" 'The cut of his countenance is not reassuring,' said Maxime, beholding the Sieur Denisart.
"And indeed the old soldier held himself upright as a steeple. His head was remarkable for the amount of powder and pomatum bestowed upon it; he looked almost like a postilion at a fancy ball. Underneath that felted covering, moulded to the top of the wearer's cranium, appeared an elderly profile, half-official, half-soldierly, with a comical admixture of arrogance,--altogether something like caricatures of the /Constitutionnel/. The sometime official finding that age, and hair- powder, and the conformation of his spine made it impossible to read a word without spectacles, sat displaying a very creditable expanse of chest with all the pride of an old man with a mistress. Like old General Montcornet, that pillar of the Vaudeville, he wore earrings. Denisart was partial to blue; his roomy trousers and well-worn greatcoat were both of blue cloth.
" 'How long is it since that old fogy came here?' inquired Maxime, thinking that he saw danger in the spectacles.
" 'Oh, from the beginning,' returned Antonia, 'pretty nearly two months ago now.'
" 'Good," said Maxime to himself, 'Cerizet only came to me a month ago.--Just get him to talk,' he added in Antonia's ear; 'I want to hear his voice.'
" 'Pshaw,' said she, 'that is not so easy. He never says a word to me.'
" 'Then why does he come here?' demanded Maxime.
" 'For a queer reason,' returned the fair Antonia. 'In the first place, although he is sixty-nine, he has a fancy; and because he is sixty-nine, he is as methodical as a clock face. Every day at five o'clock the old gentleman goes to dine with /her/ in the Rue de la Victoire. (I am sorry for her.) Then at six o'clock, he comes here, reads steadily at the papers for four hours, and goes back at ten o'clock. Daddy Croizeau says that he knows M. Denisart's motives, and approves his conduct; and in his place, he would do the same. So I know exactly what to expect. If ever I am Mme. Croizeau, I shall have four hours to myself between six and ten o'clock.'