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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

on the pretext of straightening out his accounts. Its window looks down on to the little grass-plot in the middle of Anvers Square; and he leaned out over the sill, contemplating the prosaic reality of the scene as if he could not have enough of it. He was above all pleased by the nurses wheeling along their babies in perambulators and by the shouting of the children romping about the Square.

His thought was of a great unity and a great simplicity. It was entirely contained in the phrase: "The World has not changed."

No: the world had not changed. There were the babies in the perambulators; and as the clock struck two the Signora Petito, wife of the Professor of Italian who occupied the flat above his, began to play The Carnival of Venice.

No: nothing in the world had changed; yet when he turned round, he could see on his desk, among the models of rubber stamps, a scrap of paper.

Did that scrap of paper really exist? He had passed a feverish night, almost a night of delirium; and at the end of it he had decided that his strange adventure must have been a bad dream. But in the morning he had found the scrap of paper in a drawer of his deskā€¦

Even now he kept saying to himself, "I shall