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Knuckles and Gloves (Classic Reprint)

Knuckles and Gloves (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Knuckles and Gloves

Sayers to the mill for a month and make him Sir Thomas on coming out of Clerkenwell. I am tempted in this connection to reproduce what must be one of the few letters Tom Sayers ever wrote. It was caused by a public discussion after his famous fight, which is little short of amazing when we look back at it. The newspapers were filled with frenzied denunciations, Parlia ment angrily discussed the question, Palmerston quoted, with every sign of satisfaction, a French journalist who saw in the contest a type of the national character for indomitable persever ance in determined effort, and then (cannot you see his smiling eyes above the semi-serious mouth proceeded to draw a contrast between pugilism and ballooning, very much to the disadvantage of the latter. A correspondent wrote to the Press inquiring indignantly whether it were true that the Duke of Beaufort, the Earl of Eglinton, and the Bishop of Oxford had attended this most disgraceful exhibition. Tom Sayers, roused to unwonted penmanship, retorted in the Daily Telegraph as follows In answer to your correspondent, I beg to state that neither bishop nor peer was present at the late encounter. It is from a pure sense of justice that I write you this. I scarcely think it reasonable that such repeated onslaughts should be made on me and my friend, Heenan. Trusting you will insert this in your widely circulated and well-regulated journal, allow me to remain, yours faithfully, Thomas Sayers, Cambrian Stores, Castle Street, Leicester Square, April 21, The Stock Exchange had given him a purse of a hundred guineas that afternoon, so you need scarcely wonder at the urbanity of his language. In the House of Commons, meanwhile, the Home Secretary had been calling forth cheerful expressions of hilarity by reminding those members who had witnessed the battle that they might be indicted for misdemeanour, though he was pleased to add that fighting with fists was in his opinion better than the use of the bowie knife, the stiletto, or the shillelagh.

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