrying on an intrigue with
Mrs.Raikes, his silence was perfectly comprehensible.

But, when I discovered that it was known all over the village that it was John who was attracted by the farmer's pretty wife, his silence bore quite a different interpretation.

It was nonsense to pretend that he was afraid of the scandal, as no possible scandal could attach to him.

This attitude of his gave me furiously to think, and I was slowly forced to the conclusion that Alfred Inglethorp wanted to be arrested.

Eh bien! from that moment, I was equally determined that he should not be arrested.".

"Wait a minute. I don't see why he wished to be arrested?"

"Because, mon ami, it is the law of your country that a man once acquitted can never be tried again for the same offence.

Aha! but it was clever—his idea!

Assuredly, he is a man of method.

See here, he knew that in his position he was bound to be suspected, so he conceived the exceedingly clever idea of preparing a lot of manufactured evidence against himself.

He wished to be arrested.

He would then produce his irreproachable alibi—and, hey presto, he was safe for life!".

"But I still don't see how he managed to prove his alibi, and yet go to the chemist's shop?".

Poirot stared at me in surprise.

"Is it possible? My poor friend! You have not yet realized that it was Miss Howard who went to the chemist's shop?".

"Miss Howard?".

"But, certainly. Who else? It was most easy for her. She is of a good height, her voice is deep and manly; moreover, remember, she and Inglethorp are cousins, and there is a distinct resemblance between them, especially in their gait and bearing.

It was simplicity itself.

They are a clever pair!".

"I am still a little fogged as to how exactly the bromide business was done," I remarked.

"Bon! I will reconstruct for you as far as possible.

I am inclined to think that Miss Howard was the master mind in that affair.

You remember her once mentioning that her father was a doctor?

Possibly she dispensed his medicines for him, or she may have taken the idea from one of the many books lying about when Mademoiselle Cynthia was studying for her exam.

Anyway, she was familiar with the fact that the addition of a bromide to a mixture containing strychnine would cause the precipitation of the latter.

Probably the idea came to her quite suddenly.

Mrs. Inglethorp had a box of bromide powders, which she occasionally took at night.

What could be easier than quietly to dissolve one or more of those powders in Mrs. Inglethorp's large sized bottle of medicine when it came from Coot's?

The risk is practically nil.

The tragedy will not take place until nearly a fortnight later.

If anyone has seen either of them touching the medicine, they will have forgotten it by that time.

Miss Howard will have engineered her quarrel, and departed from the house.

The lapse of time, and her absence, will defeat all suspicion.

Yes, it was a clever idea! If they had left it alone, it is possible the crime might never have been brought home to them.

But they were not satisfied.

They tried to be too clever—and that was their undoing.".

Poirot puffed at his tiny cigarette, his eyes fixed on the ceiling.

"They arranged a plan to throw suspicion on John Cavendish, by buying strychnine at the village chemist's, and signing the register in his hand-writing.

"On Monday Mrs.Inglethorp will take the last dose of her medicine.

On Monday, therefore, at six o'clock, Alfred Inglethorp arranges to be seen by a number of people at a spot far removed from the village.

Miss Howard has previously made up a cock and bull story about him and
Mrs.Raikes to account for his holding his tongue afterwards.

At six o'clock, Miss Howard, disguised as Alfred Inglethorp, enters the chemist's shop, with her story about a dog, obtains the strychnine, and writes the name of Alfred Inglethorp in John's handwriting, which she had previously studied carefully.

"But, as it will never do if John, too, can prove an alibi, she writes him an anonymous note—still copying his hand-writing—which takes him to a remote spot where it is exceedingly unlikely that anyone will see him.

"So far, all goes well.

Miss Howard goes back to Middlingham.

Alfred Inglethorp returns to Styles.

There is nothing that can compromise him in any way, since it is Miss Howard who has the strychnine, which, after all, is only wanted as a blind to throw suspicion on John Cavendish.

"But now a hitch occurs.

Mrs.Inglethorp does not take her medicine that night.

The broken bell, Cynthia's absence— arranged by Inglethorp through his wife—all these are wasted.

And then—he makes his slip.

"Mrs.Inglethorp is out, and he sits down to write to his accomplice, who, he fears, may be in a panic at the nonsuccess of their plan.
It is probable that Mrs.Inglethorp returned earlier than he expected.

Caught in the act, and somewhat flurried he hastily shuts and locks his desk.

