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Labours Of Hercules By Agatha Christie

There was another knock a different knock and poirot

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Unformatted text preview: imaginary -that she did not really suffer much pain. But the doctor himself had been in no doubt about the reality of his wife's suffering. He had not been surprised by her death. He had called in another doctor shortly before her death and the other doctor had realised the gravity of her condition. Tentatively I brought forward the suggestion of exhumation . . . Nurse Harrison was at first frightened out of her 98 wits by the idea. Then, almost at once, her jealousy and hatred took command of her. Let them find arsenic — no suspicion would attach to her. It would be the doctor and Jean Moncrieffe who would suffer. "There was only one hope. To make Nurse Harrison overreach herself. If there were a chance that Jean Moncrieffe would escape, I fancied that Nurse Harrison would strain every nerve to involve her in the crime. I gave instructions to my faithful Georges — the most unobtrusive of men whom she did not know by sight. He was to follow her closely. And so — all ended well." Jean Moncrieffe said: You've been wonder ful." Dr. Oldfield chimed in. He said: "Yes, indeed. I can never thank you enough. What a blind fool I was!" Poirot asked curiously: "Were you as blind. Mademoiselle ?" Jean Moncrieffe said slowly: "I have been terribly worried. You see, the arsenic in the poison cupboard didn't tally. . . ." Oldfield cried: "Jean — you didn't think — ?" 99 "No, no -- not you. What I did think was that Mrs. Oldfield had somehow or other got hold of it -- and that she was taking it so as to make herself ill and get sympathy and that she had inadvertently taken too much. But I was afraid that if there was an autopsy and arsenic was found, they would never consider that theory and would leap to the conclusion that you'd done it. That's why I never said anything about the missing arsenic. I even cooked the poison book! But the last person I would ever have suspected was Nurse Harrison." Oldfield said: "I too. She was such a gentle womanly creature. Like a Madonna." Poirot said sadly: 'Tes, she would have made, probably, a good wife and mother. . . . Her emotions were just a little too strong for her." He sighed and murmured once more under his breath: "The pity of it." Then he smiled at the happy-looking middle-aged man and the eager-faced girl opposite him. He said to himself: 100 ^These two have come out of its shadow into the sun . . . and I — I have performed the second Labour of Hercules." 101 3 THE ARCADIAN DEER ERCULE POIROT stamped his feet, seeking to warm them. He blew upon his fingers. Flakes of snow melted and dripped from the corners of his moustache. H There was a knock at the door and a chambermaid appeared. She was a slowbreathing thickset country girl and she stared with a good deal of curiosity at Hercule Poirot. It was possible that she had never seen anything quite like him before. She asked: "Did you ring ?" "I did. Will you be so good as to light the fi...
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