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THE DUEL EiTRAORRIHARY.
OR THE FRENCH "CODE OF HONOR" IN 1794.
In the winter of 1794, General Moreau be
ing appointed commander in-cheif of the army
of the Rhine, established his head quarters in
the city of Strasbourg.
Strasbourg 'is a pleasant, spirited, and hos
pitable town,. especially to-the military stran
ger, for the Alsacians are all soldiers, and
have consequently a brotherly feeling towards
those in the profession of arms; almost all the
old men are vetran pensioners, and the youlis
highest aspirations are for the arrival 9f their
eighteenth yell., and their consequent entrance
into the service of their country,
When the 'entris sounded in Alsace, every
tradesman who leaves his shop, every peasant
who hastens from his cottage, knows how to
load a musket, hatidle a saber, aml manage
horse; and their o:d proverb of 'Aldan( d' hem
audant d' soldats'—
mauy soldiers have we'—is a true one liter
ally, which is more thou can be said of most
.Being so warlike, they necessarily have the
failings of such a character, and are therefore
some What but headed, or rather• do not pos
sess eminently the necessary qualification for
making the best light cavalry of Frallice; . afrd
their proneness to quarrell geucr.illy finds
proper outlet in this ser‘ice, or iu chastising
the raporings of some military bully who may
happen to be among their garrison.
At the period of which we write, there was
a certain young hussar captain, named Fourni
er, who figured rather con , Ticuously in this
character, at, the hea , l-quarters or General
Moreau', haring reinlered himself peenliorly
obnoxious to the Strasburgians by the fiery
temper, extraordinary skill with his weapons,
and his apparently heartless dit•regard of tak
ing life upon trivial provocation. lie had,
moerover, excited an especial hatred against
himself by the suViivor of a once numerous
and• wealthy family in the city, whom they
said he had eimlleuged without cause, and
shot without pity.
The very day of his funeral General Moreau
gave a grand fete, and the higher class of
burghers, to which Biumm was allied, could
not well refuse' their presence without giving
offence; while Fournier, as an officer of the
garrison, was of couyi,e invited; so that thus
the murderer and the friends of his victim
would'be brought together, and-a violent scene
might be anticipated. General Moreau knew
this, and foresaw that the folly of one man
might thus prejudice the character of the whole
.A sensible man would stay away,' said he,
'but Fournier will come, if only to defy his
'Faith! then, general!' cried Captain Du
pont, Moreau's youugtst aid-dc-camp, 'the
simplest way will be to send him away when
'lint,' replied the commander, •to Bend
Fournier away is to have an affair with him,
for I cau't dismiss him officially; and who
would get himself into such a difficulty by
undertaking to order him.out?'
'I will!' said Dupont.
Tho general reflected: 'Well,' said be at
length, agree, on condition that you use my
manic in the business and act only under my
authority; in short that you will be simply
the organ of my wishes; for I have no desire,
my dear Dupont, to embroil you with this fire
The young man bowed respectfully, and
bent his head a little lower than was neces
sary to conceal. a scornful smile, excited by
his foresight of the result, in spite of the
caution of his general, and his contempt for
The evening came, the Hotel de Ville was
_lighted; the guests arrived in crowds;
Fournier presented himself in his turn; Du
pont lay in wait for him in the ante-chamber,
and before ho could divest himself of his
mantle, approached him, demanding—'What
do you want here?'
, Ali! is it you, Dupont? good evening! Par
bleu! you see what I Nytitit; I am come to the
'Are you ,not ashamed to come here the
very day of the funeral of that unfortunate
''But what will his•friends, his kindred, who
are in the saloon say?'
'They may' say what they pleas • c; I care
not; and, by the way, What business is it of
4 1t, is the business of every man of spirit!'
JEvery man of spirit is mistaken; I desire
no opo to meddle with my affair; and now, if
you have gotten through with you lecture, lot
me pass; I want to dance!' •
'And why not, pray?'
!Because you must leave hero imodiately.'
'Why I have hardly arrived.'
'And you cannot arrivo as far as the saloon;
the general orders you to return hdme.'
'Pray suspend your swaggering, and do me
the favor to go; I have engaged n partner, and
I hear the first bars of the waltz!'
