Unformatted text preview: s of Achille Poirot's career. Had all
that really happened ?
"Only for a short space of time," he
Dr. Burton passed tactfully from the
subject of Achille Poirot.
"People should be more careful how
they name their children," he ruminated.
"I've got godchildren. I know. Blanche,
one of 'em is called--dark as a gipsy!
Then there's Deirdre, Deirdre of the
Sorrows -- she's turned out merry as a
grig. As for young Patience, she might as
well have been named Impatience and
be done with it! And Diana--well, Diana -- " the old Classical scholar shuddered.
"Weighs twelve stone now--and
she's only fifteen! They say it's puppy fat
--but it doesn't look that way to me. Diana! They wanted to call her Helen, but I did put my foot down
what her father and mother looked like!
And her grandmother for that matter! I tried hard for Martha or Dorcas or something
sensible--but it was no good-waste of breath. Rum people, parents...."
He began to wheeze gently -- his small
fat face crinkled up.
Poirot looked at him inquiringly.
"Thinking of an imaginary conversation.
Your mother and the late Mrs.
Holmes, sitting sewing little garments or
knitting: 'Achille, Hercule, Sherlock, Mycroft. . . .' "
Poirot failed to share his friend's amusement. "What I understand you to mean is,
that in physical appearance I do not
resemble a Hercules ?"
Dr. Burton's eyes swept over Hercule
Poirot, over his small neat person attired
in striped trousers, correct black jacket
and natty bow tie, swept up from his
patent leather shoes to his egg-shaped
head and the immense moustache that
adorned his upper lip.
"Frankly, Poirot," said Dr. Burton, "you
don't! I gather," he added, "that you've
never had much time to study the Classics ?" "That is so."
"Pity. Pity. You've missed a lot. Everyone
should be made to study the Classics
if I had my way."
Poirot shrugged his shoulders.
"Eh bien, I have got on very well without
"Got on! Got on! It's not a question of
getting on. That's the wrong view
altogether. The Classics aren't a ladder
leading to quick success like a modem
correspondence course! It's not a man's
working hours that are important--it's
his leisure hours. That's the mistake we all
make. Take yourself now, you're getting
on, you'll be wanting to get out of things, to take things easy -- what are you going
to do then with your leisure hours ?"
Poirot was ready with his reply.
"I am going to attend -- seriously -- to
the cultivation of vegetable marrows."
Dr. Burton was taken aback.
"Vegetable marrows ? What d'yer mean ?
Those great swollen green things that
taste of water ?"
"Ah," Poirot spoke enthusiastically. "But
that is the whole point of it. They need not taste of water." 4
"Oh! I know--sprinkle 'em with
cheese, or minced onion or white sauce."
"No, no--you are in error. It is my
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