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escape. The government is very solicitous on my account."

"It is quite right."

"Why so? I should be quite contented if they would allow me to live in
my own quiet way."

"On other people's money."

"Quite so. That would be so simple. But here, I am joking, and you are,
no doubt, in a hurry. So let us come to business, Ganimard. To what do I
owe the honor of this visit?

"The Cahorn affair," declared Ganimard, frankly.

"Ah! Wait, one moment. You see I have had so many affairs! First, let me
fix in my mind the circumstances of this particular case....Ah! yes, now
I have it. The Cahorn affair, Malaquis castle, Seine-Inférieure....Two
Rubens, a Watteau, and a few trifling articles."

"Trifling!"

"Oh! ma foi, all that is of slight importance. But it suffices to know
that the affair interests you. How can I serve you, Ganimard?"

"Must I explain to you what steps the authorities have taken in the
matter?"

"Not at all. I have read the newspapers and I will frankly state that
you have made very little progress."

"And that is the reason I have come to see you."

"I am entirely at your service."

"In the first place, the Cahorn affair was managed by you?"

"From A to Z."

"The letter of warning? the telegram?"

"All mine. I ought to have the receipts somewhere."

Arsène opened the drawer of a small table of plain white wood which,
with the bed and stool, constituted all the furniture in his cell, and
took therefrom two scraps of paper which he handed to Ganimard.

"Ah!" exclaimed the detective, in surprise, "I though you were closely
guarded and searched, and I find that you read the newspapers and
collect postal receipts."

"Bah! these people are so stupid! They open the lining of my vest, they
examine the soles of my shoes, they sound the walls of my cell, but they
never imagine that Arsène Lupin would be foolish enough to choose such a
simple hiding place."

Ganimard laughed, as he said:

"What a droll fellow you are! Really, you bewilder me. But, come now,
tell me about the Cahorn affair."

"Oh! oh! not quite so fast! You would rob me of all my secrets; expose
all my little tricks. That is a very serious matter."

"Was I wrong to count on your complaisance?"

"No, Ganimard, and since you insist - -"

Arsène Lupin paced his cell two or three times, then, stopping before
Ganimard, he asked:

"What do you think of my letter to the baron?"

"I think you were amusing yourself by playing to the gallery."

"Ah! playing to the gallery! Come, Ganimard, I thought you knew me
better. Do I, Arsène Lupin, ever waste my time on such puerilities?
Would I have written that letter if I could have robbed the baron
without writing to him? I want you to understand that the letter was
indispensable; it was the motor that set the whole machine in motion.
Now, let us discuss together a scheme for the robbery of the Malaquis
castle. Are you willing?"

"Yes, proceed."

"Well, let us suppose a castle carefully closed and barricaded like
that of the Baron Cahorn. Am I to abandon my scheme and renounce the
treasures that I covet, upon the pretext that the castle which holds
them is inaccessible?"

"Evidently not."

"Should I make an assault upon the castle at the head of a band of
adventurers as they did in ancient times?"

"That would be foolish."

"Can I gain admittance by stealth or cunning?"

"Impossible."

"Then there is only one way open to me. I must have the owner of the
castle invite me to it."

"That is surely an original method."

"And how easy! Let us suppose that one day the owner receives a letter
warning him that a notorious burglar known as Arsène Lupin is plotting
to rob him. What will he do?"

"Send a letter to the Procureur."

"Who will laugh at him, *because the said Arsène Lupin is actually in
prison.* Then, in his anxiety and fear, the simple man will ask the
assistance of the first-comer, will he not?"

"Very likely."

"And if he happens to read in a country newspaper that a celebrated
detective is spending his vacation in a neighboring town - -"

"He will seek that detective."

"Of course. But, on the other hand, let us presume that, having foreseen
that state of affairs, the said Arsène Lupin has requested one of his
friends to visit Caudebec, make the acquaintance of the editor of the
`Réveil,' a newspaper to which the baron is a subscriber, and let said
editor understand that such person is the celebrated detective - then,
what will happen?"

"The editor will announce in the `Réveil' the presence in Caudebec of
said detective."

"Exactly; and one of two things will happen: either the fish - I mean
Cahorn - will not bite, and nothing will happen; or, what is more likely,
he will run and greedily swallow the bait. Thus, behold my Baron Cahorn
imploring the assistance of one of my friends against me."

"Original, indeed!"

