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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

what a decoration! It's a decoration composed of three million and fifty thousand skeletons, which have been taken from the cemeteries of Saint-M├ędard, Cluny, Saint-Landry, the Carmelites, the Benedictines, and the Innocents. All the bones, well sorted, arranged, classified, and ticketed, form along the walls of the passages, roses, parallelograms, triangles, rectangles, spirals and many other figures of a marvellous exactitude. Let us desire, my friend, to reach this domain of death. It will mean life! For I do not know a spot in Paris more agreeably frequented. You only meet there engaged couples, couples in the middle of their honeymoon, lovers, and, in fact, all the happy people. But we are not there yet. What is three quarters of a mile of bones out of three hundred and ten miles of Catacombs?'

"'Not much,' he said with a deep sigh. 'How many miles do you think we have gone, M. Mifroid?'

"I begged him not to waste time in calculations which must be entirely futile; then, to cheer him up, I told him the story of the janitor and of the four soldiers. The first was very short: there was once a janitor of the Catacombs who lost his way in them; they found his body a week later. The second tells