At this moment, a postman entered the shop, and delivered a letter to the greengrocer, saying: “For M. Charlemagne, post-paid!”
“My!” said Rose-Pompon; “it is for the little mysterious old man, who has such extraordinary ways. Does it come from far?”
“I believe you; it comes from Italy, from Rome,” said Ninny Moulin, looking in his turn at the letter, which the greengrocer held in her hand. “Who is the astonishing little old man of whom you speak?”
“Just imagine to yourself, my great apostle,” said Rose-Pompon, “a little old man, who has two rooms at the bottom of that court. He never sleeps there, but comes from time to time, and shuts himself up for hours, without ever allowing any one to enter his lodging, and without any one knowing what he does there.”
“He is a conspirator,” said Ninny Moulin, laughing, “or else a comer.”
“Poor dear man,” said Mother Arsene, “what has he done with his false money? He pays me always in sous for the bit of bread and the radish I furnish him for his breakfast.”
“And what is the name of this mysterious chap?” asked Dumoulin.
“M. Charlemagne,” said the greengrocer. “But look, surely one speaks of the devil, one is sure to see his horns.”
“Where’s the horns?”
“There, by the side of the house—that little old man, who walks with his neck awry, and his umbrella under his arm.”
“M. Rodin!” ejaculated Ninny Moulin, retreating hastily, and descending three steps into the shop, in order not to be seen. Then he added. “You say, that this gentleman calls himself—”
“M. Charlemagne—do you know him?” asked the greengrocer.
“What the devil does he do here, under a false name?” said Jacques Dumoulin to himself.
“You know him?” said Rose-Pompon, with impatience. “You are quite confused.”
“And this gentleman has two rooms in this house, and comes here mysteriously,” said Jacques Dumoulin, more and more surprised.
“Yes,” resumed Rose-Pompon; “you can see his windows from Philemon’s dove-cote.”
“Quick! quick! let me go into the passage, that I may not meet him,” said Dumoulin.
And, without having been perceived by Rodin, he glided from the shop into the passage, and thence mounted to the stairs, which led to the apartment occupied by Rose-Pompon.
“Good-morning, M. Charlemagne,” said Mother Arsene to Rodin, who made his appearance on the threshold. “You come twice in a day; that is right, for your visits are extremely rare.”
“You are too polite, my good lady,” said Rodin, with a very courteous bow; and he entered the shop of the greengrocer.
 There are, really, ordinances, full of a touching interest for the canine race, which forbid the harnessing of dogs.
Rodin’s countenance, when he entered Mother Arsene’s shop, was expressive of the most simple candor. He leaned his hands on the knob of his umbrella, and said: “I much regret, my good lady, that I roused you so early this morning.”