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following his attempted escape. The judge having made a jest about
the affair, Arsène was annoyed, and, firmly eyeing the judge, he said,

"Listen to me, monsieur! I give you my word of honor that this attempted
flight was simply preliminary to my general plan of escape."

"I do not understand," said the judge.

"It is not necessary that you should understand."

And when the judge, in the course of that examination which was reported
at length in the columns of the `Echo de France,' when the judge sought
to resume his investigation, Arsène Lupin exclaimed, with an assumed air
of lassitude:

"Mon Dieu, Mon Dieu, what's the use! All these questions are of no

"What! No importance?" cried the judge.

"No; because I shall not be present at the trial."

"You will not be present?"

"No; I have fully decided on that, and nothing will change my mind."

Such assurance combined with the inexplicable indiscretions that Arsène
committed every day served to annoy and mystify the officers of the law.
There were secrets known only to Arsène Lupin; secrets that he alone
could divulge. But for what purpose did he reveal them? And how?

Arsène Lupin was changed to another cell. The judge closed his
preliminary investigation. No further proceedings were taken in his case
for a period of two months, during which time Arsène was seen almost
constantly lying on his bed with his face turned toward the wall. The
changing of his cell seemed to discourage him. He refused to see his
advocate. He exchanged only a few necessary words with his keepers.

During the fortnight preceding his trial, he resumed his vigorous life.
He complained of want of air. Consequently, early every morning he was
allowed to exercise in the courtyard, guarded by two men.

Public curiosity had not died out; every day it expected to be regaled
with news of his escape; and, it is true, he had gained a considerable
amount of public sympathy by reason of his verve, his gayety, his
diversity, his inventive genius and the mystery of his life. Arsène
Lupin must escape. It was his inevitable fate. The public expected it,
and was surprised that the event had been delayed so long. Every morning
the Préfect of Police asked his secretary:

"Well, has he escaped yet?"

"No, Monsieur le Préfect."

"To-morrow, probably."

And, on the day before the trial, a gentleman called at the office of
the `Grand Journal,' asked to see the court reporter, threw his card in
the reporter's face, and walked rapidly away. These words were written
on the card: "Arsène Lupin always keeps his promises."

* * * * *

It was under these conditions that the trial commenced. An enormous
crowd gathered at the court. Everybody wished to see the famous Arsène
Lupin. They had a gleeful anticipation that the prisoner would play some
audacious pranks upon the judge. Advocates and magistrates, reporters
and men of the world, actresses and society women were crowded together
on the benches provided for the public.

It was a dark, sombre day, with a steady downpour of rain. Only a
dim light pervaded the courtroom, and the spectators caught a very
indistinct view of the prisoner when the guards brought him in. But his
heavy, shambling walk, the manner in which he dropped into his seat, and
his passive, stupid appearance were not at all prepossessing. Several
times his advocate - one of Mon. Danval's assistants - spoke to him, but
he simply shook his head and said nothing.

The clerk read the indictment, then the judge spoke:

"Prisoner at the bar, stand up. Your name, age, and occupation?"

Not receiving any reply, the judge repeated:

"Your name? I ask you your name?"

A thick, slow voice muttered:

"Baudru, Désiré."

A murmur of surprise pervaded the courtroom. But the judge proceeded:

"Baudru, Désiré? Ah! a new alias! Well, as you have already assumed a
dozen different names and this one is, no doubt, as imaginary as the
others, we will adhere to the name of Arsène Lupin, by which you are
more generally known."

The judge referred to his notes, and continued:

"For, despite the most diligent search, your past history remains
unknown. Your case is unique in the annals of crime. We know not whom
you are, whence you came, your birth and breeding - all is a mystery
to us. Three years ago you appeared in our midst as Arsène Lupin,
presenting to us a strange combination of intelligence and perversion,
immorality and generosity. Our knowledge of your life prior to that date
is vague and problematical. It may be that the man called Rostat who,
eight years ago, worked with Dickson, the prestidigitator, was none
other than Arsène Lupin. It is probable that the Russian student who,
six years ago, attended the laboratory of Doctor Altier at the Saint
Louis Hospital, and who often astonished the doctor by the ingenuity
of his hypotheses on subjects of bacteriology and the boldness of his
experiments in diseases of the skin, was none other than Arsène Lupin.
It is probable, also, that Arsène Lupin was the professor who introduced
the Japanese art of jiu-jitsu to the Parisian public. We have some
reason to believe that Arsène Lupin was the bicyclist who won the Grand
Prix de l'Exposition, received his ten thousand francs, and was never
heard of again. Arsène Lupin may have been, also, the person who saved
so many lives through the little dormer-window at the Charity Bazaar;
and, at the same time, picked their pockets."

