You grovel and plead, explaining that you did not mean to cause offense. In the process, you avoid a physical confrontation. It’s all rather anti-climactic.
But there’s a lingering suspicion among some of the gentlemen who have witnessed the affair that you might have disavowed the insult because you are fearful of Col. Taylor and that you know that he would unman you in a fair contest. You may have saved your hide, but you lost a bit of your manhood and honor.
Maybe you’d like to start over?