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Unformatted text preview: s so easily done—so hard to undo.
The person who deliberately profits from
the degradation and misery of other people is a vampire preying on flesh and blood."
He turned away. Behind him he heard
Pam Grant's voice say: "Sheila!" and
caught a whisper—a faint whisper—
from Sheila Grant. It was so low he hardly
"The flask . . ."
Hercule Poirot said good-bye to Mrs.
Larkin and went out into the hall. On the
hall table was a hunting flask lying with a
crop and a hat. Poirot picked it up. There
were initials on it: A.H.
Poirot murmured to himself:
"Tony's flask is empty ?"
He shook it gently. There was no sound
of liquor. He unscrewed the top.
Tony Hawker's flask was not empty. It
was full — of white powder. . . .
Hercule Poirot stood on the terrace of Lady
CarmichaeFs house and pleaded with a girl.
"You are very young. Mademoiselle. It
is my belief that you have not known, not
really known, what it is you and your sisters have been doing. You have been
feeding, like the mares of Diomedes, on
Sheila shuddered and gave a sob. She
"It sounds horrible, put like that. And
yet it's true! I never realised it until that
evening in London when Dr. Stoddart
talked to me. He was so grave — so
sincere. I saw then what an awful thing
it was I had been doing. . . . Before that
I thought it was— Oh! rather like drink
after hours — something people would pay
to get, but not something that really
mattered very much!"
"And now ?"
Sheila Grant said:
"I'll do anything you say. I — I'll talk
to the others," she added. ... "I don't
suppose Dr. Stoddart will ever speak to
me again. . . ."
"On the contrary," said Poirot. "Both
Dr. Stoddart and I are prepared to help
you in every way in our power to start 320
afresh. You can trust us. But one thing
must be done. There is one person who
must be destroyed--destroyed utterly, and only you and your sisters can destroy
him. It is your evidence and your evidence
alone that will convict him.33
"You mean -- my father ?33
"Not your father. Mademoiselle. Did
I not tell you that Hercule Poirot knows
everything? Your photograph was easily
recognised in official quarters. You are
Sheila Kelly--a persistent young shoplifter
who was sent to a reformatory some
years ago. When you came out of that
reformatory, you were approached by the
man who calls himself General Grant and
offered this post -- the post of a 'daughter'.
There would be plenty of money, plenty
of fun, a good time. All you had to do was to introduce the 'snuff' to your friends, always pretending that
someone else had
given it to you. Your 'sisters' were in the
same case as yourself.33
He paused and said:
"Come now. Mademoiselle--this man
must be exposed and sentenced. After
that --33 "Yes, afterwards ?33
Poirot coughed. He said with a smile:
"You shall be dedicated to the service
of the Gods. ..."
Michael Stoddart stared at Poirot in
amazement. He said:
"General Grant ? General Grant ?"...
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