Tuesday, August 3, 2010

THE IDOL HOUSE OF ASTARTE :2I - Agatha Christie - short stories

he said. 'I can't run to Temples, but I have indulged in a little fancy of my own.' "We had at that moment stepped out into a little clearing in the centre of the trees. In the middle of it was something not unlike a summer-house made of stone. Diana Ashley looked inquiringly at Haydon. "'I call it The Idol House,' he said. 'It is the Idol House of Astarte.' "He led the way up to it. Inside, on a rude ebony pillar, there reposed a curious little image representing a woman with crescent horns, seated on a lion. "'Astarte of the Phoenicians,' said Haydon, 'the Goddess of the Moon.' "'The Goddess of the Moon,' cried Diana. 'Oh, do let us have a wild orgy tonight. Fancy dress. And we will come out here in the moonlight and celebrate the rites of Astarte.' "I made a sudden movement and Elliot Haydon, Richard's cousin, turned quickly to me. "'You don't like all this, do you, Padre?' he said. "'No,' I said gravely, 'I don't.' "He looked at me curiously. 'But it is only tomfoolery. Dick can't know that this really is a sacred grove. It is just a fancy of his; he likes to play with the idea. And anyway, if it were--' "'If it were?' "'Well--' he laughed uncomfortably. 'You don't believe in that sort of thing, do you? You, a parson.' "'I am not sure that as a parson I ought not to believe in it.' "'But that sort of thing is all finished and done with.' "'I am not so sure,' I said musingly. 'I only know this: I am not as a rule a sensitive man to atmosphere, but ever since I entered this grove of trees I have felt a curious impression and sense of evil and menace all around me.' "He glanced uneasily over his shoulder.


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