A duel between two feuding Napoleonic officers eventually evolves into a decades-long series of duels, after each bout - for various reasons - ends unresolved.

Gabriel Feraud: You've insulted me!
Armand D'Hubert: I have strained my patience in order NOT to insult you.
Gabriel Feraud: I demand an apology!
Gabriel Feraud: I knew a man who was stabbed to death by a woman; gave him the surprise of his life.
Laura: I once knew a woman who was beaten to death by a man. I don't think it surprised *her* at all.
Dr. Jacquin: [to d'Hubert about his situation with Feraud] You cannot fight, one: if you're in different places; physical impossibility. Two: if you're of different ranks; breach of discipline. And three: if the State is at war; duels of nations take absolute precedence. Therefore, keep away from him, keep ahead of him and put your trust in Bonaparte.
Armand D'Hubert: General Feraud has made occasional attempts to kill me. That does not give him the right to claim my acquaintance.
[last lines]
Armand D'Hubert: You have kept me at your beck and call for fifteen years. I shall never again do what you demand of me. By every rule of single combat, from this moment your life belongs to me. Is that not correct? Then I shall simply declare you dead. In all of your dealings with me, you'll do me the courtesy to conduct yourself as a dead man. I have submitted to your notions of honor long enough. You will now submit to mine.
Chevalier: [upon meeting d'Hubert for the first time after d'Hubert has found him making boots] I've not hitherto been privileged to meet a general of Bonaparte's army.
Armand D'Hubert: [smiling] General of Brigade, sir, and only recently promoted. A mere imp of Satan; I cannot claim to be one of his demons.
Chevalier: [unthawing slightly] You jest with me, sir.
Armand D'Hubert: In a neighborly way.
Chevalier: [gesturing to d'Hubert to be seated and sitting himself] Let me make you a pair of boots. In a neighborly way.
Armand D'Hubert: I would esteem it an honor.
Chevalier: Good boots are not an honor, they are a pleasure. About the time that you were learning to be a soldier, I was learning to make boots. I've supported myself as a boot-maker; now that I'm an aristocrat once more, I have to drum up trade. Sloth is the curse of the aristoracy.
Fouche: [hands d'Hubert the list of executions] Take a pen, my dear fellow, and cross out the name; I can't do everything for you.
Armand D'Hubert: [crosses off Feraud's name, then] Your Excellency, I must beg you to keep my interefence a secret, most particularly from General Feraud.
Fouche: [takes back the list] General Feraud, alive or dead, is not worth a moment's gossip.
Armand D'Hubert: Isn't this marriage-broking getting a little out of fashion?
Leonie: Nothing sensible goes out of fashion.
Armand D'Hubert: We came here to kill each other. Any ground is suitable for that.
Armand D'Hubert: What can I do?
[to avoid being challenged to a duel by Feraud]
Dr. Jacquin: I have given the matter some thought. You can't fight if you're in different places. Physical impossibility. And you can't fight if you're opted in rank. Breach of discipline. And you can't fight if we are at war. Duels of nations take absolute precedence. So, keep away from him, keep ahead of him, and put your trust in Bonaparte.
Leonie: A good marriage settles down quietly, like moss.
Gabriel Feraud: Would you let them spit on Napoleon Bonaparte?
Armand D'Hubert: Bonaparte? I fail to see what Bonaparte has to do with this.
Fouche: [to d'Hubert, who has come to see him to save Feraud from execution] I am something of a virtuoso in survival. You would be aware of that, I think. Besides, I despise these nobodies who offer their neck to the block. The list is in my control because if it were not my own name would almost certainly be on it.
[first lines]
Narrator: The duellist demands satisfaction. Honour, for him, is an appetite. This story is about an eccentric kind of hunger. It is a true story and begins in the year that Napoleon Bonaparte became ruler of France.
Laura: [to d'Hubert] This time he'll kill you!
[talking about a marriage]
Armand D'Hubert: If I were to neglect making you a proposal, no blame would attach to you. And I think perhaps you might be saved from a... sad dull life.
Adele: If you neglect to make me a proposal, my uncle will go mad.
Armand D'Hubert: Damn it, you are not put on this earth to coddle your uncle.
Armand D'Hubert: [to his sister Leonie about her matchmaking] Meddle, meddle, meddle.
Leonie: [calmly sipping her tea] Nonsense.
Laura: [to d'Hubert] Nothing cures a duellist.
Armand D'Hubert: I am going to be killed responsibly, on horseback, as a compliment to the cavalry.
Adele: [she's just felt her baby kick and has put d'Hubert's hand on her belly to feel] Sir, kick for the general.
[the baby kicks and she reacts]
Adele: Perfect discipline!
Armand D'Hubert: [smiling] That's not a grenadier. Most ladylike, I assure you.
Adele: HE'S not kicking YOU.

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