en-fr  The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Chapter III Easy
La Nuit de la Tragédie.

Pour rendre cette partie de mon récit plus compréhensible, je joins le plan du premier étage de Styles.

On rejoint les chambres des domestiques par la porte B.

Elles ne communiquent pas avec l'aile droite, où se situaient les appartements de madame Inglethrop.

La nuit semblait être bien entamée lorsque je fus réveillé par Lawrence Cavendish.

Il tenait une bougie à la main et l'agitation de son visage me fit comprendre immédiatement que quelque chose allait vraiment mal.

– Que se passe-t-il ? demandai-je en m'asseyant dans mon lit et en tentant de rassembler mes esprits.

– Nous avons peur que ma mère ne soit très malade. Elle est en train de faire une sorte de crise. Par malheur, elle s'est enfermée.

– J'arrive tout de suite.

Je sortis du lit et, enfilant une robe de chambre, je suivis Lawrence le long du couloir et de la galerie jusqu'à l'aile droite de la maison.

John Cavendish nous rejoignit et un ou deux domestiques étaient debout dans un état d'agitation effarée.

Lawrence se tourna vers son frère.

– Que penses-tu que nous devrions faire ?

Jamais, pensai-je, son caractère indécis n'avait été plus visible.

John secoua violemment la poignée de la porte de madame Inglethorp, sans effet.

Elle était évidemment verrouillée ou bloquée de l'intérieur.

Toute la maisonnée était réveillée maintenant.

Les bruits les plus alarmants provenaient de l'intérieur de la chambre.

Clairement, il fallait faire quelque chose.

– Essayez de passer par la chambre de monsieur Inglethrop, s'écria Dorcas. Oh, pauvre madame !

Je réalisai soudain qu'Alfred Inglethorp n'était pas avec nous... que lui seul ne s'était pas manifesté.

John ouvrit la porte de sa chambre.

Il faisait nuit noire, mais Lawrence suivait avec la bougie, à sa faible lueur nous vîmes que personne n'avait dormi dans le lit et que rien n'indiquait que la chambre avait été occupée.

Nous allâmes droit à la porte de communication.

Qui, elle aussi, était close ou bloquée de l'intérieur.

Que fallait-il faire ?

– Oh, mon dieu, monsieur, cria Dorcas en se tordant les mains, qu'allons-nous faire ?

– Nous devons tenter de casser la porte, je suppose.

Ça ne va pas être facile, cependant. Maintenant, envoyez une des servantes réveiller Baily et lui dire d'aller chercher le docteur Wilkins immédiatement.

Et maintenant, faisons une tentative avec cette porte. Une seconde, n'y a-t-il pas une porte dans les appartements de mademoiselle Cynthia ?

– Oui, monsieur, mais c'est bloqué aussi.

On ne l'a jamais utilisée.

– Bien, nous pourrions juste regarder.

Il descendit rapidement le couloir jusqu'à la chambre de Cynthia.

Mary Cavendish était là, secouant la jeune femme - qui devait avoir un sommeil particulièrement profond - et tentant de la réveiller.

Une ou deux minutes pus tard, il fut de retour.

– Mauvaise nouvelle. C'est bloqué aussi. Nous devons forcer la porte.

Je pense que celle-ci est un brin moins solide que celle dans le couloir.

Nous poussâmes et soulevâmes ensemble.

L'encadrement de la porte était solide et résista longtemps à nos efforts mais, finalement, nous le sentîmes céder sous notre poids et enfin, il éclata dans un craquement retentissant.

Nous trébuchâmes à l'intérieur, Lawrence tenant toujours sa bougie.

Madame Inglethorp était étendue sur son lit, tout son corps agité de violentes convulsions, au cours desquelles elle avait dû renverser la table à côté d'elle.

Comme nous entrions cependant, ses membres se détendirent et elle retomba sur les oreillers.

John traversa la pièce et alluma le gaz.

Se tournant vers Annie, l'une des domestiques, il l'envoya en bas dans la salle-à-manger chercher du brandy.

Puis il revint vers sa mère tandis que je déverrouillai la porte qui donnait sur le couloir.

Je m'approchai de Lawrence pour lui indiquer que je ferais mieux de m'en aller puisqu'ils n'avaient plus besoin de mes services, mais les mots restèrent figés sur mes lèvres.

Jamais je n'avais vu un air aussi dévasté sur le visage d'un homme.

