There are certain humiliating moments in the lives of the greatest of men. It has been said that no man is a hero to his valet. To that may be added that few men are heroes to themselves at the moment of visiting their dentist.
Hercule Poirot was morbidly conscious of this fact. He was a man who was accustomed to have a good opinion of himself. He was Hercule Poirot, superior in most ways to other men. But in this moment he was unable to feel superior in any way whatever. His morale was down to zero. He was just that ordinary, craven figure, a man afraid of the dentist’s chair.
‘Rinse, please,’ said Mr Morley. ‘It’s the answer, you know, to their Hitlers and Mussolinis and all the rest of them,’ went on Mr Morley, as he proceeded to tooth number two. ‘We don’t make a fuss over here. Look how democratic our King and Queen are. Of course, a Frenchman like you, accustomed to the Republican idea—’
‘I ah nah a Frahah—I ah—ah a Benyon.’