Tuesday, August 3, 2010

20 MISS MA RPLE - Agatha Christie - short stories

'You know its name--Silent Grove. Tell, it is easy enough to see what it takes its name from.' "He pointed with his hand. That particular part of the country was bare enough--rocks, heather and bracken, but about a hundred yards from the house there was a densely planted grove of trees. "'That is a relic of very early days,' said Haydon. 'The trees have died and been replanted, but on the whole it has been kept very much as it used to be--perhaps in the time of the Phoenician settlers. Come and look at it.' "We all followed him. As we entered the grove of trees a curious oppression came over me. I think it was the silence. No birds seemed to nest in these trees. There was a feeling about it of desolation and horror. I saw Haydon looking at me with a curious smile. "'Any feeling about this place, Pender?' he asked me. 'Antagonism now? Or uneasiness?' "'I don't like it,' I said quietly. "'You are within your rights. This was a stronghold of one of the ancient enemies of your faith. This is the Grove of Astarte.' "'Astarte?' "'Astarte, or Ishtar, or Ashtoreth, or whatever you choose to call her. I prefer the Phoenician name of Astarte. There is, I believe, one known Grove of Astarte in this country--in the North on the Wall. I have no evidence, but I like to believe that we have a true and authentic Grove of Astarte here. Here, within the dense circle of trees, sacred rites were performed.' "'Sacred rites,' murmured Diana Ashley. Her eyes had a dreamy far-away look. 'What were they, I wonder?' "'Not very reputable by all accounts,' said Captain Rogers with a loud unmeaning laugh. 'Rather hot stuff, I imagine.' "Haydon paid no attention to him. "'In the centre of the Grove there should be a Temple,'


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