The Crystal Stopper
On one of the hills that girdle Nice with the finest scenery in the world, between the
Vallon de Saint-Silvestre and the Vallon de La Mantega, stands a huge hotel which
overlooks the town and the wonderful Baie des Anges. A crowd flocks to it from all
parts, forming a medley of every class and nation.
On the evening of the same Saturday when Lupin, the Growler and the Masher were
plunging into Italy, Clarisse Mergy entered this hotel, asked for a bedroom facing south
and selected No. 130, on the second floor, a room which had been vacant since that
The room was separated from No. 129 by two partition-doors. As soon as she was alone,
Clarisse pulled back the curtain that concealed the first door, noiselessly drew the bolt
and put her ear to the second door:
"He is here," she thought. "He is dressing to go to the club... as he dld yesterday."
When her neighbour had gone, she went into the passage and, availing herself of a
moment when there was no one in sight, walked up to the door of No. 129. The door was
She waited all the evening for her neighbour's return and did not go to bed until two
o'clock. On Sunday morning, she resumed her watch.
The neighbour went out at eleven. This time he left the key in the door.
Hurriedly turning the key, Clarisse entered boldly, went to the partition-door, raised the
curtain, drew the bolt and found herself in her own room.
In a few minutes, she heard two chambermaids doing the room in No. 129.
She waited until they were gone. Then, feeling sure that she would not be disturbed, she
once more slipped into the other room.
Her excitement made her lean against a chair. After days and nights of stubborn pursuit,
after alternate hopes and disappointments, she had at last succeeded in entering a room
occupied by Daubrecq. She could look about at her ease; and, if she did not discover the
crystal stopper, she could at least hide in the space between the partition-doors, behind
the hanging, see Daubrecq, spy upon his movements and surprise his secret.
She looked around her. A travelling-bag at once caught her attention. She managed to
open it; but her search was useless.