فصل 11

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Chapter eleven

The Motive

I was very surprised. ‘Is this what you meant, Poirot?’

‘Yes, mon ami. This morning I saw the news of Seton’s death on the front page of the newspaper. I remembered the conversation at dinner last night - and I saw everything.’

He turned to Nick. ‘You heard the news last night?’

‘Yes. On the radio. I made an excuse about hearing the telephone. I wanted to listen to the evening news alone - in case… And I heard it…’

‘I know, I know.’ He took her hand in both of his. ‘It was terrible. It felt like a dream. On the outside I was behaving as usual. And then, when I went to get the coats - I started to cry for a minute, but Maggie called up about her coat. And then she took my shawl and went out, and I put on some make-up and followed her. And there she was - dead…’

‘Yes, yes, it must have been a terrible shock.’

‘No! I was angry! I wished it had been me! There I was - alive! And Michael dead, far away in the Pacific.’

‘Poor child! But it passes - sadness passes.’

‘You think I’ll forget - and marry someone else? Never!’ She looked lovely as she sat up in bed, her cheeks burning with anger and sadness.

Poirot said gently, ‘No, no. I am not thinking anything like that. You are very lucky, Mademoiselle. You have been loved by a brave man - a hero. How did you meet him?’

‘It was at Le Touquet - last September.’

‘And you became engaged - when?’

‘Just after Christmas. But it had to be a secret. Michael’s uncle - Sir Matthew Seton - thought women ruined a man’s life. And it was Sir Matthew who paid for Michael’s seaplane and the round the world flight. If Michael had succeeded - well, he could have asked his uncle for anything. I never told anyone - not even Freddie, though she might have suspected… I said something to one person. But I don’t know how much he - the person - understood.’

Poirot nodded. ‘Do you get on well with your cousin Monsieur Vyse?’

‘Charles? Charles doesn’t approve of my drinking, my friends or my conversation. But he still loves me. Who have you been talking to, to get the local gossip?’

‘I had a little conversation with the Australian lady, Madame Croft.’

‘She’s very sweet. Very sentimental - love and home and children - you know the sort of thing.’

‘I am old-fashioned and sentimental myself, Mademoiselle. Now, we have plans to make. To begin with, you will stay here. You will do what I tell you. You will see no friends.’

Nick looked exhausted. ‘I’ll do anything you like. I don’t care what I do.’

‘You once mentioned a will you made. Where is it?’

‘Oh! Somewhere at End House.’ She frowned. ‘I’m very untidy, you know. It might be in the writing-table in the library. Or in my bedroom.’

‘You permit me to search - yes?’

‘If you want to - yes. Look at anything you like.’

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