Asions which elicit the powers of great minds, and the peculiar cha

Drust beautifies at oisvier.nl
Thu Aug 27 19:46:46 PDT 2009


Ry of State, the Petersburg (Virginia) _Express_ uses the following
elegantly accurate language: 'It is said that these two distinguished
functionaries spoke the French dialect altogether, the gallant Frenchman
not having yet been enabled to master the good old Anglo-Saxon idiom.'
What, to begin with, is _the_ French dialect? The Provencal, the Gascon,
the Norman, are tolerably prominent French dialects, but which of them
is preeminently _the_ dialect we will not decide--nor why the diplomatic
gentlemen selected a dialect instead of French itself as a medium of
conversation. It is, however, possible that Comte de Mercier having
heard of little Benjamin's antecedents, talked to him in _argot_ or
thieves' slang. It may be that in the school of Floyd and Benjamin argot
is _the_ dialect. Again, we learn that the gallant Frenchman spoke 'the
French dialect' because he has not as yet mastered 'the good old
Anglo-Saxon idiom.' This is even more puzzling than the
dialect-question. Why the Anglo-Saxon idiom? Suppose Count Mercier
wished to say that he was sorry that his tobacco had been captured by
the foe, why should he couch it in such language as, 'Tha mee ongan
hreowan thaet min _tobacco_ on feonda geweald feran sceolde'--which is
the good _old_ Anglo-Saxon idiom.' We _can_ imagine that thieves' slang
would have the place of honor in Secessia, but why the old Anglo-Saxon
idiom should be so esteemed, puzzled us for a longtime. At last we hit
it. The Southrons have long been told--or told themselves--that they are
Normans, while we of the North are Saxon--and hoping to acquire a 
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