Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-13: Letters Having successfully got rid of Ellen, Poirot turned a somewhat thoughtful face toward me.
‘I wonder now-did she hear those shots? I think she did. She heard them, she opened the kitchen door. She heard Nick rush down the stairs and out, and she herself came into the hall to find out what had happened. That is natural enough. But why did she not go out and watch the fireworks that evening? That is what I should like to know, Hastings.’
‘What was your idea in asking about a secret hiding place?’
‘A mere fanciful idea that, after all, we might not have disposed of J.’
‘Yes. The last person on my list. The problematical outsider. Supposing for some reason connected with Ellen, that J. had come to the house last night. He (I assume him) conceals himself in a secret chamber in this room. A girl passes through whom he takes to be Nick. He follows her out-and shoots her. Non-c’est idiot! And anyway, we know that there is no hiding place. Ellen’s decision to remain in the kitchen last night was a pure hazard. Come, let us search for the will of Mademoiselle Nick.’
There were no papers in the drawing-room. We adjourned to the library, a rather dark room looking out on the drive. Here there was a large old-fashioned walnut bureau writing table.
It took us some time to go through it. Everything was in complete confusion. Bills and receipts were mixed up together. Letters of invitation, letters pressing for payment of accounts, letters from friends. ‘We will arrange these papers,’ said Poirot, sternly, ‘with order and method.’
He was as good as his word. Half an hour later, he sat back with a pleased expression on his face. Everything was neatly sorted, docketed and filed.
‘C’est bien, ça. One thing is at least to the good. We have had to go through everything so thoroughly that there is no possibility of our having missed anything.’
‘No, indeed. Not that there’s been much to find.’
‘Except possibly this.’
He tossed across a letter. It was written in large sprawling handwriting, almost indecipherable. ‘Darling,-Party was too, too marvelous. Feel rather like a worm today. You were wise not to touch that stuff-don’t ever start, darling. It’s too damned hard to give up. I’m writing the boyfriend to hurry up the supply. What the Hell life is?
‘Dated last February,’ said Poirot thoughtfully. ‘She takes drugs, of course, I knew that as soon as I looked at her.’
‘Really? I never suspected such a thing.’
‘It is fairly obvious. You have only to look at her eyes. And then there are her extraordinary variations of mood. Sometimes she is all on edge, strung up- sometimes she is lifeless-inert.’
‘Drug-taking affects the moral sense, does it not?’
‘Inevitably. But I do not think Madame Rice is a real addict. She is at the beginning, not the end.’
‘There are no signs of it. She may have attended a dope party now and then for fun, but she is no taker of drugs.’
‘I’m glad of that.’
I remembered suddenly what Nick had said about Frederica: that she was not always herself. Poirot nodded and tapped the letter he held.
‘This is what she was referring to, undoubtedly. Well, we have drawn the blank, as you say, here. Let us go up to Mademoiselle’s room.’
There was a desk in Nick’s room also, but comparatively little was kept in it. Here again, there was no sign of a will. We found the registration book of her car and a perfectly good dividend warrant of a month back. Otherwise, there was nothing of importance.
Poirot sighed in an exasperated fashion.
‘The young girls-they are not properly trained nowadays. The order, the method, it is left out of their bringing up. She is charming, Mademoiselle Nick, but she is a feather-head. Decidedly, she is a feather-head.’
He was now going through the contents of a chest of drawers.
‘Surely, Poirot,’ I said, with some embarrassment, ‘those are underclothes.’
He paused in surprise.
‘And why not, my friend?’
‘Don’t you think-I mean-we can hardly-‘
He broke into a roar of laughter.
‘Decidedly, my poor Hastings, you belong to the Victorian era. Mademoiselle Nick would tell you so if she were here. In all probability, she would say that you had a mind like a sink! Young ladies are not ashamed of their underclothes nowadays. The camisole, the cami knickers, it is no longer a shameful secret. Every day, on the beach, all these garments will be discarded within a few feet of you. And why not?’
‘I don’t see any need for what you are doing.’
‘Ecoutez, my friend. Clearly, she does not lock up her treasures, Mademoiselle Nick. If she wished to hide anything from sight-where would she hide it? Underneath the stockings and the petticoats. Ah! what have we here?’
He held up a packet of letters tied with a faded pink ribbon.
‘The love letters of M. Michael Seton, if I mistake not.’
Quite calmly he untied the ribbon and began to open out the letters.
‘Poirot,’ I cried, scandalized. ‘You really can’t do that. It isn’t playing the game.’
‘I am not playing a game, mon ami.’ His voice rang out suddenly harsh and stern. ‘I am hunting down a murderer.’
‘Yes, but private letters-‘
‘May have nothing to tell me on the other hand, they may. I must take every chance, my friend. Come, you might as well read them with me. Two pairs of eyes are no worse than one pair. Console yourself with the thought that the staunch Ellen probably knows them by heart.’
