Paul came back half an hour later. He wore the slightly sheepish expression of a man who expects to be scolded, and he smelled of beer.
“I had to buy a drink,” he said apologetically. “It would have looked odd if I’d just stayed staring at them.”
By then I was half soaked and irritable. “Well?” I demanded. “What’s your big discovery?”
Paul shrugged. “Maybe nothing,” he said reflectively. “I’d rather…ah…wait till I’ve checked a few things before getting your hopes up.”
I looked him in the eye. “Paul D'esir'e Hourias,” I declared. “I’ve waited for you in the rain for ages. I’ve stood in the stink of this caf'e watching for Dessanges, because you thought we might learn something. I haven’t complained once-” He gave me a satirical look at this point, which I ignored. “That makes me practically a saint,” I said sternly. “But if you dare to try to keep me in the dark-if you so much as think about it-”
Paul made a lazy gesture of defeat. “How did you know my middle name was D'esir'e?” he asked.
“I know everything,” I said, without smiling.