Episode 26: “THE SECRET PANEL”

The Marquis de Guaita, Josephin Péladan and myself (the three only living beings who knew the existence of the mysterious book fallen from the sky) had been recruited by Papus to recover that valuable jewel of occult literature. After an intense interrogation to the administrator of the Rosicrucian Order, Papus learned that, during his absence, they had sold some furniture from the headquarters of the Order, and among them the credenza in which Papus was so interested. His interest was more than justified: in it Papus had made, without anyone knowing, a secret panel to hide the valuable book. He also obtained information regarding the buyer of the credenza: none other than the President of the Republic, by then Émile Loubet, in order to decorate his private chambers in the “palais de l’Elysée”. Papus gathered the above-mentioned members of the Order and raised the imperative need to recover the book. In my naiveté, I suggested that we go to the Elysée and ask the President. Papus turned and, as I was already in the habit of it, I bent down and Péladan received such a slap that it knocked him from the chair. From which I deduced that the authorities could not find out about the existence of that book. Then the Marquis de Guaita took the floor: Two days later a solemn banquet for the mayors of France would be held in the park of the palais de l’Elysée to celebrate the centenary of the First Republic. That would be an unbeatable opportunity for him to infiltrate the palace disguised as a rabbit and retrieve the manuscript. The plan seemed to me so preposterous that I was sure that the Marquis was going to receive another loud slap. However, Papus congratulated him for such a brilliant idea and, speaking on behalf of the group, announced that the rest of us would lend him support in his mission.

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