“Gentlemen: five paces, turn and fire,” called the second.
‘Gentlemen,’ Charles smirked. Were they gentlemen when they pelted Widow Green’s poor hound with apple cores? When they pilfered candies at the general store? When they put-on professor Staub at University? Or when they bolted from the pub trailing card and coin? Surely they did not feel so as they earned “glory” among cannon shot and bayonet. Gentlemen? assuredly not; but friends? Friends, yes, ever to the bitter end.
At five paces Charles turned and raised his pistol. His friend was doubled over in another coughing fit. Charles graciously waited until William finished, stood tall, dabbed the scarlet at his lips with a handkerchief and straightened his coat. Then Charles pulled the trigger. William deserved that. The “offense” writhed about in William’s lungs. It was reducing him to a bitter end indeed. Charles agreed to spare him such, to give William his satisfaction, allowing him the death of a gentleman.