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Hugh Chandler took a long breath. Then
"For one thing — I dream. And when I
dream, I am mad. Last night, for instance
— I wasn't a man any longer. I was first of
all a bull — a mad bull — racing about in blazing sunlight — tasting dust and blood
in my mouth — dust and blood. . . . And
then I was a dog — a great slavering dog.
I had hydrophobia—children scattered
and fled as I came—men tried to shoot
me — someone set down a great bowl of
water for me and I couldn't drink. I
couldn't drink. ..."
He paused. "I woke up. And I knew it
was true. I went over to the washstand.
My mouth was parched—horribly
parched--and dry. I was thirsty. But I
couldn't drink, M. Poirot. ... I couldn't
swallow. . . . Oh, my God, / wasn't able
to drink. ..."
Hercule Poirot made a gentle murmur.
Hugh Chandler went on. His hands were
clenched on his knees. His face was thrust
forward, his eyes were half closed as though
he saw something coming towards him.
"And there are things that aren't dreams.
Things that I see when I'm wide awake.
Spectres, frightful shapes. They leer at me.
And sometimes I'm able to fly, to leave my
bed, and fly through the air, to ride the winds -- and fiends bear me company!" "Tcha, tcha," said Hercule Poirot.
It was a gentle, deprecating little noise.
Hugh Chandler turned to him.
"Oh, there isn't any doubt. It's in my
blood. It's my family heritage. I can't
escape. Thank God I found it out in time!
Before I'd married Diana. Suppose we'd
had a child and handed on this frightful
thing to him!" He laid a hand on Poirot's arm. "You must make her understand. You
must tell her. She's got to forget. She's got to. There will be someone else some267
day. There's young Steve Graham — he's
crazy about her and he's an awfully good
chap. She'd be happy with him — and safe.
I want her — to be happy. Graham's hard
up, of course, and so are her people, but
when I'm gone they'll be all right.5'
Hercule's voice interrupted him.
"Why will they be ^11 right' when you
are gone ?"
Hugh Chandler smiled. It was a gentle,
lovable smile. He said:
"There's my mother's money. She was
an heiress, you know. It came to me. I've
left it all to Diana."
Hercule Poirot sat back in his chair. He said: "Ah!"
Then he said:
"But you may live to be quite an old
man, Mr. Chandler."
Hugh Chandler shook his head. He
"No, M. Poirot. I am not going to live
to be an old man.35
Then he drew back with a sudden
"My God! Look!" He stared over
Poirot's shoulder. c<'There—standing by
you . . . it's a skeleton— its bones are
shaking. It's calling to me--beckoning-"
His eyes, the pupils widely dilated,
stared into the sunshine. He leaned suddenly
sideways as though collapsing.
Then, turning to Poirot, he said in an
almost childlike voice:
"You didn't see -- anything ?3' Slowly, Hercule Poirot shook his h...
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