Arsène Lupin is a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise created by French writer Maurice Leblanc. Arsène Lupin is a literary descendant of Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail’s fictional character Rocambole. Like him, he is often a force for good, while operating on the wrong side of the law. Those whom Lupin defeats are worse villains than he is. The book includes the following works: The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar; Arsène Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes; The Hollow Needle; 813; The Crystal Stopper; The Confessions of Arsène Lupin; The Woman of Mystery; The Golden Triangle; The Secret of Sarek; The Teeth of The Tiger; The Eight Strokes of The Clock; Arsène Lupin. Based on Play by Maurice Leblanc and Francis De Croisset.
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The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar
I. The Arrest of Arsène Lupin
II. Arsène Lupin in Prison
III. The Escape of Arsène Lupin
IV. The Mysterious Traveller
V. The Queen’s Necklace
VI. The Seven of Hearts
VII. Madame Imbert’s Safe
VIII. The Black Pearl
IX. Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late
Arsène Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes
CHAPTER I. LOTTERY TICKET NO. 514
CHAPTER II. THE BLUE DIAMOND
CHAPTER III. HERLOCK SHOLMES OPENS HOSTILITIES
CHAPTER IV. LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
CHAPTER V. AN ABDUCTION
CHAPTER VI. SECOND ARREST OF ARSÈNE LUPIN
CHAPTER VII. THE JEWISH LAMP
CHAPTER VIII. THE SHIPWRECK
The Hollow Needle
CHAPTER ONE. THE SHOT
CHAPTER TWO. ISIDORE BEAUTRELET, SIXTH-FORM SCHOOLBOY
CHAPTER THREE. THE CORPSE
CHAPTER FOUR. FACE TO FACE
CHAPTER FIVE. ON THE TRACK
CHAPTER SIX. AN HISTORIC SECRET
CHAPTER SEVEN. THE TREATISE OF THE NEEDLE
CHAPTER EIGHT. FROM CAESAR TO LUPIN
CHAPTER NINE. OPEN, SESAME!
CHAPTER TEN. THE TREASURES OF THE KINGS OF FRANCE
CHAPTER I. THE TRAGEDY AT THE PALACE HOTEL
CHAPTER II. THE BLUE-EDGED LABEL
CHAPTER III. M. LENORMAND OPENS HIS CAMPAIGN
CHAPTER IV. PRINCE SERNINE AT WORK
CHAPTER V. M. LENORMAND AT WORK
CHAPTER VI. M. LENORMAND SUCCUMBS
CHAPTER VII. PARBURY-RIBEIRA-ALTENHEIM
CHAPTER VIII. THE OLIVE-GREEN FROCK-COAT
CHAPTER IX. "SANTÉ PALACE"
CHAPTER X. LUPIN'S GREAT SCHEME
CHAPTER XI. CHARLEMAGNE
CHAPTER XII. THE EMPEROR'S LETTERS
CHAPTER XIII. THE SEVEN SCOUNDRELS
CHAPTER XIV. THE MAN IN BLACK
CHAPTER XV. THE MAP OF EUROPE
CHAPTER XVI. ARSÈNE LUPIN'S THREE MURDERS
EPILOGUE. THE SUICIDE
The Crystal Stopper
CHAPTER I. THE ARRESTS
CHAPTER II. EIGHT FROM NINE LEAVES ONE
CHAPTER III. THE HOME LIFE OF ALEXIS DAUBRECQ
CHAPTER IV. THE CHIEF OF THE ENEMIES
CHAPTER V. THE TWENTY-SEVEN
CHAPTER VI. THE DEATH-SENTENCE
CHAPTER VII. THE PROFILE OF NAPOLEON
CHAPTER VIII. THE LOVERS’ TOWER
CHAPTER IX. IN THE DARK
CHAPTER X. EXTRA-DRY?
CHAPTER XI. THE CROSS OF LORRAINE
CHAPTER XII. THE SCAFFOLD
CHAPTER XIII. THE LAST BATTLE
The Confessions of Arsène Lupin
I. TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND FRANCS REWARD!...
II. THE WEDDING-RING
III. THE SIGN OF THE SHADOW
IV. THE INFERNAL TRAP
V. THE RED SILK SCARF
VI. SHADOWED BY DEATH
VII. A TRAGEDY IN THE FOREST OF MORGUES
VIII. LUPIN'S MARRIAGE
IX. THE INVISIBLE PRISONER
X. EDITH SWAN-NECK
The Woman of Mystery
CHAPTER I. THE MURDER
CHAPTER II. THE LOCKED ROOM
CHAPTER III. THE CALL TO ARMS
CHAPTER IV. A LETTER FROM ÉLISABETH
CHAPTER V. THE PEASANT-WOMAN AT CORVIGNY
CHAPTER VI. WHAT PAUL SAW AT ORNEQUIN
CHAPTER VII. H. E. R. M.
CHAPTER VIII. ÉLISABETH'S DIARY
CHAPTER IX. A SPRIG OF EMPIRE
CHAPTER X. 75 OR 155?
CHAPTER XI. "YSERY, MISERY"
CHAPTER XII. MAJOR HERMANN
CHAPTER XIII. THE FERRYMAN'S HOUSE
CHAPTER XIV. A MASTERPIECE OF KULTUR
CHAPTER XV. PRINCE CONRAD MAKES MERRY
CHAPTER XVI. THE IMPOSSIBLE STRUGGLE
CHAPTER XVII. THE LAW OF THE CONQUEROR
CHAPTER XVIII. HILL 132
CHAPTER XIX. HOHENZOLLERN
CHAPTER XX. THE DEATH PENALT. AND A CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
The Golden Triangle
CHAPTER I. CORALIE
CHAPTER II. RIGHT HAND AND LEFT LEG
CHAPTER III. THE RUSTY KEY
CHAPTER IV. BEFORE THE FLAMES
CHAPTER V. HUSBAND AND WIFE
CHAPTER VI. NINETEEN MINUTES PAST SEVEN
CHAPTER VII. TWENTY-THREE MINUTES PAST TWELVE
CHAPTER VIII. ESSARÈS BEY'S WORK
CHAPTER IX. PATRICE AND CORALIE
CHAPTER X. THE RED CORD
CHAPTER XI. ON THE BRINK
CHAPTER XII. IN THE ABYSS
CHAPTER XIII. THE NAILS IN THE COFFIN
CHAPTER XIV. A STRANGE CHARACTER
CHAPTER XV. THE BELLE HÉLÈNE
CHAPTER XVI. THE FOURTH ACT
CHAPTER XVII. SIMÉON GIVES BATTLE
CHAPTER XVIII. SIMEON'S LAST VICTIM
CHAPTER XIX. FIAT LUX!
