One thing a man of honor does is challenge somebody to fight to the death if they call him a "rascal." That might seem extreme, but keep in mind that name-calling was more serious back then. People hadn't invented irony, and weren't used to being called "assholes" by their friends. Also, the word "rascal" itself carried more weight--- the modern equivalent is probably something like "cunt-bag." If you handed me a flyer for one of your shows and I told you "blow it out your hole, cunt" (one the most insulting things anyone's ever said to me) and then threw acid in your face, you might gain some idea of how insulting a glove and the word "rascal" might have felt; but it doesn't communicate how screwed you would be if you didn't do anything about it. To not act decisively against slander was one of the most dishonorable things you could do, and would end up with your being branded "a coward," which is twice as bad as a "rascal," even worse than a "blackguard rascal" which is the most extreme type of "rascal" there is.

In the play THE COWARD, a young gentlemen is obliged to prove himself, after someone calls his horse "fat." After issuing a challenge, he finds he is too afraid to fight, and so hires a common scoundrel to do his dirty work for him.

The modern equivalent of scoundrel is probably something like "shit fucker."

Question for discussion:

What would someone have to call you to get you to fight a duel?

(Nick Jones is the author of THE COWARD.)