They were polite in Miami, too: they returned your gun after they killed you with it

A story of courtly road rage appears amid the 1820’s news stories that Thomas Hardy copied into a notebook labeled “Facts From Newspapers, Histories, Biographies and Other Chronicles (mainly local)”:

Some time in 1826 – that, at least, was when the Dorset County Chronicle picked the story up from an Edinburgh paper – two horsemen, the heads of rival county families, came face to face in a narrow lane. Each asked the other to move aside, but neither would budge.

After a while, one produced a newspaper and proceeded to read it from cover to cover, a process that took three to four hours. As he finished, the other courteously asked if he might now borrow it. How the confrontation ended is not revealed. Perhaps they simply died there.


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