فصل 10

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Chapter ten

The Arrest

Poirot was not at home. At first I was annoyed, but my annoyance turned to surprise when I heard he had gone to London. Why hadn’t he told me? And what was he doing there?

I went back to Styles. I didn’t know what to do. Should I tell Mary Cavendish about Dr Bauerstein’s arrest? She would know tomorrow anyway - it would be in all the newspapers. I wanted Poirot’s advice, and again wondered why he had gone to London. It was clever of him to suspect Dr Bauerstein - I hadn’t thought of it.

I decided to tell John about the arrest, and ask him whether I should tell the others. ‘So you were right!’ he exclaimed. ‘I didn’t believe it at the time.’

‘Though when you think about it,’ I said, ‘it does make sense.’ We decided not to say anything, since the story would be in the newspapers the next day. But the next morning there was no mention of Dr Bauerstein’s arrest in the papers. I didn’t understand it. Had the police asked for the arrest to be kept secret? And if so, why?

Fortunately, before I left to visit Poirot he arrived at Styles. ‘Poirot!’ I exclaimed with relief. ‘I’m so glad to see you. So far I’ve told only John about Dr Bauerstein’s arrest. Is that right?’

‘Has Dr Bauerstein been arrested?’ Poirot asked calmly. ‘I am not surprised - we are very near the coast.’

I stared at him. ‘How is that connected to the murder of Mrs Ingle thorp?’

‘Dr Bauerstein has not been arrested for the murder of Mrs Inglethorp - he has been arrested for spying! He is German by birth, and I expect he has been passing information to the enemy.’ Poirot paused. ‘Didn’t you guess?’ he asked me. ‘Didn’t you think it was strange for a famous London doctor to live in a small village like this, and walk around so late at night?’

‘So Dr Bauerstein is a German spy?’ I said, amazed. ‘I had no idea!’

‘I’m sure he found Mary Cavendish very useful,’ remarked Poirot. ‘While people were gossiping about him and Mary, they didn’t notice what he was really doing.’

‘So you don’t think Dr Bauerstein was in love with her?’ I asked.

‘I do not know, but I don’t think she ever loved him. I believe she loves someone else.’

I was pleased by what Poirot said - was it possible that Mary loved me? Unfortunately, my pleasant thoughts were interrupted by Miss Howard. After looking around to make sure we were alone, she gave Poirot a piece of brown paper, obviously used to wrap a package. ‘It was on top of a wardrobe,’ she said, before quickly leaving the room.

Poirot opened the paper and put it on the table. ‘Come here, Hastings,’ he said. ‘What do you think that letter is -J or L?’ The package label was addressed to J - or L - Cavendish at Styles, and was from a well-known shop selling theatre costumes.

‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘It might be T, or L. I don’t think it’s J.’

‘I agree with you, said Poirot. ‘I think it is L.’

‘Is it important?’ I asked.

‘It means my theory is correct. I asked Miss Howard to find it, and she did - on top of a wardrobe. People often keep paper and boxes there - they lie flat and can’t be seen.’

‘So, Poirot,’ I asked. ‘Does this mean you have solved the crime?’

‘I think I know how it was done,’ he replied. ‘But I have no proof. Unless - I must talk to Dorcas!’

We went downstairs to find the old servant. ‘Mademoiselle Dorcas, I must ask you a question,’ Poirot said. ‘On Monday, the day before the tragedy, did anything go wrong with Mrs Inglethorp’s bell?’

Dorcas looked surprised. ‘Yes, sir, you’re right,’ she said. ‘The bell didn’t work on Monday, but it was repaired on Tuesday.’ For some reason Poirot seemed very pleased by this answer. As we went outside he even ran and jumped in excitement as he left me to return home.

As I watched him Mary Cavendish came towards me. ‘Why is Mr Poirot so excited?’ she asked me, smiling.

‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘He asked Dorcas about a bell and was very happy with her answer.’

Mary laughed. ‘How silly. He’s going out of the gate. Is he coming back today? ‘

‘I don’t know,’ I answered. ‘I can’t guess what he’s going to do next.’

Although she had laughed, I thought Mary looked sad. I began to talk to her about Cynthia, but she stopped me quickly. ‘Don’t worry, Mr Hastings. There is no need for Cynthia to leave Styles because of me.’ And with her next words I forgot about Cynthia.

‘Mr Hastings,’ Mary asked me, ‘do you think that John and I are happy together?’ I said that it wasn’t my business.

‘Well,’ she said quietly, ‘I will tell you. We are not happy.’

