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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"It was the truth; one could not doubt it to see the anguish on the contorted face of Theophrastus. It was Cartouche who was tortured and Theophrastus who suffered. That proved the identity of the soul; but it also proved that the pain had not ceased to be effective after two hundred years. That was what dismayed M. de la Nox. It was the first time that a case of this kind had come under his observation during his operations with the Astral Scalpel. The pain of Cartouche found voice through two centuries; this cry of anguish which had not issued from his stubborn lips, had waited two hundred years to burst from the lungs of Theophrastus Longuet!

"M. Eliphas de la Nox buried his head, his luminous head, in his hands and prayed ardently: 'In the beginning you were the Silence! Æon eternal! Source of Æons!…'

"At the end of the prayer he felt Theophrastus' pulse and listened carefully to the beating of his heart. Then he said:

"'M. Longuet is plainly a man of strong constitution, and thoroughly sound. In fact, from that point of view there's scarcely anything to fear. He will bury Cartouche. I think we ought to go through with the operation.'