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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"At the same moment it occurred to me that it would be quite up-to-date for a man in my situation to illuminate without further delay the opaque darkness which weighed so heavily on my eyes and tired them, with a sudden and radiant electric star. Had I not, before falling into this hole, bought half a dozen electric lamps of the latest pattern? The parcel must have accompanied me in my fall. Without stirring I groped about and laid my hand on it. By great good luck the lamps were unbroken; I took one of them and pressed the button. The excavation was lighted by a fairy glow; and I could not refrain from smiling at the unfortunate wretch who, shut up in some cavern, invariably crawls along, holding his breath, behind a miserable little flame which presently he hurriedly blows out.

"I rose to my feet, and examined the ceiling. I had known that the streets were up, and that the work was nearly finished. I was the less surprised therefore, on looking up through the hole through which I had fallen, to see no spark of daylight, and to realise that it had been quite bricked up. Now several yards of earth separated me from living creatures, without the slightest possibility of my boring through them, even if the ceiling had