Page:Passages from the Life of a Philosopher.djvu/250
284 PICKING LOCKS, VIDOCQ, HOBBS.
walk. He then stood still and altered hb height alternately, several times to about the same amount
I inquired whether the altered height, if sustained for several hours, produced fatigue. He replied that it did not, and that he had often used it during a whole day without any additional fatigue. He remarked that he had found this gift very useful as a disguise. I asked whether any medical man had examined the question ; but it did not appear that any satisfactory explanation had been arrived at
I now entered upon a favourite subject of my own — ^the art of picking locks — ^but, to my great disappointment, I found him not at all strong upon that question. I had myself bestowed some attention upon it, and had written a paper,
- On the Art of Opening all Locks,' at the conclusion of which
I had proposed a plan of partially defeating my own method. My paper on that subject is not yet published.
Several years after Yidocq's appearance in London, the Exhibition of 1851 occurred. On one of my earliest visits, I observed a very curious lock of large dimensions with its inter- nal mechanism fully exposed to view. I found, on inquiry, that it belonged to the American department. Having dis- covered the exhibitor, I asked for an explanation of the lock. I listened with great interest to a very profound disquisition upon locks and the means of picking them, conveyed to me with the most unaffected simplicity.
I felt that the maker of that lock surpassed me in know- ledge of the subject almost as much as I had thought I ex- celled Yidocq. Having mentioned it to the late Duke of Wellington, he proposed that we should pay a visit to the lock the next time I accompanied him to the Exhibition. We did so a few days after, when the Duke was equally pleased with the look and its inventor. Mr. Hobbs, the