He fears that if he remains in the room he may have to open it again, and that Mrs. Inglethorp might catch sight of the letter before he could snatch it up.

So he goes out and walks in the woods, little dreaming that Mrs.Inglethorp will open his desk, and discover the incriminating document.

"But this, as we know, is what happened.

Mrs.Inglethorp reads it, and becomes aware of the perfidy of her husband and Evelyn Howard, though, unfortunately, the sentence about the bromides conveys no warning to her mind.

She knows that she is in danger—but is ignorant of where the danger lies.

She decides to say nothing to her husband, but sits down and writes to her solicitor, asking him to come on the morrow, and she also determines to destroy immediately the will which she has just made.

She keeps the fatal letter.".

"It was to discover that letter, then, that her husband forced the lock of the despatch-case?".

"Yes, and from the enormous risk he ran we can see how fully he realized its importance.

That letter excepted, there was absolutely nothing to connect him with the crime.".

"There's only one thing I can't make out, why didn't he destroy it at once when he got hold of it?"

"Because he did not dare take the biggest risk of all—that of keeping it on his own person.".

"I don't understand."

"Look at it from his point of view.

I have discovered that there were only five short minutes in which he could have taken it—the five minutes immediately before our own arrival on the scene, for before that time Annie was brushing the stairs, and would have seen anyone who passed going to the right wing.

Figure to yourself the scene!

He enters the room, unlocking the door by means means of one of the other doorkeys—they were all much alike.

He hurries to the despatch-case—it is locked, and the keys are nowhere to be seen.

That is a terrible blow to him, for it means that his presence in the room cannot be concealed as he had hoped.

But he sees clearly that everything must be risked for the sake of that damning piece of evidence.

Quickly, he forces the lock with a penknife, and turns over the papers until he finds what he is looking for.

"But now a fresh dilemma arises: he dare not keep that piece of paper on him.

He may be seen leaving the room—he may be searched.

If the paper is found on him, it is certain doom.

Probably, at this minute, too, he hears the sounds below of Mr. Wells and John leaving the boudoir.

He must act quickly.

Where can he hide this terrible slip of paper? The contents of the waste-paper-basket are kept and in any case, are sure to be examined.

There are no means of destroying it; and he dare not keep it. He looks round, and he sees—what do you think, mon ami?".

I shook my head.

"In a moment, he has torn the letter into long thin strips, and rolling them up into spills he thrusts them hurriedly in amongst the other spills in the vase on the mantle-piece.".

I uttered an exclamation.

"No one would think of looking there," Poirot continued. And he will be able, at his leisure, to come back and destroy this solitary piece of evidence against him.".

"Then, all the time, it was in the spill vase in Mrs.Inglethorp's bedroom, under our very noses?" I cried.

Poirot nodded.

"Yes, my friend. That is where I discovered my 'last link,' and I owe that very fortunate discovery to you.".

"To me?".

"Yes. Do you remember telling me that my hand shook as I was straightening the ornaments on the mantel-piece?"

"Yes, but I don't see——".

"No, but I saw.

Do you know, my friend, I remembered that earlier in the morning, when we had been there together, I had straightened all the objects on the mantel-piece.

And, if they were already straightened, there would be no need to straighten them again, unless, in the meantime, some one else had touched them.".

"Dear me," I murmured, "so that is the explanation of your extraordinary behaviour.

You rushed down to Styles, and found it still there?".

"Yes, and it was a race for time.".

"But I still can't understand why Inglethorp was such a fool as to leave it there when he had plenty of opportunity to destroy it.".

"Ah, but he had no opportunity.

I saw to that."

"You?".

"Yes. Do you remember reproving me for taking the household into my confidence on the subject?".

"Yes.".

"Well, my friend, I saw there was just one chance.

I was not sure then if Inglethorp was the criminal or not, but if he was I reasoned that he would not have the paper on him, but would have hidden it somewhere, and by enlisting the sympathy of the household I could effectually prevent his destroying it.

He was already under suspicion, and by making the matter public I secured the services of about ten amateur detectives, who would be watching him unceasingly, and being himself aware of their watchfulness he would not dare seek further to destroy the document.

He was therefore forced to depart from the house, leaving it in the spill vase.".

"But surely Miss Howard had ample opportunities of aiding him."

"Yes, but Miss Howard did not know of the paper's existence.

In accordance with their prearranged plan, she never spoke to Alfred Inglethorp.

