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|The Mysterious Affair at Styles||Agatha Christie|
VI. The Inquest
|Page 5 of 8||
"And that is all you can tell us?"
"That is all."
The examination was over, though I doubted if the Coroner was entirely satisfied with it. I think he suspected that Mary Cavendish could tell more if she chose.
Amy Hill, shop assistant, was next called, and deposed to having sold a will form on the afternoon of the 17th to William Earl, under-gardener at Styles.
William Earl and Manning succeeded her, and testified to witnessing a document. Manning fixed the time at about 4.30, William was of the opinion that it was rather earlier.
Cynthia Murdoch came next. She had, however, little to tell. She had known nothing of the tragedy, until awakened by Mrs. Cavendish.
"You did not hear the table fall?"
"No. I was fast asleep."
The Coroner smiled.
"A good conscience makes a sound sleeper," he observed. "Thank you, Miss Murdoch, that is all."
Miss Howard produced the letter written to her by Mrs. Inglethorp on the evening of the 17th. Poirot and I had, of course already seen it. It added nothing to our knowledge of the tragedy. The following is a facsimile:
My dear Evelyn
Can we not bury the hachet? I have found it hard to forgive the things you said
against my dear husband but I am an old woman & very fond of you
It was handed to the jury who scrutinized it attentively.
"I fear it does not help us much," said the Coroner, with a sigh. "There is no mention of any of the events of that afternoon."
"Plain as a pikestaff to me," said Miss Howard shortly. "It shows clearly enough that my poor old friend had just found out she'd been made a fool of!"
"It says nothing of the kind in the letter," the Coroner pointed out.
"No, because Emily never could bear to put herself in the wrong. But I know her. She wanted me back. But she wasn't going to own that I'd been right. She went round about. Most people do. Don't believe in it myself."
Mr. Wells smiled faintly. So, I noticed, did several of the jury. Miss Howard was obviously quite a public character.
"Anyway, all this tomfoolery is a great waste of time," continued the lady, glancing up and down the jury disparagingly. "Talk--talk--talk! When all the time we know perfectly well----"
The Coroner interrupted her in an agony of apprehension:
"Thank you, Miss Howard, that is all."
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