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any circumstances, to offer him one. became, in his neighbourhood, (and as far TEXI-as a man can become such, in that part of the world,) an object at once fearful, detestable, and arrogant in the extreme. Few men but wished him killed off-hand, or hoped, that at the earliest convenient opportunity, he might find his match.
The young man, who, on the occasion I am about to relate, eventually entered the field with this uncivilized fellow, happened, neither by reputation nor in fact, to possess the horrible accomplishments of the colonel. He was a quiet, unassuming citizen, with no further title to the character of a duellist than many attach to the majority of his fellow-men in those fighting regions.
FRANKLY admitting that duels of every common kind, and some of a very uncommon description also, have been written. upon until the very name, when seen in print, bears very much the unsavory character of a literary nuisance, I yet venture 1 to add another to the number, since it may deservedly be considered the crowning fight, both for its singularity and its barbarity, of all hitherto placed on record. Savage and deadly as is the general character of duelling in the Southern States of AmericaThe inn, or liquor-store, in which the epidemical as it is decidedly stated to be in scene took place, stood by the forest, alsome places, (Orleans, for instance,) in- though an extensive patch of roughly-clearcreasing materially in the heats of summer, ed ground surrounded it, and the night of and declining as the weather cools, -and its occurrence having suddenly proved very in the face of all we have heard concerning rainy and dark, many of those who had preKentucky "gouging" and biting off of ears viously assembled there were detained beand noses, this "Fight in the Dark," yond their time, while occasional wayfarwhich took place in Florida, stands pre-emi-ers, to avoid the storm, added to their nent and alone. Germany cannot match it, numbers. Amongst these latter were two and by its side, an English duel is mere child's play! That poor humanity should ever become excited to such an act will appear marvellous-but it is no less true. At least, it is no fiction of mine-and a very savage kind of imagination must any novelist have possessed who could have purely invented it.
The parties in this affair were Colonel and a young man, I believe a surgeon, whom he chanced accidentally to meet, one evening, at a liquor-store. Whether the colonel was of the "regular army," as Webb, of New York, designates himself, or only one of those very numerous colonels in America who never either handled a sword or rode in the field, even of a review, my informant did not state; though, from his insolent and quarrelsome disposition, I should, as an Englishman, naturally conclude he was no soldier. This, however, at least he was-one of those not uncommon characters to be met with in the South -a man who had accquired for himself a "first-rate" reputation as not only a dead shot with either pistol or rifle, but also as being equally au fait and formidable in the uses of the bowie-knife. Whichever he might fight with, was a matter of perfect indifference to him-as in any one of the three cases, his antagonist generally enjoyed some three or four chances, to the colonel's one, of losing his life. Hence, few cared to receive an insult from him, or, under almost
individuals, one of whom, before his entrance, was overheard, by some in the entrance, to say to his companion, with a fearful oath peculiar to certain people in the South
"By! Major, I'll raise a fight to-night, before I go!"
"No, no, colonel!" replied the other"stop a moment. Is there any man here you have a difficulty with ?"
"No-not that I know of; but what does that matter?"
"Then why go into a bar for the sake of picking a quarrel with a stranger, either to kill him or get killed yourself?"
"Kill me!-ah! ah! major, don't grind coffee on my nose!-you couldn't do it yourself! Let any man try, and the way I'l use him up shall be a caution, I tell you!"
And so saying, the colonel strode in, and made his way towards the bar, where he ordered brandy, and while drinking it, cast his eyes around upon a respectable body of men there assembled-a body commonly called, according to this kind of classical American, "a tallish kind of a crowd."
His general insolence of demeanor soon attracted attention, but for a while he failed to fix upon any particular individual as his intended victim.
Meantime, his friend the major,-probably another such major as he himself a colonel-was observed to address him earnestly, but in a low tone of voice, though
seemingly with the intention of keeping The latter, thereupon, deliberately rose him quiet. These efforts failed-and with from his seat, and advancing, with the ut more brandy came more determination. most apparent composure, towards his anEventually, his eye fell upon two persons, tagonist, (who, probably, had no idea of such one the young man who was to be slaugh- a salutation from such a man,) struck him tered, to whom allusion has already been boldly in the face with his fist, and instantly made, and the other an aged one-perhaps fell back, to stand upon his defence with the his father. They were engaged in close knife. private conversation, the younger of the two being then the speaker. The colonel seemed to listen attentively, and having drawn somewhat nearer, very soon exclaimed aloud
"It is not the case!"
