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which his adversary does them. A novice, | thing." The truth is "a little learning is a however, is ignorant of these things; he does dangerous thing," especially in fencing. It not know (if I may use such an expression) confuses the fellow. Instead of trusting the rules of the game. He moves his pawn to the brute that is in him to use the sword as if it were a castle, and his bishop as if it in obedience to the instincts of self-preserwere a queen, and he is entitled to do so, vation, he attempts to execute the master's for the rules of fencing are not obligatory suggestions, which he does not know how out of the fencing-room. These rules are to carry out, or he is confounded by the but deductions from the skill of the most slightest incident. For instance, the advice accomplished swordsmen, and are designed commonly given is: to lead men to acquire their skill. Therefore, a fencer who has a neophyte before him is doubly on his guard, because his adversary is a creature of caprice and not of logic. If a fencer be not wary, he may be surprised by ignorance, and, in this way, stories of rawness defeating maturity may have gotten into currency.

"Beat constantly in retreat whenever your adversary thrusts at you; this will fatigue him and he cannot inflict a wound, or at all events a severe wound."

Equally silly is the belief of the existence of secret blows, whose magic defies the most consummate skill. "The commander's blow" and "the Italian blow" are the most famous of these secret blows. They are simplicity itself, and cannot be successfully executed if the adversary be a tolerable swordsman and carefully on his guard. To explain them here would oblige me to enter into technicalities, which would be Greek to the majority of readers. The only secret blow which is certain of success is "the gendarmes' blow." The gendarmes are the rural police. When your adversary is about to attack you, assume a horrified expression of countenance, cast a terrified glance at the horizon back of him, shout: "There come the gendarmes!" As he turns his head to look, run your sword through him, exclaiming, as you do so, and this artfully, that the whole sentence may seem to be one ejaculation: "Let's make haste!" It wrings my heart to be obliged to add that judges and juries are not disposed to consider "the gendarmes' blow" as a legacy of the Chevalier Bayard.

The piteous expression of face of an ignoramus who has a duel on his hands, and who comes to beg for "the commander's blow," is extremely ludicrous. The fencers in the room don't laugh; Frenchmen look significantly and roguishly at each other where we laugh. Although the usual fee for "coaching" a raw fellow in these perils is fifty dollars, the fencing-master, if he is honest, will frankly say he really can do nothing; his only secret blows are dexterity, rapidity and precision, acquired by patience, perseverance and thought. I have never seen this answer accepted. The ignoramus invariably insists upon being taught "some

But it commonly happens, that the seconds draw a line on the ground beyond which there shall be no retreating, and when the neophyte discovers this, his wits forsake him and he does not know what to do. The most sensible advice I have ever heard given under these circumstances is that which Robert always gives:

"As soon as you both are placed in position, and the word 'Go, gentlemen!' is given, fall on your adversary as rapidly as you may, and attempt to pierce his swordarm. You are apt to succeed, and the least drop of blood drawn is sure to end the duel."

There is something irresistibly comic when one compares the solemnity of seconds and the inanity of duels. The seconds (the French code requires that each adversary shall have two seconds) carry the challenge early in the morning. They come, even during the dog-days, buttoned up to the throat. They are grave, dignified, ceremonious. Etiquette requires that they should at once, and without discussion, be referred to the challenged party's seconds. (Prince Pierre Bonaparte's trial for the murder of Louis Noir showed the good reason for this rule.) The four seconds, after long negotiations, settle the conditions of the fight. The French rule of choice of weapon is more equitable than ours, which gives it to the challenged party, who is commonly the aggressor. The French give the choice to the party insulted; so bullies know they are insolent at their peril. A blackguard may be bold on the strength of his skill with the sword. His adversary, knowing this skill, may insist on pistols for the weapons with which the duel shall be fought. Expert shots are not rare. Pistol galleries have their regular frequenters as well as fencing


The conditions of the duel settled, the six actors in the farce (and usually they

carry a surgeon with them, although this is rather a useless precaution) repair to some of the woods around Paris. An open space in a secluded part of the forest is soon found. Cautious men carry linen pantaloons and low-heeled, low-gartered, old shoes with them. They remove all other clothes and put on these. Seconds commonly insist that shirts shall be taken off, because a stiffstarched shirt bosom is apt to divert the sword from its course. Moreover amulets are frequently worn here, especially in imminent danger, even by those who "turn their back on the Saint when once the bridge has been crossed." Mons. Paul de Cassagnac always said (and no denial has ever been given his assertion) that he should, in their well-remembered duel, have killed Mons. Henri Rochefort, had the latter not worn a blessed silver medal. The pistol ball, aimed unerringly at the heart, struck the medal. and glanced off In the duel between Messrs. Amédée Achard and Charles Blanc, the latter went on the ground with a fivefranc piece in his vest pocket. Mons. Achard's ball struck it and was diverted from the fatal course. Whereupon the inveterate punster, Mons. Mery (who was Mons. Achard's second), gayly exclaimed:

"That's what I call money well invested." If so slight an obstacle can avert a pistol ball, it much more readily averts a small sword's point; and it may easily be imagined how readily the latter would be turned aside by a starched plait.