'Listen!' cried Fournier, furiously, ~I cannot
avenge myself On the general; lie is my supe
rior officer, and has the right of impunity; but
you! you who are my equal; you have dared
to bear half the insult, and-you shall pay the
whole penalty; you must fight me.'
'I have given you,. as politely as possible,.
the message I was charged with,' replied Du
pont, calmly. have not provoked you idly,
but I foresaw how,this mould act upon sucli'a
hector as you are;- him hear I=!'ou have
annoyed and lorry; enough Initi your bullying.
I am rejoiced at 'this opportunity, and 1 shall
give you- a lesson 3 ou will not soon torget'
Fournier retired, foaming with rage, and,
as lie slowly left the the hall, had the addi
tional mortificatidn of seeing Dupont gaily
join the dancers with his partner.
Ile passed a restless night, and without the
hope of killng Dupidit in the morning, lie would
have been roost miserable.
'A:S many men an
'What! he dismisses Me?'
'No! ho only prevents your being put out.'
'By Heaven! I think you must be joking,
with the insult you have charged to.put upon
me! Do you know what it is to show Fournier
But the issue of the combat was not alto
gether as he 114,1 anticipated; Dupont gave
•4iim a severe wuttud
N'tti lunge well,' said Fournier us he fell
Toleralqiy, as you see.'
'Very we 11;, but now that I urrthirstand your
trick, you shall nut catch me again; 1 will
prove it to you when I recover.'
'Von wish to fight again, then'
, 01 course!'
'As you will; I'll not balk pail'
And, in truth, after a few weeks' care, Four
nier was again before his foe; and this time it
was he who inflicted a wound on Dupont, say
ing to him:
ou i-ce you hold your hand too low to re•
cover in time, aml parrying your lui,;.re, I take
you thus;' and he put three inches of t-teel in
the young man's side.
'Game and game!' cried Dupant;: 'the rub
This 'rubber' gave rise to some slight diffi
culties. Founder contended that as the two
former encounters were held with the sword,
the decisive combat ought to be with the pis•
tol. lie urged the most plhusible reasons, anti
assumed the most insinuating tone, to accom
plish this; but Dupont claimed the privilege
of military men to fight with the weapon he
usually wore, and it was well he maintained
his ground, for Fournier's skill with the pistol
had become proVerbial. Ile had taught his
servant to hold a sunlit coin between his finger
and thumb, which he struck out with his hall
at twenty five pace 1 and frequently some .
hussar of his regiment, passing his window at
a gallop, smoking a pipe, had felt the clay
shattered between his ito without knowing to
what cause to attribute the accident--it was
Fournier, who exercising with his favorite
weapon, hail chosen the soldier's pipe as his
Dupont was wise in adhering to the sword;
and this was maintained through the numer
ous encounters which lengthened this duel to
the unheard of 1)041 of uineteen years!
The 'rubber,' therefore, as Dupont called
it, gave no decisive result, each giving the
other a slight wound. Neither had the advan
tage; and these two belligerents, vexed at this
negative termination, agreed to continue their
meetings until one should confess himself con
One difficulty seemed about to. supervene,
the regiment of FoUrnier was about to enter
active service, quit Strasbourg the next day.
But such a tritlo could not long arrest such
ingenious imaginations, and they concocted
and entered into the following singular cove-
• Ist. That whenever Messrs. Dupont and
Fourhier should find themselves at the distance
of thirty leagues from each other, • , each should
advance one-half the • road to encounter the
other, sword in hand.
2d. That if the duties of his post should
prevent either from absenting himself, the
other shall travel the whole distance, thus
meeting both the requirements of discipline
anditho necessities of the contract.
3d. That no excuse, other than military
duty, would be taken.
4th. That the present treaty being made in
all faith and honor, it could only be altered or
annulled by mutual consent.
Thus these two monomaniacs fought from
time to time, whenever they could meet, and
a Most curious correspondence was carried on
between them on the subject—for instance:
'I am invited to breakfast with the . officers
ig garrison at Luneville,' wrote Fournier, on
occasion, 'and shall accept their kind invi
• As you aro on leave at Luneville, this
will afford us, if you like, an opportunity for
a feW passeS. Yours sincerely, etc.
