The latter had not yet given up hopes of cheating the chevalier in one way or another.
Towards the end of dinner it happened that Medini differed in opinion from me, and expressed his views in such a peremptory manner that I remarked that a gentleman would be rather more choice in his expressions.
"Maybe," he replied, "but I am not going to learn manners from you."
I constrained myself, and said nothing, but I was getting tired of his insolence; and as he might imagine that my resentment was caused by fear, I determined on disabusing him.
As he was taking his coffee on the balcony overlooking the sea, I came up to him with my cup in my hand, and said that I was tired of the rudeness with which he treated me in company.
"You would find me ruder still," he replied, "if we could meet without company."
"I think I could convince you of your mistake if we could have a private meeting."
"I should very much like to see you do it."
"When you see me go out, follow me, and don't say a word to anyone."
"I will not fail."
I rejoined the company, and walked slowly towards Pausilippo. I looked back and saw him following me; and as he was a brave fellow, and we both had our swords, I felt sure the thing would soon be settled.
As soon as I found myself in the open country, where we should not be interrupted, I stopped short.
As he drew near I attempted a parley, thinking that we might come to a more amicable settlement; but the fellow rushed on me with his sword in one hand and his hat in the other.
I lunged out at him, and instead of attempting to parry he replied in quart. The result was that our blades were caught in each other's sleeves; but I had slit his arm, while his point had only pierced the stuff of my coat.
I put myself on guard again to go on, but I could see he was too weak to defend himself, so I said if he liked I would give him quarter.
He made no reply, so I pressed on him, struck him to the ground, and trampled on his body.
He foamed with rage, and told me that it was my turn this time, but that he hoped I would give him his revenge.
"With pleasure, at Rome, and I hope the third lesson will be more effectual than the two I have already given you."
He was losing a good deal of blood, so I sheathed his sword for him and advised him to go to Goudar's house, which was close at hand, and have his wound attended to.
I went back to "Crocielles" as if nothing had happened. The chevalier was making love to Sara, and the rest were playing cards.
I left the company an hour afterwards without having said a word about my duel, and for the last time I supped with Callimena. Six years later I saw her at Venice, displaying her beauty and her talents on the boards of St. Benedict's Theatre.
I spent a delicious night with her, and at eight o'clock the next day I went off in a post-chaise without taking leave of anyone.
I arrived at Salerno at two o'clock in the afternoon, and as soon as I had taken a room I wrote a note to Donna Lucrezia Castelli at the Marquis C----'s.
I asked her if I could pay her a short visit, and begged her to send a reply while I was taking my dinner.
I was sitting down to table when I had the pleasure of seeing Lucrezia herself come in. She gave a cry of delight and rushed to my arms.
This excellent woman was exactly my own age, but she would have been taken for fifteen years younger.
After I had told her how I had come to hear about her I asked for news of our daughter.
"She is longing to see you, and her husband too; he is a worthy old man, and will be so glad to know you."
"How does he know of my existence?"
"Leonilda has mentioned your name a thousand times during the five years they have been married. He is aware that you gave her five thousand ducats. We shall sup together."
"Let us go directly; I cannot rest till I have seen my Leonilda and the good husband God has given her. Have they any children?"
"No, unluckily for her, as after his death the property passes to his relations.