Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/47

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profession. He had been a printer in the Provinces; but having put all his capital into a new invention in printing, it had not been long before he found himself a bankrupt. He was a cousin of Marceline; and Theophrastus, who was a good soul, had come to his aid in the hour of his gravest trouble.

Theophrastus sat down on a straw-seated chair in a little room which served as workshop, and was lighted by a large, dusty skylight in the ceiling.

"You 're a scientific man, Ambrose," he said, still gloomily.

"Nothing of the kind!" said Ambrose quickly.

"Yes; you are. No one could teach you anything in the matter of paper."

"Oh, yes: that's true enough. I do know paper."

"You know all papers," said Theophrastus.

"All," said Ambrose with modest pride.

"If one showed you a piece of paper you could tell the age of it?"

"Yes; I have published a monograph on the water-marks of the papers used in France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Academy crowned it."

"I know it. And I have the fullest confi-