Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A duel on bicycles, 1897

So, there they all were, a 'large party' returning to Paris after a day out cycling, 'all very hilarious' (I think we can assume, better lubricated than their bicycles), 'when two of them quarrelled' (never get anything like that in my club, what, only two of them quarrelled?) 'They decided to settle the dispute with swords on their bicycles' (not a good idea, unless you really are a trick-cyclist). This in the Boulevard Ney.

The combatants lined up fifty yards apart and were then ordered to charge. The account, which might all be embroidery for an audience capable of believing anything about the French, fails to say where they suddenly got swords from - knocked on a few doors, maybe? 'They rode at one another at a furious pace, but overshot the mark and failed to meet. Wheeling quickly round, they returned to the charge, and this time came together with a terrific shock. Both were thrown, whilst the seconds, who were following behind, also on bicycles (it could have been llamas, after all) fell in their turn, and were both injured. Neither of the combatants touched each other with his sword, but in falling one ran his weapon into himself and his opponent injured his leg'.

Plus-four and Norfolk jacket louts, or what?

Illustrated Police News, December 11th 1897.

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