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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

heard to thank Æon, Source of Æons, for this happy event.

Theophrastus, as his legs healed, had serious thoughts of returning to business. He had retired young, at the age of forty-one, owing to his invention of a superior rubber stamp which had ousted the rubber stamps of rival manufacturers from the market. His mind was full of yet another innovation which would revolutionise the whole Rubber-stamp Industry. There could be no stronger symptom of a complete cure, no stronger proof that the operation had not weakened his mind. And when he began to get about again, Mme. Longuet found that he had become so natural that she, and M. Lecamus along with her, believed that their misfortunes had at last tired out Destiny.

Theophrastus would never have his Black Feather again: it had been extirpated for the rest of time.

However, by the instructions of M. Eliphas de Saint-Elme de Taillebourg de la Nox, they kept a careful watch on him. It was his habit to rise at an early hour, and after having breakfasted on a cup of chocolate and buttered toast, go for a stroll on the outer Boulevard. He was trying his legs. He began to find in them their pristine elasticity.