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'But yes - but yes, I will believe. I had to make you speak, you know.' For an instant suspicion flared up
'Is what you said true?' 'That Charles Kent is suspected of the crime? Yes, that is true. You alone can
save him, by telling the reason for his being at Fernly.' 'He came to see me.' She spoke in a low, hurried
voice. 'I went out to meet him ' 'In the summer-house, yes, I know.' 'How do you know?' 'Mademoiselle,
it is the business ofHercule Poirot to know things. I know that you went out earlier in the evening, that
you left a message in the summer-house to say what time you would be there.' 'Yes, I did. I had heard
from him - saying he was coming. I dared not let him come to the house. I wrote to the address he gave
me and said I would meet him in the summerhouse, and described it to him so that he would be able to
Then I was afraid he might not wait there patiently, and I ran out and left a piece of paper to say I would
be there about ten minutes past nine. I didn't want the servants to see me, so I slipped out through the
drawing-room window. As I came back, I met Dr Sheppard, and I fancied that he would think it queer. I
was out of breath, for I had been running. I had no idea that he was expected to dinner that night.' She
'Go on,' said Poirot. 'You went out to meet him at ten minutes past nine. What did you say to each
other?' 'It's difficult. You see-' 'Mademoiselle,' said Poirot, interrupting her, 'in this matter I must have the
whole truth. What you tell us need never go beyond these four walls. Dr Sheppard will be discreet, and
so shall I. See, I will help you. This Charles Kent, he is your son, is he not?' She nodded. The colour had
flamed into her cheeks.
'No one has ever known. It was long ago - long ago - down "i Kent. I was not married...' 'So you took
the name of the county as a surname for him. I understand.' 'I got work. I managed to pay for his board
and lodging. I never told him that I was his mother. But he turned out badly, he drank, then took to drugs. I managed to pay his passage out to Canada. I didn't hear of him for a year or two.
Then, somehow or other, he found out that I was his mother.
He wrote asking me for money. Finally, I heard from him back in this country again. He was coming to
see me at Fernly, he said. I dared not let him come to the house. I have always been considered so - so
very respectable. If anyone got an inkling - it would have been all up with my post as housekeeper. So I
wrote to him in the way I have just told you.' 'And in the morning you came to see Dr Sheppard?' 'Yes. I
wondered if something could be done. He was not a bad boy - before he took to drugs.' 'I see,' said
Poirot. 'Now let us go on with the story. He came that night to the summerhouse?' 'Yes, he was waiting
for me when I got there. He was very rough and abusive. I had brought with me all the money I had, and
I gave it to him. We talked a little, and then he went away.' 'What time was that?' 'It must have been...
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