"As you please, Bocquin," said the chevalier, putting up his purse again; "and so, till we meet." "Till we meet, gentlemen," replied the other, as he bowed us respectfully to the door. "You seem to have but a very faint comprehension of all this, Burke," said Duchesne, as he took my arm; "you look confoundedly puzzled, I must say."
There, in a small open space between the trees, I saw the marks of recent footsteps, and a little farther on found the grass all covered with blood." "Monsieur Bocquin! Monsieur Bocquin! the commissaire wants you," cried a voice from the landing of the stair; and with an apology for leaving thus suddenly, he turned away.
"So it would, Bocquin," said Duchesne, examining his coat, which I now perceived was torn on the shoulder, and a small piece the exact one in his hand wanting, but which had escaped my attention from the mass of gold lace and embroidery with which it was covered. "Do you know, Bocquin," said Duchesne, in a tone much graver than he had used before, "I never noticed that?" "Parbleu!
I have been to see the place where the man lay; and by tracking the wheel marks, I have discovered they came from the Champs Élysées. The cabriolet, too, was a private one; no fiacre has got so narrow a tire to the wheel." "Closely followed up, eh, Burke?" said the chevalier, turning towards me with a smile of admiration at his sagacity. "Go on, Bocquin."
"Monsieur le Capitaine, your most obedient," said the man, in a deep voice, as he removed his casquette, and bowed ceremoniously to us; "and yours also, Monsieur," added he, turning to me. "Why, there is nothing to speak of, save that duel, Capitaine." "Come, come, Bocquin; no nonsense with me. What was that story got up for?" "Ah! you mistake there," said Bocquin.
"By Jove! there's a man badly wounded, shot through the neck, and no one to tell a word about it. No seconds present, the thing done quite privately; the wounded man left at his own door, and the other off, Heaven knows where." "And you believe this tale, Bocquin?" said Duchesne, superciliously. "Believe it! that I do.
I believe you," said he, laughing; "nor did I, till you sat on the bench, when I was so pleased with your coolness, I could not for the life of me interrupt you." "Have you got any money, Burke?" said the chevalier; "some twenty gold pieces " "No, no, Captain," said Bocquin, "not now; another time. I must call upon you one of these mornings about another affair, and it will be time enough then."
We rose a few moments after, and having taken a formal leave of the general and the commissaire, proceeded towards the street, where we had left our horses. As we passed along the corridor, however, we found Bocquin awaiting us. He opened a door into a small, mean-looking apartment, of which he appeared the owner.
While the commissaire conversed with Bocquin in a low tone, we had time to observe the salle and its occupants. Except the witnesses, two or three of whom were respectable persons, they were the squalid-looking, ragged wretches of the quarter, listening with the greedy appetite of crime to any tale of bloodshed.
Bocquin is too clever a fellow not to throw all the other spies on a wrong scent, so that we need have no fear of the result." I could scarcely credit the evidence of my senses at the coolness and duplicity of the chevalier throughout an affair of such imminent risk, nor was I less astonished at the account he gave of the whole proceeding.