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Unformatted text preview: eatly -- dovetail too obviously ?
Hercule Poirot sighed. He must take
one more journey to put things beyond
any possible doubt. He must go to Vagray
Here, he thought, really was the world's
end. This shelf of snow -- these scattered huts and shelters in each of which lay
a motionless human being fighting an
So he came at last to Katrina Samoushenka.
When he saw her, lying there with
hollow cheeks in each of which was a vivid
red stain, and long thin emaciated hands
stretched out on the coverlet, a memory
stirred in him. He had not remembered her
name, but he had seen her dance--had
been carried away and fascinated by the
supreme art that can make you forget
He remembered Michael Novgin, the
Hunter, leaping and twirling in that outrageous
and fantastic forest that the brain of
Ambrose Vandel had conceived. And he remembered
the lovely flying Hind, eternally
pursued, eternally desirable--a golden
beautiful creature with horns on her head
and twinkling bronze feet. He remembered
her final collapse, shot and wounded, and
Michael Novgin standing bewildered, with
the body of the slain Deer in his arms.
Katrina Samoushenka was looking at him with faint curiosity. She said:
cc! have never seen you before, have I ?
What is it you want of me ?"
Hercule Poirot made her a little bow.
"First, Madame, I wish to thank you -for your art which made for me once an
evening of beauty."
She smiled faintly.
"But also I am here on a matter of
business. I have been looking, Madame, for a long time for a certain maid of yours
-- her name was Nita."
She stared at him. Her eyes were large
and startled. She said:
"What do you know about -- Nita ?
"I will tell you."
He told her of the evening when his car
had broken down and of Ted Williamson
standing there twisting his cap between his
fingers and stammering out his love and
his pain. She listened with close attention.
She said when he had finished:
"It is touching, that -- yes, it is touching.
..." Hercule Poirot nodded.
"Yes," he said. "It is a tale of Arcady, is
it not ? What can you tell me, Madame, of
this girl ?"
Katrina Samoushenka sighed.
"I had a maid--Juanita. She was
lovely, yes -- gay, light of heart. It hap128
pened to her what happens so often to
those the gods favour. She died young."
They had been Poirot's own words -final words -- irrevocable words-- Now
he heard them again--and yet he persisted.
"She is dead ?"
"Yes, she is dead."
Hercule Poirot was silent a minute, then
"Yet there is one thing I do not quite
understand. I asked Sir George Sanderfield
about this maid of yours and he
seemed afraid. Why was that ?"
There was a faint expression of disgust
on the dancer's face.
"You just said a maid of mine. He
thought you meant Marie -- the girl who
came to me after Juanita left. She tried to blackmail him, I believe, over something
that she found...
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