en-es  The Mysterious Affair at Styles/Chapter XII Easy
El último eslabón.

La brusca partida de Poirot nos había intrigado enormemente.

Pasó la mañana del domingo y todavía no había vuelto a aparecer.

Pero sobre las tres un feroz y prolongado pitido fuera nos llevó a la ventana, para ver a Poirot descendiendo de un coche, acompañado por Japp y Summerhaye.

El hombrecito estaba transformado.

Irradiaba una absurda complacencia. Se inclinó con exagerado respeto ante Mary Cavendish.

"¿Señora, tengo su permiso para convocar una pequeña réunion en el salón?

Es necesario que todos asistan".

Mary sonrió tristemente.

''Sabe, Monsieur Poirot, que usted tiene carta blanca de todas maneras.

''Es muy amable, madame''.

Aún radiante, Poirot nos dirigió hacia el salón, llevando sillas mientras lo hacía.

''Miss Howard...aquí. Mademoiselle Cynthia. Monsieur Lawrence. La buena Dorcas. Y Annie. ¡Bien!

Debemos demorar nuestro debate por unos minutos, hasta que llegue el Sr. Inglethorp.

Le envié una nota''.

Miss Howard se levantó de su silla inmediatamente.

''¡Si ese hombre entra a la casa, salgo!

''¡No, no!'' Poirot se acercó a ella y le suplicó en voz baja.

Finalmente, la Srta. Howard aceptó regresar a su silla.

Después de unos minutos, Alfred Inglethorp entró en la habitación.

Una vez todos reunidos, Poirot se levantó de su silla pareciendo un profesor conocido, y se inclinó cortésmente a su público.

''Señores, señoras, como saben, fui llamado por Monsieur John Cavendish para investigar este caso.

Enseguida examiné la habitación de la difunta que, siguiendo el consejo de los doctores, fue cerrada, y en consecuencia se quedó exactamente como cuando ocurrió la tragedia.

Encontré: primero, un trozo de tela verde; segundo, una mancha en la alfombra junto a la ventana, aún húmeda; tercero, una caja vacía de polvo de bromuro.

"Tomemos primero el fragmento de tela verde, lo encontré atrapado en el cerrojo de la puerta de comunicación entre esa habitación y la adyacente ocupada por Mademoiselle Cynthia.

Le entregué el fragmento a la policía que no lo consideró de mucha importancia.

Tampoco lo reconocieron como lo que era, un pedazo desgarrado de una manga verde de ropa de campo".

Hubo un pequeño revuelo de excitación.

"Ahora bien, solo había una persona en Styles que trabajara en el campo, Mrs. Cavendish.

Por tanto tuvo que haber sido Mrs. Cavendish la que entró en la habitación de la difunta a través de la puerta que comunica con la habitación de Mademoiselle Cynthia".

"¡Pero esa puerta estaba cerrada con pestillo por dentro!", exclamé.

"Cuando yo examiné la habitación, sí.

Pero, en primer lugar solo tenemos su palabra al respecto, ya que fue ella quien comprobó esa puerta en concreto y dijo que estaba cerrada.

En la confusión que siguió ella habría tenido suficiente oportunidad de echar el pestillo.

Yo aproveché a tiempo una oportunidad de verificar mis conjeturas.

Para comenzar, el fragmento corresponde exactamente con una rasgadura en la manga de Mrs. Cavendish.
Asimismo, en el interrogatorio, Mrs. Cavendish declaró que había oído, desde su propia habitación caer la mesita de noche.

Aproveché a tiempo una oportunidad para verificar esa declaración emplazando a mi amigo Monsieur Hastings en el ala izquierda del edifició, justo al exterior de la puerta de la Sra. Cavendish.

Yo mismo, con la policía, fui a la habitación de la difunta, y una vez allí, aparentemente por accidente, tumbé la mesa en cuestión, pero me di cuenta que, como esperaba, Monsieur Hastings no había oído ningún ruido.

Esto confirmaba mi creencia en que la Sra. Cavendish no había dicho la verdad cuando declaró que había estado vistiéndose en su habitación en el momento de la tragedia.

De hecho, yo estaba convencido de que, lejos de haber estado en su propia habitación, la Sra. Cavendish estaba en realidad en la habitación de la difunta cuando se dio la alarma.

Miré rápidamente a Mary.

Parecía muy pálida, pero sonriente.

''Procedí a razonar bajo esa suposición.

La Sra. Cavendish está en la habitación de su suegra.

Dirémos que está buscando algo pero aún no lo ha encontrado .

De repente, la Sra. Inglethorp se despierta y está asaltada por un paroxismo alarmante.

Alarga el brazo, haciendo caer la mesita de noche y luego toca desesperadamente la campanilla.

Mrs.Cavendish, sobresaltada, deja caer su vela, esparciendo la cera en la alfombra.

La recoge y se retira rápidamente a la habitación de Mademoiselle Cynthia, cerrando la puerta tras ella.

Se apresura hacia el pasillo, porque los sirvientes no deben encontrarla donde está.

¡Pero es demasiado tarde! Los pasos ya están haciendo eco en la galería que conecta las dos alas.

¿Qué puede hacer? Rápida como el pensamiento, se apresura a volver a la habitación de la joven y empieza a moverla para despertarla.

Los domésticos despertados precipitamente, lleguan al pasillo.

Todos estan ocupados en golpear la puerta de la Sra. Inglethorp.

Nadie piensa en que la Sra. Cavedish no ha llegado con los otros, pero...y esto es importante... no puedo encontrar a nadie que la viera venir de la otra ala.

Miró a Mary Cavendish. ''¿Tengo razón, madame?''.

Ella inclinó la cabeza.

''Muy cierto, monsieur.

Entiende que si hubiera pensado que revelar estos hechos hubiera sido bueno para mi marido, lo habría hecho.

Pero no me parecía que afectara la cuestión de su culpabilidad o de su inocencia''.

''De alguna manera, eso es correcto, madame.

Pero limpió mi mente de muchas ideas falsas, y me dejó libre de ver otros hechos en su verdadero sentido''.

''¡El testamento!'' gritó Lawrence. ''¿Entonces fuiste tu, Mary, quien destruyó el testamento?''.

