Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/259

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247
GUESSING AT NATIONALITIES.

Half of the summer horde in Switzerland is made up of English people; the other half is made up of many nationalities, the Germans leading and the Americans coming next. The Americans were not as numerous as I had expected they would be.

The 7.30 table d'hote at the great Schweitzerhof furnished a mighty array and variety of nationalities, but it offered a better opportunity to observe costumes than people, for the multitude sat at immensely long tables, and therefore the faces were mainly seen in perspective; but the breakfasts were served at small round tables, and then if one had the fortune to get a table in the midst of the assemblage he could have as many faces to study as he could desire.

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IS SHE EIGHTEEN OR TWENTY?

We used to try to guess out the nationalities, and generally succeeded tolerably well. Sometimes we tried to guess people's names; but that was a failure; that is a thing which probably requires a good deal of practice. We presently dropped it and gave our efforts to less difficult particulars. One morning I said,—

"There is an American party."

Harris said,—

"Yes,—but name the State."

I named one State, Harris named another. We agreed upon one thing, however,—that the young girl with the party was very beautiful, and very tastefully dressed. But we disagreed as to her age. I said she was eighteen, Harris said she was twenty. The dispute between us waxed warm and I finally said, with a pretense of being in earnest,—

"Well, there is one way to settle the matter,—I will go and ask her."

Harris said, sarcastically, "Certainly, that is the thing to