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proclaimed his absolute and unreserved surrender. It was a complete
defeat: the war was over in four times twenty-four hours.

Two days later, M. Gerbois walked across the courtyard of the Crédit
Foncier. He was shown in to the governor and handed him number 514,
series 23. The governor gave a start:

"Oh, so you have it? Did they give it back to you?"

"I mislaid it and here it is," replied M. Gerbois.

"But you said.... There was a question...."

"That's all lies and tittle-tattle."

"But nevertheless we should require some corroborative document."

"Will the major's letter do?"

"Certainly."

"Here it is."

"Very well. Please leave these papers with us. We are allowed a
fortnight in which to verify them. I will let you know when you can call
for the money. In the meanwhile, I think that you would be well-advised
to say nothing and to complete this business in the most absolute
silence."

"That is what I intend to do."

M. Gerbois did not speak, nor the governor either. But there are certain
secrets which leak out without any indiscretion having been committed,
and the public suddenly learnt that Arsène Lupin had had the pluck to
send number 514, series 23, back to M. Gerbois! The news was received
with a sort of stupefied admiration. What a bold player he must be, to
fling so important a trump as the precious ticket upon the table! True,
he had parted with it wittingly, in exchange for a card which equalized
the chances. But suppose the girl escaped? Suppose they succeeded in
recapturing his hostage?

The police perceived the enemy's weak point and redoubled their efforts.
With Arsène Lupin disarmed and despoiled by himself, caught in his own
toils, receiving not a single sou of the coveted million ... the laugh
would at once be on the other side.

But the question was to find Suzanne. And they did not find her, nor did
she escape!

"Very well," people said, "that's settled: Arsène has won the first
game. But the difficult part is still to come! Mlle. Gerbois is in his
hands, we admit, and he will not hand her over without the five hundred
thousand francs. But how and where is the exchange to take place? For
the exchange to take place, there must be a meeting; and what is to
prevent M. Gerbois from informing the police and thus both recovering
his daughter and keeping the money?"

The professor was interviewed. Greatly cast down, longing only for
silence, he remained impenetrable:

"I have nothing to say; I am waiting."

"And Mlle. Gerbois?"

"The search is being continued."

"But Arsène Lupin has written to you?"

"No."

"Do you swear that?"

"No."

"That means yes. What are his instructions?"

"I have nothing to say."

Maître Detinan was next besieged and showed the same discretion.

"M. Lupin is my client," he replied, with an affectation of gravity.
"You will understand that I am bound to maintain the most absolute
reserve."

All these mysteries annoyed the gallery. Plots were evidently hatching
in the dark. Arsène Lupin was arranging and tightening the meshes of his
nets, while the police were keeping up a watch by day and night round
M. Gerbois. And people discussed the only three possible endings: arrest,
triumph, or grotesque and pitiful failure.

But, as it happened, public curiosity was destined to be only partially
satisfied; and the exact truth is revealed for the first time in these
pages.

On Thursday, the 12th of March, M. Gerbois received the notice from the
Crédit Foncier, in an ordinary envelope.

At one o'clock on Friday, he took the train for Paris. A thousand notes
of a thousand francs each were handed to him at two.

While he was counting them over, one by one, with trembling hands - for
was this money not Suzanne's ransom? - two men sat talking in a cab drawn
up at a short distance from the main entrance. One of these men had
grizzled hair and a powerful face, which contrasted oddly with his dress
and bearing, which was that of a small clerk. It was Chief-Inspector
Ganimard, old Ganimard, Lupin's implacable enemy. And Ganimard said to
Detective-Sergeant Folenfant:

"The old chap won't be long ... we shall see him come out in five
minutes. Is everything ready?"

"Quite."

"How many are we?"

"Eight, including two on bicycles."

"And myself, who count as three. It's enough, but not too many. That
Gerbois must not escape us at any price ... if he does, we're diddled:
he'll meet Lupin at the place they have agreed upon; he'll swap the
young lady for the half-million; and the trick's done."

"But why on earth won't the old chap act with us? It would be so simple!
By giving us a hand in the game, he could keep the whole million."

"Yes, but he's afraid. If he tries to jockey the other, he won't get his
daughter back."

"What other?"

"Him."

Ganimard pronounced this word "him" in a grave and rather awe-struck
tone, as though he were speaking of a supernatural being who had already
played him a nasty trick or two.

"It's very strange," said Sergeant Folenfant, judiciously, "that we
should be reduced to protecting that gentleman against himself."

