He changed his post of observation, and, by standing on tiptoe, he succeeded in distinguishing a puny little boy, some three or four years old, and clad in rags, who was playing with the remnants of a toy-horse. The sight of this child increased Chupin's indignation. "So there's a child?" he growled. "The rascal not only deserts his wife, but he leaves his child to starve! We may as well make a note of that: and when we settle up our accounts, he shall pay dearly for his villainy." With this threat he brusquely entered the shop.
"What do you wish, sir?" asked the woman.
"Nothing; I bring you a letter, madame."
"A letter for me! You must be mistaken."
"Excuse me; aren't you Madame Paul?"
"Then this is for you." And he handed her the missive which Florent had confided to his care.
Madame Paul took hold of it with some hesitation, eying the messenger suspiciously meanwhile; but, on seeing the handwriting, she uttered a cry of surprise. And, turning toward the open door, she called, "M. Mouchon! M. Mouchon! It's from him--it's from my husband; from Paul. Come, come!"
A bald-headed, corpulent man, who looked some fifty years of age, now timidly emerged from the room behind the shop with a cap in his hand. "Ah, well! my dear child," he said, in an oily voice, "what was I telling you just now? Everything comes to those who know how to wait."