The principals having been stripped to the waist, choice of position is decided by tossing a coin: "Heads, or tails?" He who has choice of position elects one in which his back shall be to the sun; his adversary is placed opposite to him. It is commonly agreed to make boards, beyond which the respective opponents shall not retreat. This precaution is taken, partly to save the reputation of a nervous principal who might retreat till doomsday, and partly to prevent the duel from lasting too long a time. The instructions given a principal who is less skillful than his adversary are: "Always attack and continually retreat." The reasons of these tactics are, that it is easier to attack than to parry feints and blows, especially when they are rapidly delivered. Retreat is made with long strides; advance is slow and cautious, for during the advance one is powerless even for defense. The adversaries once in position, they are armed. It is a tacit condition of every duel that neither of the principals

shall have handled the weapons; one is twice as expert with a familiar as with a new sword. The swords are held straight, point up and overhead, the arm outstretched to full length, until the second of the principal who has won choice of position advances half way between each adversary, when swords are lowered till they cross. The second holds both at the junction, and asks each antagonist (his principal last): "Are you ready, sir?" "Are you ready, sir?" Upon receiving an affirmative answer, he waits an instant, that each adversary may feel on his guard; then removes his hand and exclaims: "Allez, Messieurs (Go, gentlemen)." Usually, both principals spring in retreat at this word, in order to guard against surprise. The more confident or the more impatient adversary soon advances cautiously, until swords are joined again. He studies his adversary for an instant (the uninitiated can scarcely imagine how much is revealed by the feel of an adversary's sword and the sight of his hand), then gives one, two, three, four, five or six slight blows (varying the number with the feel of his adversary's sword) to his opponent's weapon, and then tries to get in a good blow, unless his opponent has anticipated him, by taking advantage of his change of blow from four to six, to make a rapid lunge just after he quits four and before he reaches six; and if the lunge be made with cat-like rapidity and in the nick of the proper time, it commonly reaches its destination. The action once engaged, lunge rapidly follows lunge for two minutes, and then, if no blood be drawn, both parties take rest, breathless and unable to hold up their swords, which seem as heavy as the best bower anchor of a man-of-war. When they recover breath and strength the second again crosses their swords, and the combat recommences. A duel rarely lasts longer than eight minutes, including all the restings. At last a lucky blow produces an abrasion of the skin of the little finger. The surgeon, by dint of hard and adroit pressure, contrives to squeeze out a tiny bead of blood. The code is homeopathic. That drop suffices to purge away smirch from escutcheon; "honor is satisfied." The adversaries shake hands, and vow themselves to be desolated that a misunderstanding should have occurred between them. Coffee is served.

Sometimes-rarely, but still sometimesthe end is tragical. This commonly happens when both antagonists are inexperienced, or when one of them joins cowardice to ignorance.

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WHEN Arthur Poinsett, after an hour's rapid riding over the scorching sand-hills, finally drew up at the door of the Mission Refectory, he had so far profited by his own advice to Donna Maria as to be quite dry, and to exhibit very little external trace of his late adventure. It is more remarkable perhaps that there was very little internal evidence either. No one who did not know the peculiar self-sufficiency of Poinsett's individuality would be able to understand the singular mental and moral adjustment of a man keenly alive to all new and present impressions, and yet able to dismiss them entirely, without a sense of responsibility or inconsistency. That Poinsett thought twice of the woman he had rescued-that he ever reflected again on the possibilities or natural logic of his act during his ride, no one who thoroughly knew him would believe. When he first saw Mrs. Sepulvida at the Point of Pines, he was considering the possible evils or advantages of a change in the conservative element of San Antonio; when he left her, he returned to the subject again, and it fully occupied his thoughts until Father Felipe stood before him in the door of the refectory. I do not mean to say that he at all ignored a certain sense of self-gratulation in the act, but I wish to convey the idea that all other considerations were subordinate to this sense. And possibly also the feeling, unexpressed, however, by any look or manner, that if he was satisfied, everybody else ought to be.