Il était blanc comme la craie, la bougie qu'il tenait dans sa main tremblante coulait sur le tapis et ses yeux, pétrifiés de terreur ou d'une émotion du même ordre, regardaient fixement par-dessus ma tête un point sur le mur.

C'était comme s'il avait vu quelque chose qui l'avait pétrifié.

Instinctivement, je suivis la direction de son regard mais ne remarquai rien d'inhabituel.

Les cendres encore faiblement rougeoyantes dans le foyer, et l'alignement des objets décoratifs sur le manteau de la cheminée semblaient bien inoffensifs.

La violence de l'attaque de Mme Inglethorp semblait s'estomper.

Elle parvint à parler d'une voix haletante.

— Ça va mieux... si soudain... je suis sotte... de m'être enfermée.

Une ombre passa sur le lit et en levant les yeux, je vis, près de la porte, Mary Cavendish qui tenait Cynthia par la taille.

Elle paraissait soutenir la jeune fille qui avait l'air particulièrement hébétée et désorientée.

Sa figure était toute rouge et elle bâillait sans cesse.

— La pauvre Cynthia est totalement terrifiée, déclara Mme Cavendish d'une voix grave et claire.

Je remarquai qu'elle était vêtue de sa blouse blanche.

Il devait donc être plus tard que je ne le pensais. Je vis qu'une faible clarté filtrait par les tentures de la fenêtre et que l’horloge sur la cheminée indiquait presque cinq heures.

Un cri étranglé venant du lit me fit sursauter.

Une nouvelle crise douloureuse terrassait la malheureuse vieille dame.

Les convulsions étaient d'une violence terrible à voir.

Tout n'était que confusion.

Nous nous empressâmes autour d'elle, impuissants à l'aider ou à la soulager.

Une ultime convulsion la souleva du lit, jusqu'à ce qu'elle parut posée sur sa tête et ses talons, le corps arqué d'une manière extraordinaire.

Mary et John tentèrent en vain de lui administrer davantage de brandy.

Le temps se figea. À nouveau son corps s'arqua de cette curieuse manière.

C'est alors que le docteur Bauerstein pénétra avec autorité dans la chambre.

Un instant, il s'arrêta net, regardant la silhouette sur le lit, et au même moment, Mme Inglethorp poussa un cri étouffé, le regard fixé sur le docteur : — Alfred... Alfred... Puis, elle retomba inerte sur ses oreillers.

D'une enjambée, le docteur parvenant au lit lui saisit les bras énergiquement et, pour autant que je sache, pratiqua la respiration artificielle.

Il lança quelques ordres brefs aux domestiques.

D'un geste impérieux, il nous fit tous sortir.

Nous le regardions, fascinés, même si je crois que nous étions tous convaincus qu'il était trop tard et que plus rien ne pouvait être tenté désormais.

Je pouvais lire sur son visage que lui aussi conservait peu d'espoir.

Il finit par renoncer et secoua gravement la tête.

Nous entendîmes alors des pas à l'extérieur et le docteur Wilkins, médecin personnel de madame Inglethorp, un petit homme corpulent, pointilleux, se précipita dans la pièce.

Le docteur Bauerstein expliqua en quelques mots qu'il était passé devant la loge à l'entrée alors que la voiture sortait et avait couru jusqu'à la maison aussi vite qu'il pouvait, pendant que la voiture allait chercher le docteur Wilkins.

D'un geste vague de la main, il indiqua le corps sur le lit.

– Tr...ès triste. Tr...ès triste, murmurait le docteur Wilkins.

Pauvre vieille lady. Elle en faisait toujours beaucoup trop... beaucoup trop... malgré mes recommandations.

Je l'avais prévenue. Son cœur était loin d'être solide.

Allez-y doucement, je lui disais, allez... y... doucement.

Mais non... son amour du travail bien fait était trop grand.

Nature rebelle. Na...ture... re...belle.

Je remarquai que le docteur Bauerstein observait le médecin de famille attentivement.

Il gardait en permanence les yeux fixés sur lui pendant qu'il parlait.

– Les convulsions ont été d'une particulière violence, docteur Wilkins.

Je suis désolé que vous n'ayez pas été là à temps pour en être témoin. Elles avaient un caractère quasi... tétanique.

– Ah ! dit le docteur Wilkins avec prudence.

