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thread of that diabolical conversation! Lupin called for it with all his
might, with all his strained nerves!

And Shears went on:

"Hullo!... Hullo!... Can't you hear?... It's very bad at this end too
... and I can hardly make out.... Can you hear me now? Well ... on
second thoughts ... you had better go home.... Oh, no, there's no danger
at all.... Why, he's in England! I've had a telegram from Southampton!"

The irony of the words! Shears uttered them with an inexpressible sense
of satisfaction. And he added.

"So go at once, dear, and I shall be with you soon."

He hung up the receivers.

"M. Ganimard, I propose to borrow three of your men."

"It's for the blonde lady, I suppose?"


"Do you know who she is, where she is?"


"By Jove! A fine capture! She and Lupin ... that completes the day's
work. Folenfant, take two men and go with Mr. Shears."

The Englishman walked away, followed by the three detectives.

The end had come. The blonde lady also was about to fall into Shears's
hands. Thanks to his wonderful persistency, thanks to the aid of
fortunate events, the battle was turning to victory for him and
irreparable disaster for Lupin.

"Mr. Shears!"

The Englishman stopped:

"Yes, M. Lupin?"

Lupin seemed completely crushed by this last blow. His forehead was
wrinkled; he was worn-out and gloomy. Yet he drew himself up, with a
revival of energy; and, in spite of all, exclaimed, in a voice of glad

"You must admit that fate is dead against me. Just now, it prevented me
from escaping by the chimney and delivered me into your hands. This
moment, it has made use of the telephone to make you a present of the
blonde lady. I bow before its decrees."


"Meaning that I am prepared to reopen negotiations."

Shears took the inspector aside and begged permission, but in a tone
that allowed of no refusal, to exchange a few words with Lupin. Then he
walked across to him. The momentous conversation took place. It opened
in short, nervous phrases:

"What do you want?"

"Mlle. Destange's liberty."

"You know the price?"


"And you agree?"

"I agree to all your conditions."

"Ah!" exclaimed the astonished Englishman. "But ... you refused just now
... for yourself...."

"It was a question of myself, Mr. Shears. Now it involves a woman ...
and a woman whom I love. You see, we have very peculiar ideas about
these things in France, and it does not follow that, because a man's
name is Lupin, he will act differently: on the contrary!"

He said this quite simply. Shears gave him an imperceptible nod and

"Where is the blue diamond?"

"Take my cane, over there, in the chimney corner. Hold the knob in one
hand and turn the iron ferrule with the other."

Shears took the cane, turned the ferrule and, as he turned it, perceived
that the knob became unscrewed. Inside the knob was a ball of putty.
Inside the putty a diamond.

He examined it. It was the blue diamond.

"Mlle. Destange is free, M. Lupin."

"Free in the future as in the present? She has nothing to fear from

"Nor from any one else."

"Whatever happens?"

"Whatever happens. I have forgotten her name and where she lives."

"Thank you. And _au revoir_. For we shall meet again, Mr. Shears, shall
we not?"

"I have no doubt we shall."

A more or less heated explanation followed between the Englishman and
Ganimard and was cut short by Shears with a certain roughness:

"I am very sorry, M. Ganimard, that I can't agree with you. But I have
no time to persuade you now. I leave for England in an hour."

"But ... the blonde lady?"

"I know no such person."

"Only a moment ago...."

"You must take it or leave it. I have already caught Lupin for you. Here
is the blue diamond ... which you may have the pleasure of handing to
the countess yourself. I can't see that you have anything to complain

"But the blonde lady?"

"Find her."

He settled his hat on his head and walked away with a brisk step, like a
gentleman who has no time to loiter once his business is done.

* * * * *

"Good-bye, maître!" cried Lupin. "And a pleasant journey! I shall always
remember the cordial relations between us. My kind regards to Mr.

He received no reply and chuckled:

"That's what we call taking English leave. Ah, those worthy islanders do
not possess that elegant courtesy which distinguishes us. Just think,
Ganimard, of the exit which a Frenchman would have made in similar
circumstances! Under what exquisite politeness would he not have
concealed his triumph!... But, Lord bless my soul, Ganimard, what are
you doing? Well, I never: a search! But there's nothing left, my poor
friend, not a scrap of paper! My archives have been moved to a place of

"One can never tell."