If Donna Maria had thought his general address a little too irreverent, she would have been surprised at his greeting with Father Felipe. His whole manner was changed to one of courteous and even reverential consideration, of a boyish faith and trustfulness, of perfect confidence and self-forgetfulness, and moreover was perfectly sincere. She would have been more surprised to have noted that the object of Arthur's earnestness was an old man, and that beyond a certain gentle and courteous

manner and refined bearing, he was unpicturesque and odd-fashioned in dress, snuffy in the sleeves, and possessed and inhabited a pair of shoes so large, shapeless, and inconsistent with the usual requirements of that article as to be grotesque.

It was evident that Arthur's manner had previously predisposed the old man in his favor. He held out two soft brown hands to the young man, addressed him with a pleasant smile as My son," and welcomed him to the Mission.


"And why not this visit before?" asked Father Felipe, when they were seated upon the little veranda that overlooked the Mission garden, before their chocolate and cigaritos.

"I did not know I was coming until day before yesterday. It seems that some new grants of the old ex-Governor's have been discovered, and that a patent is to be applied for. My partners being busy, I was deputed to come here and look up the matter. To tell the truth, I was glad of an excuse to see our fair client, or, at least, be disappointed as my partners have been in obtaining a glimpse of the mysterious Donna Dolores."

"Ah, my dear Don Arturo," said the Padre, with a slightly deprecatory movement of his brown hands, "I fear you will be no more fortunate than others. It is a penitential week with the poor child, and at such times she refuses to see any one, even on business. Believe me, my dear boy, you, like the others-more than the others-permit your imagination to run away with your judgment. Donna Dolores' concealment of her face is not to heighten or tempt the masculine curiosity, but alas!-poor child-is only to hide the heathenish tattooings that deface her cheek. You know she is a half-breed. Believe me, you are all wrong. It is foolish, perhaps-vanity-who knows? but she is a woman-what would you?" continued the sagacious Padre, emphasizing the substantive with a slight shrug worthy of his patron saint.

"But they say, for all that, she is very beautiful," continued Arthur, with that mis

* Copyright, 1876, by BRET HARTE. All rights reserved.

chievousness which was his habitual method of entertaining the earnestness of others, and which he could not entirely forego, even with the Padre.

"So! so! Don Arturo-it is idle gossip!" said Father Felipe, impatiently," a brown Indian girl with a cheek as tawny as the summer fields."

Arthur made a grimace that might have been either of assent or deprecation.

"Well, I suppose this means that I am to look over the papers with you alone. Bueno! Have them out, and let us get over this business as soon as possible."

"Poco tiempo," said Father Felipe, with a smile. Then more gravely, "But what is this? You do not seem to have that interest in your profession that one might expect of the rising young advocate-the junior partner of the great firm you represent. Your heart is not in your work—eh ?”

Arthur laughed.

"Why not? It is as good as any." "But to right the oppressed? justice to the unjustly accused, eh? redress wrongs-ah, my son! that is noble. That, Don Arturo-it is that has made you and your colleagues dear to me dear to those who have been the helpless victims of your courts-your corregidores."

"Yes, yes," interrupted Arthur, hastily, shedding the Father's praise with an habitual deft ease that was not so much the result of modesty as a certain conscious pride that resented any imperfect tribute. "Yes, I suppose it pays as well, if not better, in the long run. Honesty is the best policy,' as our earliest philosophers say."


"Pardon?" queried the Padre.

Arthur, intensely amused, made a purposely severe and literal translation of Franklin's famous apothegm, and then watched Father Felipe raise his eyes and hands to the ceiling in pious protest and mute consternation.

To do To

"And these are your American ethics?" he said at last.

"They are, and in conjunction with manifest destiny and the Star of Empire they have brought us here, and-have given me the honor of your acquaintance," said Arthur in English.

Father Felipe looked at his friend in hopeless bewilderment. Arthur instantly became respectful and Spanish. To change the subject and relieve the old man's evident embarrassment, he at once plunged into a humorous description of his adventure of the morning. The diversion was only parVOL. XI.-36.


tially successful. Father Felipe became at once interested, but did not laugh. When the young man had concluded he approached him, and laying his soft hand on Arthur's curls, turned his face upward toward him with a parental gesture that was at once habitual and professional, and said:


"Look at me here. I am an old man, Don Arturo. Pardon me if I think I have some advice to give you that may be worthy your hearing. Listen then! You are one of those men capable of peculiarly affecting and being affected by women. So! Pardon," he continued gently, as a slight flush rose into Arthur's cheek, despite the smile. that came as quickly to his face. "Is it not so? Be not ashamed, Don Arturo! It is not here," he added, with a poetical gesture toward the wall of the refectory, where hung the painted effigy of the blessed St. Anthony, "it is not here that I would undervalue or speak lightly of their influence. The widow is rich, eh ?-handsome, eh? impulsive? You have no heart in the profession you have chosen. What then? You have some in the instincts--what shall I say? the accomplishments and graces you have not considered worthy of a practical end! You are a natural lover. Pardon! You have the four S's- Sáno, solo, solicito y secreto.' Good! Take an old man's advice, and make good use of them. Turn your weaknesses eh? perhaps it is too strong a word!-the frivolities and vanities of your youth into a power for your old age! Eh?” Arthur smiled a superior smile. He was thinking of the horror with which the old man had received the axiom he had recently quoted. He threw himself back in his chair in an attitude of burlesque sentiment, and said with simulated heroics:

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getting a little too serious, Father? At all events, save me from assuming a bashful attitude toward the lady with whom I am to have a business interview to-morrow. And now about the papers, Father," continued Arthur, recovering his former ease. "I suppose the invisible fair one has supplied you with all the necessary documents and the fullest material for a brief. Go on. I am all attention."

"You are wrong again, son," said Father Felipe. "It is a matter in which she has shown even more than her usual disinIclination to talk. I believe but for my - interference, she would have even refused to press the claim. As it is, I imagine she wishes to make some compromise with the thief-pardon me!-the what do you say? eh? the preemptor! But I have nothing to do with it. All the papers, all the facts are in the possession of your friend, Mrs. Sepulvida. You are to see her. Believe me, my friend, if you have been disappointed in not finding your Indian client, you will have a charming substitute-and one of your own race and color-in the Donna Maria. Forget, if you can, what I have said-but you will not. Ah, Don Arturo, I know you better than yourself. Come. Let us walk in the garden. You have not seen the vines. I have a new variety of grape since you were here before."

"I find nothing better than the old Mission grape, Father," said Arthur, as they passed down the branching avenue of olives.

"Ah! Yet the aborigines knew it not. And only valued it when found wild, for the coloring matter contained in its skin. From this, with some mordant that still remains a secret with them, they made a dye to stain their bodies and heighten their copper hue. You are not listening, Don Arturo, yet it should interest you, for it is the color of your mysterious client, the Donna Dolores."

Thus chatting, and pointing out the various objects that might interest Arthur, from the overflowing boughs of a venerable figtree to the crack made in the adobe wall of the church by the last earthquake, Father Felipe, with characteristic courteous formality, led his young friend through the ancient garden of the Mission. By degrees, the former ease and mutual confidence of the two friends returned, and by the time that Father Felipe excused himself for a few moments to attend to certain domestic arrangements on behalf of his new guest, perfect sympathy had been restored.

Left to himself, Arthur strolled back until opposite the open chancel door of the church. Here he paused, and, in obedience to, a sudden impulse, entered. The old church was unchanged-like all things in San Antonio-since the last hundred years; perhaps there was little about it that Arthur had not seen at the other Missions. There were the old rafters painted in barbaric splendor of red and brown stripes; there were the hideous, waxen, glassed-eyed saints leaning forward helplessly and rigidly from their niches; there was the Virgin Mary in a white dress and satin slippers, carrying the infant Saviour in the opulence of lace long-clothes; there was the Magdalen in the fashionable costume of a Spanish lady of the last century. There was the usual quantity of bad pictures; the portrait, full length, of the patron saint himself, so hideously and gratuitously old and ugly that his temptation by any self-respecting woman appeared more miraculous than his resistance; the usual martyrdoms in terrible realism; the usual "Last Judgments" in frightful accuracy of detail.

But there was one picture under the nave which attracted Arthur's listless eyes. It was a fanciful representation of Junipero Serra preaching to the heathen. I am afraid that it was not the figure of that most admirable and heroic missionary which drew Arthur's gaze; I am quite certain that it was not the moral sentiment of the subject, but rather the slim, graceful, girlish, half-nude figure of one of the Indian converts who knelt at Father Junipero Serra's feet, in child-like but touching awe and contrition. There was such a depth of penitential supplication in the young girl's eyes-a penitence so pathetically inconsistent with the absolute virgin innocence and helplessness of the exquisite little figure, that Arthur felt his heart beat quickly as he gazed. He turned quickly to the other picture-look where he would, the eyes of the little acolyte seemed to follow and subdue him.

I think I have already intimated that his was not a reverential nature. With a quick imagination and great poetic sensibility, nevertheless, the evident intent of the picture, or even the sentiment of the place, did not touch his heart or brain. But he still half-unconsciously dropped into a seat, and, leaning both arms over the screen before him, bowed his head against the oaken panel. A soft hand laid upon his shoulder suddenly aroused him.

He looked up sharply and met the eyes

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