jacques, the proprietor of a tiny cafe in an alley in the heart of the city , looked up from his broom, with which he had been sweeping the sidewalk in front of his establishment.
"ah, good morning, m borin, i almost didn't see you there. a bit early this morning, eh? "
"indeed, for i was unable to procure a copy of my newspaper this morning, and i usually give it a casual perusal on my peregrination over here, which, as you may readily surmise, causes a corresponding reduction in my rate of ready approach. this morning, thus unburdened, i fairly flew over, and thus you see me."
"and i hopeto see you well, monsieiur. the usual. monsieur?"
"of course. of course. what else would i have?" m borin settled his bulky carcass into "his" usual sidewalk table (one of three), the one which he always always took when it was available, and the weather suitable.
"to be sure, to be sure." jacques turned to the front window of the cafe, and made a signal to his youngest daughter, who had been stationed there, and who turned away in her usual sullen manner, to execute the indicated command.
"a lovely day, at any rate, eh, monsieur?"
"good enough, i suppose, good enough. a day like any other, let us hope, eh?"
"to be sure."
"for what could be more desirable than a day like every other, i ask you."
"nothing, monsieur, nothing. look here, would you like me to send the girl to find a copy of your newspaper, after she has brought your coffee and croissant?"
"why thank you, jacques, that would do very well."
jacques nodded. this was a conversation they had had many times before, for m borin's paper - neither the largest or smallest of the city's numerous dailies - was often printed late or not at all on any given day. jacques was a close student of his regular patrons' moods and peculiarities, and he knew that m borin enjoyed having the same conversations over and over - such as the one they had just had about his being "a bit early this morning".
"i hope, " m borin went on, "that the paper being late does not signify any more political unrest, of which we have had entirely too much lately."
this was another recurring theme, and jacques picked up his cue accordingly. "that would indeed be a pity, monsieur, especially as it is such a fine day."