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exposed to imminent peril a life on ther a surgical instrument than a weawhich hinges the fate of Protestant pon. “ What does all this portend ?" Europe. On all occasions, and even I eagerly inquired from my old comin important engagements, he persists panion, who had hitherto answered all in riding horses easily distinguishable my queries with singular intelligence, from all others. A few days before and in language far above his apparent the battle of Leipzic, a horse-dealer condition. Without, however, rebrought into the camp a noble char- moving his eager gaze from this singer, very peculiarly marked and color- gular spectacle below, he briefly aned. This fellow was a spy employed swered; “ those are two coffins, and by the base and cowardly Austrians, that man with the red cloak and who calculated that Gustavus would sword is the provost-marshal.” The ride this fine animal in the approaching coffins were placed in two corners of engagement, and become
an easy the hall, the headsman retreated bemark for their bullets.”
hind the body-guards, the music ceas“ And who," I inquired, “is that ed, and Gustavus spoke to the followbroad-shouldered hero, with a clear, ing effect, with an impressive dignity dark complexion, accompanied by a of look, voice, and language, which no fine youth in the garb of a student ?” time will erase from my recollection.
“ That man of bone and muscle," “ My beloved soldiers and friends! he replied, “is the brave and chival. It is well known to you, that after rous Banner, a name admirably cha- mature deliberation with my faithful racteristic of the inan. He is truly a
counsellors and field-officers, I hare living standard, and, in the wildest tu- forbidden duels in my arny, under mult of the battle, stands firm as a pain of death to the offending parties. castle-tower, rallies around him the My brave generals expressed their bewildered soldiers, and leads them on entire approval of this regulation, and again to combat and to victory. His recorded their unanimous opinion, that noble daring cannot, however, be un there is no essential connexion beknown to you.
How much I regret tween duelling and the true honor of that I cannot also show you those va a soldier, and that a conscientious liant soldiers, Collenburg and Teufel. avoidance of single combat is perfectAlas! They fell on the field of Leip- ly consistent with heroic courage and zic.”
an elevated sense of honor. During these details, the king had “ The soldier must be animated by entered the hall, and taken a chair a just cause, or his courage is worthupon a raised platform at the upper less as the embroidery of his uniform ; end; his chancellor and staff-officers an ornament, but not a virtue. During standing on each side of him. Sud- the middle ages, the practice of dueldenly the lively and beautiful march, ling was perhaps expedient, to counwhich had greeted the entrance of terbalance the enormous evils which Gustavus, ceased; the king nodded to grew out of a lawless state of society; the band, and the wind instruments and it must be allowed, that the rude began to play the solemn dead-march, and chivalrous habits of that savage usually performed when a condemned period, were redeemed by no small officer is going to execution. The portion of honorable and devotional large folding-doors again opened, and feeling. Let us then prefer the subtwo black coffins were brought in by stance to the shadow, and model our soldiers, moving in slow time to the conduct by the better qualities of our saddening music, and followed by a ancestors, instead of copying their rotall and harsh-looking man, with un mantic exaggerations and absurdities. covered head and vulgar features. The lawless days of chivalry are gone He wore a red cloak, wbich but par- by. They have been succeeded tially concealed a glittering blade of throughout Christian Europe by settled unusual breadth, and resembling ra- governments and institutions, which,
however imperfect, afford comparative with their fellow-men; and who find security to person and property. Why a horrible gratification in bazarding then will civilized men cling to the their lives, to accomplish the destrucsavage customs of a savage period ? tion of any one whose enjoyment of And why are we Protestants ? Why, life, health, and reason, is greater are we in arms against Catholics? Is than their own. I thank the Almighty it not solely because they forbid us to that this demoniacal spirit prekeep pace with an improved state of vails not in my army; and should it knowledge, civil and religious ? Some unfortunately animate any of my solof you will perhaps contend, that an diers, they have my free permission to occasional duel is favorable to disci- join the gipsy-camps of Tilly and pline and good manners; but, are you Wallenstein." prepared to prove that the Catholic The Swedish generals here exchangofficers, who fight duels with impuni- ed looks and nods of proud gratificaty, bear any comparison with mine in tion, and Prince Bernard of Weimar, urbanity and discipline? And do you whose fine eyes flashed with ungoattach any value to that base and cow- vernable delight, advanced a step toardly complaisance, which springs wards the royal orator, as if he would froin the fear of death? Believe me, have expressed his approbation by a gentlemen, in a well disciplined army, cordial embrace. Controlling, howthere will always be an immense ma- ever, with visible effort, this sudden jority of brave men, whose courtesy impulse, he resumed his place. Meanis prompted by good feeling and com- while, the king exchanged a glance of mon sense ; and, where the great ma- friendly intelligence with his chanceljority is civilized, rudeness becomes lor, and continued in a tone of dimithe exception to the rule, and meets nished severity. with merited contempt and avoidance. “ You will probably, gentlemen, Why then will even men of tried charge me with inconsistency in thus courage apply a remedy so strong as sanctioning a public duel, after my mortal combat to an evil so trivial ?" promulgation of general order
Here Gustavus paused, and fixed against the practice of duelling. his eagle-eyes upon the duellists, who There are, however, peculiar circumstood with folded arms and sullen stances connected with this duel, to mien, in the centre of the hall. Their explain which, and to vindicate myvery souls seemed to quail under his self, I have requested your presence searching glance; their eyes fell, and on this occasion. The gentlemen bethe dark red hue of conscious guilt fore you, Captains Barstrom and Seisuffused their cheeks and foreheads. fert, are well known as officers of The royal orator resumed.
