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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"I don't like to be contradicted to my face!" snarled Theophrastus, looking at him with a very evil eye and baring his teeth.

Signor Petito protested that he had no intention in the world of doing anything of the kind.

"To my face—I'm well aware that mine is a valuable head," said Theophrastus, regarding Signor Petito with an air which grew stranger and stranger. "Do you know how much it is worth, Signor Petito, the Child's head? No? … Well, since an opportunity offers, I'm going to tell you. And while I'm about it, I 'll tell you a little story which may be useful to you. Come into the Sucking-Pig."

"B—B—But this is the Café B—B—Boussets," stammered Signor Petito, who was growing frightened.

"The mist has muddled you. You've missed your way among all these ploughed fields," said Theophrastus, sitting down on a bench before one of the tables. Then he laughed on a very sinister note, and went on: "So you wanted to annoy me, M. Petito. So much the worse for you. What will you have to drink? A glass of ratafia? The excellent Madame Taconet [1]

  1. Theophrastus was quite accurate in these historical details. I have discovered that a Madame Taconet did keep, two hundred years ago, the Sucking-Pig tavern,