11. The Family Arrives
In carrying out Victoire, the inspector had left the door of the drawing-room open. After he had
watched M. Formery reflect for two minutes, Guerchard faded--to use an expressive
Americanism--through it. The Duke felt in the breast-pocket of his coat, murmured softly, "My
cigarettes," and followed him.
He caught up Guerchard on the stairs and said, "I will come with you, if I may, M. Guerchard.
I find all these investigations extraordinarily interesting. I have been observing M. Formery's
methods--I should like to watch yours, for a change."
"By all means," said Guerchard. "And there are several things I want to hear about from your
Grace. Of course it might be an advantage to discuss them together with M. Formery, but--"
and he hesitated.
"It would be a pity to disturb M. Formery in the middle of the process of reconstruction," said
the Duke; and a faint, ironical smile played round the corners of his sensitive lips.
Guerchard looked at him quickly: "Perhaps it would," he said.
They went through the house, out of the back door, and into the garden. Guerchard moved
about twenty yards from the house, then he stopped and questioned the Duke at great length.
He questioned him first about the Charolais, their appearance, their actions, especially about
Bernard's attempt to steal the pendant, and the theft of the motor-cars.
"I have been wondering whether M. Charolais might not have been Arsene Lupin himself,"
said the Duke.
"It's quite possible," said Guerchard. "There seem to be no limits whatever to Lupin's powers
of disguising himself. My colleague, Ganimard, has come across him at least three times that
he knows of, as a different person. And no single time could he be sure that it was the same
man. Of course, he had a feeling that he was in contact with some one he had met before, but
that was all. He had no certainty. He may have met him half a dozen times besides without
knowing him. And the photographs of him--they're all different. Ganimard declares that Lupin
is so extraordinarily successful in his disguises because he is a great actor. He actually
becomes for the time being the person he pretends to be. He thinks and feels absolutely like
that person. Do you follow me?"
"Oh, yes; but he must be rather fluid, this Lupin," said the Duke; and then he added
thoughtfully, "It must be awfully risky to come so often into actual contact with men like
Ganimard and you."
"Lupin has never let any consideration of danger prevent him doing anything that caught his
fancy. He has odd fancies, too. He's a humourist of the most varied kind--grim, ironic, farcical,
as the mood takes him. He must be awfully trying to live with," said Guerchard.
"Do you think humourists are trying to live with?" said the Duke, in a meditative tone. "I think
they brighten life a good deal; but of course there are people who do not like them--the middle-
"Yes, yes, they're all very well in their place; but to live with they must be trying," said
He went on to question the Duke closely and at length about the household of M. Gournay-
Martin, saying that Arsene Lupin worked with the largest gang a burglar had ever captained,
and it was any odds that he had introduced one, if not more, of that gang into it. Moreover, in