The Crystal Stopper HTML version

12. The Scaffold
"I will save him, I will save him," Lupin repeated, without ceasing, in the taxicab in
which he and Clarisse drove away. "I swear that I will save him."
Clarisse did not listen, sat as though numbed, as though possessed by some great
nightmare of death, which left her ignorant of all that was happening outside her. And
Lupin set forth his plans, perhaps more to reassure himself than to convince Clarisse.
"No, no, the game is not lost yet. There is one trump left, a huge trump, in the shape of
the letters and documents which Vorenglade, the ex-deputy, is offering to sell to
Daubrecq and of which Daubrecq spoke to you yesterday at Nice. I shall buy those letters
and documents of Stanislas Vorenglade at whatever price he chooses to name. Then we
shall go back to the police-office and I shall say to Prasville, 'Go to the Elysee at once ...
Use the list as though it were genuine, save Gilbert from death and be content to
acknowledge to-morrow, when Gilbert is saved, that the list is forged.
"'Be off, quickly!... If you refuse, well, if you refuse, the Vorenglade letters and
documents shall be reproduced to-morrow, Tuesday, morning in one of the leading
newspapers.' Vorenglade will be arrested. And M. Prasville will find himself in prison
before night."
Lupin rubbed his hands:
"He'll do as he's told!... He'll do as he's told!... I felt that at once, when I was with him.
The thing appeared to me as a dead certainty. And I found Vorenglade's address in
Daubrecq's pocket-books, so... driver, Boulevard Raspail!"
They went to the address given. Lupin sprang from the cab, ran up three flights of stairs.
The servant said that M. Vorenglade was away and would not be back until dinner-time
next evening.
"And don't you know where he is?"
"M. Vorenglade is in London, sir."
Lupin did not utter a word on returning to the cab. Clarisse, on her side, did not even ask
him any questions, so indifferent had she become to everything, so absolutely did she
look upon her son's death as an accompllshed fact.
They drove to the Place de Cichy. As Lupin entered the house he passed two men who
were just leaving the porter's box. He was too much engrossed to notice them. They were
Prasville's inspectors.
"No telegram?" he asked his servant.