“Yes, I have. The old Jew guardian has had notice from the notary. To morrow, at six in the morning, the masons will unwall the door, and, for the first time since one hundred and fifty years, the house will be opened.”
Father d’Aigrigny remained in thought for a moment, and then said to Rodin: “On the eve of such a decisive day, we must neglect nothing, and call every circumstance to memory. Read me the copy of the note, inserted in the archives of the society, a century and a half ago, on the subject of Rennepont.”
The secretary took the note from the case, and read as follows:
“’This 19th day of February, 1682, the Reverend Father-Provincial Alexander Bourdon sent the following advice, with these words in the margin: Of extreme importance for the future.
“’We have just discovered, by the confession of a dying person to one of our fathers, a very close secret.
“’Marius de Rennepont, one of the most active and redoubtable partisans of the Reformed Religion, and one of the most determined enemies of our Holy Society, had apparently re-entered the pale of our Mother Church, but with the sole design of saving his worldly goods, threatened with confiscation because of his irreligious and damnable errors. Evidence having been furnished by different persons of our company to prove that the conversion of Rennepont was not sincere, and in reality covered a sacrilegious lure, the possessions of the said gentleman, now considered a relapsed heretic, were confiscated by our gracious sovereign, his Majesty King Louis XIV, and the said Rennepont was condemned to the galleys for life. He escaped his doom by a voluntary death; in consequence of which abominable crime, his body was dragged upon a hurdle, and flung to the dogs on the highway.
“’From these preliminaries, we come to the great secret, which is of such importance to the future interests of our Society.
“’His Majesty Louis XIV., in his paternal and Catholic goodness towards the Church in general, and our Order in particular, had granted to us the profit of this confiscation, in acknowledgment of our services in discovering the infamous and sacrilegious relapse of the said Rennepont.
“’But we have just learned, for certain, that a house situated in Paris, No. 3, Rue Saint-Francois, and a sum of fifty thousand gold crowns, have escaped this confiscation, and have consequently been stolen from our Society.
“’The house was conveyed, before the confiscation, by means of a feigned purchase, to a friend of Rennepont’s a good Catholic, unfortunately, as against him we cannot take any severe measures. Thanks to the culpable, but secure connivance of his friend, the house has been walled up, and is only to be opened in a century and a half, according to the last will of Rennepont. As for the fifty thousand gold crowns, they have been placed in hands which, unfortunately, are hitherto unknown to us, in order to be invested