Ella negó con la cabeza, y Poirot también negó con la suya.

''No'', él dijó tranquilamente. ''Hay solo una persona que posiblemente podría haber destruido este testamento...¡la Sra. Inglethorp ella misma!''.

''¡Imposible! exclamé.

"¡Ella acababa de hacerlo esa misma tarde!"

''No obstante, mon ami, fue la Sra. Inglethorp.

Porque, de ninguna otra manera se puede explicar el hecho de que, en uno de los días más calurosos del año, la Sra. Inglethorp ordenara que se encendiera la chimenea de su habitación ".

Di un grito ahogado. ¡Qué idiotas habíamos sido para no pensar nunca que ese fuego era absurdo!

Poirot continuaba: "La temperatura de ese día, messieurs, era de 27 grados a la sombra.

¡Sin embargo, Mrs.Inglethorp ordenó encender el fuego! ¿Por qué?

Porque ella quería destruir algo, y no pudo pensar otra manera.

Recordarán que, como consecuencia de la economía de guerra practicada en Styles, no se tiraba el papel usado.

Por lo tanto, no había medios para destruir un documento grueso como un testamento.

En el momento en que escuché que se encendió un fuego en la habitación de Mrs.Inglethorp, llegué a la conclusión de que era para destruir algún documento importante, posiblemente un testamento.

Así que, el descubrimiento del fragmento carbonizado en la regilla de la chimenea no fue una sorpresa para mí.

Yo no sabía, por supuesto, en ese momento que el testamento en cuestión acababa de ser hecho esa tarde, y admitiré que, cuando me enteré de ese hecho, caí en un grave error.

Llegué a la conclusión de que la determinación de Mrs. Inglethorp de destruir el testamento surgió como consecuencia directa de la pelea que tuvo lugar esa tarde, y de que, por tanto, la pelea tuvo lugar después, y no antes de hacer el testamento.

En esto, como sabemos, estaba equivocado y me vi obligado a abandonar esa idea.

Me enfrenté al problema desde una nueva perspectiva. Entonces, a las 4 de la tarde, Dorcas oyó a su señora diciendo enfadada: 'No debes pensar que el temor de la divulgación, o del escándalo entre marido y mujer me van a disuadir'.

Yo conjeturé, y conjeturé con razón, que esas palabras no iban dirigidas a su marido, sino a Mr. John Cavendish.

A las 5, una hora más tarde, ella usa casi las mismas palabras, pero el punto de vista es diferente.

Ella le admite a Dorcas, 'no sé qué hacer; el escándalo entre marido y mujer es algo horrible'.

A las 4 había estado enfadada, pero completamente dueña de sí misma.

A las 5 siente una violenta angustia y habla de haber sufrido una gran conmoción.

''Mirando al asunto de manera psicológica, deduje una cosa que estaba convencido que era correcta.

El segundo 'escándalo' del cual ella habló no era el mismo que el primero... ¡y le afectaba de ella misma!

''Vamos a reconstruir.

A las 4, la Sra. Inglethorp se pelea con su hijo y amenaza de denunciarle a su esposa...quién, además, ha oído una gran parte de la conversación.

A la 4.30, la Sra. Inglethorp, como consecuencia de una conversación sobre la validez de testamentos, hace un testamento en favor de su marido, presenciado por los dos jardineros.

A las 5, Dorcas encuentra a su señora considerablemente agitada, con un trozo de papel ...'una carta', piensa Dorcas... en la mano, y es en ese momento cuando ella pide que enciendan el fuego en su habitación.

Probablemente, luego, entre las 4.30 y las 5, algo ocurrió que provocó una total revolución de sentimiento, porque desde entonces, está tan ansiosa de destruir el testamento, como estaba ansiosa por hacerlo antes.

¿Qué ocurrió?

''Por lo que sabemos, estaba sola durante esta media hora.

Nadie entró ni salió de este tocador.

¿Qué, en ese caso, provocó este cambio de opinión repentino?

''Solo se puede adivinar, pero creo que mi suposición es correcta.

Mrs.Inglethorp no tenía sellos en su escritorio.

Lo sabemos porque más tarde le pidió a Dorcas que le trajera algunos.

Ahora bien, en la esquina opuesta de la habitación estaba el escritorio de su esposo, cerrado.

Estaba ansiosa por encontrar algunos sellos y, según mi teoría, probó sus propias llaves en el escritorio.

Una de ellas encaja lo sé.

Por lo tanto, abrió el escritorio y, al buscar los sellos, se encontró otra cosa, el trozo de papel que Dorcas vio en su mano y que, desde luego, nunca fue pensado para los ojos de Mrs. Inglethorp.

Por otro lado, la Sra. Cavendish creía que el trozo de papel al que se aferraba tan tenazmente su suegra era una prueba escrita de la infidelidad de su propio marido.

Se lo pidió a Mrs.Inglethorp, quien le aseguró, con toda sinceridad, que no tenía nada que ver con ese asunto.

Mrs.Cavendish no la creyó.

Pensó que Mrs.Inglethorp estaba protegiendo a su hijastro.

Ahora bien, la Sra. Cavendish es una mujer muy decidida y, detrás de su máscara de reserva, estaba locamente celosa de su marido.

Decidió conseguir ese papel a toda costa, y en esta resolución, la suerte llegó en su ayuda.

Por casualidad encontró la llave de la caja de documentos de Mrs. Inglethorp, que se había perdido esa mañana.

Sabía que su suegra guatdaba invariablemente todos los papeles importantes en esta caja en concreto.

Así pues Mrs. Cavendish hizo sus planes como solo una mujer desesperada por los celos podía haber hecho.

A alguna hora avanzada de la tarde quitó el pestillo de la puerta que da a la habitación de Mademoiselle Cynthia.

Posiblemente echó aceite en las bisagras, porque encontré que abría sin nada de ruido cuando lo intenté.

Aplazó su proyecto hasta las primeras horas de la mañana que eran más seguras, ya que los sirvientes estaban acostumbrados a oírla moverse por su habitación en ese tiempo.

