Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-14: The Mystery of the Missing Will We went straight back to the nursing home.
Nick looked rather surprised to see us.
‘Yes, Mademoiselle,’ said Poirot, answering her look. ‘I am like the Jack in the Case. I pop up again. To begin with I will tell you that I have put an order in your affairs. Everything is now neatly arranged.’
‘Well, I expect it was about time,’ said Nick, unable to help to smile. ‘Are you very tidy, M. Poirot?’
‘Ask my friend Hastings here.’
The girl turned an inquiring gaze on me.
I detailed some of Poirot’s minor peculiarities-toast that had to be made from a square loaf-eggs matching in size-his objection to golf as a game ‘shapeless and haphazard’, whose only redeeming feature was the tee boxes! I ended by telling her the famous case which Poirot had solved by his habit of straightening ornaments on the mantelpiece.
Poirot sat by smiling.
‘He makes the good tale of it, yes,’ he said when I had finished. ‘But on the whole, it is true. Figure to yourself, Mademoiselle, that I never cease trying to persuade Hastings to part his hair in the middle instead of on the side. See what an air, lop-sided and unsymmetrical, it gives him.’
‘Then you must disapprove of me, M. Poirot,’ said, Nick. ‘I wear a side parting. And you must approve of Freddie who parts her hair in the middle.’
‘He was certainly admiring her the other evening,’ I put in maliciously. ‘Now I know the reason.’
‘C’est assez,’ said Poirot. ‘I am here on serious business. Mademoiselle, this will of yours, I find it not.’
‘Oh!’ She wrinkled her brows. ‘But does it matter so much? After all, I’m not dead. And wills aren’t really important till you are dead, are they?’
‘That is correct. All the same, I interest myself in this will of yours. I have various little ideas concerning it. Think Mademoiselle. Try to remember where you placed it-where you saw it last?’
‘It’s unlikely that I placed it in any specific location. I have a habit of not organizing my things, so I most likely just stuffed them into a drawer.’
‘You did not put it in the secret panel by any chance?’
‘The secret what?’
‘Your maid, Ellen, says that there is a secret panel in the drawing room or the library.’
‘Nonsense,’ said Nick. ‘I’ve never heard of such a thing. Ellen said so?’
‘Mais oui. It seems she was in service at End House as a young girl. The cook showed it to her.’
‘It’s the first I’ve ever heard of it. I suppose Grandfather must have known about it, but, if so, he didn’t tell me. And I’m sure he would have told me. M. Poirot, are you sure Ellen isn’t making it all up?’
‘No, Mademoiselle, I am not at all sure! Il me semble that there is something odd about this Ellen of yours.’
‘Oh! I wouldn’t call her odd. William’s a half-wit, and the child is a nasty little brute, but Ellen’s all right. The essence of respectability.’
‘Did you give her leave to go out and see the fireworks last night, Mademoiselle?’
‘Of course. They always do. They clear up afterward.’
‘Yet she did not go out.’
‘Oh, yes, she did.’
‘How do you know, Mademoiselle?’
‘Well-well-I suppose I don’t know. I told her to go and she thanked me-and so, of course, I assumed that she did go.’
‘On the contrary-she remained in the house.’
‘But-how very odd!’
‘You think it odd?’
‘Yes, I do. I’m sure she’s never done such a thing before. Did she say why?’
‘She did not tell me the real reason of that I am sure.’
Nick looked at him questioningly.
‘Is it important?’
Poirot flung out his hands.
‘That is just what I cannot say, Mademoiselle. C’est curious. I leave it like that.’
‘This panel business too,’ said Nick, reflectively. ‘I can’t help thinking that’s frightfully queer and unconvincing. Did she show you where it was?’
‘She said she couldn’t remember.’
‘I don’t believe there is such a thing.’
‘It certainly looks like it.’
‘Poor thing, she must be going crazy,’
‘She certainly recounts the histories! She said also that End House was not a good house to live in.’
Nick gave a little shiver.
‘Perhaps she’s right there,’ she said slowly. ‘Sometimes I’ve felt that way myself. There’s a queer feeling in that house…’
Her eyes grew large and dark. They had a fated look. Poirot hastened to recall her to other topics.
‘We have wandered from our subject, Mademoiselle. The will. The last will and testament of Magdala Buckley.’
Nick said with a hint of pride, “I distinctly recall putting that there. I had been instructed to pay off all debts and expenses related to my will. I actually remembered this from a book I had read.”
‘You did not use a will form, then?’
‘No, there wasn’t time for that. I was just going off to the nursing home, and besides Mr. Croft said will forms were very dangerous. It was better to make a simple will and not try to be too legal.’
‘M. Croft? He was there?’
