Sunday, 30 April 2017

THE DUEL Penned by BB

                                                             Copyright 30/04/2017

                                                               The Year is 1743

History does not identify him,as fact or even fiction,but he served like many do today.

He was always in all circles  referred to  plainly as Bagley. A name known at Horse Guards,The British Admiralty and to Kings and Princes. All respected him although most feared him for his coat buttoned up on many sides. He wore several uniforms when there was need to do so,but far preferred a bland pattern cut to his cloth of grey,but always he favoured well his waistcoat of light green and that long blue black coat that carried important letters from the Crown ,The House of Lords,and Parliament of England. His three cornered hat given to him by the P M of the day.
His own King George, along with other royal heads was fettled to a fine sharp shine of iron and all had fell out from the same sagging mould after being cast up into a troubled sea of struggling world power. A repetitive thing ongoing still in our own time,for those with big sticks like to flex enough muscle in order to use them. Bagley, served a mad king,and that highly proven fact would create high costly wars and eventful loss throughout the colonise. For the America`s were the sweet Prize in the jewel of many a kings crown,sitting upon many a throne.

                                                     BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

So upon such a sea of constant intrigue  this loyal kinsman was often a target for insult, and even a target for murder, but his sword saw fit to dispatch the many who had tried ,and as for those highly paid in polished coin to insult him, they soon came to realise his ice cold skill with both pistols and sword upon the duelling field.

However it was not always a killing field,
but many came to limp along through life because of it.

One such  duel happened to take place in America in 1743 or 1744 dates are often a great mystery for me at odd times. It involved a French Officer, during the peace, he having stamped hard on Bagley`s shoe rendering it in deep twisted red clay at his now painful big toe end. An outright insult indeed and with no apology forthcoming from this dressed up dandy in fine white cloths. A Duel, a place and time was arranged by others acting for both parties concerned.

At that particular time inside The Hare & Hound Tavern, it being rather stuffy, filled up to brimming point with odd sized gentleman, all clay pipe smokers of the finest twist of sweet Virginia. Within this haze of towering smoke swaying heads were soon puffing gossip fit enough  to unseat a king.
                                                     DUEL ARRANGEMENTS

It was a rather rushed affair and the time for it being at midday on that day,and with only a few minutes to prepare for it. It was agreed pistols would be primed and loaded on the field of gallant display. For such Peacocking was duly witnessed by others seeking fair play. It was agreed two pistols each would be used to settle well this day of outlawed activity. The place arranged a nice quite spot called and recorded as Fox Hill just outside of Boston on the Common near the large twisted tree. The Frenchman and his seconds rode up to that spot, as did Bagley, with his fellows following on behind. Time being short and without reliable pistols to hand, a British Officer of Kings 1st Dragoons approached  the gallant gentleman, and offered both his pistols and his horse, and a good shake of hands in agreement was welcomed as were the few silver coins for a round of drinks.  For Bagley was a realist who thought this might well be his ending upon this day. So a parting gift for a drinking spree, left behind by him was to his liking. With fresh drink arriving the whole  house  stood up and cheered him, for most certainly he was no ordinary common man.

                                                       ON THE COMMON

For those who do not realise it horse pistols of that day and age were indeed fearsome huge long barrelled things. I only make mention of it because the Frenchman an Officer in shinny white lace had brought two fine pocket pistols that had been taken out of the highly polished wooden box. He looked very nervous as his weapons were being loaded with powder and shot, while he could see two huge Dragoon pistols being likewise primed for a broadside action he now cared little for.
"I object!" He said. "
You object Sir?",replied all who were to stand in support of him. "I do. His weapons are monstrous  things not fitting a gentleman." He declared. One and all could see his point even the smiling Bagley, because a Frenchman peering at two alarming large primed weapons, while he himself had ornate pocket pistols,well it must have looked like he was indeed looking at the business end of two British six pounders?
After walking around,sizing up each other it was agreed to be unfair to the other gentleman by those overseeing this rather rushed forward occasion. Now the fellow who had accepted gold to dispatch Bagley in this American field of opportunity seemed now rather relieved not to face a blasting from those black powdered devil's.  Shinny Devil`s that the Englishman held in each hand while tilting them back half cocked against his breast.  " Does the young gentleman wish to apologise and withdraw from the duelling field?" The Frenchman was asked.
"Bien sur que non!"____________________"Of course not!"
After a brief discussion concerning this  tricky situation it was agreed, both would duel with the French gentleman`s pocket pistols. Bagley, agreed as did the other gentleman who seemed to have passed his ill at ease activity of sweating enough to float a small boat. "The Englishman will chose his weapon as he is the party slighted."
And so it came about both did pace it out,turn and fire. In that instant of time both pistols misfired. Bagley`s hand was stung to share extremeness! Much like being caned at school, leaving him having to flap it about while doing a very fine jig of a dance. Finally his dance finished, he placed his hand , as if it would cure it in some magical awesome way under his other arm. A sting and powder burns,he had come off light.
As the Frenchman's pistol misfired it blew apart blowing off two of his fingers. He too danced such an up and down jig of frenzy! Proving that the French can keep pace with any Englishman on any day of the week for such jigging about.
Gradually the smoke cleared away, and the screams and fine hot dancing subsided and after a few minutes of medical treatment such as it was,it being the case a white handkerchief was wound around the poor gentleman`s hand while he sat upon the damp grass his face covered in tumbling tears, enough to float another small boat.
With his mind now fully accepting the constant repetitive throbbing,Bagley the fine upstanding fellow that he was approached the worst off of such a days play,and shock the injured Frenchman`s hand with the remaining thumb and two fingers. Honor was served.
Two days later the body of the French gentleman was fished out of Boston harbour.

As for Bagley, his story is far from being over, but it is important he be mentioned at this particular time.____After serving many years, but being no way an old man another story begins to unfold for him in the year 1759 with a house and parcel of land being granted to him, in crusty old England for his service to the Crown. The why of it was never penned upon such a Royal Letter he had received. The Property & Deeds thereof were for a house, and included those pertaining to outlaying buildings along with 30 acres of meadow land at Old Catton with The Tills cutting a  pathway along one side of it,and 15 acres of woodland named Fiddle Wood, with the Gurney Stream passing through it.

It certainly was a very strange house for it had many a plumb line and set square angle added to it. The extension of rendered brick with gable end dormer window,and roof with a new double chimney was added that year 1759, and so it was that Mr Johnathan Bagley Pollywhat and Mrs Belinda Catherine Pollywhat, moved into the house in 1760,and soon after a child was born and the date of the birth it being the 2nd day of February 1760 was recorded in the family Bible as being a Girl Child named Peggity Belinda Pollywhat. Yes dear Peggity had arrived.

There will be other story`s pen and inked concerning Peggity`s earlier life,but that is for a later time.



  1. Great post BB, and splendid building full of History...

    1. Hi Phil, The Duel,I enjoyed writing. This period of history confirms the events described did actually occur quite often with fingers flying off in all directions, while the lead ball went wherever or stayed put stuck fast in what remained of the pistol. Thanks for commenting.BB

  2. Love them too, house and story.

    1. Hi Phil.I have long supposed that linking story`s with scratch building projects of past or present times,is a way forward to go at certain times on this quirky blog.
      Thank you kindly for commenting. BB