“I know the man for the marchioness,” he said at last.
“A young man whose modesty alone has kept him from distinguishing himself so far, although I know he is one of the best jurists at the bar, and an admirable speaker.”
“What is his name?”
“Manuel Folgat. I shall send him to you at once.”
Two hours later, M. Chapelain’s protege appeared at the house of the Boiscorans. He was a man of thirty-one or thirty-two, with large, wide-open eyes, whose whole appearance was breathing intelligence and energy.
The marquis was pleased with him, and after having told him all he knew about Jacques’s position, endeavored to inform him as to the people down at Sauveterre,—who would be likely to be friends, and who enemies, recommending to him, above all, to trust M. Seneschal, an old friend of the family, and a most influential man in that community.
“Whatever is humanly possible shall be done, sir,” said the lawyer.
That same evening, at fifteen minutes past eight, the Marchioness of Boiscoran and Manuel Folgat took their seats in the train for Orleans.
The railway which connects Sauveterre with the Orleans line enjoys a certain celebrity on account of a series of utterly useless curves, which defy all common sense, and which would undoubtedly be the source of countless accidents, if the trains were not prohibited from going faster than eight or ten miles an hour.
The depot has been built—no doubt for the greater convenience of travellers—at a distance of two miles from town, on a place where formerly the first banker of Sauveterre had his beautiful gardens. The pretty road which leads to it is lined on both sides with inns and taverns, on market-days full of peasants, who try to rob each other, glass in hand, and lips overflowing with protestations of honesty. On ordinary days even, the road is quite lively; for the walk to the railway has become a favorite promenade. People go out to see the trains start or come in, to examine the new arrivals, or to exchange confidences as to the reasons why Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so have made up their mind to travel.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when the train which brought the marchioness and Manuel Folgat at last reached Sauveterre. The former was overcome by fatigue and anxiety, having spent the whole night in discussing the chances for her son’s safety, and was all the more exhausted as the lawyer had taken care not to encourage her hopes.
For he also shared, in secret at least, M. Chapelain’s doubts. He, also, had said to himself, that a man like M. de Boiscoran is not apt to be arrested, unless there are strong reasons, and almost overwhelming proofs of his guilt in the hands of the authorities.
The train was slackening speed.
“If only Dionysia and her father,” sighed the marchioness, “have thought of sending a carriage to meet us.”