Within an Inch of His Life eBook

Émile Gaboriau
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 617 pages of information about Within an Inch of His Life.

And drawing his two friends aside, as far from the wicket as he could, he said to them in a low and distressed voice,—­

“A thought has occurred to me, gentlemen, which I think I ought to mention to you.  It cannot be but that the Countess Claudieuse must be suffering terribly since I am in prison.  However, sure she may be of having left no trace behind her that could betray her, she must tremble at the idea that I may, after all, tell the truth in self-defence.  She would deny, I know, and she is so sure of her prestige, that she knows my accusation would not injure her marvellous reputation.  Nevertheless, she cannot but shrink from the scandal.  Who knows if she might not give us the means to escape from the trial, to avoid such exposure?  Why might not one of you gentleman make the attempt?”

M. Folgat was a man of quick resolution.

“I will try, if you will give me a line of introduction.”

Jacque immediately sat down, and wrote,—­

“I have told my counsel, M. Folgat, every thing.  Save me, and I swear to you eternal silence.  Will you let me perish, Genevieve, when you know I am innocent?

“JACQUES.”  “Is that enough?” he asked, handing the lawyer the note.

“Yes; and I promise you I will see the Countess Claudieuse within the next forty-eight hours.”

Blangin was becoming impatient; and the two advocates had to leave the prison.  As they crossed the New-Market Square, they noticed, not far from them, a wandering musician, who was followed by a number of boys and girls.

It was a kind of minstrel, dressed in a sort of garment which was no longer an overcoat and had not yet assumed the shape of a shortcoat.  He was strumming on a wretched fiddle; but his voice was good, and the ballad he sang had the full flavor of the local accent:—­

“In the spring, mother Redbreast
Made her nest in the bushes,
The good lady! 
Made her nest in the bushes,
The good lady!”

Instinctively M. Folgat was fumbling in his pocket for a few cents, when the musician came up to him, held out his hat as if to ask alms, and said,—­

“You do not recognize me?”

The advocate started.

“You here!” he said.

“Yes, I myself.  I came this morning.  I was watching for you; for I must see you this evening at nine o’clock.  Come and open the little garden-gate at M. de Chandore’s for me.”

And, taking up his fiddle again, he wandered off listlessly, singing with his clear voice,—­

     “And a few, a few weeks later,
     She had a wee, a wee bit birdy.”


The great lawyer of Sauveterre had been far more astonished at the unexpected and extraordinary meeting than M. Folgat.  As soon as the wandering minstrel had left them, he asked his young colleague,—­

“You know that individual?”

Project Gutenberg
Within an Inch of His Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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