‘Yes. It was he who asked me if I’d made one. I’d never have thought of it myself. He said if you died in-in-‘
‘Intestate,’ I said.
‘Yes, that’s it. He said if you died intestate, the Crown pinched a lot and that would be a pity.’
‘Very helpful, the excellent M. Croft!’
‘Oh, he was,’ said Nick warmly. ‘He got Ellen in and her husband to witness it. Oh! of course! What an idiot I’ve been!’
We looked at her inquiringly.
‘I’ve been a perfect idiot. Letting you hunt around End House. Charles has got it, of course! My cousin, Charles Vyse.’
‘Ah! so that is the explanation.’
‘Mr. Croft said a lawyer was the proper person to have charge of it.’
‘Très correct, ce bon M. Croft.’
‘Men are useful sometimes,’ said Nick. ‘A lawyer or the Bank-that’s what he said. And I said Charles would be best. So we stuck it in an envelope and sent it off to him straight away.’
She lay back on her pillows with a sigh.
‘I’m sorry I’ve been so frightfully stupid. But it is all right now. Charles has got it, and if you really want to see it, of course, he’ll show it to you.’
‘Not without authorization from you,’ said Poirot, smiling.
‘No, Mademoiselle. Merely prudent.’
‘Well, I think it’s silly.’ She took a piece of paper from a little stack that lay beside her bed. ‘What shall I say? Let the dog see the rabbit?’
I laughed at his startled face.
He dictated a form of words, and Nick wrote obediently.
‘Thank you, Mademoiselle,’ said Poirot, as he took it.
‘I’m sorry to have given you such a lot of trouble. But I really had forgotten. You know how one forgets things almost at once?’
‘With order and method in the mind, one does not forget.’
‘I’ll have to have a course of some kind,’ said Nick. ‘You’re giving me quite an inferiority complex.’
‘That is impossible. Au revoir, Mademoiselle.’ He looked around the room. ‘Your flowers are lovely.’
‘Aren’t they? The carnations are from Freddie and the roses from George and the lilies from Jim Lazarus. And look here-‘
She pulled the wrapping from a large basket of hothouse grapes by her side.
Poirot’s face changed. He stepped forward sharply.
‘You have not eaten any of them?’
‘No. Not yet.’
‘Do not do so. You must eat nothing, Mademoiselle, that comes in from outside. Nothing. You comprehend?’
She stared at him, the color ebbing slowly from her face.
‘I see. You think you think it isn’t over yet? You think they’re still trying?’ she whispered.
He took her hand.
‘Do not think of it. You are safe here. But remember-nothing that comes in from outside.’
I was conscious of that white frightened face on the pillow as we left the room.
Poirot looked at his watch.
‘Bon. We have just time to catch M. Vyse at his office before he leaves it for lunch.’
On arrival, we were shown into Charles Vyse’s office after the briefest of delays.
The young lawyer rose to greet us. He was as formal and unemotional as ever.
‘Good morning, M. Poirot. What can I do for you?’
Without more ado, Poirot presented the letter Nick had written. He took it and read it, then gazed over the top of it in a perplexed manner.
‘I beg your pardon. I really am at a loss to understand?’
‘Has not Mademoiselle Buckley made her meaning clear?’
‘In this letter,’ he tapped it with his fingernail, ‘she asks me to hand over to you a will made by her and entrusted to my keeping in February last.’
‘But, my dear sir, no will has been entrusted to my keeping!’
‘As far as I know, my cousin never made a will. I certainly never made one for her.’
‘She wrote this herself, I understand, on a sheet of notepaper and posted it to you.’
The lawyer shook his head.
‘In that case, all I can say is that I never received it.’
‘Really, M. Vyse-‘
‘I never received anything of the kind, M. Poirot.’
There was a pause, then Poirot rose to his feet.
‘In that case, M. Vyse, there is nothing more to be said. There must be some mistake.’ ‘Certainly, there must be some mistake.’
He rose also.
‘Good day, M. Vyse.’
‘Good day, M. Poirot.’
‘And that is that,’ I remarked when we were out in the street once more.
‘Is he lying, do you think?’
‘Impossible to tell. He has the good poker face, M. Vyse, besides looking as though he had swallowed one. One thing is clear, he will not budge from the position he has taken up. He never received the will. That is his point.’
‘Surely Nick will have a written acknowledgment of its receipt.’
‘Cette petite, she would never bother her head about a thing like that. She despatched it. It was off her mind. Voilà. Besides, on that very day, she went into a nursing home to have her appendix out. She had her emotions, in all probability.’
‘Well, what do we do now?’
‘Parbleu, we go and see M. Croft. Let us see what he can remember about this business. It seems to have been very much his doing.’
‘He didn’t profit by it in any way,’ I said, thoughtfully.
