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Heart Of Gold
by [?]

As Played at Paris, in the May of 1750

“Cette amoureuse ardeur qui dans les coeurs s’excite N’est point, comme l’on s�ait, un effet du merite; Le caprice y prend part, et, quand quelqu’un nous plaist, Souvent nous avons peine à dire pourquoy c’est. Mais on vois que l’amour se gouverne autrement.


DUC DE PUYSANGE, somewhat given to women, and now and then to good-fellowship, but a man of excellent disposition.

MARQUIS DE SOYECOURT, his cousin, and loves de Puysange’s wife.


DUCHESSE DE PUYSANGE, a precise, but amiable and patient, woman.

ANTOINE, LACKEYS to de Puysange, Etc.

Paris, mostly within and about the Hôtel de Puysange.


PROEM:–Necessitated by a Change of Scene

You are not to imagine that John Bulmer debated an exposure of de Soyecourt. “Live and let live” was the Englishman’s axiom; the exuberant Cazaio was dead, his men were either slain or dispersed, and the whole tangle of errors–with judicious reservations–had now been unravelled to Gaston’s satisfaction. And Claire de Puysange was now Duchess of Ormskirk. Why, then, meddle with Destiny, who appeared, after all, to possess a certain sense of equity?

So Ormskirk smiled as he presently went about Paris, on his own business, and when he and Louis de Soyecourt encountered each other their friendliness was monstrous in its geniality.

They were now one and all in Paris, where Ormskirk’s marriage had been again, and more publicly, solemnized. De Puysange swore that his sister was on this occasion the loveliest person affordable by the resources of the universe, but de Soyecourt backed another candidate; so that over their wine the two gentlemen presently fell into a dispute.

“Nay, but I protest to you she is the most beautiful woman in all Paris!” cried the Marquis de Soyecourt, and kissed his finger-tips gallantly.

“My dear Louis,” the Duc de Puysange retorted, “her eyes are noticeable, perhaps; and I grant you,” he added, slowly, “that her husband is not often troubled by–that which they notice.”

“–And the cleverest!”

“I have admitted she knows when to be silent. What more would you demand of any woman?”

“And yet–” The little Marquis waved a reproachful forefinger.

“Why, but,” said the Duke, with utter comprehension, “it is not for nothing that our house traces from the great Jurgen–“

He was in a genial midnight mood, and, on other subjects, inclined to be garrulous; for the world, viewed through a slight haze, of vinous origin, seemed a pleasant place, and inspired a kindly desire to say diverting things about the world’s contents. He knew the Marquis to be patient, and even stolid, under a fusillade of epigram and paradox; in short, de Puysange knew the hour and the antagonist for midnight talk to be at hand. And a saturnalia of phrases whirled in his brain, demanding utterance.

He waved them aside. Certain inbred ideas are strangely tenacious of existence, and it happened to be his wife they were discussing. It would not be good form, de Puysange felt, for him to evince great interest in this topic….


“And yet,” de Puysange queried, as he climbed democratically into a public hackney coach, “why not? For my part, I see no good and sufficient reason for discriminating against the only woman one has sworn to love and cherish and honor. It is true that several hundred people witnessed the promise, with a perfect understanding of the jest, and that the keeping of this oath involves a certain breach of faith with society. Eh bien! let us, then, deceive the world–and the flesh–and the devil! Let us snap our fingers at this unholy trinity, and assert the right, when the whim takes us, to make unstinted love to our own wives!”

He settled back in the fiacre to deliberate. “It is bourgeois? Bah! the word is the first refuge of the unskilful poseur! It is bourgeois to be born, to breathe, to sleep, or eat; in which of the functions that consume the greater part of my life do I differ from my grocer? Bourgeois! why, rightly considered, to be a human being at all is quite inordinately bourgeois! And it is very notably grocer-like to maintain a grave face and two establishments, to chuckle privily over the fragments of the seventh commandment, to repent, upon detection, and afterward–ces bêtes-là!–to drink poison. Ma foi, I infinitely prefer the domestic coffee!”