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And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie

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and a third man-a big bluff man who came forward and introduced himself. "Thought we might as well wait for you," he said. "Make one trip of it. Allow me to introduce myself. Name's Davis. Natal, South Africa's, my natal spot, ha, ha!" He laughed breezily.

Mr. Justice Wargrave looked at him with active malevolence. He seemed to be wishing that he could order the court to be cleared. Miss Emily Brent was clearly not sure if she liked Colonials.

"Any one care for a little nip before we embark?" asked Mr. Davis hospitably. Nobody assenting to this proposition, Mr. Davis turned and held up a finger. "Mustn't delay, then. Our good host and hostess will be expecting us," he said. He might have noticed that a curious constraint

came over the other members of the party. It was as though the mention of their host and hostess had a curiously paralyzing effect upon the guests.

In response to Davis' beckoning finger, a man detached himself from a nearby wall against which he was leaning and came up to them. His rolling gait proclaimed hirn a man of the sea. He had a weather-beaten face and dark eyes with a slightly evasive expression. He spoke in his soft Devon voice.

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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

"Will you be ready to be starting for the island, ladies and gentlemen? The boat's waiting. There's two gentlemen coming by car, but Mr. Owen's orders

was not to wait for them as they might arrive at any time."

The party got up. Their guide led them along a small stone jetty. Alongside it a motor boat was lying.

Emily Brent said:

"That's a very small boat."

The boat's owner said persuasively:

"She's a fine boat, that, Ma'am. You could go to Plymouth in her as easy as winking.

Mr. Justice Wargrave said sharply: "There are a good many of us." "She'd take double the number, sir."

Philip Lombard said in his pleasant easy voice: "It's quite all right. Glorious weather-no swell."

Rather doubtfully, Miss Brent permitted herself to be helped into the boat. The others followed suit. There was as yet no fraternizing among the party. It was as though each member of it was puzzled by the other members.

They were just about to cast loose when their guide paused, boathook in hand. Down the steep track into the village a car was coming. A car so fantastically powerful, so superlatively beautiful that it had all the

nature of an apparition. At the wheel sat a young man, his hair blown back by the wind. In the blaze of the evening light he looked, not a man, but

a young God, a Hero God out of some Northern Saga.

He touched the hom and a great roar of sound echoed from the rocks of the bay. It was a fantastic moment. In it, Anthony Marston seemed to be something more than mortal. Afterwards, more than one of those present remembered that moment.

4

Fred Narracott sat by the engine thinking to himself that this was a queer lot. Not at all his idea of what Mr. Owen's guests were likely to be. He'd expected something altogether more classy. Togged up

206 MASTERPIECES OF MURDER

women and gentlemen in yachting costume and all very rich and important looking. Not at all like Mr. Elmer Robson's parties. A faint grin came to Fred Narracott's lips as he remembered the millionaire's guests. That had been a party if you like-and the drink they'd got through!

This Mr. Owen must be a very different sort of gentleman. Funny it was, thought Fred, that he'd never yet set eyes on Owen-,or his Missus either. Never been down here yet, he hadn't. Everything ordered and paid for by that Mr. Morris. Instructions always very clear and payment prompt, but it was odd, all the same. The papers said there was some mystery about Owen. Mr. Narracott agreed with them.

Perhaps, after all, it was Miss Gabrielle Turl who had bought the island. But that theory departed from him as he surveyed his passengers. Not this lot-none of them looked likely to have anything to do with a film star.

He summed them up dispassionately.

One old maid-the sour kind-he knew them well enough. She was a Tartar, he could bet. Old military gentleman-real Army by the look of him. Nice

looking young lady-but the ordinary kind, not glamourous-no Hollywood touch

about her. That bluff cheery genthe wasn't a real gentleman. Retired tradesman, that's what he is, thought Fred Narracott. The other gentleman, the lean hungry looking gentleman with the quick eyes, he was a queer one, he was. Just possible he might have something to do with the pictures.

No, there was only one satisfactory passenger in the boat. The last gentleman, the one who had arrived in the car (and what a car! A car such as had never been seen in Sticklehaven before. Must have cost hundreds and hundreds, a car like that.). He was the right kind. Born to money, he was.

If the party had been all like him . he'd understand it. . . .

Queer business when you came to think of it-the whole thing was queer-very queer. .

5

The boat churned its way round the rock. Now at last the house

came into view. The south side of the island was quite different. It shelved gently down to the sea. The house was there facing south-

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

207 low and square and modem-looking with rounded windows letting in all

the light. An exciting house-a house that lived up to expectation! Fred Narracott shut off the engine, they nosed their way gently into a little natural inlet between rocks.

Philip Lombard said sharply:

"Must be difficult to land here in dirty weather."

Fred Narracott said cheerfully:

"Can't land on Indian Island when there's a southeasterly. Sometimes 'tis cut off for a week or more."

Vera Claythome thought:

"The catering must be very difficult. That's the worst of an island. All the domestic problems are so worrying."