The Secret of Sarek
CHAPTER I. THE DESERTED CABIN
CHAPTER II. ON THE EDGE OF THE ATLANTIC
CHAPTER III. VORSKI'S SON
CHAPTER IV. THE POOR PEOPLE OF SAREK
CHAPTER V. "FOUR WOMEN CRUCIFIED"
CHAPTER VI. ALL'S WELL
CHAPTER VII. FRANÇOIS AND STÉPHANE
CHAPTER VIII. ANGUISH
CHAPTER IX. THE DEATH-CHAMBER
CHAPTER X. THE ESCAPE
CHAPTER XI. THE SCOURGE OF GOD
CHAPTER XII. THE ASCENT OF GOLGOTHA
CHAPTER XIII. "ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI!"
CHAPTER XIV. THE ANCIENT DRUID
CHAPTER XV. THE HALL OF THE UNDERGROUND SACRIFICES
CHAPTER XVI. THE HALL OF THE KINGS OF BOHEMIA
CHAPTER XVII. "CRUEL PRINCE, OBEYING DESTINY"
CHAPTER XVIII. THE GOD-STONE
The Teeth of The Tiger
The Eight Strokes of The Clock
I. ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER
II. THE WATER-BOTTLE
III. THE CASE OF JEAN LOUIS
IV. THE TELL-TALE FILM
V. THÉRÈSE AND GERMAINE
VI. THE LADY WITH THE HATCHET
VII. FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW
VIII. AT THE SIGN OF MERCURY
Arsène Lupin. Based on Play by Maurice Leblanc and Francis De Croisset
CHAPTER I. THE MILLIONAIRE'S DAUGHTER
CHAPTER II. THE COMING OF THE CHAROLAIS
CHAPTER III. LUPIN'S WAY
CHAPTER IV. THE DUKE INTERVENES
CHAPTER V. A LETTER FROM LUPIN
CHAPTER VI. AGAIN THE CHAROLAIS
CHAPTER VII. THE THEFT OF THE MOTOR-CARS
CHAPTER VIII. THE DUKE ARRIVES
CHAPTER IX. M. FORMERY OPENS THE INQUIRY
CHAPTER X. GUERCHARD ASSISTS
CHAPTER XI. THE FAMILY ARRIVES
CHAPTER XII. THE THEFT OF THE PENDANT
CHAPTER XIII. LUPIN WIRES
CHAPTER XIV. GUERCHARD PICKS UP THE TRUE SCENT
CHAPTER XV. THE EXAMINATION OF SONIA
CHAPTER XVI. VICTOIRE'S SLIP
CHAPTER XVII. SONIA'S ESCAPE
CHAPTER XVIII. THE DUKE STAYS
CHAPTER XIX. THE DUKE GOES
CHAPTER XX. LUPIN COMES HOME
CHAPTER XXI. THE CUTTING OF THE TELEPHONE WIRES
CHAPTER XXII. THE BARGAIN
CHAPTER XXIII. THE END OF THE DUEL
The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar
I. The Arrest of Arsène Lupin
It was a strange ending to a voyage that had commenced in a most auspicious manner. The transatlantic steamship `La Provence’ was a swift and comfortable vessel, under the command of a most affable man. The passengers constituted a select and delightful society. The charm of new acquaintances and improvised amusements served to make the time pass agreeably. We enjoyed the pleasant sensation of being separated from the world, living, as it were, upon an unknown island, and consequently obliged to be sociable with each other.
Have you ever stopped to consider how much originality and spontaneity emanate from these various individuals who, on the preceding evening, did not even know each other, and who are now, for several days, condemned to lead a life of extreme intimacy, jointly defying the anger of the ocean, the terrible onslaught of the waves, the violence of the tempest and the agonizing monotony of the calm and sleepy water? Such a life becomes a sort of tragic existence, with its storms and its grandeurs, its monotony and its diversity; and that is why, perhaps, we embark upon that short voyage with mingled feelings of pleasure and fear.
But, during the past few years, a new sensation had been added to the life of the transatlantic traveler. The little floating island is now attached to the world from which it was once quite free. A bond united them, even in the very heart of the watery wastes of the Atlantic. That bond is the wireless telegraph, by means of which we receive news in the most mysterious manner. We know full well that the message is not transported by the medium of a hollow wire. No, the mystery is even more inexplicable, more romantic, and we must have recourse to the wings of the air in order to explain this new miracle. During the first day of the voyage, we felt that we were being followed, escorted, preceded even, by that distant voice, which, from time to time, whispered to one of us a few words from the receding world. Two friends spoke to me. Ten, twenty others sent gay or somber words of parting to other passengers.
On the second day, at a distance of five hundred miles from the French coast, in the midst of a violent storm, we received the following message by means of the wireless telegraph:
“Arsène Lupin is on your vessel, first cabin, blonde hair, wound right fore-arm, traveling alone under name of R......”
At that moment, a terrible flash of lightning rent the stormy skies. The electric waves were interrupted. The remainder of the dispatch never reached us. Of the name under which Arsène Lupin was concealing himself, we knew only the initial.
If the news had been of some other character, I have no doubt that the secret would have been carefully guarded by the telegraphic operator as well as by the officers of the vessel. But it was one of those events calculated to escape from the most rigorous discretion. The same day, no one knew how, the incident became a matter of current gossip and every passenger was aware that the famous Arsène Lupin was hiding in our midst.
Arsène Lupin in our midst! the irresponsible burglar whose exploits had been narrated in all the newspapers during the past few months! the mysterious individual with whom Ganimard, our shrewdest detective, had been engaged in an implacable conflict amidst interesting and picturesque surroundings. Arsène Lupin, the eccentric gentleman who operates only in the chateaux and salons, and who, one night, entered the residence of Baron Schormann, but emerged empty-handed, leaving, however, his card on which he had scribbled these words: “Arsène Lupin, gentleman-burglar, will return when the furniture is genuine.” Arsène Lupin, the man of a thousand disguises: in turn a chauffer, detective, bookmaker, Russian physician, Spanish bull-fighter, commercial traveler, robust youth, or decrepit old man.
Then consider this startling situation: Arsène Lupin was wandering about within the limited bounds of a transatlantic steamer; in that very small corner of the world, in that dining saloon, in that smoking room, in that music room! Arsène Lupin was, perhaps, this gentleman... or that one... my neighbor at the table... the sharer of my stateroom...
“And this condition of affairs will last for five days!” exclaimed Miss Nelly Underdown, next morning. “It is unbearable! I hope he will be arrested.”
Then, addressing me, she added:
“And you, Monsieur d’Andrézy, you are on intimate terms with the captain; surely you know something?”
I should have been delighted had I possessed any information that would interest Miss Nelly. She was one of those magnificent creatures who inevitably attract attention in every assembly. Wealth and beauty form an irresistible combination, and Nelly possessed both.
Educated in Paris under the care of a French mother, she was now going to visit her father, the millionaire Underdown of Chicago. She was accompanied by one of her friends, Lady Jerland.
