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An Adventure With A Hat

An Adventure With A Hat image
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M. Arsene Houssaye, in one of his Paris letters to the New York Tribune, relates the following : I once had a hat adventure myself. lt was in 1850. I was at the ball of the Hotel de Ville, escorting Mme. Víctor Öufibj ivliile M. Hugo gave his arm to Madame Houssaye. Thero was a chair empty, and the next one to it contained a hat. I took up the hat and gave the chair to Mme. Hugo. Of course I did not propose to hold the hat all night, so I pltt it on the floor. lts owner soon arrivodi ït ivfts a celeforated duelist, M. Sherbette, a Oeputy from Soissons. He came straight to the chair wliich had had the honor of holding his hat. He was about to attack Madame Victor Hugo, but as I was talking with her, he turnea upon me. " Is it yon, sir, who have displaced my hat?" "Yes, siï." " Did you put it on the floor V' " Yes. Do you thiuk I ought to have put it onmyhead?" " But, sir, you have insulted me. Here is my card." I took out a card and threw it in his hat. " Monsieur I" said the Deputy, furiously, " do yo suppose I am goiDg to piek up my hat?" " Do you suppose," I said, " that lam going to put it on your head ?" Victor Hugo laughed, Madame Hugo smiled, but Madame Houssaye was not at all amused. "Irequire, sir," said the Deputy of Soissons, ' ' that you replace my hat on the chair where it was." I began to laugh. A little circlo liad gathered. M. Sherbetto flnally picked up his hat under pretext of taking my card. "Monsieur Arsene Houssaye," he said, "we are from the same place, a reason more for our meeting." "I await your seconds, M. Sherbette," I replied. "At what hour?" "At this hour. We can fight as soon ns we leave the ball." M. Sherbette bowed to the two ladies, and went off in search of two seconds. I asked Victor Hugo and the Marquis de Belloy to act as my witnesses in this ridiculous affair. M. Sherbette's seconds soon appeared. It was decided that we sliould fight with pistols at twenty paces at the Bolsade Boulogne at daybreak. It was then hardly midnight, but we resolved to pass the rest of the night at a ball. At tbat time I was very fond of waltzing. They told Madame Houssaye that the affair was amicably settled, so that we amused ourselves pleasantly until nearly dawn. As ill-luck would have it, we all met in the cloak-room, principáis and seconds. " It is a nuisance, " said one of Sherbette's seconds, " to go to the Bois in this snow-storm. " "Come," said the other laughingly to M. Sherbette, " as you are the injurod party, you can apologize." "Never!" said M. Sherbette. The two seconds came to me. " Say one word to free ns from this task. We want to go to bed." "Never 1" I wied in my turn. M. Sherbette put on his hat with a slant over the right ear. I put on mine with a slant over the left. The f our seconds besieged ns, and said they would not accompany us unless we were more good-uatured about it. "After all," said Victor Hugo, "I think that Arsene Houssaye, ha ving insulted M. Sherbette's hat, might make his apolgies toit." At this moment.a word from M. Sherbette changed the face of things. " If M. Arsene Houssaye declares thut ia off onding my hat he did not mean to offend me, I will.hold myself satisfied with this declara tion." I declared that I had not aimed at M. Sherbette under his hat, and the duel was at an end. It was agreed in the verbal verbal, that whenever we met thereafter we were to salute each other by a touch of the hat.


Old News
Michigan Argus