Se vistió completamente con su ropa de trabajar en el campo y se dirigió silenciosamente a través de la habitación de Mademoiselle Cynthia a la de Mrs. Inglethorp".

Hizo una pausa durante un momento y Cynthia interrumpió: "¿Pero yo debería haberme despertado si alguien hubiera pasado por mi habitación?".

"No si usted estuviera drogada, mademoiselle".

"¿Drogada?".

"¡Mais, oui!".

"Recuerdan", Se dirigió de nuevo a nosotros colectivamente, "que Mademoiselle Cynthia estuvo durmiendo durante todo el tumulto y el ruido en la puerta de al lado.

Eso admitía dos posibilidades.

O bien su sueño era fingido, cosa que no creo, o bien su pérdida de conciencia estaba causada de hecho por medios artificiales.

''Con esa idea en la mente, examiné todas las tazas de café muy cuidadosamente, recordando que fue la Sra. Cavendich quien había llevado su café a Mademoiselle Cynthia, la noche previa.

Tomé un muestreo de cada taza y las hice analizar...sin resultado. Había contado las tazas con cuidado, en caso de que una se hubiera eliminado.

Seis personas habían tomado café, y seis tazas fueron debidamente encontradas. Tenía que admitir mi error.

''Entonces, descubrí que había sido culpable de una importante omisión.

Se había llevado café para siete personas, no seis, porque el Dr. Bauerstein había estado presente esta tarde.

Esto cambiaba la cara del asunto, porque ahora faltaba una taza.

Los sirvientes no notaron nada, porque Annie, la criada que llevó el café, trajó siete tazas, sin saber que el Sr. Inglethorp nunca lo bebía, mientras que Dorcas, quien las retiró la mañana siguiente, encontró seis, como siempre...o en sentido estricto, encontró cinco porque la sexta era la que se enonctró rota en la habitación de la Sra. Inglethorp.

"Estaba convencido de que la taza que faltaba era la de Mademoiselle Cynthia.

Tenía una razón adicional para esa creencia por el hecho de que todas las tazas que se encontraron contenían azúcar, que Mademoiselle Cynthia nunca toma con el café.

Me llamó la atención la historia de Annie sobre un poco de "sal" en la bandeja de chocolate que llevaba todas las noches a la habitación de Mrs. Inglethorp.

Por consiguiente obtuve una muestra de ese chocolate y la envié para ser analizada".

"Pero eso ya lo había hecho el Dr.Bauerstein", dijo Lawrence rápidamente.

"No exactamente. Al analista se le pidió que informara si la estricnina estaba o no presente.

No lo había analizado, como le pedí yo, si contenía un narcótico".

"¿Para un narcótico?".

"Sí. Aquí está el informe del analista.

Mrs.Cavendish administró un narcótico sin riesgo, pero efectivo, tanto a Mrs.Inglethorp como a Mademoiselle Cynthia.

¡Y es posible que en consecuencia haya tenido un mauvais quart d'heure!

Imagine sus sentimientos cuando su suegra de repente se enferma y muere, e inmediatamente después ella escucha la palabra 'veneno'.

Había creído que el somnífero que administró era perfectamente inofensivo, pero no hay duda que por un terrible momento, ella había debe haberse temido que la muerte de la Sra. Inglethorp fue culpa de ella.

Está presa de pánico, y bajo su influencia se apresura abajo y rápidamente deja la taza y el platito usados por la Srta Cynthia en un gran jarrón de laton, donde el Sr. Lawrence los descubre más tarde.

No se atreve a tocar los restos del chocolate.
Demasiados ojos la miran.

Puede suponer su alivio cuando se menciona estricnina, y ella descubre que después de todo, la tragedia no es culpa suya.

''Ahora podemos explicar por qué los síntomas del envenenamiento por estricnina han tardado tanto antes de aparecer.

Un narcótico tomado con estricnina retrasará la acción del veneno durante algunas horas".

Poirot se detuvo.

Mary lo miró, el color volvía lentamente a su cara.

"Todo lo que ha dicho es muy cierto, monsieur Poirot.

Fue la hora más horrible de mi vida.

Nunca lo olvidaré.

Es usted maravilloso. Ahora comprendo...".

"Lo que quería decir cuando le dije que podía confesarse con seguridad a Papa Poirot, ¿eh? Pero no confió en mí".

"Ahora lo entiendo todo", dijo Lawrence.

"El chocolate drogado, tomado después del café envenenado, explica ampliamente la demora".

"Exactamente.

¿Pero el café estba envenenado, o no?

Aquí llegamos a una pequeña dificultad, ya que la Sra. Inglethorp nunca se lo tomó".

"¿Qué?". El grito de sorpresa fue universal.

"No. ¿Recuerdan que hablé de una mancha en la alfombra de la habitación de Mrs. Inglethorp?

Había algunos puntos peculiares sobre esa mancha.

Todavía estaba húmeda, desprendía un fuerte olor a café y en la lanilla de la alfombra encontré algunas pequeñas esquirlas de porcelana.

Lo que sucedió estaba claro para mí, porque ni dos minutos antes había colocado mi pequeño estuche en la mesa cerca de la ventana, y la mesa, tambaleandose, lo había depositado en el suelo precisamente en el mismo lugar.

Exactamente de la misma manera, la Sra. Inglethorp había dejado su taza de café al llegar a su habitación la noche anterior, y la mesa traicionera le había jugado el mismo truco.

"Lo que pasó después es puro trabajo de conjetura por mi parte, pero yo diría que Mrs. Inglethorp recogió la taza rota y la puso en la mesa al lado de la cama. Sintiendo necesidad de algún tipo de estimulante, calentó el chocolate, y lo bebió en ese momento.
Ahora nos enfrentamos a un nuevo problema.

Sabemos que el chocolate no contenía estricnina. El café nunca se bebió.

Sin embargo la estricnina tuvo que haber sido administrada entre siete y nueve esa tarde.

¿Qué tercer medio había, un medio tan adecuado para disimular el sabor de la estricnina que es increíble que nadie pensara en él? ".

Poirot miró alrededor de la habitación, y entonces se respondió a sí mismo impresionantemente. "¡Su medicina!".

"¿Piensa usted que el asesino introdujo la estricnina en su tónico?", exclamé.

