The Mystery of the Yellow Room HTML version

Chapter 9
Reporter and Detective
The three of us went back towards the pavilion. At some distance from the building the
reporter made us stop and, pointing to a small clump of trees to the right of us, said:
"That's where the murderer came from to get into the pavilion."
As there were other patches of trees of the same sort between the great oaks, I asked why
the murderer had chosen that one, rather than any of the others. Rouletabille answered me
by pointing to the path which ran quite close to the thicket to the door of the pavilion.
"That path is as you see, topped with gravel," he said; "the man must have passed along it
going to the pavilion, since no traces of his steps have been found on the soft ground. The
man didn't have wings; he walked; but he walked on the gravel which left no impression
of his tread. The gravel has, in fact, been trodden by many other feet, since the path is the
most direct way between the pavilion and the chateau. As to the thicket, made of the sort
of shrubs that don't flourish in the rough season--laurels and fuchsias--it offered the
murderer a sufficient hiding-place until it was time for him to make his way to the
pavilion. It was while hiding in that clump of trees that he saw Monsieur and
Mademoiselle Stangerson, and then Daddy Jacques, leave the pavilion. Gravel has been
spread nearly, very nearly, up to the windows of the pavilion. The footprints of a man,
parallel with the wall--marks which we will examine presently, and which I have already
seen--prove that he only needed to make one stride to find himself in front of the
vestibule window, left open by Daddy Jacques. The man drew himself up by his hands
and entered the vestibule."
"After all it is very possible," I said.
"After all what? After all what?" cried Rouletabille.
I begged of him not to be angry; but he was too much irritated to listen to me and
declared, ironically, that he admired the prudent doubt with which certain people
approached the most simple problems, risking nothing by saying "that is so, or 'that is not
so." Their intelligence would have produced about the same result if nature had forgotten
to furnish their brain-pan with a little grey matter. As I appeared vexed, my young friend
took me by the arm and admitted that he had not meant that for me; he thought more of
me than that.
"If I did not reason as I do in regard to this gravel," he went on, "I should have to assume
a balloon!--My dear fellow, the science of the aerostation of dirigible balloons is not yet
developed enough for me to consider it and suppose that a murderer would drop from the
clouds! So don't say a thing is possible, when it could not be otherwise. We know now
how the man entered by the window, and we also know the moment at which he entered,-