Episode 13: “A CHALLENGE TO A DUEL”

Wieland and Tieck stroll in the morning sun on a snowy meadow outside Weimar chatting amiably.

-It’s been published in Italy the last Shelley book. A masterpiece.

-Yes, I’ve already ordered it from my bookseller.

-I can lend it to you. He is a sublime poet. He has nothing to envy to Byron.

-That’s true. By the way, I have not heard from Byron in a while. Is he still in Weimar or has he returned to England?

-It’s funny, everyone asks about him. But he wouldn’t have left without saying goodbye…

-Why not? We Romantics detest formalities.

-I don’t. On the contrary: I think that Romanticism is not at odds with good education.

– Are you calling me rude?

-My gosh, Wieland, don’t be so sensitive!

– Are you calling me fussy?

Suddenly, Tieck gets irritated:

-I’m calling you asshole! What’s the matter?

-What’s the matter?! You’ll see what the matter is…

Wieland tries to take off a glove but does not succeed.

-These damn gloves! Why are they all so tight?

-What happens is that they are too small for you. You need a bigger size.

-My size has always been the same since I was ten years old!

He makes desperate efforts to tear the glove from his hand.

-Do you want me to help you?

-Yes, please, pull the fingers.

Tieck pulls Wieland’s glove, but without success:

-This glove is attached to the hand. When was the last time you took it off?

– I haven’t taken my gloves off since my mother gave them to me when I was ten.

-So, I’d better lend you mine.

– Don’t you care?

Tieck takes his glove off and hands it to Wieland.

-Thank you.

-You’re welcome.

Then Wieland throws the glove before Tieck signaling in this way his demand for satisfaction from the offender.

-Do you accept the challenge?

-If that pleases you…

-Choose weapon.

-Hot-water bottle.

-What did you say?

-Hot-water bottle.

-What kind of weapon is that?

-The ancient Germans defeated the Roman legions armed only with India rubber hot-water bottles, didn’t you know that?

-Are you kidding?

-Ask Hegel.

-Alright. A duel with hot-water bottles. If asked, the survivor will say it was because of a woman.

-I’m fine with it.

-My seconds will come by your place tonight to negotiate the details.

-I thought you detested formalities.

-Alright, alright. There’s no need for seconds. Let’s meet right here at sunset.

-We shake on it.

Both shake hands.

-By the way, do you return my glove?

-Here you have.

– See you later, then.

The two men go separate ways.

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to Unicef. I really appreciate it!

Painting by Caspar David Friedrich.


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