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"Good. Continue to come here at eleven every morning, until further
orders."

He rose and walked to the Pavillon Chinois, near the Porte Dauphine,
where he took a frugal meal: two eggs, some vegetables and a little
fruit. Then he returned to the Rue Crevaux and said to the concierge:

"I am going to have a look round upstairs and then I'll give you the
keys."

He finished his inspection with the room which he used as a study. There
he took hold of the end of a jointed gas-bracket which was fixed beside
the chimney, unscrewed the brass nozzle, fitted a little funnel-shaped
instrument to it and blew up the pipe.

A faint whistle sounded in reply. Putting the pipe to his mouth, he
whispered:

"Any one there, Dubreuil?"

"No."

"Can I come up?"

"Yes."

He replaced the bracket, saying, as he did so:

"Where will progress stop? Our age teems with little inventions that
make life really charming and picturesque. And so amusing too ...
especially when a man knows the game of life as I know it!"

He touched one of the marble mouldings of the mantel-piece and made it
swing round on a pivot. The marble slab itself moved and the mirror
above it slid between invisible grooves, revealing a yawning gap which
contained the lower steps of a staircase built in the body of the
chimney itself. It was all very clean, in carefully-polished iron and
white porcelain tiles.

He climbed up to the fifth floor, which had a similar opening over the
mantel-piece, and found M. Dubreuil awaiting him:

"Is everything finished here?"

"Everything."

"All cleared up?"

"Quite."

"The staff?"

"All gone, except the three men keeping watch."

"Let's go up."

They climbed by the same way to the servants' floor and emerged in a
garret where they found three men, one of whom was looking out of the
window.

"Any news?"

"No, governor."

"Is the street quiet?"

"Absolutely."

"I shall leave for good in ten minutes.... You will go too. In the
meantime, if you notice the least suspicious movement in the street, let
me know."

"I've got my finger on the alarm-bell governor."

"Dubreuil, did you remember to tell the removers not to touch the
bell-wires?"

"Yes. They work perfectly."

"That's all right, then."

The two gentlemen returned to Félix Davey's flat. And Davey, after
readjusting the marble moulding, exclaimed, gaily:

"Dubreuil, I should love to see the faces of those who discover all
these wonderful contrivances: alarm-bells, a network of electric wires
and speaking-tubes, invisible passages, sliding floor-boards, secret
staircases!... regular pantomime machinery!"

"What an advertisement for Arsène Lupin!"

"We could very well have done without the advertisement. It seems a pity
to leave so fine an installation. We shall have to begin all over again,
Dubreuil ... and upon a new plan, of course, for it never does to repeat
one's self. Confound that Shears!"

"He's not come back, I suppose?"

"How could he? There's only one boat from Southampton, which leaves at
midnight. From the Havre, there's only one train, which leaves at eight
in the morning and arrives at eleven three. Once he has not taken the
midnight steamer - and he has not, for my orders to the captain were
formal - he can't reach France till this evening, _via_ Newhaven and
Dieppe."

"If he comes back!"

"Shears never throws up the game. He will come back, but it will be too
late. We shall be far away."

"And Mlle. Destange?"

"I am to meet her in an hour."

"At her house?"

"No, she won't go home for a few days, until the storm has blown over
... and I am able to look after her more thoroughly.... But you must
hurry, Dubreuil. It will take a long time to ship all the cases and you
will be wanted on the wharf."

"You're sure we are not being watched?"

"Whom by? I was never afraid of any one but Shears."

Dubreuil went away. Félix Davey took a last walk round the flat, picked
up a torn letter or two and then, seeing a piece of chalk, he took it,
drew a large circle on the dark wall-paper of the dining room, and
wrote, after the style of a commemorative tablet:

__.......__
_.-'' '-..
,-' '-.
,' '.
,' '\
/ ARSÈNE LUPIN, `
/ `.
/ GENTLEMAN BURGLAR, \
| |
| LIVED HERE |
| |
| FOR 5 YEARS |
| .'
| AT THE COMMENCEMENT |
| .'
\ OF /
\ ,'
` THE TWENTIETH CENTURY /
'. ,'
'-. _,'
'-._ _,-'
'` - ...... - -'

This little joke seemed to cause him a lively satisfaction. He whistled
gaily as he looked at it and cried:

"Now that I have put myself right with the historians of the future
generations, let's be off! Hurry up, Maître Holmlock Shears! In three
minutes I shall have left my lair, and your defeat will be absolute....
Two minutes more! You're keeping me waiting, maître!... One minute more!
Aren't you coming? Very well, I proclaim your downfall and my
apotheosis.... With which last words I proceed to make myself scarce.
Farewell, O Kingdom of Arsène Lupin! I shall not look upon you again.
Farewell, ye five-and-fifty rooms of the six flats over which I reigned!
Farewell, austere and humble dwelling!"

