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Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot 16 - Dumb Witness

'Agatha Christie - Hercule Poirot 16 - Dumb Witness'
DUMB WITNESS Agatha Christie Chapter 1 THE MISTRESS OF LITTLEGREEN HOUSE Miss Arundell died on May 1st. Though her illness was short her death did not occasion much surprise in the little country town of Market Basing, where she had lived since she was a girl of sixteen. For Emily Arundell was well over seventy, the last of a family of five, and she had been known to be in delicate health for many years and had indeed nearly died of a similar attack to the one that killed her some eighteen months before. But though Miss Arundell's death surprised no one, something else did. The provisions of her will gave rise to varying emotions, astonishment, pleasurable excitement, deep condemnation, fury, despair, anger and general gossip. For weeks and even months Market Basing was to talk of nothing else. Everyone had something to say about it, from Mr Jones at the grocery, according to whom “blood was thicker than water“, to Mrs Laphrey, the post-mistress, who repeated ad nauseam that certain to be something behind it. “Mark my words!“ What lead to all these speculations was the fact that the testament was recent, from April 21st. Besides, Emily Arundell's nearest relatives had spent the Easter holidays with her, thus resulting the wildest theories, and nicely breaking the monotony so characteristic of life in Market Basing. There was one person who mas much more suspected than it was apparent. It was the lady companion of the deceased, Miss Wilhelmina Lawson, who knew as much as anybody else, and proclaimed that she was very surprised when the will was read. Of course a lot of people didn't believe it. But there was only one person who knew all about it: the deceased. Emily Arundell, as was her way, hadn't explained anything to anybody, not even to her lawyer. On the Friday before Easter, Emily Arundell had stood in the hall of Littlegreen House and given instructions to Miss Lawson. Miss Arundell was saying: “Now then, Minnie, where have you put them all?“ “Well, I thought - I hope I've done right - Dr and Mrs Tanios in the Oak room and Theresa in the Blue room and Mr Charles in the Old Nursery -“ Miss Arundell interrupted: “Theresa can have the Old Nursery and Charles will have the Blue room.“ “Oh, yes - I'm sorry - I thought the Old Nursery being rather more inconvenient -“ “It will do very nicely for Theresa.“ In Miss Arundell's day, women took second place. Men were the important members of society. “I'm so sorry the dear little children aren't coming,“ murmured Miss Lawson sentimentally. She loved children and was quite incapable of managing them. “Four visitors will be quite enough,“ said Miss Arundell. “In any case, Bella spoils her children abominably. They never dream of doing what they are told.“ Minnie Lawson murmured: “Mrs Tanios is a very devoted mother.“ Miss Arundell said with grave approval: “Bella is a good woman.“ Miss Lawson sighed and said: “It must be very hard for her sometimes - living in an outlandish place l
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