"With Lupin, everything is upside down," sighed Ganimard.

A minute elapsed.

"Look out!" he said.

M. Gerbois was leaving the bank. When he came to the end of the Rue des
Capucines, he turned down the boulevard, keeping to the left-hand side.
He walked away slowly, along the shops, and looked into the windows.

"Our friend's too quiet," said Ganimard. "A fellow with a million in his
pocket does not keep so quiet as all that."

"What can he do?"

"Oh, nothing, of course.... No matter, I mistrust him. It's Lupin,
Lupin...."

At that moment M. Gerbois went to a kiosk, bought some newspapers, took
his change, unfolded one of the sheets and, with outstretched arms,
began to read, while walking on with short steps. And, suddenly, with a
bound, he jumped into a motor-cab which was waiting beside the curb. The
power must have been on, for the car drove off rapidly, turned the
corner of the Madeleine and disappeared.

"By Jupiter!" cried Ganimard. "Another of his inventions!"

He darted forward and other men, at the same time as himself, ran round
the Madeleine. But he burst out laughing. The motor-car had broken down
at the beginning of the Boulevard Malesherbes and M. Gerbois was getting
out.

"Quick, Folenfant ... the driver ... perhaps it's the man called
Ernest."

Folenfant tackled the chauffeur. It was a man called Gaston, one of the
motor-cab company's drivers; a gentleman had engaged him ten minutes
before and had told him to wait by the newspaper-kiosk, "with steam up,"
until another gentleman came.

"And what address did the second fare give?" asked Folenfant.

"He gave me no address.... 'Boulevard Malesherbes ... Avenue de Messine
... give you an extra tip': that's all he said."

* * * * *

During this time, however, M. Gerbois, without losing a minute, had
sprung into the first passing cab:

"Drive to the Concorde tube-station!"

The professor left the tube at the Place du Palais-Royal, hurried into
another cab and drove to the Place de la Bourse. Here he went by tube
again, as far as the Avenue de Villiers, where he took a third cab:

"25, Rue Clapeyron!"

No. 25, Rue Clapeyron, is separated from the Boulevard des Batignolles
by the house at the corner. The professor went up to the first floor and
rang. A gentleman opened the door.

"Does Maître Detinan live here?"

"I am Maître Detinan. M. Gerbois, I presume?"

"That's it."

"I was expecting you. Pray come in."

When M. Gerbois entered the lawyer's office, the clock was striking
three and he at once said:

"This is the time he appointed. Isn't he here?"

"Not yet."

M. Gerbois sat down, wiped his forehead, looked at his watch as though
he did not know the time and continued, anxiously:

"Will he come?"

The lawyer replied:

"You are asking me something, sir, which I myself am most curious to
know. I have never felt so impatient in my life. In any case, if he
comes, he is taking a big risk, for the house has been closely watched
for the past fortnight.... They suspect me."

"And me even more," said the professor. "I am not at all sure that the
detectives set to watch me have been thrown off my track."

"But then...."

"It would not be my fault," cried the professor, vehemently, "and he can
have nothing to reproach me with. What did I promise to do? To obey his
orders. Well, I have obeyed his orders blindly: I cashed the ticket at
the time which he fixed and came on to you in the manner which he
ordered. I am responsible for my daughter's misfortune and I have kept
my engagements in all good faith. It is for him to keep his." And he
added, in an anxious voice, "He will bring back my daughter, won't he?"

"I hope so."

"Still ... you've seen him?"

"I? No. He simply wrote asking me to receive you both, to send away my
servants before three o'clock and to let no one into my flat between the
time of your arrival and his departure. If I did not consent to this
proposal, he begged me to let him know by means of two lines in the
_Écho de France_. But I am only too pleased to do Arsène Lupin a
service and I consent to everything."

M. Gerbois moaned:

"Oh, dear, how will it all end?"

He took the bank-notes from his pocket, spread them on the table and
divided them into two bundles of five hundred each. Then the two men sat
silent. From time to time, M. Gerbois pricked up his ears: wasn't that a
ring at the door-bell?... His anguish increased with every minute that
passed. And Maître Detinan also experienced an impression that was
almost painful.

For a moment, in fact, the advocate lost all his composure. He rose
abruptly from his seat:

"We shan't see him.... How can we expect to?... It would be madness on
his part! He trusts us, no doubt: we are honest men, incapable of
betraying him. But the danger lies elsewhere."

