en-fr  The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Chapter XI. Easy
THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION.

The trial of John Cavendish for the murder of his stepmother took place two months later.

Of the intervening weeks I will say little, but my admiration and sympathy went out unfeignedly to Mary Cavendish.

She ranged herself passionately on her husband's side, scorning the mere idea of his guilt, and fought for him tooth and nail.

I expressed my admiration to Poirot, and he nodded thoughtfully.

"Yes, she is of those women who show at their best in adversity.

It brings out all that is sweetest and truest in them.

Her pride and her jealousy have—" "Jealousy?" I queried.

"Yes.Have you not realized that she is an unusually jealous woman?.

As I was saying, her pride and jealousy have been laid aside.

She thinks of nothing but her husband, and the terrible fate that is hanging over him.".

He spoke very feelingly, and I looked at him earnestly, remembering that last afternoon, when he had been deliberating whether or not to speak.

With his tenderness for "a woman's happiness," I felt glad that the decision had been taken out of his hands.

"Even now," I said, "I can hardly believe it. You see, up to the very last minute, I thought it was Lawrence!".

Poirot grinned.

"I know you did.".

"But John! My old friend John!".

"Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend," observed Poirot philosophically.

"You cannot mix up sentiment and reason.".

"I must say I think you might have given me a hint.".

"Perhaps, mon ami, I did not do so, just because he was your old friend.".

I was rather disconcerted by this, remembering how I had busily passed on to John what I believed to be Poirot's views concerning Bauerstein.

He, by the way, had been acquitted of the charge brought against him.

Nevertheless, although he had been too clever for them this time, and the charge of espionage could not be brought home to him, his wings were pretty well clipped for the future.

I asked Poirot whether he thought John would would be condemned.

To my intense surprise, he replied that, on the contrary, he was extremely likely to be acquitted.

"But, Poirot—" I protested.

"Oh, my friend, have I not said to you all along that I have no proofs.

It is one thing to know that a man is guilty, it is quite another matter to prove him so.

And, in this case, there is terribly little evidence.

That is the whole trouble. I, Hercule Poirot, know, but I lack the last link in my chain.

And unless I can find that missing link—" He shook his head gravely.

"When did you first suspect John Cavendish?" I asked, after a minute or two.

"Did you not suspect him at all?".

"No, indeed."

"Not after that fragment of conversation you overheard between Mrs.Cavendish and her mother-in-law, and her subsequent lack of frankness at the inquest?".

"No."

"Did you not put two and two together, and reflect that if it was not Alfred Inglethorp who was quarrelling with his wife—and you remember, he strenuously denied it at the inquest—it must be either Lawrence or John.

Now, if it was Lawrence, Mary Cavendish's conduct was just as inexplicable.

But if, on the other hand, it was John, the whole thing was explained quite naturally.".

"So," I cried, a light breaking in upon me, "it was John who quarrelled with his mother that afternoon?"

"Exactly."

"And you have known this all along?".

"Certainly. Mrs. Cavendish's behaviour could only be explained that way.".

"And yet you say he may be acquitted?".

Poirot shrugged his shoulders.

"Certainly I do.

At the police court proceedings, we shall hear the case for the prosecution, but in all probability his solicitors will advise him to reserve his defence.

That will be sprung upon us at the trial.

And—ah, by the way, I have a word of caution to give you, my friend. I must not appear in the case.".

"What?" "No. Officially, I have nothing to do with it.

Until I have found that last link in my chain, I must remain behind the scenes.

Mrs.Cavendish must think I am working for her husband, not against him."

"I say, that's playing it a bit low down," I protested.

"Not at all. We have to deal with a most clever and unscrupulous man, and we must use any means in our power—otherwise he will slip through our fingers.

That is why I have been careful to remain in the background.

All the discoveries have been made by Japp, and Japp will take all the credit.

If I am called upon to give evidence at all"—he smiled broadly—"it will probably be as a witness for the defence.".

I could hardly believe my ears.

"It is quite en règle," continued Poirot.

"Strangely enough, I can give evidence that will demolish one contention of the prosecution.".

"Which one?"

"The one that relates to the destruction of the will. John Cavendish did not destroy that will."

Poirot was a true prophet.

I will not go into the details of the police court proceedings, as it involves many tiresome repetitions.

I will merely state baldly that John Cavendish reserved his defence, and was duly committed for trial.

September found us all in London.

Mary took a house in Kensington, Poirot being included in the family party.

I myself had been given a job at the War Office, so was able to see them continually.

As the weeks went by, the state of Poirot's nerves grew worse and worse.

That "last link" he talked about was still lacking.

Privately, I hoped it might remain so, for what happiness could there be for Mary, if John were not acquitted?".

On September 15th John Cavendish appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey, charged with "The Wilful Murder of Emily Agnes Inglethorp," and pleaded "Not Guilty."

Sir Ernest Heavywether, the famous K. C., had been engaged to defend him.

Mr. Philips, K. C., opened the case for the Crown.

The murder, he said, was a most premeditated and cold-blooded one.

It was neither more nor less than the deliberate poisoning of a fond and trusting woman by the stepson to whom she had been more than a mother.

Ever since his boyhood, she had supported him.

He and his wife had lived at Styles Court in every luxury, surrounded by her care and attention.

She had been their kind and generous benefactress.

He proposed to call witnesses to show how the prisoner, a profligate and spendthrift, had been at the end of his financial tether, and had also been carrying on an intrigue with a certain Mrs. Raikes, a neighbouring farmer's wife.

This having come to his stepmother's ears, she taxed him with it on the afternoon before her death, and a quarrel ensued, part of which was overheard.

On the previous day, the prisoner had purchased strychnine at the village chemist's shop, wearing a disguise by means of which he hoped to throw the onus of the crime upon another man—to wit, Mrs.Inglethorp's husband, of whom he had been bitterly jealous.

Luckily for Mr.Inglethorp, he had been able to produce an unimpeachable alibi.

On the afternoon of July 17th, continued Counsel, immediately after the quarrel with her son, Mrs.Inglethorp made a new will.

This will was found destroyed in the grate of her bedroom the following morning, but evidence had come to light which showed that it had been drawn up in favour of her husband.

Deceased had already made a will in his favour before her marriage, but—and Mr.Philips wagged an expressive forefinger—the prisoner was not aware of that.

What had induced the deceased to make a fresh will, with the old one still extant, he could not say.


She was an old lady, and might possibly have forgotten the former one; or—this seemed to him more likely—she may have had an idea that it was revoked by her marriage, as there had been some conversation on the subject.

Ladies were not always very well versed in legal knowledge.

She had, about a year before, executed a will in favour of the prisoner.

He would call evidence to show that it was the prisoner who ultimately handed his stepmother her coffee on the fatal night.

Later in the evening, he had sought admission to her room, on which occasion, no doubt, he found an opportunity of destroying the will which, as far as he knew, would render the one in his favour valid.

The prisoner had been arrested in consequence of the discovery, in his room, by Detective Inspector Japp—a most brilliant officer—of the identical phial of strychnine which had been sold at the village chemist's to the supposed Mr.Inglethorp on the day before the murder.

It would be for the jury to decide whether or not these damning facts constituted an overwhelming proof of the prisoner's guilt.

And, subtly implying that a jury which did not so decide, was quite unthinkable, Mr.Philips sat down and wiped his forehead.

The first witnesses for the prosecution were mostly those who had been called at the inquest, the medical evidence being again taken first.

Sir Ernest Heavywether, who was famous all over England for the unscrupulous manner in which he bullied witnesses, only asked two questions.

"I take it, Dr. Bauerstein, that strychnine, as a drug, acts quickly?"

"Yes."

"And that you are unable to account for the delay in this case?".

"Yes."

"Thank you."

Mr. Mace identified the phial handed him by Counsel as that sold by him to "Mr.Inglethorp.".

Pressed, he admitted that he only knew Mr.Inglethorp by sight.

He had never spoken to him. The witness was not cross-examined.

Alfred Inglethorp was called, and denied having purchased the poison.
He also denied having quarrelled with his wife.

Various witnesses testified to the accuracy of these statements.

The gardeners' evidence, as to the witnessing of the will was taken, and then Dorcas was called.

