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Lunch was served in a long room overlooking
the valley far below. The solitary
waiter, addressed as Gustave, was skilful
and adroit. He darted here and there, advising on the menu, whipping out his wine list. The three horsy men sat at a
table together. They laughed and talked in
French, their voices rising.
Good old Joseph!--What about the
little Denise, mon vieux?--Do you remember
that sacre pig of a horse that let us
all down at Auteuil ?
It was all very hearty, very much in
character—and incongruously out of
The woman with the beautiful face sat
alone at a table in the corner. She looked at
Afterwards, as Poirot was sitting in the
lounge, the manager came to him and was
Monsieur must not judge the hotel too
hardly. It was out of the season. No one
came here till the end of July. That lady,
Monsieur had noticed her, perhaps? She
came at this time every year. Her husband
had been killed climbing three years ago.
It was very sad. They had been very
devoted. She came here always before the season commenced — so as to be quiet. It
was a sacred pilgrimage. The elderly
gentleman was a famous doctor. Dr. Karl
Lutz, from Vienna. He had come here, so
he said, for quiet and repose.
"It is peaceful, yes,33 agreed Hercule
Poirot. "And ces Messieurs there?" He
indicated the three horsy men. "Do they
also seek repose do you think ?"
The manager shrugged his shoulders.
Again there appeared in his eyes that
worried look. He said vaguely:
"Ah, the tourists, they wish always a
new experience . . . The altitude--that
alone is a new sensation."
It was not, Poirot thought, a very
pleasant sensation. He was conscious of his
own rapidly beating heart. The lines of a
nursery rhyme ran idiotically through his
mind. "Up above the world so high. Like a
tea tray in the sky."
Schwartz came into the lounge. His eyes
brightened when he saw Poirot. He came over to him at once.
"Pve been talking to that Doctor. He
speaks English after a fashion. He's a Jew --been turned out of Austria by the
Nazis. Say, I guess those people are just
crazy! This Doctor Lutz was quite a big
man, I gather -- nerve spet -- psychoanalysis
-- that kind of stuff."
His eyes went to where the tall woman
was looking out of a window at remorseless
mountains. He lowered his voice.
cc! got her name from the waiter. She's
a Madame Grandier. Her husband was
killed climbing. That's why she comes
here. I sort of feel, don't you, that we
ought to do something about it -- try to
take her out of herself?"
Hercule Poirot said:
"If I were you I should not attempt it."
But the friendliness of Mr. Schwartz was
Poirot saw him make his overtures, saw
the remorseless way in which they were
rebuffed. The two stood together for a
minute silhouetted against the light. The
woman was taller than Schwartz. Her head
was thrown back and her expression was cold and forbidding.
He did not hear what she said, b...
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