Humor Forgetting English is adapted from Mark Twain's book Innocents Abroad.
(To get the humor of the following by Mark Twain, it helps if you understand both English and French.)
There are Americans abroad in Italy who have actually forgotten their mother tongue in three months—forgot it in France.
They can not even write their address in English in a hotel register.
I append these evidences, which I copied verbatim from the register of a hotel in a certain Italian city:
"John P. Whitcomb, Etats Unis.
"Wm. L. Ainsworth, travailleur (he meant traveler, I suppose,) Etats Unis.
"George P. Morton et fils, d'Amerique.
"Lloyd B. Williams, et trois amis, ville de Boston, Amerique.
"J. Ellsworth Baker, tout de suite de France, place de naissance Amerique, destination la Grand Bretagne."
Writing themselves down in dilapidated French in foreign hotel registers!
A lady passenger of ours tells of a fellow-citizen of hers who spent eight weeks in Paris and then returned home and addressed his dearest old bosom friend Herbert as Mr.
He apologized, though, and said, "'Pon my soul it is aggravating, but I cahn't help it--I have got so used to speaking nothing but French, my dear Erbare--damme there it goes again!--got so used to French pronunciation that I cahn't get rid of it--it is positively annoying, I assure you."
This entertaining idiot, whose name was Gordon, allowed himself to be hailed three times in the street before he paid any attention, and then begged a thousand pardons and said he had grown so accustomed to hearing himself addressed as
"M'sieu Gor-r-dong," with a roll to the r,
that he had forgotten the legitimate sound of his name!
He called Paris Pairree in ordinary English conversation.
It is not pleasant to see an American thrusting his nationality forward obtrusively in a foreign land,
Oh, it is pitiable to see him making of himself a thing that is neither male nor female, neither fish, flesh, nor fowl—a poor, miserable, hermaphrodite Frenchman!
Our cultivated countrymen from Amerique.
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