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Zerlina-Julietta consented like a good princess to prolong her drive a little; she bade me farewell, but with her eyes on Bernard. Then I suddenly remembered that I had come out to fight, and I said to Bernard, “Marchons !”
We turned off at once to the left, and, looking round, I saw that Bernard was still looking after the carriage. I saw something also at the window that was looking at Bernard; but I was not sure if it were the spaniel or Julietta.
We had got to the middle of the alley, and everything was ready, calm, and silent. French promenaders have that in them that is good ; they are discreet; they always respect a duel as they do a rendezvous. Our witnesses were not men to be trifled with, the pistols were loaded, the paces measured off, and each of us took his place.
Bernard said from a distance (we were separated by twenty-five paces), " Fire first !"
I said to Bernard, “ Let us fire together!"
Captain Reynaud interrupted our conversation, carried on with pointed pistols, by giving the signal with his big hands : One! two! three ! I expected that Bernard would have fired. One! two! three! Nothing! Bernard did not fire, neither did I. “ You are a wretched humbug," said Bernard to me. Without looking at Bernard, I said to Captain Reynaud :
• Captain, I shall never fire at Bernard.”
He pulled the trigger, and caused a great hole in my hat: the ball made the circuit of my skull-cap. I must have been born under a lucky star.
“You are not dead ?” said Bernard to me. “No,” said I.
“Well, that is lucky. Let us embrace one another.” And, so saying, he came up to me with open arms, and embraced me till I was nearly suffocated.
Then seeing that my hat was burnt, and had a great hole in it just over my forehead:
"Come,” he exclaimed, “I took a good aim, didn't I ?"
“ Yes," I replied; "but luckily it is my old hat that I put on this morning, and so it is not so annoying as if it had been my new one."
“Well,” said Bernard, “ take mine, it is quite new, and give me yours; I will keep it in remembrance of our eternal friendship."
The witnesses applauded this sublime act of self-negation on the part of Bernard. I, who knew that Bernard was not so well off in the world as I was, was abashed at the idea of exchanging my old hat for his new one, but he said with so much insistance, “ Give me your old hat!” that I handed it over to him. He at once put it on his head, and bidding us all good-by, went away as proud, and with a neck as stiff, as if he had won the battle of Austerlitz
We waited for him a quarter of an hour at the border of the wood, not knowing what had become of him. But the quarter had only just expired when we saw Julietta's carriage pass by, and in it and by her side sat Bernard; upon Bernard's knees was the young artiste's poodle, and
on the knees of the lady, O Heaven! what did I see, the hat with the hole in it that Bernard had carried off as a prize. The carriage passed so quickly that I had barely time to take off Bernard's new hat to Julietta.
The witnesses could not fathom the meaning of what they saw; but I felt happy in being able to divine the generous conduct of Bernard. “He is talking of me," I said to myself; “ he is relating to my dear Julietta the danger that I have escaped, and she is shedding sweet tears over my hat with a hole in it. Worthy Bernard! I was so delighted with the disinterestedness of his conduct that I almost regretted he had not shot me through the heart.
We all took our way towards town, expatiating eloquently in praise of Bernard. We were in high spirits for a variety of reasons : our witnesses had seen no blood shed, I was reconciled with Bernard, and Bernard, he was pleading my cause with Julietta. The witnesses, however, excited by the affair of the morning, could hold converse concerning nothing but singular combats, duels to the death, and offences washed away in blood. They had each their story, and some many to relate, in which pistols, swords, sabres, and daggers played their sanguinary part.
“ All these duels that you have spoken about," interrupted Captain Gaudeffroi, “ were affairs on land, and bear no affinity to a duel to death in the good ship La Belle Normande, which I, one among a hundred, witnessed when I was a middy. It is now a long time ago, and the duel took place between the captain of the ship and a young English gentle. man. The captain, who was not a strict disciplinarian, had made an appointment at a certain point in the ocean, and the Englishman had been waiting for him there for a month. But the history is rather long to relate," added Captain Gaudeffroi, " and if you do not consent to sit down a few minutes in front of the estaminet of the · Deux Amis,' I shall never have strength to relate you the whole of it.”
