The Crystal Stopper HTML version
8. The Lovers' Tower
The torture-chamber showed beneath him. It was a large, irregular room, divided into
unequal portions by the four wide, massive pillars that supported its arched roof. A smell
of damp and mildew came from its walls and from its flags moistened by the water that
trickled from without. Its appearance at any time must have been gruesome. But, at that
moment, with the tall figures of Sebastiani and his sons, with the slanting gleams of light
that fell between the pillars, with the vision of the captive chained down upon the truckle-
bed, it assumed a sinister and barbarous aspect.
Daubrecq was in the front part of the room, four or five yards down from the window at
which Lupin lurked. In addition to the ancient chains that had been used to fasten him to
his bed and to fasten the bed to an iron hook in the wall, his wrists and ankles were girt
with leather thongs; and an ingenious arrangement caused his least movement to set in
motion a bell hung to the nearest pillar.
A lamp placed on a stool lit him full in the face.
The Marquis d'Albufex was standing beside him. Lupin could see his pale features, his
grizzled moustache, his long, lean form as he looked at his prisoner with an expression of
content and of gratified hatred.
A few minutes passed in profound silence. Then the marquis gave an order:
"Light those three candles, Sebastiani, so that I can see him better."
And, when the three candles were lit and he had taken a long look at Daubrecq, he
stooped over him and said, almost gently:
"I can't say what will be the end of you and me. But at any rate I shall have had some
deuced happy moments in this room. You have done me so much harm, Daubrecq! The
tears you have made me shed! Yes, real tears, real sobs of despair... The money you have
robbed me of! A fortune!... And my terror at the thought that you might give me away!
You had but to utter my name to complete my ruin and bring about my disgrace!... Oh,
Daubrecq did not budge. He had been deprived of his black glasses, but still kept his
spectacles, which reflected the light from the candles. He had lost a good deal of flesh;
and the bones stood out above his sunken cheeks.
"Come along," said d'Albufex. "The time has come to act. It seems that there are rogues
prowling about the neighbourhood. Heaven forbid that they are here on your account and
try to release you; for that would mean your immediate death, as you know... Is the
trapdoor still in working order, Sebastiani?"