He threw Scholscher a challenging glance. The major was thinking of the motives that could drive a man like Haas to live alone for twenty-five years among the elephants of Lake Chad. It was again that spark of misanthropy which most people carry in them, a presentiment of some different and better company than their own kind, a spark that sometimes blazes up and takes astonishing, unpredictable and explosive forms. He thought also of the old Chinese who never move without their pet grasshoppers, of the Tunisians who take their caged birds to the cafe with them, and of Colonel Babcock who spent hours with his eyes fixed on a jumping bean, which kept him company. He was slightly astonished to hear that Haas believed in God — there seemed to be a contradiction there; it’s true, he thought, taking a pull at his pipe, that God hasn’t got a cold muzzle a man can touch when he feels lonely, that one can’t stroke Him behind the ears, that He doesn’t wag His tail at the sight of you every morning, and that you cannot catch sight of Him trotting over the hills with His ears flapping and His trunk in the air. One can’t even hold Him in one’s hand like a nice warm pipe, and since a spell on earth after all lasts fifty or sixty years, it’s perfectly understandable that people should end by buying themselves a pipe or a jumping bean.