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|The Mysterious Affair at Styles||Agatha Christie|
IX. Dr. Bauerstein
|Page 3 of 9||
"I am sure she would be delighted. It's an interesting little place."
"Does she go there every day?"
"She has all Wednesdays off, and comes back to lunch on Saturdays. Those are her only times off."
"I will remember. Women are doing great work nowadays, and Mademoiselle Cynthia is clever--oh, yes, she has brains, that little one."
"Yes. I believe she has passed quite a stiff exam."
"Without doubt. After all, it is very responsible work. I suppose they have very strong poisons there?"
"Yes, she showed them to us. They are kept locked up in a little cupboard. I believe they have to be very careful. They always take out the key before leaving the room."
"Indeed. It is near the window, this cupboard?"
"No, right the other side of the room. Why?"
Poirot shrugged his shoulders.
"I wondered. That is all. Will you come in?"
We had reached the cottage.
"No. I think I'll be getting back. I shall go round the long way through the woods."
The woods round Styles were very beautiful. After the walk across the open park, it was pleasant to saunter lazily through the cool glades. There was hardly a breath of wind, the very chirp of the birds was faint and subdued. I strolled on a little way, and finally flung myself down at the foot of a grand old beech-tree. My thoughts of mankind were kindly and charitable. I even forgave Poirot for his absurd secrecy. In fact, I was at peace with the world. Then I yawned.
I thought about the crime, and it struck me as being very unreal and far off.
I yawned again.
Probably, I thought, it really never happened. Of course, it was all a bad dream. The truth of the matter was that it was Lawrence who had murdered Alfred Inglethorp with a croquet mallet. But it was absurd of John to make such a fuss about it, and to go shouting out: "I tell you I won't have it!"
I woke up with a start.
At once I realized that I was in a very awkward predicament. For, about twelve feet away from me, John and Mary Cavendish were standing facing each other, and they were evidently quarrelling. And, quite as evidently, they were unaware of my vicinity, for before I could move or speak John repeated the words which had aroused me from my dream.
"I tell you, Mary, I won't have it."
Mary's voice came, cool and liquid:
"Have *YOU any right to criticize my actions?"
"It will be the talk of the village! My mother was only buried on Saturday, and here you are gadding about with the fellow."
"Oh," she shrugged her shoulders, "if it is only village gossip that you mind!"
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