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The Girl in the Train: An Agatha Christie Short Story

The Girl in the Train: An Agatha Christie Short Story
The Girl in the Train: An Agatha Christie Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.After being fired from his uncle’s firm for his playboy antics, George Rowland decides to leave London on a whim. Waiting for his train to depart from Waterloo, a beautiful young girl dashes in and begs him to hide her. Wrapped up in the excitement he agrees to follow a suspicious looking man and guard a packet for her. But he soon finds that she isn’t quite as innocent as she looks… The Girl in the Train A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright (#ulink_4823060d-ab07-5d9c-a8ff-e764f07c129e) Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book onscreen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books. HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication. Ebook Edition © MAY 2013 ISBN: 9780007526512 Version: 2017-04-13 Contents Cover (#u5dee00f2-f76c-5a12-8a45-ca99db965164) Title Page (#u56cbf0e6-651b-5867-ace1-805df0546ef9) Copyright The Girl in the Train Related Products About the Publisher The Girl in the Train (#ulink_a37e996f-28e2-5f51-be4b-4ddd3f78ee16) ‘The Girl in the Train’ was first published in Grand Magazine, February 1924. ‘And that’s that!’ observed George Rowland ruefully, as he gazed up at the imposing smoke-grimed façade of the building he had just quitted. It might be said to represent very aptly the power of Money – and Money, in the person of William Rowland, uncle to the aforementioned George, had just spoken its mind very freely. In the course of a brief ten minutes, from being the apple of his uncle’s eye, the heir to his wealth, and a young man with a promising business career in front of him, George had suddenly become one of the vast army of the unemployed. ‘And in these clothes they won’t even give me the dole,’ reflected Mr Rowland gloomily, ‘and as for writing poems and selling them at the door at twopence (or “what you care to give, lydy”) I simply haven’t got the brains.’ It was true that George embodied a veritable triumph of the tailor’s art. He was exquisitely and beautifully arrayed. Solomon and the lilies of the field were simply not in it with George. But man cannot live by clothes alone – unless he has had some considerable training in the art – and Mr Rowland was painfully aware of the fact. ‘And all because of that rotten show last night,’ he reflected sadly. The rotten show last night had been a Covent Garden Ball. Mr Rowland had returned from it at a somewhat late – or rather early – hour – as a matter of fact, he could not strictly say that he remembered returning at all. Rogers, his uncle’s butler, was a helpful fellow, and could doubtless give more details on the matter. A splitting head, a cup of strong tea, and an arrival at the office at five minutes to twelve instead of half-past nine had precipitated the catastrophe. Mr Rowland, senior, who for twenty-four years had condoned and paid up as a tactful relative should, had suddenly abandoned these tactics and revealed himself in a totally new light. The inconsequence of George’s replies (the young man’s head was still opening and shutting like some mediaeval instrument of the Inquisition) had displeased him still further. William Rowland was nothing if not thorough. He cast his nephew adrift upon the world in a few short succinct words, and then settled down to his interrupted survey of some oilfields in Peru. George Rowland shook the dust of his uncle’s office from off his feet, and stepped out into the City of London. George was a practical fellow. A good lunch, he considered, was essential to a review of the situation. He had it. Then he retraced his steps to the family mansion. Rogers opened the door. His well-trained face expressed no surprise at seeing George at this unusual hour. ‘Good afternoon, Rogers. Just pack up my things for me, will you? I’m leaving here.’ ‘Yes, sir. Just for a short visit, sir?’ ‘For good, Rogers. I am going to the colonies this afternoon.’ ‘Indeed, sir?’ ‘Yes. That is, if there is a suitable boat. Do you know anything about the boats, Rogers?’ ‘Which colony were you thinking of visiting, sir?’ ‘I’m not particular. Any of ’em will do. Let’s say Australia. What do you think of the idea, Rogers?’ Rogers coughed discreetly. ‘Well, sir, I’ve certainly heard it said that there’s room out there for anyone who really wants to work.’ Mr Rowland gazed at him with interest and admiration. ‘Very neatly put, Rogers. Just what I was thinking myself. I shan’t go to Australia – not today, at any rate. Fetch me an A.B.C., will you? We will select something nearer at hand.’ Rogers brought the required volume. George opened it at random and turned the pages with a rapid hand. ‘Perth – too far away – Putney Bridge – too near at hand. Ramsgate? I think not. Reigate also leaves me cold. Why – what an extraordinary thing! There’s actually a place called Rowland’s Castle. Ever heard of it, Rogers?’ ‘I fancy, sir, that you go there from Waterloo.’ ‘What an extraordinary fellow you are, Rogers. You know everything. Well, well, Rowland’s Castle! I wonder what sort of a place it is.’ ‘Not much of a place, I should say, sir.’ ‘All the better; there’ll be less competition. These quiet little country hamlets have a lot of the old feudal spirit knocking about. The last of the original Rowlands ought to meet with instant appreciation. I shouldn’t wonder if they elected me mayor in a week.’ He shut up the A.B.C. with a bang. ‘The die is cast. Pack me a small suit-case, will you, Rogers? Also my compliments to the cook, and will she oblige me with the loan of the cat. Dick Whittington, you know. When you set out to become a Lord Mayor, a cat is essential.’ ‘I’m sorry, sir, but the cat is not available at the present moment.’ ‘How is that?’ ‘A family of eight, sir. Arrived this morning.’ ‘You don’t say so. I thought its name was Peter.’ ‘So it is, sir. A great surprise to all of us.’ ‘A case of careless christening and the deceitful sex, eh? Well, well, I shall have to go catless. Pack up those things at once, will you?’ ‘Very good, sir.’ Rogers hesitated, then advanced a little farther into the room. ‘You’ll excuse the liberty, sir, but if I was you, I shouldn’t take too much notice of anything Mr Rowland said this morning. He was at one of those city dinners last night, and –’ ‘Say no more,’ said George. ‘I understand.’ ‘And being inclined to gout –’ ‘I know, I know. Rather a strenuous evening for you, Rogers, with two of us, eh? But I’ve set my heart on distinguishing myself at Rowland’s Castle – the cradle of my historic race – that would go well in a speech, wouldn’t it? A wire to me there, or a discreet advertisement in the morning papers, will recall me at any time if a fricassée of veal is in preparation. And now – to Waterloo! – as Wellington said on the eve of the historic battle.’ Waterloo Station was not at its brightest and best that afternoon. Mr Rowland eventually discovered a train that would take him to his destination, but it was an undistinguished train, an unimposing train – a train that nobody seemed anxious to travel by. Mr Rowland had a first-class carriage to himself, up in the front of the train. A fog was descending in an indeterminate way over the metropolis, now it lifted, now it descended. The platform was deserted, and only the asthmatic breathing of the engine broke the silence. And then, all of a sudden, things began to happen with bewildering rapidity. A girl happened first. She wrenched open the door and jumped in, rousing Mr Rowland from something perilously near a nap, exclaiming as she did so: ‘Oh! hide me – oh! please hide me.’ George was essentially a man of action – his not to reason why, his but to do and die, etc. There is only one place to hide in a railway carriage – under the seat. In seven seconds the girl was bestowed there, and George’s suit-case, negligently standing on end, covered her retreat. None too soon. An infuriated face appeared at the carriage window. ‘My niece! You have her here. I want my niece.’ George, a little breathless, was reclining in the corner, deep in the sporting column of the evening paper, one-thirty edition. He laid it aside with the air of a man recalling himself from far away. ‘I beg your pardon, sir?’ he said politely. ‘My niece – what have you done with her?’ Acting on the policy that attack is always better than defence, George leaped into action. ‘What the devil do you mean?’ he cried, with a very creditable imitation of his own uncle’s manner. The other paused a minute, taken aback by this sudden fierceness. He was a fat man, still panting a little as though he had run some way. His hair was cut en brosse, and he had a moustache of the Hohenzollern persuasion. His accents were decidedly guttural, and the stiffness of his carriage denoted that he was more at home in uniform than out of it. George had the true-born Briton’s prejudice against foreigners – and an especial distaste for German-looking foreigners. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/agata-kristi/the-girl-in-the-train-an-agatha-christie-short-story/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. Безопасно оплатить книгу можно банковской картой Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, со счета мобильного телефона, с платежного терминала, в салоне МТС или Связной, через PayPal, WebMoney, Яндекс.Деньги, QIWI Кошелек, бонусными картами или другим удобным Вам способом.
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