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The Eight Strokes of the Clock (1922) is a collection of short stories by Maurice Leblanc. Partly based on the life of French anarchist Marius Jacob, Arsène Lupin first appeared in print in 1905 as an answer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Blending crime fiction, fantasy, and mystery, Leblanc crafts original and entertaining tales of adventure starring one of the greatest literary characters of all time—Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief.

Arsène Lupin is the world’s greatest thief, an unmatched force for good whose exploits threaten the wealth and standing of France’s most wicked men. In this debut installment of Leblanc’s beloved series, Lupin uses his remarkable wit and chameleon-like ability to move undetected through aristocratic society in order to steal, trick, and cheat his way through life. Despite his criminal nature, he operates under a strict moral code, only taking from those who have taken from the poor all their lives. In this collection of short stories, Lupin reveals the adventures of a strangely familiar figure—himself. Using the alias Prince Rénine, he recalls some of his most thrilling escapades. With the help of his beautiful comrade Hortense, the Prince sets out to solve the mysterious disappearance and murder of several women. When Hortense goes missing, he fears for the worst, and must race against time in order to save her life. The Eight Strokes of the Clock is a story of romance, mystery, and crime that continues to astound over a century after it was published.

With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Maurice Leblanc’s The Eight Strokes of the Clock is a classic of French literature reimagined for modern readers.



