let alone walk. Every step made him want to scream. Was
"Go on, go on, my boy," returned his friend.
"Well, when I'm hard up for cash, I go into the Champs Elysees, and take a seat on one of the benches. From there I keep an eye on the cats, and see who get out of them. If a respectable woman does so, I am sure of my bird."
"Do you think you know a respectable woman when you see her?"
"I should think that I did. Well, when a respectable woman gets out of a cab where she ought not to have been, she looks about her on all sides, first to the right and then to the left, settles her veil, and, as soon as she is sure that no one is watching her, sets off as if old Nick was behind her."
"Why, I take the number of the cab, and follow the lady home. Then I wait until she has had time to get to her own rooms, and go to the porter and say, 'Will you give me the name of the lady who has just come in?' "
"And do you think the porter is fool enough to do so?"
"Not a bit; I always take the precaution of having a delicate little purse in my pocket; and when the man says, as he always does, 'I don't know,' I pull out the purse, and say, 'I am sorry for that, for she dropped this as she came in, and I wanted to return it to her.' The porter at once becomes awfully civil; he gives the name and number, and up I go. The first time I content myself with finding out if she is married or single. If she is single, it is no go; but if the reverse, I go on with the job."
"Next morning I go there, and hang about until I see the husband go out. Then I go upstairs, and ask for the wife. It is ticklish work then, my lads; but I say, 'Yesterday, madame, I was unlucky enough to leave my pocketbook in cab number so-and-so. Now, as I saw you hail the vehicle immediately after I had left it, I have come to ask you if you saw my pocketbook.' The lady flies into a rage, denies all knowledge of the book, and threatens to have me turned out. Then, with the utmost politeness, I say, 'I see, madame, that there is nothing to be done but to communicate the matter to your husband.' Then she gets alarmed, and--she pays."