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Unformatted text preview: en. Poor Shan Tung might have died
of fright if of nothing else.33
Miss Carnaby chimed in breathlessly:
"Yes, it was wicked -- wicked!"
"Please tell me the facts."
"Well, it was like this. Shan Tung was
out for his walk in the Park with Miss
Camaby -- "
"Oh dear me, yes, it was all my fault," chimed in the companion. "How could I
have been so stupid -- so careless -- "
Lady Hoggin said acidly:
"I don't want to reproach you. Miss
Carnaby, but I do think you might have
been more alert."
Poirot transferred his gaze to the companion. "What happened P"
Miss Carnaby burst into voluble and
slightly flustered speech.
"Well, it was the most extraordinary thing! We had just been along the flower
walk -- Shan Tung was on the lead, of
course -- he'd had his little run on the
grass -- and I was just about to turn and
go home when my attention was caught by
a baby in a pram -- such a lovely baby -it smiled at me -- lovely rosy cheeks and
such curls. I couldn't just resist speaking to
the nurse in charge and asking how old it
was -- seventeen months, she said -- and
I'm sure I was only speaking to her for
about a minute or two, and then suddenly
I looked down and Shan wasn't there any
more. The lead had been cut right
through -- "
Lady Hoggin said:
"If you'd been paying proper attention
to your duties, nobody could have sneaked
up and cut that lead.35
Miss Carnaby seemed inclined to burst
into tears. Poirot said hastily:
"And what happened nexty9
"Well, of course I looked everywhere.
And called I And I asked the Park attendant if he'd seen a man carrying a Pekinese dog
but he hadn't noticed anything of the kind
— and I didn't know what to do — and I
went on searching, but at last, of course, I
had to come home — "
Miss Carnaby stopped dead. Poirot
could imagine the scene that followed well
enough. He asked:
"And then you received a letter ?5'
Lady Hoggin took up the tale.
"By the first post the following morning.
It said that if I wanted to see Shan Tung
alive I was to send ^200 in one-pound
notes in an unregistered packet to Captain
Curtis, 38 Bloomsbury Road Square. It
said that if the money were marked or the
police informed then — then — Shan
Tung^s ears and tail would be — cut off7"
Miss Carnaby began to sniff.
"So awful," she murmured. "How people
can be such fiends I"
Lady Hoggin went on:
"It said that if I sent the money at once,
... i ^
Shan Tung would be returned the same
evening alive and well, but that if—if afterwards I went to the police, it would be
Shan Tung who would suffer for it — "
Miss Carnaby murmured tearfully:
"Oh dear, I'm so afraid that even now —
of course, M. Poirot isn't exactly the
police — "
Lady Hoggin said anxiously:
"So you see, Mr. Poirot, you will have to
be very careful."
Hercule Poirot was quick to allay her
"But I, I am not of the poli...
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