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Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/337

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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

thrusting forth? The upward thrust of the Past—the Black Feather!

The tears are drying in the eyes of Theophrastus. His eyes are gleaming through the dim winter night with an evil gleam. He springs to his feet; he grinds his teeth; he cries hoarsely:

"By the throttle of Madame Phalaris!"

The Past has him in its grip; he is racked by the pangs of the old-time jealousy, and the pangs of the new. In three seconds he is through the window and in the drawing-room. Wild screams of terror greet his entrance; but in ten seconds more M. Lecamus lies senseless in the big easy-chair, bound hand and foot with the bell-rope. When he recovers his senses, the hand of the clock has moved on ten minutes. Torn by fears and suspense, he listens with all his ears. He hears faint movements on the floor above. The minutes pass; twenty minutes pass. Then there is a sound of heavy footsteps on the stairs. Theophrastus enters, once more a changed Theophrastus: his eyes no longer gleam with an evil light; they are full of unshed tears. His face is working with intense emotion; and on his shoulder is a portmanteau.

What does that portmanteau contain?