EPILOGUE The Suicide

"To horse!" said the Emperor.

He corrected himself, on seeing the magnificent ass which they brought him:

"To donkey, rather! Waldemar, are you sure this animal is quiet to ride and drive?"

"I will answer for him as I would for myself, Sire," declared the count.

"In that case, I feel safe," said the Emperor, laughing. And, turning to the officers with him, "Gentlemen, to horse!"

The market-place of the village of Capri was crowded with sight-seers, kept back by a line of Italian carabiniers, and, in the middle, all the donkeys of the place, which had been requisitioned to enable the Emperor to go over that island of wonders.

"Waldemar," said the Emperor, taking the head of the cavalcade, "what do we begin with?"

"With Tiberius's Villa, Sire."

They rode under a gateway and then followed a roughly-paved path, rising gradually to the eastern promontory of the island.

The Emperor laughed and enjoyed himself and good-humoredly chaffed the colossal Count von Waldemar, whose feet touched the ground on either side of the unfortunate donkey borne down under his weight.

In three-quarters of an hour, they arrived first at[Pg 435] Tiberius's Leap, an enormous rock, a thousand feet high, from which the tyrant caused his victims to be hurled into the sea. . . .

The Emperor dismounted, walked up to the hand-rail and took a glance at the abyss. Then he went on foot to the ruins of Tiberius's Villa, where he strolled about among the crumbling halls and passages.

He stopped for a moment.

There was a glorious view of the point of Sorrento and over the whole island of Capri. The glowing blue of the sea outlined the beautiful curve of the bay; and cool perfumes mingled with the scent of the citron-trees.

"The view is finer still, Sire," said Waldemar, "from the hermit's little chapel, at the summit."

"Let us go to it."

But the hermit himself descended by a steep path. He was an old man, with a hesitating gait and a bent back. He carried the book in which travellers usually write down their impressions.

He placed the book on a stone seat.

"What am I write?" asked the Emperor.

"Your name, Sire, and the date of your visit . . . and anything you please."

The Emperor took the pen which the hermit handed him and bent down to write.

"Take care, Sire, take care!"

Shouts of alarm . . . a great crash from the direction of the chapel. . . . The Emperor turned round. He saw a huge rock come rolling down upon him like a whirlwind.

At the same moment, he was seized round the body by the hermit and flung to a distance of ten yards away.

[Pg 436]The rock struck against the stone seat where the Emperor had been standing a quarter of a second before and smashed the seat into fragments. But for the hermit, the Emperor would have been killed.

He gave him his hand and said, simply:

"Thank you."

The officers flocked round him.

"It's nothing, gentlemen. . . . We have escaped with a fright . . . though it was a fine fright, I confess. . . . All the same, but for the intervention of this worthy man . . ."

And, going up to the hermit:

"What is your name, my friend?"

The hermit had kept his head concealed in his hood. He pushed it back an inch or so and, in a very low voice, so as to be heard by none but the Emperor, he said:

"The name of a man, Sire, who is very pleased that you have shaken him by the hand."

The Emperor gave a start and stepped back. Then, at once controlling himself:

"Gentlemen," he said to the officers, "I will ask you to go up to the chapel. More rocks can break loose; and it would perhaps be wise to warn the authorities of the island. You will join me later. I want to thank this good man."

He walked away, accompanied by the hermit. When they were alone, he said:

"You! Why?"

"I had to speak to you, Sire. If I had asked for an audience . . . would you have granted my request? I preferred to act directly and I intended to make myself known while Your Imperial Majesty was signing the book, when that stupid accident . . ."

[Pg 437]"Well?" said the Emperor.

"The letters which I gave Waldemar to hand to you, Sire, are forgeries."

The Emperor made a gesture of keen annoyance:

"Forgeries? Are you sure?"

"Absolutely sure, Sire."

"Yet that Malreich . . ."

"Malreich was not the culprit."

"Then who was?"

"I must beg Your Imperial Majesty to treat my answer as secret and confidential. The real culprit was Mrs. Kesselbach."

"Kesselbach's own wife?"

"Yes, Sire. She is dead now. It was she who made or caused to be made the copies which are in your possession. She kept the real letters."

"But where are they?" exclaimed the Emperor. "That is the important thing! They must be recovered at all costs! I attach the greatest value to those letters. . . ."

"Here they are, Sire."

The Emperor had a moment of stupefaction. He looked at Lupin, looked at the letters, then at Lupin again and pocketed the bundle without examining it.

