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Unformatted text preview: ed over the keys of her typewriter. A
slight -- a very slight look of impatience
was discernible upon her face. She had
done her part, the look seemed to say, surely her employer could now leave her
to get on with what she was doing ?
But Hercule Poirot required explanations. "What is it, then, this Hell ?" he demanded. 426
Miss Lemon looked slightly surprised.
"Oh didn't you know, M. Poirot ? It's a
night club -- quite new and very much the
rage at present--run by some Russian
woman, I believe. I can fix up for you to
become a member before this evening
Whereupon, having wasted (as she made
obvious) quite time enough. Miss Lemon
broke into a perfect fusillade of efficient
At eleven that evening Hercule Poirot
passed through a doorway over which a
Neon sign discreetly showed one letter
at a time. A gentleman in red tails received
him and took from him his coat.
A gesture directed him to a flight of wide
shallow stairs leading downwards. On each
step a phrase was written. The first one
"/ meant well. ..."
"Wipe the slate clean and start afresh...."
The third: "7 can give it up any time I like...."
"The good intentions that pave the way
to Hell," Hercule Poirot murmured appreciatively.
"C'est bien imagine, ca /"
He descended the stairs. At the foot
was a tank of water with scarlet lilies.
Spanning it was a bridge shaped like a
boat. Poirot crossed by it.
On his left in a kind of marble grotto
sat the largest and ugliest and blackest
dog Poirot had ever seen! It sat up very
straight and gaunt and immovable. It was
perhaps, he thought, (and hoped!) not real. But at that moment the dog turned
its ferocious and ugly head and from the
depths of its black body a low, rumbling
growl was emitted. It was a terrifying
And then Poirot noticed a decorative
basket of small round dog biscuits. They
were labelled, "A sop for Cerberus /"
It was on them that the dog's eyes were
fixed. Once again the low, rumbling growl
was heard. Hastily Poirot picked up a biscuit
and tossed it towards the great hound.
A cavernous red mouth yawned, then came a snap as the powerful jaws closed
again. Cerberus had accepted his sop!
Poirot moved on through an open doorway.
The room was not a big one. It was
dotted with little tables, a space of dancing
floor in the middle. It was lighted with
small red lamps, there were frescoes on the
walls, and at the far end was a vast grill at
which officiated chefs dressed as devils
with tails and horns.
All this Poirot took in before, with all the
impulsiveness of her Russian nature,
Countess Vera Rossakoff, resplendent in
scarlet evening dress, bore down upon him
with outstretched hands.
"Ah, you have come! My dear—my
very dear friend! what a joy to see you
again! After such years — so many — how
many ?— No, we will not say how many!
To me it seems but as yesterday. You have
not changed—not in the least have you
"Nor you, chore arnica Poirot exclaimed,
bowing over her hand. Neverthele...
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