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ROBERT. I congratulate you on losing the job, Alice. If I were a young woman seeking employment, I should rather rattle dishes than the keys of Dolly's typewriter. DOROTHY. Robert, I wish to ask of you in all seriousness never to speak of me by that name again. In the first place, it is ridiculous to call a woman of my size "Dolly." In the next place, it is undignified, considering my-my
ROBERT. Position as the coming authoress. You are right, my sister. "Dolly Williams' Penny Dreadful." That doesn't sound at all well. I have even thought, since you have grown to be such a statuesque young woman that the name of Dorothy was a misnomer. Dorothy belongs to a demure little Puritan. I used to think you should have been called Diana, or Galatea, but in the light of recent developments I think Lucretia or Messalina would be better.
DOROTHY. Do you know that I have been seriously thinking of assuming a nom de plume?
ROBERT. Why not say a nom de guerre, Dorothy?
ALICE. What name would you take? DOROTHY. I should take a man's name. Then I could wield a fearless and trenchant pen. I should never stop then to think "What would Mrs. Pomeroy say?" or How would the people of our church take this?" as I am ashamed to say I have done. The name of George has been assumed by two famous women; why should not I be the third? Let me see? George-George Dare. How does "George Dare" sound?
ROBERT. It is very expressive, but hadn't you better sit down, Mr. Dare? DOROTHY (sits beside Alice). On the other hand, in preserving one's identity, there is the charm of seeing one's name in print, coupled with praise. Fancy reading something like this: "A story in the last number of The Analyst has created a great sensation among literary people. The boldness of outline, the warmth of color, bespeak a master hand." Then, "The authoress, Miss Dorothy Williams, is a young woman not yet twenty"; then would follow a description of my personal appearance, perhaps, my tastes and habits; my fond
JOANNA. A letter and a package for you, Miss Dorothy, and here is a receipt the messenger brought for you to sign.
DOROTHY. Will you sign it, Robert ? (Opens letter.) It is from The Analyst.
Exit JOANNA. DOROTHY reads a few lines in silence, then turns very pale, and puts her hand to her head, as though bewildered.) Listen, Robert-Alice-I don't understand this letter. There seems to be (Reads.) something wrong.
"Miss Dorothy Williams-Dear Madam:-We have
just discovered a most annoying mistake, made yes
terday by one of our employes. A letter intended for Miss Dorothy Williamson, of Tremont street, was sent to you last night in error, and a communication respectfully declining your MSS., entitled "Irene's Vow." was sent to Miss Williamson. The similarity of names caused the confusion of the letters, which is none the less mortifying and is without precedent in that we have discharged the man who made the misthe history of the magazine. So deeply do we feel it, take, which will, however, be small satisfaction, we We return "Irene's Vow" with this." fear, to you.
Oh, Bob, can it be? Do they mean they are not going to print it?
ROBERT. They can't mean anything else, Dorothy. What an outrageous blunder!
DOROTHY. Oh, and my plans, my beautiful visions! never write another line.
hopes, my Oh, I shall I can never
hold up my head again! (Bursts into tears.)
Oh-oh-oh-h-h! That's it. (He scans the letter.) Hello!
ALICE. Dorothy, dear Dorothy, don't. I believe in you just as much as ever.
ROBERT. (Crossing to DOROTHY, and taking her in his arms. She lays her head on his shoulder, still sobbing). Come, Dolly, don't cry like that; be a brave girl; it's a hard blow, I know. DOROTHY. Oh, Bob, I have been talking like such an idiot, too-oh-oh!
ROBERT. There-there-there, dearie; you make me feel like a brute, after the way I have been talking to you. Only say the word, Dolly, and I'll go down there and crack every neck in The Analyst office. (Savagely.) I am glad they had the decency to discharge that dolt.
DOROTHY. Oh, yes, they discharged the clerk-the poor clerk! Isn't that a joke? Ah, it's capital! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! (She laughs violently.)
