ABC谋杀案 39
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II am sorry to relate that as the door closed behind Franklin Clarke I laughed hysterically.
Poirot looked at me in mild surprise.
“It’s because you told him his crime was not sporting,” I gasped.
“It was quite true. It was abominable—not so much the murder of his brother—but the crueltythat condemned an unfortunate man to a living death. To catch a fox and put him in a box andnever let him go! That is not le sport!”
Megan Barnard gave a deep sigh.
“I can’t believe it—I can’t. Is it true?”
“Yes, mademoiselle. The nightmare is over.”
She looked at him and her colour deepened.
Poirot turned to Fraser.
“Mademoiselle Megan, all along, was haunted by a fear that it was you who had committed thesecond crime.”
Donald Fraser said quietly:
“I fancied so myself at one time.”
“Because of your dream?” He drew a little nearer to the young man and dropped his voiceconfidentially. “Your dream has a very natural explanation. It is that you find that already theimage of one sister fades in your memory and that its place is taken by the other sister.
Mademoiselle Megan replaces her sister in your heart, but since you cannot bear to think ofyourself being unfaithful so soon to the dead, you strive to stifle the thought, to kill it! That is theexplanation of the dream.”
Fraser’s eyes went towards Megan.
“Do not be afraid to forget,” said Poirot gently. “She was not so well worth remembering. InMademoiselle Megan you have one in a hundred—un coeur magnifique!”
Donald Fraser’s eyes lit up.
“I believe you are right.”
We all crowded round Poirot asking questions, elucidating this point and that.
“Those questions, Poirot? That you asked of everybody. Was there any point in them?”
“Some of them were simplement une blague. But I learnt one thing that I wanted to know—thatFranklin Clarke was in London when the first letter was posted—and also I wanted to see his facewhen I asked my question of Mademoiselle Thora. He was off his guard. I saw all the malice andanger in his eyes.”
“You hardly spared my feelings,” said Thora Grey.
“I do not fancy you returned me a truthful answer, mademoiselle,” said Poirot dryly. “And nowyour second expectation is disappointed. Franklin Clarke will not inherit his brother’s money.”
She flung up her head.
“Is there any need for me to stay here and be insulted?”
“None whatever,” said Poirot and held the door open politely for her.
“That fingerprint clinched things, Poirot,” I said thoughtfully. “He went all to pieces when youmentioned that.”
“Yes, they are useful—fingerprints.”
He added thoughtfully:
“I put that in to please you, my friend.”
“But, Poirot,” I cried, “wasn’t it true?”
“Not in the least, mon ami,” said Hercule Poirot.

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