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shot as himself; but at each shot, instead of receiving from Jack the tribute of praise which he deserved, he heard Jack, in reply to the exclamations of astonishment which proceeded from all in the gallery, say, "No doubt that is a very good shot; but the result would be
very different, I've a notion, if he had a live man for his butt.” This incessant calling in question of his powers as a duellist, for Jack had repeated his observation three times, at first astonished the “ tireur,” and ended by annoying him; and, at length, turning round to Jack, and looking at him with an air half jesting and half threatening, he said, “ Forgive me, Mr. Englishman, but it appears to me that three times
have made an observation disparaging to my courage; will you be kind enough to give me some explanation of the meaning of your words ?”
“My words,” answered our friend, “ do not I think require any explanation ; they are plain enough in my opinion.'
Perhaps, then, sir, you will be good enough to repeat them, in order that I may judge of the meaning which they will bear, and the object with which they have been spoken ?" was the reply of the Frenchman.
" I said," answered Jack, with the most perfect sang froid, " when I saw you hit the bull's-eye at each shot, that neither your hand nor your eye would be so steady if your pistol were pointed against the breast of a man in the place of a wooden partition.”
“And why, may I ask ?"
“Because," answered Jack, “it seems to me that at the moment of pulling the trigger, and firing at a man, the mind would be seized with a kind of emotion likely to unsteady the hand, and consequently the aim.”
“ You have fought many duels ?” asked the French
“Not one,” said Jack.
" Ah!" rejoined the other, with a slight sneer; " then I am not surprised that you suppose the possibility of a man being afraid under such circumstances."
" Forgive me,” said Jack, "you misunderstand me. I fancy that at the moment when one man is about to kill another, he may tremble from some other emotion than that of fear.”
“Sir! I never tremble," said the shot.
“ Possibly,” replied Jack, with the same composure; "still I am not at all convinced that at twenty-five paces, that is, at the distance at which you hit the bull's-eye each time- _"
“Well I at twenty-five paces ?” interrupted the other.
" You would miss your man," was the cool reply.
“Sir, I assure you I should not,” answered the Frenchman.
“Forgive me if I doubt your word,” said Jack.
“A fact, however, which I think you would scarcely like to establish,” said the “ tireur.”
“Why not ?" said Jack, looking steadily at his antagonist.
“By proxy, perhaps P"
“ By proxy, or in my own person, I care not which," said Jack.
“I warn you, you would be somewhat rash.”
“Not at all,” said Jack, "for I merely say what I think; and consequently my conviction is that I should risk but little."
“Let us understand each other,” said the Frenchman; “you repeat to me a second time that at twentyfive paces
I should miss my man.' “You are mistaken, Monsieur," said Jack; “it appears to me that this is the fifth time that I have said it."
“Parbleu !” said the Frenchman, now thoroughly exasperated; this is too much; you want to insult me.”
“Think as you like, monsieur,” said Jack. " Good I" said the other ;
your hour, sir ?"
Why not now ?” said Jack. “The place ?" said the other.
“ We are but five steps from the Bois de Boulogne," replied Jack.
6 Your arms, sir ?"
56 we are not about to fight a duel, but to decide a point upon which we are
issue.” The two young men entered their cabriolets, each accompanied by a friend, and drove towards the Bois de Boulogne. Arrived at the appointed place, the seconds wished to arrange the matter. This, however, was very difficult; Jack's adversary required an apology, whilst Jack maintained that he owed him none, unless he himself was either killed or wounded ; for unless this happened he (Jack) would not have been proved wrong. The seconds spent a quarter of an hour in the attempt to effect a reconciliation, but in vain. They then wished to place the antagonists at thirty paces from each other; to this Jack would not consent, observing that the point in question could not be correctly decided if any difference were made between the distance now to be fixed, and the distance at which his antagonist had hit the bull's-eye in the gallery. It was then proposed that a louis should be thrown up, in order to decide who was to shoot first; this Jack declared was totally unnecessary, that the right to the first shot naturally belonged to his adversary; and although the Frenchman was anxious that Jack should take advantage of this one chance, he was firm, and carried his point. The "garçon" of the shootinggallery had followed, and was ready to charge the pistols, which he did with the same measure, the same kind of powder, and the same kind of balls as those used by the Frenchman in the gallery a short time before. The pistols too were the same; this condition alone Jack had imposed as a sine quâ non.
The antagonists, placed at twenty-five paces from each other, received each his pistol; and the seconds retired a few paces, in order to leave the combatants free to fire on one another, according to the stipulated arrangement.
Jack took none of the precautions usual with duellists; he attempted not to shield any part of his body, by position or any other means; but allowed his arms to hang down at his side, and presented his full front to his enemy, who scarcely knew what to make of this extraordinary conduct. He had fought several duels, but it had never been his lot to see such sang-froid in any one of his antagonists; he felt as if bewildered; and Jack's theory occurring to his mind, tended but little to reassure him ; in short, this celebrated shot, who never missed either his man or the bull's-eye of the target, began to doubt his own powers.
Twice he raised his pistol, and twice he lowered it again; this was of course contrary to all the laws of duelling; but each time Jack contented himself with saying, “ Take time, monsieur ! take time.” A third time he raised his arm, and feeling ashamed of himself, fired. It was a moment of most painful anxiety to the seconds; but they were soon relieved, for Jack, the instant after the pistol had been fired, turned to the right and to the left, and made a low bow to the two friends, to show that he was not wounded, and then said coolly to his antagonist, "You see, sir, I was right?”
“ You were,” answered the Frenchman; “and now fire, in your turn."
“ Not I,” said Jack, picking up his hat, and handing the pistol to the garçon; what good would it do me to shoot at you ?”
“But, sir," said his adversary, "you have the right, and I cannot permit it to be otherwise; besides, I am anxious to see how
shoot." “Let us understand each other,” said Jack. never said that I would hit
you; I said that you would not hit me. You have not hit I was right; and now there is an end to the matter." And in spite of all the remonstrances and entreaties of the Frenchman,
Jack mounted his cab, and drove off, repeating to his friend, “I told you there was a mighty difference between firing at a doll and firing at a man.” Jack's mind was eased; he had solved his problem, and found that he was not a coward.
THE TALE OF A TOILET. Appointed to be sung as a penalty, without the least hesitation or
a single mistake, by any young gentleman who looks upon dressing for a Christmas party in the light of "a horrid bore."
J. A. STERRY.
And I'll show to the langnid wells their fate;
Of the toil of dressing at Christmas time!
Hurrying, scurrying; home, home;
Rathery, lathery; foam, foam;
Washery, sloshery; pace, pace;
Rubbery, scrubbery; face, face;
Stumble-y, grumble-y; lug, lug;
Smashery, crashery; jug, jug;
sloshery ; rubbery, scrubbery, stumble-y, grumble-y; smashery, crashery;
The tale of a toilet, &c.
Shirts will not please, always a tease;
Rumple-y, crumple-y; no go;
Callery, bawlery; oh! oh!