At first, I had decided to open a flirtation with her; but, in the rapidly growing intimacy of the voyage, I was soon impressed by her charming manner and my feelings became too deep and reverential for a mere flirtation. Moreover, she accepted my attentions with a certain degree of favor. She condescended to laugh at my witticisms and display an interest in my stories. Yet I felt that I had a rival in the person of a young man with quiet and refined tastes; and it struck me, at times, that she preferred his taciturn humor to my Parisian frivolity. He formed one in the circle of admirers that surrounded Miss Nelly at the time she addressed to me the foregoing question. We were all comfortably seated in our deck-chairs. The storm of the preceding evening had cleared the sky. The weather was now delightful.
“I have no definite knowledge, mademoiselle,” I replied, “but can not we, ourselves, investigate the mystery quite as well as the detective Ganimard, the personal enemy of Arsène Lupin?”
“Oh! oh! you are progressing very fast, monsieur.”
“Not at all, mademoiselle. In the first place, let me ask, do you find the problem a complicated one?”
“Have you forgotten the key we hold for the solution to the problem?”
“In the first place, Lupin calls himself Monsieur R–––-.”
“Rather vague information,” she replied.
“Secondly, he is traveling alone.”
“Does that help you?” she asked.
“Thirdly, he is blonde.”
“Then we have only to peruse the passenger-list, and proceed by process of elimination.”
I had that list in my pocket. I took it out and glanced through it. Then I remarked:
“I find that there are only thirteen men on the passenger-list whose names begin with the letter R.”
“Yes, in the first cabin. And of those thirteen, I find that nine of them are accompanied by women, children or servants. That leaves only four who are traveling alone. First, the Marquis de Raverdan––”
“Secretary to the American Ambassador,” interrupted Miss Nelly. “I know him.”
“Major Rawson,” I continued.
“He is my uncle,” some one said.
“Here!” exclaimed an Italian, whose face was concealed beneath a heavy black beard.
Miss Nelly burst into laughter, and exclaimed: “That gentleman can scarcely be called a blonde.”
“Very well, then,” I said, “we are forced to the conclusion that the guilty party is the last one on the list.”
“What is his name?”
“Mon. Rozaine. Does anyone know him?”
No one answered. But Miss Nelly turned to the taciturn young man, whose attentions to her had annoyed me, and said:
“Well, Monsieur Rozaine, why do you not answer?”
All eyes were now turned upon him. He was a blonde. I must confess that I myself felt a shock of surprise, and the profound silence that followed her question indicated that the others present also viewed the situation with a feeling of sudden alarm. However, the idea was an absurd one, because the gentleman in question presented an air of the most perfect innocence.
“Why do I not answer?” he said. “Because, considering my name, my position as a solitary traveler and the color of my hair, I have already reached the same conclusion, and now think that I should be arrested.”
He presented a strange appearance as he uttered these words. His thin lips were drawn closer than usual and his face was ghastly pale, whilst his eyes were streaked with blood. Of course, he was joking, yet his appearance and attitude impressed us strangely.
“But you have not the wound?” said Miss Nelly, naively.
“That is true,” he replied, “I lack the wound.”
Then he pulled up his sleeve, removing his cuff, and showed us his arm. But that action did not deceive me. He had shown us his left arm, and I was on the point of calling his attention to the fact, when another incident diverted our attention. Lady Jerland, Miss Nelly’s friend, came running towards us in a state of great excitement, exclaiming:
“My jewels, my pearls! Some one has stolen them all!”
No, they were not all gone, as we soon found out. The thief had taken only part of them; a very curious thing. Of the diamond sunbursts, jeweled pendants, bracelets and necklaces, the thief had taken, not the largest but the finest and most valuable stones. The mountings were lying upon the table. I saw them there, despoiled of their jewels, like flowers from which the beautiful colored petals had been ruthlessly plucked. And this theft must have been committed at the time Lady Jerland was taking her tea; in broad daylight, in a stateroom opening on a much frequented corridor; moreover, the thief had been obliged to force open the door of the stateroom, search for the jewel-case, which was hidden at the bottom of a hat-box, open it, select his booty and remove it from the mountings.
Of course, all the passengers instantly reached the same conclusion; it was the work of Arsène Lupin.
That day, at the dinner table, the seats to the right and left of Rozaine remained vacant; and, during the evening, it was rumored that the captain had placed him under arrest, which information produced a feeling of safety and relief. We breathed once more. That evening, we resumed our games and dances. Miss Nelly, especially, displayed a spirit of thoughtless gayety which convinced me that if Rozaine’s attentions had been agreeable to her in the beginning, she had already forgotten them. Her charm and good-humor completed my conquest. At midnight, under a bright moon, I declared my devotion with an ardor that did not seem to displease her.
But, next day, to our general amazement, Rozaine was at liberty. We learned that the evidence against him was not sufficient. He had produced documents that were perfectly regular, which showed that he was the son of a wealthy merchant of Bordeaux. Besides, his arms did not bear the slightest trace of a wound.
“Documents! Certificates of birth!” exclaimed the enemies of Rozaine, “of course, Arsène Lupin will furnish you as many as you desire. And as to the wound, he never had it, or he has removed it.”
Then it was proven that, at the time of the theft, Rozaine was promenading on the deck. To which fact, his enemies replied that a man like Arsène Lupin could commit a crime without being actually present. And then, apart from all other circumstances, there remained one point which even the most skeptical could not answer: Who except Rozaine, was traveling alone, was a blonde, and bore a name beginning with R? To whom did the telegram point, if it were not Rozaine?
And when Rozaine, a few minutes before breakfast, came boldly toward our group, Miss Nelly and Lady Jerland arose and walked away.
An hour later, a manuscript circular was passed from hand to hand amongst the sailors, the stewards, and the passengers of all classes. It announced that Mon. Louis Rozaine offered a reward of ten thousand francs for the discovery of Arsène Lupin or other person in possession of the stolen jewels.
“And if no one assists me, I will unmask the scoundrel myself,” declared Rozaine.
Rozaine against Arsène Lupin, or rather, according to current opinion, Arsène Lupin himself against Arsène Lupin; the contest promised to be interesting.
Nothing developed during the next two days. We saw Rozaine wandering about, day and night, searching, questioning, investigating. The captain, also, displayed commendable activity. He caused the vessel to be searched from stern to stern; ransacked every stateroom under the plausible theory that the jewels might be concealed anywhere, except in the thief’s own room.
“I suppose they will find out something soon,” remarked Miss Nelly to me. “He may be a wizard, but he cannot make diamonds and pearls become invisible.”
“Certainly not,” I replied, “but he should examine the lining of our hats and vests and everything we carry with us.”
Then, exhibiting my Kodak, a 9x12 with which I had been photographing her in various poses, I added: “In an apparatus no larger than that, a person could hide all of Lady Jerland’s jewels. He could pretend to take pictures and no one would suspect the game.”