"No hubo necesidad de introducirla.

Estaba ya allí, en la mezcla.

La estricnina que mató a Mrs. Inglethorp era la misma estricnina prescrita por el Dr.Wilkins.

Para dejárselo claro, voy a leerles un pasaje de un libro sobre dosificación que encontré en el dispensario de la Cruz Roja en Tadminster.

Esta disolución deposita en unas pocas horas la mayor parte de la sal de estricnina como un bromuro insoluble en cristales transparentes.

Una dama en Inglaterra perdió la vida al tomar una mezcla similar: la estricnina precipitada se acumuló en el fondo, y al tomar la última dosis la tragó casi toda.

Ahora, por supuesto, no había bromuro en la prescripción del Dr. Wilkins, pero recordarán que mencioné una caja vacía de polvos de bromuro.

Uno o dos de esos polvos introducidos en la botella llena de medicina precipitarían la estricnina de forma eficaz, como describe el libro, haciendo que ésta fuera tomada en la última dosis.

Descubrirán más tarde que la persona que usualmente vertía la medicina de Mrs. Inglethorp tenía siempre mucho cuidado de no sacudir la botella, para dejar intacto el sedimento en el fondo de ella.

A lo largo del caso ha habido pruebas de que se pretendía que la tragedia tuviera lugar el lunes por la tarde.

Este día, la cuerda de la campana de la Sra. Inglethorp estaba cortada cuidadosamente, y el lunes por la tarde, Mademoiselle Cynthia estaba pasando la noche con amigos, entonces la Sra. Inglethorp habría estado totalmente sola en el ala derecha, totalmente aislada de cualquier ayuda y habría muerto, con toda probabilidad, antes que se pudiera llamar una asistencia médica.

Pero en su prisa por llegar a tiempo a la animación del pueblo, la Sra. Inglethorp olvidó tomar su medicina, y el próximo día, almorzó fuera de casa, entonces la última dosis fue tomada veinticuatro horas más tarde de lo que había sido previsto por el asesino; y es por ese retraso que la prueba definitiva...el último eslabón...ahora está en mis manos''.

En medio de la excitación en que no se oía ni respirar, él mostró tres tiras finas de papel.

" ¡Una carta escrita por la mano del asesino, mes amis!

Si hubiera sido en términos un poco más claros, es posible que la Sra. Inglethorp, advertida a tiempo, se hubiera escapado.

Como era, ella se dió cuenta del peligro, pero no de su manera''.

En el silencio de muerte, Poirot unió las tiras de papel y, aclarando la voz, leyó: 'Querida Evelyn: estarás ansiosa al no escuchar nada.

Todo va bien... pero ocurrirá esta noche en lugar de ayer.

Ya me entiendes.

Vienen buenos tiempos una vez que la anciana esté muerta y fuera del camino.

Nadie puede adjudicarme el crimen a mí.

¡Esa idea tuya del bromuro fue un golpe genial!

Pero debemos ser muy prudentes. Un paso en falso...'.

"Aquí, amigos míos, la carta se interrumpe. Sin duda el escritor fue interrumpido; pero no puede cuestionarse su identidad. Todos nosotros conocemos está letra...". Un alarido que era casi un grito rompió el silencio.

"¡Demonio! ¿Cómo la conseguiste?".

Alguien volcó una silla.

Poirot saltó a un lado ágilmente.

Un rápido movimiento de su parte, y su agresor cayó con estruendo.

