"Then," remarked Mascarin, savagely, "that great booby, staggering about on his friend's arm, is your young lady's lover?"
"Then we must find out who he is."
Florestan put on a crafty air, and replied in gentle accents.
"The day before yesterday, as I was smoking my pipe outside, I saw this young bantam swaggering down the street--not but what he seemed rather crestfallen; but I knew the reason for that, and should look just as much in the dumps if my young woman was laid up. I thought, as I had nothing to do, I might as well see who he was and where he lived; so, sticking my hands in my pockets, after him I sloped. He walked such a long way, that I got precious sick of my job, but at last I ran him to earth in a house. I went straight up to the lodge, and showed the portress my tobacco pouch, and said, 'I picked up this; I think that the gentleman who has just gone in dropped it. Do you know him?' 'Of course I do,' said she. 'He is a painter; lives on the fourth floor; and his name is M. Andre.' "
"Was the house in the Rue de la Tour d'Auvergne?" broke in Mascarin.
"You are right, sir," returned the man, taken a little aback. "It seems, sir, that you are better informed than I am."
Mascarin did not notice the man's surprise, but he was struck with the strange persistency with which this young man seemed to cross his plans, for he found that the acquaintance of Rose and the lover of Mademoiselle de Mussidan were one and the same person, and he had a presentiment that he would in some way prove a hindrance to his plans.
The astute Mascarin concentrated all his attention upon Andre.
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