Mary looked up at me. ‘You are kind,’ she said. ‘I am going to tell you about myself. My father was English and my mother was Russian. She died when I was a child. My father’s job took him all over the world, and I went with him. It was a wonderful life - I loved it.’ She smiled as she remembered. ‘Then my father died. I had no money and went to live with some old aunts in Yorkshire. It was so dull, so boring - I almost went mad! Then I met John Cavendish, and married him just to escape.’

I said nothing.

‘I was honest with John,’ Mary continued. ‘I told him that I liked him, but I didn’t love him. He was satisfied, and we were married.’ She paused for a while, and frowned. ‘I think he did love me to start with, but he soon stopped. We have changed, and grown apart. Now I think it’s time for me to leave.’

‘Are you going to leave John - and Styles?’ I asked. ‘But why?’ She paused again. ‘Because this place is like a prison to me,’ she said. ‘Because I want to be free!’

At that moment I saw Mary, proud and wild, longing to escape. But before I could stop myself, I said, ‘Do you know that Dr Bauerstein has been arrested?’

‘John told me this morning,’ Mary said. ‘Apparently he is a German spy.’ Her face and voice were cold, as she suddenly stood up and walked out of the room. No, surely she didn’t love Bauerstein.

By lunch-time we had some new evidence. A letter from a music shop returned a cheque from Mrs Inglethorp. Now we knew to whom she had written her third letter.

I went to visit Poirot to tell him about the letter, but again I discovered that he was not at home. ‘He’s gone to Tadminster, to see a young lady’s pharmacy,’ I was told.

‘But I told him Cynthia didn’t work on Wednesday,’ I exclaimed. ‘Please ask him to visit me tomorrow.’

But Poirot didn’t come the next day. By then even Lawrence wanted to see him. ‘When you next see Mr Poirot,’ he said, looking nervous and excited, ‘tell him that I’ve found the extra coffee-cup!’

That was all Lawrence would tell me, so once again I visited Poirot’s house, and at last he was at home, looking thoughtful and serious. ‘What’s the matter?’ I asked, trying to make a joke. ‘Are you trying to decide whether or not to catch the murderer? To my surprise, Poirot nodded. ‘It is time to do something,’ he said, ‘but I must also think about a woman’s happiness. I must decide what to do.’

I told him about the third letter - he was disappointed but not surprised - and then I told him what Lawrence had said. ‘Ah!’ said Poirot. ‘So he has found the extra coffee-cup. That is good. Monsieur Lawrence is very clever!’

I’m not sure I agreed, so instead I asked why he had visited Cynthia’s pharmacy on a day she wasn’t there.

‘Yes, I forgot Mademoiselle Cynthia would not be there, but her colleague showed me the pharmacy. And because of this visit, mon ami, I would like you to look at three photographs - of fingerprints! Photo one shows Monsieur Lawrence’s fingerprints and photo two shows Mademoiselle Cynthia’s,’ he explained. ‘But what about those in photo three?’

‘The fingerprints in the third photo look the same as those in the first,’ I said, looking at them carefully.

‘You are right,’ said Poirot. ‘The fingerprints in photo three also belong to Monsieur Lawrence. Do you know where I found them?’

‘No,’ I said with excitement.

‘On a bottle of poison in Mademoiselle Cynthia’s pharmacy.’

‘That’s impossible!’ I said. ‘Lawrence didn’t go near the poison cupboard that day. We were all together the whole time.’ Poirot shook his head. ‘There was one moment when you were not all together,’ he said. ‘You told me that Mademoiselle Cynthia called to Monsieur Lawrence to come and join you on the balcony.’

‘I’d forgotten that,’ I admitted. ‘And what was the poison?’

‘It was strychnine,’ he said quietly. I was not surprised.

‘But there is too much strychnine in this case,’ Poirot continued. ‘First there is the strychnine in Mrs Inglethorp’s medicine. Then there is the strychnine sold in the village pharmacy by Mr Mace. And now there is this bottle, touched by Monsieur Lawrence. It is confusing - and, as you know, I do not like confusion.’

Just then we were interrupted by the arrival of Mary Cavendish. ‘I thought I would walk back to Styles with you,’ she said to us. ‘With pleasure, madame,’ said Poirot, smiling. ‘And remember, I am always here if you need to talk to me.’ Mary did not answer.

The weather had now changed, and the wind was cold as we walked back to Styles. On the way Mary talked quickly, as if she was nervous of Poirot. When we entered the front door, we knew at once that something was wrong. Dorcas came running towards us, her face wet with tears. ‘Oh, madam! I don’t know how to tell you-‘

‘What is it, Dorcas?’ I asked. ‘What’s happened?’

‘The police!’ she said. ‘They’ve arrested Mr Cavendish! They’ve arrested Mr John!’

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