Dorcas, faithful to her "young gentlemen," denied strenuously that it could have been John's voice she heard, and resolutely declared, in the teeth of everything, that it was Mr.Inglethorp who had been in the boudoir with her mistress.

A rather wistful smile passed across the face of the prisoner in the dock.

He knew only too well how useless her gallant defiance was, since it was not the object of the defence to deny this point.

Mrs.Cavendish, of course, could not be called upon to give evidence against her husband.

After various questions on other matters, Mr. Philips asked: "In the month of June last, do you remember a parcel arriving for Mr. Lawrence Cavendish from Parkson's?".

Dorcas shook her head.

"I don't remember, sir.

It may have done, but Mr. Lawrence was away from home part of June.".

"In the event of a parcel arriving for him whilst he was away, what would be done with it?".

"It would either be put in his room or sent on after him."

"By you?"

"No, sir, I should leave it on the hall table.

It would be Miss Howard who would attend to anything like that.".

Evelyn Howard was called and, after being examined on other points, was questioned as to the parcel.

"Don't remember. Lots of parcels come. Can't remember one special one.".

"You do not know if it was sent after Mr.Lawrence Cavendish to Wales, or whether it was put in his room?"

"Don't think it was sent after him. Should have remembered it if it was."

"Supposing a parcel arrived addressed to Mr.Lawrence Cavendish, and afterwards it disappeared, should you remark its absence?".

"No, don't think so. I should think some one had taken charge of it."

"I believe, Miss Howard, that it was you who found this sheet of brown paper?" He held up the same dusty piece which Poirot and I had examined in the morning-room at Styles.

"Yes, I did."

"How did you come to look for it?"

"The Belgian detective who was employed on the case asked me to search for it."

"Where did you eventually discover it?"

"On the top of—of—a wardrobe.".

"On top of the prisoner's wardrobe?".

"I—I believe so."

"Did you not find it yourself?"

"Yes."

"Then you must know where you found it?".

"Yes, it was on the prisoner's wardrobe.".

"That is better."

An assistant from Parkson's, Theatrical Costumiers, testified that on June 29th, they had supplied a black beard to Mr.L.Cavendish, as requested.

It was ordered by letter, and a postal order was enclosed. No, they had not kept the letter. All transactions were entered in their books.

They had sent the beard, as directed, to "L. Cavendish, Esq., Styles Court."

Sir Ernest Heavywether rose ponderously.

"Where was the letter written from?".

"From Styles Court."

"The same address to which you sent the parcel?".

"Yes."

"And the letter came from there?"

"Yes."

Like a beast of prey, Heavywether fell upon him: "How do you know?"

"I—I don't understand."

"How do you know that letter came from Styles? Did you notice the postmark?".

"No—but—".

"Ah, you did not notice the postmark! And yet you affirm so confidently that it came from Styles.

It might, in fact, have been any postmark?".

"Y—es."

"In fact, the letter, though written on stamped notepaper, might have been posted from anywhere?.

From Wales, for instance?".

The witness admitted that such might be the case, and Sir Ernest signified that he was satisfied.

Elizabeth Wells, second housemaid at Styles, stated that after she had gone to bed she remembered that she had bolted the front door, instead of leaving it on the latch as Mr.Inglethorp had requested.

She had accordingly gone downstairs again to rectify her error.

Hearing a slight noise in the West wing, she had peeped along the passage, and had seen Mr. John Cavendish knocking at Mrs. Inglethorp's door.

Sir Ernest Heavywether made short work of her, and under his unmerciful bullying she contradicted herself hopelessly, and Sir Ernest sat down again with a satisfied smile on his face.

With the evidence of Annie, as to the candle grease on the floor, and as to seeing the prisoner take the coffee into the boudoir, the proceedings were adjourned until the following day.

As we went home, Mary Cavendish spoke bitterly against the prosecuting counsel.

"That hateful man!.

What a net he has drawn around my poor John!.

How he twisted every little fact until he made it seem what it wasn't!".

"Well," I said consolingly, "it will be the other way about to-morrow."

"Yes," she said meditatively; then suddenly dropped her voice. "Mr. Hastings, you do not think—surely it could not have been Lawrence—Oh, no, that could not be!".

But I myself was puzzled, and as soon as I was alone with Poirot I asked him what he thought Sir Ernest was driving at.

"Ah!" said Poirot appreciatively. "He is a clever man, that Sir Ernest.".

"Do you think he believes Lawrence guilty?".

"I do not think he believes or cares anything! No, what he is trying for is to create such confusion in the minds of the jury that they are divided in their opinion as to which brother did it.

He is endeavouring to make out that there is quite as much evidence against Lawrence as against John—and I am not at all sure that he will not succeed.".

Detective-inspector Japp was the first witness called when the trial was reopened, and gave his evidence succinctly and briefly.

After relating the earlier events, he proceeded: "Acting on information received, Superintendent Summerhaye and myself searched the prisoner's room, during his temporary absence from the house.

In his chest of drawers, hidden beneath some underclothing, we found: first, a pair of gold-rimmed pince-nez similar to those worn by Mr.Inglethorp"—these were exhibited—"secondly, this phial.".

The phial was that already recognized by the chemist's assistant, a tiny bottle of blue glass, containing a few grains of a white crystalline powder, and labelled: "Strychnine Hydro-chloride. POISON.".

A fresh piece of evidence discovered by the detectives since the police court proceedings was a long, almost new piece of blotting-paper.

It had been found in Mrs. Inglethorp's cheque book, and on being reversed at a mirror, showed clearly the words: ". . . erything of which I die possessed I leave to my beloved husband Alfred Ing ...".

This placed beyond question the fact that the destroyed will had been in favour of the deceased lady's husband.

Japp then produced the charred fragment of paper recovered from the grate, and this, with the discovery of the beard in the attic, completed his evidence.

But Sir Ernest's cross-examination was yet to come.

"What day was it when you searched the prisoner's room?"

"Tuesday, the 24th of July.".

"Exactly a week after the tragedy?" "Yes.".

"You found these two objects, you say, in the chest of drawers.

Was the drawer unlocked?" "Yes.".

"Does it not strike you as unlikely that a man who had committed a crime should keep the evidence of it in an unlocked drawer for anyone to find?".

"He might have stowed them there in a hurry.".

"But you have just said it was a whole week since the crime. He would have had ample time to remove them and destroy them.".

"Perhaps." "There is no perhaps about it.

Would he, or would he not have had plenty of time to remove and destroy them?"
"Yes.".

"Was the pile of underclothes under which the things were hidden heavy or light?"
"Heavyish.".

"In other words, it was winter underclothing.

Obviously, the prisoner would not be likely to go to that drawer?".

"Perhaps not.".

"Kindly answer my question.

Would the prisoner, in the hottest week of a hot summer, be likely to go to a drawer containing winter underclothing.

Yes, or no?" "No.".

"In that case, is it not possible that the articles in question might have been put there by a third person, and that the prisoner was quite unaware of their presence?".

"I should not think it likely.".

"But it is possible?"

"Yes."

"That is all."

More evidence followed.

Evidence as to the financial difficulties in which the prisoner had found himself at the end of July.

Evidence as to his intrigue with Mrs. Raikes—poor Mary, that must have been bitter hearing for a woman of her pride.

Evelyn Howard had been right in her facts, though her animosity against Alfred Inglethorp had caused her to jump to the conclusion that he was the person concerned.

Lawrence Cavendish was then put into the box.

In a low voice, in answer to Mr. Philips' questions, he denied having ordered anything from Parkson's in June.

In fact, on June 29th, he had been staying away, in Wales.

Instantly, Sir Ernest's chin was shooting pugnaciously forward.

"You deny having ordered a black beard from Parkson's on June 29th?" "I do.".

"Ah! In the event of anything happening to your brother, who will inherit Styles Court?".

The brutality of the question called a flush to Lawrence's pale face.

The judge gave vent to a faint murmur of disapprobation, and the prisoner in the dock leant forward angrily.

Heavywether cared nothing for his client's anger.

"Answer my question, if you please." "I suppose," said Lawrence quietly, "that I should.".

"What do you mean by you 'suppose'? Your brother has no children. You would inherit it, wouldn't you?".

"Yes." "Ah, that's better," said Heavywether, with ferocious geniality.

"And you'd inherit a good slice of money too, wouldn't you?".

"Really, Sir Ernest," protested the judge, "these questions are not relevant.".