Publié par
Date de parution 24 mars 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781513295275
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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The Eight Strokes of the Clock
Maurice Leblanc
The Eight Strokes of the Clock was first published in 1922.
This edition published by Mint Editions 2021.
ISBN 9781513292427 | E-ISBN 9781513295275
Published by Mint Editions®
Publishing Director: Jennifer Newens
Design & Production: Rachel Lopez Metzger
Project Manager: Micaela Clark
Typesetting: Westchester Publishing Services
T hese adventures were told to me in the old days by Ars è ne Lupin, as though they had happened to a friend of his, named Prince R é nine. As for me, considering the way in which they were conducted, the actions, the behaviour and the very character of the hero, I find it very difficult not to identify the two friends as one and the same person. Ars è ne Lupin is gifted with a powerful imagination and is quite capable of attributing to himself adventures which are not his at all and of disowning those which are really his. The reader will judge for himself.
M. L.
H ortense Daniel pushed her window ajar and whispered:
“Are you there, Rossigny?”
“I am here,” replied a voice from the shrubbery at the front of the house.
Leaning forward, she saw a rather fat man looking up at her out of a gross red face with its cheeks and chin set in unpleasantly fair whiskers.
“Well?” he asked.
“Well, I had a great argument with my uncle and aunt last night. They absolutely refuse to sign the document of which my lawyer sent them the draft, or to restore the dowry squandered by my husband.”
“But your uncle is responsible by the terms of the marriage-settlement.”
“No matter. He refuses.”
“Well, what do you propose to do?”
“Are you still determined to run away with me?” she asked, with a laugh.
“More so than ever.”
“Your intentions are strictly honourable, remember!”
“Just as you please. You know that I am madly in love with you.”
“Unfortunately I am not madly in love with you!”
“Then what made you choose me?”
“Chance. I was bored. I was growing tired of my humdrum existence. So I’m ready to run risks… Here’s my luggage: catch!”
She let down from the window a couple of large leather kit-bags. Rossigny caught them in his arms.
“The die is cast,” she whispered. “Go and wait for me with your car at the If cross-roads. I shall come on horseback.”
“Hang it, I can’t run off with your horse!”
“He will go home by himself.”
“Capital! … Oh, by the way…”
“What is it?”
“Who is this Prince R é nine, who’s been here the last three days and whom nobody seems to know?”
“I don’t know much about him. My uncle met him at a friend’s shoot and asked him here to stay.”
“You seem to have made a great impression on him. You went for a long ride with him yesterday. He’s a man I don’t care for.”
“In two hours I shall have left the house in your company. The scandal will cool him off… Well, we’ve talked long enough. We have no time to lose.”
For a few minutes she stood watching the fat man bending under the weight of her traps as he moved away in the shelter of an empty avenue. Then she closed the window.
Outside, in the park, the huntsmen’s horns were sounding the reveille. The hounds burst into frantic baying. It was the opening day of the hunt that morning at the Ch â teau de la Mar è ze, where, every year, in the first week in September, the Comte d’Aigleroche, a mighty hunter before the Lord, and his countess were accustomed to invite a few personal friends and the neighbouring landowners.
Hortense slowly finished dressing, put on a riding-habit, which revealed the lines of her supple figure, and a wide-brimmed felt hat, which encircled her lovely face and auburn hair, and sat down to her writing-desk, at which she wrote to her uncle, M. d’Aigleroche, a farewell letter to be delivered to him that evening. It was a difficult letter to word; and, after beginning it several times, she ended by giving up the idea.
“I will write to him later,” she said to herself, “when his anger has cooled down.”
And she went downstairs to the dining-room.
Enormous logs were blazing in the hearth of the lofty room. The walls were hung with trophies of rifles and shotguns. The guests were flocking in from every side, shaking hands with the Comte d’Aigleroche, one of those typical country squires, heavily and powerfully built, who lives only for hunting and shooting. He was standing before the fire, with a large glass of old brandy in his hand, drinking the health of each new arrival.
Hortense kissed him absently:
“What, uncle! You who are usually so sober!”
“Pooh!” he said. “A man may surely indulge himself a little once a year! …”
“Aunt will give you a scolding!”
“Your aunt has one of her sick headaches and is not coming down. Besides,” he added, gruffly, “it is not her business… and still less is it yours, my dear child.”
Prince R é nine came up to Hortense. He was a young man, very smartly dressed, with a narrow and rather pale face, whose eyes held by turns the gentlest and the harshest, the most friendly and the most satirical expression. He bowed to her, kissed her hand and said:
“May I remind you of your kind promise, dear madame?”
“My promise?”
“Yes, we agreed that we should repeat our delightful excursion of yesterday and try to go over that old boarded-up place the look of which made us so curious. It seems to be known as the Domaine de Halingre.”
She answered a little curtly:
“I’m extremely sorry, monsieur, but it would be rather far and I’m feeling a little done up. I shall go for a canter in the park and come indoors again.”
There was a pause. Then Serge R é nine said, smiling, with his eyes fixed on hers and in a voice which she alone could hear:
“I am sure that you’ll keep your promise and that you’ll let me come with you. It would be better.”
“For whom? For you, you mean?”
“For you, too, I assure you.”
She coloured slightly, but did not reply, shook hands with a few people around her and left the room.
A groom was holding the horse at the foot of the steps. She mounted and set off towards the woods beyond the park.
It was a cool, still morning. Through the leaves, which barely quivered, the sky showed crystalline blue. Hortense rode at a walk down winding avenues which in half an hour brought her to a country-side of ravines and bluffs intersected by the high-road.
She stopped. There was not a sound. Rossigny must have stopped his engine and concealed the car in the thickets around the If cross-roads.
She was five hundred yards at most from that circular space. After hesitating for a few seconds, she dismounted, tied her horse carelessly, so that he could release himself by the least effort and return to the house, shrouded her face in the long brown veil that hung over her shoulders and walked on.
As she expected, she saw Rossigny directly she reached the first turn in the road. He ran up to her and drew her into the coppice!
“Quick, quick! Oh, I was so afraid that you would be late… or even change your mind! And here you are! It seems too good to be true!”
She smiled:
“You appear to be quite happy to do an idiotic thing!”
“I should think I am happy! And so will you be, I swear you will! Your life will be one long fairy-tale. You shall have every luxury, and all the money you can wish for.”
“I want neither money nor luxuries.”
“What then?”
“You can safely leave your happiness to me.”
She replied, jestingly:
“I rather doubt the quality of the happiness which you would give me.”
“Wait! You’ll see! You’ll see!”
They had reached the motor. Rossigny, still stammering expressions of delight, started the engine. Hortense stepped in and wrapped herself in a wide cloak. The car followed the narrow, grassy path which led back to the cross-roads and Rossigny was accelerating the speed, when he was suddenly forced to pull up. A shot had rung out from the neighbouring wood, on the right. The car was swerving from side to side.
“A front tire burst,” shouted Rossigny, leaping to the ground.
“Not a bit of it!” cried Hortense. “Somebody fired!”
“Impossible, my dear! Don’t be so absurd!”
At that moment, two slight shocks were felt and two more reports were heard, one after the other, some way off and still in the wood.
Rossigny snarled:
“The back tires burst now… both of them… But who, in the devil’s name, can the ruffian be? … Just let me get hold of him, that’s all! …”
He clambered up the road-side slope. There was no one there. Moreover, the leaves of the coppice blocked the view.
“Damn it! Damn it!” he swore. “You were right: somebody was firing at the car! Oh, this is a bit thick! We shall be held up for hours! Three tires to mend! … But what are you doing, dear girl?”
Hortense herself had alighted from the car. She ran to him, greatly excited:
“I’m going.”
“But why?”
“I want to know. Some one fired. I want to know who it was.”
“Don’t let us separate, please!”
“Do you think I’m going to wait here for you for hours?”
“What about your running away? … All our plans…?”
“We’ll discuss that to-morrow. Go back to the house. Take back my things with you… And good-bye for the present.”
She hurried, left him, had the good luck to find her horse and set off at a gallop in a direction leading away from La Mar è ze.
There was not the least doubt in her mind that the three shots had been fired by Prince R é nine.
“It was he,” she muttered, angrily, “it was he. No one else would be capable of such behaviour.”
Besides, he had warned her, in his smiling, masterful way, that he would expect her.
She was weeping with rage and humiliation. At that moment, had she found herself face to face with Prince R é nine, she could have struck him with her riding

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