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Unformatted text preview: ld's disappeared. It'll be in the
papers this evening. Looks as though she's
been kidnapped. Daughter of a Canon
down at Cranchester. King, her name is, Winnie King."
He proceeded with the story.
Winnie had been on her way to Paris,
to join that select and high-class establishment
for English and American girls -Miss Pope's. Winnie had come up from
Cranchester by the early train -- had been seen across London by a member of Elder
Sisters Ltd. who undertook such work
as seeing girls from one station to another, had been delivered at Victoria to Miss
Burshaw, Miss Pope's second-in-command, and had then, in company with eighteen
other girls, left Victoria by the boat train.
Nineteen girls had crossed the channel,
had passed through the customs at Calais, had got into the Paris train, had lunched
in the restaurant car. But when, on the
outskirts of Paris, Miss Burshaw had
counted heads, it was discovered that only eighteen girls could be found!
"Aha," Poirot nodded. "Did the train
stop anywhere ?"
"It stopped at Amiens, but at that time
the girls were in the restaurant car and they
all say positively that Winnie was with
them then. They lost her, so to speak, on
the return journey to their compartments.
That is to say, she did not enter her own
compartment with the other five girls who
were in it. They did not suspect anything
was wrong, merely thought she
was in one of the two other reserved
Poirot nodded. "So she was last seen -- when exactly ?"
"About ten minutes after the train left
Amiens." Japp coughed modestly. "She
was last seen -- er -- entering the
"Very natural." He went on: "There
is nothing else ?"
"Yes, one thing." Japp's face was grim.
"Her hat was found by the side of the line
-- at a spot approximately fourteen miles
"But no body ?"
"What do you yourself think ?"
"Difficult to know what to think! As
there's no sign of her body—she can't
have fallen off the train."
"Did the train stop at all after leaving
"No. It slowed up once — for a signal,
but it didn't stop, and I doubt if it slowed
up enough for anyone to have jumped off without injury. You're thinking that
the kid got a panic and tried to run away ?
It was her first term and she might have
been homesick, that's true enough, but
all the same she was fifteen and a half—
a sensible age, and she'd been in quite good
spirits all the journey, chattering away and
"Was the train searched ?"
"Oh yes, they went right through it
before it arrived at the Nord station. The
girl wasn't on the train, that's quite
Japp added in an exasperated manner:
"She just disappeared—into thin air!
It doesn't make sense, M. Poirot. It's
"What kind of a girl was she ?"...
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