Unformatted text preview: punctilious person, offered to refund it to me as the cup
had been stolen from his house."
"But you did not accept ?"
"Why was that ?"
"Shall we say because I preferred to
keep the matter in my own hands ?"
"You mean that if you had accepted the
Marchese's offer, the goblet, if recovered,
would be his property, whereas now it is
legally yours ?"
"What was there behind that attitude
of yours ?"
Emery Power said with a smile:
"You appreciate that point, I see. Well,
M. Poirot, it is quite simple. / thought I
knew who was actually in possession of the
"Very interesting. And who was it ?"
"Sir Reuben Rosenthal. He was not only
a fellow collector but he was at the time a personal enemy. We had been rivals in
several business deals — and on the whole
I had come out the better. Our animosity
culminated in this rivalry over the Borgia
Goblet. Each of us was determined to
possess it. It was more or less a point of
honour. Our appointed representatives bid
against each other at the sale."
"And your representative's final bid
secured the treasure ?"
''Not precisely. I took the precaution of
having a second agent--ostensibly the
representative of a Paris dealer. Neither
of us, you understand, would have been
willing to yield to the other, but to allow
a third party to acquire the cup, with the
possibility of approaching that third party
quietly afterwards -- that was a very different
"In fact, une petite deception."
"Which was successful--and immediately
afterwards Sir Reuben discovered
how he had been tricked ?" Power smiled.
It was a revealing smile.
Poirot said: "I see the position now.
You believed that Sir Reuben, determined
not to be beaten, deliberately commissioned
the theft ?"
Emery Power raised a hand.
"Oh no, no! It would not be so crude
as that. It amounted to this -- shortly
afterwards Sir Reuben would have purchased
a Renaissance goblet, provenance unspecified."
"The description of which would have
been circulated by the police ?"
"The goblet would not have been placed
openly on view."
"You think it would have been sufficient
for Sir Reuben to know that he possessed
"Yes. Moreover, if I had accepted the
Marchese's offer--it would have been
possible for Sir Reuben to conclude a
private arrangement with him later, thus
allowing the goblet to pass legally into his
He paused a minute and then said: "But by retaining the legal ownership, there were still possibilities left open to
me of recovering my property."
"You mean," said Poirot bluntly, "that
you could arrange for it to be stolen from
"Not stolen, M. Poirot. I should have
been merely recovering my own property." "But I gather that you were not successful?&quo...
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