She was carried to her bed; and in less than ten minutes she was dead: she had never uttered another word.
Henrietta and Mrs. Bertolle were kneeling by the side of the bed, and the count was sobbing in a corner of the room, when a police-sergeant entered.
“The woman Brian is not to be found,” he said; “but M. Elgin has been arrested. Where is the Countess Ville-Handry?”
Daniel pointed at the body.
“Dead?” said the officer. “Then I have nothing more to do here.”
He was going out, when Malgat stopped him.
“I beg your pardon, sir,” he said. “I wish to state that I am not Ravinet, dealer in curiosities; but that my true name is Malgat, formerly cashier of the Mutual Discount Society, sentenced in contumaciam to ten years’ penal servitude. I am ready to be tried, and place myself in your hands.”
The magistrate from Saigon saw his hopes fulfilled, and, thanks to his promotion, was commissioned to continue the trial which he had so ably commenced. After the jury had brought in their verdict of guilty, he sentenced Justin Chevassat, alias Maxime de Brevan, to penal servitude for life.
Crochard, surnamed Bagnolet, got off with twenty years; and the two Chevassats escaped with ten years’ solitary confinement.
The trial of Thomas Elgin, which came on during the same term, revealed a system of swindling which was so strikingly bold and daring, that it appeared at first sight almost incredible. It excited especial surprise when it was found out that he had issued false shares, which he made Count Ville-Handry buy in, so as to ruin, by the same process, the count as an individual, and the company over which he presided. He was sent for twenty years to the penitentiary.
These scandalous proceedings had one good result. They saved the poor count; but they revealed, at the same time, such prodigious unfitness for business, that people began to suspect how dependent he must have been on his first wife, Henrietta’s mother. He remained, however, relatively poor. They had made Thomas Elgin refund, and had even obtained possession of Sarah Brandon’s fortune; but the count was called upon to make amends for his want of business capacity. When he had satisfied all his creditors, and handed over to his daughter a part of her maternal inheritance, he had hardly more than six thousand dollars a year left.
Of the whole “band,” Mrs. Brian alone escaped.
Malgat, having surrendered to justice with the prescribed limits of time to purge himself, was tried, and the whole process begun anew. But the trial was naturally a mere form. His own lawyer had very little to say. The state attorney himself made his defense. After having fully explained the circumstances which had led the poor cashier to permit a crime, rather than to commit it himself, the attorney said to the jury,—