I did not like it. Still, I realized that in Poirot’s position, he could not afford to be squeamish, and I consoled myself by the quibble that Nick’s last word had been, ‘Look at anything you like.’
The letters spread over several dates, beginning last winter.
New Year’s Day.
‘Darling,-The New Year is in and I’m making good resolutions. It seems too wonderful to be true that you should actually love me. You’ve made all the difference in my life. I believe we both knew from the very first moment we met. Happy New Year, my lovely girl.
‘Dearest Love,-How I wish I could see you more often. This is pretty rotten, isn’t it? I despise this odious act of concealment, but as I’ve previously explained, it is necessary. I am aware of your strong aversion towards dishonesty and secrecy, and I share the same sentiment. But honestly, it might upset the whole apple cart. Uncle Matthew has got an absolute bee in his bonnet about early marriages and the way they wreck a man’s career. As though you could wreck mine, you dear angel!
‘Cheer up, darling. Everything will come right.
‘I oughtn’t to write to you two days running, I know. But I must. When I was up yesterday I thought of you. I flew over Scarborough. Blessed, blessed, blessed Scarborough-the most wonderful place in the world. Darling, you don’t know how I love you!
‘Dearest,-The whole thing is fixed up. Definitely. If I pull this off (and I shall pull it off) I shall be able to take a firm line with Uncle Matthew-and if he doesn’t like it well, what do I care? It’s adorable of you to be so interested in my long technical descriptions of the Albatross. How I long to take you up in her. Some day! Don’t, for goodness’ sake, worry about me. The thing isn’t half as risky as it sounds. I simply couldn’t get killed now that I know you care for me. Everything will be all right, sweetheart. Trust your Michael.’
‘You Angel,-Every word you say is true and I shall treasure that letter always. I’m not half good enough for you. You are so different from everybody else. I adore you.
The last was undated.
‘Dearest,-Well-I’m off tomorrow. Feeling tremendously keen and excited and absolutely certain of success. The old Albatross is all tuned up. She won’t let me down.
‘Cheer up, sweetheart, and don’t worry. There’s a risk, of course, but all life’s a risk really. By the way, somebody said I ought to make a will (tactful fellow-but he meant well), so I have on a half sheet of notepaper and sent it to old Whitfield. I’d no time to go round there. Somebody once told me that a man made a will of three words, “All to Mother”, and it was legal all right. My will was rather like that-I remembered your name was really Magdala, which was clever of me! A couple of the fellows witnessed it.’
‘Don’t take all this solemn talk about wills to heart, will you? (I didn’t mean that pun. An accident.) I shall be as right as rain. I’ll send you telegrams from India and Australia and so on. And keep up your heart. It’s going to be all right. See?’
‘Good night and God bless you,
Poirot folded the letters together again.
‘You see, Hastings? I had to read them to make sure. It is as I told you.’
‘Surely you could have found out some other way?’
‘No, mon cher, that is just what I could not do. It had to be this way. We have now some very valuable evidence.’
‘In what way?’
‘We now know that the fact of Michael’s having made a will in favor of Mademoiselle Nick is actually recorded in writing. Anyone who had read those letters would know the fact. And with letters carelessly hidden like that, anyone could read them.’
‘Ellen, almost certainly, I should say. We will try a little experiment on her before passing out.’
‘There is no sign of the will.’
‘No, that is curious. But in all probability, it is thrown on top of a bookcase, or inside a china jar. We must try to awaken Mademoiselle’s memory on that point. At any rate, there is nothing more to be found here.’
Ellen was dusting the hall as we descended.
Poirot wished her good morning very pleasantly as we passed. He turned back from the front door to say: ‘You knew, I suppose, that Miss Buckley was engaged to the airman, Michael Seton?’
‘What? The one there’s all the fuss in the papers about?’
‘Well, I never. To think of that. Engaged to Miss Nick.’
‘Complete and absolute surprise registered very convincingly,’ I remarked, as we got outside.
‘Yes. It really seemed genuine.’
‘Perhaps it was,’ I suggested.
‘And that packet of letters reclining for months under the lingerie? No, mon ami.’
‘All very well,’ I thought to myself. ‘But we are not all Hercule Poirot. We do not all go nosing into what does not concern us.’
But I said nothing.
‘This Ellen-she is an enigma,’ said Poirot. ‘I do not like it. There is something here that I do not understand.’
Read Peril at End House Novel All Parts Free Online
- The Peril at End House By Agatha Christie Novel Complete Review
- Peril at End House Chapter 1: The Majestic Hotel
- Peril at End House Chapter 2: End House
- Peril at End House Novel Chapter-3: Accidents?
- Peril at End House Chapter-4: There Must Be Something!?
- Peril at End House Chapter-5: Mr and Mrs Croft
- Peril at End House Chapter-6: A Call Upon Mr. Vyse
- Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-7: Tragedy
- Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-8: The Fatal Shawl
- Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-9: A. to J.
- Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-10: Nick’s Secret
- Peril at End House Chapter-11: The Motive
- Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-12: Ellen