The pale horse – Agatha Christie
THE PALE HORSE
Foreword by Mark Easterbrook
There are two methods, it seems to me, of approaching this strange business of the Pale Horse. In spite of the dictum of the White King, it is difficult to achieve simplicity. One cannot, that is to say, “Begin at the beginning, go on to the end, and then stop.” For where is the beginning?
To a historian, that always is the difficulty. At what point in history does one particular portion of history begin?
In this case, you can begin at the moment when Father Gorman set forth from his presbytery to visit a dying woman. Or you can start before that, on a certain evening in Chelsea.
Perhaps, since I am writing the greater part of this narrative myself, it is there that I should begin.
The Espresso machine behind my shoulder hissed like an angry snake. The noise it made had a sinister, not to say devilish, suggestion about it. Perhaps, I reflected, most of our contemporary noises carry that implication. The intimidating angry scream of jet planes as they flash across the sky, the slow menacing rumble of a tube train approaching through its tunnel; the heavy road transport that shakes the very foundations of your house… even the minor domestic noises of today, beneficial in action though they may be, yet carry a kind of alert. The dishwashers, the refrigerators, the pressure cookers, the whining vacuum cleaners. “Be careful,” they all seem to say. “I am a genie harnessed to your service, but if your control of me fails…”
A dangerous world – that was it, a dangerous world.
I stirred the foaming cup placed in front of me. It smelled pleasant.
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