Cynthia Murdoch came next. She had, however, little to tell. She had known nothing of the tragedy, until awakened by Mrs. Cavendish.
"You did not hear the table fall?"
"No. I was fast asleep."
The Coroner smiled.
"A good conscience makes a sound sleeper," he observed. "Thank you, Miss Murdoch, that is all."
Miss Howard produced the letter written to her by Mrs. Inglethorp on the evening of the 17th. Poirot and I had, of course already seen it. It added nothing to our knowledge of the tragedy. The following is a facsimile: STYLES COURT
ESSEX hand written note: July 17th My dear Evelyn Can we not bury the hachet? I have found it hard to forgive the things you said against my dear husband but I am an old woman & very fond of you Yours affectionately, Emily Inglethorpe It was handed to the jury who scrutinized it attentively.
"I fear it does not help us much," said the Coroner, with a sigh. "There is no mention of any of the events of that afternoon."
"Plain as a pikestaff to me," said Miss Howard shortly. "It shows clearly enough that my poor old friend had just found out she'd been made a fool of!"
"It says nothing of the kind in the letter," the Coroner pointed out.
"No, because Emily never could bear to put herself in the wrong. But I know her. She wanted me back. But she wasn't going to own that I'd been right. She went round about. Most people do. Don't believe in it myself."
Mr. Wells smiled faintly. So, I noticed, did several of the jury. Miss Howard was obviously quite a public character.
"Anyway, all this tomfoolery is a great waste of time," continued the lady, glancing up and down the jury disparagingly. "Talk--talk--talk! When all the time we know perfectly well----"
The Coroner interrupted her in an agony of apprehension: "Thank you, Miss Howard, that is all."
I fancy he breathed a sigh of relief when she complied.
Then came the sensation of the day. The Coroner called Albert Mace, chemist's assistant.
It was our agitated young man of the pale face. In answer to the Coroner's questions, he explained that he was a qualified pharmacist, but had only recently come to this particular shop, as the assistant formerly there had just been called up for the army.
These preliminaries completed, the Coroner proceeded to business.
"Mr. Mace, have you lately sold strychnine to any unauthorized person?"