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                      T H E   T R I U M P H S                    

                 O F   E U G E N E   V A L M O N T               

                    by Robert Barr (1850 - 1912)                  
(These first three chapters were originally published as a single
short story, "The mystery of the five hundred diamonds" in _The
Windsor Magazine_ in 1904)

                             CHAPTER I

           WHEN I say I am called Valmont, the name will
       convey no impression to the reader one way or another.
       My occupation is that of private detective in London,
       but if you ask any policeman in Paris who Valmont 
       was he will likely be able to tell you, unless he
       is a recent recruit.  If you ask him where Valmont is
       now, he may not know, yet I have a good deal to do with
       the Parisian police.
           For a period of seven years I was chief detective to
       the Government of France, and if I  am unable to prove
       myself a great crime hunter, it is because the record of 
       my career is in the secret archives of Paris.
           I may admit at the outset that I have no grievances
       to air.  The French Government considered itself justi-
       fied in dismissing me, and did so.  In this action it 
       was quite within its right, and I should be the last to
       dispute that right; but, on the other hand, I consider
       myself justified in publishing the following account of
       what actually occurred, especially as so many false
       rumours have been put abroad concerning the case.  How-
       ever, as I said at the beginning, I hold no grievance,
       because my worldly affairs are now much more prosperous
       than they were in Paris, my intimate knowledge of 
       that city and the country of which it is the capital      
       bringing to me many cases with which I have dealt more or
       less successfully since I established myself in London.
           Without further preliminary I shall at once plunge
       into an account of the case which riveted the attention 
       of the whole world a little more than a decade ago.
           The year 1893 was a prosperous twelve months for
       France.  The weather was good, the harvest excellent,
       and the wine of that vintage is celebrated to this day. 
       Everyone was well off and reasonably happy, a marked
       contrast to the state of things a few years later, when
       dissension over the Dreyfus case rent the country in
           Newspaper reader may remember that in 1893 the
       Government of France fell heir to an unexpected treasure
       which set the civilized world agog, especially those
       inhabitants of it who are interested in historical relics.
       This was the finding of the diamond necklace in the 
       Chateau de Chaumont, where it had rested undiscovered
       for a century in a rubbish heap of an attic.  I believe it
       has not been questioned that this was the veritable neck-
       lace which the court jeweler, Boehmer, hoped to sell to
       Marie Antoinette, although how it came to be in the
       Chateau de Chaumont no one has been able to form even
       a conjecture.  For a hundred years it was supposed that
       the necklace had been broken up in London, and its
       half a thousand stones, great and small, sold separately.
       It has always seemed strange to me that the Countess
       de Lamotte-Valois, who was thought to have profited by
       the sale of these jewels, should not have  abandoned
       France if she possessed money to leave that country, for
       exposure was inevitable if she remained.  Indeed, the
       unfortunate woman was branded and imprisoned, and
       afterwards was dashed to death from the third story of
       a London house, when, in the direst poverty, she sought
       escape from the consequences of the debts she had
           I am not superstitious in the least, yet this
       celebrated piece of treasure-trove seems actually to
       have exerted a malign influence over everyone who had the
       misfortune to be connected with it.  Indeed, in a small
       way, I who write these words  suffered dismissal and
       disgrace, though I caught but one glimpse of this dazzling
       scintil-lation of jewels.  The jeweler who made the neck-
       lace met financial ruin; the Queen for whom it was con-
       structed was beheaded; that high-horn Prince Louis
       Rene Edouard, Cardinal de Rohan, who purchased it,
       was flung into prison; the unfortunate countess, who
       said she acted as go-between until the transfer was con-
       cluded, clung for five awful minutes to a London win-
       dow sill before dropping to her death to the flags below;
       and now, a hundred and eight years later, up comes this
       devil's display of fireworks to the light again!
           Drouilliard, the workingman who found the ancient
       box, seems to have pried it open, and ignorant though
       he was - he had probably never seen a diamond in his 
       life before - realized that a fortune was in his grasp.
       The baleful glitter from the combination must have sent
       madness into his brain, working havoc therein as though
       the shafts of brightness were those mysterious rays
       which scientists have recently discovered.  He might
       quite easily have walked through the main gate of the
       chateau unsuspected and unquestioned with the dia-
       monds concealed about his person, but instead of this
       he crept from the attic window on to the steep roof,
       slipped to the eaves, fell to the ground, and lay dead
       with a broken neck, while the necklace, intact, shim-
       mered in the sunlight beside his body. 
           No matter where these jewels had been found the
       Government would have insisted that they belonged to
       the treasury of the Republic; but as the Chateau de
       Chaumont was an historical monument, and the property
       of France, there could be no question regarding the 
       ownership of the necklace.  The Government at once
       claimed it, and ordered it to be sent by a trustworthy
       military man to Paris.  It was carried safely and de-
       livered promptly to the authorities by Alfred Dreyfus,
       a young captain of artillery, to whom its custody had
       been intrusted. 
           In spite of its fall from the tall tower neither case
       nor jewels were perceptibly damaged.  The lock of the
       box had apparently been forced by Droulliard's hatchet,
       or perhaps by the clasp-knife found on his body.  On
       reaching the ground the lid had flown open, and the
       necklace was thrown out. 
           I believe there was some discussion in the cabinet
       regarding the fate of this ill-omened trophy, one section
       wishing it to be placed in a museum on account of its
       historical interest, another advocating the breaking up
       of the necklace and the selling of the diamonds for
       what they would fetch.  But a third party maintained
       that the method to get the most money into the coffers
       of the country was to sell the necklace as it stood, for
       as the world now contains so many rich amateurs who col-
       lect undoubted rarities, regardless of expense, the his-
       toric associations of the jeweled collar would enhance
       the intrinsic value of the stones; and, this view prevail-
       ing, it was announced that the necklace would be sold
       by auction a month later in the rooms of Meyer, Renault
       & Co., in the Boulevard des Italiens, near the Bank of
       the Credit-Lyonnais.
           This announcement elicited much comment from the
       newspapers of all countries, and it seemed that, from a
       financial point of view at least, the decision of the Gov-
       ernment had been wise, for it speedily became evident
       that a notable coterie of wealthy buyers would be con-
       gregated in Paris on the thirteenth (unlucky day for
       me!) when the sale was to take place.  But we of the
       inner circle were made aware of another result some-
       what more disquieting, which was that the most expert
       criminals in the world were also gathering like vultures
       upon the fair city.  The honor of France was at stake.
       Whoever bought that necklace must be assured of a safe
       conduct out of the country. We might view with
       equanimity whatever happened afterwards, but while he
       was a resident of France his life and property must not
       be endangered.  Thus it came about that I was given
       full authority to insure that neither murder nor theft
       nor both combined should be committed while the pur-
       chaser of the necklace remained within our boundaries,
       and for this purpose the police resources of France were
       placed unreservedly at my disposal.  If I failed there
       should be no one to blame but myself; consequently, as
       I have remarked before, I do not complain of my dis-
       missal by the Government.
           The broken lock of the jewer case had been very
       deftly repaired by an expert locksmith, who in executing
       his task was so unfortunate as to scratch a finger on the
       broken metal, whereupon blood poisoning set in, and
       although his life was saved, he was dismissed from the
       hospital with his right arm gone and his usefulness
           When the jeweler Boehmer made the necklace he
       asked eight hundred thousand dollars for it, but after
       years of disappointment he was content to sell it to
       Cardinal de Rohan for three hundred and twenty thou-
       sand dollars, to be liquidated in three installments, not
       one of which was ever paid.  This latter amount was
       probably somewhere near the value of the five hundred
       and sixteen separate stones, one of which was of tre-
       mendous size, a very monarch of diamonds, holding its
       court among seventeen brilliants each as large as a
       filbert.  This iridescent concentration of wealth was, as
       one might say, placed in my care, and I had to see to it
       that no harm came to the necklace or to its prospective
       owner until they were safely across the boundaries of
           The four weeks previous to the thirteenth proved a
       busy and anxious time for me.  Thousands, most of
       whom were actuated by mere curiosity, wished to view
       the diamonds.  We were compelled to discriminate, and
       sometimes discriminated against the wrong person,
       which caused unpleasantness.  Three distinct attempts
       were made to rob the safe, but luckily these criminal
       efforts were frustrated, and so we came unscathed to the
       eventful thirteenth of the month.
           The sale was to begin at two o'clock, and on the
       morning of that day I took the somewhat tyrannical
       precaution of having the more dangerous of our own
       malefactors, and as many of the foreign thieves as I
       could trump up charges against, laid by the heels.  Yet
       I knew very well it was not these rascals I had most to
       fear, but the suave, well-groomed gentlemen, amply sup-
       plied with unimpeachable credentials, stopping at our
       fine hotels and living like princes.  Many of these were
       foreigners against whom we could prove nothing, and
       whose arrest might land us into temporary international
       difficulties.  Nevertheless, I had each of them shadowed,
       and on the morning of the thirteenth if one of them had
       even disputed a cab fare I should have had him in prison
       half an hour later, and taken the consequences; but these
       gentlemen are very shrewd and do not commit mistakes.
           I made up a list of all the men in the world who were
       able or likely to purchase the necklace.  Many of them
       would not be present in person at the auction rooms;
       their bidding would be done by agents.  This simplified
       matters a good deal, for the agents kept me duly in-
       formed of their purposes, and, besides, an agent who
       handles treasure every week is an adept at the business,
       and does not need the protection which must surround
       an amateur, who in nine cases out of ten has but scant
       idea of the dangers that threaten him, beyond knowing
       that if he goes down a dark street in a dangerous quarter
       he is likely to be maltreated and robbed.
           There were no less than sixteen clients all told, whom

