Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

His vanity suffered then he saw something that

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Unformatted text preview: r you the place where I found it — the Garden of Peace, looking out over the Western Sea towards a forgotten Paradise of Youth and Eternal Beauty." He spoke on, describing in simple words the remote charm of Inishgowlan. Emery Power sat back, one hand over his eyes. He said at last: "I was born on the west coast of Ireland. I left there as a boy to go to America." Poirot said gently: cc! heard that." The financier sat up. His eyes were shrewd again. He said, and there was a faint smile on his lips: 416 "You are a strange man, M. Poirot. You shall have your way. Take the goblet to the Convent as a gift in my name. A pretty costly gift. Thirty thousand pounds — and what shall I get in exchange ?" Poirot said gravely: "The nuns will say Masses for your soul." The rich man's smile widened — a rapacious, hungry smile. He said: "So, after all, it may be an investment! Perhaps, the best one I ever made. ..." IX In the little parlour of the Convent, Hercule Poirot told his story and restored the chalice to the Mother Superior. She murmured: "Tell him we thank him and we will pray for him." Hercule Poirot said gently: "He needs your prayers." "Is he then an unhappy man ?" Poirot said: "So unhappy that he has forgotten what happiness means. So unhappy that he does not know he is unhappy." The nun said softly: 4i7 I "Ah, a nch man. ..." Hercule Poirot said nothing—for he knew there was nothing to say. ... 418 12 THE CAPTURE OF CERBERUS ERCULE POIROT, swaying to and fro in the tube train, thrown now against one body, now against another, thought to himself that there were too many people in the world! Certainly there were too many people in the Underground world of London at this particular moment (6.30 p.m.) of the evening. Heat, noise, crowd, contiguity -- the unwelcome pressure of hands, arms, bodies, shoulders! Hemmed in and pressed around by strangers -- and on the whole (he thought distastefully) a plain and uninteresting lot of strangers! Humanity seen thus en masse was not attractive. How seldom did one see a face sparkling with intelligence, how seldom a femme bien mise\ What was this passion that attacked women for H 419 knitting under the most unpropitious conditions? A woman did not look her best knitting; the absorption, the glassy eyes, the restless, busy fingers! One needed the agility of a wild cat, and the willpower of a Napoleon to manage to knit in a crowded tube, but women managed it! If they succeeded in obtaining a seat, out came a miserable little strip of shrimp pink and click, click went the pins! No repose, thought Poirot, no feminine grace! His elderly soul revolted from the stress and hurry of the modem world. All these young women who surrounded him--so alike, so devoid of charm, so lacking in rich, alluring femininity! He demanded a more flamboyant appeal. Ah! to see sifemme du monde, chic, sympathetic, spirituelle--a woman with ample curves, a woman ridiculously and extravagantly dressed! Once there had been such women. But now -- now -The...
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