CHAPTER III. M. Lenormand Opens his Campaign

"Auguste, show M. Lenormand in."

The messenger went out and, a few seconds later, announced the chief of the detective-service.

There were three men in the prime minister's private room on the Place Beauvau: the famous Valenglay, leader of the radical party for the past thirty years and now president of the council and minister of the interior; the attorney-general, M. Testard; and the prefect of police, Delaume.

The prefect of police and the attorney-general did not rise from the chairs which they had occupied during their long conversation with the prime minister. Valenglay, however, stood up and, pressing the chief detective's hand, said, in the most cordial tones:

"I have no doubt, my dear Lenormand, that you know the reason why I asked you to come."

"The Kesselbach case?"

"Yes."

The Kesselbach case! Not one of us but is able to recall not only the main details of this tragic affair, the tangled skein of which I have set myself to unravel, but even its very smallest incidents, so greatly did the tragedy excite us all during these recent years. Nor is there one of us but remembers the extraordinary[Pg 56] stir which it created both in and outside France. And yet there was one thing that upset the public even more than the three murders committed in such mysterious circumstances, more than the detestable atrocity of that butchery, more than anything else; and that was the reappearance?one might almost say the resurrection?of Arsene Lupin.

Arsene Lupin! No one had heard speak of him for over four years, since his incredible, his astounding adventure of the Hollow Needle,[2] since the day when he had slunk away into the darkness before the eyes of Holmlock Shears and Isidore Beautrelet, carrying on his back the dead body of the woman whom he loved, and followed by his old servant, Victoire.

[2] See The Hollow Needle. By Maurice Leblanc. Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos and published by Doubleday, Page & Co.

From that day onward he had been generally believed to be dead. This was the version put about by the police, who, finding no trace of their adversary, were content purely and simply to bury him.

Some, however, believing him to be saved, described him as leading a placid, Philistine existence. According to them, he was living with his wife and children, growing his small potatoes; whereas others maintained that, bent down with the weight of sorrow and weary of the vanities of this world, he had sought the seclusion of a Trappist monastery.

And here he was once more looming large in the public view and resuming his relentless struggle against society! Arsene Lupin was Arsene Lupin again, the fanciful, intangible, disconcerting, audacious, genial Arsene Lupin! But, this time, a cry of horror arose. Arsene Lupin had taken human life! And the fierce[Pg 57]ness, the cruelty, the ruthless cynicism of the crime were so great that, then and there, the legend of the popular hero, of the chivalrous and occasionally sentimental adventurer, made way for a new conception of an inhuman, bloodthirsty, and ferocious monster. The crowd now loathed and feared its former idol with more intensity than it had once shown in admiring him for his easy grace and his diverting good-humor.

And, forthwith, the indignation of that frightened crowd turned against the police. Formerly, people had laughed. They forgave the beaten commissary of police for the comical fashion in which he allowed himself to be beaten. But the joke had lasted too long; and, in a burst of revolt and fury, they now called the authorities to account for the unspeakable crimes which these were powerless to prevent.

In the press, at public meetings, in the streets and even in the tribune of the Chamber of Deputies there was such an explosion of wrath that the government grew alarmed and strove by every possible means to allay the public excitement.

It so happened that Valenglay, the premier, took a great interest in all these police questions and had often amused himself by going closely into different cases with the chief of the detective-service, whose good qualities and independent character he valued highly. He sent for the prefect and the attorney-general to see him in his room, talked to them and then sent for M. Lenormand.

"Yes, my dear Lenormand, it's about the Kesselbach case. But, before we discuss it, I must call your[Pg 58] attention to a point which more particularly affects and, I may say, annoys Monsieur le Prefet de Police. M. Delaume, will you explain to M. Lenormand . . . ?

"Oh, M. Lenormand knows quite well how the matter stands," said the prefect, in a tone which showed but little good-will toward his subordinate. "We have talked it over already and I have told him what I thought of his improper conduct at the Palace Hotel. People are generally indignant."

M. Lenormand rose, took a paper from his pocket and laid it on the table.

"What is this?" asked Valenglay.

"My resignation, Monsieur le President du Conseil."

Valenglay gave a jump:

"What! Your resignation! For a well-meaning remark which Monsieur le Prefet thinks fit to address to you and to which, for that matter, he attaches no importance whatever?do you, Delaume? No importance whatever?and there you go, taking offence! You must confess, my dear Lenormand, that you're devilish touchy! Come, put that bit of paper back in your pocket and let's talk seriously."

