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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

grumpily to these polite advances; and since, when they came out of the house, Signor Petito showed no intention of quitting him, he asked unpleasantly whether the Signora Petito could not be persuaded to learn some other infernal tune besides the Carnival of Venice. Signor Petito affected not to notice his carping tone and replied with an amiable smile that she was just going to begin to practise The Star of Love, and she would be charmed in the future to devote her talent to any piece which took M. Longuet's fancy. Then even more amiably he said:

"And which way are you going, M. Longuet?"

Theophrastus looked at him with suspicious disfavour and answered:

"I was going to take a turn round Chopinettes mill; but the weather is certainly too bad for that: so I am going down to the Porkers."

"To the Porkers?" said Signor Petito quickly; and he was going to ask where the Porkers was, when he thought better of it, and said, "So am I."

"Indeed? Indeed?" said Theophrastus, eyeing him strangely. "So you 're going to the Porkers too?"