“And do you know where he is hid?”
“In the Rue St. Lazare, of course: in the apartment that I hired two weeks ago.”
In a voice trembling with the excitement of almost certain success, “Would you consent to take me there?” asked M. de Tregars.
“Whenever you like,—to-morrow.”
As he left Mlle. Lucienne’s room,
“There is nothing more to keep me at the Hotel des Folies,” said the commissary of police to Maxence. “Every thing possible will be done, and well done, by M. de Tregars. I am going home, therefore; and I am going to take you with me. I have a great deal to do and you’ll help me.”
That was not exactly true; but he feared, on the part of Maxence, some imprudence which might compromise the success of M. de Tregars’ mission.
He was trying to think of every thing to leave as little as possible to chance; like a man who has seen the best combined plans fail for want of a trifling precaution.
Once in the yard, he opened the door of the lodge where the honorable Fortins, man and wife, were deliberating, and exchanging their conjectures, instead of going to bed. For they were wonderfully puzzled by all those events that succeeded each other, and anxious about all these goings and comings.
“I am going home,” the commissary said to them; “but, before that, listen to my instructions. You will allow no one, you understand, —no one who is not known to you, to go up to Mlle. Lucienne’s room. And remember that I will admit of no excuse, and that you must not come and tell me afterwards, ’It isn’t our fault, we can’t see everybody that comes in,’ and all that sort of nonsense.”
He was speaking in that harsh and imperious tone of which police-agents have the secret, when they are addressing people who have, by their conduct, placed themselves under their dependence.
“We are going to close our front-door,” replied the estimable hotel-keepers. “We will comply strictly with your orders.”
“I trust so; because, if you should disobey me, I should hear it, and the result would be a serious trouble to you. Besides your hotel being unmercifully closed up, you would find yourselves implicated in a very bad piece of business.”
The most ardent curiosity could be read in Mme. Fortin’s little eyes.
“I understood at once,” she began, “that something extraordinary was going on.”
But the commissary interrupted her,
“I have not done yet. It may be that to-night or to-morrow some one will call and inquire how Mlle. Lucienne is.”
“You will answer that she is as bad as possible; and that she has neither spoken a word, nor recovered her senses, since the accident; and that she will certainly not live through the day.”
The effort which Mme. Fortin made to remain silent gave, better than any thing else, an idea of the terror with which the commissary inspired her.