Vandeloup saw the paragraph which gave this information, and it disturbed him very much.
‘Curse that book of Prevol’s,’ he said to himself, as he threw down the paper: ‘it will put them on the right track, and then—well,’ observed M. Vandeloup, sententiously, ’they say danger sharpens a man’s wits; it’s lucky for me if it does.’
DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND
M. Vandeloup’s rooms in Clarendon Street, East Melbourne, were very luxuriously and artistically furnished, in perfect accordance with the taste of their owner, but as the satiated despot is depicted by the moralists as miserable amid all his splendour, so M. Gaston Vandeloup, though not exactly miserable, was very ill at ease. The inquest had been adjourned until the Government analyst, assisted by Dr Gollipeck, had examined the stomach, and according to a paragraph in the evening paper, some strange statements, implicating various people, would be made next day. It was this that made Vandeloup so uneasy, for he knew that Dr Gollipeck would trace a resemblance between the death of Selina Sprotts in Melbourne and Adele Blondet in Paris, and then the question would arise how the poison used in the one case came to be used in the other. If that question arose it would be all over with him, for he would not dare to face any examination, and as discretion is the better part of valour, M. Vandeloup decided to leave the country. With his usual foresight he had guessed that Dr Gollipeck would be mixed up in the affair, so had drawn his money out of all securities in which it was invested, sent most of it to America to a New York bank, reserving only a certain sum for travelling purposes. He was going to leave Melbourne next morning by the express train for Sydney, and there would catch the steamer to San Francisco via New Zealand and Honolulu. Once in America and he would be quite safe, and as he now had plenty of money he could enjoy himself there. He had given up the idea of marrying Madame Midas, as he dare not run the risk of remaining in Australia, but then there were plenty of heiresses in the States he could marry if he chose, so to give her up was a small matter. Another thing, he would be rid of Pierre Lemaire, for once let him put the ocean between him and the dumb man he would take care they never met again. Altogether, M. Vandeloup had taken all precautions to secure his own safety with his usual promptitude and coolness, but notwithstanding that another twelve hours would see him on his way to Sydney en route for the States, he felt slightly uneasy, for as he often said, ‘There are always possibilities.’