And M. Gerbois, shattered, with his hands on the notes, stammered:

"If he would only come, oh, if he would only come! I would give all this
to have Suzanne back."

The door opened.

"Half will do, M. Gerbois."

Some one was standing on the threshold - a young man, fashionably
dressed - and M. Gerbois at once recognized the person who had accosted
him outside the curiosity-shop. He leapt toward him:

"And Suzanne? Where is my daughter?"

Arsène Lupin closed the door carefully and, quietly unbuttoning his
gloves, said to the lawyer:

"My dear maître, I can never thank you sufficiently for your kindness in
consenting to defend my rights. I shall not forget it."

Maître Detinan could only murmur:

"But you never rang.... I did not hear the door...."

"Bells and doors are things that have to do their work without ever
being heard. I am here all the same; and that is the great thing."

"My daughter! Suzanne! What have you done with her?" repeated the
professor.

"Heavens, sir," said Lupin, "what a hurry you're in! Come, calm
yourself; your daughter will be in your arms in a moment."

He walked up and down the room and then, in the tone of a magnate
distributing praises:

"I congratulate you, M. Gerbois, on the skilful way in which you acted
just now. If the motor hadn't had that ridiculous accident we should
simply have met at the Étoile and saved Maître Detinan the annoyance of
this visit.... However, it was destined otherwise!"

He caught sight of the two bundles of bank-notes and cried:

"Ah, that's right! The million is there!... Let us waste no time....
Will you allow me?"

"But," said Maître Detinan, placing himself in front of the table,
"Mlle. Gerbois is not here yet."

"Well?"

"Well, isn't her presence indispensable?"

"I see, I see! Arsène Lupin inspires only a partial confidence. He
pockets his half-million, without restoring the hostage. Ah, my dear
maître, I am sadly misunderstood! Because fate has obliged me to perform
acts of a rather ... special character, doubts are cast upon my good
faith ... mine! I, a man all scruples and delicacy!... However, my dear
maître, if you're afraid, open your window and call out. There are quite
a dozen detectives in the street."

"Do you think so?"

Arsène Lupin raised the blind:

"I doubt if M. Gerbois is capable of throwing Ganimard off the scent....
What did I tell you? There he is, the dear old chap!"

"Impossible!" cried the professor. "I swear to you, though...."

"That you have not betrayed me?... I don't doubt it, but the fellows are
clever. Look, there's Folenfant!... And Gréaume!... And Dieuzy!... All
my best pals, what?"

Maître Detinan looked at him in surprise. What calmness! He was laughing
with a happy laugh, as though he were amusing himself at some child's
game, with no danger threatening him.

This carelessness did even more than the sight of the detectives to
reassure the lawyer. He moved away from the table on which the
bank-notes lay.

Arsène Lupin took up the two bundles one after the other, counted
twenty-five notes from each of them and, handing the lawyer the fifty
bank-notes thus obtained, said:

"M. Gerbois' share of your fee, my dear maître, and Arsène Lupin's. We
owe you that."

"You owe me nothing," said Maître Detinan.

"What! After all the trouble we've given you!"

"You forget the pleasure it has been to me to take that trouble."

"You mean to say, my dear maître, that you refuse to accept anything
from Arsène Lupin. That's the worst," he sighed, "of having a bad
reputation." He held out the fifty thousand francs to the professor.
"Monsieur, let me give you this in memory of our pleasant meeting: it
will be my wedding-present to Mlle. Gerbois."

M. Gerbois snatched at the notes, but protested:

"My daughter is not being married."

"She can't be married if you refuse your consent. But she is dying to be
married."

"What do you know about it?"

"I know that young ladies often cherish dreams without Papa's consent.
Fortunately, there are good geniuses, called Arsène Lupin, who discover
the secret of those charming souls hidden away in their writing-desks."

"Did you discover nothing else?" asked Maître Detinan. "I confess that I
am very curious to know why that desk was the object of your
attentions."

"Historical reasons, my dear maître. Although, contrary to M. Gerbois'
opinion, it contained no treasure beyond the lottery-ticket, of which I
did not know, I wanted it and had been looking for it for some time. The
desk, which is made of yew and mahogany, decorated with acanthus-leaf
capitals, was found in Marie Walewska's discreet little house at
Boulogne-sur-Seine and has an inscription on one of the drawers:
'_Dedicated to Napoleon I., Emperor of the French, by his most faithful
servant, Mancion._' Underneath are these words, carved with the point of
a knife: '_Thine, Marie._' Napoleon had it copied afterward for the
Empress Josephine, so that the writing-desk which people used to admire
at the Malmaison and which they still admire at the Garde-Meuble is only
an imperfect copy of the one which now forms part of my collection."