       we learned were to attend personally on the day of the
       sale, any one of whom might well have made the pur-
       chase.  The Marquis of Warlingham and Lord Oxtead
       from England were well-known jewel fanciers, while at
       least half a dozen millionaires were expected from the
       United States, with a smattering from Germany, Aus-
       tria, and Russia, and one each from Italy, Belgium, and
           Admission to the auction rooms was allowed by ticket
       only, to be applied for at least a week in advance, ap-
       plications to be accompanied by satisfactory testimonials.
       It would possibly have surprised many of the rich men
       collected there to know that they sat cheek by jowl with
       some of the most noted thieves of England and America,
       but I allowed this for two reasons: first, I wished to
       keep these sharpers under my own eye until I knew who had
       bought the necklace; and, secondly, I was desirous that
       they should not know they were suspected.
           I stationed trusty men outside on the Boulevard des
       Italiens, each of whom knew by sight most of the probable
       purchasers of the necklace.  It was arranged that
       when the sale was over I should walk out to the boulevard
       alongside the man who was the new owner of the
       diamonds, and from that moment until he quitted France
       my men were not to lose sight of him if he took personal
       custody of the stones, instead of doing the sensible and
       proper thing of having them insured and forwarded to
       his residence by some responsible transit company, or
       depositing them in the bank.  In fact, I took every pre-
       caution that occurred to me.  All police Paris was on the
       "qui vive," and felt itself pitted against the
       scoundrelism of the world.
           For one reason or another it was nearly half past
       two before the sale began.  There had been considerable
       delay because of forged tickets, and, indeed, each order
       for admittance was so closely scrutinized that this in
       itself took a good deal more time that we anticipated.
       Every chair was occupied, and still a number of the visi-
       tors were compelled to stand. I stationed myself by the
       swinging doors at the entrance end of the hall, where I 
       could command a view of the entire assemblage. Some 
       of my men were placed wlth backs against the wall, while
       others were distributed among the chairs, all in plain
       clothes.  During the sale the diamonds themselves were
       not displayed, but the box containing them rested in
       front of the auctioneer, and three policemen in uniform
       stood guard on either side.  

