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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/144

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hour had passed; they were almost asleep, when a second fright made them spring up in bed. A third purring struck on their ears. If the first purring had smitten them with terror, and the second made them smile, the third purring frightened them out of their lives.

"It's impossible!" said Marceline in a chattering whisper. "We 're victims of an hallucination! B-B-B-Besides, it's n-n-not really surprising after what happened to you at the Conciergerie!"

The purring once more ceased. This time it was Marceline who rose. She opened the door of the study, turned sharply towards Theophrastus, and said, but in what a faint and dying voice:

"You did n't put the violet cat back on the bureau!"

"But I did!" groaned Theophrastus.

"But it's gone back to the tea-table!"

"Good God!" cried poor Theophrastus; and he buried his head under the bed-clothes.

The violet cat no longer purred. Marceline became persuaded that in his perturbation her husband had left it on the tea-table. She took it up, holding her breath, and set it back on the bureau. The violet cat made its purring heard for the fourth time. Marceline and Theophrastus