The gentlemen left the table with him.
Outside, Victor approached D’Herouville, ignoring De Leviston. The vicomte followed in the rear.
“Monsieur d’Herouville, you have a bad heart,” said the poet. “You have laughed insolently at a man whose misfortune is none of his own making. You are a poltroon and a coward!”
The vicomte interposed. “D’Herouville, listen to me. After what has happened you will refuse to meet the Chevalier.”
“I certainly shall.”
“I am at your service,” said the vicomte.
“D’Halluys,” cried the poet, “you have no right to interfere.”
“Stand aside, Monsieur de Saumaise.” The vicomte pressed the poet back.
“Vicomte,” said D’Herouville, “I will not fight you to-night.”
“I am certain. Here is a phrase which leaves no misunderstanding.” The vicomte slapped D’Herouville in the face.
“Damnation!” D’Herouville fell back.
Victor turned to De Leviston. “I will waive the question of gentleman,” and he struck De Leviston even as the vicomte had struck D’Herouville.
“Curse you, I will accompany you!” roared De Leviston.
“Very good,” returned the poet. “Vicomte, there is a fine place back of the Ursulines. Let us go there.”
When Victor entered, his room that night, an hour later, it was dark. He groped for the candle and stoked the flint. As soon as his eyes grew accustomed to the glare of the light, he looked about, and his shadow wavered on the plastered walls. The Chevalier lay on his cot, his face buried in his arms. Victor touched him and he stirred.
“It is all right, Paul.” Victor threw his sword and baldric into a corner and sat down beside his stricken friend, throwing an arm around his shoulders. “I have just this moment run De Leviston through the shoulder. That vicomte is a cool hand. He put his blade nicely between D’Herouville’s ribs. They will both remain in hospital for two or three weeks. It was a good fight.”
THE POET EXPLAINS TO MONSIEUR DE LAUSON
By the next morning all Quebec had heard of the double duel, and speculation ran high as to the cause. All Quebec, to be sure, amounted only to a few hundreds; and a genuine duel at this period was a rare happening. So everybody knew that D’Herouville and De Leviston were in hospital, seriously though not dangerously wounded, and that Monsieur de Saumaise was in the guardhouse, where, it was supposed, he would remain for some time to come, in order that his hot blood might cool appreciably. As for Monsieur d’Halluys, he was not under the governor’s direct jurisdiction, and was simply ordered to stay in his room.