At last, and not without an effort,
"M. Favoral is no longer here," replied M. Chapelain, the old lawyer.
The commissary of police started. Whilst they were discussing with him through the door, he had perfectly well understood that they were only trying to gain time; and, if he had not at once burst in the door, it was solely owing to his respect for M. Desormeaux himself, whom he knew personally, and still more for his title of head clerk at the Department of Justice. But his suspicions did not extend beyond the destruction of a few compromising papers. Whereas, in fact:
"You have helped M. Favoral to escape, gentlemen?" said he.
"Silence means assent," he added. "Very well: which way did he get off?"
Still no answer. M. Desciavettes would have been glad to add something to the forty-five thousand francs he had just lost, to be, together with Mme. Desclavettes, a hundred miles away.
"Where is Mme. Favoral?" resumed the commissary, evidently well informed. "Where are Mme. Gilberte and M. Maxence Favoral?"
They continued silent. No one in the dining-room knew what might have taken place in the other room; and a single word might be treason.