Arsene Lupin HTML version

9. M. Formery Opens The Inquiry
The examining magistrate came into the room. He was a plump and pink little man, with very
bright eyes. His bristly hair stood up straight all over his head, giving it the appearance of a
broad, dapple-grey clothes-brush. He appeared to be of the opinion that Nature had given the
world the toothbrush as a model of what a moustache should be; and his own was clipped to
that pattern.
"The Duke of Charmerace, M. Formery," said the inspector.
The little man bowed and said, "Charmed, charmed to make your acquaintance, your Grace--
though the occasion--the occasion is somewhat painful. The treasures of M. Gournay-Martin
are known to all the world. France will deplore his losses." He paused, and added hastily, "But
we shall recover them--we shall recover them."
The Duke rose, bowed, and protested his pleasure at making the acquaintance of M. Formery.
"Is this the scene of the robbery, inspector?" said M. Formery; and he rubbed his hands
together with a very cheerful air.
"Yes, sir," said the inspector. "These two rooms seem to be the only ones touched, though of
course we can't tell till M. Gournay-Martin arrives. Jewels may have been stolen from the
"I fear that M. Gournay-Martin won't be of much help for some days," said the Duke. "When I
left him he was nearly distracted; and he won't be any better after a night journey to Paris from
Charmerace. But probably these are the only two rooms touched, for in them M. Gournay-
Martin had gathered together the gems of his collection. Over the doors hung some pieces of
Flemish tapestry--marvels--the composition admirable--the colouring delightful."
"It is easy to see that your Grace was very fond of them," said M. Formery.
"I should think so," said the Duke. "I looked on them as already belonging to me, for my
father-in-law was going to give them to me as a wedding present."
"A great loss--a great loss. But we will recover them, sooner or later, you can rest assured of it.
I hope you have touched nothing in this room. If anything has been moved it may put me off
the scent altogether. Let me have the details, inspector."
The inspector reported the arrival of the Duke at the police-station with Arsene Lupin's letter to
M. Gournay-Martin; the discovery that the keys had been changed and would not open the
door of the house; the opening of it by the locksmith; the discovery of the concierge and his
wife gagged and bound.
"Probably accomplices," said M. Formery.
"Does Lupin always work with accomplices?" said the Duke. "Pardon my ignorance--but I've
been out of France for so long--before he attained to this height of notoriety."
"Lupin--why Lupin?" said M. Formery sharply.
"Why, there is the letter from Lupin which my future father-in-law received last night; its
arrival was followed by the theft of his two swiftest motor-cars; and then, these signatures on
the wall here," said the Duke in some surprise at the question.
"Lupin! Lupin! Everybody has Lupin on the brain!" said M. Formery impatiently. "I'm sick of
hearing his name. This letter and these signatures are just as likely to be forgeries as not."
"I wonder if Guerchard will take that view," said the Duke.