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Unformatted text preview: ' I said. 'Now, Mrs Ackroyd,
I've got a message for you from M. Hercule Poirot.' 'For me?' Mrs Ackroyd looked quite alarmed.
I hastened to reassure her, and I explained what Poirot wanted.
'Certainly,' said Mrs Ackroyd rather doubtfully. 'I suppose we must come if M. Poirot says so. But what
is it all about? I like to know beforehand.' I assured the lady truthfully that I myself did not know any more than she did.
'Very well,' said Mrs Ackroyd at last, rather grudgingly, 'I will tell the others, and we will be there at nine
o'clock.' Thereupon I took my leave, and joined Poirot at the agreed meeting-place.
'I've been longer than a quarter of an hour, I'm afraid,' I remarked. 'But once that good lady starts talking
it's a matter of the utmost difficulty to get a word in edgeways.' 'It is of no matter,' said Poirot. The, I
have been well amused. This park is magnificent.' We set off homewards. When we arrived, to our great
surprise Caroline, who had evidently been watching for us, herself opened the door.
She put her finger to her lips. Her face was full of importance and excitement.
'Ursula Bourne,' she said, 'the parlourmaid from Fernly.
She's here! I've put her in the dining-room. She's in a terrible way, poor thing. Says she must see M.
Poirot at For a moment or two the girl looked mutely at Poirot.
Then, her reserve breaking down completely, she nodded her head once, and burst into an outburst of
Caroline pushed past me, and putting her arm round the girl, patted her on the shoulder.
'There, there, my dear,' she said soothingly, 'it will be all right. You'll see - everything will be all right.'
Buried under curiosity and scandal-mongering there is a lot of kindness in Caroline. For the moment,
even the interest of Poirot's revelation was lost in the sight of the girl's distress.
Presently Ursula sat up and wiped her eyes.
'This is very Weak and silly of me,' she said.
'No, no, my child,' said Poirot kindly. 'We can all realize the strain of this last week.' 'It must have been a
terrible ordeal,' I said.
'And then to find that you knew,' continued Ursula.
'How did you know? Was it Ralph who told you?' Poirot shook his head.
'You know what brought me to you tonight,' went on the girl. 'This-' She held out a crumpled piece of
newspaper, and I recognized the paragraph that Poirot had had inserted.
'It says that Ralph has been arrested. So everything is useless. I need not pretend any longer.'
'Newspaper paragraphs are not always true, mademoiselle,' murmured Poirot, having the grace to look
ashamed of himself. 'All the same, I think you will do well to make a clean breast of things. The truth is
what we need now.' The girl hesitated, looking at him doubtfully.
'You do not trust me,' said Poirot gently. 'Yet all the same you came here to find me, did you not? Why
was that?' 'Because I don't believe that Ralph did it,' said the girl in a very low voice. 'And I think that
you are clever, and will find out the truth. And also ' 'Yes?' 'I think you are kind.' Poirot nodded his head
'It is very good that - yes, it is very g...
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