“An affair of honor”
A meeting took place yesterday at Vesinet between the Vicomte de Cymier, secretary of Embassy at Vienna, and M. Frederic d’Argy, ensign in the navy. The parties fought with swords. The seconds of M. de Cymier were the Prince de Moelk and M. d’Etaples, captain in the—th Hussars; those of M. d’Argy Hubert Marien, the painter. M. d’Argy was wounded in the right arm, and for the present the affair is terminated, but it is said it will be resumed on M. d’Argy’s recovery, although this seems hardly probable, considering the very slight cause of the quarrel—an altercation at the Cercle de la Rue Boissy d’Anglas, which took place over the card-table.
Such was the announcement in a daily paper that met the eyes of Jacqueline, as she lay hidden in Modeste’s lodging, like a fawn in its covert, her eyes and ears on the alert, watching for the least sign of alarm, in fear and trembling. She expected something, she knew not what; she felt that her sad adventure at Monaco could not fail to have its epilogue; but this was one of which she never had dreamed.
“Modeste, give me my hat! Get me a carriage! Quick! Oh, my God, it is my fault!—I have killed him!”
These incoherent cries came from her lips while Modeste, in alarm, picked up the newspaper and adjusted her silver spectacles upon her nose to read the paragraph. “Monsieur Fred wounded! Holy Virgin! His poor mother! That is a new trouble fallen on her, to be sure. But this quarrel had nothing to do with you, my pet; you see they say it was about cards.”
And folding up the Figaro, while Jacqueline in all haste was wrapping her head in a veil, Modeste, with the best intentions, went on to say: “Nobody ever dies of a sword-thrust in the arm.”
“But you see it says that they are going to fight all over again—don’t you understand? You are so stupid! What could they have had to quarrel about but me? O God! Thou art just! This is indeed punishment—too much punishment for me!”
So saying, she ran down the many stairs that led up to Modeste’s little lodging in the roof, her feet hardly touching them as she ran, while Modeste followed her more slowly, crying: “Wait for me! Wait for me, Mademoiselle!”
Calling a fiacre, Jacqueline, almost roughly, pushed the old woman into it, and gave the coachman the address of Madame d’Argy, having, in her excitement, first given him that of their old house in the Parc Monceau, so much was she possessed by the idea that this was a repetition of that dreadful day, when with Modeste, just as now, she went to meet an irreparable loss. She seemed to see before her her dead father—he looked like Fred, and now, as before, Marien had his part in the tragedy. Could he not have prevented the duel? Could he not have done something to prevent Fred from exposing himself? The wound might be no worse than it was said to be in the newspaper—but then a second meeting was to take place. No!—it should not, she would stop it at any price!