THE LAST DUEL IN LOAFERVILLE.
MUSH-BOTTOM, Jefferson Co., Christmas.
Well, Robert, what do you think gin rise to sich a bloody business in our easy-gwine, religious settlement ? Loafin’—yes, loafin’, and in Loaferville, too ! Well, if men will fite, the name or honor of thar homes is about as good a reason as a feller might find, or want to find ; but, ‘twant ‘bout that—oh no. You see, Dummy was, and is, the beatenest carpenter you ever seen, bein’ about the best hand to “ run a saw,” jint a plank, or do the nice inside work ‘bout our burg ; but times got so hard thar warn’t no nice work wanted ‘bout Loaferville ; but he’d been to Loaferville so long he’d tuck a likin’ to the place and couldn’t quit thar no-how, so he found hisself located thar, work or no work. But that didn’t go much agin the grain, for he had a talent for another callin’, (and seen a great openin’ to exercise it,) at which he was a leetle better than jintin’, &c., and at the same time ‘lowed him to ‘ run his saws’—that was loafin’. He was a wonder to loaf—soon took the lead, hugged the turns close—never was headed—cooled off well, and warn’t distrest a stiver, barrin’ a slight head-ache the day after the heats. Well, he was a loafer—the loafer of Loaferville ! But one man ever made him strike the serious licks, and that’s the race, duel, I’m tellin’ ‘bout. This feller Dummy ‘d bin watchin’ for some time, and he see sines a stickin’ out, that, he thort must, one day, hurl him from his enviable seat, and place John Danels rite plum over him. Well, John was a close rounder (loafer) that’s a fact, and all this happenin’ in the good old gallon time, the loafers had a rich time to licker, free. Way treaters had to do, call for a gallon—bottle at a time—take in the back room and what wasn’t treated off, rounders dropped in and finished junk, so thay got nigh about as much as first importers. Well, bein’ the loafer thar was somethin’ to be proud of, you see—John did bother Dummy wonderful ; many and many’s the rich drink Dum. and his cleak’s lost by John and his friends supervenin’ him—it bein’ Dummy’s only callin’, barin’ pitchin’ dollars—it greaved him mitely—his friends seen it did, had a call meetin’ by ringin’ the court-house bell, I tuck the cheer, and after palaverin’ a bit, we called in Dummy and told him the only way of gittin’ rid of John was to fite him a duel.
“ What !” said D., “ me fite a duel ! I wouldn’t fite a duel with narry man that ever lived !”
“ Oh,” says I, “ don’t fly off’n the handle that way, wate a minit, and git the idea—we needent put no balls in, you know.”
“ Oh—ho—adzackly—now I take,” said Dummy ; “ I’m to fall and sing out ded and skear him out’n the range. Maj. Ilestone, you ort to be the cheerman to every meetin’ in Loaferville, and I’m good for treatin’ you every time you come to this ‘burg.” (He got my hand on that !)
“ Well,” says I, “ here’s the paper—I’ll jist hand it to him, as second. Fite this evenin’, in the jail yard—pistols—ten steps.”
“ I’m agreed,” said Dummy ; “ but mind—no balls.”
We had hard work to git John to fite, nily every body in Loaferville got round him and begged him a leetle the hardest you ever hearn a man begged to fite a duel. John is a brave man, but it took a power of beggin’ to git him to the pint ; but he got thar at last, and let me say here, bein’ the first duel I ever seed, it perduced some orfal sinsations. Well, jist a leetle afore sun-down all parties met in the jail yard, and every body else in Loaferville, too, exceptin’ Jim. Truly, deputy sheriff, and he was a peepin’ ; but it took hard work to keep John thar—he didn’t plead for hisself—oh no, but for his kin ; said he was a workin’ man, and not a lone one, for he had a family to provide for and was thar only support—he talked with tears in his eyes and wonderful perswasive ; but our fall fitein’ campaign had begun and he had to fite. We all agreed to take care of his consarns and that eased him. Dummy did deport hisself nobly—his bravery was noticed by all the rounders with admeration ! Places were taken—words given—pistols raised—(and I did think Dummy’s hand out-trembled John’s)—bang, bang, Dummy dropt ; all eyes were fastened on John and he gazed in horror on Dummy ; his pistol dropt—eyes, mouth, hands extended, moments before he spoke—
“ By jingo ! did I do that ? Didn’t think I was amin’ a nigh him !”
“ You’re a good shot, John,” says I ; “ in the  left brest—see how pale—and his nice new shirt, how bloody !” (Beet vinegar.)
“ What must I do,” says he, and he kept advancin’ till he saw the staned shirt ; then he was brot to a perfect star ! his hair riz rite up ! and shoved his hat off ! and he mout of stood thar a week, but some one sung out—
“ Here comes Jim Truly !”
John turned—cast a mournful look on the jail, and with one eternal endurin’ yell, he tuck to the woods. Dummy raised midst the yellin’ of his friends, and treated the whole crowd. Oh ! but it was a happy time for him, for he was again “ The Loafer of Loaferville !” and is that same yit ! !
Concordia (La.) Intelligencer. I’m thru, OBE. ILESTONE
Source: New York Spirit of the Times 14.3 (16 March 1844): 33. University of Virginia Alderman Library.
Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.
 Original text reads “in the the.”
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