The boat grated against the rocks. Fred Narracott jumped out and he and Lombard helped the others to alight. Narracott made the boat fast to a ring in the rock. Then he led the way up steps cut in the rock.

General Macarthur said: "Ha, delightful spot!"

But he felt uneasy. Damned odd sort of place.

As the party ascended the steps, and came out on a terrace above, their spirits revived. In the open doorway of the house a correct butler was awaiting them, and something about his gravity reassured them. And then the house itself was really most attractive, the view from the terrace magnificent. . . .

The butler came forward bowing slightly. He was a tall lank man, greyhaired and very respectable. He said:

"Will you come this way, please?"

In the wide hall drinks stood ready. Rows of bottles. Anthony Marston's spirits cheered up a little. He'd just been thinking this was a rum kind

of show. None of his lot! What could old Badger have been thinking about to let him in for this? However the drinks were all right. Plenty of ice,

too.

What was it the butler chap was saying?

Mr. Owen-unfortunately delayed-unable to get here till to-morrow. Instructions-everything they wanted-if they would like to go to their rooms? . . . Dinner would be at 8 o'clock. . . .

208 MASTERPIECES OF MURDER

6

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE 209

Vera had followed Mrs. Rogers upstairs. The woman had thrown open a door at the end of a passage and Vera had walked into a delightful bedroom with

a big window that opened wide upon the sea and another looking east. She uttered a quick exclarnation of pleasure.

Mrs. Rogers was saying:

"I hope you've got everything you want, Miss?"

Vera looked round. Her luggage had been brought up and had been unpacked. At one side of the room a door stood open into a pale blue tiled bathroom. She said quickly:

"Yes, everything, I think."

"You'll ring the bell if you want anything, Miss?"

Mrs. Rogers had a flat monotonous voice. Vera looked at her curiously. What a white bloodless ghost of a woman! Very respectable looking, with her hair dragged back from her face and her black dress. Queer light eyes that

shifted the whole time from place to place.

Vera thought:

"She looks frightened of her own shadow." Yes, that was it-frightened!

She looked like a woman who walked in mortal fear. . . .

A little shiver passed down Vera's back. What on earth was the woman afraid of? She said pleasantly:

"I'm Mrs. Owen's new secretary. I expect you know that." Mrs. Rogers said:

"No, Miss, I don't know anything. Just a list of the ladies and gentlemen and what rooms they were to have."

Vera said:

"Mrs. Owen didn't mention me?" Mrs. Rogers' eyelashes flickered.

"I haven't seen Mrs. Owen-not yet. We only came here two days ago.))

Extraordinary people, these Owens, thought Vera. Aloud she said: "What staff is there here?"

3

I

I

I

"Just me and Rogers, Miss."the host and

Vera frowned. Eight people in the house-ten with hostess-and only one married couple to do for them. Mrs. Rogers said:

"I'm a good cook and Rogers is handy about the house. I didn't know, of course, that there was to be such a large party."

Vera said:

"But you can manage?"

"Oh, yes, Miss, I can manage. If there's to be large parties often, perhaps Mrs. Owen could get extra help in."

Vera said, "I expect so."

Mrs. Rogers turned to go. Her feet moved noiselessly over the floor. She drifted from the room like a shadow.

Vera went over to the window and sat down on the window seat. She was faintly disturbed. Everything-somehow-was a little queer. The absence of the Owens, the pale ghostlike Mrs. Rogers. And the guests! Yes, the guests were queer too. An oddly assorted party.

Vera thought:

"I wish I'd seen the Owens. . . . I wish I knew what they were like." She got up andwalked restlessly about the room.

A perfect bedroom decorated throughout in the modem style. Off white rugs on the gleaming parquet floor-faintly tinted walls-a long mirror surrounded by lights. A mantelpiece bare of ornaments save for an enormous block of white marble shaped like a bear, a piece of modem sculpture in which was inset a clock. Over it, in a gleaming chromium frame, was a big square of parchment-a poem.

She stood in front of the fireplace and read it. It was the old nursery rhyme that she remembered from her childhood days.

Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Indian boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon; One said he'd stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Indian boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

MASTERPIECES OF MURDER

Five little Indian boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Indian boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Indian boy left all alone; He went and hanged himself and then there were none.

Vera smiled. Of course! This was Indian Island!

She went and sat again by the window looking out to sea.

How big the sea was! From here there was no land to be seen anywhere-just a vast expanse of blue water rippling in the evening sun.

The sea. . . . So peaceful to-day-sometimes so cruel . . . . The sea that dragged you down to its depths. Drowned . . . . Found drowned. . . .

drowned.

Drowned at sea. . . . Drowned-drowned-

No, she wouldn't remember. . . . She would not think of it! All that was over. . . .

7

Dr. Armstrong came to Indian Island just as the sun was sinking into the sea. On the way across he had chatted to the boatman-a local man. He was anxious to find out a little about these people who owned Indian Island,

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