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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"'All the historians are agreed…'

"'The silly idiots! I know perfectly well that I died at the Gallows of Montfaucon!' I said with absolute assurance.

"'You? You died at the Gallows of Montfaucon?' cried Adolphe beside himself. 'You died in 1721 at the Gallows of Montfaucon? But it was years since they had executed anyone there!'

"But I protested still louder than he, so that we became the centre of a little crowd.

"'I didn't say that I was hanged at Montfaucon! the Gallows of Montfaucon! I said that I died there!' I cried.

"As I shouted it, I must have seemed to call to witness the truth of my words the forty persons who seemed interested in our altercation, of which indeed they can have understood nothing, with the exception of one gentleman who seemed to have caught its meaning, for he said to Adolphe with the utmost calmness, and with extreme politeness:

"'Surely you're not going to teach this gentleman how he died!'

"Adolphe admitted himself worsted; and we walked along arm in arm towards the Pont-Neuf."