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Unformatted text preview: If the trouble were after all only something to do with Ralph well, no harm would have been done. The dictaphone he had given me two days ago to adjust.
Something had gone a little wrong with it, and I persuaded him to let me have a go at it, instead of
sending it back. I did what I wanted to, and took it up with me in my bag that evening.
I am rather pleased with myself as a writer. What could be neater, for instance, than the following: 'The
letters were brought in at twenty minutes to nine. It was just on ten minutes to nine when I left him, the
letter still unread.
I hesitated with my hand on the door handle, looking back and wondering if there was anything I had left
undone.' All true, you see. But suppose I had put a row of stars after the first sentence! Would
somebody then have wondered what exactly happened in that blank ten minutes?
When I looked round the room from the door, I was quite satisfied. Nothing had been left undone. The
dictaphone was on the table by the window, timed to go off at ninethirty (the mechanism of that little
device was rather clever - based on the principle of an alarm clock), and the armchair was pulled out so
as to hide it from the door.
I must admit that it gave me rather a shock to run into Parker just outside the door. I have faithfully
recorded that fact.
Then later, when the body was discovered, and I sent Parker to telephone for the police, what a
judicious use of words: 'I did what little had to be done!' It was quite little just to shove the dictaphone
into my bag and push back the chair against the wall in its proper place. I never dreamed that Parker
would have noticed that chair. Logically, he ought to have been so agog over the body as to be blind to everything else. But I hadn't reckoned with the trained servant complex.
I wish I could have known beforehand that Flora was going to say she'd seen her uncle alive at a quarter
That puzzled me more than I can say. In fact, all through the case there have been things that puzzled me
Everyone seems to have taken a hand.
My greatest fear all through has been Caroline. I have fancied she might guess. Curious the way she
spoke that day of my 'strain of weakness.' Well, she will never know the truth. There is, as Poirot said,
one way out...
I can trust him. He and Inspector Raglan will manage it between them. I should not like Caroline to
know. She is fond of me, and then, too, she is proud... My death will be a grief to her, but grief passes...
When I have finished writing, I shall enclose this whole manuscript in an envelope and address it to
And then - what shall it be? Veronal? There would be a kind of poetic justice. Not that I take any
responsibility for Mrs Ferrars's death. It was the direct consequence of her own actions. I feel no pity for
I have no pity for myself either.
So let it be veronal.
But I wish Hercule Poirot had never retired from work and come here to grow vegetable marrows.
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