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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

bish. To try to question spirits by turning tables is utterly absurd. I know what I am talking about, for, wishing to prove the absurdities of his theories, I have taken part in séances with Adolphe and my wife. We sat for hours round a little table which absolutely refused to turn. I laughed at him heartily; and that annoyed my wife, because women are always ready to put faith in the impossible and believe in the mysterious.

"He used to bring her books which she read greedily; and sometimes he would amuse himself by trying to send her to sleep by making passes before her face. I have never seen anything sillier. I should not indeed have stood it from anyone else; but I have a strong liking for Adolphe. He has a powerful face; and he has been a great traveller.

"He and Marceline called me a sceptic. I answered that I was not a sceptic in the sense of a man who believes in nothing or doubts everything. I believe in everything worthy of belief; for example, I believe in Progress. I am not a sceptic; I am a philosopher.

"During his travels Adolphe read a great deal; I manufactured rubber stamps. I am what people call 'an earthy spirit.' I do not make a boast of it; I merely state it.