M. Gerbois sighed:

"Oh, dear! If I had only known this at the shop, how willingly I would
have let you have it!"

Arsène Lupin laughed:

"Yes; and you would, besides, have had the appreciable advantage of
keeping the whole of number 514, series 23, for yourself."

"And you would not have thought of kidnapping my daughter, whom all this
business must needs have upset."

"All what business?"

"The abduction ..."

"But, my dear sir, you are quite mistaken. Mlle. Gerbois was not
abducted."

"My daughter was not abducted!"

"Not at all. Kidnapping, abduction implies violence. Now Mlle. Gerbois
acted as a hostage of her own free will."

"Of her own free will!" repeated the professor, in confusion.

"And almost at her own request! Why, a quick-witted young lady like
Mlle. Gerbois, who, moreover, harbours a secret passion at the bottom of
her heart, was hardly likely to refuse the opportunity of securing her
dowry. Oh, I assure you it was easy enough to make her understand that
there was no other way of overcoming your resistance!"

Maître Detanin was greatly amused. He put in:

"You must have found a difficulty in coming to terms. I can't believe
that Mlle. Gerbois allowed you to speak to her."

"I didn't. I have not even the honour of knowing her. A lady of my
acquaintance was good enough to undertake the negotiations."

"The blonde lady in the motor-car, I suppose?" said Maître Detinan.

"Just so. Everything was settled at the first interview near the
college. Since then, Mlle. Gerbois and her new friend have been abroad,
have visited Belgium and Holland in the most agreeable and instructive
manner for a young girl. However, she will tell you everything
herself...."

The hall-door bell rang: three rings in quick succession, then a single
ring, then another single ring.

"There she is," said Lupin. "My dear maître, if you would not mind...."

The lawyer ran to open the door.

* * * * *

Two young women entered. One of them flung herself into M. Gerbois'
arms. The other went up to Lupin. She was tall and shapely, with a very
pale face, and her fair hair, which glittered like gold, was parted into
two loosely waved bandeaux. Dressed in black, wearing no ornament beyond
a five-fold jet necklace, she nevertheless struck a note of elegance and
refinement.

Arsène Lupin spoke a few words to her and then, bowing to Mlle. Gerbois,
said:

"I must apologize to you, mademoiselle, for all this annoyance; but I
hope, nevertheless, that you have not been too unhappy...."

"Unhappy! I should even have been very happy, if it had not been for my
poor father."

"Then all is for the best. Embrace him once more and take the
opportunity - you will never have a better - of speaking to him about your
cousin."

"My cousin?... What do you mean?... I don't understand...."

"Oh, I think you understand.... Your cousin Philippe ... the young man
whose letters you kept so preciously...."

Suzanne blushed, lost countenance and then, taking Lupin's advice, threw
herself once more into her father's arms.

Lupin looked at them both with a melting eye:

"Ah, we are always rewarded for doing good! What a touching sight! Happy
father! Happy daughter! And to think that this happiness is your work,
Lupin! Those two beings will bless you later.... Your name will be
piously handed down to their children and their children's children....
Oh, family life!... Family life!..." He turned to the window. "Is our
dear Ganimard there still?... How he would love to witness this charming
display of affection!... But no, he is not there.... There is nobody ...
they're all gone.... By Jove, the position is growing serious!... I
shouldn't wonder if they were in the gateway by now ... or by the
porter's lodge ... or even on the stairs!"

M. Gerbois made an involuntary movement. Now that his daughter was
restored to him, he began to see things in their true light. The arrest
of his adversary meant half a million to him. Instinctively, he took a
step toward the door.... Lupin barred his way, as though by accident:

"Where are you going, M. Gerbois? To defend me against them? You are too
kind! Pray don't trouble. Besides, I assure you they are more perplexed
than I." And he continued, reflectively: "What do they know, when all is
said? That you are here ... and, perhaps, that Mlle. Gerbois is here
too, for they must have seen her come with an unknown lady. But they
have no idea that I am here. How could I have entered a house which they
searched this morning from cellar to garret? No, in all probability they
are waiting for me to catch me on the wing ... poor fellows!... Unless
they have guessed that the unknown lady was sent by me and presume that
she has been commissioned to effect the exchange.... In that case, they
are preparing to arrest her when she leaves...."

