Dear Prudence

I take this moment of pause and reflection and avail upon it a chance to send you news of my duel.

As you recall, on that day whence I was returning to you after so many long months secluded with the secretive Headless Monks of the Leaf, I came upon a gentleman by the name of Sir P. D. Agustus Zuzu Smith.  On that fateful day when my innocent swatting of a fly that had lit upon the person of Sir Zuzu Smith resulted in the declaration of a Word Duel, I sent you assurances of my sure victory.

Well Prudence, my love, it would seem victory is all but assured. I await only the time upon which this duel shall be declared won, no doubt by yours truly, and I may again resume my travels back to you after so many torturous months in seclusion. For you see, dearest Prudence, it would seem my opponent – the right Sir. Smith —  is wont of attention!

Allow me to explain, my love.

I noticed first, upon the very start of our affair – the dueling of words, that is, not that unfortunate misunderstanding last Spring between myself and Lady Gethsemane of Aspergum – that Sir. P. D. Agustus Zuzu Smith had a few, to use the colorful description of your friend Doctor Franken Farkenhault . . . Ticks.

I do not speak of the uncontrolled jerking of the muscles such as those of Madame Zuwalski, who had the misfortune of shattering five fine china tea cups before we learnt to serve her in a child’s cup for sipping. Nay, these ticks are of the peculiar kind.  At first, I believed them to be distractions. Sir. Zuzu Smith’s way of making me believe his attention lie elsewhere, thereby lulling me into writing more slowly and indulging in several rest breaks. But now, I believe otherwise.

During the first week of our battle, Sir Zuzu Smith seemed distracted by the slightest things. A butterfly lit upon his left foot one afternoon, and Sir Smith gazed upon it for hours. I began to fear the poor brightly colored insect to be deceased, but suddenly it flew away, as if mesmerized by the gentleman who was mesmerized by it. I realized with blushing haste that I myself had been wasting time observing him instead of applying pen to paper, and then it happened again.

Midway through the second week, I looked up and Sir Zuzu Smith was missing entirely!

Indeed, my dearest Prudence, I feared he had fled the battlefield entirely, for I could find no sight of him. Confused, I waited several hours, idly applying pen to paper, waiting for the judge to appear and declare the duel forfeit and myself the winner. But just as I was about to rise to my feet and summon the courts, we received a missive from Sir Smith.  It seems he’d been called away to a very important showing of mummified remains, to which his presence was required by higher authority, and he swore he would return post-haste.

And return he has, but this brings me to the reason for my letter, Prudence dear, for it would seem that, although Sir. Zuzu Smith has returned and presumably enters back into the duel he so insistently engaged me in, his attention remains elsewhere.

Why, in fact, I heard him declare just moments ago that he has ‘set aside’ his dueling words and has picked up a fresh sheet of parchment with which to pen something else entirely!

Prudence, I can only imagine he means to forfeit, unless this is a ploy designed to lower my guard. I must proceed with caution until I can be assured of his motives. Either this folly has entered his mind as easily and deftly as the butterfly that so captivated his attentions, or it has been his intent from the start.

So I shall persevere, Prudence my love, lest it be a ruse. I shall continue my dueling of words until victory is declared, and I may again resume my travels back to your loving arms.

Until that day, my dearest Prudence.

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