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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/285

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CHAPTER XXIV

THE SOLUTION IN THE CATACOMBS

"When one comes to oneself in the depth of the Catacombs," says Commissary Mifroid in the admirable report of the matter which he drew up, "the first thought which steals into one's mind is a fearful one: the fear of being old-fashioned. I mean by that a sudden anxiety lest one should find oneself reproducing all the ridiculous behaviour of which writers of romance and melodrama never fail to make their unfortunate heroes guilty when they find themselves immured in caves, grottoes, excavations, caverns, or tombs.

"At the moment of my fall, even while I was so rapidly covering the space which separated me from the soil of the Catacombs, my presence of mind did not forsake me. I was aware that I was falling into those thousand-year-old subways which interlace their innumerable and capricious windings under the soil of Paris. The next thing I was aware of was