Clearly, this man was puzzling him once more. Where did this scoundrel spring from who, possessing so terrible a weapon, handed it over like that, generously, unconditionally? It would have been so easy for him to keep the letters and to make such use of them as he pleased! No, he had given his promise and he was keeping his word.

And the Emperor thought of all the astounding things which that man had done.

[Pg 438]"The papers said that you were dead," he said.

"Yes, Sire. In reality, I am dead. And the police of my country, glad to be rid of me, have buried the charred and unrecognizable remains of my body."

"Then you are free?"

"As I always have been."

"And nothing attaches you to anything?"

"Nothing, Sire."

"In that case . . ."

The Emperor hesitated and then, explicitly:

"In that case, enter my service. I offer you the command of my private police. You shall be the absolute master. You shall have full power, even over the other police."

"No, Sire."

"Why not?"

"I am a Frenchman."

There was a pause. The Emperor was evidently pleased with the answer. He said:

"Still, as you say that no link attaches you . . ."

"That is, one, Sire, which nothing can sever." And he added, laughing, "I am dead as a man, but alive as a Frenchman. I am sure that Your Imperial Majesty will understand."

The Emperor took a few steps up and down. Then he said:

"I should like to pay my debt, however. I heard that the negotiations for the grand-duchy of Veldenz were broken off. . . ."

"Yes, Sire, Pierre Leduc was an imposter. He is dead."

"What can I do for you? You have given me back those letters. . . . You have saved my life. . . . What can I do?"

[Pg 439]"Nothing, Sire."

"You insist upon my remaining your debtor?"

"Yes, Sire."

The Emperor gave a last glance at that strange man who set himself up in his presence as his equal. Then he bowed his head slightly and walked away without another word.

"Aha, Majesty, I've caught you this time!" said Lupin, following him with his eyes. And, philosophically, "No doubt it's a poor revenge . . . and would rather have recovered Alsace-Lorraine. . . . But still . . ."

He interrupted himself and stamped his foot on the ground:

"You confounded Lupin! Will you never change, will you always remain hateful and cynical to the last moment of your existence? Be serious, hang it all! The time has come, now or never, to be serious!"

He climbed the path that leads to the chapel and stopped at the place where the rock had broken loose. He burst out laughing:

"It was a good piece of work and His Imperial Majesty's officers did not know what to make of it. But how could they guess that I myself loosened that rock, that, at the last moment, I gave the decisive blow of the pick-axe and that the aforesaid rock rolled down the path which I had made between it and . . . an emperor whose life I was bent on saving?"

He sighed:

"Ah, Lupin, what a complex mind you have! All that trouble because you had sworn that this particular Majesty should shake you by the hand! A lot of good it has done you! 'An Emperor's hand five fingers has, no more,' as Victor Hugo might have said.[Pg 440]"

He entered the chapel and, with a special key, opened the low door of a little sacristy. On a heap of straw, lay a man, with his hands and legs bound and a gag in his mouth.

"Well, my friend, the hermit," said Lupin, "it wasn't so very long, was it? Twenty-four hours at the most. . . . But I have worked jolly hard on your behalf! Just think, you have saved the Emperor's life! Yes, old chap. You are the man who saved the Emperor's life. I have made your fortune, that's what I've done. They'll build a cathedral for you and put up a statue to you when you're dead and gone. Here, take your things."

The hermit, nearly dead with hunger, staggered to his feet. Lupin quickly put on his own clothes and said:

"Farewell, O worthy and venerable man. Forgive me for this little upset. And pray for me. I shall need it. Eternity is opening its gate wide to me. Farewell."

He stood for a few moments on the threshold of the chapel. It was the solemn moment at which one hesitates, in spite of everything, before the terrible end of all things. But his resolution was irrevocable and, without further reflection, he darted out, ran down the slope, crossed the level ground of Tiberius's Leap and put one leg over the hand-rail:

"Lupin, I give you three minutes for play-acting. 'What's the good?' you will say. 'There is nobody here.' Well . . . and what about you? Can't you act your last farce for yourself? By Jove, the performance is worth it. . . . Arsene Lupin, heroic comedy in eighty scenes. . . . The curtain rises on the death-scene . . . and the principal part is played by Lupin in person. . . . 'Bravo, Lupin!' [Pg 441]. . . Feel my heart, ladies and gentlemen . . . seventy beats to the minute. . . . And a smile on my lips. . . . 'Bravo, Lupin! Oh, the rogue, what cheek he has!' . . . Well, jump, my lord. . . . Are you ready? It's the last adventure, old fellow. No regrets? Regrets? What for, heavens above? My life was splendid. Ah, Dolores, Dolores, if you had not come into it, abominable monster that you were! . . . . . . And you, Malreich, why did you not speak? . . . And you, Pierre Leduc. . . . Here I am! . . . My three dead friends, I am about to join you. . . . Oh, Genevieve, my dear Genevieve! . . . Here, have you done, you old play-actor? . . . Right you are! Right you are! I'm coming. . . ."

