© ISPmanager licensed
|Thank you for coming to odontologiauatx.com
|The website is being built now
|odontologiauatx.com was created:
August 14 2012 13:54:36.
Today Saturday 25 May 2013 16:22:04
In twenty minutes
the Paris train would have gone by.
"To a man of the well-known skill and valour of Monsieur de St.
Eustache," said the Professor solemnly, "it must be a matter of indifference
which method is adopted, and our principal has strong reasons for demanding
the longer encounter, reasons the delicacy of which prevent me from being
explicit, but for the just and honourable nature of which I can--"
"Peste!" broke from the Marquis behind, whose face had suddenly
darkened, "let us stop talking and begin," and he slashed off the head of a
tall flower with his stick.
Syme understood his rude impatience and instinctively looked over his
shoulder to see whether the train was coming in sight. But there was no
smoke on the horizon.
Colonel Ducroix knelt down and unlocked the case, taking out a pair of
twin swords, which took the sunlight and turned to two streaks of white
fire. He offered one to the Marquis, who snatched it without ceremony, and
another to Syme, who took it, bent it, and poised it with as much delay as
was consistent with dignity.
Then the Colonel took out another pair of blades, and taking one
himself and giving another to Dr. Bull, proceeded to place the men.
Both combatants had thrown off their coats and waistcoats, and stood
sword in hand. The seconds stood on each side of the line of fight with
drawn swords also, but still sombre in their dark frock-coats and hats. The
principals saluted. The Colonel said quietly, "Engage!" and the two blades
touched and tingled.
When the jar of the joined iron ran up Syme's arm, all the fantastic
fears that have been the subject of this story fell from him like dreams
from a man waking up in bed. He remembered them clearly and in order as mere
delusions of the nerves--how the fear of the Professor had been the fear of
the tyrannic accidents of nightmare, and how the fear of the Doctor had been
the fear of the airless vacuum of science. The first was the old fear that
any miracle might happen, the second the more hopeless modern fear that no
miracle can ever happen. But he saw that these fears were fancies, for he
found himself in the presence of the great fact of the fear of death, with
its coarse and pitiless common sense. He felt like a man who had dreamed all
night of falling over precipices, and had woke up on the morning when he was
to be hanged. For as soon as he had seen the sunlight run down the channel
of his foe's foreshortened blade, and as soon as he had felt the two tongues
of steel touch, vibrating like two living things, he knew that his enemy was
a terrible fighter, and that probably his last hour had come.
He felt a strange and vivid value in all the earth around him, in the
grass under his feet; he felt the love of life in all living things. He
could almost fancy that he heard the grass growing; he could almost fancy
that even as he stood fresh flowers were springing up and breaking into
blossom in the meadow--flowers blood red and burning gold and blue,
fulfilling the whole pageant of the spring. And whenever his eyes strayed
for a flash from the calm, staring, hypnotic eyes of the Marquis, they saw
the little tuft of almond tree against the sky-line. He had the feeling that
if by some miracle he escaped he would be ready to sit for ever before that
almond tree, desiring nothing else in the world.
But while earth and sky and everything had the living beauty of a thing
lost, the other half of his head was as clear as glass, and he was parrying
his enemy's point with a kind of clockwork skill of which he had hardly
supposed himself capable. Once his enemy's point ran along his wrist,
leaving a slight streak of blood, but it either was not noticed or was
tacitly ignored. Every now and then he riposted, and once or twice he could
almost fancy that he felt his point go home, but as there was no blood on
blade or shirt he supposed he was mistaken. Then came an interruption and a
At the risk of losing all, the Marquis, interrupting his quiet stare,
flashed one glance over his shoulder at the line of railway on his right.
Then he turned on Syme a face transfigured to that of a fiend, and began to
fight as if with twenty weapons. The attack came so fast and furious, that
the one shining sword seemed a shower of shining arrows. Syme had no chance
to look at the railway; but also he had no need. He could guess the reason
of the Marquis's sudden madness of battle-- the Paris train was in sight.
But the Marquis's morbid energy over-reached itself.