Saturday, April 2, 2011

Humphrey Howarth's Naked Duel

British poet Samuel Rogers, in Recollections of the Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers (1856)—

[In 1806] Humphrey Howarth, the [Army] surgeon [and Member of Parliament], was called out [challenged to a pistol duel], and made his appearance in the field stark naked, to the astonishment of the challenger, who asked him what he meant. "I know," said H., "that if any part of the clothing is carried into the body by a gunshot wound, festering ensues; and therefore I have met you thus." His antagonist declared that, fighting with a man in puris naturalibus would be quite ridiculous; and accordingly they parted without further discussion.