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meeting; to-morrow morning at day-break as the time; and axes as the weapons. I am, sir, with great respect,

Mark Twain.

M. Fourtou's friend read this note and shuddered. Then he turned to me, and said, with a suggestion of severity in his tone:—

"Have you considered, sir, what would be the inevitable result of such a meeting as this?"

"Well, for instance, what would it be?"


"That's about the size of it," I said. "Now, if it is a fair question, what was your side proposing to shed?"

I had him, there. He saw he had made a blunder, so he hastened to explain it away. He said he had spoken jestingly. Then he added that he and his principal would enjoy axes, and indeed prefer them, but such weapons were barred by the French code, and so I must change my proposal.

I walked the floor turning the thing over in my mind, and finally it occurred to me that Gatling guns at fifteen paces would be a likely way to get a verdict on the field of honour. So I framed this idea into a proposition.

But it was not accepted. The code was in the way again. I proposed rifles; then, double-barrelled shot guns; then, Colt's navy revolvers. These being all rejected, I reflected a while, and sarcastically suggested brick-bats at three-quarters of a mile. I always hate to fool away a humorous thing on a person who has no perception of humour; and it filled me with bitterness when