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Unformatted text preview: ur debt."
"That's nothing. Where do we go from
here? We ought to turn these boys over
to the police and that's just what we can't
do! It's a knotty problem. Maybe we'd
better consult the manager."
Hercule Poirot said:
"Ah, the manager. I think first we will
consult the waiter -- Gustave -- alias Inspector
Drouet. But yes -- the waiter
Gustave is really a detective."
Schwartz stared at him.
"So that's why they did it!" "That is why who did what ?"
"This bunch of crooks got to you
second on the list. They'd already carved
^What?" "Come with me. The doc's busy on him
Drouet's room was a small one on the
top floor. Dr. Lutz, in a dressing-gown, was busy bandaging the injured man's face.
He turned his head as they entered.
"Ah! It is you, Mr. Schwartz? A nasty
business, this. What butchers! What inhuman
Drouet lay still, moaning faintly.
Schwartz asked: "Is he in danger ?"
"He will not die if that is what you mean.
But he must not speak--there must be
no excitement. I have dressed the wounds
-- there will be no risk of septicaemia."
The three men left the room together.
Schwartz said to Poirot:
"Did you say Gustave was a police
Hercule Poirot nodded.
"But what was he doing up at Rochers Neiges ?"
"He was engaged in tracking down a
very dangerous criminal."
In a few words Poirot explained the
"Marrascaud ? I read about the case in
the paper. I should much like to meet
that man. There is some deep abnormality
there! I should like to know the particulars
of his childhood."
"For myself," said Hercule Poirot, cc! should like to know exactly where he is
at this minute."
"Isn't he one of the three we locked in
the cupboard ?"
Poirot said in a dissatisfied voice:
"It is possible -- yes, but me, I am not
sure.... I have an idea -- "
He broke off, staring down at the carpet.
It was of a light buff colour and there were
marks on it of a deep rusty brown.
Hercule Poirot said:
"Footsteps--footsteps that have trodden, I think, in blood and they lead from
the unused wing of the hotel. Come -- we must be quick!"
They followed him, through a swing
door and along a dim, dusty corridor.
They turned the corner of it, still following
the marks on the carpet until the tracks
led them to a half-open doorway.
Poirot pushed the door open and entered.
He uttered a sharp, horrified exclamation.
The room was a bedroom. The bed had
been slept in and there was a tray of food
on the table.
In the middle of the floor lay the body
of a man. He was of just over middle height
and he had been attacked with savage
and unbelievable ferocity. There were a
dozen wounds on his arms and chest and
his head and face had been battered almost
to a pulp.
Schwartz gave a half-stifled exclamation
and turned away looking as though he
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