Gumball Capital
By G. K. Chesterton


By G. K. Chesterton


The Blue Cross
The Secret Garden
The Queer Feet
The Flying Stars
The Invisible Man
The Honour of Israel Gow
The Wrong Shape
The Sins of Prince Saradine
The Hammer of God
The Eye of Apollo
The Sign of the Broken Sword
The Three Tools of Death

The Blue Cross

Between the silver ribbon of morning and the green glittering ribbon of
sea, the boat touched Harwich and let loose a swarm of folk like flies,
among whom the man we must follow was by no means conspicuous--nor
wished to be. There was nothing notable about him, except a slight
contrast between the holiday gaiety of his clothes and the official
gravity of his face. His clothes included a slight, pale grey jacket,
a white waistcoat, and a silver straw hat with a grey-blue ribbon. His
lean face was dark by contrast, and ended in a curt black beard that
looked Spanish and suggested an Elizabethan ruff. He was smoking a
cigarette with the seriousness of an idler. There was nothing about him
to indicate the fact that the grey jacket covered a loaded revolver,
that the white waistcoat covered a police card, or that the straw hat
covered one of the most powerful intellects in Europe. For this was
Valentin himself, the head of the Paris police and the most famous
investigator of the world; and he was coming from Brussels to London to
make the greatest arrest of the century.

Flambeau was in England. The police of three countries had tracked the
great criminal at last from Ghent to Brussels, from Brussels to the Hook
of Holland; and it was conjectured that he would take some advantage of
the unfamiliarity and confusion of the Eucharistic Congress, then
taking place in London. Probably he would travel as some minor clerk
or secretary connected with it; but, of course, Valentin could not be
certain; nobody could be certain about Flambeau.

It is many years now since this colossus of crime suddenly ceased
keeping the world in a turmoil; and when he ceased, as they said after
the death of Roland, there was a great quiet upon the earth. But in
his best days (I mean, of course, his worst) Flambeau was a figure as
statuesque and international as the Kaiser. Almost every morning the
daily paper announced that he had escaped the consequences of one
extraordinary crime by committing another. He was a Gascon of gigantic
stature and bodily daring; and the wildest tales were told of his
outbursts of athletic humour; how he turned the juge d'instruction
upside down and stood him on his head, "to clear his mind"; how he ran
down the Rue de Rivoli with a policeman under each arm. It is due to him
to say

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