Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/136

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

napkins, and went off to supper (oh, what an evening it was!) at La Belle Hélène's, who, you remember, kept the Heart tavern?

"Now why, I wonder, did I say 'You remember'? It must be that I regard you as a friend I had in those days, as trusty as yourself, of whom I was just as fond—Old Easy-Going—my favourite friend. By the throttle of Madame Phalaris! he was a fine fellow—sergeant of the City Guard and one of my lieutenants. What a lot of those City Guards I did have among my men! Why, when I was arrested, a hundred and fifty of them, officers and men, fled to the colonies for fear I should split. They had no need to: torture never drew a word from me!

"'Do you remember the night you were on duty at the Palais-Royal and stole the Regent's silver-gilt candlesticks?'"

The voice of Theophrastus died dreamily away down the vistas of the past; but M. Adolphe Lecamus said nothing: his face was flushed; and he was breathing heavily.

Presently Theophrastus woke from his dream to tell his friend of yet another outrageous exploit, the theft of Mississippi Bonds to the value of a million and three hundred thousand francs from the great financier Law. He