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Unformatted text preview: pright and independent as ever, with her big dark eyes and an
unwonted flush of colour in her usually pale cheeks, I realized that as a girl she must have been startlingly
'Good-morning, mademoiselle,' said Poirot. 'Will you be seated? Dr Sheppard is so kind as to permit me
the use of his surgery for a little conversation I am anxious to have with you.' Miss Russell sat down with
her usual composure. If she felt any inward agitation, it did not display itself in any outward manifestation.
'It seems a queer way of doing things, if you'll allow me to say so,' she remarked.
'Miss Russell - I have news to give you.' 'Indeed!' 'Charles Kent has been arrested at Liverpool.' Not a
muscle of her face moved. She merely opened her eyes a trifle wider, and asked, with a tinge of defiance:
'Well, what of it?' But at that moment it came to me - the resemblance that had haunted me all along,
something familiar in the defiance of Charles Kent's manner. The two voices, one rough and coarse, the
other painfully ladylike - were strangely the same in timbre. It was of Miss Russell that I had been
reminded that night outside the gates of Fernly Park.
I looked at Poirot, full of my discovery, and he gave me an imperceptible nod.
In answer to Miss Russell's question, he threw out his hands in a thoroughly French gesture.
'I thought you might be interested, that is all,' he said mildly.
'Well I'm not particularly,' said Miss Russell. 'Who is this Charles Kent anyway?' 'He is a man,
mademoiselle, who was at Fernly on the night of the murder.' 'Really?' 'Fortunately for him, he has an alibi. At a quarter to ten he was at a public-house a mile from here.' 'Lucky for him,' commented Miss
'But we still do not know what he was doing at Fernly who it was he went to meet, for instance.' 'I'm
afraid I can't help you at all,' said the housekeeper politely. 'Nothing came to my ears. If that is all ' She
made a tentative movement as though to rise. Poirot stopped her.
'It is not quite all,' he said smoothly. 'This morning fresh developments have arisen. It seems now that Mr
Ackroyd was murdered, not at a quarter to ten, but before. Between ten minutes to nine, when Dr
Sheppard left, and a quarter to ten.' I saw the colour drain from the housekeeper's face, leaving it dead
white. She leaned forward, her figure swaying.
'But Miss Ackroyd said - Miss Ackroyd said ' 'Miss Ackroyd has admitted that she was lying. She was
never in the study at all that evening.' Then-' 'Then it would seem that in this Charles Kent we have the
man we are looking for. He came to Fernly, can give no account of what he was doing there ' 'I can tell
you what he was doing there. He never touched a hair of old Ackroyd's head - he never went near the
He didn't do it, I tell you.' She was leaning forward. That iron self-control was broken through at last.
Terror and desperation was in her face.
'M. Poirot! M. Poirot! Oh, do believe me.' Poirot got up and came to her. He patted her reassuringl...
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