Humor of Foreign Words Used to Impress

Humor of Foreign Words Used to Impress by Mark Twain is adapted from his book A Tramp Abroad [1880]:

(The following is funny if you know what the French words mean.)

We located ourselves at the Jungfrau Hotel, one of those huge establishments which the needs of modern travel have created in every attractive spot on the continent.

There was a great gathering at dinner, and, as usual, one heard all sorts of languages.

The table d'hôte was served by waitresses dressed in the quaint and comely costume of the Swiss peasants.

This (costume) consists of

a simple gros de laine,

trimmed with ashes of roses,

with overskirt of scare bleu ventre saint gris,

cut bias on the off-side,

with facings of petit polonaise

and narrow insertions of pâte de foie gras

backstitched to the mise en scène

in the form of a jeu d'esprit.

It gives to the wearer a singularly piquant and alluring aspect.


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