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Unformatted text preview: ; "Precisely, mon cher. The whole mise en
scene, you know, was what you would call 'very bogus'. The Buddhas, the Benares
brass, the Indian servant! And the gout,
too! It is out of date, the gout. It is old,
old gentlemen who have the gout--not
the fathers of young ladies of nineteen.
"Moreover I made quite certain. As
I go out, I stumble, I clutch at the gouty
foot. So perturbed is the gentleman by
what I have been saying that he did not
even notice. Oh yes, he is very, very bogus, that General! Tout de meme, it is a smart
idea. The retired Anglo-Indian General, the well-known comic figure with a liver
and a choleric temper, he settles down -not amongst other retired AngloIndian
Army officers -- oh no, he goes to a milieu far too expensive for the usual retired
Army man. There are rich people there,
people from London, an excellent field to market the goods. And who would suspect
four lively, attractive, young girls? If
anything comes out, they will be considered
as victims — that for a certainty !39
"What was your idea exactly when you
went to see the old devil? Did you want
to put the wind up him ?33
"Yes. I wanted to see what would happen.
I had not long to wait. The girls had their
orders. Anthony Hawker, actually one
of their victims, was to be the scapegoat.
Sheila was to tell me about the flask in the
hall. She nearly could not bring herself
to do so—but the other girl rapped out
an angry 'Sheila' at her and she just
faltered it out."
Michael Stoddart got up and paced up
and down. He said:
"You know, I'm not going to lose sight
of that girl. I've got a pretty sound theory
about those adolescent criminal tendencies.
If you look into the home life, you nearly
always find — "
Poirot interrupted him.
He said: ^Mon cher, I have the deepest respect
for your science. I have no doubt that your
theories will work admirably where Miss
Sheila Kelly is concerned."
"The others, too.33
"The others, perhaps. It may be. The
only one I am sure about is the little
Sheila. You will tame her, not a doubt
of it! In truth, she eats out of your hand
already. . . .w
Flushing, Michael Stoddart said:
"What nonsense you talk, Poirot."
THE GIRDLE OF HYPPOLITA NE thing leads to another, as
Hercule Poirot is fond of saying
without much originality.
He adds that this was never more clearly
evidenced than in the case of the stolen
He was never much interested in the
Rubens. For one thing Rubens is not a painter he admires, and then the circumstances
of the theft were quite ordinary.
He took it up to oblige Alexander Simpson
who was by the way of being a friend
of his and for a certain private reason
of his own not unconnected with the
After the theft, Alexander Simpson sent
for Poirot and poured out all his woes.
The Rubens was a recent discovery, a
hitherto unknown masterpiece, but there
was no doubt of its authenticity. It had
been placed on display at Simpson's
Galleries and it had been stolen in broad
daylight. It was at the time when the
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