– Je voudrais vous parler en privé, dit le docteur Bauerstein. Il se tourna vers John.
Vous n'avez rien contre ?

– Certainement pas.

Nous nous regroupâmes tous dans le couloir, laissant les deux médecins seuls et j'entendis la clef tourner dans la serrure derrière nous.

Nous descendîmes lentement les escaliers.

J'étais très énervé.

Je possède un certain talent de déduction et les manières du Dr Bauerstein avaient fait naître dans mon esprit les suppositions les plus folles. Mary Cavendish posa une main sur mon bras.

— Que se passe-t-il ? Pourquoi le docteur Bauerstein a-t-il l'air si... bizarre ?

Je posai mon regard sur elle.

— Savez-vous ce que je pense ?

— Quoi ?

— Écoutez-moi ! Je regardai autour de moi, les autres ne pouvaient entendre.

Ma voix devint un murmure. — Je crois qu'elle a été empoisonnée ! Je suis sûr que le docteur Bauerstein a des soupçons.

— Quoi ? Elle recula contre le mur, ses pupilles largement dilatées.

Puis dans un cri qui me fit tressaillir, elle s'exclama : — Non, non... pas ça... pas ça !
Et s’éloignant de moi, elle se précipita dans les escaliers.

Je la suivis craignant qu'elle ne s'évanouisse.

Je la retrouvai appuyée contre la rampe, atrocement pâle.

D'un geste impatient, elle me fit signe de m'en aller.

— Non, non... laissez-moi. Je préfère être seule. Laissez-moi tranquille pendant une ou deux minutes.

Descendez rejoindre les autres.

Je lui obéis à contrecœur.

John et Lawrence se trouvaient dans la salle à manger. Je les rejoignis.

Nous étions tous silencieux mais je suppose que j'exprimai l'étonnement de chacun lorsque je brisai ce silence en disant : – Où est M. Inglethorp ?

John secoua la tête.

– Il n'est pas dans la maison.

Nos regards se rencontrèrent.

Où était Alfred Inglethorp ?

Son absence était étrange et inexplicable.

Je me souvins des derniers mots de Mme Inglethorp.

Que cachaient-ils ?

Qu'aurait-elle pu nous dire de plus, si elle avait eu le temps ?

Finalement nous entendîmes les médecins descendre les escaliers.

Le docteur Wilkins avait un air important et excité, il tentait de dissimuler une exultation intérieure sous une apparence de dignité décontractée.

Le docteur Bauerstein demeura en arrière, son visage grave et barbu impassible.

Le docteur Wilkins était leur porte-parole.

Il s'adressa à John : – M. Cavendish, je voudrais votre accord pour une autopsie.

– Est-ce nécessaire ? demanda John gravement.

Un spasme de douleur lui parcouru le visage.

– Tout à fait, dit le docteur Bauerstein.

— Vous voulez dire que... ?

— Que ni le docteur Wilkins, ni moi-même ne pouvons délivrer un certificat de décès dans ces circonstances.

John baissa la tête.

— Dans ce cas, je n'ai pas d'autre choix que celui d'accepter.

— Merci, répondit vivement le docteur Wilkins.

Nous vous proposons qu'elle ait lieu demain soir... ou plutôt ce soir.

Il vit qu'il faisait jour. Dans ces circonstances, je crains qu'une enquête ne puisse être évitée, ces formalités sont nécessaires, mais je vous en prie ne vous inquiétez pas.

Ils s'interrompirent, puis le docteur Bauerstein sortit deux clefs de sa poche et les tendit à John.

– Ce sont les clefs des deux chambres.

Je les ai verrouillées et, à mon avis, il vaudrait mieux les garder fermées pour le moment.

Puis les médecins s'en furent.

J'avais ressassé une idée et je sentis que le moment était venu d'en parler.

Pourtant j'étais un peu gêné de le faire.

John, je le savais avait horreur de toute forme de publicité et était un optimiste convaincu, qui préférait éviter tout problème.

Il pourrait s'avérer difficile de le convaincre de la solidité de mon plan.

D'un autre côté, Lauwrence était moins conventionnel et avait davantage d'imagination, je sentis que je pourrais compter sur son soutien.

Il n'y avait aucun doute sur le fait qu'il était temps que je prenne les choses en main.

– John, dis-je, je vais te demander quelque chose.

– Oui ?