A bell cut short his lyrical effusion, a short, shrill, strident bell,
twice interrupted, twice resumed and then ceasing. It was the
alarm-bell.

What could it mean? Some unexpected danger? Ganimard? Surely not!...

He was on the point of making for his study and escaping. But first he
turned to the window. There was no one in the street. Was the enemy
already in the house, then? He listened and seemed to distinguish
confused sounds. Without further hesitation he ran to his study and, as
he crossed the threshold, heard the sound of a latchkey fumbling at the
lock of the hall-door.

"By Jove!" he muttered. "I have only just time. The house may be
surrounded.... No use trying the servants' staircase.... Fortunately,
the chimney...."

He pushed the moulding smartly: it did not move. He exerted greater
force: it did not move.

At the same moment, he received the impression that the outer door was
opening and that steps sounded.

"Curse it all!" he swore. "I'm lost, if this confounded spring...."

His fingers clutched the moulding; he bore upon it with all his weight.
Nothing moved, nothing! By some incredible bad luck, by a really
bewildering piece of malice on the part of fate, the spring, which was
working only a moment before, now refused to work!

He persisted madly, convulsively. The block of marble remained inert,
motionless. Curse it! Was it conceivable that this stupid obstacle
should bar his way? He struck the marble, struck it furious blows with
his fists, hammered it, insulted it....

"Why, M. Lupin, is something not going as you wish?"

Lupin turned round, terror-stricken. Holmlock Shears stood before him.

* * * * *

Holmlock Shears! Lupin gazed at him, blinking his eyes, as though
smarting under a cruel vision. Holmlock Shears in Paris! Holmlock
Shears, whom he had packed off to England the day before, as he might a
compromising parcel, stood there before him, triumphant and free! Ah,
for this impossible miracle to be performed in despite of Arsène Lupin's
will there must have been a revolution of the laws of nature, a victory
of all that is illogical and abnormal! Holmlock Shears standing opposite
him!

And the Englishman, resorting to irony in his turn, said, with that
supercilious politeness with which his adversary had so often lashed
him:

"M. Lupin, believe me, from this minute I shall cease to remember the
night you made me spend in Baron d'Hautrec's house, cease to remember my
friend Wilson's mishaps, cease to remember how I was kidnapped by
motor-car, cease to remember the sea-voyage which I have just taken,
fastened down, by your orders, to an uncomfortable berth. This minute
wipes out all. I forget everything. I am rewarded, amply rewarded."

Lupin did not speak. The Englishman added:

"Don't you think so yourself?"

He appeared to be insisting, as though demanding an assent, a sort of
receipt with regard to the past.

After a moment's reflection, during which the Englishman felt himself
searched and fathomed to the very bottom of his soul, Lupin said:

"I presume, sir, that your present action rests upon serious motives?"

"Extremely serious motives."

"The fact of your escaping from my captain and his crew is only a
secondary incident in our struggle. But the fact of your being here,
before me, alone, do you understand, _alone_ in the presence of Arsène
Lupin, makes me believe that your revenge is as complete as possible."

"It is as complete as possible."

"This house...?"

"Surrounded."

"The two next houses...?"

"Surrounded."

"The flat above this...?"

"The three flats on the fifth floor which were occupied by M. Dubreuil
are invested."

"So that...?"

"So that you are caught, M. Lupin, irredeemably caught."

Lupin now experienced the same feelings that had stirred Shears during
his motor-car drive: the same concentrated rage, the same rebellion; but
also, when all was said and done, the same sense of loyalty which
compelled him to bow before the force of circumstances. Both were
equally strong: both alike were bound to accept defeat as a temporary
evil, to be received with resignation.

"We are quits, sir," he said, bluntly.

