Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/203

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One of the first persons we encountered, as we walked up the street, was the Rev. Mr.——, an old friend from America,—a lucky encounter, indeed, for his is a most gentle, refined and sensitive nature, and his company and companionship are a genuine refreshment. We knew he had been in Europe sometime, but were not at all expecting to run across him. Both parties burst forth into loving enthusiasms, and Rev. Mr.—— said,—

"I have got a brim-full reservoir of talk to pour out on you, and an empty one ready and thirsting to receive what you have got; we will sit up till midnight and have a good satisfying interchange, for I leave here early in the morning." We agreed to that, of course.

I had been vaguely conscious, for a while, of a person who was walking in the street abreast of us; I had glanced furtively at him once or twice, and noticed that he was a fine, large, vigorous young fellow, with an open, independent countenance, faintly shaded with a pale and even almost imperceptible crop of early down, and that he was clothed from head to heel in cool and enviable snow-white linen. I thought I had also noticed, that his head had a sort of listening tilt to it. Now about this time the Rev. Mr.—— said,—

"The side-walk is hardly wide enough for three, so I will walk behind; but keep the talk going, keep the talk going, there's no time to lose, and you may be sure I will do my share." He ranged himself behind us, and straightway that stately snow-white young fellow closed up to the side-walk alongside him, fetched him a cordial slap on the shoulder with his broad palm, and sung out with a hearty cheeriness,—

"Americans, for two-and-a-half and the money up! Hey?"

The Reverend winced, but said mildly,—

"Yes,—we are Americans."

"Lord love you, you can just bet that's what I am, every time! Put it there!"

He held out his Sahara of a palm, and the Reverend laid his diminutive hand in it, and got so cordial a shake that we heard his glove burst under it.