                          CHAPTER II 

                   THE SCENE IN THE SALE ROOM

        Very quietly the auctioneer began by saying that
     there was no need for him to expatiate on the noble 
     character of the treasure he was privileged to offer
     for sale, and with this preliminary he requested 
     those present to bid. Some one offered twenty thousand
     francs, which was received with much laughter; then
     the bidding went steadily on until it reached nine hundred
     thousand francs, which I knew to be less than half
     the reserve the Government had placed upon the necklace.
     The contest advanced more slowly until the million 
     and a half was touched, and there it hung fire for a
     time, while the auctioneer remarked that this sum did
     not equal that which the maker of the necklace had
     finally been forced to accept for it.  After another pause  
     he added that, as the reserve was not exceeded, the neck-
     lace would be withdrawn and probably never again
     offered for sale.  He therefore urged those who were
     holding back to make their bids now.  At this the con-
     test livened until the sum of two million three hundred
     thousand francs had been offered, and now I knew the
     necklace would be sold.  Nearing the three million mark
     the competition thinned down to a few dealers from
     Hamburg and the Marquis of Warlingham, from England,
     when a voice that had not yet been heard in the
     auction room was lifted in a tone of some impatience:
        "One million dollars!"
        There was an instant hush, followed by the scribbling
     of pencils, as each person present reduced the sum
     to its equivalent in his own currency - pounds for the
     English, francs for the French, marks for the German,
     and so on.  The aggressive tone and the clear-cut face
     of the bidder proclaimed him an American, not less than
     the financial denomination he had used.  In a moment
     it was realized that his bid was a clear leap of more
     than two million francs, and a sigh went up from the
     audience as if this settled it, and the great sale was
     done.  Nevertheless the auctioneer's hammer hovered
     over the lid of his desk, and he looked up and down the
     long line of faces turned toward him.  He seemed reluctant
     to tap the board, but no one ventured to compete
     against this tremendous sum, and with a sharp click
     the mallet fell.
       "What name?" he asked, bending over toward the
        "Cash," replied the American; "here's a cheque for
     the amount.  I'll take the diamonds with me."
        "Your request is somewhat unusual," protested the
     auctioneer mildly.
        "I know what you mean," interrupted the American;
     "you think the cheque may not be cashed.  You
     will notice it is drawn on the Credit-Lyonnais, which is
     practically next door.  I must have the jewels with me.
     Send round your messenger with the cheque; it will take
     only a few minutes to find out whether or not the money
     is there to meet it.  The necklace is mine, and I insist
     on having it."
        The auctioneer with some demur handed the cheque
     to the representative of the French Government who
     was present, and this official himself went to the bank.
     There were some other things to be sold, and the auctioneer
     endeavoured to go on through the list, but no one
     paid the slightest attention to him.
        Meanwhile I was studying the countenance of the
     man who had made the astounding bid, when I should
     instead have adjusted my preparations to meet the new
     conditions now confronting me.  Here was a man about
     whom we knew nothing whatever.  I had come to the
     instant conclusion that he was a prince of criminals, and
     that a sinister design, not at that moment fathomed by
     me, was on foot to get possession of the jewels.  The
     handing up of the cheque was clearly a trick of some
     sort, and I fully expected the official to return and say
     the draft was good.  I determined to prevent this man
     from getting the jewel box until I knew more of his
     game.  Quickly I removed from my place near the door
     to the auctioneer's desk, having two objects in view
     first, to warn the auctioneer not to part with the treasure
     too easily; and, second, to study the suspected man at
     closer range.  Of all evil-doers the American is most to
     be feared; he uses more ingenuity in the planning of his
     projects, and will take greater risks in carrying them
     out than any other malefactor on earth.
        From my new station I saw there were two men to
     deal with.  The bidder's face was keen and intellectual;
     his hands refined, ladylike, clean, and white, showing
     they were long divorced from manual labour, if indeed
     they had ever done any useful work.  Coolness and im-
     perturbability were his beyond a doubt.  The companion
     who sat at his right was of an entirely different stamp.
     His hands were hairy and sun-tanned; his face bore the
     stamp of grim determination and unflinching bravery.
     I knew that these two types usually hunted in couples -
     the one to scheme, the other to execute, and they always
     formed a combination dangerous to encounter and difficult
     to circumvent.
        There was a buzz of conversation up and down the
     hall as these two men talked together in low tones.  I
     knew now that I was face to face with the most hazardous
     problem of my life.
        I whispered to the auctioneer, who bent his head to
     listen.  He knew very well who I was, of course.
        "You must not give up the necklace," I began.
        He shrugged his shoulders.
        "I am under the orders of the official from the Ministry
     of the Interior.  You must speak to him."
        "I shall not fail to do so," I replied.  "Nevertheless,
     do not give up the box too readily."
        "I am helpless," he protested with another shrug.
     "I obey the orders of the Government."
        Seeing it was useless to parley further with the auc-
     tioneer, I set my wits at work to meet the new emergency.
     I felt convinced that the cheque would prove to
     be genuine, and that the fraud, wherever it lay, might
     not be disclosed in time to aid the authorities.  My duty,
     therefore, was to make sure we lost sight of neither the
     buyer nor the thing bought.  Of course, I could not
     arrest the purchaser merely on suspicion; besides, it
     would make the Government the laughing-stock of the
     world if it sold a case of jewels and immediately
     placed the buyer in custody when it itself had handed
     over his goods to him.  Ridicule kills in France.  A
     breath of laughter may blow a government out of
     existence in Paris much more effectually than will a
     whiff of cannon smoke.  My duty then was to give the
     Government full warning, and never lose sight of my
     man until he was clear of France; then my responsibility
        I took aside one of my own men in plain clothes and
     said to him:
        "You have seen the American who has bought the
        "Yes, sir."
        "Very well.  Go outside quietly and station yourself
     there.  He is likely to emerge presently with the
     jewels in his possession.  You are not to lose sight of
     either the man or the casket.  I shall follow him and
     be close behind him as he emerges, and you are to
     shadow us.  If he parts with the case you must be ready
     at a sign from me to follow either the man or the jewels.
     Do you understand?"
        "Yes, sir," he answered, and left the room.
        It is ever the unforeseen that baffles us; it is easy to
     be wise after the event.  I should have sent two men,
     and I have often thought since how admirable is the
     regulation of the Italian Government which sends out its
     policemen in pairs.  Or I should have given my man
     power to call for help, but even as it was he did only
     half as well as I had a right to expect of him, and the
     blunder he committed by a moment's dull-witted
     hesitation - ah, well! there is no use in scolding.
     After all the result might have been the same.
        Just as my man disappeared between the two folding
     doors the official from the Ministry of the Interior 
     entered.  I intercepted him about halfway on his journey
     from the door to the auctioneer.
        "Possibly the cheque appears to be genuine," I whis-
     pered to him.
        "But certainly," he replied pompously.  He was an
     individual greatly impressed with his own importance;
     a kind of character with which it is always difficult to
     deal.  Afterwards the Government asserted that this 
     official had warned me, and the utterances of an empty-
     headed ass dressed in a little brief authority, as the 
     English poet says, were looked upon as the epitome of
        "I advise you strongly not to hand over the necklace
     as has been requested," I went on.
        "Why?" he asked. 
        "Because I am convinced the bidder is a criminal."
        "If you have proof of that, arrest him." 
        "I have no proof at the present moment, but I request
     you to delay the delivery of the goods."
        "That is absurd," he cried impatiently.  "The necklace
     is his, not ours.  The money has already been transferred
     to the account of the Government; we cannot retain
     the five million francs, and refuse to hand over to him
     what he has bought with them," and so the man left me
     left me standing there, nonplussed and anxious.  The
     eyes of everyone in the room had been turned on us
     during our brief conversation, and now the official pro-
     ceded ostentatiously up the room with a grand air of
     importance; then, with a bow and flourish of the hand,
     he said dramatically:
        "The jewels belong to monsieur." 
        The two Americans rose simultaneously, the taller
     holding out his hand while the auctioneer passed to him
     the case he had apparently paid so highly for.  The
     American nonchalantly opened the box and for the first
     time the electric radiance of the jewels burst upon that
     audience, each member of which craned his neck to
     behold it.  It seemed to me a most reckless thing to do.
     He examined the jewels minutely for a few moments,
     then snapped the lid shut again, and calmly put the box
     in his outside pocket, and I could not help noticing that
     the light overcoat he wore possessed pockets made 
     extraordinarily large, as if on purpose for this very case.
     And now this amazing man walked serenely down the
     room past miscreants who joyfully would have cut his
     throat for even the smallest diamond in that conglomeration;
     yet he did not take the trouble to put his hand on
     the pocket which contained the case, or in any way attempt
     to protect it.  The assemblage seemed stricken dumb
     by his audacity.  His friend followed closely at
     his heels, and the tall man disappeared through the folding
     doors.  Not so the other. He turned quickly, and
     whipped two revolvers out of his pockets, which he
     presented at the astonished crowd.  There had been a
     movement on the part of everyone to leave the room, but
     the sight of these deadly weapons confronting them
     made each one shrink into his place again.
        The man with his back to the door spoke in a loud
     and domineering voice, asking the auctioneer to trans-
     late what he had to say into French and German; he
     spoke in English.
        "These here shiners are valuable; they belong to
     my friend who has just gone out.  Casting no reflections
     on the generality of people in this room, there are, never-
     theless, half a dozen 'crooks' among us whom my
     friend wishes to avoid.  Now, no honest man here will
     object to giving the buyer of that there trinket five clear
     minutes in which to get away.  It's only the 'crooks'
     that can kick.  I ask these five minutes as a favour, but
     if they are not granted I am going to take them as a
     right.  Any man who moves will get shot."
        "I am an honest man," I cried, "and I object.  I
     am chief detective of the French Government.  Stand
     aside; the police will protect your friend."
        "Hold on, my son," warned the American,  turning
     one weapon directly upon me, while the other held a sort
     of roving commission, pointing all over the room.  "My
     friend is from New York and he distrusts the police as
     much as he does the grafters.  You may be twenty detectives,
     but if you move before that clock strikes three, I'll
     bring you down, and don't you forget it.
        It is one thing to face death in a fierce struggle, but,
     quite another to advance coldly upon it toward the muzzle
     of a pistol held so steadily that there could be no
     chance of escape.  The gleam of determination in the
     man's eye convinced me he meant what he said.  I did
     not consider then, nor have I considered since, that the
     next five minutes, precious as they were, would be worth
     paying my life for.  Apparently everyone else was of
     my opinion, for none moved hand or foot until the clock
     slowly struck three. 
        "Thank you, gentlemen," said the American, as he
     vanished between the spring-doors.  When I say 
     vanished, I mean that word and no other, because my men
     outside saw nothing of this individual then or later. 
     He vanished as if he had never existed, and it was some
     hours before we found how this had been accomplished.
        I rushed out almost on his heels, as one might say,
     and hurriedly questioned my waiting men.  They had
     all seen the tall American come out with the greatest
     leisureliness and stroll toward the west.  As he was
     not the man any of them were looking for they paid
     no further attention to him, as, indeed, is the custom
     with our Parisian force.  They have eyes for nothing
     but what they are sent to look for, and this trait has its
     drawbacks for their superiors.
        I ran up the boulevard, my whole thought intent on
     the diamonds and their owner.  I knew my subordinate
     in command of the men inside the hall would look after
     the scoundrel with the pistols.  A short distance up I
     found the stupid fellow I had sent out, standing in a
     dazed manner at the corner of the Rue Michodiere,
     gazing alternately down that short street and toward
     the Place de l'Opera.  The very fact that he was there
     furnished proof that he had failed.

