From the manner in which he tasted his soup, it was easy to see that he was asking himself whether that was real soup, and whether he was not being imposed upon. From the expression of his eyes, it was easy to guess this question constantly present to his mind.
"They are robbing me evidently; but how do they do it?"
And he became distrustful, fussy, and suspicious, to an extent that he had never been before. It was with the most insulting precautions that he examined every Sunday his wife's accounts. He took a look at the grocer's, and settled it himself every month: he had the butcher's bills sent to him in duplicate. He would inquire the price of an apple as he peeled it over his plate, and never failed to stop at the fruiterer's and ascertain that he bad not been deceived.
And yet he knew that Maxence always had in his pocket two or three five-franc pieces.
"Where do you steal them?" he asked him one day.
"I save them out of my salary," boldly answered the young man.
Exasperated, M. Favoral wished to make the whole world take an interest in his investigations. And one Saturday evening, as he was talking with his friends, M. Chapelain, the worthy Desclavettes, and old man Desormeaux, pointing to his wife and daughter:
"Those d---d women rob me," he said, "for the benefit of my son; and they do it so cleverly that I can't find out how. They have an understanding with the shop-keepers, who are but licensed thieves; and nothing is eaten here that they don't make me pay double its value."