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to be Miss Burshaw.
Poirot stood looking after them a minute,
then he rang the bell and asked for Miss
Miss Lavinia Pope was a very different person from her second-in-command. Miss
Burshaw. Miss Pope had personality. Miss
Pope was awe inspiring. Even should Miss
Pope unbend graciously to parents, she
would still retain that obvious superiority
to the rest of the world which is such a
powerful asset to a schoolmistress.
Her grey hair was dressed with distinction, her costume was severe but chic. She
was competent and omniscient.
The room in which she received Poirot
was the room of a woman of culture. It
had graceful furniture, flowers, some
framed, signed photographs of those of
Miss Pope's pupils who were of note in the
world--many of them in their presentation
gowns and feathers. On the walls
hung reproductions of the world's artistic
masterpieces and some good water-colour
sketches. The whole place was clean and
polished to the last degree. No speck of
dust, one felt, would have the temerity to
deposit itself in such a shrine.
Miss Pope received Poirot with the competence
of one whose judgment seldom fails.
"M. Hercule Poirot ? I know your name, of course. I suppose you have come about this very unfortunate affair of Winnie
King. A most distressing incident.55
Miss Pope did not look distressed. She
took disaster as it should be taken, dealing
with it competently and thereby reducing
it almost to insignificance.
"Such a thing," said Miss Pope, "has
never occurred before."
"And never will again!" her manner
seemed to say.
Hercule Poirot said:
"It was the girl's first term here, was it
"You had a preliminary interview with
Winnie -- and with her parents ?"
"Not recently. Two years ago, I was
staying near Cranchester -- with the Bishop, as a matter of fact -- "
Miss Pope's manner said:
("Mark this, please. I am the kind of
person who stays with Bishops py)
"While I was there I made the acquaintance
of Canon and Mrs. King. Mrs. King, alas, is an invalid. I met Winnie then. A
very well brought up girl, with a decided taste for art. I told Mrs. King that I
should be happy to receive her here in a
year or two--when her general studies
were completed. We spee here, M.
Poirot, in Art and Music. The girls are
taken to the Opera, to the Comedie
Fran^aise, they attend lectures at the
Louvre. The very best masters come here
to instruct them in music, singing, and
painting. The broader culture, that is our
Miss Pope remembered suddenly that
Poirot was not a parent and added abruptly:
"What can I do for you, M. Poirot ?"
cc! would be glad to know what is the
present position regarding Winnie ?"
"Canon King has come over to Amiens
and is taking Winnie back with him. The
wisest thing to do after the shock the child has sustained."
She went on:
"We do not take delicate girls here. We
have no special facilities for looking a...
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