It cut Banker very deeply when he thought how neat and simple had been the plan which had almost succeeded. He had had a notion, when he went away to prepare the letter for the captain’s wife, that he would write in it a brief message which would mean nothing, but would make it necessary for her to see him again and to pay him again. But he had abandoned this. He might counterfeit an address, but it was wiser not to try his hand upon a letter. The more he thought about Raminez, the less he desired to run the risk of meeting him, even in Paris. So he considered that if he made this one bold stroke and got five thousand francs, he would retire, joyful and satisfied. But now! Well, he had a purpose: the annihilation of Cheditafa was at present his chief object in life.
Banker seldom stayed in one place more than a day at a time, and before he went to a new lodging, that night, he threw away his slouch-hat, which he had rammed into his pocket, for he would not want it again. He had his hair cut short and his face neatly shaved, and when he went to his room, he trimmed his mustache in such a way that it greatly altered the cast of his countenance. He was not the penniless man he had represented himself to be, who had not three francs to jingle together, for he was a billiard sharper and gambler of much ability, and when he appeared in the street, the next morning, he was neatly dressed in a suit of second-hand clothes which were as quiet and respectable as any tourist of limited means could have desired. With Baedeker’s “Paris” in his hand, and with a long knife and a slung-shot concealed in his clothes, he went forth to behold the wonders of the great city.
He did not seem to care very much whether he saw the sights by day or by night, for from early morning until ten or eleven o’clock in the evening, he was an energetic and interested wayfarer, confining his observations, however, to certain quarters of the city which best suited his investigations. One night he gawkily strolled into the Black Cat, and one day he boldly entered the Hotel Grenade and made some inquiries of the porter regarding the price of accommodations, which, however, he declared were far above his means. That day he saw Mok in the courtyard, and once, in passing, he saw Edna come out and enter her carriage with an elderly lady, and they drove away, with Cheditafa on the box.
Under his dark sack-coat Banker wore a coarse blouse, and in the pocket of this undergarment he had a white cap. He was a wonderful man to move quietly out of people’s way, and there were places in every neighborhood where, even in the daytime, he could cast off the dark coat and the derby hat without attracting attention.
It was satisfactory to think, as he briskly passed on, as one who has much to see in a little time, that the incident in the Tuileries Gardens had not yet caused the captain’s wife to change her quarters.