Unfortunately, with his lively imagination and his impetuous temper, no one was less fit than himself for that peaceful existence, that steady toil, the same each day, without the stimulus of difficulties to overcome, or the satisfaction of results obtained.
Before long he became tired of it.
He had found at the law-school a number of his old schoolmates whose parents resided in the provinces, and who, consequently, lived as they pleased in the Latin quarter, less assiduous to the lectures than to the Spring Brewery and the Closerie des Lilas.* [ * A noted dancing-garden. ]
He envied them their joyous life, their freedom without control, their facile pleasures, their furnished rooms, and even the low eating-house where they took their meals. And, as much as possible, he lived with them and like them.
But it is not with M. Chapelain's twenty francs that it would have been possible for him to keep up with fellows, who, with superb recklessness, took on credit everything they could get, reserving the amount of their allowance for those amusements which had to be paid for in cash.
She had worked so much, the poor woman, especially since Mme. Gilberte had become almost a young lady; she had so much saved, so much stinted, that her reserve, notwithstanding repeated drafts, amounted to a good round sum.
When Maxence wanted two or three napoleons, he had but a word to say; and he said it often. Thus, after a while, he became an excellent billiard-player; he kept his colored meerschaum in the rack of a popular brewery; he took absinthe before dinner, and spent his evenings in the laudable effort to ascertain how many mugs of beer he could "put away." Gaining in audacity, he danced at Bullier's, dined at Foyd's, and at last had a mistress.
So much so, that one afternoon, M. Favoral having to visit on business the other side of the water, found himself face to face with his son, who was coming along, a cigar in his mouth, and having on his arm a young lady, painted in superior style, and harnessed with a toilet calculated to make the cab-horses rear.