Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

Harold thought a moustache like that must be french

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Unformatted text preview: n stood in the doorway. He was of medium height with thick eyebrows and a sleek, dark head. In his hand he carried a heavy car spanner. His voice rose high and shook with rage. He almost screamed the words. "So that Polish woman was right! You are carrying on with this fellow!" Elsie cried: 219 "No, no, Philip. It's not true. You're wrong." Harold thrust the girl swiftly behind him, as Philip Clayton advanced on them both. The latter cried: "Wrong, am I? When I find you here in his room? You she-devil. I'll kill you for this.?3 With a swift, sideways movement he dodged Harold's arm. Elsie, with a cry, ran round the other side of Harold, who swung round to fend the other off. But Philip Clayton had only one idea, to get at his wife. He swerved round again. Elsie, terrified, rushed out of the room. Philip Clayton dashed after her, and Harold, with not a moment's hesitation, followed him. Elsie had darted back into her own bedroom at the end of the corridor. Harold could hear the sound of the key turning in the lock, but it did not turn in time. Before the lock could catch Philip Clayton wrenched the door open. He disappeared into the room and Harold heard Elsie's frightened cry. In another minute Harold burst in after them. Elsie was standing at bay against the 220 curtains of the window. As Harold entered Philip Clayton rushed at her brandishing the spanner. She gave a terrified cry, then snatching up a heavy paper-weight from the desk beside her, she flung it at him. Clayton went down like a log. Elsie screamed. Harold stopped petrified in the doorway. The girl fell on her knees beside her husband. He lay quite still where he had fallen. Outside in the passage, there was the sound of the bolt of one of the doors being drawn back. Elsie jumped up and ran to Harold. "Please -- please -- " Her voice was low and breathless. "Go back to your room. They'll come -- they'll find you here." Harold nodded. He took in the situation like lightning. For the moment, Philip Clayton was hors de combat. But Elsie's scream might have been heard. If he were found in her room it could only cause embarrassment and misunderstanding. Both for her sake and his own there must be no scandal. As noiselessly as possible, he sprinted down the passage and back into his room. Just as he reached it, he heard the sound of an opening door. 221 He sat in his room for nearly half an hour, waiting. He dared not go out. Sooner or later, he felt sure, Elsie would come. There was a light tap on his door. Harold jumped up to open it. It was not Elsie who came in but her mother and Harold was aghast at her appearance. She looked suddenly years older. Her grey hair was dishevelled and there were deep black circles under her eyes. He sprang up and helped her to a chair. She sat down, her breath coming painfully. Harold said quickly: "You look all in, Mrs. Rice. Can I get you something ?" She shook her head. ''N0. Never mind me. I'm all right, really. It's only...
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