Read CHAPTER XIX. - Monsieur Beausire of The Queen's Necklace , free online book, by Alexandre Dumas‚ Pere, on ReadCentral.com.

Oliva ran to meet a man, who came in swearing furiously, and in a frightful passion.

“Come, Beausire,” said she, apparently not at all frightened.

“Let me alone!” cried he, shaking her off brutally.  “Ah!  I see, it was because there is a man here that the door was not opened!” And as the visitor remained perfectly still, he advanced furiously towards him, saying, “Will you answer me, sir?”

“What do you want to know, my dear M. Beausire?”

“What are you doing here, and who are you?”

“I am a very quiet man, and I was simply talking tomadame.”

“That was all,” said Oliva.

“Will you hold your tongue?” bawled Beausire.

“Now,” said the visitor, “do not be so rude tomadame, who has done nothing to deserve it; and if you are in a bad temper -

“Yes, I am.”

“He must have lost at cards,” murmured Oliva.

“I am cleaned out, mort dediable!” cried Beausire.  “But you, sir, will do me the favor to leave this room.”

“But, M. Beausire -

“Diable! if you do not go immediately it will be the worse for you.”

“You did not tell me, mademoiselle, that he was troubled with these fits.  Good heavens! what ferocity!”

Beausire, exasperated, drew his sword, and roared, “If you do not move, I will pin you to the sofa!”

“Really, it is impossible to be more disagreeable,” said the visitor, also drawing a small sword, which they had not before seen.

Oliva uttered piercing shrieks.

“Oh, mademoiselle, pray be quiet,” said he, “or two things will happen:  first, you will stun M. Beausire, and he will get killed; secondly, the watch will come up and carry you straight off to St. Lazare.”

Oliva ceased her cries.

The scene that ensued was curious.  Beausire, furious with rage, was making wild and unskilful passes at his adversary, who, still seated on the sofa, parried them with the utmost ease, laughing immoderately all the time.

Beausire began to grow tired and also frightened, for he felt that if this man, who was now content to stand on the defensive, were to attack him in his turn, he should be done for in a moment.  Suddenly, however, by a skilful movement, the stranger sent Beausire’s sword flying across the room; it went through an open window, and fell into the street.

“Oh, M. Beausire,” said he, “you should take more care; if your sword falls on any one, it will kill him.”

Beausire ran down at his utmost speed to fetch his sword, and meanwhile, Oliva, seizing the hand of the victor, said: 

“Oh, sir, you are very brave; but as soon as you are gone, Beausire will beat me.”

“Then I will remain.”

“Oh, no; when he beats me, I beat him in return, and I always get the best of it, because I am not obliged to take any care; so if you would but go, sir -

“But, my dear, if I go now, I shall meet M. Beausire on the stairs; probably the combat will recommence, and as I shall not feel inclined to stand on the staircase, I shall have to kill M. Beausire.”

“Mon Dieu! it is true.”

“Well, then, to avoid that I will remain here.”

“No, sir, I entreat; go up to the next story, and as soon as he returns to this room I will lock the door and take the key, and you can walk away while we fight it out.”

“You are a charming girl.  Au revoir!”

“Till when?”

“To-night, if you please.”

“To-night! are you mad?”

“Not at all; but there is a ball at the Opera to-night.”

“But it is now midnight.”

“That does not matter.”

“I should want a domino.”

“Beausire will fetch it when you have beaten him.”

“You are right,” said Oliva, laughing.

“And here are tenlouis to buy it with.”

“Adieu! and thanks.”  And she pushed him out, saying, “Quick! he is coming back.”

“But if by chance he should beat you, how will you let me know?”

She reflected a moment.  “You have a servant?”

“Yes.”

“Send him here, and let him wait under the window till I let a note fall.”

“I will.  Adieu!” And he went up-stairs.

Oliva drowned the sound of his footsteps by calling loudly to Beausire, “Are you coming back, madman?” for he did not seem in much hurry to reencounter his formidable adversary.  At last, however, he came up.  Oliva was standing outside the door; she pushed him in, locked it, and put the key in her pocket.

Before the stranger left the house, he heard the noise of the combat begin, and both voices loud and furious.  “There is no doubt,” said he to himself, “that this woman knows how to take care of herself.”  His carriage was waiting for him at the corner of the street, but before getting in he spoke to the footman, who thereupon stationed himself within view of Mademoiselle Oliva’s windows.