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Written by Mary Anne
(9/1/2003 11:49 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: The duel, penned by Barbara
] I, for one, completely missed the fact that Colonel Brandon and Willoughby fought a duel the first time I read S&S. Did anyone else have this experience?
I think I *sort of* realized in a subliminal way. It was the statement about the one meeting that was unavoidable, and I suspected, but then on a later reading I saw a footnote about it in another edition and was sure.
] Duelling pistols were also not very accurate to shoot, but Brandon is both a soldier and lives in the country so is probably quite handy with a gun. It makes me wonder whether his main intention was to warn Willoughby and defend Eliza's honour with no intent to kill Willoughby.
The points you make leave me certain that Brandon certainly could have killed Willoughby if he had wished, but refrained for some of the other reasons you named: that the victor in a duel that resulted in the other's death would be considered guilty of murder and that killing W would make Marianne hate him.
] Anyone else have speculations about the duel?
I stand by the scenario I've always envisioned: that Willoughby, as the one challenged, would have fired first and probably missed. That leaves him pretty much at Brandon's mercy. For Brandon to miss in his turn--well, those pistols weren't all that accurate, but the Colonel would know what he was about with a weapon. He probably fired into the air, and perhaps there were a few choice words about how he would not be so forbearing on another occasion.
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