The Mystery of Orcival
The old justice of the peace ceased reading his voluminous record. His hearers, the
detective and the doctor remained silent under the influence of this distressing narrative.
M. Plantat had read it impressively, throwing himself into the recital as if he had been
personally an actor in the scenes described.
M. Lecoq was the first to recover himself.
"A strange man, Sauvresy," said he.
It was Sauvresy's extraordinary idea of vengeance which struck him in the story. He
admired his "good playing" in a drama in which he knew he was going to yield up his
"I don't know many people," pursued the detective, "capable of so fearful a firmness. To
let himself be poisoned so slowly and gently by his wife! Brrr! It makes a man shiver all
"He knew how to avenge himself," muttered the doctor.
"Yes," answered M. Plantat, "yes, Doctor; he knew how to avenge himself, and more
terribly than he supposed, or than you can imagine.
The detective rose from his seat. He had remained motionless, glued to his chair for more
than three hours, and his legs were benumbed.
"For my part," said he, "I can very well conceive what an infernal existence the
murderers began to suffer the day after their victim's death. You have depicted them,
Monsieur Plantat, with the hand of a master. I know them as well after your description
as if I had studied them face to face for ten years."
He spoke deliberately, and watched for the effect of what he said in M. Plantat's
"Where on earth did this old fellow get all these details?" he asked himself. "Did he write
this narrative, and if not, who did? How was it, if he had all this information, that he has
M. Plantat appeared to be unconscious of the detective's searching look.
"I know that Sauvresy's body was not cold," said he, "before his murderers began to
threaten each other with death."