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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

can compare with her? Pretty-Milkmaid, of Pussycat? Or even Blanche, the Bustler? Or Belle-Hélène who keeps the Harp tavern?" He turned towards Adolphe.

"Here—you—old Easy-Going!" he said with a terrifying energy. "Let's have your opinion. Look at Marie-Antoinette a moment! By the Sucking-pig! there's not one to compare with her: not Jenny Venus, the flower-seller of the Palais-Royal, nor Marie Leroy, nor mother Salomon, the pretty coffee-house-keeper of the Temple, nor Jenny Bonnefoy who's just married Veunier who keeps the Pont-Marie café. Not one of them, I tell you! Not one of them! The Slapper, Manon de Versailles, Fat-Poulteress, the Lock, Cow-with-the-Baskets, or the Bastille!"

With a bound Theophrastus was on the table; and the crockery round him smashed into a thousand pieces. He caught up a glass and bellowed:

"I drink to the queen of the nymphs! Marie-Antoinette Neron!"

He crushed the glass in his hands, cutting them in twenty places, and bowed to the company.

But the company had fled.