He pulled his other leg over, looked down the abyss at the dark and motionless sea and, raising his head:

"Farewell, immortal and thrice-blessed nature! Moriturus te salutat! Farewell, all that is beautiful on earth! Farewell, splendor of things. Farewell, life!"

He flung kisses to space, to the sky, to the sun. . . . Then, folding his arms, he took the leap.

Sidi-bel-Abbes. The barracks of the Foreign Legion. An adjutant sat smoking and reading his newspaper in a small, low-ceilinged room.

Near him, close to the window opening on the yard, two great devils of non-commissioned officers were jabbering in guttural French, mixed with Teutonic phrases.

The door opened. Some one entered. It was a slightly-built man, of medium height, smartly-dressed.

[Pg 442]The adjutant rose, glared angrily at the intruder and growled:

"I say, what on earth is the orderly up to? . . . And you, sir, what do you want?"


This was said frankly, imperiously.

The two non-coms burst into a silly laugh. The man looked at them askance.

"In other words, you wish to enlist in the Legion?" asked the adjutant.

"Yes, but on one condition."

"Conditions, by Jove! What conditions?"

"That I am not left mouldering here. There is a company leaving for Morocco. I'll join that."

One of the non-coms gave a fresh chuckle and was heard to say:

"The Moors are in for a bad time. The gentleman's enlisting."

"Silence!" cried the man, "I don't stand being laughed at."

His voice sounded harsh and masterful.

The non-com, a brutal-looking giant, retorted:

"Here, recruity, you'd better be careful how you talk to me, or . . ."

"Or what?"

"You'll get something you won't like, that's all!"

The man went up to him, took him round the waist, swung him over the ledge of the window and pitched him into the yard.

Then he said to the other:

"Go away."

The other went away.

The man at once returned to the adjutant and said:

"Lieutenant, pray be so good as to tell the major[Pg 443] that Don Luis Perenna, a Spanish grandee and a Frenchman at heart, wishes to take service in the Foreign Legion. Go, my friend."

The flabbergasted adjutant did not move.

"Go, my friend, and go at once. I have no time to waste."

The adjutant rose, looked at his astounding visitor with a bewildered eye and went out in the tamest fashion.

Then Lupin lit a cigarette and, sitting down in the adjutant's chair, said, aloud:

"As the sea refused to have anything to say to me, or rather as I, at the last moment, refused to have anything to say to the sea, we'll go and see if the bullets of the Moors are more compassionate. And, in any case, it will be a smarter finish. . . . Face the enemy, Lupin, and all for France! . . ."



The original edition contained a large number of ellipses of various lengths. All two-dot ellipses have been corrected to three dots, five-dot ellipses have been corrected to four dots, and some three- and four-dot ellipses have been altered, either by adding a space, removing a space, or adjusting the length of the ellipsis based on the context.

On the title page, "Alexander Teixeira De Mottos" was changed to "Alexander Teixeira De Mattos".

In Chapter I, "aimed it at the man and pulled trigger" was changed to "aimed it at the man and pulled the trigger", "In Kesselbach's handwriting, suppose?" was changed to "In Kesselbach's handwriting, I suppose?", and missing quotation marks were added after "you can send his letters on to him there" and before "The chief is on his way".

In Chapter II, "There is another point, Monsiuer le Juge d'Instruction" was changed to "There is another point, Monsieur le Juge d'Instruction", a missing quotation mark was added before "it's all very queer", "Mr. Manager instruct your young lady" was changed to "Mr. Manager, instruct your young lady", and "Did they open it!" was changed to "Did they open it?".

In Chapter IV, "the house known as the Pavillon de l'Imperatrice" was changed to "the house known as the Pavillon de l'Imperatrice", a quotation mark was moved from the middle of the sentence "By a commissionaire, so we were told" to the end, a quotation mark was added in front of "Yes, yes. . . . I seem to", a quotation mark was removed after "Would he speak?", "revolt and digust" was changed to "revolt and disgust", "For the third time, Gerard fainted" was changed to "For the third time, Gerard fainted", and "he said to his chaffeur" was changed to "he said to his chauffeur".

In Chapter V, "In that case, Monsieur le President" was changed to "In that case, Monsieur le President".

