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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/211

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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"The face of Theophrastus was set in an expression of stubborn pride, almost ferocious. Slowly it weakened in intensity as we stood waiting and watching him; then suddenly it changed to an expression of pain, and he uttered an ear-splitting yell.

"M. de la Nox and I started back; Marceline uttered a cry.

"Plainly M. de la Nox did not expect that yell, for he said in a tone of surprise, 'Why did you yell like that, Cartouche?'

"'I yell because it's so awful not to be able to denounce my accomplices! Their names are on the tip of my tongue; but they won't come off it! Can't they see that if I don't denounce them, it's because I can't move the tip of my tongue? Why didn't Cartouche move the tip of his tongue? I can't; and it's most unfair!'

"M. de la Nox was silent for a while. There was no reason why he should harrow our sensibilities with the pangs of that old-world ruffian. It was bad enough to see the anguished face of Theophrastus. After a while it grew serene again; and M. de la Nox said:

"'And what are you doing now, Cartouche?'

"'They are leaving me alone,' said Theophrastus. 'Only the doctor and the surgeon