high and deserved reputation. Bars“And yet we this day behold two trom has evinced heroic courage on officers of acknowledged bravery, who many occasions, and he saved my life have yielded to this insane impulse, in the Polish war, when I was bareand who perhaps flatter themselves, headed and surrounded, Sirot having that their readiness to stake life will struck off my iron cap, which heretic excite admiration and astonishment. head-gear the Austrians sent as a troI had given them credit for better phy to Loretto. I knighted Barstrom heads and better hearts, and I lament on the field of battle ; and, relying exceedingly their infatuation. There upon his good sense and moderation, are some individuals, whose gloomy I promised to grant him a free boon. and ferocious temperament betrays He never availed himself of this their natural affinity to the tiger and pledge until yesterday, when he soli-the hyena ; whose pride is not enno- cited my permission to meet Captain bled by a spark of honorable feeling ; Seifert in single combat. whose courage is devoid of generosity ; “ Seifert has studied chivalry at who have no sympathies in common German universities, and to good pur
42 ATHENEUM, VOL. 1, 3d series.
pose, if we may judge from the bril- and Barstrom suddenly rush forward, liant valor which made him a captain throw themselves at the feet of Gustaon the field of Leipzic. He has en vus, and supplicate for mercy. deavored to prove to me, by numerous Mercy depends not upon me, ut Greek and Latin scraps, that I ought upon yourselves,” mildly replied the to sanction this duel ; but it would not king, as soon as the band had ceased. be difficult to bring forward old Homer “ If you do not fight, the executioner himself in evidence, that the Greeks will find no occupation here.” These were not very fastidious in points of words were accompanied by a glance etiquette. For instance, Achilles at the headsman, who immediately called Agamemnon“ a drunkard, with quitted the hall by a side door. “But the look of a dog, and the valor of a if you are sincerely desirous,” contideer.” Seifert, however, is not a man nued Gustavus, “ to regain the good to be influenced by either classical or opinion of the brave men and good Christian authorities; his reason lies Christians here assembled, you will at in prostrate adoration before the shrine once relinquish every hostile feeling, of false honor, that Moloch of the dark and embrace each other as friends." ages, around which the chivalry of that The duellists instantly few into period danced, until their giddy brains each other's arms. Gustavus raised lost the faculty of distinguishing his folded hands and kingly features right from wrong.
in devotional feeling towards heaven, Thus solemnly pledged to two ir- and the chancellor gave a signal to reconcilable obligations, how can I the band, which played a fine hymn on extricate myself from a predicament reconciliation and brotherly love. I 80 embarrassing? I have exhausted now heard, with inexpressible delight, my powers of reasoning and persua- the King, Oxenstiern, Horn, Banner, sion in vain endeavors to accomplish a Stahlhantsch, and Prince Bernard, reconciliation. My promise of a free with the assembled officers and guards, boon to Barstrom I cannot honorably singing the impressive verses of Luretract; nor can I, for his sake, in- ther, with beautiful accuracy of time fringe upon the salutary law so long and tone. The magnificent bass of established. Happily one alternative Gustavus Adolphus was easily distinremains. These misguided men are guishable by its organ-like fulness and deterinined to fight, and, if possible, grandeur; it resembled the deep low to destroy each other. Be it so! breathing of a silver trumpet,' and alTheir savage propensities shall be though forty years have rolled over gratified, and I will witness their chi- my head since I heard it, the rich and valrous courage and heroic contempt solemn tones of the royal singer still of life.—Now, gentlemen ! draw, and vibrate upon my memory. do your worst ! Fight until the death The hallowed feeling spread through of one shall prove the other the bet- hall and gallery, and every one who ter swordsman; but, mark well the could sing joined with fervor in the saconsequence! Soon as one of you is cred song. Even my old subaltern, slain, my executioner shall strike off whose voice was painfully harsh and unthe head of the other. Thus my musical, drew from his pocket a hymn pledge to Barstrom will be redeemed, book and a pair of copper spectacles ; and the law against duelling will re- histones were tremulous and discordant, main inviolate."
but, in my estimation, his musical deHere Gustavus ceased to speak ; ficiencies were amply redeemed by the the solemn dead-march was repeated tears which rolled abundantly dowo by the band, the coffins were brought his hollow and time-worn cheeks. nearer to the duellists, and the grim Thus was this terrible camp-scene visaged executioner again came into converted, as if by miracle or magic, view, with his horrible weapon. At into a solemn, and, surely, an acceptathis awful moment I beheld Seifert ble service of the Almighty.