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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

solutely sure. I shall be absolutely sure by to-morrow. To-morrow, Theophrastus, at two o'clock, meet me at the corner of Guénégaud and Mazarine Streets." He rose. "In the meantime I 'll take these things along to my friend Mifroid, who will restore them to their owners. Good-night, and courage, Theophrastus—above everything—courage!"

He shook Theophrastus' hand, with the lingering pressure with which one shakes the hand of a relation of the corpse at a funeral, and departed.

That night Theophrastus did not sleep. While Marceline breathed peacefully by his side, he lay awake staring into the darkness. His own breathing was irregular and broken by deep sighs. A heavy oppression weighed on his heart.

The day dawned on Paris gloomily faint and dirty, throwing over its buildings a sinister veil. In vain did the summer sun strive to penetrate that thick and smoky air. Noon, the hour of its triumph, showed only a dull ball, rolling ingloriously in a sulphurous mist.

At six o'clock Theophrastus suddenly jumped out of bed, and awoke Marceline by a burst of insensate laughter. She asked the reason of his strange mirth; and he answered that Na-