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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 16 Parker
It occurred to me the next morning that under the exhilaration produced by Tin-ho or the Perfect
Winning, I might have been slightly indiscreet. True, Poirot had not asked me to keep the discovery of
the ring to myself. On the other hand, he had said nothing about it whilst at Fernly, and as far as I knew, I
was the only person aware that it had been found. I felt distinctly guilty. The fact was by now spreading
through King's Abbot like wildfire. I was expecting wholesale reproaches from Poirot any minute.
The joint funeral of Mrs Ferrars and Roger Ackroyd was fixed for eleven o'clock. It was a melancholy
and impressive ceremony. All the party from Fernly were there. After it was over, Poirot, who had also been present, took me by the arm, and invited me to accompany
him back to The Larches. He was looking very grave, and I feared that my indiscretion of the night
before had got round to his ears. But it soon transpired that his thoughts were occupied by something of
a totally different nature.
'See you,' he said. 'We must act. With your help I propose to examine a witness. We will question him,
we will put such fear into him that the truth is bound to come out.' 'What witness are you talking about?' I
asked, very much surprised.
'Parker!' said Poirot. 'I asked him to be at my house this morning at twelve o'clock. He should await us
there at this very minute.' 'What do you think?' I ventured, glancing sideways at his face.
'I know this - that I am not satisfied.' 'You think that it was he who blackmailed Mrs Ferrars?' 'Either
that, or ' 'Well?' I said, after waiting a minute or two.
'My friend, I will say this to you -1 hope it was he.' The gravity of his manner, and something indefinable
that tinged it, reduced me to silence.
On arrival at The Larches, we were informed that Parker was already there awaiting our return. As we
entered the room, the butler rose respectfully.
'Good morning, Parker,' said Poiroi pleasantly. 'One instant, I pray of you.' He removed his overcoat and
'Allow me, sir,' said Parker, and sprang forward to assist him. He deposited the articles neatly on a chair
by the door.
Poirot watched him with approval.
'Thank you, my good Parker,' he said. 'Take a seat, will you not? What I have to say may take some
time.' Parker seated himself with an apologetic bend of the head.
'Now what do you think I asked you to come here for this morning - eh?' Parker coughed.
'I understood, sir, that you wished to ask me a few questions about my late master - private like.'
'Precisement,' said Poirot, beaming. 'Have you made many experiments in blackmail?' 'Sir!' The butler
sprang to his feet.
'Do not excite yourself,' said Poirot placidly. 'Do not play the farce of the honest, injured man. You know
all there is to know about the blackmail, is it not so?' 'Sir, I - I've never - never been ' 'Insulted,'
suggested Poirot, 'in such a way before. Then why, my excellent Parker, were you so anxious to
overhear the conversation in Mr Ackroyd's study the other evening, after you had caught...
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