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to accomplish his designs, has found in this house a friend, more than a
friend, a blind and ... passionately devoted accomplice."

She rose and, betraying no emotion or, at least, so little emotion that
Shears was impressed by her extraordinary self-control, said:

"I do not know the reason for your behaviour, monsieur, and I have no
wish to know it. I will ask you, therefore, not to add another word and
to leave the room."

"I had no intention, mademoiselle, of imposing my presence upon you
indefinitely," said Shears, as calmly as herself. "Only I have resolved
not to leave this house alone."

"And who is going with you, monsieur?"



"Yes, mademoiselle, we shall leave this house together, and you will
accompany me without a word, without a protest."

The strange feature of this scene was the absolute coolness of the two
adversaries. To judge by their attitudes and the tone of their voices,
it might have been a courteous discussion between two people who differ
in opinion, rather than an implacable duel between two powerful wills.

Through the great open recess, M. Destange could be seen in the round
library, handling his books with leisurely movements.

Clotilde sat down again with a slight shrug of the shoulders. Holmlock
Shears took out his watch:

"It is now half-past ten. We will start in five minutes."

"And, if I refuse?"

"If you refuse, I shall go to M. Destange and tell him ..."


"The truth. I shall describe to him the false life led by Maxime Bermond
and the double life of his accomplice."

"Of his accomplice?"

"Yes, of the one known as the blonde lady, the lady whose hair was once

"And what proofs will you give him?"

"I shall take him to the Rue Chalgrin and show him the passage which
Arsène Lupin, when managing the works, made his men construct between
Nos. 40 and 42, the passage employed by the two of you on the night
before last."


"Next, I shall take M. Destange to Maître Detinan's. We will go down the
servants' staircase which you ran down, with Arsène Lupin, to escape
Ganimard. And we will both look for the doubtless similar means of
communication with the next house, which has its entrance on the
Boulevard des Batignolles and not in the Rue Clapeyron."


"Next, I shall take M. Destange to the Château de Crozon and it will be
easy for him, who knows the nature of the works executed by Arsène Lupin
at the time of the restoration of the Château, to discover the secret
passages which Arsène Lupin made his men construct. He will find that
these passages enabled the blonde lady to enter Madame de Crozon's room
at night and take the blue diamond from the chimney and, a fortnight
later, to enter Herr Bleichen's room and hide the blue diamond at the
bottom of a flask ... a rather queer thing to do, I admit: perhaps it
was a woman's petty vengeance; I do not know and it makes no


"Next," said Holmlock Shears, in a more serious voice, "I shall take
M. Destange to 134, Avenue Henri-Martin, and together we will try to
discover how Baron d'Hautrec...."

"Hush, hush!" stammered the girl, in sudden dismay. "You must not...!
Do you dare to say it was I...? Do you accuse me...?"

"I accuse you of killing Baron d'Hautrec."

"No, no; this is monstrous!"

"You killed Baron d'Hautrec, mademoiselle. You entered his service under
the name of Antoinette Bréhat, with the intention of robbing him of the
blue diamond, and you killed him."

Again she murmured, breaking down and reduced to entreaties:

"Hush, monsieur, I beg.... As you know so much, you must also know that
I did not murder the baron."

"I did not say that you murdered him, mademoiselle. Baron d'Hautrec was
subject to fits of insanity which only Soeur Auguste was able to
check. She has told me this herself. He must have thrown himself upon
you in her absence; and it was in the course of the ensuing struggle
that you struck at him, in self-defence. Appalled by what you had done,
you rang the bell and fled, without even taking from his finger the blue
diamond which you had come to secure. A moment later, you returned with
one of Lupin's accomplices, a man-servant in the next house, lifted the
baron on to his bed and arranged the room ... but still without daring
to take the blue diamond. That's what happened. Therefore, I repeat, you
did not murder the baron. And yet it was your hands that killed him."

She was holding them clasped before her forehead, her slim, white,
delicate hands, and she kept them long like that, motionless. Then,
uncrossing her fingers, she showed her sorrow-stricken face and said:

"And you mean to tell all this to my father?"

"Yes; and I shall tell him that I have as witnesses Mlle. Gerbois, who
will recognize the blonde lady, Soeur Auguste, who will recognize
Antoinette Bréhat, the Comtesse de Crozon, who will recognize Mme. de
Réal. That is what I shall tell him."

