“Is another shot demanded?”
“Yes,” said Tiltock, “our honor is not yet satisfied.”
He waved the crowd back in an imperious way—they having rushed in after the first shot—and he gave the word himself like a dramatic reading.
Robert Utie looked, and this time with a livid, sobered face, into the open pistol of the man he had provoked, the professional officer of death. The fine, cool face behind the pistol was concise, grave, and eloquent now as a judge’s pronouncing the last sentence of the law. The next instant the boy was biting and clawing at the ground in mortal agony. The impatient crowd rushed in. A faint voice was heard to gasp for what some said was “water” and some thought was “mother.” Then a figure with a dissipated face a little dignified by death, and with some of the softness of childhood glimmering in it, like the bright footfall of the good angel whose mission was done and whose flight was taken—this figure lay upon its back amongst the bushes, under the sunshine, peeped at by distant hills, contemplated by idlers as if it were the body of a slain game-chicken, and the drunken “surgeon” was idiotically feeling for its heart.
“Gentlemen,” said Tiltock with a flourish, “we are all witnesses that every thing has been honorably conducted.”
The city had its little talk. The newspapers in those days were models of what is called high-toned journalism, and printed nothing on purely personal matters like duels when requested to respect the feelings of families. As if “the feelings of families” were not the main cause of duels! There was a mother somewhere, still clinging with her prayers to the footstool of God, hoping for the soul of her boy even after death and wickedness. This was all, except the revolution of the world, and the wedding in due time upon it of Lieutenant Dibdo and Miss Rideau. It was what was called a romantic wedding.
Nick Hammer sat in Funkstown
Before his tavern door—
The same old blue-stone tavern
The wagoners knew of yore,
When the Conestoga schooners
Came staggering under their load,
And the lines of slow pack-horses
Stamped over the National Road.
Nick Hammer and son together,
Both blowing pipe-smoke there,
Like a pair of stolid limekilns,
In the blue South Mountain air;
And the mills of the Antietam,
Grinding the Dunker’s wheat
So oldly and so slowly,
Groaned up the deserted street.
thou, Nick, my father?”
Said Nick, the old man’s twin.
“This whole year thou art silent.
Let a little speech begin.
Thou think’st the bar draws little;
That the stables are empty yet,
And the growing pride of Hagerstown,
Thou can’st not that forget.”