Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

.women, depicting most vividly their superiority in all respects over his own countrywomen.

"Why, then," said a young woman, who was justly indignant at this, "why did you not get an English wife when you had so many offers, as you say?"

"Oh ! vanity, vanity !" I cried, fearing there would be a quarrel soon.

The Swede, however, pulled out his neck—just as a cab-horse does, sometimes, when the driver first takes the reins—and looking straight forward, as if seeing something no one else saw, replied to my exclamation, "It is the truth. I say nothing but what is the truth; it is no vanity."

"The English ladies did offer then!" said the other.

"Well! no, not for themselves; oh, no! that would not go on ; but their fathers, or guardians, or uncles did."

"Oh! matters are settled in that way in some countries,'' I said carelessly, wishing to have done with the subject. Not so the other speaker.

"But why did you not take one out of all the ladies offered to you?" she persisted.

This good man, in speaking English, had the habit of putting h in words that began with s, saying shelf instead of self; and never could pronounce our shibboleth, the th. As he seemed considering his answer, I fancied he was pondering some of these difficulties of the English tongue; but at last he said, "I should be glad to get an English lady: oh! very glad indeed."

"Then why not take one of the many who offered?"

"Well—I should like to get a fidgetty wife," he made answer; "yes, my wife must be a little fidgetty."

"A fidgetty wife !" I exclaimed, in amaze at the nature of his bachelor difficulties.

"Yes, Madam; I am not very fidgetty my shelf, and I tink a fidgetty wife would shuit me."

"Well! if she were in a fidgetty humour, I think she might shoot you," I replied, feeling that it would not be safe to trust me with weapons in such a case.

"Madam," said the Swede, though I spoke very gravely, "do I speak your language right?"

"Oh! yes; but perhaps you do not know exactly what fidgetty means. If you go to England to look for a wife, it might be as well not to ask at once for a fidgetty one. What do you mean by the word in Swedish?"

VOL. I. T

"I got it in the dictionary, Madam; yes, it is correct English, for I have a dictionary in two volumes, in which is every word that was ever spoken or written in the English tongue; and indeed whoever has that dictionary need have nothing more; you must buy it, Madam j it is English and Swedish, and will teach you the meaning of every word in your language."

"And pray how does it translate 'fidgetty' into Swedish."

He told me; and the translation was "lively, gay;"—that is, he told me the Swedish words, which mean these in English.

I got the dictionary afterwards to look at; and certainly, if the good Swede had sought for all the qualities of his wife by the explanations given there of such terms in our language, he would have imported a singular specimen of English womanhood into his country. A fidgetty wife, instead of a lively one, would have been only one result of these mis-translations.

It is curious that there is no such thing as a tolerably correct English and Swedish dictionary. This work of two volumes amused me amazingly. What language the words were taken from, it was impossible for me in most cases to make out; and now I have a small one, in which, among similar explanations, under the word "go," this explanation appears, "go out doctor"—that is, in Swedish, "to become doctor." When we consider that these works are meant for the use of foreigners, it is strange to find the most recherche vulgarisms and Cockneyisms inserted there. How they have been made out by the foreign compilers, is quite unintelligible.

276

CHAPTER XX.

And now I am on Lake Malar—lovely Malar! I have, indeed, loved you exceedingly; with as fond and true a love as if you had been born beneath a softer sky, and lay in the lap of a more sunny landscape.

Beautiful Malar! the heart may warm and glow upon thy waters, as well as upon those of Como or Maggiore. Yet now as I sail over you I say to myself,

"There's something in a flying-horse,
And something in a huge balloon;
But in the air I'll never float
Until I have a little boat
In shape like to the crescent moon."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »