Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/131

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

(gardeners, market-gardeners) of Ferté-sous-Jouarre. These instincts are good. But you have also the soul of Cartouche, which is detestable. Take care: war is declared. The question is, which will conquer, the soul of long ago or the instincts of to-day.'

"I asked him if the soul of Cartouche was truly altogether detestable, which would have grieved me. I was pleased to learn that it had its good points.

"'Cartouche,' said he, 'expressly forbade his men to kill, or even wound, wayfarers without some reason. When he was at work in Paris with any of his bands, and his men brought him prisoners, he spoke to them with the utmost politeness and gentleness and made them restore a part of their spoil. Sometimes the affair was confined to a mere exchange of clothes. When he found in the pockets of the coat thus exchanged letters of importance, he ran after its late owner to give them back to him, wished him a pleasant evening, and gave him the password. It was a maxim of this extraordinary man that no one ought to be robbed twice on the same night, or treated too harshly, in order that the Parisians might not take a dislike to going out in the evening.'

"Since, then, he was opposed to unreason-