Tuesday, 5 January 2010

On this day...

French author Alexandre Dumas, fought his first duel, with comical consequences. As recounted in his memoirs, the, then 23 year old, ended up with his trousers around his ankles following a string of errors. He had challenged a soldier over a quarrel about a game of billiards, and while proclaiming his skill with a pistol, did not realise the weapon agreed to was a sword. Having appeared at the appointed place and hour, he found that his opponent was sleeping, and so the fight was postponed until the next day. Yet the rearranged date held no better prospects. Despite the freezing cold, Dumas took off his cloak and shirt, only for his brace-less trousers to fall down. In the melee that followed, Dumas jabbed at his opponent, who jumped back, saying that he was in shock at the coldness of the blade. Dumas reveals similar misadventures in subsequent duels. One was postponed  because his opponent had caught a cold while skating on the canal; another had to be canceled altogether because his opponent lost two fingers in his previous duel. These duels, battles and similar escapades would later become the substance of his famous novels, 'The Three Musketeers' and 'The Count of Monte Cristo'

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