Lupin looked on in resignation. Held by two inspectors and surrounded
by all the rest, he patiently watched the various operations. But, after
twenty minutes, he sighed:

"Come along, Ganimard; you'll never be finished, at this rate."

"Are you in a great hurry?"

"Yes, I should think I was! I have an important engagement!"

"At the police-station?"

"No, in town."

"Tut, tut! At what time?"

"At two o'clock."

"It's past three."

"Exactly: I shall be late; and there's nothing I detest so much as being

"Will you give me five minutes?"

"Not a minute longer."

"You're too good.... I'll try...."

"Don't talk so much.... What, that cupboard too? Why, it's empty!"

"There are some letters, for all that."

"Old bills."

"No, a bundle done up in ribbon."

"A pink ribbon, is it? Oh, Ganimard, don't untie it, for heaven's sake!"

"Are they from a woman?"


"A lady?"


"What's her name?"

"Mme. Ganimard."

"Very witty! Oh, very witty!" cried the inspector, in an affected tone.

At that moment, the men returned from the other rooms and declared that
their search had led to nothing. Lupin began to laugh:

"Of course not! Did you expect to find a list of my friends, or a proof
of my relations with the German Emperor? What you ought to have looked
for, Ganimard, are the little mysteries of this flat. For instance, that
gas-pipe is a speaking tube. The chimney contains a staircase. This wall
here is hollow. And such a tangle of bell-wires! Look here, Ganimard:
just press that button."

Ganimard did as he was asked.

"Did you hear anything?"


"Nor I. And yet you have instructed the captain of my balloon-park to
get ready the airship which is soon to carry us up to the sky."

"Come," said Ganimard, who had finished his inspection. "Enough of this
nonsense. Let us start."

He took a few steps, followed by his men.

Lupin did not budge a foot's breadth.

His custodians pushed him. In vain.

"Well," said Ganimard, "do you refuse to come?"

"Not at all."

"Then ..."

"It all depends."

"Depends on what?"

"On where you're taking me."

"To the police-station, of course."

"Then I shan't come. I have nothing to do at the station."

"You're mad!"

"Didn't I tell you I had an important engagement?"


"Come, Ganimard, the blonde lady must be getting quite anxious about me;
and do you think I could have the rudeness to keep her waiting? It would
not be the conduct of a gentleman!"

"Listen to me, Lupin," said the inspector, who was beginning to lose his
temper under all this chaff. "So far, I have treated you with excessive
consideration. But there are limits. Follow me."

"Impossible. I have an engagement and that engagement I mean to keep."

"For the last time?"


Ganimard made a sign. Two men seized Lupin under the arms and lifted him
from the floor. But they dropped him at once with howls of pain: with
his two hands, Arsène Lupin had dug two long needles into their flesh.

Maddened with rage, the others rushed upon him, wreaking their hatred at
last, burning to avenge their comrades and themselves for the numberless
affronts put upon them, and they rained a shower of blows upon his body.
One blow, more violent than the rest, struck him on the temple. He fell
to the floor.

"If you hurt him," growled Ganimard, angrily, "you'll have me to deal

He bent over Lupin, prepared to assist him. But, finding that he was
breathing freely, he told the men to take Lupin by the head and feet,
while he himself supported his hips.

"Slowly, now, gently!... Don't jolt him!... Why, you brutes, you might
have killed him. Well, Lupin, how do you feel?"

Lupin opened his eyes and stammered:

"Not up to much, Ganimard.... You shouldn't have let them knock me

"Dash it, it's your own fault ... with your obstinacy!" replied
Ganimard, in real distress. "But you're not hurt?"

They reached the landing. Lupin moaned:

"Ganimard ... the lift ... they'll break my bones."

"Good idea, capital idea!" agreed the inspector. "Besides, the stairs
are so narrow ... it would be impossible...."

He got the lift up. They laid Lupin on the seat with every imaginable
precaution. Ganimard sat down beside him and said to his men:

"Go down the stairs at once. Wait for me by the porter's lodge. Do you

He shut the door. But it was hardly closed when shouts arose. The lift
had shot up, like a balloon with its rope cut. A sardonic laugh rang

"Damnation!" roared Ganimard, feeling frantically in the dark for the
lever. And failing to find it, he shouted, "The fifth floor! Watch the
door on the fifth floor!"

