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Outside on the pavement he protested, «I don't like you in that stuff. It makes you look like all those nasty pansies back in there. You're a very good-looking young boy. You don't need all that stuff.»

«Sorry, Jules, I thought it would improve things for you. I'll wipe it all off when we get home.»

Slightly mollified, Bernard led the way to his car. He agreed to drive his new friend first to the Gare d'Austerlitz to pick up his bags, before going home. At the first cross-roads a policeman stepped into the road and flagged them down. As the policeman's head came down to the driver's side window, the jackal flicked the inside light on. The policeman stared for a minute, then his face drew back with an expression of revulsion.

«Allez,» he commanded without further ado. As the car rolled away he muttered, «Sales pedes.»

There was one more stop, just before the station, and the policeman asked for papers. The jackal giggled seductively.

«Is that all you want?» he asked archly.

«Sod off,» said the policeman and withdrew.

«Don't annoy them like that,» protested Bernard sotto voce. «You'll get us arrested.»

The jackal withdrew his two suitcases from the left-luggage office without more than a disgusted glance from the clerk in charge, and hefted them into the back of Bernard's car.

There was one more stop on the way to Bernard's flat. This time it was by two CRS men, one a sergeant and the other a private, who flagged them down at a street junction a few hundred. metres from where Bernard lived. The private came round to the passenger door and stared into the jackal's face. Then he recoiled.

«Oh my God. Where are you two going?» he growled.

The jackal pouted.

«Where do you think, duckie?»

The CRS man screwed up his face in disgust.

«You bloody pooves make me sick. Move on.»

«You should have asked to see their identity papers,» said the sergeant to the private as the tail-lights of Bernard's car disappeared down the street.

«Oh, come on, Sarge,» protested the private, «we're looking for a fellow who screwed the arse off a Baroness and did her in, not a couple of raving nances.»

Bernard and the jackal were inside the flat by two o'clock. The jackal insisted on spending the night on the studio couch in the drawing room and Bernard quelled his objections, although he peeked through the bedroom door as the young American undressed. It was evidently going to be a delicate but exciting chase to seduce the iron-muscled student from New York.

In the night the jackal checked the fridge in the well-appointed and effeminately decorated kitchen, and decided there was enough food for one person for three days, but not for two. In the morning Bernard wanted to go out for fresh milk, but the Jackal detained him, insisting that he preferred tinned milk in his coffee. So they spent the morning indoors talking. The jackal insisted on seeing the midday television news.

The first item concerned the hunt for the killer of Madame la Baronne de la Chalonniere forty-eight hours earlier. Jules Bernard squealed with horror.

«Oooh, I can't stand violence,» he said.

The next second the screen was filled with a face: a good-looking young face, with chestnut-brown hair and heavy-rimmed glasses, belonging, so the announcer said, to the killer, an American student by the name of Marty Schulberg. Would anybody having seen this man or having any knowledge…

Bernard, who was sitting on the sofa, turned round and looked up. The last thing he thought was that the announcer had not been right, for he had said Schulberg's eyes were blue; but the eyes looking down at him from behind the steel fingers that gripped his throat were grey…

A few minutes later the door of the hall coat-cupboard closed on the staring distorted features, hair awry and tongue protruding, of Jules Bernard. The jackal took a magazine out of the rack in the drawing room and settled down to wait for two days.

During those two days Paris was searched as it never had been before. Every hotel from the smartest and most expensive to the sleaziest whorehouse was visited and the guest-list checked; every pension, rooming house, doss-house and hostel was searched. Bars, restaurants, night-clubs, cabarets and cafes were haunted by plainclothes men, who showed the picture of the wanted man to waiters, barmen and bouncers. The house or flat of every known OAS sympathiser was raided and turned over. More than seventy young men bearing a passing resemblance to the killer were taken for questioning, later to be released with routine apologies, even these only because they were all foreigners and foreigners have to be more courteously treated than indigenes.

Hundreds of thousands in the streets, in taxis and on buses were stopped and their papers examined. Road-blocks appeared on all the major access points for Paris, and late-night strollers were accosted several times within the space of a mile or two.

In the underworld the Corsicans were at work, silently slipping through the haunts of pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, pickpockets, hoodlums, thieves and conmen, warning that anyone withholding information would incur the wrath of the Union, with all that that could entail.

A hundred thousand men in the employ of the state, in various capacities from senior detectives to soldiers and gendarmes, were on the look-out. The estimated fifty thousand of the underworld and its fringe industries vetted the passing faces. Those making a living off the tourist industry by day or night were briefed to keep their eyes open. Students' cafes, bars and talking clubs, social groups and unions were infiltrated with youthful-looking detectives. Agencies specialising in placing foreign-exchange students with French families were visited and warned.

It was on the evening of August 24th that Commissaire Claude Lebel, who had spent the Saturday afternoon pottering about his garden in a cardigan and patched trousers, was summoned by telephone to report to the Minister in his private office. A car came for him at six.

When he saw the Minister he was surprised. The dynamic chief of the whole of France 's internal security apparatus looked tired and strained. He seemed to have grown older inside forty-eight hours, and there were lines of sleeplessness round his eyes. He gestured Lebel to a chair opposite his desk, and seated himself in the swivel chair in which he liked to be able to spin round from the window with its view of the Place Beauvau back to the desk. This time he did not look out of the window.

«We can't find him,» he said briefly. «He's vanished, just disappeared off the face of the earth. The OAS people, we are convinced, just don't know where he is any more than we do. The underworld hasn't had sight nor sound of him. The Union Corse reckons he can't be in town.»

He paused and sighed, contemplating the little detective across the desk, who blinked several times but said nothing.

«I don't think we ever really had any idea what kind of a man you have been pursuing these past two weeks. What do you think?»

«He's here, somewhere,» said Lebel. «What are the arrangements like for tomorrow?»

The Minister looked as if he was in physical pain.

«The President won't change a thing or permit any of his planned itinerary to be altered. I spoke to him this morning. He was not pleased. So tomorrow remains the same as published. He will rekindle the Eternal Flame under the Arc de Triomphe at ten. High Mass in Notre Dame at eleven. Private meditation at the shrine of the martyred resistants at Montvalerien at 12.30, then back to the palace for lunch, and siesta. One ceremony in the afternoon, presentation of Medailles de la Liberation to a group of ten veterans of the Resistance whose services to the resistance are being rather belatedly recognised.