* * * * *

The Englishman seemed delighted at this confession. The two men were
silent. Then Lupin, already master of himself, resumed with a smile:

"And I am not sorry. It was becoming wearisome to win every thrust. I
had only to put out my arm to hit you full in the chest. This time, you
score one. Well, hit, maître!" He laughed whole-heartedly. "At last we
shall have some fun! Lupin is caught in the trap. How will he get
out?... Caught in the trap!... What an adventure!... Ah, maître, I have
to thank you for a grand emotion. This is what I call life!"

He pressed his clenched fists to his temples as though to restrain the
ungovernable joy that was bubbling up within him; and he also had
gestures like those of a child amusing itself beyond its power of
endurance.

At last, he went up to the Englishman:

"And now, what are you here for?"

"What am I here for?"

"Yes. Ganimard is outside, with his men. Why does he not come in?"

"I asked him not to."

"And he consented?"

"I called in his services only on the express condition that he would be
led by me. Besides, he believes that M. Félix Davey is merely an
accomplice of Lupin's."

"Then I will repeat my question under another form. Why did you come in
alone?"

"I wanted to speak to you first."

"Aha! You want to speak to me!"

The idea seemed to please Lupin greatly. There are circumstances in life
in which we much prefer words to deeds.

"Mr. Shears, I am sorry not to have a chair to offer you. Does this
broken box suit you? Or the window-ledge? I am sure a glass of beer
would be acceptable.... Do you like it light or dark?... But do sit
down, I beg...."

"Never mind that: let us talk."

"I am listening."

"I shall not be long. The object of my stay in France was not to effect
your arrest. I was obliged to pursue you, because no other means offered
of attaining my real object."

"Which was?"

"To recover the blue diamond."

"The blue diamond!"

"Certainly; because the one discovered in Herr Bleichen's tooth-powder
flask was not the real one."

"Just so. The real one was posted by the blonde lady. I had an exact
copy made; and as, at that time, I had designs upon the Comtesse de
Crozon's other jewels and as the Austrian consul was already under
suspicion, the aforesaid blonde lady, lest she should be suspected in
her turn, slipped the imitation diamond into the aforesaid consul's
luggage."

"While you kept the real one."

"Quite right."

"I want that diamond."

"Impossible. I'm sorry."

"I have promised it to the Comtesse de Crozon. I mean to have it."

"How can you have it, seeing that it's in my possession?"

"I mean to have it just because it is in your possession."

"You mean that I shall give it back to you?"

"Yes."

"Voluntarily?"

"I will buy it of you."

Lupin had a fit of merriment:

"Any one can tell what country _you_ come from! You treat this as a
matter of business."

"It is a matter of business."

"And what price do you offer?"

"The liberty of Mlle. Destange."

"Her liberty? But I am not aware that she is under arrest."

"I shall give M. Ganimard the necessary information. Once deprived of
your protection, she will be taken also."

Lupin burst out laughing again:

"My dear sir, you are offering me what you do not possess. Mlle.
Destange is safe and fears nothing. I want something else."

The Englishman hesitated, obviously embarrassed and flushing slightly.
Then he put his hand brusquely on his adversary's shoulder:

"And, if I offered you...?"

"My liberty?"

"No ... but, still, I might leave the room, to arrange with
M. Ganimard...."

"And leave me to think things over?"

"Yes."

"Well, what on earth would be the good of that? This confounded spring
won't work," said Lupin, irritably pushing the moulding of the mantel.

He stifled an exclamation of surprise: this time, freakish chance had
willed that the block of marble should move under his fingers! Safety,
flight became possible. In that case, why submit to Holmlock Shears's
conditions?

He walked to and fro, as though reflecting upon his answer. Then he, in
his turn, put his hand on the Englishman's shoulder:

"After due consideration, Mr. Shears, I prefer to settle my little
affairs alone."

"Still...."

"No, I don't want anybody's help."

"When Ganimard has you, it will be up with you. They won't let you go
again."

"Who knows?"

"Come, this is madness. Every outlet is watched."

"One remains."

"Which one?"

"The one I shall select."

"Words! Your arrest may be looked upon as effected."

"It is not effected."

"So...?"

"So I shall keep the blue diamond."

Shears took out his watch:

"It is ten minutes to three. At three o'clock, I call Ganimard."

"That gives us ten minutes to chat in. Let us make the most of our time,
Mr. Shears, and tell me, to satisfy the curiosity by which I am
devoured: how did you procure my address and my name of Félix Davey?"

