فصل 25

مجموعه: کارآگاه هرکول پوآرو / کتاب: قاتل راجر آکروید / فصل 25

فصل 25

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Chapter twenty five

Apologia

Five a.m. I am very tired - but I have finished. My hand aches from writing.

What a strange end to my manuscript. I had planned for it to be published someday as the history of one of Poirot’s failures! Strange, how things work out.

Poor old Ackroyd. He knew danger was close at hand. And yet he never suspected me. The dagger was a last-minute thought. I’d brought a weapon of my own, but when I saw the dagger in the silver table, I thought how much better it would be to use a weapon that wasn’t mine.

As soon as I heard of Mrs Ferrar’s death, I wondered if she had told Ackroyd everything before she died. When I met him, I thought that perhaps he knew the truth, but that he was going to give me the chance to deny it. So I went home and made my plans. He had given me the Dictaphone two days before to make a small adjustment to it. I did what I needed to, and took it up with me in my bag that evening.

When I looked round Ackroyd’s study from the door, I was quite satisfied. Nothing had been left undone. The Dictaphone was on the table by the window, timed to switch on at nine-thirty, and the armchair was pulled out to hide it from the door.

I must admit that it gave me a shock to find Parker just outside the door. Then later, when the body was discovered, and I sent Parker to telephone for the police, I put the Dictaphone into my bag and pushed back the chair to its usual place. I never dreamed that Parker would notice that chair.

I wish I had known earlier that Flora would say her uncle was alive at a quarter to ten. That really puzzled me. But my greatest fear all through has been Caroline. I have suspected she might guess. It was strange the way she spoke that day of my being ‘as weak as water.’

Well, she will never know the truth. I can trust Poirot. He and Inspector Raglan will manage it between them. I would not like Caroline to know. She is fond of me, and my death will bring her great sadness. But sadness passes. Discovering that I am a murderer would live with her forever…

When I have finished writing, I will put this manuscript in an envelope and address it to Poirot. And then - what will it be? Veronal? That would be a kind of justice. Not that I take any responsibility for Mrs Ferrars’ death. It was the direct result of her own murderous actions. I feel no pity for her.

I have no pity for myself either.

So let it be veronal.

But I wish Hercule Poirot had never retired from work and come here to grow vegetable marrows.

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