        "Where is the American?" I demanded.
        "He went down this street, sir."
        "Then why are you standing here like a fool?" 
        "I followed him this far, when a man came up the
     Rue Michodiere, and without a word the American
     handed him the jewel box, turning instantly down the
     street up which the other had come.  The other jumped
     into a cab, and drove toward the Place de l'Opera.     "
        "And what did you do?  Stood here like a post, I
        "I didn't know what to do, sir.  It all happened in
     a moment."
        "Why didn't you follow the cab?"
        "I didn't know which to follow, sir, and the cab was
     gone instantly while I watched the American."
        "What was its number?"
        "I don't know, sir."
        "You clod!  Why didn't you call one of our men,
     whoever was nearest and leave him to shadow the American
     while you followed the cab?"
        "I did shout to the nearest man, sir, but he said you
     told him to stay there and watch the English lord, and
     even before he had spoken both American and cabman
     were out of sight."
        "Was the man to whom he gave the box an American
        "No, sir, he was French."
        "How do you know?"
        "By his appearance and the words he spoke."
        "I thought you said he didn't speak?"
        "He did not speak to the American, sir, but he said
     to the cabman, "Drive to the Madeleine as quickly as you
        "Describe the man."
        "He was a head shorter than the American, wore a
     black beard and mustache rather neatly trimmed, and
     seemed to be a superior sort of artisan."
        "You did not take the number of the cab.  Should
     you know the cabman if you saw him again?"
        "Yes, sir, I think so."
        Taking this fellow with me I returned to the now
     nearly empty auction room and there gathered all my
     men about me.  Each in his notebook took down particulars
     of the cabman and his passenger from the lips of my
     competent spy; next I dictated a full description of the
     two Americans, then scattered my men to the various
     railway stations of the lines leading out of Paris, with
     orders to make inquiries of the police on duty there,
     and to arrest one or more of the four persons described
     should they be so fortunate as to find any of them.
        I now learned how the rogue with the pistols vanished
     so completely as he did.  My subordinate in the
     auction room had speedily solved the mystery.  To the
     left of the main entrance of the auction room was a door
     that gave private access to the rear of the premises.
     As the attendant in charge confessed when questioned,
     he had been bribed by the American earlier in the day to
     leave this side door open and to allow the man to escape
     by the goods entrance.  Thus the ruffian did not appear
     on the boulevard at all, and so had not been observed
     by any of my men.
        Taking my futile spy with me I returned to my own
     office, and sent an order throughout the city that every
     cabman who had been in the Boulevard des Italiens between
     half past two and half past three that afternoon,
     should report immediately to me.  The examination
     of these men proved a very tedious business indeed, but
     whatever other countries may say of us, we French are
     patient, and if the haystack is searched long enough
     the needle will be found.  I did not discover the needle
     I was looking for, but I came upon one quite as
     important, if not more so.
       It was nearly ten o'clock at night when a cabman
     answered my oft-repeated questions in the affirmative.
        "Did you take up a passenger a few minutes past
     three o'clock on the Boulevard des Italiens, near the 
     Credit-Lyonnais?  Had he a short black beard?  Did he
     carry a small box in his hand and order you to drive
     to the Madeleine?"
        The cabman seemed puzzled. 
        "He wore a short black beard when he got out of
     the cab," he replied.
        "What do you mean by that?"
        "I drive a closed cab, sir.  When he got in he was
     a smooth-faced gentleman; when he got out he wore a
     short black beard."
        "Was he a Frenchman?"
        "No, sir; he was a foreigner, either English or
        "Was he carrying a box?"
        "No, sir; he held in his hand a small leather bag."
        "Where did he tell you to drive?"
        "He told me to follow the cab in front, which had
     just driven off very rapidly toward the Madeleine.  In
     fact, I heard the man, such as you describe, order the
     other cabman to drive to the Madeleine.  I had come
     alongside the curb when this man held up his hand for
     a cab, but the open cab cut in ahead of me.  Just then my
     passenger stepped up and said in French, but with a
     foreign accent: "Follow that cab wherever it goes."
        I turned with some inclination to my inefficient spy.
        "You told me," I said, "that the American had gone
     down a side street.  Yet he evidently met a second
     man, obtained from him the handbag, turned back, and
     into the closed cab directly behind you."
        "Well, sir," stammered the spy, "I could not look
     in two directions at the same time.  The American 
     certainly went down the side street, but of course I
     watched the cab which contained the jewels."
        "And you saw nothing of the closed cab right at your
        "The boulevard was full of cabs, sir, and the pave-
     ment crowded with passers-by, as it always is at that
     hour of the day, and I have only two eyes in my head."
        "I am glad to know you had that many, for I was
     beginning to think you were blind."
        Although I said this, I knew in my heart it was 
     useless to censure the poor wretch, for the fault was
     entirely my own in not sending two men, and in failing to
     guess the possibility of the jewels and their owner being
     separated.  Besides, here was a clew to my hand at last,
     and no time must be lost in following it up.  So I
     continued my interrogation of the cabman.
        "The other cab was an open vehicle, you say?"
        "Yes, sir."
        "You succeeded in following it?"
        "Oh, yes, sir.  At the Madeleine the man in front
     redirected the coachman, who turned to the left and drove
     to the Place de la Concorde, then up the Champs Elysees
     to the Arch and so down the Avenue de la Grande
     Armee, and the Avenue de Neuilly, to the Pont de
     Neuilly, where it came to a standstill.  My fare got out,
     and I saw he now wore a short black beard, which he
     had evidently put on inside the cab.  He gave me a
     ten-franc piece, which was very satisfactory."
        "And the fare you were following?  What did he
        "He also stepped out, paid the cabman, went down
     the bank of the river and got on board a steam launch
     that seemed to be waiting for him."
        "Did he look behind, or appear to know that he was
     being followed?"
        "No, sir." 