“But I have heard it said that every thief leaves some clue behind him.”
“That may be generally true,” I replied, “but there is one exception: Arsène Lupin.”
“Because he concentrates his thoughts not only on the theft, but on all the circumstances connected with it that could serve as a clue to his identity.”
“A few days ago, you were more confident.”
“Yes, but since I have seen him at work.”
“And what do you think about it now?” she asked.
“Well, in my opinion, we are wasting our time.”
And, as a matter of fact, the investigation had produced no result. But, in the meantime, the captain’s watch had been stolen. He was furious. He quickened his efforts and watched Rozaine more closely than before. But, on the following day, the watch was found in the second officer’s collar box.
This incident caused considerable astonishment, and displayed the humorous side of Arsène Lupin, burglar though he was, but dilettante as well. He combined business with pleasure. He reminded us of the author who almost died in a fit of laughter provoked by his own play. Certainly, he was an artist in his particular line of work, and whenever I saw Rozaine, gloomy and reserved, and thought of the double role that he was playing, I accorded him a certain measure of admiration.
On the following evening, the officer on deck duty heard groans emanating from the darkest corner of the ship. He approached and found a man lying there, his head enveloped in a thick gray scarf and his hands tied together with a heavy cord. It was Rozaine. He had been assaulted, thrown down and robbed. A card, pinned to his coat, bore these words: “Arsène Lupin accepts with pleasure the ten thousand francs offered by Mon. Rozaine.” As a matter of fact, the stolen pocket-book contained twenty thousand francs.
Of course, some accused the unfortunate man of having simulated this attack on himself. But, apart from the fact that he could not have bound himself in that manner, it was established that the writing on the card was entirely different from that of Rozaine, but, on the contrary, resembled the handwriting of Arsène Lupin as it was reproduced in an old newspaper found on board.
Thus it appeared that Rozaine was not Arsène Lupin; but was Rozaine, the son of a Bordeaux merchant. And the presence of Arsène Lupin was once more affirmed, and that in a most alarming manner.
Such was the state of terror amongst the passengers that none would remain alone in a stateroom or wander singly in unfrequented parts of the vessel. We clung together as a matter of safety. And yet the most intimate acquaintances were estranged by a mutual feeling of distrust. Arsène Lupin was, now, anybody and everybody. Our excited imaginations attributed to him miraculous and unlimited power. We supposed him capable of assuming the most unexpected disguises; of being, by turns, the highly respectable Major Rawson or the noble Marquis de Raverdan, or even–for we no longer stopped with the accusing letter of R–or even such or such a person well known to all of us, and having wife, children and servants.
The first wireless dispatches from America brought no news; at least, the captain did not communicate any to us. The silence was not reassuring.
Our last day on the steamer seemed interminable. We lived in constant fear of some disaster. This time, it would not be a simple theft or a comparatively harmless assault; it would be a crime, a murder. No one imagined that Arsène Lupin would confine himself to those two trifling offenses. Absolute master of the ship, the authorities powerless, he could do whatever he pleased; our property and lives were at his mercy.
Yet those were delightful hours for me, since they secured to me the confidence of Miss Nelly. Deeply moved by those startling events and being of a highly nervous nature, she spontaneously sought at my side a protection and security that I was pleased to give her. Inwardly, I blessed Arsène Lupin. Had he not been the means of bringing me and Miss Nelly closer to each other? Thanks to him, I could now indulge in delicious dreams of love and happiness–dreams that, I felt, were not unwelcome to Miss Nelly. Her smiling eyes authorized me to make them; the softness of her voice bade me hope.
As we approached the American shore, the active search for the thief was apparently abandoned, and we were anxiously awaiting the supreme moment in which the mysterious enigma would be explained. Who was Arsène Lupin? Under what name, under what disguise was the famous Arsène Lupin concealing himself? And, at last, that supreme moment arrived. If I live one hundred years, I shall not forget the slightest details of it.
“How pale you are, Miss Nelly,” I said to my companion, as she leaned upon my arm, almost fainting.
“And you!” she replied, “ah! you are so changed.”
“Just think! this is a most exciting moment, and I am delighted to spend it with you, Miss Nelly. I hope that your memory will sometimes revert–-”
But she was not listening. She was nervous and excited. The gangway was placed in position, but, before we could use it, the uniformed customs officers came on board. Miss Nelly murmured:
“I shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Arsène Lupin escaped from the vessel during the voyage.”
“Perhaps he preferred death to dishonor, and plunged into the Atlantic rather than be arrested.”
“Oh, do not laugh,” she said.
Suddenly I started, and, in answer to her question, I said:
“Do you see that little old man standing at the bottom of the gangway?”
“With an umbrella and an olive-green coat?”
“It is Ganimard.”
“Yes, the celebrated detective who has sworn to capture Arsène Lupin. Ah! I can understand now why we did not receive any news from this side of the Atlantic. Ganimard was here! and he always keeps his business secret.”
“Then you think he will arrest Arsène Lupin?”
“Who can tell? The unexpected always happens when Arsène Lupin is concerned in the affair.”
“Oh!” she exclaimed, with that morbid curiosity peculiar to women, “I should like to see him arrested.”
“You will have to be patient. No doubt, Arsène Lupin has already seen his enemy and will not be in a hurry to leave the steamer.”
The passengers were now leaving the steamer. Leaning on his umbrella, with an air of careless indifference, Ganimard appeared to be paying no attention to the crowd that was hurrying down the gangway. The Marquis de Raverdan, Major Rawson, the Italian Rivolta, and many others had already left the vessel before Rozaine appeared. Poor Rozaine!
“Perhaps it is he, after all,” said Miss Nelly to me. “What do you think?”
“I think it would be very interesting to have Ganimard and Rozaine in the same picture. You take the camera. I am loaded down.”
I gave her the camera, but too late for her to use it. Rozaine was already passing the detective. An American officer, standing behind Ganimard, leaned forward and whispered in his ear. The French detective shrugged his shoulders and Rozaine passed on. Then, my God, who was Arsène Lupin?
“Yes,” said Miss Nelly, aloud, “who can it be?”
Not more than twenty people now remained on board. She scrutinized them one by one, fearful that Arsène Lupin was not amongst them.
“We cannot wait much longer,” I said to her.
She started toward the gangway. I followed. But we had not taken ten steps when Ganimard barred our passage.
“Well, what is it?” I exclaimed.
“One moment, monsieur. What’s your hurry?”
“I am escorting mademoiselle.”
“One moment,” he repeated, in a tone of authority. Then, gazing into my eyes, he said:
“Arsène Lupin, is it not?”
I laughed, and replied: “No, simply Bernard d’Andrézy.”
“Bernard d’Andrézy died in Macedonia three years ago.”
