The Crystal Stopper HTML version

1. The Arrests
The two boats fastened to the little pier that jutted out from the garden lay rocking in its
shadow. Here and there lighted windows showed through the thick mist on the margins of
the lake. The Enghien Casino opposite blazed with light, though it was late in the season,
the end of September. A few stars appeared through the clouds. A light breeze ruffled the
surface of the water.
Arsene Lupin left the summer-house where he was smoking a cigar and, bending forward
at the end of the pier:
"Growler?" he asked. "Masher?... Are you there?"
A man rose from each of the boats, and one of them answered:
"Yes, governor."
"Get ready. I hear the car coming with Gilbert and Vaucheray."
He crossed the garden, walked round a house in process of construction, the scaffolding
of which loomed overhead, and cautiously opened the door on the Avenue de Ceinture.
He was not mistaken: a bright light flashed round the bend and a large, open motor-car
drew up, whence sprang two men in great-coats, with the collars turned up, and caps.
It was Gilbert and Vaucheray: Gilbert, a young fellow of twenty or twenty-two, with an
attractive cast of features and a supple and sinewy frame; Vaucheray, older, shorter, with
grizzled hair and a pale, sickly face.
"Well," asked Lupin, "did you see him, the deputy?"
"Yes, governor," said Gilbert, "we saw him take the 7.40 tram for Paris, as we knew he
"Then we are free to act?"
"Absolutely. The Villa Marie-Therese is ours to do as we please with."
The chauffeur had kept his seat. Lupin gave him his orders:
"Don't wait here. It might attract attention. Be back at half-past nine exactly, in time to
load the car unless the whole business falls through."
"Why should it fall through?" observed Gilbert.