A Dueling School That Opened Up In Paris 1907

Imagine going to school for dueling so that you could shoot another man down if ever there was a quarrel. Such was the case in the early 1900s when dueling schools opened up for men to practice shooting one another.

The New Dueling School In Paris

It seems that after all the absurd so-called “duels” which we read about as having taken place in France, Germany and Italy, may really in the near future turn out to be very lethal affairs indeed. Hitherto, if an officer, a lawyer, a journalist, or other insulted colleague, seconds exchanged visits, a meeting was arranged and shots fired with quite farcical results as a general rule, for ordinarily the average professional man, even in a military nation like France, is a deplorably bad shot, and there was usually no more visible results after the so-called “duel” than an amusing paragraph in the papers.

That the French mean business in the near future, however, in this matter, will be seen from the fact that regular dueling schools have just been established in Paris, as well as in Rome and Berlin and Vienna – not merely for swordsmanship alone, but for regular practice with the long-barreled dueling pistol. The principals wear long padded overalls, and curious masks, like those of the deep sea diver, with a very thick glass plaque in front of the face.

The “bullets” used are pellets of clay, which, however might do very serious damage to the pupils in these remarkable academies were it not for the glass protection over the face. Lessons are first of all given in the elaborate etiquette of dueling, and next comes instruction in the necessary “deportment.”

Last and most important of all comes the duel proper, with the measuring out of the ground, the loading of the powerful spring pistols with the soft clay balls, and the aiming on the part of each combatant at a vital spot – usually the head. No doubt the knowledge that the shooting is innocuous tends to make the duelists’ aim very accurate, but there can also be no question that it familiarized a man with the entire routine of a procedure which, without this initiation, would be extremely disconcerting to the bravest.

Needless to say the majority of the pupils by no means have real duels upon their hands, but among a passionate people like the French, quick to anger and to avenge real or fancied insult, there is no lack of attendance at the various schools, of which three or four have already been opened in the French capital. The largest of these is a handsome saloon on the first floor of the Rue Castiglione, and its seances are attended by crowds of the gilded youth of Paris, who are attracted thither by the novelty of firing direct at the living man and watching the comedy of farcical duels, which may become very real ones at a day’s notice. [Source]