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Chapter 12 Travelling Dialect

  • Miss Phantasia was of too mercurial a temperament to listen to length_escriptions; she had already ascended the steps that led to the saloon, an_e now followed her. The compartment looked neat enough, though no_omfortable. Everything pointed to the endeavours of rendering all th_urniture as light as possible, and this, of course, applied to the whol_ffair whenever it did not interfere with the necessary solidity. Bamboo cane_ut. thin and twisted together appeared to be the chief material, and of th_etals aluminium was the only one to be seen.
  • On our entering the waiting-room, I had already noticed that all th_assengers conversed with one another in the same tongue, in a dialect o_hich I certainly recognised a word or two, but yet a foreign idiom to me. O_sking my companion what countrymen those gentlemen were, I received th_ollowing reply:
  • " They belong to all sorts of nations. That burly-looking gentleman yonder i_ Russian; that ridiculous little man playing with his moustache and oglin_ll the ladies can only be a Frenchman; the other trunculant figure, who ha_aid the highest fare, is one of your own countrymen—a Dutchman; those tw_lue-eyed, flaxen-haired youngsters are Germans, and all the rest ar_nglish."
  • "But how, then, is it that they all speak the same language ?"
  • " They speak the travelling dialect. In our modern days, when many peopl_pend the greater portion of their time in travelling, and all nationalitie_ontinually mingle together, such an idiom was created almost spontaneously.
  • True, it is as yet but a language in its infancy; but it will probably, at n_reat distance of time, become the universal tongue."
  • I listened as attentively as I dared and could, and I observed very soon tha_he so-called travelling dialect was a mixture of various tongues, Englis_hough preponderating; and this I ascribed to the fact of the majority of th_ravelling public being generally Englishmen.