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FOUGHT FORTY-EIGHT DUELS., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 74, 27 March 1909
FOUGHT FORTY-EIGHT DUELS.
HUNGARIAN WHO HAS _'_CRF_IT OF SHOOTING A.YD BEING SHOT AT. Driven by duelling from his native land. Bela Mandel has gone to live In New Yort I that he may. have to tight no more. Mr. Mandel is not afraid of UghtlnK: just ] the contrary, lie Is Kurfelted with It. He has I fought forty-eight duels, with pistols, swords, sabres, and now he longs for pence. ! In Hungary, his home, he must fight or confess himself a pnltroon: in America he j can live without the annoyance »t perpetvcl challenges, without risking his life over I trifles without the dread of having to shed 1 another man's blood. If ever a man earned the right to live at peace with his fellow- ' man, Bela Mandel has earned It Forty-eight men have faced him on the field of honour- I forty-eight men have left the fi eM Porap ' wounded, some borne off dead by their friends, others unscathed yet owing their : life to his magnanimity, all defeated find ' never a wound has one of them inflicted "Pon him. He seems to bear a charmed life. Mandel Is no swash-buckler, no fire-eater. ' He has never sought a duel; he hates duelling. The visitor seek-in* him at No 1811 Amsterdam-avenue, where he has set' up In business, would instantly be struck by the tall broad „.ouMered. UnE" !Z*Z man. nho looks every inch n lighter But the militant appearance would be forgotten whlrtV OU M °' hIS S ° ft - P> e « s «nt voice which he seldom raises «hnr« „ , sational tone. . * ° '° W CoDrer - "Duelling Is the most unneces-ac- r,„rt foolish custom In the world,'- 4?d Mr Mandel -Duelling has driven m 0 out of 7Z.r? a COUnfrV - ' C ° Uld no Ion «" live there. One enemy after another ,vUh real , ■* ILe xor twenty years hrm been one succession of tights w. , to leave my native land I am If f v T a Place where duels are not" hi V" ! custom. 0t tUo P°P»l"r «g7°n ehc ht m a J" c ! ° man m,,st H°™ -our age. 1 he man who steps out o u the duell 8 half b fore ' total „ n th - Er ° D more —tainfy fatal will the results be to him If Q SUl |ng with sword or sabre »*>""«!, "This fatal fear Is the fear of personal injury; very different is the fear that comes who?/ PCCt f , or " BkUfUl opponent Suc\i wholesome fear Is the strongs we of the duellist. It is a irrnve h pu " that he will give you a terrific V c i,!— .„ ... terrific combat: fear him in the sense that yon respect his abillTv a man and LCTdIZ the more certain ueitat all o -'- a aT est respect for that = r e T ~ ft ' v : have I let my opponent flre and "then with I him at my mercy, my ionoUr ™J^J lth i__sf r vl < T ;ra,: -bo blood. y m ° re houo «^le "One of the last duels I f ousut before j coming to America was „ ue of those ° v necessary affairs that are forced on every one in my country. years previously , had fought with a man over a real wrong I tad won and after all but the closes,' ' tl«iH,» f t c maD aDd mySe,t ha °- forgotten the incident, a relative of his began a sys- , tematlc effort to force mc into a duel 1 did not want to light him, for I had' no I quarrel with him. and he was no match for j mc with the pistols. But he challenged mc and 1 could do nothing but accept hls'Chnl' I lenge. The mornlug ot the duel found him at the spot, trembling and a nervous wreck j I was willing, even then, to allow the whole I matter to drop, but he insisted upon going on. We took our places, fifteen paces j apart. He fired first, and. as 1 knew he I would, missed mc entirely. He was a pitiful object, trembling with fear of death, , but moxe Eforai courage than I had.
given him credit for -possessing, he begged mc to shoot. For mc to have done so under the circumstances, though perfectly justifiable by the code duello und the customs of our people, would, in my eyes, have been cold-blooded murder. I walked over to the man, took his handkerchief from his pocket, and, walking ten paces back of him, hung it on a tree. Then I returned to my own position and told him if I did not put a bullet through the handkerchief I was no man. I flred, and the bullet cut a clean hole through the square of white linen, and I handed him back his handkerchief and, telling him to use it for whatever he liked, i walked off the field. "After my return home from my first visit to this country I made the acquaintance ot a young American who was staying there. He was a good-looking young fellow, very impetuous, but good natured, and far readier to fight for some one else than for himself. At his home in West Virginia he told mc, disputes that could not be settled peaceably were decided with the fists of the disputants. I tried several times to impress upon him the fact that in Hungary only rowdies used their fists and that dispute between gentlemen must be settled with deadly weapons. But he only laughed at my warnings. "One night when I was showing him the sights of my city he became involved in a hot argument with an officer, i was out of hearing at the time, but some friends of mine hurried to find mc and tell m c of the trouble in which my young friend had Involved himself. When I reached his side the officer was about to draw his sabre and cut the young man down, something the customs of my country would have permitted and even Justified. I jumped between them and slapped the officer In the face. I had scarcely" got the young American away before I was challenged to fight "I selected sabres as the weapons, because they were, presumably, the arms with Which the young officer was most familiar. I did not let the American know of the trouble I had got into on his behalf, but he came to my room the next morning before I started for the duelling place and saw the sabre lying on the table, sharpened until its edge was like that of a razor. Well, before he left he learned what I was going to do, and I had to call two of my friends to hold him ln the room before he would let mc go. I was back in less than an hour, unhurt. I had cut the officer pretty badly twice, and he had apologised. The young man has nevpr let a month go by since then without writing mc nnd thanking mc for fighting for talm. The experience taught him a lesson, however, and he was very careful of his words and actions the rest of the time he wns in Hungary. "Bullets, I suppose, have come close to mc many times, but the only one to hit mc merely clipped my sleeve, and that bullet I cut out of a tree trunk and now wear as a watch charm. No bullet ever cut my skin and no sword ever drew blood from mc."
FOUGHT FORTY-EIGHT DUELS., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 74, 27 March 1909
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