And again, wrote Dupont:
'My dear friend, I shall pass through Stalz
burg on 6th of November, 'wait for mo at the
V,tirliitart - i21)(s):LIA V 1
Hotel des,Postes; we will llince a littlo,'if you
are so inclined.' •
Sometimes the promotion of one or the
other interfeierl momentarily with the regu
larity of their meetings; the_ third article of
their treaty enjoined obedience to military
law, and a cessation of hostilities was thus
for a time forced upon them froni - a, difference
in rank; but grades were, speedily won then,
and they were soon equal again; thus F. once
-MY dear Dupont, I hear that the Emperor,
doing you but justice, has accorded 'you the
rank of Genet•al of Brigade. Receive my sin.
cero congratulatlons upon nm advancement
your• courage, and ability well deserve. This
affords me a double satisfaction, since it re
news our ability to 'fight at the first opportu
This singular affair at length attracted pub
lic attention. Dupont and Fournier ever ub
served the compact in all strictness, theyv re
covered with the scars of their numerous en
counters, and yet they still preserved their old
passion for fighting. General Fournier once
with grdat simplicity remarked—qt is very
strange that I, who have always killed my
man, cannot get rid of this devilish Dupont!'
In the army, where Dupont was much, and
Fournier but little liked, they said commonly
'that General D. was the bust natured fellow
in the world if F. would not annoy him so
At length. Dupont received orders to join
the army of the Gyisons; he traversed Switz
erland rapidly, and at• iced one morning at a
small village where the head quarters of his
corps were stationed—he was not expected,
and ne preparation had been made to receive
him, there was not even an inn there.
The morning was cold and rainy, and see
ing. before Lim n 'ebitlet,' through whose
windows shone a glorious fire, and whose curi•
ousextennal stairway descended even to his
feet. as if cognetishly inviting him to share
mountain hospitality, Dupont did nut hesitate
to mount to the dour; he found the key in the
lock, opened and entered. A man was seated
at a desk with is back to the door—at the
noise of its opening, he turned his head, and
recognizing the intruder, cried joyously—
• 'Ali! it is you Dupont! we will tae a turn
immediately!' it was Fr urnier who thus
'Fath. I am ready!' said Dupont.'
Fournier took his sword from the corner of
the room, they fell into position—they crossed
weapons. All this passed in a moment—to
see, recognize, provoke and attack each other
was as natural and spontaneOirs as to breathe.
It was only between the passes that they con-
•1 thought 5.04 were empliyed in the inte-
liar,' said Fourniei
`The minister gives me the fourth division.'
'lndeed, how fortunate! I command the, ca
valry there:. So you have just arrived?'
'And thought of. me the first thing, how
amiable of you!
•No, really! did not know you were here;
seeing wfiretbrough these windows, as I was
about to pads; T ; stopped'to warm myself.'
e.7 . i:cr . ciatiWill warm yoli sufficiently.'
The fight became fiercer; Fournier hazard
ed a pasS Which Dupont taking advantage of,
pushed him so vigorously that he was forced
to give back step by step.
Dupont advanced, ta todily within distance,
crying, 'Aha! you run! you run!'
.Not at all! I only retreat. Do you think I
am going to let you spit me like a sparrow?'
'The room is small, I shall drive you to the
'We shall see!'
'See then! and as Dupont said this, he
pressed Fournier literally into the corner, and
his sword, piercing the muscles of F's. neck,
pinned him to the wooden wall like a family
portrait badly hung.
'The devil!' cried the spitted general.
'You did not expect this!' said Dupont.
'On the contrary, it is you who do not expect
wh . at will happen!'
'lndeed! what is about to happen, then?'
, Why, the moment you draw out your sword,
I 'shall thrust mine into your stomach, and
you will fall.' • "
'True!' replied Dupont, pressing his sword
with great force into the logs of the cottage
'Dupont, what the deuce are you piercing
am. taking predautions against your lunge
in my stomach.'
'You cannot avoid it; the moment you with-
draw you die 2
shall not withdraw till you, throw down
'lt is impossible for you to keep your arm
thus strained for ten
it must drop
and you must receive my thrust.'
'You are unreasonable; your blood is flow
ing; in ten minutes your eyes will close.'
'We shall see.'
'Very well; I am not impatient!'„
'Nor I; we will abide the result!'
This contest would probably have been pro
longed to a fatal termination, bad not the noise
of their dispute at length been heard by some
offibers in another part of the house, who com
ing hastily upon the scene; separated with
much difficulty the obstinate combatants.
When parted, they each claimCd the victo
ry, and finally demanded with grate gravity
to be replaced exactly as they were when
separated--Dupont promising to refit his
sword through Fournier's throat without in
creashig the woundl'
They;were finally obliged to force the latter
to bed and the former out of the chalet.
Such a result was not calculated to cool
their ardor for fighting, and they continued
from time to time to give each other 'fresh
scars; they crossed swords in Germany, in Po
land, in Spain, in RIlt 4 ;411, and in Italy. Time
progressa; meanwhile they became generals
of division. Grand cross of all the orders;
dignitaries of state, rich and ennobled by the
Emperor, they were called Count F. and Count
D., and they had both grown fat.
Dupont, the most reasonable of the two,
often reflected upon the absurdity of So,..an
cient a quarrel, and doubted if it were not
better to kill Fournier at once, if possible—
and settle their fend forever. This became
his fixed determination at the beginning of
the year 1515, and he made the acquaintance
of a charming young lady whom he resolved
to marry ; he was convinced that once a hus
band and a father he could not risk, upon so
many foolish hazards, a life which would no
longer belong to him alone.
After obtaining the promise of the lady's
hand, he waited upon Count Fournier.
'You are come for a bout ?' said the let
'Perhaps, but I, wish first to talk with you.'
inc the honor to be seated then,.'
Listen, my friend—[ nm going to be mar-
•What stupidity cried F.
'Hum !' said D., musing, 'nevertheless h am
going to be married.'
'Allow me to congratulate you!'
'Before consummating this serious step, I
wish to finish with you. We have now fought
through a period of nineteen years.'
'lt is true, 17` 1 4 to 1815—how time flies.'
'We have fought, indeed, too often.'
'lt does not appear so to me !'
'As I cannot continue a life which would
grieve my poor little wife, I come to propose
—in virtue of article fourth of our treaty—to
change the mode of combat, and take to the
'The pistol cried Fournier, astonished.—
'With the sword you can defend yourself, but
with the pistol—'
. know your wonderful skill,' replied Du- .
pont, 'but I propose to equalize the chances
little, thus ; a friend of mine possesses—at
Neuilly—a small enclosed park-- a mimic
virgin forrest—surrounded by a high stone
wall, with two gates of entrance, one on the
side toward the village, the other on the ri
ver bank. We will repair thither—at an hour
agreed upon—armed with our hofseman's
pistols ; we will enter, each by a separate gate
and fire at will, whenever ono sees the
other. I dei not know the ground any better
than you. We shall neither have any advan-
declare ! it is a droll idea.' •
'Dues it suit you V -
'Yes ! if only fur its originality--a, sort of
little Indian warfare, in fact—without witness
es, of course V
' 'At what slay and hour, then, shall we enact
this little mete drama y , •
'To-morrow, at ten, if you like.'
'lmpossible I see my tailor specially, to
morrow--but Thursday, if you are at liber-
'Thursday be it then—at ten ! There is the
key of the gate on the village side.'
•No ! give me the other—l adore the river
'Adieu, then ! and do not, I pray, give your
self the trouble to conduct me 1'
Three days after this interview, just as the
church-clock of Neuilly struck ten, two men
entered the park of M. Bufraise, by separate
gates, one on the other side toward the 'vil
lage, the other at the opposite extremity on
the river; and eldSing them swiftly, each one
drew two long pistols from his riding coat,
and cast a keen rapid gaze around him.-H
These two men were Fournier and Dupont.
After assuring themselves that neither was
seen by the other, they began to step eau•
tiously along under the shadows of the trees.
Slowly they proceeded along the dark arch
ed avenues, stopping at 'every step to listen if
the crackling gravel should betoken an ap
proaching footstep, or betray their own, mea
suring the length of each path they entered,
fixing a suspicious eye upon every waving
bongh and i4 trembling leaf. Slowly and wari
ly they thus continued to advance, their pis
tole in hand, and at full cock, till, at the two
intersecting avenues, they came suddenly in
full view of each other. By a spontaneous
impulse, each eprang.to cover—Fournier be
hind a giant oak, and Dupont to the protect
ing bulk of a hoary Chesnut—like sharp
shooters at, the moment of engaging, or per-
haps more like two aboriginal warriors of t
wilds of the western continent. cicarce thirty
paces separated them, bet they ran no risk,
save by attempting to leave. their cover.
