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
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
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. . . ."
"Jean — you didn't think — ?"
"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
"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
"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."
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.
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
She asked: "Did you ring ?"
"I did. Will you be so good as to light
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