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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/326

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The audience was taking possession of the chairs; people were arguing and joking about the macabre decoration of the walls.

"All the cafés of the Abyss, all the artistico-mystico-macabre scenes in which life is laughed at and death jeered at, all those boxes of the Butte, in which skulls grin from the walls, and skeletons rattle on the floor, all the funereal carnival of Montmartre were surpassed.

"We had before us fifty musicians of the Opera, of Lamoureux, and of Colonne, who had come down into the Kingdom of Bones to serenade the Dead. And under the vaults of the Catacombs, among their avenues and crossways, where stretch the tragic walls covered with the bony wrecks of men, the funeral march of Chopin raised its lamentation before an audience of æsthetes, of artists, of Bulgarians, of Moldo-Wallachians, of frequenters of first-nights, of M. Mifroid, and M. Theophrastus Longuet, who sleeps peacefully on his chair as he always does at the theatre.

"'Perfect, that first violin! Perfect!' I said under my breath. (I am a connoisseur.)

"What gave me the greatest delight was the exquisite fashion in which the orchestra rendered the adagio of the third symphony of Beethoven. Finally we had 'The Dance Ma-