“Adieu!” said Gerfaut.
“Adieu!” said the artist, whose extreme agitation contrasted strongly with his friend’s calm. “Rest easy! I will look after her—and I will publish a complete edition—But what an idea—to accept a duel as irregular as this! Have you ever seen him use a gun? He had no right to exact this.”
“Hurry! you must leave before the servants are up.”
“Kiss me, my poor fellow!” said Marillac, with tears in his eyes; “it is not very manly I know, but I can not help it—Oh! these women! I adore them, of course; but just now I am like Nero, I wish that they all had but one head. It is for these little, worthless dolls that we kill each other!”
“You can curse them on your way,” said Gerfaut, who was impatient to see him leave.
“Oh, good gracious, yes! They can flatter themselves this moment that they all inspire me with a deadly hatred.”
“Do not make any noise,” said his friend, as he carefully opened the door.
Marillac pressed his hand for the last time, and went out. When he reached the end of the corridor, he stopped a moment, then went back.
“Above all things,” said he, as he passed his head through the half-open door, “no foolish proceedings. Remember that it is necessary that one of you should fall, and that if you fail; he will not. Take your time—aim—and fire at him as you would at a rabbit.”
After this last piece of advice, he went away; ten minutes after he had left, Gerfaut saw him riding out of the courtyard as fast as Beverley’s four legs would carry him.
THE WILD BOAR
The most radiant sun that ever gilded a beautiful September day had arisen upon the castle. The whole valley was as fresh and laughing as a young girl who had just left her bath. The rocks seemed to have a band of silver surrounding them; the woods a mantle of green draped over their shoulders.
There was an unusual excitement in the courtyard of the chateau. The servants were coming and going, the dogs were starting a concert of irregular barks, and the horses were jumping about, sharing their instinctive presentiment and trying to break away from the bridles which held them.
The Baron, seated in his saddle with his usual military attitude, and a cigar in his mouth, went from one to another, speaking in a joking tone which prevented anybody from suspecting his secret thoughts. Gerfaut had imposed upon his countenance that impassible serenity which guards the heart’s inner secrets, but had not succeeded so well. His affectation of gayety betrayed continual restraint; the smile which he forced upon his lips left the rest of his face cold, and never removed the wrinkle between his brows. An incident, perhaps sadly longed for, but unhoped for, increased this gloomy, melancholy expression. Just as the cavalcade passed before the English garden,