The chief detective sat down again, and Valenglay, silencing the prefect, who made no attempt to conceal his dissatisfaction, said:

"In two words, Lenormand, the thing is that Lupin's reappearance upon the scene annoys us. The brute has defied us long enough. It used to be funny, I confess, and I, for my part, was the first to laugh at it. But it's no longer a question of that. It's a question of murder now. We could stand Lupin, as long as he amused the gallery. But, when he takes to killing people, no!"

"Then what is it that you ask, Monsieur le President?"

[Pg 59]"What we ask? Oh, it's quite simple! First, his arrest and then his head!"

"I can promise you his arrest, some day or another, but not his head."

"What! If he's arrested, it means trial for murder, a verdict of guilty, and the scaffold."

"No!"

"And why not?"

"Because Lupin has not committed murder."

"Eh? Why, you're mad, Lenormand! The corpses at the Palace Hotel are so many inventions, I suppose! And the three murders were never committed!"

"Yes, but not by Lupin."

The chief spoke these words very steadily, with impressive calmness and conviction. The attorney and the prefect protested.

"I presume, Lenormand," said Valenglay, "that you do not put forward that theory without serious reasons?"

"It is not a theory."

"What proof have you?"

"There are two, to begin with, two proofs of a moral nature, which I at once placed before Monsieur le Juge d'Instruction and which the newspapers have laid stress upon. First and foremost, Lupin does not kill people. Next, why should he have killed anybody, seeing that the object which he set out to achieve, the theft, was accomplished and that he had nothing to fear from an adversary who was gagged and bound?"

"Very well. But the facts?"

"Facts are worth nothing against reason and logic; and, moreover, the facts also are on my side. What would be the meaning of Lupin's presence in the room in which the cigarette-case was discovered? On the[Pg 60] other hand, the black clothes which were found and which evidently belonged to the murderer are not in the least of a size to fit Lupin."

"You know him, then, do you?"

"I? No. But Edwards saw him, Gourel saw him; and the man whom they saw is not the man whom the chambermaid saw, on the servants' staircase, dragging Chapman by the hand."

"Then your idea . . ."

"You mean to say, the truth, M. le President. Here it is, or, at least, here is the truth as far as I know it. On Tuesday, the 16th of April, a man?-Lupin?broke into Mr. Kesselbach's room at about two o'clock in the afternoon. . . ."

M. Lenormand was interrupted by a burst of laughter. It came from the prefect of police.

"Let me tell you, M. Lenormand, that you are in rather too great a hurry to state your precise facts. It has been shown that, at three o'clock on that day, Mr. Kesselbach walked into the Credit Lyonnais and went down to the safe deposit. His signature in the register proves it."

M. Lenormand waited respectfully until his superior had finished speaking. Then, without even troubling to reply directly to the attack, he continued:

"At about two o'clock in the afternoon, Lupin, assisted by an accomplice, a man named Marco, bound Mr. Kesselbach hand and foot, robbed him of all the loose cash which he had upon him and compelled him to reveal the cypher of his safe at the Credit Lyonnais. As soon as the secret was told, Marco left. He joined another accomplice, who, profiting by a certain resemblance to Mr. Kesselbach?a resemblance which he accentuated that day by wearing clothes similar[Pg 61] to Mr. Kesselbach's and putting on a pair of gold spectacles?entered the Credit Lyonnais, imitated Mr. Kesselbach's signature, emptied the safe of its contents and walked off, accompanied by Marco. Marco at once telephoned to Lupin. Lupin, as soon as he was sure that Mr. Kesselbach had not deceived him and that the object of his expedition was attained, went away."

Valenglay seemed to waver in his mind:

"Yes, yes . . . we'll admit that. . . . But what surprises me is that a man like Lupin should have risked so much for such a paltry profit: a few bank-notes and the hypothetical contents of a safe."

"Lupin was after more than that. He wanted either the morocco envelope which was in the traveling-bag, or else the ebony box which was in the safe. He had the ebony box, because he has sent it back empty. Therefore, by this time, he knows, or is in a fair way for knowing, the famous scheme which Mr. Kesselbach was planning, and which he was discussing with his secretary a few minutes before his death."