We accordingly adjourned to the dusty estaminet of the “ Deux Amis,” and taking our seats beneath the shadow of a tall young poplar, which already rose up one half higher than the house, the captain con. tinued his story in nearly the following terms:
They had passed the night in the same hammock; the same roll of the ship had rocked them in their bed, as an attentive mother rocks her children to sleep. To see these two men thus brought together and so united, no one would have said that the next day one of them was to perish by the hand of the other; and yet such was their destiny. Scarcely had the fresh breeze of the morning and the shouts of the watch announced Aurora, than they both hastened up ready to combat to death in the most dignified manner possible,
One of these men was no less than the captain, in the full vigour of manhood; it was to be seen in the looks of that man that his enemy was dead. A smile as of contempt lingered upon his lips ; his eye ran over the minutest details of his ship, and he went, according to custom, to see the compass, interrogate the pilot, and walk the deck. There was not a sailor that escaped his watchful glance, and not a sail or a sheet that he did not scan if in its proper place; he was, indeed, an active, reflective, and imperious man, who, before an hour was over, was going to play the game of life and death.
His adversary was a simple “gentleman"-his black coat and neat necktie betokened a young Londoner or Parisian, more accustomed to the every-day life of a great city, than to the imposing sight of a ship in the trough of the ocean. This young man had a countenance in which care was depicted, but it was simply ennui that gave him that expression; he sat on the deck watching with what might be his last look, the foggy sky breaking up before the rising sun into fleecy clouds --floods of greenish white, through which the sun was just breaking forth, and the busy yet silent movements of an army of marines, shut up within the flanks of a ship, and who had only one instinct, that of obeying the orders of a single man. Thus it was on each side that the moment of strife was awaited.
When the captain had given his last order, he stepped on to the quarter-deck towards his adversary, who got up on seeing him approach, and though he was of less stature than his enemy, is was easy to see that he was not wanting in courage.
At that very moment a dead calm had suspended the ship's course; the first rays of the rising sun had chained the winds down; the sails hung upon the masts; and the whole ship's crew were thus left at liberty to watch the progress of the hostile proceedings. The veteran sailors real children of the salt—had taken up their stations in front, the younger men were behind, the staff surrounded the person of the captain, like a group of witnesses upon so solemn an occasion, and if you had lifted your head you would have seen the young middies perched in the rigging, from whence they contemplated the imposing spectacle that was presented below.
The young man alone stood by himself. He had neither friend nor witness; he had not even a sigh in his favour, not even the benefit of a moment's doubt as to what was going to happen to his person, so perfectly was every one of that ship's crew persuaded that it was an act of madness to engage the captain on his quarter-deck--a madness for which only one result could atone!
The young man himself, too, seemed to feel that when the swords were drawn he did not stand upon firm land : the roll of the ship made him swerve, and he would have been a dead man had not the captain, seeing him at so great a disadvantage, cast his sword into the sea, and called for pistols. Lots had no sooner been drawn as to who should fire first, than a short, sharp sound was heard, so slight that it was lost in a moment in the murmur of the waves. Yet had that slight report been enough to kill the captain; he had fallen down and died as if it was an every-day occurrence, scolding one of those who stood mournfully over him, because he had a hole in his coat-sleeve.
As to his murderer, what became of his murderer ? When you are under the smiling shadows of the Bois de Boulogne, in the midst of the shrubs of the Barrière d'Enfer, once your enemy is on the ground, and your honour is revenged, you are dragged away from the scene of slaughter, and you leave to the victim's seconds the task of lifting up his corpse; but on board ship, when all is sky and sea around, you must remain to confront your victim, and when your feelings of revenge are gratified, and they are succeeded by remorse for the deed done, you must be present at the funeral, you must hold a corner of the flag that does duty as a shroud, and you must even lend an unwilling hand in casting the body of your victim into the sea.