The detectives rushed upstairs, four steps at a time. But a strange
thing happened: the lift seemed to shoot right through the ceiling of
the top floor, disappeared before the detectives' eyes and suddenly
emerged on the upper story, where the servants' bedrooms were, and

Three men were in waiting and opened the door. Two of them overpowered
Ganimard, who, hampered in his movements and completely bewildered,
hardly thought of defending himself. The third helped Lupin out.

"I told you, Ganimard!... Carried off by balloon ... and thanks to
you!... Next time, you must show less compassion. And, above all,
remember that Arsène Lupin does not allow himself to be bashed and
mauled about without good reasons. Good-bye...."

The lift-door was already closed and the lift, with Ganimard inside,
sent back on its journey toward the ground floor. And all this was done
so expeditiously that the old detective caught up his subordinates at
the door of the porter's lodge.

Without a word, they hurried across the courtyard and up the servants'
staircase, the only means of communication with the floor by which the
escape had been effected.

A long passage, with many windings, lined with small, numbered rooms,
led to a door, which had been simply left ajar. Beyond this door and,
consequently, in another house, was another passage, also with a number
of turns and lined with similar rooms. Right at the end was a servants'
staircase. Ganimard went down it, crossed a yard, a hall and rushed into
a street: the Rue Picot. Then he understood: the two houses were built
back to back and their fronts faced two streets, running not at right
angles, but parallel, with a distance of over sixty yards between them.

He entered the porter's lodge and showed his card:

"Have four men just gone out?"

"Yes, the two servants of the fourth and fifth floors, with two

"Who lives on the fourth and fifth floors?"

"Two gentlemen of the name of Fauvel and their cousins, the Provosts....
They moved this morning. Only the two servants remained.... They have
just gone."

"Ah," thought Ganimard, sinking on to a sofa in the lodge, "what a fine
stroke we have missed! The whole gang occupied this rabbit-warren!..."

* * * * *

Forty minutes later, two gentlemen drove up in a cab to the Gare du Nord
and hurried toward the Calais express, followed by a porter carrying
their bags.

One of them had his arm in a sling and his face was pale and drawn. The
other seemed in great spirits:

"Come along, Wilson; it won't do to miss the train!... Oh, Wilson, I
shall never forget these ten days!"

"No more shall I."

"What a fine series of battles!"


"A regrettable incident, here and there, but of very slight importance."

"Very slight, as you say."

"And, lastly, victory all along the line. Lupin arrested! The blue
diamond recovered!"

"My arm broken!"

"With a success of this kind, what does a broken arm matter?"

"Especially mine."

"Especially yours. Remember, Wilson, it was at the very moment when you
were at the chemist's, suffering like a hero, that I discovered the clue
that guided me through the darkness."

"What a piece of luck!"

The doors were being locked.

"Take your seats, please. Hurry up, gentlemen!"

The porter climbed into an empty compartment and placed the bags in the
rack, while Shears hoisted the unfortunate Wilson in:

"What are you doing, Wilson? Hurry up, old chap!... Pull yourself
together, do!"

"It's not for want of pulling myself together."

"What then?"

"I can only use one hand."

"Well?" cried Shears, gaily. "What a fuss you make! One would think you
were the only man in your plight. What about the fellows who have really
lost an arm? Well, are you settled? Thank goodness for that!"

He gave the porter a half-franc piece.

"Here, my man. That's for you."

"Thank you, Mr. Shears."

The Englishman raised his eyes: Arsène Lupin!

"You!... You!" he blurted in his bewilderment.

And Wilson stammered, waving his one hand with the gestures of a man
proving a fact:

"You!... You!... But you're arrested! Shears told me so. When he left
you, Ganimard and his thirty detectives had you surrounded!"

Lupin crossed his arms with an air of indignation:

"So you thought I would let you go without coming to see you off? After
the excellent friendly relations which we never ceased to keep up? Why,
it would have been unspeakably rude. What do you take me for?"

The engine whistled.

"However, I forgive you.... Have you all you want? Tobacco, matches?...
That's right.... And the evening papers? You will find the details of my
arrest in them: your last exploit, maître! And now, _au revoir_; and
delighted to have made your acquaintance ... delighted, I mean it!...
And, if ever I can do anything for you, I shall be only too pleased."

He jumped down to the platform and closed the door.

