A Morning Walk with the Man Called Max
January 5, 2013
In the Carruthers library located in the East Wing of the Planter’s Club, there is an antique Chippendale glass cabinet that houses a handsome pair of flintlock pistols manufactured by Wogdon & Barton.
Though the origins of this relic remains couched in considerable mystery – what is known is this. This set of dueling pistols was once commissioned in 1896 by the members of the East Taiping Miners & Planter’s Association to seek a resolution to the very curious case that involved a certain gentlemen rubber planter, Colonel (Ret) Charles Pitcairn and a wealthy tin miner, James Haverlock.
The dispute of honor involved a 23 year old Sarah Worthdington who had recently travelled to Malaya to wed Colonel Charles Pitcairn as arranged. However as providence would have it, Miss Worthdington fell madly in love with James Haverlock and both of them eloped. Understandably, Colonel Pitcairn felt he had been suitably insulted and issued a challenge to James Haverlock. Who promptly accepted when a hand delivered invitation was issued by the Colonel inviting him for “a morning walk,” signed off with, “ with the upmost satisfaction.”
Since the matter was a source of great embarrassment to the British colonial community in Malaya who felt that such matters should best be dealt with discreetly instead of washing their dirty linen in full view of the curious natives in the civil courts – it was agreed that both Colonel Pitcairn and Haverlock should both be allowed to settle their differences privately away from the prying eyes of the public.
On 28th June 1896 at half past six in the morning, both gentlemen met in a rubber estate clearing in dawn in Padang Gajah, Perak with their seconds – a single shot was fired that mortally killed James Haverlock esquire.
No charges were ever leveled against Colonel Charles Pitcairn despite numerous protestations from a very distraught Miss Worthdington who even petitioned the district general claiming that her lover had been murdered in an illegal duel – after a detailed investigation by the provincial straits constabulary, it was finally concluded that the unfortunate demise of Mr Haverlock was simply a hunting misadventure. An accident that occurred during a “morning walk” between two gentlemen.
It seems there are no duels. Dueling after all is illegal. Only “a morning walk,” between two gentlemen.
This morning, I received a hand delivered letter, it was an invitation for a morning walk with Max signed off,
“with the upmost satisfaction.” I understand. I understand completely. I must find a way to reason with Max before things go out of control.