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Unformatted text preview: ll rather peculiar, so to
Hercule Poirot stared at him. Then he indicated a chair.
^Eh bien, then, sit down — what is your
"Williamson, sir, Ted Williamson."
"Sit down, Ted. And tell me all about
"Thank you, sir." He drew forward the
chair and sat down carefully on the edge
of it. His eyes had still that appealing
Hercule Poirot said gently:
Ted Williamson drew a deep breath.
"Well, you see, sir, it was like this.
I never saw her but the once. And I don't
know her right name nor anything. But
it's queer like, the whole thing, and my
letter coming back and everything."
"Start," said Hercule Poirot, "at the
beginning. Do not hurry yourself. Just tell
me everything that occurred."
"Yes, sir. Well, perhaps you know
Grasslawn, sir, that big house down by
the river past the bridge ?"
"I know nothing at all." "Belongs to Sir George Sanderfield, it
does. He uses it in the summer-time for
weekends and parties — rather a gay lot
he has down as a rule. Actresses and that.
Well, it was last June — and the wireless
was out of order and they sent me up
to see to it."
"So I went along. The gentleman was
out on the river with his guests and the
cook was out and his manservant had gone
along to serve the drinks and all that on the
launch. There was only this girl in the
house — she was the lady's-maid to one
of the guests. She let me in and showed me
where the set was, and stayed there while
I was working on it. And so we got to
talking and all that. . . Nita her name was,
so she told me, and she was lady's-maid
to a Russian dancer who was staying
"What nationality was she, English ?"
"No, sir, she'd be French, I think. She'd
a funny sort of accent. But she spoke English all right. She—she was friendly
and after a bit I asked her if she could come
out that night and go to the pictures, but
she said her lady would be needing her.
But then she said as how she could get off
early in the afternoon because as how they
wasn't going to be back off the river till late.
So the long and the short of it was that
I took the afternoon off without asking
(and nearly got the sack for it too) and we
went for a walk along by the river."
He paused. A little smile hovered on his
lips. His eyes were dreamy. Poirot said
"And she was pretty, yes ?"
"She was just the loveliest thing you
ever saw. Her hair was like gold — it went
up each side like wings — and she had a
gay kind of way of tripping along. I — I —
well, I fell for her right away, sir. I'm not
pretending anything else."
Poirot nodded. The young man went on:
"She said as how her lady would be
coming down again in a fortnight and we
fixed up to meet again then." He paused. "But she never came. I waited for her
at the spot she'd said, but not a sign o...
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