“You are cold-blooded, Monsieur—’tis a grave fault. You miss half the pleasures of life—but I think you would like to know whom I mean. Confess, Monsieur! But there, I see you know—who else could it be but Madame de St. Andre?” and the insolent smile broke into a still more insolent laugh.
“We will leave Madame de St. Andre’s name out of this conversation, Monsieur.”
“Pardieu! So you think I am not worthy to mention it, Monsieur,” cried St. Aulaire, half-rising and laying his hand again on his dress sword.
“I know it, Monsieur,” retorted Calvert, coolly.
“You are not so cold-blooded after all! I have struck fire at last!” said St. Aulaire, looking at Calvert for an instant and then breaking into a drunken laugh as he reseated himself. “’Tis a pity Madame de St. Andre has not my luck—for, look you, Monsieur,” he went on, leaning over the back of the chair and shaking his finger at Calvert, “I think she likes you and would be kind—very kind—to you, should you be inclined to return to Paris and tempt your fortune.”
“Were you sober, Monsieur, I would ask you for five minutes and a pair of pistols or rapiers, if you prefer,” says Calvert, white and threatening.
“By God, Monsieur, how dare you say I am drunk?” flings out the other, rising so unsteadily as to overturn the chair, which crashed upon the floor. “But I have no time for duels just now. I have other and more important business in hand. Later—later, sir, and I will be at your service. I add that insult to the long list I have against you. I will punish you when the time comes, but first I must punish her. She would not even listen to me. She crushed me with her disdain. ’Tis another favor I have to thank you for, Monsieur, I think.” He was quite wild and flushed by this time, and spoke so thickly that Calvert could scarce understand him. The few gentlemen who had been lounging in the anteroom had retired, thinking not to overhear a conversation evidently so personal and stormy, so that they were quite alone. As St. Aulaire reeled forward, a sudden thought came to Calvert.
“‘In vino veritas,’” he said to himself, and then—“How do you propose punishing Madame de St. Andre, Monsieur?” he asked, slowly, aloud, and looking nonchalantly at the distorted face before him.
St. Aulaire laughed. “I am not as drunk as you think me, Monsieur Calvert,” he said. “’Tis enough that I know and shall act. By God, sir,” he cried, suddenly starting up, “shall a man stand everything and have no revenge? Let Madame de St. Andre take care! Let d’Azay take care! Should you be inclined to go to their rescue, Monsieur, perhaps we may meet again!” and with a mocking smile on his wicked, handsome face, he flung himself out of the room.