"in cold blood"? I recall the scene as being one where Sherburn had been vilified for the entertainment of the public. Sherburn came out and said that this offense to his honor and reputation should be borne for an hour--no longer. He gave the drunk and his audience a chance to come to their senses and slink away, but they did not. After an hour of this abuse of his "honor", Sherburn came out, probably VERY hot under the collar, and put a stop to it. I 'd guess that Twain doesn't care much for the notion of a defense of "honor" in this fashion, but a) this duelling mentality was not entirely gone in Twain's lifetime and b) As bad as Sherburn come off in this pathetic spectacle, the mob looks worse. I'm looking forward to the responses you get, Mrs. Knowles.