The judge paused for a moment, then continued:

"Such is that epoch which seems to have been utilized by you in a
thorough preparation for the warfare you have since waged against
society; a methodical apprenticeship in which you developed your
strength, energy and skill to the highest point possible. Do you
acknowledge the accuracy of these facts?"

During this discourse the prisoner had stood balancing himself, first
on one foot, then on the other, with shoulders stooped and arms inert.
Under the strongest light one could observe his extreme thinness, his
hollow cheeks, his projecting cheek-bones, his earthen-colored face
dotted with small red spots and framed in a rough, straggling beard.
Prison life had caused him to age and wither. He had lost the
youthful face and elegant figure we had seen portrayed so often in the

It appeared as if he had not heard the question propounded by the
judge. Twice it was repeated to him. Then he raised his eyes, seemed to
reflect, then, making a desperate effort, he murmured:

"Baudru, Désiré."

The judge smiled, as he said:

"I do not understand the theory of your defense, Arsène Lupin. If you
are seeking to avoid responsibility for your crimes on the ground of
imbecility, such a line of defense is open to you. But I shall proceed
with the trial and pay no heed to your vagaries."

He then narrated at length the various thefts, swindles and forgeries
charged against Lupin. Sometimes he questioned the prisoner, but the
latter simply grunted or remained silent. The examination of witnesses
commenced. Some of the evidence given was immaterial; other portions
of it seemed more important, but through all of it there ran a vein of
contradictions and inconsistencies. A wearisome obscurity enveloped
the proceedings, until Detective Ganimard was called as a witness; then
interest was revived.

From the beginning the actions of the veteran detective appeared strange
and unaccountable. He was nervous and ill at ease. Several times he
looked at the prisoner, with obvious doubt and anxiety. Then, with his
hands resting on the rail in front of him, he recounted the events in
which he had participated, including his pursuit of the prisoner
across Europe and his arrival in America. He was listened to with great
avidity, as his capture of Arsène Lupin was well known to everyone
through the medium of the press. Toward the close of his testimony,
after referring to his conversations with Arsène Lupin, he stopped,
twice, embarrassed and undecided. It was apparent that he was possessed
of some thought which he feared to utter. The judge said to him,

"If you are ill, you may retire for the present."

"No, no, but - -"

He stopped, looked sharply at the prisoner, and said:

"I ask permission to scrutinize the prisoner at closer range. There is
some mystery about him that I must solve."

He approached the accused man, examined him attentively for several
minutes, then returned to the witness-stand, and, in an almost solemn
voice, he said:

"I declare, on oath, that the prisoner now before me is not Arsène

A profound silence followed the statement. The judge, nonplused for a
moment, exclaimed:

"Ah! What do you mean? That is absurd!"

The detective continued:

"At first sight there is a certain resemblance, but if you carefully
consider the nose, the mouth, the hair, the color of skin, you will
see that it is not Arsène Lupin. And the eyes! Did he ever have those
alcoholic eyes!"

"Come, come, witness! What do you mean? Do you pretend to say that we
are trying the wrong man?"

"In my opinion, yes. Arsène Lupin has, in some manner, contrived to put
this poor devil in his place, unless this man is a willing accomplice."

This dramatic dénouement caused much laughter and excitement amongst the
spectators. The judge adjourned the trial, and sent for Mon. Bouvier,
the gaoler, and guards employed in the prison.

When the trial was resumed, Mon. Bouvier and the gaoler examined the
accused and declared that there was only a very slight resemblance
between the prisoner and Arsène Lupin.

"Well, then!" exclaimed the judge, "who is this man? Where does he come
from? What is he in prison for?"

Two of the prison-guards were called and both of them declared that the
prisoner was Arsène Lupin. The judged breathed once more.

But one of the guards then said:

"Yes, yes, I think it is he."