– Tu te souviens que je t'ai parlé de mon ami Poirot ? Le Belge qui est ici ? C'était un détective très célèbre.

– Oui.

– Je voudrais que tu me laisses le faire venir ici... pour enquêter sur cette affaire....

– Quoi... maintenant ? Avant l'autopsie ?

– Oui, le temps est un avantage si... si... il y a eu acte criminel.

– Sottises ! cria Lawrence en colère.

– À mon avis, toute cette histoire sort de l'imagination de Bauerstein !

Wilkin n'y pensait pas, jusqu'à ce que Bauerstein lui mette cette idée en tête.

Mais, comme tous les spécialistes, Bauerstein fait des fixations.

Les poisons sont son obsession, alors, évidemment, il en voit partout.

J'avoue que je fus surpris par l'attitude de Lawrence.

Il était très rarement aussi véhément pour quoi que ce soit.

John hésitait.

Je ne partage pas ton point de vue, Lawrence, dit-il finalement.

J'ai envie de laisser libre court à Hastings, pourtant je préférerais attendre un peu.

Nous ne voulons pas de scandale inutile.

– Non, non, m'exclamai-je vivement, inutile de craindre cela. Poirot est la discrétion personnifiée.

— Très bien, alors agis comme bon te semble.

Je m'en remets à toi.

Bien que comme nous le supposons, l'affaire semble assez claire.

Que Dieu me pardonne si j'ai été injuste envers lui.

Je regardai ma montre.

Il était six heures. Je décidai de ne pas perdre de temps.

Cependant, je m'accordai un délai de cinq minutes.

