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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
 

He sat down with an air of supreme content, and said proudly:

"What do you think of that, Marie-Antoinette?"

"Why do you call me Marie-Antoinette?" gasped the trembling Marceline.

"Because you're the prettiest of them all!" roared Theophrastus in that awful voice. "I appeal to Madame la Maréchale de Boufflers, who's a woman of taste! I appeal to all of you! And there's not one of you, by the Pope's gullet, who 'll dare to deny it! Neither the big Picard, nor the Bourbonnais, nor the Burgundian, nor Sheep's-head, nor the Cracksman, nor Parisian, nor the Provincial, nor the little Breton, nor the Feather, nor Patapon, nor Pint-pot, nor St. James's Gate, nor Gastelard, nor Iron-arm, nor Black-mug, nor even Fancy Man!"

Since Theophrastus had on his right old Mlle. Taburet, he prodded her in the ribs by way of emphasis, an action which nearly made her faint.

No one dared budge; his flaming eye chained them to their chairs; and leaning affectionately towards Mlle. Taburet, he pointed to the gasping Marceline, and said:

"Look, Mlle. Taburet, are n't I right? Who