They were supposed to be deadly enemies, and until John Cavendish was safely convicted they neither of them dared risk a meeting.

Of course I had a watch kept on
Mr.Inglethorp, hoping that sooner or later he would lead me to the hiding-place.

But he was too clever to take any chances.

The paper was safe where it was; since no one had thought of looking there in the first week, it was not likely they would do so afterwards.

But for your lucky remark, we might never have been able to bring him to justice.".

"I understand that now; but when did you first begin to suspect Miss Howard?"

"When I discovered that she had told a lie at the inquest about the letter she had received from Mrs.Inglethorp."

"Why, what was there to lie about?"

"You saw that letter? Do you recall its general appearance?".

"Yes—more or less."

"You will recollect, then, that Mrs.Inglethorp wrote a very distinctive hand, and left large clear spaces between her words.

But if you look at the date at the top of the letter you will notice that 'July 17th' is quite different in this respect.

Do you see what I mean?".

"No," I confessed, "I don't.".

"You do not see that that letter was not written on the 17th, but on the 7th—the day after Miss Howard's departure?

The '1' was written in before the '7' to turn it into the '17th'."

"But why?".

"That is exactly what I asked myself.

Why does Miss Howard suppress the letter written on the 17th, and produce this faked one instead?

Because she did not wish to show the letter of the 17th.

Why, again?

And at once a suspicion dawned in my mind.

You will remember my saying that it was wise to beware of people who were not telling you the truth.".

"And yet," I cried indignantly, "after that, you gave me two reasons why Miss Howard could not have committed the crime!".

"And very good reasons too," replied Poirot. "For a long time they were a stumbling-block to me until I remembered a very significant fact: that she and Alfred Inglethorp were cousins.

She could not have committed the crime single-handed, but the reasons against that did not debar her from being an accomplice.

And, then, there was that rather over-vehement hatred of hers!

It concealed a very opposite emotion.

There was, undoubtedly, a tie of passion between them long before he came to Styles.

They had already arranged their infamous plot—that he should marry this rich, but rather foolish old lady, induce her to make a will leaving her money to him, and then gain their ends by a very cleverly conceived crime.

If all had gone as they planned, they would probably have left England, and lived together on their poor victim's money.

"They are a very astute and unscrupulous pair.

While suspicion was to be directed against him, she would be making quiet preparations for a very different dénouement.

She arrives from Middlingham with all the compromising items in her possession.

No suspicion attaches to her.

No notice is paid to her coming and going in the house.

She hides the strychnine and glasses in John's room.

She puts the beard in the attic. She will see to it that sooner or later they are duly discovered."

"I don't quite see why they tried to fix the blame on John," I remarked.

"It would have been much easier for them to bring the crime home to Lawrence.".

"Yes, but that was mere chance.

All the evidence against him arose out of pure accident.

It must, in fact, have been distinctly annoying to the pair of schemers."

"His manner was unfortunate," I observed thoughtfully.

"Yes. You realize, of course, what was at the back of that?"

"No.".

"You did not understand that he believed Mademoiselle Cynthia guilty of the crime?".

"No," I exclaimed, astonished. "Impossible!".

"Not at all. I myself nearly had the same idea. It was in my mind when I asked
Mr.Wells that first question about the will.

Then there were the bromide powders which she had made up, and her clever male impersonations, as Dorcas recounted them to us.

There was really more evidence against her than anyone else.".

"You are joking, Poirot!".

"No. Shall I tell you what made Monsieur Lawrence turn so pale when he first entered his mother's room on the fatal night?

It was because, whilst his mother lay there, obviously poisoned, he saw, over your shoulder, that the door into Mademoiselle Cynthia's room was unbolted.".

"But he declared that he saw it bolted!" I cried.

"Exactly," said Poirot dryly. "And that was just what confirmed my suspicion that it was not.

He was shielding Mademoiselle Cynthia.".

"But why should he shield her?".

"Because he is in love with her."

I laughed.

"There, Poirot, you are quite wrong! I happen to know for a fact that, far from being in love with her, he positively dislikes her.".

"Who told you that, mon ami?".

"Cynthia herself.".

"La pauvre petite! And she was concerned?".

"She said that she did not mind at all.".

"Then she certainly did mind very much," remarked Poirot. "They are like that—les femmes!".

"What you say about Lawrence is a great surprise to me," I said.

"But why? It was most obvious.

Did not Monsieur Lawrence make the sour face every time Mademoiselle Cynthia spoke and laughed with his brother?

