On the Thursday, he again seemed very unwell. He was scarcely able to go and meet the count. That evening, after his interview with his father, he went to his room looking extremely ill. Lubin wanted to run for the doctor: he forbade him to do so, or to mention to any one that he was not well.
Such was the substance of twenty large pages, which the tall clerk had covered with writing, without once turning his head to look at the witnesses who passed by in their fine livery.
M. Daburon managed to obtain this evidence in less than two hours. Though well aware of the importance of their testimony, all these servants were very voluble. The difficulty was, to stop them when they had once started. From all they said, it appeared that Albert was a very good master,—easily served, kind and polite to his servants. Wonderful to relate! there were found only three among them who did not appear perfectly delighted at the misfortune which had befallen the family. Two were greatly distressed. M. Lubin, although he had been an object of especial kindness, was not one of these.
The turn of the commissary of police had now come. In a few words, he gave an account of the arrest, already described by old Tabaret. He did not forget to mention the one word “Lost,” which had escaped Albert; to his mind, it was a confession. He then delivered all the articles seized in the Viscount de Commarin’s apartments.
The magistrate carefully examined these things, and compared them closely with the scraps of evidence gathered at La Jonchere. He soon appeared, more than ever, satisfied with the course he had taken.
He then placed all these material proofs upon his table, and covered them over with three or four large sheets of paper.
The day was far advanced; and M. Daburon had no more than sufficient time to examine the prisoner before night. He now remembered that he had tasted nothing since morning; and he sent hastily for a bottle of wine and some biscuits. It was not strength, however, that the magistrate needed; it was courage. All the while that he was eating and drinking, his thoughts kept repeating this strange sentence, “I am about to appear before the Viscount de Commarin.” At any other time, he would have laughed at the absurdity of the idea, but, at this moment, it seemed to him like the will of Providence.
“So be it,” said he to himself; “this is my punishment.”
And immediately he gave the necessary orders for Viscount Albert to be brought before him.
Albert scarcely noticed his removal from home to the seclusion of the prison. Snatched away from his painful thoughts by the harsh voice of the commissary, saying. “In the name of the law I arrest you,” his mind, completely upset, was a long time in recovering its equilibrium, Everything that followed appeared to him to float indistinctly in a thick mist, like those dream-scenes represented on the stage behind a quadruple curtain of gauze.