Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/70

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58
REPAIRING DAMAGES.

Both parties to this fourth duel were badly hurt; so much so that the surgeon was at work upon them nearly or quite an hour,—a fact which is suggestive. But this waiting interval was not wasted in idleness by the assembled students. It was past noon; therefore they ordered their landlord, down stairs, to send up hot beefsteaks, chickens, and such things, and these they ate, sitting comfortably at the several tables, whilst they chatted, disputed and laughed. The door to the surgeon's room stood open, meantime, but the cutting, sewing, splicing and bandaging going on in there in plain view, did not seem to disturb any one's appetite. I went in and saw the surgeon labor a while, but could not enjoy it; it was much less trying, to see the wounds given and received than to see them mended; the stir and turmoil, and the music of the steel, were wanting, here,—one's nerves were wrung by this grisly spectacle, whilst the duel's compensating pleasurable thrill was lacking.

Finally the doctor finished, and the men who were to fight the closing battle of the day came forth. A good many dinners were not completed, yet, but no matter, they could be eaten cold, after the battle; therefore everybody crowded forward to see. This was not a love duel, but a "satisfaction" affair. These two students had quarreled, and were here to settle it. They did not belong to any of the corps, but they were furnished with weapons and armor, and permitted to fight here by the five corps as a courtesy. Evidently these two young men were unfamiliar with the dueling ceremonies, though they were not unfamiliar with the sword. When they were placed in position they thought it was time to begin,—and they did begin, too, and with a most impetuous energy, without waiting for anybody to give the word. This vastly amused the spectators, and even broke down their studied and courtly gravity and surprised them into laughter. Of course the seconds struck up the swords and started the duel over again. At the word, the deluge of blows began, but before long the surgeon once more interfered,—for the only reason which ever permits him to interfere,—and the