"Most certainly. I came here to-day for this very purpose. Let us first conclude that you have rejected the request with which I approached you."
"Do you call this style of thing a request?"
"What is the use of quarrelling over words. Well, to-morrow, my clients--though I am ashamed to speak of them as such--will send to a well known morning paper a tale, with the title, 'Story of a Day's Shooting.' Of course only initials will be used for the names, but no doubt will exist as to the identity of the actors in the tragedy."
"You forget that in actions for libel proofs are not admitted."
Mascarin shrugged his shoulders.
"My employers forget nothing," remarked he; "and it is upon this very point that they have based their plans For this reason they introduce into the matter a fifth party, of course an accomplice, whose name is introduced into the story in the paper. Upon the day of its appearance, this man lodges a complaint against the journal, and insists on proving in a court of justice, that he did not form one of the shooting-party."
"Then, my lord, this man insists that the journal should give a retraction of the injurious statement and summons as witnesses both yourself and the Baron de Clinchain, and as a conclusion, Ludovic; and as he claims damages, he employs a lawyer, who is one of the confederates and behind the scenes. The lawyer will speak something to this effect: 'That the Count de Mussidan is clearly a murderer; that the Baron de Clinchain is a perjurer, as proved by his own handwriting; Ludovic has been tampered with, but my client, an honorable man, must not be classed with these, etc., etc.' Have I made myself understood?"
Indeed, he had, and with such cold and merciless logic that it seemed hopeless to expect to escape from the net that had been spread.