Poirot’s hand flew swiftly to a dramatic salute. “Amen to that! Ah, but my Master does not forget. . . . Messieurs, I, Hercule Poirot, will serve you faithfully. Heaven only send that it will be in time. But this is dark—dark. . . . I cannot see.”
As the sportsmen arrived in their camp they were met by a terrified group, a deputation of wretched, half-naked people who had come from a hamlet near by to report yet another disaster. They waited while the sahibs got down from the elephants and stretched their cramped limbs, and then they approached with humble yet eager appeal.
“Having brought, with their spinning wheels and looms, an abundance of flax, the women spent the weary days of their husbands’ absence in the useful employment of spinning. A large fire in the mouth of the cave gave cheerfulness to the gloomy spot and enabled them, at night, to proceed with their labors, while its bright rays were reflected upon the looms, beds, and household utensils which lay piled up along the side of the cave. By day the sun afforded them light, the mouth of the cave being capacious and elevated, while the roof sheltered them from the rain. They were in daily expectation of the arrival of their husbands, when they would move out on to their farms in company.
What crap to find in a soldier's thoughts, Hartford told himself. He was an Axenite trooper, a Pioneer, a pistol-packing officer of infantry, commander of the Terrible Third Platoon. He was an Axenite, dedicated by the immaculacy of his birth to the conquest of Man's frontiers.
Peter was so interested that he forgot his aversion from confiding in Ames. The subject carried him on.
"I'm puzzled, sir," Hartford admitted. "When we tossed those smoke-candles, I heard Pia shouting for us to stop it. Would he have done so if the Indigenous Hominids had him captive? Why did none of the natives lift a hand against us, though we were burning their homes? Why did Paula Piacentelli seem to know why Pia was going outside tonight? Why did he take a microscope with him? Why did Paula kill herself?"详情 ➢
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