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mentals of the gardes du corps. He look.
that they almost forgot there was any body in the world but themselves. They were however soon recalled to that very unpleasant reality, by the entrance of the count de L: he was a handsome, finelooking young man, and having just come from the palace, was dressed in the regi.
ed keenly at the baroness, and bowed stiffly to Mr. Melville, as she introduced them to each other. Charles was vexed at his interruption, and returned his salu; tation still more coldly, and thus their first acquaintance did not commence under the most favourable auspices, and every moment of their stay seemed to increase their mutual dislike.
After apologizing for the absence of his sister, on the score of ill health, the count proceeded to address the baroness in a style of unconcealed admiration, and barefaced compliment, with which Charles was by no means inclined to be pleased ; and on his part, the count did not seem very well
contented with the politeness, not to say kindness, which she manifested towards the
young Englishman. At length, after about half an hour of this sort of entertainment, not very agreeable to any of the three, the baroness proposed to continue the duets they had been singing, saying to the count, she knew how fond he was of music, though he was not a performer himself.
The count bit his lip, and said nothing; and as Charles placed the book before the baroness, she said, in an under voice“ Ce jeune homme est malhonnêtte,” and glanced her eye towards the young Frenchman, as he continued lolling on the ottoman, and playing with his sword, in the enjoyment of which amusement he remained during the whole time they sung, only interrupting it to pay some highflown compliment to their fair hostess upon her musical talents.
Charles wished to outstay him; and the baroness seemed to coincide in this desire.
But the count appeared resolved that he should not, and therefore at length having remained as long as he decently could, he rose to take his leave.
Charles was somewhat surprised to find that the count did so at the same time: to whom, however, the baroness merely courtesied, somewhat offended at his conduct during the evening, while to Mr. Melville she held out her hand, saying "I shall see you to-morrow, I suppose; I wish to speak to you about our protegé, you know."
Charles slightly pressed her hand in his, bowed, and left her; and on entering the court, he found two equipages in waiting -one a cabriolet, belonging to the count de L-, the other his own carriage, with his French valet. He was going to get in, and had his foot upon the step, when the count, who had come down behind him, laid his hand upon
his arm, saying at the same time-“I will trouble you to speak a few words with me, sir.”
“ As many as you please,” replied Charles; “ I am quite at your service."
“ Well then," replied the count," you had better send home your voiture, as I shall do mine; for what I have to say may take more time than we should like them to wait."
Charles began to think the conduct of his companion somewhat extraordinary, but he replied calmly—“ You must shew me my way home then, for I am not acquainted with the streets.”
“ Ob, you shall get home,” answered the count; 6 don't be afraid of that."
* I am afraid of nothing, sir,” replied Charles; and turning round, he told the servant he did not want the carriage, but would be home shortly; after which he followed the count into the street, who led the way for a few minutes in silence; but turning at length to Mr. Melville
Now, sir," said he," what I wish to ask of you is this—what was it that the baro
ness said to you at the piano, when first you rose to sing with her?”
“Whatever the baroness said,” replied Charles, rather shortly, 6 was said to me, and therefore I can conceive it to be no affair of yours."
“ It is my affair, however,” replied the count, “ for it was said of me; and if
you do not explain it, I shall consider it as coming from you."
“ Consider any thing you please, sir," rejoined Charles ; " I have nothing to do with what you consider, any more than you have with what the baroness says to me.”
“ Yes, but you have,” answered the count; " for you must give me satisfaction for it.”
Charles's answer was simply—“ Whenever you please.”
“ This moment then," said the other. “ It is too late to use pistols, but come to my apartments, and you shall have the choice of my swords.”