Murat again repaired to Paris in order to assist at the marriage of the Emperor with Maria Louisa of Austria, which was celebrated on the 1st of April, 1810. During his absence some heartburnings took place between French and Neapolitan authorities and officers of rank. For instance, the French Colonel Durand having been ordered to organize a regiment of Cuirassiers was allowed, under certain regulations of agreement, to pick a number of men out of other cavalry regiments. In selecting some men from a regiment commanded by the Duke of Roccaromana, the latter thought himself aggrieved,—an altercation ensued, which ended in a challenge. Some how or other, it was agreed that the Duke and Durand should fight in full uniform on horseback, with sabres only, no fire arms to be carried. I was intimate with the Duke, and especially with his only son (a fine young man, who was afterwards, (in 1815), killed by my side before the face of his father), and I was acquainted with the place and hour fixed for the combat, which was not to take place for several days after the challenge. During this interval, I several times accompanied the Duke and his friends to the “Campo Marte,” where he exercised his best horses for the affray, and made choice of that which was most manageable on the haunches. At eleven o’clock on a beautiful April day the parties met, accompanied by their seconds, and at least fifty of their friends as spectators of the fight. The combatants were first placed at one hundred yards distance from each other. The ground was good turf, and, as I have somewhere previously stated, one mile square. At a given signal, the parties started towards each other with uplifted sabres. Colonel Durand cantered straight forward; the Duke, also cantering, described a serpentine course, and curvetted his horse well upon his haunches, almost in a zigzag direction. At the first crossing, cuts were exchanged without effect; the Duke receiving a well-intended compliment to his head upon his sabre, but his horse passed ere he could make a “risposta.” The Duke who rode a beautiful compact Galloway kind of horse, said to be English, but rather fine in the legs, wheeled rather too soon for his antagonist, so that had it been a fight between enemies in the field, he would have had a good chance of getting up to him before he could turn or when just in the act of turning, but he waved that advantage, and lowering his sabre, checked his horse to give more time to Durand. The latter veered and then they met at a very moderated curvetting pace. Durand again aiming at the head or shoulder, made a blow which the Duke dexterously avoided by an extraordinary inclination of the body to the left, at the same instant gave point with his Damascus which caught Durand just under the wrist, and partly from the motion of his own arm, the point run up beyond the elbow, slitting the flesh all the way to the bone. So sharp was the offending sabre, that the Duke did not know of the injury he had inflicted, neither did his opponent at first feel it. But the prehensile power left his hand. The duke wheeled round his horse like a weathercock, and was on the point of giving a finishing blow to the embarrassed colonel, when he himself, as well as the seconds, perceived his sabre hanging only by the thong to the wounded wrist. The duke stayed his uplifted arm, and so the matter ended. The wound of Durand’s arm, being longitudinal, did not divide any important muscles or vessels, and healed as soon as could be expected of so extensive a lesion. Not so the irritation between Neapolitans and French. That irritation increased till frequent duels, always ending in death or wounds to the French party, and the natural effect of time in changing all things, put a stop to the evil.

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