Marshal raised his pistol and aimed directly at the head of his enemy, who looked him firmly in the eye. The appearance of this youthful, fresh, and brave face softened, against his will, the noble and magnanimous soul of this good man. He let his arm fall. "Sir," said he, "you are so young, perhaps your life may improve. I will not kill you. But you need for this life a great, impressive lesson and a lasting warning. I will therefore shoot you through the right leg, just above the knee." [Footnote: The words of Baron Marshal.--See Thiebault.] He raised the pistol quickly, and fired. As the smoke was lifted, Belleville was seen lying bleeding on the ground. The shot had gone right through the knee and broken the knee-pan.
As his second bowed over him, Belleville whispered, with broken eyes and trembling lips: "My legacy! do not forget my legacy! I believe I shall die; this pain is horrible."
The Frenchman took the paper from his pocket and concealed it "I will be avenged," said Belleville, with a convulsive smile, then sank into unconsciousness.
Belleville was placed in the carriage of Baron Marshal and carried to the city. Baron Marshal went immediately to the commandant of Berlin, gave notice of what had taken place, and declared himself under arrest.
The commandant took his hand kindly. "The laws forbid duelling, and I must consider you under arrest until I receive further orders. That is to say, house-arrest; you must give me your word not to leave your house. I will send a courier immediately to the king. I was in the castle last night, and witness to all the circumstances which led to this duel, witnessed the conduct of these Frenchmen, and in your place I would have acted just as you have done."
The French officers fulfilled the vow they had made to their wounded comrade; they had promised to revenge him on Fraulein Marshal and the other ladies of the court.
The morning after the duel, on the corners of all the principal streets, placards were pasted, which were soon surrounded by crowds of men, exhibiting astonishment and indignation. These placards contained a register of all the young and beautiful women of the court and city; to these names were added a frivolous and voluptuous personal description of every lady, and to this the name of the French officer which each was supposed to favor. [Footnote: Thiebault, p. 90.]
An outcry of scorn and rage was heard throughout Berlin; every one was excited at the boundless shamelessness of the French officers, and on this occasion the mass of the people took the part of the rich and the distinguished, whom generally they envied and despised. They felt themselves aggrieved by the contempt and ridicule which these Frenchmen had cast upon the daughters of Prussians, and no police force was necessary to tear these placards from the walls; they were torn off and trampled under foot, or torn into a thousand pieces and scattered to the winds. If a Frenchman dared to show himself on the street, he was received with curses and threats, and the police were obliged to forbid them to appear in any public place, as they feared they would not be able to protect them from the fierce indignation of the people. The doors of all the prominent houses, in which heretofore they had received so much attention, were now closed against them. The commandant of Berlin had sent a detailed account of the conduct of the French officers to the king, and the answer had been received.