“It is in the first place to apologize,” he explained, “that I am here. I was presented to your daughter in the name of Gaston—which is at least part of my own name—and because other interests were involved I found myself in the painful position of being presented to you under the same false colors"...
“Oh, dear, dear!” began Cumberly. “But—”
“Ah! I protest, it is true,” continued Max with an inimitable movement of the shoulder; “and I regret it; but in my profession"...
“Which you adorn, monsieur,” injected Cumberly.
“Many thanks—but in my profession these little annoyances sometimes occur. At the earliest suitable occasion, I shall reveal myself to Miss Cumberly and Miss Ryland, but at present,”—he spread his palms eloquently, and raised his eyebrows—“morbleu! it is impossible.”
“Certainly; I quite understand that. Your visit to London is a professional one? I am more than delighted to have met you, M. Max; your work on criminal anthroposcopy has an honored place on my shelves.”
Again M. Max delivered himself of the deprecatory wave.
“You cover me with confusion,” he protested; “for I fear in that book I have intruded upon sciences of which I know nothing, and of which you know much.”
“On the contrary, you have contributed to those sciences, M. Max,” declared the physician; “and now, do I understand that the object of your call this morning?"...
“In the first place it was to excuse myself—but in the second place, I come to ask your help.”
He seated himself in a deep armchair—bending forward, and fixing his dark, penetrating eyes upon the physician. Cumberly, turning his own chair slightly, evinced the greatest interest in M. Max’s disclosures.
“If you have been in Paris lately,” continued the detective, “you will possibly have availed yourself of the opportunity—since another may not occur—of visiting the house of the famous magician, Cagliostro, on the corner of Rue St. Claude, and Boulevard Beaumarchais"...
“I have not been in Paris for over two years,” said Cumberly, “nor was I aware that a house of that celebrated charlatan remained extant.”
“Ah! Dr. Cumberly, your judgment of Cagliostro is a harsh one. We have no time for such discussion now, but I should like to debate with you this question: was Cagliostro a charlatan? However, the point is this: Owing to alterations taking place in the Boulevard Beaumarchais, some of the end houses in Rue St. Claude are being pulled down, among them Number 1, formerly occupied by the Comte de Cagliostro. At the time that the work commenced, I availed myself of a little leisure to visit that house, once so famous. I was very much interested, and found it fascinating to walk up the Grande Staircase where so many historical personages once walked to consult the seer. But great as was my interest in the apartments of Cagliostro, I was even more interested in one of the apartments in a neighboring house, into which—quite accidentally, you understand—I found myself looking.”