Vassar College Digital Library
Edited Text
(After June 10, 1888)

...Just before we came away Varina [Brown, '89], and Corinne Keen ['89] had a duel. These little affairs are becoming quite the fashion of late at the College. Corinne and Varina were both nominated Vice President of Alpha. Varina was elected and Corinne challenged her to a duel, and asked me to be her second. We had a great time. I sent a challenge to Brown (as we called V) and she chose Louise Poppenheim ['89], as her second. Pop— then in writing ac-cepted the challenge and signed himself Louis p—— The weapons, he stated were to be Blanchon pistols (in other words toy pop guns - The corks when they fly out make a very loud report.) place, a shady nook behind the music hall, distance, six paces and time 8.30 A.M. Keen & Brown made their wills and each chose his lawyer. A surgeon's services were also engaged. That pompous gentleman took with him a case of ins-truments
(which proved to be a Russia leather box containing a full set of nail cleaning
apparatus) also numerous pieces of flannel rag, a towel and a clock. Also
restoratives in the shape of a palm leaf fan, a lemon and cherry tooth paste.
We took the invalid chair from the infirmary, as being the thing (of those
available) approaching nearest to an ambulance - So many and varied were
our preparations that it was nearly ten o'clock before our melancholy party, consisting of seven men and an ambulance finally started. Keen and Brown were very blue and their lawyers had hard work cheering them up. At ten minutes past ten we reached the ground. Brown's second, Foppenhelm, took the clock and haying placed It upon a stump looked at it very hard and said, in a solem and impressive manner, Gentlemen it is now just twenty five minutes past eight, la five minutes this affair will take place. This announce- ment was followed by shrieks and sobs (very unmanly conduct, I must confess,
but we could ill bear to think that in five minutes one of our beloved companions
might be dead) The wills, challenge and acceptance were then read, the paces
measured off, and the fatal handkerchief (the sign to fire) dropped.
Keen lay panting and gasping upon the ground. With the doctor's aid, a small
stream of cherry tooth paste was trickling from his brow where the ball
had entered, and his hitherto immaculate shirt front was besmeared with
lemon juice. It was with difficulty that we assisted the poor fellow to the ambulance (and indeed the reed tore quite out of the back of my trousers in the attempt. After bandaging his head well we covered him with a blanket for fear that he might get cold in his wound as the thermometer only stood at ninety- We were all exhausted. The strain well nigh overcame us but Keen finally recovered so our spirits revived. After dinner he packed his trunk vigorously. Wonderful man we all voted. Ohl I never had more fun in my life!
[The following notes are related to the "event": ]

VC. June 9, 1888. Mr. V. D. Brown, Dear Sir: My friend C. Keen requests me as his second to demand of you satisfaction for the insult to his honor. If Mr. Brown wishes to maintain his honor will he select the time the place and the weapons. Respectfully, H. G. Sheldon.

June 10th, 1888. Mr. H.G. Sheldon. Second to C, Keen Esq. Dear Sir- V. D. Brown accepts the challenge. Time - 8. A.M. June 11. Place - South east bank behind Music Hall - Vassar College. Weapons - Blanchon pistols at a distance of six paces.

For further information please apply to Yours Respectfully L. Poppenheim - Second to V. D. Brown Esq., Second to V. D. Brown.

June 10, 1888
Mr. L.B. Poppenheim
Second for V.D. Brown,
Dear Sir:— A matter of pressing importance requires the attention of C. Keen before he can meet V. D, Brown.
On the south east bank behind the Music Hall—Vassar College—, at half past eight A. M. June 11, he will meet V. D. Brown, if convenient for that gentleman. Yours respectfully, H. G. Sheldon. Second for C. Keen.
H.G. Sheldon Esq.