"Messieurs, mesdames", dijo Poirot con un ademán ostentoso, "permítanme que les presente al asesino, ¡Mr. Alfred Inglethorp!". ".
unit 1
THE LAST LINK.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 2
Poirot's abrupt departure had intrigued us all greatly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 3
Sunday morning wore away, and still he did not reappear.
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unit 5
The little man was transformed.
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unit 6
He radiated an absurd complacency.
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unit 7
He bowed with exaggerated respect to Mary Cavendish.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 8
"Madame, I have your permission to hold a little réunion in the salon?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 9
It is necessary for every one to attend."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 10
Mary smiled sadly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 11
"You know, Monsieur Poirot, that you have carte blanche in every way.".
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 2 days ago
unit 12
"You are too amiable, madame.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 13
unit 14
"Miss Howard—here.
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unit 15
Mademoiselle Cynthia.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 16
Monsieur Lawrence.The good Dorcas.And Annie.Bien!
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unit 17
We must delay our proceedings a few minutes until Mr.Inglethorp arrives.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 18
I have sent him a note.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 19
Miss Howard rose immediately from her seat.
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unit 20
"If that man comes into the house, I leave it!".
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unit 21
"No, no!"
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unit 22
Poirot went up to her and pleaded in a low voice.
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unit 23
Finally Miss Howard consented to return to her chair.
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unit 24
A few minutes later Alfred Inglethorp entered the room.
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unit 30
I handed the fragment over to the police who did not consider it of much importance.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 3 days ago
unit 31
Nor did they recognize it for what it was—a piece torn from a green land armlet.".
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unit 32
There was a little stir of excitement.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 2 days ago
unit 33
"Now there was only one person at Styles who worked on the land—Mrs.
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unit 34
Cavendish.
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unit 36
"But that door was bolted on the inside!"
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unit 37
I cried.
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unit 38
"When I examined the room, yes.
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unit 40
In the ensuing confusion she would have had ample opportunity to shoot the bolt across.
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unit 41
I took an early opportunity of verifying my conjectures.
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unit 42
To begin with, the fragment corresponds exactly with a tear in Mrs.Cavendish's armlet.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 2 days ago
unit 48
I shot a quick glance at Mary.
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unit 49
She was very pale, but smiling.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 2 days ago
unit 50
"I proceeded to reason on that assumption.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 2 days ago
unit 51
Mrs.Cavendish is in her mother-in-law's room.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 2 days ago
unit 52
We will say that she is seeking for something and has not yet found it.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 day, 6 hours ago
unit 53
Suddenly Mrs.Inglethorp awakens and is seized with an alarming paroxysm.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 2 days ago
unit 54
She flings out her arm, overturning the bed table, and then pulls desperately at the bell.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 55
Mrs.Cavendish, startled, drops her candle, scattering the grease on the carpet.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 56
unit 57
She hurries out into the passage, for the servants must not find her where she is.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 58
But it is too late!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 59
Already footsteps are echoing along the gallery which connects the two wings.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 60
What can she do?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 61
Quick as thought, she hurries back to the young girl's room, and starts shaking her awake.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 62
The hastily aroused household come trooping down the passage.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 63
They are all busily battering at Mrs.Inglethorp's door.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 1 hour ago
unit 65
He looked at Mary Cavendish.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 66
"Am I right, madame?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 67
She bowed her head.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 68
"Quite right, monsieur.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 70
But it did not seem to me to bear upon the question of his guilt or innocence."
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 71
"In a sense, that is correct, madame.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 73
"The will!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 74
cried Lawrence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 75
"Then it was you, Mary, who destroyed the will?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 76
She shook her head, and Poirot shook his also.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 77
"No," he said quietly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 79
"Impossible!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 80
I exclaimed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 81
"She had only made it out that very afternoon!".
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 82
"Nevertheless, mon ami, it was Mrs.Inglethorp.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 84
I gave a gasp.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 85
What idiots we had been never to think of that fire as being incongruous!
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 87
Yet Mrs.Inglethorp ordered a fire!Why?.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 88
Because she wished to destroy something, and could think of no other way.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 90
There was therefore no means of destroying a thick document such as a will.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 92
So the discovery of the charred fragment in the grate was no surprise to me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week, 1 day ago
unit 95
"Here, as we know, I was wrong, and I was forced to abandon that idea.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 96
I faced the problem from a new standpoint.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 101
At 4 o'clock she has been angry, but completely mistress of herself.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 102
At 5 o'clock she is in violent distress, and speaks of having had a great shock.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 104
The second 'scandal' she spoke of was not the same as the first—and it concerned herself!.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 days, 3 hours ago
unit 105
"Let us reconstruct.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 110
What was that something?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 111
"As far as we know, she was quite alone during that half-hour.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 112
Nobody entered or left that boudoir.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 113
What then occasioned this sudden change of sentiment?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 114
"One can only guess, but I believe my guess to be correct.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 115
Mrs.Inglethorp had no stamps in her desk.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 116
We know this, because later she asked Dorcas to bring her some.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 117
Now in the opposite corner of the room stood her husband's desk—locked.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 119
That one of them fitted I know.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 123
Mrs.Cavendish did not believe her.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 124
She thought that Mrs.Inglethorp was shielding her stepson.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 week ago
unit 128
She knew that her mother-in-law invariably kept all important papers in this particular case.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 days, 3 hours ago
unit 130
Some time in the evening she unbolted the door leading into Mademoiselle Cynthia's room.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 days, 3 hours ago
unit 131
unit 135
"Not if you were drugged, mademoiselle.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 days, 3 hours ago
unit 136
"Drugged?".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 days, 3 hours ago
unit 137
"Mais, oui!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 days, 3 hours ago
unit 139
That admitted of two possibilities.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 days, 3 hours ago
unit 142
I took a sample from each cup, and had them analysed—with no result.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 143
I had counted the cups carefully, in the event of one having been removed.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 144
Six persons had taken coffee, and six cups were duly found.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 145
I had to confess myself mistaken.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 146
"Then I discovered that I had been guilty of a very grave oversight.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 147
unit 148
This changed the face of the whole affair, for there was now one cup missing.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 150
"I was confident that the missing cup was that of Mademoiselle Cynthia.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 153
I accordingly secured a sample of that coco, and sent it to be analysed.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 154
"But that had already been done by Dr.Bauerstein," said Lawrence quickly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 155
"Not exactly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 156
The analyst was asked by him to report whether strychnine was, or was not, present.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 157
He did not have it tested, as I did, for a narcotic."
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 2 hours ago
unit 158
"For a narcotic?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 159
"Yes.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 160
Here is the analyst's report.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 4 hours ago
unit 162
And it is possible that she had a mauvais quart d'heure in consequence!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 166
The remains of the coco she dare not touch.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 1 hour ago
unit 167
Too many eyes are upon her.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 170
A narcotic taken with strychnine will delay the action of the poison for some hours.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 171
Poirot paused.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 172
Mary looked up at him, the colour slowly rising in her face.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 173
"All you have said is quite true, Monsieur Poirot.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 174
It was the most awful hour of my life.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 175
I shall never forget it.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 176
But you are wonderful.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 177
I understand now——".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 178
"What I meant when I told you that you could safely confess to Papa Poirot, eh?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 179
But you would not trust me.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 180
"I see everything now," said Lawrence.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 181
"The drugged coco, taken on top of the poisoned coffee, amply accounts for the delay."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 182
"Exactly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 183
But was the coffee poisoned, or was it not?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 18 hours ago
unit 184
We come to a little difficulty here, since Mrs.Inglethorp never drank it.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 185
"What?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 186
The cry of surprise was universal.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 187
"No.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 188
You will remember my speaking of a stain on the carpet in Mrs.Inglethorp's room?
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 2 hours ago
unit 189
There were some peculiar points about that stain.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 days, 3 hours ago
unit 194
unit 195
Now we are faced with a new problem.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 3 hours ago
unit 196
We know the coco contained no strychnine.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 3 hours ago
unit 197
The coffee was never drunk.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 2 hours ago
unit 198
Yet the strychnine must have been administered between seven and nine o'clock that evening.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 2 hours ago
unit 200
Poirot looked round the room, and then answered himself impressively.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 2 hours ago
unit 201
"Her medicine!".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 2 hours ago
unit 202
"Do you mean that the murderer introduced the strychnine into her tonic?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 2 hours ago
unit 203
"I cried.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 2 hours ago
unit 204
"There was no need to introduce it.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 7 hours ago
unit 205
It was already there—in the mixture.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days, 2 hours ago
unit 206
The strychnine that killed Mrs.Inglethorp was the identical strychnine prescribed by Dr.Wilkins.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 5 hours ago
unit 216
Amid breathless excitement, he held out three thin strips of paper.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 5 hours ago
unit 217
"A letter in the murderer's own hand-writing, mes amis!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 219
As it was, she realized her danger, but not the manner of it.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 221
It is all right—only it will be to-night instead of last night.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 2 hours ago
unit 222
You understand.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 223
There's a good time coming once the old woman is dead and out of the way.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 224
No one can possibly bring home the crime to me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 225
That idea of yours about the bromides was a stroke of genius!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 226
But we must be very circumspect.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 227
A false step——'.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 days ago
unit 228
"Here, my friends, the letter breaks off.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 229
Doubtless the writer was interrupted; but there can be no question as to his identity.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 230
We all know this hand-writing and——" A howl that was almost a scream broke the silence.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 231
"You devil!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 232
How did you get it?"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 233
A chair was overturned.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 234
Poirot skipped nimbly aside.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 235
A quick movement on his part, and his assailant fell with a crash.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 days, 6 hours ago
unit 237
".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
Boot2 • 5571  commented on  unit 183  4 days, 18 hours ago
carme2222 • 6344  translated  unit 187  5 days, 5 hours ago
carme2222 • 6344  translated  unit 159  6 days, 1 hour ago
carme2222 • 6344  commented on  unit 133  6 days, 3 hours ago
Boot2 • 5571  commented on  unit 44  1 week, 1 day ago
Boot2 • 5571  commented on  unit 44  1 week, 2 days ago
Boot2 • 5571  commented on  unit 50  1 week, 2 days ago
"!"
Boot2 • 5571  commented on  unit 24  1 week, 2 days ago

