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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

at Clermont College and were a pupil there at the same time as Voltaire. But that's a mere legend: unless you learnt to read from the gipsies, you never learnt to read at all."

"I like that!" cried Theophrastus. "How could I have learnt to write unless I knew how to read? And if I did n't know how to write, how could I have written the document I hid in the cellars of the Conciergerie?"

"That's reasonable enough. But at your trial—"

"Did I have a trial?" interrupted Theophrastus eagerly.

"I should think you did—a very famous trial!" said Adolphe. "And at your trial you declared that you did not know how to write. You signed all your depositions with a cross, and you never wrote a line to a single soul."

"Because one never should put anything in writing," said Theophrastus firmly. "I was doubtless afraid to compromise myself. None the less the document exists."

"That's true. But let us go back to your eleventh year. One day you went with some of your school-fellows to Saint-Laurent fair—"

"Look here, Adolphe: could n't you put