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Sunday, December 12

Jane Austen Duel

This week's post asks you to examine the weapon Willoughby would have preferred when Colonel Brandon challenged him to a duel. The practice was already out of favor when Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility, and outlawed in England in 1840. Colonel Brandon was quite cryptic in his description of the event to Elinor:
Pistols being readied
... when he returned to town, which was within a fortnight after myself, we met by appointment, he to defend, I to punish his conduct. We returned unwounded, and the meeting, therefore, never got abroad."
Duels were fought in isolated areas at the break of dawn
And so we ask you, which weapons do you think Willoughby chose? Sword or pistol? Did he want closeness during the fight, or distance?

Which weapon did Willoughby choose to fight Colonel Brandon in a Duel?
Pistol free polls


Meredith R. said...

I think Willoughby would be too much of a coward to fight with a sword. He might charm the ladies, but he would stand no chance against an experienced military man. Since pistols in those days often misfired, I think he would have chosen them as his preferred weapon.

MarySimonsen said...

I think Brandon would prefer a clean shot to hacking at someone. Also, Willougby was a good deal younger. He would have proably been able to outlast Brandon.

Katxena said...

I think the fact that neither of them was wounded tells us it was pistols. Guns were not all that accurate then, although they had improved. Gentlemen could choose to deliberately fire into the air, therefore fulfilling their honor debt, but not really risking injury to either party. I can imagine Willoughby thinking it was honorable to fire into the air, which would likely force Brandon to do so also, however much he might deplore it. If it had been swords, on the other hand, such niceties are more difficult, and it seems likely that Brandon would have at least wounded, if not killed, Willoughby.

Gina said...

I read as far as "Colonel Brandon" and got all swoony. :-) That was one fine man.

But to get back on topic, I'm thinking it was pistols.

Nonna Beach said...

I think Brandon might have hacked a few people up with his sword while on duty in India to stay alive and would prefer pistols...less chance of harm to him or Willoughby and honor intact !

Yes Gina, I agree, Brandon was One fine man !!!