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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/193

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CHAPTER XIV

THE OPERATION BEGINS

It is to M. Lecamus that we owe the account of the operation which M. Eliphas de Saint-Elme de Taillebourg de la Nox thought it his duty to perform on Theophrastus Longuet. His account of it, apparently written for the Pneumatic Club, at the instance of Theophrastus himself, is among the papers in the sandalwood box. It runs:

"The scene of savagery which would have ended in my poor friend Theophrastus losing the little finger of his left hand, but for the presence of mind of M. Eliphas de la Nox, proved to us that the bloodthirsty imagination of Cartouche had absolutely filled the brain of that honest man, my best and trustiest friend. It seemed to us therefore that the sole cure for this terrible evil was the death of Cartouche.

"M. de la Nox, indeed, did not hesitate; he had tried reason in vain, though for a moment we had believed it victorious: an operation