Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/176

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"There, don't strain yourself,—it is of no consequence."

A Tramp Abroad 0176h.jpg

Then X. turned to him and crisply said,—

"Machen Sie a flat board."

I wish my epitaph may tell the truth about me if the man did not answer up at once, and say he would go and borrow a board as soon as he had lit the pipe which he was filling.

We changed our mind about taking a boat, so we did not have to go. I have given Mr. X.'s two remarks just as he made them. Four of the five words in the first one were English, and that they were also German was only accidental, not intentional; three out of the five words in the second remark were English, and English only, and the two German ones did not mean anything in particular, in such a connection.

X. always spoke English, to Germans, but his plan was to turn the sentence wrong end first and upside down, according to German construction, and sprinkle in a German word without any essential meaning to it, here and there, by way of flavor. Yet he always made himself understood. He could make those dialect-speaking raftsmen understand him, sometimes, when even young Z. had failed with them; and young Z. was a pretty good German scholar. For one thing, X. always spoke with such confidence,—perhaps that helped.