Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/40

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
20
THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

walls which have heard! It was not up above, in the sunlight, that the Prattler spoke; it was here, in this night of the underworld. Here are the rings in the walls. Is it the ring of Ravaillac? I no longer remember.

"But towards the ray, towards the unique ray, motionless and eternal, the faint, square ray, which from the beginning of ages took and preserved the form of the air-hole, I advance; I advance in a stumbling hurry, while the fever consumes me, blazes, and dizzies my brain. My feet stop, but with such a shock that one would believe them caught by invisible hands, risen from the soil; my fingers run over the wall, groping and fumbling that spot in the wall. What do my fingers want? What is the thought of my fingers? I had a pen-knife in my pocket; and all at once I let my green umbrella fall to the ground to take my pen-knife from my pocket. And I scraped, with certainty, between two stones. I cleared away the dust and mortar from between two stones. Then my knife pierced a thing between the two stones and brought it out.

"That is why I know I am not mad. That thing is under my eyes. In my quietest hours, I, Theophrastus Longuet, can look at it on my desk between my latest models of rubber