ALICE. Oh, Robert, I believe Dorothy is going to have hysterics! Oh-h-h-h! ROBERT. Stop that, Alice, at once! Do you want me to begin to blubber, too? Run for the camphor. Now ring for Joanna while I hold her. ALICE. Here is my vinaigrette. dear, she is growing calmer now. ROBERT. That's right; now fan her while I read that letter for myself. (He picks up letter from the floor.) This isn't all of it. There must be another sheet. You are sitting on it, Alice.
"We return 'Irene's Vow' with this, as it would be impossible to print a story of its nature in The Analyst. We are anxious, however, to atone, as far as is within our power for this unfortunate error. are occasional touches in your story-bits of character drawing and description, which lead us to believe that you are capable of better work. We should be pleased to meet you personally, or to enter into correspondence with you, with the view of advising you in the matter of preparing something which we could accept and publish. Sincerely yours, THE EDITORS.
What do you say to that, Mr. Dare ?
DOROTHY. Bob, you are not deceiving me? Let me read it with my own eyes. (Seizes letter.) Yes, word for word. Oh, what a relief!
ALICE. Oh, you will try, won't you, Dorothy ?
DOROTHY. Try! Yes, and I'll do, too, if I have any brains at all.
ROBERT. Count on my assistance, Dorothy, if you need it, and my advice. Let me begin by rolling out every barrel of gunpowder in your study, and confiscating all your weapons.
DOROTHY. Bob, I really believe I can please them yet. I was a little bit ashamed of poor "Irene," and no doubt it is all for the best. I have a beautiful story in my head, and I'm going upstairs at once to write a letter to the editor of The Analyst. But oh, Bob, how I wonder who "Dorothy Williamson" is! Francis M. Livingston.
the Washington and Baltimore Battalion (then commanded by the brave Colonel Wm. H. Watson), and Sam C. Reid, a young lawyer from New Orleans, who had been adjutant of a Louisiana regiment which had been disbanded as three months' men.
The daring and hazardous scouts through the wild portions of Mexico to various towns in the interior, to obtain information of the enemy, as well as of the roads and the country; the occasional skirmishes with detachments of the Mexican cavalry; and the common risk of picket-guard duty, had woven ties of the strongest friendship among McCulloch's men.
Young Thomas was not over twentyfive, of medium stature and dark complexion. He was of a daring and reckless nature, which he had exhibited on more than one occasion by risking his life unnecessarily. Indeed, he seemed to court death. He was much dejected at times, and wore a sad and melancholy expression, which, it was whispered, had been occasioned by an unfortunate love affair. Whether this was true or not, he was very retiring and reticent, and did not enter into the fun and jokes of the boys, although he and Reid seemed much attached to each other.
On the morning of the 15th of September, the whole army had arrived at the beautiful little town of Marin, situated on a lovely plateau, and surrounded on every side by wild mountain scenery of unsurpassing grandeur, while far in the distant haze of the blue sky, rose the lofty peaks of the Sierra Madre. The main portion of the army had encamped about two miles west of the town, near the head-waters of the San Juan river, and about ten leagues from Monterey.
That night Thomas and Reid were on picket duty with a detail of the Rangers, when a heated discussion ensued as to the advance position to be taken by the guard. Some sharp retorts were made between the two friends, but nothing was thought of the matter at the time, although the laugh of the boys seemed very much to irritate Thomas, who was heard to remark: "There's a way to settle such matters without further words." It appears that on a pre
vious occasion there had occurred some unpleasantness between the two, Reid having censured Thomas for washing his horse close to a spring, and, perhaps, the remembrance of it added to the bitterness of his sensitive feelings.
The next morning, the 16th, to the surprise of Reid, he received a peremptory challenge, excluding any demand for an explanation or apology, which the bearer stated would not be received. Under these circumstances, the challenge was at once accepted, and the weapons chosen were double-barreled shot-guns, loaded with buck and ball, at twenty paces; the time and place to be left with the seconds. An injunction of secrecy was agreed upon to prevent any interference or arrest, and for this purpose the principals were not to involve any of the members of the company to act as seconds.
