“The commission is done,” he said, in that confident tone of a man who thinks he has successfully accomplished a difficult task.
“You know the name of the individual who sought a quarrel with M. de Tregars?”
“His name is Corvi. He is well known in all the tables d’hote, where there are women, and where they deal a healthy little game after dinner. I know him well too. He is a bad fellow, who passes himself off for a former superior officer in the Italian army.”
“He lives at Rue de la Michodiere, in a furnished house. I went there. The porter told me that my man had just gone out with an ill-looking individual, and that they must be in a little cafe on the corner of the next street. I ran there, and found my two fellows drinking beer.”
“Won’t they give us the slip?”
“No danger of that: I have got them fixed.”
“How is that?”
“It is an idea of mine. I just thought, ‘Suppose they put off?’ And at once I went to notify some policemen, and I returned to station myself near the cafe. It was just closing up. My two fellows came out: I picked a quarrel with them; and now they are in the station-house, well recommended.”
The commissary knit his brows.
“That’s almost too much zeal,” he murmured. “Well, what’s done is done. Did you make any inquiries about the Saint Pavin and Jottras matter?”
“I had no time, it was too late. You forget, perhaps, sir, that it is nearly two o’clock.”
Just as he got through, the secretary who had been sent to the Rue de la Pepiniere came in.
“Well?” inquired the commissary, not without evident anxiety.
“I waited for Mme. de Thaller over an hour,” he said. “When she came home, I gave her the letter. She read it; and, in presence of a number of her servants, she handed me these two thousand francs.”
At the sight of the bank notes, the commissary jumped to his feet.
“Now we have it!” he exclaimed. “Here is the proof that we wanted.”
It was after four o’clock when M. de Tregars was at last permitted to return home. He had minutely, and at length, arranged every thing with the commissary: he had endeavored to anticipate every eventuality. His line of conduct was perfectly well marked out, and he carried with him the certainty that on the day which was about to dawn the strange game that he was playing must be finally won or lost. When he reached home,
“At last, here you are, sir!” exclaimed his faithful servant.
It was doubtless anxiety that had kept up the old man all night; but so absorbed was Marius’s mind, that he scarcely noticed the fact.
“Did any one call in my absence?” he asked.
“Yes, sir. A gentleman called during the evening, M. Costeclar, who appeared very much vexed not to find you in. He stated that he came on a very important matter that you would know all about: and he requested me to ask you to wait for him to-morrow, that is to-day, by twelve o’clock.”