What curious reflections they must have
made behind these ni , ghty Nvooden bulwarks,
a step from which might have cost them their
Trey remained thus a long time immova
ble, neither wring to afford the other the ad
vantage'of tl e first fire, till at last Dupont,
stimulated by the remembrance of his lady
love, decided to begin the battle; but ho lost
nothing of his caution, and resorted to a ruse
to deliver himself from his ennui. First he
shook slightly the hippie of his riding coat be
yond the projecting circle of his chesnut, to
let his foe knoir he was about to make a move.
When ho thought this observed, he advanced
his left shoulder a litde, beyond the trunk
where his coat had been, and
_drew it back,
swiftly.- It was just in time ; fur on the in
stant, a ball stripped 11 large fragment of
bark from the tree exactly where the shoul
der had appeared. • Fournier had lost ono
After a few moments, Dupont began the
50111 C manoeuvre on the opposite side of the
tree ;• but Fonder was too old a fox to be
cought twice in the same trap, and Dupont
changed his design to a better semblance of
reality,. Ile showed the barrel of his pistol,
as if waiting a chance to fire, and taking his
hat in his right hand advanced it just to the
edge of the left side of his dear chestnut.—
The lint was held between the finiers of Du
pont like the pipe in the mouth of the gallop
ing hussar most fortunately his head was not
in it, for Founder's second ball would as
suredly have shattered it. The stratagem suc•
ceeded perfectly. The pistols of Fournier
were now but harmless tubes, innocent of de
fence. Dupont stalked forth from his cover,
rind marched up to the discomfited general,
who prepared to meet him with brave com
Standing calmly with his head erect, his
eyes firm, his firms crossed upon his breast,
he remained motionless before the advancing
weapons of Dupont.
The laws of dueling are implicable, there
Can be but one interpretation of their mean
ing. One is master of his enemy's life wi h
certain restrictions, but one owes his own
Ivithin the same limits. Fournier awaited,
therefore, the fate of the conquered; he look
ed upon death calmly, as a dangerous acquain
tance whom lie had too often brave,l to fear.
Dupont halted two paces from him.
'I have a perfectright to kill you
Fournier boWed affirmatively.
'But I cannot draw a trigger in cold blood
upon the life of a fellow-creature. 1 giip you
'As you please.'
'Understand me! I give you to-day's
grace only. I wish to be master of the pro
perty I loan you ; it is but a temporary use I
yield you—nothing more. If you evey annoy
me—if you ever seek to renew this quarrel--
if, in short, I have ever cause to complain of
you, I shall remind you that I am the legiti
mate possessor of two balls specially destined
to be lodged in your cranium, and we will re
sume this affair where we now leave off; that
is to say, at my first summons, you will come
to offer your head for my target.'
4That . puld be annoying!'
'Faith"! I can do no&tter for you. But
we shell not see each other again. I am go
ing tomenter domestic life, and shall dispense
with the acquaintance of such scape-graces as
yourself. You will travel your road, and I
mine ; I shall never trouble you if you let mo
alone ; but at the first trick of yours, I will
pay you the two balls, of which you shall
come to give me o thc receipt. Does this not
suit you I' •
'None too. well !'
'Well, then, we will finish at once !' said
Dupont, sternly, raising his pistol at tho same
To you think such'a decision can be made
in a minute r
'I prefer, however, your deciding at once,
otherwise I shall have to return here, and the
road is somewhat long.'
! I must accept then, as I have no
care not• to hear your motives ; thoy.only
concern yourself. Remember, only that we
quarrel no more; that we meet no more, and
that in ease you rebel, I have two balls in my
pistols at your service. Farewell! I . hope
you may never see me again l'
Putting up his pistols, Dupont walked off,
and a few minutes afterward, Fournier left
the enclosure, laughing heartily at his,tnisad
venture, and returned to Paris to tell his
friends the singular termination of the famous
duel of nineteen years duration. But he spoke
cautiously of his ancient enemy, and avoided
his presence, for ho knew Dupont would sure
ly claim and fulfil the terms of the compact;
and ho preserved through life the • superstib ,
ous belief that DuPont was of different mould
from other mortals, and the only man, in the
world it was impossible to kill!
seti-k 111 on ey taken at this office.