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ness said to you at the piano, when first you rose to sing with her?” ir ar stiin
“ Whatever the baroness said,” replied Charles, rather shortly, “ 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.”
11,1 !! ! " “ Yes, but you have,” answered the count; " for you must give me satisfaction for it.
100 1.100,-,,) fins · Charles's answer was simply—“ Whenever you please.". - Gite, "!! : )
“ 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.”
Charles never had received half a dozen lessons in fencing in his life. This therefore was the last way in the world he would have chosen to meet an antagonist: but be very evidently saw that the count was bent upon getting up a quarrel. with him upon some score, and he did not choose to bear even the appearance of hesitation. He accordingly followed the count de L- to his house, which was not far, and having ascended the stairaase, his antagonist introduced him into hisapartments, and bade him welcome, with as much suavity and politeness as if he had invited him to supper.
A servant having lighted a handsome lamp that hung from the ceiling, and quitted the room, the count unbuckled his own sword, and producing another, offered his choice to Charles, who took the first that presented itself." They are perfectly equal,” said the count, after Charles had made his election : “ if you will remark, they are both the best German blades ;"
and he held them to the light, that his companion might look at the names engraved upon them. He then proceeded to assure Charles, that the hilts were of the finest Parisian manufacture, and in the best taste: after which he pulled off his coat, as a signal that he was prepared.
Charles followed his example, and endeavoured to defend himself-proceeding warily at first, as he very plainly saw that his adversary was infinitely superior in skill to himself. At length, however, having successfully parried two or three thrusts, he ventured to lunge in return, when in a moment he was disarmed; and being deprived of the resistance he expected from his sword, he lost his balance, and came upon his knee. The count drew back his arm, and in another second his sword would have been through Mr. Melville's body, when some one coming in at the door, to which Charles's back was turned, interposed his hand, and received the point of the count's sword in VOL. I.
the palm, while Charles rose from his knee, in no small surprise, to see Mr. Wilmot.
The count was furious; but Wilmot approached close to him, and looking him sternly in the face-“ You are well aware, sir,” said he, “ that you have not been contending with your match. Are you not ashamed to have retained your sword in your hand, when you saw that he did not know how to oppose you? Put up your weapon, sir-put up your weapon, and do not disgrace it again by such conduct !"
This but seemed to add to the rage into which the count had worked himself, and he vowed that he would exact satisfaction of Mr. Melville, with pistols, the next day.
“ That you shall not, sir,” returned Wilmot: “ any satisfaction shall be this night, from me, and at your own weapon, which I will teach you to use better for the future;" and snatching up the sword that
had been wrenched from Charles, he put himself in a posture of defence,
The count instantly attacked him, and Charles hesitated, afraid of putting either of them off their guard : but he soon per, ceived there was no danger of Mr. Wil. mot, who parried every lunge of his ad. versary, with that cool ease which shewed him as superior at present, as the count had been in the former instance. In every thing he did, Nature seemed to have endowed Mr. Wilmot with a graceful quietude of action, which was the effect of excellence in all he undertook; and in the present instance, where life was the stake for which they played, there was no angry. passion depicted in his countenance; there was precision, but nothing hasty in his movements: he seemed merely fencing for amusement. The count, on the other hand, attacked him with all the fierceness of anger: he tried lunge after lunge, feint after feint, till, baffled and exhausted, he was fain to defend himself; for Wilmot L 2