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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/29

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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"There you have the old Conciergerie in all its horror... Then the gentleman with the green umbrella said to me, 'Zounds! It's Straw Alley!'"

"He said that? Are you sure? Did he really say 'Zounds'?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, after all, there's nothing very remarkable in his saying, 'Zounds! It's Straw Alley!'"

"But wait a bit, sir," said the guide with yet more animation. "I answered that he was wrong, that Straw Alley was what we to-day call 'Paris Street.' He replied in that strange voice: 'Zounds! Are you going to teach me about Straw Alley? Why, I've slept on the straw there, like the others!' I said laughing, though I felt a bit uncomfortable, that no one had slept in Straw Alley for more than two hundred years."

"And what did he say to that?"

"He was going to answer when his wife interfered and said: 'What are you talking about, Theophrastus? Are you going to teach the guide his business when you've never been to the Conciergerie before in your life?' Then he said, but in his natural voice, the voice in which he had been speaking since they came