This was unexpected. She seized the bottle and threw it on the floor, where it smashed into pieces.
“And me thinking…”
The light in the alley outside was faint through the two doors. The barman opposite could be heard putting up his shutters. It must have been very late. The streetcars had stopped ages ago.
“I can’t bear the thought of it,” she shrieked. “I can’t… I won’t… Anything but that… It’s not true… It’s…”
But the sound of her name did not calm her. She had worked herself into a frenzy. With the same impetuosity with which she had seized the bottle, she stooped and picked up something from the floor.
“Not Haguenau!… It’s not true. Sylvie didn’t…”
In all his years of service, Maigret had seen nothing like this. She had picked up a small piece of glass and, talking all the time, had cut into her wrist, right down to the artery.
Her eyes almost popped out of her head. She looked raving mad.
“Haguenau… I… It wasn’t Sylvie!”
A gush of blood spurted out as Maigret reached her. His right hand was covered with it, and it even splashed on his tie. He seized her by both arms.
For a few seconds Jaja, bewildered, helpless, looked at the blood—her own blood—as it ran down. She fainted. Maigret let her sink to the floor.
His fingers felt for the artery and pressed it. But that was no good—he must find something to tie it with. He looked around the room. Spotting an electric cord, he wrenched it free of the iron it belonged to.
As Jaja lay motionless on the floor, he wound the cord around her wrist, and tightened it.