All that forenoon, and quite late into the next day, I was left brooding and chafing at my misfortune, self-inflicted I will confess, but not the less irksome to bear. I had almost persuaded myself that I should be left to languish here quite friendless and forgotten, when the luck turned suddenly, and daylight broke in to disperse my gloomy forebodings. Several visitors came, claiming to see me, and were presently admitted in turn. First came the Consul, and with him an intelligent Swiss advocate, who declared he would soon put matters right. It would only be a question of a fine, and binding me over to good behaviour on bail. Could I find bail? That was the only question. And while we still discussed it we found amongst the callers a respectable and well-to-do watchmaker from Geneva, who had been entreated (no doubt from Becke’s) to do all that was needful on my behalf. I might be of good cheer; there was no reasonable doubt but that I should be released, but hardly before next day.
A second night in durance was not much to my taste, but I bore it with as much resignation as I could command; and when next morning I appeared before the Court, I paid my fine of one hundred francs with hearty good-will. I assured my bail, the friendly watchmaker, that he need not have the smallest fear I should again commit myself.
My spirits rose with my release, but there was still more than freedom to encourage my light-heartedness. I heard now and definitely of my fugitive lady. Falloon had come upon undoubted evidence that she had never left the great Jura-Simplon station, but had remained quietly out of sight in the “ladies’ waiting-room” until the next train left for Geneva. This was at 1.35 P.M., and she must have slipped away right under my eyes into the very train which had brought me back from Vevey. So near are the chances encountered in such a profession as ours.
Falloon had only ascertained this positively on the second day of my detention, but with it the information that only two first-class tickets, both for Geneva, had been issued by that train. To make it all sure he had taken the precaution to ask at all the stations along the line at which the train had stopped, seven in number, and had learned that no persons answering to my ladies had alighted at any of them. So my search was carried now to Geneva, and it might be possible to come upon my people there, although I was not oversanguine. I knew something of the place. I had been there more than once, had stayed some time, and I knew too well that it is a city with many issues, many facilities for travelling, and, as they had so much reason for moving on rapidly, the chances were that they would have already escaped me.
However, with Falloon I proceeded to Geneva without delay, and began a systematic search. We made exhaustive inquiries at the Cornavin station, where we arrived from Lausanne, and heard something.