Humor of American Student in Germany

Humor of American Student in Germany in by Mark Twain is adapted from his book A Tramp Abroad [1880]:

I had been vaguely conscious, for a while, of a person who was walking in the street abreast of us; I had glanced furtively at him once or twice, and noticed that he was a fine, large, vigorous young fellow, with an open, independent countenance, faintly shaded with a pale and even almost imperceptible crop of early down, and that he was clothed from head to heel in cool and enviable snow-white linen. I thought I had also noticed that his head had a sort of listening tilt to it.

Now about this time the Rev. Mr. ------said: "The sidewalk is hardly wide enough for three, so I will walk behind; He ranged himself behind us, and straightway that stately snow-white young fellow closed up to the sidewalk alongside him, fetched him a cordial slap on the shoulder with his broad palm, and sung out with a hearty cheeriness:

"AMERICANS! HEY?"

The Reverend winced, but said mildly:

"Yes--we are Americans."

"Lord love you, you can just bet that's what _I_ am! Put it there!"

He held out his Sahara of his palm, and the Reverend laid his diminutive hand in it, and got so cordial a shake that we heard his glove burst under it.

"Sho! I spotted you for MY kind the minute I heard your clack. You been over here long?"

"About four months. Have you been over long?"

"LONG? Well, I should say so! Going on two YEARS, by geeminy! Say, are you homesick?"

"No, I can't say that I am. Are you?"

"Oh, HELL, yes!" This with immense enthusiasm.

The Reverend shrunk a little, in his clothes, and we were aware, rather by instinct than otherwise, that he was throwing out signals of distress to us; but we did not interfere or try to succor him, for we were quite happy.

The young fellow hooked his arm into the Reverend's, now, with the confiding and grateful air of a waif who has been longing for a friend, and a sympathetic ear, and a chance to lisp once more the sweet accents of the mother-tongue--and then he limbered up the muscles of his mouth and turned himself loose--and with such a relish! Some of his words were not Sunday-school words, so I am obliged to put blanks where they occur.

"Yes indeedy! If _I_ ain't an American there AIN'T any Americans, that's all.

And when I heard you fellows gassing away in the good old American language, I'm ------ if it wasn't all I could do to keep from hugging you!

My tongue's all warped with trying to curl it around these ------forsaken wind-galled nine-jointed German words here;

now I TELL you it's awful good to lay it over a Christian word once more and kind of let the old taste soak it.

I'm from western New York. My name is Cholley Adams. I'm a student, you know. Been here going on two years. I'm learning to be a horse-doctor! I LIKE that part of it, you know,

but ------these people, they won't learn a fellow in his own language, they make him learn in German;

so before I could tackle the horse-doctoring I had to tackle this miserable language.

"First off, I thought it would certainly give me the botts, but I don't mind now. I've got it where the hair's short, I think;

and dontchuknow, they made me learn Latin, too. Now between you and me, I wouldn't give a ------for all the Latin that was ever jabbered; and the first thing _I_ calculate to do when I get through, is to just sit down and forget it. 'Twon't take me long, and I don't mind the time, anyway.

"Well, ------ some of those old American words DO have a kind of a swing to them; a man can EXPRESS himself with 'em--a man can get at what he wants to SAY, dontchuknow."

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