In Chapter VI, a duplicate quotation mark was removed after "Not dead?", a missing period was added after "There were two of them", "No, The walls surround the estate" was changed to "No. The walls surround the estate", and a quotation mark was removed after "in a stifled voice. . . .".

In Chapter VII, a quotation mark was added after "And no one knows these details except yourselves?", a comma was added after "he sneered", "it's name, by the way, was Sebastopol" was changed to "its name, by the way, was Sebastopol", "Austrain archdukes" was changed to "Austrian archdukes", "hurl Atlenheim into the pit" was changed to "hurl Altenheim into the pit", a duplicate quotation mark was removed before "But why did they wait so long?", and "a suitable husband for Genevieve" was changed to "a suitable husband for Genevieve".

In Chapter VIII, "as to freinds whom he has met by chance" was changed to "as to friends whom he has met by chance", "to end be falling into the hands of his enemies" was changed to "to end by falling into the hands of his enemies", "ten past at the very lastest" was changed to "ten past at the very latest", "A cigarrette?" was changed to "A cigarette?", "Today, I accept" was changed to "To-day, I accept", "another outler at his disposal" was changed to "another outlet at his disposal", "through which Altenheim had disappeared" was changed to "though which Altenheim had disappeared", a quotation mark was removed after "the stone steps to the basement. . . .", "the parcel of clothes is not far aff" was changed to "the parcel of clothes is not far off", "He open it and found a hat" was changed to "He opened it and found a hat", and "Sernine's own acccomplice" was changed to "Sernine's own accomplice".

In Chapter IX, "go on with you story" was changed to "go on with your story", "No," was changed to "No.", a missing quotation mark was added before "No, soldiers drafted from the Emperor's own body-guard", and "on which Hermann III., had written" was changed to "on which Hermann III. had written".

In Chapter X, a comma was added after "Maitre Quimbel's hat", "they will both proceed to Vendenz Castle" was changed to "they will both proceed to Veldenz Castle", and "Was is not childish" was changed to "Was it not childish".

In Chapter XI, a quotation mark was removed after "what did he care?", "No nothing at all" was changed to "No, nothing at all", "down into the under-ground passage" was changed to "down into the underground passage", and a single quote (') was changed to a double quote (") after "O gentle Teuton?".

In Chapter XII, a quotation mark was removed after "They were all French", "What it is?" was changed to "What is it?", "I know that the latters are not here" was changed to "I know that the letters are not here", "the French servant who wrote his dairy" was changed to "the French servant who wrote his diary", "It's qiute obvious" was changed to "It's quite obvious", "Bacause I am the better man" was changed to "Because I am the better man", and a question mark was added after "Have you seen anything".

In Chapter XIII, "How the newspapers represented the prisoner at the Sante" was changed to "How the newspapers represented the prisoner at the Sante", and "a little cafe on the Route de la Revolte" was changed to "a little cafe on the Route de la Revolte", "on the Saturday morning, he pursued his inquries" was changed to "on the Saturday morning, he pursued his inquiries", "Consequently. Leon Massier was, in point of fact" was changed to "Consequently, Leon Massier was, in point of fact", "two hundred yards from the Rue des Vinges" was changed to "two hundred yards from the Rue des Vignes", "Listen. . . . Charloais?" was changed to "Listen. . . . Charolais?", and "the public tenniscourt" was changed to "the public tennis-court".

In Chapter XIV, "a a fine bag too" was changed to "a fine bag too", "felt for his banknotes" was changed to "felt for his bank-notes", "the necessary proofs of his indentity" was changed to "the necessary proofs of his identity", and "not Pierre Leduc, but Gerard Baupre" was changed to "not Pierre Leduc, but Gerard Baupre".

In Chapter XV, quotation mark was removed after "the tears streamed down her cheeks" and "Which was it?", "hysterical sobing" was changed to "hysterical sobbing", and "They are saying at, headquarters, that" was changed to "They are saying, at headquarters, that".

In Chapter XVI, "ARSENE'S LUPIN'S THREE MURDERS" was changed to "ARSENE LUPIN'S THREE MURDERS", "by the dazzling gleam of those lighning-flashes" was changed to "by the dazzling gleam of those lightning-flashes", "a diffierent aspect" was changed to "a different aspect", "had hailed a taxicab" was changed to "had hailed a taxi-cab", "look for her in that dirction" was changed to "look for her in that direction", "slipped in into a bottle" was changed to "slipped it into a bottle", and a double quote (") was changed to a single quote (') before "Genevieve, I promised your mother".

In the Epilogue, "What am I write?" was changed to "What am I to write?", and a missing quotation mark was added after "as Victor Hugo might have said".

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