“Never mind that. What did you do then?”
“After the beer we had some wine, then some beer again, then some punch, then some more wine—the gardener had his pockets full of money. He was very tipsy by eleven and invited me to go and have a dance with him at the Batignolles. I refused, and asked him to escort me back to my mistress at the upper end of the Champs Elysees. We went out of the cafe and walked up the Rue de Rivoli, stopping every now and then for more wine and beer. By two o’clock the fellow was so far gone that he fell like a lump on a bench near the Arc de Triomphe, where he went to sleep; and there I left him.”
“Well, where did you go?”
“What has become of the package?”
“Oh, I intended to throw it into the Seine, as Hector wished, but I forgot it; you see, I had drunk almost as much as the gardener— so I carried it back home with me, and it is in my room now.”
“Have you opened it?”
“Well—what do you think?”
“What did it contain?”
“A hammer, two other tools and a large knife.”
Guespin’s innocence was now evident, and the detective’s foresight was realized.
“Guespin’s all right,” said M. Plantat. “But we must know—”
M. Lecoq interrupted him; he knew now all he wished. Jenny could tell him nothing more, so he suddenly changed his tone from a wheedling one to abrupt severity.
“My fine young woman,” said he, “you have saved an innocent man, but you must repeat what you have just said to the judge of instruction at Corbeil. And as you might lose yourself on the way, I’ll give you a guide.”
He went to the window and opened it; perceiving Goulard on the sidewalk, he cried out to him:
“Goulard, come up here.”
He turned to the astonished Jenny, who was so frightened that she dared not either question him or get angry, and said:
“Tell me how much Tremorel paid you for the service you rendered him.”
“Ten thousand francs; but it is my due, I swear to you; for he promised it to me long ago, and owed it to me.”
“Very good; it can’t be taken away from you.” He added, pointing out Goulard who entered just then: “Go with this man to your room, take the package which Guespin brought you, and set out at once for Corbeil. Above all, no tricks, Miss—or beware of me!”
Mme. Charman came in just in time to see Jenny leave the room with Goulard.
“Lord, what’s the matter?” she asked M. Lecoq.
“Nothing, my dear Madame, nothing that concerns you in the least. And so, thank you and good-evening; we are in a great hurry.”
When M. Lecoq was in a hurry he walked fast. He almost ran down the Rue Notre Dame de Lorette, so that Plantat had great difficulty in keeping up with him; and as he went along he pursued his train of reflection, half aloud, so that his companion caught here and there a snatch of it.