‘No. No, I cannot see anything in it from his point of view. He is probably merely the busybody-the man who likes to arrange his neighbor’s affairs.’
Such an attitude was indeed typical of Mr. Croft, I felt. He was the kindly know-all who causes so much exasperation in this world of ours.
We found him busy in his shirt sleeves over a steaming pot in the kitchen. A most savory smell pervaded the little lodge.
He relinquished his cookery with enthusiasm, being clearly eager to talk about the murder.
‘Half a jiffy,’ he said. ‘Walk upstairs. Mother will want to be in on this. She’d never forgive us for talking down here. Cooee-Milly. Two friends coming up.’
Mrs. Croft greeted us warmly and was eager for news of Nick. I liked her much better than her husband.
‘That poor dear girl,’ she said. ‘In a nursing home, you say? Had a complete breakdown, I shouldn’t wonder. A dreadful business, M. Poirot-perfectly dreadful. An innocent girl like that was shot dead. It doesn’t bear thinking about it doesn’t indeed. And no lawless wild part of the world either. Right here in the heart of the old country. Kept me awake all night, it did.’
‘It’s made me nervous about going out and leaving you, old lady,’ said her husband, who had put on his coat and joined us. ‘I don’t like to think of your having been left all alone here yesterday evening. It gives me the shivers.’
‘You’re not going to leave me again, I can tell you,’ said Mrs.. Croft. ‘Not after dark, anyway. And I’m thinking I’d like to leave this part of the world as soon as possible. I shall never feel the same about it. I shouldn’t think poor Nicky Buckley could ever bear to sleep in that house again.’
It was a little difficult to reach the object of our visit. Both Mr.. and Mrs. Croft talked so much and were so anxious to know all about everything. Were the poor dead girl’s relations coming down? When was the funeral? Was there to be an inquest? What did the police think? Had they any clue yet? Was it true that a man had been arrested in Plymouth?
Then, having answered all these questions, they were insistent on offering us lunch. Only Poirot’s mendacious statement that we were obliged to hurry back to lunch with the Chief Constable saved us.
At last, a momentary pause occurred and Poirot got in the question he had been waiting to ask.
‘Why, of course,’ said Mr. Croft. He pulled the blind cord up and down twice, frowning at it abstractedly. ‘I remember all about it. Must have been when we first came here. I remember. Appendicitis-that’s what the doctor said-‘
‘And probably not appendicitis at all,’ interrupted Mrs. Croft. ‘These doctors-they always like cutting you up if they can. It wasn’t the kind you have to operate on anyhow. She’d had indigestion and one thing and another, and they’d X-rayed her and they said out it had better come. And there she was, poor little soul, just going off to one of those nasty Homes.’
‘I just asked her,’ said Mr. Croft, ‘if she’d made a will. More as a joke than anything else.’
‘And she wrote it out then and there. Talked about getting a will form at the post-office-but I advised her not to. Lots of trouble they cause sometimes, so a man told me. Anyway, her cousin is a lawyer. He could draw her out a proper one afterward if everything was all right-as, of course, I knew it would be. This was just a precautionary matter.’
‘Who witnessed it?’
‘Oh! Ellen, the maid, and her husband.’
‘And afterward? What was done with it?’
‘Oh! we posted it to Vyse. The lawyer, you know.’
‘You know that it was posted?’
‘My dear M. Poirot, I posted it myself. Right in this box here by the gate.’
‘So if M. Vyse says he never got it-‘
‘Do you mean that it got lost in the post? Oh! but surely that’s impossible.’
‘Anyway, you are certain that you posted it.’
‘Certain sure,’ said Mr. Croft, heartily. ‘I’ll take my oath on that any day.’
‘Ah! well,’ said Poirot. ‘Fortunately, it does not matter. Mademoiselle is not likely to die just yet awhile.’
‘Et voilà!’ said Poirot, when we were out of earshot and walking down to the hotel. ‘Who is lying? M. Croft? Or M. Charles Vyse? I must confess I see no reason why M. Croft should be lying. To suppress the will would be of no advantage to him, especially when he had been instrumental in making it. No, his statement seems clear enough and tallies exactly with what was told us by Mademoiselle Nick. But all the same-‘
‘All the same, I am glad that M. Croft was doing the cooking when we arrived. He left an excellent impression of a greasy thumb and first finger on a corner of the newspaper that covered the kitchen table. I managed to tear it off unseen by him. We will send it to our good friend Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard. There is just a chance that he might know something about it.’
‘You know, Hastings, I cannot help feeling that our genial M. Croft is a little too good to be genuine.’
‘And now,’ he added. ‘Le déjeuner. I faint with hunger
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
- Peril at End House Pdf Chapter-13: Letters