Je le passai à fouiller dans la bibliothèque jusqu'à ce que je mette la main sur un livre médical décrivant l'empoisonnement à la strychnine.
unit 1
The Night of the Tragedy.
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To make this part of my story clear, I append the following plan of the first floor of Styles.
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The servants' rooms are reached through the door B.
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They have no communication with the right wing, where the Inglethorps' rooms were situated.
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It seemed to be the middle of the night when I was awakened by Lawrence Cavendish.
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"What's the matter?"
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I asked, sitting up in bed, and trying to collect my scattered thoughts.
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"We are afraid my mother is very ill. She seems to be having some kind of fit.
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Unfortunately she has locked herself in.".
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"I'll come at once.".
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Lawrence turned to his brother.
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"What do you think we had better do?".
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Never, I thought, had his indecision of character been more apparent.
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John rattled the handle of Mrs. Inglethorp's door violently, but with no effect.
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It was obviously locked or bolted on the inside.
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The whole household was aroused by now.
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The most alarming sounds were audible from the interior of the room.
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Clearly something must be done.
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"Try going through Mr. Inglethorp's room, sir," cried Dorcas.
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"Oh, the poor mistress!".
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John opened the door of his room.
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We went straight to the connecting door.
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That, too, was locked or bolted on the inside.
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What was to be done?.
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"Oh, dear, sir," cried Dorcas, wringing her hands, "what ever shall we do?".
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"We must try and break the door in, I suppose.
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It'll be a tough job, though.
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Here, let one of the maids go down and wake Baily and tell him to go for Dr. Wilkins at once.
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Now then, we'll have a try at the door.
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Half a moment, though, isn't there a door into Miss Cynthia's rooms?".
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"Yes, sir, but that's always bolted.
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It's never been undone.".
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"Well, we might just see.".
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He ran rapidly down the corridor to Cynthia's room.
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In a moment or two he was back.
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"No good.
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That's bolted too.
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We must break in the door.
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I think this one is a shade less solid than the one in the passage."
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We strained and heaved together.
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We stumbled in together, Lawrence still holding his candle.
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As we entered, however, her limbs relaxed, and she fell back upon the pillows.
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John strode across the room, and lit the gas.
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Turning to Annie, one of the housemaids, he sent her downstairs to the dining-room for brandy.
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Then he went across to his mother whilst I unbolted the door that gave on the corridor.
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Never have I seen such a ghastly look on any man's face.
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It was as though he had seen something that turned him to stone.
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I instinctively followed the direction of his eyes, but I could see nothing unusual.
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The violence of Mrs. Inglethorp's attack seemed to be passing.
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She was able to speak in short gasps.
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"Better now--very sudden--stupid of me--to lock myself in.".
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She seemed to be supporting the girl, who looked utterly dazed and unlike herself.
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Her face was heavily flushed, and she yawned repeatedly.
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"Poor Cynthia is quite frightened," said Mrs. Cavendish in a low clear voice.
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She herself, I noticed, was dressed in her white land smock.
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Then it must be later than I thought.
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A strangled cry from the bed startled me.
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A fresh access of pain seized the unfortunate old lady.
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The convulsions were of a violence terrible to behold.
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Everything was confusion.
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We thronged round her, powerless to help or alleviate.
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In vain Mary and John tried to administer more brandy.
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The moments flew.
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Again the body arched itself in that peculiar fashion.
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At that moment, Dr. Bauerstein pushed his way authoritatively into the room.
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He issued a few short sharp orders to the servants.
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An imperious wave of his hand drove us all to the door.
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I could see by the expression on his face that he himself had little hope.
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Finally he abandoned his task, shaking his head gravely.
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With a faint gesture of the hand, he indicated the figure on the bed.
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"Ve--ry sad.
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Ve--ry sad," murmured Dr. Wilkins.
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"Poor dear lady.
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Always did far too much--far too much--against my advice.
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I warned her.
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Her heart was far from strong.
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'Take it easy,' I said to her, 'Take--it--easy'.
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But no--her zeal for good works was too great.
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Nature rebelled.
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Na--ture-- re--belled."
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Dr. Bauerstein, I noticed, was watching the local doctor narrowly.
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He still kept his eyes fixed on him as he spoke.
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"The convulsions were of a peculiar violence, Dr. Wilkins.
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I am sorry you were not here in time to witness them.
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They were quite--tetanic in character."
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"Ah!"
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said Dr. Wilkins wisely.
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"I should like to speak to you in private," said Dr. Bauerstein.
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He turned to John.
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"You do not object?".
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"Certainly not.".
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We went slowly down the stairs.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 113
I was violently excited.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 115
Mary Cavendish laid her hand upon my arm.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 116
"What is it?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 117
Why did Dr. Bauerstein seem so--peculiar?".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 118
I looked at her.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 119
"Do you know what I think?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 120
"What?".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 121
"Listen!"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 122
I looked round, the others were out of earshot.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 123
I lowered my voice to a whisper.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 124
"I believe she has been poisoned!
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 125
I'm certain Dr. Bauerstein suspects it.".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 126
"What?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 127
She shrank against the wall, the pupils of her eyes dilating wildly.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 128
Then, with a sudden cry that startled me, she cried out: "No, no--not that--not that!".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 129
And breaking from me, fled up the stairs.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 130
I followed her, afraid that she was going to faint.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 131
I found her leaning against the bannisters, deadly pale.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 132
She waved me away impatiently.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 133
"No, no--leave me.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 134
I'd rather be alone.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 135
Let me just be quiet for a minute or two.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 136
Go down to the others.".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 137
I obeyed her reluctantly.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 138
John and Lawrence were in the dining-room.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 139
I joined them.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 141
Inglethorp?".
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 142
John shook his head.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 143
"He's not in the house."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 144
Our eyes met.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 145
Where was Alfred Inglethorp?.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 146
His absence was strange and inexplicable.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 147
I remembered Mrs. Inglethorp's dying words.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 148
What lay beneath them?.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 149
What more could she have told us, if she had had time?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 150
At last we heard the doctors descending the stairs.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 152
Dr. Bauerstein remained in the background, his grave bearded face unchanged.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 153
Dr. Wilkins was the spokesman for the two.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 154
He addressed himself to John: "Mr. Cavendish, I should like your consent to a postmortem.".
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 155
"Is that necessary?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 156
asked John gravely.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 157
A spasm of pain crossed his face.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 158
"Absolutely," said Dr. Bauerstein.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 159
"You mean by that----?".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 160
"That neither Dr. Wilkins nor myself could give a death certificate under the circumstances.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 161
John bent his head.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 162
"In that case, I have no alternative but to agree.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 163
"Thank you," said Dr. Wilkins briskly.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 164
"We propose that it should take place to-morrow night--or rather to-night.".
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 165
And he glanced at the daylight.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 167
There was a pause, and then Dr. Bauerstein drew two keys from his pocket, and handed them to John.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 168
"These are the keys of the two rooms.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 169
I have locked them and, in my opinion, they would be better kept locked for the present.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 170
The doctors then departed.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 171
I had been turning over an idea in my head, and I felt that the moment had now come to broach it.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 172
Yet I was a little chary of doing so.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 174
It might be difficult to convince him of the soundness of my plan.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 176
There was no doubt that the moment had come for me to take the lead.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 177
"John," I said, "I am going to ask you something.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 178
"Well?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 179
"You remember my speaking of my friend Poirot?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 180
The Belgian who is here?.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 181
He has been a most famous detective.".
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 182
"Yes."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 183
"I want you to let me call him in--to investigate this matter.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 184
"What--now?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 185
Before the post-mortem?".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 186
"Yes, time is an advantage if--if--there has been foul play.".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 187
"Rubbish!"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 188
cried Lawrence angrily.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 189
"In my opinion the whole thing is a mare's nest of Bauerstein's!.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 190
Wilkins hadn't an idea of such a thing, until Bauerstein put it into his head.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 191
But, like all specialists, Bauerstein's got a bee in his bonnet.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 192
Poisons are his hobby, so of course he sees them everywhere.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 193
I confess that I was surprised by Lawrence's attitude.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 194
He was so seldom vehement about anything.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 195
John hesitated.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 196
"I can't feel as you do, Lawrence," he said at last.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 197
"I'm inclined to give Hastings a free hand, though I should prefer to wait a bit.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 198
We don't want any unnecessary scandal.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 199
"No, no," I cried eagerly, "you need have no fear of that.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 200
Poirot is discretion itself.".
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 201
"Very well, then, have it your own way.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 202
I leave it in your hands.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 203
Though, if it is as we suspect, it seems a clear enough case.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 204
God forgive me if I am wronging him!".
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 205
I looked at my watch.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 206
It was six o'clock.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 207
I determined to lose no time.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
unit 208
Five minutes' delay, however, I allowed myself.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 4 months, 1 week ago
francevw • 14145  commented on  unit 145  4 months, 2 weeks ago
francevw • 14145  commented on  unit 114  4 months, 2 weeks ago

