Whereupon, through a mysterious association of ideas, he raised his left hand and looked at his intaglio. I said to him:
"Then have you abandoned your little armorial tree and taken as your crest that marvellous Bacchante?"
"Ah! Yes, the beech, the fau of Du Fau. In Poitou, under Louis XVI, my great grandfather was what was then called a nobleman, that is he was an ennobled commoner. Later he joined a revolutionary club at Poitiers and acquired national property, which procures for me to-day, in a society of Jews and Americans, the friendship of princes and the rank of an aristocrat. Why did I forsake the fau of the Du Fau? Why? It was worth almost as much as the chêne of Duchesne de la Sicotière. And I have exchanged it for a bacchante, a barren laurel and an emblematical stone."
Just as with ironical emphasis he was uttering these words, we reached the house of his friend Gaulot; but Du Fau passed the two copper knockers representing Neptune, gleaming on the door like bath taps.
"I thought you were so eager to go and see Gaulot?"