Keeping a watchful eye on Lupin, whose good-humour made him feel uneasy,
Shears gladly consented to give this little explanation, which flattered
his vanity, and said:

"I had your address from the blonde lady."

"Clotilde?"

"Yes. You remember ... yesterday morning ... when I meant to carry her
off in the motor-cab, she telephoned to her dressmaker."

"So she did."

"Well, I understood later that the dressmaker was yourself. And, last
night, in the boat, thanks to an effort of memory which is perhaps one
of the things of which I am most proud, I succeeded in recollecting the
last two figures of your telephone number: 73. In this way, as I
possessed the list of the houses which you had 'touched up,' it was easy
for me, on my arrival in Paris at eleven o'clock this morning, to look
through the telephone directory until I discovered the name and address
of M. Félix Davey. The name and address once known, I called in the aid
of M. Ganimard."

"Admirable! First-rate! I make you my bow! But what I can't quite grasp
is that you took the train at the Havre. How did you manage to escape
from the _Hirondelle_?"

"I did not escape."

"But ..."

"You gave the captain orders not to reach Southampton until one o'clock.
Well, they landed me at twelve and I caught the Havre boat."

"The captain played me false? Impossible."

"He did not play you false."

"What then...?"

"It was his watch."

"His watch?"

"Yes, I put his watch on an hour."

"How?"

"The only way in which one can put a watch on, by turning the winder. We
were sitting together chatting and I told him things that interested
him.... By Jove, he noticed nothing!"

"Well done; well done! It's a good trick and I must remember it. But
what about the cabin clock?"

"Oh, the clock was more difficult, for my legs were bound: but the
sailor who was put in charge of me whenever the captain went on deck
kindly consented to give the hands a push."

"The sailor? Nonsense! Do you mean to say, he consented...?"

"Oh, he did not know the importance of what he was doing! I told him I
must, at all costs, catch the first train to London and ... he allowed
himself to be persuaded...."

"In consideration...."

"In consideration of a little present ... which the decent fellow,
however, intends faithfully to send to you."

"What present?"

"A mere nothing."

"Well, but what?"

"The blue diamond."

"The blue diamond!"

"Yes, the imitation one, which you substituted for the countess's
diamond and which she left in my hands...."

Arsène Lupin gave a sudden and tumultuous burst of laughter. He seemed
ready to die: his eyes were wet with tears:

"Oh, what a joke! My faked diamond handed back to the sailor! And the
captain's watch! And the hands of the clock!..."

Never before had Holmlock Shears felt the struggle between Arsène Lupin
and himself grow so intense as now. With his prodigious intuition, he
guessed that, under this excessive gaiety, Lupin was concentrating his
formidable mind and collecting all his faculties.

Lupin had gradually drawn closer. The Englishman stepped back and
slipped his fingers, as though absent-mindedly, into his pocket:

"It's three o'clock, M. Lupin."

"Three o'clock already? What a pity!... We were having such fun!"

"I am waiting for your answer."

"My answer? Goodness me, what a lot you want! So this finishes the game.
With my liberty for the stakes!"

"Or the blue diamond."

"Very well.... It's your lead. What do you do?"

"I mark the king," said Shears, firing a shot with his revolver.

"And here's _my hand_," retorted Arsène, hurling his fist at the
Englishman.

Shears had fired at the ceiling, to summon Ganimard, the need for whose
intervention now seemed urgent. But Arsène's fist caught him full in the
wind and he turned pale and staggered back. Lupin gave one bound toward
the chimney and the marble slab moved.... Too late! The door opened.

"Surrender, Lupin! If not...."

Ganimard, who had doubtless been posted nearer than Lupin thought, stood
there, with his revolver aimed at him. And, behind Ganimard, ten men,
twenty men crowded upon one another's heels, powerful, ruthless fellows,
prepared to beat Lupin down like a dog at the least sign of resistance.

He made a quiet gesture:

"Hands off there! I surrender."

And he crossed his arms over his chest.

* * * * *

A sort of stupor followed. In the room stripped of its furniture and
hangings, Arsène Lupin's words seemed drawn-out like an echo:

"I surrender!"

The words sounded incredible. The others were expecting to see him
vanish suddenly down a trap or a panel of the wall to fall back and once
more to hide him from his assailants. And he surrendered!

