The Mystery of Orcival eBook

Émile Gaboriau
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 394 pages of information about The Mystery of Orcival.
affair.  It must have been, somehow, very damaging to one or the other.  To whom?  To both, or only the count?  Here I am reduced to conjectures.  It is certain that it was a menace—­capable of being executed at any moment—­suspended over the head of him or them concerned by it.  Madame de Tremorel surely regarded this paper either as a security, or as a terrible arm which put her husband at her mercy.  It was surely to deliver himself from this perpetual menace that the count killed his wife.”

The logic was so clear, the last words brought the evidence out so lucidly and forcibly, that his hearers were struck with admiration.  They both cried: 

“Very good!”

“Now,” resumed M. Lecoq, “from the various elements which have served to form our conviction, we must conclude that the contents of this letter, if it can be found, will clear away our last doubts, will explain the crime, and will render the assassin’s precautions wholly useless.  The count, therefore, must do everything in the world, must attempt the impossible, not to leave this danger behind him.  His preparations for flight ended, Hector, in spite of his deadly peril, of the speeding time, of the coming day, instead of flying recommences with more desperation than ever his useless search.  Again he goes through all the furniture, the books, the papers—­in vain.  Then he determines to search the second story, and armed with his hatchet, goes up to it.  He has already attacked a bureau, when he hears a cry in the garden.  He runs to the window—­ what does he see?  Philippe and old Bertaud are standing on the river-bank under the willows, near the corpse.  Can you imagine his immense terror?  Now, there’s not a second to lose—­he has already delayed too long.  The danger is near, terrible.  Daylight has come, the crime is discovered, they are coming, he sees himself lost beyond hope.  He must fly, fly at once, at the peril of being seen, met, arrested.  He throws the hatchet down violently—­it cuts the floor.  He rushes down, slips the bank-notes in his pocket, seizes Guespin’s torn and smeared vest, which he will throw into the river from the bridge, and saves himself by the garden.  Forgetting all caution, confused, beside himself, covered with blood, he runs, clears the ditch, and it is he whom old Bertaud sees making for the forest of Mauprevoir, where he intends to arrange the disorder of his clothes.  For the moment he is safe.  But he leaves behind him this letter, which is, believe me, a formidable witness, which will enlighten justice and will betray his guilt and the perfidy of his projects.  For he has not found it, but we will find it; it is necessary for us to have it to defeat Monsieur Domini, and to change our doubts into certainty.”


A long silence followed the detective’s discourse.  Perhaps his hearers were casting about for objections.  At last Dr. Gendron spoke: 

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The Mystery of Orcival from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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