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And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie

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"Oh, you know, I wouldn't quite say that." Armstrong stared at him.

"Do you mean you know?"

Mr. Justice Wargrave said cautiously:

"As regards actual evidence, such as is necessary in court, I admit that

I have none. But it appears to me, reviewing the whole business, that one particular person is sufficiently clearly indicated. Yes, I think so. Armstrong stared at him.

He said:

"I don't understand."

4

Miss Brent was upstairs in her bedroom.

She took up her Bible and went to sit by the window.

She opened it. Then, after a minutes hesitation, she set it aside and went over to the dressing-table. From a drawer in it she took out a small blackcovered notebook.

She opened it and began writing.

"A terrible thing has happened. General Macarthur is dead. (His cousin married Elsie MacPherson.) There is no doubt but that he was murdered. After luncheon the judge made us a most interesting speech. He is convinced that the murderer is one of us. That means that one of us is possessed by

a devil. I had already suspected that. Which of us is it? They are all asking themselves that. I alone know. . . .

She sat for some time without moving. Her eyes grew vague and filmy. The

pencil straggled drunkenly in her fingers. In shaking loose capitals she wrote: THE MURDERER'S NAME is BEATRICE TAYLOR. . . .

Her eyes closed.

Suddenly, with a start, she awoke. She looked down at the noteAND THEN THERE WERE NONE

ff

book. With an angry exclamation she scored through the vague unevenly scrawled characters of the last sentence. She said in a low voice: "Did I write that? Did I? I must be going mad.

5

The storm increased. The wind howled against the side of the house. Every one was in the living-room. They sat listlessly huddled together. And, surreptitiously, they watched each other.

When Rocyers brought in the tea-tray, they all jumped.

He said:

"Shall I draw the curtains? It would make it more cheerful like." Receiving an assent to this, the curtains were drawn and the lamps turned on. The room grew more cheerful. A little of the shadow lifted. Surely, by

to-morrow, the storm would be over and some one would come-a boat would arrive.

Vera Claythome said:

"Will you pour out tea, Miss Brent?" The elder woman replied:

"No, you do it, dear. That tea-pot is so heavy. And I have lost two skeins of my grey knitting-wool. So annoying."

Vera moved to the tea-table. There was a cheerful rattle and clink of china. Normality returned.

Tea! Blessed ordinary everyday afternoon tea! Philip Lombard made a cheery remark. Blore responded. Dr. Armstrong told a humorous story. Mr. Justice Wargrave, who ordinarily hated tea, sipped approvingly.

Into this relaxed atmosphere came Rogers.

And Rogers was upset. He said nervously and at random:

"Excuse me, sir, but does any one know what's become of the bathroom curtain?" Lombard's head went up with a jerk.

"The bathroom curtain? What the devil do you mean, Rogers?" "It's gone, sir, clean vanished. I was going round drawing all the curtaiiis and the one in the lav-bathroom wasn't there any longer." Mr. Justice Wargrave asked:

"Was it there this morning?"

290 MASTERPIECES OF MURDER

"Oh, yes, sir." Blore said: "What kind of a curtain was it?" "Scarlet oilsilk, sir. It went with the scarlet tiles." Lombard said: "And it's

gone?" "Gone, Sir." They stared at each other. Blore said heavily: "Wellafter all-what of it? It's mad-but so's everything else. Anyway, it doesn't matter. You can't kill anybody with an oilsilk curtain. Forget about it."

Rogers said: "Yes, sir, thank you, sir." He went out, shutting the door

behind him. Inside the room, the pall of fear had fallen anew. Again, surreptitiously, they watched each other.

6

Dinner came, was eaten, and cleared away. A simple meal, mostly out of tins. Afterwards, in the living-room, the strain was almost too great to

be borne. At nine o'clock, Emily Brent rose to her feet. She said: "I'm going to bed." Vera said: "I'll go to bed too." The two women went up the stairs and Lombard and Blore came with them. Standing at the top of the stairs, the two men watched the women go into their respective rooms and shut the doors. They heard the sound of two bolts being shot and the turning of two keys. Blore said with a grin: "No need to tell 'em to lock their doors!" Lombard said: "Well, they're all right for the night, at any rate!" He went down again and the other followed him.

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

7

The four men went to bed an hour later. They went up together. Rogers, from the dining-room where he was setting the table for breakfast, saw them go up. He heard them pause on the landing above.

Then the judge's voice spoke.

"I need hardly advise you, gentlemen, to lock your doors.'

Blore said:

"And, what's more, put a chair under the handle. There are ways of turning locks from the outside."

Lombard murmured:

"My dear Blore, the trouble with you is you know too much!" The judge said gravely:

"Good-night, gentlemen. May we all meet safely in the morning!"

Rogers came out of the dining-room and slipped halfway up the stairs. He saw four figures pass through four doors and heard the turning of four locks and the shooting of four bolts.

He nodded his head.

"That's all right," he muttered.

He went back into the dining-room. Yes, everything was ready for the morning. His eye lingered on the centre plaque of looking-glass and the seven little china figures.

A sudden grin transformed his face.

He murmured:

"I'll see no one plays tricks to-night, at any rate."

