Fitzgerald eyed Breitmann thoughtfully. The whole countenance of the man had changed. Indeed, it resembled another face he had seen somewhere; and it grew in his mind, slowly but surely, as dawn grows, that Breitmann was not wholly ignorant in this affair. He had not known who had been working at night; but that dizziness of the moment gone, the haste in opening the case, the eagerness of the search last night; all these, to Fitzgerald’s mind, pointed to one thing: Breitmann knew.
“I shall watch him.”
Laura read the documents to herself first. Here and there was a word which confused her; but she gathered the full sense of the remarkable story. Her eyes shone like winter stars.
“Father!” she cried, dropping the papers, and spreading out her arms. “Father, it’s the greatest thing in the world. A treasure!”
“What’s that, Laura?” straining his ears.
“A treasure, hidden by the soldiers of Napoleon; put together, franc by franc, in the hope of some day rescuing the emperor from St. Helena. It is romance! A real treasure of two millions of francs!” clapping her hands.
“Where?” It was Breitmann who spoke. His voice was not clear.
“Corsica!” The admiral laughed like a child. Right under his very nose all these years, and he cruising all over the chart! “Laura, dear, there’s no reason in the world why we shouldn’t take the yacht and go and dig up this pretty sum.”
“No reason in the world!” But the secretary did not pronounce these words aloud.
“A telegram for you, sir,” said the butler, handing the yellow envelope to Fitzgerald.
“Will you pardon me?” he said drawing off to a window.
“Go ahead,” said the admiral, fingering the medal of the Legion of Honor.
“Have made inquiries. Your man never applied to any of the metropolitan dailies. Few ever heard of him.”
He jammed the message into a pocket, and returned to the group about the case. Where should he begin? Breitmann had lied.
PREPARATIONS AND COGITATIONS
The story itself was brief enough, but there was plenty of husk to the grain. The old expatriate was querulous, long-winded, not niggard with his ink when he cursed the English and damned the Prussians; and he obtained much gratification in jabbing his quill-bodkin into what he termed the sniveling nobility of the old regime. Dog of dogs! was he not himself noble? Had not his parents and his brothers gone to the guillotine with the rest of them? But he, thank God, had no wooden mind; he could look progress and change in the face and follow their bent. And now, all the crimes and heroisms of the Revolution, all the glorious pageantry of the empire, had come to nothing. A Bourbon, thick-skulled, sordid,