Poirot Loses a Client – Agatha Christie
Emily Arundell, attended by Bob, made a royal progress down the main street of Market Basing.
It was very much of a royal progress. In each shop she entered the proprietor always hurried forward to attend to her.
She was Miss Arundell of Littlegreen House. She was “one of our oldest customers.” She was “one of the old school. Not many about like her nowadays.” “Good-morning, miss. What can I have the pleasure of doing for you– Not tender?
Well, I’m sorry to hear that. I thought myself it was as nice a little saddle– Yes, of course, Miss Arundell. If you say so, it is so– No, indeed, I wouldn’t think of sending Canterbury to you, Miss Arundell– Yes, I’ll see to it myself. Miss Arundell.” Bob and Spot, the butcher’s dog, circled slowly round each other, hackles raised, growling gently. Spot was a stout dog of nondescript breed. He knew that he must not fight with customers’ dogs, but he permitted himself to tell them, by subtle indication, just exactly what mincemeat he would make of them were he free to do so.
Bob, a dog of spirit, replied in kind.
Emily Arundell said “Bob!” sharply and passed on.
In the greengrocer’s there was a meeting of heavenly bodies. Another old lady, spherical in outline, but equally distinguished by that air of royalty, said: “Mornin5, Emily.” “Good-morning, Caroline.” Caroline Peabody said: “Expecting any of your young people down?” “Yes, all of them. Theresa, Charles and Bella.” “So Bella’s home, is she? Husband too?” “Yes.” It was a simple monosyllable, but underlying it was knowledge common to both ladies.
For Bella Biggs, Emily Arundell5 s niece, had married a Greek. And Emily ArundelPs people, who were what is known as “all service people,” simply did not marry Greeks.
By way of being obscurely comforting (for, of course, such a matter could not be referred to openly) Miss Peabody said: “Bella’s husband’s got brains. And charming manners!” “His manners are delightful,” agreed Miss Arundell.
Moving out into the street Miss Peabody asked: “What’s this about Theresa being engaged to young Donaldson?” Miss Arundell shrugged her shoulders.
“Young people are so casual nowadays.
I’m afraid it will have to be a rather long engagement–that is, if anything comes of it. He has no money.” “Of course Theresa has her own money,” said Miss Peabody.