The Duel. Artist: John Franklin. Drawn and engraved by Franklin, 1841, reprinted 1847. Steel-plate etching, 9.5 cm high by 14.4 cm wide. Fifth illustration by this artist for W. H. Ainsworth's historical romance, Old St. Paul's: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire (London: Parry, Blenkharn & Co., 1847): Book the First, "April, 1665," Chapter X, "The Duel," facing p. 76. Ainsworth initially serialised the novel in The Sunday Times, from 3 January through 26 December 1841 in fifty-one weekly instalments, which Ainsworth almost immediately reconfigured as twelve monthly parts for publication that same year, a pattern more famously emulated by Charles Dickens in 1859 for A Tale of Two Cities (June-December).

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Passage Illustrated

"Peace, fool!" cried Parravicin. "Captain Disbrowe, I shall instantly proceed to the west side of Hyde Park, beneath the trees. I shall expect you there. On my return I shall call on your wife."

"I pray you do so, sir," replied Disbrowe, disdainfully.

Both then quitted the coffee-house, Parravicin attended by Rochester and Pillichody, and Disbrowe accompanied by a military friend, whom he accidentally encountered. Each party taking a coach, they soon reached the ground,—a retired spot, completely screened from observation by trees. The preliminaries were soon arranged, for neither would admit of delay. The conflict then commenced with great fury on both sides; but Parravicin, in spite of his passion, observed far more caution than his antagonist; and, taking advantage of an unguarded movement, occasioned by the other's impetuosity, passed his sword through his body.

Disbrowe fell.

"You are again successful," he groaned, "but save my wife — save her."

"What mean you?" cried Parravicin, leaning over him, as he wiped his sword. [p. 76]

Related Material: Phiz's Frontispiece and Title-page Vignette (1847)


Ainsworth, William Harrison. Old Saint Paul's: A Tale of the Plague and the Fire. London: Parry, Blenkharn & Co., 1847. This was a one-volume reprint of the three-decker published by Hugh Cunningham in 1841. Routledge re-issued the single volume with the Franklin illustrations prefaced by two additional engravings by Hablot Knight Brown.

Last modified 4 November 2018