Sir Ernest bowed, and having shot his arrow proceeded.

"On Tuesday, the 17th July, you went, I believe, with another guest, to visit the dispensary at the Red Cross Hospital in Tadminster?".

"Yes." "Did you—while you happened to be alone for a few seconds—unlock the poison cupboard, and examine some of the bottles?".

"I—I—may have done so.".

"I put it to you that you did do so?" "Yes.".

Sir Ernest fairly shot the next question at him.

"Did you examine one bottle in particular?"

"No, I do not think so.".

"Be careful, Mr. Cavendish. I am referring to a little bottle of Hydro-chloride of Strychnine.".

Lawrence was turning a sickly greenish colour.

"N—o—I am sure I didn't.".

"Then how do you account for the fact that you left the unmistakable impress of your finger-prints on it?".

The bullying manner was highly efficacious with a nervous disposition.

"I—I suppose I must have taken up the bottle."

"I suppose so too! Did you abstract any of the contents of the bottle?"

"Certainly not."

"Then why did you take it up?"

"I once studied to be a doctor. Such things naturally interest me.".

"Ah! So poisons 'naturally interest' you, do they?.

Still, you waited to be alone before gratifying that 'interest' of yours?".

"That was pure chance.

If the others had been there, I should have done just the same.".

"Still, as it happens, the others were not there?".

"No, but——" "In fact, during the whole afternoon, you were only alone for a couple of minutes, and it happened—I say, it happened—to be during those two minutes that you displayed your 'natural interest' in Hydro-chloride of Strychnine?".

Lawrence stammered pitiably. "I—I——".

With a satisfied and expressive countenance, Sir Ernest observed: "I have nothing more to ask you, Mr. Cavendish.".

This bit of cross-examination had caused great excitement in court.

The heads of the many fashionably attired women present were busily laid together, and their whispers became so loud that the judge angrily threatened to have the court cleared if there was not immediate silence.

There was little more evidence.

The hand-writing experts were called upon for their opinion of the signature of "Alfred Inglethorp" in the chemist's poison register.

They all declared unanimously that it was certainly not his hand-writing, and gave it as their view that it might be that of the prisoner disguised.

Cross-examined, they admitted that it might be the prisoner's hand-writing cleverly counterfeited.

Sir Ernest Heavywether's speech in opening the case for the defence was not a long one, but it was backed by the full force of his emphatic manner.

Never, he said, in the course of his long experience, had he known a charge of murder rest on slighter evidence.

Not only was it entirely circumstantial, but the greater part of it was practically unproved.

Let them take the testimony they had heard and sift it impartially.

The strychnine had been found in a drawer in the prisoner's room.

That drawer was an unlocked one, as he had pointed out, and he submitted that there was no evidence to prove that it was the prisoner who had concealed the poison there.

It was, in fact, a wicked and malicious attempt on the part of some third person to fix the crime on the prisoner.

The prosecution had been unable to produce a shred of evidence in support of their contention that it was the prisoner who ordered the black beard from Parkson's.

The quarrel which had taken place between prisoner and his stepmother was freely admitted, but both it and his financial embarrassments had been grossly exaggerated.

His learned friend—Sir Ernest nodded carelessly at Mr.Philips—had stated that if the prisoner were an innocent man, he would have come forward at the inquest to explain that it was he, and not Mr.Inglethorp, who had been the participator in the quarrel.

He thought the facts had been misrepresented.

What had actually occurred was this. The prisoner, returning to the house on Tuesday evening, had been authoritatively told that there had been a violent quarrel between Mr.and Mrs.Inglethorp.

No suspicion had entered the prisoner's head that anyone could possibly have mistaken his voice for that of Mr.Inglethorp. He naturally concluded that his stepmother had had two quarrels.

The prosecution averred that on Monday, July 16th, the prisoner had entered the chemist's shop in the village, disguised as Mr.Inglethorp.

The prisoner, on the contrary, was at that time at a lonely spot called Marston's Spinney, where he had been summoned by an anonymous note, couched in blackmailing terms, and threatening to reveal certain matters to his wife unless he complied with its demands.

The prisoner had, accordingly, gone to the appointed spot, and after waiting there vainly for half an hour had returned home.


Unfortunately, he had met with no one on the way there or back who could vouch for the truth of his story, but luckily he had kept the note, and it would be produced as evidence.

As for the statement relating to the destruction of the will, the prisoner had formerly practised at the Bar, and was perfectly well aware that the will made in his favour a year before was automatically revoked by his stepmother's remarriage.

He would call evidence to show who did destroy the will, and it was possible that that might open up quite a new view of the case.

Finally, he would point out to the jury that there was evidence against other people besides John Cavendish.

He would direct their attention to the fact that the evidence against Mr. Lawrence Cavendish was quite as strong, if not stronger than that against his brother.

He would now call the prisoner.

John acquitted himself well in the witness-box.

Under Sir Ernest's skilful handling, he told his tale credibly and well.

The anonymous note received by him was produced, and handed to the jury to examine.

The readiness with which he admitted his financial difficulties, and the disagreement with his stepmother, lent value to his denials.

At the close of his examination, he paused, and said: "I should like to make one thing clear.

I utterly reject and disapprove of Sir Ernest Heavywether's insinuations against my brother. My brother, I am convinced, had no more to do with the crime than I have.".

Sir Ernest merely smiled, and noted with a sharp eye that John's protest had produced a very favourable impression on the jury.

Then the cross-examination began.

"I understand you to say that it never entered your head that the witnesses at the inquest could possibly have mistaken your voice for that of Mr.Inglethorp.

Is not that very surprising?".

"No, I don't think so.

I was told there had been a quarrel between my mother and Mr.Inglethorp, and it never occurred to me that such was not really the case.".

"Not when the servant Dorcas repeated certain fragments of the conversation—fragments which you must have recognized?".

"I did not recognize them."

"Your memory must be unusually short!".

"No, but we were both angry, and, I think, said more than we meant.

I paid very little attention to my mother's actual words."

Mr. Philips' incredulous sniff was a triumph of forensic skill. He passed on to the subject of the note.

"You have produced this note very opportunely.

Tell me, is there nothing familiar about the hand-writing of it?".

"Not that I know of.".

"Do you not think that it bears a marked resemblance to your own hand-writing—carelessly disguised?".

"No, I do not think so.".

"I put it to you that it is your own hand-writing!" "No.".

"I put it to you that, anxious to prove an alibi, you conceived the idea of a fictitious and rather incredible appointment, and wrote this note yourself in order to bear out your statement!"

"No."

"Is it not a fact that, at the time you claim to have been waiting about at a solitary and unfrequented spot, you were really in the chemist's shop in Styles St. Mary, where you purchased strychnine in the name of Alfred Inglethorp?".

"No, that is a lie.".

"I put it to you that, wearing a suit of Mr. Inglethorp's clothes, with a black beard trimmed to resemble his, you were there—and signed the register in his name!".

"That is absolutely untrue."

"Then I will leave the remarkable similarity of hand-writing between the note, the register, and your own, to the consideration of the jury," said Mr. Philips, and sat down with the air of a man who has done his duty, but who was nevertheless horrified by such deliberate perjury.

After this, as it was growing late, the case was adjourned till Monday.

Poirot, I noticed, was looking profoundly discouraged.

He had that little frown between the eyes that I knew so well.

"What is it, Poirot?" I inquired.

"Ah, mon ami, things are going badly, badly.".

In spite of myself, my heart gave a leap of relief.

Evidently there was a likelihood of John Cavendish being acquitted.

When we reached the house, my little friend waved aside Mary's offer of tea.

"No, I thank you, madame. I will mount to my room.".

I followed him. Still frowning, he went across to the desk and took out a small pack of patience cards.

Then he drew up a chair to the table, and, to my utter amazement, began solemnly to build card houses!

My jaw dropped involuntarily, and he said at once: "No, mon ami, I am not in my second childhood!.

I steady my nerves, that is all.

This employment requires precision of the fingers.

With precision of the fingers goes precision of the brain.

And never have I needed that more than now!"

"What is the trouble?" I asked.

With a great thump on the table, Poirot demolished his carefully built up edifice.

"It is this, mon ami! That I can build card houses seven stories high, but I cannot"— thump—"find"—thump—"that last link of which I spoke to you.".

