Unless Sylvester is content to sink into a mere cypher, and submit to all sorts of imposition from the students, he will have difficulties. They will try him, and when they do so, he will [...] commit some sort of blunder, and compromise his dignity in some way. I reckon our London cockney knows about as much about Virginian manners and character as a horse would about differential calculus.Effectivement, la provocation des étudiants et la gaffe de Sylvester ne s'étaient pas faites attendre.
The cause of his sudden abandonment of the University of Virginia is often related by the Rev. R.L. Dabney, as follows: In Sylvester's class were a pair of brothers, stupid and excruciatingly pompous. When Sylvester pointed out the blunders made in a recitation by the younger of the pair, this individual felt his honor and family pride aggrieved, and sent word to Professor Sylvester that he must apologize or be chastised.
Sylvester bought a sword-cane, which he was carrying when way-laid by the brothers, the younger armed with a heavy bludgeon.
An intimate friend of Dr. Dabney's happened to be approaching at the moment of the encounter. The younger brother stepped up in front of Professor Sylvester and demanded an instant and humble apology.
Almost immediately he struck at Sylvester, knocking off his hat, and then delivered with his heavy bludgeon a crushing blow upon Sylvester's bare head.
Sylvester drew his sword-cane and lunged straight at him, striking him just over the heart. With a despairing howl, the student fell back into his brother's arms screaming out, ``I am killed!!'' ``He has killed me!'' Sylvester was urged away from the spot by Dr. Dabney's friend, and without even waiting to collect his books, he left for New York, and took ship back to England.
Meanwhile, a surgeon was summoned to the student, who was lividly pale, bathed in cold sweat, in complete collapse, seemingly dying, whispering his last prayers. The surgeon tore open his vest, cut open his shirt, and at once declared him not in the least injured. The fine point of the sword-cane had struck a rib fair, and caught against it, not penetrating.
When assured that the wound was not much more than a mosquito-bite, the dying man arose, adjusted his shirt, buttoned his vest, and walked off, though still trembling from the nervous shock.