Reid was, perhaps, a year or two older than Thomas, and was of light complexion, tall, and well formed. He had been brought up in the school of Southern chivalry, and was as magnanimous as he was courageous. He had fought his first duel at New Orleans with a noted duellist and bravo, whom he wounded, the weapons being small swords. Besides, he naturally inherited the bravery of his father, who commanded the brig-of-war “General Armstrong" at the memorable battle of Fayal, in 1814. Thus forced into a combat from which there was no receding, and which could not be declined but with dishonor, young Reid had been compelled to accept the challenge, however much he felt that there really was no cause for demanding such a sacrifice. He had determined, therefore, to bring Thomas to a sense of reason by compelling him to accept an explanation, or else to make the duel fatal to one or both the parties.
Captain Randolph Ridgely, of Baltimore, then commanding a battery of the United States Third Artillery, was one of the noblest, coolest and bravest of men. He was known as the Chevalier Bayard of the army, and was fairly worshipped by both men and officers. His opinion and decision in affairs of honor, no one dared dispute or question. Reid accordingly rode over to Ridgely's quarters, and entering his tent
pleasantly received, and invited to a camp-stool. Ridgely had been a classmate of Reid's brother at West Point, and was very friendly disposed. Reid then explained his situation, and the circumstances which led to the challenge, disclaiming any intention to offend Thomas, and asked Ridgely to become his second.
"I have done him no wrong," ," said Reid, "and never had the slightest idea of wounding or insulting him. I would willingly have made any explanation, or even an apology for any imaginary insult that he may have conceived was intended. What has spurred him on to this rash vindictiveness I am at a loss to know. But it is now too late, and as he has determined to force me into a fight, it cannot be avoided-yet I do not want to take his life."
After listening to Reid's statement, Ridgely seemed lost in thought for several moments; then, as if he had suddenly arrived at some conclusion, said:
"Well, Reid, to be frank with you, I will tell you that Herman Thomas was here not half an hour ago, and I have agreed to act as his second. He is from my town, and is highly connected, and, of course, I could not refuse him. Although he is somewhat rash, he is really a good-hearted, gallant fellow, but he is fully impressed that he has been outraged and grossly insulted by you in presence of the picket guard.
"I am very sorry I did not see you first," said Reid, as he slowly rose to leave Ridgely's tent to seek some other friend.
"Sit down, Reid," said Ridgely, "and I will tell tell you what I'll do. As I know you both so well, if you will consent, I will act as second for you both!"
"I am perfectly willing," replied Reid, brightening up, "to put my life and honor in your hands."
"Very well," said Ridgely; "the moon will be well up by nine o'clock to-night, and half a mile up the river from the ford, on the other side, is a clump of mesquite trees, which Thomas has already mentioned as a secluded spot.
We will meet you there at that time, if you do not object to the place, and I will send for Thomas at once and inform him of the arrangement. You
will come alone, unattended, as I will bring a surgeon with me."
With this understanding, Reid shook hands with Ridgely, thanking him for his kindness and friendship, and mounting his horse rode over to his camp to make his final arrangements for the duel.
The sun went down behind the mountains, gilding their peaks with crimson, melting into gold. Not long after, the Queen of Night was slowly ascending the silvery stairway of the sky to her throne in mid-ocean. The drums had beat, and the bugles sounded, their tattoo, which, perhaps, 'was to be the last that would ever again be heard by the two young men who were so soon to meet in deadly combat. Save the sentinels, the camp had become hushed in slumber, and not a sound was heard except an occasional challenge by the guards. As the time drew nigh, Reid mounted his horse, and having obtained the countersign, passed out of the lines to the river San Juan. Crossing at the ford, and taking up the bank, he soon came to the designated clump of mesquite trees, where he was challenged by Ridgely, the party having already arrived. Dismounting, and hitching his horse to a tree, Reid advanced and saluted the party.
