1 62 The Foreign Policy of Company 99
suggested the engine driver, "and let's see what nation is responsible for this conglom- eration of hair and head noises."
Sloviski kept a delicatessen store around the corner on Third Avenue, and was reputed to be a linguist.
One of the men fetched him a fat, cring- ing man, with a discursive eye and the_odours of many kinds of meats upon him.
"Take a whirl at this importation with your jawbreakers, Sloviski," requested Mike Dowl- ing. "We can't quite figure out whether he's from the Hackensack bottoms or Hongkong- on-the-Ganges."
Sloviski addressed the stranger in several dialects, that ranged in rhythm and cadence from the sounds produced by a tonsillitis gargle to the opening of a can of tomatoes with a pair of scissors. The immigrant replied in accents resembling the uncorking of a bottle of ginger ale.
"I have you his name," reported Sloviski. "You shall not pronounce it. Writing of it in paper is better." They gave him paper, and he wrote, "Demetre Svangvsk."
"Looks like short hand," said the desk man.
"He speaks some language," continued the