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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.

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.

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Marius bowed.

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

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She shrugged her shoulders. "What humbug!""It's the truth," affirmed Mlle. Lucienne; "and you know that Inever lie."Mme. Zelie was dumbfounded.

"If you say so," she muttered. "But no matter: that's queer."M. de Tregars interrupted her with a gesture,"And, what's more, it is because Lucienne is my sister that you seeher there lying upon that bed. They attempted to murder her to-day!""Oh!""It was her mother who tried to get rid of her, so as to possessherself of the fortune which my father had left her; and there isevery reason to believe that the snare was contrived by VincentFavoral."Mme. Zelie did not understand very well; but, when Marius and Mlle.

Lucienne had informed her of all that it was useful for her to know,"Why," she exclaimed, "what a horrid rascal that old Vincent mustbe!"And, as M. de Tregars remained dumb,"This afternoon," she went on, "I didn't tell you any stories; butI didn't tell you every thing, either." She stopped; and, after amoment of deliberation,"'Well, I don't care for old Vincent," she said. "Ah! he tried tohave Lucienne killed, did he? Well, then, I am going to tell everything I know. First of all, he wasn't any thing to me. It isn'tvery flattering; but it is so. He has never kissed so much as theend of my finger. He used to say that he loved me, but that herespected me still more, because I looked so much like a daughterhe had lost. Old humbug! And I believed him too! I did, upon myword, at least in the beginning. But I am not such a fool as Ilook. I found out very soon that he was making fun of me; and thathe was only using me as a blind to keep suspicion away from anotherwoman.""From what woman?""Ah! now, I do not know! All I know is that she is married, thathe is crazy about her, and that they are to run away together.""Hasn't he gone, then?"Mme. Cadelle's face had become somewhat anxious, and for over aminute she seemed to hesitate.

"Do you know," she said at last, "that my answer is going to costme a lot? They have promised me a pile of money; but I haven't gotit yet. And, if I say any thing, good-by! I sha'n't have any thing."M. de Tregars was opening his lips to tell her that she might resteasy on that score; but she cut him short.

"Well, no," she said: "Old Vincent hasn't gone. He got up a comedy,so he told me, to throw the lady's husband off the track. He sentoff a whole lot of baggage by the railroad; but he staid in Paris.""And do you know where he is hid?""In the Rue St. Lazare, of course: in the apartment that I hiredtwo weeks ago."In a voice trembling with the excitement of almost certain success,"Would you consent to take me there?" asked M. de Tregars.

"Whenever you like,-to-morrow."IXAs he left Mlle. Lucienne's room,"There is nothing more to keep me at the Hotel des Folies," saidthe commissary of police to Maxence. "Every thing possible will bedone, and well done, by M. de Tregars. I am going home, therefore;and I am going to take you with me. I have a great deal to do andyou'll help me."That was not exactly true; but he feared, on the part of Maxence,some imprudence which might compromise the success of M. deTregars' mission.

He was trying to think of every thing to leave as little as possibleto chance; like a man who has seen the best combined plans fail forwant of a trifling precaution.

Once in the yard, he opened the door of the lodge where thehonorable Fortins, man and wife, were deliberating, and exchangingtheir conjectures, instead of going to bed. For they werewonderfully puzzled by all those events that succeeded each other,and anxious about all these goings and comings.

"I am going home," the commissary said to them; "but, before that,listen to my instructions. You will allow no one, you understand,- no one who is not known to you, to go up to Mlle. Lucienne'sroom. And remember that I will admit of no excuse, and that youmust not come and tell me afterwards, 'It isn't our fault, we can'tsee everybody that comes in,' and all that sort of nonsense."He was speaking in that harsh and imperious tone of whichpolice-agents have the secret, when they are addressing people whohave, by their conduct, placed themselves under their dependence.