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Unformatted text preview: his coat sleeve. The man reminded me in
some ways of a cat. His green eyes and his finicking habits.
'And all for nothing, too,' I said sympathetically. 'I wonder what it was in the pond?' 'Would you like to
see?' asked Poirot.
I stared at him. He nodded.
'My good friend,' he said gently and reproachful! v 'Hercule Poirot does not run the risk of disarranging
1'"' costume without being sure of attaining his object. To do so would be ridiculous and absurd. I am
never ridiculous.' 'But you brought your hand out empty,' I objected.
'There are times when it is necessary to have discretion.
Do you tell your patients everything - but everything, doctor? I think not. Nor do you tell your excellent
sister everything either, is it not so? Before showing my empty hand, I dropped what it contained into my
other hand. You shall see what that was.' He held out his left hand, palm open. On it lay a little circlet of
gold. A woman's wedding ring.
I took it from him.
'Look inside,' commanded Poirot.
I did so. Inside was an inscription in fine writing: From R., March 13th.
I looked at Poirot, but he was busy inspecting his appearance in a tiny pocket glass. He paid particular
attention to his moustaches, and none at all to me. I saw that he did not intend to be communicative.
CHAPTER 10 The Parlourmaid
We found Mrs Ackroyd in the hall. With her was a small dried-up little man, with an aggressive chin and
sharp grey eyes, and 'lawyer' written all over him.
'Mr Hammond is staying to lunch with us,' said Mrs Ackroyd. 'You know Major Blunt, Mr Hammond?
And dear Doctor Sheppard - also a close friend of poor Roger's. And, let me see ' She paused, surveying Hercule Poirot in some perplexity.
'This is M. Poirot, Mother,' said Flora. 'I told you about him this morning.' 'Oh! yes,' said Mrs Ackroyd
vaguely. 'Of course, my dear, of course. He is to find Ralph, is he not?' 'He is to find out who killed
Uncle,' said Flora.
'Oh! my dear,' cried her mother. 'Please! My poor nerves. I am a wreck this morning, a positive wreck.
Such a dreadful thing to happen. I can't help feeling that it must have been an accident of some kind.
Roger was so fond of handling queer curios. His hand must have slipped, or something.' This theory was
received in polite silence. I saw Poirot edge up to the lawyer, and speak to him in a confidential
undertone. They moved aside into the embrasure of the window. I joined them - then hesitated.
'Perhaps I'm intruding,' I said.
'Not at all,' cried Poirot heartily. 'You and I, M. Ie docteur, we investigate this affair side by side.
Without you I should be lost. I desire a little information from the good Mr Hammond.' 'You are acting of
behalf of Captain Ralph Paton, I understand,' said the lawyer cautiously.
Poirot shook his head.
'Not so. I am acting in the interests of justice. Miss Ackroyd has asked me to investigate the death of her
Mr Hammond seemed slightly taken aback.
'I cannot seriously believe that Captain Paton can be concerned in this crime,' he said, 'however strong
the circumstantial eviden...
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