THE LAST LINK.

Poirot's abrupt departure had intrigued us all greatly.

Sunday morning wore away, and still he did not reappear.

But about three o'clock a ferocious and prolonged hooting outside drove us to the window, to see Poirot alighting from a car, accompanied by Japp and Summerhaye.

The little man was transformed.

He radiated an absurd complacency. He bowed with exaggerated respect to Mary Cavendish.

"Madame, I have your permission to hold a little réunion in the salon?

It is necessary for every one to attend."

Mary smiled sadly.

"You know, Monsieur Poirot, that you have carte blanche in every way.".

"You are too amiable, madame.".

Still beaming, Poirot marshalled us all into the drawing-room, bringing forward chairs as he did so.

"Miss Howard—here. Mademoiselle Cynthia. Monsieur Lawrence.The good Dorcas.And Annie.Bien!

We must delay our proceedings a few minutes until Mr.Inglethorp arrives.

I have sent him a note.".

Miss Howard rose immediately from her seat.

"If that man comes into the house, I leave it!".

"No, no!" Poirot went up to her and pleaded in a low voice.

Finally Miss Howard consented to return to her chair.

A few minutes later Alfred Inglethorp entered the room.

The company once assembled, Poirot rose from his seat with the air of a popular lecturer, and bowed politely to his audience.

"Messieurs, mesdames, as you all know, I was called in by Monsieur John Cavendish to investigate this case.

I at once examined the bedroom of the deceased which, by the advice of the doctors, had been kept locked, and was consequently exactly as it had been when the tragedy occurred.

I found: first, a fragment of green material; second, a stain on the carpet near the window, still damp; thirdly, an empty box of bromide powders.

"To take the fragment of green material first, I found it caught in the bolt of the communicating door between that room and the adjoining one occupied by Mademoiselle Cynthia.

I handed the fragment over to the police who did not consider it of much importance.

Nor did they recognize it for what it was—a piece torn from a green land armlet.".

There was a little stir of excitement.

"Now there was only one person at Styles who worked on the land—Mrs. Cavendish.

Therefore it must have been Mrs. Cavendish who entered the deceased's room through the door communicating with Mademoiselle Cynthia's room.".

"But that door was bolted on the inside!" I cried.

"When I examined the room, yes.

But in the first place we have only her word for it, since it was she who tried that particular door and reported it fastened.

In the ensuing confusion she would have had ample opportunity to shoot the bolt across.

I took an early opportunity of verifying my conjectures.

To begin with, the fragment corresponds exactly with a tear in Mrs.Cavendish's armlet.
Also, at the inquest, Mrs.Cavendish declared that she had heard, from her own room, the fall of the table by the bed.

I took an early opportunity of testing that statement by stationing my friend Monsieur Hastings in the left wing of the building, just outside Mrs.Cavendish's door.

I myself, in company with the police, went to the deceased's room, and whilst there I, apparently accidentally, knocked over the table in question, but found that, as I had expected, Monsieur Hastings had heard no sound at all.

This confirmed my belief that
Mrs.Cavendish was not speaking the truth when she declared that she had been dressing in her room at the time of the tragedy.

In fact, I was convinced that, far from having been in her own room,
Mrs.Cavendish was actually in the deceased's room when the alarm was given.".

I shot a quick glance at Mary.

She was very pale, but smiling.

"I proceeded to reason on that assumption.

Mrs.Cavendish is in her mother-in-law's room.

We will say that she is seeking for something and has not yet found it.

Suddenly Mrs.Inglethorp awakens and is seized with an alarming paroxysm.

She flings out her arm, overturning the bed table, and then pulls desperately at the bell.

Mrs.Cavendish, startled, drops her candle, scattering the grease on the carpet.

She picks it up, and retreats quickly to Mademoiselle Cynthia's room, closing the door behind her.

She hurries out into the passage, for the servants must not find her where she is.

But it is too late! Already footsteps are echoing along the gallery which connects the two wings.

What can she do? Quick as thought, she hurries back to the young girl's room, and starts shaking her awake.

The hastily aroused household come trooping down the passage.

They are all busily battering at
Mrs.Inglethorp's door.

It occurs to nobody that Mrs.Cavendish has not arrived with the rest, but—and this is significant—I can find no one who saw her come from the other wing.".

He looked at Mary Cavendish. "Am I right, madame?".

She bowed her head.

"Quite right, monsieur.

You understand that, if I had thought I would do my husband any good by revealing these facts, I would have done so.

But it did not seem to me to bear upon the question of his guilt or innocence."

"In a sense, that is correct, madame.

But it cleared my mind of many misconceptions, and left me free to see other facts in their true significance.".

"The will!" cried Lawrence. "Then it was you, Mary, who destroyed the will?".

