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Unformatted text preview: of their functions. His own, he says, are of the
first quality.' 'He would say so,' I remarked bitterly. 'Modesty is certainly not his middle name.' 'I wish you wouldn't be so horribly American, James. He thought it very important that Ralph should be found as
soon as possible, and induced to come forward and give an account of himself. He says that his
disappearance will produce a very unfortunate impression at the inquest.' 'And what did you say to that?'
'I agreed with him,' said Caroline importantly. 'And I was able to tell him the way people were talking
already about it.' 'Caroline,' I said sharply, 'did you tell M. Poirot what you overheard in the wood that
day?' 'I did,' said Caroline complacently.
I got up and began to walk about.
'You realize what you're doing, I hope,' I jerked out.
'You're putting a halter round Ralph Paton's neck as surely as you're sitting in that chair.' 'Not at all,' said
Caroline, quite unruffled. 'I was surprised you hadn't told him.' 'I took very good care not to,' I said. 'I'm
fond of that boy.' 'So am I. That's why I say you're talking nonsense. I don't believe Ralph did it, and so
the truth can't hurt him, and we ought to give M. Poirot all the help we can. Why, think, very likely Ralph
was out with that identical girl on the night of the murder, and if so, he's got a perfect alibi.' 'If he's got a
perfect alibi,' I retorted, 'why doesn't he come forward and say so?' 'Might get the girl into trouble,' said
'But if M. Poirot gets hold of her, and puts it to her as her duty, she'll come forward of her own accord
and clear Ralph.' 'You seem to have invented a romantic fairy story of your Own,' I said. 'You read too
many trashy novels, Caroline.
I've always told you so.' I dropped into my chair again.
'Did Poirot ask you any more questions?' I inquired.
'Only about the patients you had that morning.' 'The patients?' I demanded, unbelievingly.
'Yes, your surgery patients. How many and who they were.' 'Do you mean to say you were able to tell
him that?' I demanded.
Caroline is really amazing.
'Why not?' asked my sister triumphantly. 'I can see the path up to the surgery door perfectly from this
And I've got an excellent memory, James. Much better than yours, let me tell you.' 'I'm sure you have,' I
My sister went on, checking the names on her fingers.
'There was old Mrs Bennett, and that boy from the farm with the bad finger. Dolly Grice to have a needle
out of her finger; that American steward off the liner. Let me see - that's four. Yes, and old George Evans
with c his ulcer. And lastly ' She paused significantly.
Well?' Caroline brought out her climax triumphantly. She hissed it in the most approved style - aided by
the fortunate number of s's at her disposal.
'Miss Russell!' She sat back in her chair and looked at me meaningly, and when Caroline looks at you
meaningly, it is impossible to miss it. 'I don't know what you mean,' I said, quite untruthfully.
'Why shouldn't Miss Russell co...
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