Old West Catacombs

Duel in the Dark

Duel in the Dark

May 29, 1890, The Daily Citizen, Albuquerque, New Mexico – Several remarkable duels have been fought in the dark. In 1800 Isaac Corry and Harry Grattan engaged in a fierce debate, which culminated in Corry saying that Grattan, instead of addressing him should, if he had his deserts, be standing at a felon’s bar. The two left the house immediately with friends, and although it would be a duel in the dark, a meeting was then and there arranged, and at the first shot Corry’s left arm was fractured.

Duel in the Dark, Albuquerque, 1890
Albuquerque, 1890

One night at Casala, Signor Rossi was playing “Hamlet” and was interrupted by the loud talking and laughing of a body of young Italians. Finally he stopped in the middle of a speech, and walking to the footlights said:

“I will continue when you will allow me.”

The chattering stopped, but at the conclusion of the play the barkeeper handed him a challenge from one of the young men. The actor did not wish to appear afraid, but it was absolutely imperative that he should leave Casala early the next morning, as he had to give a performance at Milan. He went to the address of the challenger and explained matters to him, adding:

“If you will dispense with the formality of seconds and will accompany me to my hotel, I have a big room in which we can settle our little differences in time for me to get away to Milan, if you will allow me.”

The proposal was agreed to, and they repaired at once to Rossi’s hotel. But they were not allowed to fight their duel in peace, for the landlord came to the door and begged to be allowed to enter. He had heard of the challenge, and seeing Rossi return with a stranger his suspicions were aroused. It was all in vain that Rossi told him that his visitor had gone. Nothing would satisfy him unless he saw the light extinguished.

“We must humor him,” whispered Rossi. “It will be easy to take aim by the sparks of our cigarettes.”

So the light was put out and the landlord went away, only, however, to hear in a few minutes two loud reports and to find his fears confirmed on rushing back again. Rossi stood uninjured and his antagonist lay with a broken shoulder blade.

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