It's the second edition of the newly resurrected It's Tuesday, Where Are You meme sponsored by raidergirl3. Every Tuesday we can share what we're reading by describing the setting. You can answer in the comments on the It's Tuesday, Where Are You post (click, click, click), you can make your own post on your blog, what ever you like!
A large glass door opens into a spacious vestibule where three or four office-boys are always in waiting. On the right are the rooms to which the public is admitted, and from which a narrow passage leads to the principal cash-room. The offices of the corresponding clerk, book-keeper, and general accounts are on the left. At the farther end is a small court on which open seven or eight little wicket doors. These are kept closed, except on certain days when notes are due; and then they are indispensable. M. Fauvel's private office is on the first floor over the offices, and leads into his elegant private apartments. This private office communicates directly with the bank by means of a narrow staircase, which opens into the room occupied by the head cashier.
This room, which in the bank goes by the name of the "cash-office," is proof against all attacks, no matter how skilfully planned; indeed, it could almost withstand a regular siege, sheeted as it is like a monitor. The doors, and the partition where the wicket door is cut, are covered with thick sheets of iron; and a heavy grating protects the fireplace. Fastened in the wall by enormous iron clamps is a safe, a formidable and fantastic piece of furniture, calculated to fill with envy the poor devil who easily carries his fortune in a pocket-book. This safe, which is considered the masterpiece of the firm of Becquet, is six feet in height and four and a half in width, made entirely of wrought iron, with triple sides, and divided into isolated compartments in case of fire. The safe is opened by an odd little key, which is, however, the least important part of the mechanism. Five movable steel buttons, upon which are engraved all the letters of the alphabet, constitute the real power of this ingenious safe. Before inserting the key into the lock, the letters on the buttons must be in the exact position in which they were placed when the safe was locked. In M. Fauvel's bank, as everywhere, the safe was always closed with a word that was changed from time to time. This word was known only to the head of the bank and the cashier, each of whom had also a key to the safe.
In a fortress like this, a person could deposit more diamonds than the Duke of Brunswick's, and sleep well assured of their safety."
Except that a person can't....because a thief has managed to make off with 350,000 francs.
From: File No. 113 by Émile Gaboriau