Well, because I saw your niece Olivia treat the count’s messenger better than she’s ever treated me! I saw it in the orchard.
Yes, she saw me quite clearly.
Well, that proves she’s in love with you.
Did she see you there the whole time, old boy? Tell me that.
Are you trying to make fun of me?
No, I’ll prove it with airtight evidence and logical argument.
And you can’t deny evidence and argument—They’ve been around since Noah’s ark.
She flirted with the messenger boy to exasperate you, fire up your passions, and to make you angry and jealous. You should have run up to her, unleashed a few excellent quips invented on the spot, and rendered the young man speechless. That’s what she was expecting, and you let her down. You can only raise her opinion of you with some impressive act of courage or complicated intrigue.
I’ll have to do something courageous then, because I hate intrigue. I’d rather be a heretic than a schemer with fancy plots.
Well then, improve your situation with a show of courage. Challenge the count’s young servant to a fight. Hurt him in several different places. My niece Olivia will notice, and let me tell you, no matchmaker in the world can get you a woman faster than a reputation for courage.
It’s really the only way, Sir Andrew.
Go ahead and write it down. Make your handwriting look like a soldier’s. Be pointed and brief. It doesn’t need to be witty as long as it’s imaginative. Taunt him as much as you want, since you’re only doing it in writing. It’s fine if you refer to him as “thou” instead of “you.” Write down as many lies as you can fit on a sheet of paper. Go ahead, get on with it. You may be using an ordinary pen, but you can fill it with poison ink. Now get busy.
Will either of you give him the message that I’m challenging him to a duel?