The Night of the Tragedy.

To make this part of my story clear, I append the following plan of the first floor of Styles.

The servants' rooms are reached through the door B.

They have no communication with the right wing, where the Inglethorps' rooms were situated.

It seemed to be the middle of the night when I was awakened by Lawrence Cavendish.

He had a candle in his hand, and the agitation of his face told me at once that something was seriously wrong.

"What's the matter?" I asked, sitting up in bed, and trying to collect my scattered thoughts.

"We are afraid my mother is very ill.

She seems to be having some kind of fit. Unfortunately she has locked herself in.".

"I'll come at once.".

I sprang out of bed; and, pulling on a dressing-gown, followed Lawrence along the passage and the gallery to the right wing of the house.

John Cavendish joined us, and one or two of the servants were standing round in a state of awe-stricken excitement.

Lawrence turned to his brother.

"What do you think we had better do?".

Never, I thought, had his indecision of character been more apparent.

John rattled the handle of Mrs. Inglethorp's door violently, but with no effect.

It was obviously locked or bolted on the inside.

The whole household was aroused by now.

The most alarming sounds were audible from the interior of the room.

Clearly something must be done.

"Try going through Mr. Inglethorp's room, sir," cried Dorcas. "Oh, the poor mistress!".

Suddenly I realized that Alfred Inglethorp was not with us--that he alone had given no sign of his presence.

John opened the door of his room.

It was pitch dark, but Lawrence was following with the candle, and by its feeble light we saw that the bed had not been slept in, and that there was no sign of the room having been occupied.

We went straight to the connecting door.

That, too, was locked or bolted on the inside.

What was to be done?.

"Oh, dear, sir," cried Dorcas, wringing her hands, "what ever shall we do?".

"We must try and break the door in, I suppose.

It'll be a tough job, though. Here, let one of the maids go down and wake Baily and tell him to go for Dr. Wilkins at once.

Now then, we'll have a try at the door. Half a moment, though, isn't there a door into Miss Cynthia's rooms?".

"Yes, sir, but that's always bolted.

It's never been undone.".

"Well, we might just see.".

He ran rapidly down the corridor to Cynthia's room.

Mary Cavendish was there, shaking the girl--who must have been an unusually sound sleeper--and trying to wake her.

In a moment or two he was back.

"No good. That's bolted too. We must break in the door.

I think this one is a shade less solid than the one in the passage."

We strained and heaved together.

