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CHAPTER 12: Frederic Larsan's Cane
It was not till six o'clock that I left the chateau, taking with me the article hastily written by my friend in the little sitting-room which Monsieur Robert Darzac had placed at our disposal. The reporter was to sleep at the chateau, taking advantage of the to me inexplicable hospitality offered him by Monsieur Robert Darzac, to whom Monsieur Stangerson, in that sad time, left the care of all his domestic affairs. Nevertheless he insisted on accompanying me to the station at Epinay. In crossing the park, he said to me:
"Frederic is really very clever and has not belied his reputation. Do you know how he came to find Daddy Jacques's boots? - Near the spot where we noticed the traces of the neat boots and the disappearance of the rough ones, there was a square hole, freshly made in the moist ground, where a stone had evidently been removed. Larsan searched for that stone without finding it, and at once imagined that it had been used by the murderer with which to sink the boots in the lake. Fred's calculation was an excellent one, as the success of his search proves. That escaped me; but my mind was turned in another direction by the large number of false indications of his track which the murderer left, and by the measure of the black foot-marks corresponding with that of Daddy Jacques's boots, which I had established without his suspecting it, on the floor of The Yellow Room. All which was a proof, in my eyes, that the murderer had sought to turn suspicion on to the old servant. Up to that point, Larsan and I are in accord; but no further. It is going to be a terrible matter; for I tell you he is working on wrong lines, and I - I, must fight him with nothing!"
I was surprised at the profoundly grave accent with which my young friend pronounced the last words.
"Yes terrible! - terrible! For it is fighting with nothing, when you have only an idea to fight with."
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