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Unformatted text preview: hat," said Poirot, "Diana must
decide for herself." He went out of the library. Diana was
waiting outside in the car. She called out,
"We'll get what we want for the night
and be back in time for dinner."
As they drove down the long drive,
Poirot repeated to her the conversation
he had just held with the Admiral and
Colonel Frobisher. She laughed scornfully. "Do they think Hugh would hurt me ?"
By way of reply, Poirot asked her if she
would mind stopping at the chemist's in
the village. He had forgotten, he said, to pack a toothbrush.
The chemist's shop was in the middle of
the peaceful village street. Diana waited
outside in the car. It struck her that
Hercule Poirot was a long time choosing a
In the big bedroom with the heavy
Elizabethan, oak furniture, Hercule Poirot
sat and waited. There was nothing to
do but wait. All his arrangements were
made. It was towards early morning that the
At the sound of footsteps outside, Poirot
drew back the bolt and opened the door.
There were two men in the passage outside
— two middle-aged men who looked older
than their years. The Admiral was stemfaced
and grim. Colonel Frobisher
twitched and trembled.
Chandler said simply:
"Will you come with us, M. Poirot ?"
There was a huddled figure lying outside
Diana Maberly's bedroom door. The light
fell on a rumpled, tawny head. Hugh
Chandler lay there breathing stertorously.
He was in his dressing-gown and slippers.
In his right hand was a sharply-curved, shining knife. Not all of it was shining -here and there it was obscured by red
Hercule Poirot exclaimed softly:
"Mon Dieu /"
Frobisher said sharply:
"She's all right. He hasn't touched her." He raised his voice and called: "Diana!
It's us! Let us in!"
Poirot heard the Admiral groan and mutter under his breath:
"My boy. My poor boy."
There was a sound of bolts being drawn.
The door opened and Diana stood there.
Her face was dead white.
She faltered out:
^Whafs happened? There was someone
-- trying to get in -- I heard them -- feeling
the door -- the handle -- scratching
on the panels-- Oh! it was awful . . . like
an animal. ..."
Frobisher said sharply:
"Thank God your door was locked!"
"M. Poirot told me to lock it."
"Lift him up and bring him inside."
The two men stooped and raised the
unconscious man. Diana caught her breath
with a little gasp as they passed her.
"Hugh ? Is it Hugh ? What's that -- on his hands ?"
Hugh Chandler's hands were sticky and
wet with a brownish, red stain. Diana breathed: "Is that blood ?"
Poirot looked inquiringly at the two
men. The Admiral nodded. He said:
"Not human, thank God! A cat! I
found it downstairs in the hall. Throat
cut. Afterwards he must have come up
here -- M
"Here?" Diana's voice was low with
horror. "To me ?"
The man on the chair stirred--muttered.
They watched him, fascinated.
Hugh Chandler sat up. He blinked.
"Hallo," his voice...
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