The framework of the door was solid, and for a long time it resisted our efforts, but at last we felt it give beneath our weight, and finally, with a resounding crash, it was burst open.

We stumbled in together, Lawrence still holding his candle.

Mrs. Inglethorp was lying on the bed, her whole form agitated by violent convulsions, in one of which she must have overturned the table beside her.

As we entered, however, her limbs relaxed, and she fell back upon the pillows.

John strode across the room, and lit the gas.

Turning to Annie, one of the housemaids, he sent her downstairs to the dining-room for brandy.

Then he went across to his mother whilst I unbolted the door that gave on the corridor.

I turned to Lawrence, to suggest that I had better leave them now that there was no further need of my services, but the words were frozen on my lips.

Never have I seen such a ghastly look on any man's face.

He was white as chalk, the candle he held in his shaking hand was sputtering onto the carpet, and his eyes, petrified with terror, or some such kindred emotion, stared fixedly over my head at a point on the further wall.

It was as though he had seen something that turned him to stone.

I instinctively followed the direction of his eyes, but I could see nothing unusual.

The still feebly flickering ashes in the grate, and the row of prim ornaments on the mantelpiece, were surely harmless enough.

The violence of Mrs. Inglethorp's attack seemed to be passing.

She was able to speak in short gasps.

"Better now--very sudden--stupid of me--to lock myself in.".

A shadow fell on the bed and, looking up, I saw Mary Cavendish standing near the door with her arm around Cynthia.

She seemed to be supporting the girl, who looked utterly dazed and unlike herself.

Her face was heavily flushed, and she yawned repeatedly.

"Poor Cynthia is quite frightened," said Mrs. Cavendish in a low clear voice.

She herself, I noticed, was dressed in her white land smock.

Then it must be later than I thought. I saw that a faint streak of daylight was showing through the curtains of the windows, and that the clock on the mantelpiece pointed to close upon five o'clock.

A strangled cry from the bed startled me.

A fresh access of pain seized the unfortunate old lady.

The convulsions were of a violence terrible to behold.

Everything was confusion.

We thronged round her, powerless to help or alleviate.

A final convulsion lifted her from the bed, until she appeared to rest upon her head and her heels, with her body arched in an extraordinary manner.

In vain Mary and John tried to administer more brandy.

The moments flew. Again the body arched itself in that peculiar fashion.

At that moment, Dr. Bauerstein pushed his way authoritatively into the room.

For one instant he stopped dead, staring at the figure on the bed, and, at the same instant, Mrs. Inglethorp cried out in a strangled voice, her eyes fixed on the doctor:

"Alfred--Alfred----" Then she fell back motionless on the pillows.

With a stride, the doctor reached the bed, and seizing her arms worked them energetically, applying what I knew to be artificial respiration.

He issued a few short sharp orders to the servants.

An imperious wave of his hand drove us all to the door.

We watched him, fascinated, though I think we all knew in our hearts that it was too late, and that nothing could be done now.

I could see by the expression on his face that he himself had little hope.

Finally he abandoned his task, shaking his head gravely.

At that moment, we heard footsteps outside, and Dr. Wilkins, Mrs. Inglethorp's own doctor, a portly, fussy little man, came bustling in.

In a few words Dr. Bauerstein explained how he had happened to be passing the lodge gates as the car came out, and had run up to the house as fast as he could, whilst the car went on to fetch Dr. Wilkins.

With a faint gesture of the hand, he indicated the figure on the bed.

"Ve--ry sad. Ve--ry sad," murmured Dr. Wilkins.

"Poor dear lady. Always did far too much--far too much--against my advice.

I warned her. Her heart was far from strong.

'Take it easy,' I said to her, 'Take--it--easy'.

But no--her zeal for good works was too great.

Nature rebelled. Na--ture-- re--belled."

Dr. Bauerstein, I noticed, was watching the local doctor narrowly.

He still kept his eyes fixed on him as he spoke.

"The convulsions were of a peculiar violence, Dr. Wilkins.

I am sorry you were not here in time to witness them. They were quite--tetanic in character."

"Ah!" said Dr. Wilkins wisely.

"I should like to speak to you in private," said Dr. Bauerstein. He turned to John.
"You do not object?".

"Certainly not.".

We all trooped out into the corridor, leaving the two doctors alone, and I heard the key turned in the lock behind us.

We went slowly down the stairs.

