One of the company brought from the house a lantern and a pair of English pistols, and both agreeing to fight with them, and the ground being hastily measured, the two gentlemen threw off their coats and took up their positions. The light was so uncertain from the occasional fitful brightness of the moon shining through the clouds and the light from the swaying lantern, held aloft by Bertrand, who took his stand near Calvert and watched him with his old devotion, that ’twas almost impossible for either combatant to take accurate aim.
At the word “Fire!” both pistols cracked, and St. Aulaire, staggering forward a few steps, fell, wounded in the groin. Calvert was untouched, but before he could collect himself or move to the assistance of St. Aulaire, he suddenly heard the sound of coach-wheels passing close to the allee, and, at the same instant, to his astonishment, he felt a sharp pain tear its way from his left shoulder to the wrist. He turned his head an instant to see who had attacked him from this unexpected quarter and was just in time to see the scoundrel who had been in St. Aulaire’s company throw down his stained sword and make for the boulevard. And then as he reeled forward, the blood spurting from the long gash in his arm, all grew black before him and he knew no more.
IN WHICH AN UNLOOKED-FOR EVENT TAKES PLACE
That great and desolating change which had swept over France in the two years and more of Calvert’s absence was reflected in every heart, in every life left in that wrecked land. On the most insensible, the most frivolous, the most indifferent alike fell the shadow of those terrible times. The sadness and the horror fell on Adrienne de St. Andre as it fell on so many others, but besides the terror of those days she had to bear a still heavier sorrow. There is no pang which the heart can suffer like the realization, too late, that we have lost what we most prize; that we have missed some great opportunity for happiness which can never come to us again; that we have rejected and passed by what we would now sell our souls to possess. This conviction, slowly borne in upon Adrienne, caused her more anguish than she had supposed, in her ignorance, anything in the world could make her feel. The man whose name she bore was scarcely a memory to her. For the first time she knew what love was and realized that she had cared for Calvert with all the repressed tenderness and unsounded depths of her heart. Her very helplessness, the impossibility to recall him, made him more dear to her by far. A man can stretch out his hand and seize his happiness, but a woman must wait for hers. And if it passes her by she must bear her hurt in silence and as best she can. It was with a sort of blind despair that Adrienne thought of Calvert and all that she had wilfully thrown away. Had he been at her beck and call, fetched and carried for