Friday, October 04, 2013

Hercule Poirot, The Letter, Episode 2

“It’s dashed cold and dark out here, Poirot. Five minutes to midnight, and not a soul around. I think this was a very bad idea.”

Mon ami, you merely have, how you say, the heebie jeebies. I too have the cold feeling, but as to the other, well, that is where you are wrong. Someone is here and watching us. Someone I think, who is not the author of the letter. And someone . . . to whom it is the real reason I am here. ”

“I don’t understand, Poirot. You know who you are meeting? I thought the letter was anonymous.”

“Yes, my friend, it was. But Poirot, he knows everything. He sees everything. In the letter was a code, and clues I could read without my glasses. That is why I could not permit you to read the letter.”

“Really, old boy, surely you can trust me by now. Have I ever disappointed you before? I think not.”

Eh bien, I must beg to differ. There was the time you took a lady friend into the evidence room, and then what happened, mon ami? Please to refresh my memory.”

“That was different. How was I to know Ellen was an integral part of the case? You’d have to be psychic. I am a gentleman first and foremost. Or I like to think I am. The lady needed a drink. I think you would’ve done the same thing, old man.”

Non, I most certainement would not!!! For one, I would never escort a lady into the evidence room. NEVER! For two, I have no need to show off my ego to a woman in such a fashion!  . . .  But, I can well understand your failure in this matter, Hastings. Women, they are like the sun on a warm day, until when the rain, it comes it pours, n’est ce pas?

“Well, no point in arguing about it now, Poirot. I did learn my lesson.”

Oui, I am quite sure you did, Hastings. But the raison d’etre I do not wish you to read the letter? It is for your own protection, mon ami.”

“Oh . . . well, that does make me feel somewhat better, old chap, but you know I’m not worried about myself. Your safety is of paramount importance to me. Always has been.”

“Ah, mon ami, it does me much good to hear such declarations of loyalty from you. It would appear we are, how you say, riding in the same car. Of course, it is to be understood that you are the chauffeur, Hastings.”  

“I am? Oh . . . right. I say, Poirot, where is Chief Inspector Japp? I hope he is hiding somewhere nearby.”

Non, I have sent him a note canceling our appointment.”

“You what? Have you gone completely mad, Poirot? I fear your little grey cells went on holiday.”

“Hastings, I will tell you why I have called off the appointment. I am convinced there is no danger because, as I have eluded to before, I am quite sure I know who it is we are meeting.”

“Care to enlighten me on the who, then, Poirot?”

“That I cannot do, my friend, but I will tell you this, it is from the past that you will find the answer to almost all mysteries which occur in the present; and, I will go even further to say, that almost all mysteries in the future can be solved by using the blueprint from the past. Alors, look to the past, and you will find the answer to your question.”

“Problem is, Poirot, I don’t know what past, or whose past you’re talking about. I need more clues.”  

“No, you do not, mon ami. The clues, they are there. It is for you to figure out where they are, what they are, and what they mean. Of this I am sure. Now, we must be quiet Hastings; it is the midnight. And it is imperative that you see, listen, and smell;  these are the senses upon which you must concentr—”

“Did you hear that, Poirot? A hissing sort of sound! Over by those hedges! I’d better investigate! . . . . . . Oh, it was just a cat. A black one at that. You know, I’m not usually the superstitious sort, but . . . Poirot? Poirot? Where the devil are you? . . .  POIROT? . . . Oh dear, I think I’ve gone and done it again!”