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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/209

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without killing Cartouche, and consequently of letting that fiend in human form again become reincarnate in some unfortunate contemporary.

"But then it was M. Eliphas de Saint-Elme de Taillebourg de la Nox who had assumed the responsibility, the greatest living expert in Psychical Surgery, the delicacy of whose Astral Scalpel is known to the initiates throughout the world, even to far Thibet. He knew how to move the spirit, quietly and calmly, round its own death, so preparing it for the last moment. He made his dead man live till the very moment at which he made his dead man die!

"He had brought Theophrastus-Cartouche to the hour when his jailors took him from his cell to lead him to the Torture-chamber. His next question was:

"'And where are you now, Cartouche?'

"'I am going down a little staircase at the end of Straw Alley… They are opening a grating… I am in the darkness of the cellars… These cellars frighten me… I know them well… Ah, yes: I was shut up in these cellars in the days of Philippe-le-Bel!'

"M. de la Nox raised his voice in a tone of awful command, and said:

"'Cartouche! You are Cartouche! You