The Crystal Stopper
3. The Home Life Of Alexis Daubrecq
When Daubrecq the deputy came in from lunch on the day after the police had searched
his house he was stopped by Clemence, his portress, who told him that she had found a
cook who could be thoroughly relied on.
The cook arrived a few minutes later and produced first-rate characters, signed by people
with whom it was easy to take up her references. She was a very active woman, although
of a certain age, and agreed to do the work of the house by herself, without the help of a
man-servant, this being a condition upon which Daubrecq insisted.
Her last place was with a member of the Chamber of Deputies, Comte Saulevat, to whom
Daubrecq at once telephoned. The count's steward gave her a perfect character, and she
As soon as she had fetched her trunk, she set to work and cleaned and scrubbed until it
was time to cook the dinner.
Daubrecq dined and went out.
At eleven o'clock, after the portress had gone to bed, the cook cautiously opened the
garden-gate. A man came up.
"Is that you?" she asked.
"Yes, it's I, Lupin."
She took him to her bedroom on the third floor, overlooking the garden, and at once burst
"More of your tricks and nothing but tricks! Why can't you leave me alone, instead of
sending me to do your dirty work?"
"How can I help it, you dear old Victoire?* When I want a person of respectable
appearance and incorruptible morals, I think of you. You ought to be flattered."
*See The Hollow Needle by Maurice Leblanc, translated by Alexander Teixeira de
Mattos, and later volumes of the Lupin series.
"That's all you care about me!" she cried. "You run me into danger once more; and you
think it's funny!"