I could not quite tell what to say, so I held my peace, and he began slowly building up the cards again, speaking in jerks as he did so.

"It is done—so! By placing—one card—on another—with mathematical—precision!".

I watched the card house rising under his hands, story by story.

He never hesitated or faltered. It was really almost like a conjuring trick.

"What a steady hand you've got," I remarked.

"I believe I've only seen your hand shake once."

"On an occasion when I was enraged, without doubt," observed Poirot, with great placidity.

"Yes indeed! You were in a towering rage.

Do you remember? It was when you discovered that the lock of the despatch-case in Mrs. Inglethorp's bedroom had been forced.

You stood by the mantel-piece, twiddling the things on it in your usual fashion, and your hand shook like a leaf! I must say——".

But I stopped suddenly.
For Poirot, uttering a hoarse and inarticulate cry, again annihilated his masterpiece of cards, and putting his hands over his eyes swayed backwards and forwards, apparently suffering the keenest agony.

"Good heavens, Poirot!" I cried.

"What is the matter? Are you taken ill?".

"No, no," he gasped. "It is—it is—that I have an idea!".

"Oh!" I exclaimed, much relieved. "One of your 'little ideas'?"

"Ah, ma foi, no!" replied Poirot frankly.

"This time it is an idea gigantic! Stupendous!.

And you—you, my friend, have given it to me!".

Suddenly clasping me in his arms, he kissed me warmly on both cheeks, and before I had recovered from my surprise ran headlong from the room.

Mary Cavendish entered at that moment.

"What is the matter with Monsieur Poirot? He rushed past me crying out: 'A garage! For the love of Heaven, direct me to a garage, madame!' And, before I could answer, he had dashed out into the street.".

I hurried to the window. True enough, there he was, tearing down the street, hatless, and gesticulating as he went.

I turned to Mary with a gesture of despair.

"He'll be stopped by a policeman in another minute. There he goes, round the corner!"

Our eyes met, and we stared helplessly at one another.

"What can be the matter? I shook my head.

"I don't know.

He was building card houses, when suddenly he said he had an idea, and rushed off as you saw.".

"Well," said Mary, "I expect he will be back before dinner.".

But night fell, and Poirot had not returned.
unit 1
THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 5
I expressed my admiration to Poirot, and he nodded thoughtfully.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 6
"Yes, she is of those women who show at their best in adversity.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 7
It brings out all that is sweetest and truest in them.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 8
Her pride and her jealousy have—" "Jealousy?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 9
I queried.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 10
"Yes.Have you not realized that she is an unusually jealous woman?.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 11
As I was saying, her pride and jealousy have been laid aside.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 15
"Even now," I said, "I can hardly believe it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 16
You see, up to the very last minute, I thought it was Lawrence!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 17
Poirot grinned.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 18
"I know you did.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 19
"But John!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 20
My old friend John!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 22
"You cannot mix up sentiment and reason.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 23
"I must say I think you might have given me a hint.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 24
unit 26
He, by the way, had been acquitted of the charge brought against him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 28
I asked Poirot whether he thought John would would be condemned.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 30
"But, Poirot—" I protested.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 31
"Oh, my friend, have I not said to you all along that I have no proofs.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 33
And, in this case, there is terribly little evidence.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 34
That is the whole trouble.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 35
I, Hercule Poirot, know, but I lack the last link in my chain.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 36
And unless I can find that missing link—" He shook his head gravely.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 37
"When did you first suspect John Cavendish?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 38
I asked, after a minute or two.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 39
"Did you not suspect him at all?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 40
"No, indeed."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 42
"No."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 44
unit 47
"Exactly."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 48
"And you have known this all along?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 49
"Certainly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 50
Mrs. Cavendish's behaviour could only be explained that way.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 51
"And yet you say he may be acquitted?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 52
Poirot shrugged his shoulders.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 53
"Certainly I do.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 55
That will be sprung upon us at the trial.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 56
And—ah, by the way, I have a word of caution to give you, my friend.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 57
I must not appear in the case.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 58
"What?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 59
"No.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 60
Officially, I have nothing to do with it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 62
Mrs.Cavendish must think I am working for her husband, not against him."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 63
"I say, that's playing it a bit low down," I protested.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 64
"Not at all.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 66
That is why I have been careful to remain in the background.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 69
I could hardly believe my ears.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 70
"It is quite en règle," continued Poirot.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 72
"Which one?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 73
"The one that relates to the destruction of the will.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 74
John Cavendish did not destroy that will."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 75
Poirot was a true prophet.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 78
September found us all in London.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 79
unit 81
As the weeks went by, the state of Poirot's nerves grew worse and worse.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 82
That "last link" he talked about was still lacking.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 85
unit 86
Mr. Philips, K. C., opened the case for the Crown.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 87
The murder, he said, was a most premeditated and cold-blooded one.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 89
Ever since his boyhood, she had supported him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 91
She had been their kind and generous benefactress.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 101
Ladies were not always very well versed in legal knowledge.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 102
She had, about a year before, executed a will in favour of the prisoner.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 110
"I take it, Dr. Bauerstein, that strychnine, as a drug, acts quickly?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 111
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 112
"And that you are unable to account for the delay in this case?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 113
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 114
"Thank you."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 116
Pressed, he admitted that he only knew Mr.Inglethorp by sight.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 117
He had never spoken to him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 118
The witness was not cross-examined.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 119
Alfred Inglethorp was called, and denied having purchased the poison.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 120
He also denied having quarrelled with his wife.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 121
Various witnesses testified to the accuracy of these statements.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 124
unit 128
Dorcas shook her head.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 129
"I don't remember, sir.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 130
It may have done, but Mr. Lawrence was away from home part of June.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 132
"It would either be put in his room or sent on after him."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 133
"By you?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 134
"No, sir, I should leave it on the hall table.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 135
It would be Miss Howard who would attend to anything like that.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 137
"Don't remember.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 138
Lots of parcels come.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 139
Can't remember one special one.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 141
"Don't think it was sent after him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 142
Should have remembered it if it was."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 144
"No, don't think so.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 145
I should think some one had taken charge of it."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 146
unit 148
"Yes, I did."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 149
"How did you come to look for it?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 151
"Where did you eventually discover it?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 152
"On the top of—of—a wardrobe.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 153
"On top of the prisoner's wardrobe?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 154
"I—I believe so."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 155
"Did you not find it yourself?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 156
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 157
"Then you must know where you found it?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 158
"Yes, it was on the prisoner's wardrobe.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 159
"That is better."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 161
It was ordered by letter, and a postal order was enclosed.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 162
No, they had not kept the letter.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 163
All transactions were entered in their books.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 164
unit 165
Sir Ernest Heavywether rose ponderously.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 166
"Where was the letter written from?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 167
"From Styles Court."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 168
"The same address to which you sent the parcel?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 169
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 170
"And the letter came from there?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 171
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 172
Like a beast of prey, Heavywether fell upon him: "How do you know?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 173
"I—I don't understand."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 174
"How do you know that letter came from Styles?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 175
Did you notice the postmark?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 176
"No—but—".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 177
"Ah, you did not notice the postmark!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 178
And yet you affirm so confidently that it came from Styles.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 179
It might, in fact, have been any postmark?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 180
"Y—es."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 182
From Wales, for instance?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 185
She had accordingly gone downstairs again to rectify her error.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 190
"That hateful man!.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 191
What a net he has drawn around my poor John!.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 192
How he twisted every little fact until he made it seem what it wasn't!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 193
"Well," I said consolingly, "it will be the other way about to-morrow."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 194
"Yes," she said meditatively; then suddenly dropped her voice.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 197
"Ah!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 198
said Poirot appreciatively.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 199
"He is a clever man, that Sir Ernest.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 200
"Do you think he believes Lawrence guilty?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 201
"I do not think he believes or cares anything!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 208
POISON.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 211
.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 212
.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 216
But Sir Ernest's cross-examination was yet to come.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 217
"What day was it when you searched the prisoner's room?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 218
"Tuesday, the 24th of July.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 219
"Exactly a week after the tragedy?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 220
"Yes.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 221
"You found these two objects, you say, in the chest of drawers.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 222
Was the drawer unlocked?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 223
"Yes.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 225
"He might have stowed them there in a hurry.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 226
"But you have just said it was a whole week since the crime.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 227
He would have had ample time to remove them and destroy them.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 228
"Perhaps."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 229
"There is no perhaps about it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 230
unit 231
"Yes.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 233
"Heavyish.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 234
"In other words, it was winter underclothing.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 235
Obviously, the prisoner would not be likely to go to that drawer?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 236
"Perhaps not.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 237
"Kindly answer my question.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 239
Yes, or no?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 240
"No.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 242
"I should not think it likely.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 243
"But it is possible?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 244
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 245
"That is all."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 246
More evidence followed.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 250
Lawrence Cavendish was then put into the box.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 252
In fact, on June 29th, he had been staying away, in Wales.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 253
Instantly, Sir Ernest's chin was shooting pugnaciously forward.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 254
"You deny having ordered a black beard from Parkson's on June 29th?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 255
"I do.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 256
"Ah!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 258
The brutality of the question called a flush to Lawrence's pale face.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 260
Heavywether cared nothing for his client's anger.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 261
"Answer my question, if you please."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 262
"I suppose," said Lawrence quietly, "that I should.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 263
"What do you mean by you 'suppose'?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 264
Your brother has no children.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 265
You would inherit it, wouldn't you?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 266
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 267
"Ah, that's better," said Heavywether, with ferocious geniality.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 268
"And you'd inherit a good slice of money too, wouldn't you?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 270
Sir Ernest bowed, and having shot his arrow proceeded.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 272
"Yes."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 274
"I—I—may have done so.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 275
"I put it to you that you did do so?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 276
"Yes.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 277
Sir Ernest fairly shot the next question at him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 278
"Did you examine one bottle in particular?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 279
"No, I do not think so.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 280
"Be careful, Mr. Cavendish.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 281
I am referring to a little bottle of Hydro-chloride of Strychnine.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 282
Lawrence was turning a sickly greenish colour.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 283
"N—o—I am sure I didn't.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 285
The bullying manner was highly efficacious with a nervous disposition.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 286
"I—I suppose I must have taken up the bottle."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 287
"I suppose so too!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 288
Did you abstract any of the contents of the bottle?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 289
"Certainly not."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 290
"Then why did you take it up?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 291
"I once studied to be a doctor.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 292
Such things naturally interest me.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 293
"Ah!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 294
So poisons 'naturally interest' you, do they?.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 295
unit 296
"That was pure chance.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 297
If the others had been there, I should have done just the same.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 298
"Still, as it happens, the others were not there?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 300
Lawrence stammered pitiably.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 301
"I—I——".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 303
Cavendish.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 304
This bit of cross-examination had caused great excitement in court.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 306
There was little more evidence.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 313
Let them take the testimony they had heard and sift it impartially.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 314
The strychnine had been found in a drawer in the prisoner's room.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 320
He thought the facts had been misrepresented.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 321
What had actually occurred was this.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 324
He naturally concluded that his stepmother had had two quarrels.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 333
He would now call the prisoner.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 334
John acquitted himself well in the witness-box.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 335
Under Sir Ernest's skilful handling, he told his tale credibly and well.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 340
unit 342
Then the cross-examination began.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 344
Is not that very surprising?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 345
"No, I don't think so.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 348
"I did not recognize them."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 349
"Your memory must be unusually short!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 350
"No, but we were both angry, and, I think, said more than we meant.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 351
I paid very little attention to my mother's actual words."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 352
Mr. Philips' incredulous sniff was a triumph of forensic skill.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 353
He passed on to the subject of the note.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 354
"You have produced this note very opportunely.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 355
Tell me, is there nothing familiar about the hand-writing of it?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 356
"Not that I know of.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 358
"No, I do not think so.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 359
"I put it to you that it is your own hand-writing!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 360
"No.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 362
"No."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 364
"No, that is a lie.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 366
"That is absolutely untrue."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 368
After this, as it was growing late, the case was adjourned till Monday.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 369
Poirot, I noticed, was looking profoundly discouraged.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 370
He had that little frown between the eyes that I knew so well.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 371
"What is it, Poirot?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 372
I inquired.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 373
"Ah, mon ami, things are going badly, badly.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 374
In spite of myself, my heart gave a leap of relief.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 375
Evidently there was a likelihood of John Cavendish being acquitted.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 376
unit 377
"No, I thank you, madame.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 378
I will mount to my room.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 379
I followed him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 383
I steady my nerves, that is all.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 384
This employment requires precision of the fingers.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 385
With precision of the fingers goes precision of the brain.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 386
And never have I needed that more than now!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 387
"What is the trouble?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 388
I asked.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 390
"It is this, mon ami!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 393
"It is done—so!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 394
By placing—one card—on another—with mathematical—precision!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 395
I watched the card house rising under his hands, story by story.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 396
He never hesitated or faltered.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 397
It was really almost like a conjuring trick.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 398
"What a steady hand you've got," I remarked.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 399
"I believe I've only seen your hand shake once."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 401
"Yes indeed!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 402
You were in a towering rage.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 403
Do you remember?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 406
I must say——".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 407
But I stopped suddenly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 409
"Good heavens, Poirot!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 410
I cried.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 411
"What is the matter?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 412
Are you taken ill?".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 413
"No, no," he gasped.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 414
"It is—it is—that I have an idea!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 415
"Oh!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 416
I exclaimed, much relieved.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 417
"One of your 'little ideas'?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 418
"Ah, ma foi, no!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 419
replied Poirot frankly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 420
"This time it is an idea gigantic!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 421
Stupendous!.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 422
And you—you, my friend, have given it to me!".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 424
Mary Cavendish entered at that moment.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 425
"What is the matter with Monsieur Poirot?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 426
He rushed past me crying out: 'A garage!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 427
For the love of Heaven, direct me to a garage, madame!'
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 428
And, before I could answer, he had dashed out into the street.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 429
I hurried to the window.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 431
I turned to Mary with a gesture of despair.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 432
"He'll be stopped by a policeman in another minute.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 433
There he goes, round the corner!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 434
Our eyes met, and we stared helplessly at one another.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 435
"What can be the matter?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 436
I shook my head.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 437
"I don't know.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 439
"Well," said Mary, "I expect he will be back before dinner.".
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 440
But night fell, and Poirot had not returned.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None

