Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Button Wednesday : Buttons, Duels and Death

It is Wednesday again, so it's BUTTON DAY on my blog !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week some heroic stories of buttons who saved the lives of some not-all-to-clever men who had to solve their problems in duels. Three more or less famous duels, with more or less famous men. 

The first duel was between Georg Friedrich Händel and Johann Mattheson. One a hotheaded 19-year old violin player (and later the famous German composer) and the other his friend, a composer and music critic. The two friends had become increasingly irritated with each other. The breaking point seems utterly ridiculous in retrospect: a silly argument over who should be sitting at the harpsichord during the finale of Mattheson's opera Cleopatra. That led to a fistfight right in front of the audience, and that in turn led to the duel. Egged on by the crowd, Mattheson saw his opening and lunged at Händel with his rapier. But instead of piercing the young man, the tip caught on a large metal button and snapped in two. No harm came of the encounter and they were soon reconciled again. A fortunate outcome for music lovers...


The second duel is the one between Alexander Pushkin (Russia's greatest poet) and Georges d'Anthès. Georges was a colorful French soldier, who was adopted by a Dutch baron, served in the Russian army and was Pushkin's brother in law.... But he was also a womanizer and flirted heavily with Pushkin's wife, which leaded to this famous duel in which Pushkin was killed and George was saved by a button on his chest, deflecting the bullet, and leaving him only with some broken ribs.


The third button to play a role in a duel was the one of Andrew Jackson (later the 7th president of the USA). Jackson was a very violent man, and solved many of his problems in duels, like this one with Charles Dickinson. Dickinson offended Jackson and his wife verbally in a discussion about a - according to Jackson - mishandling of a horse racing bet. Dickinson was seen as the best gunfighter and Jackson's best friend advised him to wear a coat which large silver buttons. This friend had removed one of the buttons and resewn it on Jackson's jacket right over the heart. He was hit right there, but the button saved him.... and Dickinson was killed.


So, what can we learn from this ? Never wear a button-less jacket in case of a duel :)

Have you seen a lovely, beautiful, stunning, crazy button or button-related thingy, or did you make something with a button / buttons, or did you even make buttons yourself, blog about it on your blog on Wednesday, and give the link here in the comments so that everybody can enjoy it !!

1 comment:

l'actrice said...

Very interesting! Never thought a button can save your life;-)