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The Widow Lerouge by Émile Gaboriau
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THE LEROUGE CASE

By Emile Gaboriau




CHAPTER I.

On Thursday, the 6th of March, 1862, two days after Shrove Tuesday, five
women belonging to the village of La Jonchere presented themselves at
the police station at Bougival.

They stated that for two days past no one had seen the Widow Lerouge,
one of their neighbours, who lived by herself in an isolated cottage.
They had several times knocked at the door, but all in vain. The
window-shutters as well as the door were closed; and it was impossible
to obtain even a glimpse of the interior.

This silence, this sudden disappearance alarmed them. Apprehensive of
a crime, or at least of an accident, they requested the interference of
the police to satisfy their doubts by forcing the door and entering the
house.

Bougival is a pleasant riverside village, peopled on Sundays by crowds
of boating parties. Trifling offences are frequently heard of in its
neighbourhood, but crimes are rare.

The commissary of police at first refused to listen to the women, but
their importunities so fatigued him that he at length acceded to their