Open main menu

Page:Gaston Leroux--The man with the black feather.djvu/51

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
31
THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

'foamed at the mouth' at remembering that I lived two hundred years ago!

"Who was I? What was then my name? I had a strange certainty that these questions would not remain unanswered for long. Was it not a fact that already things of which in my present existence I was ignorant, were rising from my past? What did certain phrases I had uttered at the Conciergerie mean? Who was Simon the Auvergnat, whose name had risen twice to my burning lips?

"Yes, yes: the name of long ago, my name, would also rise to my awakening brain; and knowing who I was, I should recall the whole of my reviving life in the past, and read the document at a glance."

Theophrastus Longuet might well be troubled in mind. He was a simple, rather dense, self-satisfied soul who had never believed in anything but rubber stamps. A good-natured, strictly honest, narrow-minded and obstinate tradesman, like the bulk of his class in France he had considered religion only fit for women; and without declaring himself an unbeliever, he had been wont to say that when one died one was dead for a long time.

He had just learned in the most convincing, palpable fashion that one was never dead.