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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

of his veal. His customers often wondered where the calves of M. Houdry were fed. It was a mystery which was making his fortune. In the course of time, Theophrastus won his heart and was admitted to his confidence. The secret of his success lay, not in the fact that his calves were specially fed, but in the fact that he killed them himself and in his method of killing them: he used to slice off their heads with a single stroke of a great cutlass.

As their intimacy increased, Theophrastus was admitted to witness the operation; and he spent many a happy hour in the slaughter-house of the butcher, observing him kill and cut up the calves which were bringing him wealth and fame.

Theophrastus was exceedingly interested in the whole process. He learnt the names of the different instruments with enthusiasm, and was presently allowed to help with the simpler parts of the process. It was a privilege. He came to feel even more than M. Houdry's scorn for the methods of ordinary butchers.

But every day as he left the stall he made the same little joke. He said:

"You kill a calf every day. You must be careful, my dear M. Houdry; or you will find