Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/191

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
169
THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

My friend Adolphe was right; and I was sorry for it—on account of my finger. I am an honourable man and an honest manufacturer. I have always kept my word; and no bill of mine has ever been dishonoured. I did not hesitate. Could I have done otherwise?

"'Very well,' I said to Adolphe. 'I owe you a finger.'

"And seizing a small stone tomahawk, which lay on the desk of the Man of Light and was evidently used as a paper-weight, I raised it in the air, and was bringing it down on the little finger of my left hand which I had stuck well out on the corner of the desk—I had the right to give Adolphe the little finger of my left hand; for I had only said to him, 'You can cut off my finger,' without stipulating which finger; and I chose the finger the loss of which would inconvenience me the least. My little finger then would infallibly have been cut off, had not the Man of Light caught my wrist in a grip of steel and held it firmly.

"He bade me put down the tomahawk. I answered that I would not put down the tomahawk till I had cut off my finger which belonged to Adolphe.

"Adolphe exclaimed that my finger was of no use to him, and I could keep it. Marceline