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|The Mysterious Affair at Styles||Agatha Christie|
X. The Arrest
|Page 4 of 10||
Dorcas, quite flurried by the noise, came hurrying out of the pantry.
"My good Dorcas, I have an idea--a little idea--if it should prove justified, what magnificent chance! Tell me, on Monday, not Tuesday, Dorcas, but Monday, the day before the tragedy, did anything go wrong with Mrs. Inglethorp's bell?"
Dorcas looked very surprised.
"Yes, sir, now you mention it, it did; though I don't know how you came to hear of it. A mouse, or some such, must have nibbled the wire through. The man came and put it right on Tuesday morning."
With a long drawn exclamation of ecstasy, Poirot led the way back to the morning-room.
"See you, one should not ask for outside proof--no, reason should be enough. But the flesh is weak, it is consolation to find that one is on the right track. Ah, my friend, I am like a giant refreshed. I run! I leap!"
And, in very truth, run and leap he did, gambolling wildly down the stretch of lawn outside the long window.
"What is your remarkable little friend doing?" asked a voice behind me, and I turned to find Mary Cavendish at my elbow. She smiled, and so did I. "What is it all about?"
"Really, I can't tell you. He asked Dorcas some question about a bell, and appeared so delighted with her answer that he is capering about as you see!"
"How ridiculous! He's going out of the gate. Isn't he coming back to-day?"
"I don't know. I've given up trying to guess what he'll do next."
"Is he quite mad, Mr. Hastings?"
"I honestly don't know. Sometimes, I feel sure he is as mad as a hatter; and then, just as he is at his maddest, I find there is method in his madness."
In spite of her laugh, Mary was looking thoughtful this morning. She seemed grave, almost sad.
It occurred to me that it would be a good opportunity to tackle her on the subject of Cynthia. I began rather tactfully, I thought, but I had not gone far before she stopped me authoritatively.
"You are an excellent advocate, I have no doubt, Mr. Hastings, but in this case your talents are quite thrown away. Cynthia will run no risk of encountering any unkindness from me."
I began to stammer feebly that I hoped she hadn't thought-- But again she stopped me, and her words were so unexpected that they quite drove Cynthia, and her troubles, out of my mind.
"Mr. Hastings," she said, "do you think I and my husband are happy together?"
I was considerably taken aback, and murmured something about it's not being my business to think anything of the sort.
"Well," she said quietly, "whether it is your business or not, I will tell you that we are *NOT happy."
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