"What!" cried the judge, impatiently, "you *think* it is he! What do you
mean by that?"

"Well, I saw very little of the prisoner. He was placed in my charge in
the evening and, for two months, he seldom stirred, but laid on his bed
with his face to the wall."

"What about the time prior to those two months?"

"Before that he occupied a cell in another part of the prison. He was
not in cell 24."

Here the head gaoler interrupted, and said:

"We changed him to another cell after his attempted escape."

"But you, monsieur, you have seen him during those two months?"

"I had no occasion to see him. He was always quiet and orderly."

"And this prisoner is not Arsène Lupin?"


"Then who is he?" demanded the judge.

"I do not know."

"Then we have before us a man who was substituted for Arsène Lupin, two
months ago. How do you explain that?"

"I cannot."

In absolute despair, the judge turned to the accused and addressed him
in a conciliatory tone:

"Prisoner, can you tell me how, and since when, you became an inmate of
the Prison de la Santé?"

The engaging manner of the judge was calculated to disarm the mistrust
and awaken the understanding of the accused man. He tried to reply.
Finally, under clever and gentle questioning, he succeeded in framing a
few phrases from which the following story was gleaned: Two months ago
he had been taken to the Dépôt, examined and released. As he was leaving
the building, a free man, he was seized by two guards and placed in the
prison-van. Since then he had occupied cell 24. He was contented there,
plenty to eat, and he slept well - so he did not complain.

All that seemed probable; and, amidst the mirth and excitement of the
spectators, the judge adjourned the trial until the story could be
investigated and verified.

* * * * *

The following facts were at once established by an examination of the
prison records: Eight weeks before a man named Baudru Désiré had slept
at the Dépôt. He was released the next day, and left the Dépôt at two
o'clock in the afternoon. On the same day at two o'clock, having been
examined for the last time, Arsène Lupin left the Dépôt in a prison-van.

Had the guards made a mistake? Had they been deceived by the resemblance
and carelessly substituted this man for their prisoner?

Another question suggested itself: Had the substitution been arranged in
advance? In that event Baudru must have been an accomplice and must have
caused his own arrest for the express purpose of taking Lupin's
place. But then, by what miracle had such a plan, based on a series of
improbable chances, been carried to success?

Baudru Désiré was turned over to the anthropological service; they
had never seen anything like him. However, they easily traced his past
history. He was known at Courbevois, at Asnières and at Levallois.
He lived on alms and slept in one of those rag-picker's huts near the
barrier de Ternes. He had disappeared from there a year ago.

Had he been enticed away by Arsène Lupin? There was no evidence to that
effect. And even if that was so, it did not explain the flight of the
prisoner. That still remained a mystery. Amongst twenty theories which
sought to explain it, not one was satisfactory. Of the escape itself,
there was no doubt; an escape that was incomprehensible, sensational,
in which the public, as well as the officers of the law, could detect
a carefully prepared plan, a combination of circumstances marvelously
dove-tailed, whereof the dénouement fully justified the confident
prediction of Arsène Lupin: "I shall not be present at my trial."

After a month of patient investigation, the problem remained unsolved.
The poor devil of a Baudru could not be kept in prison indefinitely, and
to place him on trial would be ridiculous. There was no charge against
him. Consequently, he was released; but the chief of the Sûrété resolved
to keep him under surveillance. This idea originated with Ganimard. From
his point of view there was neither complicity nor chance. Baudru was
an instrument upon which Arsène Lupin had played with his extraordinary
skill. Baudru, when set at liberty, would lead them to Arsène Lupin or,
at least, to some of his accomplices. The two inspectors, Folenfant and
Dieuzy, were assigned to assist Ganimard.

One foggy morning in January the prison gates opened and Baudru Désiré
stepped forth - a free man. At first he appeared to be quite embarrassed,
and walked like a person who has no precise idea whither he is going.
He followed the rue de la Santé and the rue Saint Jacques. He stopped in
front of an old-clothes shop, removed his jacket and his vest, sold his
vest on which he realized a few sous; then, replacing his jacket, he
proceeded on his way. He crossed the Seine. At the Châtelet an
omnibus passed him. He wished to enter it, but there was no place.
The controller advised him to secure a number, so he entered the

Ganimard called to his two assistants, and, without removing his eyes
from the waiting room, he said to them:

"Stop a carriage.... no, two. That will be better. I will go with one of
you, and we will follow him."