The colonel rushed forwards, like a tiger, but his friend, the major, seized him, and all interfered to prevent the immediate effusion of blood. This being effected, a challenge was immediately given by the colonel, and accepted, and the morrow morning was Many turned their heads towards the proposed as the period for the meeting. To speaker, with a slight expression of surprise, the surprise, however, of some of the byas being unconscious who he was address- standers, the challenged party insisted on ing; his friend, who now stood aloof, but an immediate decision, and that the combat kept his eyes upon him, beckoned him back, should terminate only with life. "To kill but in vain, while the individual really most or be killed," said he, "is now my only alinterested in this commencement of the at-ternative, and the sooner one or the other tack was too absorbed in his own discourse is done the better." to hear, or to remark, the exclamation at
On hearing this, the colonel also furiously demanded an instantaneous settlement of
By and by, the colonel a second time the affair, said his friends had no right to spoke, but in a louder key
"I say it's false !"
On this occasion, the young man almost involuntarily looked up, and his eyes met those of the colonel, for towards him were many directed. But he seemed not yet to comprehend that his private conversation with his aged friend was alluded to. It was, therefore, immediately afterwards continued.
prevent it, and swore that if he did not conclude the business at the first shot, he would consent to stand as a target only the following two times. Both parties were, of course, by this period, highly excited. Different propositions were loudly vociferated by as many different parties present, until more than one case of "difficulty" of this kind appeared likely to be brought to its "sum total" before the morning sun. It was suggested that they should go out on
By this time, scarcely another voice in the room was heard-suspense as to the re-to the clearing, have two blazing fires made sult, and curiosity concerning this unaccountable conduct, having produced considerable silence.
at a proper distance, the combatants being placed between them, so that they could see each other against the light behind-or that they should fight by the blaze of pitch-pine splinters-or decide the question, at once, across a table.
In the midst of all this uproar, the young man challenged was questioned, by several of the more temperate persons present, as to his knowledge of the character and reputation enjoyed by his antagonist, the colonel. He replied that he knew nothing whatever concerning him, and had never even seen him before; two facts which, in his opinion, highly aggravated the repeated and intentional insults he had received. They accordingly advised him on the subject of the colonel's prowess, and urgently recommended him to adopt the following two courses, to select no other weapon than the rifle, and to defer the decision until daylight. By no other arrangement could he possibly have a chance.
All was in vain, as he firmly adhered to
The time-keeper closed his watch, and gave the signal; at the same moment all the lights on the landing and staircase were extinguished, in order that no ray might pass through the least crevice into the inside of the room.
Every body expected, upon the giving of the signal, to hear the commencement of the strife; but they listened in dead silence to no purpose; not the remotest sound, even of a footstep, could be heard. And thus they waited five minutes, and ten, and twenty, and yet the combatants gave no sign. After the lapse, as near as might be conjectured, of half an hour or thereabouts, one pistol was discharged; and although the listeners had been in the continued expectation of it so long, yet when it did come, a sudden start of surprise ran through them, as though each man had instantly felt that he might have received the contents himself. And then followed a hasty step across the floor-another pistol reportthe clashing of knives, and a brief but seemingly desperate attempt to wrestle, which quickly terminated, and all again was quiet.
his previously expressed determination; the favorite," though the backers of neither and equally vain were the painful and even one nor the other appeared inclined to offer pathetic remonstrances of his aged friend. very long odds. Reconciliation, even during the space of a few hours, being thus rendered impossible, and all the already proposed modes of fighting being rejected or unattended to, a new proposition was made, It was distinctly-that in order to disarm one of the parties of his decided general advantages as a duellist-to prevent the other, as far as possible, from being butchered as well as wantonly insulted, and, in short, to place both upon as perfect an equality as possible, the following articles ought to be agreed to:- -That the landlord should give up the use of a large, empty room, that extended over the whole top of his house, and allow every window to be closely blocked up with shutters or boards. That, when this was done, the duellists should be divested of every particle of clothing, armed each with a brace of pistols and a bowieknife, and then be let into the room-three minutes being given, after the closing of the door, before hostilities commenced, the expiration of the time being announced to them by three rapid knocks upon the door. Will it be believed that this arrangement was instantly agreed to? But so it was. And a tolerable party immediately proceed ed up stairs, some to make the needful arrangements, and others to listen to this unseen fight, and await its exciting result. Savage as men's spirits may be, such a scene of preparation as this was enough to silence, if not to awe them. While it was passing, no man spoke, but all looked curiously upon the fine muscular persons that were soon, in all probability, about to cut up each other alive.
