The marquis seemed to be amazed.
“That is unheard of!” he said.
And, when his wife had finished, he added,—
“That was the reason why Jacques was so very angry when you spoke of inviting the Countess Claudieuse, and why he told you, that, if he saw her enter at one door, he would walk out of the other. We did not understand his aversion.”
“Alas! it was not aversion. Jacques only obeyed at that time the cunning lessons given him by the countess.”
In less than one minute the most contradictory resolutions seemed to flit across the marquis’s face. He hesitated, and at last he said,—
“Whatever can be done to make up for my inaction, I will do. I will go to Sauveterre. Jacques must be saved. M. de Margeril is all-powerful. Go to him. I permit it. I beg you will do it.”
The eyes of the marchioness filled with tears, hot tears, the first she had shed since the beginning of this scene.
“Do you not see,” she asked, “that what you wish me to do is now impossible? Every thing, yes, every thing in the world but that. But Jacques and I—we are innocent. God will have pity on us. M. Folgat will save us.”
M. Folgat was already at work. He had confidence in his cause, a firm conviction of the innocence of his client, a desire to solve the mystery, a love of battle, and an intense thirst for success: all these motives combined to stimulate the talents of the young advocate, and to increase his activity.
And, above all this, there was a mysterious and indefinable sentiment with which Dionysia had inspired him; for he had succumbed to her charms, like everybody else. It was not love, for he who says love says hope; and he knew perfectly well that altogether and forever Dionysia belonged to Jacques. It was a sweet and all-powerful sentiment, which made him wish to devote himself to her, and to count for something in her life and in her happiness.
It was for her sake that he had sacrificed all his business, and forgotten his clients, in order to stay at Sauveterre. It was for her sake, above all, that he wished to save Jacques.
He had no sooner arrived at the station, and left the Marchioness de Boiscoran in old Anthony’s care, than he jumped into a cab, and had himself driven to his house. He had sent a telegram the day before; and his servant was waiting for him. In less than no time he had changed his clothes. Immediately he went back to his carriage, and went in search of the man, who, he thought, was most likely to be able to fathom this mystery.
This was a certain Goudar, who was connected with the police department in some capacity or other, and at all events received an income large enough to make him very comfortable. He was one of those agents for every thing whom the police keep employed for specially delicate operations, which require both tact and keen scent, an intrepidity beyond all doubt, and imperturbable self-possession. M. Folgat had had opportunities of knowing and appreciating him in the famous case of the Mutual Discount Society.