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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

buried unless Theophrastus had his Black Feather?"

"What Black Feather? What do you mean?" said Marceline and Theophrastus with one voice.

"Let's stroll back towards the Rond-Pont; and I 'll tell you what I mean," said Adolphe.

When they were under the trees, among the throng of careless strollers, Adolphe said:

"You've heard of the water-finders?"

"Of course," they said promptly.

"Well, owing to some phenomenon, of which the explanation has not yet been discovered, these water-finders, equipped with forked hazel-twigs which they hold over the ground they are crossing, are able to see, through the different strata of the soil, the position of the spring sought, and the spot where the well must be sunk. I don't despair of getting Theophrastus to do for his treasures what the water-finders do for their springs. I shall take him to the place, and he will say, 'Here's where you dig for the treasures.'"

"But all this does not explain what you mean by my Black Feather," interrupted Theophrastus.

"I'm coming to it. I shall bring to this spot you, the treasure-seeker, as one brings the