Unformatted text preview: "Ordinary, normal type as far as I can
"I mean — what did she look like ?"
"I've got a snap of her here. She's not
exactly a budding beauty." He proffered the snapshot to Poirot
who studied it in silence.
It represented a lanky girl with her hair
in two limp plaits. It was not a posed
photograph, the subject had clearly been
caught unawares. She was in the act of
eating an apple, her lips were parted,
showing slightly protruding teeth confined
by a dentist's plate. She wore spectacles.
"Plain-looking kid — but then they are
plain at that age! Was at my dentist's
yesterday. Saw a picture in the Sketch
of Marcia Gaunt, this season's beauty.
/ remember her at fifteen when I was down
at the Castle over their burglary business.
Spotty, awkward, teeth sticking out, hair
all lank and anyhow. They grow into
beauties overnight — I don't know how
they do it! It's like a miracle."
"Women," he said, "are a miraculous
sex! What about the child's family? Have
they anything helpful to say ?"
Japp shook his head.
332 "Nothing that's any help. Mother's an
invalid. Poor old Canon King is absolutely
bowled over. He swears that the girl was
frightfully keen to go to Paris -- had been
looking forward to it. Wanted to study
painting and music -- that sort of thing.
Miss Pope's girls go in for Art with a
capital A. As you probably know. Miss
Pope's is a very well-known establishment.
Lots of society girls go there. She's strict -quite a dragon--and very expensive-and extremely particular whom she takes.55
"I know the type. And Miss Burshaw
who took the girls over from England ?"
"Not exactly frantic with brains. Terrified
that Miss Pope will say it's her
Poirot said thoughtfully:
"There is no young man in the case?"
Japp gesticulated towards the snapshot.
"Does she look like it ?"
"No, she does not. But notwithstanding
her appearance, she may have a romantic
heart. Fifteen is not so young." "Well," said Japp. "If a romantic heart
spirited her off that train, I'll take to
reading lady novelists."
He looked hopefully at Poirot.
"Nothing strikes you — eh ?"
Poirot shook his head slowly. He said:
"They did not, by any chance, find her
shoes also by the side of the line ?"
"Shoes ? No. Why shoes ?"
"Just an idea. ..."
Hercule Poirot was just going down to his
taxi when the telephone rang. He took off
Japp's voice spoke.
"Glad I've just caught you. It's all off,
old man. Found a message at the Yard
when I got back. The girl's turned up.
At the side of the main road fifteen miles
from Amiens. She's dazed and they can't
get any coherent story from her, doctor
says she's been doped— However, she's
all right. Nothing wrong with her." Poirot said slowly:
"So you have, then, no need of my
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