Unformatted text preview: t way—
for him, poor devil, if for nobody else.33
Diana had thrown herself sobbing on
Admiral Chandler said, his voice coming
"You're right, George -- you're right, I
know. The boy's got guts. ..."
Frobisher said, and his voice, too, was
"He's a man. ..."
There was a moment's silence and then
"Damn it, where's that cursed foreigner?" VII
In the gun-room, Hugh Chandler had
lifted his gun from the rack and was in the
act of loading it when Hercule Poirot's hand fell on his shoulder.
Hercule Poirot's voice said one word
and said it with a strange authority. He
Hugh Chandler stared at him. He said
in a thick, angry voice: "Take your hands
off me. Don't interfere. There's going to be
an accident, I tell you. It's the only way
Again Hercule Poirot repeated that one
"Don't you realise that if it hadn't
been for the accident of her door being
locked, I would have cut Diana's throat—
Diana's! — with that knife ?"
cc! realise nothing of the kind. You
would not have killed Miss Maberly."
"I killed the cat, didn't I ?"
"No, you did not kill the cat. You did
not kill the parrot. You did not kill the
Hugh stared at him. He demanded: "Are you mad, or am I ?"
Hercule Poirot replied:
"Neither of us is mad.^
It was at that moment that Admiral
Chandler and Colonel Frobisher came in.
Behind them came Diana.
Hugh Chandler said in a weak, dazed
"This chap says I'm not mad. ..."
Hercule Poirot said:
"I am happy to tell you that you are
entirely and completely sane."
Hugh laughed. It was a laugh such as a
lunatic might popularly be supposed to give.
"That's damned funny! It's sane, is it,
to cut the throats of sheep and other
animals ? I was sane, was I, when I killed
that parrot ? And the cat tonight ?"
"I tell you you did not kill the sheep —
or the parrot — or the cat.3'
"Then who did ?"
"Someone who has had at heart the sole
object of proving you insane. On each
occasion you were given a heavy soporific
and a blood-stained knife or razor was planted by you. It was someone else whose
bloody hands were washed in your basin."
"But why ?"
"In order that you should do what
you were just about to do when I stopped
Hugh stared. Poirot turned to Colonel
"Colonel Frobisher, you lived for many
years in India. Did you never come across
cases where persons were deliberately
driven mad by the administration of
Colonel Frobisher's face lit up. He said:
"Never came across a case myself, but
I've heard of them often enough. Datura
poisoning. It ends by driving a person
"Exactly. Well, the active principle of
the datura is very closely allied to, if it is not
actually, the alkaloid atropine — which is
also obtained from belladonna or deadly
nightshade. Belladonna preparations are
fairly common and atropine sulp...
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