Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/251

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
227
THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

half cooked, in his own oven. But before putting him into it, Cartouche had taken the precaution of previously assassinating him."

Here Theophrastus once more broke off his reading.

"Previously!" he cried. "Previously! These journalists are marvellous!… I had previously assassinated him!… But why have you gone into the corner? Am I frightening you? Come, come, my dear Marceline; come, Adolphe: a little coolness. You 'll want it for the story of the calf!"

"Never," says Theophrastus in his memoirs, which from this epoch become deeply tinged with a vast melancholy, "never before had either my wife or M. Lecamus worn such expressions at the reading of a mere newspaper article. But if we let ourselves be frightened by everything the newspapers tell us, we should be for ever on the rack. The journalists describe the events of the day with a particularly surprising power of imagination in the matter of crime. They must have their daily blood. It is indeed laughable. A knife-thrust more or less costs them nothing; and they only make me shrug my shoulders. The knife-thrusts of these gentlemen do not trouble my digestion in the