Monsieur Lecoq HTML version

Chapter 5
It was some distance from the Poivriere to the Rue de Chevaleret, even by way
of the plain, and fully four hours had been occupied by Lecoq and his colleague
in collecting their elements of information.
All this while, the Widow Chupin's abode had remained open, accessible to any
chance visitor. Still, when, on his return, the young police agent remembered this
neglect of elementary precautions, he did not feel alarmed. Considering all the
circumstances, it was very difficult to believe that any serious harm could have
resulted from this carelessness.
For who would have been likely to visit this drinking-den after midnight? Its bad
name served the purpose of a bulwark. The most daring vagrants did not drink
there without some disquietude, fearing that if the liquor caused them to lose
consciousness, they might be robbed or perhaps even murdered. Hence, if any
one had been attracted to this notoriously dangerous drinking-shop by the light
that streamed through the open door, it could only have been some very reckless
person returning late at night from the ball at the Rainbow, with a few sous left in
his pocket. But, even then, a single glance inside would have sufficed to put the
bravest to flight.
In less than a second the young police agent had weighed all these possibilities,
concerning which he did not breathe a word to Father Absinthe. When, little by
little, the excitement caused by his successive hopes and disappointments, and
by the accomplishment of the experiment with the footprints had died away, and
he had regained his usual calm of mind, he made a careful inspection of the
abode, and was by no means satisfied with himself. He had experimented upon
Father Absinthe with his new system of investigation, just as an aspiring orator
tries his powers before his least gifted friends, not before the cleverest. He had
certainly overwhelmed the old veteran by his superiority; he had literally crushed