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<   No. 4500   2021-04-23   >

Comic #4500

1 Armoured knight: This likeness of a dragon, how did you craft it? It looks like very skilled smithing.
2 Mercutio: Yes... yes. I am a skilled blacksmith.
3 Armoured knight: You! Ha ha ha! You have neither the hands nor arms of a smith!
3 Mercutio: Oh?
4 Armoured knight: You have the hands of one who does naught but read tedious texts and try to find errors therein.

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I meant to mention this in the previous annotation for the Shakespeare theme, but I forgot:

I originally wrote the script (of comic #4487) with the knight saying, "I presume you're going there too with this fine dragon replica?"

Then I caught myself wondering about the etymology of the word "replica", and if it would have been in use in 16th century English or not. It turns out that "replica" is a mid-18th century import from Italian, stemming from the Italian verb replicare ("to duplicate"). So indeed, the word "replica" would not be used by a 16th century English person.

So I replaced it: "I presume you're going there too with this fine dragon model?"

Having wondered once, I couldn't help looking up the etymology of "model". And lo, I discovered that it originated in the late 16th century from the French modelle. Around 1570, which is 34 years after the year in which this comic is set. So no English person would be using the word "model" then either.

So again I replaced it: "I presume you're going there too with this fine dragon likeness?"

This time the word "likeness" comes down to us from Old English, so this is a safe word choice.

Having gone to this much bother to ensure the authenticity of the knight's speech, and spent a good hour going down the rabbit hole and reading up about a bunch of other peripheral stuff, I made it a point not to bother checking any of his other words, lest the same thing happen again.

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