Just for a moment an odd restlessness came to him – a rippling of his previous placidity. He felt, There’s something – something I haven’t got – something I want – I want – I want…. The golden green light, the softness in the air – with them came a quickened pulse, a stirring of the blood, a sudden impatience. A girl came through the trees toward him – a girl with pale, gleaming hair and a rose-flushed skin. He thought, How beautiful – how unutterably beautiful. Something gripped him; he stood quite still, as though frozen into immobility. The world, he felt, was spinning, was topsy-turvy, was suddenly and impossibly and gloriously crazy! The girl stopped suddenly, then she came on. She came up to him where he stood, dumb and absurdly fish-like, his mouth open.
Stepmothers! It was rotten to have a stepmother, everybody said so. And it was true! Not that Arlena was unkind to her. Most of the time she hardly noticed the girl. But when she did, there was a contemptuous amusement in her glance, in her words. The finished grace and poise of Arlena’s movements emphasized Linda’s own adolescent clumsiness. With Arlena about, one felt, shamingly, just how immature and crude one was.
“I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.”
I think the Adams girl did it,’ said Japp, rising. ‘A fine bit of work on your part, M. Poirot, to tumble to that. But there, of course, you go about to theatres and amusing yourself. Things strike you that don’t get the chance of striking me. Pity there’s no apparent motive, but a little spade work will soon bring it to light, I expect.’
‘There is one person with a motive to whom you have given no attention,’ remarked Poirot.
“Imagine, Hastings,” he said, “that house there-the one on the point that we have admired so much, it belongs to Mademoiselle here.” “Indeed?” I said, though I was unable to recall having expressed any admiration. In fact I had hardly noticed the house. “It looks rather eerie and imposing standing there by itself far from anything.” “It’s called End House,” said the girl. “I love it but it’s a tumble-down old place. Going to rack and ruin.”
(…) at night in the Black Month it is different. We have the logs burning in the great chimney – faring and fitful in th e beginning of the evening, with black spaces where the fire has not caught – but in the later part, glowing with scarlet and golden cinders in a thick warm blanket of grey ash under the burning wood. (…)
But when she tells, she will raise her hands, or throw back her head, or shake her shawl, and long tattered shadows race across the ceiling into the dark of the unseen half of the room, or huge faces with gaping mouths and monstrous nosesand chins- our own, transfigured by the flames into witches and spectres.
I was told that if I were a good lad, kept my hair tidy, and did not tease the cat, I would probably, when I died, go to a place where all day long I would sit still and sing hymns. (Think of it! as reward to a healthy boy for being good.) There would be no breakfast and no dinner, no tea and no supper. One old lady cheered me a little with a hint that the monotony might be broken by a little manna; but the idea of everlasting manna palled upon me, and my suggestions, concerning the possibilities of sherbet or jumbles, were scouted as irreverent. There would be no school, but also there would be no cricket and no rounders.
Come, night;—come, Romeo;—come, thou day in night; For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night Whiter than new snow upon a raven’s back.— Come, gentle night;—come, loving, black-brow’d night, Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night, And pay no worship to the garish sun.
As I passed the well-remembered door, which must always be associated in my mind with my wooing, and with the
dark incidents of the Study in Scarlet, I was seized with a keendesire to see Holmes again,
and to know how he was
employing his extraordinary powers.
There they were well down to it, their faces serious, the bids coming quickly.
And the raised voice was his official voice, so different that all the heads at the
bridge table turned to him, and Anne Meredith’s hand remained poised over an
ace of spades in dummy.
“I’m sorry to tell you all,” he said, “that our host, Mr. Shaitana, is dead.”
‘I wonder if all the things move along with us?’ thought poor puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for she cried, ‘Faster! Don’t try to talk!’
Not that Alice had any idea of doing that. She felt as if she would never be able to talk again, she was getting so much out of breath: and still the Queen cried ‘Faster! Faster!’ and dragged her along. ‘Are we nearly there?’ Alice managed to pant out at last.
‘Nearly there!’ the Queen repeated. ‘Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster!’ And they ran on for a time in silence, with the wind whistling in Alice’s ears, and almost blowing her hair off her head, she fancied.
“It was a hot, airless morning towards the end of June. Poirot had a particular routine when opening his morning correspondence. He picked up each letter, scrutinized it carefully and neatly slit the envelope
open with his papercutter“.
Now, however, we were beginning to come among continuous streets, where laborers and dockmen were already astir, and slatternly women were taking down shutters and brushing door-steps. At the square-topped corner public houses business was just beginning, and rough-looking men were emerging, rubbing their sleeves across their beards after their morning wet.
‘I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think–‘ (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word) ‘–but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?‘ (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke–fancy curtseying as you’re falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) ‘And what an ignorant little girl she’ll think me for asking! No, it’ll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.’
‘I said you looked like an egg, Sir,’ Alice gently explained. ‘And some eggs are very pretty, you know’ she added, hoping to turn her remark into a sort of a compliment.
‘Some people,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking away from her as usual, ‘have no more sense than a baby!’
Alice didn’t know what to say to this: it wasn’t at all like conversation, she thought, as he never said anything to her; in fact, his last remark was evidently addressed to a tree—so she stood and softly repeated to herself:—
‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall:
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.’
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