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with the case. After all, she's been
to this place several years running."
Poirot said gently:
"Yes -- and therefore her presence would
not cause comment. It would be a reason, would it not, why Rochers Neiges should have been the spot selected ?"
Drouet said excitedly:
"You've had an idea, M. Poirot. I'll look
into that angle."
The day passed without incident. Fortunately
the hotel was well provisioned. The
manager explained that there need be no
anxiety. Supplies were assured.
Hercule Poirot endeavoured to get into
conversation with Dr. Karl Lutz and was
rebuffed. The doctor intimated plainly
that psychology was his professional prei54
occupation and that he was not going to
discuss it with amateurs. He sat in a corner
reading a large German tome on the subconscious
and making copious notes and
Hercule Poirot went outside and wandered
aimlessly round to the kitchen
premises. There he entered into conversation
with the old man Jacques, who was
surly and suspicious. His wife, the cook, was more forthcoming. Fortunately, she
explained to Poirot, there was a large
reserve of tinned food -- but she herself thought little of food in tins. It was
wickedly expensive and what nourishment
could there be in it ? The good God had
never intended people to live out of tins.
The conversation came round to the
subject of the hotel staff. Early in July the
chambermaids and the extra waiters arrived.
But for the next three weeks, there would
be nobody or next to nobody. Mostly
people who came up and had lunch and
then went back again. She and Jacques
and one waiter could manage that easily.
"There was already a waiter here before
Gustave came, was there not ?"
"But yes, indeed, a poor kind of a
waiter. No skill, no experience. No class
"How long was he here before Gustave
replaced him ?"
"A few days only — the inside of a week.
Naturally he was dismissed. We were
not surprised. It was bound to come."
Poirot murmured: "He did not complain unduly ?"
"Ah no, he went quietly enough. After
all, what could he expect ? This is a hotel
of good class. One must have proper
Poirot nodded. He asked:
"Where did he go ?"
"That Robert, you mean?" She
shrugged her shoulders. "Doubtless back
to the obscure cafe he came from."
"He went down in the funicular ?"
She looked at him curiously.
"Naturally, Monsieur. What other way
is there to go ?"
"Did anyone see him go ?"
They both stared at him.
"Ah! do you think it likely that one
goes to see off an animal like that — that
one gives him the grand farewell? One
has one's own affairs to occupy one."
"Precisely," said Hercule Poirot.
He walked slowly away, staring up as
he did so at the building above him. A
large hotel -- with only one wing open at present. In the other wings were many
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