The Sorbonne was rather similar to the medical school but much more crowded. Gouttenoire and Lucas were grateful to see the student affairs office on the ground floor. The neatly labelled door stood open, and a young woman was inside, railing against the secretary.
“OK, what if I were his wife?”
“Are you his wife?”
“I am sorry. There is no record of his having married.”
“Oh, you’ve got his file open! Just give me his guardian’ address. It’s all I need!”
“You are certainly not his wife if you do not know his parents’ address. I cannot just hand out information of that nature to anyone who comes in off the street.”
“Off the street! Do you think me a whore?! I could get a hell of a lot of men to come here and say I’m definitely not a whore! Just give me the damned address, you -- *achoo!*” A sneeze cut off her tirade. She blew her nose into a very wrinkled handkerchief and continued. “Look, I feel like absolute shit, I came all the way down here from the Marais, and you’re just going to send me away?”
“That is correct.” The secretary saw the young men standing in the doorway. “May I help you, officers?”
“Oh, help them if you want! I’ll still be here!”
“Yes, yes. How may I help you, lieutenant?” The young woman stormed outside the office and planted herself firmly just around the corner from the doorway.
Gouttenoire looked back at her for a moment, wondering what the problem had been, but decided that the secretary was probably right. A pregnant prostitute. He had much more important business with this office. “Thank you, monsieur. I am Lieutenant Gouttenoire, this is my colleague, Lieutenant Lucas. We are looking for the address of a M. and Mme Courfeyrac. They had a couple of children enrolled here, and it is imperative that we contact them immediately.”
“Courfeyrac. Let me see.” The secretary flipped through a drawer of papers. “Ah, yes, I have a René de Courfeyrac and a Marcelin de Courfeyrac. Same parents. Are those the boys you are looking for?”
“They must be. Could you give us their parents’ address?”
“This is official business, I presume?”
“Yes, it is, monsieur.”
“Then anything to help the National Guard.” He quickly copied out the address. “I will give you the address of the flat the boys used in town, as well, in case the matter is serious enough to warrant it. Anything else?”
“Yes. I’ve a few other names I would like you check. Enjolras, Grantaire, Lesgle.”
“Hmm. I’ve an Henri-Josèphe Enjolras and a Martin Lesgle, but no one named Grantaire. Perhaps it is a nickname.”
“Thank you. Could you give me the addresses you do have?”
“Of course. This is highly irregular, but since you are on business, and since my brother was a devout guardsman, I can’t see why I should follow policy to the letter. This is just between the three of us, correct?”
“We will say nothing. Thank you, monsieur, for your co-operation, and good day.”
“Good day, lieutenants.”
Just outside the office, Gouttenoire was accosted by the young woman he had seen inside. “Why are you looking for their parents? Couldn’t you let them die in peace?” She sneezed.
“Bless you. Who are you?” Lucas asked in a friendly tone.
“Thérèse Guyon,” she answered angrily. “I was Lesgle’s lover and a member of the group.” She paused to blow her nose. "Damned summer. I was all for having this thing in March, but they said the time wasn’t right. I’m useless on a barricade in this condition, so I get to live. Oh, joy,” she finished sarcastically.
“You wish to tell his parents about the child?”
“What child? Oh, I’m not pregnant; I’m sick! Every summer I get like this.”
“Lucas, you should never have asked.”
“I should be home in bed, but not until I get what I need, which is either what you’ve got or access to Joly’s flat. Looks like breaking and entering for me, unless Bossuet left the door open, which is highly likely.”
“What is it that we have that you want?&rdquoi; Gouttenoire asked.
“Lesgle’s address, of course. I want to tell his family myself.”
“Tell them what?” Lucas asked.
“That he’s dead. What else would I tell them?”
“How do you know that he’s dead?”
“Because I don’ hear gunfire and no one came to tell me anything. They’re all dead or in jail, soon to be dead.”
“I will help you if you will help us,” Gouttenoire offered. “If you will help us search M. Joly’s residence, we will help get you home.”
“Rat them out? Hell, they’re all dead anyway. Home?”
“So you can be in bed, and rest. That cold sounds quite dreadful.”
“I’m sort of used to it. Will you pay for a fiacre? I walked down here from the Marais, and it is hot as hell, with too many flowers for my comfort.”
“Deal if you give me Lesgle’s address if I can’t find it there.”
“I do not have an address for the parents of M. Lesgle. It is not on file, apparently. I only have the address of M. Joly, with whom M. Lesgle had been living. The secretary must have thought it amusing to play with you, though I cannot see why. If you will help us, I will give you any address we find at M. Joly’s flat.”
“Why do you now want to search the man’s flat?” Lucas whispered to Gouttenoire.
“To find out why,” he whispered back.
After a bit of thought, Thérèse agreed. “Deal, but I won’t shake on it. With a constant cold, I don’t want to make you sick. Joly has avoided contact with me since April, when this began. Why couldn’t the boy just admit he was a hypochondriac? Would you mind getting a fiacre while I wait where it’s cool?” she asked Gouttenoire. He thought her almost as insufferable as Mlle Laurier but hoped her behaviour was due to overemotion and a bad head cold.
“No problem. Lucas, if you would wait with Mlle Guyon near the entrance, I will see about a carriage?” Lucas nodded and Gouttenoire escaped to the street.
“Mademoiselle,” Lucas offered his arm, “may I escort you?”
She accepted it. “Please, it’s just Thérèse.” She broke down into another sneezing fit.
“Merci. You must think I’m awful. Here I am, sick, arguing with the Sorbonne, arguing with your friend, sneezing all over you. I’m just having a day from hell, here.”
Gouttenoire rushed to where they had stopped at the foot of a great staircase to allow Thérèse a moment to recover. “Lucas! I’ve got one, but not for very long!”
“That was fast,” Lucas called as he escorted Thérèse to the door.
“A man just got out, but the driver will not wait long. We shall get you home soon, mademoiselle.”
“Merci.” Thérèse sneezed and blew her nose. “Home will be much better.”
Gouttenoire helped her into the fiacre, and Lucas climbed in next to her. “Where do you live, mademoiselle?” Gouttenoire asked.
“Not so fast. I’m not going home yet. You can’t lead me on like that. I’m going with you to Joly’s place first, not later tonight. Numéro 7, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau,” she told the driver.
“Are you sure, mademoiselle?"
“Quite sure. Rule number one: don't argue with Thérèse. It took Bossuet far too long to learn that one. Let's go, driver."
Chapter 6 ~ Fiction ~ Chapter 8 ~ Home