He quietly continued his walk home, fully determined to be hereafter well armed when he went out at night.
He never for an instant suspected his accomplice of having instigated the assault.
But two days afterward, while sitting in a cafe, a burly, vulgar-looking man, a stranger to him, interrupted him several times while talking, and, after making several rough speeches as if trying to provoke a quarrel, finally threw a card in his face, saying its owner was ready to grant him satisfaction when and where he pleased.
Raoul rushed toward the man to chastise him on the spot; but his friends held him back, telling him that it would be much more gentlemanly to run a sword through his vulgar hide, than have a scuffle in a public place.
“Very well, then: you will hear from me to-morrow,” he said scornfully to his assailant. “Wait at your hotel until I send two friends to arrange the matter with you.”
As soon as the stranger had left, Raoul recovered from his excitement, and began to wonder what could have been the motive for this evidently premeditated insult.
Picking up the card of the bully, he read:
30, Rue Leonie.
Raoul had seen enough of the world to know that these heroes who cover their visiting-cards with titles have very little glory elsewhere than in their own conceit.
Still the insult had been offered in the presence of others; and, no matter who the offender was, it must be noticed. Early the next morning Raoul sent two of his friends to make arrangements for a duel. He gave them M. Jacobson’s address, and told them to report at the Hotel du Louvre, where he would wait for them.
Having dismissed his friends, Raoul went to find out something about M. Jacobson; and, being an expert at the business of unravelling plots and snares, he determined to discover who was at the bottom of this duel into which he had been decoyed.
The information obtained was not very promising.
M. Jacobson, who lived in a very suspicious-looking little hotel whose inmates were chiefly women of light character, was described to him as an eccentric gentleman, whose mode of life was a problem difficult to solve. No one knew his means of support.
He reigned despotically in the hotel, went out a great deal, never came in until midnight, and seemed to have no capital to live upon, save his military titles, and a talent for carrying out whatever was undertaken for his own benefit.
“That being his character,” thought Raoul, “I cannot see what object he can have in picking a quarrel with me. What good will it do him to run a sword through my body? Not the slightest; and, moreover, his pugnacious conduct is apt to draw the attention of the police, who, from what I hear, are the last people this warrior would like to have after him. Therefore he must have some reason for pursuing me; and I must find out what it is.”