Unformatted text preview: at the actual flavour of the marrow
itself can be improved. It can be given,"
he screwed up his eyes, "a bouquet -- "
"Good God, man, it's not a claret." The word bouquet reminded Dr. Burton of
the glass at his elbow. He sipped and
savoured. "Very good wine, this. Very
sound. Yes." His head nodded in approbation.
"But this vegetable marrow
business -- you're not serious ? You don't
mean" -- he spoke in lively horror -- "that
you're actually going to stoop" -- his hands
descended m sympathetic horror on his
own plump stomach -- "stoop, and fork
dung on the things, and feed 'em with
strands of wool dipped in water and all the
rest of it ?"
"You seem," Poirot said, "to be well
acquainted with the culture of the marrow
"Seen gardeners doing it when I've
been staying in the country. But seriously, Poirot, what a hobby! Compare that to" -- his voice sank to an appreciative purr-- ^an easy-chair in front of a wood fire in a
long, low room lined with books -- must
be a long room -- not a square one. Books
all round one. A glass of port--and a
book open in your hand. Time rolls back
as you read:" he quoted sonorously:
Myrf 6 a5re KV^epvriTrf^ ev\ olvoTri ttovtw
vija OofJV IQvvel epe^Oo/A.evrJv ave^oio'i
(c 'By skill again, the pilot on the winedark
The swift ship buffeted by the
Of course you can never really get the
spirit of the original."
For the moment, in his enthusiasm, he
had forgotten Poirot. And Poirot, watching
him, felt suddenly a doubt--an uncomfortable
twinge. Was there, here, something
that he had missed ? Some richness of the
spirit? Sadness crept over him. Yes, he
should have become acquainted with the
Classics. . . . Long ago. . . . Now, alas, it
was too late. . . .
Dr. Button interrupted his melancholy.
6 "Do you mean that you really are
thinking of retiring ?33
The other chuckled.
"But I assure you -- "
"You won't be able to do it, man.
You're too interested in your work."
"No -- indeed -- I make all the arrangements.
A few more cases -- specially
selected ones -- not, you understand, everything that presents itself-- just problems
that have a personal appeal.33
Dr. Burton grinned.
"That's the way of it. Just a case or
two, just one case more--and so on.
The Prima Donna's farewell performance
won't be in it with yours, Poirot!33
He chuckled and rose slowly to his feet, an amiable white-haired gnome.
"Yours aren't the Labours of Hercules,33 he said. "Yours are labours of love.
You'll see if I'm not right. Bet you that
in twelve months' time you'll still be here, and vegetable marrows will still be33 -- he
shuddered -- "merely marrows.33
Taking leave of his host. Dr. Burton left
the severe rectangular room.
LOH2 I He passes out of these pages not to
return to them. We are concerned only
with what he left behind him, which was
For after his departure Hercule Poirot
sat down ag...
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