        "And your fare?"
        "He ran after the first man, and also went aboard
     the steam launch, which instantly started down the
        "And that was the last you saw of them?"
        "Yes, sir."
        "At what time did you reach the Pont de Neuilly?"
        "I do not know, sir; I was compelled to drive rather
     fast, but the distance is seven or eight kilometres."
        "You would do it under the hour?"
        "But certainly, under the hour."
        "Then you must have reached Neuilly bridge about
     four o'clock?"
        "It is very likely, sir."
        The plan of the tall American was now perfectly clear
     to me, and it comprised nothing that was contrary to
     law.  He had evidently placed his luggage on board the
     steam launch in the morning.  The handbag had contained
     various materials which would enable him to disguise
     himself, and this bag he had probably left in some
     shop down the side street, or else some one was waiting
     with it for him.  The giving of the treasure to another
     man was not so risky as it had at first appeared, because
     he instantly followed that man, who was probably his
     confidential servant.  Despite the windings of the river
     there was ample time for the launch to reach Havre before
     the American steamer sailed on Saturday morning.
     I surmised it was his intention to come alongside the
     steamer before she left her berth in Havre harbour, and
     thus transfer himself and his belongings unperceived
     by anyone on watch at the land side of the liner.
        All this, of course, was perfectly justifiable, and
     seemed, in truth, merely a well-laid scheme for escaping
     observation.  His only danger of being tracked was
     when he got into the cab.  Once away from the neigh-
     bourhood of the Boulevard des Italiens he was reasonably
     sure to evade pursuit, and the five minutes which
     his friend with the pistols had won for him afforded
     just the time he needed to get so far as the Place Made-
     leine , and after that everything was easy.  Yet, if it had
     not been for those five minutes secured by coercion, I
     should not have found the slightest excuse for arresting
     him.  But he was accessory after the act in that
     piece of illegality - in fact, it was absolutely certain
     that he had been accessory before the act, and guilty of 
     conspiracy with the man who had presented firearms to the
     auctioneer's audience, and who had interfered with an
     officer in the discharge of his duty by threatening me
     and my men.  So I was now legally in the right if I
     arrested every person on board that steam launch.

