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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

look at my little red arm! Look at my little red arm! And it is quite impossible that there should have been a wreck between the last station and this one. There is no bridge, sir, no viaduct, no works of art. Besides, just now I climbed to the top of that ladder against the big tank there. From it you can see the whole line right to the other station. I saw our people down the line, gesticulating, but I did not see the express!"

"Strange—very strange," said Theophrastus mournfully.

"Strange is n't the word for it! Look at my little red arm!"

"Inexplicable!" said Theophrastus gloomily.

"The most inexplicable thing in the world!" cried the signal-man.

"Not so: there is one thing even more inexplicable than an express which disappears with its engine and passengers without anyone being able to tell what has become of it," said Theophrastus in the same gloomy tone.

"What on earth's that?" said the signal-man, opening his astonished eyes wider than ever.

"Why, a railway-carriage without an engine which suddenly appears without one's being able to tell where it comes from."