1. CHAPTER I
But there seemed to be nothing, no trace, except in one place, where
some thick drops of congealed blood were clinging to the frayed edge
of his trousers. He picked up a big claspknife and cut off the frayed
threads. There seemed to be nothing more.
Suddenly he remembered that the purse and the things he had taken out
of the old woman's box were still in his pockets! He had not thought
till then of taking them out and hiding them! He had not even thought
of them while he was examining his clothes! What next? Instantly he
rushed to take them out and fling them on the table. When he had
pulled out everything, and turned the pocket inside out to be sure
there was nothing left, he carried the whole heap to the corner. The
paper had come off the bottom of the wall and hung there in tatters.
He began stuffing all the things into the hole under the paper:
"They're in! All out of sight, and the purse too!" he thought
gleefully, getting up and gazing blankly at the hole which bulged out
more than ever. Suddenly he shuddered all over with horror; "My God!"
he whispered in despair: "what's the matter with me? Is that hidden?
Is that the way to hide things?"
He had not reckoned on having trinkets to hide. He had only thought of
money, and so had not prepared a hiding-place.
"But now, now, what am I glad of?" he thought, "Is that hiding things?
My reason's deserting me--simply!"
He sat down on the sofa in exhaustion and was at once shaken by
another unbearable fit of shivering. Mechanically he drew from a chair
beside him his old student's winter coat, which was still warm though
almost in rags, covered himself up with it and once more sank into
drowsiness and delirium. He lost consciousness.
Not more than five minutes had passed when he jumped up a second time,
and at once pounced in a frenzy on his clothes again.
"How could I go to sleep again with nothing done? Yes, yes; I have not
taken the loop off the armhole! I forgot it, forgot a thing like that!
Such a piece of evidence!"