                         CHAPTER III
         With a map of the river before me I proceeded to 
     make some calculations.  It was now nearly ten o'clock
     at night.  The launch had had six hours in which to
     travel at its utmost speed.  It was doubtful if so
     small a vessel could make ten miles an hour, even with the
     current in its favour, which is rather sluggish
     because of the locks and the level country.  Sixty
     miles would place her beyond Meulan, which is fifty-eight
     miles from the Pont Royal, and, of course, a lesser 
     distance from the Pont de Kneel.  But the navigation
     of the river is difficult at all times, and almost
     impossible after dark.  There were chances of the boat
     running aground, and then there was the inevitable delay at
     the locks.   So I estimated that the launch could not yet
     have reached Meulan, which was less than twenty-five miles
     from Paris by rail.  Looking up the time table I saw there
     were still two trains to Meulan, the next at  11.40.  I
     therefore had time to reach St. Lazaret station, and
     accomplish some telegraphing before the train left.
        With three of my assistants I got into a cab and
     drove to the station.  On arrival I sent one of my men
     to hold the train while I went into the telegraph office,
     cleared the wires, and got into communication with the
     lock master at Meulan.  He replied that no steam launch
     had passed down since an hour before sunset.  I then 
     instructed him to allow the yacht to enter the lock, close
     the upper gate, let half of the water out, and hold the
     vessel there until I came.  I also ordered the local Meulan
     police to send enough men to the lock to enforce
     this command.  Lastly, I sent messages all along the
     river asking the police to report to me on the train the
     passage of the steam launch.
        The 10.25 is a slow train, stopping at every station.
     However, every drawback has its compensation, and
     these stoppages enabled me to receive and to send tale-
     graphic messages.  I was quite well aware that I might
     be on a fool's errand in going to Meulan.  The yacht
     could have put about before it had steamed a mile, and
     so returned back to Paris.  There had been no time to
     learn whether this was so or not if I was to catch the
     10.25.  Also, it might have landed its passengers anywhere
     along the river.  I may say at once that neither
     of these two things happened, and my calculations 
     regarding her movements were accurate to the letter.  But
     a trap most carefully set may be prematurely sprung by
     inadvertence, or more often by the overzeal of some
     stupid ass who fails to understand his instructions, or
     oversteps them if they are understood.  I received a
     most annoying telegram from Denouval, a lock about
     thirteen miles above that of Meulan.  The local policeman,
     arriving at the lock, found that the yacht had just
     cleared.  The fool shouted to the captain to return,
     threatening him with all the pains and penalties of the
     law if he refused.  The captain did refuse, rang on full
     speed ahead, and disappeared in the darkness.  Through
     this well-meant blunder of an understrapper those on
     board the launch had received warning that we were on
     their track.  I telegraphed to the lockkeeper at Denouval
     to allow no craft to pass toward Paris until further
     orders.  We thus held the launch in a thirteen mile
     stretch of water, but the night was pitch dark, and 
     passengers might be landed on either bank with all France
     before them, over which to effect their escape in any
        It was midnight when I reached the lock at Meulan,
     and, as was to be expected, nothing had been seen or
     heard of the launch.  It gave me some satisfaction to
     telegraph to that dunderhead at Denouval to walk along
     the river bank to Meulan, and report if he learned
     the launch's whereabouts.  We took up our quarters in
     the lodgekeeper's house and waited.  There was little
     use in sending men to scour the country at this time of
     night, for the pursued were on the alert, and very 
     unlikely to allow themselves to be caught if they had gone
     ashore.  On the other hand, there was every chance that
     the captain would refuse to let them land, because he
     must know his vessel was in a trap from which it could
     not escape, and although the demand of the policeman
     at Denouval was quite unauthorized, nevertheless the
     captain could not know that, while he must be well aware
     of his danger in refusing to obey a command from the
     authorities.  Even if he got away for the moment he
     must know that arrest was certain, and that his punishment
     would be severe.  His only plea could be that he
     had not heard and understood the order to return.  But 
     this plea would be invalidated if he aided in the escape
     of two men, whom he must now know were wanted by
     the police.  I was therefore very confident that if his
     passengers asked to be set ashore, the captain would 
     refuse when he had had time to think about his own
     danger.  My estimate proved accurate, for toward one
     o'clock the lockkeeper came in and said the green and
     red lights of an approaching craft were visible, and
     as he spoke the yacht whistled for the opening of the
     lock.  I stood by the lockkeeper while he opened the
     gates; my men and the local police were concealed on
     each side of the lock.  The launch came slowly in, and
     as soon as it had done so I asked the captain to step
     ashore, which he did.
        "I wish a word with you," I said.  "Follow me."
        I took him into the lockkeeper's house and closed
     the door.
        "Where are you going?" 
        "To Havre."
        "Where did you come from?"
        "From what quay!"
        "From the Pont de Kneel."
        "When did you leave there?"
        "At five minutes to four o'clock this afternoon."
        "Yesterday afternoon, you mean?"
        "Yesterday afternoon."
        "Who engaged you to make this voyage?"
        "An American; I do not know his name."
        "He paid you well, I suppose?"
        "He paid me what I asked."
        "Have you received the money?"
        "Yes, sir." 
        "I may inform you, captain, that I am Eugene Valmont,
     chief detective of the French Government, and that
     all the police of France at this moment are under
     my control.  I ask you, therefore, to be careful of your
     answers.  You were ordered by a policeman at Denouval
     to return.  Why did you not do so?"
        "The lockkeeper ordered me to return, but as he had
     no right to order me, I went on."
        "You know very well it was the police who ordered
     you, and you ignored the command.  Again I ask you
     why you did so."
        "I did not know it was the police."
        "I thought you would say that.  You knew very
     well, but were paid to take the risk, and it is likely to
     cost you dear.  You had two passengers aboard?" 
        "Yes, sir."
        "Did you put them ashore between here and Denouval?"
        "No, sir; but one of them went overboard, and we
     couldn't find him again."
        "Which one?"
        "The short man."
        "Then the American is still aboard?" 
        "What American, sir?"
        "Captain, you must not trifle with me.  The man