What must have been the agony of that young man when he saw the flood open to receive the still warm body that was thus thrown to it, when he heard the booming of the great guns, and the mournful shouts of the crew bidding it an eternal farewell, when he saw the vessel resume its course across the wide expanse, and he found himself alone amidst the stern silence and the general mourning!
Thus spoke Captain Gaudeffroi.; his narrative seemed to make a deep impression upon all the witnesses of our miserable duel on firm land, and I alone felt that the captain was prolix. I thought of nothing but of Bernard and of Julietta.
At last evening came on, and each took his way home. I set off on the traces of Julietta and Bernard; but it was in vain that I ransacked Paris. I went to the Bouffes, to Julie's, to Cyprien's—everywhere. Neither he nor she had been heard of. At last I went home myself, and slept till morning.
Next morning, who should come in but Bernard himself. “Where were you ?” said I. “I was seeking you everywhere last
Why,” he said, “I was at the Théâtre-Français, seeing · Mithridates' played, with Julietta.”
“And what did she say, Bernard, about the hole in your hat ?”
“She declared you were a nice fellow to take aim with such desperate intentions upon your friend, and she vowed she would never speak to you again, for she detests a “buveur de sang' like you."
And so it really happened; ever since that horrible affair she would not speak to me, she forgot altogether that it was I who had introduced Bernard to her ; she kept the hat with the hole in it as a trophy, and for more than a month suspended it in her boudoir. And thus it was, that by this unfortunate duel I won a new hat, lost the good graces of the lady I loved, and was superseded by Bernard.
It is true, however, that I had Captain Gaudeffroi's story into the bargain.
ALBERT DÜRER. WITH SOMETHING OF EARLY PRINTING AND ENGRAVING. Ar the time when Dürer lived at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century), the newly-discovered arts of printing and engraving occupied men's minds in a remarkable degree. As he was one who made great advances in engraving, it may not be out of place to attempt to give some idea of the state of those arts before his age, and of the difficulties which attended, or rather prevented, the diffusion of written information in more distant times.
Among the calamities which followed the raid of the Goths and Vandals into Italy in the fifth century A.D., there was one which, two centuries afterwards, exercised a dark and dreary influence over the civilisation of the Western World. The Saracens about the year 635 invaded Egypt. After besieging Jerusalem, they took the magnificent city of Alexandria. We don't here refer to their having destroyed the celebrated library there, nor pause to express surprise that part of it should have previously perished by the orders of so enlightened a person as Julius Cæsar. These facts may be mentioned by the way, and credit may also be given to Cleopatra that she, with the aid of Marc Antony, was the foundress of a second library there. The latter, with what remained of the former collection of books, were used by the Saracens as fuel for their baths!
But what is now more especially referred to, as the result of the Saracenic invasion of Egypt, was the cutting off of the communication which had previously existed between that country and the people then settled in Italy and other parts of Europe. In consequence of this, a substance which was made from a reed which grew on the banks of many rivers in the East could not be obtained in Europe, or was scantily supplied there.
This reed was the papyrus, and the substance that was manufactured from it was used in common with wood, ivory, waxen tablets, and the skins of animals, for inscribing on its surface the books and writings of the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.
It was the paper of that age.
There was a manufactory of it at Memphis three hundred years before the time of Alexander the Great, and, after the Romans had conquered Egypt, it was made at Alexandria for a like period before the time of our Saviour.
Such was the importance of the manufacture, that on a dispute arising between one of the Egyptian Ptolemies and Eumenes II., King of Pergamus, a city of Asia Minor,* and when Eumenes wished to augment a library there in imitation of the Alexandrian Library, Ptolemy prohibited the export of the papyr us. This caused Eumenes to see what he could do with the skins of animals as a substitute for the Memphian paper, and he was therefore considered as the inventor of “ Charta pergamenea,' or parchment, as the word "pergamenea” was corrupted into. This was 159 A.D.
* Mentioned in the 2nd chapter of Revelations, and the birthplace of Galen the physician.