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Schwartz came back looking crestfallen.
"Nothing doing," he said. He added
wistfully: "Seems to me that as we're all
human beings together there's no reason
we shouldn't be friendly to one another.
Don't you agree. Air.— You know, I don't
know your name ?"
"My name," said Poirot, "is Poirier." He
added: "I am a silk merchant from Lyons."
"I'd like to give you my card, M.
Poirier, and if ever you come to Fountain
Springs you'll be sure of a welcome."
Poirot accepted the card, clapped his
hand to his own pocket, murmured:
"Alas, I have not a card on me at the
That night, when he went to bed, Poirot
read through LementeuiFs letter carefully
before replacing it, neatly folded, in his wallet.
As he got into bed he said to himself:
"It is curious -- I wonder if. . ."
Gustave the waiter brought Hercule Poirot his breakfast of coffee and rolls. He was
apologetic over the coffee.
"Monsieur comprehends, does he not, that at this altitude it is impossible to have
the coffee really hot ? Lamentably, it boils
"One must accept these vagaries of
Nature's with fortitude."
"Monsieur is a philosopher."
He went to the door, but instead of
leaving the room, he took one quick look
outside, then shut the door again and returned
to the bedside. He said:
"M. Hercule Poirot? I am Drouet, Inspector of Police."
"Ah," said Poirot, "I had already suspected
Drouet lowered his voice.
"M. Poirot, something very grave has
occurred. There has been an accident to
"An accident?" Poirot sat up. "What
kind of an accident ?"
"Nobody has been injured. It happened in the night. It was occasioned, perhaps, by
natural causes -- a small avalanche that
swept down boulders and rocks. But it is
possible that there was human agency at
work. One does not know. In any case the
result is that it will take many days to repair
and that in the meantime we are cut off up
here. So early in the season, when the snow
is still heavy, it is impossible to communicate
with the valley below."
Hercule Poirot sat up in bed. He said
"That is very interesting."
The inspector nodded.
"Yes," he said. "It shows that our commissaire's
information was correct. Marrascaud
has a rendezvous here, and he has
made sure that that rendezvous shall not be
Hercule Poirot cried impatiently:
"But it is fantastic!"
"I agree." Inspector Drouet threw up
his hands. "It does not make the commonsense--but
there it is. This Marrascaud, you know, is a fantastic creature! Myself,"
he nodded, cc! think he is mad.39 Poirot said:
"A madman and a murderer!"
Drouet said dryly:
"It is not amusing. I agree."
Poirot said slowly:
"But if he has a rendezvous here, on th...
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