“If Bernard d’Andrézy were dead, I should not be here. But you are mistaken. Here are my papers.”
“They are his; and I can tell you exactly how they came into your possession.”
“You are a fool!” I exclaimed. “Arsène Lupin sailed under the name of R–-”
“Yes, another of your tricks; a false scent that deceived them at Havre. You play a good game, my boy, but this time luck is against you.”
I hesitated a moment. Then he hit me a sharp blow on the right arm, which caused me to utter a cry of pain. He had struck the wound, yet unhealed, referred to in the telegram.
I was obliged to surrender. There was no alternative. I turned to Miss Nelly, who had heard everything. Our eyes met; then she glanced at the Kodak I had placed in her hands, and made a gesture that conveyed to me the impression that she understood everything. Yes, there, between the narrow folds of black leather, in the hollow centre of the small object that I had taken the precaution to place in her hands before Ganimard arrested me, it was there I had deposited Rozaine’s twenty thousand francs and Lady Jerland’s pearls and diamonds.
Oh! I pledge my oath that, at that solemn moment, when I was in the grasp of Ganimard and his two assistants, I was perfectly indifferent to everything, to my arrest, the hostility of the people, everything except this one question: what will Miss Nelly do with the things I had confided to her?
In the absence of that material and conclusive proof, I had nothing to fear; but would Miss Nelly decide to furnish that proof? Would she betray me? Would she act the part of an enemy who cannot forgive, or that of a woman whose scorn is softened by feelings of indulgence and involuntary sympathy?
She passed in front of me. I said nothing, but bowed very low. Mingled with the other passengers, she advanced to the gangway with my Kodak in her hand. It occurred to me that she would not dare to expose me publicly, but she might do so when she reached a more private place. However, when she had passed only a few feet down the gangway, with a movement of simulated awkwardness, she let the camera fall into the water between the vessel and the pier. Then she walked down the gangway, and was quickly lost to sight in the crowd. She had passed out of my life forever.
For a moment, I stood motionless. Then, to Ganimard’s great astonishment, I muttered:
“What a pity that I am not an honest man!”
Such was the story of his arrest as narrated to me by Arsène Lupin himself. The various incidents, which I shall record in writing at a later day, have established between us certain ties... shall I say of friendship? Yes, I venture to believe that Arsène Lupin honors me with his friendship, and that it is through friendship that he occasionally calls on me, and brings, into the silence of my library, his youthful exuberance of spirits, the contagion of his enthusiasm, and the mirth of a man for whom destiny has naught but favors and smiles.
His portrait? How can I describe him? I have seen him twenty times and each time he was a different person; even he himself said to me on one occasion: “I no longer know who I am. I cannot recognize myself in the mirror.” Certainly, he was a great actor, and possessed a marvelous faculty for disguising himself. Without the slightest effort, he could adopt the voice, gestures and mannerisms of another person.
“Why,” said he, “why should I retain a definite form and feature? Why not avoid the danger of a personality that is ever the same? My actions will serve to identify me.”
Then he added, with a touch of pride:
“So much the better if no one can ever say with absolute certainty: There is Arsène Lupin! The essential point is that the public may be able to refer to my work and say, without fear of mistake: Arsène Lupin did that!”
II. Arsène Lupin in Prison
There is no tourist worthy of the name who does not know the banks of the Seine, and has not noticed, in passing, the little feudal castle of the Malaquis, built upon a rock in the centre of the river. An arched bridge connects it with the shore. All around it, the calm waters of the great river play peacefully amongst the reeds, and the wagtails flutter over the moist crests of the stones.
The history of the Malaquis castle is stormy like its name, harsh like its outlines. It has passed through a long series of combats, sieges, assaults, rapines and massacres. A recital of the crimes that have been committed there would cause the stoutest heart to tremble. There are many mysterious legends connected with the castle, and they tell us of a famous subterranean tunnel that formerly led to the abbey of Jumieges and to the manor of Agnes Sorel, mistress of Charles VII.
In that ancient habitation of heroes and brigands, the Baron Nathan Cahorn now lived; or Baron Satan as he was formerly called on the Bourse, where he had acquired a fortune with incredible rapidity. The lords of Malaquis, absolutely ruined, had been obliged to sell the ancient castle at a great sacrifice. It contained an admirable collection of furniture, pictures, wood carvings, and faience. The Baron lived there alone, attended by three old servants. No one ever enters the place. No one had ever beheld the three Rubens that he possessed, his two Watteau, his Jean Goujon pulpit, and the many other treasures that he had acquired by a vast expenditure of money at public sales.
Baron Satan lived in constant fear, not for himself, but for the treasures that he had accumulated with such an earnest devotion and with so much perspicacity that the shrewdest merchant could not say that the Baron had ever erred in his taste or judgment. He loved them–his bibelots. He loved them intensely, like a miser; jealously, like a lover. Every day, at sunset, the iron gates at either end of the bridge and at the entrance to the court of honor are closed and barred. At the least touch on these gates, electric bells will ring throughout the castle.
One Thursday in September, a letter-carrier presented himself at the gate at the head of the bridge, and, as usual, it was the Baron himself who partially opened the heavy portal. He scrutinized the man as minutely as if he were a stranger, although the honest face and twinkling eyes of the postman had been familiar to the Baron for many years. The man laughed, as he said:
“It is only I, Monsieur le Baron. It is not another man wearing my cap and blouse.”
“One can never tell,” muttered the Baron.
The man handed him a number of newspapers, and then said:
“And now, Monsieur le Baron, here is something new.”
“Yes, a letter. A registered letter.”
Living as a recluse, without friends or business relations, the baron never received any letters, and the one now presented to him immediately aroused within him a feeling of suspicion and distrust. It was like an evil omen. Who was this mysterious correspondent that dared to disturb the tranquility of his retreat?
“You must sign for it, Monsieur le Baron.”
He signed; then took the letter, waited until the postman had disappeared beyond the bend in the road, and, after walking nervously to and fro for a few minutes, he leaned against the parapet of the bridge and opened the envelope. It contained a sheet of paper, bearing this heading: Prison de la Santé, Paris. He looked at the signature: Arsène Lupin. Then he read:
“Monsieur le Baron: “There is, in the gallery in your castle, a picture of Philippe de Champaigne, of exquisite finish, which pleases me beyond measure. Your Rubens are also to my taste, as well as your smallest Watteau. In the salon to the right, I have noticed the Louis XIII cadence-table, the tapestries of Beauvais, the Empire gueridon signed `Jacob,’ and the Renaissance chest. In the salon to the left, all the cabinet full of jewels and miniatures. “For the present, I will content myself with those articles that can be conveniently removed. I will therefore ask you to pack them carefully and ship them to me, charges prepaid, to the station at Batignolles, within eight days, otherwise I shall be obliged to remove them myself during the night of 27 September; but, under those circumstances, I shall not content myself with the articles above mentioned. “Accept my apologies for any inconvenience I may cause you, and believe me to be your humble servant, “Arsène Lupin.” “P. S.–Please do not send the largest Watteau. Although you paid thirty thousand francs for it, it is only a copy, the original having been burned, under the Directoire by Barras, during a night of debauchery. Consult the memoirs of Garat. “I do not care for the Louis XV chatelaine, as I doubt its authenticity.”