"You will not dare!" she said, recovering her presence of mind, in the
face of immediate danger.

He rose and took a step toward the library. Clotilde stopped him:

"One moment, monsieur."

She reflected and, now fully mistress of herself, asked, very calmly:

"You are Holmlock Shears, are you not?"


"What do you want with me?"

"What do I want? I have entered upon a contest with Arsène Lupin from
which I must emerge the winner. Pending a result which cannot be far
distant, I am of opinion that a hostage as valuable as yourself will
give me a considerable advantage over my adversary. You shall go with
me, therefore, mademoiselle, and I will place you under the care of a
friend of mine. As soon as my object is attained, you shall be set

"Is that all?"

"That is all. I do not belong to the police of your country and
consequently I claim no ... no justiciary rights."

Her mind appeared made up. However, she asked for a moment's delay. Her
eyelids closed and Shears stood watching her, suddenly grown calm,
almost indifferent to the perils that threatened her.

"I wonder," thought the Englishman, "if she believes herself to be in
danger? Probably not, with Lupin to protect her. With Lupin there,
nothing can happen to her, she thinks: Lupin is omnipotent, Lupin is
infallible.... Mademoiselle," he said aloud, "I spoke of five minutes:
it is now more than thirty."

"May I go to my room, monsieur, and fetch my things?"

"If you like, mademoiselle, I will go and wait for you in the Rue
Montchanin. I am a great friend of Jeanniot, the concierge."

"Ah, so you know...!" she said, with visible dismay.

"I know a great many things."

"Very well. Then I will ring."

The servant brought her hat and cloak and Shears said:

"You must give M. Destange some reason to explain our departure and the
reason must be enough, in case of need, to explain your absence for two
or three days."

"That is unnecessary. I shall be back presently."

Again, they exchanged a defiant glance, skeptical, both of them, and

"How you trust him!" said Shears.


"Whatever he does is right, is it not? Whatever he wishes is realized.
And you approve of everything and are prepared to do everything for his

"I love him," she said, with a tremor of passion.

"And you believe that he will save you?"

She shrugged her shoulders and, going up to her father, told him:

"I am robbing you of M. Stickmann. We are going to the National

"Will you be back to lunch?"

"Perhaps ... or more likely not ... but don't worry about me, in any

And, in a firm voice, she said to Shears:

"I am ready, monsieur."

"Without reserve?" he whispered.

"With my eyes closed."

"If you try to escape, I shall shout and call for help, you will be
arrested and it will mean prison. Don't forget that there is a warrant
out against the blonde lady."

"I swear to you on my honour that I will make no attempt to escape."

"I believe you. Let us go."

They left the house together, as he had foretold.

* * * * *

The motor-cab had turned round and was waiting in the square. They could
see the driver's back and his cap, which was almost covered by the
upturned collar of his fur. As they approached, Shears heard the humming
of the engine. He opened the door, asked Clotilde to step in and sat
down beside her.

The car started with a jerk and soon reached the outer boulevards, the
Avenue Hoche, the Avenue de la Grande-Armée.

Shears was thinking out his plans:

"Ganimard is at home.... I shall leave the girl with him.... Shall I
tell him who she is? No, he would take her straight to the
police-station, which would put everything out. As soon as I am alone,
I will consult the M. B. list and set out on my chase. And, to-night, or
to-morrow morning at latest, I shall go to Ganimard, as arranged, and
deliver Arsène Lupin and his gang to him."

He rubbed his hands, glad to feel that his object was at last within his
reach and to see that there was no serious obstacle in the way. And,
yielding to a need for expansion, which was not in keeping with his
usual nature, he said:

"Forgive me, mademoiselle, for displaying so much satisfaction. It was a
difficult fight and I find my success particularly agreeable."

"A legitimate success, monsieur, in which you have every right to

"Thank you. But what a funny way we are going! Didn't the man

At that moment, they were leaving Paris by the Porte de Neuilly. What on
earth!... After all, the Rue Pergolèse was not outside the

Shears let down the glass:

"I say, driver, you're going wrong.... Rue Pergolèse!..."

The man made no reply. Shears repeated, in a louder voice:

"I'm telling you to go to the Rue Pergolèse."

