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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/232

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He looked into the shops; he watched with a Parisian's interest the moving panorama of the streets. M. Lecamus, who followed him, observed nothing abnormal in his actions; and in his reports to M. de la Nox he only laid stress on a single fact, truly unimportant, a somewhat prolonged halt before a butcher's stall. If this halt had not been a daily habit, even Adolphe, on the look-out as he was, would have paid no attention to it. Theophrastus, his hands behind his back playing with his green umbrella, would gaze with satisfaction at the red meat. He often had a talk with the butcher, a big, square-shouldered, cheery soul, always ready with some simple joke. One day Adolphe found that Theophrastus was prolonging his halt unduly. He walked up to the stall and found him engaged, with the butcher, in adorning the fresh meat with paper frills. It was a harmless occupation; and so M. de la Nox thought, for there is a note of his on the margin of Adolphe's report: "He can look at the red meat on the butcher's stall. It is just as well to let him 'see red' at times. It is the end of the Psychic crisis, and hurts no one."

Now this butcher, M. Houdry, was famous in his district for the whiteness and delicacy