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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

to the number of a hundred and ten are distributed over five stages of unequal extent and cover a period of eighty-one thousand years."

"Eighty-one thousand years! That's pretty filling!" interrupted M. Lopard.

"We spend twenty-seven thousand of them on our planet and the other fifty-four thousand elsewhere," explained Adolphe.

"And how long is it before we come back into another body?" asked Madame Bache.

"At least two or three thousand years, if we are to believe Allan Kardec, always supposing that we have not died a violent death. Then, especially if one has been executed, one may be reincarnated at the end of two hundred years," said Adolphe.

"That's it! They must have hanged me," said Theophrastus to himself. "Or if they did n't hang a man of my quality, they beheaded me. All the same," he went on to think, with a natural pride, "if these people here knew that they were sitting with a favourite of the Regent, or perhaps a Prince of Royal blood, how astonished and respectful they'd be! But not a bit of it: they are merely saying to themselves, 'It's Theophrastus Longuet, manufacturer of rubber stamps'; and that's enough for them.