"Good-bye!" he cried again, waving his handkerchief. "Good-bye.... I'll
write to you!... Mind you write too; let me know how the broken arm is,
Mr. Wilson! I shall expect to hear from both of you.... Just a picture
postcard, now and again.... 'Lupin, Paris' will always find me.... It's
quite enough.... Never mind about stamping the letters.... Good-bye!...
See you soon, I hope!"




Holmlock Shears and Wilson were seated on either side of the fireplace
in Shears's sitting-room. The great detective's pipe had gone out. He
knocked the ashes into the grate, re-filled his briar, lit it, gathered
the skirts of his dressing-gown around his knees, puffed away and
devoted all his attention to sending rings of smoke curling gracefully
up to the ceiling.

Wilson watched him. He watched him as a dog, rolled up on the
hearth-rug, watches its master, with wide-open eyes and unblinking lids,
eyes which have no other hope than to reflect the expected movement on
the master's part. Would Shears break silence? Would he reveal the
secret of his present dreams and admit Wilson to the realm of meditation
into which he felt that he was not allowed to enter uninvited?

Shears continued silent.

Wilson ventured upon a remark:

"Things are very quiet. There's not a single case for us to nibble at."

Shears was more and more fiercely silent; but the rings of
tobacco-smoke became more and more successful and any one but Wilson
would have observed that Shears obtained from this the profound content
which we derive from the minor achievements of our vanity, at times when
our brain is completely void of thought.

Disheartened, Wilson rose and walked to the window. The melancholy
street lay stretched between the gloomy fronts of the houses, under a
dark sky whence fell an angry and pouring rain. A cab drove past;
another cab. Wilson jotted down their numbers in his note-book. One can
never tell!

The postman came down the street, gave a treble knock at the door; and,
presently, the servant entered with two registered letters.

"You look remarkably pleased," said Wilson, when Shears had unsealed and
glanced through the first.

"This letter contains a very attractive proposal. You were worrying
about a case: here is one. Read it."

Wilson took the letter and read:

"18, _Rue Murillo_,


"I am writing to ask for the benefit of your assistance and
experience. I have been the victim of a serious theft and all
the investigations attempted up to the present would seem to
lead to nothing.

"I am sending you by this post a number of newspapers which will
give you all the details of the case; and, if you are inclined
to take it up, I shall be pleased if you will accept the
hospitality of my house and if you will fill in the enclosed
signed check for any amount which you like to name for your

"Pray, telegraph to inform me if I may expect you and believe me
to be, sir,

"Yours very truly,

"Well," said Shears, "this comes just at the right time: why shouldn't I
take a little run to Paris? I haven't been there since my famous duel
with Arsène Lupin and I shan't be sorry to re-visit it under rather more
peaceful conditions."

He tore the cheque into four pieces and, while Wilson, whose arm had not
yet recovered from the injury received in the course of the aforesaid
encounter, was inveighing bitterly against Paris and all its
inhabitants, he opened the second envelope.

A movement of irritation at once escaped him; he knitted his brow as he
read the letter and, when he had finished, he crumpled it into a ball
and threw it angrily on the floor.

"What's the matter?" exclaimed Wilson, in amazement.

He picked up the ball, unfolded it and read, with ever-increasing


"You know my admiration for you and the interest which I take in
your reputation. Well, accept my advice and have nothing to do
with the case in which you are asked to assist. Your
interference would do a great deal of harm, all your efforts
would only bring about a pitiable result and you would be
obliged publicly to acknowledge your defeat.

"I am exceedingly anxious to spare you this humiliation and I
beg you, in the name of our mutual friendship, to remain very
quietly by your fireside.

"Give my kind remembrances to Dr. Wilson and accept for yourself
the respectful compliments of

"Yours most sincerely,

"Arsène Lupin!" repeated Wilson, in bewilderment.

Shears banged the table with his fist:

"Oh, I'm getting sick of the brute! He laughs at me as if I were a
schoolboy! I am publicly to acknowledge my defeat, am I? Didn't I compel
him to give up the blue diamond?"

"He's afraid of you," suggested Wilson.

"You're talking nonsense! Arsène Lupin is never afraid; and the proof is
that he challenges me."

"But how does he come to know of Baron d'Imblevalle's letter?"

"How can I tell? You're asking silly questions, my dear fellow!"

"I thought ... I imagined...."

"What? That I am a sorcerer?"

"No, but I have seen you perform such marvels!"

