The Clique of Gold eBook

Émile Gaboriau
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 498 pages of information about The Clique of Gold.

“Yes, that may be,” replied the lawyer; “although, in such matters, people generally do their own work.”

And, continuing his examination, he asked the accused,—­

“Who is this Justin Chevassat?”

“One of my friends.”

“A friend richer than yourself, I should think?”

“As to that—­why, yes; since he has always plenty of money in his pockets, dresses in the last fashion, and drives his carriage.”

“What is he doing?  What is his profession?”

“Ah! as to that, I know nothing about it.  I never asked him, and he never told me.  I once said to him, ’Do you know you look like a prodigiously lucky fellow?’ And he replied, ’Oh, not as much so as you think;’ but that is all.”

“Where does he live?”

“In Paris, Rue Louis, 39.”

“Do you write to him there?  For I dare say you have written to him since you have been in Saigon.”

“I send my letters to M. X. O. X. 88.”

It became evident now, that, so far from endeavoring to save his accomplices, Crochard, surnamed Bagnolet, would do all he could to aid justice in discovering them.  He began to show the system which the wretch was about to adopt,—­to throw all the responsibility and all the odium of the crime on the man who had hired him, and to appear the poor devil, succumbing to destitution when he was tempted and dazzled by such magnificent promises, that he had not the strength to resist.  The lawyer continued,—­

“Where and how did you make the acquaintance of this Justin Chevassat?”

“I made his acquaintance at the galleys.”

“Ah! that is becoming interesting.  And do you know for what crime he had been condemned?”

“For forgery, I believe, and also for theft.”

“And what was he doing before he was condemned?”

“He was employed by a banker, or perhaps as cashier in some large establishment.  At all events, he had money to handle; and it stuck to his fingers.”

“I am surprised, as you are so well informed with regard to this man’s antecedents, that you should know nothing of his present means of existence.”

“He has money, plenty of money; that is all I know.”

“Have you lost sight of him?”

“Why, yes.  Chevassat was set free long before I was.  I believe he was pardoned; and I had not met him for more than fifteen years.”

“How did you find him again?”

“Oh! by the merest chance, and a very bad chance for me; since, but for him, I would not be here.”

XXVI.

Never would a stranger who should have suddenly come into Daniel’s chamber, upon seeing Crochard’s attitude, have imagined that the wretch was accused of a capital crime, and was standing there before a magistrate, in presence of the man whom he had tried three times to assassinate.

Quite at home in the law, as far as it was studied at the galleys, he had instantly recognized that his situation was by no means so desperate as he had at first supposed; that, if the jury rendered a verdict of guilty of death, it would be against the instigator of the crime, and that he would probably get off with a few years’ penal servitude.

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The Clique of Gold from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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