Simultaneously a red castle-topped piece (one of the Machine's rooks, Sandra was informed) moved four squares sideways on the big electric board above the Machine. An official beside Dr. Vanderhoef went over to Grabo's board and carefully moved the corresponding piece. Grabo seemed about to make some complaint, then apparently thought better of it and plunged into brooding cogitation over the board, elbows on the table, both hands holding his head and fiercely massaging his scalp.
There were six children, all wizened little creatures with withered old faces and thin crooked fingers. Every one knew they were fairy changelings, and the smith wanted to put them on the anvil, and the wise women said they should be passed through the fire; but destiny settled the future for them, for one after another they all pined away and died, and the ban of the fairies was never lifted from the ill-fated house till the whole family lay in the grave.
"The girls are not interesting companions to Mr. Creswell. He is fond of them, and very kind to them--in fact, lavishly generous--they never have an ungratified wish; but how can a man, whose whole life has been devoted to business, feel much companionship with young girls like them, who do not know what it means? Of course, they think and talk about their dead parents--at least, I suppose so--and their past lives, and neither subject has any charms for their uncle. They read--especially Maude--and, strange to say, they read solid books as well as novels; they excel in fancy-work, which I detest, probably because I can't do it, and could not afford to buy the materials if I understood the art; and they both play and sing. I have heard very little good music, and I am not a judge, except of what is pleasing to myself; but I think I am correct in rating Maude's musical abilities very highly. Her voice thrills me almost to pain, and to see my mother's quiet tears when Maude plays to her in the dim evening is to feel that the power of producing such salutary healing emotion is priceless indeed. What a pity it is I am not a good musician! Loving music as you love it, dearest Walter, it will be a privation to you--if ever that time we talked of comes, when we should have a decent home to share--that I shall not be able to make sweet music for you. They are not fond of me, but I did not think they would be, and I am not disappointed. I like them, but they are too young, too happy, and too rich for me not to envy them a little, and though love and jealousy may coexist, love and envy cannot.
"I had not thought of that," Hartford admitted. "I have never before lived so close to Stinkers." Embarrassed, he stopped short. "I'm sorry," he said. "Shitsurei shimashita."
He turned the volume down but did not dare turn it off. He had lost track of time and couldn't guess when they would respond to his last message. He needed to hear that response when it came. Meanwhile, what about his fellow-captive?
Poirot smiled up at the big actor. They made a ridiculous contrast.详情 ➢
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