Press enter after choosing selection

Mark Twain On The German Language

Mark Twain On The German Language image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

"I went often to look at the coilection ot curiosities in Heklelberg Castle, and one day surprised the keeper of it with ray Oerman. I spoke entirely in that language. He was greatly interested, and afler I had talked awhile he said my Oerman was very rare, possibly au 'unique,' and wanted Co add it to bis museum. It' he had known what it cost me to acquire my art he would also have known that it would break any collector to buy it. Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so ölippery and so elusive to grasp. One is washed about in it, hither and thither, in the most helpless way, and when at last he thinks he has captured a rule which offers firm ground to take a rest on amid the general rage and turmoil of the part9 of speech, he turns over the pago and reads : 'Let the pupil take oaretul note of the follow ing exceptions.' He runs his eye down and finds that there are more exceptions to the rule than instances of it. So overboard he goes agin to hunt for another Ararat and to find another quicksand. Oerman books are easy enouih to read when you hold them belbre the lookingglass or stand on your head - so as to reverse the construction - but I think that to learn to read and to understand a Germán newspaper is a thing whioh must always remain an impossibility to a foreigner. " An cxaminer is trying to explain to some thickheaded acholara the charscter of a miracle : of one of them he asks : "What is a miracle?" "I don't know, sir." " If - all at once - the sun appeared in the heavens at night, wht would you say it was?" "The moon." "But, if you were told it was the sun, what would you say? " " I'd say it was a lie." "Now I never lie. Suppose I told you it was the sun." The scholar, aftcr a inoment's deep reflec tion, bobbed hia head. " Please, air, I'd say you were druok.