He had taken it into his long head that Mademoiselle Cynthia was in love with Monsieur John.

When he entered his mother's room, and saw her obviously poisoned, he jumped to the conclusion that Mademoiselle Cynthia knew something about the matter.

He was nearly driven desperate.

First he crushed the coffee-cup to powder under his feet, remembering that she had gone up with his mother the night before, and he determined that there should be no chance of testing its contents.

Thenceforward, he strenuously, and quite uselessly, upheld the theory of 'Death from natural causes'.".

"And what about the 'extra coffee-cup'?".

"I was fairly certain that it was Mrs. Cavendish who had hidden it, but I had to make sure.

Monsieur Lawrence did not know at all what I meant; but, on reflection, he came to the conclusion that if he could find an extra coffee-cup anywhere his lady love would be cleared of suspicion.

And he was perfectly right.".

"One thing more. What did Mrs.Inglethorp mean by her dying words?"

"They were, of course, an accusation against her husband.".

"Dear me, Poirot," I said with a sigh, "I think you have explained everything.

I am glad it has all ended so happily.

Even John and his wife are reconciled."

"Thanks to me.".

"How do you mean—thanks to you?"

"My dear friend, do you not realize that it was simply and solely the trial which has brought them together again?

That John Cavendish still loved his wife, I was convinced.

Also, that she was equally in love with him. But they had drifted very far apart.

It all arose from a misunderstanding.

She married him without love.

He knew it. He is a sensitive man in his way, he would not force himself upon her if she did not want him.

And, as he withdrew, her love awoke.

But they are both unusually proud, and their pride held them inexorably apart.

He drifted into an entanglement with
Mrs.Raikes, and she deliberately cultivated the friendship of Dr.Bauerstein.

Do you remember the day of John Cavendish's arrest, when you found me deliberating over a big decision?".

"Yes, I quite understood your distress."

"Pardon me, mon ami, but you did not understand it in the least.

I was trying to decide whether or not I would clear John Cavendish at once.

I could have cleared him—though it might have meant a failure to convict the real criminals.

They were entirely in the dark as to my real attitude up to the very last moment—which partly accounts for my success.".

"Do you mean that you could have saved John Cavendish from being brought to trial?"

"Yes, my friend. But I eventually decided in favour of 'a woman's happiness'.

Nothing but the great danger through which they have passed could have brought these two proud souls together again.".

I looked at Poirot in silent amazement. The colossal cheek of the little man! Who on earth but Poirot would have thought of a trial for murder as a restorer of conjugal happiness!

"I perceive your thoughts, mon ami," said Poirot, smiling at me.

"No one but Hercule Poirot would have attempted such a thing! And you are wrong in condemning it.

The happiness of one man and one woman is the greatest thing in all the world.".

His words took me back to earlier events.

I remembered Mary as she lay white and exhausted on the sofa, listening, listening. There had come the sound of the bell below.

She had started up. Poirot had opened the door, and meeting her agonized eyes had nodded gently.

"Yes, madame," he said. "I have brought him back to you." .
He had stood aside, and as I went out I had seen the look in Mary's eyes, as John Cavendish had caught his wife in his arms.

"Perhaps you are right, Poirot," I said gently. "Yes, it is the greatest thing in the world.".

Suddenly, there was a tap at the door, and Cynthia peeped in.

"I—I only——".

"Come in," I said, springing up.

She came in, but did not sit down.

"I—only wanted to tell you something——".

"Yes?".

Cynthia fidgeted with a little tassel for some moments, then, suddenly exclaiming: "You dears!" kissed first me and then Poirot, and rushed out of the room again.

"What on earth does this mean?" I asked, surprised.

It was very nice to be kissed by Cynthia, but the publicity of the salute rather impaired the pleasure.

"It means that she has discovered Monsieur Lawrence does not dislike her as much as she thought," replied Poirot philosophically.

"But——".

"Here he is.".

Lawrence at that moment passed the door.

"Eh! Monsieur Lawrence," called Poirot. "We must congratulate you, is it not so?".

Lawrence blushed, and then smiled awkwardly.

A man in love is a sorry spectacle. Now Cynthia had looked charming.

I sighed.

"What is it, mon ami?"

"Nothing," I said sadly. "They are two delightful women!".

"And neither of them is for you?" finished Poirot.

"Never mind. Console yourself, my friend. We may hunt together again, who knows? And then——".

THE END