I must mention a visit we had from Mr. Alexander Bonaparte Cust a few days later. Afterwringing Poirot’s hand and endeavouring very incoherently and unsuccessfully to thank him, Mr.
Cust drew himself up and said:
“Do you know, a newspaper has actually offered me a hundred pounds—a hundred pounds—for a brief account of my life and history—I—I really don’t know what to do about it.”
“I should not accept a hundred,” said Poirot. “Be firm. Say five hundred is your price. And donot confine yourself to one newspaper.”
“Do you really think—that I might—”
“You must realize,” said Poirot, smiling, “that you are a very famous man. Practically the mostfamous man in England today.”
Mr. Cust drew himself up still further. A beam of delight irradiated his face.
“Do you know, I believe you’re right! Famous! In all the papers. I shall take your advice, M.
Poirot. The money will be most agreeable—most agreeable. I shall have a little holiday…And thenI want to give a nice wedding present to Lily Marbury—a dear girl—really a dear girl, M. Poirot.”
Poirot patted him encouragingly on the shoulder.
“You are quite right. Enjoy yourself. And—just a little word—what about a visit to an oculist1
Those headaches, it is probably that you want new glasses.”
“You think that it may have been that all the time?”
Mr. Cust shook him warmly by the hand.
“You’re a very great man, M. Poirot.”
Poirot, as usual, did not disdain2
the compliment. He did not even succeed in looking modest.
When Mr. Cust had strutted3
importantly out, my old friend smiled across at me.
“So, Hastings—we went hunting once more, did we not? Vive le sport.”