THE CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION.

The trial of John Cavendish for the murder of his stepmother took place two months later.

Of the intervening weeks I will say little, but my admiration and sympathy went out unfeignedly to Mary Cavendish.

She ranged herself passionately on her husband's side, scorning the mere idea of his guilt, and fought for him tooth and nail.

I expressed my admiration to Poirot, and he nodded thoughtfully.

"Yes, she is of those women who show at their best in adversity.

It brings out all that is sweetest and truest in them.

Her pride and her jealousy have—" "Jealousy?" I queried.

"Yes.Have you not realized that she is an unusually jealous woman?.

As I was saying, her pride and jealousy have been laid aside.

She thinks of nothing but her husband, and the terrible fate that is hanging over him.".

He spoke very feelingly, and I looked at him earnestly, remembering that last afternoon, when he had been deliberating whether or not to speak.

With his tenderness for "a woman's happiness," I felt glad that the decision had been taken out of his hands.

"Even now," I said, "I can hardly believe it. You see, up to the very last minute, I thought it was Lawrence!".

Poirot grinned.

"I know you did.".

"But John! My old friend John!".

"Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend," observed Poirot philosophically.

"You cannot mix up sentiment and reason.".

"I must say I think you might have given me a hint.".

"Perhaps, mon ami, I did not do so, just because he was your old friend.".

I was rather disconcerted by this, remembering how I had busily passed on to John what I believed to be Poirot's views concerning Bauerstein.

He, by the way, had been acquitted of the charge brought against him.

Nevertheless, although he had been too clever for them this time, and the charge of espionage could not be brought home to him, his wings were pretty well clipped for the future.

I asked Poirot whether he thought John would would be condemned.

To my intense surprise, he replied that, on the contrary, he was extremely likely to be acquitted.

"But, Poirot—" I protested.

"Oh, my friend, have I not said to you all along that I have no proofs.

It is one thing to know that a man is guilty, it is quite another matter to prove him so.

And, in this case, there is terribly little evidence.

That is the whole trouble. I, Hercule Poirot, know, but I lack the last link in my chain.

And unless I can find that missing link—" He shook his head gravely.