That letter completely upset the baron. Had it borne any other signature, he would have been greatly alarmed–but signed by Arsène Lupin!
As an habitual reader of the newspapers, he was versed in the history of recent crimes, and was therefore well acquainted with the exploits of the mysterious burglar. Of course, he knew that Lupin had been arrested in America by his enemy Ganimard and was at present incarcerated in the Prison de la Santé. But he knew also that any miracle might be expected from Arsène Lupin. Moreover, that exact knowledge of the castle, the location of the pictures and furniture, gave the affair an alarming aspect. How could he have acquired that information concerning things that no one had ever seen?
The baron raised his eyes and contemplated the stern outlines of the castle, its steep rocky pedestal, the depth of the surrounding water, and shrugged his shoulders. Certainly, there was no danger. No one in the world could force an entrance to the sanctuary that contained his priceless treasures.
No one, perhaps, but Arsène Lupin! For him, gates, walls and drawbridges did not exist. What use were the most formidable obstacles or the most careful precautions, if Arsène Lupin had decided to effect an entrance?
That evening, he wrote to the Procurer of the Republique at Rouen. He enclosed the threatening letter and solicited aid and protection.
The reply came at once to the effect that Arsène Lupin was in custody in the Prison de la Santé, under close surveillance, with no opportunity to write such a letter, which was, no doubt, the work of some imposter. But, as an act of precaution, the Procurer had submitted the letter to an expert in handwriting, who declared that, in spite of certain resemblances, the writing was not that of the prisoner.
But the words “in spite of certain resemblances” caught the attention of the baron; in them, he read the possibility of a doubt which appeared to him quite sufficient to warrant the intervention of the law. His fears increased. He read Lupin’s letter over and over again. “I shall be obliged to remove them myself.” And then there was the fixed date: the night of 27 September.
To confide in his servants was a proceeding repugnant to his nature; but now, for the first time in many years, he experienced the necessity of seeking counsel with some one. Abandoned by the legal official of his own district, and feeling unable to defend himself with his own resources, he was on the point of going to Paris to engage the services of a detective.
Two days passed; on the third day, he was filled with hope and joy as he read the following item in the `Reveil de Caudebec’, a newspaper published in a neighboring town:
“We have the pleasure of entertaining in our city, at the present time, the veteran detective Mon. Ganimard who acquired a world-wide reputation by his clever capture of Arsène Lupin. He has come here for rest and recreation, and, being an enthusiastic fisherman, he threatens to capture all the fish in our river.”
Ganimard! Ah, here is the assistance desired by Baron Cahorn! Who could baffle the schemes of Arsène Lupin better than Ganimard, the patient and astute detective? He was the man for the place.
The baron did not hesitate. The town of Caudebec was only six kilometers from the castle, a short distance to a man whose step was accelerated by the hope of safety.
After several fruitless attempts to ascertain the detective’s address, the baron visited the office of the `Reveil,’ situated on the quai. There he found the writer of the article who, approaching the window, exclaimed:
“Ganimard? Why, you are sure to see him somewhere on the quai with his fishing-pole. I met him there and chanced to read his name engraved on his rod. Ah, there he is now, under the trees.”
“That little man, wearing a straw hat?”
“Exactly. He is a gruff fellow, with little to say.”
Five minutes later, the baron approached the celebrated Ganimard, introduced himself, and sought to commence a conversation, but that was a failure. Then he broached the real object of his interview, and briefly stated his case. The other listened, motionless, with his attention riveted on his fishing-rod. When the baron had finished his story, the fisherman turned, with an air of profound pity, and said:
“Monsieur, it is not customary for thieves to warn people they are about to rob. Arsène Lupin, especially, would not commit such a folly.”
“Monsieur, if I had the least doubt, believe me, the pleasure of again capturing Arsène Lupin would place me at your disposal. But, unfortunately, that young man is already under lock and key.”
“He may have escaped.”
“No one ever escaped from the Santé.”
“He, no more than any other.”
“Well, if he escapes, so much the better. I will catch him again. Meanwhile, you go home and sleep soundly. That will do for the present. You frighten the fish.”
The conversation was ended. The baron returned to the castle, reassured to some extent by Ganimard’s indifference. He examined the bolts, watched the servants, and, during the next forty-eight hours, he became almost persuaded that his fears were groundless. Certainly, as Ganimard had said, thieves do not warn people they are about to rob.
The fateful day was close at hand. It was now the twenty-sixth of September and nothing had happened. But at three o’clock the bell rang. A boy brought this telegram:
“No goods at Batignolles station. Prepare everything for tomorrow night. Arsène.”
This telegram threw the baron into such a state of excitement that he even considered the advisability of yielding to Lupin’s demands.
However, he hastened to Caudebec. Ganimard was fishing at the same place, seated on a campstool. Without a word, he handed him the telegram.
“Well, what of it?” said the detective.
“What of it? But it is tomorrow.”
“What is tomorrow?”
“The robbery! The pillage of my collections!”
Ganimard laid down his fishing-rod, turned to the baron, and exclaimed, in a tone of impatience:
“Ah! Do you think I am going to bother myself about such a silly story as that!”
“How much do you ask to pass tomorrow night in the castle?”
“Not a sou. Now, leave me alone.”
“Name your own price. I am rich and can pay it.”
This offer disconcerted Ganimard, who replied, calmly:
“I am here on a vacation. I have no right to undertake such work.”
“No one will know. I promise to keep it secret.”
“Oh! nothing will happen.”
“Come! three thousand francs. Will that be enough?”
The detective, after a moment’s reflection, said:
“Very well. But I must warn you that you are throwing your money out of the window.”
“I do not care.”
“In that case... but, after all, what do we know about this devil Lupin! He may have quite a numerous band of robbers with him. Are you sure of your servants?”
“Better not count on them. I will telegraph for two of my men to help me. And now, go! It is better for us not to be seen together. Tomorrow evening about nine o’clock.”
The following day–the date fixed by Arsène Lupin–Baron Cahorn arranged all his panoply of war, furbished his weapons, and, like a sentinel, paced to and fro in front of the castle. He saw nothing, heard nothing. At half-past eight o’clock in the evening, he dismissed his servants. They occupied rooms in a wing of the building, in a retired spot, well removed from the main portion of the castle. Shortly thereafter, the baron heard the sound of approaching footsteps. It was Ganimard and his two assistants–great, powerful fellows with immense hands, and necks like bulls. After asking a few questions relating to the location of the various entrances and rooms, Ganimard carefully closed and barricaded all the doors and windows through which one could gain access to the threatened rooms. He inspected the walls, raised the tapestries, and finally installed his assistants in the central gallery which was located between the two salons.
