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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/281

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he makes no mention of them in his memoirs. There is only one thing that is really important, the explanation of the disappearance of the express.

In the dull November sunset a workman was bricking up a hole in the roadway of a Paris square in the ancient Quarter d'Enfer. As he filled it he was singing the Internationale, the hymn of the advanced Labour Parties throughout the world.

This workman, a bricklayer, was with his comrades engaged in assisting in that perpetual occupation of modern municipalities, getting the streets up; and the street was up.

The municipal engineers had been making a new sewer through the Quarter d'Enfer with a patient disregard of the fact that under that quarter the Catacombs spread their innumerable tunnels. It was but natural that the bottom of the end of the excavation, in which they were laying the new sewer, should have fallen out, and that they should have been obliged to rest the pipes on railway sleepers cut in half. They were, however, at the end of their task: the hole at the bottom of the excavation, which ran right down to a passage of the Catacombs, had been nearly bricked up; and the aperture which remained could not have