     who engaged you is still aboard?"
        "Oh, no, sir, he has never been aboard."
        "Do you mean to tell me that the second man who
     came on your launch at the Pont de Kneel is not the
     American who engaged you?"
        "No, sir; the American was a smooth-faced man;
     this man wore a black beard."
        "Yes, a  false beard."
        "I did not know that, sir.  I understood from the
     American that I was to take but one passenger.  One
     came aboard with a small box in his hand; the other
     with a small bag.  Each declared himself to be the 
     passenger in question.  I did not know what to do, so
     I left Paris with both of them on board."
        "Then the tall man with the black beard is still
     with you?"
        "Yes, sir."
        "Well, captain, is there anything else you have to
     tell me?  I think you will find it better in the end to
     make a clean breast of it."
        The captain hesitated, turning his cap about in his
     hands for a few moments, then he said:
        "I am not sure that the first passenger went over-
     board of his own accord.  When the police hailed us at
     Denouval - "
        "Ah! you knew it was the police, then?"
        "I was afraid after I left it might have been.  You
     see, when the bargain was made with me the American
     said that if I reached Havre at a certain time a thousand
     francs extra would be paid to me, so I was anxious
     to get along as quickly as I could.  I told him it
     was dangerous to navigate the Seine at night, but he
     paid me well for attempting it.  After the policeman
     called to us at Denouval the man with the small box
     became very much excited, and asked me to put him
     ashore, which I refused to do.  The tall man appeared
     be watching him, never letting him get far away.
     When I heard the splash in the water I ran aft, and I
     saw the tall man putting the box which the other had
     held into his handbag, although I said nothing of it at
     the time.  We cruised back and forth about the spot
     where the other man had gone overboard, but saw nothing
     more of him.  Then I came on to Meulan, intending
     to give information about what I had seen.  That is all I
     know of the matter, sir."
        "Was the man who had the jewels a Frenchman?!" 
        "What jewels, sir?" 
        "The man with the small box."
        "Oh, yes, sir; he was French." 
        "You have hinted that the foreigner threw him over-
     board.  What grounds have you for such a belief if you
     did not see the struggle?" 
        "The night is very dark, sir, and I did not see what
     happened.  I was at the wheel in the forward part of the
     launch, with my back turned to these two.  I heard a
     scream, then a splash.  If the man had jumped over-
     board as the other said he did, he would not have
     screamed.  Besides, as I told you, when I ran aft I saw
     the foreigner put the little box in his handbag, which he
     shut up quickly as if he did not wish me to notice." 
        "Very good, captain.  If you have told the truth it
     will go easy with you in the investigation that is to
        I now turned the captain over to one of my men, and
     ordered in the foreigner with his bag and bogus black
     whiskers.  Before questioning him I ordered him to open
     the handbag, which he did with evident reluctance. It
     was filled with false whiskers, false mustaches, and 
     various bottles, but on top of them all lay the jewel case. 
     I raised the lid and displayed that accursed necklace.  I
     looked up at the man, who stood there calmly enough,
     saying nothing in spite of the overwhelming evidence
     against him.
        "Will you oblige me by removing your false beard?"
        "He did so at once, throwing it into the open bag.  I
     knew the moment I saw him that he was not the American,
     and thus my theory had broken down, in one very
     important part at least.  Informing him who I was, and
     cautioning him to speak the truth, I asked how he came
     in possession of the jewels.
        "Am I under arrest?" he asked.
        "But certainly." I replied.
        "Of what am I accused?"   
        "You are accused, in the first place, of being in 
     possession of property which does not belong to you."
        "I plead guilty to that.  What in the second place?"
        "In the second place, you may find yourself accused
     of murder."
        "I am innocent of the second charge.  The man
     jumped overboard."
        "If that is true, why did he scream as he went
        "Because, too late to recover his balance, I seized
     this box and held it."
        "He was in rightful possession of the box; the owner
     gave it to him."
        "I admit that; I saw the owner give it to him."
        "Then why should he jump overboard?"
        "I do not know.  He seemed to become panic-stricken
     when the police at the last lock ordered us to
     return.  He implored the captain to put him ashore, and
     from that moment I watched him keenly, expecting that
     if we drew near to the land he would attempt to escape,
     as the captain had refused to beach the launch.  He 
     remained quiet for about half an hour seated on a camp
     chair by the rail, with his eyes turned toward the shore,
     trying, as I imagined, to penetrate the darkness and
     estimate the distance.  Then suddenly he sprang up and
     made his dash.  I was prepared for this and instantly
     caught the box from his hand.  He gave a  half-turn,
     trying either to save himself or to retain the box; then
     with a scream went down shoulders first into the water.
     It all happened within a second after he leaped from his
        "You admit yourself, then, indirectly at least,
     responsible for his drowning?"
        "I see no reason to suppose that the man was
     drowned.  If able to swim he could easily have reached
     the river bank.  If unable to swim, why should he
     attempt it encumbered by the box?"
        "You believe he escaped then?"
        "I think so."
        "It will be lucky for you should that prove to be the
        "How did you come to be in the yacht at all?"
        "I shall give you a full account of the affair,
     concealing nothing.  I am a private detective, with
     an office in London.  I was certain that some attempt
     would be made, probably by the most expert criminals at 
     large, to rob the possessor of this necklace.  I came over
     to Paris, anticipating trouble, determined to keep an eye
     upon the jewel case if this proved possible.  If the jewels
     were stolen the crime was bound to be one of the most
     celebrated in legal annals.  I was present during the sale,
     and saw the buyer of the necklace.  I followed the official
     who went to the bank, and thus learned that the money
     was behind the cheque.  I then stopped outside and waited
     for the buyer to appear.  He held the case in his hand.
        "In his pocket, you mean?" I interrupted.
        "He had it in his hand when I saw him.  Then the
     man who afterwards jumped overboard approached him,
     took the case without a word, held up his hand for a
     cab, and when an open vehicle approached the curb he
     stepped in, saying, 'The Madeleine.'  I hailed a closed
     cab, instructed the cabman to follow the first, disguising
     myself with whiskers as near like those the man in
     front wore as I had in my collection." 
        "Why did you do that?"

