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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
Hercule Poirot drank his after-dinner coffee slowly and between half-closed eyes looked at the other people in the room. He had wanted them there - all together, and he had got them. Mr Entwhistle had described all these people well but Poirot had wanted to see for himself, then he would have a very good idea - not of how and when - but of who would be prepared to kill.
But it was not going to be easy. He could see almost all of these people as a possible - though not a likely - murderer.
George Crossfield might kill - as a hunted animal might kill to defend itself.
Susan Banks could do it calmly - efficiently - to further a plan.
Gregory Banks could, because he had something in him which wanted punishment.
Michael Shane was possible because he was ambitious and had a murderer’s vanity.
Rosamund Shane could, because she saw everything in the most simple way.
Timothy Abernethie could do it because he really wanted the power his brother’s money would give him.
Maude Abernethie might be able because Timothy had become her child and where her child was concerned, she would be ruthless.
Even Miss Gilchrist, he thought, might have thought about murdering someone if it could have given her back the Willow Tree tearoom!
And Helen Abernethie? She was too civilized - too lacking in violence. And she had loved Richard Abernethie as a brother.
Poirot sighed. There would have to be more conversation. Much more conversation. For in conversation, either through a lie or through truth, people always gave themselves away.
He had been introduced by Helen to the group as Monsieur Pontarlier, a doctor, the representative of U.N.A.R.C.O. He had watched and listened - openly and behind doors! He had talked with all of them, had spent a long half-hour listening to Timothy talking about his health and the terrible effects of paint on it. Paint? Poirot frowned. Somebody else had said something about paint - Mr Entwhistle?
There had also been a discussion of a different kind of painting. Pierre Lansquenet as a painter; of Cora Lansquenet’s paintings, praised by Miss Gilchrist, laughed at by Susan.
‘Just like picture postcards,’ she had said. ‘She painted them from postcards, too.’
Miss Gilchrist had been upset and had said that dear Mrs Lansquenet always painted from nature.
‘But she didn’t,’ said Susan to Poirot when Miss Gilchrist had gone out of the room.
‘And how do you know?’
Poirot watched the confident way Susan replied.
She will always be sure, this one, he thought. And perhaps sometimes, she will be too sure…
Susan continued, ‘One picture is of a village called Polflexan, showing the lighthouse and the pier. But the pier was destroyed in the war, and since Aunt Cora’s sketch was only done two years ago, it can’t really be from nature, can it? But the postcards they sell there still show the pier as it used to be. There was one in her bedroom. It’s funny, isn’t it, the way people get found out?’
‘Yes, it is, as you say, funny.’
‘I suppose you’ll have to cut Enderby up and have lots of horrible small rooms.’
‘In the bedrooms, yes. But most of the ground floor rooms we shall not touch. Does it sadden you, Madame, that this old family mansion of yours should go this way - to strangers?’
‘Of course not.’ Susan looked amused. ‘I’ve always thought the house was ugly on the outside - and almost unacceptably luxurious inside.’
‘But I understand that you yourself are planning such a place? Everything luxurious and the best that money can buy.’
Susan laughed. ‘It’s just a place of business. Women think a great deal about their appearance - and that’s where I come in.’
And she told him about her plans for a beauty salon. He appreciated her business sense, her boldness of planning and her attention to detail. Perhaps a little ruthless… Watching her, he had said, ‘Yes, you will succeed. How fortunate that you have the money. To have had these creative ideas and to have had no money…’
‘I would have raised the money somehow - got someone to invest in me!’
‘Ah! Of course. Even if he had not died, your uncle would have invested in you.’
‘Oh no, he wouldn’t. Uncle Richard made me very angry. The old shouldn’t stand in the way of the young. I - oh, I beg your pardon.’
Hercule Poirot laughed easily and stroked his moustache. ‘I am old, yes. But I do not stand in the way of young people. And here is your husband come to join our little discussion… We talk, Mr Banks, of opportunity - opportunity that must be taken with both hands. Let us hear your views.’
But Gregory Banks said nothing!
Poirot had talked with Maude Abernethie, who said how fortunate it had been that Timothy was able to come to Enderby, and how kind it had been of Helen to invite Miss Gilchrist also.
‘For she is most useful,’ Maude said. ‘It was really fortunate that she was too scared to stay alone in our house, though I admit I was annoyed at the time.’
Poirot listened whilst Maude explained.
‘She was frightened, you say? And yet could not exactly say why? Had anything particular happened that day?’ he asked.
‘Oh, I don’t think so. It seems to have started when she left Lytchett St Mary, or so she said. She didn’t seem to mind being alone when she was there.’
And the result, Poirot thought, had been a piece of poisoned wedding cake. Not very surprising that Miss Gilchrist was frightened after that… But something in Timothy Abernethie’s house had made Miss Gilchrist afraid. What?
Finding himself alone with Miss Gilchrist for a few minutes before dinner, Poirot had raised the subject. ‘It would be impossible for me to mention the matter of murder to members of the family. But I am fascinated. It was such a violent crime - to attack a sensitive artist in a lonely cottage. Terrible for her family. But terrible, also, for you. Since Mrs Maude Abernethie says that you were there at the time?’
‘Yes, I was. And if you’ll excuse me, Monsieur Pontarlier, I don’t want to talk about it.’
‘I understand completely.’
Poirot waited. And, as he had thought, Miss Gilchrist immediately began to talk about it.
‘You were wise, I think, not to stay in that cottage alone,’ he said when she had finished. ‘I understand that you were even afraid to be alone in the house of Mr Timothy Abernethie whilst they came here?’
‘I’m ashamed about that. It was just a kind of panic I had - I really don’t know why’
‘But you had just recovered from a terrible attempt to poison you - and you are still frightened, are you not?’
‘Oh, not since I came here. There are so many people and such a nice family atmosphere. Oh, no, everything seems all right here.’
‘It seems to me that there must have been something that happened at Stansfield Grange, Timothy and Maude’s house, that made you so afraid. I think some small happening might have made your subconscious fears reach a high point. Now what, do you think, was this happening?’
Miss Gilchrist thought for a moment, and then said, unexpectedly, ‘I think, you know, Monsieur Pontarlier, it was the nun.’
Before Poirot could question this, Susan and her husband came in, closely followed by Helen.
‘A nun,’ thought Poirot… ‘Now where have I heard something about a nun? ‘
He decided to lead the conversation on to nuns during the evening.
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