Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/36

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
16
THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

state. But owing to the little labels on the drawers, on which one reads 'Senna,' 'Hops,' I did not succeed.

"That Bon Bec tower! They used also to call it The Prattler on account of the horrible cries which burst from it and made the quiet passer-by shudder and quicken his steps along the quay at the sound of the King's justice.

"Now Bon Bec tower is peaceful and very still. I am not complaining of it: it is Progress.

"But when we penetrated to that part of the Conciergerie which has hardly changed for centuries and were walking quietly along between those bare stone walls which no fresh facing, no profane plaster has ever covered, an inexplicable fever began to fill my veins; and when we were in the gloom at the end of Straw Alley, I cried, 'Zounds! It's Straw Alley!'

"At once I turned to see who had spoken those words. They were all staring at me; and I perceived plainly that I had spoken them myself. Indeed, my throat was still quivering from their utterance.

"The idiot of a guide asserted that we had passed Straw Alley. I contradicted him; and he shut up. I was sure of my facts, you un-