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CHAPTER 24: Rouletabille Knows the Two Halves of the Murderer (continued)
"That night," said Monsieur Darzac, interrupting, "at half-past ten - it is quite true."
An interval of silence followed.
"Monsieur Darzac," the magistrate went on in a tone of deep emotion, "Monsieur Darzac, what were you doing that night, at Epinay-sur-Orge - at that time?"
Monsieur Darzac remained silent, simply closing his eyes.
"Monsieur Darzac," insisted Monsieur de Marquet, "can you tell me how you employed your time, that night?"
Monsieur Darzac opened his eyes. He seemed to have recovered his self-control.
"Think, Monsieur! For, if you persist in your strange refusal, I shall be under the painful necessity of keeping you at my disposition."
"Monsieur Darzac! - in the name of the law, I arrest you!"
The magistrate had no sooner pronounced the words than I saw Rouletabille move quickly towards Monsieur Darzac. He would certainly have spoken to him, but Darzac, by a gesture, held him off. As the gendarme approached his prisoner, a despairing cry rang through the room:
"Robert! - Robert!"
We recognised the voice of Mademoiselle Stangerson. We all shuddered. Larsan himself turned pale. Monsieur Darzac, in response to the cry, had flown back into the room.
The magistrate, the gendarme, and Larsan followed closely after. Rouletabille and I remained on the threshold. It was a heart-breaking sight that met our eyes. Mademoiselle Stangerson, with a face of deathly pallor, had risen on her bed, in spite of the restraining efforts of two doctors and her father. She was holding out her trembling arms towards Robert Darzac, on whom Larsan and the gendarme had laid hands. Her distended eyes saw - she understood - her lips seemed to form a word, but nobody made it out; and she fell back insensible.
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