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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

"She is as fond of me as ever!" cried Theophrastus with some heat.

As he left the house, Ambrose said to him, "Be sure you remember me very kindly to Marceline."

Theophrastus said that he would; but to himself he said:

"Marceline will never see me; she must never see me. Not even the Catacombs have torn out my fatal Black Feather. I must not trouble her peace. She shall never see me. But I—I wish to see her once again, from afar, to see if she is happy."

He sobbed in the street.

It is nine o'clock at night, a dark winter's night. Theophrastus mounts the slope at the top of which rise the walls of Azure Waves Villa. With a trembling hand he draws back the bolt of the little door of the garden behind the house. He crosses the garden gently, noiselessly, one hand pressed against his heart, which is beating even more furiously than on the night of the purring of the little violet cat—his good heart, his great heart, still overflowing with love for the wife he wishes to see happy.

There is a light in the drawing-room; and