Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

Only a narrow neck of land joined it to the mainland

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Unformatted text preview: will permit me. Mademoiselle ?" He unhooked the picture and took it to 346 the window. He examined it, then, looking up, he said: "I am going to ask you. Mademoiselle, to give me this picture." "Well, really, M. Poirot -- " "You cannot pretend that you are very attached to it. The painting is abominable." "Oh, it has no artistic merit, I agree. But it is a pupiFs work and -- " "I assure you. Mademoiselle, that it is a most unsuitable picture to have hanging upon your wall." "I don't know why you should say that, M. Poirot." "I will prove it to you in a moment." He took a bottle, a sponge and some rags from his pocket. He said: "First I am going to tell you a little story, Mademoiselle. It has a resemblance to the story of the Ugly Duckling that turned into a Swan." He was working busily as he talked. The odour of turpentine filled the room. "You do not perhaps go much to theatrical revues ?" "No, indeed, they seem to me so trivial. ..." 347 "Trivial, yes, but sometimes instructive. I have seen a clever revue artist change her personality in the most miraculous way. In one sketch she is a cabaret star, exquisite and glamorous. Ten minutes later, she is an undersized, anaemic child with adenoids, dressed in a gym tunic--ten minutes later still, she is a ragged gypsy telling fortunes by a caravan." "Very possible, no doubt, but I do not see -- " "But I am showing you how the conjuring trick was worked on the train. Winnie, the schoolgirl, with her fair plaits, her spectacles, her disfiguring dental plate -- goes into the Toilette. She emerges a quarter of an hour later as -- to use the words of Detective Inspector Heam -- 'a flashy piece of goods'. Sheer silk stockings, high heeled shoes -- a mink coat to cover a school uniform, a daring little piece of velvet called a hat perched on her curls -and a face -- oh yes, a face. Rouge, powder, lipstick, mascara! What is the real face of that quick change artiste really like? Probably only the good God knows! But you. Mademoiselle, you yourself, you have often seen how the awkward schoolgirl 348 changes almost miraculously into the attractive and well-groomed debutante." Miss Pope gasped. "Do you mean that Winnie King disguised herself as -- " "Not Winnie King--no. Winnie was kidnapped on the way across London. Our quick change artiste took her place. Miss Burshaw had never seen Winnie King-how was she to know that the schoolgirl with the lank plaits and the brace on her teeth was not Winnie King at all ? So far, so good, but the impostor could not afford actually to arrive here, since you were acquainted with the real Winnie. So hey presto, Winnie disappears in the Toilette and emerges as wife to a man called Jim Elliott whose passport includes a wife! The fair plaits, the spectacles, the lisle thread stockings, the dental plate--all that can go into a small space. But the thick unglamorous shoes and...
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This note was uploaded on 07/28/2011 for the course LITERATURE 101 taught by Professor Agathachristie during the Spring '11 term at Heritage.

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