Read Books Online, for Free
|The Mysterious Affair at Styles||Agatha Christie|
X. The Arrest
|Page 3 of 10||
"Then you think he never really cared for her?" I asked eagerly--rather too eagerly, perhaps, under the circumstances.
"That, of course, I cannot say, but--shall I tell you my own private opinion, Hastings?"
"Well, it is this: that Mrs. Cavendish does not care, and never has cared one little jot about Dr. Bauerstein!"
"Do you really think so?" I could not disguise my pleasure.
"I am quite sure of it. And I will tell you why."
"Because she cares for some one else, mon ami."
"Oh!" What did he mean? In spite of myself, an agreeable warmth spread over me. I am not a vain man where women are concerned, but I remembered certain evidences, too lightly thought of at the time, perhaps, but which certainly seemed to indicate----
My pleasing thoughts were interrupted by the sudden entrance of Miss Howard. She glanced round hastily to make sure there was no one else in the room, and quickly produced an old sheet of brown paper. This she handed to Poirot, murmuring as she did so the cryptic words:
"On top of the wardrobe." Then she hurriedly left the room.
Poirot unfolded the sheet of paper eagerly, and uttered an exclamation of satisfaction. He spread it out on the table.
"Come here, Hastings. Now tell me, what is that initial--J. or L.?"
It was a medium sized sheet of paper, rather dusty, as though it had lain by for some time. But it was the label that was attracting Poirot's attention. At the top, it bore the printed stamp of Messrs. Parkson's, the well-known theatrical costumiers, and it was addressed to "--(the debatable initial) Cavendish, Esq., Styles Court, Styles St. Mary, Essex."
"It might be T., or it might be L.," I said, after studying the thing for a minute or two. "It certainly isn't a J."
"Good," replied Poirot, folding up the paper again. "I, also, am of your way of thinking. It is an L., depend upon it!"
"Where did it come from?" I asked curiously. "Is it important?"
"Moderately so. It confirms a surmise of mine. Having deduced its existence, I set Miss Howard to search for it, and, as you see, she has been successful."
"What did she mean by 'On the top of the wardrobe'?"
"She meant," replied Poirot promptly, "that she found it on top of a wardrobe."
"A funny place for a piece of brown paper," I mused.
"Not at all. The top of a wardrobe is an excellent place for brown paper and cardboard boxes. I have kept them there myself. Neatly arranged, there is nothing to offend the eye."
"Poirot," I asked earnestly, "have you made up your mind about this crime?"
"Yes--that is to say, I believe I know how it was committed."
"Unfortunately, I have no proof beyond my surmise, unless----" With sudden energy, he caught me by the arm, and whirled me down the hall, calling out in French in his excitement: "Mademoiselle Dorcas, Mademoiselle Dorcas, un moment, s'il vous plait!"
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004