The Champdoce Mystery
A Gentleman In Difficulties
When Andre had got rid of the young man, and had been ushered into M.
Gandelu's presence, the change in the gentleman's appearance struck him with
horror. His eyes were red and swollen as if he had been weeping, but as soon as
he caught sight of Andre his face brightened, and he welcomed him warmly.
"Oh, it does me good to see you, and I bless the fortunate chance that has
brought you here to-day."
"It is not a very fortunate chance," answered Andre, as he shook his head sadly.
For the first time Gandelu noticed the air of gravity which marked the young man,
and the shade of sorrow upon his brow.
"What ails you, Andre?" asked he.
"A great misfortune is hanging over me."
"What do you mean?"
"The naked truth and this misfortune may bring death and despair to me."
"I am your friend, my dear boy," said the old man, "and would gladly be of service
to you. Tell me if I can be of any use?"
"I come to you to-day to ask a favor at your hands."
"And you thought of the old man, then? I thank you for doing so. Give me your
hand; I like to feel the grasp of an honest man's hand; it warms my heart."
"It is the secret of my life that I am going to confide to you," said he, with some
M. Gandelu made no reply, but struck his clenched fist upon his breast, as
though to show that any secret confided to him would be locked up in the safe
security of his heart.
Then Andre hesitated no longer, and, with the exception of giving names, told the
whole story of his love, his ambitions, and his hopes, and gave a clear account of
how matters stood.
"How can I help you?" asked M. Gandelu.
"Allow me," said Andre, "to hand over the work with which you have intrusted me
to one of my friends. I will retain the responsibility, but will merely act as one of