"Of course, the pseudo-detective at first refuses to give any
assistance. On top of that comes the telegram from Arsène Lupin. The
frightened baron rushes once more to my friend and offers him a definite
sum of money for his services. My friend accepts and summons two members
of our band, who, during the night, whilst Cahorn is under the watchful
eye of his protector, removes certain articles by way of the window
and lowers them with ropes into a nice little launch chartered for the
occasion. Simple, isn't it?"

"Marvelous! Marvelous!" exclaimed Ganimard. "The boldness of the scheme
and the ingenuity of all its details are beyond criticism. But who is
the detective whose name and fame served as a magnet to attract the
baron and draw him into your net?"

"There is only one name could do it - only one."

"And that is?"

"Arsène Lupin's personal enemy - the most illustrious Ganimard."

"I?"

"Yourself, Ganimard. And, really, it is very funny. If you go there, and
the baron decides to talk, you will find that it will be your duty to
arrest yourself, just as you arrested me in America. Hein! the revenge
is really amusing: I cause Ganimard to arrest Ganimard."

Arsène Lupin laughed heartily. The detective, greatly vexed, bit his
lips; to him the joke was quite devoid of humor. The arrival of a prison
guard gave Ganimard an opportunity to recover himself. The man brought
Arsène Lupin's luncheon, furnished by a neighboring restaurant. After
depositing the tray upon the table, the guard retired. Lupin broke his
bread, ate a few morsels, and continued:

"But, rest easy, my dear Ganimard, you will not go to Malaquis. I can
tell you something that will astonish you: the Cahorn affair is on the
point of being settled."

"Excuse me; I have just seen the Chief of the Sureté."

"What of that? Does Mon. Dudouis know my business better than I
do myself? You will learn that Ganimard - excuse me - that the
pseudo-Ganimard still remains on very good terms with the baron. The
latter has authorized him to negotiate a very delicate transaction with
me, and, at the present moment, in consideration of a certain sum, it
is probable that the baron has recovered possession of his pictures and
other treasures. And on their return, he will withdraw his complaint.
Thus, there is no longer any theft, and the law must abandon the case."

Ganimard regarded the prisoner with a bewildered air.

"And how do you know all that?"

"I have just received the telegram I was expecting."

"You have just received a telegram?"

"This very moment, my dear friend. Out of politeness, I did not wish to
read it in your presence. But if you will permit me - -"

"You are joking, Lupin."

"My dear friend, if you will be so kind as to break that egg, you will
learn for yourself that I am not joking."

Mechanically, Ganimard obeyed, and cracked the egg-shell with the blade
of a knife. He uttered a cry of surprise. The shell contained nothing
but a small piece of blue paper. At the request of Arsène he unfolded
it. It was a telegram, or rather a portion of a telegram from which the
post-marks had been removed. It read as follows:

"Contract closed. Hundred thousand balls delivered. All well."

"One hundred thousand balls?" said Ganimard.

"Yes, one hundred thousand francs. Very little, but then, you know,
these are hard times....And I have some heavy bills to meet. If you only
knew my budget.... living in the city comes very high."

Ganimard arose. His ill humor had disappeared. He reflected for a
moment, glancing over the whole affair in an effort to discover a weak
point; then, in a tone and manner that betrayed his admiration of the
prisoner, he said:

"Fortunately, we do not have a dozen such as you to deal with; if we
did, we would have to close up shop."

Arsène Lupin assumed a modest air, as he replied:

"Bah! a person must have some diversion to occupy his leisure hours,
especially when he is in prison."

"What!" exclaimed Ganimard, "your trial, your defense, the
examination - isn't that sufficient to occupy your mind?"

"No, because I have decided not to be present at my trial."

"Oh! oh!"

Arsène Lupin repeated, positively:

"I shall not be present at my trial."

"Really!"

"Ah! my dear monsieur, do you suppose I am going to rot upon the wet
straw? You insult me. Arsène Lupin remains in prison just as long as it
pleases him, and not one minute more."

"Perhaps it would have been more prudent if you had avoided getting
there," said the detective, ironically.

"Ah! monsieur jests? Monsieur must remember that he had the honor to
effect my arrest. Know then, my worthy friend, that no one, not even
you, could have placed a hand upon me if a much more important event had
not occupied my attention at that critical moment."

"You astonish me."

"A woman was looking at me, Ganimard, and I loved her. Do you fully
understand what that means: to be under the eyes of a woman that one
loves? I cared for nothing in the world but that. And that is why I am
here."