“No nonsense! We are not here to sleep. At the slightest sound, open the windows of the court and call me. Pay attention also to the water-side. Ten metres of perpendicular rock is no obstacle to those devils.”
Ganimard locked his assistants in the gallery, carried away the keys, and said to the baron:
“And now, to our post.”
He had chosen for himself a small room located in the thick outer wall, between the two principal doors, and which, in former years, had been the watchman’s quarters. A peep-hole opened upon the bridge; another on the court. In one corner, there was an opening to a tunnel.
“I believe you told me, Monsieur le Baron, that this tunnel is the only subterranean entrance to the castle and that it has been closed up for time immemorial?”
“Then, unless there is some other entrance, known only to Arsène Lupin, we are quite safe.”
He placed three chairs together, stretched himself upon them, lighted his pipe and sighed:
“Really, Monsieur le Baron, I feel ashamed to accept your money for such a sinecure as this. I will tell the story to my friend Lupin. He will enjoy it immensely.”
The baron did not laugh. He was anxiously listening, but heard nothing save the beating of his own heart. From time to time, he leaned over the tunnel and cast a fearful eye into its depths. He heard the clock strike eleven, twelve, one.
Suddenly, he seized Ganimard’s arm. The latter leaped up, awakened from his sleep.
“Do you hear?” asked the baron, in a whisper.
“What is it?”
“I was snoring, I suppose.”
“No, no, listen.”
“Ah! yes, it is the horn of an automobile.”
“Well! it is very improbable that Lupin would use an automobile like a battering-ram to demolish your castle. Come, Monsieur le Baron, return to your post. I am going to sleep. Good-night.”
That was the only alarm. Ganimard resumed his interrupted slumbers, and the baron heard nothing except the regular snoring of his companion. At break of day, they left the room. The castle was enveloped in a profound calm; it was a peaceful dawn on the bosom of a tranquil river. They mounted the stairs, Cahorn radiant with joy, Ganimard calm as usual. They heard no sound; they saw nothing to arouse suspicion.
“What did I tell you, Monsieur le Baron? Really, I should not have accepted your offer. I am ashamed.”
He unlocked the door and entered the gallery. Upon two chairs, with drooping heads and pendent arms, the detective’s two assistants were asleep.
“Tonnerre de nom d’un chien!” exclaimed Ganimard. At the same moment, the baron cried out:
“The pictures! The credence!”
He stammered, choked, with arms outstretched toward the empty places, toward the denuded walls where naught remained but the useless nails and cords. The Watteau, disappeared! The Rubens, carried away! The tapestries taken down! The cabinets, despoiled of their jewels!
“And my Louis XVI candelabra! And the Regent chandelier!...And my twelfth-century Virgin!”
He ran from one spot to another in wildest despair. He recalled the purchase price of each article, added up the figures, counted his losses, pell-mell, in confused words and unfinished phrases. He stamped with rage; he groaned with grief. He acted like a ruined man whose only hope is suicide.
If anything could have consoled him, it would have been the stupefaction displayed by Ganimard. The famous detective did not move. He appeared to be petrified; he examined the room in a listless manner. The windows?... closed. The locks on the doors?... intact. Not a break in the ceiling; not a hole in the floor. Everything was in perfect order. The theft had been carried out methodically, according to a logical and inexorable plan.
“Arsène Lupin...Arsène Lupin,” he muttered.
Suddenly, as if moved by anger, he rushed upon his two assistants and shook them violently. They did not awaken.
“The devil!” he cried. “Can it be possible?”
He leaned over them and, in turn, examined them closely. They were asleep; but their response was unnatural.
“They have been drugged,” he said to the baron.
“By him, of course, or his men under his discretion. That work bears his stamp.”
“In that case, I am lost–nothing can be done.”
“Nothing,” assented Ganimard.
“It is dreadful; it is monstrous.”
“Lodge a complaint.”
“What good will that do?”
“Oh; it is well to try it. The law has some resources.”
“The law! Bah! it is useless. You represent the law, and, at this moment, when you should be looking for a clue and trying to discover something, you do not even stir.”
“Discover something with Arsène Lupin! Why, my dear monsieur, Arsène Lupin never leaves any clue behind him. He leaves nothing to chance. Sometimes I think he put himself in my way and simply allowed me to arrest him in America.”
“Then, I must renounce my pictures! He has taken the gems of my collection. I would give a fortune to recover them. If there is no other way, let him name his own price.”
Ganimard regarded the baron attentively, as he said:
“Now, that is sensible. Will you stick to it?”
“Yes, yes. But why?”
“An idea that I have.”
“What is it?”
“We will discuss it later–if the official examination does not succeed. But, not one word about me, if you wish my assistance.”
He added, between his teeth:
“It is true I have nothing to boast of in this affair.”
The assistants were gradually regaining consciousness with the bewildered air of people who come out of an hypnotic sleep. They opened their eyes and looked about them in astonishment. Ganimard questioned them; they remembered nothing.
“But you must have seen some one?”
“Can’t you remember?”
“Did you drink anything?”
They considered a moment, and then one of them replied:
“Yes, I drank a little water.”
“Out of that carafe?”
“So did I,” declared the other.
Ganimard smelled and tasted it. It had no particular taste and no odor.
“Come,” he said, “we are wasting our time here. One can’t decide an Arsène Lupin problem in five minutes. But, morbleau! I swear I will catch him again.”
The same day, a charge of burglary was duly performed by Baron Cahorn against Arsène Lupin, a prisoner in the Prison de la Santé.
The baron afterwards regretted making the charge against Lupin when he saw his castle delivered over to the gendarmes, the procureur, the judge d’instruction, the newspaper reporters and photographers, and a throng of idle curiosity-seekers.
The affair soon became a topic of general discussion, and the name of Arsène Lupin excited the public imagination to such an extent that the newspapers filled their columns with the most fantastic stories of his exploits which found ready credence amongst their readers.
But the letter of Arsène Lupin that was published in the `Echo de France’ (no once ever knew how the newspaper obtained it), that letter in which Baron Cahorn was impudently warned of the coming theft, caused considerable excitement. The most fabulous theories were advanced. Some recalled the existence of the famous subterranean tunnels, and that was the line of research pursued by the officers of the law, who searched the house from top to bottom, questioned every stone, studied the wainscoting and the chimneys, the window-frames and the girders in the ceilings. By the light of torches, they examined the immense cellars where the lords of Malaquis were wont to store their munitions and provisions. They sounded the rocky foundation to its very centre. But it was all in vain. They discovered no trace of a subterranean tunnel. No secret passage existed.