Ganimard stepped forward and, greatly excited, with all the gravity that
the act demanded, brought his hand slowly down upon his adversary's
shoulder and enjoyed the infinite satisfaction of saying:

"Lupin, I arrest you."

"Brrrrr!" shivered Lupin. "You make me feel quite overcome, my dear
Ganimard. What a solemn face! One would think you were making a speech
over a friend's grave. Come, drop these funereal airs!"

"I arrest you."

"You seem quite flabbergasted! In the name of the law, of which he is a
faithful limb, Chief-Inspector Ganimard arrests wicked Arsène Lupin. It
is an historic moment and you grasp its full importance.... And this is
the second time a similar fact occurs. Bravo, Ganimard; you will do well
in your career!"

And he held out his wrists for the handcuffs....

They were fastened on almost solemnly. The detectives, in spite of their
usual roughness and the bitterness of their resentment against Lupin,
acted with reserve and discretion, astounded as they were at being
allowed to touch that intangible being.

"My poor Lupin," he sighed, "what would your smart friends say if they
saw you humbled like this!"

He separated his wrists with a growing and continuous effort of every
muscle. The veins on his forehead swelled. The links of the chain dug
into his skin.

"Now then!" he said.

The chain snapped and broke in two.

"Another, mates: this one's no good."

They put two pairs on him. He approved:

"That's better. You can't be too careful."

Then, counting the detectives, he continued:

"How many of you are there, my friends? Twenty-five? Thirty? That's a
lot.... I can't do anything against thirty. Ah, if there had been only
fifteen of you!"

* * * * *

He really had a manner about him, the manner of a great actor playing
his instinctive, spirited part impertinently and frivolously. Shears
watched him as a man watches a fine sight of which he is able to
appreciate every beauty and every shade. And he absolutely received the
strange impression that the struggle was an equal one between those
thirty men on the one hand, backed up by all the formidable machinery of
the law, and that single being on the other, fettered and unarmed. The
two sides were evenly matched.

"Well, maître," said Lupin, "this is your work. Thanks to you, Lupin is
going to rot on the damp straw of the cells. Confess that your
conscience is not quite easy and that you feel the pangs of remorse."

The Englishman gave an involuntary shrug, as though to say:

"You had the chance...."

"Never! Never!" exclaimed Lupin. "Give you back the blue diamond? Ah,
no, it has cost me too much trouble already! I value it, you see. At the
first visit I have the honour of paying you in London, next month, I
daresay, I will tell you why.... But shall you be in London next month?
Would you rather I met you in Vienna? Or St. Petersburg?"

He started. Suddenly, an electric bell rang just below the ceiling. And,
this time, it was not the alarm-bell, but the bell of the telephone,
which had not been removed and which stood between the two windows.

The telephone! Ah, who was going to fall into the trap laid by an odious
chance? Arsène Lupin made a furious move toward the instrument, as
though he would have smashed it to atoms and, in so doing, stifled the
unknown voice that wished to speak to him. But Ganimard took the
receiver from its hook and bent down:

"Hullo!... Hullo!... 648.73.... Yes, that's right."

With a brisk gesture of authority, Shears pushed him aside, took the two
receivers and put his handkerchief over the mouthpiece to make the
sound of his voice less distinct.

At that moment, he glanced at Lupin. And the look which they exchanged
showed them that the same thought had struck them both and that they
both foresaw to the end the consequences of that possible, probable,
almost certain supposition: it was the blonde lady telephoning. She
thought that she was telephoning to Félix Davey, or, rather, Maxime
Bermond; and she was about to confide in Holmlock Shears!

And the Englishman repeated:

"Hullo!... Hullo!..."

A pause and Shears:

"Yes, it's I; Maxime."

The drama took shape forthwith, with tragic precision. Lupin, the
mocking, indomitable Lupin, no longer even thought of concealing his
anxiety and, with features pale as death, strove to hear, to guess. And
Shears continued, in reply to the mysterious voice:

"Yes, yes, it's all finished and I was just getting ready to come on to
you, as arranged.... Where? Why, where you are.... Isn't that best?"

He hesitated, seeking his words, and then stopped. It was evident that
he was trying to draw out the girl without saying too much himself and
that he had not the least idea where she was. Besides, Ganimard's
presence seemed to hinder him.... Oh, if some miracle could have cut the


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