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Unformatted text preview: hen the truth began to leak out, I
was horrified, incredulous. We insisted on
my father-in-law's resignation on the
grounds of ill-health and we set to work to -- to clean up the mess, shall I say ?"
Sir George groaned.
"The Augean Stables!"
"It will prove, I fear, too Herculean a
task for us. Once the facts become public, there will be a wave of reaction all over the
country. The Government will fall. There
will be a General Election and in all
probability Everhard and his party will be
returned to power. You know Everhard's
Sir George spluttered.
"A firebrand -- a complete firebrand."
Ferrier said gravely:
"Everhard has ability -- but he is reckless, belligerent and utterly tactless. His
FR1;supporters are inept and vacillating--it
would be practically a Dictatorship."
Hercule Poirot nodded.
Sir George bleated out:
"If only the whole thing can be hushed
up. . . ."
Slowly, the Premier shook his head.
It was a movement of defeat.
Poirot said: "You do not believe that it can be
hushed up ?"
"I sent for you, M. Poirot, as a last
hope. In my opinion this business is too
big, too many people know about it, for
it to be successfully concealed. The only
two methods open to us which are, to put
it bluntly, the use of force, or the adoption
of bribery -- cannot really hope to succeed.
The Home Secretary compared our
troubles with the cleansing of the Augean
Stables. It needs, M. Poirot, the violence of
a river in spate, the disruption of the great
natural forces of Nature -- nothing less, in
fact, than a miracle."
"It needs, in fact, a Hercules," said
Poirot, nodding his head with a pleased
He added: "My name, remember, is
Edward Ferrier said:
"Can you perform miracles, M. Poirot ?"
"It is why you sent for me, is it not? Because you thought that I might ?33
"That is true. ... I realised that if
salvation was to be achieved, it could only
come through some fantastic and completely
He paused a minute, then he said:
"But perhaps, M. Poirot, you take an
ethical view of the situation ? John Hammett
was a crook, the legend of John
Hammett must be exploded. Can one
build an honest house on dishonest foundations
? I do not know. But I do know that
I want to try." He smiled with a sudden
sharp bitterness. "The politician wants to
remain in office -- as usual from the highest
Hercule Poirot rose. He said:
"Monsieur, my experience in the police
force has not, perhaps, allowed me to
think very highly of politicians. If John
Hammett were in office -- I would not
lift a finger -- no, not a little finger. But I
know something about you. I have been
told, by a man who is really great, one of
the greatest scientists and brains of the day, that you are — a sound man. I will do
what I can.35
He bowed and left the room...
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