there was nothing of all this in the personage who now leaned carelessly against the wall in front of monsieur de maulincour, like some fantastic idea drawn by an artist on the back of a canvas the front of which is turned to the wall. this tall, spare man, whose leaden visage expressed some deep but chilling thought, dried up all pity in the hearts of those who looked at him by the scowling look and the sarcastic attitude which announced an intention of treating every man as an equal. his face was of a dirty white, and his wrinkled skull, denuded of hair, bore a vague resemblance to a block of granite. a few gray locks on either side of his head fell straight to the collar of his greasy coat, which was buttoned to the chin. he resembled both voltaire and don quixote; he was, apparently, scoffing but melancholy, full of disdain and philosophy, but half-crazy. he seemed to have no shirt. his beard was long. a rusty black cravat, much worn and ragged, exposed a protuberant neck deeply furrowed, with veins as thick as cords. a large brown circle like a bruise was strongly marked beneath his eyes, he seemed to be at least sixty years old. his hands were white and clean. his boots were trodden down at the heels, and full of holes. a pair of blue trousers, mended in various places, were covered with a species of fluff which made them offensive to the eye. whether it was that his damp clothes exhaled a fetid odor, or that he had in his normal condition the "poor smell" which belongs to parisian tenements, just as offices, sacristies, and hospitals have their own peculiar and rancid fetidness, of which no words can give the least idea, or whether some other reason affected them, those in the vicinity of this man immediately moved away and left him alone. he cast upon them and also upon the officer a calm, expressionless look, the celebrated look of monsieur de talleyrand, a dull, wan glance, without warmth, a species of impenetrable veil, beneath which a strong soul hides profound emotions and close estimation of men and things and events. not a fold of his face quivered. his mouth and forehead were impassible; but his eyes moved and lowered themselves with a noble, almost tragic slowness. there was, in fact, a whole drama in the motion of those withered eyelids.
the aspect of this stoical figure gave rise in monsieur de maulincour to one of those vagabond reveries which begin with a common question and end by comprising a world of thought. the storm was past.