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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

They dined in a tent in the garden; and the talk at once turned on fishing, a sport to which they were all devoted; and they did their best to be accurate about their exploits. M. Lopard had caught a three-pound pike; old Mlle. Taburet complained bitterly that someone had been fishing in her favourite pool; a third declared that the fish were being overfed; and there was a long discussion on ground-bait.

Theophrastus said nothing: he suddenly found these good people too middle-class for him. He would have liked to raise the level of the conversation; and he would have preferred it to deal with the matters which filled his fevered imagination.

Towards the end of dinner he found a way to set Adolphe talking of ghosts. Then Madame Lopard told them of the extraordinary doings of a somnambulist who lived near; and at once Adolphe explained the phenomena of somnambulism according to the Spiritualistic theory, and quoted Allan Kardec. Adolphe was never at a loss to explain "phenomena." Then, at last, they came to the matter to which Theophrastus was burning to bring them, the Transmigration of Souls.

Marceline observed that our reason rejected the hypothesis; and Adolphe protested vigor-