Friday, April 29, 2016


In the Muck

G.G. Coulton (1858-1947), Father Rhine (London: Dent, 1899), p. 53:
He could not believe that so sensible a man as Schultz evidently was would ever venture into a foreign land without having first learnt the language. "Sehen sie 'mal:—wenn Einer die Sprache nicht kann, da sitzt er wie im Dreck,"1—a form of locution which amused me immensely, though it appealed less to my friend.

1 "Look here—if a man can't talk the language, he has to sit in the muck, so to speak."
Id., pp. 202-203 (quoting an Englishman resident in Argentina):
"Father don't talk Spanish; I don't neither, except you must know a word or two for the cowboys and that sort of thing. Mother, she talks a little; but when they come to us, they talk English fast enough; they always can if they like, so why the Dickens should we go and take the trouble to learn theirs? That's what I always say to the Spanish chaps, and they can't find anything to say agen it. . . . Look at that fellow in the office here; what did you get out of him with your German? No, they understand English, they do; they know that means business. I've been about a good deal these three months, and I never cared a blow about any foreign language except once, and that was in Paris. . . ."

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