“Well, she evidently knows how to win money at the tables, mother,” said the girl, lifting her clear blue eyes to those of her lover.
“Yes. But I wonder what the scandal is all about?” said the widow of the great engineer.
“Oh! don’t trouble to inquire Lady Ranscomb,” Hugh hastened to remark. “One hears scandal on every hand in Monte Carlo.”
“Yes. I suppose so,” replied the elder woman, and then the subject was dropped.
So the ugly affair was being rumoured. It caused Hugh a good deal of apprehension, for he feared that his name would be associated with that of the mysterious Mademoiselle. Evidently one or other of the servants at the Villa Amette had been indiscreet.
At that moment, in his private room at the bureau of police down in Monaco, Superintendent Ogier was carefully perusing a dossier of official papers which had been brought to him by the archivist.
Between his thin lips was a long, thin, Swiss cigar—his favorite smoke—and with his gold-rimmed pince-nez poised upon his aquiline nose he was reading a document which would certainly have been of considerable interest to Hugh Henfrey and his friend Walter Brock could they have seen it.
Upon the pale yellow paper were many lines of typewriting in French—a carbon copy evidently.
It was headed: “Republique Francaise. Department of Herault. Prefecture of Police. Bureau of the Director of Police. Reference Number 20197.B.,” and was dated nearly a year before.
“Copy of an ‘information’ in the archives of the Prefecture of the Department of Herault concerning the woman Marie Mignot, or Leullier, now passing under the name of Yvonne Ferad and living at the Villa Amette at Monte Carlo.
“The woman in question was born in 1884 at Number 45 Rue des Etuves, in Montpellier, and was the daughter of one Doctor Rigaud, a noted toxicologist of the Faculty of Medicine, and curator of the University Library. At the age of seventeen, after her father’s death, she became a school teacher at a small school in the Rue Morceau, and at nineteen married Charles Leullier, a good-looking young scoundrel who posed as being well off, but who was afterwards proved to be an expert international thief, a member of a gang of dangerous thieves who committed robberies in the European express trains.
“This fact was unknown to the girl, therefore at first all went smoothly, until the wife discovered the truth and left him. She then joined the chorus of a revue at the Jardin de Paris, where she met a well-to-do Englishman named Bryant. The pair went to England, where she married him, and they resided in the county of Northampton. Six months later Bryant died, leaving her a large sum of money. In the meantime Leullier had been arrested by the Italian police for a daring robbery with violence in a train traveling between Milan and Turin and been sentenced to ten years on the penal island of Gorgona. His wife, hearing of this from an Englishman named Houghton, who, though she was unaware of it, was following the same profession as her husband, returned to France. She rented an apartment in Paris, and afterwards played at Monte Carlo, where she won a considerable sum, with the proceeds of which she purchased the Villa Amette, which she now occupies each season.”