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Unformatted text preview: keep nothing to myself. But to everyone his own interpretation of them.' 'When do you
want me to do this?' 'Now, if you will. We are close to the house.' 'Aren't you coming in?' 'No, me, I will
promenade myself in the grounds. I will rejoin you by the lodge gates in a quarter of an hour's time.' I
nodded, and set off on my task. The only member of the family at home proved to be Mrs Ackroyd,
who was sipping an early cup of tea. She received me very graciously.
'So grateful to you, doctor,' she murmured, 'for clearing up that little matter with M. Poirot. But life is one
trouble after another. You have heard about Flora, of course?' 'What exactly?' I asked cautiously.
'This new engagement. Flora and Hector Blunt. Of course not such a good match as Ralph would have
But after all, happiness comes first. What dear Flora needs is an older man - someone steady annd
reliable, and then Hector is really a very distinguished man in his way. You saw the news of Ralph's arrest
in the paper this morning?' 'Yes,' I said, 'I did.' 'Horrible.' Mrs Ackroyd closed her eyes and shuddered.
'Geoffrey Raymond was in a terrible way. Rang up Liverpool. But they wouldn't tell him anything at the
police station there. In fact, they said they hadn't arrested Ralph at all. Mr Raymond insists that it's all a
mistake - a ~ what do they call it? - canard of the newspaper's. I've forbidden it to be mentioned before
the servants. Such a terrible disgrace.
Fancy if Flora had actually been married to him.' Mrs Ackroyd shut her eyes in anguish. I began to
wonder how soon I should be able to deliver Poirot's invitation.
Before I had time to speak, Mrs Ackroyd was off again.
'You were here yesterday, weren't you, with that dreadful Inspector Raglan? Brute of a man - he terrified
Flora into saying she took that money from poor Roger's room. And the matter was so simple, really.
The dear child wanted to borrow a few pounds, didn't like to disturb her uncle since he'd given strict
orders against it. But knowing where he kept his notes she went there and took what she needed.' 'Is that
Flora's account of the matter?' I asked.
'My dear doctor, you know what girls are nowadays. So easily acted on by suggestion. You, of course,
know all about hypnosis and that sort of thing. The inspector shouts at her, says the word "steal" over
and over again, until the poor child gets an inhibition - or is it a complex? -1 always mix up those two
words - and actually thinks herself that she has stolen the money. I saw at once how it was. But I can't be
too thankful for the whole misunderstanding in one way - it seems to have brought those two together Hector and Flora, I mean. And I assure you that I have been very much worried about Flora in the past:
why, at one time I actually thought there was going to be some kind of understanding between her and
young Raymond. Just think of it!' Mrs Ackroyd's voice rose in shrill horror. 'A private secretary - with
practically no means of his own.' 'It would have been a severe blow to you,...
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