The men obeyed. Yet Baudru did not appear. Ganimard entered the
waiting-room. It was empty.

"Idiot that I am!" he muttered, "I forgot there was another exit."

There was an interior corridor extending from the waiting-room to the
rue Saint Martin. Ganimard rushed through it and arrived just in time to
observe Baudru upon the top of the Batignolles-Jardin de Plates omnibus
as it was turning the corner of the rue de Rivoli. He ran and caught
the omnibus. But he had lost his two assistants. He must continue the
pursuit alone. In his anger he was inclined to seize the man by the
collar without ceremony. Was it not with premeditation and by means of
an ingenious ruse that his pretended imbecile had separated him from his

He looked at Baudru. The latter was asleep on the bench, his head
rolling from side to side, his mouth half-opened, and an incredible
expression of stupidity on his blotched face. No, such an adversary was
incapable of deceiving old Ganimard. It was a stroke of luck - nothing

At the Galleries-Lafayette, the man leaped from the omnibus and took
the La Muette tramway, following the boulevard Haussmann and the
avenue Victor Hugo. Baudru alighted at La Muette station; and, with a
nonchalant air, strolled into the Bois de Boulogne.

He wandered through one path after another, and sometimes retraced his
steps. What was he seeking? Had he any definite object? At the end of
an hour, he appeared to be faint from fatigue, and, noticing a bench, he
sat down. The spot, not far from Auteuil, on the edge of a pond hidden
amongst the trees, was absolutely deserted. After the lapse of another
half-hour, Ganimard became impatient and resolved to speak to the man.
He approached and took a seat beside Baudru, lighted a cigarette, traced
some figures in the sand with the end of his cane, and said:

"It's a pleasant day."

No response. But, suddenly the man burst into laughter, a happy,
mirthful laugh, spontaneous and irresistible. Ganimard felt his hair
stand on end in horror and surprise. It was that laugh, that infernal
laugh he knew so well!

With a sudden movement, he seized the man by the collar and looked at
him with a keen, penetrating gaze; and found that he no longer saw the
man Baudru. To be sure, he saw Baudru; but, at the same time, he saw the
other, the real man, Lupin. He discovered the intense life in the eyes,
he filled up the shrunken features, he perceived the real flesh beneath
the flabby skin, the real mouth through the grimaces that deformed it.
Those were the eyes and mouth of the other, and especially his keen,
alert, mocking expression, so clear and youthful!

"Arsène Lupin, Arsène Lupin," he stammered.

Then, in a sudden fit of rage, he seized Lupin by the throat and tried
to hold him down. In spite of his fifty years, he still possessed
unusual strength, whilst his adversary was apparently in a weak
condition. But the struggle was a brief one. Arsène Lupin made only a
slight movement, and, as suddenly as he had made the attack, Ganimard
released his hold. His right arm fell inert, useless.

"If you had taken lessons in jiu-jitsu at the quai des Orfèvres," said
Lupin, "you would know that that blow is called udi-shi-ghi in Japanese.
A second more, and I would have broken your arm and that would have been
just what you deserve. I am surprised that you, an old friend whom I
respect and before whom I voluntarily expose my incognito, should abuse
my confidence in that violent manner. It is unworthy - Ah! What's the

Ganimard did not reply. That escape for which he deemed himself
responsible - was it not he, Ganimard, who, by his sensational evidence,
had led the court into serious error? That escape appeared to him like
a dark cloud on his professional career. A tear rolled down his cheek to
his gray moustache.

"Oh! mon Dieu, Ganimard, don't take it to heart. If you had not spoken,
I would have arranged for some one else to do it. I couldn't allow poor
Baudru Désiré to be convicted."

"Then," murmured Ganimard, "it was you that was there? And now you are

"It is I, always I, only I."

"Can it be possible?"

"Oh, it is not the work of a sorcerer. Simply, as the judge remarked at
the trial, the apprenticeship of a dozen years that equips a man to cope
successfully with all the obstacles in life."

"But your face? Your eyes?"

