In Chapter VII of the first part of Maupassant's novel Bel-Ami, the main character, Georges Duroy, is insulted by another journalist. The disagreement escalates and leads to a duel using pistols. During the night before the duel, Georges Duroy, who has never duelled before, sleeps very badly and worries about all sorts of questions. Among these questions are the following (emphasis added):

Mon adversaire s'est-il déjà battu? a-t-il fréquenté les tirs? est-il connu? est-il classé?

English translation:

Has my opponent duelled before? Has he visited a shooting range? Is he well known? Is he classed/ranked?

The French Wikipedia article about "duel" lists 10 famous duels between journalists. One of them, between Robert Caze and Paul Bonnetain Avril 1883, took place in the year before Maupassant finished writing Bel-Ami. However, neither this article nor the English Wikipedia article on "duel" have anything to say about classes or ranks.

Is Maupassant here referring to some sort of ranking for duellists that existed in late nineteenth-century France? Or is he referring to some sort of ranking for shooters?


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