"What was the scheme?"

"I don't exactly know. The manager of Barbareux's agency, to whom he had opened his mind about it, has told me that Mr. Kesselbach was looking for a man who went by the name of Pierre Leduc, a man who had lost caste, it appears. Why and how the discovery of this person was connected with the success of his scheme, I am unable to say."

"Very well," said Valenglay. "So much for Arsene Lupin. His part is played. Mr. Kesselbach is bound hand and foot, robbed, but alive! . . . What happens up to the time when he is found dead?"

[Pg 62]"Nothing, for several hours, nothing until night. But, during the night, some one made his way in."

"How?"

"Through room 420, one of the rooms reserved by Mr. Kesselbach. The person in question evidently possessed a false key."

"But," exclaimed the prefect of police, "all the doors between that room and Mr. Kesselbach's flat were bolted; and there were five of them!"

"There was always the balcony."

"The balcony!"

"Yes; the balcony runs along the whole floor, on the Rue de Judee side."

"And what about the spaces in between?"

"An active man can step across them. Our man did. I have found marks."

"But all the windows of the suite were shut; and it was ascertained, after the crime, that they were still shut."

"All except one, the secretary's window, Chapman's, which was only pushed to. I tried it myself."

This time the prime minister seemed a little shaken, so logical did M. Lenormand's version seem, so precise and supported by such sound facts. He asked, with growing interest:

"But what was the man's object in coming?"

"I don't know."

"Ah, you don't know!"

"Any more than I know his name."

"But why did he kill Mr. Kesselbach?"

"I don't know. This all remains a mystery. The utmost that we have the right to suppose is that he did not come with the intention of killing, but with the intention, he too, of taking the documents con[Pg 63]tained in the morocco note-case and the ebony box; and that, finding himself by accident in the presence of the enemy reduced to a state of helplessness, he killed him."

Valenglay muttered:

"Yes, strictly speaking, that is possible. . . . And, according to you, did he find the documents?"

"He did not find the box, because it was not there; but he found the black morocco note-case. So that Lupin and . . . the other are in the same position. Each knows as much as the other about the Kesselbach scheme."

"That means," remarked the premier, "that they will fight."

"Exactly. And the fight has already begun. The murderer, finding a card of Arsene Lupin's, pinned it to the corpse. All the appearances would thus be against Arsene Lupin . . . therefore, Arsene Lupin would be the murderer."

"True . . . true," said Valenglay. "The calculation seemed pretty accurate."

"And the stratagem would have succeeded," continued M. Lenormand, "if in consequence of another and a less favorable accident, the murderer had not, either in coming or going, dropped his cigarette-case in room 420, and if the floor-waiter, Gustave Beudot, had not picked it up. From that moment, knowing himself to be discovered, or on the point of being discovered . . ."

"How did he know it?"

"How? Why, through M. Formerie, the examining-magistrate, himself! The investigation took place with open doors. It is certain that the murderer was concealed among the people, members of the hotel[Pg 64] staff and journalists, who were present when Gustave Beudot was giving his evidence; and when the magistrate sent Gustave Beudot to his attic to fetch the cigarette-case, the man followed and struck the blow. Second victim!"

No one protested now. The tragedy was being reconstructed before their eyes with a realism and a probable accuracy which were equally striking.

"And the third victim?" asked Valenglay.

"He himself gave the ruffian his opportunity. When Beudot did not return, Chapman, curious to see the cigarette-case for himself, went upstairs with the manager of the hotel. He was surprised by the murderer, dragged away by him, taken to one of the bedrooms and murdered in his turn."

"But why did he allow himself to be dragged away like that and to be led by a man whom he knew to be the murderer of Mr. Kesselbach and of Gustave Beudot?"

"I don't know, any more than I know the room in which the crime was committed, or the really miraculous way in which the criminal escaped."

"Something has been said about two blue labels."

"Yes, one was found on the box which Lupin sent back; and the other was found by me and doubtless came from the morocco note-case stolen by the murderer."

"Well?"

"I don't think that they mean anything. What does mean something is the number 813, which Mr. Kesselbach wrote on each of them. His handwriting has been recognized."

"And that number 813?"

"It's a mystery."

"Then?"

[Pg 65]"I can only reply again that I don't know."

"Have you no suspicions?"

