In the Salon of 1884 appeared a painting by a well-known and popular artist entitled "An Affair of Honor."
It represented a duel with rapiers between two women. The scene was laid in a well-known spot in the Bois
de Boulogne where there have been countless encounters of this character. The combatants, their seconds
and friends were all women of the class which inhabits that half-world for which Alexandre Dumas the
younger invented the name. Each personage was a striking portrait of some prosperous courtesan, and the
women, stripped naked to the waist, were both living adventurers of notorious recklessness.
The popularity of the picture was enormous. It travelled all over the world, and was so great that the
artist followed it with a companion and sequel - "The Reconciliation." Here one of the cocottes has fallen
wounded, and her late antagonist forgets her anger and kneels sympathizingly beside her, while
one of the seconds calls up the coach, which at a distance has awaited the outcome
Chapter 12 Text
Emile Antoine Bayard
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Copyright © 2007, Mary S. Van Deusen