Fiction Story

A Coward -By Guy de Maupassant

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His name was viscount, an orphan and possessed of an adequate income. He had a good figure. One evening, he went to the theatre with two ladies. They had been sitting there for a few minutes when he noticed a gentleman at a neighbouring table .staring obstinately at one of the ladies, and she seemed embarrassed She said to her husband about this. Her husband said, ‘It’s very annoying, the creature ‘s spoiling my ice. But the Viscount could not permit this stranger to spoil an ice of his giving. You hold your tongue ‘There was a sudden movement. The Viscount had boxed his adversary’s ears. Every one rose to intervene. He remained standing stock-still, lost in thoughts, his eyes fixed upon the card. A fury of hatred in which was mingled a queer sensation of uneasiness. He took an open knife and thrust through the middle of the printed name, as though he had stabbed a man. He remained standing in front of the mirror. He put out his tongue .’ The day after tomorrow, at this very hour, I may be dead. His heart began again; it’s furious beating.’ He will see that I am afraid ‘His whole body trembled ‘I must be energetic I must prove that I am not afraid ‘The ringing of the bell gave him such a shock that he had not strength to rise and welcome his seconds. He didn’t even dare to speak to them .’ You are all right, asked the colonel “‘yes quite calm’Thank you. The two men retired. So he was going to fight. He wished to fight He tried to picture the duel, his attitude, his teeth chattered in his mouth He opened, in passing, a case of Gastinne Renette standing on a small table and took out one of the pistols, then placed himself as though to shoot and raised his arm. But he was trembling from head to foot ‘It’s impossible ,I can’t fight in this state ‘He looked a deep black hole that spits death, he thought of the disgrace of the whispers at the club of the laughter in the drawing rooms, of the contempt of women, of the allusions of the papers, of the insults which cowards would fling at him . He thought He would be sullied, branded with a mark of infamy, hounded out of society. The thought which hovered in him did not even fulfil itself in his mind ,but opening his mouth wide ,he thrust in the barrel of his pistol with savage gesture until it reached his throat, and pressed on the trigger When his valet ran in, at the sound of the report, he found him lying dead . A shower of blood had splashed the white paper on the table, and made a great red mark beneath these four words, ‘This is my will.’

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