I was violently excited.

I have a certain talent for deduction, and Dr. Bauerstein's manner had started a flock of wild surmises in my mind. Mary Cavendish laid her hand upon my arm.

"What is it? Why did Dr. Bauerstein seem so--peculiar?".

I looked at her.

"Do you know what I think?"

"What?".

"Listen!" I looked round, the others were out of earshot.

I lowered my voice to a whisper. "I believe she has been poisoned! I'm certain Dr. Bauerstein suspects it.".

"What?" She shrank against the wall, the pupils of her eyes dilating wildly.

Then, with a sudden cry that startled me, she cried out: "No, no--not that--not that!".
And breaking from me, fled up the stairs.

I followed her, afraid that she was going to faint.

I found her leaning against the bannisters, deadly pale.

She waved me away impatiently.

"No, no--leave me. I'd rather be alone. Let me just be quiet for a minute or two.

Go down to the others.".

I obeyed her reluctantly.

John and Lawrence were in the dining-room. I joined them.

We were all silent, but I suppose I voiced the thoughts of us all when I at last broke it by saying:
"Where is Mr. Inglethorp?".

John shook his head.

"He's not in the house."

Our eyes met.

Where was Alfred Inglethorp?.

His absence was strange and inexplicable.

I remembered Mrs. Inglethorp's dying words.

What lay beneath them?.

What more could she have told us, if she had had time?

At last we heard the doctors descending the stairs.

Dr. Wilkins was looking important and excited, and trying to conceal an inward exultation under a manner of decorous calm.

Dr. Bauerstein remained in the background, his grave bearded face unchanged.

Dr. Wilkins was the spokesman for the two.

He addressed himself to John:
"Mr. Cavendish, I should like your consent to a postmortem.".

"Is that necessary?" asked John gravely.

A spasm of pain crossed his face.

"Absolutely," said Dr. Bauerstein.

"You mean by that----?".

"That neither Dr. Wilkins nor myself could give a death certificate under the circumstances.".

John bent his head.

"In that case, I have no alternative but to agree.".

"Thank you," said Dr. Wilkins briskly.

"We propose that it should take place to-morrow night--or rather to-night.".

And he glanced at the daylight. "Under the circumstances, I am afraid an inquest can hardly be avoided--these formalities are necessary, but I beg that you won't distress yourselves.".

There was a pause, and then Dr. Bauerstein drew two keys from his pocket, and handed them to John.

"These are the keys of the two rooms.

I have locked them and, in my opinion, they would be better kept locked for the present.".

The doctors then departed.

I had been turning over an idea in my head, and I felt that the moment had now come to broach it.

Yet I was a little chary of doing so.

John, I knew, had a horror of any kind of publicity, and was an easygoing optimist, who preferred never to meet trouble half-way.

It might be difficult to convince him of the soundness of my plan.

Lawrence, on the other hand, being less conventional, and having more imagination, I felt I might count upon as an ally.

There was no doubt that the moment had come for me to take the lead.

"John," I said, "I am going to ask you something.".

"Well?".

"You remember my speaking of my friend Poirot? The Belgian who is here?. He has been a most famous detective.".

"Yes."

"I want you to let me call him in--to investigate this matter.".

"What--now? Before the post-mortem?".

"Yes, time is an advantage if--if--there has been foul play.".

"Rubbish!" cried Lawrence angrily.

"In my opinion the whole thing is a mare's nest of Bauerstein's!.

Wilkins hadn't an idea of such a thing, until Bauerstein put it into his head.

But, like all specialists, Bauerstein's got a bee in his bonnet.

Poisons are his hobby, so of course he sees them everywhere.".

I confess that I was surprised by Lawrence's attitude.

He was so seldom vehement about anything.

John hesitated.

"I can't feel as you do, Lawrence," he said at last.

"I'm inclined to give Hastings a free hand, though I should prefer to wait a bit.

We don't want any unnecessary scandal.".

"No, no," I cried eagerly, "you need have no fear of that. Poirot is discretion itself.".

"Very well, then, have it your own way.

I leave it in your hands.

Though, if it is as we suspect, it seems a clear enough case.

God forgive me if I am wronging him!".

I looked at my watch.

It was six o'clock. I determined to lose no time.

Five minutes' delay, however, I allowed myself.

I spent it in ransacking the library until I discovered a medical book which gave a description of strychnine poisoning.