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The Diamond Bracelet

A Story Told by a French Detective

It was during the palmiest days of the Empire. Never was Paris so gay; in fact, it was the fete day of the Emperor, the last flickering blaze of his greatness ere his glory departed forever. All Paris knew that he would grace the opera that night, and add to its usual luster the glittering pomp and circumstance of power. Accordingly, all that portion of Paris who had the necessary number of francs went to the opera, and, in honor of so great an occasion Mons. Blauvais, the director, was to produce “La Prophete.”

The overture was over; the emperor, accompanied by the empress, radiant in her beauty and glittering with jewels, had just entered the royal box; his suit, uniformed in every color of the rainbow, stood grouped in the background. In another moment the bell would tinkle and the opera commence. But in an instant of time, while every sound was heard, the second box to the right of the emperor was opened, the curtains were drawn aside, and revealed the lovely wife of the Russian ambassador, Duke Metzkervitch. No wonder that the bell tinkled unheard, and the curtain went up unnoticed; no wonder that every eye was fixed with a fascinated gaze upon the woman who had just taken her seat, and was calmly and with well-bred nonchalance glancing about the house; for upon her arms, blazing like beacons, sparkled the diamond bracelets of which Paris had heard so much, and which royalty had sought in vain to purchase. A hum of admiration, like the murmur of the sea, ran through the house, and then, for the first, the entrancing strains of the chorus were listened to.

When the curtain fell upon the first act, and Milord This was ogling Milady That, a servant, wearing the imperial livery, presented himself at the Russian ambassador’s box, rapped only as an imperial flunky could rap, and… Read More