"You would never believe me, colonel," answered Servadac, "if I were to tell you; so on that point I had better hold my tongue."
"Hang your mysteries!" said the colonel; "tell me, where have you been?"
"No, my friend, excuse me," replied Servadac; "but shake hands with me in earnest, that I may be sure I am not dreaming." Hector Servadac had made up his mind, and no amount of persuasion could induce him to divulge his incredible experiences.
Anxious to turn the subject, Servadac took the earliest opportunity of asking, "And what about Madame de L----?"
"Madame de L-----!" exclaimed the colonel, taking the words out of his mouth; "the lady is married long ago; you did not suppose that she was going to wait for you. 'Out of sight, out of mind,' you know."
"True," replied Servadac; and turning to the count he said, "Do you hear that? We shall not have to fight our duel after all."
"Most happy to be excused," rejoined the count. The rivals took each other by the hand, and were united henceforth in the bonds of a sincere and confiding friendship.
"An immense relief," said Servadac to himself, "that I have no occasion to finish that confounded rondo!"