He had, whilst speaking, lighted a cigar. The honest man, victim of human iniquity, has not a firmer and more tranquil countenance.
“Justice does not know,” he said to the commissary, who was fumbling in all the drawers of the desk, “what irreparable damage she may cause by arresting so hastily a man who has charge of immense interests like me. It is the fortune of ten or twelve small capitalists that is put in jeopardy.”
Already the witnesses of the arrest had retired, one by one, to go and scatter the news along the Boulevard, and also to see what could be made out of it; for, at the bourse, news is money.
M. de Tregars and Maxence left also. As they passed the door,
“Don’t you say any thing about what I told you,” M. Saint Pavin recommended to them.
M. de Tregars made no answer. He had the contracted features and tightly-drawn lips of a man who is maturing a grave determination, which, once taken, will be irrevocable.
Once in the street, and when Maxence had opened the carriage-door,
“We are going to separate here,” he told him in that brief tone of voice which reveals a settled plan. “I know enough now to venture to call at M. de Thaller’s. There only shall I be able to see how to strike the decisive blow. Return to the Rue St. Gilles, and relieve your mother’s and sister’s anxiety. You shall see me during the evening, I promise you.”
And, without waiting for an answer, he jumped into the cab, which started off.
But it was not to the Rue St. Gilles that Maxence went. He was anxious, first, to see Mlle. Lucienne, to tell her the events of that day, the busiest of his existence; to tell her his discoveries, his surprises, his anxieties, and his hopes.
To his great surprise, he failed to find her at the Hotel des Folies. She had gone riding at three o’clock, M. Fortin told him, and had not yet returned; but she could not be much longer, as it was already getting dark. Maxence went out again then, to see if he could not meet her. He had walked a little way along the Boulevard, when, at some distance off, on the Place du Chateau d’Eau, he thought he noticed an unusual bustle. Almost immediately he heard shouts of terror. Frightened people were running in all directions; and right before him a carriage, going at full gallop, passed like a flash.
But, quick as it had passed, he had time to recognize Mlle. Lucienne, pale, and clinging desperately to the seat. Wild with fear, he started after it as fast as he could run. It was clear that the driver had no control over his horses. A policeman who tried to stop them was knocked down. Ten steps farther, the hind-wheel of the carriage, catching the wheel of a heavy wagon, broke to splinters; and Mlle. Lucienne was thrown into the street, whilst the driver fell over on the sidewalk.