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Unformatted text preview: ain slowly like a man in a
dream and murmured:
"The Labours of Hercules.... Mats out, c'est une idee, ca. ..."
The following day saw Hercule Poirot
perusing a large calf-bound volume and
other slimmer works, with occasional
harried glances at various typewritten slips
His secretary. Miss Lemon, had been
detailed to collect information on the
subject of Hercules and to place same
Without interest (hers not the type to
wonder why!) but with perfect efficiency,
Miss Lemon had fulfilled her task.
Hercule Poirot was plunged head first
in a bewildering sea of classical lore with
particular reference to "Hercules, a celebrated
hero who, after death, was ranked
among the gods, and received divine
So far, so good -- but thereafter it was
far from plain sailing. For two hours Poirot
read diligently, making notes, frowning, consulting his slips of paper and his other
books of reference. Finally he sank back in
his chair and shook his head. His mood
of the previous evening was dispelled.
Take this Hercules -- this hero! Hero, indeed! What was he but a large muscular
creature of low intelligence and criminal
tendencies! Poirot was reminded of one
Adoife Durand, a butcher, who had been
tried at Lyons in 1895 -- a creature of
oxiike strength who had killed several
children. The defence had been epilepsy
-- from which he undoubtedly suffered -though whether grand mal or petit mal had
been an argument of several days' discussion.
This ancient Hercules probably
suffered from grand mal. No, Poirot shook
his head, if that was the Greeks' idea of a
hero, then measured by modern standards
it certainly would not do. The whole
classical pattern shocked him. These gods
and goddesses -- they seemed to have as many different aliases as a modern criminal.
Indeed they seemed to be definitely crimi9
nal types. Drink, debauchery, incest, rape,
loot, homicide and chicanery -- enough to
keep a juge d9 Instruction constantly busy.
No decent family life. No order, no
method. Even in their crimes, no order or
''Hercules indeed!" said Hercule Poirot, rising to his feet, disillusioned.
He looked round him with approval.
A square room, with good square modern
furniture -- even a piece of good modem
sculpture representing one cube placed on
another cube and above it a geometrical
arrangement of copper wire. And in the
midst of this shining and orderly room, himself. He looked at himself in the glass.
Here, then, was a modem Hercules -- very
distinct from that unpleasant sketch of a
naked figure with bulging muscles, brandishing
a club. Instead, a small compact
figure attired in correct urban wear with a
moustache -- such a moustache as
Hercules never dreamed of cultivating -a moustache magnificent yet sophisticated.
Yet there was between this Hercule Poirot and the Hercules of Classical lore
one point of resemblance. Both of them, undoubtedly, had been instrumental in rid10
ding the world of certain pests. . . . Each
of them could be described as a benefactor
to the Society he lived in. ...
What had Dr. Burto...
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