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Émile Gaboriau
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Within an Inch of His Life.

“You suspect them, do you?  I suspected them at once.  Still I pretended to turn Martha’s whole story into a joke, and tried to explain to her how the darkness made us liable to have all kinds of optical illusions; so that when I left, and a servant was sent with a candle to light me on my way, the countess was quite sure that I had no suspicion.  I had none; but I had more than that.  As soon as I entered the garden, therefore, I dropped a piece of money which I had kept in my hand for the purpose.  Of course I set to work looking for it at the foot of the tree nearest to the parlor-window, while the servant helped with his candle.  Well, M. Folgat, I can assure you that it was not a ghost that had been walking about under the trees; and, if the footmarks which I found there were made by a statue, that statue must have enormous feet, and wear huge iron-shod shoes.”

The young advocate was prepared for this.  He said,—­

“There is no doubt:  the scene had a witness.”

XXX.

“What scene?  What witness?  That is what I wanted to hear from you, and why I was waiting so impatiently for you,” said Dr. Seignebos to M. Folgat.  “I have seen and stated the results:  now it is for you to give me the cause.”

Nevertheless, he did not seem to be in the least surprised by what the young advocate told him of Jacques’s desperate enterprise, and of the tragic result.  As soon as he had heard it all, he exclaimed,—­

“I thought so:  yes, upon my word!  By racking my brains all night long, I had very nearly guessed the whole story.  And who, in Jacques’s place, would not have been desirous to make one last effort?  But certainly fate is against him.”

“Who knows?” said M. Folgat.  And, without giving the doctor time to reply, he went on,—­

“In what are our chances worse than they were before?  In no way.  We can to-day, just as well as we could yesterday, lay our hands upon those proofs which we know do exist, and which would save us.  Who tells us that at this moment Sir Francis Burnett and Suky Wood may not have been found?  Is your confidence in Goudar shaken?”

“Oh, as to that, not at all!  I saw him this morning at the hospital, when I paid my usual visit; and he found an opportunity to tell me that he was almost certain of success.”

“Well?”

“I am persuaded Cocoleu will speak.  But will he speak in time?  That is the question.  Ah, if we had but a month’s time, I should say Jacques is safe.  But our hours are counted, you know.  The court will be held next week.  I am told the presiding judge has already arrived, and M. Gransiere has engaged rooms at the hotel.  What do you mean to do if nothing new occurs in the meantime?”

“M.  Magloire and I will obstinately adhere to our plan of defence.”

“And if Count Claudieuse keeps his promise, and declares that he recognized Jacques in the act of firing at him?”

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