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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"Are you quite sure it was in its place last night?"

"Quite sure. I stuck my scarf-pin in its head. It was on the bureau, as it always is."

"You must have imagined it. Suppose I lit the light?" said Marceline.

"No, no, we might escape in the darkness … Suppose I went and opened the door on to the landing, and called the porter?"

"Don't get so terrified," said Marceline, who was little by little recovering her wits, since she no longer heard the violet cat. "The whole thing was an illusion. You changed its place last night; and it did n't purr."

"After all, it's quite possible," said Theophrastus, whose one desire was to get back into bed.

"Go and put it back in its place," said Marceline.

Theophrastus braced himself to the effort, went into the study, and with a swift and trembling hand took the cat from the tea-table, set it back on the bureau, and hurried back into bed.

The violet cat was no sooner back on the bureau than he began again his pur-r-r-r-r-r-r-r. That purring only made them smile: they knew what had set it going. A quarter of an