She shook her head, and Poirot shook his also.

"No," he said quietly. "There is only one person who could possibly have destroyed that will—Mrs.Inglethorp herself!".

"Impossible!" I exclaimed.

"She had only made it out that very afternoon!".

"Nevertheless, mon ami, it was
Mrs.Inglethorp.

Because, in no other way can you account for the fact that, on one of the hottest days of the year, Mrs. Inglethorp ordered a fire to be lighted in her room.".

I gave a gasp. What idiots we had been never to think of that fire as being incongruous!

Poirot was continuing:
"The temperature on that day, messieurs, was 80 degrees in the shade.

Yet Mrs.Inglethorp ordered a fire!Why?.

Because she wished to destroy something, and could think of no other way.

You will remember that, in consequence of the War economics practised at Styles, no waste paper was thrown away.

There was therefore no means of destroying a thick document such as a will.

The moment I heard of a fire being lighted in Mrs.Inglethorp's room, I leaped to the conclusion that it was to destroy some important document—possibly a will.

So the discovery of the charred fragment in the grate was no surprise to me.

I did not, of course, know at the time that the will in question had only been made this afternoon, and I will admit that, when I learnt that fact, I fell into a grievous error.

I came to the conclusion that
Mrs.Inglethorp's determination to destroy her will arose as a direct consequence of the quarrel she had that afternoon, and that therefore the quarrel took place after, and not before the making of the will.

"Here, as we know, I was wrong, and I was forced to abandon that idea.

I faced the problem from a new standpoint. Now, at 4 o'clock, Dorcas overheard her mistress saying angrily: 'You need not think that any fear of publicity, or scandal between husband and wife will deter me.".

I conjectured, and conjectured rightly, that these words were addressed, not to her husband, but to Mr.John Cavendish.

At 5 o'clock, an hour later, she uses almost the same words, but the standpoint is different.

She admits to Dorcas, 'I don't know what to do; scandal between husband and wife is a dreadful thing.'.

At 4 o'clock she has been angry, but completely mistress of herself.

At 5 o'clock she is in violent distress, and speaks of having had a great shock.

"Looking at the matter psychologically, I drew one deduction which I was convinced was correct.

The second 'scandal' she spoke of was not the same as the first—and it concerned herself!.

"Let us reconstruct.

At 4 o'clock, Mrs.Inglethorp quarrels with her son, and threatens to denounce him to his wife—who, by the way, overheard the greater part of the conversation.

At 4.30, Mrs.Inglethorp, in consequence of a conversation on the validity of wills, makes a will in favour of her husband, which the two gardeners witness.

At 5 o'clock, Dorcas finds her mistress in a state of considerable agitation, with a slip of paper—'a letter,' Dorcas thinks—in her hand, and it is then that she orders the fire in her room to be lighted.

Presumably, then, between 4.30 and 5 o'clock, something has occurred to occasion a complete revolution of feeling, since she is now as anxious to destroy the will, as she was before to make it.

What was that something?

"As far as we know, she was quite alone during that half-hour.

Nobody entered or left that boudoir.

What then occasioned this sudden change of sentiment?

"One can only guess, but I believe my guess to be correct.

Mrs.Inglethorp had no stamps in her desk.

We know this, because later she asked Dorcas to bring her some.

Now in the opposite corner of the room stood her husband's desk—locked.

She was anxious to find some stamps, and, according to my theory, she tried her own keys in the desk.

That one of them fitted I know.

She therefore opened the desk, and in searching for the stamps she came across something else—that slip of paper which Dorcas saw in her hand, and which assuredly was never meant for
Mrs.Inglethorp's eyes.

On the other hand, Mrs.Cavendish believed that the slip of paper to which her mother-in-law clung so tenaciously was a written proof of her own husband's infidelity.

She demanded it from Mrs.Inglethorp who assured her, quite truly, that it had nothing to do with that matter.

Mrs.Cavendish did not believe her.

She thought that Mrs.Inglethorp was shielding her stepson.

Now Mrs.Cavendish is a very resolute woman, and, behind her mask of reserve, she was madly jealous of her husband.

She determined to get hold of that paper at all costs, and in this resolution chance came to her aid.

She happened to pick up the key of
Mrs.Inglethorp's despatch-case, which had been lost that morning.

She knew that her mother-in-law invariably kept all important papers in this particular case.

"Mrs.Cavendish, therefore, made her plans as only a woman driven desperate through jealousy could have done.

Some time in the evening she unbolted the door leading into Mademoiselle Cynthia's room.

Possibly she applied oil to the hinges, for I found that it opened quite noiselessly when I tried it.

She put off her project until the early hours of the morning as being safer, since the servants were accustomed to hearing her move about her room at that time.

She dressed completely in her land kit, and made her way quietly through Mademoiselle Cynthia's room into that of Mrs.Inglethorp.".

He paused a moment, and Cynthia interrupted:

"But I should have woken up if anyone had come through my room?".

"Not if you were drugged, mademoiselle.".

"Drugged?".

"Mais, oui!"

"You remember"—he addressed us collectively again—"that through all the tumult and noise next door Mademoiselle Cynthia slept.

That admitted of two possibilities.

Either her sleep was feigned—which I did not believe—or her unconsciousness was indeed by artificial means.

"With this latter idea in my mind, I examined all the coffee-cups most carefully, remembering that it was Mrs.Cavendish who had brought Mademoiselle Cynthia her coffee the night before.

I took a sample from each cup, and had them analysed—with no result. I had counted the cups carefully, in the event of one having been removed.

Six persons had taken coffee, and six cups were duly found. I had to confess myself mistaken.

"Then I discovered that I had been guilty of a very grave oversight.

Coffee had been brought in for seven persons, not six, for Dr. Bauerstein had been there that evening.

This changed the face of the whole affair, for there was now one cup missing.

The servants noticed nothing, since Annie, the housemaid, who took in the coffee, brought in seven cups, not knowing that
Mr.Inglethorp never drank it, whereas Dorcas, who cleared them away the following morning, found six as usual—or strictly speaking she found five, the sixth being the one found broken in
Mrs.Inglethorp's room.

"I was confident that the missing cup was that of Mademoiselle Cynthia.

