All mysterious stories begin with occasional conversation, accidentally abandoned words, fleeting encounters. Where is to be such a meeting, if not at the ball? Princess Mimi had long disliked Baroness Dauertal. The princess was already thirty. She still could not get married, but continued to attend balls. She perfectly learned to cursive, suspicion, intrigue and, remaining invisible, gain some power over others. Baronessa Dauertal, on the contrary, was married for the second time. Her first husband died, and the second, a husky old baron, aroused in all pity and suspicions that his wife was just hiding behind him. However, the Baron himself certainly believed his wife and did not doubt her affection. And no matter how cursed ladies in the light of Elise Dauerthal, still could not figure
So, one day, during the ball, after one of the dances, the princess asked the baroness to catch a glimpse of who she was dancing with. The Baroness replied that her partner had once served with her brother. The question of the princess put her in a quandary. Granitsky, a young man with whom she danced, was indeed the friend of her brother, more precisely, her husband’s brother. And my brother was living in her house now. And Granitsky – from her brother. He did not know anyone in the city, he constantly traveled with the Baroness. Looking at this stout young man with the thick black sideburns, which so often accompanied the Baroness, it was easy to think that they are connected by some feeling.
In fact, Granitsky was long and hopelessly in love with Countess Lydia Ripheuskaya. He knew and loved her as a girl, she reciprocated him. But, as always happens, family calculations interfered, material considerations. Mother took Lidia to France and married the Count of Ripheus. Having met again in St. Petersburg, lovers remembered the
That’s why, when the baroness found him to introduce the dancer, Granitsky readily agreed. The Baroness wanted to present it to Princess Mimi in order to take off her suspicion and deserve gratitude. The calculation was not justified: the princess had an unhealthy impact and rejected the proposal of Granitsky. The embarrassed Baroness had to retire. Princess really wanted to show that she does not want to dance only with Granitsky. Unfortunately, nobody invited her for the whole evening. She returned home with plans of cruel revenge. Do not hurry to condemn the princess for them: condemn the depraved morals of society! The society that inspires the girl that her only goal is to get married, and if she can not do it, she despises her and scoffs at her.
The next morning the princess woke up in a bad mood. At breakfast she listened to a lot of bites from her mother, the old princess, who complained about the fact that her daughter did not marry, but continues to go to balls and that her mother no longer has the strength to support Princess Mimi. And before that, she almost quarreled with her younger sister Maria, who defended the baroness. The quarrel promised to flare up in earnest, but guests and acquaintances began to come into the house. Little by little, the conversation turned to the Baroness and Granitsky. The guests agreed that the baron and the baroness together look strange, and Eliza behaves obscenely, dragging Granitsky with him everywhere. Secular rumor has already linked together the names of Eliza and Granitsky, considering them lovers. Any action, any word only confirmed suspicions.
Once the Princess and the Baroness met in the house of their mutual friends. There was also Granitsky, who all day unsuccessfully took the Countess Ripheuskaya. Soon Granitsky said that he had to go to the opera, and disappeared. Princess immediately decided that it was she who upset the next meeting of the Baroness with her lover. But then a servant appeared and reported that the baroness’s carriage had been submitted. Princess Mimi suspected something, but she did not even know what it was. She decided that she must certainly go with the baroness, and asked her to go to the carriage under the pretext of a migraine. And then Mimi walks around the yard, in a canter blown from all sides by the wind, which blinds and blows out the lanterns. It is supported by two footmen, helping to climb the step of the carriage. At this time a man’s hand protrudes from the carriage to help her sit down. Mimi rushed back and screamed – almost with joy! Finally she found the evidence! She loudly whispered to her sister Maria that the baroness was waiting in the carriage Granitsky. The Baroness, who appeared after the princess, could not understand what had happened. At that moment the door opened and the… baron entered. Yes, he expected his wife in the carriage. The cry of Princess Mimi, whom he had mistaken for Eliza, made him leave the carriage.
If you think that everything was clarified and Eliza was justified in the eyes of society, then you do not know him. For society, there is nothing more pleasant to accuse a woman of treason, to believe in herself and to pursue her. Princess Mimi had some kind of magnetism – so those present did not believe her eyes. It was easier for them to think that this was a mirage, a diabolical obsession, than that the princess had been deceived, having accepted the old baron for Granitsky. Then a vague, essentially ridiculous idea was born that the Baron played the role of a godfather here. Gradually, everyone was convinced of the truth of this assumption. So much so that the young baron, the brother-in-law of Eliza and the brother of the old Baron, friend of Granitsky, should already have listened to instructions from the Marquise de Creque, his aunt. She found this acquaintance strange, reprehensible, and Granitsky himself, who did not serve anywhere, is suspicious. She resolutely took the floor with her nephew, that for the sake of his brother he would expose Granitsky from the house. She informed him of the cunning intrigue that Granitsky had started with the Baroness.
At the same time that the Marquise was chastising her nephew, Gabriel Granitsky met Lydia in a small room behind a shiny shop. Lydia came here last time to tell the news: her husband had a second stroke, and the doctors declared him hopeless. Before the lovers opened a dawn of freedom, above them, it seemed, was a ghost of happiness. But the countess was tormented that for the sake of this happiness she must cross through the death of her friend. And she swore every minute of her care for her husband, the fulfillment of her conjugal duty to atone for her deceit and future happiness…
Returning home, the young Baron Dauertal eagerly awaited Granitsky. He was like a dream and felt that he had to do something. He worried about his brother, whom he loved and respected, felt his resentment as his own. To this was added the desire to show off before his comrades, to show that he was no longer a child. He was used to the fact that killing smoothes all insults and all crimes. He did not guess at the higher court, which was true, independent of people’s opinions. Yes, and how could he ask, if education forgot to tell him about this court, but life did not teach to ask at all. Even the language of the court itself was incomprehensible to the baron… Is it any wonder that the appearance of Granitsky led to an immediate quarrel, a quarrel – to an insult… And now the recent friends are shooting… Granitsky is still trying to find out the cause of his comrade’s unexpected anger. The error turned out quite… But none of them had enough strength to abandon the duel. Opponents do not want each other’s death, but they are compelled to pretend that they are fighting seriously… “We will try to scratch each other,” the duelists decided and dispersed. And indeed: Granitsky’s bullet scraped the baron’s hand, Granitsky fell dead.
Learning about the duel, the moral ladies immediately understood everything. All doubts were rejected, the guilty were found.
False accusations put the baroness in bed – she did not get up that much. The young baron and his two seconds were exiled for a duel. Countess Ripheuskaya remained a widow.
So tell me after that, what vices are persecuted by society, if both guilty and innocent die from this. Why are there people, the whole vocation, all the pleasure of which is to sow a calamity, to arouse in the souls of a loathsome loathing for humanity.
The death of Baroness Dauertal in society was learned from a young man who, despite the presence of Princess Mimi, blamed the secular ladies for this crime. Princess Mimi retorted insolent: “It’s not people who kill, but lawless passions.”