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I stopped to examine a late rose.
'How things change in the course of a day or two,' I observed. 'I was up here last Wednesday, I
remember, walking up and down this same terrace. Ackroyd was with me - full of spirits. And now three days later - Ackroyd's dead, poor fellow. Mrs Ferrars dead ~ you knew her, didn't you? But of
course you did.' Blunt nodded his head.
'Had you seen her since you'd been down this time?' 'Went with Ackroyd to call. Last Tuesday, think it
Fascinating woman - but something queer about her. Deep - one would never know what she was up to.'
I looked into his steady grey eyes. Nothing there surely. I went on: 'I suppose you'd met her before?'
'Last time I was here - she and her husband had just come here to live.' He paused a minute and then
added: 'Rum thing, she had changed a lot between then and now.' 'How - changed?' I asked.
'Looked ten years older.' 'Were you down here when her husband died?' I asked, trying to make the
question sound as casual as possible.
'No. From all I heard it would be good riddance. Uncharitable, perhaps, but the truth.' I agreed.
'Ashley Ferrars was by no means a pattern husband,' I said cautiously.
'Blackguard, I thought,' said Blunt. 'No,' I said, 'only a man with more money than was good for him.' 'Oh! money! All the troubles in the
world can be put down to money - or the lack of it.' 'Which has been your particular trouble?' I asked.
'Enough for what I want. I'm one of the lucky ones.' 'Indeed.' 'I'm not too flush just now, as a matter of
fact. Came into a legacy a year ago, and like a fool let myself be persuaded into putting it into some
wild-cat scheme.' I sympathized, and narrated my own similar trouble.
Then the gong pealed out, and we all went in to lunch.
Poirot drew me back a little. Why shouldn't he? I'll swear the man is perfectly square and above board.' 'Without doubt, without
doubt,' said Poirot soothingly.
'Do not upset yourself.' He spoke as though to a fractious child.
We all trooped into the dining-room. It seemed incredible that less than twenty-four hours had passed
since I last sat at that table.
Afterwards, Mrs Ackroyd took me aside and sat down with me on a sofa.
'I can't help feeling a little hurt,' she murmured, producing a handkerchief of the kind obviously not meant
to be cried into. 'Hurt, I mean, by Roger's lack of confidence in me. That twenty thousand pounds ought
to have been left to me - not to Flora. A mother could be trusted to safeguard the interests of her child. A
lack of trust, I call it.' 'You forget, Mrs Ackroyd,' I said, 'Flora was Ackroyd's own niece, a blood
relation. It would have been different had you been his sister instead of his sister-in-law.' 'As poor Cecil's
widow, I think my feelings ought to have been considered,' said the lady, touching her eyelashes gingerly
with the handkerchief. 'But Roger was always most peculiar - not to say mean - about money matters. It
has been a most difficult position for both Flora and myself. He did not even give the poor child an
allowance. He would pay her bills, you know, and even that with a good deal of reluctance and asking
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