Unformatted text preview: n. But
apparently rolling in money. He comes
down here to hunt — and he gives parties
— very lavish parties — and rather
peculiar parties, too, if one is to believe
all one is told — not that I ever do, because
I do think people are so ill-natured. They
always believe the worst. You know, it's
become quite a fashion to say a person
drinks or takes drugs. Somebody said to me the other day that young girls were
natural inebriates, and I really don't think
that was a nice thing to say at all. And if
anyone's at all peculiar or vague in their
manner, everyone says "drugs' and that's
unfair, too. They say it about Mrs. Larkin
and though I don't care for the woman, I
do really think it's nothing more than
absent-mindedness. She's a great friend
of your Anthony Hawker, and that's why,
if you ask me, she's so down on the Grant
girls — says they're man-eaters! I dare say
they do run after men a bit, but why
not? It's natural, after all. And they're
good-looking pieces, every one of them."
Poirot interjected a question.
"Mrs. Larkin? My dear man, it's no
good asking me who she is. Who's anybody
nowadays? They say she rides well and
she's obviously well off. Husband was
something in the city. He's dead, not
divorced. She's not been here very long,
came here just after the Grants did. I've
always thought she — "
Old Lady Carmichael stopped. Her mouth opened, her eyes bulged. Leaning
forward she struck Poirot a sharp blow
across the knuckles with a paper-cutter
she was holding. Disregarding his wince
of pain she exclaimed excitedly:
"Why, of course! So that's why you're
down here! You nasty, deceitful creature,
I insist on your telling me all about it."
"But what is it I am to tell you all
Lady Carmichael aimed another playful
blow which Poirot avoided deftly.
"Don't be an oyster, Hercule Poirot! I
can see your moustaches quivering. Of
course, it's crime brings you down here —
and you're just pumping me shamelessly!
Now let me see, can it be murder ? Who's
died lately ? Only old Louisa Gilmore and
she was eighty-five and had dropsy too.
Can't be her. Poor Leo Staverton broke
his neck in the hunting-field and he's all
done up in plaster -- that can't be it. Perhaps
it isn't murder. What a pity! I can't
remember any special jewel robberies lately.... Perhaps it's just a criminal you're
tracking down. ... Is it Beryl Larkin? Did she poison her husband ? Perhaps it's
remorse that makes her so vague."
"Madame, Madame," cried Hercule
Poirot. "You go too fast."
"Nonsense. You're up to something, Hercule Poirot."
"Are you acquainted with the classics, Madame ?"
"What have the classics to do with it ?"
"They have this to do with it. I emulate
my great predecessor Hercules. One of
the Labours of Hercules was the taming
of the wild horses ofDiomedes."
"Don't tell me you came down here to
train horses -- at your age -- and always
wearing patent-leather shoes! You don't
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