In "The Chief Mourner of Marne" by G. K. Chesterton, Mr. Outram was talking to Father Brown about an old duel between Mr. James Mair, whose second was Mr. Outram himself, and his cousin Maurice Mair, whose second was Hugo Romaine, saying:

The duel was fought on a flat stretch of sand on the east coast of Scotland; and both the sight and sound of it were masked from the hamlets inland by a long rampart of sandhills patched with rank grass; probably part of the links, though in those days no Englishman had heard of golf. There was one deep, crooked cranny in the sandhills through which we came out on the sands. I can see them now; first a wide strip of dead yellow, and beyond, a narrower strip of dark red; a dark red that seemed already like the long shadow of a deed of blood.

The author didn't mention anything about the time of the duel, but does he mean by "wide strip of dead yellow, and beyond, a narrower strip of dark red" "the sands and the sea in the twilight"?

And what's meant by "deed of blood"?


Mostly I read this as literal: The beach has a strip of yellow sand. The dark red is harder to guess, but it could mean a strip of brown or red seaweed. It might also mean the surf catching the twilight sun.

There is a little bit of history: The highlands of Scotland were cleared and many of the highlanders were planted in coastal hamlets to harvest seaweed to burn to produce soda ash for use in glassmaking. The seaweed that is used for soda ash is usually the brown or red types.

The "deed of blood" is a poetic way of referring to the duel: It is a deed (an act) that results in the spilling of blood (one man is killed).

  • That makes more sense, thank you so much. – Ahmed Samir Jun 21 '20 at 15:40

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