Poirot Loses a Client – Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie – Poirot Loses A Client
The Mistress of Littlegreen House
Miss Arundell died on May 1st. Though her illness was short her death did not occasion much surprise in the little country town of Market Basing, where she had lived since she was a girl of sixteen. For Emily Arundell was well over seventy, the last of a family of five, and she had been known to be in delicate health for many years and had indeed nearly died of a similar attack to the one that killed her some eighteen months before.
But though Miss Arundell’s death surprised no one, something else did. The provisions of her will gave rise to varying emotions, astonishment, pleasurable excitement, deep condemnation, fury, despair, anger and general gossip. For weeks and even months Market Basing was to talk of nothing Miss Arundell was saying: “Now then, Minnie, where have you put them all?” “Well, I thought–I hope I’ve done right–Dr. and Mrs. Tanios in the Oak room and Theresa in the Blue room and Mr.
Charles in the Old Nursery–” Miss Arundell interrupted: “Theresa can have the Old Nursery and Charles will have the Blue room.” “Oh, yes–I’m sorry–I thought the Old Nursery being rather more inconvenient–” “It will do very nicely for Theresa.” In Miss Arundell’s day, women took second place. Men were the important members of society.
“I’m so sorry the dear little children aren’t coming,” murmured Miss Lawson sentimentally.
She loved children and was quite incapable of managing them.
“Four visitors will be quite enough,” said Miss Arundell. “In any case, Bella spoils her children abominably. They never dream of doing what they are told.” Minnie Lawson murmured: “Mrs. Tanios is a very devoted mother.” Miss Arundell said with grave approval: “Bella is a good woman.” Miss Lawson sighed and said: “It must be very hard for her sometimes –living in an outlandish place like Smyrna.” Emily Arundell replied: “She has made her bed and she must lie on it.” And having uttered this final Victorian pronouncement she went on: “I am going to the village now to speak about the orders for the weekend.” “Oh, Miss Arundell, do let me. I mean–” “Nonsense. I prefer to go myself. Rogers needs a sharp word. The trouble with you is, Minnie, that you’re not emphatic enough.
Bob! Bob! Where is the dog?” A wire-haired terrier came tearing down the stairs. He circled round and round his mistress, uttering short staccato barks of delight and expectation.
Together mistress and dog passed out of the front door and down the short path to the gate.
Miss Lawson stood in the doorway smiling rather foolishly after them, her mouth a little open. Behind her a voice said tartly: “Them pillowcases you gave me, miss, isn’t a pair.” “What? How stupid of me. -…” Minnie Lawson plunged once more into household routine.
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