Dating old letter cards
Beyond all things, I have been warned of the danger which would result from giving him reason to suspect our design." "But," said I, "you are quite au fait in these investigations.
The Parisian police have done this thing often before." "Oh yes; and for this reason I did not despair. They sleep at a distance from their master's apartment, and, being chiefly Neapolitans, are readily made drunk.
We had been sitting in the dark, and Dupin now arose for the purpose of lighting a lamp, but sat down again, without doing so, upon G.'s saying that he had called to consult us, or rather to ask the opinion of my friend, about some official business which had occasioned a great deal of trouble. The personage robbed is more thoroughly convinced, every day, of the necessity of reclaiming her letter. In fine, driven to despair, she has committed the matter to me." "Than whom," said Dupin, amid a perfect whirlwind of smoke, "no more sagacious agent could, I suppose, be desired, or even imagined." "You flatter me," replied the Prefect; "but it is possible that some such opinion may have been entertained." "It is clear," said I, "as you observe, that the letter is still in possession of the minister; since it is this possession, and not any employment of the letter, which bestows the power.
"If it is any point requiring reflection," observed Dupin, as he forbore to enkindle the wick, "we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark." "That is another of your odd notions," said the Prefect, who had a fashion of calling every thing "odd" that was beyond his comprehension, and thus lived amid an absolute legion of "oddities." "Very true," said Dupin, as he supplied his visitor with a pipe, and rolled towards him a comfortable chair. With the employment the power departs." "True," said G. My first care was to make thorough search of the minister's hotel; and here my chief embarrassment lay in the necessity of searching without his knowledge.
Any man is a dolt who permits a 'secret' drawer to escape him in a search of this kind. There is a certain amount of bulk --of space --to be accounted for in every cabinet. Besides, in our case, we were obliged to proceed without noise." "But you could not have removed --you could not have taken to pieces all articles of furniture in which it would have been possible to make a deposit in the manner you mention.
A letter may be compressed into a thin spiral roll, not differing much in shape or bulk from a large knitting-needle, and in this form it might be inserted into the rung of a chair, for example. " "Certainly not; but we did better --we examined the rungs of every chair in the hotel, and, indeed, the jointings of every description of furniture, by the aid of a most powerful microscope.
We divided its entire surface into compartments, which we numbered, so that none might be missed; then we scrutinized each individual square inch throughout the premises, including the two houses immediately adjoining, with the microscope, as before." "The two houses adjoining! " "Certainly; we opened every package and parcel; we not only opened every book, but we turned over every leaf in each volume, not contenting ourselves with a mere shake, according to the fashion of some of our police officers.
The habits of the minister gave me, too, a great advantage. I have keys, as you know, with which I can open any chamber or cabinet in Paris.
For three months a night has not passed, during the greater part of which I have not been engaged, personally, in ransacking the D-- Hotel.
"Well, I may venture so far as to say that the paper gives its holder a certain power in a certain quarter where such power is immensely valuable." The Prefect was fond of the cant of diplomacy. Who would dare--" "The thief," said G., is the Minister D--, who dares all things, those unbecoming as well as those becoming a man.
It is known, also, that it still remains in his possession." "How is this known? "It is clearly inferred," replied the Prefect, "from the nature of the document, and from the nonappearance of certain results which would at once arise from its passing out of the robber's possession; --that is to say, from his employing it as he must design in the end to employ it." "Be a little more explicit," I said. Well; the disclosure of the document to a third person, who shall be nameless, would bring in question the honor of a personage of most exalted station; and this fact gives the holder of the document an ascendancy over the illustrious personage whose honor and peace are so jeopardized." "But this ascendancy," I interposed, "would depend upon the robber's knowledge of the loser's knowledge of the robber.