"You can understand that if I worked eighteen months with Doctor Altier
at the Saint-Louis hospital, it was not out of love for the work. I
considered that he, who would one day have the honor of calling himself
Arsène Lupin, ought to be exempt from the ordinary laws governing
appearance and identity. Appearance? That can be modified at will. For
instance, a hypodermic injection of paraffine will puff up the skin at
the desired spot. Pyrogallic acid will change your skin to that of an
Indian. The juice of the greater celandine will adorn you with the most
beautiful eruptions and tumors. Another chemical affects the growth of
your beard and hair; another changes the tone of your voice. Add to that
two months of dieting in cell 24; exercises repeated a thousand times to
enable me to hold my features in a certain grimace, to carry my head
at a certain inclination, and adapt my back and shoulders to a stooping
posture. Then five drops of atropine in the eyes to make them haggard
and wild, and the trick is done."

"I do not understand how you deceived the guards."

"The change was progressive. The evolution was so gradual that they
failed to notice it."

"But Baudru Désiré?" "Baudru exists. He is a poor, harmless fellow whom
I met last year; and, really, he bears a certain resemblance to me.
Considering my arrest as a possible event, I took charge of Baudru and
studied the points wherein we differed in appearance with a view to
correct them in my own person. My friends caused him to remain at the
Dépôt overnight, and to leave there next day about the same hour as I
did - a coincidence easily arranged. Of course, it was necessary to have
a record of his detention at the Dépôt in order to establish the fact
that such a person was a reality; otherwise, the police would have
sought elsewhere to find out my identity. But, in offering to them this
excellent Baudru, it was inevitable, you understand, inevitable that
they would seize upon him, and, despite the insurmountable difficulties
of a substitution, they would prefer to believe in a substitution than
confess their ignorance."

"Yes, yes, of course," said Ganimard.

"And then," exclaimed Arsène Lupin, "I held in my hands a trump-card: an
anxious public watching and waiting for my escape. And that is the fatal
error into which you fell, you and the others, in the course of that
fascinating game pending between me and the officers of the law wherein
the stake was my liberty. And you supposed that I was playing to the
gallery; that I was intoxicated with my success. I, Arsène Lupin, guilty
of such weakness! Oh, no! And, no longer ago than the Cahorn affair, you
said: "When Arsène Lupin cries from the housetops that he will escape,
he has some object in view." But, sapristi, you must understand that
in order to escape I must create, in advance, a public belief in
that escape, a belief amounting to an article of faith, an absolute
conviction, a reality as glittering as the sun. And I did create that
belief that Arsène Lupin would escape, that Arsène Lupin would not be
present at his trial. And when you gave your evidence and said: "That
man is not Arsène Lupin," everybody was prepared to believe you. Had one
person doubted it, had any one uttered this simple restriction: Suppose
it is Arsène Lupin? - from that moment, I was lost. If anyone had
scrutinized my face, not imbued with the idea that I was not Arsène
Lupin, as you and the others did at my trial, but with the idea that I
might be Arsène Lupin; then, despite all my precautions, I should have
been recognized. But I had no fear. Logically, psychologically, no once
could entertain the idea that I was Arsène Lupin."

He grasped Ganimard's hand.

"Come, Ganimard, confess that on the Wednesday after our conversation in
the prison de la Santé, you expected me at your house at four o'clock,
exactly as I said I would go."

"And your prison-van?" said Ganimard, evading the question.

"A bluff! Some of my friends secured that old unused van and wished
to make the attempt. But I considered it impractical without the
concurrence of a number of unusual circumstances. However, I found
it useful to carry out that attempted escape and give it the widest
publicity. An audaciously planned escape, though not completed, gave to
the succeeding one the character of reality simply by anticipation."

"So that the cigar...."

"Hollowed by myself, as well as the knife."

"And the letters?"

"Written by me."

"And the mysterious correspondent?"

"Did not exist."

Ganimard reflected a moment, then said:

"When the anthropological service had Baudru's case under consideration,
why did they not perceive that his measurements coincided with those of
Arsène Lupin?"

"My measurements are not in existence."


"At least, they are false. I have given considerable attention to
that question. In the first place, the Bertillon system of records the
visible marks of identification - and you have seen that they are not
infallible - and, after that, the measurements of the head, the
fingers, the ears, etc. Of course, such measurements are more or less

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