Crossing the room he locked the door to the pantry. Then going through the other door to the hall he pulled the door to, locked it and slipped the key into his pocket.

Then, extinguishing the lights, he hurried up the stairs and into his new bedroom.

There was only one possible hiding-place in it, the tall wardrobe, and lie looked into that immediately. Then, locking and bolting the door, he prepared for bed. He said to himself:

"No more Indiaii tricks to-night. I've seen to that . . . ...

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

CHAPTER 11

PHILIP LOMBARD had the habit of waking at daybreak. He did so on this particular morning. He raised himself on an elbow and listened. The wind had somewhat abated but was still blowing. He could hear no sound of rain. . .

.

At eight o'clock the wind was blowing more strongly, but Lombard did not hear it. He was asleep again.

At nine-tbirty he was sitting on the edge of his bed looking at his watch. He put it to his ear. Then his lips drew back from his teeth in that curious wolf-like smile characteristic of the man.

He said very softly:

"I think the time has come to do something about this."

At twenty-five minutes to ten he was tapping on the closed door of Blore's room. The latter opened it cautiously. His hair was tousled and his eyes were still dim with sleep.

Philip Lombard said affably:

"Sleeping the clock round? Well, shows you've got an easy conscience." Blore said shortly:

"What's the matter?" Lombard answered:

"Anybody called you-or brought you any tea? Do you know what time it is?"

Blore looked over his shoulder at a small travelling clock by his bedside. He said:

"Twenty-five to ten. Wouldn't have believed I could have slept like that. Where's Rogers?"

Philip Lombard said:

"It's a case of echo answers where?"

"What d'you mean?" asked the other sharply. Lombard said:

"I mean that Rogers is missing. He isn't in his room or anywhere else. And there's no kettle on and the kitchen fire isn't even fit."

Blore swore under his breath. He said:

"Where the devil can he be? Out on the island somewhere? Wait

293

Philip Lombard nodded. He moved along the line of closed doors. He found Armstron up and nearly dressed. Mr. Justice Wargrave, like Blore, had to be roused from sleep. Vera Claythorne was dressed. Emily Brent's room was empty.

The little party moved through the house. Rogers' room, as Philip Lombard had already ascertained, was untenanted. The bed had been slept in, and his razor and sponge and soap were wet.

Lombard said:

"He got up all right."

Vera said in a low voice which she tried to make firm and assured: "You don't think he's-hiding somewhere-waiting for us?"

Lombard said:

"My dear girl, I'm prepared to think anything of any one! My advice is that we keep together until we find him."

Armstrong said:

"He must be out on the island somewhere."

Blore who had joined them, dressed, but still unshaved, said: "Where's Miss Brent got to-that's another mystery?"

But as they arrived in the hall, Emily Brent came in through the front door. She had on a mackintosh. She said:

"The sea is as high as ever. I shouldn't think any boat could put out today." Blore said:

"Have you been wandering about the island alone, Miss Brent? Don't you realize that that's an exceedingly foolish thing to do?"

Emily Brent said:

"I assure you, Mr. Blore, that I kept an extremely sharp lookout." Blore grunted. He said:

"Seen anything of Rogers?" Miss Brent's eyebrows rose.

"Rogers? No, I haven't seen him this morning. Why?"

Mr. Justice Wargrave, shaved, dressed and with his false teeth in position, came down the stairs. He moved to the open dining-room door. He said: "Ha, laid the table for breakfast, I see."

Lombard said:

"He might have done that last night."

They all moved inside the room, looking at the neatly set plates and

cutlery. At the row of cups on the sideboard. At the felt mats placed ready for the coffee urn.

It was Vera who saw it first. She caught the judge's arm and the Prin of herathletic finper,, made the old Pentleman wince

294

MASTERPIECES OF MURDER

She cried out: "The Indians! Look!" There were only six china figures in the middle of the table.

2

They found him shortly afterwards.

He was in the little wash-house across the yard. He had been chopping sticks in preparation for lighting the kitchen fire. The small chopper was still in his hand. A bigger chopper, a heavy affair, was leaning against the door-the metal of it stained a dull brown. It corresponded only too well with the deep wound in the back of Rogers' head. . . .

3

"Perfectly clear," said Armstrong. "The murderer must have crept up behind him, swung the chopper once and brought it down on his head as he was bending over." Blore was busy on the handle of the chopper and the flour sifter from the kitchen.

Mr. Justice Wargrave asked:

"Would it have needed great force, doctor?" Armstrong said gravely:

"A woman could have done it if that's what you mean." He gave a quick glance round. Vera Claythorne and Emily Brent had retired to the kitchen. "The girl could have done it easily-she's an athletic type. In appearance Miss Brent is fragile looking, but that type of woman has often a lot of

wiry strength. And you must remember that any one who's mentally unhinged has a good deal of unsuspected strength."

The judge nodded thoughtfully.

Blore rose from his knees with a sigh. He said: "No fingerprints. Handle was wiped afterwards."

A sound of laughter was heard-they turned sharply. Vera Claythorne was standing in the yard. She cried out in a high shrill voice, shaken with

wild himtz nf lnimht~r-

I

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"Do they keep bees on this island? Tell me that. Where do we go for honey? Ha! ha!"

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