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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/153

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self, there was nothing for him to do. M. Longuet, unfortunately, refused absolutely to let his neighbour go. He bade him sit down, and sat down himself.

"Signor Petito," he said in a tone of the most exquisite politeness, "I do not like your face. It is not your fault; but it is certainly not mine. There is no doubt that you are the most cowardly and contemptible of sneak-thieves. But what of that? It's no business of mine, but of some honest executioner of the King who will invite you next season to go harvesting at the ladder, where one fine day he will set you floating gently in the breeze to the end that, like a fine fellow, you may keep the sheep of the moon. Don't smile, Signor Petito." Signor Petito was not smiling. "You have absurd ears; and I am certain that with ears like those you never dare go near Guilleri Cross-roads."[1]

Signor Petito clasped his hands and said with chattering teeth, "My wife's waiting for me."

"What are you doing, Marceline?" cried Theophrastus impatiently. "Can't you see that Signor Petito is in a hurry? His wife's

  1. At Guilleri Cross-roads there stood a pillory. It was there that they used to cut off the ears of thieves.