"None at all. Two of my men are occupying one of the rooms in the Palace Hotel, on the floor where Chapman's body was found. I have had all the people in the hotel watched by these two men. The criminal is not one of those who have left."

"Did no one telephone while the murders were being committed?"

"Yes, some one telephoned from the outside to Major Parbury, one of the four persons who occupied rooms on the first-floor passage."

"And this Major Parbury?"

"I am having him watched by my men. So far, nothing has been discovered against him."

"And in which direction do you intend to seek?"

"Oh, in a very limited direction. In my opinion, the murderer must be numbered among the friends or connections of Mr. and Mrs. Kesselbach. He followed their scent, knew their habits, the reason of Mr. Kesselbach's presence in Paris; and he at least suspected the importance of Mr. Kesselbach's plans."

"Then he was not a professional criminal?"

"No, no, certainly not! The murder was committed with extraordinary cleverness and daring, but it was due to circumstances. I repeat, we shall have to look among the people forming the immediate circle of Mr. and Mrs. Kesselbach. And the proof is that Mr. Kesselbach's murderer killed Gustave Beudot for the sole reason that the waiter had the cigarette-case in his possession; and Chapman for the sole reason that the secretary knew of its existence. Remember Chapman's excitement: at the mere description of the cigarette-case, Chapman received a sudden insight[Pg 66] into the tragedy. If he had seen the cigarette-case, we should have been fully informed. The man, whoever he may be, was well aware of that: and he put an end to Chapman. And we know nothing, nothing but the initials L and M."

He reflected for a moment and said:

"There is another proof, which forms an answer to one of your questions, Monsieur le President: Do you believe that Chapman would have accompanied that man along the passages and staircases of the hotel if he did not already know him?"

The facts were accumulating. The truth or, at least, the probable truth was gaining strength. Many of the points at issue, the most interesting, perhaps, remained obscure. But what a light had been thrown upon the subject! Short of the motives that inspired them, how clearly Lenormand's hearers now perceived the sequence of acts performed on that tragic morning!

There was a pause. Every one was thinking, seeking for arguments, for objections. At last, Valenglay exclaimed:

"My dear Lenormand, this is all quite excellent. You have convinced me. . . . But, taking one thing with another, we are no further than we were."

"What do you mean?"

"What I say. The object of our meeting is not to clear up a portion of the mystery, which, one day, I am sure, you will clear up altogether, but to satisfy the public demand as fully as we possibly can. Now whether the murderer is Lupin or another; whether there are two criminals, or three, or only one: all this gives us neither the criminal's name nor his arrest. And the public continues under the disastrous impression that the law is powerless."

[Pg 67]"What can I do?"

"Give the public the definite satisfaction which it demands."

"But it seems to me that this explanation ought to be enough. . . ."

"Words! The public wants deeds! One thing alone will satisfy it: an arrest."

"Hang it all! Hang it all! We can't arrest the first person that comes along!"

"Even that would be better than arresting nobody," said Valenglay, with a laugh. "Come, have a good look round! Are you sure of Edwards, Kesselbach's servant?"

"Absolutely sure. Besides . . . No, Monsieur le President, it would be dangerous and ridiculous; and I am sure that Mr. Attorney-General himself . . . There are only two people whom we have the right to arrest: the murderer?I don't know who he is?and Arsene Lupin."

"Well?"

"There is no question of arresting Arsene Lupin, or, at least, it requires time, a whole series of measures, which I have not yet had the leisure to contrive, because I looked upon Lupin as settled down . . . or dead."

Valenglay stamped his foot with the impatience of a man who likes to see his wishes realized on the spot:

"And yet . . . and yet, my dear Lenormand, something must be done . . . if only for your own sake. You know as well as I do that you have powerful enemies . . . and that, if I were not there . . . In short, Lenormand, you can't be allowed to get out of it like this. What are you doing about the accomplices? There are others besides Lupin. There is Marco;[Pg 68] and there's the rogue who impersonated Mr. Kesselbach in order to visit the cellars of the Credit Lyonnais."

"Would you be satisfied if you got him, Monsieur le President?"

"Would I be satisfied? Heavens alive, I should think I would!"

"Well, give me seven days."

"Seven days! Why, it's not a question of days, my dear Lenormand! It's a question of hours!"

"How many will you give me, Monsieur le President?"

Valenglay took out his watch and chuckled:

"I will give you ten minutes, my dear Lenormand!"