"When did you first suspect John Cavendish?" I asked, after a minute or two.

"Did you not suspect him at all?".

"No, indeed."

"Not after that fragment of conversation you overheard between Mrs.Cavendish and her mother-in-law, and her subsequent lack of frankness at the inquest?".

"No."

"Did you not put two and two together, and reflect that if it was not Alfred Inglethorp who was quarrelling with his wife—and you remember, he strenuously denied it at the inquest—it must be either Lawrence or John.

Now, if it was Lawrence, Mary Cavendish's conduct was just as inexplicable.

But if, on the other hand, it was John, the whole thing was explained quite naturally.".

"So," I cried, a light breaking in upon me, "it was John who quarrelled with his mother that afternoon?"

"Exactly."

"And you have known this all along?".

"Certainly. Mrs. Cavendish's behaviour could only be explained that way.".

"And yet you say he may be acquitted?".

Poirot shrugged his shoulders.

"Certainly I do.

At the police court proceedings, we shall hear the case for the prosecution, but in all probability his solicitors will advise him to reserve his defence.

That will be sprung upon us at the trial.

And—ah, by the way, I have a word of caution to give you, my friend. I must not appear in the case.".

"What?" "No. Officially, I have nothing to do with it.

Until I have found that last link in my chain, I must remain behind the scenes.

Mrs.Cavendish must think I am working for her husband, not against him."

"I say, that's playing it a bit low down," I protested.

"Not at all. We have to deal with a most clever and unscrupulous man, and we must use any means in our power—otherwise he will slip through our fingers.

That is why I have been careful to remain in the background.

All the discoveries have been made by Japp, and Japp will take all the credit.

If I am called upon to give evidence at all"—he smiled broadly—"it will probably be as a witness for the defence.".

I could hardly believe my ears.

"It is quite en règle," continued Poirot.

"Strangely enough, I can give evidence that will demolish one contention of
the prosecution.".

"Which one?"

"The one that relates to the destruction of the will. John Cavendish did not destroy that will."

Poirot was a true prophet.

I will not go into the details of the police court proceedings, as it involves many tiresome repetitions.

I will merely state baldly that John Cavendish reserved his defence, and was duly committed for trial.

September found us all in London.

Mary took a house in Kensington, Poirot being included in the family party.

I myself had been given a job at the War Office, so was able to see them continually.

As the weeks went by, the state of Poirot's nerves grew worse and worse.

That "last link" he talked about was still lacking.

Privately, I hoped it might remain so, for what happiness could there be for Mary, if John were not acquitted?".

On September 15th John Cavendish appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey, charged with "The Wilful Murder of Emily Agnes Inglethorp," and pleaded "Not Guilty."

Sir Ernest Heavywether, the famous K. C., had been engaged to defend him.

Mr. Philips, K. C., opened the case for the Crown.

The murder, he said, was a most premeditated and cold-blooded one.

It was neither more nor less than the deliberate poisoning of a fond and trusting woman by the stepson to whom she had been more than a mother.

Ever since his boyhood, she had supported him.

He and his wife had lived at Styles Court in every luxury, surrounded by her care and attention.

She had been their kind and generous benefactress.

He proposed to call witnesses to show how the prisoner, a profligate and spendthrift, had been at the end of his financial tether, and had also been carrying on an intrigue with a certain Mrs. Raikes, a neighbouring farmer's wife.

This having come to his stepmother's ears, she taxed him with it on the afternoon before her death, and a quarrel ensued, part of which was overheard.

On the previous day, the prisoner had purchased strychnine at the village chemist's shop, wearing a disguise by means of which he hoped to throw the onus of the crime upon another man—to wit, Mrs.Inglethorp's husband, of whom he had been bitterly jealous.

Luckily for Mr.Inglethorp, he had been able to produce an unimpeachable alibi.

On the afternoon of July 17th, continued Counsel, immediately after the quarrel with her son, Mrs.Inglethorp made a new will.

This will was found destroyed in the grate of her bedroom the following morning, but evidence had come to light which showed that it had been drawn up in favour of her husband.

Deceased had already made a will in his favour before her marriage, but—and Mr.Philips wagged an expressive forefinger—the prisoner was not aware of that.

What had induced the deceased to make a fresh will, with the old one still extant, he could not say.

She was an old lady, and might possibly have forgotten the former one; or—this seemed to him more likely—she may have had an idea that it was revoked by her marriage, as there had been some conversation on the subject.

Ladies were not always very well versed in legal knowledge.

She had, about a year before, executed a will in favour of the prisoner.

He would call evidence to show that it was the prisoner who ultimately handed his stepmother her coffee on the fatal night.

Later in the evening, he had sought admission to her room, on which occasion, no doubt, he found an opportunity of destroying the will which, as far as he knew, would render the one in his favour valid.

The prisoner had been arrested in consequence of the discovery, in his room, by Detective Inspector Japp—a most brilliant officer—of the identical phial of strychnine which had been sold at the village chemist's to the supposed Mr.Inglethorp on the day before the murder.

It would be for the jury to decide whether or not these damning facts constituted an overwhelming proof of the prisoner's guilt.

And, subtly implying that a jury which did not so decide, was quite unthinkable, Mr.Philips sat down and wiped his forehead.

The first witnesses for the prosecution were mostly those who had been called at the inquest, the medical evidence being again taken first.

Sir Ernest Heavywether, who was famous all over England for the unscrupulous manner in which he bullied witnesses, only asked two questions.

"I take it, Dr. Bauerstein, that strychnine, as a drug, acts quickly?"

"Yes."

"And that you are unable to account for the delay in this case?".

"Yes."

"Thank you."

Mr. Mace identified the phial handed him by Counsel as that sold by him to "Mr.Inglethorp.".

Pressed, he admitted that he only knew Mr.Inglethorp by sight.

He had never spoken to him. The witness was not cross-examined.

Alfred Inglethorp was called, and denied having purchased the poison.
He also denied having quarrelled with his wife.

Various witnesses testified to the accuracy of these statements.

The gardeners' evidence, as to the witnessing of the will was taken, and then Dorcas was called.

Dorcas, faithful to her "young gentlemen," denied strenuously that it could have been John's voice she heard, and resolutely declared, in the teeth of everything, that it was Mr.Inglethorp who had been in the boudoir with her mistress.

A rather wistful smile passed across the face of the prisoner in the dock.

He knew only too well how useless her gallant defiance was, since it was not the object of the defence to deny this point.

Mrs.Cavendish, of course, could not be called upon to give evidence against her husband.

After various questions on other matters, Mr. Philips asked: "In the month of June last, do you remember a parcel arriving for Mr. Lawrence Cavendish from Parkson's?".

Dorcas shook her head.

"I don't remember, sir.

It may have done, but Mr. Lawrence was away from home part of June.".

"In the event of a parcel arriving for him whilst he was away, what would be done with it?".

"It would either be put in his room or sent on after him."

"By you?"

"No, sir, I should leave it on the hall table.

It would be Miss Howard who would attend to anything like that.".

Evelyn Howard was called and, after being examined on other points, was questioned as to the parcel.

"Don't remember. Lots of parcels come. Can't remember one special one.".

"You do not know if it was sent after Mr.Lawrence Cavendish to Wales, or whether it was put in his room?"

"Don't think it was sent after him. Should have remembered it if it was."

"Supposing a parcel arrived addressed to Mr.Lawrence Cavendish, and afterwards it disappeared, should you remark its absence?".

"No, don't think so. I should think some one had taken charge of it."

"I believe, Miss Howard, that it was you who found this sheet of brown paper?" He held up the same dusty piece which Poirot and I had examined in the morning-room at Styles.

"Yes, I did."

"How did you come to look for it?"

"The Belgian detective who was employed on the case asked me to search for it."

"Where did you eventually discover it?"

"On the top of—of—a wardrobe.".

"On top of the prisoner's wardrobe?".

"I—I believe so."

"Did you not find it yourself?"

"Yes."

"Then you must know where you found it?".

"Yes, it was on the prisoner's wardrobe.".

"That is better."

An assistant from Parkson's, Theatrical Costumiers, testified that on June 29th, they had supplied a black beard to Mr.L.Cavendish, as requested.

It was ordered by letter, and a postal order was enclosed. No, they had not kept the letter. All transactions were entered in their books.

