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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

'I was waiting for that word,' said M. de la Nox quickly. 'Now I can make him quit the Present! Pray, madame! pray, my friend! the hour has come! I am going to tempt Providence!'

"Then, raising his hand above the brow of my sleeping friend, he said in a voice of command impossible, utterly impossible, to disobey: 'Cartouche, what were you doing at ten o'clock at night on the First of April, 1721?'

"'At ten o'clock at night on the First of April, 1721,' said the sleeping Theophrastus without a moment's hesitation, 'I tap sharply twice on the door of the Queen Margot tavern… After the row I should never have believed that I could have got so easily to Ferronnerie Street… But I did for the horse of the French Guard, or rather he fell down near the pump at Notre-Dame… I have thrown my pursuers off my track… At the Queen Margot I find Patapon, Saint James's Gate, and Black-mug… Pretty-Milkmaid is with them… I tell them the story over a bottle of ratafia… I trusted them; and I tell them that I suspect Old Easy-Going, and perhaps Marie-Antoinette herself, of having whispered something to the Police… They all protested… But I shout louder than they;