"What friend," inquired the commissary of police.

"You know her very well, sir. It is that poor girl who had takenme home with her at Batignolles when I left the hospital, who cameto my assistance during the Commune, and whom you helped to getout of the Versailles prisons.

"Do you know what has become of her?""Only since yesterday, when I received a letter from her, a veryfriendly letter. She writes that she has found money to set up adressmaking establishment, and that she is relying upon me to beher forewoman. She is going to open in the Rue St. Lazare; but,in the mean time, she is stopping in the Rue du Cirque."M. de Tregars and Maxence had started slightly.

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"What is your friend's name? " they inquired at once.

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Not being aware of the particulars of the two young men's visit tothe Rue du Cirque, the commissary of police could not understandthe cause of their agitation.

"I think," he said, "that it would hardly be proper now to send forthat girl.""It is to her alone, on the contrary, that we must resort,"interrupted M. de Tregars.

And, as he had good reasons to mistrust Mme. Fortin, he took thecommissary outside the room, on the landing; and there, in a fewwords, he explained to him that this Zelie was precisely the samewoman whom they had found in the Rue du Cirque, in that sumptuousmansion where Vincent Favoral, under the simple name of Vincent, hadbeen living, according to the neighbors, in such a princely style.

The commissary of police was astounded. Why had he not known allthis sooner? Better late than never, however.

"Ah! you are right, M. le Marquis, a hundred times right!" hedeclared. "This girl must evidently know Vincent Favoral's secret,the key of the enigma that we are vainly trying to solve. Whatshe would not tell to you, a stranger, she will tell to Lucienne,her friend."Maxence offered to go himself for Zelie Cadelle.

No," answered Marius. " If she should happen to know you, shewould mistrust you, and would refuse to come."It was, therefore, M. Fortin who was despatched to the Rue duCirque, and who went off muttering, though he had received fivefrancs to take a carriage, and five francs for his trouble.

"And now," said the commissary of police to Maxence, "we must bothof us get out of the way. I, because the fact of my being acommissary would frighten Mme. Cadelle; you because, being VincentFavoral's son, your presence would certainly prove embarrassingto her."And so they went out; but M. de Tregars did not remain long alonewith Mlle. Lucienne. M. Fortin had had the delicacy not to tarryon the way.

Eleven o'clock struck as Zelie Cadelle rushed like a whirlwindinto her friend's room.

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Such had been his haste, that she had given no thought whatever toher dress. She had stuck upon her uncombed hair the first bonnetshe had laid her hand upon, and thrown an old shawl over thewrapper in which she had received Marius in the afternoon.

"What, my poor Lucienne!" she exclaimed. "Are you so sick as allthat?"But she stopped short as she recognized M. de Tregars; and, in asuspicious tone,"What a singular meeting!" she said.

Marius bowed.

"You know Lucienne?"What she meant by that he understood perfectly. "Lucienne is mysister, madame," he said coldly.