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CHAPTER 6. THE INQUEST
In the interval before the inquest, Poirot was unfailing in his activity. Twice he was closeted with Mr. Wells. He also took long walks into the country. I rather resented his not taking me into his confidence, the more so as I could not in the least guess what he was driving at.
It occurred to me that he might have been making inquiries at Raikes's farm; so, finding him out when I called at Leastways Cottage on Wednesday evening, I walked over there by the fields, hoping to meet him. But there was no sign of him, and I hesitated to go right up to the farm itself. As I walked away, I met an aged rustic, who leered at me cunningly.
"You'm from the Hall, bain't you?" he asked.
"Yes. I'm looking for a friend of mine whom I thought might have walked this way."
"A little chap? As waves his hands when he talks? One of them Belgies from the village?"
"Yes," I said eagerly. "He has been here, then?"
"Oh, ay, he's been here, right enough. More'n once too. Friend of yours, is he? Ah, you gentlemen from the Hall--you'n a pretty lot!" And he leered more jocosely than ever.
"Why, do the gentlemen from the Hall come here often?" I asked, as carelessly as I could.
He winked at me knowingly.
"One does, mister. Naming no names, mind. And a very liberal gentleman too! Oh, thank you, sir, I'm sure."
I walked on sharply. Evelyn Howard had been right then, and I experienced a sharp twinge of disgust, as I thought of Alfred Inglethorp's liberality with another woman's money. Had that piquant gipsy face been at the bottom of the crime, or was it the baser mainspring of money? Probably a judicious mixture of both.
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