The Mystery of the Yellow Room HTML version

Chapter 14
I Expect the Assassin This Evening
"I must take you," said Rouletabille, "so as to enable you to understand, to the various
scenes. I myself believe that I have discovered what everybody else is searching for,
namely, how the murderer escaped from The Yellow Room, without any accomplice, and
without Mademoiselle Stangerson having had anything to do with it. But so long as I am
not sure of the real murderer, I cannot state the theory on which I am working. I can only
say that I believe it to be correct and, in any case, a quite natural and simple one. As to
what happened in this place three nights ago, I must say it kept me wondering for a whole
day and a night. It passes all belief. The theory I have formed from the incident is so
absurd that I would rather matters remained as yet unexplained."
Saying which the young reporter invited me to go and make the tour of the chateau with
him. The only sound to be heard was the crunching of the dead leaves beneath our feet.
The silence was so intense that one might have thought the chateau had been abandoned.
The old stones, the stagnant water of the ditch surrounding the donjon, the bleak ground
strewn with the dead leaves, the dark, skeleton-like outlines of the trees, all contributed to
give to the desolate place, now filled with its awful mystery, a most funereal aspect. As
we passed round the donjon, we met the Green Man, the forest-keeper, who did not greet
us, but walked by as if we had not existed. He was looking just as I had formerly seen
him through the window of the Donjon Inn. He had still his fowling-piece slung at his
back, his pipe was in his mouth, and his eye-glasses on his nose.
"An odd kind of fish!" Rouletabille said to me, in a low tone.
"Have you spoken to him?" I asked.
"Yes, but I could get nothing out of him. His only answers are grunts and shrugs of the
shoulders. He generally lives on the first floor of the donjon, a big room that once served
for an oratory. He lives like a bear, never goes out without his gun, and is only pleasant
with the girls. The women, for twelve miles round, are all setting their caps for him. For
the present, he is paying attention to Madame Mathieu, whose husband is keeping a lynx
eye upon her in consequence."
After passing the donjon, which is situated at the extreme end of the left wing, we went to
the back of the chateau. Rouletabille, pointing to a window which I recognised as the
only one belonging to Mademoiselle Stangerson's apartment, said to me:
"If you had been here, two nights ago, you would have seen your humble servant at the
top of a ladder, about to enter the chateau by that window."