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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/127

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CHAPTER VIII

THE WAX MASK

At this point I let Theophrastus once more take up the narrative.

"I had the strongest desire," he writes, "to see and touch that wax which had been moulded on my own skin; and this desire grew, if possible, stronger when Adolphe told me that the Château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye had contained the wax portrait of the famous Cartouche since the 25th of April, 1849. It had been presented to it by an Abbé Niallier, who had inherited it under the will of a Monsieur Richot, an Officer of the Household of Louis XVI, who had had it for many years. It was all the more valuable for having belonged to the Royal Family.

"This bust was moulded by a Florentine artist a few days before my execution. On it is a cap of wool or rough leather; and it is dressed in a coarse linen shirt covered with soot, and a waistcoat and a jacket of black camlet. But the most extraordinary thing