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Unformatted text preview: men. The only thing that was unusual was
the place where they were.
One might have seen them in any train
on the way to a race meeting — or on an
unimportant liner. But in an almost empty
There was one other occupant of the
carriage—a woman. She was tall and
dark. It was a beautiful face — a face that
might have expressed a whole gamut of
emotion—but which instead was frozen
• into a strange inexpressiveness. She looked
at no one, staring out at the valley below.
Presently, as Poirot had expected, the
American began to talk. His name, he said,
was Schwartz. It was his first visit to
Europe. The scenery, he said, was just
grand. He'd been very deeply impressed by
the Castle of Chillon. He didn't think much
of Paris as a city — overrated — he'd been
to the Folies Bergeres and the Louvre and
Notre Dame — and he'd noticed that none
of these restaurants and cafes could play
hot jazz properly. The Champs Elysees,
he thought, was pretty good, and he liked
the fountains especially when they were
Nobody got out at Les Avines or at
Caurouchet. It was clear that everyone in
the funicular was going up to Rochers
Mr. Schwartz explained his own reasons.
He had always wished, he said, to be high
up among snow mountains. Ten thousand
feet was pretty good — he'd heard that you
couldn't boil an egg properly when you were as high up as that.
In the innocent friendliness of his heart,
Mr. Schwartz endeavoured to draw the
tall, grey-haired man on the other side of
the carriage into the conversation, but the
latter merely stared at him coldly over his
pince-nez and returned to the perusal of
Mr. Schwartz then offered to exchange
places with the dark lady -- she would get
a better view, he explained.
It was doubtful whether she understood
English. Anyway, she merely shook her
head and shrank closer into the fur collar
of her coat.
Mr. Schwartz murmured to Poirot:
"Seems kind of wrong to see a woman
travelling about alone with no one to see
to things for her. A woman needs a lot of looking after when she's travelling.35
Remembering certain American women
he had met on the Continent, Hercule
Mr. Schwartz sighed. He found the
world unfriendly. And surely, his brown eyes said expressively, there's no harm in
a little friendliness all round ?
To be received by a hotel manager correctly
garbed in frock coat and patent
leather shoes seemed somehow ludicrous in
this out of the world, or rather above-theworld,
The manager was a big handsome man, with an important manner. He was very
So early in the season . . . The hotwater
system was out of order . . . things
were hardly in running order... Naturally, he would do everything he could ... Not a
full staff yet... He was quite confused by
the unexpected number of visitors.
It all came rolling out with professional
urbanity and yet it seemed to Foirot that
behind the urbane facade he caught a
glimpse of some poignant anxiety. This
man, for all his easy manner, was not at
ease. He was worried about somethin...
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