The man took no notice.

"Look here, my man, are you deaf? Or are you doing it on purpose?...
This isn't where I told you to go.... Rue Pergolèse, do you hear!...
Turn round at once and look sharp about it!"

Still no reply. The Englishman began to be alarmed. He looked at
Clotilde: a queer smile was playing on the girl's lips.

"What are you laughing at?" he stormed. "This doesn't affect ... it has
nothing to say to...."

"Nothing in the very least," she replied.

Suddenly, he was taken aback by an idea. Half rising from his seat, he
attentively scrutinized the man on the box. His shoulders were slimmer,
his movements easier.... A cold sweat broke out on Shears's forehead,
his hands contracted, while the most hideous conviction forced itself
upon his mind: the man was Arsène Lupin.

* * * * *

"Well, Mr. Shears, what do you think of this little drive?"

"It's delightful, my dear sir, really delightful," replied Shears.

Perhaps he had never in his life made a more tremendous effort than it
cost him to utter those words without a tremor in his voice, without
anything that could betray the exasperation that filled his whole being.
But, the minute after, he was carried away by a sort of formidable
reaction; and a torrent of rage and hatred burst its banks, overcame his
will, and made him suddenly draw his revolver and point it at Mlle.

"Lupin, if you don't stop this minute, this second, I fire at

"I advise you to aim at the cheek if you want to hit the temple," said
Lupin, without turning his head.

Clotilde called out:

"Don't go too fast, Maxime! The pavement is very slippery, and you know
how timid I am!"

She was still smiling, with her eyes fixed on the cobbles with which the
road bristled in front of the car.

"Stop him, tell him to stop!" shouted Shears beside himself with fury.
"You can see for yourself that I am capable of anything!"

The muzzle of the revolver grazed her hair.

"How reckless Maxime is!" she murmured. "We are sure to skid, at this

Shears replaced the revolver in his pocket and seized the handle of the
door, preparing to jump out, in spite of the absurdity of the act.

"Take care, Mr. Shears," said Clotilde. "There's a motor-car behind us."

He leant out. A car was following them, an enormous car, fierce-looking,
with its pointed bonnet, blood-red in colour, and the four men in furs
inside it.

"Ah," he said, "I'm well guarded! We must have patience!"

He crossed his arms on his chest, with the proud submission of those who
bow and wait when fate turns against them. And while they crossed the
Seine and tore through Suresnes, Rueil and Chatou, motionless and
resigned, without anger or bitterness, he thought only of discovering by
what miracle Arsène Lupin had put himself in the driver's place. That
the decent fellow whom he had picked out that morning on the boulevard
could be an accomplice, posted there of set purpose, he refused to
admit. And yet Arsène Lupin must have received a warning and that only
after the moment when he, Shears, had threatened Clotilde, for no one
suspected his plan before. Now from that moment Clotilde and he had not
left each other's presence.

Suddenly, he remembered the girl's telephoning to her dressmaker. And,
all at once, he understood. Even before he spoke, at the very moment
when he asked for an interview as M. Destange's new secretary, she had
scented danger, guessed the visitor's name and object and, coolly,
naturally, as though she were really doing what she appeared to do, had
summoned Lupin to her aid, under the pretense of speaking to one of her
tradespeople and by means of a formula known to themselves alone.

How Arsène Lupin had come, how that motor-cab in waiting, with its
throbbing engine, had aroused his suspicion, how he had bribed the
driver: all this mattered little. What interested Shears almost to the
point of calming his rage was the recollection of that moment in which a
mere woman, a woman in love, it is true, mastering her nerves,
suppressing her instinct, controlling the features of her face and the
expression of her eyes, had humbugged old Holmlock Shears.

What was he to do against a man served by such allies, a man who, by the
sheer ascendancy of his authority, inspired a woman with such a stock of
daring and energy?

They re-crossed the Seine and climbed the slope of Saint-Germain; but,
five hundred yards beyond the town, the cab slowed down. The other car
came up with it and the two stopped alongside. There was no one about.

"Mr. Shears," said Lupin, "may I trouble you to change cars? Ours is
really so very slow!..."

"Certainly," said Shears, all the more politely, as he had no choice.

