“That was all a mistake,” I returned deliberately. “I came merely to look after his interest?”
“Interest! Why a dead man hav’ interest?”
“Do you mean Philip Henley is dead?”
“You pretend not know? By Gar, eet queer. Vell, I tell you, M’sieur. Ze hole back ov ze picture; I lie there one night an’ leesten, week, ten days ago. Ze Capitaine talk with Sallie. He hav’ letter from North—one, two sheet paper—an’ eet tell heem how eet all vas. Someone write heem—I link maybe Pierre Vonique who went way long time. No matter; vat he told was zat M’sieur Philip die—die queek frum accident. Nevah speak, an’ when zey pick heem up, zar was noddin’ in hees pocket. See, M’sieur! He vas robbed. Vonique he hear about eet, an’ fin’ ze body. No one know who ze man is, but Vonique know. To prove eet he send ze ring—ze signet ring—off ze finger. Zen he write, ‘Look out, someone has ze papers. Watch who comes.’ Zat vas true, M’sieur.”
I hung on his words, fascinated, never doubting, the very thought of her freedom obscuring all else. It was only as he stopped speaking, and resumed his meal, that I gained control of my voice. The affair was clear enough now, except for some few corroborative details.
“And someone did come, Broussard?”
“Oui, damn queek—a fellow with a letter from Philip; eet was sign hees name, hees handwrite, appoint heem overseer.”
“And what became of him?”
The Creole shrugged his shoulders.
“’T is not my business, M’sieur. He go way somewhere queek. Maybe he not like ze place.”
The dead face of the bearded man in the rear room rose before me. But Broussard went on.
“Zen you came, M’sieur, ’long wiz ze girl. Ze Capitaine he laugh, eet was so easy. Why ze girl, M’sieur?”
“Philip Henley was married.”
“Non, non, impossible; eet cannot be shown. ’T is not of ze record. Ze Capitaine not ’fraid any more; he just play wiz you like ze cat wiz ze mouse. He know Philip dead; he has ze proof, an’ now he breaks ze will, an’ gets ze monies. Ze damn dog rich now; zen he be more rich.”
“Do you know an executor of the will named Neale—P. B. Neale?”
“Who is he? What does he look like?”
“He vas a planter two mile west Carrollton. I see heem maybe ten days ago—leetle short man wif bald head.”
He poured out another drink of brandy, and, downing it, pushed back his chair.
“By Gar, I talk too mooch, maybe,” he said, yawning. “But eet make no dif. Ze Capitaine he cop ze monies just ze same, an’ eet better you know. Now I turn in an’ sleep.”
He crossed the cabin to his stateroom, and closed the door.