Yet what a disappointment it produced after the fever of anxiety and expectation
that had seized hold of everybody present. This strange epistle furnished no clue
whatever to the mystery; and the ray of hope that had sparkled for an instant in
M. Segmuller's eyes speedily faded away. As for the versatile Goguet he
returned with increased conviction to his former opinion, that the prisoner had the
advantage over his accusers.
"How unfortunate," remarked the governor of the Depot, with a shade of sarcasm
in his voice, "that so much trouble, and such marvelous penetration, should be
"So you think, sir, that I have wasted my time!" rejoined Lecoq in a tone of angry
banter, a scarlet flush mantling at the same time over his features. "Such is not
my opinion. This scrap of paper undeniably proves that if any one has been
mistaken as regards the prisoner's identity, it is certainly not I."
"Very well," was the reply. "M. Gevrol and myself may have been mistaken: no
one is infallible. But have you learned anything more than you knew before?
Have you made any progress?"
"Why, yes. Now that people know the prisoner is not what he pretends to be,
instead of annoying and hampering me, perhaps they will assist us to discover
who he really is."
Lecoq's tone, and his allusion to the difficulties he had encountered, cut the
governor to the quick. The knowledge that the reproof was not altogether
undeserved increased his resentment and determined him to bring this
discussion with an inferior to an abrupt close. "You are right," said he,
sarcastically. "This May must be a very great and illustrious personage. Only, my
dear Monsieur Lecoq (for there is an only), do me the favor to explain how such