The bell rang.

Lupin stopped M. Gerbois with an abrupt gesture and, in a harsh and
peremptory voice, said:

"Stay where you are, sir! Think of your daughter and be reasonable; if
not.... As for you, Maître Detinan, I have your word."

M. Gerbois stood rooted to the floor. The lawyer did not move.

Lupin took up his hat without the least show of haste. There was a
little dust on it; he brushed it with the back of his coat-sleeve:

"My dear maître, if I can ever be of use to you.... My best wishes,
Mlle. Suzanne, and kind regards to M. Philippe." He took a heavy gold
hunter from his pocket. "M. Gerbois, it is now eighteen minutes to four:
I authorize you to leave this room at fourteen minutes to four.... Not a
moment before fourteen minutes to four.... Is it understood?"

"But they'll enter by force!" Maître Detinan could not help saying.

"You forget the law, my dear maître! Ganimard would never dare to
violate the sanctity of a Frenchman's home. We should have time for a
pleasant rubber. But forgive me, you all three seem a little upset and I
would not for the world abuse...."

He placed the watch on the table, opened the door of the room and,
addressing the fair-haired lady, said:

"Shall we go, dear?"

He stood back for her to pass, made a parting and very respectful bow to
Mlle. Gerbois, walked out and closed the door after him. And they heard
him, in the hall, saying aloud:

"Good-afternoon, Ganimard, how are you? Remember me very kindly to Mme.
Ganimard.... I must drop in on her to lunch one of these days....
Good-bye, Ganimard!"

The bell rang again, sharply, violently, followed by repeated knocks and
by the sound of voices on the landing....

"A quarter to four," stammered M. Gerbois.

After a few seconds, he stepped boldly into the hall. Arsène Lupin and
the fair-haired lady were not there.

"Father!... You mustn't!... Wait!" cried Suzanne.

"Wait? You're mad!... Show consideration to that scoundrel!... And what
about the half-million?..."

He opened the door.

Ganimard rushed in:

"Where's that lady?... And Lupin?"

"He was there ... he is there now."

Ganimard gave a shout of triumph:

"We've got him!... The house is surrounded."

Maître Detinan objected:

"But the servants' staircase?"

"The servants' staircase leads to the courtyard and there's only one
outlet, the front door: I have ten men watching it."

"But he did not come in by the front door.... He won't go out that way
either...."

"Which way, then?" jeered Ganimard. "Through the air?"

He drew back a curtain. A long passage was revealed, leading to the
kitchen. Ganimard ran down it and found that the door of the servants'
staircase was double-locked.

Opening the window, he called to one of the detectives:

"Seen any one?"

"No, sir."

"Then," he exclaimed, "they are in the flat!... They are hiding in one
of the rooms!... It is physically impossible for them to have
escaped.... Ah, Lupin, my lad, you did me once, but I'm having my
revenge this time!..."

* * * * *

At seven o'clock in the evening, astonished at receiving no news, the
head of the detective-service, M. Dudouis, called at the Rue Clapeyron
in person. He put a few questions to the men who were watching the
house and then went up to Maître Detinan, who took him to his room.
There he saw a man, or rather a man's two legs struggling on the carpet,
while the body to which they belonged was stuffed up the chimney.

"Hi!... Hi!..." yelped a stifled voice.

And a more distant voice, from right above, echoed:

"Hi!... Hi!..."

M. Dudouis laughed and exclaimed:

"Well, Ganimard, what are you playing sweep for?"

The inspector withdrew his body from the chimney. He was unrecognizable,
with his black face, his sooty clothes and his eyes glowing with fever.

"I'm looking for him," he growled.

"For whom?"

"Arsène Lupin.... Arsène Lupin and his lady friend."

"But what next? You surely don't imagine they're hiding up the chimney?"

Ganimard rose to his feet, put his five soot-covered fingers on the
sleeve of his superior's coat and, in a hollow, angry voice, said:

"Where would you have them be, chief? They must be somewhere. They are
beings of flesh and blood, like you and me; they can't vanish into thin
air."

"No; but they vanish for all that."

"Where? Where? The house is surrounded! There are men on the roof!"

"What about the next house?"

"There's no communication."

"The flats on the other floors?"

"I know all the tenants. They have seen nobody. They have heard nobody."

"Are you sure you know them all?"


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