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The Mysterious Affair at Styles

9. Dr. Bauerstein
I had had no opportunity as yet of passing on Poirot's message to Lawrence. But
now, as I strolled out on the lawn, still nursing a grudge against my friend's high-
handedness, I saw Lawrence on the croquet lawn, aimlessly knocking a couple
of very ancient balls about, with a still more ancient mallet.
It struck me that it would be a good opportunity to deliver my message.
Otherwise, Poirot himself might relieve me of it. It was true that I did not quite
gather its purport, but I flattered myself that by Lawrence's reply, and perhaps a
little skillful cross-examination on my part, I should soon perceive its significance.
Accordingly I accosted him.
"I've been looking for you," I remarked untruthfully.
"Have you?"
"Yes. The truth is, I've got a message for you--from Poirot."
"Yes?"
"He told me to wait until I was alone with you," I said, dropping my voice
significantly, and watching him intently out of the corner of my eye. I have always
been rather good at what is called, I believe, creating an atmosphere.
"Well?"
There was no change of expression in the dark melancholic face. Had he any
idea of what I was about to say?
"This is the message." I dropped my voice still lower. " 'Find the extra coffee-cup,
and you can rest in peace.' "
"What on earth does he mean?" Lawrence stared at me in quite unaffected
astonishment.
"Don't you know?"
"Not in the least. Do you?"
I was compelled to shake my head.
"What extra coffee-cup?"
"I don't know."
"He'd better ask Dorcas, or one of the maids, if he wants to know about coffee-
cups. It's their business, not mine. I don't know anything about the coffee-cups,
except that we've got some that are never used, which are a perfect dream! Old
Worcester. You're not a connoisseur, are you, Hastings?"
I shook my head.
"You miss a lot. A really perfect bit of old china--it's pure delight to handle it, or
even to look at it."
"Well, what am I to tell Poirot?"
"Tell him I don't know what he's talking about. It's double Dutch to me."
"All right."
I was moving off towards the house again when he suddenly called me back.
"I say, what was the end of that message? Say it over again, will you?"
" 'Find the extra coffee-cup, and you can rest in peace.' Are you sure you don't
know what it means?" I asked him earnestly.
He shook his head.
"No," he said musingly, "I don't. I--I wish I did."
 
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