Gaston Leroux: The Mystery of the Yellow Room

CHAPTER 17: The Inexplicable Gallery (continued)

"'That's easily said. You are always thinking of Robert Darzac. You can't get rid of that idea? I am certain that he is innocent.'

"'So much the better. I hope so; but everything condemns him. Did you notice the marks on the carpet? - Come and look at them.'

"'I have seen them; they are the marks of the neat boots, the same as those we saw on the border of the lake.'

"'Can you deny that they belong to Robert Darzac?'

"'Of course, one may be mistaken.'

"'Have you noticed that those footprints only go in one direction? - that there are no return marks? When the man came from the chamber, pursued by all of us, his footsteps left no traces behind them.'

"'He had, perhaps, been in the chamber for hours. The mud from his boots had dried, and he moved with such rapidity on the points of his toes - We saw him running, but we did not hear his steps.'

"I suddenly put an end to this idle chatter - void of any logic, and made a sign to Larsan to listen.

"'There - below; some one is shutting a door.'

"I rise; Larsan follows me; we descend to the ground-floor of the chateau. I lead him to the little semi-circular room under the terrace beneath the window of the 'off-turning' gallery. I point to the door, now closed, open a short time before, under which a shaft of light is visible.

"'The forest-keeper!' says Fred.

"'Come on!' I whisper.

"Prepared - I know not why - to believe that the keeper is the guilty man - I go to the door and rap smartly on it. "Some might think that we were rather late in thinking of the keeper, since our first business, after having found that the murderer had escaped us in the gallery, ought to have been to search everywhere else, - around the chateau, - in the park -

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