"No one is able to perform marvels.... I no more than another. I make
reflections, deductions, conclusions, but I don't make guesses. Only
fools make guesses."

Wilson adopted the modest attitude of a beaten dog and did his best,
lest he should be a fool, not to guess why Shears was striding angrily
up and down the room. But, when Shears rang for the servant and asked
for his travelling-bag, Wilson thought himself entitled, since this was
a material fact, to reflect, deduce and conclude that his chief was
going on a journey.

The same mental operation enabled him to declare, in the tone of a man
who has no fear of the possibility of a mistake:

"Holmlock, you are going to Paris."


"And you are going to Paris even more in reply to Lupin's challenge than
to oblige Baron d'Imblevalle."


"Holmlock, I will go with you."

"Aha, old friend!" cried Shears, interrupting his walk. "Aren't you
afraid that your left arm may share the fate of the right?"

"What can happen to me? You will be there."

"Well said! You're a fine fellow! And we will show this gentleman that
he may have made a mistake in defying us so boldly. Quick, Wilson, and
meet me at the first train."

"Won't you wait for the newspapers the baron mentions?"

"What's the good?"

"Shall I send a telegram?"

"No. Arsène Lupin would know I was coming and I don't wish him to. This
time, Wilson, we must play a cautious game."

* * * * *

That afternoon, the two friends stepped on board the boat at Dover. They
had a capital crossing. In the express from Calais to Paris, Shears
indulged in three hours of the soundest sleep, while Wilson kept a good
watch at the door of the compartment and meditated with a wandering eye.

Shears woke up feeling happy and well. The prospect of a new duel with
Arsène Lupin delighted him; and he rubbed his hands with the contented
air of a man preparing to taste untold joys.

"At last," exclaimed Wilson, "we shall feel that we're alive!"

And he rubbed his hands with the same contented air.

At the station, Shears took the rugs, and, followed by Wilson carrying
the bags - each his burden! - handed the tickets to the collector and
walked gaily into the street.

"A fine day, Wilson.... Sunshine!... Paris is dressed in her best to
receive us."

"What a crowd!"

"So much the better, Wilson: we stand less chance of being noticed. No
one will recognize us in the midst of such a multitude."

"Mr. Shears, I believe?"

He stopped, somewhat taken aback. Who on earth could be addressing him
by name?

A woman was walking beside him, or rather a girl whose exceedingly
simple dress accentuated her well-bred appearance. Her pretty face wore
a sad and anxious expression. She repeated:

"You must be Mr. Shears, surely?"

He was silent, as much from confusion as from the habit of prudence, and
she asked for the third time:

"Surely I am speaking to Mr. Shears?"

"What do you want with me?" he asked, crossly, thinking this a
questionable meeting.

She placed herself in front of him:

"Listen to me, Mr. Shears: it is a very serious matter. I know that you
are going to the Rue Murillo."

"What's that?"

"I know.... I know.... Rue Murillo.... No. 18. Well, you must not ...
no, you must not go.... I assure you, you will regret it. Because I tell
you this, you need not think that I am interested in any way. I have a
reason; I know what I am saying."

He tried to push her aside. She insisted:

"I entreat you; do not be obstinate.... Oh, if I only knew how to
convince you! Look into me, look into the depths of my eyes ... they are
sincere ... they speak the truth...."

Desperately, she raised her eyes, a pair of beautiful, grave and limpid
eyes that seemed to reflect her very soul. Wilson nodded his head:

"The young lady seems quite sincere," he said.

"Indeed I am," she said beseechingly, "and you must trust me...."

"I do trust you, mademoiselle," replied Wilson.

"Oh, how happy you make me! And your friend trusts me too, does he not?
I feel it.... I am sure of it! How glad I am! All will be well!... Oh,
what a good idea I had! Listen, Mr. Shears: there's a train for Calais
in twenty minutes.... Now, you must take it.... Quick, come with me:
it's this way and you have not much time."

She tried to drag Shears with her. He seized her by the arm and, in a
voice which he strove to make as gentle as possible, said: "Forgive me,
mademoiselle, if I am not able to accede to your wish; but I never turn
aside from a task which I have undertaken."

"I entreat you.... I entreat you.... Oh, if you only knew!"

He passed on and walked briskly away.

Wilson lingered behind and said to the girl:

"Be of good hope.... He will see the thing through to the end.... He has

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