Like any 17 year old girl at Madame Maude’s School for Young Ladies, Alice likes to bring friends home for the holidays. There they do all the things well bred young ladies do, play croquet, ride horses, those things. After a few days Alice takes her friend to the old folly where she keeps her favorite ‘toys’. She introduces her friend to what she explains have “…been my favorite toys since I got them for my 12th birthday.” These are a matched pair of London Colt single action .36 caliber percussion 6 shot pistols, only 5 years old and very modern. They were given to Alice by her uncle Rear Admiral Horatio Atlas-Chumley, her favorite uncle.
Alice then suggests they play her favorite game, even more favorite than ‘3 to get away’, this game is called ‘The Duel’. Her and her friend stand back to back, each armed with a fully loaded pistol. These pistols are in pristine condition as Alice not only makes her own shot and packs her own bullets, she cleans and repairs them every Sunday and practices with them whenever she can, she is a crack shot. The girls stand back to back, walk 15 paces, turn and fire. Sometimes Alice’s less honourable friends, perhaps having second thoughts about surviving this game, turn and start firing before they have gone 15 paces… Alice never flinches and continues to count out her 15 paces, lead balls whistling through her hair. At the last pace she turns, pistol held ready. She is extremely calm under fire, some would say preternaturally so. While the other girl is blasting away with the usually unfamiliar weapon, sometimes even hitting her, Alice takes a deep breath, takes careful aim, and puts one shot between her friends eyes. This usually does the trick.
After the game, Alice must a) seek medical attention if she has been hit and b) help Rufus the gardener bury her latest dead friend under a new tree somewhere on the grounds. Her nanny, Hildegard, is very proficient at removing shot and stitching wounds. Mumsy and Da are usually miffed at having to explain yet another missing friend to the friends parents, and a search involving half the village is usually mounted on the vast estate, but the two hundred acres of forest and lakes, not to mention the 100 acres of landscaped grounds never give up the missing ‘friends’.