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|The Mysterious Affair at Styles||Agatha Christie|
X. The Arrest
|Page 2 of 10||
"My friend," replied Poirot, "I do not know what you are talking about."
"Dr. Bauerstein's arrest, of course," I answered impatiently.
"Is Bauerstein arrested, then?"
"Did you not know it?"
"Not the least in the world." But, pausing a moment, he added: "Still, it does not surprise me. After all, we are only four miles from the coast."
"The coast?" I asked, puzzled. "What has that got to do with it?"
Poirot shrugged his shoulders.
"Surely, it is obvious!"
"Not to me. No doubt I am very dense, but I cannot see what the proximity of the coast has got to do with the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp."
"Nothing at all, of course," replied Poirot, smiling. "But we were speaking of the arrest of Dr. Bauerstein."
"Well, he is arrested for the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp----"
"What?" cried Poirot, in apparently lively astonishment. "Dr. Bauerstein arrested for the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp?"
"Impossible! That would be too good a farce! Who told you that, my friend?"
"Well, no one exactly told me," I confessed. "But he is arrested."
"Oh, yes, very likely. But for espionage, mon ami."
"Espionage?" I gasped.
"Not for poisoning Mrs. Inglethorp?"
"Not unless our friend Japp has taken leave of his senses," replied Poirot placidly.
"But--but I thought you thought so too?"
Poirot gave me one look, which conveyed a wondering pity, and his full sense of the utter absurdity of such an idea.
"Do you mean to say," I asked, slowly adapting myself to the new idea, "that Dr. Bauerstein is a spy?"
"Have you never suspected it?"
"It never entered my head."
"It did not strike you as peculiar that a famous London doctor should bury himself in a little village like this, and should be in the habit of walking about at all hours of the night, fully dressed?"
"No," I confessed, "I never thought of such a thing."
"He is, of course, a German by birth," said Poirot thoughtfully, "though he has practiced so long in this country that nobody thinks of him as anything but an Englishman. He was naturalized about fifteen years ago. A very clever man--a Jew, of course."
"The blackguard!" I cried indignantly.
"Not at all. He is, on the contrary, a patriot. Think what he stands to lose. I admire the man myself."
But I could not look at it in Poirot's philosophical way.
"And this is the man with whom Mrs. Cavendish has been wandering about all over the country!" I cried indignantly.
"Yes. I should fancy he had found her very useful," remarked Poirot. "So long as gossip busied itself in coupling their names together, any other vagaries of the doctor's passed unobserved."
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