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Again Poirot nodded his head. He went
back to the inn.
There he gave certain instructions to
Dr. Alan Garcia, the Home Office Analyst, rubbed his hands and twinkled at Hercule
Poirot. He said:
"Well, this suits you, M. Poirot, I
suppose ? The man who's always right."
"You are too kind."
"What put you on to it ? Gossip ?3'
"As you say— Enter Rumour, painted
full of tongues.
The following day Poirot once more
took a train to Market Loughborough.
Market Loughborough was buzzing like
a beehive. It had buzzed mildly ever since
the exhumation proceedings.
Now that the findings of the autopsy
had leaked out, excitement had reached
Poirot had been at the inn for about
an hour and had just finished a hearty
lunch of steak and kidney pudding washed
down by beer when word was brought to
him that a lady was waiting to see him.
It was Nurse Harrison. Her face was
white and haggard.
She came straight to Poirot. "Is this true? Is this really true, M.
He put her gently into a chair.
"Yes. More than sufficient arsenic to
cause death has been found."
Nurse Harrison cried:
"I never thought — I never for one
moment thought — " and burst into tears.
Poirot said gently:
"The truth had to come out, you know."
"Will they hang him ?"
"A lot has to be proved still. Opportunity
-- access to poison -- the vehicle in
which it was administered."
"But supposing, M. Poirot, that he
had nothing to do with it -- nothing at all."
"In that case," Poirot shrugged his
shoulders, "he will be acquitted."
Nurse Harrison said slowly:
"There is something -- something that,
I suppose, I ought to have told you before
-- but I didn't think that there was really anything in it. It was just queer."
"I knew there was something," said
Poirot. "You had better tell it to me now."
"It isn't much. It's just that one day
when I went down to the dispensary for
something, Jean Moncrieffe was doing
something rather -- odd."
"It sounds so silly. It's only that she
was filling up her powder compact--a
pink enamel one -- "
if "But she wasn't filling it up with
powder -- with face powder, I mean. She
was tipping something into it from one of
the bottles out of the poison cupboard.
When she saw me she started and shut up
the compact and whipped it into her bag -and put back the bottle quickly into the
cupboard so that I couldn't see what it
was. I daresay it doesn't mean anything -but now that I know that Mrs. Oldfield
really was poisoned -- " She broke off.
Poirot said: "You will excuse me?"
He went out and telephoned to Detective Sergeant Grey of the Berkshire Police.
Hercule Poirot came back and he and
Nurse Harrison sat in silence.
Poirot was seeing the face of a girl with
red hair and hearing a clear hard voice say:
cc! don't agree." Jean Moncrieffe had not...
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