Ridgely then, addressing the combatants, said:
"Gentlemen, as you are both friends of mine, I have consented to act on this occasion as the arbiter between you in this duel, upon the only condition that each of you will now pledge your sacred honor to obey my commands implicitly, and be governed by the terms and order of the duel, which I will explain after you are placed in position. Will you make this solemn pledge and abide by it?"
Both men firmly responded, "I will.”
The ground was then stepped off by Ridgely, and the choice of positions was won by Thomas. The young men were then stationed, their loaded weapons examined, and placed in their hands at a present-arms.
The September moon, which was near its full and already high up in the heavens, shed its silver sheen upon the scene, lighting up the dark chaparral bushes, and the limpid waters of the San Juan, as it murmured along its winding banks and seemed to chide the murderous in
tent of the men; while the peaks of the surrounding mountains looming up in the distance, looked down as silent witnesses of the coming combat. The shimmering moonlight fell upon the forms of the two young Rangers as they stood in the attitude of deadly intent, revealing every feature and expression of their faces. The long curly, light-brown hair of Reid, falling back from his forehead, with his large blue eyes fixed upon his adversary, bore an expression of firmness and sadness, in which was seen no trace of a murderous revenge: while the handsome features of Thomas were rigid and determined, and a wild brilliancy flashed from his dark hazel eyes. Both appeared per
fectly cool and self possessed.
Ridgely now approached, taking a position midway between the two, with a six-shooter in his hand, while the surgeon stood off at a proper distance.
"Gentlemen," said Ridgely, "you will come to an order-arms, and pay particular attention to the instructions I now give. You will first be asked, if you are ready? The order will then be given you, as you now stand, to shoulder-arms. Next, to present-arms. Then, aim, followed by the word, fire. If after the first fire, neither should be mortally wounded, a second fire may be demanded by either party. But let me impress it upon you both, that after the word, aim, instead of giving the word, fire, I may say, recoverarms. You will, therefore, keep your fingers well off the trigger, until you get the word, fire. The party deviating from these orders in any manner I shall shoot down. Do you both clearly understand the instructions?"
Each replied in a firm tone, "Yes." "Very well, then," continued Ridgely, "I will now first put you through the form, that there may be no mistake made. "Gentlemen, are you ready?" "Ready," answered the combatants. "Shoulder-arms Present arms: Aim: Recover-arms. Order-arms," were the words of command given, and promptly obeyed.
"Now, gentlemen, you will prepare to receive the final orders of command, and you will strictly observe the injunction, not to fire before you get the word."
The perilous moment of intense anxiety had now arrived, that tried men's souls as
well as their courage. Both of the young men appeared as if every nerve was stretched to its utmost tension. But there was no pallor seen; no quiver of the facial muscles could be observed. Each one stood as firm and resolute as Roman gladiators, waiting for the signal of conflict, which was to result in the death of one or both.
The night was very still. The foliage of the trees was stirred by the faintest breeze, and the slightest sound was painfully audible, as the rich, clear voice of Ridgely, in measured tones, gave the solemn words of command.
Gentlemen, are you ready?" "Ready," was the response of both. "Shoulder - arms : Present-arms :
Order-arms," cried Ridgely, approaching the young men.
Gentlemen," said he, "you have both shown the highest courage, and proved yourselves brave and gallant men, and I declare the honor of both of you has been fully maintained and vindicated. There is no reason why this misunderstanding should not now be amicably terminated."
Then, turning to Thomas, he said, "Reid has declared that he never intended to offend you. Shake hands!"
This was a test of their magnanimous manhood which required equal, if not more moral courage, perhaps, than the risk of life. Each of the young men gradually raised his hand, as if in doubt the other would receive it, until they met in a firm grasp.
The party then rode back to Ridgely's tent, where the now reconciled friends were mutually congratulated on the happy termination of a bloodless duel.
Thus, by the chivalrous, brave and noble nature of Randolph Ridgely, who had so deservedly won the reputation of being sans peur, sans reproche," two lives were saved that might have been otherwise wantonly sacrificed.