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the scene of the crime. He must know that things looked very black against him. Perhaps he knew more
than the general public did ' 'I did,' I said ruefully. 'I suppose I might as well make a clean breast of things
now. I went to see Ralph that afternoon.
At first he refused to take me into his confidence, but later he told me about his marriage, and the hole he
As soon as the murder was discovered, I realized that once the facts were known, suspicion could not
fail to attach to Ralph - or, if not to him, to the girl he loved. That night I put the facts plainly before him.
The thought of having possibly to give evidence which might incriminate his wife made him resolve at all
costs to - to ' I hesitated, and Ralph filled up the gap.
'To do a bunk,' he said graphically. 'You see, Ursula left me to go back to the house. I thought it possible
that she might have attempted to have another interview with my stepfather. He had already been very
rude to her that afternoon. It occurred to me that he might have so insulted her - in such an unforgivable manner - that without knowing what she was doing '.He stopped. Ursula released her hand from his, and
'You thought that, Ralph! You actually thought that I might have done it?' 'Let us get back to the culpable
conduct of Dr Sheppard,' said Poirot drily. 'Dr Sheppard consented to do what he could to help him. He
was successful in hiding Captain Paton from the police.' 'Where?' asked Raymond. 'In his own house?'
'Ah, no, indeed,' said Poirot. 'You should ask yourself the question that I did. If the good doctor is
concealing the young man, what place would he choose? It must necessarily be somewhere near at hand.
I think ofCranchester. A hotel? No.
Lodgings? Even more emphatically, no. Where, then? Ah! I have it. A nursing home. A home for the
mentally unfit. I test my theory. I invent a nephew with mental trouble. I consult Mademoiselle Sheppard
as to suitable homes. She gives me the names of two near Cranchester to which her brother has sent
patients. I make inquiries. Yes, at one of them a patient was brought there by the doctor himself early on
That patient, though known by another name, I had no difficulty in identifying as Captain Paton. After
certain necessary formalities, I was allowed to bring him away. He arrived at my house in the early hours
of yesterday morning.' I looked at him ruefully.
'Caroline's Home Office expert,' I murmured. 'And to think I never guessed!' 'You see now why I drew
attention to the reticence of your manuscript,' murmured Poirot. 'It was strictly truthful as far as it went but it did not go very far, eh, my friend?' I was too abashed to argue.
'Dr Sheppard has been very loyal,' said Ralph. 'He has stood by me through thick and thin. He did what
he thought was best. I see now, from what M. Poirot has told me, that it was not really the best. I should
have come forward and faced the music. You see, in the home, we never saw a newspaper. I knew
nothing of what was g...
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