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A Grammatical Duellist

A Grammatical Duellist image
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Two English gentlemen once steppea into a coffee-house in Paris, where they observed a tall, odd-looking man, who appeared not to be a native, sitting at one of the tables, and looking around him with the utmost stone-like gravity of countenance upon every object. Soon after the Englishmen entered, one of them told the other that a celebrated dwarf had arrived at Paris. At this the grave-looking personage above mentioned opened his month and spoke. "I arrive," said he, "thou arrivest, he arrivés ; we arrive, you arrive, they arrive." The Englishman whose remark seemed to have suggested this mysterious speech, stepped up to the stranger and asked: "Did you speak to me, sir?" "I spêak," replied the stranger, "thou speakest, he speaks; we speak, you speak, they speak." "Howisthis?" said the Englishman. "Do you mean to insult me ?" The strangor replied: "I insult, thou insultest, he insults; we insult, you insult, they insult." "This is too much," said the Englisbman ; "I will have satisfaction. Ü yoa have any spirit with your rudeness,come along with me." To this defianoe the imperturbable stranger replied: "I come, thou comest, he comes ; we come, you come, they come." And thereupon he aróse, with great coohiess, and followed his challenger. In those days, when every man wore his sword likè a man, open and free, and not like cowardly, skulking fellows of this age, who have assassin-knives and hidden revolvers within their shirt bosoms and vest pockets, duels were speedily dispatched. They went to a neighboring alley, and the Englishman, unsheathing his weapon, said to his antagonist: "Now, sir, you must flght aie." "I fight," replied the other, rt'we flght" - here he made a thrust - "you fight, they fight" and here he disarmed his adversary. "Well," said the Englishmau, -'yon have the best of it, and I hope you are satisfled." "I am satisfied," said the original, sheathing his sword, "thou art satisfied, he is satisfied ; we are satisfied, you are satisfied, they are satisfied." "I am glad every 'one is satisfied," said the Englishman; "but pray leave off quizzing, and teil me what is your object, if you have any, in doing 8(1." The grave gentleman now, for the first time, became intelligible. "I am a Hollander," said he, "and am learning your language. I find it very difflcult to remember the peculiarities of the verbs, and my tutor has advised rao, in order to fix them in my mind to conjúgate every English verb I hear spoken. This I have made it a rule to dn ; f don't like to have my plans broken in upon while they are in operation, or 1 would have told you this before. '( The Englishman la-iighed heartily at this explanation, and invited the conjugating Hollander to dine with them. "I will dine," said he, "thou will dine, he will dine ; you will dine, they will dine, we will dine altogether. " This they did, and it was difficult to determine whether the Hollander ate or conjugated with most perseverance.


Old News
Michigan Argus