They had sent the beard, as directed, to "L. Cavendish, Esq., Styles Court."

Sir Ernest Heavywether rose ponderously.

"Where was the letter written from?".

"From Styles Court."

"The same address to which you sent the parcel?".

"Yes."

"And the letter came from there?"

"Yes."

Like a beast of prey, Heavywether fell upon him:

"How do you know?"

"I—I don't understand."

"How do you know that letter came from Styles? Did you notice the postmark?".

"No—but—".

"Ah, you did not notice the postmark! And yet you affirm so confidently that it came from Styles.

It might, in fact, have been any postmark?".

"Y—es."

"In fact, the letter, though written on stamped notepaper, might have been posted from anywhere?.

From Wales, for instance?".

The witness admitted that such might be the case, and Sir Ernest signified that he was satisfied.

Elizabeth Wells, second housemaid at Styles, stated that after she had gone to bed she remembered that she had bolted the front door, instead of leaving it on the latch as
Mr.Inglethorp had requested.

She had accordingly gone downstairs again to rectify her error.

Hearing a slight noise in the West wing, she had peeped along the passage, and had seen Mr. John Cavendish knocking at Mrs. Inglethorp's door.

Sir Ernest Heavywether made short work of her, and under his unmerciful bullying she contradicted herself hopelessly, and Sir Ernest sat down again with a satisfied smile on his face.

With the evidence of Annie, as to the candle grease on the floor, and as to seeing the prisoner take the coffee into the boudoir, the proceedings were adjourned until the following day.

As we went home, Mary Cavendish spoke bitterly against the prosecuting counsel.

"That hateful man!.

What a net he has drawn around my poor John!.

How he twisted every little fact until he made it seem what it wasn't!".

"Well," I said consolingly, "it will be the other way about to-morrow."

"Yes," she said meditatively; then suddenly dropped her voice. "Mr. Hastings, you do not think—surely it could not have been Lawrence—Oh, no, that could not be!".

But I myself was puzzled, and as soon as I was alone with Poirot I asked him what he thought Sir Ernest was driving at.

"Ah!" said Poirot appreciatively. "He is a clever man, that Sir Ernest.".

"Do you think he believes Lawrence guilty?".

"I do not think he believes or cares anything! No, what he is trying for is to create such confusion in the minds of the jury that they are divided in their opinion as to which brother did it.

He is endeavouring to make out that there is quite as much evidence against Lawrence as against John—and I am not at all sure that he will not succeed.".

Detective-inspector Japp was the first witness called when the trial was reopened, and gave his evidence succinctly and briefly.

After relating the earlier events, he proceeded: "Acting on information received, Superintendent Summerhaye and myself searched the prisoner's room, during his temporary absence from the house.

In his chest of drawers, hidden beneath some underclothing, we found: first, a pair of gold-rimmed pince-nez similar to those worn by Mr.Inglethorp"—these were exhibited—"secondly, this phial.".

The phial was that already recognized by the chemist's assistant, a tiny bottle of blue glass, containing a few grains of a white crystalline powder, and labelled: "Strychnine Hydro-chloride. POISON.".

A fresh piece of evidence discovered by the detectives since the police court proceedings was a long, almost new piece of blotting-paper.

It had been found in Mrs. Inglethorp's cheque book, and on being reversed at a mirror, showed clearly the words: ". . . erything of which I die possessed I leave to my beloved husband Alfred Ing ...".

This placed beyond question the fact that the destroyed will had been in favour of the deceased lady's husband.

Japp then produced the charred fragment of paper recovered from the grate, and this, with the discovery of the beard in the attic, completed his evidence.

But Sir Ernest's cross-examination was yet to come.

"What day was it when you searched the prisoner's room?"

"Tuesday, the 24th of July.".

"Exactly a week after the tragedy?" "Yes.".

"You found these two objects, you say, in the chest of drawers.

Was the drawer unlocked?" "Yes.".

"Does it not strike you as unlikely that a man who had committed a crime should keep the evidence of it in an unlocked drawer for anyone to find?".

"He might have stowed them there in a hurry.".

"But you have just said it was a whole week since the crime. He would have had ample time to remove them and destroy them.".

"Perhaps." "There is no perhaps about it.

Would he, or would he not have had plenty of time to remove and destroy them?"
"Yes.".

"Was the pile of underclothes under which the things were hidden heavy or light?"
"Heavyish.".

"In other words, it was winter underclothing.

Obviously, the prisoner would not be likely to go to that drawer?".

"Perhaps not.".

"Kindly answer my question.

Would the prisoner, in the hottest week of a hot summer, be likely to go to a drawer containing winter underclothing.

Yes, or no?" "No.".

"In that case, is it not possible that the articles in question might have been put there by a third person, and that the prisoner was quite unaware of their presence?".

"I should not think it likely.".

"But it is possible?"

"Yes."

"That is all."

More evidence followed.

Evidence as to the financial difficulties in which the prisoner had found himself at the end of July.

Evidence as to his intrigue with Mrs. Raikes—poor Mary, that must have been bitter hearing for a woman of her pride.

Evelyn Howard had been right in her facts, though her animosity against Alfred Inglethorp had caused her to jump to the conclusion that he was the person concerned.

Lawrence Cavendish was then put into the box.

In a low voice, in answer to Mr. Philips' questions, he denied having ordered anything from Parkson's in June.

In fact, on June 29th, he had been staying away, in Wales.

Instantly, Sir Ernest's chin was shooting pugnaciously forward.

"You deny having ordered a black beard from Parkson's on June 29th?" "I do.".

"Ah! In the event of anything happening to your brother, who will inherit Styles Court?".

The brutality of the question called a flush to Lawrence's pale face.

The judge gave vent to a faint murmur of disapprobation, and the prisoner in the dock leant forward angrily.

Heavywether cared nothing for his client's anger.

"Answer my question, if you please." "I suppose," said Lawrence quietly, "that I should.".

"What do you mean by you 'suppose'? Your brother has no children. You would inherit it, wouldn't you?".

"Yes." "Ah, that's better," said Heavywether, with ferocious geniality.

"And you'd inherit a good slice of money too, wouldn't you?".

"Really, Sir Ernest," protested the judge, "these questions are not relevant.".

Sir Ernest bowed, and having shot his arrow proceeded.

"On Tuesday, the 17th July, you went, I believe, with another guest, to visit the dispensary at the Red Cross Hospital in Tadminster?".

"Yes." "Did you—while you happened to be alone for a few seconds—unlock the poison cupboard, and examine some of the bottles?".

"I—I—may have done so.".

"I put it to you that you did do so?" "Yes.".

Sir Ernest fairly shot the next question at him.

"Did you examine one bottle in particular?"

"No, I do not think so.".

"Be careful, Mr. Cavendish. I am referring to a little bottle of Hydro-chloride of Strychnine.".

Lawrence was turning a sickly greenish colour.

"N—o—I am sure I didn't.".

"Then how do you account for the fact that you left the unmistakable impress of your finger-prints on it?".

The bullying manner was highly efficacious with a nervous disposition.

"I—I suppose I must have taken up the bottle."

"I suppose so too! Did you abstract any of the contents of the bottle?"

"Certainly not."

"Then why did you take it up?"

"I once studied to be a doctor. Such things naturally interest me.".

"Ah! So poisons 'naturally interest' you, do they?.

Still, you waited to be alone before gratifying that 'interest' of yours?".

"That was pure chance.

If the others had been there, I should have done just the same.".

"Still, as it happens, the others were not there?".

"No, but——"

"In fact, during the whole afternoon, you were only alone for a couple of minutes, and it happened—I say, it happened—to be during those two minutes that you displayed your 'natural interest' in Hydro-chloride of Strychnine?".

Lawrence stammered pitiably. "I—I——".

With a satisfied and expressive countenance, Sir Ernest observed:
"I have nothing more to ask you, Mr. Cavendish.".

This bit of cross-examination had caused great excitement in court.

The heads of the many fashionably attired women present were busily laid together, and their whispers became so loud that the judge angrily threatened to have the court cleared if there was not immediate silence.

There was little more evidence.

The hand-writing experts were called upon for their opinion of the signature of "Alfred Inglethorp" in the chemist's poison register.

They all declared unanimously that it was certainly not his hand-writing, and gave it as their view that it might be that of the prisoner disguised.

