The Champdoce Mystery
A Financial Transaction
Daumon was expecting a visit from the young man, and had been waiting for him
with the cool complacency of a bird-catcher, who, having arranged all his lines
and snares, stands with folded arms until his feathered victims fall into his net.
The line that he had displayed before the young man's eyes was the sight of
liberty. Daumon had emissaries everywhere, and knew perfectly well what was
going on at the Chateau de Champdoce, and could have repeated the exact
words made use of by the Duke in his last conversation with his son, and was
aware of the leave of liberty that had been granted to Norbert, and was as certain
as possible that this small concession would only hasten the rebellion of the
He often took his evening stroll in the direction of Champdoce, and, pipe in
mouth, would meditate over his schemes. Pausing on the brow of a hill that
overlooked the Chateau, he would shake his fist, and mutter,--
"He will come; ah, yes, he must come to me!"
And he was in the right, for, after a week spent in indecision, Norbert knocked at
the door of his father's bitterest enemy. Daumon, concealed behind the window
curtain, had watched his approach, and it was with the same air of deference that
he had welcomed the Marquis, as he took care to call him; but he affected to be
so overcome by the honor of this visit that he could only falter out,--
"Marquis, I am your most humble servant."
And Norbert, who had expected a very warm greeting, was much disconcerted.
For a moment he thought of going away again, but his pride would not permit him
to do so, for he had said to himself that it would be an act of a fool to go away
this time without having accomplished anything.
"I want to have a bit of advice from you, Counsellor," said he; "for as I have but
little experience in a certain matter, I should like to avail myself of your
"You do me too much honor, Marquis," murmured the Counsellor with a low bow.
"But surely," said the young man, "you must feel that you are bound to assist me
after all you told me a day or two back. You mentioned two means by which I
could regain my freedom, and hinted that there was a third one. I have come to
you to-day to ask you what it was."
Never did any man more successfully assume an air of astonishment than did
Daumon at this moment.