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CHAPTER 7. POIROT PAYS HIS DEBTS (continued)
The two detectives strode away, Summerhaye with an incredulous grin on his face.
"Well, my friend," cried Poirot, before I could get in a word, "what do you think? Mon Dieu! I had some warm moments in that court; I did not figure to myself that the man would be so pig-headed as to refuse to say anything at all. Decidedly, it was the policy of an imbecile."
"H'm! There are other explanations besides that of imbecility," I remarked. "For, if the case against him is true, how could he defend himself except by silence?"
"Why, in a thousand ingenious ways," cried Poirot. "See; say that it is I who have committed this murder, I can think of seven most plausible stories! Far more convincing than Mr. Inglethorp's stony denials!"
I could not help laughing.
"My dear Poirot, I am sure you are capable of thinking of seventy! But, seriously, in spite of what I heard you say to the detectives, you surely cannot still believe in the possibility of Alfred Inglethorp's innocence?"
"Why not now as much as before? Nothing has changed."
"But the evidence is so conclusive."
"Yes, too conclusive."
We turned in at the gate of Leastways Cottage, and proceeded up the now familiar stairs.
"Yes, yes, too conclusive," continued Poirot, almost to himself. "Real evidence is usually vague and unsatisfactory. It has to be examined--sifted. But here the whole thing is cut and dried. No, my friend, this evidence has been very cleverly manufactured--so cleverly that it has defeated its own ends."
"How do you make that out?"
"Because, so long as the evidence against him was vague and intangible, it was very hard to disprove. But, in his anxiety, the criminal has drawn the net so closely that one cut will set Inglethorp free."
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