Auguste Saint-Claire was not loved in the so-called “big world”; the main reason was that he tried to please only those who were to his heart. He walked one by himself and carefully avoided the others. In addition, he was careless and absent-minded.
He was proud and proud. He valued others’ opinions. He called all his forces, trying to learn to hide all that was considered a humiliating weakness.
In the light he soon acquired the notorious fame of an indifferent and unresponsive person. Saint-Claire did not believe in friendship.
Saint Clair was, however, a pleasant person in communication. His shortcomings harmed him personally. Rarely it was boring with him.
Saint-Claire was very careful with women; he preferred their male conversation. If
The Countess went to the medicinal waters, and Saint Clair soon followed her.
After one of the meetings, he was unusually happy, de Courcy admired, rejoiced that she preferred him to many other admirers.
On the same evening, Saint-Claire comes to a meeting of young bachelors, where his acquaintance Alfonso de Themin is present. Young people discuss how to achieve the love of pretty women. Try to derive a general formula of originality, so that, following it, everyone likes. Saint-Claire told how he would win beauties, even if he was hunchbacked: he would be bewitching plaintive or eccentric persons.
Temin said that the main weapon he considers a pleasant appearance and the ability to dress with taste. As an example, he began to talk about the same Countess de Courcy, who once was frowned upon by some Masigny: “The stupidest and emptiest of people turned the head of the most intelligent of women. Would you say after that that you can achieve such success with a hump? only a pleasant appearance, a good tailor and boldness. “
Saint-Claire was furious. He remembered the Etruscan vase
The conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Theodore Neuville from Egypt. He talks about the customs there. Saint-Claire slowly went home, where he became very worried about the fact that the countess was the same woman as everyone else, and he thought that in her whole life she loved only him. She, our hero thinks, does not care: Masigny or Saint Clair. He suffers, but still goes to de Courcy again for a date.
She is incredibly affectionate with him, indulges him in all the small things. Gives repaired watches with their own portrait. Saint Clair is relieved: now he believes that she loves him.
In the morning, his joy is again overshadowed. He sees the vase again, and it’s de Courcy road. And her portrait on his repaired watch was done by the artist, whom she had once introduced to Masini.
Saint-Claire is already beginning to think about whether to marry her or not after her year-long mourning. Immersed in gloomy thoughts, riding a horse and meeting another rider – de Themina. Saint-Claire is so irritated that he starts a trivial quarrel, and Temin summons him to a duel.
In the evening, with the Countess Saint-Clair, she is positively gay, which causes her displeasure, she seems to be angry.
They begin to talk about who is more often trapped in a false love – men or women. The countess tells him how she once played a joke on Masigny, who was in love with her: he sent her a declaration of love, and that evening she asked to read aloud to her cousin, without naming names. Everyone laughed at his stupid and inept style, and Masinyi was defeated.
Saint Clair realizes that he was fooled, and the countess was never in love with Masigny. He tells everything to her, and they hug themselves happily. Then the Countess smashes the Etruscan vase.
The next day, Temin kills St. Clair in a duel.
For three years the countess does not want to see anyone. Then from the wanderings her cousin Julie returns and takes her to the islands. But de Courcy has already ruined herself – she held out at the resort for three to four months, and then died of a chest disease.