"Permit me to say: you have been here a long time."

"In the first place, I wished to forget. Do not laugh; it was a
delightful adventure and it is still a tender memory. Besides, I have
been suffering from neurasthenia. Life is so feverish these days that it
is necessary to take the `rest cure' occasionally, and I find this spot
a sovereign remedy for my tired nerves."

"Arsène Lupin, you are not a bad fellow, after all."

"Thank you," said Lupin. "Ganimard, this is Friday. On Wednesday next,
at four o'clock in the afternoon, I will smoke my cigar at your house in
the rue Pergolese."

"Arsène Lupin, I will expect you."

They shook hands like two old friends who valued each other at their
true worth; then the detective stepped to the door.

"Ganimard!"

"What is it?" asked Ganimard, as he turned back.

"You have forgotten your watch."

"My watch?"

"Yes, it strayed into my pocket."

He returned the watch, excusing himself.

"Pardon me.... a bad habit. Because they have taken mine is no reason why
I should take yours. Besides, I have a chronometer here that satisfies
me fairly well."

He took from the drawer a large gold watch and heavy chain.

"From whose pocket did that come?" asked Ganimard.

Arsène Lupin gave a hasty glance at the initials engraved on the watch.

"J.B.....Who the devil can that be?....Ah! yes, I remember. Jules
Bouvier, the judge who conducted my examination. A charming fellow!...."




III. The Escape of Arsène Lupin


Arsène Lupin had just finished his repast and taken from his pocket an
excellent cigar, with a gold band, which he was examining with unusual
care, when the door of his cell was opened. He had barely time to
throw the cigar into the drawer and move away from the table. The guard
entered. It was the hour for exercise.

"I was waiting for you, my dear boy," exclaimed Lupin, in his accustomed
good humor.

They went out together. As soon as they had disappeared at a turn in the
corridor, two men entered the cell and commenced a minute examination
of it. One was Inspector Dieuzy; the other was Inspector Folenfant. They
wished to verify their suspicion that Arsène Lupin was in communication
with his accomplices outside of the prison. On the preceding evening,
the `Grand Journal' had published these lines addressed to its court
reporter:

"Monsieur:

"In a recent article you referred to me in most unjustifiable
terms. Some days before the opening of my trial I will call you to
account. Arsène Lupin."

The handwriting was certainly that of Arsène Lupin. Consequently, he
sent letters; and, no doubt, received letters. It was certain that he
was preparing for that escape thus arrogantly announced by him.

The situation had become intolerable. Acting in conjunction with the
examining judge, the chief of the Sûreté, Mon. Dudouis, had visited the
prison and instructed the gaoler in regard to the precautions necessary
to insure Lupin's safety. At the same time, he sent the two men to
examine the prisoner's cell. They raised every stone, ransacked the bed,
did everything customary in such a case, but they discovered nothing,
and were about to abandon their investigation when the guard entered
hastily and said:

"The drawer.... look in the table-drawer. When I entered just now he was
closing it."

They opened the drawer, and Dieuzy exclaimed:

"Ah! we have him this time."

Folenfant stopped him.

"Wait a moment. The chief will want to make an inventory."

"This is a very choice cigar."

"Leave it there, and notify the chief."

Two minutes later Mon. Dudouis examined the contents of the drawer.
First he discovered a bundle of newspaper clippings relating to Arsène
Lupin taken from the `Argus de la Presse,' then a tobacco-box, a pipe,
some paper called "onion-peel," and two books. He read the titles of the
books. One was an English edition of Carlyle's "Hero-worship"; the other
was a charming elzevir, in modern binding, the "Manual of Epictetus," a
German translation published at Leyden in 1634. On examining the books,
he found that all the pages were underlined and annotated. Were they
prepared as a code for correspondence, or did they simply express the
studious character of the reader? Then he examined the tobacco-box and
the pipe. Finally, he took up the famous cigar with its gold band.

"Fichtre!" he exclaimed. "Our friend smokes a good cigar. It's a Henry
Clay."

With the mechanical action of an habitual smoker, he placed the cigar
close to his ear and squeezed it to make it crack. Immediately he
uttered a cry of surprise. The cigar had yielded under the pressure
of his fingers. He examined it more closely, and quickly discovered
something white between the leaves of tobacco. Delicately, with the aid
of a pin, he withdrew a roll of very thin paper, scarcely larger than
a toothpick. It was a letter. He unrolled it, and found these words,
written in a feminine handwriting:

"The basket has taken the place of the others. Eight out of ten are
ready. On pressing the outer foot the plate goes downward. From twelve
to sixteen every day, H-P will wait. But where? Reply at once. Rest
easy; your friend is watching over you."