Cross-examined, they admitted that it might be the prisoner's hand-writing cleverly counterfeited.

Sir Ernest Heavywether's speech in opening the case for the defence was not a long one, but it was backed by the full force of his emphatic manner.

Never, he said, in the course of his long experience, had he known a charge of murder rest on slighter evidence.

Not only was it entirely circumstantial, but the greater part of it was practically unproved.

Let them take the testimony they had heard and sift it impartially.

The strychnine had been found in a drawer in the prisoner's room.

That drawer was an unlocked one, as he had pointed out, and he submitted that there was no evidence to prove that it was the prisoner who had concealed the poison there.

It was, in fact, a wicked and malicious attempt on the part of some third person to fix the crime on the prisoner.

The prosecution had been unable to produce a shred of evidence in support of their contention that it was the prisoner who ordered the black beard from Parkson's.

The quarrel which had taken place between prisoner and his stepmother was freely admitted, but both it and his financial embarrassments had been grossly exaggerated.

His learned friend—Sir Ernest nodded carelessly at Mr.Philips—had stated that if the prisoner were an innocent man, he would have come forward at the inquest to explain that it was he, and not Mr.Inglethorp, who had been the participator in the quarrel.

He thought the facts had been misrepresented.

What had actually occurred was this. The prisoner, returning to the house on Tuesday evening, had been authoritatively told that there had been a violent quarrel between Mr.and Mrs.Inglethorp.

No suspicion had entered the prisoner's head that anyone could possibly have mistaken his voice for that of Mr.Inglethorp. He naturally concluded that his stepmother had had two quarrels.

The prosecution averred that on Monday, July 16th, the prisoner had entered the chemist's shop in the village, disguised as Mr.Inglethorp.

The prisoner, on the contrary, was at that time at a lonely spot called Marston's Spinney, where he had been summoned by an anonymous note, couched in blackmailing terms, and threatening to reveal certain matters to his wife unless he complied with its demands.

The prisoner had, accordingly, gone to the appointed spot, and after waiting there vainly for half an hour had returned home.

Unfortunately, he had met with no one on the way there or back who could vouch for the truth of his story, but luckily he had kept the note, and it would be produced as evidence.

As for the statement relating to the destruction of the will, the prisoner had formerly practised at the Bar, and was perfectly well aware that the will made in his favour a year before was automatically revoked by his stepmother's remarriage.

He would call evidence to show who did destroy the will, and it was possible that that might open up quite a new view of the case.

Finally, he would point out to the jury that there was evidence against other people besides John Cavendish.

He would direct their attention to the fact that the evidence against Mr. Lawrence Cavendish was quite as strong, if not stronger than that against his brother.

He would now call the prisoner.

John acquitted himself well in the witness-box.

Under Sir Ernest's skilful handling, he told his tale credibly and well.

The anonymous note received by him was produced, and handed to the jury to examine.

The readiness with which he admitted his financial difficulties, and the disagreement with his stepmother, lent value to his denials.

At the close of his examination, he paused, and said:

"I should like to make one thing clear.

I utterly reject and disapprove of Sir Ernest Heavywether's insinuations against my brother. My brother, I am convinced, had no more to do with the crime than I have.".

Sir Ernest merely smiled, and noted with a sharp eye that John's protest had produced a very favourable impression on the jury.

Then the cross-examination began.

"I understand you to say that it never entered your head that the witnesses at the inquest could possibly have mistaken your voice for that of Mr.Inglethorp.

Is not that very surprising?".

"No, I don't think so.

I was told there had been a quarrel between my mother and Mr.Inglethorp, and it never occurred to me that such was not really the case.".

"Not when the servant Dorcas repeated certain fragments of the conversation—fragments which you must have recognized?".

"I did not recognize them."

"Your memory must be unusually short!".

"No, but we were both angry, and, I think, said more than we meant.

I paid very little attention to my mother's actual words."

Mr. Philips' incredulous sniff was a triumph of forensic skill. He passed on to the subject of the note.

"You have produced this note very opportunely.

Tell me, is there nothing familiar about the hand-writing of it?".

"Not that I know of.".

"Do you not think that it bears a marked resemblance to your own hand-writing—carelessly disguised?".

"No, I do not think so.".

"I put it to you that it is your own hand-writing!" "No.".

"I put it to you that, anxious to prove an alibi, you conceived the idea of a fictitious and rather incredible appointment, and wrote this note yourself in order to bear out your statement!"

"No."

"Is it not a fact that, at the time you claim to have been waiting about at a solitary and unfrequented spot, you were really in the chemist's shop in Styles St. Mary, where you purchased strychnine in the name of Alfred Inglethorp?".

"No, that is a lie.".

"I put it to you that, wearing a suit of Mr. Inglethorp's clothes, with a black beard trimmed to resemble his, you were there—and signed the register in his name!".

"That is absolutely untrue."

"Then I will leave the remarkable similarity of hand-writing between the note, the register, and your own, to the consideration of the jury," said Mr. Philips, and sat down with the air of a man who has done his duty, but who was nevertheless horrified by such deliberate perjury.

After this, as it was growing late, the case was adjourned till Monday.

Poirot, I noticed, was looking profoundly discouraged.

He had that little frown between the eyes that I knew so well.

"What is it, Poirot?" I inquired.

"Ah, mon ami, things are going badly, badly.".

In spite of myself, my heart gave a leap of relief.

Evidently there was a likelihood of John Cavendish being acquitted.

When we reached the house, my little friend waved aside Mary's offer of tea.

"No, I thank you, madame. I will mount to my room.".

I followed him. Still frowning, he went across to the desk and took out a small pack of patience cards.

Then he drew up a chair to the table, and, to my utter amazement, began solemnly to build card houses!

My jaw dropped involuntarily, and he said at once: "No, mon ami, I am not in my second childhood!.

I steady my nerves, that is all.

This employment requires precision of the fingers.

With precision of the fingers goes precision of the brain.

And never have I needed that more than now!"

"What is the trouble?" I asked.

With a great thump on the table, Poirot demolished his carefully built up edifice.

"It is this, mon ami! That I can build card houses seven stories high, but I cannot"— thump—"find"—thump—"that last link of which I spoke to you.".

I could not quite tell what to say, so I held my peace, and he began slowly building up the cards again, speaking in jerks as he did so.

"It is done—so! By placing—one card—on another—with mathematical—precision!".

I watched the card house rising under his hands, story by story.

He never hesitated or faltered. It was really almost like a conjuring trick.

"What a steady hand you've got," I remarked.

"I believe I've only seen your hand shake once."

"On an occasion when I was enraged, without doubt," observed Poirot, with great placidity.

"Yes indeed! You were in a towering rage.

Do you remember? It was when you discovered that the lock of the despatch-case in Mrs. Inglethorp's bedroom had been forced.

You stood by the mantel-piece, twiddling the things on it in your usual fashion, and your hand shook like a leaf! I must say——".

But I stopped suddenly.
For Poirot, uttering a hoarse and inarticulate cry, again annihilated his masterpiece of cards, and putting his hands over his eyes swayed backwards and forwards, apparently suffering the keenest agony.

"Good heavens, Poirot!" I cried.

"What is the matter? Are you taken ill?".

"No, no," he gasped. "It is—it is—that I have an idea!".

"Oh!" I exclaimed, much relieved. "One of your 'little ideas'?"

"Ah, ma foi, no!" replied Poirot frankly.

"This time it is an idea gigantic! Stupendous!.

And you—you, my friend, have given it to me!".

Suddenly clasping me in his arms, he kissed me warmly on both cheeks, and before I had recovered from my surprise ran headlong from the room.

Mary Cavendish entered at that moment.

"What is the matter with Monsieur Poirot? He rushed past me crying out: 'A garage! For the love of Heaven, direct me to a garage, madame!' And, before I could answer, he had dashed out into the street.".

I hurried to the window. True enough, there he was, tearing down the street, hatless, and gesticulating as he went.

I turned to Mary with a gesture of despair.

"He'll be stopped by a policeman in another minute. There he goes, round the corner!"

Our eyes met, and we stared helplessly at one another.

"What can be the matter? I shook my head.

"I don't know.

He was building card houses, when suddenly he said he had an idea, and rushed off as you saw.".

"Well," said Mary, "I expect he will be back before dinner.".

But night fell, and Poirot had not returned.