"Will you also permit me to lend you this fur, for we shall be going
pretty fast, and to offer you a couple of sandwiches?... Yes, yes, take
them: there's no telling when you will get any dinner."

The four men had alighted. One of them came up and, as he had taken off
the goggles which disguised him, Shears recognized the gentleman in the
frock-coat whom he had seen at the Restaurant Hongrois. Lupin gave him
his instructions:

"Take the cab back to the driver from whom I hired it. You will find him
waiting in the first wine-shop on the right in the Rue Legendre. Pay him
the second thousand francs I promised him. Oh, I was forgetting: you
might give Mr. Shears your goggles!"

He spoke a few words to Mlle. Destange, then took his seat at the wheel
and drove off, with Shears beside him and one of his men behind.

Lupin had not exaggerated when saying that they would go "pretty fast."
They travelled at a giddy pace from the first. The horizon rushed toward
them, as though attracted by a mysterious force, and disappeared at the
same moment, as though swallowed up by an abyss into which other
things - trees, houses, plains and forests - plunged with the tumultuous
speed of a torrent rushing down to the pool below.

Shears and Lupin did not exchange a word. Above their heads, the leaves
of the poplars made a great noise as of waves, punctuated by the regular
spacing of the trees. And town after town vanished from sight: Mantes,
Vernon, Gaillon. From hill to hill, from Bon-Secours to Canteleu, Rouen,
with her suburbs, her harbour, her miles upon miles of quays, Rouen
seemed no more than the high-street of a market-town. And they rushed
through Duclair, through Caudebec, through the Pays de Caux, skimming
over its hills and plains in their powerful flight, through Lillebonne,
through Quille-beuf. And, suddenly, they were on the bank of the Seine,
at the end of a small quay, alongside which lay a steam-yacht, built on
sober and powerful lines, with black smoke curling up from her funnel.

The car stopped. They had covered over a hundred miles in two hours.

* * * * *

A man dressed in a blue pea-jacket came forward and touched his
gold-laced cap.

"Well done, captain!" said Lupin. "Did you get my telegram?"

"Yes, sir."

"Is the _Hirondelle_ ready?"

"Quite ready, sir."

"In that case, Mr. Shears...?"

The Englishman looked around him, saw a group of people seated outside a
café, another a little nearer, hesitated for a moment and then,
realizing that, before any one could interfere, he would be seized,
forced on board and packed off at the bottom of the hold, he crossed the
foot-plank and followed Lupin into the captain's cabin.

It was roomy, specklessly clean and shone brightly with its varnished
wainscoting and gleaming brass.

Lupin closed the door and, without beating about the bush, said to
Shears, almost brutally:

"Tell me exactly how much you know."


"Everything? I want details."

His voice had lost the tone of politeness, tinged with irony, which he
adopted toward the Englishman. Instead, it rang with the imperious
accent of the master who is accustomed to command and accustomed to see
every one bow before his will, even though it be a Holmlock Shears.

They eyed each other now from head to foot as enemies, declared and
passionate enemies.

Lupin resumed, with a touch of nervousness:

"You have crossed my path, sir, on several occasions. Each occasion has
been one too many; and I am tired of wasting my time avoiding the traps
you lay for me. I warn you, therefore, that my conduct toward you will
depend upon your answer. How much exactly do you know?"

"Everything, I tell you."

Arsène Lupin mastered his annoyance and jerked out:

"I will tell you what you know. You know that, under the name of Maxime
Bermond, I ... 'touched up' fifteen houses built by M. Destange."


"Of those fifteen houses, you know four."


"And you have a list of the eleven others."


"You made out the list at M. Destange's, last night, no doubt."


"And, as you presume that, among those eleven properties, there must
inevitably be one which I keep for my own needs and those of my friends,
you have instructed Ganimard to take the field and discover my retreat."


"What do you mean?"

"I mean that I am acting alone and that I intended to take the field

"So I have nothing to fear, seeing that I have you in my hands."

"You have nothing to fear so long as I _remain_ in your hands."

"You mean to say that you will not remain?"

"I do."

Arsène Lupin went up to Holmlock Shears and placed his hand very gently
on the Englishman's shoulder:

"Listen to me, sir. I am not in the mood for argument and you,
unfortunately for yourself, are not in a position to check me. Let us
put an end to this."

"Yes, let us."

