He recoiled from the fragrance as though it were some poisonous odour.
“A few moments ago the manager came hurriedly out of his office and ran upstairs. He was much agitated. The lift-boy is deep in talk with one of the pages. The lift-bell has rung three times, but he heeds it not. Thirdly, even the waiters are distrait; and to make a waiter distrait——” Poirot shook his head with an air of finality. “The affair must indeed be of the first magnitude. Ah, it is as I thought! Here come the police.”
“You will probably think me very foolish, Monsieur Poirot, but Lord Cronshaw was telling me last night how wonderfully you cleared up the mystery of his nephew’s death, and I felt that I just must have your advice. I dare say it’s only a silly hoax—Gregory says so—but it’s just worrying me to death.”
“No,” gently contradicted McGilead, petting the downy little chap. “It’s unlucky. Both for you and for him. The rules admit a pup to the show ring at six months. The rules are harsh, for they make him compete with dogs almost double his age. The puppy limit is from six to twelve months in shows. I don’t want you to feel bad when I refuse to judge this little fellow. It isn’t your fault, nor his, that he hasn’t begun to develop. But it would be like putting a child of five into competitive examination at school with a lad of twenty.”
Boston and his friends now crossed over to Hoboken, followed by McCargo, with Duane. Over the new race course on Beacon Heights it was decided that Duane should give the champion a beating or the race of his life. McCargo had managed his fight on Boston with consummate skill. He had selected the weaker of his two horses, Charles Carter, to make the first assault, and it was evident from the terrific fight he had made over the Long Island track that he hoped, even if he could not win with Carter, to at least run Boston such a race that he could beat him with Duane on Beacon Heights. Therefore they were quite sanguine of victory and freely took all bets offered.
“It may interest you to know,” writes Prof. Henry C. Cox, of The Froebel Public School, Chicago, “that on Christmas Eve sixteen hundred and sixty-seven children of this school sang one of your Christmas poems set to music.”
But this resolve was never put to the test. The Easter newspapers of 1916 arrived with flaming headlines about an insurrection in Dublin and the seizure of the Post Office by the rebels. Oddly enough, this did not shock Bunny at all. It produced none of the effect of horror and brutality that the German invasion of Belgium had made upon his mind. It impressed him as a ??rag??; as the sort of rag that they got up to at Cambridge during seasons of excitement. He was delighted by the seizure of the Post Office, by the appearance of a revolutionary flag and the issue of Republican stamps. It was as good as ??Little Wars??; it was ??Little Revolutions.?? He didn??t like the way they had shot a policeman outside Trinity College, but perhaps that report wasn??t true. The whole affair had restored that flavour of adventure and burlesque that he had so sadly missed from the world since the war began.
But his attention was diverted by a gleam from one of the benches. Metallic parts lay heaped in a pile. He poked at them with a stiff-fingered gauntlet; they were oddly familiar. They were, he thought, very much like the parts of a bullet-gun.
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