The Clique of Gold
Thus proceeding from one point to another, and by the unaided power of his sagacity,
coupled with indefatigable activity, the magistrate had succeeded in establishing
Crochard's guilt, and the existence of accomplices who had instigated the crime. No one
could doubt that he was proud of it, and that his self-esteem had increased, although he
tried hard to preserve his stiff and impassive appearance. He had even affected a certain
dislike to the idea of reading Henrietta's letter, until he should have proved that he could
afford to do without such assistance.
But, now that he had proved this so amply, he very quickly asked for the letter, and read
it. Like the chief surgeon, he, also, was struck and amazed by the wickedness of M. de
"But here is exactly what we want," he exclaimed,--"an irrefragable proof of complicity.
He would never have dared to abuse Miss Ville- Handry's confidence in so infamous a
manner, if he had not been persuaded, in fact been quite sure, that Lieut. Champcey
would never return to France."
Then, after a few minutes' reflection, he added,--
"And yet I feel that there is something underneath still, which we do not see. Why had
they determined upon M. Champcey's death even before he sailed? What direct and
pressing interest could M. de Brevan have in wishing him dead at that time? Something
must have happened between the two which we do not know."
"Ah! that is what I cannot conceive. But remember what I say, doctor: the future reserves
some fearful mysteries yet to be revealed to us hereafter."
The two men had been so entirely preoccupied with their thoughts, that they were
unconscious of the flight of time; and they were not a little astonished, therefore, when
they now noticed that the day was gone, and night was approaching. The lawyer rose, and
asked, returning Henrietta's letter to the doctor,--
"Is this the only one M. Champcey has received?"
"No; but it is the only one he has opened."
"Would you object to handing me the others?"
The excellent doctor hesitated.
"I will hand them to you," he said at last, "if you will assure me that the interests of
justice require it. But why not wait"--