INNOCENTS ABROAD Volume II

INNOCENTS ABROAD Volume II

by Mark Twain
     
 

CHAPTER XI.

We are getting foreignized rapidly and with facility. We are getting
reconciled to halls and bedchambers with unhomelike stone floors and no
carpets--floors that ring to the tread of one's heels with a sharpness
that is death to sentimental musing. We are getting used to tidy,
noiseless waiters, who glide hither and thither, and…  See more details below

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CHAPTER XI.

We are getting foreignized rapidly and with facility. We are getting
reconciled to halls and bedchambers with unhomelike stone floors and no
carpets--floors that ring to the tread of one's heels with a sharpness
that is death to sentimental musing. We are getting used to tidy,
noiseless waiters, who glide hither and thither, and hover about your
back and your elbows like butterflies, quick to comprehend orders, quick
to fill them; thankful for a gratuity without regard to the amount; and
always polite--never otherwise than polite. That is the strangest
curiosity yet--a really polite hotel waiter who isn't an idiot. We are
getting used to driving right into the central court of the hotel, in the
midst of a fragrant circle of vines and flowers, and in the midst also of
parties of gentlemen sitting quietly reading the paper and smoking. We
are getting used to ice frozen by artificial process in ordinary bottles
--the only kind of ice they have here. We are getting used to all these
things, but we are not getting used to carrying our own soap. We are
sufficiently civilized to carry our own combs and toothbrushes, but this
thing of having to ring for soap every time we wash is new to us and not
pleasant at all. We think of it just after we get our heads and faces
thoroughly wet or just when we think we have been in the bathtub long
enough, and then, of course, an annoying delay follows. These
Marseillaises make Marseillaise hymns and Marseilles vests and Marseilles
soap for all the world, but they never sing their hymns or wear their
vests or wash with their soap themselves.

We have learned to go through the lingering routine of the table d'hote
with patience, with serenity, with satisfaction. We take soup, then wait
a few minutes for the fish; a few minutes more and the plates are
changed, and the roast beef comes; another change and we take peas;
change again and take lentils; change and take snail patties (I prefer
grasshoppers); change and take roast chicken and salad; then strawberry
pie and ice cream; then green figs, pears, oranges, green almonds, etc.;
finally coffee. Wine with every course, of course, being in France.
With such a cargo on board, digestion is a slow process, and we must sit
long in the cool chambers and smoke--and read French newspapers, which
have a strange fashion of telling a perfectly straight story till you get
to the "nub" of it, and then a word drops in that no man can translate,
and that story is ruined. An embankment fell on some Frenchmen
yesterday, and the papers are full of it today--but whether those
sufferers were killed, or crippled, or bruised, or only scared is more
than I can possibly make out, and yet I would just give anything to know.

We were troubled a little at dinner today by the conduct of an American,
who talked very loudly and coarsely and laughed boisterously where all
others were so quiet and well behaved. He ordered wine with a royal
flourish and said:

"I never dine without wine, sir" (which was a pitiful falsehood), and
looked around upon the company to bask in the admiration he expected to
find in their faces. All these airs in a land where they would as soon
expect to leave the soup out of the bill of fare as the wine!--in a land
where wine is nearly as common among all ranks as water! This fellow
said: "I am a free-born sovereign, sir, an American, sir, and I want
everybody to know it!" He did not mention that he was a lineal
descendant of Balaam's ass, but everybody knew that without his telling
it.

We have driven in the Prado--that superb avenue bordered with patrician
mansions and noble shade trees--and have visited the chateau Boarely and
its curious museum. They showed us a miniature cemetery there--a copy of
the first graveyard that was ever in Marseilles, no doubt. The delicate
little skeletons were lying in broken vaults and had their household gods
and kitchen utensils with them. The original of this cemetery was dug up
in the principal street of the city a few years ago. It had remained
there, only twelve feet underground, for a matter of twenty-five hundred
years or thereabouts. Romulus was here before he built Rome, and thought
something of founding a city on this spot, but gave up the idea. He may
have been personally acquainted with some of these Phoenicians whose
skeletons we have been examining.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012773623
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
07/23/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
87 KB

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