But the eager public declared that the pictures and furniture could not vanish like so many ghosts. They are substantial, material things and require doors and windows for their exits and their entrances, and so do the people that remove them. Who were those people? How did they gain access to the castle? And how did they leave it?
The police officers of Rouen, convinced of their own impotence, solicited the assistance of the Parisian detective force. Mon. Dudouis, chief of the Sûreté, sent the best sleuths of the iron brigade. He himself spent forty-eight hours at the castle, but met with no success. Then he sent for Ganimard, whose past services had proved so useful when all else failed.
Ganimard listened, in silence, to the instructions of his superior; then, shaking his head, he said:
“In my opinion, it is useless to ransack the castle. The solution of the problem lies elsewhere.”
“With Arsène Lupin.”
“With Arsène Lupin! To support that theory, we must admit his intervention.”
“I do admit it. In fact, I consider it quite certain.”
“Come, Ganimard, that is absurd. Arsène Lupin is in prison.”
“I grant you that Arsène Lupin is in prison, closely guarded; but he must have fetters on his feet, manacles on his wrists, and gag in his mouth before I change my opinion.”
“Why so obstinate, Ganimard?”
“Because Arsène Lupin is the only man in France of sufficient calibre to invent and carry out a scheme of that magnitude.”
“Mere words, Ganimard.”
“But true ones. Look! What are they doing? Searching for subterranean passages, stones swinging on pivots, and other nonsense of that kind. But Lupin doesn’t employ such old-fashioned methods. He is a modern cracksman, right up to date.”
“And how would you proceed?”
“I should ask your permission to spend an hour with him.”
“In his cell?”
“Yes. During the return trip from America we became very friendly, and I venture to say that if he can give me any information without compromising himself he will not hesitate to save me from incurring useless trouble.”
It was shortly after noon when Ganimard entered the cell of Arsène Lupin. The latter, who was lying on his bed, raised his head and uttered a cry of apparent joy.
“Ah! This is a real surprise. My dear Ganimard, here!”
“In my chosen retreat, I have felt a desire for many things, but my fondest wish was to receive you here.”
“Very kind of you, I am sure.”
“Not at all. You know I hold you in the highest regard.”
“I am proud of it.”
“I have always said: Ganimard is our best detective. He is almost,–you see how candid I am!–he is almost as clever as Sherlock Holmes. But I am sorry that I cannot offer you anything better than this hard stool. And no refreshments! Not even a glass of beer! Of course, you will excuse me, as I am here only temporarily.”
Ganimard smiled, and accepted the proffered seat. Then the prisoner continued:
“Mon Dieu, how pleased I am to see the face of an honest man. I am so tired of those devils of spies who come here ten times a day to ransack my pockets and my cell to satisfy themselves that I am not preparing to escape. The government is very solicitous on my account.”
“It is quite right.”
“Why so? I should be quite contented if they would allow me to live in my own quiet way.”
“On other people’s money.”
“Quite so. That would be so simple. But here, I am joking, and you are, no doubt, in a hurry. So let us come to business, Ganimard. To what do I owe the honor of this visit?
“The Cahorn affair,” declared Ganimard, frankly.
“Ah! Wait, one moment. You see I have had so many affairs! First, let me fix in my mind the circumstances of this particular case...Ah! yes, now I have it. The Cahorn affair, Malaquis castle, Seine-Inférieure...Two Rubens, a Watteau, and a few trifling articles.”
“Oh! ma foi, all that is of slight importance. But it suffices to know that the affair interests you. How can I serve you, Ganimard?”
“Must I explain to you what steps the authorities have taken in the matter?”
“Not at all. I have read the newspapers and I will frankly state that you have made very little progress.”
“And that is the reason I have come to see you.”
“I am entirely at your service.”
“In the first place, the Cahorn affair was managed by you?”
“From A to Z.”
“The letter of warning? the telegram?”
“All mine. I ought to have the receipts somewhere.”
Arsène opened the drawer of a small table of plain white wood which, with the bed and stool, constituted all the furniture in his cell, and took therefrom two scraps of paper which he handed to Ganimard.
“Ah!” exclaimed the detective, in surprise, “I though you were closely guarded and searched, and I find that you read the newspapers and collect postal receipts.”
“Bah! these people are so stupid! They open the lining of my vest, they examine the soles of my shoes, they sound the walls of my cell, but they never imagine that Arsène Lupin would be foolish enough to choose such a simple hiding place.”
Ganimard laughed, as he said:
“What a droll fellow you are! Really, you bewilder me. But, come now, tell me about the Cahorn affair.”
“Oh! oh! not quite so fast! You would rob me of all my secrets; expose all my little tricks. That is a very serious matter.”
“Was I wrong to count on your complaisance?”
“No, Ganimard, and since you insist–-”
Arsène Lupin paced his cell two or three times, then, stopping before Ganimard, he asked:
“What do you think of my letter to the baron?”
“I think you were amusing yourself by playing to the gallery.”
“Ah! playing to the gallery! Come, Ganimard, I thought you knew me better. Do I, Arsène Lupin, ever waste my time on such puerilities? Would I have written that letter if I could have robbed the baron without writing to him? I want you to understand that the letter was indispensable; it was the motor that set the whole machine in motion. Now, let us discuss together a scheme for the robbery of the Malaquis castle. Are you willing?”
“Well, let us suppose a castle carefully closed and barricaded like that of the Baron Cahorn. Am I to abandon my scheme and renounce the treasures that I covet, upon the pretext that the castle which holds them is inaccessible?”
“Should I make an assault upon the castle at the head of a band of adventurers as they did in ancient times?”
“That would be foolish.”
“Can I gain admittance by stealth or cunning?”
“Then there is only one way open to me. I must have the owner of the castle invite me to it.”
“That is surely an original method.”
“And how easy! Let us suppose that one day the owner receives a letter warning him that a notorious burglar known as Arsène Lupin is plotting to rob him. What will he do?”
“Send a letter to the Procureur.”
“Who will laugh at him, *because the said Arsène Lupin is actually in prison.* Then, in his anxiety and fear, the simple man will ask the assistance of the first-comer, will he not?”
“And if he happens to read in a country newspaper that a celebrated detective is spending his vacation in a neighboring town–-”
“He will seek that detective.”
“Of course. But, on the other hand, let us presume that, having foreseen that state of affairs, the said Arsène Lupin has requested one of his friends to visit Caudebec, make the acquaintance of the editor of the `Réveil,’ a newspaper to which the baron is a subscriber, and let said editor understand that such person is the celebrated detective–then, what will happen?”
“The editor will announce in the `Réveil’ the presence in Caudebec of said detective.”
“Exactly; and one of two things will happen: either the fish–I mean Cahorn–will not bite, and nothing will happen; or, what is more likely, he will run and greedily swallow the bait. Thus, behold my Baron Cahorn imploring the assistance of one of my friends against me.”
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