T HE Parisian travels but little, he knows no language but his own, reads no literature but his own, and consequently he is pretty narrow and pretty self-sufficient. However, let us not be too sweeping; there are Frenchmen who know languages not their own: these are the waiters.. Among the rest, they know English; that is, they know it on the European plan — which is to say, they can speak it, but can't understand it. They easily make themselves understood, but it is next to impossible to word an English sentence in such a way as to enable them to comprehend it. They think they comprehend it; they pretend they do; but they don't. Here is a conversation which I had with one of these beings; I wrote it down at the time, in order to have it exactly correct.
I. These are fine oranges. Where are they grown?
He. More? Yes, I will bring them.
I. No, do not bring any more; I only want to know where they are from — where they are raised.
He. Yes? (with imperturbable mien, and rising inflection.)
I. Yes. Can you tell me what country they are from ?
He. Yes? (blandly, with rising inflection.)
♦Crowded out of "A Tramp Abroad" to make room for more vital statistics.— M. T.