I had an additional reason for that belief in the fact that all the cups found contained sugar, which Mademoiselle Cynthia never took in her coffee.

My attention was attracted by the story of Annie about some 'salt' on the tray of coco which she took every night to
Mrs.Inglethorp's room.

I accordingly secured a sample of that coco, and sent it to be analysed.".

"But that had already been done by
Dr.Bauerstein," said Lawrence quickly.

"Not exactly. The analyst was asked by him to report whether strychnine was, or was not, present.

He did not have it tested, as I did, for a narcotic."

"For a narcotic?"

"Yes. Here is the analyst's report.

Mrs.Cavendish administered a safe, but effectual, narcotic to both Mrs.Inglethorp and Mademoiselle Cynthia.

And it is possible that she had a mauvais quart d'heure in consequence!

Imagine her feelings when her mother-in-law is suddenly taken ill and dies, and immediately after she hears the word 'Poison'!

She has believed that the sleeping draught she administered was perfectly harmless, but there is no doubt that for one terrible moment she must have feared that
Mrs.Inglethorp's death lay at her door.

She is seized with panic, and under its influence she hurries downstairs, and quickly drops the coffee-cup and saucer used by Mademoiselle Cynthia into a large brass vase, where it is discovered later by Monsieur Lawrence.

The remains of the coco she dare not touch.
Too many eyes are upon her.

Guess at her relief when strychnine is mentioned, and she discovers that after all the tragedy is not her doing.

"We are now able to account for the symptoms of strychnine poisoning being so long in making their appearance.

A narcotic taken with strychnine will delay the action of the poison for some hours.".

Poirot paused.

Mary looked up at him, the colour slowly rising in her face.

"All you have said is quite true, Monsieur Poirot.

It was the most awful hour of my life.

I shall never forget it.

But you are wonderful. I understand now——".

"What I meant when I told you that you could safely confess to Papa Poirot, eh? But you would not trust me.".

"I see everything now," said Lawrence.

"The drugged coco, taken on top of the poisoned coffee, amply accounts for the delay."

"Exactly.

But was the coffee poisoned, or was it not?

We come to a little difficulty here, since Mrs.Inglethorp never drank it.".

"What?" The cry of surprise was universal.

"No. You will remember my speaking of a stain on the carpet in Mrs.Inglethorp's room?

There were some peculiar points about that stain.

It was still damp, it exhaled a strong odour of coffee, and imbedded in the nap of the carpet I found some little splinters of china.

What had happened was plain to me, for not two minutes before I had placed my little case on the table near the window, and the table, tilting up, had deposited it upon the floor on precisely the identical spot.

In exactly the same way, Mrs.Inglethorp had laid down her cup of coffee on reaching her room the night before, and the treacherous table had played her the same trick.

"What happened next is mere guess work on my part, but I should say that
Mrs.Inglethorp picked up the broken cup and placed it on the table by the bed. Feeling in need of a stimulant of some kind, she heated up her coco, and drank it off then and there.
Now we are faced with a new problem.

We know the coco contained no strychnine. The coffee was never drunk.

Yet the strychnine must have been administered between seven and nine o'clock that evening.

What third medium was there—a medium so suitable for disguising the taste of strychnine that it is extraordinary no one has thought of it?".

Poirot looked round the room, and then answered himself impressively. "Her medicine!".

"Do you mean that the murderer introduced the strychnine into her tonic?"I cried.

"There was no need to introduce it.

It was already there—in the mixture.

The strychnine that killed Mrs.Inglethorp was the identical strychnine prescribed by Dr.Wilkins.

To make that clear to you, I will read you an extract from a book on dispensing which I found in the Dispensary of the Red Cross Hospital at Tadminster.

This solution deposits in a few hours the greater part of the strychnine salt as an insoluble bromide in transparent crystals.

A lady in England lost her life by taking a similar mixture: the precipitated strychnine collected at the bottom, and in taking the last dose she swallowed nearly all of it!

"Now there was, of course, no bromide in Dr.Wilkins' prescription, but you will remember that I mentioned an empty box of bromide powders.

One or two of those powders introduced into the full bottle of medicine would effectually precipitate the strychnine, as the book describes, and cause it to be taken in the last dose.

You will learn later that the person who usually poured out Mrs.Inglethorp's medicine was always extremely careful not to shake the bottle, but to leave the sediment at the bottom of it undisturbed.

"Throughout the case, there have been evidences that the tragedy was intended to take place on Monday evening.

On that day, Mrs.Inglethorp's bell wire was neatly cut, and on Monday evening Mademoiselle Cynthia was spending the night with friends, so that Mrs.Inglethorp would have been quite alone in the right wing, completely shut off from help of any kind, and would have died, in all probability, before medical aid could have been summoned.

But in her hurry to be in time for the village entertainment Mrs.Inglethorp forgot to take her medicine, and the next day she lunched away from home, so that the last—and fatal—dose was actually taken twenty-four hours later than had been anticipated by the murderer; and it is owing to that delay that the final proof—the last link of the chain—is now in my hands.".

Amid breathless excitement, he held out three thin strips of paper.

"A letter in the murderer's own hand-writing, mes amis!

Had it been a little clearer in its terms, it is possible that Mrs.Inglethorp, warned in time, would have escaped.

As it was, she realized her danger, but not the manner of it.".

In the deathly silence, Poirot pieced together the slips of paper and, clearing his throat, read:

'Dearest Evelyn:
'You will be anxious at hearing nothing.

It is all right—only it will be to-night instead of last night.

You understand.

There's a good time coming once the old woman is dead and out of the way.

No one can possibly bring home the crime to me.

That idea of yours about the bromides was a stroke of genius!

But we must be very circumspect. A false step——'.

"Here, my friends, the letter breaks off. Doubtless the writer was interrupted; but there can be no question as to his identity. We all know this hand-writing and——"

A howl that was almost a scream broke the silence.

"You devil! How did you get it?"

A chair was overturned.

Poirot skipped nimbly aside.

A quick movement on his part, and his assailant fell with a crash.

"Messieurs, mesdames," said Poirot, with a flourish, "let me introduce you to the murderer, Mr.Alfred Inglethorp!".