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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/309

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of four soldiers of the Val-de-GrĂ¢ce who, by the help of a rope, descended a well two hundred feet deep. They were in the Catacombs. Since they did not reappear, they let down drummers who made all the noise they could with their drums. But since in the Catacombs sound does not carry, no one answered the roll-call. They searched for them. At the end of forty-eight hours they found them dying in a cul-de-sac.

"'They had no moral force,' said Theophrastus.

"'They were idiots,' said I. 'When one is stupid enough to lose one's way in the Catacombs, one is unworthy of pity, I will go so far as to say, of interest.'

"Thereupon he asked me how I should myself escape losing my way in the Catacombs. Since we reached a place where another passage crossed the one we were in, I could answer without delay. I said:

"'Here are two passages, which are you going to take?'

"One of them ran directly away from our starting-point; the other almost certainly returned to it. Since it was our purpose to get away from our starting-point, M. Longuet pointed to the first.