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Unformatted text preview: is head. He said:
"Mats non! I strive only to follow the
example of my great predecessor, Hercules.
Have a few hours' patience, my friend.
By tomorrow I may be able to deliver you
from your persecutors.55
Harold Waring came down the following
morning to find Hercule Poirot sitting
alone on the terrace. In spite of himself
Harold had been impressed by Hercule
He came up to him now and asked
anxiously: "Well ?55
Hercule Poirot beamed upon him.
"It is well.55
"What do you mean ?55
"Everything has settled itself satisfactorily.55 "But what has happened?"
Hercule Poirot replied dreamily:
"I have employed the castanets of
bronze. Or, in modern parlance, I have
caused metal wires to hum--in short
I have employed the telegraph! Your
Stymphalean Birds, Monsieur, have been
removed to where they will be unable to
exercise their ingenuity for some time to
"They were wanted by the police ? They
have been arrested ?55
Harold drew a deep breath.
"How marvellous! I never thought of
that.55 He got up. "I must find Mrs. Rice
and Elsie and tell them.55
"Oh good.55 Harold sat down again. "Tell me just what -- 55
He broke off.
Coming up the path from the lake were
two figures with flapping cloaks and profiles
"I thought you said they had been taken
Hercule Poirot followed his glance.
"Oh, those ladies ? They are very harmless, Polish ladies of good family, as the
porter told you. Their appearance is, perhaps, not very pleasing but that is all.55
"But I don't understand^
"No, you do not understand! It is the other ladies who were wanted by the police
--the resourceful Mrs. Rice and the
lachrymose Mrs. Clayton! It is they who
are well-known birds of prey. Those two, they make their living by blackmail, mon
Harold had a sensation of the world
spinning round him. He said faintly:
"But the man--the man who was
"No one was killed. There was no
"But I saw him!53 "Oh no. The tall deep-voiced Mrs. Rice
is a very successful male impersonator.
It was she who played the part of the
husband -- without her grey wig and suitably
made up for the part."
He leaned forward and tapped the other
on the knee.
"You must not go through life being too
credulous, my friend. The police of a
country are not so easily bribed--they
are probably not to be bribed at all-certainly not when it is a question of
murder! These women trade on the average
Englishman's ignorance of foreign
languages. Because she speaks French or
German, it is always this Mrs. Rice who
interviews the manager and takes charge
of the affair. The police arrive and go to
her room, yes! But what actually passes?
You do not know. Perhaps she says she
has lost a brooch—something of that
kind. Any excuse to arrange for the police
to come so that you shall see them. For the
rest, what ac...
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