Yes, yes, Count Mauvignon, I do accept the challenge you have put before me. I absolutely and unequivocably do respond to your absurd request for a duel---I say absurd because usually when such a call goes forward, it is issued by a man rather than a sniveling worm such as yourself! And so I say to you here and now, before all these good people, that we will duel at dawn in Potter’s Field, and duel to the death we shall to settle the matter with which you have offended both my honor and my intelligence! And I further add a single caveat to your most foolhardy challenge: I may need to borrow a sword from you.

Yes, Count---see how I sneer at the very expression of the word, for I doubt even the authenticity of your lineage---I happen to be short a sword at the moment, so in order to drive a silver point through your gloating chest and put an end to your odious insults for the good of mankind, I’ll have to ask if you can possibly lend me one of yours. Which one in particular interests me not at all, for I assure you that my skills with the rapier extend to even the lowliest cutlass, and I can ensure that your end comes quickly and cleanly, but yeah, if you could see your way clear to bringing an extra along when you show up tomorrow, that would truly be aces. Normally I’m not this absent-minded---despite your ridiculous pretensions to consistently denigrate my brilliance and acumen in affairs of both business and the heart---but I let Prince Favian walk off with my pearl-handled friend just the other day, and despite his oath to return said weapon after its use as a prop during his theatrical stint in Whither the Wanton Wainscot, good luck finding him. Perhaps during one of your many ale-drenched swoons through the most revolting taverns and whorehouses in Tuscany tonight, you may run into the Prince---are you not the closest of scurrilous compatriots? If you see him, please do ask my fair acquaintance to bring back the aforementioned sword so I can take your life in two battings of my eyelashes! But if you don’t see him, seriously, any chance I could bum a sword off you tomorrow, just for fifteen minutes or however long the duel lasts? I’ll even clean it. See, it’s just that if you can’t lend me one, I don’t know where I’m going to get one on such short notice. So damn your eyes, I say, and I shall see you on the morrow---and I shall see you dead in a thrice!

Oh, you know what else, I can’t be there till like ten or so. I got a part time job taking gondola reservations and my boss is kind of touchy. So there’s that too, you dundering follop! Heed my warnings and count your life’s blessings, for soon that life will come to a merciful end!

Hey, where’s everyone headed? To the puppet show? Where exactly is that? In the square? Excellent. Count Mauvignon, is it okay if I follow you so I don’t get lost?