At last, a post that references Sense and Sensibility : yes it is my first, as I am afraid that is my least favourite of all Jane Austen’s works (low be it spoken).

If you have ever found the idea of duelling confusing or exasperating, as did Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility when she heard of Colonel Brandon’s duel with Willoughby :

“I have been more pained,” said she, “by her endeavours to acquit him than by all the rest; for it irritates her mind more than the most perfect conviction of his unworthiness can do. Now, though at first she will suffer much, I am sure she will soon become easier. Have you,” she continued, after a short silence, “ever seen Mr. Willoughby since you left him at Barton?”

“Yes,” he replied gravely, “once I have. One meeting was unavoidable.”

Elinor, startled by his manner, looked at him anxiously, saying —

“What? have you met him to — ”

“I could meet him in no other way. Eliza had confessed to me, though most reluctantly, the name of her lover; and 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.”

Elinor sighed over the fancied necessity of this; but to a man and a soldier, she presumed not to censure it.

“Such,” said Colonel Brandon, after a pause, “has been the unhappy resemblance between the fate of mother and daughter! and so imperfectly have I discharged my trust!”

…then you might find this radio programme, Pistols at Dawn,  which broadcast this morning on BBC Radio 4 ( and will be available for one week via the BBC’s “Listen Again” service) very useful.