Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/39

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
19
THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

well known to me. I expected certain rough places in the wall; and they came to the tips of my fingers; I counted the edges of the stones and I knew that at the end of a certain number I had only to turn to see at the far end of a passage a ray which the sun had forgotten there since the beginning of the history of Paris. I turned and saw the ray; and I felt my heart beat loudly from the bottom of the centuries."

M. Longuet interrupts his narrative for a while to describe the whirl of his mind during this singular hour. He has the greatest difficulty in remaining master of his thought, the utmost difficulty in following it. It rushes on in front of him like a bolting horse whose reins he has let go. It leaves him behind and bounds ahead, leaving on the paper, as traces of its passage, words of such profundity that when he looks at them, he says, they make him giddy.

And he adds, in a paroxysm of dread:

"One must stop on the edge of these words as one stops on the edge of a precipice."

And he guides the pen with a feverish hand, as he goes on burying himself in the depths of these subterranean galleries:

"And that's the Prattler! These are the