Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/179

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167
EMBARRASSING TO STRANGERS.

shall I feel, in case I survive to feel anything." Therefore he is afraid to venture. He sits out the dinner, and makes the strangers rise first and originate the bowing. A table d'hote dinner is a tedious affair for a man who seldom touches anything after the three first courses; therefore I used to do some pretty dreary waiting because of my fears. It took me months to assure myself that those fears were groundless but I did assure myself at last by experimenting diligently through my agent. I made Harris get up and bow and leave; invariably his bow was returned, then I got up and bowed myself and retired.

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EXPERIMENTING THROUGH HARRIS.

Thus my education proceeded easily and comfortably for me, but not for Harris. Three courses of a table d'hote dinner were enough for me, but Harris preferred thirteen.

Even after I had acquired full confidence, and no longer needed the agent's help, I sometimes encountered difficulties. Once at Baden Baden I nearly lost a tram because I could not be sure that three young ladies opposite me at table, were Germans, since I had not heard them speak; they might be American, they might be English, it was not safe to venture a bow; but just as I had got that far with my thought, one of them began a German remark, to my great relief and gratitude; and before she had got out her third word, our bows had been delivered and graciously returned, and we were off.