"You shall give me your word of honour not to attempt to escape from
this boat until she reaches English waters."

"I give you my word of honour that I shall attempt to escape by every
means in my power," said Shears, nothing daunted.

"But, dash it all, you know I have only to speak a word to reduce you to
helplessness! All these men obey me blindly. At a sign from me, they
will put a chain round your neck...."

"Chains can be broken."

"And throw you overboard at ten miles from the coast."

"I can swim."

"Well said," cried Lupin, laughing. "Heaven forgive me, but I lost my
temper! Accept my apology, maître ... and let us conclude. Will you
allow me to seek the necessary measures for my safety and that of my

"Any measures you like. But they are useless."

"Agreed. Still, you will not mind if I take them?"

"It's your duty."

"To work, then."

Lupin opened the door and called the captain and two of the crew. The
latter seized the Englishman and, after searching him, bound his legs
together and tied him down in the captain's berth.

"That will do," ordered Lupin. "Really, sir, nothing short of your
obstinancy and the exceptional gravity of the circumstances would have
allowed me to venture...."

The sailors withdrew. Lupin said to the captain:

"Captain, one of the crew must remain in the cabin to wait on Mr. Shears
and you yourself must keep him company as much as you can. Let him be
treated with every consideration. He is not a prisoner, but a guest.
What is the time by your watch, captain?"

"Five minutes past two."

Lupin looked at his own watch and at a clock which hung on the

"Five minutes past two?... Our watches agree. How long will it take you
to reach Southampton?"

"Nine hours, without hurrying."

"Make it eleven. You must not touch land before the departure of the
steamer which leaves Southampton at midnight and is due at the Havre at
eight in the morning. You understand, captain, do you not? I repeat: it
would be exceedingly dangerous for us all if this gentleman returned to
France by the steamer; and you must not arrive at Southampton before one
o'clock in the morning."

"Very well, sir."

"Good-bye, maître," said Lupin, turning to Shears. "We shall meet next
year, in this world or another."

"Let's say to-morrow."

A few minutes later, Shears heard the car drive away and the engines of
the _Hirondelle_ at once began to throb with increased force. The yacht
threw off her moorings. By three o'clock they had left the estuary of
the Seine and entered the Channel. At that moment, Holmlock Shears lay
sound asleep in the berth to which he was fastened down.

* * * * *

On the following morning, the tenth and last day of the war between the
two great rivals, the _Écho de France_ published this delicious

"A decree of expulsion was pronounced by Arsène Lupin yesterday
against Holmlock Shears, the English detective. The decree was
published at noon and executed on the same day. Shears was
landed at Southampton at one o'clock this morning."



By eight o'clock on Wednesday morning, a dozen pantechnicon vans were
blocking the Rue Crevaux from the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne to the
Avenue Bougeaud. M. Félix Davey was leaving the flat which he occupied
on the fourth floor of No. 8. And, by a sheer coincidence - for the two
gentlemen were not acquainted - M. Dubreuil, the expert, who had knocked
into one the fifth-floor flat of No. 8 and the fifth-floor flats of the
two adjoining houses, had selected the same day on which to send off the
collection of furniture and antiques which used to be visited daily by
one or other of his many foreign correspondents.

A peculiarity which attracted notice in the neighbourhood, but which was
not mentioned until later, was that none of the twelve vans bore the
name and address of the firm of removers and that none of the men in
charge of them loitered in the wine-shops round about. They worked to
such good purpose that all was over by eleven o'clock. Nothing remained
but those piles of old papers and rags which are always left behind in
the corners of empty rooms.

M. Félix Davey was a young man of smart appearance, dressed in the
latest fashion, but carrying a heavily-weighted cane which seemed to
indicate unusual muscular strength on the part of its owner. He walked
away quietly and sat down on a bench in the cross alley which intersects
the Avenue du Bois, opposite the Rue Pergolèse. Beside him sat a young
woman, clad in the costume of the lower middle-class and reading her
paper, while a child played with its spade in the sand beside her.

Presently, Félix Davey said to the woman, without turning his head:


"Went out at nine o'clock this morning."

"Where to?"

"Police headquarters."



"No telegram last night?"


"Do they still trust you at the house?"

"Yes. I do odd work for Madame Ganimard and she tells me all her
husband does.... We spent the morning together."

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