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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/266

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CHAPTER XXI

THE EARLESS MAN WITH HIS HEAD OUT OF THE WINDOW

Let us state this geometrical problem in the simplest words: an express train has to cover the ground between two little stations three miles apart. It is announced at the second when it passes the first; and yet they wait for it at the second in vain. They hurry from both stations down the line to find the wreck; but they do not so much as find the train, an express train in which there are perhaps a hundred passengers.

That the station-master of A should have fallen down dead at the shock of this unheard-of, bewildering, stupefying, absurd, diabolical, and yet how simple (as we shall learn later) disappearance of the train, is not greatly to be wondered at. The minds of all of them were shaken by the occurrence. The station-master of B was not in a much better condition than his colleague. Everyone present uttered incoherent cries. They kept calling the train, as if