The chief took out his, and emphasizing each syllable, said calmly:

"That is four minutes more than I want, Monsieur le President."

Valenglay looked at him in amazement.

"Four minutes more than you want? What do you mean by that?"

"I mean, Monsieur le President, that the ten minutes which you allow me are superfluous. I want six, and not one minute more."

"Oh, but look here, Lenormand . . . if you imagine that this is the time for joking . . ."

The chief detective went to the window and beckoned to two men who were walking round the courtyard.

Then he returned:

"Mr. Attorney-General, would you have the kindness to sign a warrant for the arrest of Auguste Maximin Philippe Daileron, aged forty-seven? You might leave the profession open."

He went to the door:

"Come in, Gourel. You, too, Dieuzy."

Gourel entered, accompanied by Inspector Dieuzy.

[Pg 69]"Have you the handcuffs, Gourel?"

"Yes, chief."

M. Lenormand went up to Valenglay:

"Monsieur le President, everything is ready. But I entreat you most urgently to forego this arrest. It upsets all my plans; it may render them abortive; and, for the sake of what, after all, is a very trifling satisfaction, it exposes us to the risk of jeopardizing the whole business."

"M. Lenormand, let me remark that you have only eighty seconds left."

The chief suppressed a gesture of annoyance, strode across the room and, leaning on his stick, sat down angrily, as though he had decided not to speak. Then, suddenly making up his mind:

"Monsieur le President, the first person who enters this room will be the man whose arrest you asked for . . . against my wish, as I insist on pointing out to you."

"Fifteen seconds, Lenormand!"

"Gourel . . . Dieuzy . . . the first person, do you understand? . . . Mr. Attorney, have you signed the warrant?"

"Ten seconds, Lenormand!"

"Monsieur le President, would you be so good as to ring the bell?"

Valenglay rang.

The messenger appeared in the doorway and waited.

Valenglay turned to the chief:

"Well, Lenormand, he's waiting for your orders. Whom is he to show in?"

"No one."

"But the rogue whose arrest you promised us? The six minutes are more than past."

[Pg 70]"Yes, but the rogue is here!"

"Here? I don't understand. No one has entered the room!"

"I beg your pardon."

"Oh, I say. . . . Look here, Lenormand, you're making fun of us. I tell you again that no one has entered the room."

"There were six of us in this room, Monsieur le President; there are seven now. Consequently, some one has entered the room."

Valenglay started:

"Eh! But this is madness! . . . What! You mean to say . . ."

The two detectives had slipped between the messenger and the door. M. Lenormand walked up to the messenger, clapped his hand on his shoulder and, in a loud voice:

"In the name of the law, Auguste Maximin Philippe Daileron, chief messenger at the Ministry of the Interior, I arrest you."

Valenglay burst out laughing.

"Oh, what a joke! What a joke! That infernal Lenormand! Of all the first-rate notions! Well done, Lenormand! It's long since I enjoyed so good a laugh."

M. Lenormand turned to the attorney-general:

"Mr. Attorney, you won't forget to fill in Master Daileron's profession on the warrant, will you? Chief messenger at the Ministry of the Interior."

"Oh, good! . . . Oh, capital! . . . Chief messenger at the Ministry of the Interior!" spluttered Valenglay, holding his sides. "Oh, this wonderful Lenormand gets hold of ideas that would never occur to anybody else! The public is clamoring for an arrest. . . . Whoosh, he flings at its head my chief[Pg 71] messenger . . . Auguste . . . the model servant! Well, Lenormand, my dear fellow, I knew you had a certain gift of imagination, but I never suspected that it would go so far as this! The impertinence of it!"

From the commencement of this scene, Auguste had not stirred a limb and seemed to understand nothing of what was going on around him. His face, the typical face of a good, loyal, faithful serving-man, seemed absolutely bewildered. He looked at the gentlemen turn and turn about, with a visible effort to catch the meaning of their words.

M. Lenormand said a few words to Gourel, who went out. Then, going up to Auguste and speaking with great decision, he said:

"There's no way out of it. You're caught. The best thing to do, when the game is lost, is to throw down your cards. What were you doing on Tuesday?"

"I? Nothing. I was here."

"You lie. You were off duty. You went out for the day."

"Oh, yes . . . I remember . . . I had a friend to see me from the country. . . . We went for a walk in the Bois."

