Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/215

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

that one could come across, pain so effective. He had no doubt that it must be owing to the fact that he had never before operated on souls reincarnate after an interval of less than five hundred years; that even those were very rare; and the bulk of his clientele was composed of souls at least two thousand years old. I fancied that he was somewhat out of his depth; and it surprised me beyond words.

"Again Theophrastus yelled; then suddenly Marceline cried:

"'Look! Look, his hair!'

"The most surprising sight met our eyes: the hair of Theophrastus was turning white!

"The whiteness spread over it as smoothly as the edge of the rising tide spreads over the sand, but more slowly. In five minutes all his hair had turned white except one lock on his brow.

"We were silent; and I wiped the perspiration from my face. M. de la Nox was panting; Marceline was sobbing. Somehow that slow whitening of the hair was more painful, more impressively dreadful than those piercing, ear-splitting yells.

"M. de la Nox seemed almost at his wits' end. Twice I saw him open his lips to question Theophrastus; twice he shut them with-