All things being ready, the door, which had cautiously been kept closed, to prevent the interior of the place from being seen by the duellists, was opened, and they entered the room of death together. The old man, whose friend one of them was, wept in silent bitterness, but by an involuntary action, as the young man passed out of his sight, evidently besought heaven to assist the insulted and the innocent. The door was closed. The time-keeper drew out his watch, and kept his eyes steadily fixed upon it. The assembled party employed that brief period in offering and accepting (in whispers) bets of from one to five hundred and more dollars, as to the result. According to sporting phrase, "the colonel was
"It's all up!" whispered one-"I'll bet drinks for the crowd!"
"Taken!" said another-"I begin to want a julep!"
"Fifty to forty the colonel has killed him!" remarked a third ;-" he was a very nice young man, but he can't come in this time!"
And thus would they have gone on, had not the third report been just then heard, followed by a prolonged conflict hand to hand, and knife to knife, in the course of which the fourth pistol was exploded. The strokes of the knives began to grow less frequent, aud more faint in sound; but ere they had entirely ceased, a heavy body dropped with a dead sound upon the floor of the room. Another instant, and there followed another fall.
Some individuals present were for opening the door immediately; but this proposition was overruled, on the ground that if the fight were not yet over, the most able might take advantage of the appearance of the light to kill the other, even lying on the boards.
About half an hour was, if I recollect aright, allowed to pass in close and attentive listening to catch the most distant sound from within. None was heard; and at the expiration of that period, amidst a crowd of the most horrible of anxious faces,
the door was opened, and the whole party | him. And in this kind of maneuvering, rushed in. Towards the remoter end, and sometimes to get away, and sometimes to not far from the wall, lay a heap like red approach, if I fancied, though why I know cloth. It was composed of the gashed and not, that an advantage might be gained, the bloody bodies of the duellists! One lay greatest part of the silent half hour you across the other. They were taken up, and speak of was spent. something like a distant murmur of applause followed, when it was discovered that THE COLONEL WAS UNDERMOST!
But many who best knew him spoke outright their gladness, when an examination proved that he was perfectly dead. Both bodies were so mangled, that it was next to impossible to handle them without touching the wounds.
The best of it was, however, that the conqueror of this fearful white savage was found to be still alive. He was taken down stairs instantly; stimulants were given, and he began to revive. His body was then carefully washed; after which, being cautiously wrapped up, he was conveyed away to the nearest surgeon's, some time after midnight.
The room exhibited a spectacle not to be described.
The young man eventually recovered entirely of all his wounds, and was often congratulated on having rid the country of a monster whom few dared to attack.
"At length, having safely reached the opposite side, I stood still, resolved not to move again until he either approached, having perhaps found me out, or by some means or other 1 could discover his position in the room. Having now got beyond his reach, I felt that to be motionless on my part was the wisest step; and calculated that his passion and fury would soon lead him on to the exhibition of less caution. Nothing of the kind occurred, and yet the first ball discharged was mine. A mouse could have been heard to stir ; but we were perfectly lost to each other.
"Eventually, whether my eyes had become more accommodated to the blackness, or from whatever cause, but true enough it is, I perceived a pair of eyes on the other side nearly opposite to me. They shone like those of a hyena in the night. I fired instantly, and rushed forward. The flash showed me the colonel crouched down against the wall, and must equally have directed him to me. He fired as he ad
This was not all. During his convales-vanced, but missed. We were almost close cence, inquiries were frequently made of together. The empty pistols were thrown him as to the mode in which the fight was managed; and he accordingly gave the following curious account, as nearly as the writer can remember :
down, and the knives used. He rushed on with great ferocity, and tried to grapple with me, but I slipped out of his arms; and for an instant, being quite separated, both "When the door was closed," said he, stood still, listening for the place of the "we were surrounded by the most profound other. I think he must have heard me, for darkness. It seemed for some moments to he fired a second time with such effect as confound the senses, and be close to my you all have seen. Nothing but his knife eyes. During the three minutes allowed now remained; I had knife and pistol. We before the battle might begin, my principal were so close together, that he was upon aim was to get away from my antagonist me almost as soon as his pistol-ball. The into another part of the room, without his latter staggered me a little at the moment, knowledge, and to stand there by the wall but I met him with the knife, and from that until, perhaps, he should make some move-time we never separated again. My object ment, by the sound of which I could be was to keep him from closing upon me, undirected in my attack. The crowd outside til I could be as certain as darkness would was as still as death. I held my breath, permit of using my last ball to advantage. and treading so lightly that I could not hear In consequence of that, I retreated in varimy own footfalls, I stole away towards that ous ways, both still fighting, sometimes side of the room on which I entered. on the open floor, and sometimes knockWhether he had calculated that I should ing ourselves with violence against the naturally do so, and had therefore taken the wall. same direction, nobody can now tell; but no sooner had I stood still to listen for him, than I found he was somewhere about me -I could hear his breathing. With the greatest caution and silence, I hastened to another part, expecting every moment either that he would run against me, or I against
"I was growing faint. I found my strength failing, and then I fired my second pistol. The light instantaneously made, showed both men redder than the Indian in the field of battle. I heard that he stag. gered, and rushed with all my strength upon him. He still fought a little, but suddenly
dropped before me, and more than that I do not know."