Mon. Dudouis reflected a moment, then said:

"It is quite clear.... the basket.... the eight compartments.... From
twelve to sixteen means from twelve to four o'clock."

"But this H-P, that will wait?"

"H-P must mean automobile. H-P, horsepower, is the way they indicate
strength of the motor. A twenty-four H-P is an automobile of twenty-four
horsepower."

Then he rose, and asked:

"Had the prisoner finished his breakfast?"

"Yes."

"And as he has not yet read the message, which is proved by the
condition of the cigar, it is probable that he had just received it."

"How?"

"In his food. Concealed in his bread or in a potato, perhaps."

"Impossible. His food was allowed to be brought in simply to trap him,
but we have never found anything in it."

"We will look for Lupin's reply this evening. Detain him outside for a
few minutes. I shall take this to the examining judge, and, if he agrees
with me, we will have the letter photographed at once, and in an hour
you can replace the letter in the drawer in a cigar similar to this. The
prisoner must have no cause for suspicion."

It was not without a certain curiosity that Mon. Dudouis returned to
the prison in the evening, accompanied by Inspector Dieuzy. Three empty
plates were sitting on the stove in the corner.

"He has eaten?"

"Yes," replied the guard.

"Dieuzy, please cut that macaroni into very small pieces, and open that
bread-roll....Nothing?"

"No, chief."

Mon. Dudouis examined the plates, the fork, the spoon, and the knife - an
ordinary knife with a rounded blade. He turned the handle to the left;
then to the right. It yielded and unscrewed. The knife was hollow, and
served as a hiding-place for a sheet of paper.

"Peuh!" he said, "that is not very clever for a man like Arsène. But we
mustn't lose any time. You, Dieuzy, go and search the restaurant."

Then he read the note:

"I trust to you, H-P will follow at a distance every day. I will go
ahead. Au revoir, dear friend."

"At last," cried Mon. Dudouis, rubbing his hands gleefully, "I think we
have the affair in our own hands. A little strategy on our part, and the
escape will be a success in so far as the arrest of his confederates are
concerned."

"But if Arsène Lupin slips through your fingers?" suggested the guard.

"We will have a sufficient number of men to prevent that. If, however,
he displays too much cleverness, ma foi, so much the worse for him! As
to his band of robbers, since the chief refuses to speak, the others
must."

* * * * *

And, as a matter of fact, Arsène Lupin had very little to say. For
several months, Mon. Jules Bouvier, the examining judge, had
exerted himself in vain. The investigation had been reduced to a few
uninteresting arguments between the judge and the advocate, Maître
Danval, one of the leaders of the bar. From time to time, through
courtesy, Arsène Lupin would speak. One day he said:

"Yes, monsieur, le judge, I quite agree with you: the robbery of the
Crédit Lyonnais, the theft in the rue de Babylone, the issue of
the counterfeit bank-notes, the burglaries at the various châteaux,
Armesnil, Gouret, Imblevain, Groseillers, Malaquis, all my work,
monsieur, I did it all."

"Then will you explain to me - -"

"It is useless. I confess everything in a lump, everything and even ten
times more than you know nothing about."

Wearied by his fruitless task, the judge had suspended his examinations,
but he resumed them after the two intercepted messages were brought to
his attention; and regularly, at mid-day, Arsène Lupin was taken from
the prison to the Dépôt in the prison-van with a certain number of other
prisoners. They returned about three or four o'clock.

Now, one afternoon, this return trip was made under unusual conditions.
The other prisoners not having been examined, it was decided to take
back Arsène Lupin first, thus he found himself alone in the vehicle.

These prison-vans, vulgarly called "panniers à salade" - or
salad-baskets - are divided lengthwise by a central corridor from which
open ten compartments, five on either side. Each compartment is so
arranged that the occupant must assume and retain a sitting posture,
and, consequently, the five prisoners are seated one upon the other,
and yet separated one from the other by partitions. A municipal guard,
standing at one end, watches over the corridor.

