But from 1896 to 1898 a series of events had taken place, and, through the press, revelations, and half-revelations, and insinuations had poured forth, and the eyes of honest men had been opened more and more.
After Dreyfus was sent to French Guiana in 1895 there was silence for over a year. He had begged in the most impassioned manner for further investigation, and his family were all this time at work, but nothing happened, and no doubt his enemies thought they had rid themselves of him for ever.
Then a very curious thing came about. In May, 1896, a carte telegramme was brought from the German Embassy, by the secret agent of the French Government who had brought from the same place the document which was supposed to incriminate Dreyfus. This carte telegramme was delivered into the hands of Colonel Picquart, at that time head of the Intelligence Department, and as it happened, an honest and honourable man. The card, always afterwards called the petit bleu, which he now received, was addressed to Monsieur le Commandant Esterhazy, at this officer's address in Paris. This led Colonel Picquart to make some inquiries about Esterhazy, in the course of which it became clear that Esterhazy was a depraved and reckless man. But this was not all, for Colonel Picquart, whose suspicions were aroused by