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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

bade them good-night at the bottom of the stairs.

That flat consisted of a narrow hall, nearly filled, and certainly cramped, by a chest of polished oak. Into this hall four doors opened, those of the kitchen and dining-room on the left, those of the drawing-room and bedroom, which looked out on to the street, on the right. There was a third window looking out on to the street, that of the tiny room which Theophrastus had made his study. This study had two doors; one of them opened into the bedroom, the other into the dining-room. In this study was a bureau against the wall; and in it were drawers above and below its writing-table. This writing-table let down and shut up, and was fastened by a somewhat elaborate lock at the edge of the bureau's top. When it was locked, all the drawers were locked too. As a rule, Theophrastus used to set a little violet cat on the keyhole of the lock, as much to hide it as for ornament.

This little violet cat, which had glass eyes, was nothing but an ingenious silk ball which acted as a pen-wiper and pin-cushion. About four feet away from the desk was a very small tea-table.

On entering their flat, Theophrastus and