"Your friend's name was Marco. And you went for a walk in the cellars of the Credit Lyonnais."

"I? What an idea! . . . Marco! . . . I don't know any one by that name."

"And these? Do you know these?" cried the chief, thrusting a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles under his nose.

"No . . . certainly not. . . . I don't wear spectacles. . . ."

"Yes, you do; you wear them when you go to the Credit Lyonnais and when you pass yourself off as[Pg 72] Mr. Kesselbach. These come from your room, the room which you occupy, under the name of M. Jerome, at No. 50 Rue du Colisee."

"My room? My room? I sleep here, at the office."

"But you change your clothes over there, to play your parts in Lupin's gang."

A blow in the chest made him stagger back. Auguste reached the window at a bound, climbed over the balcony and jumped into the courtyard.

"Dash it all!" shouted Valenglay. "The scoundrel!"

He rang the bell, ran to the window, wanted to call out. M. Lenormand, with the greatest calm, said:

"Don't excite yourself, Monsieur le President . . ."

"But that blackguard of an Auguste . . ."

"One second, please. . . . I foresaw this ending . . . in fact, I allowed for it. . . . It's the best confession we could have. . . ."

Yielding in the presence of this coolness, Valenglay resumed his seat. In a moment, Gourel entered, with his hand on the collar of Master Auguste Maximin Philippe Daileron, alias Jerome, chief messenger at the Ministry of the Interior.

"Bring him, Gourel!" said M. Lenormand, as who should say, "Fetch it! Bring it!" to a good retriever carrying the game in its jaws. "Did he come quietly?"

"He bit me a little, but I held tight," replied the sergeant, showing his huge, sinewy hand.

"Very well, Gourel. And now take this chap off to the Depot in a cab. Good-bye for the present, M. Jerome."

Valenglay was immensely amused. He rubbed his hands and laughed. The idea that his chief messenger was one of Lupin's accomplices struck him as a most delightfully ludicrous thing.

[Pg 73]"Well done, my dear Lenormand; this is wonderful! But how on earth did you manage it?"

"Oh, in the simplest possible fashion. I knew that Mr. Kesselbach was employing the Barbareux agency and that Lupin had called on him, pretending to come from the agency. I hunted in that direction and discovered that, when the indiscretion was committed to the prejudice of Mr. Kesselbach and of Barbareux, it could only have been to the advantage of one Jerome, a friend of one of the clerks at the agency. If you had not ordered me to hustle things, I should have watched the messenger and caught Marco and then Lupin."

"You'll catch them, Lenormand, you'll catch them, I assure you. And we shall be assisting at the most exciting spectacle in the world: the struggle between Lupin and yourself. I shall bet on you."

The next morning the newspapers published the following letter:

"Open Letter to M. Lenormand, Chief of the Detective-service.

"All my congratulations, dear sir and dear friend, on your arrest of Jerome the messenger. It was a smart piece of work, well executed and worthy of you.

"All my compliments, also, on the ingenious manner in which you proved to the prime minister that I was not Mr. Kesselbach's murderer. Your demonstration was clear, logical, irrefutable and, what is more, truthful. As you know, I do not kill people. Thank you for proving it on this occasion. The esteem of my[Pg 74] contemporaries and of yourself, dear sir and dear friend, are indispensable to my happiness.

"In return, allow me to assist you in the pursuit of the monstrous assassin and to give you a hand with the Kesselbach case, a very interesting case, believe me: so interesting and so worthy of my attention that I have determined to issue from the retirement in which I have been living for the past four years, between my books and my good dog Sherlock, to beat all my comrades to arms and to throw myself once more into the fray.

"What unexpected turns life sometimes takes! Here am I, your fellow-worker! Let me assure you, dear sir and dear friend, that I congratulate myself upon it, and that I appreciate this favor of destiny at its true value.

"Arsene Lupin.

"P.S.?One word more, of which I feel sure that you will approve. As it is not right and proper that a gentleman who has had the glorious privilege of fighting under my banner should languish on the straw of your prisons, I feel it my duty to give you fair warning that, in five weeks' time, on Friday, the 31st of May, I shall set at liberty Master Jerome, promoted by me to the rank of chief messenger at the Ministry of the Interior. Don't forget the date: Friday, the 31st of May.

"A. L."