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The Blind Man’s Duel.

{Front the New Orleans Picayune.)

It is doubtful if any theatre ever offered such volumes of romantic incidents as the deck of the old time Mississippi steamer. In the old times, before the railroads traversed the continent in every direction, and the West was a wilderness, New Orleans was the Mecca for travellers, and the fleet wave borne palaces of the inland sea carried thousands of pleasure seekers to the south. It was then that life was a carousal, and men and women gave themselves up to the most lavish enjoyments. Men were as prone to brawls as the sparks to fly upward. Conspicuous among the fierce and rollicking habitues of the steamers was Captain West, a noted duellist. One day he engaged in a controversy with a gentleman with whom he met cm deck, whom he accused of staring at him impertinently. “ Why do you stare at me so intently?” demanded the captain. The gentleman made no reply, but quietly walked along the steamboat’s deck, and again halted when he met the duellist, who, being incensed at the cool manner in which he was treated, accosted the stranger and demanded an eul of it. Stepping up to the stranger he inquired, with suppressed passion, “Can you fight as well as look ? “Pm hap - ■ I never tried it. Place me, however, end I will do my best.” The singular conduct of the stranger had by this time attracted universal attention, and whispered conference regarding his remarkable appearance agitated the little groups of persons all over the boat. In a short time, however, she rounded to a landing fur wood, and then the parties to the impromptu duel went ashore. The passenger was led off by a negro servant, who seemingly picked his wav. Indeed, from the intense interest he was manifesting in the encounter, the servant was apparently more interested in the matter than his master. But the time allowed for preliminaries iyas brief, and r the men were speedily put in position and placed their hands. The word was given, and two ringing reports flashed out on the air. Captain West fell pierced to the heai't. The stranger stood erect, calm and dignified. His second rushed up to him : “ Are you hurt, sir?” “No; how is it with my antagonist?” “Can’t you see? you have killed him?” “No, I am unable to see.” “You can’t see?” No, I am blind.” And he was. The tragedy was a nine days’ wonder, and all sorts of rumours were rife as to the identity of the fatal stranger. But who he was and whither he went was a mystery never solved. The circumstances went to make up an incident in the dark and bloody memories which made famous the olden time.

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The Blind Man’s Duel. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 20, 11 November 1879

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