        "As a detective you should know why I did it.  I
     wished as nearly as possible to resemble the man in
     front, so that if necessity arose I could pretend that I
     was the person commissioned to carry the jewel case.
     As a matter of fact, the crisis arose when we came to the
     end of our cab journey.  The captain did not know
     which was his true passenger, and so let us both 
     remain aboard the launch.  And now you have the whole

        "An extremely improbable one, sir.  Even by your
     own account you had no right to interfere in this busi-
     ness at all."
        "I quite agree with you there," he replied, with great
     nonchalance, taking a card from his pocketbook, which
     he handed to me.

        "That is my London address; you may make inquiries,
     and you will find I am exactly what I represent
     myself to be."
        The first train for Paris left Meulan at eleven 
     minutes past four in the morning.  It was now a quarter
     of two.  I left the captain, crew, and launch in charge
     of two of my men, with orders to proceed to Paris as
     soon as it was daylight.  I, supported by the third man,
     waited at the station with our English prisoner, and
     reached Paris at half past five in the morning.

        The English prisoner, though severely interrogated
     by the judge, stood by his story.,  Inquiry by the police
     in London proved that what he said of himself was true.
     His case, however, began to look very serious when two
     of the men from the launch asserted that they had seen     
     him push the Frenchman overboard, and their statements
     could not be shaken.  All our energies were bent for the
     next two weeks on trying to find something of the 
     identity of the missing man, or to get any trace of the
     two Americans.  If the tall American were alive, it seemed
     incredible that he should not have made application for
     the valuable property he had lost.  All attempts to trace
     him by means of the cheque on the Credit-Lyonnais
     proved futile.  The bank pretended to give me every 
     assistance, but I sometimes doubt if it actually did so.
     It had evidently been well paid for its services, and     
     evinced no impetuous desire to betray so good a customer.

         We made inquiries about every missing man in Paris,
      but also without result.

         The case had excited much attention throughout the
      world, and doubtless was published in full in the American
      papers.  The Englishman had been in custody three
      weeks when the Chief of Police in Paris received the 
      following letter:

         DEAR SIR:  On my arrival in New York by the English
     steamer Lucania, I was much amused to read in the papers
     accounts of the exploits of detectives, French and English.
     I am sorry that only one of them seems to be in prison;
     I think his French confrere ought to be there also.  I 
     regret exceedingly, however, that there is rumour of the
     death by drowning of my friend Martin Dubois, of 375,
     Rue aux Juifs, Rouen.  If this is indeed the case, he has
     met his death through the blunders of the police.  
     Nevertheless, I wish you would communicate with his family
     at the address I have given, and assure them that I will
     make arrangements for their future support.  I beg to 
     inform you that I am a manufacturer of imitation
     diamonds, and through extensive advertising succeeded in
     accumulating a fortune of many millions.  I was in Europe
     when the necklace was found, and had in my possession over a
     thousand imitation diamonds of my own manufacture.  It
     occurred to me that here was the opportunity of the most 
     magnificent advertisement in the world.  I saw the necklace,
     received its measurements, and also obtained photographs of
     it taken by the French Government.  Then I set my expert
     friend Martin Dubois at work, and with the artificial
     stones I gave him he made an imitation necklace so closely
     resembling the original that you apparently do not know it
     is the unreal have in your possession.  I did not fear the
     villainy of the crooks as much as the blundering of the 
     police, who would have protected me with brass-band
     vehemence if I could not elude them.  I knew that the
     detectives would overlook the obvious, but would at once
     follow a clew if I provided one for them.  Consequently, I
     laid my plans, just as you have discovered, and got
     Martin Dubois up from Rouen to carry the case I gave him
     down to Havre.  I had had another box prepared and wrapped
     in brown paper, with my address in New York written thereon. 
     The moment I emerged from the auction room, while my friend
     the cowboy was holding up the audience, I turned my face to
     the door, took out the genuine diamonds from the case and
     slipped it into the box I had prepared for mailing. Into
     the genuine case I put the bogus diamonds.  After handing
     the box to Dubois, I turned down a side street, and then
     into another whose name I do not know, and there in a shop
     with sealing wax and string did up the real diamonds for
     posting.  I labeled the package "Books," went to the nearest
     post office, paid letter postage, and handed it over
     unregistered, as if it were of no particular value.
     After this I went to my rooms in the Grand Hotel, where I
     had been staying under my own name for more than a month. 
     Next morning I took train for London, and the day after
     sailed from Liverpool on the Lucania.  I arrived before the
     Gascogne, which sailed Havre on Saturday, met my box at the
     Customshouse, paid duty, and it now reposes in my safe.  I
     intend to construct an imitation necklace which will be so
     like the genuine one that nobody can tell the two apart;    
     then I shall come to Europe and exhibit the pair, for the
     publication of the truth of this matter will give me the
     greatest advertisement that ever was.
                                        Yours truly,

                                             JOHN P. HAZARD.

        I at once communicated with Rouen and found Martin
     Dubois alive and well.  His first words were:
        "I swear I did not steal the jewels."

        He had swum ashore, tramped to Rouen, and kept
     quiet in great fear while I was fruitlessly searching
     Paris for him.
        It took Mr. Hazard longer to make his imitation
     necklace than he supposed, and several years later he
     booked his passage with the two necklaces on the ill-
     fated steamer Bourgogne, and now rests beside them at
     the bottom of the Atlantic.

        As the English poet says:

               Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
               The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear.

[Edited by Andrea Davies:  SDavies@MtRoyal.AB.CA]