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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"What else?"

"Nothing else."

"Don't you perceive the thick bars across the windows?"

"Of course I do."

"At that time, my dear Adolphe, people took the greatest care to have their windows barred; never did one see as many barred windows in Paris as in the year 1720. And I could swear that these bars here were fixed the day after the affairs of Petits-Augustins Street. First the Parisians garnished all their ground-floors with bars. But this precaution gave us no trouble at all since we had Simon the Auvergnat."

Adolphe thought the moment opportune to find out who Simon the Auvergnat, who was always appearing in their talk without any appreciable reason, exactly was.

"He was a very useful object, he was the base of my column," said Theophrastus.

"And what's that—the base of your column?"

"You don't understand? I'll just show you. Suppose you're Simon the Auvergnat," said Theophrastus with almost boyish eagerness.

Adolphe was quite willing, but not for long.