112 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
' We can but ask him, and there he is at this moment!' And he called to the boy to come in. The monkey was sitting on a box which the little boy carried on his back, and when his master took off his cap, the monkey did the same. It had a nice gentle little face, and I remarked to Michel that it was very like a well-known translator of my acquaintance.
' If I have the happiness to become the owner of this charming animal,' I continued, ' we will call it Potich.' And giving Michel forty francs, I left him to make his bargain with the little Auvergnat.
I had not entered my study since my return from Havre, and there is always a pleasure in coming home again after an absence. I was glad to come back, and looked about me with a pleased smile, feeling sure that the furniture and ornaments of the room, if they could speak, would say they were glad to see me again. As I glanced from one familiar object to another, I saw, upon a seat by the fire, a thing like a black and white muff, which I had never seen before. When I came closer, I saw that the muff was a little cat, curled up, half asleep, and purring loudly. I called the cook, whose name was Madame Lamarque. She came in after a minute or two.
' So sorry to have kept you waiting, but you see, sir, I was making a white sauce, and you, who can cook yourself, know how quickly those sauces curdle if you are not looking after them.'
' Yes, I know that, Madame Lamarque; but what I do not know is, where this new guest of mine comes from.' And I pointed to the cat.
'Ah, sir!' said Madame Lamarque in a sentimental tone, ' that is an antony.'
' An antony, Madame Lamarque ! What is that? '