Arsène was placed in the third cell on the right, and the heavy vehicle
started. He carefully calculated when they left the quai de l'Horloge,
and when they passed the Palais de Justice. Then, about the centre of
the bridge Saint Michel, with his outer foot, that is to say, his right
foot, he pressed upon the metal plate that closed his cell. Immediately
something clicked, and the metal plate moved. He was able to ascertain
that he was located between the two wheels.

He waited, keeping a sharp look-out. The vehicle was proceeding slowly
along the boulevard Saint Michel. At the corner of Saint Germain it
stopped. A truck horse had fallen. The traffic having been interrupted,
a vast throng of fiacres and omnibuses had gathered there. Arsène Lupin
looked out. Another prison-van had stopped close to the one he occupied.
He moved the plate still farther, put his foot on one of the spokes
of the wheel and leaped to the ground. A coachman saw him, roared with
laughter, then tried to raise an outcry, but his voice was lost in the
noise of the traffic that had commenced to move again. Moreover, Arsène
Lupin was already far away.

He had run for a few steps; but, once upon the sidewalk, he turned
and looked around; he seemed to scent the wind like a person who is
uncertain which direction to take. Then, having decided, he put his
hands in his pockets, and, with the careless air of an idle stroller,
he proceeded up the boulevard. It was a warm, bright autumn day, and
the cafés were full. He took a seat on the terrace of one of them. He
ordered a bock and a package of cigarettes. He emptied his glass slowly,
smoked one cigarette and lighted a second. Then he asked the waiter to
send the proprietor to him. When the proprietor came, Arsène spoke to
him in a voice loud enough to be heard by everyone:

"I regret to say, monsieur, I have forgotten my pocketbook. Perhaps, on
the strength of my name, you will be pleased to give me credit for a few
days. I am Arsène Lupin."

The proprietor looked at him, thinking he was joking. But Arsène
repeated:

"Lupin, prisoner at the Santé, but now a fugitive. I venture to assume
that the name inspires you with perfect confidence in me."

And he walked away, amidst shouts of laughter, whilst the proprietor
stood amazed.

Lupin strolled along the rue Soufflot, and turned into the rue Saint
Jacques. He pursued his way slowly, smoking his cigarettes and looking
into the shop-windows. At the Boulevard de Port Royal he took his
bearings, discovered where he was, and then walked in the direction of
the rue de la Santé. The high forbidding walls of the prison were
now before him. He pulled his hat forward to shade his face; then,
approaching the sentinel, he asked:

"It this the prison de la Santé?"

"Yes."

"I wish to regain my cell. The van left me on the way, and I would not
abuse - "

"Now, young man, move along - quick!" growled the sentinel.

"Pardon me, but I must pass through that gate. And if you prevent Arsène
Lupin from entering the prison it will cost you dear, my friend."

"Arsène Lupin! What are you talking about!"

"I am sorry I haven't a card with me," said Arsène, fumbling in his
pockets.

The sentinel eyed him from head to foot, in astonishment. Then, without
a word, he rang a bell. The iron gate was partly opened, and Arsène
stepped inside. Almost immediately he encountered the keeper of the
prison, gesticulating and feigning a violent anger. Arsène smiled and
said:

"Come, monsieur, don't play that game with me. What! they take
the precaution to carry me alone in the van, prepare a nice little
obstruction, and imagine I am going to take to my heels and rejoin
my friends. Well, and what about the twenty agents of the Sûreté who
accompanied us on foot, in fiacres and on bicycles? No, the arrangement
did not please me. I should not have got away alive. Tell me, monsieur,
did they count on that?"

He shrugged his shoulders, and added:

"I beg of you, monsieur, not to worry about me. When I wish to escape I
shall not require any assistance."

On the second day thereafter, the `Echo de France,' which had apparently
become the official reporter of the exploits of Arsène Lupin, - it was
said that he was one of its principal shareholders - published a most
complete account of this attempted escape. The exact wording of the
messages exchanged between the prisoner and his mysterious friend, the
means by which correspondence was constructed, the complicity of the
police, the promenade on the Boulevard Saint Michel, the incident at the
café Soufflot, everything was disclosed. It was known that the search of
the restaurant and its waiters by Inspector Dieuzy had been fruitless.
And the public also learned an extraordinary thing which demonstrated
the infinite variety of resources that Lupin possessed: the prison-van,
in which he was being carried, was prepared for the occasion and
substituted by his accomplices for one of the six vans which did service
at the prison.

The next escape of Arsène Lupin was not doubted by anyone. He announced
it himself, in categorical terms, in a reply to Mon. Bouvier on the day


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