Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling (Poe)

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Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man competed with a Frenchman for a widow's affection, leading to a humorous misunderstanding and a physical altercation, resulting in the Frenchman wearing his hand in a sling.

Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, a charming and well-mannered gentleman, had recently moved to London and quickly became enamored with his beautiful neighbor, the widow Mrs. Tracle.

Sir Pathrick O'Grandison — narrator; Irish gentleman, tall, well-proportioned, and charming; competitive and cunning.
Mistress Tracle — pretty widow; object of affection for both men; playful and flirtatious.

One day, a small Frenchman named Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns visited Sir Pathrick, claiming to be in love with Mrs. Tracle as well. The two men decided to visit the widow together, with Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns introducing Sir Pathrick to her.

The Frenchman — short, older foreigner; rival for the widow's affection; cunning and persistent.

During their visit, both men tried to win Mrs. Tracle's affections. Sir Pathrick attempted to impress her with his wit and charm, while Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns resorted to flirting and winking at her.

Thrue for you, Sir Pathrick, mavourneen, and it's a proper nate gintleman ye are—that's God's truth.

At one point, Sir Pathrick secretly held Mrs. Tracle's hand, believing he was gaining her favor. However, when the widow suddenly left the room, Sir Pathrick realized he had actually been holding Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns' hand the entire time.

Embarrassed and furious, the Frenchman accused Sir Pathrick of intentionally deceiving him. In response, Sir Pathrick laughed at the situation and gave the Frenchman's hand a firm squeeze, turning it into "raspberry jam."

Ye little spalpeeny frog of a bog-throtting son of a bloody noun!

As a result of this incident, Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns began wearing his left hand in a sling, a constant reminder of his humiliating encounter with Sir Pathrick O'Grandison.