The Hollow Needle HTML version

2. Isidore Beautrelet, Sixth-Form Schoolboy
From the Grand Journal.
At the moment of going to press, we have received an item of news which we dare not
guarantee as authentic, because of its very improbable character. We print it, therefore,
with all reserve.
Yesterday evening, Dr. Delattre, the well-known surgeon, was present, with his wife and
daughter, at the performance of Hernani at the Comedie Francaise. At the commencement
of the third act, that is to say, at about ten o'clock, the door of his box opened and a
gentleman, accompanied by two others, leaned over to the doctor and said to him, in a
low voice, but loud enough for Mme. Delattre to hear:
Doctor, I have a very painful task to fulfil and I shall be very grateful to you if you will
make it as easy for me as you can."
"Who are you, sir?"
"M. Thezard, commissary of police of the first district; and my instructions are to take
you to M. Dudouis, at the prefecture."
"Not a word, doctor, I entreat you, not a movement--There is some regrettable mistake;
and that is why we must act in silence and not attract anybody's attention. You will be
back, I have no doubt, before the end of the performance."
The doctor rose and went with the commissary. At the end of the performance, he had not
returned. Mme. Delattre, greatly alarmed, drove to the office of the commissary of police.
There she found the real M. Thezard and discovered, to her great terror, that the
individual who had carried off her husband was an impostor.
Inquiries made so far have revealed the fact that the doctor stepped into a motor car and
that the car drove off in the direction of the Concorde.
Readers will find further details of this incredible adventure in our second edition.
Incredible though it might be, the adventure was perfectly true. Besides, the issue was not
long delayed and the Grand Journal, while confirming the story in its midday edition,
described in a few lines the dramatic ending with which it concluded: