Unformatted text preview: , Mrs Ackroyd,' I said. 'Since you are not concealing anything, any remarks he may have made do not apply to you.' Mrs
Ackroyd went off at a tangent, after her usual fashion.
'Servants are so tiresome,' she said. 'They gossip, and talk amongst themselves. And then it gets round and all the time there's probably nothing in it at all.' 'Have the servants been talking?' I asked. 'What
about?' Mrs Ackroyd cast a very shrewd glance at me. It quite threw me off my balance.
'I was sure you'd know, doctor, if anyone did. You were with M. Poirot all the time, weren't you?' 'I
was.' 'Then of course you know. It was that girl, Ursula Bourne, wasn't it? Naturally - she's leaving. She
would want to make all the trouble she could. Spiteful, that's what they are. They're all alike. Now, you
being there, doctor, you must know exactly what she did say? I'm most anxious „. no wrong impression
should get about. After all, you 'don't repeat every little detail to the police, do you? There are family
matters sometimes - nothing to do with the Question of the murder. But if the girl was spiteful, she may
have made out all sorts of things.' I was shrewd enough to see that a very real anxiety lay behind these
outpourings. Poirot had been justified in his premises. Of the six people round the table yesterday, Mrs
Ackroyd at least had had something to hide. It was for me to discover what that something might be.
'If I were you, Mrs Ackroyd,' I said brusquely, 'I should make a clean breast of things.' She gave a little
'Oh! doctor, how can you be so abrupt. It sounds as though - as though - And I can explain everything
so simply.' 'Then why not do so?' I suggested.
Mrs Ackroyd took out a frilled handkerchief, and became tearful.
'I thought, doctor, that you might put it to M. Poirot explain it, you know - because it's so difficult for a
foreigner to see our point of view. And you don't know - nobody could know - what I've had to contend
with. A martyrdom - a long martyrdom. That's what my life has been. I don't like to speak ill of the dead
- but there it is. Not the smallest bill but it had all to be gone over - just as though Roger had had a few
miserly hundreds a year instead of being (as Mr Hammond told me yesterday) one of the wealthiest men
in these parts.' Mrs Ackroyd paused to dab her eyes with the frilled handkerchief.
'Yes,' I said encouragingly. 'You were talking about bills?' 'Those dreadful bills. And some I didn't like to
show Roger at all. They were things a man wouldn't understand.
He would have said the things weren't necessary. And of course they mounted up, you know, and they
kept coming ui' She looked at me appealingly, as though asking me to condole with her on this striking
'It's a habit they have,' I agreed.
And the tone altered - became quite abusive. 'I assure you, doctor, I was becoming a nervous wreck. I
couldn't sleep at nights. And a dreadful fluttering round the heart.
And then I got a letter from a Scotch gentleman - as a matter of...
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