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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"You are French?"

Theophrastus stopped short in the middle of the court.

"Do we look like Germans?" he said with a confident smile, for he was quite sure that he was French.

"It's the first time I ever remember French people coming to visit the Conciergerie. As a rule French people don't visit anything," said the guide with his air of official gloom; and he went on.

"It is wrong of them. The monuments of the Past are the Book of History," said Theophrastus sententiously; and he stopped short to look proudly at his wife and Adolphe, for he found the saying fine.

They were not listening to him; and as he followed the guide, he went on in a confidential tone, "I am an old Parisian myself; and if I have waited till to-day to visit the monuments of the Past, it was because my business—I was a manufacturer of rubber stamps right up to last week—did not give me the leisure to do it till the hour I retired from it. That hour has struck; and I am going to improve my mind." And with an air of decision he struck the time-old pavement with the ferule of his green umbrella.