فصل 23

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فصل 23

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CHAPTER TWENTY THREE

‘But I don’t understand the connection between the wax flowers and the marble table,’ said Rosamund.

They were at Helen’s flat and Rosamund and Poirot were having tea with her.

‘The table, no. But Miss Gilchrist said how nice the wax flowers looked on the green marble table. And she could not have seen them there. Because they had been broken and put away before she arrived. So she could only have seen them when she was there as Cora Lansquenet.’

‘That was stupid of her, wasn’t it?’ said Rosamund.

Poirot shook a finger at her. ‘It shows you, Madame, the dangers of conversations. It is a strong belief of mine that if you can get a person to talk to you for long enough, on any subject whatever - sooner or later they will give themselves away. Miss Gilchrist did.’

‘I shall have to be careful,’ said Rosamund thoughtfully. ‘Did you know? I’m going to have a baby. And I’ve decided to leave the stage and just be a mother. Michael is delighted. I didn’t really think he would be. So Susan’s got the marble table. I thought, as I was having a baby…’

She left the sentence unfinished.

‘I think Susan is going to have a big success with her beauty business,’ said Helen.

‘Yes, she was born to succeed,’ said Poirot.

‘Greg’s gone away somewhere,’ said Rosamund. ‘He’s having a rest cure, Susan says.’

Poirot turned to Helen. ‘And you, Madame, are off to Cyprus?’

‘Yes, in two weeks.’

‘Then let me wish you a happy journey.’

She went with him to the door, and said, ‘Monsieur Poirot, the income Richard left me meant more to me than theirs did to any of the others. You see - there is a child in Cyprus… After my husband died, my loneliness was unbelievable and when I was nursing in London at the end of the war, I met someone… We lived together for a little while, then he went back to Canada - to his wife and his children. He never knew about - our child. It seemed like a miracle to me - a middle-aged woman with everything seemingly behind her. Now, with Richard’s money, I can send my “nephew” to an even better school, and give him a start in life. I never told Richard. He was fond of me - but he would not have understood. I wanted you to know this about me.’

Poirot bowed over her hand.

He got home to find someone sitting in the armchair on the left of the fireplace.

‘Hello, Poirot,’ said Mr Entwhistle. ‘I’ve just come back from the trial. They brought in a verdict of guilty, of course. But Miss Gilchrist is happy, you know. She spends most of her time making plans to run a chain of tearooms.’

‘Some people might think that she was always a little mad,’ said Poirot. ‘But me, I think not.’

‘Goodness me, no, Poirot! She was as sane as you and I when she planned Cora’s murder and carried it out in cold blood.’

Poirot gave a little shiver. ‘I am thinking,’ he said, ‘of some words that Susan Banks said - that she had never imagined a ladylike murderer.’

‘Why not?’ said Mr Entwhistle. ‘It takes all sorts.’

They were silent - and Poirot thought of murderers he had known.

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