Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/64

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52
DUELING CUSTOMS.

others on a grindstone. He understood his business; for when a sword left his hand one could shave himself with it.

It was observable that the young gentlemen neither bowed to nor spoke with students whose caps differed in color from their own. This did not mean hostility, but only an armed neutrality.

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"UNDERSTANDS HIS BUSINESS."

It was considered that a person could strike harder in the duel, and with a more earnest interest, if he had never been in a condition of comradeship with his antagonist; therefore, comradeship between the corps was not permitted. At intervals the presidents of the live corps have a cold official intercourse with each other, but nothing further. For example when the regular dueling day of one of the corps approaches, its president calls for volunteers from among the membership to offer battle; three or more respond,—but there must not be less than three; the president lays their names before the other presidents, with the request that they furnish antagonists fur these challengers from among their corps. This is promptly done. It chanced that the present occasion was the battle day of the Red Cap Corps. They were the challengers, and certain caps of other colors had volunteered to meet them. The students fight duels in the room which I have described, two days in every week during seven and a half or eight months in every year. This custom has continued in Germany two hundred and fifty years.

To return to my narrative. A student in a white cap met us and introduced us to six or eight friends of his who also