Such is the tale, as nearly as the writer can remember, that was related to him. Should it be said that he met with a romancist, in that case, his only hope is that he may meet with another such every day of his life; though his firm and well-founded belief is, that all the details are perfectly
TALES OF THE COLONIES.
From the Monthly Review.
Tales of the Colonies; or, the Adventures of an Emigrant. Edited by a late Colonial Magistrate.
ful civilization or of savage features-without being instructed and bettered. It is very remarkable that where there is so much of simplicity and also of particular detail as the late Colonial Magistrate deals in, there should be so many points and so great attraction; the reason partly at least being that the author is full of the subject that may happen to be in hand, as well as having a full view of it: that his contemplation of it is direct; and that his purpose is manly and far-reaching. We do not hesitate to say, that for a settler in a new country, and especially if similarly circumstanced with Van Diemen's land, a truer, a more informing, or a more inspiriting publication does not exist. Every thing seems to be shown and taught that is necessary, or can offer itself to the emigrants' observation or necessities. And then there are such healthfulness of principle, such traits WE last month had merely the oppor- of genuine humanity, and so many touches tunity of noticing in the briefest fashion of well-timed humor, good-natured wit, and these "Tales of the Colonies," but drew sly satire, that the book contains large copiously from some of the earlier sketches quantities of food for every phase of feeland adventures of the Emigrant. On further ing and order of appetite. But on all ocacquaintanceship with the work we are pre-casions when speaking of a work of sterpared not only to reiterate, but to go be- ling merit, and large abundance, nothing is yond our former praise and recommend more unsatisfactory than the vague eulogy, ation of its contents. It is decidedly and the generalities which one must utter original for it traverses a country that is if limited to a few sentences. We therenew, pictures the most striking scenes and fore without further preface introduce a objects in nature as met with in untamed story that is exceedingly well told, besides or partially cultured regions, and presents being illustrative of some of the more tercontrasts of the boldest character. It is a rible experiences in colonial history, durpenetrating guide even in such a luxuri- ing the infancy of settlement. antly wild country, abounding with retrospective as well as prospective glimpses that are clear and strong, drawing forcibly upon one's sympathies, and arousing to healthful flow and action the sentiments. It is an original work in manner of treatment as well as in respect of subject. As narratives, seldom has human writing been more truthful than these tales, more fresh in regard to life and nature, more various yet faithful in respect of character, or more exciting in point of incident; the author having gone on in his strength and glee with perfect self-confiding, and with a perfect knowledge of what he wrote about.
Had we room and time it would be easy to give many specimens in which the writer surpasses, whether viewed as a person of literary skill, of mental vigor, or of raciness of description and portraiture. But we must desist.
this crisis. Escape seemed impossible; and I "My presence of mind almost forsook me at felt that I was doomed to the most horrible of deaths-that of being burnt alive!
"The light of the flames increased, and the smoke inside the hut became almost insufferable! Feeling that if I remained where I was, death was certain, I determined to make a desperate effort to escape. There was a little wind, which blew the sinoke in the direction of the back of the hut; the natives, as I knew by their cries, were assembled in the front.
Let no one suppose that because the work passes under the name of Tales, that therefore nothing better than feigned things, merely to amuse the devourer of novels, enter into these volumes; for the fact is that the reader can no more doubt of the truth of the narratives than were it a book of De Foe's that he had before him, nor rise from the perusal of a single passage, be the subject gay or sad,-of beauti-through it.
"I determined to attempt my escape by the back window, hoping that the smoke in that direction would serve to conceal my exit at the moment of getting out of the window, when my down my barricade of logs, and jumped through position would be defenceless. I hastily tore the opening into the smoke. I was almost suffocated, but, with my gun in my hand, I dashed