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Émile Gaboriau
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 300 pages of information about The Champdoce Mystery.

“Nervous! and why, pray?”

“Do you not recollect what I said the other evening?  De Croisenois is a double-dyed scoundrel.”

Andre remained silent, and his friend, putting his arm affectionately through his, continued,—­

“Let us walk,” said he; “it is better than sitting down in the cafe.  I believe De Croisenois capable of anything.  He had the prospect before him of a large fortune,—­that of his brother George; but this he has already anticipated.  A man in a position like this is not to be trifled with.”

“I do not fear him.”

“But I do.  I am, however, a little relieved by the fact that he has never seen you.”

The painter shook his head.

“Not only has he seen me, but I half believe that he suspects my designs.”

“Impossible!”

“But I am sure that I have been followed to-day.  I have no actual proof, but still I am fully convinced that it was so.”

And Andre recounted all that had occurred during the day.

“You are certainly being watched,” answered De Breulh, “and every step that you take will be known to your enemies, and at this very moment perhaps eyes are upon us.”

As he spoke he glanced uneasily around; but it was quite dark, and he could see no one.

“We will give the spies a little gentle exercise,” said he, “and if we dine together they will find it hard to discover the place.”

De Breulh’s coachman was dozing on the driving-seat.  His master aroused him, and whispered some order in his ear.  The two young men then got in, and the carriage started at a quick pace.

“What do you think of this expedient?” asked De Breulh.  “We shall go at this pace for the next hour.  We will then alight at the corner of the Chaussee d’Autin, and be free for the rest of the night, and those who wish to follow us to-night must have good eyes and legs.”

All came to pass as De Breulh had arranged; but as he jumped out he saw a dark form slip from behind the carriage and mingle with the crowd on the Boulevard.

“By heavens,” said he; “that was a man.  I thought that I was throwing a spy off the track, and I was in reality only treating him to a drive.”

To make sure, he took off his glove and felt the springs of the carriage.

“See,” said he, “they are still warm from the contact with a human body.”

The young painter was silent, but all was now explained:  while he jumped from the cab, his tracker had been carried away upon it.  This discovery saddened the dinner, and a little after ten Andre left his friend and returned home.

CHAPTER XXVI.

MASCARIN MOVES.

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