We ran back along the path as quickly as possible and into the little cottage. I rushed into the sitting room to find my wife leaning over Poirot who lay stilly, ever so horribly stilly, upon the sofa. For a brief, terrible moment I stared at him, unable to make out any heaving of his chest. Was he not breathing? Oh, for the love of heaven let him be breathing!
The Countess, with an expression of wild terror, ran from my side and fell down by her fiancé.
“No, no Hercule!” she cried with an ejaculation of terrible anguish. My wife jumped into action, wrapping her arms around the grieving woman.
“Shh, Vera, my dear,” she said quietly. “He’s still breathing, and Nikki’s run for the doctor. They’ll be back soon and everything will be alright.”
The Countess wept and my wife comforted her. The real horror of the thing seemed to now only fully dawn upon me, and I felt myself waver at the thought of losing him. But it was not myself wh